Press Release: Rare Sighting of Female Common Scoter at Pensthorpe

Femal Common Scoter

We are thrilled to announce a remarkable sighting at Pensthorpe Natural Park in Norfolk, England – a female Common Scoter. This rare occurrence has bird watchers in the area buzzing with excitement, as it marks an unusual visit from a species typically en route to Scotland for the breeding season.


The sighting of the Common Scoter, visible from the Lake Hide on the Reserve, is a testament to the diverse wildlife that graces Pensthorpe. While this bird’s presence is likely to be fleeting, it is certain to get feathers ruffling within the ornithological community.


The Common Scoter has faced significant challenges in the UK over the last few decades, with a staggering decline in breeding population sizes. Red-listed in Britain, these birds confront threats such as oil spills and chronic pollution, particularly during the vulnerable winter moulting period.


Furthermore, their preference for deep, clear waters presents challenges for captivity management, with declining numbers observed in recent years. The impact of the Usutu Virus on collections in Belgium and the Netherlands in 2019 underscores the delicate balance required to conserve this species.


Pensthorpe Natural Park serves as a vital refuge for diverse birdlife, including rare visitors like the Common Scoter. This sighting highlights the importance of preserving and protecting habitats that support such vulnerable species.

For more information, please contact:

Donna Hodds

Marketing and Events Manager

t: 01328 851 465


Notes to Editors

Pensthorpe is a 700-acre family-friendly nature reserve located 11 miles inland from the North Norfolk coast.

Interactive trails, seven bird hides, and several charming boardwalks weave through the wilderness of the reserve and present an opportunity to get closer to the native and visiting wildlife – over 1200 different species have been recorded.

Part of Pensthorpe’s beauty is its ability to appeal to all ages and interests; it’s a hidden gem for garden lovers, boasting five gardens designed by some of the world’s garden design heavyweights. It’s captivating for families and children curious to learn about the natural world, providing them with the perfect backdrop to paddle through streams, go bird and butterfly spotting, and enjoy hours in the wildlife-inspired eco-play areas, often hailed as some of the best in Norfolk. And it’s so serene that nature gravitates to it like a magnet, offering visitors unrivalled bird and wildlife watching opportunities.

The reserve is on the A1067, one mile from Fakenham and just over 20 miles from the city of Norwich.

Entry prices are variable – please check the website for latest pricing info.

Annual Membership is available, giving members unlimited free access to the reserve all year round. Parking is free.

General admission can be booked in advance or on the day at the time of entry. General admission is not required for the Courtyard Café, Shop, or Discovery Centre.

All ticketed events and workshops must be pre-booked in advance.

For more information about opening times for the reserve, shop, and café, please visit: