Thursday, 11 October 2012

Norfolk Long-Weekend - Part 2

My second reserve visit during my long-weekend in Norfolk was to Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Cley Marshes. It was a bit overcast with some light rain threatened, but I wasn’t going to let that spoil a visit I had been really looking forward to. Fortunately the winds were lighter than during the visit to Titchwell, so my hopes were high of seeing more Beardies.

A view of the Visitor Centre
Following advice from one of the reserve’s volunteers I headed straight for Bishop’s Hide. The walk through the reedbed certainly provided some reassurance with “pings” going off all around me. Inside the hide it wasn’t very long before the birds made a first fleeting appearance. After a number of “pings” a group of 6 or so appeared at the top of the reeds about 50 feet from the hide, but they didn’t stay long as something large overflew them. However, over the next 30 minutes they returned a couple of more times, and seemed to head for a patch of Willow Herb that had gone to seed. Whether that was easier to pull than the other reed I’m not sure, but there was a clear attraction.
Beardie in Willow Herb
 In front of Bishop’s Hide is Pat’s Pool, but this was fairly quiet despite the approach of high tide. There was a single Dunlin and a couple of Black-Tailed Godwits, but otherwise it seemed to be more Wigeon and Teal city than anything else. Large numbers seemed to have flown in, all in various stages of eclipse.

Wigeon - in eclipse

Tufted Duck - also in eclipse
I tried my luck along East Bank. This was the volunteer’s second suggestion, and given the length of the reedbed alongside the path I was hopeful for more success. Interestingly it was along this path that I actually saw my first Cetti’s Warbler in the spring; even more interestingly a bird was calling from the reeds but was not so willing to be seen. Perhaps it may have been the same bird?

Very soon, though, the Beardies made a welcome appearance, and I was able to get some good views of both male and female birds. Again they were flighty and didn’t stay in one place for very long, and usually headed for the lower reeds if startled. However, these views we probably amongst the best I have ever had, and without the need for a scope!

Beardies - male and female

Resplendent male Beardie

Male and female Beardies
On our way back to our hotel, we stopped in at Morston Quay and Wells-next-the Sea, just to see what may be about. Both locations allowed some good shots of Little Egret and Redshank, but the surprise for me was two winter-dressed Guillemots diving off the main quay at Wells. Given the distance from the open sea, it seemed strange to see these two birds at close confines and not while on a boat!

Little Egret



Guillemot ready for winter
The following day we travelled home to East Yorkshire. Hopefully it won’t be long before I can go back to Norfolk.

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