Friday, 16 February 2018

Feb 16th Cley

Snipe and Teal
It was such a nice day today that Mum decided that we should go out to Cley for the afternoon. After stopping at Kelling for lunch, we parked at the small car park next to the East Bank and walked down to the beach and back. The main highlight here was seeing a snipe probing the edge of a pool on the field alongside a pair of teal. When we made our return walk from the beach, there were two snipe at the same pool chasing each other around clumps of grass.

Little Egret
Brent Geese
From the main hides, it didn't appear as though there were anything about other than gulls, teal, shelduck and wigeon. However, the longer we stayed in the hides the more we saw. A flock of avocets were sleeping alongside a group of gulls on an island on the opposite side of Pat's Pool, hiding their iconic upturned curved bills and trying their best to pass off as gulls. A few ruff then made a short visit to the island much closer to the hides before moving off to the back of the pools. Suddenly, over a thousand brent geese arrived, turning the blue sky black briefly and creating an amazing spectacle for everyone watching.

Mute Swan
Black-headed Gull
Red Kite
But as if that wasn't enough, the majority of the geese were spooked into the air and made a grand exodus from the reserve. The culprit? A red kite! Not that this raptor would actually do the geese any harm, but it was it was still incredible to see all these geese leave as the red kite casually soars high over them. Marsh harriers were also sharing the same air space and the males were now displaying with their 'sky dances' as they stooped down and ascending back up again like aerial rollercoasters. Adding to this avian air show were distant murmurations of golden plover, forming patterns in the sky and switching from their golden backs to their white undersides. And to finish things off, a water rail kept crossing the T-junction-like section of the dyke in front of the hides to sparse areas of short reed. Not bad for an unplanned outing.
Marsh Harrier
Brent Geese
Golden Plover
Little Egret
Water Rail