Monday, 2 March 2015

March 2nd NWT Cley Marshes

Black-tailed Godwits in flight
Mum and I visited a freezing cold, windy Cley Marshes today. When we arrived, however, we were in quite of a shock. The Visitor Centre was closed for refurbishments. That means no cakes or bacon sandwiches! Luckly, for the next few weeks, there is a temporary Visitor Centre in the form of a mobile office building. The cake selection might be limited, but we both had a nice Eccles cake each to keep us going.

It was so cold in the wind as we made our way to each of the four hides, that it overpowered the warmth of the bright sunlight trying to break through. For the birds, the wind didn't seem to bother them, although there was the odd cormorant struggling to fly straight and far. Last time we visited, the birds were everywhere in large numbers spread across the landscape of the pools and in the air. Today, the large flocks were split into different parts of the reserve. A large gaggle of brent geese were grazing on a field and wigeon carpeted a bank between two pools. Shoveler, shelduck and teal were feeding out on the pool to my left (from the central hide), godwit, ruff, dunlin and a redshank fed in front of us in a second pool feeding along the edge of a muddy island and further to my right, avocets and gulls (including black-headed gulls and a couple of common gulls). There was also a couple of marsh harriers playing in the wind.
Wigeon in flight

Godwits and Dunlin
The avocets were probably the best of my sightings today. I have seen avocets on most visits to Cley, but I can not tire from seeing them. They are iconic birds with striking black and white plumage and an upturned black bill. When you see a mass of them together, it is like some Pop Art painting with a series of black curvy brush stroked markings on a white canvas. Unlike the other waders who feed by probing the mud, the avocet uses it's special bill to sweep just under the surface of the water, swinging it's head from side to side. It is nice to see that this once extinct bird is spreading across the UK once more.


After our visit to Cley, Mum and I made a quick stop at Salthouse, where another large group of brent geese grazed by the roadside. We used the car as a hide to get some shots of them.

Brent Geese in flight
The Brent Geese flock
Brent Geese

1 comment:

  1. I was worried there for a minute ... no cake! Love the avocet photos, especially the one with the one that looks a bit 'ruffled'!