Monday, 30 March 2015

March 30th Cley

Cley's visitor centre and new education centre (left)
At the beginning of March, the visitor centre at Cley was closed and reduced to a portacabin. Today, not only has the visitor centre reopened, so has the other buildings surrounding it too. This includes the new Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre that has a great room with projections of the conservation work and wildlife in Norfolk. The visitor centre has a lot of improvements done too it as well, which includes a new information and admissions desk area, interactive screens and new furniture for the cafe with new information panels by the windows. The toilets are now located to the Eduction Centre and outside, a brand new view point and picnic area was still having a few finishing touches, but is also more or less complete. There are so many improvements but at least the cakes are the same as before.
Mum at the new view point area
The new Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre
The new Harrier Wall on the back of the visitor centre

Out on the reserve, Mum and I made our way to the three central hides. On the way, we saw a flock of meadow pipits struggling in a strong wind as they made their way to a field next to us one by one. At the hides, avocets and godwits were a plenty on the pools, but there were wigeon, shoveler, dunlin, shelduck and lapwing amongst them too. Some of the godwits have turned red, their breeding plumage and they stand out from the crowd. Brent geese flew over in large flocks, though the numbers compared to last time is much less, as most will have already begun the great journey back to their breeding grounds to the Arctic Russian Tundra. A kestrel was also seen hovering in the distance, before eventually flying past the hide we were in, chased by lapwings.

Black-tailed Godwits, Avocets and a Shoveler
Black-tailed Godwits
Godwits and Avocets
While in our first hide of the afternoon, I noticed a moving shape in the long grass at the back of one of the pools. Two long ears poked out of the tufts of grass like a pair of antenna masts, occasionally with a head and body. It was a hare, the third I have seen today (one on the way to Cley and another in a field behind the new education centre). Such a magnificent creature to look at. Well suited to a life in the countryside, melting away in the grass, only betrayed by it's movements as it made a series of short dashes and pauses along the far bank between pools heading from left to right. Our biggest highlight of the day by far.

Marsh Harrier
After visiting the three main hides, we decided to make a visit to Bishop's Hide, too. We had seen a marsh harrier carry a branch to a spot infront of a bush in the reeds. This was a sign that there was a nest in progress here. We wanted to see if one of the harriers showed up close to the hide for us. Inside, we waited. There was a few ruff, a few redshank (one even yodelled it's call for my camera, they don't call them 'Wardens of the Marsh' for nothing!) and more avocets and godwits preening, roosting and feeding. No harriers. We left the hide and gotten a few feet away from it, when I heard the distinctive yelpping sounds of a male marsh harrier. I looked back and there it was and it was joined by a kestrel, appearing small in comparison.

Redshank yodelling

No comments:

Post a Comment