Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Sep 22nd Cley

A lot to see at Cley from the hides
September is usually a good time to visit Cley. In the past I had seen great migrants including a Wilson's phalarope in 2013. Today, however, there wasn't anything rare or unusual, but that doesn't mean we didn't see anything at all. There were plenty of birds out on the pools this morning, just they were mainly black-tailed godwits, lapwings, wigeon, ruff, redshank, shoveler, teal and a few greenshanks. The godwits were now losing the rust red plumage that they used for the breeding season and were now a duller grey-brown. Their long pink bills probed the mud beneath the water of the pools, feeding in a large group close to the hide. Everything else was a bit photo shy and were just out of range.

Black-tailed Godwit
Female Sparrowhawk
When we thought this was all we were going to see today, the waders and ducks were starting to get restless and were calling loudly and flying around together in large flocks. A predator was somewhere nearby watching them, but where? Inside one of the hides we visited, there was a commotion among the other birders, as they along with my mum had found a sparrowhawk sitting on a post adjacent to the front of the hide. At the same time, I had found a different predator, a kestrel hovering nearby from where the sparrowhawk was. Two birds of prey in the same place together. They were both females and there was a brief catfight as the kestrel dive bombed the hawk, which just sat there without flinching.

Kestrel hovering above the Sparrowhawk
Godwits forced up by the two birds of prey
The two birds continued to excite everyone watching them in the hide and we soon witnessed something extraordinary between them. The kestrel came to a gate to the left of our hide for a break from hunting and conflicting the sparrowhawk. Then out of nowhere, the sparrowhawk arrived to the same gate and sat metres from her. There was no conflict, just a few moments of peace between the two birds before parting ways. I have never seen a kestrel and a sparrowhawk together without any conflict before! Moments after the two seperated from the gate, a heron seemed jealous and wanted its moment of admiration on the gate.

Kestrel and Sparrowhawk together!!
This heron wanted its turn on the gate
After lunch, I went for a short walk along a wire fence on the beach. Wheatear often show up around here at this time of year as they stop over while on their migration south and often pose on the fence posts. I was certain I had seen one during my short walk, but the bird had flown off before I could get a clearer look of it. There were many other birds on and around this fence as I came across a charm of goldfinches, a few meadow pipits and a rarther tame starling that allowed me to get close to it. Common birds (though most of them are sadly in decline), but good to see all the same.
Juvenile Goldfinch
Meadow Pipit

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