Thursday, 26 November 2015

Nov 26th Cley NWT

Brent Geese
Along the road approaching Cley, a flock of brent geese were grazing by the east bank of the reserve. Mum parked the car in the new improved car park adjacent to the bank and we went up it for a better look at them. These are dark-bellied brent geese which come from their breeding grounds in Arctic Russia. I have heard news that amongst them somewhere is a black brent goose. This is an American species of brent goose and is a lot blacker than the Russian birds with bold white patches on its flanks. With so many brents together and with more elsewhere around the reserve, it is like a needle in a haystack. I have know idea if it is in these pics at all, but feel free to point it out for me if you can see it.

Little Egret
Behind us, on the opposite side of the east bank, a little egret was busy fishing in one of the recently built pools. In the corner of the pool, I spot a water rail feeding alongside a redshank. Another elusive species, the bearded tit, was also showing well along a section of reedbed behind a large reedy island. There was about 4-5 of them visibly plucking seeds from the reed heads. Most of them were males with their grey-blue heads and their charismatic black sideburns. You could hear them pinging like little cash registers. "Ker-ching! Ker-ching! Ker-ching!"

Redshank (left) and Water Rail (right)
Bearded Tits
Blue Tit
Golden Plovers and Lapwings
After a short while in the visitor centre's cafe, we walked down to the three hides, dodging the many puddles on the path along the way. Inside the hides, lapwings and golden plovers were in large numbers. They formed large flocks, one for golden plover and another for lapwings. The birds huddle close to one another like carpets of gold or green in almost military fashion. There were also a flock of 8 curlews, a flock of 8 avocets and so many teal and wigeon out on the pools with these plovers too. A marsh harrier was watching them from a bush before gliding over several times, causing them to all take to the air. The golden plovers stuck together to create aerial displays of gold and white, while the lapwings were slightly chaotic and became a large display of floppy wings flying in every direction. You could hear a whirr of wings and a chorus of calling plovers. Brent geese in a flock numbering in their hundreds were flying above and behind them. Birds were everywhere you looked! The harrier kept herding them from one pool to the other with little success. Still, it was quite a sight to watch.

Golden Plovers
Lapwings, Shelducks, Curlew and Teal
Little Egret
Avocets and Wigeon
Marsh Harrier
Golden Plover murmuration
Brent Geese
Brent Geese over the hides

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