Monday, 4 January 2016

Jan 4th Cley and Salthouse

Brent Geese
It seems to be an annual tradition recently for me that I would start a new wildlife watching year at Cley. This year is no different. Along the way though, just before Salthouse, Mum pulled over on a layby next to a field covered in geese. On one half of the field were hundreds of brent geese and behind a pile of sugar beet was a slightly smaller flock of pink-footed geese. The field was divided in half with the black and grey of the brents on one side and the grey-brown of the pink-feet on the other. It was funny that neither wanted to mingle into one super flock. I have heard that there has been a few tundra bean geese about with a flock of brent geese in the area, so I had a scan for them. I was sure I had found one, but once I swapped my binoculars for my camera, I end up losing it again. Still, to see so many geese in one spot was a great way to start my year.

There were more Brent Geese than my camera can capture in one shot!
Pink-footed Geese
The Pink-foot half of the field, not as many but still great to see
Greylag Geese
January at Cley can be one of the quietest time of the year for a visit. It appeared rather sparse out on the pools today. Wigeon, teal, lapwings, shelducks, mallards, avocets, dunlin, redshanks, shovelers and black-tailed godwits were on the pools as usual, but the numbers were very thin. The atmosphere felt a tad bit on the tired side as well with most of the birds sleeping or casually feeding along the shoreline. The marsh harriers did live things up, but even they got tired of soaring over the birds to scare them up and spent time resting in a bush. Lets just say the most exciting place to be at Cley today was in the visitor centre eating bacon butties and scones!

Marsh Harrier
Lapwings, Avocets and a Black-tailed Godwit
Marsh Harrier
Black-tailed Godwits
Pink-footed Geese
White-fronted Geese
Before we called it a day, we made a short stop at Salthouse. I was given a tip-off that a flock of white-fronted geese were on the field next to the beach. With a quick scan I soon found them feeding in the distance near a metal gate. They were so far away that these blurry shots were the best I could get. You can see the white patch on their heads quite clearly though. It is this white patch on their heads that gives the species its name. White-fronted geese are shy birds and are rather scarce winter visitors in the UK. There are two races of white-fronts, one from Greenland and the other from Siberia. The Greenland race has orange bills, while the Siberian race has pink bills. I think the ones in these photos are from Greenland, but it is hard to tell from these blurry images. Oh well, it is still a good bird to end my first outing of the year with. Lets hope 2016 has more special birds like this in store for me!

1 comment:

  1. A great set of photos and sounds like a cracking day, been a good few years since I was last in Norfolk. I spent the 1st Jan on Sheppey in Kent seeing so many Marsh Harriers it was almost unbelievable.