Monday, 12 December 2016

Dec 12th Cley

Brent Geese
It was a surprisingly warm day in December at Cley today and though it feels more like spring than winter, the skeins of hundreds of geese flying over the reserve reminds you that it is still too early to think of spring just yet. Throughout our visit, skeins of both brent and pink-footed geese were seen arriving in great numbers. The brent geese were even making their way down from the sky to land at the pools to rest and feed. The pink-feet, on the other hand, flew over in much smaller skeins or lines at first and didn't arrive en masse until we had lunch at the visitor centre towards the end of our visit. When the pink-feet did eventually arrive, they filled the entire sky above the reserve with V-formation after V-formation. An incredible sight to see!
Pink-footed Geese
Pink-footed Geese
More Pink-footed Geese
A murmuration of Golden Plover

Before our lunch watching the pink-feet, we made our usual visit to the central hides, seeing a pair of stonechats along the way. We started with the one on the left first for a change and though we planned that this would be a quick scan and out job, we ended up staying a little longer as we saw a few more birds than we normally do from this hide. A buzzard sat proudly on a fence post in the distance with the low winter sun shining on its breast feathers. A marsh harrier was also seen sitting on the ground amongst the grass at the back of one of the pools. But the highlight from this first hide was a female kingfisher perched at the end of a bit of fencing. It was at an awkward position on the fence, in which you could only see it from one half of the hide, but everyone who was inside this hide were pleased and thanked me for spotting it first.
Marsh Harrier

Brent Geese and Avocet
After a few minutes, the kingfisher left its place on the fencing and flew past the central hide. Thinking it was still there, we made a move to this hide next. Sadly, it wasn't there, but there was still plenty of great things to see out on the pools. Lapwings, dunlin, golden plovers, shovelers, teal, wigeon, black-headed gulls and the odd redshank, avocet and ruff were all feeding or snoozing in or around the pools as well as the large gathering of brent geese that I mentioned earlier. It seemed rather peaceful for a while. That was until three marsh harriers arrived on the scene, chasing one another as well as the many wildfowl and waders off the pools and into the air. Just like bits of confetti that had come to life once thrown upwards, they swirled and flapped around the air for a bit, revealing the different colourations of both sides of their wings before returning back to the ground to resume their lives as if the disturbance never happened, that is until the harriers start it up again.
Brent Geese and Black-headed Gulls
Brent Geese
Avocet and Lapwings
Black-headed Gulls
Dunlin and Lapwing
Shovelers and Teal
Marsh Harrier
Lapwing and Golden Plover

Brent Geese
Lapwings and Gulls

We skipped the third hide (the one that's usually the best out of the three) and made our way towards the East Bank. We were told that a spoonbill was seen around there not that long ago. So after making the walk from one side of the reserve to the other, I was slightly disappointed not to see the large white bird right away. Perhaps it was hidden behind a dip in the landscape? That was what I thought and so we continued down the East Bank to see if we could find it. But it wasn't until we learned that it was way in the distance in the next pool further up the beach. Thankfully, with the help of a very kind birdwatcher with a superb scope, we were able to see it without needing to walk any further. Not only that, he also showed us some lovely pintails that were also in the distance as well. Though they were all a long way off, I took these photos with my camera, which are not half bad despite the distance.

Pintail, Shelducks and Gadwall
Pintail and Gadwall
House Sparrow
Sea Aster

No comments:

Post a Comment