Monday, 3 April 2017

April 3rd Cley

Brown Hares
It feels like déjà vu to be back at Cley after being there last week. However, there was no rare bird at Titchwell or fog over the reserve to make us change our minds this time. In fact, it has turned out to be a lovely day. Just in the fields behind the visitor centre, a pair of hares were bounding over the new growth of whatever the farmer is growing. They chased each other for a brief moment, but nothing that was notably 'mad'.

Red Kite (a rather rubbish shot)
From the hides, it was rather quiet with most of the birds on the far side of the pools. Though these pools appeared slightly sparse of birds, it was still had plenty of avocets, black-tailed godwits in their summer plumage, a few dunlin, shelducks, teal, black-headed gulls, 8 little egrets and greylags. We also saw about 5-6 marsh harriers sky dancing above the reed beds behind the pools and they were suddenly joined by something else, something the harriers were not happy to share their air space with. They chased this bird towards us and it was then that we could see the forked tail that identifies it as a red kite! It was flying closer and closer to our hide. I pointed my camera at it, but my camera just wouldn't focus on it for some reason. So in the end, I only managed to get this blurry shot before it flew over the hide. Don't you just hate it when your bridge camera does this!

Marsh Harrier
Little Egrets
Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits and Black-headed Gulls
Moorhen and Coot
Hoverfly (Eupeodes luniger I think)

Along the East Bank, the delightful song of the skylark could heard as they sing proudly so high up in the sky almost appearing as a dot in the clouds. These song flights are displays produced by male skylarks to show off their fitness in order to attract a mate and to announce their territory. These songs can last for a couple of minutes or longer, rising as high as they can and hover as still as they can, while gradually descending metre by metre back to the ground. When they land back in the grass, they are silent and become almost part of it's surroundings as it blends in with its excellent camouflage, though it's quick dashes does give them away at times.
Meadow Pipit
Another springtime display not to miss from another of our songbirds are the parachuting song flights of the meadow pipits. Similar to the skylark's displays, the pipits launch themselves into the air, singing all the while. They don't fly as high as the skylark does, but when they reach their preferred height, their twittering becomes more rapid than it was as it was ascending and they start to glide downwards. This is known as parachuting. And just like the skylark, when they land back into the grass, they become silent and almost hidden in the undergrowth until it moves and gives itself away.


I was hoping to see the little ringed plover that was apparently seen on the field adjacent to the East Bank, but I was unable to spot this spring migrant. However, I did manage to see my first swallow of the year earlier this morning and while searching for the plover, I also saw several ruffs, lapwings, a distant curlew and dunlin, a kestrel, a snipe and a dispute between two male reed buntings with one forcing the other into the water of a ditch, grabbing hold of it by the tail with it's bill and it's claws digging into the other's breast feathers.

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