Tuesday, 25 July 2017

July 25th Cley

Woodpigeon and House Sparrows
The weather has been rather rubbish this week so far. It has been a mix of rain, gloomy clouds and short bursts of sunshine. Difficult conditions in deciding if to go bug hunting or not and as a few of my targets, such as the purple emperor, need bright, warm, sunny days in which they are more active in, it has been quite frustrating. This afternoon, I was hoping to visit Holt Country Park to look for silver-washed fritillaries, but as the weather has been dull and unpredictable, Mum and I ended up going to Cley instead.
Juvenile Goldfinch
House Sparrows
Pied Wagtail

Juvenile Ruff?
The weather did hold up during our time at Cley without a single drop of rain falling. There were plenty of birds out on the pools this afternoon too. Most of them were avocets, lapwings and ruffs with a few dunlin, godwits, teal, shovelers, shelducks and greylags, all either snoozing or feeding peacefully until a marsh harrier arrives, sending them up into the air. Most of the waders at the moment were in various plumages, especially the ruffs, which were in various colours ranging from white to red. With so many variations around, this can unsurprisingly cause a lot of confusion when it comes to identification. For example, there were a couple of reddish dunlin-like birds feeding alongside some actual dunlin. These two birds were slightly larger though and had me stumped for a bit. I was thinking they were either curlew sandpipers or knot, but in the end, they were more than likely juvenile ruffs. Being a birdwatcher can be a nightmare sometimes no matter how experienced you are.

Same bird with Dunlin

Male Ruff



Black-tailed Godwit


Marsh Harrier
Out of all I saw from the hides today, two species stood out more. First was a juvenile marsh harrier, which flew over the pools, scaring everything into the sky. It then sat, exposed, at the far end of the grassy bank that divided the two pools. It sat there for a short while and was calling out a few times, begging for its parents to show up with food. The other highlight appeared while this young harrier was hanging around in the form of a few bearded tits. About 3-4 of them appeared from the reed bed right in front of us perching on top of the stems in full view. This included a male or two, which were showing their best sides to the cameras like professional models. Then, on the walk back to the visitor centre, we came across this cormorant which was sitting close to us on the opposite side of the ditch by the main path, providing good views and showing that it is more beautiful than just a big black bird most people think it is.
Bearded Tit


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