Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Norfolk Holiday Day 3

So as yesterday was Titchwell day, today can be Cley day. Yes, and it was another lovely day, added to by the fact that the find had dropped, thank goodness. And the day started smashing as well, because no sooner did I arrived on site than did I hear and then see my first Sedge Warbler of the year. It was sat on a bramble ticket singing its heart out allowing me to get some record shots of this year tick.

-Sedge Warbler
However, it may have started well, but in the same region as the Sedge warbler was singing there was another warbler singing, a cettis, exploding out from a bush right next to the path, and yet still I could not see it. The pain of being so close and not being able to do anything is unbearable, but after quite a while waiting I decided it might be an idea to try and find some other birds rather than spend all day following this bird that would probably never show.
And find other birds I did, as I heard a 3rd species drop a low ping followed by a small black bird with a long tail dive into the reeds opposite the river. It was of course a bearded tit, my first of the year. I waited to see if I would get a better view but alas it did not happen like that and it failed to re-show.
I made my way to the hides to see what was about on there. Nothing major had been reported in but it was still early in the morning. Or it could just have been that there was nothing major around, as there was nothing to really add to the hide from what was there last night. There were still Little Ringed Plover, which were the undoubted highlights, and good numbers of Avocet but nothing really different was around. One marsh harrier flew over, which I grabbed a record shot of in order to add to my year-list photo album. 
-Marsh Harrier
After the hides I headed up to Blakeney to see if there was anything on the sea. On the way up I passed the field where the Brent Geese had been before. There were still some there but in lower numbers, and they were further away than before. Almost at Blakeney I spotted Wheatear fly past me, distinctive by it white rump. That was the highlights really. The sea had very little on it, mainly Herring and Black-Headed Gulls. The hide at the northern end of the reserve had been washed away by the storm surge, but I had a look over the pool where it had been. The only addition there was a small flock of ringed plovers that took off and flew away up towards Blakeney point, my first of the holiday though which was nice.
I did the full circuit of the reserve, but found little else to add to the list besides the small numbers of wildfowl and waders. I even reached the end of the walk before lunchtime, and so decided to check out the small Hill Reserve at the bottom corner of Cley, to see if I could track down any whitethroat that might have come back. 
There was none, but there was another cettis warbler singing which led me on a little chase through the woodland trying to track it down, which I failed to do of course. However, in chasing down the bird I stumbled across a small feeding station, and on one of the feeders there was a small rodent cheekily making away with some seeds, probably a wood mouse.
-Wood Mouse
When I gave up on the cettis I decided to go and see if I could find the one that was outside the visitor center. On the short walk there I heard and briefly saw another Bearded Tit, but again the view was brief and I was unable to get any other view. 
I arrived at the site where the warbler was, and after a short while heard the familiar song again. I then spent a good half an hour following the birds movement through the bush. At one point a pair of birders wandered past me and said 'you've got no chance mate', so much for birder-birder support. After a little longer and another explosive song session I spotted it finally, through the bush. I caught a glimpse of the red in the silhouette. I was very pleased, but the view was brief as it dipped down. I decided to nip round and see if I would be able to see it on the other side from the edge of the bush.
And a view I got indeed, as it was perched on a bramble branch that was stuck out from the bush over the water. Sadly it was too brief a view for a photo, but it was the best view I have ever had of this species, as it sat there and sang for all of 10 seconds. It was a pity not to be able to get a photo of this view I got, but its not the most important thing. 
I saw its silhouette again after a little while, but I was unable to see it again after that. After about 40 mins I decided to head back to Blakeney to watch the sea for a little while before heading home. On the way up to Blakeney there remained a few Brent Geese on the field, and this time I decided to take a few photos to add to the list for the day. 
-Brent Geese
Also on the way up was a Little Egret fishing in one of the pools on the saltmarsh. I grabbed a few shots since I have not got one of an Egret yet this year, but it was not a great photo.
-Little Egret
The heat on Blakeney Point was pretty incredible, the haze making it difficult to see much up the shingle. There was a Common Lizard on the edge of saltmarsh which I flushed. I was very surprised at that, I would have thought it would have been too early to see any reptiles, but at the same time it was very hot, so it makes sense that they would start to come out now.
I spent a relaxing half an hour sat on Blakeney point. There was nothing out to sea, but after a bit I was joined by a Black-Headed Gull on the shingle, which came very close to me. Sadly most of my photos were too dark due to the back light, but I managed a few nice ones, just as well considering how close it was to me. 
-Black-Headed Gull
I will not lie, I was a little disappointed by how quiet Cley was over the day, but that's probably a result of the comedown from yesterday, when I had 3 lifers. But there was still plenty of birds around, and 3 year ticks. Overall it was still a good day, the only thing left to do is to break down the day list:

Species List:
NWT Cley Marshes: Sedge Warbler, Greenfinch, Starling, Lapwing, Woodpigeon, Marsh Harrier, Avocet, Ruff, Little Ringed Plover, Shelduck, Graylag Goose, Mute Swan, Black-Headed Gull, Oystercatcher, Coot, Pied Wagtail, Teal, Redshank, Brent Goose, Grey Heron, Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Common Buzzard, Goldfinch, Little Egret, Jackdaw, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit, Wheatear, Skylark, Cormorant, Kestrel, Ringed Plover, Swallow, Black-Tailed Godwit, Chaffinch, Wren, Great Tit, Cettis Warbler, Bearded Tit, Wigeon, Dunlin, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Herring Gull, Common Lizard, Wood Mouse, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Large White
Caravan Site: Blue tit, Great Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Rabbit

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