Trip reports

Cley Marshes - Field Trip report 18th January 2015.

Male bearded tit perching on Phragmites

Sunday, 18 January 2015

18th January 2015
Cley Marshes
10.45-16.00 Dry Bright & Sunny

A couple of marsh harrier floated over the salt marshes shortly after we arrived and also perched in some trees for excellent scope views of their golden heads.
Throughout the day skeins of yelping pink footed geese, mainly in V-formation flew across the sky. There were also smaller groups of flying brent geese with their very dark bodies and white rears.
Walking along the boadwalk, to the triple hide complex through the adjacent reeds, a few people had very close views of both male and female bearded tits sitting atop the reeds. Everyone else had even closer views of a male bearded tit from the hide. His startling Chinese type black moustache markings were clearly seen. Throughout the day small groups of bearded tits were seen in the reed-beds towards the sea, their "pinging calls" were also heard continually.
A lot of the water in front of the hides was frozen. However where there was open water there were groups of teal seen with their yellow triangles at their rears; several gadwall with their black back end markings and both male and female shovelers with their large shovel like bills. A small group of whistling wigeon, in their pink plumaged splendour were grazing on the saltmarsh.
Several redshanks were feeding on the exposed mud. A "skittish" group of around ten dunlin were constantly flying around but then settling to feed on the mud. Several black-tailed godwits flew in and they eventually obliged by coming out in the open from behind some scrub to reveal their long bills. AgGrey heron flew in to stand sentry over the marshes.
At the next hide lunch was taken. Here we had views of the previously seen birds but from a different angle. The walk continued until we turned left onto the East Bank and the walk to the sea. A very obliging ruff was here on the mud at the bottom of the reeds. It had very orange legs and its typical scapular/scaly markings on the side of its body.The saltmarsh on the right hand side gave a single lapwing and a brent goose feeding on the ground. There were also little egrets here as well.
The next stop saw us overlooking Arnolds Marsh which proved very productive. Both male and female pintail were seen here together with three little grebe. I also heard a skylark calling. A group of around 15 avocest were feeding in their typical side to side sweeping manner here. Single curlew, turnstone, ringed plover, grey plover and bar-tailed godwit were here as well.
A group of around 40+ Linnet were flying around and then disappearing into the short vegetation. Some lucky observers managed to identify up to three twite among this large group. Some fortunate people saw a water rail feeding on the mud on the other side of the East bank.
The sea was fairly quiet but a couple of black-throated divers, both in flight and on the sea were seen. Similarly several red-throated divers were about also in flight and on the sea. Several curious seals were in the sea as well. A total of 71 species were seen today in dry and fairly bright sunny conditions.
The highlights were the very good views of bearded tits and for some the water rail. The marsh harriers were also obliging and the skeins of calling pink footed geese were evocative of a typical Norfolk winters day.
George Kalli