Trip reports

Visit to NWT Cley Marshes

Hobby chasing dragonflies

Sunday, 22 September 2013

After paying our entrance fees we assembled in the car park before making our way to Bishop's Hide overlooking Pat's Pool. Dunlin, ruff, black-tailed godwit, lapwing, golden plover, shoveler, tufted duck, teal, mallard, gadwall, wigeon, greylag and Canada goose were all recorded here.

From the East Bank a few calls and brief sightings of bearded tit in the reed bed, little egret, redshank and curlew were on Arnold's Marsh and a skein of thirty pink-footed geese passed over the reserve heading west.

We settled on the North Bank for lunch and a bit of sea watching. Birds of note were two adult gannet, a small number of sandwich tern flying east and several grey plover and turnstone flying west along with a single ringed plover.

Keith and Mark met up with us after lunch, saying the red-backed shrike was showing well at Walsey Hills; Norfolk Ornithologist's Association reserve just across the A149 from the southern end of the East Bank. As we retraced our steps we managed to spot a whinchat perched on a fence post and watched a peregrine streaking backwards and forwards across the marsh causing mayhem. It failed to catch any prey and eventually disappeared into the distance.

The red-backed shrike, an adult female was showing really well in a hedgerow adjacent to a stubble field. A number of birders were already present lined up along the right of way. This bird was a 'lifer' for many of the group including ourselves. I remember being fascinated by the 'butcher bird' when I was nine or ten years of age and now, fifty-six years later had finally caught up with it!

After an ice cream back at the Visitor Centre we made our way to Teal Hide enjoying good views of marsh harrier and adding both pied and white wagtail to our tally.

A hobby was also seen passing over while returning to the car park, a fitting climax to an excellent day with a final count of 81 bird species.

Peter and Lesley Berrill