13th May- Cley Trip- Pat’s Pool

Friday the 13th. It haunts everyone’s mind at some stage, and the desolate Pat’s Pool at Cley this evening was so much so in the fading evening Norfolk light.

7:05pm- I’m walking down to Teal & Daukes Hides. Two Mallards over. A Pheasant flushed from a nearby field. And then, the bugle-player arrived in the form of a Greylag Goose.

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7:10pm- I’m just arriving at Teal Hide having just seen a stonking male Marsh Harrier fly over when I bump into a birder coming out of the hides. He asks if I’m here to check out the possible Ring-necked Duck. Confusion ensues; I’ve only seen this species once, and it was in the Broads in December 2011. And it’s American. I ask him to come again, and points out that it was right in front of the hide & was pretty sure it was a Ring-necked Duck. I said I’d have a look.

7:15pm- Open the shutters at Teal Hide to find a lovely male TUFTED Duck in the channel right in front of the hide. Sure enough, a female appeared soon after.

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Please excuse picture quality.

Unsurprisingly, the male had no tufts, yet I was still baffled as to how he could have mistaken it for a Ring-necked. Just to double check I wasn’t going crazy, I checked the Collins in both Teal & Daukes Hide, before giving up & asking another birder, who said they were both Tufted. Still, I’ve never seen those birds here (in fact ANY diving duck in fact) & it was a good Cley record.

7:30pm- Having left the desperately birdless Pat’s Pool, I checked Avocet Hide. The silence was deafening, save for the resident Avocets & a male Shoveler. I have never heard it so quiet before, especially in summer. At this point, I made for Bishop’s Hide in a last-ditch attempt to see something, even if it was just a Greenshank that was reported earlier by the birders in Daukes.

7:40pm- Opened the Bishop’s shutters. Avocets & Redshanks galore, a solitary Greylag Goose, several Shelduck & a far too distant Black-tailed Godwit for even my Opticrons. Then, just as I was leaving the hide, something flew up with an Avocet in red-hot pursuit. Sure as eggs, it was a Greenshank. It was flushed away by the Avocet onto the back-edges of Pat’s Pool before the Panasonic was locked and loaded. I was busy photographing the local Shelducks & Mallards when I got the text saying I had to go.

I managed to squeeze in a hovering Kestrel & a fluffed-up Goldfinch before heading home.

An fairly unproductive trip this evening, but it was still nice to get away from school.

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