Despite the weather forecast, I was able to go out today to Cley, but this time I was accompanied by my dad. He & I hadn’t been out together in a while, because of his work, and we thought today would be the best day to do it. Upon factoring in our general tiredness, we decided upon a visit to the ol’ faithful Cley whilst we had time.
We arrived at 10 o’clock to find an overcast, muggy & misty Cley. Nevertheless, we made our way out towards Pat’s Pool, opened the shutters AND… nothing. Well, not NOTHING as such, there were a few Black-headed Gulls, Avocets & the odd Shelduck, but nothing of note.
Daukes’s Hide was similar, although a female Mallard with five ducklings was a nice touch to an otherwise boring Simmond’s Scrape. We were also lucky enough to find a Red Kite soaring over some distant fields, adding it to my PWC score.
It wasn’t long before we decided to head towards the East Bank. We walked listening to the bonkers Sedge Warblers, with a few Reeds mixed in, the tame male Reed Bunting that frequents the area outside the hides, cooing Woodpigeons, squeaking House Martins & the ubiquitous quack of overflying ducks.
We quickly arrived at East Bank (having elected to drive after it started drizzling!), and we got out, Sedge Warblers still absolutely everywhere & singing their hearts out. Another PWC first in the form of a stonking adult Little Grebe on the first pool was a stark contrast to the basically empty Pope’s Marsh. By this point, a shower was approaching from where we had encountered it earlier, so we elected to walk to the shelter on Arnold’s Marsh & make a plan from there.
We reached the shelter in good time, and looked out onto Arnold’s Marsh, which was again deserted & now quite foggy. A few Oystercatchers & a metal-ringed Redshank livened it up a bit though (I only realised that the bird was metal-ringed having checked the photos unfortuately!)
Having sat in the shelter for a while, we decided to have a brief look at the sea. The fog was hampering our progress, and we saw nothing except a couple of Great Black-backed Gulls and, perhaps more interestingly, a pair of Shelduck on the sea… with THREE chicks! Bizarre could not describe this experience, especially as the chicks were swimming TOWARDS the potential GBBG-predators. Now cold, tired & slightly confused, we made our way slowly back down the East Bank, pausing only to admire Meadow Pipits, more Sedge Warblers & an overflying Marsh Harrier.
So that was Cley, again! So glad to patch this reserve, and it always has something rare, unique or slightly bizarre around every corner.