Down and Out in… Cley & Stixwould

Hello everyone, sorry (again) for the lack of posts of late, I have been very busy with school etc., and am relieved to be writing this blog post.

Part I- Cley Marshes NWT- From Siberia with Love

Unfortunately, on Friday 13th January (surprise, surprise), the entirety of Cley to Kelling Marshes were flooded during a tidal surge: this left very little left patchwise (still managed to get Lapland Bunting!) for at least a week, and when the floodwaters finally did recede, two rather special birds were revealed…

The 28th January, which also just so happened to be my 15th birthday, I went down to the East Bank in the mid-afternoon, and almost immediately bumped into locals John Miller, John Furse & Rob Holmes, all looking for the Siberian Chiffchaff. Unfortunately, it wasn’t on show initially, so I ‘scoped out a redhead Smew which fell asleep on the East Bank for a while.

The redhead Smew lounging about on the Serpentine.

Then, further up, just as I was looking for Bearded Tits, the flock of Chiffchaffs the Sibe had been with flew up on the bank in front of me, and promptly flew off again. I called John, John & Rob over, and we went back to where they had been seen: the bird then promptly showed well repeatedly down to 10 metres! It reminded me a little bit of a Western Bonelli’s Warbler I saw just a few miles down the road in Kelling a couple of years ago: the brownish underparts & the more olive upperparts had a Bonelli-ish gist to it.

The lovely Siberian Chiffchaff– what a corker!

I then unfortunately had to go home, though the delicious birthday supper in Morston more than made up for it!

Part II- South Lincolnshire- Another Grand Day Out

I was up bright & early the next day, ready for a day of hardcore-twitching on the cards: destination; Kirkstead Bridge, Lincolnshire.

We got there in good time, only to discover the bird had swum upriver! We hastily dashed for Stixwould, and there it was on the river: a corking juvenile WHITE-BILLED DIVER! It swam up & down the river for a while before we decided enough was enough: what a cracking bird! Fortunately, it hadn’t (yet) met the same fate as the one on that very stretch of river in the 1990s; it caught in some fishing line & died.

A stunning White-billed Diver– not something you see everyday!

We then reluctantly moved on to Kirkby-on-Bain Gravel Pits, where I was delighted to see both a lovely adult male Ring-necked Duck & fellow young birder Max Hellicar. There was also our first Scaup of the day (a 1w fem.) and a juvenile Glaucous Gull.

Corking male Ring-necked Duck– my third ever & first for nearly five years.
A 1st winter female Scaup at Kirkby

We were then a bit lost as to what to do: we had the option of returning to Titchwell, but decided instead to head down to Deeping, in South Lincolnshire.

Having gotten ourselves very lost with the A16 & the wonderfully-complicated town of Crowland, we finally reached Deeping Lakes NR & made contact with the three Long-eared Owls which had wisely tucked themselves up in a tree. What were more obliging, however, were the Goldeneyes there which showed very well. We were also lucky to have a nice close male Goosander there.

Goldeneyes are one of my favourite birds- especially the males
Goosanders, too, are really nice when seen close.
It’s also fun to see Goldeneyes displaying- we even saw them mating too.

However, Deeping had one last trick up its sleeve, with another Scaup (a 1st winter male this time) and a Great White Egret on the high bank before we headed for home.

Great White Egret in flight




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