Sunday, 18 August 2013

Cley Marshes NWT Reserve.

During our recent long weekend on the North Norfolk Coast we made regular visits to Cley Marshes NWT Reserve but often only stopping off at Bishops Hide to scan over Pats Pools before heading elsewhere along the coast. 

More often than not any waders present were always too far away but there was always a few other species that ventured a little closer to the hide.

Avocet constantly feeding, Shelduck parents aggressively chasing off anything that got close to any of their 15 goslings and Coot just showing off.

Throughout our numerous visits over the years it has been unusual for us not to see Marsh Harriers quartering over the extensive reed beds but this activity is often interspersed with long periods when individuals perch atop one of the few trees as they monitor their options for their next foray.

Fortunately our visits coincided with the flight of this majestic species so the opportunity was grabbed to capture a few images as one individual effortlessly glided close to the hide.

(Western) Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

These brief forays by the Harriers often result in pushing the various waders into the air and on more than one occasion it was a decent sized flock of Black-tailed Godwits (Limosa limosa) that felt threatened but it didn't take them too long to resettle on the far side of the pool. 
During this frenetic activity I did notice that there was one Godwit feeding alone much closer to the hide and it decided not to take to the sky so my attention turned to it as it's particular colouring suggested that it might just be a different sub species.

What struck me about this particular individual was that its rufous summer plumage extended much further down the breast suggesting that this could be an Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa ssp. islandica). Unfortunately it's legs, which should be shorter, were never fully exposed but everything else including the slightly shorter bill length indicated 'islandica'. [I would be interested to here what any of my readers think about its ID].

On one particular day we decided to spend longer at Cley and undertook a leisurely anticlockwise circuit of the whole reserve. 

After leaving Bishops Hide we headed up onto the East Bank towards Arnold's Marsh where a Black-winged Stilt had reportedly been seen but we couldn't find it. However we did get views of  four Spoonbills and a hastily taken shot as three of them they decided to move location. Scanning the marsh did produced Spotted Redshank, Greenshank and Ringed Plover.

Dropping off the bank to get some relief from the stiffening breeze I was totally surprised when I found a Painted Lady and managed a couple of shots before it flew away. (My first sighting this year.)

Climbing up onto the shingle sea defence bank provides a good spot to scan all over the reserve and across the sea but there was little activity apart from a few gulls, Cormorant and the occasional flypast of Sandwich and Common Terns returning from fishing trips with food for their growing youngsters.
Anita, always ready to help carry the gear, has often commented that she would never have thought 40 yeas ago that, as a 'townie', she would ever be interested in birding and wildlife but that's why I admire her so much as we continue to enjoy our life together.

A brief visit to the North Scrape hide didn't produce any more photo opportunities so we strolled on past the beach car park and then along the West Bank, watching flying Little Egrets, before returning to the boardwalk  and back to the Visitor Centre for some much needed refreshments.

Once again a very enjoyable visit to Cley Marshes and I'm sure it won't be our last.  FAB.

Linking to Camera Critters and I'D-Rather-B-Birdin' 


  1. love the shelduck and pretty painted lady. glad you and your wife get to enjoy these outings together. :)

  2. Never seen a godwit but would love to photograph one. Love that boat image.

  3. Super set of images, Frank! It's nice you two can share a common interest. Not much help on your Godwit I.D. though. He sure is pretty.

  4. What beautiful shots! Anita looks like such a sweetheart, too. :)

    Sunday greetings from Port Canaveral,

  5. Lovely photos and nice to read you and your wife have a common interest.

  6. Frank, looks like you and your wife have a nice outing. Pretty shots of the Godwits and I love the flight shot and the Painted Lady! Wonderful photos!

  7. Great series. Love the Harriers, and the painted lady. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  8. I really like the Harrier photos, especially the 2nd one in flight! And your Godwits are much more colorful than the ones we see here. Yes, I do believe the E. Goldfinch in America are released cage birds too. It would be so awesome to see one in the wild here in America, they're so pretty.

  9. Hi Frank...Anita is a good sport, and it is so nice you both can do these things together!!
    I can't comment on the ID of your Godwit, but it sure is a nice looking bird!! Good sighting!!
    Ironically my post today was on the Painted Lady butterfly,but leave it to the US to call it the American Lady lol!!

    Very nice photos of the of your visit there!!

  10. Wow! Frank Spoonbills and a Painted Lady, your cup floweth over.

  11. Wonderful photos! I love the harriers. They look so graceful in flight.

  12. I'm sure it's an Icelandic Black-tailed Frank - it's just so orange. Cley is a great place to visit.

  13. you certainly have a great offsider Frank; it's just great when couples can enjoy the same interests like you do. Loved the harrier shots too.

  14. Great post Frank, seems you had a super trip and those Marsh Harriers are beauts.

  15. What a beautiful place with many great species! The Marsh Harrier is superb!

  16. Looks like a great place!! Love that wingspan of the Marsh Harrier - great flight shot! And LOVE your butterflies :)

  17. Cley is always a good place to visit as there's always some good birds to see. It's nice to see that the Marsh Harriers put on a good show for you. not sure about the Blackwit, it's difficult in isolation!

    It's also good to see that after forty years you've learned how to be a proper gentleman by letting the good lady carry all of the kit![;o)

  18. These are very beautiful nature shots ...
    great photo work.
    Best regards, Karin

  19. Interesting post Frank, great shoots, beautiful birds. Good for you!

  20. So many birds to observe!
    From what can be seen in your pictures, you must have had lots of fun!
    The Marsh harrier is fantastic!
    Cheerio Frank!

  21. Hi Everyone. Many thanks for all your visits and delightful comments.

    I knew I should have sought permission to include a pic of 'my better half' but hey its still fun to live dangerously after 40 years together

    A couple more posts of our holiday are in the pipeline. Cheers FAB.


I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.


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