Sunday, 15 July 2012

Celebrating Curlew Sandpiper at Cley

I had to decide on a venue for today's birding exploits so having checked the weather reports and yesterdays bird news I've made a late call and we're heading off to Cley at 5am this morning. 118miles from Essex but we're in the hide before 7am.
Strange Structures have appeared on the beach at Cley
In the name of art I guess
On the way to the hide we see a Marsh Harrier with what appears to be a baby Avocet which is always nasty to see as the parents chase the Harrier in an effort to rescue the chick but it's not going to help this poor thing as the Harrier clears the reserve with it's prey and the world has one less Avocet in it.
Cley Windmill from North Hide
The sunrise is impressive and as we take our seats amongst the early birders that have arrived before us (must be locals) we quickly find Spoonbills, some in flight and others around the scrape but a total count of seven is agreed.
North hide over looks the reserve and visitor centre and the Cley windmill and has the sun rising from behind so early morning views are good here.

More Harriers are noted, Lot's of Avocet, BT Godwit, Dunlin, Redshank, Shelduck and BH Gulls.
Good numbers of Sandwich Tern and a few Common Tern come in and out of the sea.

We find a Spotted Redshank and a summer plumage Knot (which causes me an ID crisis I'm ashamed to say) Cracking bird though.

A Green Sandpiper flies through and lands out of site but a quick shout got the old fella on it in time for a year tick....he seems to always miss this bird when we're out.

All the above are great to see but they're not helping me as I've seen them all at some point or other this year and I need one new bird unseen this year to reach my target of 250.

I think I've found a Curlew Sandpiper but it's a first summer Dunlin once scoped.....ouch!

Then as I'm scoping a Whimbrel a Curlew Sandpiper finds me.
It just appears in the scope and bingo the target is achieved. What I thought was a real stretch has been done and I say real stretch as I know how hard I worked last year for 242 as a total.
BIRD 250 (it's the small one second from the right)
I've seen 250 birds from 1st January to 15th July so I have a few months to spare but rest assured it's still going to be difficult to find birds I haven't seen already but I'll keep trying and see where the list ends come the end of December. (265 seems to be where the big money is being placed but I'm not so sure i can find another fifteen birds before the year end.)

We left Cley and after a good search in local "hot spots" for Montagu's Harrier we left North Norfolk and as we headed south we had a quick try for Honey Buzzard too but it wasn't to be.

A short stop at Devils Dyke Newmarket for the Jim's to catch up with the fresh Chalkhill Blue Butterflies and it's off to the Volunteer for a little of the Amber Nectar to celebrate the Curlew Sandpiper at Cley and the mission accomplished.
Chalkhill Blue
Chalkhill Blue

Thanks to the old fella for keeping me entertained on the trips (You would not believe some of the things he says!) and for Jim for the use of his equipment at every request along with the sense check on every ID I've made this year and of course my good lady who puts up with me and this rediculous hobby I find so compulsive.

Now for a nice curry and the opening of that Bubbly that's been chilling for seven months!

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