Sunday, 15 July 2012

Cley, Norfolk

5am start and the main aim of today is to try to find Brian his 250th bird of the year.
Cley is the first destination and we make good time and arrive to find dry and bright conditions. We park in the beach car park and walk towards the North Scrape.
Almost the first bird seen is a female Marsh harrier flying across the meadow carry what looks very much like a freshly caught Avocet chick.
With the Pectoral Sandpiper and the Short-toed Lark both having not been reported since yesterday lunchtime, We are not expecting Brian's 250th bird to come easy.
Reaching the hide, There's a good amount of activity on the scrape. Redshanks, Dunlins, Lapwings and Shelducks are all present in good numbers, With smaller numbers of Ringed Plovers.
There's a single Spotted Redshank feeding near the back of the scrape and then two Spoonbills are seen as they fly across in front of the hide.
Chalkhill Blue
 Another scan reveals a pair of black-tailed Godwits and then a fine summer plumage Knot drops in. Scoping the pools beyond the North Scrape adds another five Spoonbills and large numbers of Black-tailed Godwits. A Few Sandwich Terns fly in off the sea and a Whimbrel lands on the scrape to feed. A shout goes up for Green Sandpiper and Dad gets on it in time for a year tick before it drops out of sight.
The Two Spoonbills that flew across in front of the hide earlier drop down onto a small island on North Scrape and give great views.
Still no new bird for Brian to add to his 249 year list, and we start to think about moving on. Then Brian spots a wader feeding among the Dunlin. When we get the scope on the bird it is quickly identified as a Curlew Sandpiper. It's a year tick for all of us and it's Brian's 250th.
From here we try a few sites for Montagu's Harrier and Honey Buzzard, But neither bird are seen today.
To break up the return journey home, We decide to stop off at Newmarket and walk along Devil's Dyke in search of butterflies.
The weather is favourable and I get good views of my first Chalkhill Blues. There's also plenty of Meadow browns, and lesser numbers of Small Whites, Gatekeepers and Small Heaths, as well as a single Comma.
Another good trip, Which saw Brian reach his goal of 250 species in a year.
All that was left to do was to celebrate it with a pint at the local pub.

Congratulations Bri

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