The roads were relatively quiet at this time and as we left Dereham we were surprised to see a Tawny Owl sitting in the middle of the road. Further along the route, the ever present Wood Pigeons gathered on the roadsides and typically flew up at the very last moment.
Approaching the coast, and as the skies lightened, some beautiful views were had of early morning mist over fields and valleys.
Cley Marshes (0530 to late morning)
From the car park at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust centre at Cley, we walked east along the reserve boundary and encountered the expected Sedge Warblers singing their fast scratchy songs from prominent bushes within reedbeds. Sedge Warblers were to be the commonest Warbler species to be seen and heard today. A Marsh Harrier made an appearance at dawn over the marsh, this was a female bird, later, both male and female birds were seen, the female clearly the larger of the two.
Walking north along East Bank, further Sedge Warblers were heard and Reed Buntings were seen and heard. Several Meadow Pipits were both seen and heard and on occasions the 'parachuting' song-flight was seen. On the path, a Skylark was seen gathering food. A single juvenile Bearded Tit was briefly seen in reeds.
|Ringed Plover (female) Cley 17/07/14 (One of a pair with single chick)|
|Bearded Tit at Cley Marshes 17/07/14|
It was immediately west of the East Bank where back in January 2014, the USAF helicopter crashed claiming for lives, a tragic event.
Walking a little further west we came upon a pair of Ringed Plovers on shingle with a single, quite independant chick. The shingle sea wall and beach provides ideal habitat for this species for breeding where the nest and eggs are perfectly concealed.
Continuing west along the shingle periphery of the reserve, a couple of Spoonbills were roosting in shallow water. Further birds were seen throughout the morning commuting between Cley and west of the location.
|Reed Warbler at Cley Marshes 17/07/14|
Close to the southern end of the coast road, a number of Reed Warblers were seen, including this bird pictured here which was carrying food for young.
Walking through reeds we came across a small patch of Elder, a habitat always worth checking within reed-beds. This check produced in a single Elder, Sedge Warblers, Reed Warbler, a single Whitethroat, House Sparrows, and 'pinging' Bearded Tits, including the female photographed here.
With increasing heat, Richard and myself arrived back at the car park where we had a spot of lunch. From one of the picnic tables here, a single Cetti's Warbler gave a few bursts of its explosive song.
Richard and myself finally departed Cley Marshes at around mid-day. This was an excellent visit to Cley and I extend my thanks to Richard for taking me to Cley. Thank you Richard my friend.