Saturday, 14 April 2007

Norfolk Trip Part Five: Cley Marshes

It was time to expand a little, do something away from the bird reserves. In the flat were several leaflets for various boat trips around Norfolk and two of them stood out, a 'seal trip' up to Blakeney Point and an excursion onto the Broads out from Wroxham. Quickly we called around and discovered there would be room on the last boats of the day if only we could manage the 45 minute drive between the two quays without delay and direct through those small maze-like Norfolk farm roads. Somehow we accomplished it.

The seal, mostly of the Grey variety were pretty docile.

Among them were the occasional round-head Common Seal, only a few though.
So far as the birds went it was much the same as before, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit for the waders, Brent Geese were scattered here and there. Bird of the day were the first Sandwich Terns, among the hundreds of Black-headed Gull there can't have been more than half a dozen that we could see.

And then the hurried journey down to the Broads tour. Birds were quite few here. I carried slim hopes of seeing the Norfolk Cranes flying over, it wasn't to be though.

What we got were nice views of familiar birds, Heron, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, etc. Our captain told us there were far fewer than a month before. Apparently it was chock-a-block with spectacular numbers of wintering Coot.

The most notable species was the Egyptian Goose. Plenty of them around, much to the consternation of the (very rich) inhabitants on the Broads. The geese wreck the thatched roofs found on their properties, pulling them to pieces and sometimes nesting ontop unless carefully protected against.

Finally that day on the journey back north along the coast we dotted the villages, stopping for a walk at Winterton Dunes.

Just off shore a raft of 50 or so Common Scoter bobbed in and out of view, frequently disappearing as they dived en masse.

One more surprise awaited us very late in the day. Passing through the tiny coastal hamlet of Walcott we saw birds running and pecking along the top of the cement sea defense beside the road. Pulling over we realised they were Turnstone, still largely in winter costume and barely more than a metre away from the car window.

Video - Turnstone on the sea wall

By now Norfolk seemed to be unfailingly wonderful for birds, even on the quiet days.

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