My Mum had seen a Barn Owl. My most-hoped-for target species, seen by all of my family but the birders. That was annoying.
Cley dumped rain on us all of Wednesday, but we decided to go out anyway. As we drove down a small road in the dreary grey landscape, something lit up our hopes. Three minutes later, the pouring rain had put them out again.
We had found a beautiful little collection of birds. Pity it was a private collection. There was a Smew, Harlequin Ducks, Mandarin Ducks, Red-crested Pochard and more. It was the Wood Duck and Snow Geese that tipped us off.
The day got better when we reached Blakney Point. At first our attentions were solely on holding the scope steady in the incessant wind, but soon enough we looked at something other than the churning waves. In the fields behind us were Lapwing and something else – European Golden Plover!
We took one last look at the sea, not bothering with the scope because of the wind. Then, twisting and turning, a sea duck whizzed past, hugging the water. Long-tailed Duck!
We drove back to Cley, to go to the visitor centre, hoping to find a map. It was closed until 9:30, so we drove around looking for Stiffkey Fen, but could not find it, so we returned to the centre and waited the five minutes until it was open.
At the building, we found that we could sit inside and watch through some scopes they had there, with which we identified Brent, Shelduck, Tufted Duck and Avocet, to name a few. Eventually the rain lessened and we decided to walk out to the hides on the saltwater marshes themselves. We were hoping for Water Rail and Reed Bunting, neither of which we saw. There were, however, many Avocets, 5 types of Gull, Snipe and a Marsh Harrier.
The light was fading by now, aided by the heavy clouds, so we searched around in the car a little more, finding only a drenched Pied Wagtail to end the day.
And so ended our second day in Cley.
Stick around for the third, and final post on my trip to Cley Marshes!
You can find the first post here.