Sunday, 24 May 2015

Spring Migrants Workshop at Cley Marshes

It was a blustery day, but the rain held itself at bay as we went to an interesting and informative workshop about the migrant birds passing through Cley in spring. There were eight of us in the
workshop, of varying levels of expertise, but we all found it eye-opening in one way or another.

Our day began with an indoor seminar-like session which introduced us to the key identification features of birds we were likely to (or hoping to) see on the marsh. The rest of the day was spent out on the marshes looking for these critters and pointing out these features in the field. We saw (or heard) a total of 35 different bird species, including a number of firsts for me. Here's the list of what we saw, with a few photos and details:

  • Sandwich tern - these slick birds were much louder than their charismatic and slender shapes suggest they should be.

  • Little tern - only one, obvious amongst the larger and shoutier sandwich terns.

  • Avocet

  • Lapwing with chicks - certainly winning the 'cute' prize of the day

  • Black-headed gull

  • Little egret

  • Mallard

  • Gadwall

  • Greylag geese with goslings

  • Black-tailed godwit

  • Bar-tailed godwit - a surprise siting, even for our guide, who didn't include it in his earlier presentation due to the unlikelihood of us seeing one.

  • Red shank

  • Spotted redshank

  • Ringed plover

  • Little ringed plover

  • Curlew 

  • Skylark

  • Oystercatcher

  • Ruff - the first time I have ever seen these beautiful birds, I had no idea about their huge variation in plumage, with each we saw being an 'improvement' on the last.

  • Dunlin

  • Sanderling

  • Swallow

  • Swift

  • House martin

  • Sand martin

  • Shoveler

  • Shelduck

  • Pied white wagtail - another bird that I take for granted, but today I learnt about the different races of this unassuming bobbing bird.

  • Mute swan

  • Marsh harrier

  • Kestrel

  • Reed warbler - heard only among the reeds

  • Sedge warbler - again, heard only

  • Lesser whitethroat - deep inside a road side hedge, another of our heard only birds.

  • I certainly felt more educated about our migrant birds and our more common wading birds and warblers by the end of the day, although it did also make me want a much better pair of bins! Let's hope at least some of my new gained knowledge sticks!

    No comments:

    Post a Comment