Monday, 12 August 2013

Cley Red-necked Phalarope and Caspian Gull

News of a Red-necked Phalarope at Cley sparked my interest. I hadn't seen one for a considerable number of years but it was my eldest daughter's 13th (eek) birthday on Saturday so I stayed home. On Sunday the early news suggested it was rather distant and I had things to do with the sheep in the morning. It may only be August but it was time to sort out the batch of ewes to produce my early lambs and to introduce them to rams Bradley and Bentley.
Back at the house, a Yellow Wagtail was a surprising visitor to the patio walking around amongst the flower pots before taking flight to the roof.
It wasn't until 3.50 that I headed off to Cley but made good progress through Norwich and was in a relatively empty North Hide by 5.20. The exquisite phalarope was showing well on the near side of the scrape with a group of Dunlin delicately picking insects from the surface of the water between the muddy hummocks left by the trampling feet of the cattle that graze the area. There were also several Little Ringed Plovers, a bird I always enjoy seeing. As I walked back to my car 4 Yellow Wagtails flew over the Eye Field and there was a single Wheatear. I stopped briefly to talk to Richard Millington and he implied these were new arrivals.
I went round to Pat's Pool and came across Eddie Myers in Daukes Hide who had just found an adult Caspian Gull. Views of this bird were much better from Teal Hide and although it spent much of its time sitting down facing us its distinctive dark eye made it easy to pick out. It occasionally stood up and showed off its other Caspian Gull features, long stilty legs and a deep belly, and even the big white tip to the underside of P-whatever (the longest primary). There were also 2 or 3 Yellow-legged Gulls amongst the gathering gulls. A single Curlew Sandpiper was also nice to see.

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