A handful of grebes

Today Brenda had to go to Cromer crematorium in the morning and so I got her to drop me at the east bank in Cley (still being covid positive I didn’t want to go into any of the hides and so a walk along the bank down to the beach and back seemed the best option).

It was another lovely day, though fairly breezy, and straight away I had a brief glimpse of a bearded tit, and good views of four little grebes – an adult and three juveniles.

juvenile little grebe
adult little grebe

Further down the bank there were several ruff – quite striking, but not like the summer plumage males I had seen earlier in the year!


At the beach there were a lot of sandwich terns passing by – none of which I was able to get a decent photo of! At one point I startled a grey heron that was sitting on a fence post in the sun. I also saw several little egrets and spoonbills. At one point a great crested grebe swam by me at the edge of the beach.

Notice how far back the legs are on this great crested grebe; not a bird you’re ever likely to see on dry land! **

All in all a very enjoyable walk! In the late evening Brenda and I were sitting in the garden in the dark, enjoying the mild temperatures, when our resident hedgehog pottered along (we could see it – just! – by the light of the moth trap), exploring around the pond and then disappearing into the undergrowth. Lovely to have one around.

Brenda writes: “Today I was up early to allow time for moth trap emptying before going out! Geese flying overhead gave a foretaste of autumn. There were 29 moth species today, with good numbers of lesser broad-bordered and large yellow underwings, turnip, setaceous Hebrew character, vines rustic and common wainscot. There were several golden swifts and it was nice to see coxcomb prominent and ruby tiger. There were two new moths for the year. Old lady is another large moth that flies at this time of the year and there was also a pale eggar.

old lady
pale eggar

I dropped Steve at Cley on my way to do a funeral and then had a brief walk when picking him up. It was nice to see chicory growing along the path.”


New species for August 21st:
Moths: old lady, pale eggar
Flowers: chicory

Birds = 215
Moths = 215
Wildflowers = 271

** It was thought for many years that great crested grebes couldn’t walk: In fact they can – somewhat clumsily – use a sort of upright run, but this is rarely seen!