A stint at Cley

I had an amazing day for birds today. In the morning I spent a little time at Kelling Heath and again failed to see any Dartford warblers! However whilst driving from there to Cley I saw two red-legged partridge by the side of one of the minor roads near the heath and so I stopped to take a closer look, and for once they didn’t fly off but allowed me to wind down the window of the car and take some photos!

red-legged partridge

At Cley there was a torrential downpour, but I also discovered that two glossy ibis had been seen around the reserve and also a Temminck’s stint. Glossy ibis are another of the heron-type birds that have begun to colonise the UK through climate change, so they are becoming more and more common. So once the rain abated I headed to the main group of hides on the reserve before another huge storm cloud – which was rapidly approaching – arrived.

Once in the hide the heavens opened again, with the addition, this time, of thunder and lightning. Once that eased off I was able to look at what was around. This included a lovely curlew sandpiper – not an uncommon visit to Cley – which was just beginning to get it’s summer plumage; something I’ve not often seen.

A curlew sandpiper today at Cley – a little distant but you can see the summer colours coming through

In among the other waders – dunlin, black-tailed godwits, ruff, ringed plover, grey plover, lapwings, avocets redshank and a common sandpiper – was a solitary Temminck’s stint. Stints are tiny waders and I have seen Temminck’s before at Cley, but they are always lovely to spot, and this, with the curlew sandpiper, made two new species for the year. It was a little distant for a photo but I did get some recognisable shots.

A Temminck’s stint in the foreground with dunlin behind in a range of plumages

Literally a minute after first seeing the stint the two glossy ibis flew over the hide, making a third new species for the year.

glossy ibis (photo taken 2015)

On a first careful scan I found several partridges, a flock of wood pigeons and a wheatear, but no dotterel. I decided to stay for a few more minutes and scan the field again…..and this time I was lucky, a small movement caught my attention, and there was a dotterel…..and then another, and another. I was quickly watching a group of seven birds wandering around the field. Wonderful! Looking them up later in my field guide I discovered that the females are somewhat more colourfully plumaged than the males in the summer and that the males do most of the incubation and rearing of the young!

Distant dotterel near Titchwell (photo taken 2019)

I certainly didn’t expect four new bird species today!

Brenda writes: “There were two.moths in the trap this morning one of which was a pebble prominent. When I tried to take a photograph it decided it liked sitting on my finger. In profile prominents have a ‘bump’ on the back of their head.

pebble prominent

I’ve had so few moths this year I asked James whether he thought there might be a problem with my trap but we reckon it’s just that it has been so cold here. Last night he had 49 moths and 22 species. I had 2 moths of 2 species. The difference? He lives near Ventnor on the south side of the Isle of Wight. I live on the north edge of the Norfolk coast. It is warmer tonight with no wind. Here’s hoping…”

New species for May 5th:
Birds: curlew sandpiper, Temminck’s stint, glossy ibis, dotterel
Moths: pebble prominent