|SNOW BUNTING (PLECTROPHENAX NIVALLIS), SALTHOUSE NORFOLK|
So in part two I'm focusing on mostly on Cley Marshes and the surrounding areas and Salthouse. Most people know of Cley marshes an a all year spot with great birds depending on the time of year. Giving this is a winter post I'll talk about birds from September through to April. Cley marshes is a Norfolk Wildlife Trust site. It's mostly reedbeds and a selection of lagoons both freshwater and saline. There are five hides and a great but very long footpath that encircles the site which includes a walk along the North Norfolk shoreline. Normally I'll photograph Marsh Harriers, Bearded Tits (if they haven't moved inland), various geese species including Brent Geese and Pink footed geese, various wildfowl including Teal,Pochard and Tufted Ducks occasionally Pintail turn up too. Wader wise I've photographed Dunlin,Pectoral Sandpipers,Wood sandpipers, Green sandpipers,Little Stint, Little Egret,Spoonbills, both Black Tail and Bar Tail Godwits, Snipe, Redshank, Greenshank, Golden Plovers and towards spring Avocets I have also had Peregrine Falcons, Sparrowhawks, Hen Harrier and Barn Owls in front of the hide. There's been more to watch too it is a great reserve but VERY popular and sadly more people mean there's an increase chance of someone moaning about photographers....but don't be put off. My tactic is to arrive at Wiveton village (just behind Cley village on the A149/coast road) just before sunrise as on the marsh (very private so stick to the road bordering it) at Wiveton I always photograph a Barn Owl if it isn't showing there I'll always check the reed bed behind the windmill in Cley village or the field opposite. If you head out of Cley on the coast road towards Titchwell, just as you leave Cley on the left hand side is a small "pull in" spot to park the car go and have a look you won't be disappointed, however regulary photographing this owl I can say it vanishes to roost about 08:00am so early bird etc. But once or twice as I've left Cley village and headed towards the carpark for the reserve I've had Barn Owls just on the left. It's worth remembering the amount of Barn Owls in Norfolk it's worth just easing off the gas pedal a little as you never know when a Barnie will pop over a hedgerow and cross over into another field. I always come to Norfolk via the A148 and Ben and I always play a silly game of "first to spot a Barnie" the looser paying for lunch...it's always a free lunch for me unless Ben tries to string a gull lol, this road (very busy) always produces a Barnie normally just after Fakenham/Sculthorpe Nature reserve. One time we were driving along early one morning a lorry heading towards us and a Barnie came out of the field and flew down the middle of the road. I slowed down and the lorry driver pulled into the middle of the road (to prevent the cars behind him overtaking him) and slowed and we watched as this owl flew down the road then back into a field, fair play to the truckie.
|SNOW BUNTING (PLECTROPHENAX NIVALIS), CAN YOU SPOT IT?|
After lunch we always go to my personal number one winter spot, though again earlier you go the better the experience...SALTHOUSE. I have to confess I'm not sure who owns this spot etc. Again first thing in the morning will produce a Barn Owl. The one feature about this place I like the most are the Turnstone flocks and the wintering flock of Snow Buntings. Every winter a group of birders out of there own pockets will cover the site in bird seeds which encourages the flock of buntings to hang around. Normally as you pull into the carpark the Snow buntings and Turnstones are very nearby. Majority of people stay close to the pools and the shingle bank nearest to the carpark, however the more further you walk and explore the more you'll find, and if it's been a wet winter the more pools of water are evident. After photographing the Turnstones and Snow Buntings I always (images of Turnstones and Snow buntings posted here are from the carpark area) walk in the direction of Cley village. It's a bit quieter in early spring I've photographed Hen Harriers and Avocet's (APRIL). I've posted a Common Redstart (right click it once to see proper size) below from Sept'08 (just started photographing wildlife then) but later in the winter I have had Linnets, Skylarks,Meadow Pipits,Stonechats,Twite,Kestrels,Redshanks,Ringed Plovers, Marsh Harriers, Eygptian Geese and Brent Geese. There is alot more but my photographing skills being what they are I've missed a lot more like Shore Larks and one early spring a Richards Pipit.
In part three I'll cover my last "favourite spot". I decided to do it as a third post as there are a couple of "do's and don'ts" type of rules for the site that are a bit long winded. I'll post it probably Friday/Saturday, and remember to right click once on the image below...one from my first year photographing birds...it's worth a laugh or two not least because I remember when I got the species, a first for me and image I thought I was "KING of THE HILLS" lol.