Archive for Nov 14th, 2019



Good friend Simon and I were on the shingle bank at Cley not but a day and a half before Mark Golly found his Isabelline Wheatear. In fact I distinctly remember saying “Let’s have a walk down here Simon you never know what we might find” We found nothing of note; but Mark found a first for Cley and nobody deserves it more.

In yesterday’s bright sunshine I joined friends Bob and Bill to see if I could better photographs I had of the last Norfolk bird which turned up at Gun Hill in the later part of October 2016. It wasn’t a problem. The bird performed admirably. Fearless and confiding are perhaps the terms I would use. As we stood chatting and enjoying one another’s company the erect portly little fella approached us. Flycatching, sallying and running along the shingle completely oblivious of our admiration. This species breeds not much nearer than Turkey and covers a range East all the way out to Turkestan. Raised in steppe-desert perhaps it had never seen people before.

Nearby was a moving wave of Snow Buntings rolling over one another along the sea wall. These as well as the long staying Long tailed Duck were a supporting cast. A couple of Otters even got in on the act. A distant calling lark at the back of Snipes Marsh just may have been Short-toed … maybe!

As I carted my much too heavy photo gear back to the reserve centre the whole scene got me a-thinking-back to the Isles of Scillies when I saw my first Isabelline Wheatear. I stood on the Golf Course; the high point of St Mary’s. The view from there is to die for. Islands, sea and setting sun heaven. On one particular October day in the 1990’s it was enhanced by a similar sallying Wheatear. The supporting cast then was a Red throated Pipit and an Upland Sandpiper. A sort of East meets West mix. It was possible to stand between all three and ‘do a 360’ to take them all in. Heady days.

I had lunch back at Cley. Looking out from the busy restaurant, over the seemingly even busier marsh. I couldn’t help feeling how lucky I was to live in such a beautiful place as North Norfolk. There’s just one thing missing … soon to be corrected.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Nov 2019


%d bloggers like this: