Cley Marshes - Fauna and Flora - Birds

Birds

The key breeding species are reed bed specialists such as the Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Bittern and Bearded Reedling, and the island-nesting Avocet. Other birds nesting in the wetland include Northern Lapwing, Common Redshank and Sedge, Reed and Cetti's Warblers. Eurasian Spoonbills, Ruffs and Black-tailed Godwits are present for much of the year, and a pair of Little Egrets bred for the first time in 2010–2012.

Spring migrants including Little Gull, Black Tern, Temminck's Stint and Garganey may pass through on their way to breed elsewhere, and terns frequently visit from the colonies on Blakeney Point. In the autumn, birds arrive from the north. Some, such as Whimbrels, Curlew Sandpipers and Little Stints, just pausing for a few days to refuel before continuing south, others staying for the winter. Offshore, Great and Arctic Skuas, Northern Gannets and Black-legged Kittiwakes may pass close by in favourable winds. Large numbers of ducks winter on the reserve, including many Eurasian Wigeons, Eurasian Teals, Mallards and Gadwalls, Goldeneyes and Northern Pintails. Red-throated Divers are usually on the sea, and Brent Geese feed on sea lettuce and other green algae. Barn Owls and sometimes Hen Harriers quarter the marshes in winter, and Snow Bunting flocks can be found on the beach.

The reserve's location means that migrants may be found, sometimes in huge numbers when the weather conditions are right. These may include vagrant rarities, including a Western Sandpiper in 2012, a displaying Great Snipe in 2011, a Trumpeter Finch in 2010 and a Collared Pratincole in 2009. In order to maintain a good habitat, parts of the reed bed are cut and sold for thatch each year to establish a mosaic of plants of different ages.

Read more about this topic:  Cley Marshes, Fauna and Flora

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