Sedge warbler, photo by Nick Appleton 1/3
Avocets, photo by Brian Dunning 2/3
Lapwing, photo by Nick Appleton 3/3

Spring: Cley to Salthouse

Spring arrived at Cley this morning in the shape of a bird. Not a feather out of place. So smart, with his grey head and back, black bandit cheek mask, black wings and warm yellow underparts. My first wheatear of the year, with a flash of his white rump, flits out of sight over the edge of Cley’s shingle bank, leaving me wondering just how far this bird has travelled and where he may be by tomorrow. Cley springs are full of such miracles. Today the green jungle of alexanders plants edging the path to the reed-thatched hides has gained a voice. Hidden sedge warblers are in full song. Then one, unable to contain this surge of spring energy, flies up to hover, still singing, in full view over the boardwalk.
Wheatear, photo by Nick Appleton
I got to Cley early today and, even before I saw them, I could hear the strange wild music of lapwings in display: tumbling like crazy aerial acrobats, their power dives, stoops and climbs would put any human air show to shame. One of my favourite Cley spring spectacles and I haven’t even reached the hides! Overhead a whimbrel calls, then a swallow skims the still winter-brown reeds. High above me more swallows and with them sand martins. As I walk towards the hides I can hear the ‘klute’ calls of avocets, noisy peeps of oystercatchers and the whistles of redshanks. It’s going to be a good morning – but then it always is when I’m at Cley on a spring morning.

Wildlife explorer, Spring, Cley to Salthouse