Gadwall, photo by Liz Dack
Shoveler, photo by Liz Dack
Teal, photo by Liz Dack
Winter: Cley to Salthouse
Cley’s wind in winter strafes the scrapes and storms through the slats of Daukes’ hide. I’m happy though, in the company of fluting emerald-headed teal and yellow-eyed shoveler drakes. Winter at Cley is of sitting and watching for us, many-layered against the wind’s bite, but of jostling and bustling for these drakes, and of quivering tails in the hope of securing a duck. Or two.
Cetti's warbler, photo by Liz Dack
Here are pointillist-patterned gadwall and chocolate-glossy pintail. Here too are arctic-hardy birders, hearing the chiming of Cetti’s above the wind, training their optics on a passing short-eared owl. And here a bowl of steaming soup, a cup of bitterly delicious hot coffee, and a view worth millions, for the millions who have come and will come to know this beauteous wind-harried square of North Norfolk. To know its birds, to know its raging guillemot-dark sea, to know its waves of winter reed, and to know the place which brought Norfolk Wildlife Trust into being. For here, at winter’s end, in the shoots of alexanders and the tentative piping of dunnocks, are whispers of spring, and hints at a new chapter in the history of this greatest of our nature reserves.