Club News

Cley Bird Club 30th Anniversary 2016 at the Cley NWT Centre

Along with the Norfolk wildlife trust which celebrates its 90th year 2016 marked the 30th Anniversary of the foundation of the Cley Bird Club. On 6th May 2016 nearly 100 members and guests gathered at the Cley NWT Visitor Centre to mark this significant milestone. After short speeches by the Club Chairman John Dicks and David North, representing the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, members enjoyed a fine spread prepared by the Centre staff including a birthday cake emblazoned with the Club logo of the rare and now famous Cley White-crowned Sparrow.

By 1986 Cley and the surrounding area was already known as the 'Mecca' of British birdwatching. It was local resident, Eddie Myers who brought together friends to form the Club, to share records of birds seen, to publish a regular Newsletter, to meet regularly at The George for discussion and to listen to speakers on subjects of mutual interest. Some of these founder members were, and remain, acknowledged experts in the field of ornithology. Today the Club includes and welcomes members with a wide range of 'birding ability', and as the years have passed, the Club has grown to over 500 members nationally. Many have come to live in the area and fondly remember their first visits to the NWT's Cley Marshes reserve or the formative influence of meeting well-known individuals such as Cley resident Richard Richardson; the illustrator of one of the most significant bird guides of the 20th century.

For the anniversary Annie Abrams co-ordinated memorabilia material from members for a comprehensive exhibition of photographs, original paintings by Richard Richardson, stories, and old binoculars and telescopes provided by Steve Harris of BIRDscapes Gallery. Depictions of the history of the Cley reserve also featured the work of Wardens Billy Bishop and his son Bernard. John Dicks and David North both spoke of the importance of the Club and its activities. The Club has contributed to many of the NWT's projects including the very fine Visitor Centre and the Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre. The Club continues with its original aims of bird study, recording and conservation as well as the tradition of winter meetings in Cley Village Hall, which are now open to the public. Members have helped with volunteering tasks on the reserve, have organised and carried out bird surveys, and amassed an unrivalled amount of data to help the NWT with species monitoring in an era of rapid environmental change. In the 1980s bird records were shared either via a newsletter produced on an ink-duplicator in a Cley garage or by telephone from Nancy Gull's in Cley! Regular readers will know that for 17 years some records were also shared through Chris Wheeler's monthly GVN 'Bird Notes'. Today a more modern Club member' Newsletter is produced, while a Club website to be found at provides quicker and more detailed information on membership, meetings, bird news and topics of interest.

Tom Green, on behalf of the Cley Bird Club Committee

Photos taken at the event by Tim Loseby and Tom Green are now available to view on Flickr by clicking here.

Cley Bird Club Membership News

616 households are members of Cley Bird Club with over half living in Norfolk. Of these about 140 do not have an email address. 430 observers are registered on the website, not all are members but kindly put their bird observations in Cley square onto our database.

52 Members now view their newsletter online so will be paying a reduced membership fee of £4 when we increase our subscriptions 2015/16!

By far the easiest way for us is if our members pay their annual subscription by standing order. This cuts down on postage costs as we do not have to send them a reminder letter to pay their subscriptions! Postage increase is indeed an issue and one the committee have had to address to make sure we break even. So for those members wishing to receive a paper copy of the newsletter, every 4 months, subscriptions will increase to £6 for 2015/2016. We have, however' made several changes to the newsletter to make sure our members get value for money and have introduced cost neutral changes by obtaining sponsorship. If you have any issues regarding membership please follow the links on the website and I will do my best to get back to you promptly.

Ann Abrams (Membership Secretary)  

Your Club Needs You

The Cley Bird Club is run on a purely voluntary basis by its members.  However at the moment this only involves about 10 people doing everything from membership through to writing articles and editing the newsletter.  With a membership of well over 600 people there must be more people out there who could assist in some way.  The more people who get involved, the less there is for individuals to do.  We currently need more people to take on jobs where we currently don’t have anyone and also people to help out with some of the other jobs so they can ease the burden on those doing them and step in if people are away.  Not all people involved need to be based in the Cley area as long as they can communicate electronically, but for some it is logistically necessary.

Do you have any skills which you could use to help us?

Current jobs where we urgently need people.


Over the last few years members of the club have taken on recording breeding activity within the Square.  As you will see from this website and the newsletter, breeding reports are produced for Blakeney Point (done by National Trust staff), Cley Marshes and Kelling Heath.  More people are always needed to help with these and also to cover other areas of the Square.  If you spend a lot of time in any of the areas of the Square and would like to make your sightings count, please contact Pat Wileman.

Newsletter and Website

We are always looking for articles of interest to our members. These should be generally, but not totally, on wildlife and the local area.  These can be published on the website and/or in the newsletter.

If you can help with any of these tasks please contact Steve Gantlett for the newsletter or Chris Abrams for the website.


We currently keep records of all birds reported in the Square.  Pat & David Wileman have been doing this since 2006.  The data is all stored on Wildlife Recorder.  If you have knowledge of this software and would like to get involved do please contact Pat, and discuss anything you may be able to do to help.


We are always looking for new ideas on how to improve the club, the newsletter and the website but we cannot take on more unless you are willing to help.  If there is anything you think you could do, even if is not mentioned above please do contact one of the committee members (contact details on the Committee tab) to discuss.