In addition to our regular winter indoor meetings the Club organises occasional other events including social events and, for the last two years, Big Bird Days.
Big Bird Day 2022
Our now annual Bird Race and casual birding
Past events – Reviews
Big Bird Day – Saturday 9th January 2021
Unfortunatly due to Covid-19 restrictions this had to be cancelled.
Cley Bird Club Winter Big Bird Day – Saturday 11th January 2020
A total of 124 SPECIES were recorded.
It was a very successful day enjoyed by at least 58 people. Many thanks to all who took part.
The activities on the day took several forms. There was a traditional bird race where teams of 2,3 or 4 people raced around the Cley Square to see who could see the most species. For the less energetic we asked that people visit whatever areas they could and recorded all birds (and mammals) that they saw and, where possible, getting counts.
The day was mainly dry and sunny with temperatures around 7-11°C but a strong force 5-6 south-westerly wind with gusts up to 49mph (force 9) in the afternoon made hard work and finding some passerines very difficult.
8 teams, 25 people took part and the results were:
1. Happy Birders (Lin Pateman, Phil Borley, Mark Clements) 92 species
2. NENBC Grashers (Janice Darch, Phil Hall, Andy Clark, Steve Chapman) 85 species
3. Duck, Duck, Goose (Ben Clark, Sally Clark, Ptolemy McKinnon)
Men in Black minus One (Richard Webb, Graham Fellows) 81 species
5. Hot Birders (Penny Clark, Eddie Myers)
The Light Brigade (Chris Abrams, Rob Harris, Malcolm Green, Tim Baldwin) 79 species
7. The Norvicensians (Tim Hill, John Fisher, Glen Richardson, Ben Parker-Wright) 76 species
8. Briston & Cley Bulldogs (Mike Harcup, Ian & Sue Griffin) 75 species
Another 28 people took part in ‘Casual Birding’ with contributions from counting their garden birds to walking Blakeney Point plus at least 5 more people that threw in a few species seen during the day. The following reports give details of all birds recorded on the day and can be downloaded by clicking on the titles:
The species list gives all 124 species recorded in the Square on the day.
Sighting details – this shows all species seen or heard with details of numbers and locations where we have them. Where a species was seen by racing teams as well as others and the location had not been given, the team names have been omitted from the list.
Key to Observers – lists people taking part as shown by initials on the Sightings details report.
What the list doesn’t show:
Although most expected species were recorded, there were 18 species, including Hen Harrier, Barn Owl, Merlin, Treecreeper, Fieldfare and Redwing that were only recorded by one person or team.
Comparisons with last year:
Recorded in 2019 but not this year (7 species):
Velvet Scoter, Slavonian Grebe, Great White Egret, Kittiwake, Glaucous Gull, Tree Sparrow, Twite. (NB. Slavonian Grebe and Red Kite were late entries to last year’s list making it 118)
Recorded this year but not 2019 (13 species):
Tundra Bean Goose, White-fronted Goose, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Eider, Shag, Coot, Sanderling, Mediterranean Gull, Caspian Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Razorbill, Fieldfare.
If anyone would like to hypothesize on why this occurred, e.g. weather, climate etc. you are welcome to write an article which we can post on this website!!
Cley Bird Club Summer Big Bird Day – Saturday 1st June 2019
126 birds recorded
At least 36 people took part, either in groups or as individuals. The National Trust rangers on Blakeney Point also submitted what was present there on the day. This made for a successful day with 126 species being recorded.
The highlight of the day was the group of Cattle Egrets which Richard Webb first saw when he got to Daukes Hide at 4.15am and many others saw later on Blakeney Freshes.
The most surprising ‘miss’ of the day was Turnstone.
Although the ‘race’ was cancelled due to lack of entries (was the thought of 24hrs birding too daunting?!!), people did get together in groups to enjoy the ‘Leisurely’ or ‘not-so leisurely’ birding. This was not a competition, but mention must go to Phil & Susie Farndon who managed to record 101 species on the day.
The following reports give details of all birds recorded on the day and can be downloaded by clicking on the titles:
The Species list gives all 126 species recorded by those taking part.
Sighting details – this shows all species seen with details of numbers, locations where we have them and who saw them. Where a species was seen by several people at a particular site only those recording or contributing to the highest count are shown. People who are not regular contributors to our bird records are recorded as ‘Other’ and their names are shown in the notes against the species.
Key to Observers – lists people taking part as shown on the Sightings details report.
More information and articles by participants can be found in Newsletter 114.
Inaugural Cley Bird Club Big Day – 12th January 2019
It was a very successful day enjoyed by many. A total of 116 SPECIES were recorded.
The activities on the day took several forms. There was a traditional bird race where teams of 3 or 4 people raced around the Cley Square to see who could see the most species. For the less energetic we asked that people visit whatever areas they could and recorded all birds (and mammals) that they saw, where possible getting counts.
The day was mainly dry with temperatures around 8°C and some good sunny periods. However, a force 5-6 westerly wind gusting to gale force at times made finding some species difficult.
7 teams (22 people) took part and the results were:
- The Men in Black (Richard Webb, Mark Golley & Graham Fellows) – 103 species
- Happy Birders (Phil Borley, Lin Pateman, Lucy Topsom and Glenn Collier) – 93 species
- Cley Spy (Phil & Susie Farndon, Si Evans & Paul Eele) – 91 species
Briston & Cley Bulldogs 79 species
Chris Abrams & Rob Harris 78 species
NENBC 88 species
Norvicensians 69 species
At least another 34 people took part with contributions from counting their garden birds to walking Blakeney Point. The following reports give details of all birds recorded on the day and can be downloaded by clicking on the titles:
The species list gives all 116 species recorded by those taking part and bringing lists to the Visitor Centre on the day.
Sighting details – this shows all species seen with details of numbers and locations where we have them. Where a species was seen by racing teams as well as others and the location had not been given the team names have been omitted from the list.
Key to Observers – lists people taking part as shown on the Sightings details report.
What the list doesn’t show
Although there were no species one might think of as Cley Square rarities, the following were only seen by one person or team: Red-necked Grebe and Slavonian Grebe – by Barry Hudson, who did watch the sea for much longer than anyone else. Kingfisher – only seen by the ‘Men in Black’ at Bayfield. Green Woodpecker – seen by the Cley Spy team at Kelling Heath, Blackcap – only seen by Tony Aberdein in his garden at Cley, Redwing – seen by the Cley Spy team at the Visitor Centre (why didn’t anyone else get that?) Tree Sparrow – only 1 bird in Steve Gantlett’s garden but seen by a few.
Marsh Tits were seen in 3 places, Bayfield, Kelling Triangle and Wiveton. Brambling was only seen by Steve Gantlett and the ‘Men in Black’. Single Song Thrushes were seen at Bayfield, Glandford, Salthouse (by the A149 E of village) and Wiveton.
No Coots were seen, nor was the Spoonbill that had been in the area regularly. The only Short-eared Owl was a corpse found on Blakeney Freshes by the Men in Black.
Additionally, a Red Kite was seen by Ian Eggleton at Kelling WM and Steve Hale at Walsey Hills but not reported until later so didn’t make the list.
Reports by some of those who took part can be read in Newsletter 113 which members can view and download on the Newsletter page.
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, who represented 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 www.cleybirdclub.org.uk provides quicker and more detailed information on membership, meetings, bird news and topics of interest.
Photos taken at the event by Tim Loseby and Tom Green are now available to view on Flickr by clicking here. On the current website this linked to an entry under photos called ‘External Albums’. I’m not sure where this is now.