Decided to spend the Bank Holiday Monday at Cley. There had been a few good migrants over the weekend, and the low in the `north Sea promised a bit of sea watching. Unfortunately it looked like the Western Bonelli's had gone.
Approaching Cley, the mega alert went off-Yelkouan Shearwater off Coastguards suggested that the sea was delivering, but as it turned out we missed the best of it. I had a chat with some birders-none had seen the Shearwater which sounded a bit odd, though I later read the report which sounded pretty good. The only decent bird I saw was a Roseate Tern close in and above the heat haze over the water. Plenty of Common and Sandwich Terns offshore with one or two Arctics and Littles thrown in. Gannets and a couple of Skuas were very distant, and I never did see any Shearwaters. Seeing that activity was declining we headed off to the East Bank.
Arnold's Marsh seemed full of `godwits and Curlews with a few moulting Spotted Redshanks. There seemed to be a lot of Wigeon present. Had hoped to pick up Whimbrel and maybe a scarcer wader or perhaps a chat of some kind. Went back to the car and then headed up to Walsey Hills where the juvenile Red Backed Shrike had been for a few days. Gradually worked our way towards the hedge and got pretty good views at times. One potential problem was the bizarre sight of a large number of female pirates (a hen party we think) appearing on the footpath was avoided when I was able to direct them away from the favoured corner. Despite this the bird did eventually disappear into the hedge shortly after we left and remained elusive for some time.
We headed off to Bishops Hide overlooking Pats Pool. The 14 Spoonbills were not hard to miss, nor were the huge number of Curlew Sandpipers-something approaching 40 were reported. Only saw a few Little Stints and failed to see the Wood Sandpiper, but some of the birds were approaching the hide close enough for some pretty good images.
With little in the way of reported migrants we called it a day early afternoon, and called in at Cley Spey for a while before heading home. Convinced Colin that the new Swaro 12x50's would be worth looking at and he seemed to like them.