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Sunday, 29 March 2015

Out Birding At Last AND The New Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre at Cley NWT!!!

The New Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre at Cley NWT

I woke up really early, too early and still felt tired, but couldn't get back to sleep. I didn't have the energy to fly about and sat at the kitchen table enjoying toast and marmelade. Whilst reading the lastest NWT Tern newspaper, I read that the Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre at Cley NWT opened yesterday! I didn't realise that it was anywhere near finished, never mind opened!

Visited parents briefly to drop some washing in that I had done whilst Father was in hospital and other items. Father said good morning and then promptly fell asleep. He had slept in much longer than he normally does, obviously still exhausted from his hospital experience as we all are! It was a disgusting day weather wise, with 55mph winds, lashing rain and flooded roads. Somebody up above could have been kind to me and given me a sunny day, surely?!!!

Cruised slowly along the coast road. Stopped at Burnham Overy Staithe at the pull-in to scan the marshes and got lucky with a Rough-legged Buzzard being harrassed by Lapwings and a Marsh Harrier! Good start to my day!

Arrived at Cley NWT Visitor Centre for my lunch and to look round the new centre. Met up with Pete S. and Eddie M. a bit later. When I reached the top of the stairs it looked much more spacious and the reception desk, has moved back and is much bigger. I had a lovely jacket potato with cheese and coleslaw with salad. The door to the old toilets now leads to a staff office. You now have to walk out of the building (where the picnic tables were) and walk across to the new building where the new toilets are situated. Further to walk when you want a quick loo stop before racing down Blakeney Point for that mega, but the good news is, that there are now THREE ladies loos, with full length mirror (yuck.... LOL) and all mod cons! Thought I was in a 5 star hotel when I walked in there!

The Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre at Cley NWT opened yesterday – Saturday 28th March and very impressive it is too. There are still final touches to be added, but it looks amazing. My favourite part is the wooden seating and viewing area – I can imagine standing here watching Alpine Swifts and Cranes overhead! There is now far more seating for people to sit outside now and also a large decking area which is fenced with glass/plastic panels and all looks very modern and eco friendly. Large photographic displays adorn the existing building and a new walkway leads to CleySpy. The centre has a large multi-function room, which can be divided into two and the space incorporates state of the art audio visual equipment, including video wall and surround sound. Pete and I were shown the education room which is not quite open to the public yet – still several displays to be added in here which all sounded amazing when David North was explaining everything to us. My link to the opening is HERE.

Eddie, Pete and I re-located to coastguards. I got VERY excited when I saw the lovely new seating in the shelter, but extremely disappointed to find that it was only on the side that faced inland!!! Come on NWT, please add the side seats and the sea facing side PLEASE!!! We walked east alongside the Eye Field and Pete sharply spotted a Wheatear – my first one of the Spring! I counted 25 Avocets on North Scrape. Not much else was seen here. We trudged back to the carpark.

At Walsey Hills NOA I heared two Chiffchaffs along the bottom path. Nothing else of note seen or heard really. At Beach Road, Salthouse I watched two Ringed Plovers, a few Lapwings and a Little Egret, but decided not to walk to Gramborough Hill, when I saw how flooded the paths were.

At Weybourne Beach carpark I took a risk and didn't get a ticket for the car. Walked up to the gate to view the Beach Pool and could only see a pair of Mallard, no sign of the Garganey that were reported earlier today (and over the last few days). 12 Pied Wagtails were feeding on the grass slopes, just west of the pool. Suddenly I saw a ticket warden heading for my car! Where did he spring from?! Attempted to run over the shingle and luckily he hadn't slapped a ticket on my car yet. I was very lucky indeed and he pointed out where I could park free to save the risk of getting a ticket next time! Phew!
Coastguard Cottages, Weybourne.

Cliffs, Weybourne.

Parked up next to the cemetery by the windmill and walked down the track to the coastguard cottages at Weybourne, hoping for Iceland Gull and Lapland Buntings. No Iceland Gull in sight, but had approx half a dozen Lapland Buntings in the stubble field – not really close enough to photograph though – too distant and out of focus shots achieved. It was really cold now. Had a quick coffee and then drove home as the sun was setting. Nice to be home before it gets dark!


  1. You sound far more relaxed for a bit of birding, Penny!
    The new Cley centre looks marvellous...
    " he pointed out where I could park free to save the risk of getting a ticket next time!"....
    you met a traffic warden without a tonne of gold braid around his hat!!
    Oh, and had some good spots into the bargain,
    May April be kinder...