Popped up to Cley yesterday for the first time in ages to catch up with Simon in the CleySpy shop and to pick up my new bins (more about this in the coming weeks). Having been all over the place in the morning there wasn’t really time to go out onto the reserve but the birding from the shop was pretty good all the same. The panoramic view over the reserve despite being distant gave some good views.
The small wader flock had included several curlew sands and it was just about possible to pick out one of the juvs feeding with a ruff on the back of the closest lagoon. It was good to see a lot of dunlin about as it seems to have been a quiet period for them recently at this end of the coast. Everything got stirred up when a young harrier did a fly past and then the hobbies arrived. Having a big panoramic view meant you could follow both hobbies at they took turns chasing the dunlin flock; both birds taking in turns doing stoops onto the flock from high up. After 10 unsuccessful minutes they have up and disappeared.
While we were checking out some of the bins, both Simon and I called a hobby coming over the carpark and flying straight towards the CleySpy shop and going over the roof. The large size and brown plumage meant it wasn’t a hobby but something more interesting. We rushed outside expecting to see the bird heading inland over the fields but were rather surprised to see it sat on the roof staring back at us!! The initial shock wore off as it was soon apparent that the bird had escaped from somewhere as it was sporting a full set of leather jessies and bells.
Overall the bird was brown with dark brown markings on the breast, upper belly and thighs pointing towards one of the parents being saker but presumably it is a hybrid.
Whatever it is, it was impressive to see at such close quarters and attracted much attention for the short time it was present.