Tuesday, 2 December 2014


At Cley yesterday the marsh was all noise. In the scant light over the North Norfolk coast we felt our way through the day, guided by sound. First there were pinks, thousands upon countless thousands of them, flighting along the ridge, filling the sky with excited talk of Iceland. Then the shingle's crunch under six booted feet and the shingly voices of linnets. To the east, on Arnold's, the triplet chime of redshank.

From Daukes' came much timid tealtalk and now and then an irresponsible whistling of wigeon. Here too the scraping of three mobile dunlin and the squelch of a snipe bounding from the long wet grass. Drake gadwall (spellcheck wanted that as goodwill: I'll take either) gave their seedy, knowing quack, their minds locked on next spring's breeding. Three avocets among the many gulls were silent.

Silent on a day of friendship and sound.

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