Here at Cley Spy we have a no pressure approach to selling optics. As an entirely independent company we have no reason to favour any one brand over the others, we just give each individual customer as wider choice of equipment within their budget as possible. All we do is offer expert advice if required and let you take as long as you need to find the one that works for you testing them on real birds 'in the field'. And where better to do this than looking over one of Britain's best known nature reserves at Cley Marshes.
When the Norfolk Wildlife Trust opened their new visitor centre at Cley in 2007, the opportunity came up for us to have a small shop in the old thatched Dick Bagnell-Oakley visitor centre just next door to the new one. From here you get an elevated view over the reed beds, scrapes and pools out to the shingle bank and the sea around a kilometre away. As well as the impressive list of regular species found at Cley we have had a few notable rarities and scarcities seen from the shop including collard pratincole, western sandpiper, red-backed shrike, water pipit, black redstart and Wilson's phalarope amongst the highlights. Cley's coastal freshwater marsh (the product of medieval land drainage) is an unusual habitat nationally and this coupled with its location on the North Sea, makes it an attractive area for regular and vagrant species.
|The view from the front windows.|
Since we opened here the view has changed a little. In November 2007 a bout of storms and high seas opened up some gaps in the shingle ridge and flooded parts of the reserve with seawater. The marshes soon recovered, but the impact can still be seen in profile of the shingle and the absence of Arkwright’s Café in the beach car park. Another source of interest has been the ongoing construction of the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm, visible in the distance from the visitor centre. The array of 88 turbines each standing 80m (260ft) tall are impressive enough but the vessels required for such a project are great feats of engineering too. When completed (target date summer 2012) they will produce enough power for 220,000 homes.
As with any other area the best time for finding a rare vagrant bird is in the spring and autumn, but at any time of the year the there is something worth seeing at Cley, not to mention the excellent café in the new centre next door!
Come and visit us at Cley next time you're on the North Norfolk coast, we are open all year seven days a week.