Monday, February 25, 2013

Swarovski Optik At Cley Spy

This spring we are proud to announce that we are dedicating the weekend of 16th and 17th of March to Swarovski Optik and the wildlife of the Bayfield Estate, where our main shop is based. With the help of Swarovski Optik and local tour leader Chris Mills we will be introducing you to the local area and its wildlife and demonstrating some of the latest digiscoping technology and wildlife recording techniques. Best of all, it's all free!

Saturday 16th March
Two wildlife walks will be taking place lead by the highly knowledgeable and experienced tour guide Chris Mills. Swarovski will be bringing a selection of their latest binoculars to try out in the field. These walks will take in the Bayfield Wildlife Walk and its diversity of habitats. This three-mile circular walk that passes our Glandford shop takes in a mixture of open arable fields, plantation and ancient woodland and river meadows. It is a gentle walk with shallow gradients and firm paths, taking around an hour-and-half to two hours to complete. The diversity of habitats and the environmentally conscious farm management of the Estate have made this area a haven for birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and plants. Suitable footwear for potentially wet grass and some softer paths.
Booking is essential for these walks as places are strictly limited to ten per walk. The first walk will start at 10am and the second at 2pm.

Sunday 17th March
Glandford Digiscoping Day. A representative from Swarovski will be at our Glandford shop demonstrating their latest optical equipment and digiscoping adapters. Come and learn the techniques and try out the equipment with expert advice from Swarovski and our experienced staff.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dressed for the occasion

Having the right clothing is essential to enjoying being in the great outdoors. As well as keeping warm and dry, birdwatchers also need gear that is quiet, durable and that blends in with their surrounding. Here at Cley Spy we all have been through the process of trying to find the right equipment, be it optics, tripods or clothing, and know just how frustrating it can be. This is why we stock the best kit for the purpose at a range of prices to suit your budget and requirements. Be it occasional walking and birding or working outdoors in all weathers or hiking in the mountains we have the right clothing and staff who use this type of clothing most days and can offer sensible advice.

The two main brands we stock are Jack Pyke and Paramo. Paramo is highly specified technical hiking and mountain gear designed to be waterproof, breathable and quick-drying and light weight. Paramo also do a range of shirts and baselayers. Jack Pyke clothing is more classic country clothing and casual outdoor ware, including warm and waterproof 3-in-1 jackets, soft shell gilets and cargo trousers. Both are highly specified, comfortable and durable, and we like them so much that we all own items from both brands!

Below is some of the clothing that we have used over the last few years.

Paramo Taiga Fleece

Not your average fleece jacket, this is a smart, hard-wearing water repellent outdoor coat. I wear mine almost all the time and in the last 5 years it has been through mud, dust, sand and many hedges and still looks as good as ever. It has proved to be very resilient to thorns and is sufficiently water resistant for most rain I'm prepared to go out in.

Jack Pyke 3-in-1 Jacket

This is a two piece jacket consisting of a soft-textured waterproof outer coat with a zip in fleece. This is a very warm, windproof and waterproof country jacket with a good number of pockets and is quite when moving. It also has the additional feature of a fold out waterproof panel on the back that acts as dry seat wherever you are.

Paramo Cascarda Trousers

These technical waterproof insulated walking trousers are great as either over trousers or as a garment on their own. Like all Paramo waterproof gear these are hard-wearing and comfortable and easily maintainable with Nikwax Tech Wash and TX direct reproofing.

Jack Pyke Reversible Countryman Jumper

We liked these so much they are now our uniform jackets. Very warm, waterproof and windproof these are comfortable and hard-wearing. One side is dark green ribbed knitted outer with waist pockets, the other side is a soft fleece in a lighter sage green and has its own separate pockets.

All these and much more are available at our Glandford shop including Tilley and Laird of London hats, and Healthy Back Bags.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Candid Camera

Caught on camera. Our resident barn owl.
The Bushnell Natureview
Cam HD
The snow that has been with us for the last few weeks has not only brought larger than usual numbers of birds to our feeds but has also left a trail of evidence of some of the wildlife that visits in the night in the form of footprints. Rabbits, stoats, deer and foxes have all left their calling cards in the snow. We have also found in and around our buildings the distinctive pellets and droppings of the barn owl that regularly hunts over the fields behind the shop. In an effort to see these nocturnal visitors we have set up an motion-triggered infra red camera that can record both still images, singly or in a burst, and high definition video. The camera works from four or eight AA size batteries and is just as capable at producing infra red images in total darkness using its built-in black light LEDs that do not disturb the wildlife as it is at full colour daylight images. After a few weeks of adjusting the settings and trying various locations we have successfully captured the barn owl roosting getting ready to hunt in the low afternoon sun.

Owl food Wood mice are one of the smaller
 residents of our back field
These cameras can reveal some surprising things in almost any location as was revealed by the BBC television series The Lost Land of the Tiger. Even if you don't have tigers visiting your garden these devices can give you an insight into just what is going on in the rose bushes. The key to success is patience and taking a trial and error approach to getting the position and settings just right.

We had a great start with ours and keep an eye on this blog and our Twitter and Facebook pages for more updates on the secretive visitor to our little wildlife haven.