Cley Bird Club members take part in many local and national surveys organised by the BTO and other bodies.  The Club also organises local surveys each year for its own records and also for other researchers.

If you would like to help with any of these please contact the organisers below:

Tawny Owl survey in the Cley Square

Richard Porter is organising a survey of Tawny Owls in the Cley Square on behalf of the Cley Bird Club. The aim is to map all ‘pairs’ of Tawny Owl in the square – based on calling birds – between now (early November 2016) and April 2017. If you would like to help and be allotted an area to cover then please contact Richard:

Richard would also welcome casual records of Tawny Owls in the Cley Square. For these please give the date and grid reference and state if the owl was hooting or calling ke-wick.

Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS Counts)

These are part of a formal National coordinated survey. The counts are made along the coastal area by the Blakeney Point wardens and a team of volunteers.  They are done on a pre-allocated day each month to tie in with other sites along the N Norfolk Coast, they are usually (but not always) early on a Monday morning to tie in with the high tide.  If you would like more information on these in the Cley Square please contact David Wileman.  More information on WeBS can be found on the BTO website

Breeding Surveys

Cley Marshes

Each year a few of our members survey the breeding birds on NWT Cley Marshes.  This is not a formal scientific survey but birds are watched for signs of breeding and the numbers of pairs are ascertained for each species. Progress of nests and chicks is then followed.  It culminates in an annual report which is sent to the NWT and other conservation bodies and an article in the November CBC Newsletter.

Previous year's reports can be found on the Reports page

In 2014 Cley Bird Club took on doing more formal surveys for NWT of birds on the newly purchased land between East Bank and Iron Road.  This was to enable them to monitor the effects of development and conservation work on the land over the next few years.  

At present neither of these surveys cover Salthouse east of Iron Road.  We would love to cover this area but do not currently have the resources.

If you feel that you could help, please do contact Pat Wileman. We would love to hear from you and always need more people.  You don’t need to be an expert, we aren’t, you just have to be able to recognise the species you are monitoring. We have learnt a lot as we’ve gone along and you could too, but beware, watching chicks on a regular basis can become addictive!

Single Species Surveys

Information on the following species is currently collected for researchers at national institutes and universities:

For more information please contact David Wileman

Brent Geese

From the winter of 2014/15 to 2017/18 a survey into the use of the meadows at Cley and Salthouse by Brent Geese was undertaken for the NWT. This was to determine which fields the geese prefered and then to monitor whether additional access to the new part of the reserve with the opening of Attenborough Walk and Babcock Hide had any noticeable effect. This survey is now complete and we hope to publish results soon.

Observations of Ringed, Colour-ringed, Collared and Tagged Birds

Details  of ringed, colour-ringed and tagged birds seen in the Cley Square have been kept since 2002. Lists and histories of all birds seen can be found in the Ringing section under the Reports tab.

If you see a ringed bird PLEASE DO REPORT IT.

It is usually best if the finders of ringed birds send in the observations themselves to the ringing scheme coordinator in case there are questions as to whether the rings have been read correctly or the coordinator is keen to get further information. 

To get help on reporting a ringed bird yourself click on the following link: Reporting Sightings of Ringed Birds

We would very much like to receive copies of the details that you receive from the ringers for any birds seen in the Square in order to keep our records as comprehensive as possible so please send these to David Wileman.

If you do not wish to send in records to the ringers yourself (easiest by e-mail) then we are happy to do this for you for any birds seen in the Cley Square. Please send details to David Wileman.   

Sandwich Terns

A scheme fitting coded colour rings to nestlings on Blakeney Point started in 2013 with 52 birds ringed and a further 58 have now been ringed in 2014. The Coastal Ranger Ajay asks if anyone seeing one of these birds could e-mail BTO on then they will reply with details of the bird ASAP.
Birds should have, on the left leg, a dark blue ring with a three-letter code starting with K.

Click here for more details.

Little Terns

An international project is being conducted studying Little Terns. As part of this project the RSPB have been experimenting with using colour-rings to identify individual adults at their nests. In 2014 four adults on Blakeney Point were marked with blue dye on their backs and fitted with yellow rings and black codes UB5, UB6, UB7 and UB8. Other adults and also chicks have been similarly ringed and marked at Winterton Dunes. The Blakeney Point Coastal Ranger, Ajay, asks if anyone seeing or, even better, photographing one of these birds could e-mail the RSPB scheme coordinator and she will reply with details of the bird ASAP.

The codes can in fact probably only be read from good quality photographs. It should be emphasised that it is illegal to approach and photograph Little Terns at their nests without a special licence. This request is therefore for sightings/photos taken away from their nest sites.


Adults and pulli were caught and colour-ringed on Kelling Heath by Noel Elms from 2009 - 2012. Moss Taylor also colour-ringed birds at Weybourne Camp under the same scheme from 2010. In 2012 pairs bred at Cley Marshes and at Salthouse and were also colour-ringed. Only one or two pairs bred locally in 2013 and 2014 so the project has now been terminated. Noel asks if anyone seeing one of these birds still surviving could e-mail him directly on and he will reply with details of the bird ASAP

Birds should have on the right leg either a dark green ring above a metal one or a metal one above the dark green one.  It is important to note which way round these two rings are.

They should have two colour rings on the left leg and these can be the same colour. The colours used are dark green (G), pink (carmine C), orange (O), pale blue (P), red (R), white (W) and yellow (Y). New colours used in 2012 were black (niger N), dark blue (B), brown (umber U), grey (silver S), lime (L) and violet (V).


Not surveys, but there are certain species which appear to be declining in the Cley Square and we wish to monitor these thoroughly so if you see or hear any of these within our area do please report them: 

Turtle Dove Submit a record   

Cuckoo Submit a record

Nightingale Submit a record

Tree Sparrow Submit a record