The New Cley Visitor Centre

“I’m spending the second half of my life as a bird-watcher.”
Jonathan Franzen

Siri and Selma are very excited, the NWT (Norfolk Wildlife Trust) has opened his smart Cley visitor centre. It’s geared to attract especially our young visitors and make them understand nature. As Selma said: “Most people don’t behave un-ecological because they are evil but they are uninformed.

Siri und Selma sind aufgeregt flatterig, der NWT (Norfolk Wildlife Trust) hat sein Besucherzentrum in Cley “voll schick” ausgebaut. Es soll speziell unsere jungen Besucher dazu anzuregen, sich mit der Natur zu beschäftigen. Die meisten Menschen verhalten sich ja nicht unökologisch, weil sie böse, sondern weil sie unwissend sind.

Cley_Reserve01
On a big screen you see a well made film presenting the history of our nature reserve. We were amazed how protected our marshes are. Here a small selection: Besides we are an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), Cley marshes are SPA (Special Protection Area of the EU for birds) with a Ramsar listing (Convention on Wetlands of International Importance due to the number of birds it attracts) and a SSSI (Side of Special Scientific Interest).

Auf einem riesigen Bildschirm wird die Geschichte unseres Vogel- und Naturschutzgebiets interessant dokumentiert. Wir glaubten es kaum, unter welchem Schutz unsere geliebten Marschen stehen. Hier nur eine kleine Auswahl: Neben AONB (area of outstanding natural beauty) sind die Cley Marshes ein SPA, ein Gebiet des speziellen Vogelschutzes der EU, sie besitzen das Ramsar Listing für den Schutz von Wetland, das international von Belang ist, und sie sind eine SSSI (side of special scientific interest).

CleyReserve10

Cley Marshes is Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s oldest and best known nature reserve. It was purchased in 1926 by the Norfolk birder Dr Sidney Long to be held ‘in perpetuity as a bird breeding sanctuary’. It provided a blue print for nature conservation which has now been replicated across the UK. Dr Long finished the habit of many birders to shoot rare birds to get them prepared for studying.

1926 wurde das Gebiet von dem hiesigen Birdwatcher Dr. Sidney Long gekauft. Er machte damit Schluss, dass Birdwatcher seltene Vögel abschossen, um sie zum Studium präparieren zu lassen. Seitdem sind die Cley Marshes ununterbrochen ein Gebiet des Vogel- und Naturschutzes, nach dessen Vorbild viele andere Naturschutzgebiete UKs eingerichtete wurden.

CleyReserve02

The birders of Cley were seen as German spies during WW II as they were running around the marshes with binoculars and telescopes. Maybe that made Jack Higgins place his bestselling novel “The Eagle has Landed” (1975) right here – by the way just at the end of our lane.

Witzig finden wir, dass es während des WW II Konflikte mit dem Militär gab, das die Birder mit Ferngläsern und Teleskopen für deutsche Spione hielt und einige erst einmal festnahm. Immerhin spielt der Weltbestseller “The Eagle has Landed” (1975) von Jack Higgins genau hier.
c
The water levels in the pools and reed-beds (you see on this picture) are regulated to ensure they are ideal for the resident birds, and reed is harvested every year to keep the reedbeds in good condition, so that you might see the Reed buntings f.e.

Der Wasserstand der kleinen Seen und der Riedgebiete, die ihr hier unterhalb der Besucherterrasse seht, wird derart reguliert und jährlich wird das Ried geerntet, dass es ideal für die Vögel wie z.B. die Rohrammern ist.

We Bookfayries met this friendly birdwatcher, who was proud to have seen every bird on his hat. Can recognise some of his birds?

Wir Buchfeen lieben es, die skurrilsten Gestalten hier zu treffen, wie diesen freundlichen Birdwatcher, der stolz darauf ist, jeden Vogel auf seiner Mütze gesehen zu haben.

Birdwatcher. Cley reserve, Norfolk
Today we had an extraordinary sighting, no not in the reserve but in our garden. A Woodpigeon was hit and eaten by a Merlin. “That’s real nature beyond any romanticism and trivialising humanisation“, was Siri’s commentary.  

Heute allerdings hatten wir eine außerordentliche Sichtung statt im Reserve in unserem Garten: Dort hat ein Zwergfalke eine Taube gerissen. “Das ist echte Natur ohne Romantik und verniedlichende Vermenschlichung“, war Siris Kommentar.

Herzliche Grüße aus unserem Vogelparadies
Warm greetings from the world of birds
The Fab Four of Cley

 

Fact File
The Simon Aspinall Centre gives a view over the Cley marshes through 60 square meters of frameless glass or from 90 square meters of an external deck. 40 square meters of photovoltaic panel producing 6000 watts saving nearly 3500 tonnes CO2 each year. A 53000 litre sewerage treatment tank is producing water that can be released back in the environment. All timber used has full Forest Stewardship Council Global Forest Certification and for retaining walls local flints were used. The NWT raised 2.6 million for the multifunctional building of this Wildlife Education Centre.
Das Simon Aspinall Zentrum bietet durch 60 qm freie Glasfläche einen atemberaubenden Blick über die Cley Marschen oder auch von einer 90 qm freien Terrasse. 40 qm fotovoltaische Zellen produzieren 6000 W., was fast 3500 to. CO2 jährlich spart. Ein 53000 ltr. Abwasserklärtank gibt unbedenkliches Wasser an die Umwelt zurück. Alles Holz besitzt volle Zertifizierung des World Stewardship für Hölzer, ferner wurden für die Außenwände hiesige Feuersteine benutzt. Der NWT gab 2,6 Millionen GBP für dieses multifunktionale Wildlife Zentrum aus.

 

© text and pictures by Hanne Siebers and Klausbernd Vollmar, Cley next the Sea/England 2015

 

 

94 thoughts

  1. It is a great place to visit in the winter months too, where you can get something warm to eat and drink and browse through bird books and borrow binoculars to scan the skies with.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Jude,
      we agree and in the visitor centre you find an extraordinary well sorted book shop not only full of bird books but of books about all topics of nature. Have you been in the new annexe of the centre which opend last Easter? We think it is very well done and we especially like the screen in the left corner on which you see beautiful photographs of all the birds which have just arrived and those flying off soon.
      Thanks a lot and warm greetings from
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  2. Gratuliere zum neuen Visitor Centre! Das sieht ja voll schick aus. Ein wenig Nordisch, oder?
    Wir freuen uns auf einen Schnupperkurs für Anfänger, “Birdwatching for Dummies” demnächst!🙂
    Schönen Sonntag nach Cley,
    U&H

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    • Ja, herzlichen Dank, liebe Ursel🙂 Ehrlich gesagt, sind wir mächtig stolz auf das neu aus- und angebaute Visitor Centre. Es ist großzügig, schick, besticht durch eine klare Architektur und produziert seine Energie selbst. Dieser Kurs “Birdwatching for Beginners” (so heißt er richtig) ist super!
      Liebe Grüße an dich und Herbert in Frankfurt/Main
      The Fab Four of Cley
      Dass das Centre nordisch anmutet, kommt durch seine Klarheit, meint Dina, die es ja wissen muss.

      Like

  3. Ihr Lieben,
    ich habe vom dem neuen Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre in Cley Visitor Centre gelesen, herzlichen Glückwunsch zu dieser neuen Touristenattraktion! Schöne Fotos, Dina!
    Einen Falken im Garten zu sehen ist auch nicht schlecht, wie haben eure Fasane und Rephühner sich bei diesem Besuch verhalten?

    Liebe Grüße vom sonnigen Longyearbyen (-11° heute, fühlt sich aber wie -20° an) wo wir heute 2 Eisbären sahen,
    Per Magnus

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, du Lieber,
      das ist ja schon witzig, kaum bist du zu Hause in Longyearbyen, schreibst du ein prima Deutsch. Gratulation, Goethe’s Weimar zeigt seine Wirkung🙂
      Das Simon Asinall Wildlife Education Centre ist wirklich ein toller Bau mit einem prima Konzept geworden. Auch architektonisch gefällt es uns sehr.
      Als der Merlin die Woodpigeon riss, haben Fasane und Rebhühner sich unter der Hecke zurückgezogen, aber relativ entspannt, was uns auch gewundert hat. Die kleinen Gartenvögel allerdings sind alle verschwunden. Der erste, der zurückkam, nachdem der Merlin sein Mahl beendet hatte, war eine relativ zahme Drossel.
      Hier ist’s viel wärmer, gerade zeigt mein Thermometer über 18 Grad C an, aber dafür haben wir auch keine Polarbären.
      Liebe Grüße von Cley nach Longyearbyen
      The Fab Four
      P.S.: Wann geht’s denn wieder nach Weimar zurück?

      Like

    • It is and a big advantage, you can spy on birds and take pictures of them sitting in a warm room🙂
      Thanks and all the best
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  4. Very interesting post and actually for several reasons – excellent captures seen here I have to mentioning first…😀

    Very inspiring seeing this enthusiasm as these bird watchers are exhibiting so fascinating – Harry Patterson alias Jack Higgins used in 1975 a title (The eagle has landed) which led thoughts to the moon landing a few years earlier – remember when the movie had cinema release in 1976 – the focal point was that the situation was seen by the german agents’ eyes – many film critics thought that the film was a caricature because it did this – I have never accepted that kind of reasoning, in my eyes is the superficiality of the first degree – so it was the critics there were caricatures – they forgot that all problematics has several angles – this has nothing with right or wrong to do – excellent book and excellent movie…🙂

    Best wishes from here…😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Andrikken,
      we absolutely agree with you. We immediately noticed that Jack Higgins was one of the very, very few British author’s of war novels who didn’t follow this stupid one-dimensional black-and-white perspective: the English are good, the Germans are bad. And, of course, we read it several times because the church and church yard is just a few steps from our house. It’s a pitty that they didn’t film it here.
      Higgins did write some more war novels we never read because war novels are not our field of interest but “The Eagle has Landed” is much more than just a war novel.
      Thanks for your differentiated commentary
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Looks like a great place to get closer to nature and the wonders of wildlife. Good to see the how much willpower and manpower the NWT invests to protect the birds and the environment. Conservation is rarely straightforward and is becoming ever more demanding. Thank you for this informative post.
    Steven

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hallo Ihr Fab Four,
    da haben die Leute bei Euch ja wirklich ein Klasse Besucherzentrum hingelegt! Müssen Mary und ich unbedingt sehen! Aber wann??!! Was wir so Alles noch sehen wollen. Da könnten wir nur noch unterwegs sein. Warten wir einfach mal ab, was wird.
    Liebe Grüße aus der kleinen Stadt in den Hügeln ins kleine Dorf am großen Meer, auch von Mary, und habt eine feine Woche,
    Pit
    P.S. apropos Reisen: für dieses Jahr ist West Virginia für Mitte August [6. Hochzeitstag] geplant, und Deutschland für Oktober. Damit wäre dann unser zeitlicher und finanzieller Rahmen ausgeschöpft, und England muss warten, leider. ;(

    Like

    • Oh, what a pity!
      Ja, es gab halt viele Spenden großer Organisationen und Trusts und der Lottery Fund gab auch einiges hinzu. Es war ein Millionenprojekt, für das viele großügig gaben, so dass es in einem Jahr durchgeführt werden konnte und nun als Vorzeigeobjekt dient. Es zieht richtig viele Besucher an und die Kinder und Jugendlichen, die wir dort sahen, waren begeistert.
      Ach, lieber Pit, bei uns wird es dieses Jahr auch keine größere Reisen mehr geben, aber wahrscheinlich geht’s nächstes Jahr nochmal in die Arktis, nach Grönland, Island, Labrador und Jan Mayen … Dafür müssen wir sparen.
      Ganz liebe Grüße an dich und Mary
      the Fab Four of Cley
      und ihr wisst, ihr seid hier wieder sehr willkommen🙂

      Like

    • Hi, dear Sophie,
      we are sure you would like it and the centre even has a little restaurant serving whole food from local sources.
      We are very happy to have this visitor centre here and call in quite often. It’s a 15 minutes walk only from our house and Siri and Selma are even faster. They just fly to visit their feathered friends there.
      Lots of love
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  7. Another selection of delightfully clear and sharp photos Dina.
    I have driven past this building so many times, but have yet to go in. I do not have the ‘bug’ of birdwatching, but it seems that it is good to visit for many reasons. I knew about the Jack Higgins connection, and also think it was sad that they did not film in Cley instead of Berkshire.
    Love from Beetley. Pete and Ollie. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good evening, dear Pete,
      it’s worthwhile to have look even for non-birdwatchers first of all for the nature books, but also for the architecture, the restaurant, and it’s not about birds only!
      It’s hard to understand that “The Eagle has Landed” wasn’t filmed in Cley as we had quite some filming in Cley like for “The Ploughman’s Lunch” and the BBC filmed one of its BBC One balloon idents in the village.
      Love from Cley to Beetley and thanks for your kind comment
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  8. Ihr Lieben! Euer neues Besuchszenter wird sicher sehr viele Naturfreunde dorthin ziehen. Es muss ein sehr schoenes Gebiet sein. Ich danke Euch fuer den netten Beitrag und wuensche Euch allen einen schoenen Sonntag! Hugs! Veronika

    Like

    • Guten Abend, liebe Veronika,
      in der Tat, das neue Besucherzentrum wird sehr gut angenommen und es ist auch einfach sehr attraktiv gemacht, so dass es alle Naturfreunde anzieht und nicht nur die Birdwatcher.
      Wir wünschen dir eine wunderbare Woche to come
      the Fab Four of Cley XXX

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The Cley visitor centre looks very nice. What a great place for bird watching. Love all the pins the friendly birdwatcher had on his hat:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those pins are great, aren’t they?!
      The new visitor centre is the ideal place for birdwatching, exspecially if you are interested in waders.
      Have a happy week
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, dear Amy. We enjoy birdwatching although we are absolut greenhorns having big problems in identifying birds.
      Lots of love from “the Mecca of Birdwatching”
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Fab Four of Cley ___
    I live near Green Cay Wetlands where many come to watch and photograph the wildlife [mostly birds] as they travel the boardwalks. And in our community, we have some sort of hawk that arrives each year and hunts for our squirrels – unfortunately I saw one succeed last week. Great photos and sounds like you all had a great time!
    GP Cox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear GP Cox
      please, send this hawk over to our place! We have problems with grey squirrels. They disturb the wildlife here, first of all all the local red squirrels died or disappeared and these grey squirrels are so greedy emptying every bird table …
      We just googled Green Cay Wetlands and saw the egrets there, they live here as well. By the way, Dina has been there and she thinks it’s georgeous where you live.
      Have a happy week
      FF

      Like

    • Thank you, but it used to be much nicer – now, more and more it becomes overcrowded and too much property and brush area are paved over. South Florida will sink from under the weight of solid concrete. Glad you enjoyed the wetlands. [I’ll see what I can do about the hawks.] GP

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hallo Vogelküste! Morgen könntet ihr zum Visitor Center laufen/fliegen/tanzen da haben sie doch bestimmt Broschüren, die könnte ich hier auslegen…..es gibt ja immer noch so viele Menschen, die keine Ahnung vom Vogelparadies haben.
    Könntet ihr dann veranlassen, dass sie an den Schillerplatz geschickt werden?
    Sieht gut aus das Center, tolle Geschichte, dass jemand Land kauft, um Vögel zu schützen….
    Schönen Abend euch!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. There is nothing like a community or organization that create and then oversees wildlife refuges around the world ~ such places are truly magical and in a sense, keeps a piece of the world unchanged. This place looks perfect for relaxing ~ and catching sight of a bird or two🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning, dear Dalo,
      the Norfolk Wildlife Trust does a really good job preserving the nature on this coast. Without those organisations like NWT and RSPB (Royal Society for Protecting Birds) and the NT (National Trust) of course the natural and cultural heritage would disappear.
      Now we are out birding …
      Cheers
      FF

      Like

  13. It looks and sounds great! I must tell my parents to take a look when they next visit Cley. One day I’ll come and take a look for myself.🙂

    Like

    • Dear Cathy,
      especially if your parents are birders they will love the wildlife education centre in Cley, we are sure. And of course we would be happy to see you here as well.
      Love from the bird’s paradise
      the Fab Four

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Looks a very comfortable place to spend time bird watching🙂 I’ll bet it is popular .
    Can’t say I recognise too many of the friendly birdwatcher’s pins … must try harder🙂
    Lovely post Fab Four !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Poppy
      thanks a lot for your kind commentary.
      Yeah, the new wildlife education centre is the ideal place for watching birds – and wimps can even do it from inside😉
      With lots of love from Poppyland
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve never seen those little bird pins before! Here we have them to represent mountains in the Adirondacks that a hiker has climbed–people like to show off their accomplishments!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Kerry,
      we have never seen those mountain pins and actually we saw these bird pins for the first time. We think they are quite cool for a dedicated birdwatcher.
      Thanks
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  16. Oh I would love to take a deep breath of that lovely Norfolk salt air and watch the birders watching the birds.

    For now we are content to be watching the migratory birds sail into our garden in Calgary from afar. On our drive to the mountains yesterday we saw trumpeter swans on a favourite pond not far from the highway.

    Happy spring.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Nancy,
      to watch the birders is what we like as well. The atmosphere in the hides and on the reserve is fun and worthwhile documenting.
      We wish you happy birding and send warm greetings to Calgary
      The Fabulous Four of Cley

      Like

  17. was für ein wunderhübscher ort und sooo viele möglichkeiten für allerlei beobachtungen und wanderungen (ausser man hockt in der hütte, hehe) wie wichtig es ist, die neugier der (jungen) leute zu wecken, auch um das bewusstsein für die gefahren, die den vögeln auflauern, stärken. will auch so einen hut mit vögeln drauf, sagt sirpa, the fakewatcher…*begeistert guckt*

    Liked by 2 people

  18. That looks a terrific new resource to have right on your doorstep. How wonderful. RH ps I’ve never seen a merlin do that to a pigeon but I’ve seen a sparrowhawk hit a pigeon in mid-air above our garden. A loud thump, a mass of feathers and another thump as the pigeon landed (dead).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh dear, der RH,
      maybe it was a sparrowhawk. You know our courses covered only waders until now. For identifying birds of prey we use our RSPB birdbook, but we are never really sure …
      But we will ask our neighbours, they are all birdwatchers and will know which birds are around.
      All the best and thanks for making us think
      FF

      Liked by 2 people

    • Lieber Ernst,
      du hast uns sehr geholfen, und du weißt es wahrscheinlich gar nicht. Dina und Masterchen überlegten schon seit langem wie Birdwatching wohl auf Deutsch heißt. Vogelkunde, genau, das ist es!🙂🙂
      Wir versuchten es mit Vogelbeobachtung, aber es geht ja nicht nur um die Beobachtung … Vogelkunde gefällt uns gut.
      Liebe Grüße aus dem zur Zeit stürmischen Cley
      the Fab Four

      Like

  19. How wonderful for you Dina et al, to have such a terrific resource so nearby. We have some wonderful bird sanctuaries here and many studies are ongoing. How lucky we are to live with such nature!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, dear Hans.
      A lot of birdwatchers take photos from the hides as Dina did.
      Well, we are there at least once a week.
      Ha en fin dag
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  20. The Cley Reserve is great! Enjoyed the post and the photos.

    “There is nothing more practical in the end than the preservation of beauty, and anything that appeals to the higher emotions of man.” Theodor Roosevelt

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Bob,
      you seem to know our reserve.
      Yeah, it’s so much fun watching birds there, and there are so many.
      Thanks and all the best
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

    • Yes, it’s worth going there. You will wonder how much it has changed over last years, exspecially since last year.
      Have fun going to Cley again and thanks for commenting
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Thanks so much Klausbernd, we were in England last week, and spent a weekend on the Norfolk coast near Cley and visited this Norfolk Wildlife Trust Centre and Cley marshes, which you recommended on Dina’s blog to me many months ago. We missed seeing David Attenborough by one day, when he opened the new section to the centre, two weeks ago. It certainly is a great birding site.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your commentary🙂
      We have missed Sir David Attenborough as well, what a pity!
      A funny story: Sir David A. opened this new path to Salthouse but two days later it has to be closed because an oystercatcher was nesting on just this path. Well, that’s our bird world here …
      All the best
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for the kind shout out, Ashley!🙂 It’s a pity we missed you. The next time you come to Cley, please feel free to pop in, we’ll put the kettle on right away.🙂
      At the moment we are busy renovating our annex for B&B guests, so busy that we missed the opening by Sir D. Attenborough ourselves.
      This is an amazing and very impressive collections of birds you have seen on your tour, they look great when you klick on them. What kind of a lens do you use for traveling? 400mm? We are still eagerly learning birdwatching and I find it very helpful that you have marked the birds with their names, thanks a lot, I have saved your http://aussiebirder.com/2015/06/30/aussiebirder-goes-birding-around-britain/comment-page-1/#comment-1089 post for further educational use.
      The grey squirrel is a pest in Norfolk too, but I can imagine how bad it must be in London.
      Lovely post, great videos and images and very useful information. Glad you enjoyed your trip around England!
      Best regards from us in Cley,
      Dina, Klausbernd and our bookfayries Siri & Selma XXxx

      Liked by 1 person

    • I use a 18 – 250mm Sigma lens when travelling overseas, but in Australia I tote a 100 – 400mm ‘L’ series Canon, which is one of the birders favourite lens over here. Birding photography is all about the lens, not so much the camera, though high resolution HD video is an added bonus on most SLRs today. My 70D has the latest feature of remaining focused on the moving subject, which is great for birding. Thanks again, have a great week, and great satisfaction from your renovation efforts!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Pingback: Aussiebirder Goes Birding Around Britain | aussiebirder

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