Monday, 2 April 2012

Abroad in Norfolk - Part One

With holiday to take before the end of the financial year, my wife and I decided to spend a few days in Norfolk. This was our first visit to the north coast, and with the spectacularly warm and sunny weather we were expecting a great time. The intention was to split our time between the general tourism bits, as well as taking the chance to see some of the local wildlife. So on our first full day we went off to see the seals on Blakeney Point.

We picked up the boat trip with Bean’s Boat Trips from Morston Quay on one of the creeks behind Blakeney Point. The tide was not long past high water, so there was an amount of inter-tidal mud available to the waders and gulls. In a field beside the car park there were 50 or so Brent geese busy browsing the grass. I guess that these must be amongst the last of the over-wintering birds, and that they will soon be heading for the high Arctic for the breeding season.
Brent Geese
Off to the salt marsh
The trip out to the spit cum island was uneventful. There were plenty of Black- and Bar-Tailed Godwits, and the ubiquitous Black-Headed Gulls and Redshank. On the south side of the island was a very crowded colony of Sandwich Terns that were very easily disturbed. I had forgotten how noisy those birds can be. In amongst the terns were a few of the Common variety, as well as some Mediterranean Gull, Oystercatchers, and Turnstones.

Black-Tailed Godwit
Blakeney Point Coastguard Station

Newly arrived Sandwich Terns
Then for the main event – the seals. At this time of year there are few Harbour / Common Seals; the vast majority are Grey Seals. There are a small number of this year’s pups still on the spit, clearly distinguishable now by their relative size rather than their lighter fur. As well as the fifty or so on the beach, plenty of heads kept appearing around the boat, eager to take a look at those funny looking animals that had come to see them. Those soulful eyes almost make you want to jump in play.

Peek-a-boo Grey Seal

Grey Seals
Who's a big boy then
More Grey Seals

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