Saturday, 29 September 2012

29th of September: Gannets galore and potatoes aplenty

The past few days have been fantastic for watching Gannets from Blakeney Point. There have literally been hundreds. Several juveniles are diving for fish very close to the beach, enabling fantastic views. Gannets breed colonially on rocky coasts. The nearest breeding colony to Blakeney is at Bempton Cliffs on the Yorkshire coast. Gannets migrate to Western Africa and the Western Mediterranean and are numerous along the coast in autumn. Juveniles have grey plumage finely speckled white and take five years to reach full adult plumage; white with yellow head and black wing tips.
Juvenile Gannet diving (Joe Cockram)

The Barred Warbler is still in the garden, having been there for a week now. It certainly does feel like autumn out here in these cold winds. Yesterday a total of over 1,000 Pink-footed Geese flew over the Point, and two Barnacle Geese were spotted amongst them. There are still quite a few Sandwich Terns around, feeding out to sea and flying past on their migration to Africa.
Barred Warbler (Richard Porter)

Yesterday a large number of Sea Potatoes were found washed up on the beach, an estimated 50. Sea Potatoes are a type of urchin. They are common around the British Isles, but finding intact shells on the beach is quite rare. The heart-shaped Sea Potatoes bury themselves in sand and feed on organic waste, their lifespan is thought to be over ten years. We now have what could be heading towards Europe's largest intact Sea Potato collection...

Ajay and Paul

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