Sunday, 5 April 2015

5th of April: African arrivals

This morning on Blakeney Point, the dunes were full of sound. With the syrupy song of Skylarks and calling Meadow Pipits. Both of these bird species are abundant in the dunes, and will soon be making their fragile nests amongst the Marram grass.

Earlier in the week, the point was blasted by blown sand, splashed with horizontal downpours and ripped by 70mph winds. As a result new dunes have formed on the foreshore. But it made for a bitterly cold start to the month.

Today, however the sky and sea were shades of warm Nofolk blue. With dozens of visitors walking on the beach. Many coming to see the seals, of which there were 385 Grey and 6 Common. It really did feel like the first day of spring, not just because of the weather, but the "keerick" calls of Sandwich Terns above.
On Friday evening, 94 were counted roosting on Far Point. It's so good to have them back, having migrated from West Africa. These elegant seabirds with pure white plumage, angular wings and shaggy black crests are the emblem of Blakeney Point. The end of the Point now belongs to them (there is no public access to this area).

For this reason - and other ground-nesting birds along the shingle ridge - the seasonal dog ban is now in place, and will be until around the 10th of August. This is to reduce disturbance and has proven to work. Dogs are still permitted on the first mile of the Point from Cley beach and on the Landing Ridge, around the Lifeboat House and southern half of the boardwalk, but please keep them on leads at all times.

Another sign of spring were these Colt's-foot flowers at the Marrams. This clump appeared last spring and was the first record of the species on the Point. Presumably the seed was brought here by the December 2015 tidal surge.

Migrant birds over the past few days have included a mixture of birds arriving and leaving Merlin, Wheatear, Black Redstart, Robin, Song Thrush, Goldcrest and also the first Whimbrel of the spring (on the 3rd). And the exaltation of Shorelarks are still seen regularly in the Beach Way area, their favourite spot since December.

Recent sightings also included a Muntjac on Beach Way. We have several Muntjac sightings on the Point every year, and the occasional Roe Deer too. 

Calm water in Blakeney Harbour this evening

- Ajay (Coastal Ranger)

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