Blakeney Point Nature Reserve

 A feature from the March 2016 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life magazine
Suffolk Norfolk Life March 2016Click to view this issue »
Nature, Places
Seal trips to Blakeney Point Nature Reserve

Along the North Norfolk Coast at Blakeney Point, you can combine the thrill of a wildlife experience with a leisurely cruise. My husband and I spent a morning at Morston Quay, where we joined a seal trip to this internationally important nature reserve.

Blakeney Point is a long spit of land running parallel to the shore, which cuts the harbour off from the sea. You can walk out to see most of it on foot, but parts of the reserve are closed to visitors, and people are asked to stay away from the seals. It’s also a tremendously arduous walk along the loose shingle. I tried it on another occasion, and didn’t get very far. The walk is slow, hard work, and exhausting, which is why this time, we caught the boat!

The wildlife

Blakeney Point is an important breeding ground for terns, with around a third of the UK’s sandwich terns going there to mate some years. Terns hunt by diving head-first into the water to catch small fish and eels. They lay their camouflaged eggs in a small hollow in the ground.

Shelducks also nest on Blakeney Point, nesting down old rabbit burrows in the sand dunes. Some of the adults migrate to north Germany to moult, leaving their youngsters behind in ‘creches’. Young from up to four different broods are guarded by adults in these creches, until they fledge.

Other bird species that thrive and breed there include sky larks, meadow pipits, oyster catchers and ringed plovers. Wintering wildfowl visit the nature reserve from about September onwards. They include brent geese, widgeon, and waders like dunlin and curlew. Linnets and reed buntings can be spotted in the bushes by keen observers.

Read the full article in the March 2016 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life Magazine
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