November 29 2014 Latest news:
By STSVE DOWNES, Reporter
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Reporter STEVE DOWNES is spending this week stranded on a spit, living with the wardens in the old lifeboat house on Blakeney Point. Here, he brings you dispatches from day one.
I could get used to this.
Granted, coming in under the shopping budget for five days of food was a challenge.
But the view from my temporary home on Blakeney Point, the presence of all manner of natural neighbours (including noisy ones – the sandwich terns), plus the company of expert wardens Eddie, Ajay and Joe ensured a splendid start.
The three-mile hike with Ajay from Cley to the Point included viewing avocet and little tern nests, while watching the little terns diving into the sea with speed and precision, emerging with tiny fish in their beaks, was breathtaking.
Ajay also patiently explained the difference between common, little, arctic and sandwich terns – and helped me identify avocets, redshanks, curlews and oystercatchers. His patience will surely wear thin when he explains for the 97th time.
An early highlight was a dash outside to see a passing osprey: passing because it was being harried by a horde of angry oystercatchers.
I was also able to help with a little tern survey for Natural England, acting as the scribe while Eddie and Ajay did the difficult bit.
And I saw some arctic tern eggs in the sand. When I say “saw”, I mean Ajay pointed them out to me before my size 11s scrambled them.
Finally, I have learnt that the cat’s ear flower looks nothing like a cat’s ear. One day, I trust that piece of information will come in useful.
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