For almost a decade his life was centred on a lonely spit of shingle, saltmarsh, silt and sand jutting out into the North Sea.

But Ajay Tegala was rarely lonely in the warden’s accommodation out on Blakeney Point – he was too busy looking after the wildlife.

Ajay was just 14 when he first saw Blakeney Point. “Like countless others, my family was on holiday in the county and had come to see the seals. The mist made it a mysterious and eerie experience. I felt like I had entered a secret haven, a sanctuary for seals and birds,” he said.

Eastern Daily Press: Baby seal at Blakeney PointBaby seal at Blakeney Point (Image: Ajay Tegala)

Eastern Daily Press: Blakeney PointBlakeney Point (Image: Ajay Tegala)

Five years later he was volunteer assistant warden – and went on to become the full-time ranger at Blakeney Point. His home was the former lifeboat station on the point and his route to the mainland was either a four-mile shingle spit or a high-tide boat trip across the harbour.

Blakeney Point has been a protected nature reserve for more than a century, looked after by the National Trust and a series of wardens employed to protect its seal colonies and internationally important seabirds.

It was the National Trust’s first coastal nature reserve and has been a bird sanctuary for 121 years, visited by many species of rare birds including little terns, common terns, Sandwich terns and Arctic terns. Today it is both an internationally important breeding site for birds and home to England’s largest grey seal colony. There are rare plants too – and even the occasional dolphin.

From early April until mid-August the wardens keep careful watch on the terns, making sure seal-seeking visitors do not trample on the nests and crush the eggs. Other threats to the terns include foxes, rats and herring gulls. “Our message was not that we don’t want herring gulls to nest, we just don’t want them to nest on Blakeney Point,” said Ajay.

And Ajay had an innovative approach to keeping herring gull populations down – by eating their eggs. “The taste is very similar to a chicken’s egg. We had them fried, scrambled and even in an omelette,” said Ajay.

His role ranged from the daily monitoring and protection of the wildlife to coping with crises which got national and international attention including the 2013 tidal surge and the terrible helicopter crash the following year which killed four US servicemen.

There were also mysteries, including what was happening to the baby seals, washing up dead with strange corkscrew lacerations. (Spoiler alert, it was nature red in tooth and claw.)

When camera crews came out to film for wildlife or countryside programmes Ajay found himself starring on shows including Countryfile, Springwatch, Autumnwatch, Winterwatch, Homes by the Sea and Coast.

“Few people have had the privilege and responsibility of living on an isolated, internationally important nature reserve,” said Ajay who began volunteering at Blakeney Point in 2009, got a job as a seasonal assistant in 2012 and was its ranger, or warden, from 2013 to 2018. He even got engaged on Blakeney Point.

Gradually he realised he loved introducing his lonely, lovely home, and wild neighbours, on Blakeney Point to television viewers. It was the start of a new chapter in his career and he left Blakeney to become a wildlife television presenter.

Eastern Daily Press: Ajay Tegala will be appearing on the BBC's Springwatch programme, broadcast live from Wild Ken Hill in Norfolk.Ajay Tegala will be appearing on the BBC's Springwatch programme, broadcast live from Wild Ken Hill in Norfolk. (Image: © Archant Norfolk 2013)

During his years on Blakeney Point Ajay kept diaries which became the basis of his book, The Unique Life of a Ranger: Seasons of Change on Blakeney Point, published this month by The History Press. It includes his own photographs and drawings of his time as ranger.

Eastern Daily Press: Ajay Tegala has written a book about life as Blakeney Point rangerAjay Tegala has written a book about life as Blakeney Point ranger (Image: Ajay Tegala)

“This is the story of what life as a ranger on one of Britain’s prime nature sites is really like, from the excitement of monitoring the rapidly growing seal population to the challenges and struggles of protecting ground-nesting birds from a plethora of threats,” said Ajay. “This is my tribute to the beauty of Blakeney, to the wildlife and the people to whom it is home.”

“When you fall in love with a place as special as the north Norfolk coast, it remains in your heart and mind forever.

“Whenever I hear the distinctive calls of terns, I am transported back to Far Point in summer: the excitement, the drama, the responsibility, the absolute joy.”