Sunday, 28 June 2015

June 28th Blakeney Point

Boat to Blakeney Point
Blakeney Point is a natural spit of land jutting out from the North Norfolk coast into the North Sea. It is a popular destination for wildlife watchers of all kinds. There are two ways of getting to this National Trust site. You could either take the long way by walking for several miles from Cley, taking in the landscape and the odd rare bird that turns up or you could take the easy route and take a boat trip from Morston. I have taken the boat option today with my brother, Frazer and his fiancée, Laura. This option gives us a chance to see some of Blakeney's best loved residents, the seals.

The three of us ready to go
Off we go!!
The boat tour also included a stop off at the old lifeboat buildings on Blakeney Point itself, but unfortunately, this wasn't to be as the tide and wind was against us to make a landing. It didn't bother us much though, as eveyone was more interested in seeing the seals than spending an hour on the beach.
The old lifeboat buildings at Blakeney Point

Before we set off for the seals, there was wildlife to be had at the quay area as oystercatchers were busy feeding and bathing in the salty water of the channel that our boat uses to travel on. Skylarks sang their delightful song from all around us and a small murmuration of starlings danced in the background in waves above the salt marsh.

The boat was finally ready to go, packed with tourists. After a short ride, dodging anchored boats, it wasn't long until we started seeing the seals lounging on the sand bars which was shrinking in the rising tide. Some of them were in the water with their heads poking out to investigate curiously of what these strange vessels circling around them are.

Laura watches the seals
There are two species of seal here mingling on and around the sand bars. The common (or harbour) seal is the smallest of the two and has a short snout and teddy bear-like face. The grey seal are the ones with longer snouts and despite their cousin's name, it is actually the grey seal that is the UK's commonest seal.

Grey Seals
Common Seals
At this time of year, common seals are arriving to Blakeney to give birth. We could see a couple of pups amongst the other seals lazing it out on the sand. Unlike the grey seal pups (which are born in the winter), common seal pups can swim and are not white and fluffy. The pup will suckle milk from it's mother for three to four weeks before it is left to fend for itself.
Common Seals with pup

As we circled the seals several times, I notice sandwich terns flying across to another sand bar adjacent to the one the seals were on. These are large terns with a black, shaggy crest and a black bill with a yellow tip. A large group of them were lining up on the sand for a rest. Then our boat leaves the seals to take us to part of Blakeney Point where a colony of little, sandwich, Arctic and common terns were. The little terns are the rarest of the tern species here. They are small with yellow bills and were diving for fish close to the shore and our boat. It was a great way to end the trip, despite not landing on the Point itself and getting a bit wet.
Sandwich Terns
Little Terns
Little Terns and Common Terns
Little Terns


  1. What a brilliant boat trip - I'm very jealous! Lovely photos too!

    1. The sea was a bit rough though and it kept splashing over the boat and right into my face lol.