Wednesday, August 06, 2008

a bit of research (and win a book)

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve done an interview at Book Talk with J&J, so do drop by and take the chance to win a copy of One Night, One Baby.

Spent yesterday doing some research with the troops. Part of this involved a trip to Morston Quay.

And from there we went out on a boat to Blakeney Point. This was a trip I've wanted to take for absolutely ages. It qualifies as research, because part of my book for Breedon involves flora and fauna: and there was something in particular I wanted to photograph.

Blakeney Point is basically a spit of sand heading out into the North Sea - and it's a rarity because it's one of the few places in the UK where shingle bank, saltmarsh and sand dunes are found together. The old lifeboat station used to be situated at the tip, but the spit has grown another ¾ of a mile since then. The Point has been a nature reserve since 1912 and is under the care of the National Trust; the old lifeboat station is used by the wardens and as an information point.

And what’s on the Point?

One of the largest colonies of seals in the world. In Norfolk, we have both Grey Seals and Common Seals. They spend about 90% of their time out of the water, but sometimes you'll see them going for a swim; they can reach speeds of up to 25mph in the water and can stay submerged for up to 10 minutes. Their whiskers are very sensitive - that's how come they know where to swim for the fish.

But basically they like being in their little family group. The Common Seals have their babies from June-August, and the Greys from Nov-Jan. The babies put on between 1 and 1.5kg per day in the three weeks between birth and weaning.

For the ornithologists among you - this is also a prime spot for tern (Sandwich, Common, Little and Arctic), oyster catchers and ringed plover.

After the boat trip, we switched books and did some more church pics. This is Blakeney. The little tower to the right (I've taken this from the east end) used to be the lighthouse tower. And note the group of 7 lancet windows (albeit with modern glass). There are only two other places in England where there is a group of more than 5 lancet windows - one is in Ockham and the other is Lincoln Cathedral.

And this window is at Briningham. A nice piece of Decorated tracery... though obviously the glass is much newer. And very purple, so I couldn't resist the shot.


India said...

Kate-- what a treat! Thanks for such gorgeous pictures. I adore them-- used to see so many during holidays on the west coast of Scotland when we were little, but haven't seen any for ages (not many around in Cheshire!) so you've made me feel all nostalgic. Did your kids want to bring one home?

Jan Jones said...

Ooh, I've always wanted to do the seal trip too.