The weather was mild this morning, we had nothing pressing to do at home and the coast beckoned. We rose at a leisurely pace, had a late breakfast (with the intention of having fish and chips at Sutton-on-Sea), and pottered off.
So far, so good.
Unfortunately I set off on the wrong road and neither of us noticed because we were talking at the time. Eventually we realised and I adjusted our route to take us to the coast via Gainsborough, which is an interesting town with Viking history. Sweyn Forkbeard and his son Cnut won a kingdom here when they defeated the army of King Ethelred the Unready. The story of Cnut, or Canute as he was known in my younger days, and his attempt to turn back the tide, may have occurred in Gainsborough.
It was also England’s most inland port, being 55 miles from the sea. However, big ships no longer call, so it’s not a proper port these days. The Nottinghamshire Naturalist’s Trust have some interesting records of whales at Gainsborough, and dolphins near Newark.
But enough about Gainsborough, it’s a nice enough town but it is not our destination.
We travelled to Sutton on Sea and enjoyed a bracing stroll along the front, watching the dog walkers and their various styles of dog walking and noticing the tracks across the sand. It was about 1.00 pm by this time. I noticed that if a lot of people had passed that way, turning the sand numerous times, the sand seemed to stay moist, and the tracks showed up as churned sand the same colour as the beach. If only one or two people had gone that way the churned sand seemed to dry in the wind and leave a pale trail across the beach. I hope the photo will demonstrate what I mean.
I looked for the glasses I lost on our last visit. They were not there. It’s just like being at home, people are always moving things after I put them down.
The fields were full of pheasants, who clearly know that the pheasant season ends on 1st February.
After that we travelled north to Horseshoe Point. We’ve been there before, It is reached by a pot-holed road, which is getting worse due to construction traffic – they are building the onshore bit for one of the offshore wind farms here. There is a car park, some marsh, a few coastal defences left from the war and not much else.
As we parked, three vees of geese flew over, obviously intent on grazing a field before roosting. We didn’t see them later but we did see a big flock of Widgeon on the return trip. Today we had views of ships in the Humber, hazy wind turbines and a Little Egret. I was particularly pleased with that as we’d seen two in roadside fields during the trip but hadn’t been able to stop and watch or photograph them.
It stayed in the distance, but it did do quite a bit of walking about and some short flights. I know they are quite common these days, but it’s always a thrill to see one.
On the way back to Sutton on Sea, and the chip shop, we were lucky enough to see a hunting Barn Owl as the light fell. They are ghostly, pale birds, and suit the light at the end of the day. It flew from one side of the road to the other, banking several times to show off its plumage, which is a lacework pattern of cream, grey and beige. A magic end to a fine day. It was just a shame it was too quick for me to get the camera out.
(To be continued)