As a kid I grew up on the East coast in Skegness, Lincolnshire. you may be forgiven for thinking that 'Skegvegas' is all chips and slot machines-The town is but for a kid the busy tourist beach soon gives way to quiet rolling dunes, lagoon like mudflats and then the start of Gibralter Point nature reserve (Gib).
The 'Ness' part of Skegness means, I'm reliably informed, a nose (with the Skeg bit being the Viking that founded the settlement) and the reserve's shape forms this geographic nasal reference.
As part of the sabbatical I keep harking back to I had agreed to drive my two boys up to see the relatives but I'd booked dinner at a hotel purposefully later as I wanted to whizz them both up to see the place. A mere three hours later and we pull up at the first carpark a short distance from the main part of the hide. A quick walk there and we are back into the car to the visitor centre part. I am logging (to the best of my ability) all the flora and fauna I see this year and I've included a shot of the some Sea Buckthorn which is very common along the coastline and made building dens on the beach a little problematic at times and it's the first Buckthorn berries of the year I'd seen.
A few years ago the previous centre was destroyed by flood so I was interested to see the new £1 million building which has stilts, a shop, café, a decent lower balcony and a massive upper viewing area from which we saw a Marsh Harrier. Note the concrete tank traps in the bottom right hand side corner.
There were a decent amount of plants to be seen whilst at the centre. This Henbane was the first to catch my eye which was pleasing as I found some near me year but not this.
There was also a good show of Sea Mayweed and Fennel, the latter was a little less advanced than the plants near me as there was little evidence of seeds forming.
And to finish off with a plant that I'd never seen before-Soapwort. It really is a pretty flower and was growing in several clumps.
For me a trip to Gib isn't complete without visiting the little standalone hide near the centre. It's called Lill's Hut because many moons ago it was owned by my Grandfather who used it to keep his boating gear in. He bequeathed it to the reserve and it was then converted into a hide. Like the tank traps this building alludes to the wartime military buildup in the area as it was a gun emplacement but was supposed to fool the Germans into thinking it was a regular building...that just happened to have a 180 degree view...
The short walk to and from Lill's Hut shows off a good carpet of Sea Purslane mixed in with other coastal plants. The flora also afforded a good view of a female Wheatear too.
So we'd had a quick walk at the first car park, then hit the centre and had a Latté, visited Lill's Hut and there was just enough time to strike out along the coastal path for a quick look before dinner. This carpet of Sea Lavender which we walked through was gorgeous.
I saw my first Haws of the year.
My first dewberries of the year too.
And yet another one to add to my 2016 flora and fauna record-Sea Asters, along with some Orache which I saw on this 1-2-1 walk. I actually found out the other day how it's pronounced, see here. I had to turn us around and head for the 'Oh haven't the boys grown?' nutritional rendezvous but in our short exposure Gib did us proud. I used to complain that I never saw anything of much interest there as a kid, I can't have been trying hard enough. Have a look at the reserves Facebook page to see just what is about, it's not a million miles up the coast from the likes of RSPB Minsmere and Titchwell so it's perhaps not so surprising.