Life on Special Point
Day in the life of a Seasonal Ranger
I load my weekly supplies onto the boat and steer along a winding creek into Blakeney harbour. I pass a boat full of smiling people on their way back from watching the seals. A tern dives head-first into the water and emerges with a small fish. In the distance a blue building catches the early June sun: Home. I tie the boat to its mooring, a colleague unloads my bags and we trudge along the shingle to the blue house.
A couple with two children see the National Trust oak leaf on my shirt and ask what the small fenced enclosures are for. I point out a black-and-white bird with an orange bill.
“That’s an oystercatcher. They lay their eggs on the shingle. The eggs are camouflaged to protect them from predators, such as gulls, that will eat them. But this makes them hard for us to see, and easy to tread on. Have a look inside the fence-line and see if you can see any.”
At first they tell me there is nothing there, but then one of the children excitedly points out four eggs in the middle of the enclosure. I explain that I am one of the four people that live out here over the summer and protecting eggs is part of our job. I then explain that we must move on to allow the parent bird to return to its incubation duties.
“What a cool job” remarks the older child. It certainly is. In fact, it was very cool indeed when we moved into the former lifeboat house in April; there’s no central heating.
But this year, 100 years after the first National Trust warden worked on Blakeney Point, we have running electricity for the first time, due to the installation of photovoltaic panels; a luxury in this remote location.
Discussing today’s jobs with my colleagues over a cup of tea, I realise I had forgotten to buy any milk. Thankfully there is still enough left in the fridge. Tea has to be hurried as the conditions are perfect for a butterfly transect and the toilets need cleaning. Work is certainly varied out here. I will be savouring every moment until the season ends in September.