Fossils on a point

Peace and quiet. The only sounds to be heard is the gentle lap of water on the beach, the twittering of swallows and linnets, the warbling song of willow warbler and skylark, the muted honk of barnacle geese and the raucous calls of gulls soaring in a brilliant blue sky overhead. In either direction coarse sand and pebbles merge into mudflats glinting silvery grey in the bright sunlight. Behind me tall sand dunes with tufty grass and beyond that the soft roar of the ocean.

Spring migration had truly begun at Spurn Point, I had seen my first sand martin, wheatear, redstart and whitethroat of the year on this long spit of land that juts into the river Humber. At one end the distant yellow fields of oil seed rape, dark green mounds of trees with stark white wind turbines that are becoming a feature of our landscape just as electricity pylons did. At the other end a rather battered and bruised lighthouse stands sentry over old abandoned houses and military buildings. A life boat station remains but the families that once called this wild tip of land home have long moved on. Now the men and women working the life boat and the pilots remain on a rotation.

The serenity of Spurn Point

The spit of land is just as battered, the tidal surge just before Christmas destroyed the road that had only just been rebuilt, once again changing the dynamics of this wild landscape. Yet Spurn remains as it always has been a mecca for bird watchers and birds alike. A stop off for migrants, one of the first ports of call for birds exhausted from flying non stop over the turbulent waters of the North Sea and a known hotspot for the more rare and unusual birds that visit our shores. A small piece of quiet and natural solitude, nestled between the industry of the North Sea and the bustle of the cities.

How a landscape can change in a matter of hours. From the bright sunny skies, warm balmy breeze and constant chatter of birds, the morning dawned with a thick blanket of swirling white fog. Tree, bush and building all softened around the edges and kind of more muffled hush descending with only the odd linnet or swallow zooming overhead. And with bird watching looking gloomy Spurn reveals its other secret treasures to me. Fossils. Where cliff and beach have been worn away the remains of ancient wildlife is revealed. With cliffs and sea shrouded in fog, just the rumble of waves crashing and pebbles rolling, we scour those left scattered at the top of the beach searching for that one pebble or stone that reveals its secret so long locked away. And with the fog lifting, we find what we are looking for, ancient creatures carved in stone, preserved for eternity

An ammonite and Devil’s toe nail (Gryphaea)
 

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