Finished work, waited for rush hour to finish, then hit the motorways. My initial idea was to blitz through Holme Dunes for some Natterjack action under the cover of darkness. I duly arrived at 11pm and went out for a wander. No toad noise, just a few Oyks, high up Dunlin and what sounded like a begging Barn Owlet. Hmmm....I'd try again in the morning. I returned to the van, drove eastwards a few miles to a quiet spot and was soon kipping in the back.
So first light was spent wandering around Stiffkey Saltmarsh staring at unfamiliar plants! Never really done much in the way of coastal botanising before and all of my books were in Cornwall residing with best mate Danny Cooper. I took a few pics, pulled a few leaves and generally wondered why the heck I didn't recognise much of anything! It was all glassworts, grasses, sedges, weird glaucous stuff and a multitude of sea-lavender action. Hmmm. Next stop was a bookshop where the best I could find was Harrap's 'Wildflowers'. Going over my pics I soon added Sea-wormwood, Grass-leaved Orache and Common Sea-lavender to the list.
Back at Holme Dunes I went for quite a wander finding various low-lying pools. No Natterjack action though, not even any tadpoles. Maybe next year? Back to the plants I managed a few more lifers - Common Cord-grass, Greater Sea Spurrey, Sea Arrowgrass (much larger than I was expecting, I'd seen Marsh Arrowgrass before but wasn't expecting this monster!), Sea Milkwort and - best of all - quite a bit of Matted Sea-lavender amongst the ubiquitous Common Sea-lavender. Other species seen included masses of Hare's-foot Clover, Sea Sandwort, Sea Plantain, Hoary Cress and Honeysuckle which I really didn't expect to see in the dunes!
I hit the roads again and headed south. Sod's Law a Black-winged Pratincole turned up at Stiffkey Saltmarsh later that day. I need Black-winged Pratincole for my World List, darnit. Ho hum, I enjoyed the dune plants. Next time I'll have a proper decent book and maybe do a bit of research before arriving. Or tag along with Robert from Holme, lol!