There are some places that come along as a real treat. They are not on the list of things to see or places to go, and indeed, you wouldn’t have even heard of them, except for discussions with people you just met.
Donna Nook in Lincolnshire UK was such a place. Had I not got into photography and booked a weekend in Bavaria (details in another blog post to come) on a wildlife photography trip (with Tatra Photography). It was on this weekend, chatting to others about their photos and other places they had the chance to photograph wildlife that we heard about Donna Nook – the largest breeding site for seals in the UK.
So, with a weekend to spare, Alex and I hired a car and decided to find out if this place really was as fantastic an opportunity to see seals as we had been told. To be honest, I had my doubts. I had been in the UK for almost 6 years and no one had ever mentioned it, not was it in any guidebook or English tourism site I’d seen to date.
I was wrong to doubt it – walking over the sand dunes – it wasn’t just the biting wind that almost brought tears to my eyes. There were literally thousands of seals on the beach – as far as I could see – and it was incredible! I was so excited and couldn’t decide which ones to watch or take photos of next.
Yes there were quite a lot of visitors to this isolated beach close to an army training ground – but everyone was in awe of the baby seals and their lazy parents – who certainly weren’t letting the pups steal the spotlight – with their displays of protection for the pups.
Donna Nook for me was a very special place, it gave me the opportunity to see wildlife in its own environment on a scale I hadn’t seen before in the UK. I got to take literally thousands of pictures, but most importantly, I got to see that England has not just its quaint country cottages, rolling green landscapes and cities I love, but a wildlife scene that is just as special, and yet far less commercial than other parts of the world. I hope it never changes and that people will continue to visit whilst the seals are on-shore to have their pups (October to December normally). It is like heading to the Galápagos without leaving England!