Plants & animals
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A coastal world of wildlife
Yellow horned poppy
The sea pea grows in the annual drift line communities, those plants that tend to seed each year after being thrown up by the sea at the top of the tide. Sea pea disappears in the winter but its extensive root system, used to gather scarce water, can remain if undisturbed. Its seeds are able to survive long periods in the sea.
Orford Ness hares
Often claimed locally as a breed in their own right, the Ness's brown hares certainly tend to be bigger, fatter and healthier than their mainland cousins. 'That's not a hare, it's a horse!' is a not uncommon cry amongst our volunteers. Scattered across the site they are most easy to see on the shingle bank from the top of the Bomb Ballistics Building. Be patient and look across the vegetated ridges, waiting for a sudden lolloping movement to catch your eye. If you're lucky, you'll have seen an Orford hare.
The characteristic bird of our grazing marshes, marsh harrier nest in the reed marsh in the King's Marsh and Airfield site. In the morning and again in late afternoon their slow powerful glide interrupted by occasional wing beats can be seen over the wet pasture.
Barn owl nest in a number of the old military buildings. As dusk falls their ghostly silent flight low over the grazing marsh perfectly matches the twilight mood. In the spring they are often visible hunting during daylight hours, looking for food to feed hungry young mouths.
A winter visitor, you might spot them still around early in spring or late in the autumn. They roost on ledges on our buidlings, and on the transmitter aerials in the Cobra Mist site. Powerful and inspiring, the fastest living creature on earth is a thrilling sight.