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Saturday, 28 December 2013

BLAKENEY POINT!

 SEAL PUP AT BLAKENEY POINT

I finally got out of the house today and decided I needed a long walk! I also fancied finding a Ivory Gull!!! It was a beautiful sunny day with almost no wind at all – a contrast from yesterday! I see more strong winds and rain are forecast for Sunday/Monday, oh joy!

I was told from a local birder that Beach Road at Cley was now open, but on my arrival it wasn't! The 'Road Closed' barrier was across the road with police sign, so I squeezed my car in the last available space next to the barrier. I was most annoyed when I reached the top of Beach Road to see two 4x4 vehicles leaving Coastguards and drive past me!!!

The walk out to Blakeney Point was devoid of birds, aside from a few gulls floating past. The shingle has certainly changed! Whereas the beach east of Coastguards has hardened and is easier to walk on, the walk to the 'Point' is now the opposite in places. In some areas the newly laid shingle, which has been shifted further inland, is ankle deep in some areas – this is not funny to walk through at all. For those of you that don't enjoy trudging up the 'Point', you will enjoy it even less now!!! I changed my normal pattern of walking inland along the sueda to 'The Plantation' and back along the beach – today I walked along the beach as far as 'Halfway House' and then switched to walking alongside the sueda. I was surprised at how many people were out here, especially considering the closure of Coastguards carpark!

It was fascinating to see how high the surge had come up to around 'The Hood', with masses of tidal debris all around the dunes, intermingled with lots of plastic rubbish and bottles etc. Sadly, as expected, I came across a few dead seal pups on route. Quite a few sueda bushes have been lost, but overall it doesn't look that different. At 'The Plantation' I sat down for late lunch and coffee. No birds here at all, which was expected at this time of the year. There was a large piece of tree trunk positioned by one of the buildings I noticed. The Lifeboat House is still intact, but there is damage and its all cordoned off for safety/inspection. Large areas of the boardwalk have also been destructed. Lots of shelduck, curlew and wigeon in Blakeney Harbour. Found a seal pup alone in the dunes, which didn't look in a particularly healthy state – bloody eye etc. Phoned someone to report it and I was told that the mother would probably be back to feed it later. I have never seen seal pups this far into the dunes, but I have been told that after the storm, they were everywhere!
 Seal Pup at Blakeney Point.

Walked back via the beach for a while. I could see the seal colony not that far away, but there is a roped area with a 'NO FURTHER' sign to protect them. Pity some people and dogs I saw distantly earlier, didn't take any notice of that! Found 5 Turnstones and a solitary Sanderling scurrying along the tidal debris. The tideline looks so different – masses of bits of sueda and pine branches along with lots of plastic rubbish. It was difficult to find an easy route back, all I could find was deep shingle! I zig-zagged across the shingle to find a comfortable solid route to walk on, but this was inconsistent all the way back! I had to cross over to the sueda after 'Halfway House' in the end. In the semi-dusk I flushed a bird from the shingle, but have no idea what it was! The extra walk along Beach Road to my car, made the trek even longer! It was 5pm when I reached my car and I could still just about see, so the night's are getting lighter again, hurrah!

Latest update on Blakeney Point and the aftermath of the storm surge here:
http://norfolkcoastnationaltrust.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/the-flooding-of-blakeney-freshes.html

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