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Sunday 15 December 2013

My Journey Continues East!

West Runton Cliffs

Kelling, Sheringham & West Runton
After buying my lunch from the Cley Deli – the day properly began with a hot cheese scone! Yep, you've guessed – at the Cley NWT Visitor Centre! I left the house late with no breakfast, so I needed this – yes I did Eddie!

The sun was shining, but I was only too aware that heavy rain was forecast after lunch, so time was precious. I stopped briefly on the main road at Salthouse just before Beach Road, to see if yesterday's Chiffchaff was still around, but there was no sign of it. There were however several Blackbirds, House Sparrows and Goldfinches flitting about in the debris covered Willows.

Kelling Quags
The track down to the Quags was clear and I had no problems getting to the pool, but my goodness the devastation here was huge! Tons of reedbed debris churned around everywhere. This is where the NWT North Hide has ended up! Pieces of the board walk, hide flaps, notice board and the main hide were strewn about amongst the tons of reed debris. I could see birders standing at the end of the track looking for the Richard's Pipit, so I decided to look elsewhere and took the path that veers off left towards Salthouse. Great piles of reed debris lined the path on the left hand side that were about 8ft high! On my right the ditches were filled with reed debris and there was a rowing boat, planks of wood, barrels, plastic rubbish, a book and all kinds of other stuff – what a mess! The path itself was a challenge to walk on! No sign of the Richard's Pipit here, although just for a moment I thought I had it, but the bird I saw land on the path up ahead, did one of those aggravating disappearing acts! I flushed a Kestrel from behind the huge stacks of reeds. I walked back and joined the other local birders. We discussed the devastation this storm has left behind and how it was going to take a very long time before everything (if ever) looked normal again. A really nice couple I was talking to (always forget their names, sorry!) were saying that Walcott was devastated and there was still furniture sitting on the front of the sea wall/promenade from smashed up houses!!! There were a pair of coloured-ringed Stonechats here, which was a nice surprise. I bumped into several people today, who stopped to say how much they enjoyed my Storm Post last week, thank you all very much!
The path that veers off left to Salthouse at the end of the track at Kelling Water Meadows. Gramborough Hill can be seen distantly.

 The path that veers off left to Salthouse at the end of the track at Kelling Water Meadows.
Path is to the left of the reed debris.

 The path that veers off left to Salthouse at the end of the track at Kelling Water Meadows.

 The path that veers off left to Salthouse at the end of the track at Kelling Water Meadows.

 The 'North Hide' Flaps from Cley at Kelling Water Meadows!

 The path that veers off left to Salthouse at the end of the track at Kelling Water Meadows. Looking towards the Quags.
Tidal debris at Kelling Water Meadows.

 Standing with the pool behind me at Kelling Water Meadows.
The track that leads to the shingle bank at Kelling Water Meadows.
 Tons of reed debris and part of North Hide at Kelling Water Meadows.

Birders searching for the Richard's Pipit in vain – main pool on left.

Track to the single beach enveloped with tons of tidal debris at
Kelling Water Meadows.
Part of the boardwalk from Cley NWT Hides!
Gramborough Hill in the distance.
 Standing on the shingle bank (Kelling Hard).

 The track below the shingle bank, looking towards
Kelling Water Meadows.

Kelling Water Meadows.

Stopped to look at the Sea Watching Shelter under 'The Leas' and the Promenade. The steps down to the shelter have barriers fixed across and no one can get down there at the moment. Understandably its all got to be checked out before anyone goes and stands in a concrete building that's taken a humongous bashing! The concrete promenade directly in front of the shelter was completely smashed in and huge pieces were missing both here and all the way along west of the shelter – unbelievable that this concrete has been smashed up to this extent!!! The power of this storm has caused so much damage to our coastline, far more than we had anticipated. The rain had arrived and the skies had developed into a depressing grey colour and you could see it was set in for the rest of the day.
The sea-watching shelter at 'The Leas', Sheringham – cordoned off.
The promenade in front of the sea-watching shelter!

The promenade east of the sea-watching shelter!
The promenade west of the sea-watching shelter!

The promenade directly below the sea-watching shelter!

West Runton
Parked the car in the cliff top car park and sat in the car for a while as the rain fell. On the cliff top there were grey plovers, lapwings and starlings all in a group together sitting on the grassy field. I braved the rain and walked down to the beach. As expected, there was tons of cliff fall all the way along the beach and part of the coastal footpath was hanging in the balance! Also another section of fence was slid part way down the cliff face. It was dramatic scenery indeed! A single Turnstone ran along the surf edge in front of me. I searched for fossils, coins and tusks (ha ha) but found nothing of special interest. A Herring Gull sat poignantly at the end of the groynes. I really enjoyed this walk along the bottom of the cliffs, even though it was raining – it was so beautiful here, wild, rugged and beautiful.

Again the day had disappeared, the light was fading and it was time to go home. Saw two Woodcocks on the way back. On my return I had more lovely emails from people, thank you and a very interesting one from a man who sent me a fascinating account of the storm damage he had encountered in Norfolk including the fact that the Gun Hill end of Burnham Overy Dunes "was cut back nearly to the chimney stack". That's a real shame, this area is one of my favourite places to search for migrants. I'm sure there are loads more areas of erosion and changes that lay undiscovered along our beautiful, but ever more fragile coastline.
 Pebbles at West Runton Beach.

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