On Sunday the sun beamed down on Norfolk, so we decided to take advantage and head down to the coast for the day. We are currently trying to cover all of the Norfolk coastline in sections, so on this particular day we set off for Hemsby to have a gentle ramble on the beach.
Hemsby itself is not overwhelming beautiful, but the beach certainly is. We were greeted by miles of soft, white sand and a sea that was more green than grey. We arrived late morning and the beach was already littered with bikini-clad teenagers soaking up the sun (and other women’s envy) and families with half-naked children using their suncream-clad bodies to slip out of their parents’ reach.
The sand was so fine that I soon abandoned my shoes and walked along the beach with my feet dipped in the sea. Soon enough, we got away from the crowds and got to enjoy a bit more peace and quiet.
This part of the coast is special for another reason in that it is a protected zone for nesting terns. These tiny birds are becoming very rare due to their nesting sites on the beach being disturbed or destroyed. As a result, a section of the beach is cordoned off to prevent people accidentally stepping on nests or dogs scaring away the parents. It’s a bit of an eyesore, but with so much beach available, a small section isn’t missed.
We were lucky enough to see a little group of these birds on our return walk. They reminded me a bit of small children as they rushed up to the tide line and then scampered away as a wave approached. The birds are so miniscule I was surprised that they managed not to get washed away.
During our ramble, we also spotted several seals playing near the beach. They were very inquisitive and would bob their heads up and look straight at you. They were also very annoying as they timed their return to the water the very second I got my camera out. They can’t have been more than 10 feet away from where I was standing on the beach, so it was a real missed opportunity. I saw one other thwarted photographer experiencing the same problem – the moment he turned his back, the seal would bob up, only to disappear the moment he whipped round with his camera.
I kept an eye out for any interesting shells or possible fossils, but this time I was disappointed. All of the shells were smashed up, and the stones were smooth and unmarked. I think this is the first time in a long while that I haven’t found something interesting, so hopefully next time I will dig something up. I consoled myself with a rather enormous icecream when we returned to Hemsby.
If you want to find out more about terns and their nesting habits, check out this website.