Friday, 6 February 2009

Are we falling into the sea?

This morning was one of those mornings that demand a walk along the cliff. I walked down towards Hope Point from the Monument.

About half way down there is an small "inlet" in the cliff that allows a good view along towards Hope Point. From here the large cliff fall was evident. From this height it is difficult to appreciated the scale of the fall, but judging by the distance it had spread towards the sea and the size of some of the chunks it was a major event.

While I was looking along the rocks I noticed a black "something" on about half way up the cliff. In fact there were three "things" on small ledges on the cliff face.

Zooming in (and this photo is "stretched" to the limit) it was easy to make out that they were Cormorants.

When I was fitter it did several walks along the shore, at low tide, between St Margaret's and Kingsdown, and there are more ledges than are visible from any vantage point. I counted over 20 Cormorants on these ledges but I have never before found a place to see any from the top.

I got a little closer, but such is my fear of heights, I didn't get too near to the edge. My suspicion is that these ledges are sufficiently large to allow nesting, but they are difficult to assess from the top, and I'm not able to do the walk along the bottom any more, as it required too much scrambling. A boat trip would be good though.

There was a lot of activity on the sea, with several Cormorants among large numbers of gulls, actively feeding in tight groups. I presume that there are some good shoals of small fish not far off shore at the moment.

The place I was watching from is near a well used Fulmar nesting hole, and I've photoed them here several times before. Fulmars have a good life expectancy and it is conceivable that each year I photo the same bird sitting here. I was surprised when suddenly the breast of a second bird came into view, I had though the the mate of this bird was one of those that kept flying up to the hole.

3 comments:

Tricia said...

Sounds a great place to walk. The cormorants really stand out against the chalk cliffs! I don't know your neck of the woods very well so will enjoy it through your blog (which I found via Steve Gale's blog)

Another cliff fall - our island is disappearing too quickly!

Warren Baker said...

Are there any fossils thrown up in the fall Tony ?

Tony Morris said...

Hi Warren,
Jack Chantler and I were talking about this yesterday. I've looked at other falls without luck. It may be I'm just not good at it or there really might not be that many fossils in this layer. Unfortunately this fall is beyond my capabilities, about half way between Kingsdown and St Margaret's Bay. You'd get a few hours between high tides but the terrain is quite hard scrambling, and although my knee is OK on level paths it doesn't like rock climbing.