Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A day out at Bempton Cliffs

I spent the 29th of March at Bempton Cliffs RSPB Reserve in Yorkshire.  The hope was to see a broad range of seabirds and I have to say it did not disappoint, although there wey fewer species about that I had hoped.  The reason, well I arrived at exactly the same moment as storm Katie, up to 100mph winds on the cliff face and horizontal rain.  A fantastic day for birding and taking holiday snaps.  Anyhow many of the smaller bird species had far more sense than me and headed out to sea away from the tempest.  I did see one Shag, one Cormorant and a single Puffin, all heading out to sea at great speed.  Still I did get some photos to share, so I hope you like Gannets ;).

Despite the peaceful look of this lot there was a raging storm coming over the top of the ridge, yet they were quite happy sitting there, probably having claimed their breeding spot.
This guy hung in the air just over the ridge Gannets are not generally known for their hovering abilities but when conditions are right...
The bird nearest had just arrived back on the ledge and I watched them have a little bill fencing session, its a kind of welcome home of one partner to another.  Shortly after they settled down together for a rest.  Some were spotted mating on another ledge.
This one is on its way back to base with some nesting material ready.
A final shot of one of these fantastic birds sailing by, as I mentioned, you would never know the winds were extremely strong.

Also preparing for the breeding season were a couple of thousand Kittiwakes, some of the ledges I saw them starting to nest on were little more than 7 or 8 cm, but they were defending it with all their might.
You must admit though, they are lovely birds?

This was a really lucky shot as I only saw two of these all day and both were moving very quickly.  The Fulmar is a first for me, not seen one before, the first of three firsts for my day out.

A couple of shots of Herring Gulls , there were a fair few of these about but nowhere near as many as Gannets or Kittiwakes.
Herring Gull Number 2.
A couple of immature gulls were also about.  I am not very good on young Gulls but I am reasonably sure they are both Herring Gulls too.

Immature Herring Gull number 2.

On the way back to the car I spotted an old friend from Saudi Arabia, the Pied or White Wagtail.  While watching him, my second of the day flew up from the grass, a beautiful little Skylark.  Sorry to say no photos, he was too quick for me.
My third first of the day, a lovely little Tree Sparrow of which there was a whole bush full.  Behind the centre's car park were a collection of bird boxes, almost all of which were occupied with Tree Sparrows.

Also in the trees was a small flock of Goldfinch, unfortunately it was getting a bit dark so it is not a great photo but lovely birds.
Just a final parting shot before I left, this little Chaffinch was almost totally surrounded by Tree Sparrows.  The weather on the day was horrific and a lot of what I had hoped to see wee off out to sea but I will definitely be going back as it is a wonderful site and there is always the centre with hot tea, coffee and soup should the temperatures be a bit challenging.

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