Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Sunday, 19 February 2017

RSPB Bempton Cliffs

Fulmar

It is always a pleasure to answer the call of the cliffs, but even more special when the sun is shining, the sky is blue, the wildlife is increasing and visitors are in awe of this special place! Today I spent most of my time on Bartlett Nab viewpoint, engaging with visitors and photographing the wildlife in the immediate vicinity. It was noticeable that the Gannet numbers were increasing, with some pairs already in attendance on their nests and others awaiting the return of their partner.

Gannets

Don't come any closer!

Anyone would think this nest has been left unattended since last year!

A gift for my beloved!

Geronimo!




The Fulmar activity is also on the increase





Early morning, approximately 200 Guillemots were on the cliffs below Bartlett Nab but these slowly disappeared over the course of the day, but small numbers could be seen in flight and on the sea. Around twelve Razorbills were seen in flight along the coast, with nine Shags and two Red-throated Divers on the sea.

A small number of Rock Pipits flew along the cliff top, including this one sheltering on Bartlett Nab decking.


Herring Gull activity seems to be increasing with various aged birds up and down the coast. Now I know there are four age groups (juv, 1st summer, 2nd summer and 3rd summer and adult), but I am not aware of any way of sexing them. However, I do wonder if the following two images could be used?

?Male

?Female

[Sorry!]

The Tree Sparrow numbers were approximately 70 which is very encouraging.


The sun seemed to highlight Scarborough Castle this morning, which is always a good omen!



My apologies for not including the RSPB Bempton Cliffs sightings board in this blog entry, but my clumsy fingers deleted it before saving it! Sorry!

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Hoddy Cows Lane, Buckton

Yellowhammer

Today, I felt the need for a long(ish) walk. My body has been invaded by sniffling snot goblins and I needed the fresh air to encourage them to leave! I have not walked Hoddy Cows Lane for a while and I knew it would be muddy, so I opted to wear wellies, and so glad I did - it was even muddier than a really muddy place! The hedgerows were quite quiet, save for about five Yellowhammers calling out "a little bit of bread and no cheese". I had to try for images of these wonderful farmland birds, even though the light was (again) quite poor.

Yellowhammer





Near the dell, I managed to find my first Reed Bunting's of the year, one male and two females. Other birds along the way included Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Robins, Dunnocks, Great Tits, Long Tailed Tits and Blue Tits.

As I arrived at the high ground, near the Heligoland trap, the mist rolled in, challenging my attempts at capturing a pair of Stonechats.


The sun was making some effort to break through giving rise to dramatic views towards Bempton Cliffs.


Overhead, a skein of around forty Pink Footed Geese headed towards Filey and a distant Roe Deer headed through the old RAF Bempton listening station.

Buckton Cliffs held many Gannets, Herring Gulls and Fulmar, while the sea below had rafts of Guillemots and a few Razorbills, with Shag and a Red Throated Diver.

Heading back towards Buckton, enjoying the mud, I came across some very laid back sheep, begging to have their photograph taken!



Returning towards Buckton, the hedgerows were even quieter than my outward journey! Buckton Pond held a single drake Gadwall.



The water surface was clear and I was attracted to a Moorhen with a mirrored image!




The only other birds on the pond were Canada Geese, Black Headed Gulls and several Mallard pairs.




Even though the walk did me good, the snivelling snot goblins refused to leave my body so may be I can lose them on Bempton Cliffs tomorrow?

Monday, 13 February 2017

RSPB Bempton Cliffs - Owls

Short-eared Owl

Went up to the cliffs late this afternoon to walk the dog and enjoy the bright, sunny conditions. Really glad I did as three Short-eared Owls were in attendance together with a Barn Owl! Symphony wasn't too happy about being tied to a fence while I photographed the Owls!

Barn Owl


Short-eared Owls









Sunday, 12 February 2017

RSPB Bempton Cliffs


Gannets on Staple Newk

Today the weather threw many challenges at the cliffs, it was blowing a hoolie, hardly got light with short, sharp, showers of rain and sleet. The cool wind did its best to blow you off the paths but if you were dressed appropriately, you could laugh at nature and enjoy the cliffs in their wild splendour! It was, however, a photographers nightmare! The grey cliffs, grey sky and grey sea dulled the light, so I worked on auto ISO in an attempt to get enough speed to avoid any blur. The ISO amazingly, at times was in the 3000 range, resulting in very grainy images. (Bad workman blaming tools??).  On the positive side, the cliffs were very atmospheric and I was happy to rise to the many challenges. Wildlife was very much reduced as todays sightings board reveals:


Heavy Seas below Bartlett Nab





Heavy Seas below Staple Newk





At Staple Newk, a pair of Stonechats sheltered around the decking. The male allowed me to capture his image but the female (wisely) remained in cover!



Some of you may well remember good old Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks? Well, one of the Gannets on Staple Newk did its best to compete with the Gannets Ministry of Silly Poses!








One flew over the Gannet's nest!



And.....just Gannets being Gannets!