Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Sunday, 26 February 2017

RSPB Bempton Cliffs

Short-eared Owl

I arrived at RSPB Bempton Cliffs well before the Seabird Centre opened this morning, in order to have a good look around and report back before our visitors arrived. The light at 0800hrs was perhaps the best the day would offer, with a golden glow. As I walked down the diagonal path towards the cliffs, a Short-eared Owl quartered the field before taking a well earned rest on the bench!


The Gannet numbers on the cliffs are certainly increasing with some still waiting for partners to return and some already paired and cementing their bond!



"When my partner arrives, I hope they notice how busy I've been, making our nest comfortable!"

A few Razorbills and Guillemots clung to the cliff ledges, but the majority formed large rafts on the sea.

Razorbill



Guillemot (not quite looking my best!)



I'm sure there was something in the water below Bartlett Nab as both Razorbills and Guillemots faced up to each other in fights lasting several minutes!

Guillemot Fight!




Razorbill Fight!




Fulmars continued to be very active



Blue (Dark) Fulmar

A number of interpretation boards have been erected around the feeding station and adjoining hedgerows drawing attention to a very endearing little bird - the Tree Sparrow.





And finally, Todays Sightings!


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?