Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Monday, 21 May 2018

What a difference a day makes! Bempton Cliffs - 21st May 2018

I've only got eyes for you!

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday we froze our bits off, today we sweated our bits off! Common denominator - sea fret! At least today it burnt off quicker! Bempton Cliffs this morning!

Sea frets can provide an atmospheric experience on the cliffs, especially when they are combined with warm and pleasant conditions! Today was one of those days!

Something I have never seen before on the cliffs is this rainbow coloured "halo"! This was below Bartlett Nab viewpoint.

Once the sea fret started to burn off, sunshine took over!

Bempton Cliffs visitor centre

Staple Newk Rock

Staple Newk Rock

Gannet Portrait

Wren in full song

Sedge Warbler in full song

Bempton Cliffs - 20th May 2018

Kestrel with snack!

What a difference a day can make! Today on the cliffs was totally unexpected and a complete failure by the weather forecasters. The weather had been glorious with blue skies and sunshine and this was forecast to continue for several more days. So what went wrong? Well, a major sea fret rolled in and reduced the temperature and visibility dramatically. It also failed to burn off. I had six layers of clothing on and debated going back to my car for warm hat and gloves! The sun did appear briefly in the afternoon but temperatures remained low.

I was expecting a coach full of birders from my old stamping ground in Coventry and Warwickshire, some I have not seen for three years since I moved to Bempton. It was really nice meeting old friends and chatting but time waits for no man and unfortunately I was not able to see everyone. The group has been saving postage stamps for the RSPB stamp appeal and presented several large bags! Thank you for all your efforts.

So, what was seen on the cliffs on this cold and poor visibility day?

It was a good day for Puffins but the sea fret challenged the photographers!

The Puffin is one of the smallest birds on the cliffs at c30cm and are often dwarfed by other cliff dwellers, as seen in this image with a Herring Gull!

Kestrels are regularly seen on the cliff tops, hovering in search of prey. This one had been successful!

Monday, 14 May 2018

Late Spring on Bempton Cliffs - 13th May 2018.


The weather forecast for today at Bempton was not good - rain all morning. However, it is good that no one can predict the weather on the cliffs and the rain failed to arrive! It was rather chilly throughout the morning, becoming milder during the afternoon, with some sunshine.

The seabirds performed magnificently reinforcing the Bempton "three S's" - sight, sound and smell!

So what was seen today at Bempton?

The sightings board is compiled from many sources, visitors, staff and volunteers. Not all of the species are seen by everyone, indeed, I was disappointed not to see the two Cranes and Hobby that passed through.

The breeding season is full steam ahead with regular mating, nest building an the appearance of Gannet, Guillemot and Razorbill eggs. The Puffins in the visible nest near Grandstand viewpoint are also on their egg!

Tree Sparrow gathering

Kittiwake gathering

Puffin gathering

Gannets gathering

The "guardian" of Bempton Cliffs is still on watch!




"Ouch" My eye!



Tuesday, 8 May 2018

WOW! What a fantastic day! Bempton Cliffs - 6th May 2018


With all of the inclement weather that has bugged us this year, today was certainly a WOW day! We were greeted on the cliffs with wall to wall sunshine, blue sky, blue sea and soaring temperatures, with only a light breeze later in the day. You could be mistaken for thinking that you were in the Med! Indeed, early in the day, an exotic Bee-eater was reported in nearby Flamborough Head! Here at Bempton, all of the breeding birds were to be seen on the cliffs, in flight and on the sea. The only draw back were the Puffins that decided to remain elusive on the cliffs but showed well in flight and on the sea. However, with patience, most visitors obtained satisfying views.

So what was seen today?

With blue skies and blue, clear seas, Seals and Porpoises showed very well!

Porpoises normally only show part of their back and dorsal fin, so these were tremendous!

Not to be out done, Grey Seals also managed to get in on the act including one taking a snack!

A great deal of interest was taken of a Great Skua (Bonxie) showing well off Bartlett Nab viewpoint!

Eggs are beginning to be seen on the ledges, notably Gannets and Guillemots. Hopefully this good weather will allow catch up from the breeding delay caused by March's bad weather.


Tidying the nest

The egg

Collecting nest material

The cliffs are alive the sight, sound and smell of c500,000 seabirds! However, the nature trail, feeding station, dell and grasslands are also alive with breeding birds and can provide quiet relief from the clifftops. Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Goldfinch, Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Corn Bunting et al, are regularly seen.


Common Whitethroat

Sedge Warbler

What will you discover?