Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Friday, 28 April 2017

RSPB Bempton Cliffs

Fulmar

Most people visit RSPB Bempton Cliffs to see the Puffins and Gannets but there are other species that are often overlooked. Bempton Cliffs has eight prime breeding species on the cliffs - Puffin; Gannet; Razorbill; Guillemot; Fulmar; Kittiwake; Herring Gull and Shag. This compilation of images includes some from the list!

Fulmar






Kittiwake



Common Guillemot


Bridled Guillemot


And one from the hedgerow, Reed Bunting (male)


Puffin Pleasure at RSPB Bempton Cliffs


There are no guarantees in nature! Views of Puffins on the cliffs over the last few weeks has, at best, been sporadic! They have spent most of their time out at sea, out of sight on the cliffs, or in rapid flight! Today, however, they were back in good numbers and more importantly, easily observed!




It's a hard life being a Puffin!







Glorious Gannets at RSPB Bempton Cliffs


A glorious day with glorious Gannets! These spectacular birds are showing at very close quarters while gathering vegetation to supplement their nests.




With a wingspan of c6ft and a 3ft body, Gannets are probably the perfect target to practice photographing birds in flight! Add a moderate wind that causes them to slow down and also "hover" and a successful recipe is assured!



Gannets reach breeding maturity after five years and generally breed for the first time between years five and seven. Once a pair has been established, they remain loyal to each other for their life time and return to the same nest ledge every year. Immature Gannets can be seen around the cliffs where they often form "clubs" in order to learn from mature birds. Immature Gannets usually arrive around the cliffs much later than the breeding birds, but at the moment, good numbers are being observed, although the "clubs" have yet to be formed.

Year 4 Gannets showing classic "piano keyboard" markings



Year 3 Gannet




Are you watching me?


Monday, 24 April 2017

RSPB Bempton Cliffs - 23rd April 2017

"He's not with me!" Guillemot with Razorbill

My call to the cliffs was loud and clear on what promised to be a glorious day, with sunshine, blue skies, light winds and very mild. The "Seabird City" is now well and truly increasing as birds arrive to make up the expected 250000 plus! That is, with one exception today - Puffins! These endearing little birds decided to play a very challenging game of hide and seek and vacated the cliffs in favour of the sea. As a result, only a few were seen amongst the rafts of seabirds and others in flight.

The Kittiwakes were very active gathering mud and grass for their nests.




While others ensure continued reproduction of the species!




"He's not with me!" I am often asked the difference between Guillemots and Razorbills. A lucky comparison presented itself with both species side by side.



The Gannets also continue to gather nest material


The first Gannet eggs were recorded c5th April, but today I had the pleasure of actually seeing one at close quarters!



No! I'm not coming out!


It was pleasing to see my first Great Skua (Bonxie), here in flight, but was earlier devouring a Kittiwake on the sea!



Razorbill


And away from the cliffs - Reed Bunting



The wildlife at RSPB Bempton Cliffs is fantastic but so are the views. As the seabird city increases in numbers, the wider vista is spectacular.





And finally, todays sightings