Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Friday, 21 September 2018

Flamborough Bird Observatory seawatching observatory appeal

Flamborough Bird Observatory needs your help with raising vital funds to make sure the seawatching observatory is built to help with our research into seabird population trends.
Vist our JustGiving site to donate.
For the price of a coffee you can donate by texting FSWO92 to 70070 and £3 or if feeling generous £5 or £10. if all our followers donated £3 we could raise nearly £2500.

YouTube video CLICK HERE

Just Giving CLICK HERE

Monday, 17 September 2018

Life on the ledges "Glorious Gannets" - Bempton Cliffs 16th September 2018

Staple Newk Gannets

The ledges at Bempton Cliffs are still full of action with four of the eight main breeding species still present - Gannet, Fulmar, Herring Gull and Shag. Other passerine migrants are beginning to appear in the cliff top vegetation as a stopover on their long journey south.

So what was about today? Todays Sightings:

Gannets are not only the largest UK seabird with 2m(6ft) wingspan but at the moment are the most numerous and obvious birds on the cliff ledges. Their young (Gugas) are in various stages of their development, many have fledged and can be seen on the sea and in flight, others are ready to fledge with constant wing stretching and flapping, but some late birds are still with white downy feathers just showing a little black! Gugas usually fledge at thirteen weeks of age.

Gannet Portraits

Year 4 Gannet

Year 4 Gannet

Gannets with Gugas

The "Book Ends"

It's a hard life being a Gannet!

Times are hard with only a feather to eat!

"Mum, do I have to go down there?"

"And don't forget to bring back some fish"!

Prior to fledging, Gugas are larger and heavier than their parents!

Part of Staple Newk

"I really wanted to be a Wallcreeper"! This Guga wasn't quite ready to fledge but dislodged itself from it's ledge. Luckily, it managed to scramble back to mum, but not before being attacked by other Gannets!

Some of the Gugas still have their white, downy feathers

A recently fledged Guga. Now a year 1 bird.

One flew over the cuckoo nest Gannet colony!

Many ghost stories abound the Yorkshire coast but none as sinister as the "headless Gannet" at Staple Newk!

Lakeland Sojourn - 10th - 14th September 2018

Red Squirrel

A window of opportunity arose and we decided to take a short break in the Lake District based in Borrowdale. Heather and myself last visited the lakes c25yrs ago so a return was well overdue! Similarly, the Yorkshire Dales had not been visited for a similar number of years so it was decided to encompass this area as a "drive through" at the start and finish of our trip.

A brief stop in the Dales at Aysgarth Falls enable us to admire the upper falls

Our destination for our break was to be Borrowdale Youth Hostel where we had booked one of the camping pods. Dogs are allowed to stay when hiring pods or camping so ideal for the short break. Each pod has two futon beds complete with bedding, a lamp, radiator and small porch with decking. The decking has two plastic chairs and a table with picnic tables nearby. Full use of the hostel facilities is included.

Borrowdale Youth Hostel

Borrowdale camping pods

Interesting use was made of old walking boots in the hostel garden!

The River Derwent flows through the hostel grounds

It was really nice to touch base with Britain's native Red Squirrels in the hostel grounds, such charismatic characters and bringing back memories of my childhood "Tufty Club" days!

The weather was typically Lake District! Very changeable but the heavy rain fell overnight giving us reasonable days. Borrowdale is a very beautiful valley, green and bordered by the high hills. It can also be very atmospheric!

At the small "Church in Borrowdale"

A trip up to Ullswater and the climb up Aira Force 

Back in Borrowdale, a walk to the "famous" Bowder Stone

And catching Heather unawares from the top! 

A visit to the "chocolate box" Ashness Bridge above Derwentwater is a photographic nightmare! It is so popular with photographers! Some standing in the water with tripods trying to take images of the water slowed down, others trying to take the whole vistas and others standing on the bridge taking "selfies"! Eventually I managed to some relatively clear images but evidence of tripods can still be seen under the bridge!

And Derwentwater from the "very" narrow road to Watendlath

And of course the sheep (Herdwicks)

Not a forte of mine but Fungi are certainly attractive! 

Shaggy Inkcap

Hypholoma Species

Velvet Shank

Boletus Species


Fly Agaric