Monday, 12 August 2013

Bridlington and the Yorkshire Belle

Bridlington is always popular with the children and today, on top of the usual visit we had a trip aboard the Yorkshire Belle to Flamborough Head. I had hoped to make the longer cruise to Bempton, but the trip was later in the day when the weather was predicted to get stormier, so we settled for the one hour round trip at 12:00.
The juvenile gulls were either fledged or just about to, and the usual Herring Gull calls in town were accompanied by the plaintive whistles of the young. I noticed quite a few Kittiwake nests in town, in addition to the ones by the out harbour wall, and there were some fledglings for this species too.
 It was high tide when we arrived, and the usual group of Turnstones awaited on the wall, with three Purple Sandpipers too. A group of Great Black backed gulls sat on the roof of the building at the end of the harbour wall, with some immatures too.
 Nothing amazingly to report from the boat trip, other than the fantastic views and the lively commentary from the skipper. A cormorant and a few terns and gulls, but the kids enjoyed the storm, having to rush inside to avoid the rain and watching how the sea become rougher and the view of the coast almost disappearing behind a curtain of water. Next time we will do the long cruise to Bempton!
Before we leave, we watch a squirmish between a Herring Gull and a feral pigeon. The adult gull had caught the pigeon, and it had managed to escape, leaving a bunch of feathers behind. The gull immediately set its eyes on another pigeon, but this one didn't give it a chance and flew away. A pity I couldn't get this on the camera.
Great Black Backed gull preening on a building rooftop by the harbour
Young Kittiwake begging to adult on Prince Street
Herring Gull portrait
Herring Gull adult and juvenile
Kittiwake nests on outer harbour wall
And a group of Great Black Backed gulls 
Record shot of Purple Sandpiper
Yorkshire Belle coming back to harbour
Juvenile gull feeding on dead pigeon
A lone Barnacle Goose on the harbour
and another Herring Gull, I can't resist as they are so tame here.
A juvenile Herring gull looks suspiciously to the camera
Danes Dyke from the Yorkshire Belle
Flamborough Head with storm ahead
For the last leg of the journey, we are immersed in the storm
This pale immature gull caught my eye as we were coming into the harbour. James Spencer identified it as a juvenile Mediterranean Gull.
Bird list
  1. Barnacle Goose       
  2.  Black-headed Gull        
  3.  Carrion Crow        
  4.  Common Tern        
  5.  Feral Pigeon        
  6.  Great Black-backed Gull        
  7.  Herring Gull        
  8.  House Sparrow        
  9.  Kittiwake        
  10.  Mallard     
  11.  Purple Sandpiper        
  12.  Redshank        
  13.  Starling        
  14.  Turnstone
  15. Mediterranean Gull

Monday, 5 August 2013

A visit to Yorkshire Wildlife Park

This was our third visit to Yorkshire Wildlife park. Despite the cloudy, breezy weather, the place was packed. There were three main additions to the menagerie since our last visit: giraffes, Amur leopard and Baboons. As expected, the big cats and the painted dogs were mainly sleeping, offering little in terms of behaviour (other than the occasional, amazing roaring by the lions). The primates were on a different league, and they are really the main stars of the park in terms of entertaining. The squirrel monkeys were all mischief, stealing a babies' dummy and the contents of a packet of crisps during our visit. There is a notice warning about the monkeys penchance for dummies before their area. Dummies might be colourful and chewy, but the main attraction for the squirrel monkeys is that as their owners might want them back, the keepers have to entice the monkey to give the dummy back (in exchange for some delicacies), something that reinforces the stealing behaviour, is like the keepers were actually training the squirrel monkeys to search for and steal dummies. The squirrel monkeys are full of beans, and the young ones (and the people watching them) enjoyed games of chase and wrestling.
The ring-tailed lemurs were also very active and the young ones also did much leaping and chasing.
The baboons have only been in the park since Easter, all 18 of them including the 4 day old baby (top shot). The mum sat by the fantastic indoor watching area, nursing and cleaning the baby, and this was a top attraction not only for the public, but also for the other baboons. The mum was visited in turn by several young and old baboons intent on watching, touching or holding the baby. The mum was quite firm, but gentle keeping them away, with a gentle push of her hand, but after being groomed she often allowed the visitors to touch or briefly groom the baby.
Chapman Zebra grazing
Resting lioness
This male Pied Wagtail looked up to the ostrich, unfortunately, I could't fit both giant and dwarf in the same photo!
The bumpy head of a Giraffe
Sleepy Amur leopard
Slumbering tiger
A squirrel monkey standing bipedally, looking for scattered food
The lucky squirrel monkey holding the sought after dummy
More sleeping carnivores, Painted Dogs
and a napping red river hog
Ring-tailed lemurs

This young baboon was entertained by some finding while other jumped and played about
Playing young by the new mum
Baby attraction: everybody enjoys watching the new arrival
the mum left the baby a little distance away from her encouraging him to crawl. A few more shots of the mother and baby follow.