Monday, 24 March 2014

Back to the cliffs

Spring was well ahead in Bempton Cliffs today. Despite the chilly breeze and foggy start at Hull, the sun shone all day by the coast.
 By the visitor centre, large flocks of Tree Sparrows chirped from the roof or fed on the feeders. Jackdaws, Linnet, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Pheasant and Great Tits were also present.
 By the grasslands on the way to the cliffs Skylarks sung and we flushed a few Meadow Pipits. We also witnessed a funny squabble between two male Pied Wagtails on the path, jumping and chasing each other with a bouncy flight.
 The cliffs were buzzing with all the classic Bempton species already paired-up, squabbling for the best positions on the cliff shelves.We quickly spotted the first Puffins. I have never seen so many, some of them quite close to the viewing points (above). We watch mating Guillemots and Gannets, and Razorbills grooming each other. A Gannet flew over bringing some nest material.
 I briefly spot a porpoise diving and we can't see it resurfacing again.
After a chilly picnic by the visitor centre we head towards the southern half of the reserve. Staple Newk is covered on Gannets, with the side shelfs holding a few Puffins and Guillemots. To top it all, as we watch from the viewing point, a Peregrine appears flying and circles a few times over our heads. My best view ever and a great end for a day on the cliffs.
Tree Sparrow on the tiled roof of the visitor centre
Meadow Pipit
Herring Gulls calling
Sleepy Kittiwake
Razorbill pair preening
Another cosy Razorbill pair
A pair of Guillemots. One of them is from the bridled form.
Guillemot dispute. No vacancies!

Pied Wagtails
Gannet calling showing its black mouth
More preening couples
Rock Doves. All the pigeons we saw were of the beautiful wild-type plumage
Kittiwake complaining to an usurper
Staple Newk
Peregrine Falcon circling over our heads

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