Monday, 20 April 2015

Bempton cliffs in April

A beautiful sunny, mild day with no wind, I headed up to Bempton Cliffs for my spring visit. It was my first after the new visitor centre opened a few weeks ago. The visitor centre is much more spacious, and prepared to receive many visitors. Indeed today it didn't feel it was a Monday, as it got very busy by mid morning. I walk around the car park and feeders. It is early and still quiet. A woodpigeon stretches sunnying itself on the ground. A male Pheasant runs to meet another male. In the feeders, Pheasant, many tree sparrows, Chaffinch, Robin, a Linnet a Stock Dove and Jackdaws. A female Kestrel is sitting on a bush, watching. Skylarks sung constantly. There are a few Swallows flying over the fields, Meadow Pipits and a pair of Pied Wagtails. Time to head for the cliffs.
 I heard the jingly song of a Corn Bunting. It took me a while to spot it was atop a concrete column, but I got no good shots. 
At some point my camera complained that it had no space in the memory card. I checked and I had taken more than 500 photos, so it was time for a sit down and some deleting. Must bring a spare next time!
I can't resist a sunbathing Woodpigeon.
A Linnet sitting atop a gorse bursting with flowers.  
Meadow Pipit
This pair of Razorbills were in the mood for mating...
...they groomed each other for a while, and the male had a couple of half-hearted attempts at mounting.
This was another pair of Razorbills mating.
A Guillemot and a Razorbill, posing for comparison.
There were a lot of Gannets in the reserve (the number of pairs in the reserve has increased substantially in the last few years and is now over 10,000!, see also this graph of the population increase). They seemed to be expanding into new nesting sites quite high up on the cliffs. Many sitting on nests, some at the top of the cliff seemed to be establishing new nesting sites, with a lot of squabbling, bill open, while calling loudly 'karra, karra, karra! (above).
Other pairs had secured a nest site, and they displayed to each other bill-rubbing and nodding.
After its partner left, this one re-arranged the nesting material.
This other one looked like it was nodding off, until it yawned. This black gape is the last thing its fish prey will see.
The nest series of photos are of the same individual (a male?), making an elaborate display atop the cliff, moving its feet slowly, opening its wings and jumping, pointing up, lifting its wings and tail. I wonder if this was directed to an individual out of view lower on the cliff.
Looking up.
Exaggerated walk
Wings open
About to jump.
Wings up, tail up.
The nicely, and densely, spaced Gannets at Staple Newk on their nests.
Pair courting, bill rubbing.
Kittiwakes were nest building:
Some were busy collecting nest material in favoured spots. Some were pulling grass, others had found a seeping area and were picking mud (above)...
...once at the nest, this Kittiwake was using a paddling technique with her feet to embed the mud and the grass together in the nest cup.
Guillemots were on the cliff faces.
This pair was mating, the female holding a fish (a present from her mate?).
Pair of Fulmar
Male Reed Bunting
It was low tide, showing the kelp bed a the base of the cliffs.
Male Linnet on the gorse.
Female Kestrel.
A view of the cliffs.
Bird list
  1. Blackbird
  2. Carrion Crow
  3. Chaffinch
  4. Collared Dove
  5. Corn Bunting
  6. Dunnock
  7. Feral Pigeon
  8. Fulmar
  9. Gannet
  10. Goldfinch
  11. Great Tit
  12. Greenfinch
  13. Guillemot
  14. Herring Gull
  15. Jackdaw
  16. Kestrel
  17. Kittiwake
  18. Linnet
  19. Mallard
  20. Meadow Pipit
  21. Pheasant
  22. Pied Wagtail (yarrellii)
  23. Razorbill
  24. Reed Bunting
  25. Robin
  26. Skylark
  27. Stock Dove
  28. Swallow
  29. Tree Sparrow
  30. Woodpigeon

Post a Comment