Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Early spring at Bempton

A foggy day spent at Bempton, the sun only started to peek behind the clouds at about one o'clock. Despite this, and the fact that is early in the breeding season, I was surprised at the number of birds on the cliffs and the sense of hectic activity. It is worth to see how the breeding season starts, and the comings and goings of the birds at the cliffs, dependent of the weather. Specially the Kittiwakes, which one moment were sitting on nests, calling and displaying to their partners, and the next, the started to drop from the cliffs in large clouds and circle towards the sea. The auks were still quite scarce, a pair of Puffins alighted on the cliffs for a few minutes. Drafts of Razorbills were on the water, but I saw only one on the cliffs, and only three Guillemots. The Gannets were in full swing, with muck cackle, displays, and some bringing nest material.
 Shortly after reaching Bartlet's nab, a large immature pale-winged gull with a pinkish tinge flew at eye level along the cliff. It was my first Glaucous gull. I took some poor record shots before it disappeared from view.
Herring Gulls. 
Pill Millipede crossing the path. 
A record shot of Glaucous gull.
I spent some time watching this Gannet on a ledge by Staple Newk, which was displaying enthusiastically, maybe trying to attract a pair? 

I never knew Gannets could twist their necks so much, it almost went full circle! 

It finally got some interest and was joined by another, much billing ensued. 

The ledge Gannet and others. Nesting behaviour was in evidence. 
A mating pair billing, and an angry neighbour.  
A couple of Shags were sitting under Staple Newk on their breeding plumage.
 Many Fulmars were also circling the cliffs, with some on nests. I tried to get some flight shots. These are my best.

 Gannets were attracted by some fishing boats that were lowering lobster pots onto the sea.

Kittiwakes on nest.
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