Sunday, 11 March 2012

Bempton, the return of the seabirds

Hearing that the seabirds had returned to Bempton cliffs we decided to make our first visit of the year.

The car park was quite busy and really the overflow area needed to be used but we were lucky enough to find a parking space.

Sunday was one of those beautiful spring days with hardly a breeze and a big blue sky. We expected things may be different on the cliff tops but found the air was just as still and ended up returning our warm clothing to the car, it was a day for summer gear.
 Tree sparrows could be seen near the visitor centre.

As we made our way towards the viewpoints the air was full of the sound of Skylarks.

At Staple Newk we could see the Gannets had returned. They are an amazing bird both in appearance and behaviour.

Every year there are thousands of seabirds nesting at Bempton. Even though Gannets, Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and Razorbills have their fans most visitors scan the cliff face to see Puffins. 
It is a bit early in the year to see many but you can see a couple amongst the Gannets in this photograph (click on the photo to view a larger version).

To me they are an added bonus at Bempton and I do not favour any species over another. They are all part of the whole experience but there is no doubting the popularity of the Puffin.

Jackdaws are very common on the cliff tops. I love their blue eyes.

This one was keeping a close eye on me.

Looking down to the base of the cliffs we could see an angler. He was quite a distance from the safety of the sands of Filey bay and as the tide was coming in I wonder how he got back. There are some treacherous looking "get downs" known to the locals with ropes and ladders so maybe he used one of these to climb back up.

The high cliffs mean that often we are looking down to birds in flight.

They need little space to build their nests or rear their young.

The RSPB have installed some cameras to give a closer view. It is a good job these Razorbills are not shy.

The sea was very calm. This sailing boat was having to use engine power.

Groups of Gannets kept flying past.

Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Razorbills bobbed about on the sea below them.

Most of the birds kept low down but some like this Fulmar would venture higher up towards the cliff tops.

Or like these gulls, venture above.

Large numbers of Ladybirds were present. This one had found a good spot to catch the sun although being bright red it wasn't well hidden.I quite liked the way the fence post mimicked the cliff face.

We made our way back to the car park. Unfortunately the ECO cafe is not at Bempton anymore and we had to make do with drinks from the RSPB shop, still we had worked up a thirst and were grateful for the tea, coffee and the limited snacks on offer. A cafe would no doubt do very well here.

Some of the birds hang around the picnic tables in the hope of food. These two pigeons had other things on their mind though and were engaging in a courtship routine.

There is no doubt that Spring has arrived.

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