8 May 2012

RSPB Bempton Cliffs 2012.

And so we make our annual pilgrimage to Bempton Cliffs – only one trip this year as opposed to our usual two, body cannot cope with any more at the moment, but that’s life.

We got to the reserve about 1pm(ish) which in itself was something of a relief after some prat in a transit van deliberately tried to run us off the motorway (twice) before he noticed that our car  has a camera fitted in the windscreen, at which point he left at high speed….. What an arsehole….

Anyway to Bempton – the usual welcome in the carpark, lots of Jackdaws looking for lunch, cars everywhere and lots and lots of people, all looking excited and ready for the “action”.

The Tree Sparrows nesting, as is their custom, in the roof of the visitor centre are a delight and always provide our first photo opportunity. A male on the roof spotted a feather flying past in the wind – of which there was voluminous quantities – chased it deftly, and with immense aerial skill, before catching it in mid-air and returning it to his nest.

The visitor centre, heaving with people, is always difficult to get through – for some reason the guides seem to congregate by the single access point to the reserve, causing a traffic jam LOL but they are all volunteers and generally do a good job, so no complaints :-)

A walk to the cliff face in a stiff breeze, turn right and off we go looking for the natives. Mostly Gannet in evidence today, and strangely they are flying in small groups. We have arrived a little early in the season this year it seems, they are not all paired up and ready to raise their young just yet….

Lots of Kittiwake the delightful and very beautiful onomatopoeic gull breed which is present at Bempton in large number for breeding. If photographing them try to get one mid-call, the inside of their mouths is a very beautiful orange-red colour, as is the case with many of the seabird species. It just adds a bit to your shots :-)

The usual Guillemot and Razorbill are also on the cliffs, although there are not as many as we usually see. As I said above, we seem to be a week or so early this year. Herring Gull are also about, doing their opportunistic best…… as are the rock doves, Jackdaw and crows. A chance view of one of the Guillemot’s very beautifully coloured (powder blue) eggs was something of a bonus, not seen one before.

There is a lot going on…..

There are usually very few Puffins to be found at Bempton, indeed in three years we have only previously seen two. This year we seemed to bump into them almost at every turn, still not many of the little clown faced fishers, but I think the relatively fewer numbers of the other species makes the puffin easier to see.

Star of the day, one of the Puffin decided he wanted to check out the photographers at the top of the cliff face – so he expertly used the high wind speed to rotate his way upwards. Such a joy to watch, to get photographs all the better…..To do so with an ancient Nikon DSLR – amazing LOL

Click the slideshow for gallery

So cliff face walked – thousands of shots in camera and we go back to the carpark – Meadow Pipits flying at lets say a nominal 15mph into a matched headwind of 15 mph meant one was flying full pelt and yet hovering in front of our faces, what an opportunity……..

Our final view is always of the feeding station, just off the main carpark at Bempton – the usual mix of Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Tree Sparrow and then we see a few flashes of colour – Linnet, Brambling and Yellowhammer are there too….. Delightful.

Our first ever views of a Brambling, and our second of Yellowhammer.

What a great day – long drive home, and no-one tried to kill us……Worth the trip.

If you get the opportunity, GO……

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