Wind dancers and floaters.
A few years ago I found myself, not that I had lost myself of course, at the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs, just north of Flamborough in Yorkshire. An amazing place with cliffs dropping/rising up to 400 feet to/from the north sea and the rocks below. A scary place if you are not good with heights, in which case think seriously before you go. At that time virtually all of the birds had in the main left the cliffs and were heading out to the high seas. So a little quieter than it would be if it were the start of the breeding season.
Well it was decided to re-visit the reserve at a more favourable time and this year it all came together, well mostly! The birds were in full swing collecting nesting materials looking for nesting sites and trying to ensure they secured a mate. I said "Mostly" as is ever the case there is always a fly in the ointment, and my fly was the good old British weather. The day of arrival was blowing a real big wind with sea mist. rain and the temperature had dropped as well, once the tent was up and anchored against the wind it was a walk over the fields to the cliff edge to see just how bad things were. Well not to bad walking over but as you got near to the cliffs the wind was being forced up the cliff face creating a none to pleasant feeling about getting to close to the edge.
Birds were visible in the mist, floating about on the wind and large rafts off shore as they perhaps awaited some more favourable conditions. Much similar to my considerations as well. However if you lay down and edged up to the edge, some amazing acrobatics could be observed as the birds used the up draft to glide and float up and down the cliff face, trying to control their flight with pretty wild manoeuvers indeed. The visibility was down to 100yds max so grabbing a few shots it was back to the flappy tent and a goodly cuppa of tea.
The following morning, after a fitful night, the northerly was still blowing strong, pushing the sea mist into the shore, but as luck would have it there were some out of the wind places that afforded some nice opportunities for a few lovely shots. The wind was estimated at gusting at gale force nine.
Standing on some of the viewing platforms, which are built right on the edge, was cool as the birds just floated up the cliff face towards you, an experience.
The Gannets were back and forth to their selected places for gathering/plucking the grass for their nests from the cliff top. Some of the birds, notably the Razorbill had a few problems with stability.
Does having a multi-coloured bill classify you as a clown? always thought it odd that the Puffin had attracting this term, I wonder what name it might have got with a black bill?
The Kittwake with its distinctive call and delicate features is, in my mind a candidate for best looking sea bird winner.
By far the fastest flyer of the day and most difficult to grab a shot of was the.
Sunday opened with the wind having changed a few degrees and the sea mist had cleared from the local area, leaving a bright and clear day for some nice photography.
to add some anthropomorphism to the proceedings.
Sunday AM was brilliant.
Finally and as odd as it might seem the best bird from the weekend was the Tree Sparrow, they have more or less disappeared from Shropshire, sadly, but not at the Bempton RSPB reserve, mind you it only just beat the coffee on offer in the small shop, needs more Cake though.
It was, even with the bad weather a goodly weekend, and one which shall be repeated in the next few years, I hope.
Now Flamborough head is certainly worth a look even with the land erosion caused by the torrential rains.
So there you go, another blog completed and the next is in preparation already..
Cheers for now
Keywords: Bempton, Camping, Cliff, Floaters, Gannet, Gliding, Guillimot, Kittiwake, Mist, North, Puffin, RSPB, Razorbill, Sea, Tea, Tent, Tree Sparrow, coffee, grass, northern Fulmar, wind
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