Summer evenin’ birds are calling

Again I mislead you, but for some reason Pink Floyd did not compose a lyric where the spring birds are calling in the late morning, probably because they were waiting for lunch. I know, you are as surprised as I am, right?

This last week (this last? Does that even make sense? It sounded right in my head, but not so much so when I see it written. But I digress…) we were up at our static caravan on the East coast, and took the chance to call in at the RSPB site at Bempton Cliffs looking for birds to shoot… with my camera.  Now Bempton is run and maintained by the RSPB, which costs money. So they charge an entry fee unless you are a member.  BUT the perimeter is not secure. You can park up the road and walk along the coast path and enter for free, or you can walk from Flamborough Head – as long as you remember you then have to walk back again. We joined the RSPB so we count as good people, but it does seem a little remiss to not secure the borders. Now if Donald Trump was Chairman of the RSPB he would have a wall up in no time, and cauldrons of boiling oil to pour down on anyone foolish enough to try and scale the cliffs.  Then you would see the revenues climb, especially if he got the Mexicans to pay for the wall, so the RSPB didn’t have to. I guess the boiling oil could come out of the entrance fees. Actually, scrap the oil. I just realised it is slightly counter to the RSPB mission if we start polluting the sea with oil. Just a wall then.  Not that The Donald cares about polluting the water, but we do. Right?

So getting back to the point, we managed to see quite a few puffins, kittiwakes, seagulls, gannets, and jackdaws. And cows, but they don’t count as they have no wings. These puffins are hardy Yorkshire puffins. Normally they nest in burrows, dug out from the soil, as on the Farne Islands and Skomer. These at Bempton manage to find crevices in the limestone cliff to make their nests – just to make life difficult. I have come across this before though, Yorkshire people are very pro-Yorkshire. I can hear the puffins saying ” I am a Yorkshire puffin and I am going to nest in a Yorkshire nest on a Yorkshire cliff, not like these softies who burrow in soil. That is just for wimps”.

But, getting to the point, again, some images from the day for your delectation and delight:

Have the paparazzi gone?

Gone Fishing

Catching the rays

Togetherness

Peekaboo

But I can hear the sound of seabirds in my ear.

After the day at Bempton Cliffs I thought I was going to be stumped for a title, and I might have to cheat with an albatross reference – hanging motionless upon the breeze. But then I remembered a song called Seabirds. Pink Floyd to the rescue!

There were two objectives to the day.  Fear, surprise, and a fanatical devotion to the Pope … there were three objectives …  Sorry, wrong script. First I wanted to get photos of puffins.  Second I wanted to try capturing birds in flight.

Now even I know that puffins live in burrows they dig out of the earth, so how I thought sheer limestone cliffs would be an ideal place to find puffins is now beyond me.  Apparently, I was told on the way in, they are difficult to spot at first, but then you get your “puffin-eye” in.  Difficult??  One of the rangers was there at a viewing platform with a telescope, and said he could see about 20 of them on the cliff about 50 metres away (for any American readers that is about 55 yards).  He even let me look through his telescope to see.  Genuinely he must have been puffin’ something himself because I could not see even one. Having moved on, swearing under my breath at the junkie ranger, I did manage to find a couple, and boy did I need the 100-400 lens!

_6060064.jpg

I don’t know about you but I am fairly sure their little beaks might struggle to make a burrow there?

Birds in flight was a bit hit and miss, and I think I need to research the camera settings a bit more. But I did manage this guy getting his ailerons in a twist as he hovered, and another who looked to be folding up his wings before he even landed!

_6060028.jpg

_6060027.jpg

The stars of Bempton Cliffs are the gannets. There are thousands of them – not just the two above.  With piercing blue eyes and yellow shaded heads they were everywhere.  Maybe it would just have been easier to change the objective of the day, ignore the fanatical devotion, and just go for gannets.  In the end I guess I did not get what I was after, and was initially a little despondent, but there is a pub at the bottom of the road that does a nice ham and cheese sandwich and a pint of local ale (a bit hoppy, but very drinkable) so all was not lost.

If you like the words and pictures please do not feel shy about following the blog. Not many do, so you would be in elite company.  Any comments are also appreciated.  I will leave you with gannets doing what they do. Enjoy.

_6060099.jpg

_6060019.jpg