Today is a beautiful day up at Bempton. Unfortunately, the visitor centre is closed, as we have decided that the road is a little too dangerous to drive (or skid) down. You can still reach the reserve by foot however, and if you do, you won't be disappointed. The crisp, fresh, sparkling snow and ice looks stunning under the pale sunshine and the birds and animals are much easier to spot against the brilliant white.
Hares, deer, weasels, owls and tree sparrows have been making regular appearances over the past few days. As well as seeing them in broad daylight, we've also noticed a lot of tracks in the area round the centre. Weasels have particularly interesting tracks as their tails drag in the snow, leaving lines amongst the paw prints. Rats can also leave tail lines but the difference is in the footprint size. Weasels tend to have slightly larger, paw like, feet, whereas rats have smaller feet.
Also in times of bad weather, hunting birds can be easier to spot. Barn owls find it especially hard to hunt in the snow and so the hungry birds come out during daylight hours in a desperate search for food. Some birds have even been starving to death due to the difficult conditions and Mark Thomas, RSPB Investigations Officer has asked that: 'farmers and members of the public...remain vigilant and report any sick or injured looking owls to a wildlife rescue centre immediately. Prompt action could save the life of a starving bird and once they’ve been fed up they should soon be fit for release back in the original location.”
Steve Race, our Education and Communications Officer, was out on the reserve yesterday and saw the fascinating sight of a sparrowhawk chasing some redwings along the cliff top. Woodcocks are still easy to flush from the scrub, goldfinches, robins, greenfinches, bramblings and reed buntings are all easy to spot on the feeder at the back of the visitor centre and the feeding station is awash with tree sparrows.
Whatever you're doing this Christmas and wherever you may be, don't forget to spare a few minutes a day feeding your local birds. Watching them hop about underneath your feeders can bring you a sense of calm on even the most stressful day.We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and look forward to welcoming you all back to Bempton Cliffs in the new year!
thanks for keeping all updated of what is going at bempton