Autumn has got off to quite an amazing start. After a Pied Flycatcher in the small woodland behind the visitor centre yesterday (this is often referred to as "Pallas Patch") we knew migration was underway, but then think of the bird you might least expect to find sat on a bench and you've got it. Yep, today a Nightjar was found sat on a bench in the Dell! It is incredible what they think they are camouflaged against at times, hopefully now though a little better hidden to sleep the day away.
Small numbers of Whitethroats and Willow Warblers are now passing though too and large numbers of Swallows and martins are overhead daily with a few Swifts joining the throngs. Being part of the Flamborough Headland means this is a fab place to see huge numbers of migrants heading south for the winter (sorry, I know it is only August and summer, but some of the birds don't see it that way!).
Massive Gannet chicks are still very much a feature of the cliffs and keep an ear out for noisy Sandwich Terns offshore.
You’ll be pleased to know that the fine art of chucking sticky buds is alive and sticking.
You might have a different name for them but sticky buds are what we always call the seeds of the burdock plant. And there are plenty of them at the moment on the reserve.
Don’t know how true this is, but Wiki says, that Swiss inventor George de Mestral became curious about the seeds after they had attached themselves to his clothes and to his dog's fur during a walk.
Under a microscope, he looked closely at the hook-and-loop system that the seeds use to hitchhike on passing animals aiding seed dispersal and it dawned on him that the same approach could be used to join other things together – the result was Velcro.
Anyway, none of that bothered young Sam from London when he visited the reserve recently. He was just happy to throw them at his Gran and Grandad. Who, as Gran and Grandads do, didn’t seem to mind a bit.
Every year Puffin Post magazine, part of Puffin Books, sends competition winners on a visit to Bempton Cliffs.
This time round it was the turn of Thomas Gee, Abi Westwood, Kylah Jacobs and their families travelled from Sheffield, Penrith and Cambridge to join the RSPB team on a VIP tour of the reserve. Together with family members, they enjoyed a day out exploring, discovering and getting up-close and personal with the seabirds.
After a picnic lunch in the marquee, RSPB volunteer and seabird expert, Allan Dawson, showed the inquisitive youngsters around helping them spot those all important puffins amongst the 200,000 of seabirds that make their home on the towering chalk cliffs:
‘The children were full of questions and great fun to be with. It’s terrific to see the birds here through their eyes and to experience their joy and wonder'.
And did they manage to see real puffins instead of the paperback versions? Certainly did. So the clever prize winners can tick that one off their ‘To Do’ list.
Photographer Dominic Turner recorded the day in pictures so the children have more than happy memories of their special day.
Tom enjoys a stroll across the reserve
Abi searches for puffins