Fun on the Bank Holiday Weekend
We kicked off the month with a bit of a cold wet start to the Bank Holiday Weekend. But once the sun decided to come out, so did our lovely visitors, with Bank Holiday Monday being declared the busiest day in Bempton Cliffs’ history. Although the puffins were a little elusive that day, we had lots of families enjoying our events and guided walks throughout the weekend.
Quick updates on the usual suspects
Return of the swallows
Visitors to the old centre may remember the pair of swallows that nested in the roof last summer. We were concerned for a while that the disruption of building the new centre would put off any new breeding pairs. But I’m happy to announce that we have a nesting pair once again, this time in their very own fancy swallow nesting box at the entrance to the centre. The first signs of life in the box were spotted on the 9th May, when we arrived at the centre to find a present of swallow droppings underneath the box. Lovely.
You can just make out the swallow on the nest
The daily droppings corner underneath the box
Update on Nest 33 at 4 weeks
The first chick of the year is now 4 weeks old, and has grown massively over such a short space of time. It can be easily seen on the live camera, admittedly looking a bit squashed now that it is beginning to outgrow the nest space.
Bit of a cheats picture of Nest 33 on the live feed screen
The reserve after closing time
Earlier this week, Becky, Sophia and I went for a walk up to the reserve to try and get some great pictures for this blog. Although my little digital camera wasn't quite up the job of zooming right in on the nesting birds, I did manage to get this snap of our resident barn owl. As we walked along the path, this cheeky chappy would fly from post to post, looking particularly spectacular among all the campion.
And I'll finish with this lovely shot of the sun setting over Jubilee Corner. The reserve is almost a different place in the evening, and now with the lengthening days I can''t recommend enough a trip up here once the sun begins to go down.
Thanks for reading!
So today we spotted our first four Guillemot chicks, along with our first Razorbill chick! These were spotted at Flamborough Head.
However this means we should be expecting little balls of fluff on the cliffs at Bempton very soon. So keep an eye out!
An iPhone was all we had handy. However here are some photos of one of the first Guillemot chicks spotted this Summer
Above: The chick is partially behind the adults wing
In other chick news: The first Gannet chick (as many may already know) hatched at Staple viewpoint over 2 weeks ago now. And there have been a couple more spotted there since then.
However I have a Gannet plot to monitor at Jubilee viewpoint at Bempton Reserve and yesterday I found my first Gannet chick at this view point. So they are hatching along the lengths of the cliffs now.
Above: One of the first Gannet chicks at Jubilee Viewpoint.
I’m Sophia and I am this year’s Seabird Monitoring Research Assistant Residential Volunteer. Thankfully my first few weeks were wonderfully sunny, which made for a stunning introduction to the spectacular seabird covered cliffs of Bempton and Flamborough.
So my role is to assist the seabird research assistant with his work. I have several plots to carry out productivity studies on. This is involves being out on the dramatic cliffs nearly every day to see whether the birds have eggs/chicks and the end result of this.
So one of my first challenges was to match the cliff face to their names and remember where each cliff face was. This is much harder than it sounds, however after a few visits I thankfully got my head around them. Here is an example of some plots to distinguish between:
You soon forget you are sitting on a cliff (with 6 + layers on and thermals) when you are staring down a telescope at one of 50 birds. Not realising you are quietly saying to yourself “wiggle for me, come on, you know you want to show me your egg. Show me your egg!” It becomes addictive when you are determined not to give up on the bird potentially getting up from sitting down so you can peak under what they are sitting on (if anything). Unfortunately there have been several occasions when I have looked up and seen someone standing next to me giving me odd looks.
Above is a Gannet on one of my plots (Jubilee view point) briefly showing me its egg.
There have been a few windy days here, but never dull. On the way to one of my plots at Jubilee viewpoint at Bempton, I had the joys of standing in awe while being surrounded by a group of gannets floating in the wind. Listening to the whoosh as they fly past. I was utterly mesmerized.
Above: The Gannets floating in the wind (apologize for the quality, iPhone was all I had on me)
Every morning I go down to one of my monitoring plots I remember how lucky I am to have the opportunity to work here in this amazing location.The Gannets are on eggs and Gannet chicks are appearing now! A good number of Guillemots and Razorbills are on eggs now too. So the monitoring season is starting quickly. Soon the days will be non-stop busy with seabird related surveys and counting. More updates from me as the season goes on.
Above: monitoring away at one of my plots at Flamborough Head