Well it looked like it was going to be a windy and rainy day and so it was but it turned out to be quite a spectacle. Me, Vicky and Ed arrived there after dropping the truck off in Aberdeen for it to have bit of work done just before 9 and promptly began to play ‘guess the bird name anagram’ to avoid the rain. The strong winds were blowing us and the birds about, not least this Razorbil:
Once we had run out of anagrams, we decided to brave the conditions and head out! Ahead of the Puffin walks coming up, there are Puffins back and one was back at the ‘usual’ spot. Also we managed to solve the mystery of where the gnome comes from thanks to Vicky finding her flag – so Northfield Community Centre, what’s her name? As a temporary measure, we’re calling her Gnorma. You can see from the attached pic..she is clearly a she and she’s been busy on the membership recruitment front.
This visit was a chance for me to take a first look at the Kittiwake plots that I will be surveying in the near future. Vicky showed me such key features as cracks and in one place a ‘rusty stain’ on the cliff face to use as reference points. We left Ed in the shelter to do a bit of planing on a sticky door and but picked him up on the way back for lunch.
After a quick lunch in our car, we headed out and found ourselves in the middle of an unexpected flurry of Kittiwakes. Vicky had witnessed this activity before where the Kittiwakes were flying back and forth from the farmers fields to collect mud to like their nests! Some were being more ambitious that others, so much so that they were picking up clumps of earth that were far too heavy for them to actually fly with!
It was literally a blizzard of kittiwakes. It seemed that every single pair of kittiwakes on the reserve was nest building and the strong winds added to the spectacle blowing the birds all over the place. To the average passer by it might look like a scene to be seen on any rubbish dump in the UK but the fact that this was purely natural behaviour made it more enjoyable.
Thanks to Tom for the above blog..since that visit I have been down to the reserve again, I popped down on Saturday to start doing some more of the maintenance jobs. Kittiwake nest building is still in full swing and there are now quite a few guillemot eggs (several predated remains at the top of the cliff too, sadly) Our "pick out a puffin" guided walks start this week. The first two (Thursday and Sunday) are now fully booked, so if you are thinking about booking, it's best to get your name down quickly. Puffin numbers building up nicely. I saw 4 on Saturday, but some visitors I met on the reserve had seen about 10 one evening last week.