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We are well and truly into puffin season now, and I'm still as excited as a child on Christmas morning every time I see one. Our Puffin Patrols have been full every day and we've had some lovely feedback from the excited visitors that are seeing puffins for the first time. The novelty really doesn't seem to wear off, and that's probably because the puffins are here for such a short space of time. If you are planning on coming to see a puffin with your own eyes, make sure you get here before the end of July as the puffins will be leaving then and we don't want you to miss out! For those of you that can't make it to Bempton Cliffs during puffin season, here is a gorgeous video that our live cameras captured of a puffin that appears to be posing for the camera. They really are good looking little birds, aren't they?(Please visit the site to view this video)So, in my last blog I wrote about our first gannet egg of the season from pair 33. Since then we've seen two gannet chicks (gugas), one from pair 33 at Staple and another from Jubilee viewpoint. We have not yet managed to capture a clear enough photo to share with you, but we're keeping our eyes peeled and hopefully we'll have something worth sharing soon! The other seabirds also seem to be doing well with their eggs, and hopefully by early June we will have some baby guillemots and razorbills (jumplings) on the cliffs too.
Razorbill and egg - Image by Michael Babcock.
I'm still really enjoying myself in my role of Visitor Experience Assistant, I'm learning something new every day and sometimes really stepping out of my comfort zone, which has been scary but rewarding. I'm looking forward to what the rest of the season has to offer and I'll hopefully have plenty more to blog about in the months to come. Thank you for reading :-)
It's been a while since my last blog post, so we've had quite a lot of sightings on the reserve. We've seen corn bunting, oystercatcher, swallows (back in the nest at the entrance to the visitor centre), iceland gull (flew over), peregrine (pair), short eared owl, red kite, common buzzard, osprey (flew over), house martin, yellowhammer, lesser whitethroat, whitethroat, sparrowhawk, grey seal and porpoise.
Posted by JessicaM
It's officially a month since I started my new role at Bempton Cliffs and I am enjoying every minute of it! My last blog noted that the Auks had all disappeared, but fear not, they have returned! Over the last week here at Bempton we’ve been lucky enough to see all of the ‘Big 8’ sea birds from the cliffs. Our live cameras have been a big hit too, capturing live footage from the cliffs and streaming it straight into our visitor centre where we’ve spent quite a few days over the Easter Period hiding from the wind and rain. We’ve seen the first Gannet egg of the season, puffins disappearing into the cliff crevices and we’ve even been able to take this footage and post it on our social media pages which is SO EXCITING because it means we can share these amazing sights with the world with just one simple click (well not quite one click, but almost.) If you don’t already follow us on Facebook then make sure you do, we don’t want you to miss out: https://www.facebook.com/RSPBnorthyorksandeastriding/
So, more about the gannet egg. For those of you that have been visiting Bempton Cliffs for many years you will know that ‘Pair 33’ also known as ‘Peckster and Flip’ have been laying their eggs on the cliffs here for at least 7 years. As soon as we heard they had laid the first egg of the season, we trained our live camera on their nest and waited very patiently all day for Mum to get up and stretch so we could catch a glimpse of the egg. Finally, after nearly a full day of us staring at the screen (whilst working of course) she got up, shuffled about and we all jumped up and down with EGG-citement because the egg was clear as day on the big screen! I’m sure you can just imagine us all jumping up and down in the visitor centre looking a little crazy. We will keep you updated on it’s progress! Here's a video we captured of the moment we had all been waiting for...
(Please visit the site to view this video)Next up are the Puffins! I must confess that until I started here at Bempton Cliffs, I had never seen a real life puffin. I've been waiting along with all the eager visitors for them to finally make their return to the cliffs and now that they have, I couldn't wait to get out on Puffin Patrol today with Angela to finally see one with my own eyes! It's a gorgeous day today, bright sunshine and barely any wind, the perfect day to be out on the cliffs. We were unlucky for the first part of the walk, the view point volunteers told us the puffins were there but they were hiding inside their burrows, so we marched onto Bartlett and that's when we got lucky! There were two gorgeous little puffins perched on a ledge, and I squealed like a child with excitement when I finally got my eyes on them. I managed to snap a photo of one of them through the telescope with my iPhone. I know, so unprofessional, but my first ever sighting of a puffin had to be documented. Puffin Patrols take place every morning at 11am if you are interested in joining us to learn a bit more about Bempton's most popular sea bird and see them with your own eyes! You don’t need to book, just turn up, it’s first come first serve. It's worth it, Angela was fantastic. To make up for my bad quality photo here's a gorgeous picture taken by Keith and Abigail Hunter on our Jubilee Corner view point during their visit on Wednesday this week. Abigail is 12 years old and while Dad was setting up the camera, Abigail was first of the family to spot one! Photo credit to Keith and Abigail Hunter
RECENT SIGHTINGSThere's been lots of sightings since my last post. We've had swallows passing Bartlett, a Stoat and Corn bunting at The Dell, Reed bunting, Chiff Chaff, Common Buzzard, Cormorant, Yellow Hammer, Short Eared Owl, Barn Owl, Peregrine falcon, Skylark, Meadow pipit and a Fire Crest in the top cark park. We have a new whiteboard on the wall in our welcome area for recent sightings, so please let us know what you've spotted and we can update our list for everyone to see. Hope you all have an fantastic weekend :)
My name is Jess Mortimer and I am the newly appointed "Visitor Experience Assistant" at RSPB Bempton Cliffs. One of my many tasks is to keep the blog up to date with recent sightings and other information about what is happening on and around the reserve! I'm looking forward to getting stuck in and hopefully you'll enjoy reading what I have to say :-)
So, it's Easter Bank Holiday weekend and the big question on everyone's lips at the moment is "Where have all the Auks gone?" For over a month now we have had tens of thousands of Guillemots and Razorbills on the cliffs, and then, earlier this week, the Puffins came back to make a quick check of their nests. No sooner had the TV cameras arrived to film them they were gone! What we are all wondering is, what was the trigger that made the Puffins come and go and 'take the rest' of the Auks and many of the Kittiwakes with them? Of course we are all keeping our eyes on the cliffs for their imminent return in the next few days, but until then there are still thousands of Gannets and Kittiwakes to be seen and we are waiting for our very first 'Easter Egg' - the first Gannet egg of the season! Who will be the first to spot it?!
Lastly, we have some exciting news to share with you all. For the first time ever we have managed to get a good idea of the breeding population of puffins here on the cliffs. The trick was to count them on the sea before they returned to their nests. So, Dave and Keith set out with their telescopes and clickers and after 8 hours they managed to cover the whole length of the colony from Flamborough to Speeton. The Puffins were evenly spread on the water, from below the cliffs to 1km out at sea, mostly in small groups of up to 6, and their count totaled at approximately 2,300 individual birds, suggesting a breeding population of over 1,100 pairs! Hopefully when the Puffins make their return to the cliffs in the next few days we will get another chance to count them. We can't wait to have them back!
Recent SightingsSome of our visitors Alister, Anna and Myriam Burr were lucky enough to spot a Firecrest resting on the cliffs from the Jubilee viewpoint at Bempton Cliffs this afternoon. Rosemary, one of our view point volunteers at Jubilee also managed to snap a photograph of the gorgeous little bird on the viewpoint decking. This bird was part of an arrival of Firecrests on the East Coast with others seen at Flamborough Head and Spurn Point on the same day.
Posted by Mark Pearson
November will soon be over, Christmas adverts are playing on the television and we’ve already had the first snows of winter, in fact I was lucky enough to have a ‘white birthday’, winter is well and truly upon us. That shouldn’t put you off from visiting Bempton Cliffs though. It’s equally as beautiful and remarkable a place now as during the height of summer. A bracing cliff top walk at this time of year is just the thing to blow away any cobwebs, and your hat too if you don’t hold on to it. If you’re brave enough to face the wind though you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views and wonderful wildlife.
November saw us running four fabulous geology walks with Paul Hildreth, which I can tell you from experience were fantastic and well worth getting a little chilly for. We’re very grateful to Paul for coming all the way from Lincolnshire each week to lead the walks for us. Don’t worry if you missed them though, we’ve got plenty more walks planned throughout the winter. December is shipwreck month. There will be three walks throughout the month, led by our fabulous volunteer Tony Mayman. There are more than 50,000 shipwrecks between the Tees and the Humber yet many people have no idea that there any shipwrecks at all along the Bempton coastline. This walk will give you the chance to learn all about them, why the ships were here, where they were going, who was onboard and perhaps most importantly, why did they sink. As with the geology walks the price, £5, will also include a hot drink and a slice of cake. It’s one that’s not to be missed. As of writing the first shipwreck walk has taken place and it was a huge success, so don’t miss your chance to come along to the next one.
Tony Mayman delivering a presentation before heading out for the shipwreck walk - Sarah Aitken
This month also saw the last of our series of talks that have been running all year in conjunction with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust at the Living Sea Centre. We were lucky enough to have the marvellous John Altringham entertain and enthral us about bats for almost two hours. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who went away with a new found appreciation of the fuzzy little critters. We will be running another series of talks next year, once again in conjunction with our friends at the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. It’s too early to tell you who the speakers will be but if the whispers that I’m hearing are true we will be in for a real treat on a monthly basis.
We’re continuing to see whooper swans on the move past the reserve. Good numbers were sighted on the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 19th and 20th of November. During the winter months the Yorkshire coast is visited by good numbers of wintering divers, particularly red-throated divers and we’ve started to see evidence of this recently with sightings on a regular basis. At one point on the 20th there were up to eight birds present on the sea just off Grandstand viewpoint.
Red-throated diver, here in summer plumage - RSPB Images
Recently stormy weather has seen large numbers of adorable little auks pushed in towards the coastline. The Yorkshire coast has been inundated with these tiny, delightful auks recently, we were even lucky enough to spot small numbers of them from the cliff top viewpoints.
Little auk illustration - RSPB Images
After a short break spent away from our cliffs I am delighted to say that the fulmars have returned. They don’t leave for long, maybe a month or so but it’s always pleasing when they return. It’s a joy to see them soaring effortlessly through the air with their wings held stiff. You may or may not know this but despite look superficially similar to a gull fulmars actually belong to the same family as the albatross. A recent training session held in the centre for staff and volunteers revealed that it’s the fulmar which is the favourite bird of the majority of our team. Take that puffin.
Fulmar - Steve Race
They’re not the only seabird that we’ve been seeing back on the cliffs recently because guillemots have been returning too. They won’t be back on the cliffs to breed until next year but it’s not too unusual to see them at this time of year. They may have followed a shoal of fish in to shore or there may be a storm out to sea which forces them to seek shelter, but regardless of the reason it’s certainly good to see them. The 3rd of December was a fantastic guillemot day with over 1000 birds present on the cliffs spread between Grandstand, Mosey Downgate and Bartlett Nab viewpoints.
Guillemot - Chrys Mellor
There is one species of bird which I have barely mentioned in my previous posts, a particularly spectacular bird which is present on the cliffs all year round. As a result I’m ashamed that I have mentioned it until now, the peregrine falcon. We are privileged to provide a home on our cliffs for the fastest animal on the planet. There are few sights in nature more spectacular than a peregrine in full stoop. They do well here thanks to our healthy population of pigeons, which provide a food source throughout the year. Recently, one of the resident birds has taken a liking to a particular perch between Grandstand and Bartlett Nab. Fortunately it is visible from both viewpoints.
Peregrine falcon and young - RSPB Images
Have you ever wanted to see a barn owl? Well then Bempton Cliffs is currently the place to be. Over the last week we’ve been treated to some incredible views by the local owls. If you stand out at the back of the centre after 3 pm you stand a good chance of seeing one of two different birds, both were seen on one occasion, slowly quartering the cliff top meadow in a beautiful yet deadly search for food.
It’s not just birds though, harbour porpoises and grey seals are both still being seen frequently from the viewpoints so keep your eyes on the waves as well as the air.
Harbour porpoise - Adrian Ewart
Posted by ChrisCalow
Greetings from Bempton Cliffs. November is upon us, the nights are drawing in and before you know it will be the New Year. Don’t worry if you haven’t made a trip up to Bempton yet this year though, we have a series of great events planned during the winter months. Every Friday until the 5th of February we will be hosting a special guided walk. Through November these will be focusing on the spectacular geology of the reserve. There’s more to those towering chalk cliffs than you might think. Why not join our walk leader, Paul Hildreth, to find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the cliffs that house over 250,000 seabirds. I’ve tagged along on one of these walks myself and I can tell you that it is well worth making the effort to come and join in. I learned more in that hour and a half than I have in a very long time. Have I mentioned that a hot drink and a slice of cake are included in the price?
The geology of our cliffs is fascinating - Steve Race
We’re catering for the youngsters too. We will be hosting six sessions of ‘Nature’s Little Helpers’ throughout the winter. You can attend one session or all six but if you come along to all of them your family will have everything required to give nature a home in your garden.
Speaking of activities for kids, October half term has come and gone and despite the weather doing its best to deter visitors we still had plenty of families coming to enjoy a day out on the cliffs. We provided a series of activities for children to get stuck into during their visit. My personal favourite was creating a journey stick, a simple and fun way to create a memento of your visit.
Enjoying their journey sticks - Sarah Aitken
This young lady got stuck in to all three activities - Sarah Aitken
Also in half term we once again played host to Leanne Beetham, who goes by the name of Lippy Art. Leanne is a talented artist who creates her artwork by holding her paintbrush in her mouth. She came to us during the height of summer and returned again recently to gather inspiration and sell her wares.
Leanne, and friends, hard at work - Chris Calow
Leanne during her summer visit - Maria Prchlik
Exciting news for anybody who is planning to visit us between now and 29th February next year! Entrance to Bempton Cliffs during that time is absolutely free! What a bargain. It’s all part of our plan to attract more visitors over the winter. That’s not all that we’ve done to create a fantastic visitor experience, one corner of the visitor centre has been turned in to a cosy cafe, complete with ‘roaring’ fire.
Who wouldn't want to warm their hands in front of the fire? - Chris Calow
By now you’re probably ready to hear about some of the wildlife we’ve seen on the reserve since my last blog. I won’t keep you waiting any longer. We’re continuing to see redwing and fieldfare in good numbers, along with another winter visitor which for many years has been my bogey bird. Finally though I can put that hoodoo to rest because on the 11th November I managed to see my first ever Brambling. They’ve been seen frequently on the reserve for the last month or so, I’ve just always been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but finally I managed to see one. I guess I need a new bogey bird now. Any suggestions?
Two very well camouflaged brambling - Tony Mayman
On the 1st November we had a truly excellent sighting for the reserve in the shape of a Richard’s pipit. The bird was first sighted in the morning by Grandstand viewpoint before disappearing for a number of hours. Fortunately, news of the sighting had spread by this time and the bird was relocated in the afternoon having moved up to the Dell, at this point we were able to confirm that this was indeed a Richard’s pipit.
At this time of the year sightings of hen harriers start to become more common along the coast. The birds are moving away from their normal upland habitat in order to spend the winter in comparatively warmer locales. It was on the 31st October that we had our first sighting of the year, a ringtail bird was sighted on the reserve briefly during the day and then again at the end of the day by volunteers Leo Kokoszko and Michael Butler. It was several days before we had another sighting, and what a sighting it was. The Bempton management team came steaming out of their meeting to announce that there was a hen harrier giving great views out of the back of the visitor centre. Management meetings happen every week but such good views of a hen harrier are few and far between. There was one further sighting on the 6th November when a bird was seen over cliff lane. Here’s hoping for more sightings of this wonderful raptor in the coming months.
Hen harrier - RSPB Images
One of my favourite things about this time of year is the movement of wildfowl and we’re starting to see evidence of that. Common scoter were seen heading south in small numbers on the 6th November. At least 50 pink-footed geese were seen flying south on the 1st November, with larger numbers being sighted in the following days.
Pink-footed goose - RSPB Images
The most impressive movement of wildfowl so far, in my opinion, came on the 11th November when just as the day was drawing to an end we were treated to a flypast by 45 majestic whooper swans. A further 16 followed the next day. Seeing these magnificent pure white birds fly past the visitor centre over the blue of the north sea is truly a sight to behold. For those of you who are only familiar with the mute swan regularly seen in parks throughout towns across the country the whooper swan is a far wilder animal than it’s orange billed cousin. It may well be one of my favourite winter visitors, then again, I say that about everything.
Whooper swan - RSPB Images
Well here I am again back with my second post for the Bempton blog. I’ll fill you in on some recent sightings in just a minute but first I’ll give you an idea of some of the things I’ve been getting up to since starting as an intern here at Bempton. Membership recruitment is an incredibly important part of Bempton Cliffs, as it is for every RSPB reserve, so I’ve been trying my hand at this one day a week, with some success. Several new RSPB members have been recruited by my hand, that’s more voices for nature, result! I’ve done my share of work on the welcome desk too. It might not sound particularly exciting but it’s a crucial role. Visitors only get one first impression of the reserve and it’s down to the welcome host to create this impression via a big smile and a cheerful attitude.
One of the things that I have very much enjoyed recently has been leading ‘Planet Gannet’ walks. It is always an absolute pleasure to spend a couple of hours chatting about wildlife, in a beautiful location with friendly people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. When leading a guided walk I’m often genuinely surprised by how much knowledge I have absorbed about the reserve and it’s wildlife in the short time that I have been here. I’ve got the incredibly friendly and immensely knowledgeable staff and volunteers at Bempton to thank for that, they’re always more than happy for me to pick their brains. I learn something new every day here and that’s the reason why. Sadly, the ‘Planet Gannet’ walks have come to an end now until next year but that doesn’t mean we aren’t leading any guided walks over the winter. We’ve got a full series of walks planned covering everything from shipwrecks to RAF Bempton. Have a look at www.rspb.org.uk/bemptoncliffs for the full list.
There’s no doubt that Bempton Cliffs is the most accessible seabird colony in the UK, but we’re always looking for ways that we can become even more accessible so that everybody can enjoy the incredible spectacle on offer. To that end we’re in the process of acquiring a couple of mobility vehicles for the reserve. These will give people of limited mobility the opportunity to visit our viewpoints and enjoy everything Bempton Cliffs has to offer. I’ve been liaising with Eden Mobility, who will be providing one of the vehicles, and looking in to the practicalities of using these vehicles on the reserve. It’s keeping me busy for now.
Our Visitor Services Manager Scott Smith testing out the tramper – Ryan Chenery
Now that I’ve bored you all with that let’s move on and talk about some of the wildlife that we’ve seen recently.All of our seabirds have now left us for the year. It’s a sad time for everybody at Bempton but we know that it won’t be too long before the gannets are back to entertain us once more. There’s still plenty to see though so don’t think that a visit to Bempton is no longer worth it. A red-throated diver was spotted on the sea by our intrepid volunteer Linda down at Staple Newk viewpoint on the 18th September. A single wheatear was on grandstand viewpoint on the 25th September. One of my personal favourite birds is the yellow-browed warbler so I was very pleased when we had our first sighting of the year on 29th September in the overflow car park. The same bird was also present in much the same area the next day. There were no sightings for a few days after that until the 3rd and 4th October when another bird was present around the nature trail, followed by more sightings on the 8th and the 9th, 10th and 17th.
Redwings are starting to arrive, signalling that summer is well and truly over. We had sightings on the 29th and 30th September as well as numerous days in October, it’s now a rare day when somebody doesn’t spot at least one redwing. Staying with the thrush theme we have also started to see the first few ring ouzels of the season. Three were present around the nature trail on the 6th October, whilst there were seven on the 8th October. Sticking with the thrust theme, the final member of the winter thrush trio finally arrived here on the 15th October when several fieldfares were spotted on the lane leading to the reserve. It was a few days later on the 18th though that the fieldfares really started to arrive, with at least 150 seen in the area.
Ring Ouzel – RSPB Images
For those who are fans of owls now is a good time to visit us. As well as the barn owls we are starting to see short-eared owls, which spend the winter with us. The first sighting was on the 5th October close to Bartlett Nab viewpoint, followed up the next day by a sighting at Jubilee viewpoint. Look out for these graceful hunters quartering the rough grassland on the cliff tops, searching for their small mammal prey.
Short-eared owl – Steve Race
On both the 6th and 7th October we were lucky enough to have a very showy Lapland bunting present on the reserve spending it’s time on the paths close to Grandstand viewpoint.
The Lapland bunting on the reserve – Dave Aitken
Perhaps most excitingly of all, in my opinion at least, we were recently treated to a flyover by a great white egret. This is a truly spectacular bird. Pure white, with an elegant yellow dagger like bill and similar in size to a grey heron, it’s not a bird that you forget once you’ve seen it.
Great white egrets, these two are not at Bempton – Stuart Baines
It’s not all birds though, a group of visitors were lucky enough to spot a pair of stoats just beyond Staple Newk viewpoint. If you’re not sure about whether you’ve seen a stoat or a weasel look for the larger size of a stoat along with a black tip to the tail.
Hi there. Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Chris Calow and I’m your brand new visitor experience intern. I’ve taken the reins from Laura and Becky who did a fantastic job over what was an incredibly busy and challenging time for the team here at Bempton. I think it’s safe to say that the season wouldn’t have been the success that it was without them and the contributions which they made. All good things come to an end though and the two of them have both moved on to pastures new for the next six months. This means that you’re stuck with me now all throughout the winter season.
With a poplar hawk-moth - Pernille Egeberg
I suppose I should come clean and admit that even though I’ve only just started here as an intern I’m no stranger to Bempton Cliffs. I began volunteering with the RSPB right here at Bempton back in November 2013 and stuck around for six months before moving on to volunteer at other RSPB reserves for the next year or so. I was delighted to be invited back to help out over the busy summer holidays before transitioning into my internship, which brings us up to now. Over the next six months I’ll (hopefully) be posting regular blogs about all things Bempton.
Bempton Cliffs - Steve Race
I can’t think of a better place to spend the next six months or a friendlier team of talented and hard working people to work with. I’ve volunteered at four different RSPB reserves and have had a fantastic time at each of them but I can safely say that Bempton Cliffs remains my favourite. I can’t think of anywhere else where you can see such fabulous wildlife surrounded by such incredible scenery. I’m looking forward to my time here and can’t wait to get stuck in.
Now to business. It’s an exciting time at Bempton Cliffs, many of the seabirds may have left us for the year but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to be seen. First and foremost the gannets are still here in large numbers. There is still hardly an inch to spare on Staple Newk; many of the gannets still have chicks so they’ll be staying here with us well into October.
On September 9th several local fisherman were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to see something truly spectacular just off shore between Bempton and Flamborough Head. Can you guess what it was? Give yourself a point if you said basking shark. We’re used to sightings of marine mammals here at Bempton, porpoises are common and we’ve been fortunate enough this year to have several sightings of minke whales and we were even lucky enough to spot at least five common dolphin from Staple Newk on the 17th, but a basking shark is a true rarity in these waters. It is the second largest fish in the world and can reach a size of 9 - 10m, with a few exceptional individuals on record as being 12 m long. This picture should give you some idea as to the size of a basking shark.
Basking Shark - Chris Gotschalk
It’s certainly an impressive fish but there’s no need to panic if you ever find yourself in the water with one, they feed on plankton, small fish and invertebrates. Despite the enormous size that it can reach we know surprising little about basking sharks, it’s not easy to study an animal that spends so much time deep underwater
Slightly less spectacular but no less exciting were the small mammals that we caught on our discovery day earlier this month. Five species were caught in total. These were field mouse, wood mouse, bank vole, common shrew, and pygmy shrew. It just goes to show that there are more species of mammal out there than you might think. Good news for us but bad news for those five species was the weasel that was spotted outside the visitor centre on the 10th and 18th September. The weasel is Britain’s smallest carnivore but don’t be fooled by it’s size, it is an incredibly successful hunter that specialises in hunting small rodents.
Shrew - Leo Kokoszko
There are still a number of beautiful butterflies to be seen on the reserve this month. We’ve had sightings of peacock, small tortoiseshell, and wall and a large influx of red admirals coming in off the sea on the 10th.
So far I’ve barely mentioned the birds on the reserve. Autumn migration is well and truly underway with regular sightings of species heading back south for the winter. The Dell and Pallas’ Patch have been the regular haunts of willow warbler (1st, 12th, 15th, 16th), blackcap (1st, 15th, 16th), whitethroat (1st, 15th, 18th) goldcrest (3rd, 15th, 16th, 18th), spotted flycatcher (6th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th), pied flycatcher (10th, 12th), and most frequently of all, redstart (10th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 18th). These aren’t the only migrant birds about though; there have also been sightings of garden warbler (1st), wheatear (1st, 10th), yellow wagtail (6th, 10th), siskin (15th, 16th) and redpoll (16th). We are still seeing the odd house martin and swallow in addition to a very late swift on the 15th. It won’t be long before all of these birds are winging their way towards the warmer weather that they will find in Africa over the winter. They’ll be replaced on our shores by a new cast of characters coming to us from the north. Now is the time to start looking out for species such as redwing, fieldfare and maybe even a waxwing or two.
So far September has also proved to be a productive month for sea watching from Bempton. The 4th yielded sightings of great skua, red throated diver, common scoter, arctic skua and arctic tern, while the 5th produced manx shearwater, sooty shearwater and another sighting of common scoter.
Just like the sea birds, it is now our time to leave the cliffs for the winter. This is going to be our last blog post from Bempton Cliffs, as myself and Laura are going to be spending the winter at Coombes Valley and Fairburn Ings for the remainder of our internship. Watching the cliffs go from almost empty at the start of the season, all the way up to full capacity by June has been absolutely incredible. We've both learned so much from all the volunteers here, and I'm sure we'll be coming back for a visit next summer. And the next one, and the next one etc. Taking our place will be the lovely Chris Calow, who's going to be the Visitor Experience Intern through the winter.
The Swallow nest just outside the entrance to the visitor centre has been a hive of activity over the past couple of weeks! With a second brood of four chicks to raise, the adults have been buzzing back and forth regularly.
Photo by Leo Kokoszko
After fledging the chicks were spotted for several days hanging around on the fence close to the visitor centre getting used to life outside the nest. This lovely photo was taken by a visitor, Kathryn Davies.
Photo by Kathryn Davies
This time of year is great for spotting cetaceans from the cliffs. We were lucky enough to get some fantastic views of a Minke Whale on the 10th August and then again on the 12th and 15th!
Minke Whale - Tony Mayman
There have also been a couple of reports of White Beaked dolphins on the 20th and 21st. Harbour Porpoise and Grey Seals are still being spotted regularly.
There have been lots of different butterflies spotted fluttering about along the cliff-top and the nature trail. The peacocks in particular are showing really well along with the Large White, green veined white, small tortoise shell, small white and painted lady.
Peacock butterfly - Leo Kokoszko
Red Admiral - Leo Kokoszko
The Dell has come to life with all sorts of summer migrants stopping off before they head south for the winter. In August, Wheatear (15th, 23rd), Icterine Warbler (24th), Blackcap (19th, 20th, 22nd, 25th, 27th), Goldcrest (27th), Whitethroat (20th, 22nd, 23rd, 25th, 27th) and Lesser Whitethroat (24th) were all spotted.
Icterine Warbler - Photo by Dave Aitken
Willow Warbler - Leo Kokoszko
Whitethroat - Leo Kokoszko
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Spotted Flycatcher - Leo Kokoszko
Laura and Becky
Posted by Laura - Visitor Experience Intern
Grid reference: TA1973 (+2km)
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