💕 Some people are so cynical, last Wednesday I came home from work and said to Margie, "how do you fancy a romantic weekend away in Yorkshire💔" Margie's reply? "what bird is it?" To be fair she has been hurt before with "romantic" trips to sewage works, dung-heaps and the like!😂. After much protestations about hurt feelings and such like, I eventually confessed that there was a Black-browed Albatross at Bempton Cliffs that I would like to go and see!! It had been there for a while and had been showing fairly well all week! We've been to Bempton Cliffs before, a place Margie enjoyed visiting, I also played the Puffin "card"🐧(yes I know this is a Penguin but I couldn't find a Puffin) Margie likes Puffins!
So I booked a hotel in the vicinity, we would leave early Saturday morning hit the cliffs about 9 tick the bird, take a few pics of Puffins with plenty of time left for hand-holding,walks on the beach,visiting castles and other romantic stuff I may or may not have mentioned!! 😎No worries.
First problem was the getting up early,when Margie asked me what time we would be leaving, she may of understood my reply to mean "not too early" rather than what I actually said was "not two early" meaning "three early" easy mistake to make but simply maths should tell you that to arrive on site at 9AM following a 5-6 hour drive you have to leave at 3 o'clock in the morning!!😏
Anyway to cut a long story short, the alarm went off at 3AM after a bit of grumbling, we were on the road by 3.30am an uneventful journey,with Margie catching up on her sleep,I decided to stay awake😃, we arrived on site at 8.50, the car park was already nearly full but we got a space, very well marshalled by the RSPB, well organised throughout the site to cope with the quite large numbers,in these Covid times!! As is traditional now the first person we met was also a birder from Sussex!!Wherever we go which ever far-flung area of the British Isles, from Blacktoft Sands to Ynis Hyr to The Butt of Lewes Invariably there is a birder there from Sussex!!😁😲
Typically the news wasn't good, the day before the bird had disappeared North, this is typical behaviour with the bird ranging far and wide😢hopefully it would return during our visit! The weather was hot, I sensibly opted for Sun-hat number 1, the full kepi including neck protection, a long-sleeved shirt and my fancy-dan trousers that can convert to shorts, although as we had forgot to bring sun-cream, my fault obviously😏!! Margie borrowed my other hat,but only had a short-sleeved top a decision she would come to regret!!!😡😲 We did at least have plenty of water,The RSPB also provided free drinking water. We set off into the sweltering heat, with the words "bloody hell, it's only 9 o'clock", we reached the cliffs after a short walk, the one thing they don't tell you about on the glossy documentaries about Seabird colonies is the smell and acrid tang of fish and birdpoop that lasts for ever!!! Although it wasn't to bad today and no where near as bad as the Farne Islands!!
Bempton Cliffs are spectacular as Margie's pictures below demonstrate.
There was plenty of other action while we waited for the Puffin to wake up,
|2nd Calendar year Gannet|
|Look like Rock Doves,act like Rock Doves but presume to much Feral in em to tick!!|
|3rd Calendar Year Gannet|
|Different Puffin in flight!|
|Guillemot (near) and Razorbills|
Then the Puffin woke up,scratched it's back and went back to sleep again!!
|Having a Scratch|
|Distant Yellow Wagtail not helped by the heat-haze|
The next viewpoint was fantastic with real opportunities to get close to the birds,which I tried to take advantage of, best was a Puffin which was in it's burrow appearing every now and then going for a little walk then popping back in!
|Would it come out!!|
|Shame about the wingtip|
|Quite like this effect,no idea how I did it, think it's the light on the sea?|
|Kittiwakes bonding on ones arrival|
|When you realise they ain't brought no Fish!!|
|Guillemot wondering if the Puffin is coming out to play!|
|Fulmar, several about but probably the trickiest of the lot to get shots of|
|I imagine this bird is wistfully thinking about battling huge storms in winter as it swelters in the heat!|
|Sneaking in while their backs are turned|
|Loved seeing this when the returning birds arrive!|
|Margie took this with her phone, after I failed to achieve the desired effect with the camera|
|Distant Barn Owl|
|Bit closer but it disappeared after this so couldn't get close enough for decent shots|
|View from the Humber Bridge,taken by Margie I hasten to add!!|