Trip reports

Bempton Cliffs RSPB

Bempton Cliffs RSPB
Puffin - Steve Settle

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Our last outing of the season was a coach trip to the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs.
The trip was originally advertised to include Yorkshire Wildlife's site at North Cave, but this was decided against in order to give people more time at Bempton.

After a short break at Ferrybridge services we arrived at the reserve at around 10:15. At which point most people did their own thing having been given a leaving time of 3:30.

The first thing that greets you is the 'chirp chirp' of the numerous tree sparrows that readily use the nest boxes attached to the visitor's centre.

There are six or more viewing platforms along the cliffs, each affording excellent view of the nesting sea birds. From each platform, more or less the same birds can be seen, but moving from one to another, there are better views of differing birds from different platforms.

The cliffs were full of thousands of gannets, guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes. The puffins were present in smaller numbers and a little more secretive in the nooks and crannies, but still offered good views. Herring gulls and fulmars soared across the cliff faces.
Out to sea there were lots of small rafts of mixed auk species, larger groupings of kittiwakes, and lots of gannets flying back and forth, though no gannets were seen diving for fish in their spectacular style.
A few shag were also present on the water, and one grey seal was seen to pop it's head up for a few minutes.
The wind was westerly blowing from on-shore, so we weren't treated to the smell of the bird colonies except for near the main gannet colony at Staple Newk platform.

On the inland fields, the smaller farmland birds included linnet, meadow pipits, whitethroat, and skylark. A few swallows and swifts soared around, and a single barn owl was seen to fly across the field before disappearing behind a small raised area, then reappear to repeat the search for prey.

A small group of us ventured a mile or so along the path to the west of the reserve in the hope of something different. Only whitethroat, woodpigeon and a kestrel were on the fields, but on the way back we were able to watch a peregrine patrolling the cliffs.

Relaxing at the cafe before leaving, a few of the group were treated to a little egret flying over while they enjoyed their teas and ice creams.

As we returned to the coach a short eared owl was seen quartering to fields adjacent to the disused R.A.F.station.

Only around 27 species were seen on the day on the reserve, but I don't think anyone had any complaints. The weather stayed good all day, and other than corn buntings, everything expected to be seen was seen.
The one disappointing note was that only 21 people were on the coach.