Thursday, 26 May 2011

Yorkshire's Nature Triangle Day: Puffin Cruise

A few weeks ago I was asked if I would like to book on Yorkshire's Nature Triangle Day, but I was supposed to be leading my classes in a venue west of Hull on that day. So, I first enquired if my classes would also be able to book. Luckily, the answer came back in the affirmative, so 9 people from the morning session and 5 from the afternoon met in Bridlington Harbour at 10.30. We formed a party consisting of several people from the Finnish Tourist Board, plus hoteliers and other businesses serving the local tourism industry, plus Caroline Bilton and her cameraman from Look North.

The first 20 minutes or so were pretty uneventful, but we did see parties of Auks on the sea, which became more numerous as we neared Flamborough Head. The easiest birds to see were Guillemots and Razorbills, with a few Puffins dotted here and there. Because we experienced the first calm day for 3 weeks, the Yorkshire Belle was able to actually enter one bay, and this is where we had our closest views of all of the species on the water and also some Shags at their nest sites. The views around here were simply jaw-droppingly good! We sailed up the coast to Bempton, where the geological faultline in the cliffs presented a truly awesome spectacle, and it was near here that the Gannets were breeding.

The return journey was much less serene as we hit a head wind, and some passengers were a little 'under the weather'. From the harbour we were conveyed by luxury coach to Flamborough lighthouse, before the coach re-orientated itself back to South Landing where an excellent seafood lunch served by Gerard Baker was waiting for us. I didn't try the dogfish soup, but I was told it was excellent. After this the groups split into 2, and some of us went looking for birds on a walk around South Landing, whilst the others went down to the beach for some rock-pooling. The birding highlights round here were a pair of Yellowhammers, Whitethroats, Swallows, House Martins, Greenfinch, a flyover Linnet and singing Blackcaps, Song Thrush & Chaffinches. The highlight of the rock-pooling, other than the excellent talk given by Kay from YWT was a stunnng male Kestrel.

I was emailed late last night by two participants who had walked along the top of the sea cliffs at Bempton & Flamborough many times, and they stressed how much they had enjoyed the event, and said that to see the birds on the sea and the bottom of the cliffs was an "eye-opener" & it changed their mental image of Flamborough & Bempton completely. Thanks to everyone involved at the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and RSPB Bempton for their efforts in ensuring all the participants had a fantastic day out!

Puffin [& Guillemot]

Shag [immature left]
Shag on the nest with young


A Shag looks very strange face-on


2 Razorbills [below] & Guillemot



Guillemot in flight


Kittiwakes in Bridlington Harbour

Shore Crab - not part of lunch!


Mo Hassan said...

Nice shots! Looks like you similar views of most of the birds to what I had on the Farnes the other day.

Michael Flowers said...

I believe there's a lot more of each species to see on the Farnes, but we didn't see any terns at all!