During a visit Sue and I recently made to see friends in Yorkshire I got the opportunity to spend a few days exploring the wildlife of the area. On the way up from London we made our lunch stop at the Lyndon nature reserve on the southern shore of Rutland water. This is an excellent reserve for seeing Ospreys as one pair nest in Manton bay. The pair there this year have raised 4 chicks this year and all have fledged. When we were in the hide we could see 5 birds, 2 Adults and 3 young, perched at various locations around the area of the nest.
Our first day in Yorkshire we went to the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs.
This is a major sea-bird breeding colony and the only mainland breeding site for the Northern Gannet. In addition you can come close to Kittiwake, Fulmar, Guillemots and Puffins. It was amazing to see the Gannets and Puffins so close.
The most unusual sighting was Albie, the Black-browed Albatross. Albatrosses are found normally in the Southern ocean from South Africa to South America. But there have been a few birds which have found there way into the northern Atlantic over the years, the amazing thing is once they make that journey they seem to settle down and return to the same place each summer. Long staying birds have previously been recorded in the Shetland islands and the Faroes. Albie has been in the North Atlantic and Baltic sea for about 6 years and this is the second year he has returned to the Gannet colony here at Bempton. It took me a while to find him amongst the thousands of Gannets but once located on the rock face he was clear to see.
My second day out was to the RSPB reserve at Fairburn Ings. the Ings are a set of lakes created when mine workings collapsed and the site now consists of a number of lakes with woodland and some open spaces. Best sightings here included Great and Little Egrets (Cattle Egrets were aslo present but I didn’t see them) and Spoonbill.
A good couple of days exploring the wildlife of Yorkshire that make me want to go back and explore some more
Friday at the Bird Fair – would have gone round the Rutland hides as usual if they had been accessible from the Bird Fair, but sadly they were not.
Saturday at RSPB Blacktoft Sands – I didn’t expect to see anything much here, just a stop en route north. But I was pleasantly surprised – a good variety of birds despite the heat.
Sunday at RSPB Bempton Cliffs – aiming to record the sounds as well as video the gannets and kittiwakes. Managed to spot the albatross and even get it on video, it seems that once a southern Atlantic albatross crosses the equator, it rarely makes the crossing back south – kinda gets stuck in the wrong circulatory system. Also saw the Turkestan shrike which had been around for a few weeks – didn’t know about it until I was there. I don’t go looking for rarities, but sometimes happen to be in the right place at the right time.
Monday – an early (6am) start back to Wales, hoping to avoid the worst of the heat, breaking the journey at RSPB Burton Mere where it was VERY HOT, but not quite as hot as Plas Goggerddan near Aberystwyth which registered 35C at the time.
RSPB Fairburn Ings is on the list for next time – would have stayed in Yorkshire longer except for the heat.
We had planned to have an extra day but came home early to avoid the heat too. Looking forward to going back again next year and exploring some new sites such as Kilnsea Wetlands and Potteric Carr as well as revisiting this years sites.