Bempton Cliffs, England and its birds


This video from England says about itself:

18 August 2015

Some of my memories of the many visits to RSPB Bempton Cliffs so far this year.

The video shows some of the birds of Bempton Cliffs, like gannets, razorbills and guillemots.

Birds at Bempton Cliffs

This April 2017 photo of Birds at Bempton Cliffs is by Emily Beevers.

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Leucistic guillemot at Bempton Cliffs, England


Leucistic guillemot

The bird on the left of this photo, taken at Bempton Cliffs in England by Steve Clifton, is a normally coloured guillemot (as are the birds at the bottom of the picture).

The other guillemot, on the right, is leucistic.

Seabirds back at Bempton Cliffs, England


This video from England is called “The Birds of Bempton Cliffs“.

From Steve Race Wildlife Photography in England today:

I have had a great day at Bempton Cliffs with all the seabirds back now in large numbers even including a handful of Puffins (very early). One of my favourite seabirds is the Razorbill and they are now starting to peer around the cliff ledges looking for potential partners.

If you would like to take photographs of the amazing seabird colony at Bempton Cliffs from ‘Above and Below’ the cliffs then why not join me on one my full day trips this Summer. Please click on the … link for more details.

Flamborough, England, rare marsh warbler nest


This video is about a marsh warbler singing in Sweden.

From the Flamborough Bird Observatory in England:

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

The Observatory is pleased to announce that a pair of Marsh Warblers took up territory in late May. The pair stayed and eventually were seen carrying food and extracting faecal sacs from a presumed nesting spot. Eventually at least one juvenile was seen to have fledged, although it was strongly suspected that there were more.

The site was vulnerable to disturbance and unable to be monitored. In consultation with RSPB staff the decision was made to keep disturbance to a minimum.

Marsh warblers are really rare in Britain.

When I was at Bempton Cliffs, not far from Flamborough head, on 5 July 2011, I was surprised to see a relative of the marsh marbler there: a sedge warbler. A lot more common in England than marsh warblers, but still surprising to see it near coastal cliffs, not in a marsh.

Gannet flying at Bempton Cliffs, England


Gannet, Bempton Cliffs, England

As a sort of “blast from the past”, a photo of a gannet flying at Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire, England in July 2011.

Study: Northern Gannets have distinct personalities affecting where they feed & how likely they will prosper: here.

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Migrating birds die at sea


This video is called No food, no offspring. Climate change has reached migratory birds in the North Sea.

From the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Britain:

Migrating birds lost at sea

Last modified: 26 October 2012

An appalling combination of fog and winds around England’s coast this week have created terrible conditions for migrating birds, with some fishermen reporting to the RSPB the deaths of many exhausted and disorientated ‘garden’ birds plunging into the sea around their vessels.

England’s east coast, from Northumberland to Kent, has seen the arrival of many birds, including redwings, fieldfares, bramblings and blackbirds, perhaps numbering in their millions this week. The RSPB believes these birds may be the lucky survivors which have managed to cross the North Sea, but the Society concedes many others may have perished before making landfall.

The sky was thick with garden birds. I estimate I saw 500 birds die and that was just in our 300-yard sphere

One such site to experience a ‘fall’ of stranded migrant birds is the RSPB’s Bempton Cliffs reserve in North Yorkshire. Ian Kendall is the reserves manager. Commenting on the sight, he said: “There are birds in their thousands, on the cliffs, in the surrounding fields, hedgerows and along the length of the Yorkshire Coast.

“The birds left Scandinavia in glorious sunshine but as they crossed the North Sea, they flew into fog and rain, so they stopped off at the first bit of land they have come across. The place has been dripping with birds.”

Disorientated

Along England’s south coast, the RSPB has received several reports of thousands of disorientated and exhausted birds drowning in the sea. One respondent, a professional boat skipper, said: “While fishing about 10 miles south of Portsmouth, we witnessed thousands of garden birds disorientated, land on the sea and most drowning. Species included goldcrests, robins, thrushes and blackbirds. The sky was thick with garden birds. I estimate I saw 500 birds die and that was just in our 300-yard sphere. On the way home we just saw dead songbirds in the water: it was a harrowing sight.”

Martin Harper is the RSPB’s conservation director. He said: “The scale of these reports are truly shocking, and it has the potential to adversely affect the status of species which may be declining for other reasons.”

Those exhausted birds which have made it to the UK will be looking for food and may be visiting gardens, especially as the weather is expected to turn with the UK forecast to receive the first icy blasts of winter.

Topping up bird feeders

Ian Hayward is an adviser with the RSPB’s wildlife enquiries team. He said: “The first cold snap will encourage many birds to visit gardens increasingly, in a quest for food. Now is the time to start topping up bird tables and feeders. These birds need all the help they can get, so gardeners and farmers can also help birds by not cutting hedgerows laden with much-needed berries.”

Blackbird migration: here.

Good English gannet news


This video is called Gannets at Bempton Cliffs. It also shows some guillemots and kittiwakes.

From the RSPB in Britain:

Shining a light on gannet numbers at RSPB Bempton Cliffs

Last modified: 16 October 2012

Gannet numbers at RSPB Bempton Cliffs have soared in the last three years.

Research this summer has revealed that since 2009, there has been a remarkable rise of 40% in the number of birds breeding on the sheer chalk cliffs at the nature reserve between Bridlington and Filey, which is the UK’s largest mainland breeding gannet colony.

Previous surveys by RSPB staff and volunteers have shown a year-on-year growth since records began in 1969, when there were only 22 pairs at Bempton Cliffs.

But this year’s figures reveal there are now 11,061 breeding pairs, a leap of 3,202 pairs since the last survey in 2009.

The researchers also counted 798 non-breeding birds, which, when they are old enough to find mates, will add to the numbers which turn the cliffs into an amazing wildlife spectacle throughout spring and summer.

Assistant Warden David Aitken, who led the boat-based survey that recorded the figures, is thrilled that these spectacular birds are going from strength to strength.

“Gannets and some other seabirds can fly huge distances – sometimes as far as 600km round trips – in their search for food,” he said.

“This is one of the reasons why vital offshore Marine Protected Areas are needed to safeguard not just seabirds but also other sealife and the important areas where they feed.

“The RSPB’s fight to ensure adequate protection for our marine environment is hugely important. While gannets are on the increase at Bempton Cliffs, the fortunes of seabirds across the UK are mixed, with some suffering dramatic declines,” he added.

Gannets are only found breeding on the cliffs at Bempton, and not at nearby Flamborough or Filey, because the type of ledges and shelves on this part of the cliff face are just right for building safe, secure nests.”

In July, researchers discovered a bird on the nature reserve which had come all the way from Jersey.

“We have had birds from Bass Rock in Scotland before but never, to our knowledge, one from so far south,” said Dave. “As we learn more and more about Bempton’s amazing seabirds, we build up a more detailed picture of the actions that need to be taken to ensure a brighter future for our marine wildlife.”

The growing number of gannets in the colony is bringing an added bonus for photographers. This year, birds have gathered in ever-bigger numbers almost next to the cliff-top path and close to specially-built viewing platforms.

How you can help

The seas around the UK’s coasts are increasingly overfished, over-trafficked and over-developed, but crucially under-protected. Your support today will help safeguard our sea life.

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have discovered that proposed offshore renewable energy developments in the English Channel have the potential to affect the foraging behaviour of northern gannets from Alderney in the Channel Islands. Read more here.