Posted by: mynaturaldiary | June 12, 2014

Approaching the Summer Solstice

We are now approaching the summer solstice, and the sea birds of Bempton Cliffs are making the most of the extra daylight raising their young. The cliffs are covered in Gannets, Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills, Puffins and Fulmars.

Fulmars are true seabirds, only coming ashore to breed. They mostly glide with a stiff wing position, rarely flapping them.

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Fulmar(Fulmarus glacialis)

The updraught by the cliffs allow the birds to soar and wheel to reach their nest site.

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You can see their tubular nostrils above their beak in these pictures.

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Kittiwakes are more numerous. Their cry is onomatopoeic.

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Kittiwake(Rissa tridactyla)

They nest on the cliff face,

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together with the Guillemots, Razorbills and Gannets.

Guillemots are even more impressive in their nesting.

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They drag their feet behind them in flight .

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Guillemot (Uria aalge)

Razorbills have a name that is descriptive of their beak.

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Razorbill (Alca torda)

Their bill has a distinctive white stripe along the top, and is much thicker set than the more pointed bill of Guillemots.

The Gannets are the star show; large seabirds that have a glint of the Jurassic in their eyes.

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Their wingspan is difficult to appreciate when they are on the ground. They bond well to this season’s partner when raising their young, putting on displays.

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Gannet (Morus bassanus)

In the air they reveal their size, ability to soar and streamlined shape.

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From the top of the cliff looking down, obe can see their wingspan even more clearly.

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They too nest on the cliffs.

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Out at sea, they sometimes fly in small Vees

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or in lines, riding the slipstream from the leading bird.

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There are occasional Heering Gulls.

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Herring Gull(Larus argentatus)

On land,Skylarks are heard but rarely seen. Jackdaws are very visible.

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Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)

And at the visitors centre, Tree Sparrows are the star show.

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Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)

This bird is likely to be a juvenile, given its yellow gape at the side of its bill.

Let’s leave the reserve looking out across the near vertical cliffs,

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and out to the blue sea.

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