Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bempton seabirds and Blacktoft Spoonbills

Spending the week volunteering for the RSPB at Blacktoft sands (Humberside) gave me a week to get a decent Spoonbill picture. Despite the bird coming realy close to the hides (see top photo!) I didnt get that many that made me think "Wow" My favourite shot is probably the one shown above the Grey Heron, this was taken when the bird was at the front of the nearest island (about 1/3 as close again as the nearest island shown in the top picture). Waders on the reserve included 6 Green Sands, 3 Greenshank, 12 Spotted Redshank, 113 Black tailed Godwit, 35+ Dunlin etc. 2 Spoonbills became one, One Spoonbill dissapeared, it returned with its friend (After a days absence), and another one joined them...

A week volunteering at Blacktofr offered the perfect oppertunity to pay a long overdue return visit to Bempton cliffs to pay homage to the many thousands of nesting seabirds. Having not seen a Puffin for 5 years (and missing them on Anglesey, last year) this offered the chance for my first ever pictures, provided through the magic of digiscoping! Despite some of the birds being realy close, getting pictures wasn't always easy. Part of the problem was getting the correct angle on the bird and adjusting the scope to the right height, whilst avoiding any tall vegetation and safety railings! Speaking with the watchpoint volunteers (those who show exited children (and adults) the location of the puffins, and help the public understand the differences between a Guillemot and a Razorbill etc) it was clear we had chosen a good "Puffin day" "Sometimes you can come and you just dont see them, other days you arrive and there are lots"


This way to the bird!

The birds first appearance of the night

A closer inspection of the scrum

To get a good view of this bird you realy needed to be lucky. Flight views were pretty much untickable, and a view ofthe bird in "daylight" was an honour only to be had by a fortunate few. Once the light had gone, it was down to the power of torchlight.... My only view of the bird was when it flew accross the path infront of the house by the Horse Chestnut tree. As flight views go, mine were actually pretty good. So good infact that I could actually see the ear tufts on the bird! a pity it wasn't more cooperative when it was sitting in the tree... Despite returning to the same (relatively open!) tree about 5 times, I failed to see any more than the tail of the bird. By the time I got around to looking through the scope the bird had moved on. Looks like I will have to wait for the next twitchable Scops Owl before I can properly tick it...