The annual 'pilgrimage' to "Bempton Cliffs" in Yorkshire had to be postponed so many times this year I wondered if I would ever get there at all.
I usually go early in the year around April/May when there are lots of nesting activities going on but then I miss most of the puffin activity which goes on later. With puffins in mind I decided on a late visit but not 11th July!! To cheer me up even more the RSPB had a sign saying, to the effect, too late mate, ya missed the puffins, they have gone!
The first thing I noticed was how ominously quiet it was compared with previous earlier visits but luckily there were still pictures to be had, after all I was only looking for one bird, the puffin, what could go wrong!
The gannets had well grown if downy chicks, the kittiwakes had well grown chicks almost ready to fly, no doubt many were already on the wing and generally speaking it was still looking good.
Several gannets were wearing leg rings and on one ring I could read part of the number and saw the word JERSEY. While photographing other birds I kept watching out for that ringed gannet to move but in more than two hours it stood alongside its chick and I was unable to photograph the rest of the ring but it was ringed in Jersey, was it ringed as an adult, we will never know now.
Gannets of mixed ages
The cliffs are for the most part about 400 feet high and as I looked down I could often see puffins flying by but far below and far too far away for photographs.
As the sun started to lower in the sky one lone puffin landed on a small rock stack and looked at me. The way the light played on it and its position on that very picturesque stack with a perfect green colour wash background was heaven sent. I wasn't as close as I would like to have been but I took some shots anyway. If I move closer will it flee?
I moved closer, closer and even closer. It seemed as interested in me as I was in it. At last I was in position for some great images and... it posed beautifully. Many of you will know things don't always work out so easily!
So, very late in the season, RSPB sign says "forget it" but, I did get my puffin shot.
Kittiwakes in flight quarrel.
A gannet passes close by checking on his sitting mate.
Herring gulls, always on the prowl. Herring gull on the prowl. This "immature gannet" will be about two years of age. After so many years of visiting this famous site (don't ask how many years!) you might think there are no pictures left to get but... happily there always are.