New Dawn Rising

Razorbills at dawn – Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire
Razorbills at dawn – Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire

Still trying to catch up from earlier this year. Easy to forget just how hot it was in mid June – even the east coast of Yorkshire was scorching !

Part of the Razorbill colony at 5:05am
Part of the Razorbill colony at 5:05am

With the heat of the previous day making for an uncomfortable night’s sleep we woke early shortly before dawn. Time for a 5 minute walk to Flamborough Head and a visit to the colonies of nesting seabirds.

Another pair of Razorbills
Another pair of Razorbills – along this particular section of the cliffs probably the most numerous member of the Auk family.
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Herring Gull with a dead Auk chick, probably a Razorbill or Guillemot.

With thanks to the Wildlife Dept at APHA York the colour ring identifies the Gull as being ringed at Seamer Landfill site in May 2011 during a cannon-netting session, followed by sightings at Bridlington Harbour in June 2012, Fairburn Ings – January 2015 and now Flamborough Head.

Still difficult to believe the once common Herring Gull is now a red-listed species due to a long term decline of 72% between 1969 and 2014 . With their population continuing to crash the survival of the Herring Gull within the UK is looking bleak.

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Puffins preparing for an early morning flight to their main feeding area around Dogger Bank.
This nations favourite Auk.
This nations favourite Auk.
Lobster fisherman checking the pots
Lobster fisherman checking the pots just after dawn.
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Gannets close to the southern boundary of Bempton Cliffs.

Slightly further up the coast our early morning walk reaches the southern boundary of the RSPB Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve. With over 11,000 pairs the Northern Gannets nesting along this stretch of coast are England’s only colony of these spectacular summer migrants.

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A partially hidden Gannet nesting on a ledge close to the edge of the clifftop path.
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Northern Gannets nesting on the 3ooft high chalk cliffs.

Although ridiculously early being able to share a deserted clifftop with ¼ million nesting seabirds watching the approaching dawn is one of life’s magical moments.  Highly recommended!

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