Sunday 24th July and I spent the day with my wife Helen, at the RSPB reserve of Bempton Cliffs, on the Yorkshire Coast near Bridlington. A great place for sea bird photography as the cliff faces are covered in Kittiwakes, Gannets and Auks during the breeding season. At this time of the year though, many of the Razorbills, Puffins and Guillemots have left their breeding ledges, but there were still small numbers around. The Gannets and Kittiwakes however, a different story, as there were still large numbers of birds and a cacophony of sound as they tendered to their offspring.
Young Kittiwakes are known as “Tarrocks” before their first moult. The black “W” mark across the wings and a black bar on the tail, help to distinguish the “Tarrocks” from the adults. Unlike other gulls, a Kittiwake spends most of its time out at sea, only coming back to coastal cliffs during the summer breeding season. They are also a very gentle looking gull in their appearance and it maybe this, along with their plaintive calls that lies behind a belief that the souls of dead children go into Kittiwakes.
Gannets are silent except during the breeding season, when they are noisy and very aggressive as they maintain their tiny area of territory and protect it with full-on aggression. The Gannet has complete mastery of the air, spending most of its life on the open sea, feeding on shoals of fish such as Herring and Mackerel, only coming to the coastal cliffs to breed. Gan and Gant are old name forms of Gannet.
Puffin was a year tick – year list moves on to 205
Gannet – Above 4 images – Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire – Tony Davison©
Fulmar – Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire – Tony Davison©
Atlantic Puffin – Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire – In Shetland the Puffin is called a “Tammie Norie” – Tony Davison©
Herring Gull – Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire – Tony Davison©
Kittiwake – Above 3 images – Juveniles – known as Tarrocks – Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire – Tony Davison©
Kittiwake – Adult – Above 5 images – Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire – Tony Davison© – named after their plaintive, haunting high pitched kitti-kitti-wake call.