Tuesday, 16 February 2016

A Hope Point of a Day

What a beautiful day! I don't mind it cold, and without the wind the sunshine was really pleasant. I had a gentle stroll along the cliff to down to Hope Point and beyond.

The tide was quite high and the shore line way below was narrow. We never have many shore birds as there is no mud and probably not a great amount of food for waders, but Oystercatchers are regular and their calls were piping from below. I also sow three Curlews passing by.
Peering over the edge there were a number of gulls on show including a few Great Black-backed Gulls, which are undoubtedly the boss birds on the foreshore.

 The majority of Gull cruising along the cliff top are of course Herring Gulls, There are still a lot of first winter birds around, as above.

The adults,well known from the root tops in the village, are equally at home on the cliffs and are looking very spick and span now,

Of course Fulmars were very evident as they are always early to establish their territories on the cliffs.
There are various place where ledges below the top of the cliff are visible, and as I walked along I was aware of the calls of some birds noisily advertising their presence on the ledges.

The position of this bird allow fairly close approach and I was pleased to get this picture that shows the structure of the tube-nosed bill well.  The Fulmar is our closest relation to the Albatrosses and like themit has the ability to drink sea water and excrete the salt is contains through the tubes on its beak. The beak is also a pretty useful tool. It is sharp edged and used to great effect on the squid and fish that form the Fulmars diet.
This is a view of the ledge that I was watching. There were three birds around and hopefully there will be a nest in the area later.

When they established pairs spend a lot of time bill touching and nuzzling together. 

Some distance out I could see several Red-throated Divers. This group of three were the closest, and there were long way out, there were at least four more further out.

 I actually saw very few small birds, but this pair of Stonechats were quite confiding. The low sunshine made the colours even warmer on this female.

The male above was always close by and it is possible that they are always a pair. They were very active and in the warm sunshine there were a good number of insects on the wing.  Further back towards the monument I came across two Stonechats, but I wasn't sure if they were a second pair or if the ones from just beyond Hope Point had overtaken me.

Much nearer the Monument I found another ledge with a prospecting Fulmar. I'm hoping that this will become a nest site as it is reasonably easy to watch, without being too close to the edge.

No comments: