Lower Moor Farm – May 2016

05:30 seemed a horrendous time to be getting up on a Bank Holiday Monday but I had heard a while ago that Otters had been seen at Lower Moor Farm and this was the first chance I’d had to get there early.

Lower Moor Farm Nature Reserve - Mute Swan

It was overcast when I got to the site at 07:30. I popped into the first hide to have a quick scan and was greeted by the site of a pair of Mute Swan’s and their 2 Cygnets, the rest of the lake was quiet. I then headed to the hide at Swallow Pool where the Otters had been seen. After a fair few hours of watching, unfortunately I hadn’t seen any.  I did however see Mallard’s fighting (trying to drown each other might be a better description!), Greylag Geese flying over, Blue tits feeding and a Kingfisher that did a few flybys! The Muncjac Deer took me by surprise as it was just to the right of the hide, about 25ft away. It was spooked by a man that came into the hide though unfortunately so I only managed to take a couple of photographs before it ran off.

On my way back to the car park I again popped into the hide on Cottage Lake. I like that the bird table is quite close so you can clearly see the smaller birds that come to feed.  I wasn’t expecting a squirrel to show up though! but it obviously had learnt the bird food is there and was happily eating what it could. On the way out I walked around the pools to see what smaller creatures were about. I’m still learning which insects are which and still get confused, so have to rely on the Internet when I get home to help me out!

My full list of sightings for the day were:
Birds: Mute Swan, Robin, Chaffinch, Mallard, Reed Bunting, Blackbird, Long-tailed tit, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Kingfisher, Moorheen, Dunnock, Great tit, Canada Geese, Great Crested Grebe, Greylag Goose
Mammals: Muntjac Deer, Grey Squirrel
Insects: Common Blue Damselfly, Green Nettle Weevil

Below are a few record shots of some of my sightings…

Sand Martin’s at Fraisthorpe Beach – May 2016

While at Bempton Cliff’s I was talking to one of the volunteers who told me about the Sand Martin’s at Fraisthorpe beach.

Fraisthorpe Beach

Fraisthorpe beach was about a 30 minute drive from my accommodation. I had been told mornings were best as the sun would be on the banks. I knew the car parking was on a farm but hadn’t realised how many fields you had to drive through to get there (I was starting to wonder if I’d got lost!) but the farm finally came into view. (There is an honesty box for your parking fee and the use of the toilet facilities).

Once I had put on my walking boots (I can’t drive in them!) I headed to the beach and turned left along the shore. I didn’t have to walk far before I saw the Sand Martins. Sand Martin’s are the smallest of the Martin’s and Swallow’s that visit for the summer.  They nest in either sandy coastal cliffs or sandy river banks.

Fraisthorpe Beach - Sand Martin

One thing I did discover is they are quite difficult to photograph! They are so quick, by the time you have one framed you’ve lost it again!! It took me a little time to get my eye into their patterns and speed of flight. They seemed to be moving about in a pack. One minute there were birds around the nest holes, the next they all seemed to be gone. They were flying off to the farm / grassland to look for food.  You really do loose track of time when spending time with these little feathered friends, it was lunch time before I knew it!  I decided to head back to Bempton Cliffs for the afternoon and made the decision to stop off at Fraisthope beach again on my journey home.

RSPB Bempton Cliffs – May 2016

RSPB Bempton Cliffs - PuffinDay 1 – I arrived at RSPB Bempton Cliffs at midday. Knowing I wouldn’t have long as I needed to book into the campsite, I headed for the first viewing point. I must admit I had never seen a Puffin and that was one of the reasons to head to Bempton Cliffs.  Half an hour after arriving on site I got to see my first pair asleep on the cliff face.


Puffin’s are ever-so cute, they are small, about 8 inches tall, so are quite difficult to spot amongst the other birds, the best thing to do is look out for their orange feet! Puffin’s are on the Red List of Conservation Concern which means we really need to look out for these little feathered friends.  They are on selected areas of our coasts for only a few months of the year (March/April – mid August) and this is where they breed.  Puffin’s only have one Puffling a year so each one is of great importance to their numbers.

There are volunteers at the viewing platforms with scopes at Bempton Cliffs so if you don’t have binoculars you will still be able to get a good view if they are a long way off.

RSPB Bempton Cliffs - PuffinAfter booking into the campsite I took a walk along the cliff top from the site. I didn’t get too far as there had been a fairly recent landslide and I wasn’t 100% confident about carrying on! I did however see a Puffin 🙂



Day 2
– I was up early and got to Bempton Cliffs at about 9am. From the first viewing platform I saw 3 Puffins. I’m sure they were trying to decide who was going to leave the cliff first and I’m sure one was pushed! As you can imagine I stayed watching this story unfold for quite a while.

Further along the cliff while I was watching some Razorbills a Puffin landed and started to collect nesting material according to the volunteer he was coming back to the same spot so I waited for him to reappear again.

RSPB Bempton Cliffs - Bridled GuillemotA nice man pointed out to me that there was a Bridled Guillemot just along the cliff, I thanked him and went to look for it.  I wasn’t entirely sure what a Bridled Guillemot was but he had told me that it had the white marking on its face, like it was wearing glasses. Guillemots all have this marking though most are black, Bridled shows up as white.

After lunch I headed down to the other end of the cliffs, I was looking out for Puffins again, this time I spotted one inside of her burrow; a man next to me said that in the morning he had seen both the male and female in there.  Puffin’s normally dig burrows but on the cliffs they find crevices to breed in.

Sunrise at FlamboroughDay 3 – One great thing about camping is waking in the middle of the night and seeing the sunrise.

One piece of advice from today; if you go to Bempton Cliffs purely for Puffins plan to go on more than one day! I went to see Sand Martin’s in the morning (more about that in my next post) so only spent the afternoon at the cliffs. I didn’t see one Puffin! It did however mean I concentrated more on the other birds 🙂  Although you are looking at the individual birds you also need to look at the cliffs as a whole and the shear number of birds that are there, its quite amazing.

My full list of sightings for the visit:
Puffin, Razorbill, Herring Gull, Gannet, Guillemot and Bridled, Kittiwake, Tree Sparrow, Jackdaw, Fulmar and Kestrel