From village ducks to Puffins on the coast…….

If I had to choose an ideal day, apart from being in my paradise of Keswick of course, I’d choose to walk through my village and head to the coast ….and I did just that a week or so ago..

I’d often wanted to go Bempton Cliffs, but thought I needed someone to take me. I must have looked at travelling to the station before and thought it was too far for me to walk to the cliffs, but one morning the sun was shining and I yearned to do something different. I looked again at the map and it said 30 minute walk from the station, one straight road. I immediately looked up train times and there was one due in just over an hour, just giving me time to walk there.

It was just after eight, so school children were milling around waiting for their coaches to pick them up. Others were cycling. I walked by the pond and Terence and Teresa were already out basking on their log together

The ducks must have just been fed as they were all having a snooze or preening themselves.

As I walked towards the traffic lights, I always look to my right as there’s often 2 horses in the paddock. This time though, there was an even bigger surprise, a newborn foal keeping close to mum, it’s spindly legs looking far to delicate for its body..

I stood for a few moments clicking and watching as it shadowed it’s mums every move….sheer delight…

The potato crops were growing nicely after the recent rain and formed perfect lines in the fields

Once at the open stretch of the Westwood, I scanned the meadow and Golf Greens for cows but it was deserted apart from this lovely flash of colour at the side of the road

Despite the lovely morning sunshine It was verrry windy but luckily it was behind me and blowing me into town. Almost there and the town cows were busy holding up the school rush hour traffic 🤣

I managed to get to the station with a few minutes to spare before my train arrived and I was off. I’d never been to Bempton before, had always longed to as I passed by, seeing the signs for the RSPB Reserve there on my way to Scarborough. I knew I’d love it but something had put me off the journey before.

I had my map on my phone as a photo as I didn’t know what the signal would be like as I reached the village itself. Someone else got off with me, so I followed them to the way out and carried on following them up the road as they seemed to know where they were going. I checked my watch, 10.11am and hoped I remember to check when I got there to see how long I needed to leave to get back for my train 🥴 They suddenly took a right turn. I stopped in my tracks and looked again at the photo that told me ‘one straight road’. I scanned this lovely now deserted village, the church straight ahead of me, old cottages to my right, a field to my left and then saw some signs a little way along. The wind was against me now and it was hard going ‘til I reached the sign which read, ‘Bempton Cliffs’

Out through the village and a deserted track lay ahead of me

More clouds had rolled in on the wind, but hopefully would roll out again just as quick.
It was like walking the Mirage Lane in the villlage only twice as long 😂…I’d reach the top of a slope I’d just climbed thinking I’d see the sea and the cliffs, only to find another deserted track waiting for me 🙄….but 40 minutes later (yes, I did remember to look at my watch, probably more by luck than design 🙄) I arrived at the entrance. Cars had passed me by and I thought then that the only place a road like this could go to was the bird reserve and the cliffs. There were lots of staff at the entrance but all were talking to others, so I just walked in the building and straight out the other door. People were milling around, some sat at picnic tables having a morning cuppa, but I just wanted to see the cliffs and more importantly the birds.

There is a charge of £6 for entering, however, the footpath is actually a public footpath so they can’t make their charge compulsory, but of course they don’t say that. I wanted to make sure it was worth paying for and because I knew it was a public footpath, that’s why I walked through. I actually planned to join the RSPB on my way out so didn’t feel in the least bad about it.

I headed down some steps where two paths diverged. I took the one to the left and found myself walking down a path and each side of me were fields of wild flowers and so much song coming from nesting skylarks and other ground nesting birds.

I could see at the other side there were many camera lenses trained on this wonderful meadow

But I headed for the cliffs.I didn’t know what to expect, what I’d see, but I knew the area was famous for its Puffin visitors that arrived around May and would leave in August. I could finally see the sea and I started to relax and get totally absorbed in my surroundings.

They placed viewing areas in strategic places, or sometimes just a fence rail to lean on. It was the first fence I came to where I zoomed into the cliff edge to see what I could see. Imagine my total surprise when the first bird I saw was a lone Puffin

These incredibly photogenic birds with their colourful beaks and their soulful eyes, I’d only seen in photos before, yet here was one right in front of me. I clicked away, desperately hoping some would come out clear.

Then other birds came into view as I scanned the cliff edge as it was teeming with life.

I didn’t know what any of the birds were until I came to another viewing point that had a collection of photos identifying all the species I might see. The one below turned out to be a Razorbill, I think.

By this time other people with much larger cameras had joined me. Many were saying they hoped to see a Puffin, me smiling quietly as I’dlready ticked mine off the list. I told them I’d just seen one on the cliff edge and pointed in that direction, and suddenly there was a mass exodus and I was alone 🤣…..

As I zoomed my camera to the opposite side, hundreds of Gannet appeared, all clinging to the cliff edge and all with their backs to the sea, which I found quite puzzling.

As I walked along some came into closer view

My mum always used to say “Don’t be a gannet” – meaning don’t be so greedy. So I suppose these birds must like their food. Two landed in front of me and started a wonderful dance as though greeting each other for the first time

In flight I kept seeing white birds with their wing ends looking as though they’d been dipped in ink. As I gradually captured them through the lense, I realised these were the Gannet in flight

Guillemots and Razorbills appear very similar apart from the shape of their bill. Because the cliffs were so full of life, it took lots of zooming and re zooming to pick out the different varieties but finally I spotted the Guillemots, this one perched on a ledge

When you look over the cliff edge, you can almost miss the abundance of life as they blend into their surroundings

It’s only when you allow your eyes to linger that you see how alive it is

I saw a film crew, people milling around them, autographs being requested by children. But they weren’t from Countryfile or anyone I knew so I left them to it.

I felt as if I was in my perfect place and could have stayed all day. I’d already looked at the time of trains back and I knew the next one was back in an hour. Whenever I go anywhere, once I get there I immediately want to go home again. It was this automatic response that made me head back, as if in my own world, I headed out and back up to the road. Then I suddenly stopped and thought why am I going back now, I can stay another hour. I never usually do this, but I headed back down and in again.
This time I took the path to the right and headed further along the cliff. As if pre planned I looked over the first cliff edge into the crevice below, the sea twinkling in the sunshine

Another woman came and leant against the same fence looking down and I could hear her quietly say:

A Puffin”

She pointed for me to see. I zoomed in, and there was another Puffin as if my first walk had been set to repeat.

We stood silently alongside each other, clicking, then looked at one another and simply said:

Amazing” in unison.

It wasn’t as if they were in abundant numbers. I’d seen just 2 solitary Puffins in different parts of the cliffs….I felt blessed and elated.

I carried on, my legs now becoming weary by each step. A flock of Guillemots pinned against the cliff edge.

Followed by the same of Gannets on the opposite face, almost looking as if they’d made straight lines their norm

The film crew caught me up and I heard them say they needed one last shot before they too were done for the day.
It wasn’t the time that took me away from this most stunning place but the weariness of my body. One last look out to sea

Before I turned my back on it, left the filters to film and headed up towards the shop and café. Looking at my watch I saw I had time for a sit down and a cuppa before heading along the verry long Mirage track back to the station.

I sat at one of the picnic table and people watched. Others talking of the wonderful time they’d had, just like me. An elderly couple asked if they could join me and I smiled and gestured for them to sit down.

We’ll behave” said the woman

Oh well I’ve changed my mind, you’ll have to sit somewhere else”

Oh that’s alright, she lied” said the man with a wink in his wife’s direction and laughter.

I then spotted a man pointing his camera to the corner of the building. He stood for ages before I realised what he must have spotted….

I collected my things together and joined him, asking quietly:

Excuse my ignorance, but what have you spotted?”

Young swallows” he replied with a gentle friendly smile, without any irritation and nodded towards the nest.

I joined him and saw the same beauty that had stopped him in his tracks. Mum and dad going backwards and forwards to feed their ravenous chicks

I’ve never seen a swallow close up before as they never usually stay still for long enough to snap them. But mum took a second after feeding to gain her breathe once more before flying out for more food

What a way to end my visit. Yes I did remember to join the RSPB before heading back the long walk to the station, but this time the wind was behind me and my heart filled with joy at what I’d seen…..

P.s as I sat at the station waiting for the train, a young woman joined me at the other end of the bench with a large holder and haversack.

Weren’t you one of the team filming up at the cliffs” I smiled. There then followed 10 minutes of wonderful conversation. Turns out she has my ideal job. Working for the Woodland Trust and also a presenter on Childrens BBC. The program is all about nature and she travels the country to places like we’ve just been filming. she was so ecstatically happy in her job. she had a long journey back down to London. She asked me what I did…… and as the train pulled in and we said our goodbyes, she’d written the titles of my books down and found my photos ☺️

About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

25 thoughts on “From village ducks to Puffins on the coast…….

  1. Oh how wonderful Wendy. Thank you so much. I haven’t been to Bempton Cliffs for ages and am unlikely to get there again, so wonderful to enjoy your super photos.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I really enjoyed reading about your wonderful day out and your photographs are a delight. I have never seen a Puffin ‘in the flesh’ and it is something I would love to do. I have, however, been on a boat trip around Bass Rock off North Berwick on the East coast of Scotland. The Bass Rock is home to a large colony of Gannets. It is quite a sight!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wonderful descriptions Wendy and spectacular photos! But I couldn’t help wondering if your daughters knew of your plans before you went out, and I worried about you getting lost. But it seemed you’d got everything well planned and you had a really lovely time! Good for you taking the chance to publicise your books as well – expect an invitation to Children’s BBC soon!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wendy I forgot to say how much I loved all your animal and bird photos from this little trip. Those wonderful puffin pics, not to mention a delightful foal, and some cows crossing the road, as well as birds galore on the cliffs! Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoy your blog and like you love taking photos. Retirement beckons for me and you make me feel braver about travelling alone and I shall take my camera to capture my journeys!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That was remarkable! My mother loved birds, and probably because of her I took an ornithology class in college, which was quite interesting despite the fact that it started at 5:30 a.m.! I’ve only been to the UK once, and wish I’d known about those cliffs then. Thank you for sharing your fantastic pix!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wendy I love reading your blog every day, following your trundles and enjoying your photos. They are all interesting but this one is perticularly so. It was great to follow your trip to the Bampton Cliffs and to see photos of beautiful birds that I have heard of but never seen. Ehat a splendid bird the puffin is! Thank you for taking me on adventures every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a marvelous blog! My mother loved birds, and probably that’s why I took an ornithology class in college. It was great even though it started at 5:30 a.m.! I’ve visited the UK only once, decades ago, and wish I’d known about the cliffs then! Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a wonderful day. Stunning photos Wendy. Dear little puffins and an array of other seabirds. I so enjoyed reading and seeing the photos. Thank you 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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