Sunday, 30 March 2014

Summer Plumaged Laplands!

Yesterday we went to Bempton Cliffs in search of some of the summer plumaged Lapland Buntings which had been hanging around the Bempton and Buckton area fairly recently. Also on the way back we stopped of at Allerthorpe in hope of finding some Adders.

When we reached Bempton sadly it was quite misty, this weather carried on for most of the trip. Firstly we asked in the visitor centre to see if the Lapland Buntings were still around and ask which direction its in as we aren't very good with directions lol. The people said "yes they are" and then they pointed us in the right direction. With high hopes we headed of to the spot of where they have been sighted. On the way we asked a man if he had seen them and he said no! We couldn't believe it but thankfully as we arrived at the spot a man told us they are quite flight and said they should be back soon. In the field they had put down a massive pile of seed, presumably for the Lapland Buntings and the other birds in the area. After a while of standing watching the seed we decided to have a walk around the edges of the field where we spotted several Skylarks, Linnets and Meadow Pipits. When we got about half way round I saw a small group of about 5 birds fly
over which sounded like the Lapland Buntings but I wasn't 100% sure. After we had walked round the field we had another look at the seed but still there was nothing feeding on it. We then started to have a look across a field just beside the other one but there wasn't much in this one either other than lots of Meadow Pipits. We had been looking for about 40mins now so we decided one more walk round then start looking along the cliffs. As we were about a quarter of the way down I saw a bird come into view just from behind a stump, I took one shot looked at and shouted "Lapland Bunting!" And it was one of the stunning summer plumaged males! I then noticed another one just slightly behind it! They are really hard to spot against the mud unless you either see them move or see them take flight. Both of them showed really well for a good 2mins. What a bird! I was really pleased to finally see one as I have always wanted to see one plus I am really glad to have seen them in summer plumage.

Lapland Bunting
After they flew of round the other end of the field so we decided to go and have a look to see if they were there. When we got to the other side there was no sign of them. we waited for a while but nothing. After we had one more walk round the field before heading of to have a look around the cliffs. We got to the bit of where we saw them before, we started scanning across the field and then suddenly one took flight and landed on a stump giving amazing views! I think it may have been the same male as before but I am not entirely sure. We even caught it singing this time. Amazing Birds!

Lapland Bunting
After we had a walk along the cliffs where we spotted lots of Gannets, Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Herring Gulls and Fulmars. Some of the Gannets flew right over our heads which was an amazing sight.

On the way back we decided to have a quick look around Allerthorpe. As soon as we stepped out of the car we heard a Chiffchaff and it was long until we saw it singing at the top of a tree. Afterwards we had a walk through the wood to get to a part of the wood where usually lots of birds are around. When we got there we heard more Chiffchaff, lots of Green Woodpeckers and we also spotted a few Yellowhammers. One of the Yellowhammers gave great views. After we decided to walk to the spot of where Adders show usually really well. On the way we had a Common Crossbill fly over. When we reached the spot we didn't see any Adders but we did see a tiny Pygmy Shrew, he let us have a good look at him until he ran away into the bushes.

After a cracking and very enjoyable days birding we went home.


  1. Great blog Ellis.
    Your determination paid off - I wouldn't have hung around for so long in that freezing mist
    Some great photos

  2. Fantastic write up and pics Ellis , awesome those Laplands , well done you two :-)