My East Yorkshire adventure continues…
After a good night’s sleep in Beverley it was time for a very scenic journey north and east until I reached the coast and my next objective; Flamborough Head.
Courtesy of Vera Lynn and decades of subsequent WWII nostalgia, most people associate English white cliffs with one particular location, but Dover doesn’t have exclusive claim upon sea-washed chalk. The song’s writer, Walter Kent, was American, which is why he pictured bluebirds in his lyrics. Sorry Mr Kent, but they’re not indigenous here. Still we might stretch a point and assume he meant martins and swallows which do at least have a hint of blue.
Flamborough too has calcium carbonate and birdlife, but here the North Sea replaces the English Channel, a sea that has carved, undermined and pierced the chalk into a variety of shapes and in doing so created a habitat for seabirds.
Before I could explore the avian colonies though I had a decision to make; make my way to the large arrowhead shaped outcrop of land that forms the “head” or to the bays that lie to the north and south. With so much of my photography this year at sea level I decided to maintain that approach and drove to North Landing; where the steep slipway that once provided the launching point for the local lifeboat still exists and fishing boats in various states of disrepair sit precariously on the slope facing the water.
Still, it turned out to be the best place. When I later visited the South Landing I was able to get closer to the shoreline species, but as soon as I unpacked my camera they were scattered by an enthusiastic bulldog thrilled to be off the leash. I did at least capture one shot of what I think was a sandpiper.
And so to the clifftops. I’d come hoping for puffins but not a trace (unless they were amongst the swarms of black shapes gathering and diving out at sea). Instead I got the inevitable gulls and kittiwakes but lots of razorbills too. Almost as comical as puffins but without the technicolour bill.
There’ll be black birds over, the white cliffs of Flamorough…
Oh, and the odd wheatear.