Tuesday, 2 June 2009

My Seaside Weekend - Part 2

This is the view from Flamborough Head, looking north towards Bempton Cliffs.  There are some people on the beach, to give you an idea of scale.  The tops of the cliffs are green in this picture, there is a lot of vegetation, although farming goes quite close to the edge.  Naturally there is grass, but it is ungrazed for obvious reasons, and so is only short where the path pushes through.  In some areas the gap between farmland and cliff edge is very wide, and flowers have colonised it...
this is a sea of red campion and hogweed (the white flowers), interspersed with nettles and other plants I didn't identify.  The tops of these plants are at waist height (my waist, I'm a bit of a shorty) or above - you can just see the path through it on the right.  I don't know any gardener who wouldn't want to create a sea of colour like this, but nature beat us to it!
Here's a puffin, a troublesome bird for me.  Anywhere else it would excavate a burrow in the soil at the tops of the cliffs, but here it nests in holes in the rock face.  I spent hours trying to find puffins that were close enough to get a picture and that would stay still long enough.  This is the best I could do, perched near the edge of a cliff in a strong wind, trying to get and keep the puffin in the frame before he/she flew off, while distracted by a bunch of people nearby who were arguing about whether it was a puffin or not.  How many birds look like this one?  Hard to mistake it.  So the picture isn't the best, but I was happy just to get it.  A lovely bird.

This is also a technically bad picture - you can see the edges of the telescope eyepiece around it.  But these birds were a long way off, and it felt like like peering into someone else's living room, so the telescope effect seems appropriate.  This is a small part of the main gannet colony, on the end of the promontory which was the first picture I posted yesterday.
Yesterday we went to Wharram Percy, a deserted medieval village in Yorkshire.  This is a typical farming scene in the eastern part of the county, which is largely an agricultural area growing potatoes, beans, other vegetables and the oilseed rape which you can see flowering yellow in this picture.
Wharram Percy is a major archaelogical site but really all you can see is a field with cows and lots of bumps in the ground, with a ruined church to one side.  Interesting rather than fascinating.  But on an 18th century farm building there, we found house martins hard at work building their nests.  This is a "double-decker" - the nest on the left is finished and you can see the entrance hole at the top.  The nest on the right was under construction, and you can just see the head of the bird adding more mud to the wall (the fresh mud is a darker colour).  They built several courses while we watched!  It looks like the entrance to this nest will be on the right, I imagine it's all finished by now.
Finally, this is one of the lanes leading to Wharram Percy, a lane which has probably been in use for close to 2000 years.  Shady and cool on a hot day...

Tomorrow it's back to my gardening, I have checked on everything today and found the slugs have despatched some of the nigella and helichrysum, which is really annoying.  Everything else is doing well though, so will have an update tomorrow.
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