A weekend deal was struck. A day in the garden, then a day out. Saturday in the garden wasn't a chore at all. Buy the barbecue, new pots for trees and compost. Assemble the barbecue, transplant the trees, cut the grass. Eat barbecue, drink wine, sit out until nine, watch the bats. Job's a good 'un.
Sunday we decided to go to Bempton. Hadn't been there for years. Not too long a journey from Leeds. The rain held off enough for three good hours on the cliffs. Perfect conditions, lots of birds, not too many people.
All the usual suspects were there. Herring Gulls on the best perches, watching the proceedings with disdain.
Fulmars pairing up and displaying in front of uncaring Kittiwakes.
Some, like this Razorbill wanted to hide away.
Others, like these Guillemots, were easier to capture. I'm particularly pleased that I got the bridle on the one in the middle.
And there were even Puffins. Not as many as we remember from years ago, but still there if you looked hard enough.
There was a lot of excitement on the reserve because there had been sightings of a Ring Ouzel and a Grasshopper Warbler. We kept an eye out for both as we walked, but didn't see them. We did see a Whitethroat in the car park and this Corn Bunting near the Radar Station. It was very obliging, returning to the same perch on the barbed wire. It's an odd sight in flight, with its legs dangling, almost like a raptor.
Finally the clouds in the distance got blacker and blacker and we decided to call it a day. As we walked quickly back to the car, we passed a clump of bushes and Rebecca's eye was caught by something skulking. She called me back and we got a great view of the Grasshopper Warbler!! Too quick to photograph, but what a thrill! I think Rebecca's a bit tired now of me constantly calling her my Gropper Spotter.
To round the day off we wanted fish and chips in Bridlington. We left the rain behind in Bempton and took the scenic route, stopping off at Flamborough's South Landing, to relive memories of a school trip some forty years ago. Not much seemed to have changed - the view was excellent.
As we left the headland, a white object floated in front of the car. Stopping quickly down a side road we watched our first Barn Owl of the year quarter the fields. Too far away for the camera to capture, but an excellent end to a perfect day.
Yes, I'm afraid I did say end. By the time we'd reached Bridlington, the rain had caught up with us. We parked on the sea front in a monsoon. Preferring dry and hungry to soaked but sated, we drove back to Leeds for a pizza.
Fifteen year ticks and a lifer. Roll on Bank Holiday Weekend!!