Flamborough

As you know, we love our short breaks in Flamborough and as often seems to be the case, I’d booked for my birthday. The caravan is a different one to the one we usually stay in, a nicer verandah and what we thought was a better kitchen layout – more on that later! It was certainly more modern and comfortable and I liked it better. The views were nice too. For our first afternoon and evening we just relaxed on the verandah with a drink and then went inside when the rain started and cooked our meal.

Here’s where the limitations of a caravan kitchen came into play. There really wasn’t much work space and of course the cooker hobs and ovens are just not as powerful as what we are used to at home. I’m sure most holiday makers make do with takeaways and easy meals but not us! So, long story short, roasting potatoes in the oven and Patrick decided to move them up a shelf, shelf falls down, potatoes all over the oven bottom so he puts the shelf on the kitchen mat to rescue the spuds. Result, bloody burn mark on the mat! Luckily the owner was very understanding when I emailed to let him know and just said that accidents happens and not to worry about it. Our meal was delicious by the way.

The next morning we decided to go to the lighthouse car park and walk from there towards South Landing. We were treated to views of lots of seals both in the sea and on the beach at the drinking dinosaur. A little further along and we stopped to view the birds on the cliffs and spotted a few puffins in and around burrows in the clay at the top of the chalk cliffs. One pair most definitely had a puffling in there as they were doing a relay of feeding. As one returned and shoved its way into the burrow, the other set off to sea again. We watched for quite a while but couldn’t catch site of the puffling.

In the evening, Patrick treated me to a lovely meal at The Seabirds Inn in the village. The food was lovely as always and I really enjoyed it.

On Thursday, my birthday we had planned a trip to Bempton Cliffs. The weather was lovely, sunny and warm but with a breeze. We had a really good day, for all the car park was absolutely heaving, the cliff top viewpoints weren’t overly crowded. Our first treat of the day was seeing a swallow’s nest right above the very busy doorway of the RSPB visitor centre, full of little baby swallows looking like little Adam Ant fans (for those old enough to know, if not – Google him).

Swallow chicks

Down by the clifftops the gannets were in fine fettle, noisy and smelly. I took about 100 photos trying to catch one in flight with my camera and I managed a couple of reasonable ones, one is the header of this post (note his enormous feet sticking out as he comes in to land), the other below, which I’m quite chuffed with even though, like most of my photos it was a fluke!

They were gathering nesting material from the grassy area on top of the cliffs and it was amusing seeing one pair in particular having tug of war with a chunk of grass. I tried to get a photo but they were behind some tall vegetation and I couldn’t get a clear shot. I did take a short video to give you an idea of the sight and sound of these beauties – just be relieved it’s not smellivision!

When you head to the cliffs from the visitor centre, you are right in the middle of the viewing areas, with platforms either way, we had walked in one direction and had reached the end of the ‘visitor friendly’ part of the reserve. We decided to go back the other way as the unfenced part still has a clifftop walkway of sorts but it’s a bit too far from the edge to be able to see much in the way of seabird life, plus by now we were getting peckish so wanted to find a bench to sit and eat our sarnies.

Walking back in the other direction and past that middle point, we could see dozens of people with binoculars trained on the fields and meadow area and as we approached, a woman told us there was a barn owl. I know these are not uncommon in countryside but are usually nocturnal and neither Patrick or I have never seen one in real life so we were quite excited to be watching one. It was much too far away to attempt a photo with my little camera so we just enjoyed the experience of watching it. We went up as far as the furthest viewing point, Staple Newk, which is where Albert the Black-browed Albatross caused such excitement for a couple of years, before turning back to head for home after a really lovely day in nature.

Back at the caravan, we sat on the verandah, me with my knitting and Patrick reading a book when we realised that a bluetit was sitting on the corner post of our verandah with a tiny caterpillar dangling from it’s beak. Watching where it was going, we saw it fly into the metal framework underneath the caravan behind us. We were soon sitting on the deck, peering through our binoculars and watching bluebird chicks in their nest, right next to us. A bit of a risky spot we thought but they seemed unconcerned. They looked big and we hoped to spot them fledging but although the parents were coming and going, the kids seemed quite content to stay in the warm nest being fed caterpillars. They were still there when we left on Friday morning.

All in all I had a lovely birthday, at my favourite place with my favourite person. What more could anyone wish for?