Monday, 22 February 2010

St Bees Head...a hotspot for Cumbria...success!

Bassenthwaite lake looking over to dodd woods, regular nesting site for Osprey

An 11am start on Sunday morning it was, not exactly early going but we would still get a good 6 hours looking for wildlife. It was a nice morning weather wise and I chose to do this over a round of golf which is a tough call for me but wildlife wins it nearly everytime. That is another reason why I love my golf though, because you can play a round while enjoying all the wildlife the course has to offer.

We headed off down the M6 and we still hadent planned out exactly where we were going to go but after coming to an agreement in the car we decided to go to the hide at Bassenthwaite Lake and then move on from their to the west coast at St Bees head.

We parked up at the Swan Hotel then walked down to the hide from their. We had two Buzzards cirling above as we made our way down to the waters front. When we got to the hide there was Goosander, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye and 12 Little Grebe on view. We stayed for about 20 minutes in hope of an otter to show as it is a great place to view them from but it was not happening so we moved on. On the walk back to the car I just happened to say to dad " I still have never seen a Green woodpecker then 2 seconds later its very distinctive call was heard on the other side of the woodland!!...unbelievable...its a funny old world!! Its weird when stuff like that happens like the other day my mate Curt told me I would be no good to go on a sunbed with him as my hair was to ginger! And I was thinking Ginger my hair is not that colour! thats the first time ive been called that before.......Then later that day I went to the Calva bar for my tea when I was on shift and I was wearing my name tag and the lady behind the abr said to me "ahh your Ewan Miles, you have been described to me on a number of occasions" and I said what did they say about me like, George Clooney lookalike? and she said no tall, skinny and Ginger! I was like for crying out loud! called ginger twice in one day what the flaming hell is going on man!

Anyway moving on back to the wildlife! We made it to the west coast after travelling through the ever changing weather on the journey over here, as there was snow, sun and rainny spells it was barmy! My dad decided to do a round route as he would be taking a group out here in the summer. So we went across a public access farm field heading southwards down the coast planning to make our way round and walk back up along the edge of the cliff face back towards the lighthouse.

Once we made our way down to the rocky shoreline nearly slipping on the rocks about 26 times John decided that this route would not not be a good idea for his birding weekend as there is a few elderly people going on it and they would defiantly take a tumble going down the slippy banking. Also we decided the route is defiantly not wheel chair accessable unless you let them go from the top of the hill.

Face in the rock and two Cormoronts

Once we got in view of the ocean and the rocky cliffs we got plenty of birds on show with 200 plus cormoront in and around the crags of the cliff. Over 50 Fulmer on show as well.

Rock Pipit

Got a Rock Pipit as well moving along the cliff face. They are slightly darker plumage to the more common Meadow Pippit and also the enviroment that thay are in is a big give away to the species.

Two Fulmers hiding in the Crevace

Herring Gull


Also got three Shags out to sea which is a good record for the west cumbrian coast.
St Bees Head really has got good potential for a wide range of wildlife as it is also a great viewing point for Cetaceans like Porpoise, Dolphin and Minke whale through the summer months. You also get Grey and Common seal on show all year round as well as possible Baskin Shark, its just a case of looking and having patiance! Their is Peregrine nesting allong the cliff also and I have seen Common Lizard in the heather on the more northern part of the Reserve.

There he is the man himself, Feed the birds first then feed John Milo second..boom! A good number of Herring gull juenille and adults down on Whitehaven harbour.


  1. Good stuff. I found this blog through mutual friend 'Holywell B'.
    Enjoyed the read, especially the St Bees bit as a relative of mine used to live beside the quarry just south of lighthouse. Ravens Peregrines, Barn Owls and Little Owls were regulars. That path down to Fleswick beach is a nightmare! :-) Cheers Brian.

  2. Hello Brian thanks for the add! glad you liked the post. Yh it is a great area at St Bees Head I try to travel over there as often as I can. Cheers!