That further cliff was tantalising out of reach, for our afternoon’s walk. A farm gate along the Northumbria Coastal Path would be locked at 6.00pm, so we retraced our steps. But the geology of the distant cliff was fascinating. Where kittiwake made their nests on the entablature of the columns of rock guano had dribble down the face cliff . I’d like to return to see that cliff beyond the next corner and to work out how its geology relates to the Whin Sill. And with the massive decline in sea birds, recorded by Adam Nicolson in The Last Sea Bird Summer, I’m aware the enchantment of kittiwake is not something we can take for granted, their breeding success is precarious.
Somewhere in my photo-archive I have images of a feeding frenzy of kittiwakes on Svalbard where a glacier calved and fresh water met sea-water, giving an abundance of food that attracted thousands of birds. Awesome it was.
We saw no birds flying in with fish, as we did with terns on the Outer Hebrides last year. But that was late June so perhaps it’s too early in the season. The puffin on Farne were said to be excavating and refurbishing their burrows, no pufflings to feed as yet. We stood looking right into shags’ nests and saw their blue eggs and their young, but we couldn’t make out what they were being fed