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Monday, 7 July 2014

Dunstanburgh Castle

towards the end of last Month we had a run up to Dunstanburgh Castle ,now I have been here many times while camping nearby , but today we actually went inside for a look around , I was very surprised at how large the site was and with some access to one tower the views are fantastic. walking around the North side at the top of the cliffs the smell from the kittiwakes etc: drifts over the top and the occasional bird would lift up on the thermals and the typical noise of a seabird colony and I wondered the castle inhabitants must have harvested these birds at this time of year , also it seems a popular site for fishing one chap I talked to had a nice 31/2 lb Pollock  he had hauled up from the sea below you need a head for heights as its a hell of a drop to the sea  or rocks below .  The walls are only low now but they enclose a huge area of grassland and I thought what an opportunity to create a wildflower meadow much better than just grass, I did find a couple of flowers as yet no I.D.   

 Common Blue seen on the walk from the car park to the north end of the Castle
 This is the cliff with the castle up on the right
 In The castle I noticed this Pied Wagtail with food and I watched as it hung around the well and sure enough it dropped down inside and popped back out a few seconds later , I looked in no sign of a nest but wondered how would the young fare as they tried to fledge from here !!
 Up on one of the towers with views towards Craster
 Looking East
 And looking North towards Beadnell a wall blocks most of the view
 Looking down & North from the wall
 Scentless Mayweed  a stunted growth in a tiny rock crevice there was much more and very much  taller plants further around
 A ledge for a nest site oddly  some ledges looked much larger but with nothing on and yet some where on the most thinnest  of  ledges
 I could not see any young unless thats one to the right
 Razorbills are common I  always thought they liked to nest in between rocks etc: a few Guillemots also around
 Looking from the top of the cliff this is as near as you can get and would want to go !!
 Kittiwake ,Razorbill & Fulmar from the cliff top
 A couple of Puffins on the water I don't think they breed here but if they could find a nest site I don't see why not
 Sitting on the East wall having a coffee three Velvet Scoters passed I was only quick enough to get two and a bit of them
 Looking back up towards the tower you can access it would seem an ideal site for puffins , although I saw no Rabbits or sign of  them .to perhaps start them off
 The East Wall
 Another cut in the rock has a very small colony of Kittiwakes giving good views
 This is Pellitory on the Wall it took some time to I.D. apparently it's not common
 Looking down the cut from the castle , there are some fantastic views to be had all over the site
 Swallows where numerous and lots of fledged young , another thought crossed my mind the castle inhabitants would have enjoyed these birds in the summer no doubt , but would have had no idea of even the existence of their South African winter quarters
 Waiting for a feed
The entrance or in this case the exit

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