St Bees Head’s wonderful red sandstone cliffs form an impressive vantage point over the Irish Sea. They are well known for their bird colonies, in particular the guillemots and razorbills that nest on the cliff ledges. The numbers of these seemed to be markedly lower than on my last visit, probably over ten years ago. Kittiwakes and fulmars too seemed to be there in lower numbers and the noise and smell, in particular, was less than in the past though accepting that many young have yet to hatch. Elsewhere around the Head were skylark, yellowhammer and whitethroat singing and a small group of linnets that kept passing by.
In contrast the wild flowers seemed to be in even greater abundance than previously; the cliff top bluebells particularly striking to the north part of the Head and the thrift further south. In amongst these carpets of blues or pinks were plants such as the common vetch, buck’s-horn plantain and sea campion.
At last there are a few butterflies around although most of them were whites. However, one rather ragged peacock was also to be seen, an overwintering survivor that has had to wait rather a long time for some warm spring weather to arrive.