Birds at West Bay - Ornithology
For the ornithologist, West Bay has an abundance of interesting and rare birds. For the casual visitor there only seems to be one bird, which unfortunately has a habit of making a nuisance of itself, the Herring Gull. But take a walk along the shore beneath East Cliff and look up. Or walk along the South West Coast Path over West or East Cliffs, or even around the harbour itself.
As well as Herring Gulls, Great Black-Backed Gulls can often be seen in the harbour. Cormorants are a fairly common site, perched on navigation warning posts at and around the harbour entrance, spreading their wings to dry out after diving for fish. In stormy weather, you might even see a Guillemot.
Ravens have nested in the sandstone crevices of East Cliff for many years. With their impressive flying displays, they usually breed in early spring. Both Crows and Rooks are regularly seen in West Bay.
The Peregrine Falcon regularly hunts along East Cliff, on the look-out for its regular supply of Stock Dove or Pigeon. In a deep swoop, this bird can reach speeds of almost 200 miles per hour (320 kilometres per hour). It usually nests either in the crevices of East Cliff or the other side of Eype on the cliffs at Thorncombe Beacon.
The Fulmar Petrel is also home to East Cliff, with its continuous gliding, rarely needing to move its wings in flight. The Jackdaw is also a frequent visitor to the cliffs.
Other larger birds that have been seen at West Bay include the Kestrel and Curlew.
Starlings are a common sight at West Bay, often flying around in large flocks.
Smaller birds at West Bay are often heard, but not always seen. The Stonechat and Rock Pipit are commonly seen when walking over the cliffs along the South West Coast Path. Other visitors include the Razorbill and Wheatear.