Fulmar pair at nest site

Fulmar pair at nest siteFulmars are fascinating birds. Unlike other cliff nesting seabirds, they can be seen on the cliffs for most of the year. They leave the cliffs in September, after their single chick fledges, but they are quickly to return, often in December, where they might visit their nest site intermitently. Fulmars are long lived and form social ties with a partner for most of their lives. They return every year to same nest sites and can often be individually recognised by their bill markings. A couple of weeks ago I visited South Landing, a beach at the bottom of chalk cliffs in the Flamborough Headland. A loud staccato noise attracted my attention. Two Fulmars, presumably a pair, were sat on a cliff ledge, excitedly chattering, facing each other, bills open, calling. They settled, chests almost touching, and watched, moving their heads from one side to the other at the same time, as another Fulmar flew round and round near the cliffs. Fulmars often fly like this, an effortless glide by their nesting sites, whose purpose seems only to fulfill the easiness with which they fly and looks almost like a game, and in any case it seemed to provide entertainment to the onlookers.