Helen and I visited Bempton Cliffs near Bridlington on the East Yorkshire coast today. Looking back at my records, it’s one year and one week since we were last here.
Bempton is a wonderful place to visit, for the sheer majesty of the cliffs themselves. Being up to 100 metres (330ft) tall in places, they are an ideal nesting site for Gannets (which breed there in their thousands each year), along with large numbers of Kittiwake, Guillemot, Fulmar, Razorbill and a small number of Puffin.
This was our ninth visit to the cliffs, and, as usual, it never fails to impress.
The weather was lovely, if a little breezy, and being a Sunday, the car park was quite full on arrival, However, we were soon parked-up and raring to go.
Just as we arrived at the porch outside the visitors’ centre, we became aware of a nest full of rather-large swallow-chicks just above our heads – a good, if unexpected start to our day. After taking a few shots of the Swallows, we headed through the VC and out onto the reserve itself.
There are no hides at Bempton, only cliff-top viewing platforms. All of them provide fantastic views of the thousands of seabirds, either clinging-precariously to the minuscule ledges they are all crammed-onto, or wheeling about the cliffs calling-raucously as they go. The smell is hard to describe, however – disgusting!!
Many birds had chicks that they were feeding-up, ready for the day when they launch-themselves off the cliff-ledges to begin their lives as fully-fledged seabirds.
Over the course of the next three hours, Helen and I moved between the viewing platforms snapping-away at everything that moved! (Well avian things anyway!). Along with the obvious seabirds, we also saw several Whitethroat (on the shrubbery on the inland side of the cliff-top path), and large numbers of Jackdaws, Rock Doves and Herring Gulls during our visit. On our last time at Bempton, we watched a Barn Owl quartering the landscape around the reserve – no such luck today, however.
It’s always a pleasure to visit Bempton Cliffs – it’s a very popular attraction with both Bird Photographers such as Helen and myself, but also as a general attraction for families and people of all ages. It’s one of the most spectacular bird sites to visit in England.