According to the RSPB volunteer, there are 200,000 sea birds on the cliffs of Bempton and Flamborough, the biggest breeding colony in the UK. I imagine this is true because there are places where one bird can land only when another has taken off. It’s a great place to visit because access is easy and there are plenty of platforms situated for good sightings of the different colonies, whether you want to see Guillemots, Razorbills, Gannets or Kittiwakes. Puffins are there but not in as great numbers as I expected. You have to look carefully to pick them out as they sit on the ledges among the Guillemots and Razorbills, or fly in with their bright orange feet trailing.
The Gannets are a sight to see, particularly those young with their fluffy feathers, hanging on the wind as they come into land. For a big powerful bird, they are extraordinarily gentle with their preening of each other but quick to anger if an interloper tries to muscle in. Look carefully, and there are still a few Gannet nestlings and others huddled among the adults. Get the bins out on the sea and you’ll see hundreds of birds sitting on the water or fishing for sand eels.
We were looking forward to our long awaited RSPB trip on the Yorkshire Belle to see the birds from sea level. Following a calm forecast, we set off from Bridlington harbour but soon found ourselves fighting big swells towards Flamborough. The skipper steered out to sea to hit the swell bow first with the intention of turning in towards the cliffs, but the weather got the better of us and he made the sensible decision to return to port. I was disappointed not to get to the cliffs but not disappointed to get my feet back on terra firma. I gave the planned fish and chips a miss…
We’re off to Coquet Island and the Farne Islands in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, the weather will be better and I’ll come back with some good pictures. Meanwhile, take a look at some Gannet portraits in the portfolio.