Bempton Cliffs, RSPB Reserve – 01/07/12

I’ve been meaning to get to Bempton Cliffs this year with the family, though the weather or other events have meant this has been difficult. Though the weather wasn’t going to be brilliant, I decided to get the family out of the house this Sunday. I felt that if we didn’t make the most of it now, summer would quickly slip away and the best of the breeding season at Bempton would be over.  I’ve not been for a good few years and had forgotten what a spectacle this site is. The sheer cliffs are dramatic, and the sight, sound and smell of 200,000 seabirds hits all the senses.

Bempton Cliffs

View to Staple Newk from New Roll-up

We headed for Staple Newk first, where the majority of Gannets Morus bassanus nest at Bempton. Just before reaching the view-point several birds were alighting on the cliff top, something that I’ve not witnessed before, offering some great photographic opportunities.

Gannet - Morus bassanus

Gannet – Morus bassanus alighting on the cliff top

Gannet - Morus bassanus

Gannet – Morus bassanus

Gannet - Morus bassanus

Sub-adult Gannet – Morus bassanus

At Staple Newk view-point excellent views of nesting Gannets were on offer, with several well grown chicks in evidence. It’s amazing how some of these young birds manage to stay on the nest in such precarious positions.

Gannet - Morus bassanus

Nesting Gannets – Morus bassanus on Staple Newk

Gannet - Morus bassanus

Gannet – Morus bassanus showing how little space there is per nest

Gannet - Morus bassanus

Gannet – Morus bassanus – Life on the edge

We returned north to Grandstand and Bartlett Nab to get better views of the other target species, Puffins Fratercula arctica being the one species that the kids most wanted to see. At Bartlett Nab one was close to the cliff top giving close views along with Razorbills Alca torda. Gullemots Uria aalge and Kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla were lined up along  the cliffs, where only the Kittiwakes appeared to be attending to their young.

Puffin - Fratercula arctica

Puffin – Fratercula arctica

Puffin - Fratercula arctica

Puffin – Fratercula arctica

Razorbill - Alca torda

Razorbill – Alca torda

Guillemot and Razorbill

Guillemot – Uria aalge and Razorbill – Alca torda

Kittiwake - Rissa tridactyla

Kittiwake – Rissa tridactyla

Kittiwake - Rissa tridactyla

Kittiwake – Rissa tridactyla

After returning to the visitor centre a quick visit to the Bird Feeding Station gave opportunities to photograph Tree Sparrow Passer montanus, a species that has drastically declined in numbers. They are doing well here due to all year round feeding and provision of nest boxes.

Tree Sparrow - Passer montanus

Tree Sparrow – Passer montanus