Behold beautiful birds at Bempton Cliffs

Published: Tuesday 22nd August 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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If you’re looking for an incredible day of nature watching, Bempton Cliffs is the answer.

The 400ft cliffs, which are situated between Flamborough and Filey, are home to the largest seabird colony in the UK. Over the year, it has been estimated that an astounding 400,000 birds set foot on the seventeen-mile stretch of land, including puffins, gannets and razorbills. At this time of year, gannets are the main species that you will see.

“We currently have around 28,000 gannets here at Bempton. They descend on the rocks to mate, nest, and raise their young.” enthuses Maria Prchlik, Communications Officer for RSBP.

“They are truly awesome creatures. Gannets are Britain’s largest seabird, with a wingspan of up to six feet. They look almost prehistoric, with very long razor-sharp beaks. However, they are also extremely beautiful, attractive birds, with a gorgeous peachy colour on their heads.”

Bempton Cliffs are famous for their seabird spectacle, which lasts each year from March through to October. Puffins are the most popular sight at the reserve, but by late summer they have already left and you won’t catch them again until mid-April.

In August and September, the real focus is the striking gannet colony, which you can view from the six cliff-edge viewing platforms or at the exhibition area in the Seabird Centre. Here you can see the birds up close and personal on large TV screens that show live images of the nests from the cliffs.

“They swoop and soar around and above the cliffs and even hover at eye-level above the cliff tops,” Maria adds.

You can also tuck into a delicious cream tea and selection of sandwiches as you take in the views of the surrounding meadows and seafront. The café is located on a decked area and serves a wide range of treats and refreshments.

Alternatively, you can take a picnic and observe from the comfort of your own blanket. The seabird centre sells an assortment of snacks and ice creams, in case you need to stock up on supplies. The RSPB also has you covered if you’ve forgotten your binoculars – an extensive range can be found in the shop.

“Young explorers can follow the Nature Trail clues to be entered into a prize draw to win a pair of special binoculars,” adds Maria.

The RSBP runs the site. They are the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, working tirelessly all year round with their partners to protect threatened birds and wildlife. Bempton Cliffs are so special because they play a huge role in the increase in the number of seabirds found in the UK.

The latest statistics show that the number of gannet pairs has increased from 2,550 to 13,400 in the past 17 years and this is brilliant news. However, in other parts of the country, this has sadly not been the case. The preservation of coastal reserves, such as Bempton, is vital for the future of British wildlife.

On Sunday 27 August, the RSPB is hosting a Bioblitz at Bempton. You can get involved in recording the species seen on the reserve, from spying the biggest birds to discovering the smallest insects. Experts will also be on hand to demonstrate how they collect and collate important data by mammal trapping and bird ringing.

Bempton Cliffs are accessible throughout the year, with the Seabird Centre opening 9am-5pm in the summer and 9am-4pm in the winter. For RSPB members, entry to the reserve is free. For adult non-members it’s £4 and children get in for £2.

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Published: Tuesday 22nd August 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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