Seabird City Gallery
All the usual suspects were nesting on the cliffs - Puffin, Gannets, Kittiwake, Fulmar, Guillemot and Razorbills. We also spotted Herring Gulls and feral Rock Doves, along with numerous Jackdaw.
The peace and quiet is shattered as you near the cliff edge, as the sound of thousands of birds carries on the wind. Defending their territories from noisy neighbours or welcoming their life-long partners back from fishing trips are noisy affairs!
I have put together a little gallery below, showing some of my favourite images of these magnificent seabirds.
Pair of Puffin
Flying adult gannet with feathers ruffled by the wind
Young Gannet (possibly 3rd year)
Gannet head study
Guillemot (bridled version on right)
Kittiwake chicks in the nest
RSPB Bempton Cliffs offers 5 viewing platforms with a walk of approximately 40 minutes from Jubilee Corner on the left to Staple Newk on the right. Each provides a different angle on the cliffs. There are also good vantage points along the footpath between the platforms.
We began at Staple Newk and worked our way back along the cliffs. heading away from Flamborough Head, keeping the rising sun behind us. The only problem with this plan was the wind! It was blowing a gale straight into our faces. Brrr it was COLD!
Despite the discomfort the weather did have the photographic advantage that the birds were struggling to fly against it, effectively slowing them down and making flight shots less difficult.
Note I did not say easy! Catching a puffin, at less than 30cm long, in mid air is never simple. Did you know that in normal flight their wings beat 400 times per minute? The wind caused them to hover more than flap, which certainly increased my chances of getting sharp shots. I set the camera to TV (or shutter speed) mode and a speed of 1/1250 sec which along with Auto ISO enabled me to stop the action while maintaining a satisfactory aperture. By the end of the day I had taken over 1000 photographs, most of which I was very happy with.
As the day progressed the wind dropped and things heated up considerably. When we arrived back at the car I was pleased that I had popped a sleeveless vest top in the car to change into.