Bempton Cliffs

The RSPB reserve at Bempton has to be one of the best places
on mainland Britain to see seabirds with the largest onshore Gannet Colony but
also the largest Kittiwake Colony, add
in Guillemots and Razor Bills and also that cheeky chappy that steals the show,
the clown of the seaworld, the Puffin. The latter are not in the same numbers
as the others but a significant colony and distinquishable from a distance as
the only seabird on this coast which appears to have red wellies.

Add in the odd fulmars, shags to be seen just above the
crashing waves and if you are lucky a peregrine and you have one of the best
sea watching spots in the UK.

What strikes you about a seabird colony, other than the
cacophony of noise and of course the smell, is the precarious nature of the
birds’ existence and their nesting sites as they cling perilously to the near
vertical cliff faces .Also add in what appears to be a fair amount of
squabbling as the various species compete for valuable and what appears to be limited
nesting spaces. Yet despite this, there is a considerable co-existence between
the species and impressively you get the odd guillemot or razor bill nesting
within Gannet City.

Gannet & Guillemots

Entry to the reserve is Non-members: adults £3.50, children
(aged 5-17) £1.50, family (two adults and two children) £8.50, though if you
walk along the cliff then effectively entrance is free, though as we are
members then also entry is free. What is
impressive about Bempton, other than the birdlife is the efforts that the RSPB
has made to make birding accessible. There are disabled walkways together with
viewing platforms and a number of helpers who will patiently explain the
difference between the seabird species. The café is not bad either for a cuppa
and a snack.

Our base was Grange Holidays, which as well as offering a
campsite, also has farmhouse accommodation and cottages to let. We chose the
Grange as it had hard standings, as we had previously a few weeks before come
to grief on grass in Norfolk. The Grange is a well-kept site with a new toilet
block and showers, kept scrupulously clean and it also has a washing up
facility with lashings of hot water. Unfortunately it does not have a motorhome
service point. The welcome was first class and the site has a pleasant open rural
feel and less than a mile to the cliffs, with directions given by the wardens.

The reserve is probably another couple of miles but the big
advantage is that you do not have the crowds but still plenty of birdlife and
with the added advantage of meeting a local farmer, who photographs and studies
the bird behaviour and who was a wealth of knowledge. Additionally this is
where we had the best observations of puffins. Also do not forget to look
inland for corn bunting and linnets.


After an excellent lunch and a mosey around the RSPB shop
and a look at the cam shots of the Gannets we proceeded north in the direction
of Filey and again we lost the crowds and were rewarded with close up views of
the Gannets as they came to the clifftop to gather nesting material.