Bempton Cliffs

27th April 2009
I took a trip up to the RSPB Bempton Cliffs reserve the other day with my good mate Chinny for a bit of sea bird photography. This was only my second visit to the site, the first was late last year which was very disappointing. I had timed that visit all wrong and there wasn't too much about, most of the birds had finished nesting and had gone back out to sea.

With last years visit in mind I wasn't too sure what to expect but it had to be better than last time.
We arrived just after 8 in the morning and headed down to the cliff tops, light was good with a thin layer of cloud acting like a hugh diffuser and the wind direction was perfect.
As we got down to the cliffs I could see plenty of birds flying around to our far right.

Chinny had a quick chat with a bird watcher who was coming back from that direction and he told us that there was a lot of Gannets collecting nesting material from the cliff tops in that area.
We started to make our way towards the spot and the closer we got the more birds we saw, looks like it's going to be a good day I thought.

The wind had picked up by now and was blowing a lot harder than any of the forecasts had predicted, this had the Gannets hanging in the air using their feet and tails to manoeuvre onto the cliff top.

Gannet hanging in the wind.

Flaps down coming into land.

I took a few shots with my other camera which was fitted with a smaller lens to show how busy the cliff top had become.

The Gannets were now queuing up looking for a patch of cliff top to drop onto.

Which caused a few dust ups now and again.

I used up about 6 gig of memory on the Gannets and still haven't processed them all yet... :-)

After a couple of hours with the Gannets we decided to try and get some shots of the Razorbills, Puffins and Guillemots that were perched on the cliff faces but unfortunately there wasn't that many of them about, plus we had started to lose the light on the cliff faces by now.

The only Puffin I saw at a photographic range.

Same with the Guillemots, how they perch on such tiny ledges is beyond me..


I was hoping for more images of these birds but the accessible photography areas were a little thin on the ground with them, looks like another trip is in order...

We decided to head back towards the Gannets again but this time concentrate on the Fulmars. Fulmars are true masters of flight, all the other birds were collecting nesting material or fighting for nesting spots on the cliff faces but the Fulmars were just having fun.
The speed at which they manoeuvre made it quite a challange to capture as they shot out from the cliff face, banked over and then shot back in again.

Every now and again one would just pop up in front of us, hang there in the wind for a few seconds before tipping over and shooting out to sea.
This bird was a proper poser for the camera and I was shooting at a 100mm at times.

Just above my head.

I was very pleased with the days photography and I will hopefully be making a trip back to Bempton in the near future...

Thanks for looking.