Bempton Cliffs - Tree Sparrows, Gannets and other seabirds

I had had this day booked (negotiated) for photography for weeks. On route to an extended weekend with family and friends in Filey, I thought I would visit Bempton Cliffs RSPB reserve on the Yorkshire Coast. The weather forecast for the rest of the weekend was good but, typically not so good for my photography day. But it was booked and that was that.

I set off just have 5 o'clock in the morning, and three hours later I arrived at Bempton  - in glorious sunshine - great news (although would it be too bright for my main target species - but more of that later!)

I parked up, and with no one else around, started my photographs around the visitor centre itself. I had seen a number of photos from here and wanted to bag some shots for myself of the local Tree Sparrows, which were building their nests in the centre roof.

Tree Sparrow with Nesting Material Tree Sparrow

 For more Tree Sparrow images please click here.


The main reason for visiting Bempton is seabirds - and specifically gannets. I particularly like Gannets and in the past two years I have have been lucky enough to visit Bass Rock in Scotland, home to 150,000 gannets. If you are lucky enough to land on Bass Rock (I did both times) then you get unparalled access to Gannets and their chicks, some only feet away. So how does Bempton compare?

Bempton Cliffs, as the name suggests, is a cliff top reserve. Access to the gannets is relatively limited, although if the wind is in the right direction, you can get some great flight shots. Unfortunately it was very still day and the gannets soared along the cliffs below me! All was not lost, a walk along the cliffs revealed a couple of locations where I could get nice and close to gannets on the cliff tops.


Gannet Gannet Gannet


For more Gannet images from Bempton Cliffs, and to compare them with images from Bass Rock, please click here 

Whilst my primary target species on this trip was the gannet, there are numerous other seabirds at Bempton. There are puffins, although I only saw one on my visit, razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes as well fulmar and herring gulls. I particularly like the razorbills and the fulmars and managed a few shots of both.

Firstly two shots of a Razorbill - as with the guillemot the challenge is to make the black eye stand out from the rest of the bird's black face.



And a pair of Fulmar


And finally, my only successful flight shot of the day - ironically a fulmar rather than a gannet!

Fulmar in Flight


To comment on these images, or for more seabird shots (non gannet) from my trip to Bempton, please click here.