After last year's wonderful trip to Skomer, I was missing seeing sea birds, such as puffins, and with this year's trip not happening, I decided to head up to Bempton Cliffs instead. A long drive, but worth it, even if it was the only part of the UK under cloud when I arrived.
Having been before, I opted to head to the right-hand end of the cliffs for the main gannet colony, and as the sun was in, the whites on the birds would be easier to manage (sun and white-coloured birds can mean "blown" highlights). As usual, the birds were circling around, but at this time of year, they were returning to the nest sites with bits of grass, seaweed and anything else that suits their rocky nests.
Also, and lovely to observe was the way the pairs greet one another, rubbing beaks together. I'll have to get up to the Farnes one year to get some closer shots of this, but the views from the cliffs were good enough for a start.
The cliffs were also occupied in great numbers by kittiwakes, which seem to be able to sit looking comfortable on what can only be the narrowest of ledges. I tried to get some shots of them in flight, which wasn't easy, as they tend to stay below the tops of the cliffs, and change direction frequently. They often fly with their legs dangling too, like they're about to land but perhaps are enjoying flying too much to stop just yet!
Fulmars also shared some of the cliff real estate, and bickered between nest sites. They are quite approachable though, so getting images of them on the nest wasn't too much of a problem.
Finally, although not in great numbers yet, there were a few puffins around. They were checking out burrows, flying up and down from the cliffs to the sea, or simply perched on the cliff-face, watching the world go by.
By the afternoon, the sun had returned, and so had the crowds. The problem with Bempton is that the sun moves around behind the cliffs later in the day, so you have to look for sunny parts or accept shaded images. Thing is, with the drive back looming, I opted to head back instead.
Great pictures, Pete. I Particularly like the Gannet shots, well worth the long drive.
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