|Bempton Cliffs RSPB reserve
has the largest concentration of breeding seabirds on the English mainland.
Just 4 miles north of Flamborough Head, on the same headland, the eroded
chalk cliffs rise up to 430 feet out of the North Sea.
Arriving at the parking lot and visitor's centre, the view is totally uninspiring, as the title photo shows. Just a meadow and sky, and very flat at that! Only the faint cries of multitudes of birds hint that something special is going on here. It's when you approach the "edge" that you realize what a remarkable place this is. The cliff path meanders along the edge of the drop - this is no place for those who suffer from vertigo. But, take heart, the viewing areas are firmly fenced! for a map showing the distribution of viewing platforms.
While the variety of birds at Bempton is limited (with primarily 6 breeding species), the sheer number (and sound and smell) of them is overwhelming.
|This detail from the main photo shows the birds clinging to every crack and cranny! With the adult birds coming in for landings, taking off on fishing expeditions, arguing with the neighbors, fighting for elbow room, and chasing off the maurauding birds, it's a miracle anything||
|ever hatches here at all, and doesn't at the very least get dashed into the sea below. It's a good thing the eggs are generally pointed and just roll around in a circle. Every viewing platform shows its own different perspective on the cliffs, displaying comical Atlantic Puffins, elegant Gannets, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills, and a few Herring Gulls. Rock Doves puttered on the very edge of the cliff, while Jackdaws and Carrion Crows darted in to rob the nests of unwary adults who had left their eggs unguarded.|
|Unfortunately, we never did spot any Shags. Leaving Bempton, we suddenly decided to forgo the Northumberland pelagic trip and head straight for home and family in Scotland. Actually, it was more like a dash for free laundry services and a home cooked meal! On our way across England to Scotch Corner, we made a quick side trip to Rievaulx (pronounced Ree-vo) Abbey, a most serene and magical spot. for more details. Then, off to Glasgow!|