Out There: Greedy gannets are house proud

editorial image
0
Have your say

Birdwatching is one of my passions in life.

Every weekend I try to seek out a new place to indulge my hobby and one of the best places I’ve come across is Bempton Cliffs near Flamborough Head in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

I came across this magical place on a recent visit to Scarborough with my husband Sparky (Mark). After a fraught search along quiet country roads we spotted the brown tourist sign directing us to RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

The RSPB describes the reserve as the best place in England to see, hear and smell seabirds.

More than 200,000 birds make the cliffs their home from April to August and it has the largest gannetry on the mainland.

It was extremely windy when we arrived and it was hard to hold our binoculars still to watch the birds.

We’d hoped to see puffins which visit between April and July but they eluded us.

However, watching the gannets and guillemots more than made up for the absence of puffins. The reserve’s specially created viewpoints afforded us superb views of the birds on the precipitous cliffs. The gannetry was amazing and it was hilarious to see the birds jealously guarding their nest sites.

They looked a little like grumpy neighbours vying for territory. One particular gannet (pictured above) looked full of consternation as a rival appeared and perched on a nearby ledge.

The cliffs run about 10km from Flamborough Head north towards Filey and are over 100 metres (330 ft) high at points. We spent a couple of hours watching the birds before the strong winds got too much and we headed for shelter.

The Bempton Cliffs reserve is open at all times from March to October. The visitor centre is open daily from 9.30am to 5 pm, and from November to February, 9.30am to 4 pm.

Entry is free of charge to RSPB members all year. There’s a charge for non-members of £5 per car, minibus £8 and coach £10.

At home in Caton I’ve been busy planting up perennials and potting up summer bulbs.

As I worked on our small front garden I was delighted to see that the house martins have returned to the eaves of our house. I could hear them chirping away as I went to sleep later that night.

I’m always amazed that they come all the way from Africa to nest in our eaves. A true wonder of nature.