Bempton Cliffs

Razorbills, sleek, black and just slightly ‘Zorro’.

We are fortunate enough to be able to visit the cliffs at Bempton relatively easily. It’s about 72 miles from here. From spring onwards up to 200 thousand seabirds return to the cliffs to nest and breed. The most common are the razorbills and guillemots who along with the puffins are members of the auk family. The razorbills have white fronts and fabulous deep black feathered wings and back. The sleek white stripes on their eyes and wings give them a bit of a Zorro look. The puffins are by far the most popular and you can easily identify them flying back towards the cliffs by their striking orange feet. There are nowhere near as many of these. Their bright orangey red beaks are in fact just colourful outer parts that are only in place during the summer and are shed to reveal their more functional bill underneath once they return to the sea after producing that year’s young.

Immature gannets summering on the Yorkshire coast.

For a display of flying though, you can’t really beat the gannets. These are the most majestic and graceful flyers, soaring over the cliffs and down to the sea with athletic ease. They are huge birds with a wingspan of up to 2 metres. They are just so cool.

We have just visited and will no doubt be back again next year.

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