Touring Quilter – Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire

Wow! The sheer faces of the chalk cliffs at Bempton RSPB Reserve provide choice nesting spots for tens of thousands of seabirds. It was an amazing experience to walk along the cliff tops, and stand on the viewing platforms provided by the RSPB to take in the sight of so many birds clinging to the cliffs, bobbing around on the sea far below or wheeling around in the air between.

Bempton Cliffs (1) by Allison Reid
A short section of the cliff top walk and one of the spectacular cliff views.

We saw Kittiwakes, Razorbills, Guillemots, Fulmars, Gannets, Herring Gulls and Puffins from the cliff tops. Walking across the beautiful chalkland meadow between the Reserve Centre building and the cliff edges we spotted Tree Sparrows, a Barn Owl – hunting in broad daylight – and Jackdaws in abundance.

Bempton Cliffs (4) by Allison Reid
View from the Reserve Centre across the meadows to the cliffs.

We learned that most of the seabirds only come to land for the breeding season, the rest of the year (including the Winter) they stay out on the open waters of the North Sea and Atlantic. I find it incredible to think of them surviving the storms and the cold.

Bempton Cliffs (2) by Allison Reid
Click on the photo to zoom in and see the birds on the cliffs.
Bempton Cliffs Gannets by Allison Reid
Gannets, the largest birds on the cliffs.
Bempton Cliffs Gannet on nest by Allison Reid
Gannet on nest with Kittiwakes behind.
Bempton Cliffs Kittiwakes by Allison Reid
Kittiwakes clinging to the cliffs.
Bempton Cliffs Razor Bill by Duncan Reid
Razorbill (photo by D Reid)

The Puffin population at Bempton Cliffs has declined sharply over the past few years. The pairs that are breeding there this year were hard to spot. They nest in tunnels (about the length of a mans arm) so aren’t that visible. As the day went on we got our ‘eye in’ and spotted several on the water far below the viewing platforms – far too far for our pocket cameras to produce a recognisable image. My husband did manage one photo of a Puffin resting on the cliff face – it’s a bit blurry but it really is a Puffin 🙂

Bempton Cliffs Puffin by Duncan Reid
Puffin (photo by D Reid)

And finally, a close up of a cheeky Jackdaw that fancied a share of our lunch 😀

Bempton Cliffs Jackdaw by Allison Reid

Normal patchwork and quilting posts will resume shortly. 😉

Allison