Saturday 10 June 2017

Seabird City. A visit to Bempton Cliffs.

As you approach the nearest viewpoint you hear the faint cries and distant mewings of the birds and you glimpse vague shapes breaking the horizon above the cliffs! A feeling of excitement and anticipation makes your heart quicken and you fiddle with your camera and binoculars trying not to seem too eager to the passing strangers who smirk at the fact that they know this is your first time? Smug satisfaction is etched on their faces and the adrenalin is still pumping by the time you reach the platform! Nothing can prepare you for what you are about to witness! The sheer scale of those massive cliffs rising four hundred feet vertically from a turquoise sea, covered in a seething mass of over a quarter of a million birds! The vast flocks auks, kittiwakes and gannets hugging the wind and swirling above and below simply take your breath away! The sound is suddenly deafening and the smell hits you full on like a gale of fish stench! Someone suddenly shouts 'Puffin!' and everybody scrambles to one side in order to get a better view, cameras clicking furiously. A hundred lenses pointing and zooming and a battery of telescopes are lined up along the cliff tops! This is nature in the raw and at its most spectacular? Life and death at close quarters and behaviour that we are privileged to witness. Thanks to the work of conservation bodies such as the RSPB the birds that come here to breed are doing very well and for most species it has been a success story and we are granted access to a very special place indeed! I left with sketches and photos and memories that I will treasure for all time and I hope my paintings can convey at least some of the atmosphere of this very special place and the remarkable birds that breed here?
Puffin Pair.

Wing stretching.

Peak a boo!

Bridled Guillemots.

Mating Razorbills.



Herring Gull.

Shags at Flamborough Head.

Gannets hanging in the wind.

Gannet sketches.

Gannet flight sketches.

Puffin sketches.

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