Saturday, 4 May 2013

One for the Birds

Bempton Cliffs, late evening, birds flying in and out
The early morning black clouds have rolled away leaving a lovely warm Saturday morning here in sunny East Riding of Yorkshire.

This is a big sporting day for us here as the local Championship football side Hull City are needing to win today's game to get promotion to the Premier League. I only take a passing interest in them, but if they make it then it's good news for the city of Hull. Good Luck.

I try to let you have a look at what I do in the vicinity when I visit places and I went to Bempton on the coast of East Yorkshire one evening earlier in the week. This is a fairly wild and rugged place, chalk cliffs facing the ire of the North Sea, but home to many many thousands of sea birds. I didn't know this, but according to some basic research, up to 200,000 birds are there during the summer.

The evening was lovely and not a cloud in the sky to talk of and very unusually, there was no wind either which one local bird watcher told me was very unusual; Mother Nature must have known I was coming!  Seeing the sun does help. There are lots of facilities for the visitor and clear marked cliff top paths which are fenced off for safety but which do not spoil the vista at all. This is a 'get wrapped up' sort of walk which needs good shoes although the paths are fine and the inclines gentle.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) have a nature reserve there and although it does cost to park there, during an evening we parked for free as the visitors centre was closed. You can park anywhere on this part of the coast and walk, that's the beauty of it, you don't have to use the RSPB facilities. There are also disabled visitors facilities too.

My friend Linda and I didn't walk far, probably several hundred yards that's all, but the walking was easy and there are seats and observation points. Much time is spent just standing, looking and enjoying the scenery and taking in the atmosphere. A very helpful friendly man answered our questions about the various birds and told us that the long winter had taken its toll on the bird population. There were no puffins there yet but a whole variety of birds were coming in to roost as we watched and the noise was phenomenal. There were gannets, gulls of various kinds, razor bills, kittiwakes, a few chattering sparrows in the gorse and we think we spotted an owl swoop low by late in the evening. We might even have seen a linnet.

I'm not sure how the birds cope. Perching precariously on the cliffs on ledges just a couple of inches wide, birds wheel away in the sea breeze. Many were on the surface of the sea in flocks bobbing up and down on the surf. The whole sight of the ancient landscape and seascape was something quite emotional and special. We did take several minutes to sit and meditate which was wonderful.

How does this survive on the cliff top?
I haven't been there since I was a child and a young child at that, and oh I wish I had gone more often. I've taken a few pics which don't really do it justice but I hope you enjoy!

Chat soon



  1. Sorry for the delay in commenting. It's been a busy weekend. But I simply could not pass by your photos. When we lived at Flamborough we could walk across the fields from the back of our house and arrive at almost this spot on the cliffs only east of the Dyke. We would walk along the very edge of the cliffs quite heedless of the danger. But then again we told ourselves we were trying not to walk in the farmers' crops -- usually sugar beets and barley back then. That was long before the RSPB at Bempton. Did you stop in at the White Horse Inn? I went to school with the manager there -- Richard Traves. Very fine chef he is too! But I expect he has retired by now. All a long time ago but still my favorite place -- hence, Flamblogger.

  2. Hi Chris - what a wonderful place to be brought up. It is a magical and somewhat mystical place in some senses - certainly you have no choice but to be at one with nature!

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