Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve
A great experience to be enjoyed by all ages, see the Puffins at Bempton Cliffs
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Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve
Welcome to Bridlington.net's information on Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve.The chalk cliffs at Bempton form part of England's largest seabird colony between Flamborough Head and Bempton. Over 200,000 seabirds breed on the reserve alone. As well as managing reserves such as this the RSPB also works for the better protection of the marine environment.
Sea Bird City
For much of the year, the cliffs at Bempton are relatively quiet, but during the breeding season, between April and August, they are crammed with birds. The spectacle, noise, activity and smell all contribute to an overwhelming and memorable experience. As many seabird colonies are on remote islands, Bempton offers a rare opportunity to watch breeding seal quarters. Puffins and Gannets
Both puffins and gannets breed at Bempton. About 4,000 pairs of puffins return to the cliffs to breed. Each pair lays a single egg in a crevice in the rock face. The best time to see the puffins is between May and early July when they regularly visit their young with small fish. By August, the young puffins have left the cliffs to spend the winter on the North Sea. Bempton has the largest mainland gannet colony (gannetry) in Britain. Over 1,630 pairs nest on the cliffs. Gannets can be seen here from January to November, but they are most active between April and August when they are breeding. They will travel up to 60 miles (100 kilometres) from the colony to find food. When fishing gannets can dive from heights of up to 130 feet (40 metres), entering the water at up to 60 mph (95 kph). You may see some diving for food not too far out to sea.
Six other species of seabirds nest at Bempton Cliffs. Kittiwakes are the most numerous, with 75,000 pairs packed onto the cliffs.
Look out for the distinctive gliding flight of fulmars around the cliffs. They may look like gulls, but are members of the petrel family. About 800 pairs nest on the ledges. Herring gulls and a few shags also nest on the cliffs. packed onto the cliffs. This member of the gull family can be most easily identified by its 'kittiwaak-kittiwaak' call. Guillemots and razorbills also nest on the narrow cliff ledges. Guillemots are browner than razorbills and have long, dark dagger-like bills. Razorbills have broader, flattened bills, with a vertical white line near the tip.
Along the cliff top in spring and summer a variety of plants flower, including red campions, greater knapweeds and tiny yellow bird's-foot trefoils. In June look for the pink flowers of the chalk-loving pyramidal orchids along the top edges of the cliff.
The grassy areas attract a number of butterflies such as small coppers, red admirals, common blues and, in some summers, painted ladies.
Common seals, grey seals and sometimes porpoises can be seen out to sea.
If you would like more information or wish to arrange a group visit, please contact the warden at Bempton Cliffs Visitor Centre, Cliff Lane, Bridlington, East Yorkshire YO15 IJF; telephone 01262 851179.
RSPB North of England Office, 4 Benton Terrace, Sandyford Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 IQU Telephone: 0191 281 3366 Registered charity no 207076.
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