Sunday 19 April 2009

On Bempton Cliffs

This weekend I spent a happy (if cold!) day at the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs - primarily as a reconnaissance to check out the photographic possibilities of England's only mainland gannet colony. The weather was not ideal but otherwise it was very entertaining. Bempton is a busy colony with in excess of 200,000 birds including gannets, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and even the occasional puffin.

To start with I concentrated on the gannets. These large, elegant birds are relatively easy to photograph, They're not shy and they enjoy gliding sedately on the wind. Despite the lack of quality light I was able to get a number of decent shots including this one:

After that I moved on to more elusive targets. As well as gannets, there are razorbills and guillemots a-plenty at Bempton. Being smaller and faster they are, however, somewhat harder to catch on the wing. This was not helped by the fact that my recently bought 1D MkII has developed a rather frustrating fault and I'm temporarily back on the 20D whilst Canon take a look at it. I spent a long time at the top of the cliffs trying to get my camera to focus on the razorbills as they zipped by. More often than not I failed. However, I did make a few shots and of them this one was the most pleasing.


  1. Hi,
    The gannet shot is awesome but I also love this razzorbill. There are quite hard to get here as they are not that use to human presence. It is maybe also because I do not know a good spot yet.

  2. It looks like you are a total fan of birds in flight too. You do a great job at capturing them is they take to the wind.

    I have never seen a razorbill before. Nice.

  3. Love the rear view Gannet shot.

  4. Great shots!

    One day I'll make it to Bempton :D


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