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Home Turf - Bempton

16th July 2014

Ten years ago (give or take a few months) I moved from Essex t’up North to the East Coast of Yorkshire; I took the plunge after my parents had moved up 4 years previously. They took up residence in a lovely little village called Bempton. On my first official visit to them they took me to the Cliffs (and that wasn't to chuck me over the edge either as they thought after moving 250 miles they had got rid of me) lol..
At this stage I was unaware of RSPB Bempton so when I first visited I was totally blown away with its scenery and its magnificent 400ft cliffs (remember I come from Essex, which is mostly flat with a few mounds they call hills) I also didn't know how popular it was because every time I visited it was in the evening with hardly anyone else around, which I have to say I still do to this day, it’s absolutely the best time of the day here.. In the summer of an evening I often sit on the bench at the top of the reserve and watch the sun go down, I’d be the only soul around, it’s so peaceful and quite surreal.. It’s a place where I go to gather my thoughts and put the world to rights or just go and walk/sit and think of nothing and enjoy my surroundings..

Just to prove that the sun does set over Bempton Cliffs... ;-)

This one was just taken on my mobile one night, we get some seriously stunning evenings..!!!

At peak season the first thing that will hit you is the lovely aroma ;-) (Well, the birds have got to go somewhere) to be honest I don’t even notice it anymore. Something else I have found out over time is that Bempton has its own weather system, it can be a brilliant sunny day just a couple of miles inland yet you arrive at Bempton and you have a sea fret (mist/fog) oh and you can arrive at the car park on a sunny day and think oooh this is lovely, don’t let it fool you, get to those cliff tops and it can be blowing a force 9 gale (well maybe not that bad but you get my drift) ;-) So keep hold of those hats peeps... !!
Just a quick reference, during the hours of 9 to 5pm ish the RSPB visitor centre/shop is open and you have to go through this to get onto the reserve. It is free, but there is a charge of £5.00 for the car park unless you are a RSPB member, so remember to take your card with you. Before and after these hours its completely free, the centre will be closed so there is a side gate you walk through..
What to expect... In the peak season you can expect to find a hive of activity, by July all the birds that have bred will hopefully have chicks, so you will see lots of cute fluffy Kittiwake & Guillemot chicks, both will be trying to shelter under their parents not wanting to jostle about too much for fear of stepping off their very narrow ledge. Puffins will be very active flying to and fro with hopefully plenty of sand eels to feed their hungry brood. Fulmars are just stunning birds to watch in flight, as are the kittiwakes. Razorbills and Guillemots fly like the wind past you and before you have even got the camera in position they are gone.

A rather cute little fluff ball, Kittiwake chick..

Fulmar, fighting against the wind to try to land..

Guillemot in pink....

A Razorbill calling...

Puffins, one of my favourites .. 'What you looking at'? lol Puffins are great to see on the cliffs and you will see them, (you just have to know where to look) ;-)

And last but not least my muse, the Gannet, I think you all know by now how I feel about them and yet this fascination that I've acquired has only really taken place in the last 3 years or so, certainly in the last two years since I've been studying them very closely, you know of my pair that i picked to study as the now famous Fred & Ginger..!! lol. Probably not the best names for Gannets and why name them at all I hear you ask, well, that’s just me I’m afraid.. I couldn't just watch and study them without giving them a name and to be honest I think it suits them.. The original F & G of the movie fame were an iconic couple that were made to be together; when they danced they danced as one, beauty in motion and so much grace, just like my F & G to be honest. I don’t want to get into Gannets too much on this blog because I think they deserve a blog all to themselves one day..!! ;-) But, my love for these magnificent birds has led to a fabulous two year study of them and I continue to learn about them every day.. (More on that in the future)

Fred & Ginger - One of my first ever images that I took of them, what a pair, now you can maybe understand why I named them so.... Perfect couple..

Back to the cliffs - There is much more to Bempton then just the seabirds. We have a resident Barn Owl here that you can see quite often, early morning/late evening time. And countless other small bird varieties, meadow pipits, the other week I heard a Grasshopper Warbler, never seen one though lol.. In the autumn/winter months we also have a wonderful Short-eared Owl reside with us, such magnificent Owl, I've been lucky enough to see it on a few occasions and managed a couple of distant shots and I've seen it hunt over the grassy areas, wonderful to watch..

Our resident Barny

Our Autumn/Winter visitor - Short Eared Owl

I need a bigger lens :-( but you can just make out he's carrying home his dinner...

Another little critter we have lurking at the top of the reserve is the cheeky little weasel..
Cute little guy, with a nice glint in his eye, he was playing hide n seek with me the cheeky thing.. lol

You can also see on the odd occasion Hare and Roe Deer roaming the fields, I've seen Hare’s early in the morning but personally haven’t seen any Deer..
Oh and how could i forget the flora, what they call the Red Campion (but it looks rather pinky/purple to me) lol.. Whatever it’s called, in the months of May/June and maybe sometimes squeaking into July the cliffs are smothered in it and it’s gorgeous, it’s always a challenge to come up with a unique way of displaying it in your images..

Would have liked to have tried this shot with a Fish eye lens..

I hope this gives you just a small snippet into My Favourite place on the East Coast, my passion for Bempton has grown and grown over the years, its a place of beauty and has the most wonderful seabirds and wildlife.. Its a place for contemplation, relaxation, a place of peace and serenity, a place to be with like minded people who have a love for all things wild and with the right person you can have lots of fun along with plenty of laughter. ;-)
The Wildlife here never ceases to amaze me and I'm always inspired on each and every visit. Some of my images from Bempton have won awards with the Guild of Professional Photographers, which I'm very proud of.. And a certain image has been entered into a major international competition, which I'm afraid I can't tell you about just yet.. ;-)
I certainly count my blessings everyday, I feel very lucky and privileged that I live so close to such an amazing place, of all the wonders in the world that I would love to see, I think I would still call this place home.
I don't care whoever you are and where ever you come from, if you come to Bempton you will not fail to fall in love all over again here, well, I did...!!!!

Please feel free to leave your comments below.. If you would like further information regarding Bempton please do not hesitate to contact me.. Thank you for reading my blog..

oooh yes, and as Vivian has kindly reminded me, Residents of Bempton can have a free pass, so parking is free..


Photo comment By Philip Ellis: Wonderful blog & pics Marie :) x
Photo comment By Vivian Brumpton: Parking is also free to residents. Lovely article, brilliant photos.
Photo comment By Connie Doull: wonderful description of a place I am looking forward to visiting. Beautiful set of images too :D

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