THOUSANDS of seabirds clinging to the cliffs at Bempton are a familiar sight.
But these two intrepid climbers (pictured), installing two CCTV cameras to beam breath-taking, live pictures of the seabird colony back to the RSPB visitor centre, may have raised a few eyebrows.
Working near the top of the 300-feet high cliffs and balancing precariously over the crashing sea below, the climbers, from High Peak Geotechnical Ltd, attached one of the cameras to a special bracket to overlook the famous Staple Newk, home to many of the reserve’s famous gannets.
A second camera – a new addition to the reserve this year – went in between the Bartlett Nab and Jubilee viewpoints, which overlook the guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and puffins which nest on the nature reserve.
The cameras are already transmitting stunning images to the visitor centre.
David Aitken, RSPB Bempton Cliffs assistant warden, said: “You certainly wouldn’t have watched these guys if you didn’t have a head for heights. Just seeing them abseiling down the cliffs was sensational. Even though we knew they were well roped on, you still caught your breath as they went over the edge.
“Last year, the incredible, close-up shots, capturing tiny, intimate – and sometime ferocious - moments in the lives of the gannets on Staple Newk, thrilled visitors on a daily basis.
“This year, the new camera will bring us double the delight, as we’ll be able to watch the antics of seabirds on other parts of the cliffs.”
The cameras magnify images up to 60 times, picking up minute details of individual feathers and can zoom right into the incredible blue of a gannet’s eye.
The project was funded in 2011 by the Coast, Wolds and Waterways Leader Programme in conjunction with Defra and the EU. The installation of the second camera is also part of that funding.
Visitors to RSPB Bempton Cliffs can watch the gannet story unfold on the large visitor centre screens from 9.30am to 5pm every day of the week.