Conditions improve for Bempton seabirds

Puffins at Bempton Cliffs. Picture by Steve Race, Yorkshire Coast Nature.
Puffins at Bempton Cliffs. Picture by Steve Race, Yorkshire Coast Nature.

Things are slowly getting better for Bempton’s seabird population after cold weather caused the biggest wreck for 60 years over the past fortnight.

More than 200 dead puffins had washed up around Bridlington’s coastline before and over the Easter weekend, but Steve Race, education officer at RSPB Bempton, believes the situation is improving.

“We have had smaller numbers, a handful of dead puffins wash up over the last week or so further north at Filey and Scarborough, and up as far as Ravenscar and Robin Hood’s Bay, but we hope that the worst is over,” said Steve.

“We are starting to get tons of gannets and fulmars back at Bempton, and a few guillemots and razorbills have been coming in and out.

“It is a bit early for the puffins to be back at the cliffs yet, but we have seen a few on the cliff for a short while and some at sea, which is encouraging.

“Obviously we are worried that the number found dead will have an effect on the season but we are hopeful that they will come back in big numbers. One of our reserves in Northumberland has already seen quite a few puffins come back.”

Staff at the RSPB reserve hope to today release a number of seabirds which were found, and rescued, by staff at Scarborough Sea-Life Centre.

Weather permitting the affected birds who have been recuperating at the Sea-Life Centre, will be released at Bempton.

Speaking on Tuesday, Steve continued: “Obviously that is weather dependent. We don’t know how it will be until Thursday morning but we hope that we can get them back out into the reserve safely.”

Anyone out and about around the coastline is still being asked to keep an eye out for any exhausted or injured birds.

If any are spotted, people should call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 or Jim Ward at Yorkshire Coast Wildlife Rescue on 07957 108191. Details of any dead birds found can be emailed to bempton.cliffs@rspb.org.uk