Breeding birds return to Bempton Cliffs

Gannets at RSPB Bempton Cliffs.
Gannets at RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

The 200,000 seabirds that flock to RSPB Bempton Cliffs every year have started returning to nest on the 400 feet high chalk cliffs.

One of the early arrivals is a pair of gannets, known as Peckster and Flip.

The gannet colony, the largest on UK mainland, has seen strong growth over the past few years. Numbers in 2012 topped 22,000 breeding individuals, with more gannets yet to reach maturity.

Keith Clarkson, RSPB Bempton Cliffs site manager, said: “The success of the gannet colony here is testament to the hard work the RSPB undertakes to protect Britain’s seabirds.

“As Bempton Cliffs is both a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area, the birds are safeguarded on the cliffs but out at sea, there is little or no protection.

“We are putting real effort into drawing attention to risks such as climate change and industrial fishing. And we are also campaigning hard to get the Government to designate Marine Protected Areas along our coast before it’s too late.”