Notes on Use of This Blog



1. With posts prior to 5th February, 2013 it is possible to see better quality enlarged images by clicking on the image. When finished, just click outside the enlarged image to return to the blog post.
With posts from 5th February, 2013 there is no advantage in doing this as the images are to the same size and definition.

2. I have a policy that I always reply to comments on my blog, even if it's just to say thank you.

3. Please don't submit comments that include your own web address. For obvious reasons, they will not be published.

4. I'm now on Twitter - @RichardPegler1

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Amazing Bempton Cliffs!! - on 8th August, 2013

In my last post, I said I'd do a separate post on my visit to Bempton Cliffs during my Yorkshire holiday based in Scarborough. This was, primarily, because I took so many photos during my visit!

I had a gentle start to the day, only leaving my hotel at about 09:00. Bempton is just over the border from North Yorkshire and, as I didn't have any problems passing through the customs post to get into East Yorkshire, I was parked up at Bempton Cliffs by 09:30.

As I left my car, a Jackdaw was playing with an ear of grass in the field.

Jackdaw - Bempton Cliffs
Rather than head directly to the cliff edge I set off on the 'nature trail' as this had been quite productive on my previous visit. However, on this occasion, I didn't manage any photos of the (mainly) Goldfinch and Blackcap that I saw.

There are several viewing platforms at Bempton Cliffs, which roughly lie in a south-east to north-west direction and, heading north-west, I first visited Bartlett Nab. Here Kittiwakes were resident on the vertiginous cliffs, with Gannets also on the cliffs in the distance.


Kittiwake - Bempton Cliffs
Gannet - Bempton Cliffs
I was wanting to get some flight shots, particularly of the juvenile Kittiwakes, but the field of view was quite narrow here if you wanted to keep the sun behind you, and the best spot was already taken by someone doing exactly what I wanted to do! These are the best that I could do from this point, but fortunately much better were to come later.

Gannet - Bempton Cliffs
Kittiwake (juvenile) - Bempton Cliffs
I left Bartlett Nab with a view to coming back later, and continued north-west towards Jubilee Corner. On the way I am pleased that I noticed a caterpillar walking across the path in front of me. I'm not sure what it was, but I'm confident that it's one of the brush-foot butterflies, and think it might be a Painted Lady - any suggestions?

brush-foot butterfly caterpillar - identification would be most welcome!
At Jubilee Corner, I found an RSPB type with a scope, so I went to another area of the platform. Here I was closer to the Gannets, and there were some good opportunities for photography.

The first thing I noticed was a Gannet on a pinnacle of rock with what looked like a kid's white fluffy toy beside it. I nearly accused the RSPB (or should that be 'rspb' to conform to their current ridiculous attempt at re-branding) guy of putting the toy there, when it moved and revealed itself to be a genuine Gannet chick! Now I've never found photographing black and white birds in bright sunlight to be particularly easy, with a tendency to burn out the whites, or loose the detail in the blacks. However, probably more by luck than judgement, I didn't seem to have too much of a problem this day - where virtually all the birds seen were black and white! What I did have problems with was my artistic abilities. Why do I say this? Well, if you've got birds sitting beautifully on a pinnacle and you've got any sense (unlike me) you take the photo in portrait orientation so that you can see that it's an impressive pinnacle. Not me - all mine were taken in landscape!!



Gannet - Bempton Cliffs
Whilst at this point I noticed that, from time to time, some of the solitary birds perched on a ledge would do a little dance, with sky-pointing, neck-twisting, and chest-expanding all taking place whilst making quite a racket, as partly shown below. I suspect that this might have been a territory thing.



Gannet - Bempton Cliffs
There were also a few Kittiwake here, but they were in the shade. This next one is of a juvenile.

Kittiwake - Bempton Cliffs
This was not really the location for flight photos, so I headed back south-east again. Just before reaching Bartlett Nab there was a couple with their gaze firmly out to sea. They'd spotted something marine and were not sure if they'd been looking at a basking shark or a couple of seals! I couldn't pick up on what they'd seen so continued to the Nab. It was now crowded here so I made for the next platform along, which is Grandstand.

There were quite a few people at Grandstand too, but still plenty of room for me. I managed a photo of a passing Fulmar - not as sharp as I would have liked.

Fulmar - Bempton Cliffs
Whilst there, the 'marine creatures' came into view and were identified as a pair of Harbour Porpoises. Given that the cliffs are about 100 metres high at this point and we're looking out to sea at an angle, these were probably about 150 metres away, so only distant record shots were obtained.
Harbour Porpoise - Bempton Cliffs
From Grandstand I continued south-east to New Roll-up. On the way I found another Jackdaw. This one seemed totally happy with my presence and ignored me, even when I was only about 4 metres away!

Jackdaw - Bempton Cliffs
At New Roll-up, although there are impressive views of the arch at Staple Newk with its Gannet colony (see next image), I didn't find any other inspiration for photography.

Gannet Colony on Staple Newk - Bempton Cliffs
Continuing to the final viewing platform at Staple Newk, as I approached I was immediately impressed when a Gannet suddenly came into view as it rose above the edge of the cliff. I knew then that I was going to get some photo opportunities here, and this is the way it turned out to be.

Gannet - Bempton Cliffs
This is the view you get of Staple Nook from the viewing platform.

Gannet Colony on Staple Nook - Bempton Cliffs
Whilst I feasted on Gannets here, and before putting in a whole raft of images, I'll just put in one of Puffins. Puffins were only seen on the sea, or flying past. The ones shown below were, again, at about 150 metres distance, so again, only a record shot.

Puffin - Bempton Cliffs
There were plenty of juvenile Gannets around in varying states of plumage and I tried to make sure that I included a fair number of these in my photography. Here's a selection of images from Staple Newk.















Gannet - Bempton Cliffs
As you can imagine, I found Gannets an absolutely wonderful subject for photography. However, I do now realise that I missed out on some of the other opportunities. For example I wish I'd spent more time seeking images of Fulmar, although they didn't show up often. And there's always the need to go back and try for more and better images of the juvenile Kittiwakes. So I'm really looking forward to going back there some time.

I'll leave you with my favourite image from the whole session. This, like many of the others above, was full-frame uncropped! Thank you for visiting.

Gannet - Bempton Cliffs

14 comments:

  1. Holy cow! What an incredible find of birds! These are exciting and I think I'm with you on the Gannett. I would've taken 1 million picture the these birds as well This looks like an incredible trip and I hope someday to have an experience like this as well :-) Congrats and fantastic shots!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Chris. If you ever come to UK it would be my pleasure and privilege to take you to some of these places.

      Delete
  2. Hello Richard

    You have achieved some absolutely brilliant Gannet images from your trip. I am extremely impressed. My favourite is seven-to-last. Mind you, the portrait directly underneath is also a beauty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Christian. Thank you for your very kind words.

      For me it was one of my most satisfying sessions for a long while. I hope to return next summer.

      Delete
  3. Well firstly well done on controlling the exposure, so tricky at Bempton. I like all of these images and like the invading bee in the frame of the first Gannet under the Kittiwakes. Your last viewing spot (staple nook/newk) is my favourite spot for photography but also if you carry on south'ish off the reserve can be good and quiet, did you try that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Doug. I was rather pleased not to have fluffed the exposure, but I need some lessons from you as to how to shoot birds in flight properly! Gannets are very obliging with their slow wing movement.

      Didn't go beyond Staple Newk, but I will next time now that you've recommended it - thank you!

      Delete
  4. Love Gannets,they seem to have a very comical look about them.
    The kittiwake is gorgeous,as is the Jackdaws.
    Brilliant set Richard.
    John.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you John. The head of a Gannet must have been designed by a real artist! They are wonderful birds to watch and photograph.

      Delete
  5. More great reading Richard accompanied by some stunning images, well done mate!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow Richard, I love Gannets, would love to see them. Fantastic images, love the first one of the fluffy chick:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Linda. They are a super bird!

      Delete
  7. Bempton.... its an amazing place, I love it. The light on your cliff shots is sublime.... sometimes when I have been its been like a pea soup fog...lol

    Great post, superb place, wonderful photography

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dave for your kind words and encouragement. The area is just about within a day trip for me so I must return again.

      Delete

I'm pleased to report that the anonymous spam problem seems to be solvable without using word verification. I'm now just using the 'Registered Users - includes OpenID' option in Blogger settings, and I'm not getting any spam - touch wood! I've also not received any contact from people saying that they are no longer able to make comments.