Bird watchers get close sighting after growth in gannets

Twitchers at Bempton Cliffs are all aflutter after an influx of gannets meant the birds were in near “touching distance” for bird watchers.

The number of gannets nesting at the nature reserve between Filey and Bridlington has now grown so much that young birds are gathering in ever bigger numbers almost next to the cliff top path.

And that’s good news for visitors walking to the Jubilee Corner viewpoint.

“RSPB Bempton Cliffs is the best place in the whole of the UK to see gannets at such close quarters,” said site manager Ian Kendall.

“This year, in particular, the juvenile gannets have been gathering in much bigger numbers near Jubilee Corner. They form what we call clubs – the gannet equivalent of a youth club, where lots of youngsters hang out together.

“The main colonies at prime nesting spots like Staple Newk are now so full of adult birds that there’s hardly any space left and the youngsters are driven out by the oldies.

“There have been small numbers of young gannets at Jubilee Corner before, but this year, the sight of so many of them so close to the path is just amazing,” he added.

Yorkshire’s gannets are the only ones to breed anywhere in England. At the last count in 2009 there were 23,000 at Bempton Cliffs and along the coast to Flamborough Head.