Bempton Cliffs from the sea on the Yorkshire Belle. Part 1

After a couple of days on the cliff tops at Bempton we went on an RSPB Puffins and Gannets cruise out from Bridlington on the Yorkshire Belle. Covid restrictions meant it wasn't totally full and it was a very calm day, if a bit cloudy. Our previous visits have been too early in the year for the boat trips so we were very much looking forward to this one.

We were told that many of the Auks had headed back out to sea and there weren't that many passing close to the boat

A couple of Puffins

Followed by a couple Razorbills.

A Shag.

Gannet on it's long take off run.


A posing Puffin.

Then one of the spotters on the top deck said they'd seen the Albatross, so off we went for a closer look.

With the calm sea the boat could drift along side the Albatross and watch as it preened.

Not forgetting the distant relative a Fulmar posing beautifully.

Then the long process of getting airborne.

What had disturbed the Albatross and all the other birds was the appearance of a Great Skua. I was on the wrong part of the boat to get a clear shot but it does tell the story.

I had thought I had been lucking getting the distant shots of the Black-browed Albatross from the cliffs but this was incredible and what I've shared is only a few of the pictures taken. Also previous boat trips hadn't seen it.

Then it was back to what the trip was supposed to be about, diving Gannets, I'll post the results of that in Part 2

  • Some super shots there Trevor, and must be a top experience seeing the albatross and the skua. In the 1st albatross shot, it looks so smooth it could almost be a plastic model lol
    Thanks for sharing, and looking forward to the gannets :o)
  • Great images!! Would you recommend that cruise? What camera and lens/lenses di you use?

    Kind Regards

  • In reply to Ed D:

    Hi Ed,
    Thanks for comments, and yes I would recommend the trip (can't promise an Albatross though). This trip was mostly about the diving Gannets which I'll share in part 2, to see more of the Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbills you need to go earlier than mid July. You get 3 hours at sea with about an hour getting to and from the cliffs, but there were plenty of photo opportunities wherever you were on the boat. There are other trips out to the cliffs, but the RSPB one is dedicated to seeing the birds and will modify the cruise if something different turns up, as in the case of the Albatross.
    The equipment I use is a Lumix G9 with Leica 100-400 zoom telephoto lens, plus a 12-60 lens. I chose the Micro4/3 system because it is lighter and easier to carry when out walking all day and less expensive than the equivalent 35mm and APSC cameras. Choice of camera is a very personal thing and I came back into interchangeable lens cameras 3 years ago from succession of Lumix Bridge Cameras which I find have very easy to use menus, a concept I didn't have to worry about when I first started photography 40 years ago.
    There is a huge and complex discussion to have here about what is best although most modern DSLR and Mirrorless cameras will produce good results.
    Best Wishes
  • In reply to PimperneBloke:

    Hi PB
    Many thanks for the comments. The sea was very calm in places sheltered by the cliffs and was quite surreal at times. I forgot to say that the Great Skua was a first for me too, as was a Fulmar sitting so serenely on the water. Very much a Red Letter day.
    All the best,
  • Great set of photos Trevor the best way to view the cliffs ay Bempton and what a way to meet Albert down at water level. A friend of ours is part of a company that organises boat trips to get up close to the diving Gannets and thr shots thst come back from that are, like yours, completely something else


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • In reply to Seaman:

    Hi Pete,

    Thanks for the comments, I hope my diving Gannet pictures are as good.

    Best Wishes,


  • What amazing photos and views you got Trevor; really makes you appreciate just how large the Albatross is when you see the other species next to it ! A trip of a lifetime to get those close up views and wish I'd been there, however, your post is the next best thing so thanks for sharing.


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • I got into slight trouble at home, I forgot to credit my wife Trish with the scene setting cliff shots.
  • In reply to HAZY:

    Many thanks Hazel,
    I thought we'd been lucky seeing the Albatross from the cliffs, seeing it at and on the sea was amazing. Bempton Cliffs and the Albatross had featured on Country File the day before we set off but we didn't know about it until we got back so we didn't know the Albatross was still there until we saw it.
    I really feel I've had one of my best (and luckiest) years wildlife watching ever, All the extra time practicing since retiring seems to be the key and my wife Trish has now joined me in retirement and we do enjoy wildlife watching together.
    Best Wishes,
  • Beautiful pics Trevor, the Albatross seems to be gliding in silk in the calm sea, just a pleasure to see, and the Fulmar too, the Skewer doing it's usual harassing work also is unusual to catch so thanks very much for putting them up, thanks also to your wife for the cliff shots, always good to know where the landing point is:-)

    Lot to learn