Visitors to the Bempton Cliffs RSPB site are enjoying the early return of guillemots. Hundreds of the distinctive black and white birds have reappeared at the site.
The birds, which would not normally be expected at the site for several weeks yet, are however only providing fleeting glimpses, however ahead of the usual arrival in spring and summer. Up to 60,000 adult guillemots and their chicks can be seen along the 400ft chalk cliffs in spring and summer.
Bempton Cliffs Site manager Ian Kendall said: “It almost feels as though they are playing a game with us, but the truth is they probably leave the cliffs as the weather changes.”
“When it gets round to the breeding season proper they’ll stay exactly where they are, looking after their chicks whatever the weather.”
“It’s unclear what has brought about this early return. It may be that there is plenty of food in the wild wintry seas off Bempton or the constantly changing weather could be the reason.”
“Whatever it is that drives them to do this, we think these occasional early visits in large numbers somehow help bond the colony together and it certainly makes a for a fantastic wildlife spectacle.”
It was announced last year that the Bempton Cliffs site will be upgraded to become the national seabird centre for England, and more than one million pounds will be spent by the RSPB over the coming five years to further develop the site which currently attracts up to 45,000 visitors a year.
Source: Yorkshire Post