A Huffin’ and a Puffin
It’s more than worth a hike along the RSPB reserves at Bempton Cliffs towards the end of June and in July because you’re likely to see puffins resting on the cliffs and returning from the sea. You’ll have to look hard though – they are tiny birds and can be difficult to see amongst the colonies of gannets, guillemots and kittiwakes. Make sure you take wind-proof clothing and a good pair of binoculars and you’re likely to be rewarded with some very good sightings. RSPB volunteers also do puffin spotting tours in season, and are incredibly helpful in assisting you to spot various seabirds and birds of prey from the cliff edges.
During puffin season you can also take an RSPB seabird cruise from Bridlington harbour, providing you with an opportunity to view the cliffs from the water and see puffins in and around the sea. It’s excellent value and lasts 3-3.5 hours. The coastal scenery alone is wonderful and a great complement to the sheer bounty of seabirds that nest on the cliffs and fly around the boat. You’re likely to see gulls, kittwakes, gannets, puffins, guillemots, shags, cormorants and even skuas.
If it’s puffins you’re after then keep your eyes peeled for the fastest flying and smallest birds – unless they are taking off from the cliffs they tend to fly quite low to the surface of the water. They are easily spotted when trying to take off because they skip and bounce along the water with little grace, throwing spray high into the air (see below). Their bright orange feet, multi-coloured bills and tiny size easily differentiate them from the razorbills and guillemots also present.
Further images of puffins are available in the Taraji Blue Yorkshire photo gallery.