England: Bempton Cliffs
Bempton Cliffs are vertical chalk cliffs on the eastern English coast, and at 330ft high they are second only to Beachy Head Cliffs in the south in terms of height. Windy and cold, they are home to the largest bird colonies in the mainland UK. In the summer, 8 species of birds nest here – northern gannets, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, herring gulls, fulmars, shags, and Atlantic puffins. The cliffs are a virtual bird New York City with skyscrapers packed to the rim with loud, screaming, and smelly dwellers flying out to sea for a quick bite. The walkways on the top of the cliffs lead to several viewing spots and platforms allowing pretty upslope and personal experience of observing the birds. Puffins are least common and most prized to spot. Guillemots and razorbills (close relatives of puffins and resembling penguins) are super abundant and create large colonies. Kittiwakes and herring gulls (very similar to each other) also find nesting spots on the vertical chalk cliffs). Finally, the gannets are the largest and most spectacular birds here forming separate and large colonies (next post).