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Diving Gannets off Bempton Cliffs

A wonderful day - so close to nature that it (literally) whistles past your ear!

The day began with an early start at Bridlington harbour, boarding a boat with like-minded wildlife enthusiasts, determined to get respectfully and safely close to the incredible Northern Gannet colony, feeding out at sea from Bempton Cliffs in North Yorkshire.

I'd travelled up to the North Yorkshire Coast, the previous afternoon and had spent a lovely hour or two, walking the cliff tops in the July sunshine. It was quieter than my visit in the Spring, but still great to see the colonies thriving and the young sea-birds taking their early tentative flights on the updrafts.

The mating rituals and 'sky-pointing' (above), all but over, one of the world's largest colonies of these beautiful birds were focusing on feeding their young and themselves - and what a sight that was!

Steve Race from Yorkshire Coast Wildlife and Gary Jones, a photographer who hosts workshops in great places, hosted the day. They took us offshore and into the feeding area for the Gannets, bringing supplementary feeding buckets of fish to bring the birds to the boat and filling the skies with the 'aack aack' cries of the Gannets.

A rocking boat, the skies full of birds and a feeding frenzy worthy of the movies absolutely had to be seen to be believed.

Taking photos was harder than you would think!!

You had to be there!

(go ... you don't need to be a photographer to do so!)

The birds hit the surface at 65mph, hurtling often over your shoulder - the wind whooshing past your ear - as they hit the water (and the fish) hard.

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