Sunday, 5 June 2011
High Pressure Low Fliers
I made my second visit to Bempton Cliffs RSPB on Friday, a very late and last minute decision as I had other business that morning. The objective was of course one of my favorite birds, the gannet.
The photographer needs two elements for successful shots at Bempton, firstly a cloudless day with wall to wall blue sky and secondly a brisk wind. Well I had the first, but as for the latter the wind or should I say the lack of it wouldn't have moved a balloon.
Gannets with their six foot wing span, tend to rise and hang on a breeze and will float up to our eye level, at Bempton Cliffs that is around three hundred feet above sea level and as the wind will lift them effortless the males will also tend to forage for nesting material on the top of the cliffs, females don't indulge in this activity.
Without the wind, onlookers are reduced to leaning onto the rails at various viewing platforms and looking down into the abyss bellow, if you suffer from vertigo, walk away now.
Every now and then a gannet or two would appear out of the blue and scream past at the speed of an Exocet, getting "the shot" requires a steady hand and quick reflexes, not easy and not always successful, but what tremendous sport. If you come home with half a dozen keepers, then it's been a good day.
A rare occurrence as a gannet bids me good-day