The British Isles, consisting of the Islands of Great Britain, Ireland and over 6,000 smaller isles, are the world’s famous breeding places for seabirds. The two mainland islands have coast lines of over 40,000 km and there are many cliffs suitable for nesting and breeding. There are also many uninhabited isles which became Paradise of seabirds. About 8 millions of seabirds, consisting of 25 species, spend spring and summer for breeding in the British Isles. I travelled for 10 days in the month of June along the east cost of Britain from Bempton cliffs to the Bass Rock in Scotland.



Bempton cliffs, made of hard chalk, run about 10km with the highest point of 100m from the sea. The cliffs accommodate over 250,000 seabirds coming for breeding each year. The cliffs are packed with full of nests which are roughly grouped by species but often cohabited by different species. The cliffs are home to the only mainland breeding colony of northern gannets for about 10,000 pairs. There are also guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, herring gulls and puffins, etc.

The Farne Islands consist of about 20 small isles within 8 km from the mainland. The islands were used by Christian hermits and monks from the 7th century to the modern age. The islands are now owned by the national trust and there is no permanent population. It is a Paradise of 200,000 seabirds nesting and breeding. There is an important colony of about 5,000 grey seals. The ground of the Inner Farne island is packed with nests of arctic terns and Atlantic puffins while the cliffs of the coast line are fully occupied by various gulls, guillemots and cormorants, etc.

The Bass Rock is a small desert isle at 2 km off the coast. It was lived by Christian hermits in the 7th century. The family of Bass built a castle which was used as a prison later. The modern lighthouse is no longer in use. The whole isle is now covered by the world’s largest colony of northern gannets of 75,000 pairs.




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