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Last modified: 23 August 2013
You could spot shearwaters right alongside the boat!
Image: Steve Round
Hundreds of birdwatchers have already jumped at the chance to see migrating seabirds as they make a flying visit to the seas off the East Yorkshire coast.
Six cruises organised by the RSPB will allow passengers to get up close and personal with the birds as they pass over the North Sea this autumn on their way to winter haunts.
The RSPB's Skua and Shearwater cruises set sail on 31 August and run until 5 October aboard Bridlington's famous ‘Yorkshire Belle'.
Cruise Co-ordinator for the RSPB, Kim Smales, said: 'RSPB Seabird Cruises take passengers right into the heart of the action and, with luck, enables them to see a wide variety of seabirds that don't breed locally.
On any one sailing you might spot Arctic and great skuas as well as Manx and sooty shearwaters right alongside the boat. It beats seeing them through a telescope from land, hands down.'
Throwing a special cocktail of smelly fish bits into the water brings the birds even closer in allowing photographers to capture brilliant images.
Keith Clarkson, site manager at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, highlighted the plight of some of the seabirds: 'It's a privilege to be able to see these seabirds in our area. However, seabirds are constantly under threat.
'Climate change, pollution and offshore developments can all impact adversely on them by affecting food sources and nesting areas. Through our conservation campaigns, the RSPB is working hard to give nature a home at sea as well as on land.'
These late season cruises are extremely popular and as just six are planned, it's wise to book early.
And even if you can't tell a skua from a shearwater, it's still a great experience. Volunteers from the RSPB's East Yorkshire Local Group are on hand to point out and identify the birds as the soar and swoop above and around the boat.
The cruises depart from Bridlington harbour, every Saturday or Sunday, from 31 August to 5 October. Ticket prices are £20 per adult, £10 per child (under 14) or £50 for a family ticket.
The Yorkshire Belle has both covered and outdoor seating, a saloon bar with hot and cold drinks and toilets.
To book, or for further details, please phone the RSPB cruise office on 01262 850959 or visit the website.
Current proposals to create marine protected areas in the waters of each country offer almost no protection for seabirds. With the support of people like you, we can continue to fight for better protection for our seas.