When RSPB staff travel the world tackling global conservation issues in locations as diverse as rainforests and deserts, where do they go for a team meeting? The answer is somewhere equally amazing, Bempton Cliffs.
For three days in June, the award-winning nature reserve between Bridlington and Scarborough, played host to eight members of the RSPB’s international research team.
Conservation Scientist, Dr Susana Requena who organised the visit, said the group had long wanted to visit the cliff tops and were so taken by the location that a short stroll on their first evening turned into a three hour exploration.
And while the primary purpose of the get together was team bonding, as the group are often scattered across different continents, this was no jolly.
The on-site seabird research team were keen to make use of the additional expertise – as well as the extra pairs of hands and eyes – in their own ongoing projects.
Bempton Cliffs’ Seabird Research Officer, Mike Babock, said:
‘This was an exceptional opportunity to share specialist knowledge across teams. A number of our visiting colleagues have specific experience in areas relevant to our work so it was fascinating to be able to pick their brains and learn from their experience.’
Whilst being one the region’s top tourist attractions, important scientific work is undertaken as part of the RSPB’s remit on the cliff tops. The international team were enthusiastic about being involved with current investigations into the percentage composition of plastic in gannet nests, as well as assisting with the regular monitoring of key breeding sites of around half-a-million seabirds that make their home on this stretch of the Yorkshire coast.
Dr Juliet Vickery, Head of International Research at the RSPB’s Centre for Conservation, said that the seabird colony, the largest on the UK mainland, more than lived up to its international reputation and added:
‘It just proves that you don’t have to go a million miles to see extraordinary wildlife’.