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In Pictures: Gannets gather at cliffs for rituals of love and nestbuilding

Gannets and other birds gather at Bempton Cliffs on the Yorkshire coast to find a mate, settle down and have chicks.
Gannets and other birds gather at Bempton Cliffs on the Yorkshire coast to find a mate, settle down and have chicks. Gannets and other birds gather at Bempton Cliffs on the Yorkshire coast to find a mate, settle down and have chicks.

Love is in the air as gannets gather for what they hope will be a summer of love.

Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire is a hotbed for seabirds to indulge in courtship rituals, nestbuilding and, hopefully, producing offspring.

Around 500,000 birds gathered at the beauty spot which offers spectacular views, plenty of access to food and nesting materials, but not much privacy.

Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs A gannet on the wing (Danny Lawson/PA)
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire (Danny Lawson/PA)

Gannets do not have a monopoly on the cliffs with razorbills and herring gulls also staking a claim to territory with puffins and guillemots also in the neighbourhood.

As might be expected, clashes do occasionally break out among the birds with so much at stake and so little space.

Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs Nesting razorbills at Bempton Cliffs (Danny Lawson/PA)
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs A herring gull flies past nesting gannets (Danny Lawson/PA)
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs A nesting gannet at Bempton Cliffs (Danny Lawson/PA)
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs Around 500,000 seabirds flock to the chalk cliffs to find a mate (Danny Lawson/PA)
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs Gannets fight for space (Danny Lawson/PA)

Nesting material is close at hand for the birds who have all that is needed for what they hope will be a productive summer.

Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs A gannet gathers nesting material (Danny Lawson/PA)
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs A herring gull flies past (Danny Lawson/PA)
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs
Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs A pair of nesting gannets (Danny Lawson/PA)