Recent Daily Highlights

Our full archive of daily highlights and logs going back to 2014 can be found on the Daily Log & Archive page.


  • 24th October 2021

    Strong southerly winds throughout, mainly overcast skies with some sunny intervals and temperatures that peaked at 12 degrees C. Wildfowl on the move during the morning’s seawatch included 213 Wigeon, 61 Teal, 18 Tufted Ducks, two Scaup, 92 Common Scoters and two Goldeneye flying south. Six Great Northern Divers included two birds flying north and two summer-plumaged adults on the sea. A Glaucous Gull lingered off the Seawatch Observatory in the afternoon, whilst a first-winter Caspian Gull flew south and single Arctic and Pomarine Skua, three Little Gulls, a Mediterranean Gull and one Little Auk headed north.

    Thornwick Pools hosted 37 Teal, a Shoveler and two Water Rails. Six Whooper Swans flew south over the outer head, as did two Bean Geese sp. and 79 Pink-footed Geese. Passerine migrants making landfall included 1740 Starlings, the majority of which arrived in the afternoon. The autumn’s first Twite graced the cliffs between North Landing and Thornwick.

    Shoveler, Thornwick Pools, by Brett Richards
  • 23rd October 2021

    A largely overcast day, with a moderate south-westerly wind developing and temperatures reaching a maximum of 13 degrees C. The most notable feature of the day was a northerly movement of 175 Little Auks, the first appreciable tally for two years. Also on the move past the outer head were four Sooty Shearwaters north, two Manx Shearwaters north, a Great Northern Diver south, a Black-throated Diver north, a pale-bellied Brent Goose south, two Red-breasted Mergansers, 20 Puffins, 48 Little Gulls north, a juvenile Glaucous Gull that eventually flew north, two Bonxies, two Arctic Skuas and two Pomarine Skuas (spooned adult & juvenile) north. Small numbers of birds continued to fly in off the sea throughout the day, including two Woodcock and a Lapland Bunting.

    Thirteen Whooper Swans eventually settled on fields along Lighthouse Road. Passerine migrants included a Ring Ouzel, 420 Redwing, a Yellow-browed Warbler, 150 Siskin, six Brambling, 16 Redpoll sp., a Hawfinch west past the Old Lighthouse and two Lapland Buntings.

    A large 1300-strong flock of Pink-footed Geese gathered in fields near RSPB Bempton Cliffs during the day; other sightings from the reserve included five Woodcock, 580 Redwings flying west, 31 Siskin, nine Brambling and a Snow Bunting.

    Rock Pipit, South Dykes, by Ben Ward
  • 22nd October 2021

    The weather consisted of sunny intervals and light showers in the afternoon; north-westerly winds ensured temperatures remained low, reaching eight degrees C by late morning. Whilst not a total surprise given the prevailing weather conditions, a White-billed Diver that flew north past the outer head at 0846hrs delighted the seawatch team; presumably the same individual flew past Whitburn, Durham three hours later. The seawatch also produced nine Pink-footed Geese, two Velvet Scoters (north), a Red-breasted Merganser, one Great Northern Diver, two Manx Shearwaters, ten Little Gulls, a Mediterranean Gull, four Bonxies, two Arctic Skuas and six Little Auks.

    A total of 300 Pink-footed Geese flew north over the village early morning, while the Spoonbill remained at Thornwick Pools along with a Water Rail. A Little Stint flew west along the cliffs near South Dykes, with three Grey Plover and ten Sanderling in the same area; a Woodcock also landed briefly on the road to North Landing. Passerine interest included three Jays, 18 Fieldfare, 112 Redwing, eight Blackcap, four Chiffchaffs, two Yellow-browed Warblers (including one South Landing), 18 Goldcrest and five Brambling. The recent Siskin influx continued with 238 scattered across the outer head and included a flock of 20 birds flying in off the sea, whilst a Snow Bunting overflew Beacon Hill.

    Sightings at RSPB Bempton Cliffs included 570 Pink-footed Geese, 13 Siskin, two Brambling and two Snow Buntings.

    Snow Bunting, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Dan Howe

  • 21st October 2021

    Strong north-westerly winds gradually dropped in strength and sunny intervals eventually prevailed after heavy showers early on; temperatures were appreciably lower than of late and peaked at eight degrees C. A Grey Phalarope off the Observatory was the highlight of the seawatch, with other notable sightings including a Pale-bellied Brent Goose north, seven Whooper Swans and two Pintail south, two Sooty Shearwaters north, 40 Little Gulls, a Mediterranean Gull, one Bonxie and four Arctic Skuas south.

    Yesterday’s juvenile Spoonbill remained in residence and returned to Thornwick Pools in the afternoon. Ten Whooper Swans flew south over the village along with skeins of 238 Pink-footed Geese; considerably larger skeins of Pink-feet headed south over the headland after dusk. Other notable records included a Short-eared Owl that overflew the Bay Brambles, a Hooded Crow south over South Dykes, three Blackcap, two Chiffchaffs, 14 Goldcrests, 36 Redwing, 28 Rock Pipits, two Brambling, two Redpoll sp., 29 Siskin and six Snow Buntings. An additional Snow Bunting continued to linger at RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

    Spoonbill, Thornwick Pools, by Andrew Allport
    Spoonbill, Thornwick Pools, by Andrew Allport
  • 20th October 2021

    A largely overcast day, with periods of heavy rain and light/moderate south-west winds. Skeins containing a total of 340 Pink-footed Geese flew north over South Dykes in the morning, whilst 29 (8, 6, 15) Whooper Swans moved south. The highlight related to the appearance of a juvenile Spoonbill on Thornwick Pools that lingered all morning before it eventually flew off south-east at 1500hrs; this represented only the third site record. Passerine interest included five Jays, three Blackcap, two Chiffchaffs, six Goldcrests, 88 Redwing, a Wheatear, 15 Redpoll sp., three Brambling, 88 Siskin and a Crossbill.

    The Pink-footed Geese movement was more apparent at RSPB Bempton Cliffs where 785 were recorded, with the majority heading south-east; the Snow Bunting also remained in residence on the reserve.

    Spoonbill, Thornwick Pools, by Rob Little
    Spoonbill, Thornwick Pools, by Brett Richards
  • 19th October 2021

    Overcast throughout with heavy rain before 12 noon and a moderate south-westerly wind; temperatures rose dramatically from 14 degrees late morning to 19 degrees by mid-afternoon. Sightings from South Dykes to South Landing included two Mute Swans, three Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, six Goldcrests, 88 Redwing, four Grey Wagtails, four Redpoll sp., four Brambling and three Siskin. A Marsh Tit accompanied a Long-tailed Tit flock at Old Fall, with a Willow Warbler and a Ring Ouzel also there, while a Merlin overflew nearby Lighthouse Road. The Snow Bunting remained at RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

    Bottlenose Dolphins, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Alan Walkington
  • 18th October 2021

    An overcast day, with rain arriving late morning; moderate southerly winds and temperatures reaching 11 degrees C. Two dark-bellied Brent Geese, a Little Gull and two Bonxies flew north during the morning’s seawatch. A juvenile Marsh Harrier flew south over the sea and a minimum of 25 Bottlenose Dolphins moved south. An appreciable movement of Golden Plovers took place, with 126 in off and west at the Fog Station and an additional 89 also flew west over South Dykes.

    Southbound wildfowl included 16 Whooper Swans and 1090 Pink-footed Geese. A Merlin frequented South Dykes, whilst four Jays flew west at Old Fall. There was evidence of an arrival of passerine migrants, with notable sightings including 300 Redwing, a Fieldfare, 14 Goldcrests, three Blackcap, two Chiffchaffs, four Siskin, four Lesser Redpolls, eight Brambling, 44 Yellowhammers and two Lapland Buntings.

    Teal, Thornwick Pools, by Don Hustings
  • 17th October 2021

    An overcast start to the day with sporadic light rain throughout the morning followed by sunny intervals later; blustery south-west winds and temperatures peaked at 12 degrees C. Unsurprisingly quieter than of late, seawatching still produced a Black-throated Diver, 63 Little Gulls and a Pomarine Skua flying north, with a Grey Phalarope flying south close inshore at 1435hrs and a second-winter Mediterranean Gull also heading in the same direction.

    Unfortunately there was no sign of yesterday’s Taiga Flycatcher. A Woodcock overflew the outer head, four Purple Sandpipers and 63 Turnstone roosted on the cliffs near the Fog Station and a House Martin lingered over the same area. The day’s most notable passerine was a Hawfinch at South Dykes, with a Lapland Bunting at nearby Beacon Hill; 14 Goldcrests, 48 Skylarks, 102 Redwing, eight Fieldfare, a Wheatear, two Brambling and 16 Siskin were also recorded. A Snow Bunting remained on the cliff top at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, whilst three Jays flew west at Buckton.

    Snow Bunting, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Rob Little
  • 16th October 2021

    Birding never ceases to surprise, so it was today with the discovery of the UK’s fifth (but Flamborough’s second after a male in April 2003) Taiga Flycatcher late morning at the Fog Station. It subsequently showed well to a gathered crowd and was still flycatching from cliff ledges as dusk approached.

    Slightly more mundane, four Whooper Swans flew south during the morning’s seawatch, along with a Great Northern Diver and 83 Little Gulls. Moving north were three Red-breasted Mergansers, two Black-throated Divers together, another Great Northern Diver, ten Sooty Shearwaters, 495 Little Gulls, two Bonxies,a ‘spooned’ Pomarine Skua and two Arctic Skuas. Away from the sea, notable sightings included 470 Pink-footed Geese, eight Whooper Swans south, a Merlin, one Jack Snipe at South Landing, a Little Owl, six Jays, a Yellow-browed Warbler at South Landing, 40 Siskin, five Lesser Redpoll and two Brambling.

    Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included three Barnacle Geese and 280 Pink-footed Geese flying south-east and four Jays moving in the same direction. A 1500-strong flock of Pink-footed Geese fed in fields east of the visitor centre, 11 Whooper Swans overflew the reserve, four Goldcrests were in residence and a Snow Bunting entertained on the cliff top. Nearby, a Jay also flew south-west over Buckton village.

    Taiga Flycatcher, Fog Station, by Lee Johnson
    Taiga Flycatcher, Fog Station, by Andrew Mason
    Taiga Flycatcher, Fog Station, by Rob Little

  • 15th October 2021

    Light/moderate northerly winds, sunny intervals with occasional light showers and temperatures reaching a maximum of 12 degrees C. Whilst attention initially focused on the sea, surprisingly it was South Landing that provided the highlights: a Western Bonelli’s Warbler spent the day in trees adjacent to Highcliffe Manor. It transpired the bird had been glimpsed on 13th October and represents the fourth headland record over the last decade. A Yellow-browed Warbler shared the same trees, whilst a Red-breasted Flycatcher rewarded the ringing team when it pitched up in a net near the car park. In addition, 37 Little Gulls flew east past South Landing late afternoon. A Red Kite overflew the headland, whilst other notable passerine records included 13 Jays and a Snow Bunting.

    Unsurprisingly, seawatching proved rewarding: 12 Barnacle Geese, five Velvet Scoters, a Red-breasted Merganser, 21 Sooty Shearwaters, eight Manx Shearwaters, 1064 Black-headed Gulls, 153 Little Gulls, two Mediterranean Gulls, 681 Common Gulls and a relatively late juvenile Long-tailed Skua all flew north; two Pomarine Skuas headed south. Another Jay graced a garden at Buckton.

    Western Bonelli’s Warbler, South Landing, by Tony Dixon
    Western Bonelli’s Warbler, South Landing, by Andrew Mason
  • 14th October 2021

    A blustery south-west wind established by the afternoon of a largely overcast day, with temperatures reaching a maximum of 14 degrees C. Seven Whooper Swans flew south past the Fog Station mid-morning, with three skeins containing a total of 400 Pink-footed Geese flying south over the Dykes. Three House Martins and two Swallows spent the morning hawking insects in the lea of the cliffs on the outer head. Passerine interest included a Yellow-browed Warbler and two Jays at South Landing, with other notable sightings involving 110 Redwing, three Grey Wagtails and six Siskin flying west.

    Fieldfare, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Dan Howe
  • 13th October 2021

    The weather consisted of largely overcast skies, with some sunny intervals, light south-west winds and temperatures that peaked at 15 degrees C. The most notable feature of the day was an appreciable arrival of Redwings, with over 13,750 making landfall and heading west; birds arrived throughout, with passage concentrated in the morning before picking up again mid-afternoon. Also arriving in off the sea were three Woodcock, seven Snipe, 45 Blackbirds and 50 Brambling. A party of 11 Whooper Swans toured the outer head, with two Red-breasted Mergansers and 170 Common Scoters off the South Cliffs. Grounded migrants included four Yellow-browed Warblers, with three at South Landing and the other at South Dykes, five Jays and a Snow Bunting.

    Seawatching highlights included the following birds moving north: 17 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 117 Wigeon, a Velvet Scoter, a Goldeneye, one Red-breasted Merganser, a Great Northern Diver, four Sooty Shearwaters, seven Manx Shearwaters, an Arctic Tern, two Bonxies, five Arctic Skuas and nine Puffins. In addition, a Mute Swan and two Red-breasted Mergansers headed south. A total of 73 birds were newly ringed including 44 Redwings; this followed a daily total of 91 birds ringed yesterday which included a Belgium-controlled Redwing; the first ever foreign ringed Redwing for the observatory.

    Visible migration at RSPB Bempton Cliffs included 195 Pink-footed Geese south-east, a Little Egret, a Woodcock, two Snipe, four Jays, 102 Starlings, 1046 Redwing and six Brambling flying north-west. Ten Whooper Swans, two Yellow-browed Warblers, six Chiffchaffs and three Goldcrests were also on the reserve.

    Snow Bunting, South Landing, by Rob Little
  • 12th October 2021

    Moderate northerly winds gradually dropped in strength during the afternoon, whilst there were overcast skies throughout and temperatures reaching 12 degrees C. Seawatch highlights included a dark-bellied Brent Goose, five Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 43 Red-throated Divers, a Black-throated Diver, one Great Northern Diver and 13 Arctic Skuas flying south; six Barnacle Geese, 97 Teal, a Scaup, one Goldeneye, a Great Northern Diver and eight Sooty Shearwaters moved north. A pod of seven Bottlenose Dolphins swam south close inshore of the Fog Station. A lone Whooper Swan flew south over the outer head.

    An appreciable arrival of ‘UK winter passerines’ took place with 3115 Redwings making landfall along with 35 Song Thrush, three Fieldfares, 42 Brambling and a Snow Bunting; other records included three House Martins, eight Stonechats, a Wheatear, a Pied Flycatcher, four Siskin and a Lesser Redpoll.

    Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included 11 Whooper Swans flying south-east, with 201 Redwings, seven Song Thrush and 20 Brambling moving north-west. A single Yellow-browed Warbler remained in residence.

    Water Rail, Thornwick Pools, by Brett Richards
  • 11th October 2021

    Light north-westerly winds, sunny intervals and temperatures peaking at 13 degrees C. Seawatch highlights included a dark-bellied Brent Goose, a Manx Shearwater and a first-winter Caspian Gull all flying north, with three Pintail and two Velvet Scoters heading in the opposite direction. A skein of 11 Barnacle Geese flew south over Thornwick Camp, two Red-breasted Mergansers and nine Eiders sheltered on the sea off South Landing, whilst Thornwick Pools hosted four Wigeon, 55 Teal and a Black-tailed Godwit. Three Jays were the pick of the passerine migrants on the outer head. Two Yellow-browed Warblers continued in residence at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, with ten Whooper Swans and 14 Pink-footed Geese nearby.

    Grey Wagtail, South Landing, by Jo Hood