Recent Daily Highlights

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


  • 19th October 2020

    An increasingly blustery south-westerly wind was a feature of a day with prolonged sunny intervals and temperatures that peaked at 13 degrees C. Seawatching highlights included three Shoveler, a Goldeneye and a Mediterranean Gull flying south, whilst a Sandwich Tern headed in the opposite direction. Two Grey Wagtails were also seen at the Fog Station.

    An influx of Fieldfares was apparent, with a flock of 100 birds heading west late afternoon. The Thornwick area attracted a Siberian Chiffchaff and a male Black Redstart and six Twite frequented Thornwick Nab. Elsewhere, a Marsh Harrier overflew Bempton village.

  • 18th October 2020

    The weather comprised light north-north-westerly winds, sunny intervals and light showers; temperatures only reached nine degrees C. Two Red-breasted Mergansers that flew south were the highlight of a relatively quiet seawatch. Yesterday’s Red-flanked Bluetail remained on the cliff edge at Beacon Hill, a Radde’s Warbler made a brief appearance in the north-west corner of Thornwick Camp, whilst two Dusky Warblers remained: one on the outer head and the other at Buckton. However, a Barred Warbler in cliff top scrub between South Landing and Beacon Hill was a new discovery.

    Three Whooper Swans that initially flew north over the Coastguard Cottages, later headed past RSPB Bempton Cliffs. The North Marsh area attracted 90 Teal and 16 Wigeon, whilst Thornwick’s New Workings hosted a Shoveler. Two Woodcock were in situ and a Short-eared Owl flew in off the sea on the outer head. Passerine migrants included a House Martin, three Yellow-browed Warblers, a Siberian Chiffchaff, a Lesser Whitethroat, 115 Goldcrests, one Ring Ouzel, 50 Redpolls, 12 Siskins, 18 Crossbill and two Lapland Buntings.

    Sewerby gardens attracted three Yellow-browed Warblers, 45 Redpolls and a Siskin, with two Short-eared Owls hunting the cliff top at Bempton late afternoon.

    Brambling, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Alan Walkington
  • 17th October 2020

    Light/moderate northerly winds persisted, with overcast skies during the morning and sunny intervals later; temperatures peaked at 13 degrees C. The highlight was the late afternoon discovery of a Red-flanked Bluetail on the cliff top at Beacon Hill where it showed well until dusk. A Radde’s Warbler near North Dykes represented the first record of the year, but proved very elusive. The Olive-backed Pipit in the Lighthouse Grassland and one Dusky Warbler lingered from the previous day, as did the Red-breasted Flycatcher in South Landing.

    Other notable records included a Long-tailed Duck still off South Landing, one Barnacle Goose and two Pink-feet with the Greylag flock, a Water Rail at North Marsh, a Jack Snipe, four Woodcock and a Short-eared Owl. Passerine migrants included five Swallows, yesterday’s Marsh Tit touring the outer head, a Siberian Chiffchaff, three Yellow-browed Warblers, Black Redstart, two Redstart, 12 Crossbills and ten Lapland Buntings. Elsewhere, a Barred Warbler showed near Buckton Pond, whilst a Black Redstart frequented RSPB Bempton Cliffs, where three Short-eared Owls hunted the grasslands late afternoon.

    A total of 80 birds were rung on the outer head, including 23 Goldcrests and 16 Redwing. A further 23 birds were rung at RSPB Bempton Cliffs including eight Goldcrests and two Brambling.

    Red-flanked Bluetail, Beacon Hill, by Craig Thomas
    Radde’s Warbler, Flamborough, by Andy Malley
    Stonechat, Lighthouse Grassland, by Phil Buxton
  • 16th October 2020

    The weather consisted of light/moderate northerly winds, sunny intervals after an overcast morning and temperatures reaching a maximum of 12 degrees C. Amazingly, five Dusky Warblers were present on the headland, with three on the outer head (including one Golf Course Willows) and the others at RSPB Bempton Cliffs and one remaining at Buckton. Two Olive-backed Pipits included a new arrival at Thornwick Pools, with the other showing occasionally near the Lighthouse. The autumn’s first Pallas’s Warbler was located near North Dykes, whilst the Little Bunting continued to give occasional views in the Lighthouse Grassland. A Red-breasted Flycatcher showed well in the ravine at South Landing from mid-afternoon, whilst five Siberian Chiffchaffs were in residence (four outer head, one RSPB Bempton Cliffs). Arguably, a first site record of Cetti’s Warbler on the reserve was the highlight at the latter location, whilst a Marsh Tit at South Landing represented another local rarity.

    Additional migrant totals included a Jack Snipe (Thornwick Pools), six Woodcock, two Short-eared Owls, a Willow Warbler, eight Yellow-browed Warblers, 190 Goldcrests, one Black Redstart, a Redstart, 16 Crossbills and nine Lapland Buntings. Sightings at RSPB Bempton Cliffs also included three Brent Geese flying south-east, one Woodcock, a Merlin, 70 Skylarks flying east and 200 Linnets. Two Yellow-browed Warblers were new at Buckton, where there were also three Jack Snipe, a Short-eared Owl, 25 Goldcrests and a Mealy Redpoll.

    Two ringing stations on the outer head were rewarded with a total of 97 birds being caught, including 46 Goldcrests at South Landing.

    Olive-backed Pipit, Thornwick Pools, by Mark Breaks
    Pallas’s Warbler, Flamborough, by Andrew Allport
    Pallas’s Warbler, Flamborough, by Colin Scott
  • 15th October 2020

    The north-easterly airstream persisted, with occasional light showers, sunny intervals and temperatures reaching 13 degrees C. The Olive-backed Pipit and Little Bunting remained in residence in the Lighthouse Grassland, although both proved very elusive. Two Dusky Warblers made landfall: one trapped at Buckton (the second there this week) and another along Lighthouse Road on the outer head. RSPB Bempton Cliffs attracted a Siberian Chiffchaff, again a new individual following the one there on 13th. Other interesting migrants included five Woodcock, a Long-eared Owl (outer head), a Willow Warbler, five Yellow-browed Warblers, 124 Goldcrest, a Redstart, one Tree Pipit, five Grey Wagtails, two Hawfinch (Old Fall Hedge), 25 Brambling, ten Redpoll, 14 Crossbills and two Lapland Buntings.

    Seawatching was rewarded with two dark-bellied Brent Geese, five Barnacle Geese, two Velvet Scoters and a Long-tailed Duck all flying north.

    Ringing effort on the outer head was rewarded with 104 birds being rung including Woodcock and Yellow-browed Warbler. In addition 46 birds were rung at RSPB Bempton Cliffs including 23 Goldcrests.

    Siberian Chiffchaff, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Trevor Charlton
  • 14th October 2020

    Moderate north-easterly winds throughout, with sunny intervals and temperatures reached 13 degrees C; ideal conditions to prompt the arrival of passerines from the east! A Whooper Swan and three Pink-footed Geese lingered near North Marsh, a nearby flash attracted 70 Teal, 11 Wigeon and a Ruff, whilst two Velvet Scoter flew south offshore. A first-winter Caspian Gull rested on new plough south of the lighthouse.

    The day’s highlights were the discovery of an Olive-backed Pipit in the Lighthouse Grassland and two Little Buntings, including one in brambles immediately adjacent to the pipit. Other migrants included two Woodcock, one Short-eared Owl, a Merlin, a Swallow, 15 Chiffchaff, six Yellow-browed Warblers, a newly arrived Barred Warbler (Old Fall Hedge), 16 Blackcap, 112 Goldcrests, 1140 Redwing, 145 Fieldfare, 295 Blackbirds, 64 Song Thrush, two Ring Ouzels, one Spotted Flycatcher, two Redstart, a Grey Wagtail, 41 Brambling, a Crossbill and three Lapland Buntings.

    Ringing took place at four sites with a combined total of 216 birds being rung, including 51 Redwing, 58 Blackbirds, six Song Thrush, four Fieldfare, three Chiffchaff, a Yellow-browed Warbler, ten Blackcap, 46 Goldcrest and a Brambling.

    Olive-backed Pipit, Lighthouse Grassland, by Andrew Allport
    Olive-backed Pipit, Lighthouse Grassland, by Mark Breaks
    Olive-backed Pipit, Lighthouse Grassland, by Rob Little
  • 13th October 2020

    A moderate wind veered from the north-west to the north-east late morning; heavy showers were prevalent until mid-morning and temperatures peaked at 13 degrees C. Such conditions proved conducive for an amazing arrival of thrushes who had clearly powered through the ‘opening corridor’ from Scandinavia to the UK; they made landfall throughout the day, but especially during the morning and early afternoon. A total of 32,080 Redwings flew west, along with 4475 Fieldfares, 410 Blackbirds, 14 Ring Ouzels and a Hawfinch; these totals were augmented by thrushes still grounded on the outer head, including 940 Blackbirds, 250 Song Thrush and 750 Redwings.

    A southerly movement of 243 Barnacle Geese took place over the outer head until mid-morning, whilst 135 Pink-footed Geese also flew south. In addition to the thrushes, a Woodcock, two Jack Snipe and a Short-eared Owl also made landfall. Further passerine interest included four Yellow-browed Warblers (including one seen to come in off the sea at North Landing!), an eastern Lesser Whitethroat, one Garden Warbler, 28 Rock Pipits on South Landing beach and 17 Brambling. RSPB Bempton Cliffs hosted a Siberian Chiffchaff, whilst Dusky Warbler and Yellow-browed Warbler were rung at Buckton.

    A ringing session at South Landing/Oceanview/Thornwick resulted in 165 birds being rung including 70 Redwing, 37 Blackbirds and a Ring Ouzel.

    Ring Ouzel, Oceanview, by Andy Hood
  • 12th October 2020

    An overcast day, with a south-westerly wind increasing in strength throughout and peak temperatures of 11 degrees C. Seawatch highlights consisted of the following birds reorientating back north after strong northerly winds yesterday: 15 dark-bellied Brent Geese, 23 Wigeon, 69 Common Scoters, two Great Northern Divers, 13 Sooty Shearwaters, 62 Manx Shearwaters, 30 Little Gulls, ten Bonxies, an Arctic Skua, 20,000 Razorbills and 16 Puffins.; a Snow Bunting also flew in off the sea.

    A Velvet Scoter sheltered off South Landing and the Jack Snipe remained at Thornwick Pools. The first appreciable arrival of Fieldfares (594) accompanied 476 Redwing, whilst notable passerine records also included three Yellow-browed Warblers, 50 Siskin, 20 Lesser Redpoll and a Crossbill. An additional 120 Fieldfare and 20 Redwing flew through RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

    It was a productive day for ringing on the outer head, with 127 birds caught including the autumn’s first Siberian Chiffchaff, a Garden Warbler and a Grey Wagtail.

    Jack Snipe, Thornwick Pools, by Andrew Allport
    Rusty Dot Pearl, South Landing, by Andrew Allport
  • 11th October 2020

    North-north-westerly winds strengthened during a day that featured frequent showers and temperatures that reached 11 degrees C. Seawatching was rewarded with four Velvet Scoters, a Goldeneye, two Red-breasted Mergansers, 41 Sooty Shearwaters, 25 Manx Shearwaters, two Grey Phalaropes and ten Little Gulls flying north; single Arctic Skua and two juvenile Pomarine Skuas flew south, whilst a Grey Wagtail and six Crossbills headed over the Fog Station.

    Elsewhere, the Jack Snipe remained at Thornwick Pools and a Short-eared Owl overflew Old Fall. An influx of thrushes was noted for the second consecutive day, with Redwings (512) again to the fore, but there was also an appreciable arrival of Blackbirds (268). In addition, passerine migrants included a Ring Ouzel, 12 Fieldfare, five Yellow-browed Warblers, five Chiffchaffs, an Eastern Lesser Whitethroat, five Goldcrests, one Redstart, nine Brambling, a Hawfinch (South Landing) and a Snow Bunting; the latter on the cliff top between Old Fall and the Lighthouse. A ringing session at South Landing processed 55 birds, including 28 Blackbirds, five Song Thrush and 12 Redwing.

    Brambling, Oceanview, by Andy Hood
  • 10th October 2020

    The wind veered from a south-westerly to a northerly direction during a day that featured showers and a maximum temperature of 11 degrees C. Three Sooty Shearwaters heading north, an adult Mediterranean Gull, a lone Sandwich Tern, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, one juvenile Pomarine Skua and a Merlin were the highlights of the seawatch.

    An appreciable arrival of 2225 Redwings took place in the morning, with flocks forced lower by shower cloud. Nineteen Tundra Bean Geese in off at South Landing late afternoon were the first of the year. A Red Kite toured the Mid Dykes/South Landing area in the morning, a Jack Snipe skulked at Thornwick Pools, a first-winter Caspian Gull rested on fields near Old Fall and a Short-eared Owl hunted the Lighthouse Grassland. Passerine migrants included two Ring Ouzels, 33 Goldcrests, 11 Yellow-browed Warblers, 25 Chiffchaffs, 17 Blackcaps, two Stonechat, a Redstart, two Grey Wagtails, six Brambling, 70 Lesser Redpolls, 41 Siskins and a Lapland Bunting.

    A Basking Shark graced the sea off RSPB Bempton Cliffs, where three Short-eared Owls gave good views. Fifty Pink-footed Geese headed north-west over reserve, an additional Short-eared Owl moved south-east and an eastern Lesser Whitethroat remained in residence.

    Redwing, Old Fall, by Don Hustings
  • 9th October 2020

    The weather consisted of moderate westerly winds, largely overcast skies and temperatures reaching 11 degrees C. Pink-footed Geese were again moving south in numbers, with 955 passing over the headland from 1120-1305hrs. These were accompanied by 14 Whooper Swans. A Red-breasted Merganser on Thornwick Pools was a first site record, with a lone Shoveler also present. A Short-eared Owl hunted the Lighthouse Grassland. Passerine interest included three Yellow-browed Warblers, a Ring Ouzel, one Wheatear, ten Lesser Redpoll, five Siskin and 20 Crossbills.

    Visible migration through RSPB Bempton Cliffs involved two Barnacle Geese heading north-west, 799 Pink-footed Geese and 16 Whooper Swans south-east, with six Crossbills and four Lapland Buntings moving north-west. Grounded migrants included an eastern Lesser Whitethroat and a Hawfinch amongst smaller numbers of winter thrushes.

    Red-breasted Merganser, Thornwick Pools, by Andrew Allport
    Ring Ouzel, Old Fall, by Andrew Allport
  • 8th October 2020

    A moderate wind from the east backed northerly later during a day that started with heavy rain and ended with sunny intervals; temperatures reached 12 degrees C. Hedges adjacent to Thornwick Camp’s New Workings attracted a Little Owl, whilst a lone Short-eared Owl hunted the Lighthouse Grasslands. South Landing hosted single Yellow-browed Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher; four Crossbills flew north over nearby gardens. Another Yellow-browed Warbler and a Merlin were recorded at Oceanview.

    An ‘eastern’ Lesser Whitethroat and a Yellow-browed Warbler were the most notable records from RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

    Short-eared Owl, Lighthouse Grassland, by Andrew Allport
  • 7th October 2020

    The weather consisted of blustery westerly winds, sunny intervals and temperatures that reached a maximum of 14 degrees C. A solitary Manx Shearwater, 15 Sanderling, 41 Little Gulls and 525 Common Gulls flew north during the seawatch.

    Wildfowl were again on the move south, with totals of 377 Pink-footed Geese and 14 Whooper Swans recorded. A Merlin flew past the Fog Station, whilst a first-winter Caspian Gull was located on the recent plough near Old Fall Steps. A Common Swift was a late record, whilst other notable sightings included the Red-backed Shrike in the Bay Brambles, six Yellow-browed Warblers, the Barred Warbler at North Landing, one Common Whitethroat, a Ring Ouzel accompanying a small afternoon arrival of thrushes, ten Stonechat, two Redstart and ten Lesser Redpolls.

    Visible migration over RSPB Bempton Cliffs involved 316 Pink-footed Geese south-east (41 north-west), 17 Barnacle Geese north-west, eight Whooper Swans south-east, a Merlin, 65 Redwing and ten Lesser Redpolls all north-west.

    Barred Warbler, North Landing, by Andy Hood

  • 6th October 2020

    There were light south-westerly winds throughout, along with sunny intervals, occasional light showers and temperatures peaking at 14 degrees C. A Velvet Scoter flew north during a relatively quiet seawatch that also featured a southerly passage of Pink-footed Geese; albeit the latter was more obvious over the headland itself, with a total of 1172 birds flying south. Of interest, helping maintain one of the skeins perfect ‘V’ were 12 Pintails. Eleven Whooper Swans (4,3,4) also headed south.

    The day’s highlight was the discovery of a Nightjar early morning at South Landing that flushed into nearby trees; persistence paid off when undoubtedly the same bird was relocated hunting at dusk. Two Bearded Tits initially seen in the Bay Brambles before they headed south represented another local rarity. A juvenile Red-backed Shrike in the Bay Brambles was fresh-in and joined the Great Grey Shrike that made occasional visits to the same area, although more often it frequented mature hedgerows along the western edge of the Golf Course. Notable sightings also included a Merlin, a relatively late Hobby, 175 Redwings, 12 Yellow-browed Warblers, a Barred Warbler (North Landing), 23 Stonechats, two Whinchats, four Redstart, one Tree Pipit and a Hawfinch (South Dykes). Of additional interest, four Bottlenose Dolphins were off the Fog Station at noon.

    The southerly Pink-footed Geese movement was also witnessed at RSPB Bempton Cliffs with a total of 730 logged, along with a Barnacle Goose and 12 Pintail. Migrants there also included two Short-eared Owls, the lingering Red-breasted Flycatcher and a Lesser Whitethroat.

    Red-breasted Flycatcher, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Trevor Charlton