Ringing Report 2022

The Flamborough Bird Observatory (FBO) ringing group comprises the historical recording area east of the Dykes on Flamborough Headland together with operations at Bempton, mainly at Bempton Cliffs RSPB Reserve.   The purpose of the ringing group is to gather data on wild birds, especially migrants, which are found in the FBO area. The secondary purpose is to assist in the training of people in the techniques of trapping, handling and ringing wild birds. 

FBO also run a Constant Effort Site (CES) at Thornwick Bay between the months of May and August.  The CES scheme, administered by the British Trust for Ornithology, uses catches from standardised mist-netting to monitor key aspects of the demography of 24 common breeding songbirds.  Using 12 standard visits at 10 day intervals throughout the breeding season, targeting the capture and re-capture of individual birds over successive breeding seasons. There are 100-150 such CES sites operative in the U.K., which essentially help to monitor bird populations through time, in order to aid effective conservation.

We completed 10 out of the 12 sessions, and a total of 408 birds were caught with 221 of these newly ringed and 187 re-traps (which provide valuable information on the longevity and site fidelity of adult birds).
267 adult birds were caught alongside 141 juveniles, comprising 22 species
For comparison in 2021 we completed 9 sessions and caught 352 birds of 27 species of which 169 were new and 183 re-traps. (240 adults/112 juveniles)

Additional bird ringing to the east of the dykes was carried out at South Landing, Thornwick Bay, Ocean View Farm and in two Flamborough village gardens.

A more modest total of new birds ringed when compared to the last two years – 3084 birds of 58 species. No new additions to the species list were made in 2022.  Highlights were Cetti’s Warbler, caught in October at Thornwick Bay and South Landing, the third and fourth ringed for the observatory after a brace in 2019.  Also of note was a Pallas’s Warbler caught at South Landing (our first for 6 years) and 342 Redwing that easily surpassed our previous best total for this species and more surprisingly exceeded our Blackbird total for this year.

A breakdown of birds ringed by month is given in the table below:


As can be seen from the above table, October was the dominant month accounting for 30% of all birds ringed, which is enhanced by the concentrated effort during Migration Week which sees intense activity with more ringers present on the headland.  Migweek – from the 8th to the 16th October was again a success, nets were successfully erected on all 9 days, garnering a total of 550 new birds ringed. It yet again proved to be a great interface with the public, particularly the youngsters, many of whom enjoyed such close experience with migrant species in the hand.

Bird ringing to the west of the Dykes was carried out at Bempton and Buckton.


A total of 728 new birds were caught and ringed on 33 days between 18 April – 14th November. The majority of the ringing took place during good UK passage of juvenile birds in late August and on just a few days that were suitable for migrant arrivals in September and October. Totals included 94 Redwing, 92 Goldcrest, 54 Robin, 24 Sedge Warbler, 7 Garden Warbler, 4 Yellow-browed Warbler, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, and single Ring Ouzel, Icterine, Pallas’s and Radde’s Warblers. The Radde’s Warbler being found in a net with a Yellow-browed Warbler! 

Pullus ringed included two brood of Kestrel and one brood of Barn Owls. 

Ringing was undertaken by Mark Thomas, Ed Green and Ian Marshall. Thanks again to Buckton Hall Farm and Angus Wielkopolski for site access. 

Flamborough Bird Observatory would like to thank the landowners on whose property the ringers set their nets;  The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Bourne Leisure at Thornwick Bay Camp, Flamborough Head Golf Club and The East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the RSPB Bempton Cliffs.  We would also like to thank individuals who gave donations during the ringing and migration week and at other times during the year. This is much appreciated and helps especially in replacing nets damaged by deer.  

Flamborough Headland Ringing Totals for 2022

SpeciesEast of DykesBemptonBucktonGrand Total
Storm Petrel11
Black-headed Gull22
Great Black-backed Gull11
Stock Dove44
Collared Dove33
Barn Owl123116
Great Spotted Woodpecker112
Meadow Pipit1086114
Rock Pipit1010
Yellow Wagtail11
Grey Wagtail415
Pied Wagtail11
Ring Ouzel11
Song Thrush242448
Cetti’s Warbler22
Grasshopper Warbler22
Sedge Warbler42428
Reed Warbler15722
Icterine Warbler11
Lesser Whitethroat191727
Garden Warbler77
Pallas’s Warbler112
Yellow-browed Warbler448
Radde’s Warbler11
Willow Warbler5222983
Spotted Flycatcher22
Pied Flycatcher55
Long-tailed Tit6565
Coal Tit88
Blue Tit1445149
Great Tit649376
House Sparrow109109
Tree Sparrow15022371444
Common Redpoll33
Lesser Redpoll8412
Reed Bunting54045
Species total58164666


All movements in excess of 10km are shown below. In addition there were several local movements of birds between Flamborough, Bempton and Buckton. there were 19 reports of Flamborough and Bempton ringed birds moving to other localities together with 8 findings of birds which had been ringed previously elsewhere.  3 foreign reports of Buckton-ringed birds were also notable.

Selected 2022 ringing recoveries involving the Flamborough Headland


TW83820       3       12/10/2020     Flamborough Head

                       Xf     27/03/2022     Asbach, Neuwied, Koblenz, Germany  50040’N 7025’E    639 km SE 531 days

The majority of British born Dunnock will move less than a kilometre from their birth place. However, birds from northern and western Europe can migrate, sometimes substantial distances. This constitutes only the second foreign interchange since the formation of the Bird Observatory, since a Swedish ringed Dunnock was trapped at Flamborough in October 2010.


LN16155     3F      22/11/2020     Flamborough Head

                    Xf      09/02/2022     Bielside, West Barns, East Lothian  261 km NW    444 days

LN16342      3F      29/11/2020    Flamborough Head

                      R       16/05/2021    Lemland, Ahvenanmaa, Finland  59049’N 19055’E    1366km ENE  168days

A typical autumn ringed continental Blackbird, back to its southern Finland breeding grounds in May

LL66842       4M     30/12/2020    Harrington Airfield, Northamptonshire

                       R    25/06/2022      Flamborough Head   198 km NNE    542 days

Sedge Warbler

S702913      3J    06/07/2018     Flamborough Head

                     R    08/05/2022     Flamborough Head     1402 days

No movement involved here, but this bird has returned for its 4th breeding season since being first ringed as a juvenile bird.


NBL739      3       12/09/2021    Flamborough Head

                     R     16/07/2022   Woolston Eyes Sewage works, Warrington   180km WSW  307 days      

R330102      4      19/04/2021    Lagskar Bird Observatory, Lemland, Ahvenanmaa, Finland  59049’N 19055’E

                     R     16/04/2022    Flamborough Head    1367 km WSW   362 days   

NBL289       3      14/09/2021   Flamborough Head 

                     Xf    04/10/2022   Mouguerre,  Pyrenees-Atlantiques, France  43027’N 1025’W   1189 km 385days

R330102  came from the same place in Finland as the Blackbird above!  The two captures of this bird in April of successive years make it difficult to predict where this bird will end up breeding. 


LN16968          3J      12/06/2021     Flamborough Head

                          R      13/01/2022     Morecambe, Lancashire  182 km W     215 days

LN16081          3F     15/06/2021     Flamborough Head

                          R      01/05/2022     Strensall, York   62 km W  320 days                         

LR43367          3F      12/07/2021    Flamborough Head

                           R      07/05/2022    Strensall, York   62 km W  299 days                         

                           R      10/05/2022    Strensall, York   62 km W  302 days       

LR44121          3J       31/05/2022    Flamborough Head

                         Xf      24/06/2022    Hilderthorpe, Bridlington  10 km SW   24 days

LN08670          3J       20/06/2021   Osgodby, North Yorks

                           R       30/04/2022    Flamborough Head   24 km SE,  314 days

LR16098           3J       07/06/2021   Leeds, West Yorks

                           R       07/01/2022   Flamborough Head  98 km ENE  214 days  

LN69663           3J       11/06/2020   Beckfield Lane, York

                           R        01/06/2022  Flamborough Head  70 km ENE    720 days   

LL44955            3J       02/08/2019   Cromdale, Highland

                           R        01/06/2022   Flamborough Head    418 km SSE   1034 days

LR44132           3J       31/05/2022    Flamborough Head

                          Xf      07/09/2022    Terrington St. Clement, King’s Lynn, Norfolk  154 km S   99 days

71043743            1       16/05/2022    Halloh, Itzehoe, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany  53058’N 9030’E

                            R      22/12/2022    Flamborough Head    627 km W  220 days

The last recovery shows a young bird dispersing from the continent for its first winter in the U.K.

Tree Sparrow

ACP3893        2       11/11/2021   Spurn B. O., Kilnsea   

                        R      21/03/2022   Flamborough Head  60km NNW   130 days 

ACP2236         3J     12/09/2021   Spurn B. O. Kilnsea.

                         R      25/04/2022   Flamborough Head  58 km NNW   225 days

TW84411        1      19/05/2022   Bempton Cliffs RSPB

                        R     02/10/2022    Spurn B.O.  Kilnsea    63 km SSE    136 days

TW84404        1      19/05/2022  Bempton Cliffs RSPB

                        R     03/10/2022    Spurn B.O.  Kilnsea    63 km SSE    137 days

TW84309        1      19/05/2022  Bempton Cliffs RSPB

                        R     03/10/2022    Spurn B.O.  Kilnsea    63 km SSE    145 days

Five interchanges between Spurn and Flamborough Bird Observatories, emphasising the southerly autumnal movements of East Yorkshire Tree Sparrow.


D803150        3F      20/09/2015  Flamborough Head

                        R      01/05/2022  Bempton Cliffs RSPB  7km NW   2415 days

A good age for a Chaffinch, although they can achieve double figures.

Key to symbols and terms used

Age/Sex:Manner of recovery:
1   nestlingR   caught and released by a ringer
2   fully grown, year of hatching quite unknownXf   found freshly dead or dying
3   definitely hatched during current calendar year
3J  still in partial juvenile plumage
4   hatched before current calendar year, exact year unknown
M   male
F   female