1st March 2014

As this is the first post on the sightings page we thought it appropriate to bring the year up to date with a review of the first two months of 2014 (kindly put together by our chairman Craig Thomas).

January 2014 sightings

North Marsh attracted three Whooper Swans on 13th January, with a Pink-footed Goose associating with the Greylag flock in the same area during the month, and a dark-bellied Brent appeared at North Landing on 29th. Long-tailed Ducks featured offshore on several occasions, with one individual appearing to be in residence. Velvet Scoters were relatively scarce, with two flying south on 11th January, singles moving south on 22nd and 23rd, and another flying north on 30th. A Goosander that flew south on 25th was notable.

Northern Treecreeper (Martin Garner)
Northern Treecreeper (Martin Garner)

Single Great Northern Divers flew past the Headland on 2nd, 6th, 12th, and 15th, with another sighting off North Landing on 26th; quite possibly all relating to one bird moving to and from Bridlington Bay. A single Black-throated Diver on 13th represented the only record of this scarce species.

A Sooty Shearwater that flew north on New Year’s Day was unseasonal, whereas a series of sightings of Blue Fulmars was more typical, including a daily maximum of nine flying south on 30th.

A Water Rail wintered on the edge of the Gorse Field, Peregrines featured regularly, with a Merlin noted on 2nd, 20th and 25th; the latter buzzing a pre-roost gathering of 23 Twite at Thornwick on 2nd. The main ravine in South Landing again proved to be favoured by Woodcock, with three in residence throughout. On the opposite side of the headland, a single Jack Snipe skulked within the Thornwick roost on 21st.

Bonxies appeared on several dates, with three noted on 19th, but more unusual, a second-calendar year Pomarine Skua flew south close inshore on 19th. The year’s first Puffin made an appearance on 12th. Little Gulls were in larger than normal numbers for the time of year, with a maximum of 14 flying south on 14th. With the decline of the local fishing industry, white-winged gulls are a genuine rarity, so the second-calendar year Glaucous Gull that flew south on 14th represented one of the month’s highlights. In addition, the third calendar-year Kumlien’s Gull that has wintered in the Barmston area over the last two years ventured further north than usual, and frequented the beach below Sewerby during the year’s first week.

Buckton attracted a Short-eared Owl on 19th, where a flock of 30 Corn Buntings was in residence. However, the month’s highlight pertained to a Northern Treecreeper located in Whelkie Wynds on 12th January, which showed well over subsequent days; presumably it had first arrived during the unprecedented autumn influx, which included birds at Spurn, Bempton and Buckton.


Northern Treecreeper - Whelkie Wynds (photo: Brett Richards)
Northern Treecreeper – Whelkie Wynds (photo: Brett Richards)

February sightings

Hardly likely to grab the national headlines, a Mute Swan on Thornwick Pool on 2nd was nevertheless a noteworthy local record. After a single Brent Goose alongside Lighthouse Road on 2nd, four were present two days later. A Long-tailed Duck flew south on 5th, whilst a single Velvet moving south on 8th preceded a party of six heading north on 18th. A Goosander that flew south on 22nd was followed by two Red-breasted Mergansers moving in the same direction on 28th; a sign of the times, they were the first record for the year.

Great Northern Divers featured on 25th and 28th, whilst the month’s only Black-throat headed north on 18th. The year’s first Red-necked Grebe headed north on 19th February. Single Blue Fulmars appeared sporadically during the month, but a Balearic Shearwater that flew south on 3rd was much more unusual.

A second-calendar year Marsh Harrier flew south on 4th; exceptionally rare along this stretch of coastline in winter, and a testament to increasing numbers wintering within the county, especially along the Humber. Three Red Kites that flew west over Hartendale and Sewerby on 19th would also have been unheard of a few years ago, with a single subsequently heading south over Buckton on 22nd. Golden Plovers rarely appear in numbers on the headland, so 289 moving south at sea on 3rd February were noteworthy.

There were odd records of Bonxies throughout the month. The year’s first Lesser Black-backed Gull flew south on 2nd, a second-year Glaucous Gull moved south on 16th, whilst an adult Yellow-legged Gull went north on 19th, and a second calendar-year Iceland Gull flew south on 22nd. The month closed with an adult Mediterranean Gull going south on 28th.

Short-eared Owls favoured the cliff top grasslands between Speeton and Bempton; two were present on any one day, although given the spread of records, it is likely that at least three were in residence.  This same expansive landscape also attracted 12 Twite and 20 Corn Buntings during the month.

A Small Tortoiseshell at North Landing on 16th February hinted that spring was just around the corner, but perhaps the month’s main event originated from more northern climes – the Northern Lights entertaining on the evening of 27th.

jack Snipe - Thornwick Pool (photo - Brett Richards)
jack Snipe – Thornwick Pool (photo – Brett Richards)

1st March 2014

Definite indications of the early stages of Spring today and not just in the fantastic weather. Returning seabirds were much in evidence at cliff sites with good numbers of Razorbill and Guillemot both below and on the cliffs and three Puffins off shore at North Landing and another at Bempton. Pied Wagtails are scarce on the headland in winter so 5 on the north side were indicative of migrants (1 at Thornwick and 4 at North Marsh). Elsewhere a singing Corn Bunting at Bempton also brought a welcome feeling of Spring. Despite ongoing conservation work at Thornwick the site still held a Barn Owl, 8 Snipe and a pair of Stonechat (with the male singing).


Razorbill - photo Steve Race ©
Razorbill – photo Steve Race ©

2nd March 2014

The team would like to quickly thank everyone who’s supported the launch of our website so far – and there’s a lot of you! – with special mentions for our friends at SpurnPortlandFiley and Bardsey Bird Observatories, YWT Living Seas Centre, and Martin at Birding Frontiers for this fantastic launch post. Thank you all, and stay tuned for more!

The sea was the main focus of attention today with tens of 1000’s of Guillemots passing south and smaller numbers north, there were plenty of Razorbills amongst them also, these birds are moving from the cliff colonies to the north of us to feeding areas further south rather than being a migration movement as such.  In contrast only 7 Puffins were reported heading south and 3 north.  Another notable count was 75 Purple Sandpipers passing south in three groups, a total that equals the March record for this species.  In addition to these a Great northern Diver flew south.

Barn Owl - Flamborough Head 2013  (photo R Baines)
Barn Owl – Flamborough Head 2013 (photo R Baines)

Two Barn owls were reported from the headland today (one Outer Head, one Thornwick Pool), the Observatory has worked closely with local farmers to secure 11 “High Level Stewardship” agreements locally and following advice from Wolds Barn Owl Group a series of nestboxes have been erected.  Such work was rewarded with at least seven pairs on the headland in 2013 despite neighbouring populations being decimated following recent bad winters.

03 March 2014

As expected following yesterday’s mass exodus of auks from the cliff sites there were very few in evidence on today’s sea watch, the only significant movers being Red throated Divers with 18 south and 9 north. Gannets were also passing to and from Bempton.  On the land there were two Short-eared owls at Bempton, a female Shoveler at North Marsh and a Brambling at Hartendale waterworks where there was also the year’s first Grey Wagtail.

04 March 2014

Today’s seawatch was enlivened by a Merlin heading north and a single Great Skua south, otherwise its was pretty standard fare which included 17 Red-throated Divers south with 2 north and 6 Pinkfeet south.  Elsewhere the two Stonechats remained at Thornwick Pool where there were also 16 Reed Buntings, 32 Linnets and a Barn Owl.  Owls were also represented at Whelkie Wynds (Millenium Wood) where there were two Tawnies.  Bempton held a flock of 30 Tree Sparrows.

Tree Sparrow at Bempton - photo and copyright Steve Race
Tree Sparrow at Bempton – photo and copyright Steve Race









Adjacent to Bempton is the area between Buckton village and the sea, accessed via Hoddy Cows Lane, head over to the interactive map and check out the newly added site guide for details of this hotspot.

05 March 2014

The Auks returned to the cliffs today with tens of thousands of Guillemot and Razorbills reported past the outer head on the mornings seawatch and large numbers in rafts on the sea below Bempton, these were augmented by the first double figure counts of Puffins with 21 south and 26 north past the seawatch point.

Guillemot - photo Mark Pearson
Guillemot – photo Mark Pearson

06 March 2014

A quiet day with relatively settled weather, the morning’s seawatch produced an intermedius Lesser Black backed Gull and a few Kittiwakes were in evidence with 12 south and 58 north.  Elsewhere there was a female Shoveler at Thornwick Pool (BR) and 30 Linnets came in to roost.

Shoveler Thornwick pool - photo John Beaumont
Shoveler Thornwick pool – photo John Beaumont

Although not really a “latest sighting” congratulations to Flamborough birder and photographer Andy Hood who’s image of the Desert Wheatear in the snow at Bempton from last year has just won the Birdwatch magazine monthly photo challenge.



Just when it looked quiet the legend that is Brett Richards pulls one out of leftfield!  If anyone was to predict the next big bird for Flamborough I seriously doubt anyone would choose Red Grouse.  What is the first record for Flamborough and possibly the first for East Yorkshire was at Danes Dyke this afternoon.

Flamborough's first Red Grouse - photo Andy Hood
Flamborough’s first Red Grouse – photo Andy Hood
Red Grouse - photo Brett Richards
Red Grouse – photo Brett Richards

In other news…. A Pink-footed Goose accompanied the Greylag flock in fields alongside the road to North Landing this afternoon. Two Peregrines were over the Outer Head. Thornwick Pool attracted a pair of Gadwall, female Shoveler, a Dunlin, and a pre-roost gathering of 24 Pied Wagtails. A Barn Owl was hunting the edge of the Golf Course at South Dykes.

08 March 2014

Message just come through (1400hrs), immature Glaucous Gull currently in cliff top field east of North Landing (M & PW).  In addition the northern Treecreeper is still showing on the east side of Millenium Wood (Whelkie Winds) RB.

Glaucous Gull North Landing - photo John Beaumont
Glaucous Gull North Landing – photo John Beaumont

In addition there were ducks on the move on this morning’s sea watch with 11 Wigeon, 7 Pintail, 3 Shoveler, 3 Common Scoter and 2 Teal (all heading south).  Elsewhere there were 16 Teal on North Marsh and 500+ Kittiwakes around the cliffs.

09 March 2014

A busy day with an increase in field activity producing some excellent records, pick of these were two Cranes heading north east over Hoddy Cows Lane (J Carr) and a Little Egret also flying north at Thornwick Pool where there were 5 Snipe and the female Shoveler. The value of the wild bird crop at Hoddy Cows Lane was very evident today when it held 120 Linnets, 130 Yellowhammer and 70 Corn Bunting. The northern Treecreeper was still at Millenium Wood and two Scandinavian Rock Pipits were at Bempton with at least another four elsewhere on the Head.  Six  dark bellied Brent Geese went south on the morning’s sea watch and a Fieldfare and a Carrion Crow came in off the sea.  Elsewhere there was a Woodcock in Booted Gulley and a Barn Owl at Highcliffe Manor.

Common Cranes over Buckton - photo Geoff Carr
Common Cranes over Buckton – photo Geoff Carr

10 March 2014

A classic sea watching wind today (F5, northerly) and the auks continued to be in evidence, tens of thousands passed north in the first two hours of a three hour watch, the majority were Guillemots but also included 1056 Puffins which was the first decent count of the year.  Kittiwakes were also moving north along with 470 Fulmar.

Barn Owl at Buckton - photo Paul Reed
Barn Owl at Buckton – photo Paul Reed
Short - eared Owl at Buckton - photo Paul Reed
Short – eared Owl at Buckton – photo Paul Reed

On the land there was a Barn Owl at Bempton and another at Buckton along with a Short eared.

11 March 2014

A “blue” Fulmar (the first since 9 February) was the highlight of this mornings 2 hours or so sea watch, also passing were 67 “normal” Fulmar.  Auks were again in good numbers but in contrast to yesterday only 8 Puffins went south and 11 north.  A Yellowhammer coming “in off” was an unusual sight.

The female Shoveler remained at North Marsh where it was joined by two Wigeon and the northern Treecreeper was still at Millenium Wood (Whelkie Wynds).

Short- eared Owl (Paul Reed)
Short- eared Owl (Paul Reed)

12 March 2014

High pressure typically produces settled sunny weather but can often lead to disappointing birding, such conditions led to a quiet day on the head today, despite this there were still signs of birds on the move with a Redwing at South Landing and a very distant flock of 25+ Whooper Swans on the sea well to the north of Bempton.  The northern Treecreeper continued its long stay in Millenium Wood.

13 March 2014

High pressure and continued settled conditions led to a quiet sea watch this morning although 12 Whooper Swans did go north late afternoon and a Linnet was seen to come “in off” the sea.  Birds of prey were in evidence with a Buzzard over Old Fall and a Peregrine, 2 Merlins and three Short-eared Owls in the Buckton area where there were also 50 Corn Buntings and 40 Yellowhammer.

The northern Treecreeper was seen again in Millenium Wood along with 8 Goldcrests and an additional Goldcrest at Ocean View.  Redwings were heard calling overnight as they made their way back to breeding areas on the continent.

Corn Bunting (Geoff Carr)

14 March 2014

Highlight of a generally quiet day was at Bempton where three Red Kites were seen together low over the visitors centre before drifting inland and over the village, at least one of the birds was tagged.  Elsewhere the sea was pretty quiet apart from the expected large numbers of auks etc expected at this time of the year as birds take up residence at breeding sites in the area.  Twenty two Rooks passed south and two came in from the sea.

On the land there was a Woodcock at South Landing, seven Snipe and a Water Rail at Thornwick Pool and two different Common Buzzards, one over North Dykes and the other over Millenium Wood.

15 March 2014

Today’s seawatch produced a northerly passage of Fulmar which included a “blue” amongst the 441 that passed in almost four hours.  Two Rooks and a Redwing came in off the sea and a “sinensis” Cormorant passed south.

Fulmar - photo Steve Race
Fulmar – photo Steve Race

Elsewhere there were 29 Teal, a Wigeon and a Pink footed Goose at North Marsh and 32 Pied Wagtails came in to roost at Thornwick Pool. The cliff top set aside between Thornwick and North Dykes held a nice selection of finches and buntings including 14 Reed Buntings, a Corn Bunting, 2 Yellowhammer, 12 Linnet and 8 Goldfinch. There were 10 Skylarks also present in the same area.

The northern Treecreeper was again reported from Millenium Wood and a Chiffchaff singing at South Dykes gave hope for the forthcoming Spring.

Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting (Andy Malley)

16 March 2014

A quiet day on the Cape, the Auks appear to have done what they often do at this time of year, suddenly make a mass exodus from the cliffs, expect them back anytime soon though.  96 Fulmars went north on today’s seawatch and continuing the trend of recent days a Rook and 2 Carrion Crows came in off the sea, surely these are just local movers and haven’t come across from the continent.  Elsewhere the northern Treecreeper was again on show in Millenium Wood and the Woodcock remained at South Landing.

Northern Treecreeper - photo Frank Moffat
Northern Treecreeper – photo Frank Moffat

At Buckton today the wintering Twite flock had increased to 42 individuals, other birds here included 2 Barn Owls, 4 Goldcrest, 3 Snipe, 35 Corn Bunting, a Dunlin on the village pond and a flock of 5 distant ‘grey’ geese NW along the cliff top.

Dunlin on Buckton village pond (Mark Thomas)
Dunlin on Buckton village pond (Mark Thomas)


Twite at Buckton, part of flock of 42 birds.
Twite at Buckton, part of flock of 42 birds  (Mark Thomas)


17 March 2014

Another blue Fulmar on today’s sea watch otherwise things were fairly quiet, the auks (Guillemot and Razorbill) are beginning to return to the cliffs after yesterday’s departure and three Rooks came “in off”.  A late record from yesterday was of a singing Corn Bunting at North Cliff.

18 March 2014

Auks were returning north again today in their 10s of thousands but otherwise things were very settled, the northern Treecreeper remains in Millenium Wood. Redwings were again heard on the move overnight and a pair of Shelduck were on Thornwick Pool.

Shelduck at Thornwick Pool (John Beaumont)
Shelduck at Thornwick Pool (John Beaumont)

19 March 2014

A single Hooded Crow was present with Carrion Crows in the fields to the west of Danes Dyke this afternoon visible from Bempton Road  also a Common Buzzard seen in the same area with another at Micklemires.  North Landing had at least 3 or 4 Scandinavian Rock Pipits  amongst the dozen or so Rock Pipits  present, it is possible some of these may also have been littoralis as viewing conditions were not ideal (see Martin Garners short note on littoralis Rock Pipits here).
Todays sea watch produced two “blue” Fulmars amongst the 55 counted moving south with a further Fulmar 10 north, there was also a Yellow legged Gull seen on three seperate occasions, last noted heading north.  Also from the sea watch point were 25 Shag and 60 Purple Sandpipers.
The two Shelduck remained at Thornwick Pool where there were also 2 Snipe, 2 Teal and a Dunlin. Elsewhere a Pink footed Goose was amongst Greylags in fields beside the North Landing road and a Chiffchaff was singing at South Landing.

Rock Pipit (littoralis), Flamborough, 7th March 2014
Rock Pipit (littoralis), Flamborough, 7th March 2014

20th March 2014

The day began with a Black Redstart by the fogstation to greet the sea watchers as they took up their positions, the watch itself was fairly typical for the time of year but did include a Great northern Diver flying south.  Elsewhere yesterday’s Hooded Crow remained at Butterswick Farm just to the west of Danes Dyke.

Hooded Crow (Andy Hood)
Hooded Crow (Andy Hood)

21st March 2014

Although today’s sea watch was noticeably poor the morning was brightened by the first Wheatears on the headland, a male by the fog station and another bird on the golf course. The spring feel was maintained by Chiffchaffs at both South Landing and Thornwick reedbed where there was also a male Stonechat. The Hooded Crow was seen again to the west of the Dyke and the same (or another?) reported from the Northcliffe Marsh area. A Redwing at Millenium Wood and a Grey Wagtail over the Outer Head were also of interest.

22nd March 2014

Highlight of the sea watch was a dark morph Pomarine Skua which went north this morning.  Elsewhere the signs of Spring continued with three Wheatears (2 Golf course, 1 North Marsh) and three Chiffchaffs (2 South Landing, 1 Homes Gut) all being reported.  There was also a Stonechat at Thornwick Bay, a pair of Gadwall on North Marsh and a single Goldcrest in Holmes Gut.  The long staying northern Treecreeper showed at Millenium Wood again and the Hooded Crow was still present just west of the Dyke viewable from Bempton Road although elusive at times.

Northern Wheatear (A Malley)
Northern Wheatear (A Malley)

23rd March 2014

Hooded Crows are the birds of the moment locally with the single bird still present in the fields immediately to the west of Danes Dyke plus two other birds which flew south during today’s four and a quarter hour sea watch.  Also on the sea watch was the years first Sandwich Tern (which flew north), an adult Mediterranean Gull (south) and a blue Fulmar amongst the 96 that went north.  Puffins are also increasing in numbers now with 233 passing north today.

Elsewhere there were four male Wheatears on the golf course, a Woodcock in “Booted Gully” and a Common Buzzard over North Dykes.  Corn Buntings were seen at three locations, in the set aside near Grange Farm, at New Fall and also just south of New Fall, it was good to note that at least two of these were singing.  Birds in the the wetland areas included two Gadwall at North Marsh along with 14 Teal and the 2 Shelduck remained at Thornwick Pool.  The long staying northern Treecreeper continues to attract admirers at Millenium Wood.

Snipe Thornwick Pool (John Beaumont)
Snipe Thornwick Pool (John Beaumont)

24th March 2013

A quiet sea watch today compared to those of late, a few Fulmar and Puffins were moving north (119 & 61 respectively) but otherwise nothing unexpected. The lighthouse bushes held a Goldcrest and nearby 2 male Wheatears were on the Golf Course. Other migrants were a  White Wagtail  near Hartendale and a Chiffchaff at Millenium Wood. A single Golden Plover flew north over Ocean View Farm and a Barn Owl was at Thornwick reedbed.  A total of three Corn Buntings were in the Grange Farm set aside.

Chiffchaff (Andy Hood)
Chiffchaff (Andy Hood)

25th March 2014

Settled weather and a quiet day on the Cape.  Three male Wheatears on the Golf Course, a Chiffchaff at Millenium Wood and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers on the seawatch were the best.  The northern Treecreeper continues its long stay and provided opportunity for some excellent photographs.

'Northern' Treecreeper (Andy Hood)
‘Northern’ Treecreeper (Andy Hood)

26th March 2014

A check of the cliff top fields near Staple Newk at Bempton RSPB this morning provided today’s star birds when three Lapland Buntings were found along with at least 5 Twite and 6 Corn Buntings.  Two of the birds were males and were even tempted by the weather into brief song.

Elsewhere the sea watch produced 314 Fulmar north (including three “blues”) and 237 Puffin also north, a single male Wheatear and 2 Scandinavian Rock Pipits on the Golf Course and two Grey Partridge and a male Stonechat at Cattlemere.

Lapland Buntings Bempton (M Garner)
Lapland Buntings Bempton (M Garner)
Lapland Bunting Bempton (M Garner)
Lapland Bunting Bempton (M Garner)


Bempton scored again today as birders looking for yesterdays Lapland Buntings found two Shorelarks. The final haul from the ploughed field area near Staple Newk was 2 Shorelark, 3 Lapland Buntings, 30+ Twite and a large flock of Linnets along with Skylark and the occasional Corn Bunting.  Despite poor weather many visiting birders went away happy although both the Shorelarks and Lapland Buntings proved elusive later in the day (ironically when the weather conditions improved).

Shorelark (Andy Hood)
Shorelark (Andy Hood)


Shorelark (Andy Hood)
Shorelark (Andy Hood)

Scandinavian Rock Pipits were in evidence again today with 2 near North Marsh and 3 at Briell Nook. A Chiffchaff was again at South Landing and a female Stonechat in the lighthouse car park.  The sea watch was quiet but two “blue” Fulmars did go north amongst 60 of their more typical cousins.

28th March 2014

At least one each of Shorelark and Lapland Bunting remained at Bempton today with an additional two Laps and a Shorelark  seen in a ploughed field at nearby Buckton along with several Corn Bunting amongst a mixed finch flock.

Three Black Redstarts were on the Outer Head at Water Lane, an adult male and two female/1st summer males.  Elsewhere there was a Chiffchaff at South Dykes and a “blue” Fulmar went north on a generally quiet sea watch from North Landing

29th March 2014

The Bempton, and in particular Buckton areas were well covered today following the early morning sighting of 15 Lapland Buntings in a ploughed field at the top of Hoddy Cows Lane, several of these birds were in virtual full summer plumage and even singing at times.  This area is easily and best accessed from the cliff top path leading from Bempton so there were lots of observers leading to some excellent counts of the various finch and bunting species present which included 50+ Corn Bunting, 50+ Yellowhammer, 15 Lapland Buntings and 23 Twite.  Also between Buckton and Bempton were three Wheatears and a female Marsh Harrier flew south late morning.  A Short eared Owl was reward for one early riser.

Elsewhere on the headland the three Black Redstarts remained at Water Lane and the northern Treecreeper continued its long stay at Millenium Wood, four Scandinavian Rock Pipits and at least 30 Twite were near Briel Nook , two Chiffchaff and a Blackcap in the same garden and the year’s first Little ringed Plover was heard to fly north.

Singing male Lapland Bunting at Buckton (Mark Thomas)
Singing male Lapland Bunting at Buckton (Mark Thomas)

30th March 2014

Spring certainly showed its colours today with both departing winter visitors and arriving summer migrants on offer.  The Water Lane area is turning up a few birds of late and today there were 2 remaining Black Redstarts and two White Wagtails with another Black Redstart (female type) at the Golf Course.  Summer migrants were much in evidence with a total of 18 Chiffchaffs and a singing Willow Warbler on the Outer Head, two Blackcaps in the Bay Brambles and single Sand Martin, Wheatear and Chiffchaff at South Landing. Another Sand Martin and two Chiffchaff were also reported from Buckton.  Two first year White Wagtails were at Thornwick Pool this afternoon.

On the departing winter visitor front there were Redwings at South Landing (2) and Buckton (1) with a Fieldfare present in a garden on the Outer Head, three dark bellied Brent Geese flew west at South Landing.

Four of the crowd pleasing Lapland Buntings remained at Buckton, all males, and the impressive bunting flock there held 40 Corn Bunting and 60 Yellowhammer.  There were also 40 Twite at nearby Bempton.

Twite at Bempton (D Aitken)
Twite at Bempton (D Aitken)
Black Redstart Water Lane (B Richards)
Black Redstart Water Lane (B Richards)


Male Lapland Bunting, Buckton, J. Carr
Male Lapland Bunting, Buckton, J. Carr
Male Lapland Bunting, Buckton, J. Carr
Male Lapland Bunting, Buckton, J. Carr



Yellowhammer - male ringed at Buckton, part of flock of 60 birds on site (Mark Thomas)
Yellowhammer – male ringed at Buckton, part of flock of 60 birds on site (Mark Thomas)
Chiffchaff ringed at Buckton (Mark Thomas)
Chiffchaff ringed at Buckton (Mark Thomas)

Other birds of note were 4 Goldcrests on the Outer Head, two Scandinavian Rock Pipits still present and the northern Treecreeper continuing to please its admirers at Millenium Wood.  38 Lesser black backed Gulls were seen to pass north in 45 mins from South Landing and 2 intermedius and 1 graellsi went north off the sea watch point.

Black Redstart, Golf Course, M. Garner
Black Redstart, Golf Course, M. Garner
(apparent) Continental Robin, Golf Course, J. Carr
(apparent) Continental Robin, Golf Course, J. Carr
White Wagtail, Water Lane, B. Richards
White Wagtail, Water Lane, B. Richards




31st March 2014

Black Redstarts continue to move through the area with two at the fog station early on being joined by a fine adult male in the afternoon.  Otherwise it was a continuation of the previous days movements, winter visitors on their way included 30 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing and a Brambling at Ocean View Farm, 3 Brambling in a garden in the village and another on the outer head and two of the Lapland Buntings remaining at Bempton.  The sea watch produced a Yellow legged Gull which spent 45 minutes on the sea before heading off north and 2 Goosander which flew also flew north.  Lesser black backed Gulls are beginning to come through and there were 4 graellsii and 5 intermedius off the Head.  Elsewhere there was a Barn Owl at Ocean View and a Short-eared Owl at Bempton where the auk numbers have begun to grow and the breeding season is showing real signs of getting under way.

Brambling, Ocean View Farm (A Hood)
Brambling, Ocean View Farm (A Hood)

01 April 2014

The settled conditions and sunny weather today looked perfect for raptors and so it proved to be, a total of 7 Common Buzzards and 4 Red Kites were seen  (2 Red Kites drifting south south-west between 1325 and 1340 and what were thought to be a different  2 moving south along the dyke between 1350 and 1430).

Red Kite (M Garner)
Red Kite (M Garner)

Black Redstarts again featured today with 3 in the fog station compound first thing with 2 there this afternoon.  The year’s first Swallows (3) were over the clifftops at South Landing, a Sand Martin was at Sewerby Steps and a single Shore Lark remained near Staple Newk at Bempton.

Black Redstart (A Hood)
Black Redstart (A Hood)
Black Redstart (A Hood)
Black Redstart (A Hood)

Elsewhere there were single Redwing and Fieldfare at Ocean View and a blue Fulmar flew north on a generally quiet sea watch.


02 April 2014

A very quiet day today clearly not helped by the fact that most of the area was shrouded in fog or, at best, thick mist. Despite this the seawatch legend that is Brett Richards put in a two hour plus stint in addition to covering a hefty portion of the area during the rest of the day. Nothing unexpected on the sea but a Chiffchaff and a single female type Black Redstart in the foghorn compound were some reward.  Elsewhere another dedicated observer had a large mixed flock of Fieldfares, Starlings, Redwings and a few Song Thrushes showing that birds can  be seen even when conditions appear at their worst.  Two Bramblings were on a garden bird feeder on the Outer Head and a third in another garden in the village.

3rd April 2014

Another quiet day on a chiefly misty Great White Cape, highlights were a Black Redstart at the fog station and a Green Sandpiper on Stainforth’s Flash.  Nothing unexpected on the sea watch, four Song Thrushes and two Redwing in an Outer Head garden, 2 Fieldfares at Micklemires Fields and a Blackcap in the Lighthouse bushes.

4th April 2014

With the weather finally showing signs of change hopefully things will pick up a bit over the weekend following another relatively quiet day.  A steady sea watch in rapidly deteriorating visibility turned up little of note but the Black Redstart was still in the foghorn compound as some compensation.  Despite the conditions there was still some sign of movement with a female Blackcap, a Chiffchaff and 5 Fieldfare at Ocean View, a male Blackcap and a Wheatear on the Outer Head with another in the cliff top set aside at Buckton and 2 Chiffchaffs at Hoddy Cows Lane.  Also at Buckton were singles of Short -eared and Barn Owl. Following on from other recent sightings of Bramblings at garden feeders there was a single on the feeders at the Living Seas Centre at South Landing and three in a garden on the Outer Head.  Yesterdays Green Sandpiper was still present on Stainforth’s Flash.

5th April 2014

As hoped for, the change in weather and increased coverage has produced a bumper day in the area.  The highlight was undoubtedly the Red-rumped Swallow that was first seen this morning over the gorse field before gradually moving inland towards Old Fall, presumably the same bird (?) was also seen in the afternoon.  A Common Crane first seen over Filey Brigg was eventually watched heading south and spent a brief time circling the Bempton Cliffs area where a Hooded Crow was also seen coming in off the sea. Although nothing has been reported recently of the bird that had frequented the fields just to the west of North Dykes this was seen again in the same area today suggesting there has been two.

Raptors were also in evidence with 6 Buzzards going south and a Red Kite seen over Ocean View and the Outer Head also heading south.  A Long-eared Owl was found roosting at Ocean View where there were 3 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaff, a Brambling and a Goldcrest.  The Outer Head also had the now regular Black Redstart in a garden, possibly one of the birds from the fog horn compound.

Long-eared Owl (A Hood)
Long-eared Owl (A Hood)

Good coverage of the Bempton area showed migration to be well underway today, 8 Fieldfare, 21 Redwing and 11 Lapland Buntings on the departure side and 2 Ring Ouzels, 4 Sand Martin, a Wheatear and a Swallow on the arrivals.  There was also a Ring Ouzel on the Outer Head.  A pale Chiffchaff in Holmes Gut looked interesting and may have been a Sibe?

Chiffchaff (A Malley)
Chiffchaff (A Malley)

Todays seawatchers finally enjoyed some good visibility and highlights included Red Kite going south (presumably the same bird as seen by others on the Outer Head), 17 Red throated Divers south and 11 north, 15 Purple Sandpipers south, 104 Fulmars north (including 2 “blues”) and 4 Velvet Scoter north.  A Yellow legged Gull also went north.  In addition to sea based movement some passerine migration was also observed with 108 Linnet south.  Two female type Black Redstarts were also still present in the fog horn compound.


6th April 2014

A quieter day than yesterday but nevertheless some nice birds and further signs of Spring today.  Quite a lot of the birding activity centered around the Bempton to North Dykes area and perhaps most interestingly included a male Ring Ouzel which was seen to come in off the sea and settle into the dell close to the car park at Bempton RSPB.  Between Bempton and North Dykes there were 2 Sand Martin, 2 Wheatear, single Redwing and Corn Bunting and 600 Linnets.  At Buckton,  5 Lapland Buntings (4 ad summer males) remained in the ploughed field – now coming to seed in the NE corner, other birds included a male Merlin, a Coot (only second ever here), a Common Buzzard, 2 Wheatear, 120 Linnet and a pair of Carrion Crows nest building on the roof of the Heligoland trap!  Elsewhere there was a single Hooded Crow  on the golf course, a Willow Warbler singing in Holmes Gut and a quiet sea watch was enlivened by a Stock Dove and Carrion Crow apparently coming in off the sea (presumably they hadn’t come from the continent though!).  In what is rapidly becoming a big spring for Red Kites another was reported coming in off the sea today and several Common Buzzards were in the area (possibly a final total of 5)

Late news from yesterday was of a Redstart in an Outer Head garden.

7th April 2014

Departing thrushes were in evidence today with at least 35 Redwing and a Fieldfare at Ocean View and a total of 52 Redwing moving south through South Dykes.  Summer visitors included a Redstart at Ocean View and a singing Blackcap in South Dykes (where there were also 4 singing Chiffchaff).  Two Wheatears were at Bempton.

A Grey Plover flew over one observers house in the village but apart from a remaining Black Redstart on the Outer Head and three Common Buzzards in the North Dykes area the day was fairly uneventful.

Discussion with regard to the Chiffchaff in Holmes Gut on Saturday, including listening to a recording of its call, has begun to come to the conclusion that it is a Chiffchaff and not a Sibe.

8th April 2014

Highlight of the day was a strong contender for a Common Rosefinch seen in a local garden before flying off towards the village centre, from the description received this sounds the likely species.  Elsewhere the summer migrants continued with a Sandwich Tern flying north on the sea watch where there were also 2 Sand Martins south,  in addition single Swallows were at Thornwick Pool and Ocean View and a Blackcap near North Landing. The latter site also had a Long eared Owl. The sea watch itself was generally fairly quiet although Fulmars were on the move with 86 north and conversely just one (a “blue” bird) going south.

Long-eared Owl Holmes Gut (A Hood)
Long-eared Owl North Landing (A Hood)

There were several Common Buzzards reported including one at Ocean View and three over the south east corner of the headland which were seen to drift north.  A Barn Owl was seen near Hartendale where a Lesser Redpoll was at the feeders of a local garden.

Common Buzzard (A Hood)
Common Buzzard (A Hood)

The Lapland Buntings at Buckton continue to delight observers with four there today.

Lesser redpoll Hartendale (J & T collins)
Lesser Redpoll Hartendale (J & T collins)

9th April 2014

Based on reports received to date a rather quiet day in the recording area although there was a Hooded Crow at North Marsh and the Buckton area continued to host at least four Lapland Buntings and two Wheatears. A male Brambling was a pleasing sight for visitors to the YWT Living Seas Centre at South Landing as it fed on the bird feeders.

Brambling - Living Seas Centre (A Hurd)
Brambling – Living Seas Centre (A Hurd)

10th April 2014

Some new arrivals today including a Firecrest on the Outer Head and a significant increase in Willow Warblers with at least ten on the Outer Head including a freshly arrived bird singing on the cliff top.  Chiffchaffs are pretty widespread now with birds reported from several areas, three were between the Bay Brambles and North Landing, two near North Landing itself, one in the Lighthouse bushes and two at South Landing where there was also a Blackcap.  The Brambling remained on the feeders at the Living Seas Centre and a possible Little Egret was seen flying north high over South Landing/Highcliffe Manor, unfortunately the observer was on the phone at the time and couldn’t confirm the ID.  Other migrants included a Wheatear at the north end of the golf course and a Redwing near North Landing. Eight Sandwich Terns passed north on an otherwise fairly quiet sea watch.  An impressive count of 122 Jackdaws was made at the golf course whilst a Short eared Owl was also seen on the Outer Head.

11th April 2014

A mega day on the headland today with two top quality rares being found, both fell to regular observers and were due reward for effort.  The first, and only Yorkshire’s second record, a Crag Martin was found by Andrew Allport near the Lighthouse, the news quickly brought  the crowds and many were to enjoy excellent views when it relocated to South Landing before it was last seen heading further west towards Bridlington.  Sadly for those not able to get there until the afternoon it was not seen after lunchtime.

CragMartin004 ah

Crag Martin, High Stacks, A. Hood

Crag Martin South Landing (T Dixon)
Crag Martin South Landing (T Dixon)


The second rare, a Tawny Pipit was originally found on the golf course by Phil Cunningham and although it gave observers the run around for the rest of the day eventually settled in the sheep field area south of Head Farm where quite a number of people were to finally catch up with it.

Tawny Pipit, R. Willison
Tawny Pipit, R. Willison
Tawny Pipit (S Routledge)
Tawny Pipit (S Routledge)
Tawny Pipit (S Routledge)
Tawny Pipit (S Routledge)


Elsewhere the sea watch was pretty uneventful although it was understandably cut short by the arrival of the Crag Martin news!  Commoner migrants were in evidence including 9 Wheatear on the Golf Course, 5 at Ocean View and 3 elsewhere, 3+ Swallows and at least 5 Sand Martins, the year’s first House Martin and a male Redstart were at South landing and 2 White Wagtails on the Golf Course. A Willow Warbler was at Ocean View and Blackcap at South Landing and Bay Brambles.

12th April 2014

Much relief for those who missed yesterday’s two star birds as both made a reappearance today. The Crag Martin was refound in the North Landing/Thornwick Bay area and enjoyed by many observers and the Tawny Pipit was in the same field as yesterday but altogether more obliging today.

Crag Martin and admirers (R Baines)
Crag Martin and admirers (R Baines)
Crag Martin (A Allport)
Crag Martin (A Allport)

Andrew found the Crag Martin originally. You can see more of his superb photo collection on his website >>>HERE<<<

Crag Martin, Thornwick Bay, Martin Standley
Crag Martin, Thornwick Bay, Martin Standley

See lots more of Martin’s photos of the bird >>>HERE <<<

Crag Martin, Thornwick Bay, Richard Willison
Crag Martin, Thornwick Bay, Richard Willison
Tawny Pipit (A Hood)
Tawny Pipit (A Hood)


A male Ring Ouzel was in the gorse field first thing and a Black Redstart at the fog station. Elsewhere there was a Mealy Redpoll near the lighthouse, a Brambling in the Bay Brambles and 4 Wheatear, 32 Pied and 1 White Wagtail and 1 Yellow Wagtail on the golf course.


13th April 2014

Another day for Flamborough to welcome the wider birding world, with two quality rares on offer we were joined by a large number of visiting birders and hopefully most went away happy.  The Crag Martin showed well from North landing early on before drifting towards the foghorn area, unfortunately it disappeared later in the morning. Luckily there was some compensation in the Tawny Pipit that, having initially been difficult to pin down has gradually become more obliging during its stay on the headland.  Early in the day it showed very well at Briel Nook (which was handy for those looking for the Crag Martin) before heading south back towards the golf course and then spending the bulk of the afternoon in the field to the south of Head Farm.

Other sightings today included two Common Buzzards heading west over the outer head and 2 Wheatear and a Yellow Wagtail on the Golf Course,  2 Yellow Wagtail were also seen to fly in-off the sea at North Landing where there were a further 5 Wheatears in the fields.  The south side of the headland and South Landing in particular added 8 Sand Martins, a Swallow, Blackcap and two Wheatears to the days totals whilst several Swallow and Sand Martin were seen elsewhere.

An appreciative audience (A Hood)
An appreciative audience (A Hood)


14th April 2014

Settled conditions with high pressure dominating led to a very spring like feel today apart from the cold wind keeping temperatures down.  There were no reports of the Crag Martin or Tawny Pipit but a good spread of summer migrants across the headland.  A total of 18 Chiffchaffs were reported (8 Outer Head, 9 South Dykes and 1 South Landing), 22 Sand Martins (15 South Landing to Booted Gulley and 7 Thornwick Pool), 6 Blackcaps (4 South Dykes and singles at South landing and Church lane) and two Wheatears on the Golf Course.  In addition there was a Swallow  flew west, a White wagtail at North Landing and a Black Redstart at Head Farm.

658 Fulmar flew north on the four hour sea watch which also included 2 Manx Shearwaters north.

15th April 2014

Initial thoughts that the Tawny Pipit may have gone were allayed when it was seen on grassland behind the fog station first thing .  The sea watch also rewarded with some passage in the two and a half hours covered, a total of 903 Fulmar went north (one blue) along with 6 Manx Shearwaters, 1 Med Gull (2 cy), 11 Sandwich Tern and 9 Common Scoters. Coincidentally, or perhaps the same birds, nine also flew south.

Tawny Pipit (T Dixon)
Tawny Pipit (T Dixon)

Elsewhere there was a White Wagtail at Cattlemere, 2 Stonechat near Thornwick reedbed and 2 Corn Buntings singing in the clifftop set aside.  Hirundines continue to become more frequent and included 9 Swallows and 5 Sand Martins today, but sadly no Crag.  A Snow Bunting flew over the Lighthouse car park early afternoon

16 April 2014

The Tawny pipit continued its stay and gave some good views in the sheep field south of Head Farm viewable looking north from the clifftop path.

Tawny Pipit (C Thomas)
Tawny Pipit (C Thomas)

Elsewhere there was a further increase in migrants with 8 Willow Warblers, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 3 White Wagtails, 19 Sand martins, 9 Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail.  A Great Skua was seen feeding on a dead Guillemot off Bempton whilst the Flamborough sea watch included 237 Fulmar north (none south), 3 distant Shags going north (and therefore possibly not local birds), 19 Common Scoter north and 15 south. Terns were also moving with 10 Sandwich and 2 Commons heading north.

17th April 2014

High pressure dominated again today but this did allow for further increases in migrants, this was best summed up by a day visitor (Jono Leadley) who nicely summarised his Flamborough experience as follows

“Flamborough was great this morning with Gropper, 2 male Redstarts, Whitethroat, c30 Willow Warblers, several Blackcaps, 2 Yellow Wags, c15 Wheatears. Oh and the Tawny Pipit giving stonking views in the Sheep Field.”

In addition to these there were also 7 Yellow Wagtails on the Golf Course plus 7 Wheatears reported on the Outer Head (which may have included some of those above), the sea watch also had a flava wagtail sp head south.  A female type Marsh Harrier was seen over North Landing early on and nearby there were Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff which appear to be pretty widespread now.  Four dark bellied Brent Geese went south on an otherwise fairly quiet sea watch.  Away from migrants there was the very pleasing sight of a total of 204 Linnets on the headland including a single flock of 180 at Cattlemere.

18th April 2014

A cool northerly breeze in sunshine kept passerine movements low key. Nevertheless more spring migrants arrived with first records this year of Sedge Warbler singing at Thornwick Pool and Lesser Whitethroat singing at Whelkie Wynds. Yellow Wagtails were seen at Thornwick, the Golf Course and Buckton. Small numbers of Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and single Goldcrest were scattered around the head.

The morning seawatch produced highlights of 7 Manx Shearwater and 1028 Fulmar going north.

Thornwick pool also held up to 20 Sand Martin, 2 Snipe and single Dunlin. Bempton had passing Great Skua and Swallows were noted taking up territory at Buckton and Flamborough Village. A brief report of the Tawny Pipit near Head Farm pond was not seen by others searching the area.