Monday, March 31st, 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)

Sunday, March 30th, 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




Saturday, March 29th, 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)

Friday, March 28th, 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

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

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.

Wednesday, March 26th, 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)


Tuesday, March 25th, 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)

Monday, March 24th, 2014

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)

Sunday, March 23rd, 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)

Saturday, March 22nd, 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)

Friday, March 21st, 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.

Thursday, March 20th, 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)

Wednesday, March 19th, 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

Tuesday, March 18th, 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)

Monday, March 17th, 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.

Sunday, March 16th, 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)


Saturday, March 15th, 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)

Friday, March 14th, 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.

Thursday, March 13th, 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)

Wednesday, March 12th, 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.

Tuesday, March 11th, 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)

Monday, March 10th, 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.

Sunday, March 9th, 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

Saturday, March 8th, 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.

Friday, March 7th, 2014


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.

Thursday, March 6th, 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.

Wednesday, March 5th, 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

Tuesday, March 4th, 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.

Monday, March 3rd, 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.

Sunday, March 2nd, 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.

Saturday, March 1st, 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 ©