Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Light north-westerly winds featured throughout a largely sunny day. Seawatching was quiet, with four Shelduck, a Lesser Black-backed Gull and 268 Puffins flying north. On the Headland, a Brent Goose frequented Micklemires and two Common Buzzards were recorded.

The most notable passerine record related to a Woodlark; with a single overflying the Gorse Field on two occasions; the year’s third record (involving four birds) of a less than annual visitor. Additional migrants included a Sand Martin, two Swallows, a Wheatear, two Black Redstarts, two Firecrests, 15 Goldcrest, six Chiffchaff and one Siskin.

Black Redstart, Fog Station, by Alan Walkington

Black Redstart, Fog Station, by Alan Walkington

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

The weather consisted light/moderate west-south-westerly winds, sunshine during the morning, with showers later. During the seawatch, two Eiders headed south, ten Common Scoter flew past, whilst 723 Puffins moved north. A first-summer Glaucous Gull was located during the afternoon on rocks north of Selwick’s Bay.

Two Firecrests were present on the Outer Head (Golf Course Willows/south of Lighthouse), male and female Black Redstarts frequented the cliffs near the Fog Station, a Blackcap was a new arrival, whilst ten Chiffchaffs and three Redwing were also recorded.

1st-summer Glaucous Gull, Outer Head, by Brett Richards

1st-summer Glaucous Gull, Outer Head, by Brett Richards



Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

A day of Force 4-5 south-westerlies, occasional morning rain showers, clearing to leave a mixture of cloud and sunshine. Seawatching produced ten Red-throated Diver south, 115 Fulmar north, two Shelduck and three Eider south, 17 Common Scoter south (eight north), single Sandwich Tern north, a female type Kestrel which appeared to fly in-off then north and a Sparrowhawk and Grey Wagtail south.

A dark-bellied Brent Goose and Sand Martin visited Thornwick Pool; male and female Black Redstart were together at the Fog Station; a single Chiffchaff and Great Crested Grebe were located at South Dyke and four Curlew and a Redwing were at South Landing.

West of the dyke; a possible Alpine Swift was reported over Bempton RSPB’s Staple Newk viewpoint briefly this afternoon before heading south-east.

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Puffin, Outer Head, by Alan Walkington

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Rain persisted throughout the morning with force 7 north-westerlies, switching west-south-west force 4-5 during the afternoon with some sunshine. Heading south on the morning seawatch were four Red-throated Diver, a single dark morph Fulmar, nine Wigeon, one Gadwall, 52 Teal, 68 Common Scoter and two Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Land-based migrants consisted of five Chiffchaff and a single Fieldfare in the Thornwick area.

Fieldfare, Thornwick, Flamborough, 28 Mar 16

Fieldfare, Thornwick Pools, by Brett Richards

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

A rather windy day, with early sun becoming more cloudy throughout the day and temperatures of 9c.

Highlights on the morning seawatch were 25 Fulmar south and 15 north, 10 Common Scoter south, three Sandwich Tern north, three Meadow Pipit, four Jackdaw and four Rook all in off the sea. Near the Fog Station there were 10 Purple Sandpiper, four Curlew, two Turnstone and a second-year male ‘paradoxus type’ Black Redstart. 

Elsewhere was 26 Greylag Goose, two Grey Heron, two Barn Owl, 10 Stock Dove, several Chiffchaff, four Goldcrest and 66 Pied Wagtail.

West of the Dykes, sightings included a House Martin at Bempton Cliffs, a Swallow north over Bempton Village and a Common Buzzard.

"paradoxus type" Black Redstart male by Brett Richards

“paradoxus type” Black Redstart, Fog Station, by Brett Richards

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

A rather cloudy day, with rain moving in later, winds south force 6 and a temperature of 7c.

Seawatching was fairly steady, with the highlights being 25 Fulmar south and 14 north including a Blue Fulmar, 25 Common Scoter south, Red-breasted Merganser south, 36 Great Black-backed Gulls south; a Fieldfare came in off the sea, as did four Meadow Pipit. Present around the Fog Station were 40 Shag, four Eider, five Oystercatcher, 10 Purple Sandpiper and 10 Turnstone.

Migration stepped up a little with a Woodcock, a Wheatear on the Golf Course, several Chiffchaff, a Swallow, two Firecrest (Jubilee Viewpoint Bempton and near the Lighthouse), one Brambling and 65 Pied Wagtail. Additional sightings included eight Curlew, seven Goldcrest, 45 Linnet, a Redwing and one Tawny Owl.

Firecrest by Alan Walkington

Firecrest, near Lighthouse, by Alan Walkington

Friday, March 25th, 2016

A cloudy start soon cleared to give a sunny day, with light westerly winds and a temperature rising to 10c.

The morning seawatch produced 10 Red-throated Diver south and two north, 536 Fulmars flying north which included four Blue Fulmars, seven Common Scoter south and two north, five Meadow Pipit in off the sea and 10 Carrion Crow north. Present at the headland were 50 Shag, 20 Oystercatcher, two Purple Sandpiper, six Curlew, 13 Turnstone, 60 Common Gull, two Stonechat and the female-type Black Redstart near Bay Brambles.

Additional sightings included several Buzzard in the area, at least two Brambling, a Firecrest along North Marine Road, 10 Goldcrest, a Sand Martin through, one Woodcock in Holmes Gut and two Siskin. At least 50 Blackbirds were in the Thornwick Bay/Old Fall area.

At least 60 Shag roosted at Briel Newk and a number of both Redwing and Blackbird were passing over Bempton in the early evening, presumably attempting the North Sea crossing.

Black Redstart by Brett Richards

Black Redstart by Brett Richards

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

The weather consisted light/moderate south-westerly winds, overcast skies and occasional rain. During the seawatch, 41 Red-throated Divers flew south, four Blue Fulmars were recorded, whilst tens of thousands of auks flew south, mainly Guillemots, but with sizeable numbers of Razorbills and 100 Puffins.

Curlew, South Landing, by Craig Thomas

Curlew, South Landing, by Craig Thomas

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

It was a day of light west-north-westerly winds, generally overcast skies and temperatures that reached 9 degrees C. Two Blue Fulmars attended a coble off the Headland, with a Common Buzzard flying north during the same seawatch. Single figures of Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch and Linnet were also observed heading north.

A Tufted Duck at Thornwick Pools was newly arrived, the resident Common Buzzard remained on the edge of the village and the two Richard Pipits continued their sojourn at North Landing.

Skylark, North Landing, by Craig Thomas

Skylark, North Landing, by Craig Thomas

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Light north-westerlies again featured, with cloud building after a relatively sunny start. The seawatching highlight was a Blue Fulmar that flew north. A scan of the sea from the Outer Head to Thornwick produced 800 Puffins, all presumed to be local breeding birds.

An Australian Shelduck x Shelduck hybrid visited Thornwick Pools, whilst the two Richard’s Pipits were still present immediately east of North Landing. Additional sightings included two Common Buzzards, four Redwing, a Chiffchaff, one Goldcrest, two Siskins and a Brambling.

Female Shelduck x Australian Shelduck hybrid, Thornwick Pools, by Brett Richards

Female Shelduck x Australian Shelduck hybrid, Thornwick Pools, by Brett Richards

Monday, March 21st, 2016

The weather consisted of light/moderate west-north-westerly winds and sunny intervals with cloud increasing during the day. During the seawatch, a Grey Heron flew south and ten Eider were recorded (six north, ten south), as were 40 Puffins.

Fifteen Teal, five Wigeon and two Shelduck frequented the Headland’s freshwaters, with four Grey Herons, two Common Buzzards and a Jack Snipe also present. Three White Wagtails were new arrivals, whilst the two Richard’s Pipits stayed in residence in the cliff top field at North Landing. Eight Redwing were present, with two migrant Goldcrests on the Outer Head.

Shag, Outer Head, by Alan Walkington

Shag, Outer Head, by Alan Walkington

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

A bright sunny start to the day gave way to overcast conditions and light showers from late morning. Bird of the day was a 1st-winter Iceland Gull hanging around off the Fog Station early morning. Other highlights on the seawatch included 65 Shag, 2 Eider, 2 Common Scoter and 9 Wigeon.

On the land the two Richard’s Pipits were still east of North Landing. Thornwick Pools attracted a Jack Snipe, whilst the Bittern also remained. Elsewhere a minimum of four Grey Heron were around the headland, a littoralis Rock Pipit was near Breil Newk and two Lesser Redpoll were noted.

Peregrine pair, Breil Nook, Flamborough, 18 Mar 16

Peregrines by Brett Richards

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

A cloudy day, with occasional light rain showers and a moderate northerly wind. Two Woodlark were discovered in a weedy field south of Whelkie Wynds late morning; this represented the second record of the species this year, following several blank years. The Woodlarks were last seen flying north-east towards the outer head during mid afternoon. At Thornwick the Bittern remained, with Merlin and Brambling noted flying over. Nearby the two Richard’s Pipits were still at North Landing and a Woodcock was in Old Fall.

89 Fulmar and 11 Puffin were the seawatch highlights. West of the Dykes, 23 Common Scoter were off Sewerby, Bempton village held 6 Redwing and a roost of 1000 Starling, whilst a freshly plucked Snow Bunting was found at Bempton.

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Fulmar, Bempton by Alan Walkington

Friday, March 18th, 2016

An overcast day with a moderate northerly wind.

There was again little change from the last few days, with no sign of any summer migrants yet. The Bittern remained at Thornwick Pool, with the two Richard’s Pipits still in fields east of North Landing. Other birds on the land included 9 Wigeon, 21 Teal and a Buzzard. Twelve Puffin and 30 Shag were the main highlights on the seawatch.

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Tree Sparrow by Tony Simpson

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Overcast skies during the early morning gave way to sunny spells by late morning; the wind was a light northerly.

The Bittern was again seen roosting just before dark at Thornwick Pool. Nearby a Puffin was back on cliffs at Thornwick. Also on the land, three Treecreepers and two Goldcrest were noted between the village and South Dykes.

Bittern, Thornwick Pool, Flamborough, 16 Mar 16 (1)

Bittern, Thornwick Pool by Brett Richards

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

A cloudy start to the day which improved to part sunshine, winds north force 2 and the temperature up to 8c.

Seawatching was again steady with two Red-throated Diver south and one north, 71 Fulmar north, two drake Eider south and 12 Puffin north. Present off the headland were 38 Shag, 30 Fulmar, two Curlew and two Rock Pipit.

South Landing had two Curlew, six Oystercatcher and a small number of Rock Pipits. At Thornwick Pools the Bittern was still in residence, along with a Water Rail and nine Teal. Elsewhere were 39 Greylag Goose, two Shelduck, two Grey Heron, three Mistle Thrush, four Fieldfare and 19 Redwing. The Quail noted a few days ago is now thought to be a Japanese Quail.

Male Bullfinch by Alan Walkington

Male Bullfinch by Alan Walkington

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

A northerly wind and some early sun but mainly cloudy.

Seawatching was quiet, with two Red-throated Diver south, 50 Fulmar north and five south, three Common Scoter south (plus one north) and eight Puffin north.

The Bittern still present at Thornwick Pools although elusive in the reeds, with a female-type Black Redstart in Outer Head gardens. Other areas had 10 Greylag Goose, 13 Teal, six Wigeon, eight Oystercatcher, six Curlew, Tawny Owl, 44 Tree Sparrow and eight Skylark.

Yellowhammer, South Landing, by June & Malcolm Fox

Yellowhammer, South Landing, by June & Malcolm Fox

Monday, March 14th, 2016

A day of sunshine and some cloud with the wind SSE force 2 to NE force 3 and the temperature up to 7c.

Fairly quiet on the sea, with the main highlights being three Red-throated Diver south and three north, 37 Fulmar north, one Eider south, six Common Scoter north, 29 Common Gull north (and eight south) and Puffins on the move, with 42 north.

The Bittern remained at Thornwick Pools, five Fieldfare and at least seven Redwing in the area and a Merlin at New Fall. Elsewhere were 37 Greylag Goose, Grey Heron, nine Curlew, 21 Blackbird, 20 Skylark, 10 Dunnock and 28 Linnet.

Oceanview had 225 Starling and the usual 15 Tree Sparrow.

Pheasant by Geoff Carr

Pheasant by Geoff Carr

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

Continuing a reasonable run of weather, morning southerlies switched to south-easterlies delivering highs of 8°C and periods of sunshine. Three Red-throated Diver, 16 Mallard, three Eider, two Dunlin and a single Curlew moved south during the morning seawatch.

South Dykes produced 46 Turnstone, 9 Eider and three Red-throated Diver; nearby Sewerby held five Great Crested Grebe and 6 Red-throated Diver.

The two Richard’s Pipits were still in their favoured field near North Landing, the Bittern clocked up its tenth day stay at Thornwick Pools and a Brambling visited feeders at the YWT centre at South Landing. The escaped probable Japanese Quail was still present throughout the day at the latter site.

Barn Owl, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

Barn Owl, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

A pleasant day with gentle to moderate southerly winds and temperatures reaching 9°C. Southbound birds during the morning seawatch included 17 Red-throated Diver (two north), eight Wigeon, two Gadwall, four Teal, 25 Mallard, two Eider (nine north) and singles of Dunlin and Grey Wagtail. A lone Pink-footed Goose flew north.

On the Outer Head, a Black Redstart frequented a private garden, a Woodcock was in the Thornwick Bay area and the Bittern remained at Thornwick Pool.

A Quail, of unknown origin, was discovered near the YWT Living Seas Centre at South Landing.  Later scrutiny revealled features more consistent with Japanese Quail and therefore most certainly an escapee.


Escaped Quail sp most probably Japanese Quail, South Landing, by Tony Dixon

Quail, South Landing, by Lee Johnson

Escaped Quail sp, South Landing, by Lee Johnson

Friday, March 11th, 2016

Morning fog quickly dissipated, leaving a day of sunshine and gentle south-westerlies across the headland. Wildfowl featured during the seawatch, with singles of Wigeon, Pochard and Tufted Duck south, a single Mallard and 11 Common Scoter north. In addition, 11 Red-throated Diver south (one north) and a Blue Fulmar lingered off the Fog Station.

The Bittern continued its stay at Thornwick, though remains elusive. Elsewhere, the two Richard’s Pipits still frequent the first field east of the North Landing car park.

Cormorant, Thornwick Pool, by Alan Walkington

Cormorant, Thornwick Pools, by Alan Walkington

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

An overcast start gave way to a day of intermittent sunshine, light east-north-easterlies and temperatures reaching 7°C. Seawatching highlights consisted of six Red-throated Diver south, single Common Scoter south (five north), three Red-breasted Merganser north, 700 Gannet south (384 north) and 60 Kittiwake south (496 north).

At Thornwick Pools the Bittern was present again at dusk. A littoralis Rock Pipit was amongst the Rock and Meadow Pipits at Bempton RSPB, as well as a Fieldfare and Curlew over there, whilst seven Redwing were noted at Old Fall.

Long-tailed Tit, South Dykes, by Craig Thomas

Long-tailed Tit, South Dykes, by Craig Thomas

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

A poor weather day with heavy cloud and rain, wind NNE force 2 and the temperature up a little to 6c.

A short one hour sea-watch in the morning had few birds, including 60 Gannet north and four Common Scoter south. Present off the headland were six Oystercatcher, two Curlew and seven Redshank.

At Thornwick Pools, the Bittern was still present, along with 10 Teal and a Reed Bunting, with two Skylark and two Mistle Thrush nearby.

Teal by Geoff Carr

Teal by Geoff Carr

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

The weather today was full cloud cover and a light force 2/3 wind from a south-west direction, with a low temperature of 3c.

A two hour morning seawatch had 8 Red-throated Diver south, a large movement of Gannet with 370 south and 569 north, 21 Pink-footed Goose north, two Eider south, two Common Scoter north, an ‘argentatus‘ Herring Gull north, 25 Kittiwake south and 300 north and five Puffin north. Present at the Headland was 55 Shag, a female-type Black Redstart and two Rock Pipit.

There was some movement of Whooper Swans during the morning, with 22 flying north just outside the recording area; seven also flew west over the Living Seas Centre which were also recorded continuing over South Dykes.

At Thornwick Pools, the Bittern was still present and roosted there, with seven Wigeon, 19 Teal and a Water Rail also present. Oceanview had a Sparrowhawk, three Stock Dove, 200 Woodpigeon, 15 Tree Sparrow and a Coal Tit. Elsewhere on the headland were 13 Stock Dove, four Skylark, three Song Thrush, 18 Blackbird, three Stonechat and 10 Yellowhammer.

Wren by Tony Simpson

Wren by Tony Simpson

Monday, March 7th, 2016

The weather today was mainly cloud cover, a north wind force 5 and a temperature only reaching 4 degrees C.

An early two hours seawatch recorded few species, including six Red-throated Diver south, 339 Fulmar north and 23 Great Black-backed Gull north, with 30 Shag and 97 Black-headed Gull present off the Headland.

The Bittern showed again late evening at Thornwick Pools, along with a Water Rail and Grey Partridge. South Landing had the usual group of Rock Pipit, including one ‘littoralis’. Great Spotted Woodpecker and Treecreeper were recorded in Danes Dyke Woods.

Great Spotted Woodpecker by Tony Simpson

Rock Pipit "littoralis" by Brett Richards

littoralis Rock Pipit by Brett Richards

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

A moderate northerly wind persisted throughout the day. Weather was very mixed, with sunny spells during the morning and occasional hail showers. Conditions in the afternoon were overcast, with some sleet later on.

The Bittern showed again at Thornwick Pools, roosting high in the reeds just before dark. A female Black Redstart was at North Landing and may relate to the individual that has been seen sparodically in this area for over a month. Three Goosander (1 drake) were on the sea between Sewerby and South Dykes, though there was no sign of the Red-necked Grebe.

Highlights on the seawatch included 355 Fulmar, 7 Red-throated Diver, 3 Eider, 6 Common Scoter, 125 Shag and 25 Kittiwake.

Shag Fog Station Craig ThomasShag, Fog Station, by Craig Thomas

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

The wind was a moderate to strong north-easterly. Sunny spells were interspersed with frequent heavy rain showers.

The Bittern was seen twice during the day at Thornwick Pools; once in flight across the pool around midday and again just after 6pm roosting in the main reedbed. Two Richard’s Pipits remained in fields east of North Landing, whilst on the other side of the headland the Red-necked Grebe was offshore between Sewerby and South Dykes along with eight Great crested Grebes.

On the seawatch, 779 Fulmar also flew north, along with 1060 Gannet (plus 27 south) and 102 Kittiwake.

Razorbills Fog Station Craig ThomasRazorbills, off Fog Station, by Craig Thomas

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Heavy rain persisted throughout the day, with light easterly winds. As a consequence of the poor weather conditions, few reports were received.

There was no sign of the Bittern at Thornwick, though the Teal count remained unchanged at 21. A brief seawatch during the morning yeilded 3 Red-throated Divers, 69 Fulmar and 138 Gannet.

Oyc in flight South Landing Craig Thomas

Oystercatcher, South Landing by Craig Thomas.

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Weather was sunny until mid-afternoon when skies became overcast. Wind was a light north-westerly.

Highlight of the day was a Bittern, found at Thornwick Pools during mid morning; it then slinked off into the reedbed by the Sand Martin bank before reappearing late afternoon. This represented only the third record for the outer head. Also on the land, the two Richards Pipits remained in the usual field east of North Landing and a total of 21 Teal were counted.

The seawatch produced a single intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull, six Red-throated Diver, 251 Fulmar, nine Common Scoter, 550 Kittiwake and 75 Shag.

Bittern, Thornwick Pool, Flamborough, 3 Mar 16

Bittern, Thornwick Pools by Brett Richards


Bittern, Thornwick Pools by Andy Hood


Bittern, Thornwick Pools by Tony Dixon

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

Another day of cloud cover, a force 4 SSW-SW wind, some rain and a low, raw temperature of 3 degrees C.

The morning seawatch produced 10 Red-throated Diver south, 30 Fulmar south (and 50 north), 515 Gannet south and 482 north, nine Common Scoter south, four Dunlin south, Curlew south and reasonable numbers of Kittiwake, Guillemot and Razorbill moving; 30 Shag were present, as were a single Peregrine and Rock Pipit.

At South Landing the highlights were two Red-legged Partridge, four Red-Throated Diver, Common Buzzard, seven Oystercatcher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, three Long-tailed Tit and three Bullfinch. Sightings at Oceanview included Barn Owl, Grey Heron, two Stock Dove and two Song Thrush.

Great Spotted Woodpecker by Geoff Carr

Great Spotted Woodpecker by Geoff Carr

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Weather on the headland comprised cloud cover and light rain, with winds S-W force 5 and a temperature rising to 8c.

The morning seawatch produced three Red-throated Divers, 61 Fulmar south, including five Blue Fulmars, 551 Gannet south and a further 176 north, four Shoveler south, one Grey Plover south, 56 Great Black-backed Gulls south, 72 Kittiwake south and 67 Guillemot south.

Land records included a Merlin west of Old Fall, 14 Teal at Thornwick Pools, Sparrowhawk at South Landing and at Oceanview; with 20 Tree Sparrow and Coal Tit also at Oceanview. Two Richard’s Pipits remained at North Landing.


 Sparrowhawk by Tony Simpson