Saturday, December 31st, 2016

A generally bright day, with a moderate south-westerly wind and temperatures reaching 9 degrees C. During the seawatch, four Shelduck and a Grey Plover flew south, along with in excess of 20,000 Guillemots.

Waterfowl on the headland included two White-fronted Geese, single Gadwall and Shelduck, 12 Wigeon and 19 Teal.

White-fronted Geese with Greylags, North Marsh, by Craig Thomas

White-fronted Geese with Greylags, North Marsh, by Craig Thomas

Friday, December 30th, 2016

The weather remained unchanged, with light south-westerly winds, sunshine and relatively low temperatures. During the seawatch, single Black-throated Diver and Puffin flew south, whilst the male Black Redstart remained in residence around the Fog Station. Five Pink-footed Geese and two White-fronted Geese were present on the headland.

Turnstone, South Landing, by Craig Thomas

Turnstone, South Landing, by Craig Thomas

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

A day of light south-westerly winds, sunny skies and temperatures that only rose to 2 degrees C by late morning. Seawatching highlights included 12 Pink-footed Geese flying south and two Gadwall moving north. Away from the sea, an adult White-fronted Goose accompanied the Greylags, a record local count of 81 Stock Doves, a Chiffchaff and the male Black Redstart; the latter at the Fog Station.

Stonechat, Lighthouse grassland, by Alan Walkington

Stonechat, Lighthouse grassland, by Alan Walkington

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Although a sunny day with very light south-westerly winds, temperatures had only reached 1 degrees C by late morning. During the seawatch, a Black-throated Diver and a Little Egret flew north, whilst tens of thousands of Guillemots were present, but only three Razorbills recorded.

Kestrel, outer head, by Andrew Allport

Kestrel, outer head, by Andrew Allport

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

Another sunny day, with a moderate westerly wind and temperatures reaching 6 degrees C. Seawatching highlights included single Scaup and Manx Shearwater and three Bonxies flying north, whilst 575 Common Scoters flew past the headland. Elsewhere, a single Pink-footed Goose accompanied the 138-strong flock of Greylags and a Snow Bunting flew in off the sea.

West of the Dykes, sightings from Buckton included two Short-eared Owls, two Stonechats and three Corn Buntings.

Wren, outer head, by Alan Walkington

Wren, outer head, by Alan Walkington

Monday, December 26th, 2016

The weather consisted of very strong west-north-westerly winds and sunny skies. The male Black Redstart remained around the Fog Station, with additional sightings including 70 Stock Doves and two Stonechat.

Black Redstart, Fog Station, by Alan Walkington

Black Redstart, Fog Station, by Alan Walkington

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

Another day of very strong westerly winds, although there were largely bright skies. Highlights of the seawatch were limited to 305 Shag leaving the cliff roost – the largest tally of the winter – and a single Puffin flying south.

Away from the sea, 25 Pink-footed Geese flew south, three frequented the headland along with two White-fronted Geese. A single Shelduck on Thornwick Pools was unseasonal, with additional sightings including 19 Wigeon, 35 Teal and a Water Rail. An unseasonal Kingfisher overflew the golf course.

Finally, Xmas wishes to all followers of this ‘blog’!

'argentatus' & 'argenteus' Herring Gulls, outer head, by Andy Hood

‘argentatus’ & ‘argenteus’ Herring Gulls, outer head, by Andy Hood

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

Strong westerly winds blew throughout a day that started brightly before clouding over. The seawatch was again quiet, although the male Black Redstart remained around the Fog Station. Two Long-tailed Ducks were on the sea east of South Landing.

Late news concerned the sighting of a Yellow-browed Warbler that accompanied a Long-tailed Tit flock along the exit road of South Dykes on 22nd December.

Black Redstart, Fog Station, by Alan Walkington

Black Redstart, Fog Station, by Alan Walkington

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

Increasingly strong to gale force south-westerly winds were the main feature of the day’s weather, with heavy squally showers also developing in the afternoon. Seawatching was quiet, although two Black Redstarts frequented the cliffs around the Fog Station. Two Pink-footed Geese and a White-fronted Goose remained on the outer head.

Black Redstart, Fog Station, by Andrew Allport

Black Redstart, Fog Station, by Andrew Allport

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Although relatively cold, it was a sunny day throughout with a moderate south-westerly wind. During the seawatch, a Pink-footed Goose, six Wigeon and two Velvet Scoter flew south. The resident goose flock contained three Pink-footed Geese and a single White-fronted Goose.

Oystercatcher, South Landing, by Andrew Allport

Oystercatcher, South Landing, by Andrew Allport

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

The day featured moderate south-westerly winds and overcast skies. Seawatching records included 19 Wigeon and four Eider flying south. Sightings from Thornwick Pools included two Barn Owls and a Stonechat.

Curlew, South Landing, by Craig Thomas

Curlew, South Landing, by Craig Thomas

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

The weather consisted moderate/strong south-westerly winds, initially overcast skies with sunshine later. Seawatching highlights included 19 Wigeon, a Pochard, four Velvet Scoter, a Goosander and one Great Northern Diver flying south, whilst a first-winter Mediterranean Gull headed north. Additional sightings on the outer head included 52 Purple Sandpipers and a female-type Black Redstart.

Three Pink-footed Geese and a White-fronted Goose toured the headland, with three Jack Snipe also recorded.

Velvet Scoter, Fog Station, by Andrew Allport

Velvet Scoter, Fog Station, by Andrew Allport

Monday, December 19th, 2016

An overcast day, with very light northerly winds and temperatures that reached 6 degrees C. Seawatching highlights included seven dark-bellied Brent Geese, 15 Wigeon and a Velvet Scoter flying south, whilst a very unseasonal Ruff and a Bonxie moved north.

Sightings in the vicinity of South Dykes included a Tundra Bean Goose on the golf course, four Long-tailed Ducks, three Goldeneye, 135 Common Scoter and two Velvet Scoter. Two White-fronted Geese accompanied the Greylags on the headland, the Black Redstart was near the Fog Station and a Chiffchaff visited a garden on the outer head.

'bridled' Guillemot, Fog Station, by Alan Walkington

‘bridled’ Guillemot, Fog Station, by Alan Walkington

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

The weather consisted light south-westerly winds and overcast skies. Seawatching highlights were few, with five Eiders flying north the best. A single Pink-footed Goose and three White-fronted Geese accompanied the Greylag flock in the vicinity of North Marsh. In addition, the male Black Redstart was seen again near the Fog Station.

West of the Dykes, a Gadwall, pair of Stonechat and 70 Yellowhammers were located at Buckton.

Stonechat, Lighthouse grasslands, by Alan Walkington

Stonechat, Lighthouse grasslands, by Alan Walkington

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

The winds remained westerly, but clear skies and sunshine represented a significant change. Wildfowl were on the move, with four Mute Swans south, 21 Wigeon, a Shoveler, 14 Eider and a Velvet Scoter south. Two Great Northern Divers and a Bonxie also headed south.

Four Whooper Swans flew south over Thornwick, a total of 385 Pink-footed Geese moved in a similar direction, but better still, 19 White-fronted Geese were recorded (ten south and one north on the seawatch, with eight at North Marsh). A Merlin hunted the outer head, whilst a Long-tailed Duck, 15 Purple Sandpipers and a Grey Wagtail frequented South Dykes.

West of the Dykes, sightings from Bempton Cliffs RSPB included the four Mute Swans, 195 Pink-footed Geese, a Little Egret and 110 Lapwing.

White-fronted Geese with a Greylag, North Marsh, by Craig Thomas

White-fronted Geese with a Greylag, North Marsh, by Craig Thomas

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Light south-westerly winds, overcast skies and temperatures again hovered around 8 degrees C. A total of 235 Shag left the cliff roost, a Peregrine cruised the outer head, whilst ten ‘Northern’ Herring Gulls represented the year’s largest tally of a subspecies that used to be much more common. Wildfowl records included a Pink-footed Goose, 18 Wigeon and 14 Teal on the headland’s freshwaters, with three Velvet Scoter on the sea near South Dykes.

Common Scoter, South Landing, by Alan Walkington

Common Scoter, South Landing, by Alan Walkington

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

It was an overcast day with a moderate south-south-easterly wind. Seawatching records included three dark-bellied Brent Geese, 33 Wigeon, 26 Teal, 44 Common Scoter, 16 Goldeneye, 32 Red-throated Divers, 31 Golden Plover and a Bonxie flying south, whilst a Great Northern Diver moved north.

Additional records included a Velvet Scoter off South Landing, two Jack Snipe, 21 Snipe, a Coot on Thornwick Pools, a Grey Wagtail and one Snow Bunting.

Fulmar, Breil Nook, by Andrew Allport

Fulmar, Breil Nook, by Andrew Allport

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Another misty and generally overcast day, with light/moderate south-westerly winds. Seawatching highlights included 13 Wigeon and a Bonxie south. However, the main feature was a southerly movement of Golden Plover with 359 flying south over the sea; in addition, another 86 Golden Plovers flew south over the headland.

A Velvet Scoter was on the sea off South Landing, whilst the male Black Redstart remained in the vicinity of the Fog Station.

Curlew, South Landing, by Andy Hood

Curlew, South Landing, by Andy Hood

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

With very light southerly winds, overcast skies and misty conditions seawatching was slow: a Great Crested Grebe flew south and 19 Purple Sandpipers were below the fog station, where the male Black Redstart remained.

Seventeen Pink-footed Geese flew south over the outer head, three Velvet Scoter and three Long-tailed Ducks were on the sea between South Landing and South Dykes, whilst a Woodcock was at Oceanview.

Black Redstart, Fog Station, by Brett Richards

Black Redstart, Fog Station, by Brett Richards

Monday, December 12th, 2016

A seawatch during light/moderate south-westerly winds was quiet, although a Bonxie flew north and the male Black Redstart remained around the Fog Station. Single Red-necked Grebe, two Great Crested Grebe, two Velvet Scoter and 40 Common Scoter were off South Dykes. A Water Rail was at Thornwick Pools, whilst 48 Redshank were between South Dykes and Sewerby and 32 Stock Doves at Hartendale.

Stonechat, Bay Brambles, by Brett Richards

Stonechat, Bay Brambles, by Brett Richards

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

The weather consisted of light west-south-westerly winds and largely overcast skies with temperatures reaching 8 degrees C. Records in the South Landing/South Dykes area included a Red-necked Grebe, one Great Crested Grebe, two Long-tailed Ducks, two Velvet Scoter and 46 Common Scoters. A juvenile Glaucous Gull flew south over the outer head, a Short-eared Owl hunted the gorse field, whilst two Black Redstarts were in residence: a male at the fog station and a female at South Landing.

Bempton Cliffs RSPB hosted three Short-eared Owls, three Stonechats and 29 Rock Pipits.

Kestrel, South Landing, by Alan Walkington

Kestrel, South Landing, by Alan Walkington

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

Another day of overcast skies and light south-westerly winds. During the seawatch, a Great Northern Diver flew north and a Great Crested Grebe moved south. A total of 214 Shags left the cliff roost, whilst a male Black Redstart at the Fog Station was a surprise.

Records off the southern side of the headland included two Great Northern Divers, four Long-tailed Duck, three Velvet Scoter and 62 Common Scoter. Single Merlin and Short-eared Owl hunted the headland.

Merlin, South Landing, by Alan Walkington

Merlin, South Landing, by Alan Walkington

Friday, December 9th, 2016

The weather consisted of overcast skies and light south-west winds, whilst mid-morning temperatures reached 11 degrees C. During the seawatch, three Gadwall, a Wigeon, seven Common Scoter and a Long-tailed Duck flew south, whilst a Peregrine hunted the outer head. Additional sightings included 23 Curlew, two Jack Snipe, nine Snipe, a Woodcock and eight Bullfinch.

Stonechat, Thornwick, by Craig Thomas

Stonechat, Thornwick, by Craig Thomas

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Another quiet day, with rain during the morning and light south-westerly winds. Very few auks were present, despite good numbers featuring in recent weeks, with just four Guillemots and a Razorbill recorded. The headland’s freshwater wetlands attracted 93 Greylag Geese, six Wigeon, 13 Teal and a Grey Heron.

Turnstone, South Landing, by Craig Thomas

Turnstone, South Landing, by Craig Thomas

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

A moderate south-west wind and relatively overcast skies. Seawatching highlights included nine Whooper Swans and five Gadwall flying south, a Blue Fulmar also heading south and a Merlin.

West of the Dykes, sightings from Buckton included single Pintail and Little Egret, two Stonechat and 75 Yellowhammers.

Long-tailed Tit, South Dykes, by Craig Thomas

Long-tailed Tit, South Dykes, by Craig Thomas

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Thick fog precluded any observations and the daily log remained blank.

Monday, December 5th, 2016

During a day of light south-easterly winds and sunny intervals six Eider and a Red-necked Grebe flew north. A Pink-footed Goose and ten Wigeon were in residence, along with a Great Northern Diver off Hartendale, whilst a single Woodcock was logged.

Fulmar, Fog Station, by Craig Thomas

Fulmar, Fog Station, by Craig Thomas

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

A mainly cloudy day with a slight easterly wind and 7c.

Sea-watching produced five Common Scoter south and 2 north, 20 Red-throated Diver south and 12 north, Pomarine Skua north and present off the headland were 10 Red-throated Diver, 55 Gannet, 25 Oystercatcher, six Turnstone and 1000s of Guillemot on the sea and moving around.

Elsewhere were Long-tailed Duck, two Goldeneye, 10 Great Crested Grebe, four Eider and 50 Common Scoter off Sewerby. 94 Grey-lag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, 19 Teal, two Stonechat and eight Yellowhammer.

Immature Gannet by Geoff Carr

Immature Gannet by Geoff Carr

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

A light north-easterly wind and generally overcast day. Seawatching highlights included six Long-tailed Ducks, three Goldeneye, single Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver and Red-necked Grebe all flying north. Seven Bonxies and 105 Red-throated Divers were also logged.

West of the Dykes, the Bempton/Buckton area attracted a Short-eared Owl, six Stonechats, 30 Blackbirds, 53 Yellowhammers and five Corn Buntings.

Rock Pipit, South Landing, by Craig Thomas

Rock Pipit, South Landing, by Craig Thomas

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

The weather consisted of light/moderate north-north-west winds and showers. During the seawatch, a Long-tailed Duck, a Black-throated Diver, seven Sooty Shearwaters and 39 Kittiwakes flew north, with five Bonxies moving south (and a single also north).

Sanderling, South Landing, by Alan Walkington

Sanderling, South Landing, by Alan Walkington

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

It was a day of light/moderate south-west winds, sunny intervals and temperatures that reached 9 degrees C. Sightings were scant, with seven Great Crested Grebes off Sewerby, eight Wigeon, a Grey Heron and a Common Buzzard in residence.

Grey Wagtail, South Landing, by Andrew Allport

Grey Wagtail, South Landing, by Andrew Allport