Friday, March 23rd, 2018

A quiet morning sea-watch with Pochard, three Common Scoter, nine Red-throated Diver, 89 Fulmar through. 67 Starling in off the sea as was a single Blackbird.

 Two Russian White-fronted Goose were still in the area, three Buzzard, four Curlew, two Woodcock (Holmes Gut and Old Fall), Water Rail (motorway path), ten Stock Dove, 34 Magpie, 48 Blue Tit, 25 Great tit, 12 long-tailed Tit, 37 Blackbird, 11 Redwing, 24 Robin, 16 Dunnock, 29 Chaffinch and seven Bullfinch as an interesting collection of more common species.

Water Rail by Andy Hood

Grey Seal pup by Andy Hood

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

A cloudy start but improving to a sunny day and a warm 13c.

Sea-watching produced 16 Common Scoter south, 47 Red-throated Diver south and 11 north, a Great Northern Diver south, 134 Fulmar north, 158 Kittiwake south and 688 north. Present at the headland were 24 Red-throated Diver, Great Crested Grebe, 55 Shag, seven Oystercatcher, 13 Curlew, 28 Purple Sandpiper, 425 Kittiwake and a male Black Redstart near the Fog Station.

Elsewhere a good recording day with two Russian White-fronted Goose, 16 Wigeon, 26 Teal, 19 Lapwing, 16 Curlew, four Redshank, Jack Snipe at Thornwick Pools and at North Cliff, seven Snipe, three Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, five Goldcrest, 36 Skylark, 740 Starling, 49 Blackbird, eight Song Thrush, two Stonechat, two White Wagtail, ten Meadow Pipit, three Rock Pipit, two Siskin, 22 Lapland Bunting and 26 Corn Bunting (Cliff-top fields between Thornwick and North Dykes) and five Reed Bunting.

White Wagtail by Andrew Allport

Lapland Bunting by Andrew Allport

Black Redstart by Brett Richards


Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

A bright day with light south-west winds and up to 7c

Movement off the headland during the sea-watch were 24 Wigeon south, 18 Common Scoter south and three north, 30 Red-throated Diver south and eight north, 72 Fulmar north, 154 Kittiwake south and 63 north and two Puffin south. At the headland were 55 Shag, four Oystercatcher, six Curlew and a Black Redstart.

Other highlights within the observatory recording area were three Buzzard, two Russian White-fronted Geese off north Marine Road and five Barnacle Geese past South Landing. A Barn Owl was at the Lighthouse fields, Water Rail near the Golf Course and two Chiffchaff in the Golf Course Willows.

Barn Owl by Andy Hood

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

The easterly wind of previous days began to ease and turned more north easterly. Skies were again cloudy, with some scattered showers during the morning. A productive morning sea watch yielded the first Sooty Shearwater of the year, 2 adult summer Mediterranean Gull, 2 Pintail, 21 Eider, 1 Velvet Scoter, 7 Common Scoter, 44 Red-throated Diver, 237 Fulmar, 351 Gannet, 343 Kittiwake and 4 Puffin.

The male Black Redstart remained around the fog station, whilst another female type was seen in private gardens. 2 Grey Partridge at Cattlemere indicated the species is still hanging on in the area, whilst 32 Lapwing was a notable count.

Cormorant by Andy Hood

Grey Partridge, Cattlemere by Brett Richards

Monday, March 19th, 2018

A more pleasant day than of late, with sunny skies during the morning but clouding over later. A moderate easterly wind continued. The sea watch was again conducted from North Landing, where 5 Shelduck, 5 Eider, 20 Red-throated Diver, 382 Fulmar, 565 Gannet, 1 Great Crested Grebe and 363 Kittiwake were logged.

The recent run of Black Redstart sightings continued with a male at the lighthouse. Four Little Gull were battling the strong breeze at South Landing, whilst elsewhere on the headland 22 Wigeon, 82 Teal, a single Jack Snipe and a Woodcock were noted.

Little Gull, South Landing by Andrew Allport

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Strong easterly winds continued, though there was the occasional breaks in the cloud and temperatures crept up to 1 degree centigrade.

Poor weather meant the fog station was again abandoned for the relative shelter of North Landing for the morning sea watch. This yielded a single Manx Shearwater, 130 Fulmar, 6 Red-throated Diver, 3 Eider and a single intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull, whilst the Black Redstart remained on the beach. 

A single Nuthatch was still present at South Dykes. Notable counts elsewhere from the headland included 48 Redwing, 11 Song thrush, 39 Blackbird and 7 Teal.

Black Redstart, North Landing by Brett Richards

Saturday, March 17th, 2018

Another wintry day with strong easterly winds, frequent snow and hail showers and temperatures barely reaching above freezing.

Due to the poor weather the morning sea watch was undertaken from South Landing. Movement on the sea was particularly quiet with 300 Herring Gull the only notable count. Three Rock Pipit, of which at least two were of the race Littoralis were on the beach, whilst the ravine held a single Woodcock.

Elsewhere on the headland, the female type Black Redstart remained at North Landing, a Jack Snipe was at Thornwick Pools, two White Wagtail and a single Pink-footed Goose were logged. A count of 44 Lapwing was very noteworthy, given the relative scarcity of the species on the headland over recent years. 

Treecreeper, South Dykes by Alan Walkington

Friday, March 16th, 2018

A rather steady day today with single Common Scoter and Red-throated Diver, 13 Fulmar and 131 Herring Gull, all north at the headland. Birds present at the headland were 12 Common Scoter, seven Oystercatcher, 100 Herring Gull and a Rock Pipit. Other birds in the area were two Shelduck, Grey Heron, 13 Curlew, two Redshank, 18 Blackbird, four Song Thrush, three Pied Wagtail and a female Black Redstart in Marine Valley, North Landing.

Oystercatcher by Andrew Allport



Thursday, March 15th, 2018

A cold, cloudy day and a strong south-east wind force 8 during the sea-watch.

Nine Red-throated Diver south, 88 Fulmar south, three Purple Sandpiper south, 87 Great Black-backed Gull south, 327 Herring Gull south and 15 north. Present at the headland were 13 Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, two Great Crested Grebe, 32 Shag, 25 Cormorant, five Oystercatcher, Woodcock and three Curlew.

A surprise Hawfinch at Oceanview, a male Black Redstart on Marine Road, Barn Owl south Dykes and a White Wagtail opposite Oceanview. Elsewhere, 12 Fieldfare, 21 Pied Wagtail and seven Greenfinch. 

Hawfinch by Andy Hood

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

The usual morning sea-watch recorded three male Eider north, 55 Fulmar north, 22 Kittiwake south and 100 north and five Puffin as the highlights. Present off the headland were 75 Red-throated Diver, two Great Crested Grebe, 27 Shag and 120 Kittiwake.

At South Landing and South Dykes were seven Common Scoter, five Oystercatcher, two Curlew, Woodcock, two Great Spotted Woodpecker, eight Skylark, 11 Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, two Treecreeper, 25 Blackbird, five Song Thrush, eight Redwing, 23 Chaffinch, seven Bullfinch and seven Yellowhammer. A male Wheatear was at High Holme and a “littoralis” Rock Pipit at Thornwick Pools.

Wheatear by Andrew Allport

“littoralis” Rock Pipit by Andrew Allport

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

The sea-watch had thousands of Guillemot and Razorbill passing on the sea as well as large numbers of Gannets, 102 Fulmar and a lone Puffin. Present off the cliffs were 120 Red-throated Diver, four Great Crested Grebe and 25 Shag.

Around the South Landing loop were nine Great Crested Grebe, four Oystercatcher, five Curlew, Woodcock, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, five Bullfinch and five Yellowhammer.

A pair of Goldeneye on Thornwick Pools, two Russian White-fronted Goose “albifrons” seen from North Marine Road and a Siskin at Oceanview.

Goldeneye on Thornwick Pools by Andy Hood



Monday, March 12th, 2018

A poor weather day with full cloud, rain and back to 5c.

However, a few birds around with 18 Red-throated Diver past on the sea-watch and present off the headland, a male Eider, eight Common Scoter, ten Red-throated Diver, five Great Crested Grebe, eight Oystercatcher, three Curlew, five Redshank, 49 Turnstone, Purple Sandpiper, four Rock Pipit and one “littorallis”type Rock Pipit.

Curlew by Andrew Allport

Sunday, March 11th, 2018

There was a spring like feel to the day with cloud first thing, clearing by late morning and temperatures up to 13 degrees centigrade. The conditions heralded the first spring migrant in the form of a Chiffchaff at Thornwick. Four Woodcock were present, including two in Old Fall, whilst two Russian White-fronted Geese and a Pink-foot were along North Marine Road. Two Corn Bunting remained in fields at North Dykes, with nine Golden Plover also in the area. Other notable counts included 10 Lapwing at Cattlemere, 17 Yellowhammer and 18 Reed Bunting at Oceanview.

The sea watch yielded a single Long-tailed Duck north, 31 Fulmar (including one ‘blue morph’) and 175 Red-throated Diver. An additional 56 Red-throated Diver were logged off Bempton, with 48 off the southern side of the outer headland.

Chiffchaff, Thornwick Pools by Brett Richards

Saturday, March 10th, 2018

Thick fog from first light only started to clear mid-afternoon, whilst it rained for the vast majority of daylight hours. Seawatching proved impossible, whilst the most notable record pertained to six Siskins visiting garden feeders in the village. 

Attendees to the AGM at the Links Clubhouse, South Dykes were heralded by two territorial Tawny Owls.

Barn Owl, Whelkie Winds, by Brett Richards

Friday, March 9th, 2018

The morning sea-watch recorded 166 Pink-footed Geese north, a pair of Pintail north, ten Red-throated Diver south and 123 north, 77 Fulmar north, 97 Gannet south and 1478 north, two Curlew north, 127 Kittiwake north and four Skylark south, four north. Present were 18 Red-throated Diver, two Great Crested Grebe, 120 Kittiwake and 25 Great Black-backed Gull.

Other areas had 14 Wigeon, 21 Teal, nine Great Crested Grebe, three Buzzard, seven Oystercatcher, 88 Lapwing, 19 Curlew, five Turnstone, five Redshank, five Dunlin, Jack Snipe (outer head), seven Woodcock (with five together at Booted Gully), Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, 63 Skylark, Treecreeper, 23 Rock Pipit plus one “littoralis”, 13 Reed Bunting and 31 Lapland Buntings; the latter near North Dykes.

Lapland Bunting by Andrew Allport

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

Early snow and rain not ideal for sea-watching but persistence had seven Common Scoter south, seven Red-throated Diver south and 20 north, 22 Fulmar north, 185 Gannet south and a large movement of 1474 north and an adult summer Mediterranean Gull south. On the sea were 13 Red-throated Diver and a Great Crested Grebe.

Throughout the remaining recording area were Pink-footed Goose, two Shelduck, 22 Wigeon, 34 Teal, two Grey Heron, 157 Lapwing, ten Curlew, three Redshank, Jack Snipe, two Barn Owl, two Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, seven Skylark and 28 Carrion Crow.

Shelduck by Geoff Carr

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

A two hour morning sea-watch produced 15 Red-throated Diver south and two north, 109 Fulmar north, 164 Gannet south and 289 north, nine Kittiwake south and 24 north, seven Skylark south and one north. Present off the headland were 60 Shag and three Rock Pipit.

Thornwick Pools had eight Teal, Dunlin, two Shelduck, two Cormorant, Barn Owl, Sparrowhawk and two Song Thrush. Elsewhere were two Woodcock, Great Spotted Woodpecker, five Skylark and a female type Black Redstart along the motorway hedge and at Bay Brambles.

Cormorant at Thornwick Pools by Mike Smith

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

Mist at dawn cleared to leave a largely overcast day, with light southerly winds and temperatures reaching six degrees C. The highlight of the morning’s seawatch related to a Blue Fulmar that flew south, with four Eider on the sea off the Fog Station.

Grey Heron, Beacon Hill, by Mike Smith

Monday, March 5th, 2018

A relatively bright middle part of the day was book-ended by thick mist/fog from dawn and at dusk; temperatures reached six degrees C in light winds. The goose flock contained a lone Pink-footed Goose and 12 Wigeon frequented North Marsh. Two Nuthatch remained in South Dykes, whilst two Scandinavian Rock Pipits were identified at South Landing.

Red-throated Diver, South Landing, by Andrew Allport

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

An overcast day, with light rain for the majority of daylight hours, and poor visibility due to thick mist; temperatures reached three degrees by late morning. Birding was difficult due to the poor conditions, although 60 Teal frequented the freshwaters and a Jack Snipe lingered at Thornwick Pools. Apart from five Woodcock, there were few signs of the recent cold weather influx, with only eight Fieldfare and three Redwing remaining.

West of the Dykes, sightings from Sewerby included a drake Pintail and 15 Redwing.

Pheasant, Flamborough, by Craig Thomas

Fieldfare, South Landing, by Andy Hood

Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

A moderate easterly wind, overcast skies and light snow showers confined to the morning; the temperature rose, peaking at two degrees C. Two Jack Snipe continued in residence at Thornwick Pools, whilst three Woodcock were also located.

West of the Dykes, sightings from Buckton included four Grey Partridges, four Woodcock, two Barn Owls, 30 Linnets and 30 Yellowhammers.

Little Gulls (2/3), South Landing, by Andrew Allport

Little Gull (2/3), South Landing, by Andrew Allport

Barn Owl, Buckton, by Paul Reed

Fox, Buckton, by Paul Reed

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Another day of spectacular weather, with gale force easterly winds, overcast skies and temperatures reaching one degree C. Seawatching from South Landing produced the following ‘northbound’ totals: one Long-tailed Duck, 16 Red-throated Divers, 77 Kittiwakes, 800 Black-headed Gulls, seven Little Gulls and 4180 Common Gulls. An further 370 Black-headed and 800 Common Gulls were present offshore. Away from the sea, Thornwick Pools hosted four Jack Snipe.

West of the Dykes, a drake Velvet Scoter flew south past RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

Jack Snipe, Thornwick Pools, by Andy Hood

Fieldfare, Flamborough village, by Paul Reed

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

If the March proverb ‘In like a lion, out like a lamb’ holds true, then the 31st is going to be a belting summer day – the month started with gale force easterly winds, overcast skies and temperatures never exceeding zero. Sightings from South Landing included 11 Ringed Plovers and an adult Little Gull.

Above average totals of several species were indicative of the inclement conditions both on the headland and elsewhere: 24 Snipe, three Knot, 750 Common Gulls, 66 Fieldfare, 25 Redwing and 24 Yellowhammers.

Snipe, Thornwick Pools, by Andy Hood

Goldcrest, South Dykes, by Brett Richards