Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

A mainly sunny day with a moderate northerly breeze and the temperature rising to 15°C.

The sea-watch at the fog station produced 21 Common Scoter, 11 Sandwich Terns and more unusually a Little Ringed Plover all heading north.  A single Harbour Porpoise also swam northwards.  While at Bempton  a single Manx Shearwater and 15 Common Scoter were offshore.

Wader interest included 4 Lapwing, a Golden Plover, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, a Whimbrel and 2 Dunlin.  The Short-eared Owl continued to be seen in the Gorse Field / Old Fall area.

Single Cuckoos were seen at both Bempton and Needles Plantation.  A Whinchat was seen by the lighthouse and a Grasshopper Warbler at Bempton.

Dunlins, Thornwick Pools ( Jo Hood)

Pale Tussock Moth, South Landing (Andrew Allport)

Monday, May 20th, 2019

Variable amounts of fog persisted all day in a moderate northerly breeze.  Mainly cloudy with temperatures rising to 11°C. 

Mid-morning a ringtail Hen Harrier was watched at Old Fall heading towards South Landing but was not seen subsequently.  Otherwise, the day’s birds mainly involved the remnants of previous days’ migrants including a single Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart and Yellow Wagtail.

Puffins, Fog Station (Alan Walkington)

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

The main weather feature of the day was fog which persisted throughout with a light south-easterly breeze and temperatures that struggled to reach 12°C.

A Red Kite drifted low over Bempton Cliffs and the Short-eared Owl continued its sojurn on the Outer Head.  Waders included a Grey Plover over the lighthouse and 2 Dunlin at Thornwick Pools.

Migrant passerines were the main interest with a new Bluethroat being found in the Lighthouse grassland while elsewhere on the Outer Head there were 3 Redstarts, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 acredula Willow Warblers and 3 Garden Warblers. At Buckton, 2 migrant Reed Warblers were trapped.

Short-eared Owl, Lighthouse Grassland (Andrew Allport)

Saturday, May 18th, 2019

The day started and ended misty and was otherwise cloudy with a light northerly breeze, temperatures peaking at 13°C.

The male and female Bluethroats seen yesterday were again present in the Old Fall Hedge south of the plantation though both were elusive as ever being seen only very briefly.  Other birds at Old Fall included a Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 3 Redstarts and a report of  a female type Common Rosefinch which was only seen briefly and heard to call three times.  Elsewhere, Holmes Gut hosted a Spotted Flycatcher, a Redstart and a Garden Warbler.  Over 50 House Martins were hawking insects over the south side of Flamborough village during the afternoon.

Non-passerine interest was added by a Grey Plover over Thornwick Pools and a Great White Egret over Bempton in the evening heading towards Flamborough.  The Short-eared Owl continued to frequent the Gorse Field and Old Fall.

Bluethroat, female, Old Fall Hedge (Tony Dixon)

Friday, May 17th, 2019

A mainly cloudy day with a moderate northerly blowing all day, temperatures reaching 13°C.   

Sea-watching highlights included five Manx Shearwaters north with two south, eleven Sandwich Terns north, two different Great Skuas going in opposite directions and three probable Bottle-nosed Dolphins heading south.

A Green Sandpiper at South Landing was the best wader seen while a Short-eared Owl was hunting again in the area around the Gorse Field.

The main highlight of the day was the discovery of a male Bluethroat singing south of Old Fall Plantation early morning but it remained elusive after being found.  There were intermittent further sightings of a Bluethroat in the crop on the south side of the plantation and as the photographs below show is clearly a second bird being a female.

Further passerine interest was provided by a Spotted Flycatcher at Old Fall, 2 migrant Reed Warblers on the Outer Head and 3 Yellow Wagtails.

Bluethroat, male, Old Fall by Andrew Allport

Bluethroat, female, Old Fall by Brett Richards

Bluethroat, female, Old Fall by Paul Reed

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Another largely sunny day, the wind was a moderate easterly and the temperature reached 14°C.

Wader interest was confined to a single Greenshank over Oceanview, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and a pair of Lapwings.

The Outer Head seemed almost totally bereft of migrant passerines today though Bempton Cliffs RSPB fared far better by attracting a Red-breasted Flycatcher but unfortunately only very briefly.

Linnet, Thornwick Pools, Don Hustings

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

A moderate south-westerly breeze backed to south easterly by late morning.  There was unbroken sunshine throughout the day with temperatures peaking at 14°C.  Seawatching highlights included a Whimbrel and 20 Sandwich Terns moving north while a single Great Skua flew south.

Thornwick Pools held two little Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin while 6 Bullfinches added some colour in the hedge behind the hide.

Migrant birds were notably thin on the ground with a Tree Pipit in the Gorse Field and two Grey Wagtails in a village garden being among the few birds noted.

A late report from yesterday relates to a Little Owl by the roadside near Buckton.

Common Whitethroat, Bempton Cliffs by Don Hustings

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

A light westerly wind backed to easterly by late morning.  There was unbroken sunshine throughout the day with temperatures peaking at 16°C.  Seawatching highlights included 38 Common Scoter, a Red-throated Diver, a Ringed Plover, a Glaucous Gull and 21 Sandwich Terns moving north while a single Whimbrel flew south.

Three Dunlin and two Little Ringed Plover were at Thornwick Pools.  Early morning saw an immature male Marsh Harrier while in the evening a Short-eared Owl quartered the Outer Head.

Passerine migrants included a Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Garden Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Yellow Wagtails, a White Wagtail and 10 Wheatears.

Treecreeper, South Landing by Alan Walkington

Monday, May 13th, 2019

A light/moderate southerly wind, sunshine throughout and temperatures that reached 15 degrees C. Seawatching highlights included 29 Common Scoter and a Manx Shearwater flying north, with single Ringed Plover, Knot, 18 Sandwich Terns and a Bonxie moving south.

Thornwick Pools hosted a pair of Garganey all day, with other sightings there including two Tufted Duck, two Teal, three Ringed Plovers, a Whimbrel, one Redshank, a Common Sandpiper and a White Wagtail. Elsewhere, two Red Kites flew in off the sea mid-morning. before flying west over the village, whilst a single Marsh Harrier lingered near South Landing. Passerine migrants included single Garden Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and Redstart.

Garganey, Thornwick Pools, by Mike Smith

Garganey, Thornwick Pools, by Andy Hood

Tufted Duck, Thornwick Pools, by Mike Smith

Red Kite, Thornwick Pools, by Andy Hood

Sunday, May 12th, 2019

The weather consists of light onshore winds, sunshine and temperatures that reached 12 degrees C. During the seawatch, four Manx Shearwaters, two Whimbrel, eight Curlew, four Common Terns and two Bonxies flew north, with 135 Sandwich Terns heading south. Thornwick Pools attracted a drake Pintail, a Wood Sandpiper, three Little Ringed Plovers, a Redshank and one Common Sandpiper. A single Marsh Harrier flew north-west over North Marsh, whilst a Hobby graced RSPB Bempton Cliffs. A southerly movement of Swallows occurred during the morning, with 210 recorded. Following a clear night many migrants had departed, although three Redstarts, two Whinchat, ten Wheatear and two Spotted Flycatchers remained. A ringing session at North Landing was rewarded with the control of a Belgium-ringed Lesser Whitethroat.

Pintail, Thornwick Pools, by Andrew Allport

Lesser Whitethroat, North Landing, by Jo Hood

Redstart, North Landing, by Jo Hood

Saturday, May 11th, 2019

Another largely sunny day, with light northerly winds and temperatures peaking at 11 degrees C. During the seawatch, four Brent Geese, ten Tufted Ducks, five Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver, 54 Sandwich Terns and four Common Terns flew north, with three Whimbrel, an adult Mediterranean Gull and 36 Sandwich Terns heading south. Thornwick Pools attracted single Little Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper and a lone Whimbrel fed on the Golf Course. An immature Glaucous Gull located on South Landing beach did not linger.

The Woodchat Shrike remained in the Gorse Field all day, whilst one of yesterday’s Wrynecks was still present at South Landing near the Living Seas Centre; it now appears there were three Wrynecks yesterday, two at South Landing, in addition to the bird along Old Fall Hedge. Passerine interest included 25 Willow Warblers, three Garden Warblers, eight Redstart, a Black Redstart, 31 Wheatear, five Whinchat, two Pied Flycatchers, a Tree Pipit at Old Fall and a Corn Bunting.

Woodchat Shrike, Gorse Field, by Alan Walkington

Wryneck, South Landing, by Mark Pearson

Common Sandpiper, Thornwick Pools, by Brett Richards

Wheatear, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

Friday, May 10th, 2019

A day of very light onshore winds, prolonged sunshine and temperatures that reached 11 degrees C. Seawatching highlights included 11 Manx Shearwaters, 75 Sandwich Terns, four Common Terns and six Arctic Terns flying north, with an additional 70 Sandwich Terns and four Arctic Terns heading in the opposite direction. Thornwick Pools attracted two Gadwall, a Greenshank and a Redshank, with Stainforth’s Flash hosting a pair of Little Ringed Plovers. A Marsh Harrier circled over the north side of the headland, whilst there were two Short-eared Owls along the South Cliffs. 

Passerine interest was headlined by the re-discovery of the Woodchat Shrike, which showed well in the Gorse Field all day, augmented by the discovery of three Wrynecks: the first discovered along Old Fall Hedge early morning, with the other two individuals at South Landing. A fall of migrants also included: seven Swifts, 94 Willow Warblers, three Garden Warblers, seven Pied Flycatchers, two Spotted Flycatchers, 35 Wheatear, five Whinchat, 16 Redstarts, five Yellow Wagtails and a Hawfinch; the latter in a village garden.

Woodchat Shrike, Gorse Field, by Craig Thomas

Wryneck, South Landing, by Brett Richards

Wryneck, South Landing, by Mark Pearson

Thursday, May 9th, 2019

Near gale force northerly winds, light rain throughout a cold day, with temperatures peaking at seven degrees c. Seawatching highlights included a Red-throated Diver, two Blue Fulmars, 12 Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Skua and a Bonxie flying north.

Away from the Fog Station, a male Goosander sheltered off South Landing. Two Ringed Plovers were on the beach, another Ringed Plover visited Stainforth’s Flash, whilst six Dunlin moved between the latter site and Thornwick Pools. The Short-eared Owl again hunted the Lighthouse Grassland. Seven Swift represented an increase, with passerine interest including 18 Willow Warblers, four Spotted Flycatchers, three Pied Flycatchers, a Redstart and one Whinchat.

Gannet, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Alan Walkington

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

An overcast day, with persistent rain throughout after a dry start; strong easterly winds ensured temperatures only reached nine degrees C. During the seawatch, two Tufted Duck,  the year’s first two Scaup, 23 Common Scoter, two Red-throated Divers and eight Sandwich Terns flew north. Thornwick Pools attracted two Redshank and a Dunlin, with a Whimbrel and two Dunlin on Stainforth’s Flash. A Black Tern off South Landing late afternoon represented the first spring record for 22 years, with a lone Swift also seen nearby.

Puffin, Fog Station, by Alan Walkington

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

A largely overcast day, with a light south-easterly wind and heavy rain during the morning; temperatures reached eight degrees C. During the seawatch, a Goosander, three Red-throated Divers, three Manx Shearwaters, five Whimbrel, a Bonxie, 21 Sandwich Terns, five Common Terns and an Arctic Tern flew north.

The day’s undoubted highlight was the discovery of Flamborough’s third-ever Woodchat Shrike that spent the afternoon in the vicinity of North Marsh; a Little Grebe was also present. The Short-eared Owl again hunted the Lighthouse Grassland, with a singing Grasshopper Warbler nearby. Additional passerine sightings included 15 House Martins at South Landing, 27 Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler, one Whinchat and four Wheatear.

Willow Warbler, Gorse Field, by Paul Reed

Wheatear, outer head, by Paul Reed

Monday, May 6th, 2019

The weather consisted of light northerly winds, overcast skies and temperatures that peaked at six degrees C. During the seawatch, a Great Northern Diver flew south, whilst two Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, 170 Dunlin, two Bonxies and 33 Sandwich Terns headed north. However, the highlight referred to six White-beaked Dolphins that gradually moved north. Away from the sea, the year’s first Hobby flew north over Mid Dykes, a Greenshank also flew north over the headland, with passerine interest including an acredula Willow Warbler at South Landing and a Brambling on the outer head.

Sparrowhawk, South Landing, by Jo Hood

acredula Willow Warbler, South Landing, by Jo Hood

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

A moderate north-north-westerly wind dropped in strength during a largely overcast day that still featured sunny intervals; temperatures reached nine degrees C. Seawatch highlights included three Velvet Scoters, a summer-plumaged pair of Long-tailed Ducks, three Great Northern Divers, 210 Fulmars, nine Manx Shearwaters, six Whimbrel and three Bonxies heading north, whilst ten Sandwich Terns and a lone Bonxie flew south. However, the most unusual seawatch record pertained to 650 Dunlin moving north in two flocks during the evening; the previous May record was of a mere 26 birds!

A drake Goosander rested on the sea off South Landing, two Little Ringed Plovers frequented Stainforth’s Flash and a Short-eared Owl hunted the Lighthouse Grassland. Passerine interest included eight Wheatears, a White Wagtail and three Yellow Wagtails. RSPB Bempton Cliffs attracted another Short-eared Owl, 35 Yellowhammers and 15 Corn Buntings.

Whitethroat, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Don Hustings

Collared Dove, Flamborough, by Andy Hood

Saturday, May 4th, 2019

A day of very strong northerly winds and frequent showers including hail; temperatures hovered at four degrees C at times, peaking at eight degrees C. Seawatching highlights included a Mute Swan, seven Eider, 17 Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua flying south, with three Red-throated Divers, 20 Manx Shearwaters and an Arctic Tern moving north. Thornwick Pools continued to host the Black-tailed Godwit.

Wheatear, Buckton, by Paul Reed

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

A northerly wind increased in strength during a day that featured mainly overcast skies, very light showers and sunny skies towards the end of the day; temperatures reached a nominal eight degrees C. Seawatching highlights included six Eider, eight Red-throated Divers, 26 Manx Shearwaters and an Arctic Tern flew north; 22 Sandwich Terns and two Arctic Skuas flew south. Thornwick Pools hosted a Little Ringed Plover, one Common Sandpiper and the Black-tailed Godwit.

Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included single Marsh Harrier and Short-eared Owl, together with two Common Swifts.

Black-tailed Godwit, Thornwick Pools, by Craig Thomas

Blackcap, Flamborough, by Steve Meredith

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

The weather consisted of light/moderate northerly winds, cloudy intervals and temperatures that peaked at 12 degrees C. During the seawatch, two Whimbrel and four Sandwich Terns flew south, with a Bonxie moving north. 

North Marsh hosted two Tufted Ducks, with Thornwick Pools attracting single Black-tailed Godwit, two Little Ringed Plovers, Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper, together with three Reed Warblers. Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included a Short-eared Owl, and there were two Grasshopper Warblers at Buckton, both singing.

Black-tailed Godwit, Thornwick Pools, by Brett Richards

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

A warm clam day with light south westerly wind and hazy cloud. Four Manx Shearwater were the highlights of the morning sea watch, with a supporting cast of 3 Red-throated Diver and 30 Sandwich Tern.

Migrant totals included 7 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 6 Whitethroat. Bempton held a single Wheatear.

Yellow Wagtail by Paul Reed.