Thursday, October 31st, 2019

A day of moderate south-easterly winds, with sunny intervals developing after an overcast morning and temperatures reaching nine degrees C. Seawatch highlights included 45 Eider, three Velvet Scoters, 53 Common Scoters, a Sandwich Tern, one Arctic Skua and a Little Auk moving north; a Great Northern Diver headed south.

Fourteen Eider, four Velvet Scoters, 109 Common Scoters, a Long-tailed Duck, one Goldeneye and three Little Auks sheltered off the South Cliffs between Old Fall and South Landing; six Woodcock were also located on the headland. Passerine interest included a Jay at South Dykes, 110 Skylarks, ten Chiffchaffs, a Siberian Chiffchaff, one Lesser Whitethroat, 41 Goldcrests, 860 Starlings, 54 Fieldfare, six Stonechats and 85 Siskins (all flying east early morning over the outer head). The day’s highlight was the discovery of a male Red-breasted Flycatcher present during the afternoon in the Bay Brambles near the Golf Course Willows.

Buckton attracted a Great White Egret that flew low over the trap and, after landing briefly, it headed east at 0855hrs.

Red-breasted Flycatcher, Bay Brambles, by Craig Thomas

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019

The weather consisted of moderate easterly winds, sunny intervals and occasional light showers. During the seawatch, a dark-bellied Brent Goose, 71 Eider (including a flock of 23 birds moving over Old Fall), two Velvet Scoters, 144 Common Scoters, one Long-tailed Duck, a Red-necked Grebe and 25 Little Auks flew north; single Long-tailed Duck, Great Northern Diver and Little Auk headed south. 

Two Great White Egrets that flew south over North Landing at 1340hrs landed briefly at Head Farm, before they then flew off south over Bridlington Bay. A ringtail Hen Harrier was also watched coming in off the sea at the Seawatch Observatory carrying prey early afternoon. Additional migrants included four Woodcock, a Jack Snipe, 110 Blackbird, 30 Redwing, 87 Fieldfare, two Mistle Thrush, 25 Goldcrest, a Siberian Chiffchaff, 14 Chiffchaff, two Lesser Whitethroats, five Blackcap, a Common Redstart, 13 Siskin, a Twite and ten Brambling, together with Snow Bunting and Lapland Bunting.

Lesser Whitethroat, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by John Harwood (29/10)

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

A moderate north-easterly wind gradually dropped in strength during a largely sunny day with occasional showers; temperatures reached 11 degrees C. Seawatching highlights consisted of 22 Brent Geese (including 17 pale-bellied north), 74 Wigeon, a Pintail, 16 Velvet Scoter (12 north, four south), 563 Common Scoter, five Long-tailed Ducks (four north, one south), two Red-breasted Mergansers, 22 Eider, two Great Northern Divers north, a Black-throated Diver north, two Sooty Shearwaters north, a Grey Phalarope south, 56 Little Gulls north, five Bonxies, 21 juvenile Pomarine Skuas (19 north, two south), three Arctic Skuas, 102 Little Auks (101 north, one south) and 15 Puffins. 

Sightings on the headland included two Whooper Swans, a Pink-footed Goose and 18 Woodcock, whilst two Short-eared Owls came in off the sea. Passerine interest involved 120 Blackbirds, 14 Fieldfare, seven Redwing, three Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, five Blackcap, four Lesser Whitethroats (including at least one Siberian Lesser Whitethroat), a Black Redstart, 12 Brambling, nine Siskin, six Twite and four Snow Buntings, including an individual in off the sea. RSPB Bempton Cliffs hosted both Siberian Lesser Whitethroat and Siberian Chiffchaff.

Siberian Lesser Whitethroat, Gorse Field, by Craig Thomas

Siberian Chiffchaff, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by John Harwood

Monday, October 28th, 2019

A cold day, with moderate north-west winds, sunny intervals and heavy showers; temperatures reached eight degrees C. Seawatching highlights included 11 Brent Geese south, ten Eider, 341 Common Scoters, three Velvet Scoters north, two Long-tailed Ducks (drake north/juvenile south), 11 Goldeneye, 17 Goosander south, four Red-breasted Mergansers, two Great Northern Divers and six Sooty Shearwaters north. Additional northbound totals included 20 Little Gulls, three Arctic Terns, five Pomarine Skuas and nine Little Auks

Long-tailed Duck and three Velvet Scoter sheltered off South Landing, with single Waxwing, Snow Bunting and Lapland Bunting nearby. Both Merlin and Black Redstart, along with nine Snow Buntings, were noted in the vicinity of the Fog Station, whilst a Yellow-browed Warbler remained at Old Fall. 

Long-tailed Duck, South Landing, by Andrew Allport

Sparrowhawk, Flamborough village, by Andy Hood

Sunday, October 27th, 2019

The weather consisted moderate/strong westerly winds with sunny skies throughout and temperatures reaching 11 degrees C. Wildfowl interest was provided by 19 Whooper Swans and a Tundra Bean Goose that flew south-west. A Great Northern Diver flew north/south past the Fog Station. Three Woodcock and a Merlin frequented the outer head, whilst Short-eared Owls included a single at Thornwick and two at RSPB Bempton Cliffs. Passerine interest included two Yellow-browed Warblers at Old Fall, a Black Redstart at North Landing, three Twite at Cattlemere, a Lapland Bunting at North Marsh and a lone Snow Bunting at the Fog Station.

Whooper Swans, Old Lighthouse, by Mark Pearson

Saturday, October 26th, 2019

Persistent rain until late afternoon, with a light northerly wind and midday temperatures of five degrees C. During the seawatch, four Eiders, 12 Common Scoters and a Great Northern Diver flew south, with two Puffin moving north.

Fourteen Whooper Swans flew east over the headland late afternoon. Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included a Woodcock, a Siberian Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler and two Brambling.

Wigeon, Flamborough, by Mike Smith

Friday, October 25th, 2019

Light south-westerly winds at the start of the day gradually increased in strength ahead of the arrival of rain from early afternoon that got heavier towards dusk. During the morning’s seawatch, 11 Tufted Duck and a Red-breasted Merganser flew south, with three Eiders moving north; single Common and Arctic Terns fed offshore.

Four Whooper Swans flew south over the outer head, where migrants included a Woodcock, one Short-eared Owl, 25 Goldcrests, three Yellow-browed Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat, two Blackcap, a Black Redstart (Fog Station) 18 Siskin and a Mealy Redpoll (Old Fall).

Yellowhammer, Flamborough, by Don Hustings

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

A day of light south-westerly winds, overcast skies during the morning, with heavy rain arriving during the afternoon. During a relatively quiet seawatch, two Pintail flew south, whilst a tally of 38 Wigeon included 35 birds off South Landing. Twelve Ringed Plover frequented South Landing, with a migrant Woodcock nearby. Two Yellow-browed Warblers remained: at Old Fall and South Landing, with an eastern Lesser Whitethroat at the former location. Other sightings included 43 Blackbirds, 41 Fieldfare, 206 Redwing, a Grey Wagtail and 21 Siskin.

Pink-footed Goose, Flamborough, by Alan Walkington

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

The weather consisted sunny skies, south-westerly winds strengthening during the day and temperatures reaching 13 degrees C. A Jack Snipe was located on the northern stubbles, whilst notable passerine records included a Jay at South Dykes, a Yellow-browed Warbler at South Landing, five Mistle Thrush along Lighthouse Road and a Lapland Bunting near North Marsh. However, the highlight was a Waxwing initially located near the Golf Course Willows mid-morning that was later rebound near the Living Seas Centre at South Landing.

Stonechat, South Landing, by Andy Hood

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Moderate south-westerly winds predominated during a largely overcast day, with sunny intervals at dawn and again from mid-afternoon. Seawatching was rewarded with a dark-bellied Brent Goose, ten Eider, two Velvet Scoters, single Red-breasted Merganser, Sooty Shearwater and Great Crested Grebe, nine Little Gulls, a third calendar-year Glaucous Gull and two Little Auks all flying north; single Twite and Mealy Redpoll overflew the Fog Station.

Seventeen Whooper Swans and 1245 Pink-footed Geese flew south, whilst a 90-strong flock of the latter frequented Hood’s Pool mid-afternoon; two Velvet Scoter lingered on the sea off South Landing. A Merlin hunted the fields around North Marsh, the Little Owl was relocated in Thornwick area, whilst a Short-eared Owl frequented the outer head. Additional migrants included a Woodcock, 45 Goldcrests, a Siberian Chiffchaff, two Yellow-browed Warblers (Old Fall/South Landing), two Grey Wagtails, 42 Siskin and two Brambling. Eight Corn Buntings at Thornwick represented a notable record.

Whooper Swans, North Marsh, by Craig Thomas

Little Owl, Thornwick, by Andy Malley

Monday, October 21st, 2019

After overnight rain, the day was mainly cloudy with a fresh northerly wind, temperatures struggling to reach 12C.

Birds passing the Fog Station was the main focus for the day and this provided top-notch late autumn seawatching.  Although the number of birds were never great, there was constant interest with plenty of variety and included some high quality birds.  The undoubted main feature was a White-billed Diver which passed north at 0950, other divers included a Black-throated, 4 Great Northerns and 49 Red-throats.  Most birds were heading into the wind and other highlights comprised a Storm Petrel, 13 Sooty and 24 Manx Shearwaters, 17 Great, 20 Pomarine, 17 Arctic and 3 Long-tailed Skuas. Amongst the steady stream of auks was 193 Puffins and 42 Little Auks.  Wildfowl was also well represented by 5 Whooper Swans, 9 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 125 Wigeon, 47 Teal, a Pintail, 19 Eider, 3 Velvet and 132 Common Scoters and 3 Goldeneye. Also seen were a Grey Phalarope, a single Sabine’s, 2 Mediterranean and 24 Little  Gulls, a Sandwich, 3 Common and 11 Arctic Terns.  Owls were also noted coming in off the sea with a Short-eared, a Long-eared and two other unidentified Asios.  Five Twite also flew over.  

Though the sea drew most of the attention, land-based birding also proved profitable with a few new migrants being found.  Two Yellow-browed Warblers were both considered new arrivals as were a Richard’s Pipit, 8 Mealy Redpolls, 10 Siskin and 18 Brambling. Seventeen Whooper Swans headed south over South Landing where the Velvet Scoter remained along with a House Martin overhead. Other immigrants included 2 Woodcock, 13 Goldcrest, 9 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcaps and 2 Grey Wagtails.  Thrushes, particularly Redwings, were fewer than in recent days though Blackbirds still numbered 150.  

Meanwhile, at Bempton there were 2 tristis Chiffchaffs, including a new one, a blythi Lesser Whitethroat, a Willow Warbler and a Bonxie feeding on carrion.

Mealy Redpoll,
Old Fall (Andy Hood)

Sunday, October 20th, 2019

The weather consisted strong north-north-west winds, rain showers until md-morning followed by sunny intervals. Seawatch highlights included four Velvet Scoter (one south, three north), 77 Common Scoters south, a Goldeneye north, four Red-breasted Mergansers, four Goosanders and a Great Northern Diver south, two Sooty Shearwaters, 17 Manx Shearwaters, a Great Crested Grebe and 41 Little Gulls north. Eight Bonxies and seven Arctic Skuas flew south and three Little Auks north, whilst a second-winter Glaucous Gull and a Mediterranean Gull headed south.

A total of 27 Whooper Swans were recorded (19 south, 8 North Marsh), along with 37 Pink-footed Geese. Additional migrants included a Woodcock, one Short-eared Owl, two Yellow-browed Warblers, a Willow Warbler, three Ring Ouzel, a Whinchat, two Common Redstarts, 1830 Fieldfare west, 450 Redwing west, 95 Brambling west and 26 Siskin.

Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included two Siberian Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, one Lesser Whitethroat, 15 Goldcrests, a Mealy Redpoll and eight Brambling.

Chiffchaff, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Trevor Charlton

Common Redstart, Flamborough, by Jacob Davies

Saturday, October 19th, 2019

A day of light south-west winds and relatively overcast skies, with heavy showers during the afternoon. Seawatch highlights included four dark-bellied Brent Geese, a Mandarin Duck, six Goosander, a Sooty Shearwater, a Red-necked Grebe, 423 Little Gulls and two Mediterranean Gulls flying south; two Great Northern Divers were recorded, with the first heading north and another south.

Two Whooper Swans overflew the village, three Short-eared Owls frequented the outer head, but rarer still in the local context, a Little Owl was located on the edge of Thornwick Camp. A late Common Swift near the Lighthouse late afternoon was a surprise; additional migrants included single House Martin and Swallow, four Ring Ouzel, 1180 Redwing, eight Fieldfare, 56 Goldcrests, three Yellow-browed Warblers, a Siberian Chiffchaff (Bay Brambles), eight Stonechat and six Brambling.

Sightings from Bempton included one Ruff, a Merlin, three Short-eared Owls, 1100 Redwing, 32 Fieldfare and single Ring Ouzel, Yellow-browed Warbler, Siberian Chiffchaff, Whinchat and Black Redstart, together 200 Skylark and 15 Twite.

Little Owl, Thornwick, by Brett Richards

Yellowhammer, Flamborough, by Andy Hood

Friday, October 18th, 2019

A day of moderate south-west winds that also featured sunny intervals, after a damp start to the day. During the morning’s seawatch, a dark-bellied Brent Goose, a Grey Plover and 12 Little Gulls flew south; at least 20 Bottlenose Dolphins performed offshore, whilst a Long-eared Owl flew in off the sea. A late afternoon seawatch off South Landing witnessed an impressive southerly movement of 2244 Little Gulls, along with 17 Common Terns, an Arctic Tern, two Mediterranean Gulls and three Arctic Skuas.

Sixteen Whooper Swans frequented the headland during the morning, of which 14 flew south, as did a skein of 42 Pink-footed Geese. The Velvet Scoter was again off South Landing, with a Great White Egret flying east over Old Fall at 1430hrs; wader interest included single Grey Plover and Woodcock. Notable passerine records included a Jay at Old Fall, 178 Redwing, 66 Song Thrush, four Ring Ouzels, six Yellow-browed Warblers, seven Stonechat, a Whinchat and five Brambling.

Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included 242 Pink-footed Geese (200+42), one Merlin, four Short-eared Owls, a Jay, 90 Redwing, a Whinchat, four Stonechat and a Black Redstart.

Stonechat, South Landing, by Andy Hood

Comma, Thornwick, by Mike Smith

Brindled Ochre, South Landing, by Andrew Allport

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

A cold night with a touch of ground frost at dawn gave way to a largely sunny day with a light SSW wind.  The temperature peaked at 14C.

The morning seawatch produced 18 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 6 Eider, 10 Common Scoter, a Goosander and 2 Red-throated Divers all heading south. A single Knot and 90 Little Gulls (11S, 70N), 3 Great and 2 Arctic Skuas also passed.

Birding interest around the Outer Head was again dominated by incoming birds though in lower numbers than in recent days.  Highlights included 823 Redwings, 4 Ring Ouzels, 17 Brambling, 12 Siskin while 3 Whinchats, 8 Stonechats, a Lesser Whitethroat, 10 Blackcaps, Siberian Chiffchaff and 4 Yellow-browed Warblers were considered to be lingering having made landfall earlier in the week. Two House Martins passed over South Landing where a Water Rail was by the car park.   Wildfowl were also in evidence with 37 Pink-feet wandering around the Outer Head, 9 Whooper Swans, and 2 Wigeon.

At Bempton a Great White Egret flew south and 2 Ring Ouzels were also present.

Stonechat (Mike Smith)

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

The weather consisted moderate south/south-westerly winds, light rain throughout the morning and sunny spells later. During the morning’s seawatch, single Velvet Scoter, Arctic Skua and Mediterranean Gull flew north, with a Grey Plover moving south; 35 Little Gulls were present offshore.

In addition to the two Whooper Swans on North Marsh, nine Whooper Swans flew south (six & three). A Short-eared Owl remained in residence in the Gorse Field. The day’s highlight only showed to visitors – a Little Bunting on the eastern flank of the Gorse Field. Other passerine records included two Yellow-browed Warblers at Old Fall, six House Martins, four Ring Ouzel, two Lesser Whitethroats, two Wheatear and a Grey Wagtail. Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included single Short-eared Owl, Siberian Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Ring Ouzel and Black Redstart.

Whooper Swans, North Marsh, by Craig Thomas

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

After a night of heavy rain and backing easterly winds, the skies cleared after an hour of drizzle from first light; occasional sunny intervals developed by the afternoon, with relatively light winds from the west. A very substantial arrival of Redwing occurred, with large numbers heading west from first light and smaller flocks continuing to arrive throughout the day. There was also evidence of an arrival of smaller passerines from late morning, with highlights involving a Radde’s Warbler discovered late afternoon in Old Fall, a Pallas’s Warbler caught & ringed at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, two Richard’s Pipits (south of the Lighthouse & Buckton) and five Siberian Chiffchaffs (including one at RSPB Bempton Cliffs).

The following totals were also recorded: two Whooper Swans, four Woodcock, 44 Lapwing west, three Jack Snipe, five Short-eared Owls (including one in off the sea), eight Yellow-browed Warblers, three Lesser Whitethroats, 36 Blackcap, a Garden Warbler, 7295 Redwing, 21 Ring Ouzels, 69 Fieldfare, two Mistle Thrush, 90 Robins and single Black Redstart (South Landing beach), Common Redstart, Whinchat, Pied Flycatcher and Snow Bunting (over Old Fall), along with 85 Brambling. Seawatch highlights included six dark-bellied Brent Geese, 157 Wigeon, a Mediterranean Gull and a Pomarine Skua flying south, with two Velvet Scoters heading north; the single Velvet also remained off South Landing.

Woodcock, South Landing, by Jo Hood

Monday, October 14th, 2019

Very little wind at the start of the day, with a south-easterly developing later; it remained overcast throughout, with rain arriving mid-afternoon. The morning’s seawatch was rewarded with three Gadwall, two Red-breasted Merganser, 29 Red-throated Divers, 668 Black-headed Gulls and 109 Little Gulls moving south, with a juvenile Pomarine Skua flying north.

Four Whooper Swans referred to two birds that visited North Marsh, a lone bird that flew south and a single at Thornwick. A total of 190 Pink-footed Geese were logged moving south, whilst the Velvet Scoter lingered off South Landing; a Short-eared Owl frequented North Marsh.

The day’s highlight related to a party of six Bearded Tits that landed briefly at North Marsh before gaining height and heading south. Other totals involved: a Turtle Dove at Old Fall, a Shore Lark in off the sea near South Landing, 76 Goldcrests, two Firecrests (Bay Brambles/Old Fall), eight Yellow-browed Warblers, 23 Blackcap, a Lesser Whitethroat, 40 Chiffchaff, 780 Redwing, 30 Song Thrush, eleven Ring Ouzel (including a single at RSPB Bempton Cliffs), four Mistle Thrush, 15 Stonechat, three Whinchat, a Black Redstart (South Landing beach), two Wheatear, nine Grey Wagtails, 15 Brambling, 65 Chaffinch, 14 Lesser Redpoll, 220 Siskin, 97 Reed Buntings, 45 Yellowhammers and a Corn Bunting. 

A concerted ringing effort as part of ‘migweek’ resulted in 199 birds being caught, including a Ring Ouzel, 27 Robin, ten Blackcap, 52 Goldcrests, five Chiffchaff and two Lesser Redpolls. 

Black Redstart, South Landing, by Tony Dixon

Lesser Redpoll, South Landing, by Jo Hood

Sunday, October 13th, 2019

An overcast day, with rain throughout and a south-east backing north-north-westerly wind. Seawatching highlights included 34 Whooper Swans, three Gadwall, a Little Gull and a Mediterranean Gull flying south, with a Pomarine Skua and two Little Gulls moving north. Sightings on the headland itself included 80 Pink-footed Geese flying south, one Short-eared Owl, a Sand Martin, 275 Redwing, 40 Song Thrush, ten Fieldfare, five Ring Ouzel, two Firecrests (both Bay Brambles), five Yellow-browed Warblers, a Willow Warbler, 29 Chiffchaff, a Lesser Whitethroat, two Lesser Redpoll, 340 Siskin and nine Brambling.

Records from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included 22 Whooper Swans flying south (seen later past the outer head), a Ring Ouzel, 50 Redwing, 60 Blackbirds, three Fieldfare, a Mistle Thrush, ten Song Thrush, 25 Goldcrest and 13 Chiffchaffs. 

Bullfinch, South Landing, by Don Hustings

Saturday, October 12th, 2019

The weather consisted light/moderate south-westerly winds and prolonged sunny intervals. Seawatch highlights included 39 Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver and two Bonxies flying south; single Velvet Scoter, Great Northern Diver, Red-necked Grebe and Mediterranean Gull flew north, whilst 100 Little Gulls fed offshore. 

A total of 1038 Pink-footed Geese moved south (including 218 on the seawatch). In addition, 15 Whooper Swans (2,4, 9) and at least two Tundra Bean Geese headed south over the headland, with a Short-eared Owl coming in off the sea early afternoon. Passerine interest included four Ring Ouzel, eight Yellow-browed Warblers (including two caught & ringed at South Landing), a Common Whitethroat, a Nuthatch at Hartendale, four Whinchat, eight Stonechat, a Wheatear, one Redstart, a Brambling, 12 Bullfinch, 12 Crossbill, 16 Lesser Redpolls and seven Lapland Buntings; the latter in off during the seawatch. 

Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included nine Whooper Swans on the sea (the same birds seen later over the outer head), the Pink-footed Goose movement, four Stonechat and a Black Redstart.

Pink-footed Geese, South Dykes, by Mike Smith

Yellow-browed Warbler, South Landing, by Andy Hood

Friday, October 11th, 2019

An overcast morning with spells of relatively light rain; sunny intervals developed during the afternoon; moderate south-westerly winds throughout. Seawatch highlights included a Velvet Scoter, 16 Red-throated Divers, a Manx Shearwater, a Golden Plover, 90 Knot, 26 Dunlin, a Snipe, 104 Little Gulls and a Mediterranean Gull flew south; single Velvet Scoter and Bonxie lingered offshore. 

A skein of 23 Pink-footed Geese flew south over the headland. Passerine migrants included three Ring Ouzels, five Yellow-browed Warblers, two Willow Warblers, five Blackcap, a Firecrest (South Landing), a Red-breasted Flycatcher at Old Fall, a Redstart, six Stonechat and three Grey Wagtails. Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included a Ring Ouzel, one Lesser Whitethroat and 150 Skylarks heading south.

Yellow-browed Warbler, Old Fall, by Andrew Allport

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

Another day of strong westerly winds, increasing amounts of cloud after a sunny start, with light showers by late afternoon and temperatures peaking at 13 degrees C. During the seawatch, 140 Pink-footed Geese, three Red-breasted Mergansers and an Arctic Skua flew south; 30 Little Gulls moved north; a Merlin also hunted the outer head. Thornwick Pools hosted ten Teal, a Jack Snipe and a Grey Wagtail.

A further 148 Pink-footed Geese flew south over the headland and a flock of 53 rested near Stainforth’s Flash late in the day; a female Velvet Scoter was also located on the sea off South Landing. Two Red Kites flew south-west over South Landing and latterly South Dykes in the morning. Passerine interest included four Ring Ouzels, two Firecrests (Bay Brambles, South Landing), six Yellow-browed Warblers (two Old Fall, two South Landing, one North Landing, one village), a Reed Warbler, two Whinchat, a Black Redstart near the Old Lighthouse and a Tree Pipit. An impressive tally of 917 Tree Sparrows included many flocks heading south-west over the outer head early morning, whilst a lone Crossbill overflew the Lighthouse. A Lapland Bunting was seen on the cliff top at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, with a Yellow-browed Warbler at nearby Buckton.

Red Kite, South Dykes, by Mike Smith

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

A day of blustery south-west winds, sunny intervals and temperatures that peaked at 12 degrees C. During the seawatch, two Red-breasted Mergansers, six Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Tern flew south, with 52 Little Gulls moving north.

A skein of 100 Pink-footed Geese flew south over the headland, whilst Thornwick Pools attracted 12 Teal and a Wigeon. A Little Egret that flew south past the Fog Station was later seen at South Landing; a Short-eared Owl frequented the Gorse Field. Passerine interest included six Ring Ouzels, the Shore Lark (overflew the Fog Station), the Cetti’s Warbler at South Landing, a Siberian Chiffchaff (allotments), three Yellow-browed Warblers, a Willow Warbler, one Lesser Whitethroat, a Redstart, seven Stonechat, two Whinchat, five Wheatear, two Grey Wagtails and three Brambling.

Ring Ouzel, Flamborough, by Alan Walkington

Redstart, South Landing, by Tony Dixon

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

Moderate westerly winds strengthened during a largely sunny day. During the seawatch, single dark-bellied Brent Goose and Goosander flew south, as did a Velvet Scoter that dropped onto the sea off High Stacks and 31 Little Gulls headed north. Thornwick Pools attracted eight Teal, two Dunlin and a Jack Snipe

Three Whooper Swans and 223 Pink-footed Geese flew south, whilst a Red Kite that toured the headland eventually headed north-west. One of the day’s highlights related to a juvenile Honey Buzzard that flew south over Thornwick at 1310hrs and eventually went south over Bridlington Bay at 1321hrs; a lone Short-eared Owl was also present. The two Red-breasted Flycatchers remained in residence at Old Fall and North Landing, with the Shore Lark still frequenting the cliff top near the Fog Station and the Cetti’s Warbler lingered at South Landing. Migrant totals included eight Ring Ouzels, 92 Goldcrests, two Firecrests (caught & ringed at South Landing), ten Yellow-browed Warblers, four Willow Warblers, 33 Chiffchaff, two Lesser Whitethroats, ten Blackcap, two Wheatear, two Stonechat, two Whinchat, two Redstarts, a Spotted Flycatcher, 28 Rock Pipits, two Grey Wagtails, six Siskin and six Brambling. RSPB Bempton Cliffs hosted ten Goldcrests, four Chiffchaff and a Yellow-browed Warbler.

Goldcrest & Firecrest, South Landing, by Jo Hood

Red-breasted Flycatcher, Old Fall, by John Elvidge

Red-breasted Flycatcher, Old Fall, by John Harwood

Red-breasted Flycatcher, Old Fall, by Tony Hood

Red Kite, South Landing, by Andy Hood

Shore Lark, Fog Station, by Andy Hood

Monday, October 7th, 2019

An overcast day, with occasional showers and a blustery southerly wind. During the morning’s seawatch, two Gadwall flew south, a juvenile Sabine’s Gull flew north before it fed off the Fog Station,  181 Little Gulls flew south (13 north) and a juvenile Pomarine Skua flew north.

Ten Goosander flying west past Hartendale represented a notable record, whilst two Woodcock were located. Two Red-breasted Flycatchers were present: a single at North Landing and the male remaining in Old Fall, whilst the Shore Lark continued to show well near the Fog Station. Further migrant totals included 23 Ring Ouzel, 579 Redwing, 65 Blackbirds, 212 Song Thrush, five Fieldfare, 92 Goldcrests, eight Yellow-browed Warblers, 25 Chiffchaffs, two Willow Warblers, seven Blackcap, a Common Whitethroat, four Lesser Whitethroats, a Reed Warbler at North Landing, 57 Robins, five Redstarts, three Wheatear and 22 Brambling.

RSPB Bempton Cliffs attracted four Ring Ouzels, 380 Redwing, 60 Song Thrush, four Fieldfares, 30 Goldcrest, a Willow Warbler, three Siskin and 13 Brambling.

Red-breasted Flycatcher, Old Fall, by Andrew Allport

Red-breasted Flycatcher, Old Fall, by Andy Hood

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

An overcast day throughout, with heavy rain from dawn until late morning, lighter drizzle through to mid-afternoon, before a dryer interlude; strong easterly winds gradually dropped in strength, although birding remained challenging. Seawatch highlights included  11 dark-bellied Brent Geese (six north, five south), 273 Wigeon, two Pintail, 66 Teal and six Tufted Ducks all flying south, with a Velvet Scoter, one Sooty Shearwater, a juvenile Sabine’s Gull, 65 Little Gulls and six Arctic Terns moving north. Thornwick Pools hosted 12 Teal and single Jack Snipe, Dunlin and Water Rail. Seventeen Wigeon and a Short-eared Owl frequented North Marsh.

Although the conditions limited coverage, it was clear a considerable arrival of passerines had taken place, especially of thrushes. A total of 133 Redwing was recorded coming in off the sea during the seawatch, with 300+ downed on the outer head during the heavy rain; although the majority quickly headed inland. Ten Ring Ouzels included two birds at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, with the hedgerows sheltering 160 Song Thrush and seven Fieldfare. A juvenile Red-backed Shrike at Old Fall was the year’s first record, with a Siberian Chiffchaff and a male Red-breasted Flycatcher in the same location. A Shore Lark gave good views near the Lighthouse, with three Yellow-browed Warblers and a Firecrest nearby.  Additional records included one Woodcock, another two Yellow-browed Warblers at Old Fall, one Common Whitethroat, a Reed Warbler, one Pied Flycatcher, three Redstarts and two Brambling.

RSPB Bempton Cliffs attracted a Jack Snipe, 350 Redwing, 11 Fieldfare, 80 Song Thrush, 16 Goldcrests, a Willow Warbler and three Brambling.

Shore Lark, Lighthouse Grassland, by Craig Thomas

Saturday, October 5th, 2019

Winds were light from the north-west at the start of the day, switching to a moderate south-easterly from early afternoon, with relatively overcast skies throughout. Seawatch highlights included three dark-bellied Brent Geese, a Pintail and three Velvet Scoter flying north, a Goldeneye, one Sooty Shearwater and a Red-necked Grebe south. Two juvenile Sabine’s Gulls flew north (at 1124hrs), as did 415 Little Gulls during the morning (with 209 south in 45 minutes in the evening) and two juvenile Long-tailed Skuas also moved north.

Four Gadwall were on the sea off the Fog Station late afternoon, eight Grey Herons included a flock of four flying south, four Jack Snipe were present at North Marsh and two Short-eared Owls included a single in off the sea. Twenty Yellow-browed Warblers represented the highest year’s highest tally to date; this included three birds caught & ringed at South Landing, three at Old Fall and a single caught & ringed at Buckton. Additional passerine interest included two Ring Ouzel (including one caught & ringed at South Landing), 1125 Redwing in off, 90 Song Thrush, three Mistle Thrush, 35 Goldcrests, a Willow Warbler, three Lesser Whitethroats, a Willow Tit at Old Fall, three Stonechat, a Whinchat, three Wheatear, four Redstarts, three Grey Wagtails, seven Brambling, 59 Reed Buntings and four Corn Buntings.

Migrants at RSPB Bempton Cliffs/Buckton included the aforementioned Yellow-browed Warbler at Buckton, a Grey Plover flying north-west, one Willow Warbler, a Ring Ouzel at Bempton and two Brambling.

Ring Ouzel, South Landing, by Mark Pearson

Willow Tit, Old Fall, by Lee Johnson

Willow Tit, Old Fall, by Lee Johnson

Friday, October 4th, 2019

Light north-westerly winds during the morning, with a switch to moderate north-easterlies in the afternoon; generally overcast, with occasional drizzle, although brighter skies developed later. During the seawatch, 581 Wigeon, 190 Little Gulls, seven Common Terns, ten Arctic Terns, two Bonxies and an Arctic Skua flew north. 

Five Grey Plover flew south over the headland, three Jack Snipe were new (Lighthouse, Old Fall, Thornwick), whilst an arrival of 730 Redwing occurred during the afternoon. Seventeen Yellow-browed Warblers were scattered around the headland (including two at RSPB Bempton Cliffs & one at Buckton), with additional passerine records including 70 Song Thrush, a Ring Ouzel, 25 Robins, 18 Goldcrests, 38 Chiffchaffs, two Lesser Whitethroats (including one putative ‘Siberian’), a Redstart, three Stonechat, three Grey Wagtails, two Brambling and five Siskin. Two Lesser Whitethroats (including a Siberian) were also present at RSPB Bempton Cliffs. Nearby Buckton attracted 320 Redwing, 20 Song Thrush, one Willow Warbler, a Common Whitethroat and two Stonechat. 

Lesser Whitethroat, Old Fall, by Andrew Allport

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

After a bright start, increasing amounts of cloud arrived during the afternoon, when a cool south-easterly wind also developed. Seawatch highlights included a dark-bellied Brent Goose, 47 Wigeon, 49 Teal, a Velvet Scoter, 123 Common Scoters, nine Sooty Shearwaters, 30 Manx Shearwaters, 120 Little Gulls and 17,500 Razorbills all flying north; two juvenile Pomarine Skuas lingered offshore.

Eleven Yellow-browed Warblers were present on the headland, as detailed below. Notable records from the outer head involved 260 Pink-footed Geese moving south/west, a Short-eared Owl, seven Goldcrest, two Mistle Thrush, 26 Fieldfare, 20 Redwing, seven Yellow-browed Warblers, 16 Chiffchaff, two Willow Warblers, two Lesser Whitethroats, one Redstart, a Wheatear, five Stonechat, one Grey Wagtail, and single Brambling, Twite and Corn Bunting.

Two Yellow-browed Warblers frequented RSPB Bempton Cliffs, with one caught & ringed, along with a Barred Warbler; other sightings there included 80 Skylarks moving west, 20 Redwing, 20 Goldcrests, ten Chiffchaffs, a Siberian Lesser Whitethroat and three Stonechats. Sightings from nearby Buckton included 60 Pink-footed Geese moving south, a Ring Ouzel, 45 Redwing, 57 Skylarks south, two Yellow-browed Warblers, 12 Chiffchaff, a Common Whitethroat, three Stonechat and a Whinchat.  

Barred Warbler, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Dave Aitken

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

The weather consisted of strong north-westerly winds, overcast skies after a bright start and temperatures peaked at 12 degrees C. Seawatching highlights included 29 dark-bellied Brent Geese, two Barnacle Geese, two Red-breasted Mergansers and 101 Common Scoters flying north, 60 Red-throated Divers and a Great Northern Diver moving south, seven Sooty Shearwaters, two Slavonian Grebes and 132 Little Gulls north, a Mediterranean Gull south, three Pomarine Skuas (two south, one north) and 13,000 Razorbills flying north.

Passerine interest included the Cetti’s Warbler at South Landing, three Yellow-browed Warblers (two Old Fall, one South Landing), a ‘Siberian’ Lesser Whitethroat at Old Fall, 20 Goldcrests, 55 Chiffchaffs, three Blackcaps, a Nuthatch at South Landing, a Fieldfare, two Redwing, two Spotted Flycatchers, two Redstarts, a Wheatear, two Grey Wagtails and two Lesser Redpolls.

RSPB Bempton Cliffs attracted single Lesser Whitethroat, Yellow-browed Warbler and Pied Flycatcher.

Pied Flycatcher, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Alan Walkington

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

The day had distinct autumnal feel being overcast with a brisk north-easterly,  frequent rain till midday and temperatures struggling to reach 12C.  

The sea was watched nearly all day revealing single Long-tailed and Pomarine Skuas heading north while totals for both Arctic and Great Skuas were in the teens.  Sooty and Manx Shearwaters were also seen heading north with 23 and 205 respectively.  Wildfowl were also a feature; a Mute Swan, an unexpected species here, flew south as did 69 Barnacle Geese.  Numbers of Common Scoter reached 98N and 14 S.  Razorbills were passing in huge numbers with an estimated 24,500 while other auks were less well represented by 58 Puffins and 11 Guillemots – all flying north.

Birding on the land was curtailed by the poor weather.  Nevertheless, those observers that did venture out managed to find a Yellow-browed Warbler at South Landing where the Cetti’s Warbler remained. Other birds seen included 19 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, 3 Goldcrests, 5 Redwing and a Grey Wagtail.

Long-tailed Tit, Thornwick Pools, by Don Hustings