Saturday, November 30th, 2019

It was the brightest day some time being mainly sunny with a light northerly wind which had backed easterly by midday. After a frosty start, the temperature eventually reached 8C.

Without doubt the star bird of the day was an adult Kumlien’s Gull which passed close north at the Seawatching Observatory late afternoon.

Single Chiffchaffs were present at South Landing and Hartendale  and 100 Pink-feet overflew Head Farm.

At Bempton, a Waxwing flew north mid-morning, 2 Lapland Buntings flew SE towards the Outer Head and 15 Snow Buntings NW.

Red-throated Diver, South Landing (Craig Thomas)

Friday, November 29th, 2019

Colder than of late, the temperature rising from 4C to 6C before falling again late afternoon.  A fresh northerly brought several showers.  

The highlights from the Fog Station included a Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 3 Wigeon, 156 Common Scoter (82S, 74N) and a single Little Auk.  In addition, 30 Snow Buntings flew overhead.

The Snow Bunting flock at Cattlemere held 40 birds (presumably including the 30 above) and a Chiffchaff lingered at South Landing.

At Bempton, 100 Pink-footed Geese were in the fields whilst a Chiffchaff and 2 Stonechat  were at the reserve.

Snow Bunting, Cattlemere (Andy Hood)

Thursday, November 28th, 2019

Another overcast day until late afternoon when the cloud started to break up.  Feeling cold in a strong northerly with frequent drizzle, the temperature slowly fell from 9C early morning to 6C by late afternoon.

A morning seawatch from the Fog Station was more productive than in recent days.  A single Dark-bellied Brent Goose and Long-tailed Duck went north whilst 63 Common Scoter went south.  Lone Great Northern Divers passed both north and south whilst Red-throated Divers numbered 26S and 5N. Two juvenile Pomarine Skuas and a Bonxie also passed south.

Little of note was seen on the Outer Head while the Water Rail frequenting the ditch on Cliff Lane , Bempton was still present and 12 Corn Buntings were also present on the reserve.

Juvenile male Sparrowhawk, Flamborough village (Rob Little)

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

Weather-wise it was a thoroughly miserable day.  It seemed as though it didn’t get properly light all day and steady rain persisted throughout daylight hours pushed on by a moderate northerly breeze. Temperatures ranged between 8 and 9C.

Seawatching at the Fog Station during the morning saw 7 Common Scoters and 40 Red-throated Divers heading south with 8 of the latter going in the reverse direction.

Due to the weather birding elsewhere was limited with nothing of note reported.

Curlew, South Landing (Alan Walkington)

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

The dismal weather theme continued with another damp, dull, overcast day with drizzle from midday.  There was a  moderate south-easterly and temperature didn’t budge from 9C all day.

The biggest surprise while sea-watching was a female-type Marsh Harrier that drifted south. Numbers of Red-throated Divers was much improved with 122S and 15N, Wigeon numbered 15 and 2 Pintail also passed.

A Black Redstart was at The Fog Station and a single Chiffchaff in South Dykes.  The count of 38 Curlew is a day record for the month of November.

Marsh Harrier, Fog Station (Brett Richards)

Monday, November 25th, 2019

It was a dreary November day.  Damp, dull and overcast throughout with drizzle starting early afternoon.  The wind was a moderate south-easterly and temperature remained unchanged at 9C all day.

The morning seawatch produced 8 Eiders, 17 Common Scoters, a Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Little Gulls passing whilst 35 Red-throated Divers and 4 Great Crested Grebes were on the sea. 

Lapland Bunting was the bird of the day with 1 over the Lighthouse and a further 8 found frequenting the stubble at Northcliff where there were also 80 Tree Sparrows, 2 Corn Buntings and 138 Skylarks. Elsewhere, a lone Chiffchaff was at South Landing.

At Bempton, 2 Snow Buntings graced the cliff top.


Snow Bunting, RSPB Bempton Cliffs (Alan Walkington)

Sunday, November 24th, 2019

A much quieter day weather-wise.  Winds were light from a southerly quarter and although it was dull and overcast all day there was no rain. Temperature reached 9C.

Passage at the Fog Station included a Sooty Shearwater and a Great Skua whilst ducks were also passing with 65 Eider, 5 Common Scoter, 4 Gaswall 24 Wigeon and 3 Teal. Purple Sandpipers numbered 40 and Turnstones 22.

A small influx of new birds was apparent on the Outer Head with a Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaffs, 21 Fieldfare and 3 Redwing.

At Bempton, 3 Lapland Buntings headed SE, a Snow Bunting still present along with 2 Stonechat, a Brambling and 2 Short-eared Owls while 90 Pink-footed Geese passes overhead.

Short-eared Owl, Northcliff Marsh (Andrew Allport)

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

Wind strengthened overnight to an easterly gale and brought constant driven rain, occasionally heavy, throughout the morning, turning to drizzle early afternoon. 8C was the maximum temperature.

A Manx Shearwater and a ‘Blue’ Fulmar  made the morning’s seawatch worthwhile although other than 2 Common Scoters and 11 Red-throated Divers there was little else of note to keep the interest going.

The awful weather thoroughly dampened any enthusiasm for searching for birds away from any shelter today.

Stock Dove, Flamborough village (Rob Little)

Friday, November 22nd, 2019

Today’s weather brought overcast skies and occasional showers on a strong south-easterly and temperatures maxing out at 7C.

There is a distinct sense that autumn birding has now lost all momentum and we are transitioning into winter.  There were few birds passing on the morning’s seawatch where the highlights were 2 Eiders, 3 Common Scoters and 5 Red-throated Divers. 

Away from the Fog Station, a Water Rail continued to frequent a ditch on Cliff Lane, Bempton and a Snow Bunting was again at RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

Water Rail, Bempton (Trevor Charlton)

Thursday, November 21st, 2019

A strong easterly blew all day and with the overcast conditions temperatures didn’t exceed 7C.

A seawatch at South Landing produced a Mediterranean Gull, a Pomarine Skua, 5 Eiders and 5 Common Scoters passed east whilst a Velvet Scoter, 11 Common Scoters, a Long-tailed Duck and an Arctic Skua were offshore.  At the Fog Station where the highlights were 16 Eiders passing north and 4 Common Scoters south.

South Landing also held 4 Chiffchaffs and otherwise the only passerines of note were 2 Goldcrests.  Wader interest included a Woodcock and a Snipe.

The only report from Bempton relates to a Snow Bunting by the cliff top path.

Rock Pipit, South Landing (Andrew Allport)

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

Today’s moderate wind came from a southerly direction.  Occasionally sunny, temperatures peaked at 8C.

The morning seatwatch was generally quiet, the highlights being a single Great Skua and 183 Fulmars heading north and 2 Common Scoters south.

Birding on the Outer Head was equally uneventful with very little of note seen.

Meanwhile, at Bempton, the Hume’s Warbler was still present and has now been there for a fortnight.   A Water Rail was on Cliff Lane and 3 Lapland and 2 Snow Buntings passed overhead and a further 2 Snow Buntings were on the cliff top path.

Lapland Bunting (Rob Little)

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

After a frosty start to the day, the temperature climbed to 6C before falling away again during the afternoon.  It was mainly a clear,fine day with little cloud cover and light winds from a westerly quarter.

Highlights from the morning’s seawatch included a Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 140 Pink-footed Geese, single Black-throated and Great Northern Divers and a Sooty Shearwater.  A Snow Bunting and 2 Twite were also seen.

The passage of Pink-footed Geese at the Fog Station was reflected elsewhere on the headland with 200 over the village and a further 467 over Bempton while 7 Whooper Swans headed east over the southern cliffs during the morning.  

The Hume’s Warbler at Bempton Cliffs remained and 35 Corn Buntings were also logged there.  On the Outer Head 36 Snow Buntings were at Cattlemere while 2 Chiffchaffs, 12 Siskins and 3 Stonechats were also seen.

Pink-footed Geese, Flamborough (Andrew Allport)

Monday, November 18th, 2019

A cold day with a strong north to north-easterly wind and a few showers, some wintry.  Temperatures didn’t exceed 7C all day.

At the Fog Station, single Black-throated and Great Northern Divers passed south along with 38 Red-throated (also 15N).  Otherwise, seawatching was rather thin.

The flock of Snow Buntings at Cattlemere saw an increase with 53 now present.  Other passerines seen around the Outer Head included 2 Waxwings flying along Lighthouse Road, 6 Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest, a Brambling and 2 Siskin.  The sea at South Landing continued to attract birds with 2 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, a Long-tailed Duck, a single Velvet and 13 Common Scoters.

The Hume’s Warbler at Bempton Cliffs was still occasionally showing well.  The most incongruous sight of the day must have been a juvenile Shag sat in a garden in Bempton village before flying off towards the cliffs.

Snow Bunting, Cattlemere (Andrew Allport)

Sunday, November 17th, 2019

The day was dull with a moderate north-easterly throughout with the temperature reaching 9C.

Seawatching produced small number of Little Auks again with 3 passing north at the Fog Station during the morning along with 2 Long-tailed Ducks. At South Landing another 3 Little Auks passed late afternoon while 31 Common Scoters, a Velvet Scoter and a Long-tailed Duck were offshore there.

On the Outer Head, numbers of Teal have increased with 38 logged and Wigeon numbered 18, both principally at North Marsh.  Cattlemere held 28 Snow Buntings and other passerines noted included 3 Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest and a Stonechat.

The Hume’s Warbler at Bempton was till present and a Woodcock was also seen there. Waxwings also put in an appearance with 5 along Hoddy Cows Lane.

Hume’s Warbler, Bempton Cliffs (Alan Walkington)

Saturday, November 16th, 2019

There was a very light north-westerly wind throughout the day, mainly overcast with long spells of drizzle and light rain.  The temperature rose to 9C.

Seawatching produced Little Auks (2N) and Pomarine Skuas (2S) again. Other highlights included a single Great Northern Diver each way, 49 Eiders and a Long-tailed Duck heading north. A Black Redstart remained at the Fog Station.  

Highlights around the Outer Head included a single Little Egret, Short-eared Owl, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and a Waxwing.

West of the Dykes was more productive. At Bempton, the Hume’s Warbler continued its sojurn, a Black-throated Diver flew NW and a Mediterranean Gull SE and a Lapland Bunting was also seen overhead.  Buckton also provided some late autumn interest with a Long-eared Owl in off, a Waxwing at Buckton Pond, 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs and 4 Snow Buntings.

Eiders, Fog Station (Andrew Allport)

Friday, November 15th, 2019

Another day of fresh north-easterly winds.  Mostly overcast, the temperature rose to 9C during the early afternoon and rain arrived yet again after dark.

Seawatching at the Fog Station was more eventful than in recent days.  Little Auks were passing again with 13N while skuas included 4 Bonxies and 5 Pomarine north (also 1 south).  Duck passage was also improved; 10 Wigeon, 106 Teal, 7 Scaup, 161 Eider and a Long-tailed Duck all passed north while a Goosander went south.

The sea was also watched at North Landing where 3 Mediterranean Gulls passed while at South Landing 11 Eiders went east.  Bempton also provided some interest over the sea with a Little Auk, a Great Skua, 53 Eiders and 8 Common Scoters going north and a Great Northern Diver south.

On land, the Hume’s Warbler at Bempton was present for its tenth day joined by a Chiffchaff and a Snow Bunting while a Black Redstart was at the Fog Station.

Grey Heron, South Landing (Alan Walkington)

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

The day dawned cold and blustery with a north-easterly gusting up to force 8 with rain, often heavy, from mid-morning. Temperatures struggled, never exceeding 7C.

Sea-watching was relatively quiet though there was some highlights in the form of 6 Little Auks, a Pomarine Skua, an Arctic Skua and a ‘blue’ Fulmar.  Sea-ducks were limited in numbers again with 3 Eiders and 20 Common Scoter passing during the morning and 2 Velvet Scoters flying north mid-afternoon.

Land-based birding was heavily curtailed by the atrocious weather conditions though the Hume’s Warbler at Bempton Cliffs was reportedly still present.

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

After an overnight frost the day was bright and sunny with variable light winds and a maximum temperature of 8C.

The main interest during the morning seawatch were divers with a winter-plumaged Black-throated briefly landing on the sea before continuing north, 18 Red-throated flying south with another north and 35 on the sea. Duck passage was at a low ebb with numbers limited to 2 Eiders north, 3 Common Scoter south and 10 Teal north.

Again, the Hume’s Warblers at Bempton Cliffs and Old Fall remained, the latter joined by a Yellow-browed Warbler.  Greenacres still retained a Siberian Chiffchaff though other warbler species were limited t0 8 Common Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap.  Siskins were again in evidence with 106 seen across the Headland.  A count of 164 Skylarks on the stubble on the northern cliffs was notable.  

Arguably, the biggest surprised of the day was an Avocet which appeared at Thornwick Pools and what was presumably the same bird was seen later at South Landing beach.

Avocet, Thornwick Pools (Andrew Allport)

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

A cool day with a fresh, blustery WNW wind that brought occasional rain, the temperature ranging between 5 and 8C during daylight hours.  

The principal feature of the morning’s seawatch was 610 Pink-footed Geese flying south in three groups between 0935 and 0955.  Other highlights included 77 Common Scoter, 1 Wigeon, 2 Tufted Duck and 24 Red-throated Divers all passing south.

The Hume’s Warblers at Bempton Cliffs RSPB and Old Fall were both reported to be still present.  A further 200 Pink-footed Geese overflew North Landing while other birds on the Outer Head included a Water Rail, 2 Woodcock, a Stonechat and a Chiffchaff.

Turnstone, South Landing (Rob Little)

Monday, November 11th, 2019

The weather consisted of moderate westerly winds, sunny intervals after a damp start to the day, with temperatures reaching seven degrees C. During the morning’s seawatch, two Velvet Scoters and a Great Crested Grebe flew south.

Seven Whooper Swans moved west over the village during the morning. The long-staying Hume’s Warblers lingered at both Old Fall and RSPB Bempton Cliffs, with additional sightings including two Grey Wagtails, 44 Siskins and a Lesser Redpoll. Bempton Cliffs also attracted 20 Siskins, a Lapland Bunting and 22 Corn Buntings. 

Hume’s Warbler, Old Fall, by Andrew Allport

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

Moderate north-easterly winds gradually dropped in strength during a day of sunny intervals and periods of extensive cloud; temperatures again reached eight degrees C. During the morning’s seawatch, 28 Common Scoters flew south, whilst an Arctic Skua and eight Little Auks flew north. 

Twenty-five Pink-footed Geese toured the headland throughout the day. The two Hume’s Warblers continued to show at both Old Fall and RSPB Bempton Cliffs. A Waxwing lingered at the entrance to Thornwick Camp, with 70 Siskins and 14 Snow Buntings on the outer head.

RSPB Bempton Cliffs attracted one Short-eared Owl, a Willow Warbler, 16 Snow Buntings and three Lapland Buntings, with a Black Redstart at the Chalet Park in the nearby village.

Hume’s Warbler, Old Fall, by Andrew Allport

Waxwing, Thornwick Camp, by Andrew Allport

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

A relatively calm day, with light north-easterly winds, sunny intervals and temperatures peaking at eight degrees C. During the seawatch, two Velvet Scoter, 41 Common Scoter and 46 Red-throated Divers flew south, with a Great Northern Diver and two Little Auks moving north. 

The two Hume’s Warblers continued in residence at Old Fall and RSPB Bempton Cliffs. Four Whooper Swans initially over Buckton and Bempton later flew south over Hartendale, whilst 125 Pink-footed Geese also moved south. A Water Rail frequented the outer head, with other migrant totals including eight Chiffchaff, a Siberian Chiffchaff, eight Blackcap, three Stonechats, 34 Siskins, six Snow Buntings and two Lapland Buntings.

RSPB Bempton Cliffs attracted two Short-eared Owls, two Siberian Chiffchaffs, six Chiffchaffs, five Stonechat, eight Siskin and 43 Corn Buntings. Nearby Buckton attracted a Water Rail, a Siberian Chiffchaff, a Lapland Bunting and 50 Corn Buntings.

Hume’s Warbler, Old Fall, by Lee Johnson

Friday, November 8th, 2019

Strong north-north-east winds gradually dropped in strength during the afternoon, with light rain at times and temperatures reaching eight degrees C. Seawatch highlights included three Brent Geese, 109 Common Scoters and two Pomarine Skuas flying south, with eight Eider, two Velvet Scoters, three Long-tailed Duck, three Goldeneye, two Great Northern Divers, a Great Crested Grebe, a juvenile Glaucous Gull and four Little Auks heading north; a Sandwich Tern also fed offshore. Furthermore, there were three Goldeneye and a Velvet Scoter off South Landing.

The two Hume’s Warblers remained at Old Fall and RSPB Bempton Cliffs respectively, with two Siberian Chiffchaffs also continuing in residence. Other sightings included three Woodcock, 17 Goldcrest, a Yellow-browed Warbler (Old Fall), 11 Chiffchaffs, 70 Redwing and a Snow Bunting. RSPB Bempton Cliffs also attracted three Chiffchaffs, 25 Fieldfare and a Black Redstart.

Sparrowhawk, Flamborough village, by Rob Little

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

A fresh easterly wind and dull, overcast conditions persisted all day with rain only appearing late afternoon and the temperature reaching 9C.

The morning’s seawatch provided highlights of a ‘Blue’ Fulmar, single Pomarine and Great Skuas, 3 Velvet Scoters and 13 Little Auks.  In addition, 10 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 3 Eider, a Tufted Duck and 44 Common Scoter passed.

The two Hume’s Warblers at Old Fall and Bempton were still present while a Yellow-browed Warbler and a Brambling were also seen at Old Fall.  Two late Swallows were at Greenacres along with a Woodcock.

 Also at Bempton, the Siberian Chiffchaff was still in residence and was accompanied by 2 Chiffchaffs, 4 Goldcrest and  2 Brambling.

Goldfinch, Bempton Cliffs (Don Hustings)

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Light northerly winds, increasing cloud cover after a relatively bright start to a cold day, with temperatures reaching eight degrees C. Seawatch highlights included a Velvet Scoter (north), 283 Common Scoters, eight Goldeneye, a Red-breasted Merganser, a Great Northern Diver (south), one Bonxie, a Pomarine Skua (north), a Sandwich Tern and two Little Auks (north).

The day’s highlight related to the discovery of two Hume’s Warblers; one at Old Fall and other at RSPB Bempton Cliffs. Additional migrants were 15 Whooper Swans flying south over Beacon Hill, three Woodcock, a Long-eared Owl at Old Fall, one Lesser Whitethroat, five Redpoll, 40 Siskin, 12 Brambling and nine Snow Buntings.

In addition to the aforementioned Hume’s Warbler, sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs involved 60 Pink-footed Geese flying south, one Woodcock, a Siberian Chiffchaff, 30 Siskin, one Snow Bunting and 101 Corn Buntings.

Whooper Swans, Beacon Hill, by Mike Smith

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

The weather consisted of strong north-north-east winds, overcast skies with spells of rain. Seawatching highlights included two Velvet Scoters south, 214 Common Scoters, three Long-tailed Ducks north, seven Goldeneye, single Goosander, Great Northern Diver and Sooty Shearwater north, a juvenile Glaucous Gull that lingered around the outer head, nine Bonxies, 17 Pomarine Skuas and an Arctic Skua all south and 26 Little Auks north; a Short-eared Owl came in off the sea.

The male Red-breasted Flycatcher was still present in the Bay Brambles, whilst two Siberian Chiffchaffs also lingered. Additional migrants included a Water Rail, 11 Woodcock, a Short-eared Owl along Old Fall Hedge, five Swallows, 22 Goldcrests, nine Chiffchaff, 146 Fieldfare, 256 Redwing, 55 Song Thrush, 95 Blackbirds, one Black Redstart, 18 Siskin and two Snow Buntings. Another Black Redstart frequented RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

Glaucous Gull, outer head, by Andy Malley

Glaucous Gull, Golf Course, by Andy Hood

Monday, November 4th, 2019

A relatively overcast day once again, with spells of rain and a light south-easterly wind. During the morning seawatch, two Goldeneye, two Little Gulls and a Little Auk flew south, with another Little Auk also heading north. A juvenile Glaucous Gull flew east past South Landing and later flew past the Seawatch Observatory. 

The Radde’s Warbler remained in the Lighthouse Grassland until early afternoon when it moved to the edge of the Gorse Field before disappearing, whilst the male Red-breasted Flycatcher lingered in the Bay Brambles. Other migrants included three Woodcock, 19 Goldcrest, a Yellow-browed Warbler, two Siberian Chiffchaff, 14 Chiffchaff, five Song Thrush, 11 Redwing, 49 Fieldfare, 115 Blackbirds, a Waxwing in off the sea, a Black Redstart at the Fog Station, three Grey Wagtail, three Brambling, two Twite and four Snow Bunting.

Black Redstart, Fog Station, by Brett Richards

Snow Bunting, outer head, by Andy Hood

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

A day of light south-westerly winds and generally overcast, with occasional sunny intervals.

Six Whooper Swans flew south over Old Fall, while three flocks of Pink-footed Geese totalled 153 birds; a Velvet Scoter rested on the sea off Booted Gully and a Long-tailed Duck did likewise below the Golf Course. During the morning, a Short-eared Owl hunted the outer head. The discovery of a Radde’s Warbler in the Lighthouse Grassland mid-morning provided the day’s highlight – it showed sporadically until late afternoon. Additional passerine interest included a Woodlark south over Greenacres, 81 Fieldfare, 22 Redwing, a Firecrest, 18 Goldcrests, one Yellow-browed Warbler (South Dykes), three Siberian Chiffchaffs, five Chiffchaffs, two Willow Warblers, the long-staying male Red-breasted Flycatcher, 33 Siskin, two Brambling and a Lapland Bunting.

Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included 80 Pink-footed Geese south, two Short-eared Owls, a Siberian Chiffchaff and four Stonechat.

Lesser Redpoll, South Landing, by June & Malcolm Fox

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

A day of variable winds, ending with a moderate north-easterly, with rain arriving from early afternoon. A late afternoon seawatch was rewarded with five Eider, a Velvet Scoter and nine Little Gulls moving north, with a Sandwich Tern and another Little Gull moving south.

Hood’s Pool attracted five Wigeon and eight Curlew. The male Red-breasted Flycatcher continued its stay in the Bay Brambles, whilst two Lapland Buntings and two Twite overflew the Golf Course. Two Siberian Chiffchaffs continued to frequent RSPB Bempton Cliffs, with a Lapland Bunting heading south there. 

Red-breasted Flycatcher, Bay Brambles, by Alan Walkington

Friday, November 1st, 2019

A day of southerly winds, drizzle during the morning, with foggy conditions prevailing in the afternoon. Seawatching was quiet, with 12 Wigeon and 11 Eider flying south. The Red-breasted Flycatcher continued its temporary residence in the Bay Brambles, whilst a Woodcock was located at South Landing. RSPB Bempton Cliffs hosted three Woodcock and two Siberian Chiffchaffs

Oystercatcher, Thornwick, by Don Hustings