Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

Westerly winds increased in strength throughout the day, with sunny intervals from early afternoon, after an overcast start; temperatures reached seven degrees C. Little moved past the headland during the morning seawatch, although large feeding flocks were present and included 400 Gannets, 200 Cormorants and several thousand Guillemots. The Russian White-fronted Goose remained, as did the far more elusive Jay which showed again at South Dykes; only the fourth sighting since the start of the year. A Short-eared Owl and two Snow Buntings were seen at RSPB Bempton Cliffs. 

Sparrowhawk, outer head, by Chrys Mellor

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

Another day of south-westerly gales which seem interminable.  Cloud cover was variable and temperatures reached 10C.

Birding conditions were rather testing again with only the hardiest of souls venturing out and little reward for their effort.  The pick of the day was a Water Rail at Stylefield Pond and a flock of 60 Yellowhammers at Hartendale.

Treecreeper, Sewerby Hall Gardens (Mike Smith)

Friday, February 21st, 2020

Another day of strong south-westerlies and overcast skies.  Temperatures slowly rose throughout the day reaching 11C by late afternoon.

There was scant reward for seawatching with 12 Red-throated Divers being the highlight while 74 Purple Sandpipers were present on the rocks at Stacks.  

Common Gulls put in an impressive count with 2742 seen from the southern cliffs between South Landing and Cattlemere with a Mediterranean Gull, 3 Common Scoter, an Eider and 37 Red-throated Divers also present.  The cliff top at Cattlemere also held 4 Snow Buntings and 2 Lapland Buntings.  A single Stonechat was near North Landing.

Two Short-eared Owls continued to hunt across the fields on the reserve at Bempton Cliffs.

Coal Tit, Sewerby Hall Gardens (Mike Smith)

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

The weather consisted of strong south-westerly winds, overcast skies with a belt of relatively light rain passing through and temperatures that reached nine degrees C late morning, before dropping away. Five Pink-footed Geese and the Russian White-fronted Goose again frequented fields near Micklemires, whilst 34 Wigeon were near North Marsh. A total of 62 Purple Sandpipers around the Fog Station represented the winter’s highest count.

Barn Owl, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

Sunny intervals first thing, with increasing amounts of cloud and light rain from mid-afternoon; moderate/strong westerlies and temperatures reached six degrees C. Wildfowl interest included the Russian White-fronted Goose, five Pink-footed Geese, two Shelduck, 28 Wigeon and 86 Teal. A flock of 255 Cormorants flew south over North Marsh soon after first light, whilst raft of 1020 Common Gulls on the sea around High Stacks represented an appreciable influx. Additional sightings included a Tawny Owl at Greenacres and a Lapland Bunting flying south-east over Thornwick.

A Blackcap singing at Marton Hall was the first of the year. 

Mistle Thrush, Fog Station, by Craig Thomas

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

A relatively overcast day, with a moderate south-westerly wind and temperatures reaching nine degrees C. Thornwick Pools attracted a Shelduck and five Teal, whilst the local pair of Barn Owls showed well there late afternoon. 

Long-tailed Tit, Sewerby Hall Gardens, by Mike Smith

Monday, February 17th, 2020

A relatively bright day, with occasional showers, a moderate/strong south-westerly wind and temperatures reaching eight degrees C. The two Pink-footed Geese, a Russian White-fronted Goose and two Mute Swans were still present. Passerine interest included the year’s first Fieldfare, 27 Redwing and a Grey Wagtail.

Pink-footed Goose, Flamborough, by Tony Dixon

Sunday, February 16th, 2020

Strong south-westerly winds were once more dominant during a day of heavy showers after very significant amounts of overnight rain. During the morning seawatch, 18,000 Guillemots flew south along with two Wigeon and a drake Eider. Two Pink-footed Geese and the Russian White-fronted Goose lingered, along with two Mute Swans. Twenty Snow Buntings re-appeared at Cattlemere, while a Short-eared Owl showed well at RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

Short-eared Owl, by Alan Walkington

Saturday, February 15th, 2020

An overcast day, with strong winds strengthening throughout; after a foggy start, it was overcast with spells of rain, whilst temperatures reached 11 degrees C. A Blue Fulmar was the undoubted highlight of an otherwise quiet morning seawatch. Two Pink-footed Geese and the Russian White-fronted Goose remained, but there was no sign of the Grey Phalarope at Thornwick Pools. A total of 73 Magpies was noteworthy, as were 30 Redwings and a Chiffchaff.

Cormorants, Seawatch Observatory, by Phil Buxton

Friday, February 14th, 2020

A relatively bright day, with light south-west winds gradually increasing in strength and temperatures reaching nine degrees C at dusk. Wildfowl interest included the Russian White-fronted Goose, 76 Pink-footed Geese (74 north, two on outer head), two Mute Swans, nine Shelduck, 36 Wigeon and 23 Teal. A total of 207 Cormorants were off South Landing at first light, two Grey Partridge were the year’s first and the Grey Phalarope remained at Thornwick Pools. The most notable passerine record related to 67 Meadow Pipits on the outer head, with six Corn Buntings near Thornwick.

Grey Phalarope (composite), Thornwick Pools, by Andrew Allport

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

Conditions improved after heavy rain and strong south-easterly winds first thing, with sunny conditions eventually prevailing; temperatures reached six degrees C in a moderate westerly wind during the afternoon. The highlight of the morning seawatch was the year’s first Blue Fulmar which lingered offshore together with 265 Cormorants. 

A skein of 26 Pink-footed Geese flew north, whilst two Pink-footed Geese, the Russian White-fronted Goose, 28 Wigeon and 27 Teal frequented the headland. A small pond east of the village hosted a Water Rail and Thornwick Pools the long-staying Grey Phalarope. The first Kittiwakes returned to RSPB Bempton Cliffs, with a minimum of 23 noted, and two Short-eared Owls were also present.

Shelduck, Thornwick Pools, by Alan Walkington

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

A sunny day, with strong westerly winds and temperatures peaking at seven degrees C. The seawatch was relatively quiet, although five Eiders flew north and 155 Cormorants were offshore. On the headland wildfowl interest included two Mute Swans at Thornwick Pools, two Pink-footed Geese and the Russian White-fronted Goose. A Short-eared Owl was seen at Thornwick Pools, where the long-staying Grey Phalarope also remained. RSPB Bempton Cliffs hosted another three Short-eared Owls during the afternoon. Sewerby Hall Gardens attracted three Treecreepers, four Coal Tits and 12 Long-tailed Tits.

Mute Swans, Thornwick Pools, by Craig Thomas

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

Strong westerly winds were the main feature of a day that featured sunny intervals and a few showers, with temperatures reaching six degrees C. The highlight of the morning seawatch was the year’s first Manx Shearwater that flew south past the headland. Two Pink-footed Geese, the Russian White-fronted Goose and 28 Wigeon remained in residence, as did the Grey Phalarope on Thornwick Pools.

Carrion Crow, Thornwick, by Mike Smith

Monday, February 10th, 2020

The weather consisted moderate/strong westerly winds, sunny intervals and heavy showers arriving prior to dusk; temperatures peaked at six degrees C. Thornwick Pools continued to host the long-staying Grey Phalarope; two Mute Swans and two Shelduck were also present. Nearby sightings included the Russian White-fronted Goose, two Pink-footed Geese, 85 Linnets, three Corn Buntings, 45 Yellowhammers and 30 Reed Buntings. 

Grey Phalarope, Thornwick Pools, by Alan Walkington

Sunday, February 9th, 2020

The main feature of the day was undoubtedly the weather: storm force south-westerly winds peaked in strength during the middle part of the day, also accompanied by a thunderstorm and heavy rain; conditions gradually ameliorated to leave moderate/strong winds by the end of the day. The seawatch was relatively quiet, with two Shoveler flying south the best.

Thornwick Pools continued to host two Mute Swans, the Grey Phalarope and a Grey Wagtail. Nearby, the Russian White-fronted Goose and two Pink-footed Geese accompanied the Greylag flock, whilst a Coot on Buckton Pond was unusual. 

White-fronted Goose, outer head, by Tony Dixon

Saturday, February 8th, 2020

Moderate south-westerly winds throughout daylight hours strengthened towards dusk; sunny intervals predominated after an overcast start and temperatures reached seven degrees C. The morning seawatch was quiet, although tens of thousands of Guillemots were present once more, with the majority flying south.

The Grey Phalarope lingered on Thornwick Pools, where two Mute Swans also dropped in. Three Mistle Thrushes and two Redwing were notable, but the day’s highlight related to a Raven initially seen over the Lighthouse and then flying south past the Seawatch Observatory. 

Tawny Owl, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

Friday, February 7th, 2020

An overcast and misty start to a day that featured increasingly strong southerly winds, sunny intervals by the afternoon and temperatures reaching six degrees C. Highlights of the morning’s seawatch consisted five Wigeon heading south, eight Eiders moving north (with another on the sea) and 21 Red-throated Divers flying south; once again thousands of seabirds fed close inshore, including 750 Gannets and 175 Cormorants. The Grey Phalarope remained in residence at Thornwick Pools, with passerine interest including a Chiffchaff at the Golf Course Willows, four Goldcrests, two Mistle Thrushes and a Grey Wagtail. 

Kestrel, Flamborough, by Kevin Groocock

Grey Phalarope, Thornwick Pools, by Kevin Groocock

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

A sunny and calm day, with temperatures reaching seven degrees C after a frosty start. The highlight of the morning seawatch was a Black-throated Diver that flew north out of Bridlington Bay; tens of thousands of birds were feeding on the sea, with the vast majority Guillemots.

Wildfowl interest included two Pink-footed Geese, the Russian White-fronted Goose and 23 Teal. The Grey Phalarope showed well throughout on Thornwick Pools, where there were also two Snipe. Passerine interest included the Black Redstart at the Fog Station, two Chiffchaffs and two Corn Buntings. Two Short-eared Owls were seen at RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

Grey Phalarope, Thornwick Pools, by Andrew Allport

Grey Phalarope, Thornwick Pools, by Andrew Allport

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

A relatively bright day, with light westerly winds and temperatures that reached eight degrees C. Two Brent Geese flew south during the morning’s seawatch, with an impressive 244 Cormorants feeding offshore.

A Whooper Swan circled North Marsh, whilst the two Pink-footed Geese and the Russian White-front frequented the outer head. The Grey Phalarope graced Thornwick Pools all day, where there were also 20 Teal and a Water Rail; another Water Rail frequented a pond on the eastern edge of the village. Passerine interest included two Chiffchaffs, the Black Redstart at the Fog Station and a Grey Wagtail. 

RSPB Bempton Cliffs attracted four Short-eared Owls during the afternoon.

Black Redstart, Fog Station, by Brett Richards

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

Gusting to gale force, north-westerly winds gradually dropped in strength during the afternoon, with sunny intervals after an overcast start and temperatures eventually reached eight degrees C. A quiet seawatch, with 175 Cormorants offshore and the Black Redstart making one of its sporadic visits to the Fog Station. Tens of thousands of Guillemots were again present, including good numbers on the cliffs.

Both the Russian White-fronted Goose  and the Grey Phalarope remained, with the latter continuing to show well at Thornwick Pools. Apart from the aforementioned Black Redstart, the only notable passerine record related to a flock of 50 Fieldfare that flew north at Speeton. 

Corn Bunting, Thornwick, by Brett Richards

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

The weather comprised moderate westerly winds that gradually dropped in strength, sunny intervals and temperatures that reached seven degrees C. A Velvet Scoter flying north was the most notable sighting of the morning’s seawatch, which also featured thousands of Guillemots and increasing numbers of Razorbills. 

The two Mute Swans remained, as did the Russian White-fronted Goose and two Pink-footed Geese. Surprisingly the Grey Phalarope re-appeared on Thornwick Pools, although late reports revealed it was present at the same location yesterday afternoon. 

Grey Phalarope, Thornwick Pools, by Andy Hood

Grey Phalarope, Thornwick Pools, by Alan Walkington

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

The morning was overcast, with persistent light drizzle and occasional mist, with brighter spells developing during the afternoon; there were light southerly winds and temperatures reached six degrees C. The highlight of the morning’s seawatch consisted 20 White-beaked Dolphins that headed north-east from Bridlington Bay past the Seawatch Observatory: nine Common Scoters flew south and 160 Cormorants lingered off the outer head. 

Three Pink-footed Geese, the Russian White-fronted Goose, 24 Wigeon and 18 Teal were in residence, along with 32 Curlew. A Short-eared Owl frequented the cliff top near Thornwick, with a Chiffchaff nearby; additional passerine records included a Grey Wagtail, 118 Yellowhammers and seven Corn Buntings. RSPB Bempton Cliffs also hosted a Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Alan Walkington

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

Strong westerly winds were a feature of a bright day with temperatures reaching nine degrees C. A Goosander flew south during the morning seawatch, with 380 Gannets and 121 Razorbills moving in the same direction.

The Grey Phalarope lingered on Thornwick Pools and showed well to a steady stream of admirers throughout; other sightings there included 13 Teal, a Chiffchaff and three Corn Buntings. Wildfowl interest also included two Mute Swans and the Russian White-fronted Goose.

Grey Phalarope, Thornwick Pools, by David Hutchinson

Grey Phalarope, Thornwick Pools, by John Harwood

Grey Phalarope, Thornwick Pools, by Tony Dixon