Friday, July 31st, 2020

A light south-south-easterly wind increased in strength during a sunny day, with temperatures reaching 20 degrees C. During the seawatch 89 Common Scoters, 93 Manx Shearwaters, 92 Sandwich Terns, two Common Terns, two Arctic Terns and an Arctic Skua flew north; three Shelduck, an Eider, 58 Oystercatchers, 23 Whimbrel and four Knot moved south; a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and a Bonxie lingered off the head.

Thornwick Pools hosted two Tufted Ducks, two Teal and two Dunlin; another 11 Dunlin visited ‘North Marsh’. Buckton attracted a Marsh Harrier and six territorial Corn Buntings. An interesting selection of butterflies included a Dark Green Fritillary near Head Farm, a Gatekeeper and a Marbled White along Old Fall Hedge and another Gatekeeper with the White-letter Hairstreaks in South Dykes.

White-letter Hairstreaks, South Dykes, by June & Malcolm Fox

Thursday, July 30th, 2020

A relatively overcast day, with light rain during the morning; temperatures reached 16 degrees C in light south-easterly winds. During the seawatch 75 Common Scoters, two Red-throated Divers, two Sooty Shearwaters, 60 Manx Shearwaters, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, 43 Sandwich Terns and three Bonxies flew north. Adding further excitement, two Minke Whales spent the day feeding offshore. 

RSPB Bempton Cliffs hosted a Merlin, a Tree Pipit that flew south-east and seven Willow Warblers, whilst a Minke Whale headed north.

Reed Bunting, by John Beaumont

Brimstone Moth, Fog Station, by Brett Richards

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020

With north-westerly winds pushing birds into the North Sea, conditions were conducive for seawatching despite the fact that relatively strong winds were due west in direction locally. A Great Shearwater flying north and visible from 1405-1415hrs provided the day’s highlight and was accompanied by four Sooty Shearwaters and 630 Manx Shearwaters heading in the same direction. Additional sightings included 101 Common Scoters, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, three Arctic Terns and an Arctic Skua all north, whilst single Red-throated Diver and Grey Plover flew south. Two Crossbills flew in off the sea, whilst two Minke Whales spent prolonged periods feeding off the outer head and two Bottlenose Dolphins moved north.

A juvenile Marsh Harrier quartered fields near the Lighthouse during the morning; another was seen at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, where notable sightings included a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, a Hobby and a Garden Warbler.

Great Shearwater, Fog Station, by Andrew Allport

Great Shearwater, Fog Station, by Andrew Allport

Swallow, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020

Strong westerly winds throughout, with sunny intervals and occasional light showers; temperatures peaked at 17 degrees C. Seawatch highlights included a Shelduck, 49 Common Scoters and 13 Sandwich Terns flying north, with 31 Manx Shearwaters moving in the opposite direction. Single Marsh Harrier and Short-eared Owl made landfall near the Fog Station, the latter during the evening. Thornwick Pools hosted three Teal, a Ringed Plover, eight Dunlin and a Snipe. 

Potentially the same Marsh Harrier that had flown in off the sea was relocated feeding over fields on the outer head late afternoon. In addition, a Red Kite graced the skies over South Dykes. 

A Short-eared Owl had also flown in off the sea at RSPB Bempton Cliffs in the morning, with a creamcrown Marsh Harrier also present, whilst two Bottlenose Dolphins were offshore. 

Short-eared Owl, Fog Station, by Craig Thomas

Monday, July 27th, 2020

Moderate/strong southerly winds were a feature of a day with overcast skies, prolonged but mainly light rain, and temperatures that reached 16 degrees C. Three Black-tailed Godwits south past the Fog Station provided the most notable seawatch record. Thornwick Pools attracted eight Teal, three Dunlin and a Ringed Plover, whilst a Pintail flew south there; 1018 Puffins rested on the sea between Little Thornwick and the North Cliff.

On the opposite side of the head, South Landing attracted a juvenile Mediterranean Gull amongst 250 Black-headed Gulls. A handful of Willow Warblers on the north side of the headland signalled the start of ‘autumn’s’ return passerine passage, whilst a Grey Wagtail visited a village garden.

RSPB Bempton Cliffs sightings included a Short-eared Owl that flew in off the sea, 264 Swifts that flew south-east, 17 Willow Warblers and better still, an early passage Wood Warbler.  

Wood Warbler, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Trevor Charlton

Sunday, July 26th, 2020

Moderate westerly/south-westerly winds only dropped in strength towards evening; sunny intervals and temperatures reached 22 degrees C. The seawatch featured 35 Common Scoter, four Red-throated Divers and an Arctic Tern flying south, with 18 Manx Shearwaters, 104 Sandwich Terns and two Common Terns moving north. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull lingered off High Stacks.

The day’s highlight related to a juvenile Caspian Gull that dropped onto Thornwick Pools in the evening before relocating to fields on the western side of the camp. The Pools also attracted a Teal, one juvenile Ringed Plover, a juvenile Little Ringed Plover and 12 Dunlin. A second calendar-year Mediterranean Gull fed with the Black-head Gulls at South Landing,  single Wheatear and Grey Wagtail were seen at the Fog Station and a Crossbill frequented Oceanview.

Caspian Gull, Thornwick Pools, by Craig Thomas

Saturday, July 25th, 2020

Overcast, with occasional sunny intervals, a light/moderate south-west wind and temperatures peaking at 20 degrees C. Seawatch highlights included five Tufted Duck flying south, 53 Common Scoters heading in the opposite direction and a southerly wader passage, mainly in the evening, consisting: 58 Oystercatchers, 31 Whimbrel, ten Knot and 12 Redshank. A total of 76 Sandwich Terns flew north, an Arctic Tern headed south and two Arctic Skuas moved north. 

Puffin, outer head, by Don Hustings

Friday, July 24th, 2020

Overcast until late morning, with a light north-west wind and temperatures reaching 18 degrees C. During the seawatch, a Gadwall, three Manx Shearwaters, 130 Sandwich Terns, five Common Terns and two Arctic Terns flew north; 37 Oystercatchers, 28 Whimbrel and a second calendar-year Mediterranean Gull moved south, whilst a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, an Arctic Skua and a Bonxie loafed offshore.

The day’s highlight related to a male Honey Buzzard that circled above Hartendale before heading east towards the outer head early afternoon. A female/juvenile Merlin near North Marsh added further raptor interest, with a Short-eared Owl south over Beacon Hill. Notable passerines included a juvenile Wheatear, four Grey Wagtails, two Siskin and four Crossbills.

Honey Buzzard, Hartendale, by Brett Richards

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

Another overcast day, with occasional light rain showers and temperatures that peaked at 18 degrees C. During the seawatch, 83 Common Scoter, ten Manx Shearwaters, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, 186 Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua flew north. Thornwick Pools attracted a Grey Heron, a Little Ringed Plover and four Dunlin.

Tree Sparrow, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

Mainly overcast, with light south-west winds and temperatures reaching 18 degrees C. During the morning seawatch, four Teal, 45 Common Scoters, a Red-throated Diver, 19 Manx Shearwaters, 194 Sandwich Tern and single Common Tern, Arctic Tern and Bonxie flew north. 

Elsewhere there were two Little Egrets, Little Ringed Plover, a Whimbrel, eight Dunlin, a juvenile Green Sandpiper, one Mediterranean Gull, a Cuckoo (Lighthouse) and eight Crossbills (South Landing). Four White-letter Hairstreak butterflies were located at South Dykes. 

White-letter Hairstreak, South Dykes, by Andrew Allport

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

The weather consisted of sunny intervals, a light/moderate north-westerly and temperatures reaching 16 degrees C. During the morning seawatch, 30 Common Scoters, ten Manx Shearwaters, a Little Egret, 29 Sandwich Terns and two Arctic Terns flew north.

Sightings from Thornwick Pools included a Little Egret, three Little Ringed Plovers, two Oystercatchers, ten Dunlin, a Snipe and an adult Mediterranean Gull. Notable sightings at other locations included four Bar-tailed Godwits off Beacon Hill, another Mediterranean Gull and a Short-eared Owl that flew west over Oceanview. A Nuthatch remained in South Dykes, where there were also three Goldcrests. 

Herring Gulls, Flamborough, by Don Hustings

Monday, July 20th, 2020

A light/moderate north-westerly veered northerly later on a largely overcast day, with temperatures peaking at 16 degrees C. The seawatch highlight was the year’s first Sooty Shearwater that flew north in the morning. It was accompanied by 28 Common Scoters, three Red-throated Divers, 36 Manx Shearwater and eight Sandwich Terns also all heading north.

Elsewhere, there were two Little Egrets, four Little Ringed Plovers, three Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, 27 Dunlin (20 Thornwick Pools, 7 South Landing), 59 Redshank (56 off Hartendale, 3 Thornwick Pools), seven Yellow Wagtails, a Lesser Redpoll and a Corn Bunting. A ringing session at South Landing resulted in 27 birds being trapped and ringed, including nine Chiffchaffs, four Blackcaps and a Garden Warbler. 

Little Ringed Plover, Thornwick Pools, by John Beaumont

Sunday, July 19th, 2020

A moderate north-westerly wind veered northerly mid-morning, with sunny intervals and temperatures reaching 15 degrees C. Seawatch highlights included two Mute Swans flying north (having rested on the sea off South Landing earlier), four Tufted Ducks and an Arctic Skua. Two juvenile Wheatears frequented suitable habitat near the Fog Station. Thornwick Pools hosted six Little Ringed Plovers, 29 Dunlin and two Redshank.

Mute Swans, South Landing, by June & Malcolm Fox

Mute Swans, Fog Station, by Steve Meredith

Saturday, July 18th, 2020

An overcast day, with light south-westerly winds, occasional light showers and temperatures reaching 19 degrees C. Seawatch highlights included ten Shelduck flying past the head, along with single Shoveler, Eider and 121 Common Scoters moving north. Three Red-throated Divers, 48 Oystercatchers, five Curlew, nine Knot, 76 Dunlin and 62 Redshank all flew south, with 123 Sandwich Terns and 11 Common Terns flying north.

Thornwick Pools hosted an Oystercatcher, four Little Ringed Plovers, 15 Dunlin, a Black-tailed Godwit and two Redshank; a Hobby overflew the site late afternoon. In addition, the North Marsh area attracted two Little Egrets and a Green Sandpiper, whilst a Greenshank flew south over the headland.

Little Ringed Plovers, Thornwick Pools, by Brett Richards

Friday, July 17th, 2020

A day of light/moderate west-south-westerly winds, sunny intervals and temperatures reaching 23 degrees C. Highlights of the morning’s seawatch included 226 Common Scoters, two Manx Shearwaters, 48 Sandwich Terns and four Arctic Terns flying north.

Thornwick Pools attracted four Little Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin. A Long-eared Owl hunted the cliff top near North Dykes pre-dawn, whilst three Marsh Harriers lingered in the Buckton area, where two Yellow Wagtails and two Corn Buntings were also recorded. White-letter Hairstreaks and Marbled Whites remained in the South Dykes area. 

Swallow, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

Giant Horntail, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

Thursday, July 16th, 2020

Another relatively overcast day, with light north-west winds and temperatures that peaked at 19 degrees C. During the seawatch, 128 Common Scoter, two Red-throated Divers, seven  Manx Shearwaters, two Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 75 Sandwich Terns flew north. 

Elsewhere, sightings included three Teal, three Little Egrets, four Little Ringed Plovers, two Dunlin, four Green Sandpipers, two Wheatear, a Siskin and four Corn Buntings on the outer head. Insect sightings from South Dykes included five White-letter Hairstreaks, a Marbled White and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth.

Wheatear, Fog Station, by Jo Hood

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

An overcast day, with light rain during the afternoon, light west-south-westerly winds and temperatures reaching 17 degrees C. A first-summer Sabine’s Gull flying north close inshore was the undoubted highlight of the morning’s seawatch. Two Shelduck, three Red-throated Divers, 18 Sandwich Terns, two Arctic Terns and a Bonxie flew north. 

Thornwick Pools attracted six Lapwings, three Little Ringed Plovers and two Dunlin. North Marsh and its immediate environs hosted two Little Egrets, a Wood Sandpiper, a Ringed Plover and a first-summer Mediterranean Gull. A Greenshank flew south over the headland, whilst there were three Whimbrel frequented South Landing. Passerine interest included two Crossbills.

A total of 64 birds were ringed including 53 Starlings and the Crossbill.

Crossbill, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

A relatively overcast day, with occasional sunny intervals, a light/moderate north-westerly wind and temperatures that reached 17 degrees C. Seawatch highlights included a Red-throated Diver, six Manx Shearwaters, eight Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Tern flying north. Thornwick Pools attracted five Little Ringed Plovers, five Lapwing, two Dunlin and a Green Sandpiper, whilst four Whimbrel frequented the beach between South Dykes and South Landing. Elsewhere, the ringtail Hen Harrier re-appeared at Speeton, a juvenile Cuckoo frequented RSPB Bempton Cliffs and two Crossbills were recorded: at Oceanview and South Dykes. 

Tawny Owl, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

Monday, July 13th, 2020

South-westerly winds strengthened during an overcast day, whilst temperatures also increased to peak at 18 degrees C. Seawatching was rewarded with 95 Common Scoter, a Red-throated Diver, two Manx Shearwaters, a Mediterranean Gull, the year’s first juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and 33 Sandwich Terns flying north; two Arctic Skuas lingered off the headland.

The day’s highlight related to the discovery of a Rosy Starling in the middle of the village; it then relocated to North Marine Road. Thornwick Pools hosted three Little Ringed Plovers, five Lapwings, two Dunlin, two Green Sandpipers and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull – the latter potentially the same individual seen earlier on the seawatch. Additional sightings included seven Little Egrets, another Green Sandpiper south over Oceanview, one Cuckoo, a Grey Wagtail and two Crossbill. 

A total of 29 birds were ringed including a Reed Warbler and two Sedge Warblers. 

Rosy Starling, Flamborough village, by Andrew Allport

Sunday, July 12th, 2020

Calm initially, a moderate south-easterly wind then established during the afternoon; prolonged sunny intervals and temperatures reached 17 degrees C. Highlights of the morning seawatch included 70 Common Scoter, a Red-throated Diver and single Arctic and Common Terns flying north. 

It proved to be a record day for Little Egrets: a tally of 10 birds included three on the outer head and a party of seven juveniles visited Thornwick Pools. A Short-eared Owl fed over grassland at Metlands, Bempton, where a Marbled White visited the reserve. 

Short-eared Owl, Bempton, by Kevin Groocock

Saturday, July 11th, 2020

Sunny intervals throughout, with light north-westerly winds and temperatures reaching 16 degrees C. Seawatch highlights included 133 Common Scoters flying north, two Red-throated Diver and an Arctic Tern south, with three Bonxies also moving north. Thornwick Pools attracted six Lapwings and three Little Ringed Plovers, with a juvenile Wheatear nearby. In addition, two Little Egrets and a Cuckoo were located on the outer head.

Peregrine, outer head, by John Beaumont

Friday, July 10th, 2020

A relatively overcast day, with spells of light rain mostly concentrated in the morning and temperatures peaked at 14 degrees C. Highlights of the morning seawatch included 125 Common Scoter, a Red-throated Diver, 17 Manx Shearwaters, 31 Sandwich Terns and a Bonxie flying north; 13 Oystercatchers, five Dunlin and an Arctic Skua flew south. 

Seven Little Egrets flew north: a party of four birds flew north over RSPB Bempton Cliffs and latterly Filey Bay, whilst a single on the seawatch was later followed by two birds together. Thornwick Pools attracted a Grey Heron, three Little Ringed Plovers and six Dunlin; a Green Sandpiper also overflew the pools. Additional sightings from Bempton included four Grey Partridges and two Yellow Wagtails.

Barn Owl, outer head, by Craig Thomas

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

An overcast day, with rain at first light, gentle north-easterly winds and temperatures that peaked at 13 degrees C. Seawatching was rewarded with two Velvet Scoters, 210 Common Scoters, 67 Manx Shearwaters, 16 Sandwich Terns, two Arctic Skuas and two Bonxies all flying north. Thornwick Pools attracted four Little Ringed Plovers, 28 Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper. A flock of 11 Black-tailed Godwits flew south over the headland, as did a lone Greenshank.

In addition, belated news for 19th June: a Rosy Starling frequented the YWT sheep field, at North Landing – the second of spring.  

Yellowhammer, Beacon Hill, by Brett Richards

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

The weather consisted overcast skies, a light north-east breeze and temperatures reaching 15 degrees C. Seawatch highlights included a Red-throated Diver, 158 Manx Shearwaters, 19 Sandwich Terns, two Common Terns, an Arctic Tern and two Bonxies all flying north.

Thornwick Pools hosted four Lapwing, four Little Ringed Plovers, a Dunlin and one Common Sandpiper, whilst a Hobby hunted over there in the morning. Two Little Egrets were seen on the outer head, with single Crossbills over the Fog Station and Oceanview. On the insect front, the Lighthouse Grassland again attracted a Dark Green Fritillary. 

Bee Orchid, Flamborough, by Andrew Allport

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

An overcast day, with light rain during the afternoon, light westerly winds and temperatures that reached 15 degrees C. During the morning seawatch, 19 Common Scoters, 212 Manx Shearwaters, eight Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua flew north.

Thornwick Pools hosted four Lapwing, a Little Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper. A juvenile Wheatear frequented South Landing and a Crossbill overflew nearby Oceanview. Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included a Tufted Duck, 23 Whimbrel and three Crossbill.

Swallows, Flamborough, by John McLoughlin

Monday, July 6th, 2020

A moderate wind veered from west to north during an overcast morning, with occasional sunny spells; brighter later, with temperatures reaching 16 degrees C. Seawatch highlights included eight Shoveler north, 55 Common Scoter south, two Great Crested Grebes north and a Crossbill in off, along with two Siskins. 

Thornwick Pools attracted single Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Common Sandpiper. A Little Egret visited North Marsh, where a Short-eared Owl was also present. Passerine interest on the outer head included a Black Redstart, juvenile Wheatear and a Crossbill.

The day’s highlight related to the discovery of a female Red-backed Shrike at RSPB Bempton Cliffs; two Little Egrets flying north-west, and juvenile Redstart and Wheatear were also on the reserve. Nearby, the Hen Harrier remained on the cliff top at Buckton.

In addition, a presumed escaped ‘Gyr-type Falcon’ was seen at Thornwick early morning.

Long-eared Owl, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by John Beaumont

Crossbill, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

Marbled White, South Dykes, by Andrew Allport

Sunday, July 5th, 2020

Near gale force westerly winds continued throughout a day of sunny intervals and occasional showers; temperatures peaked at 17 degrees C. The morning seawatch was quiet, with four Common Scoters and five Oystercatchers (the first passage birds post-breeding) flying south, with five Sandwich Terns heading north.

Thornwick Pools attracted Little Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper, whilst a Hobby flew over the village; three Siskins were also recorded, as was a Crossbill flying north-west along the cliffs at Bempton.

Grey & Common Seals, outer head, by Alan Walkington

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

A relatively overcast day after a damp start, with moderate south-west winds and temperatures reaching 18 degrees C. The morning seawatch featured two Tufted Duck, a Red-throated Diver, seven Manx Shearwaters and a Common Tern flying south, with 16 Common Scoters and an Arctic Skua moving north. 

Two Little Egrets and a Greenshank frequented North Marsh. A Hobby hunted the skies above Hartendale, whilst a juvenile Cuckoo was seen in Holmes Gut. With no sign of the albatross at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, the highlight there was a confiding Long-eared Owl. Nearby, a ringtail Hen Harrier hunted the cliff top grasslands at Buckton.

Long-eared Owl, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by John Beaumont

Peregrine, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Alan Walkington

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

The day started wet, with dryer interludes from late morning;  strong south-westerly winds developed during the afternoon.

The Black-browed Albatross showed well intermittently during the morning only. Initially circling Selwick’s Bay at 0610hrs, it then re-appeared at North Landing and Thornwick Bay, before relocating once again to RSPB Bempton Cliffs. Present there from 0650-0715hrs and again from 1100-1120hrs, it wasn’t seen again despite extensive searching. Additional records from Bempton included two Wigeon, ten Curlew, three Bonxies and a Cuckoo.

Seawatch sightings at the Fog Station included 319 Common Scoters flying north, with 19 Curlew and 19 Redshank south. Thornwick Pools attracted three Teal, two Little Ringed Plovers and two Dunlin, whilst a Hobby hunted the outer head.

Black-browed Albatross, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Andy Hood

Black-browed Albatross (composite unfortunately!), Selwick’s Bay, Flamborough

Black-browed Albatross, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Brett Richards

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

An adult Black-browed Albatross on the cliffs at RSPB Bempton Cliffs required no hyperbole; simply stunning. Initially seen cruising the cliff top at 1630hrs, it was soon relocated loafing amongst non-breeding Gannets before flying off north-west above cliff top height. A Long-eared Owl that hunted the cliff top grasslands provided some distraction for latecomers.

The morning’s seawatch at the Fog Station was more mundane, although 82 Common Scoters, 56 Manx Shearwaters and single Bonxie and Arctic Skua flew north.

Black-browed Albatross, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Craig Thomas

Black-browed Albatross, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Andy Hood

Black-browed Albatross, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Craig Thomas

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

An overcast day, with light winds generally from a westerly direction veering northerly later; temperatures peaked at 15 degrees C. During the morning seawatch, three Eider, 76 Common Scoters, a Red-throated Diver, five Manx Shearwaters, an Arctic Tern and a Bonxie all flew north. A Little Egret visited a pond on the southern edge of the village, whilst an adult Little Gull was located on the sea off High Stacks mid-evening.

Mediterranean Gull, outer head, by Andrew Allport (30/6)