Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

After a calm start, a moderate northerly wind established  bringing ashore a sea fret that rendered birding difficult, especially along the northern edge of the headland. 

Thornwick Pools attracted a Little Stint, two Ruff, six Dunlin, a Redshank and two Green Sandpipers; ten Golden Plovers and two Snipe flew south. A Marsh Harrier headed west over the Gorse Field, whilst a juvenile Mediterranean Gull flew along the South Cliffs. The Greenish Warbler was present in Old Fall Hedge adjacent to the plantation early morning only, with the Icterine Warbler also there, but remaining elusive. Red-backed Shrikes lingered at North Landing and on the edge of the Gorse Field by the lighthouse. Other than increased numbers of Willow Warblers (36) and Lesser Whitethroats (19), there were scant signs of newly arrived passerines, with tallies of two ‘migrant’ Reed Warblers, two Garden Warblers, 12 Pied Flycatchers, a Redstart, two Whinchat and four Wheatears.  

Notable sightings at RSPB Bempton Cliffs included two Golden Plover, a Greenshank, 16 Willow Warblers, a Reed Warbler and two Pied Flycatchers.

Little Stint, Thornwick Pools, by Don Hustings

Red-backed Shrike, Gorse Field, by Ian Howard

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020

It was a foggy start with blustery northerly winds; conditions improved mid-morning, when sunshine and light easterlies established and temperatures reached 23 degrees C. The Little Stint continued in residence on Thornwick Pools, where there were also two Ruff, six Common Sandpipers, four Redshank and nine Green Sandpipers. Including the birds at Thornwick, a total of 11 Common Sandpipers and 21 Green Sandpipers were located on the headland. In addition, single Wood Sandpiper, Ruff and Grey Plover flew overhead. 

A Greenish Warbler located in the lighthouse bushes was a new arrival and shared the same few bushes with a Red-backed Shrike, also ‘fresh in’. Yesterdays Greenish Warbler (Old Fall) and Red-backed Shrike (North Landing) remained, but an Icterine Warbler at Old Fall was new. Other passerine migrant totals included three Garden Warblers, 14 Pied Flycatchers, five Whinchat, a Redstart, a Lesser Redpoll and two Crossbills.

Three Marsh Harriers frequented fields at Buckton, where there was also single Pied Flycatcher and Tree Pipit. A juvenile Mediterranean Gull and two Pied Flycatchers were recorded at nearby RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

Greenish Warbler, Old Fall, by Andrew Allport

Red-backed Shrike, Gorse Field, by Rob Little

Red-backed Shrike, North Landing, by Andy Hood

Pied Flycatcher, Flamborough village, by Rob Little

Monday, August 10th, 2020

The weather consisted of light winds veering from a northerly in the morning to north-east later, sunny throughout and temperatures peaked at 20 degrees C; classic drift migrant conditions that didn’t disappoint.

The seawatch highlight consisted a Cory’s Shearwater that flew south relatively close inshore – initially past RSPB Bempton Cliffs at 0836hrs and latterly past the Fog Station shortly afterwards. Other sightings included a Sooty Shearwater north, 311 Oystercatchers south, a Grey Plover, 18 Arctic Terns and 106 Common Terns; at least one White-beaked Dolphin was present offshore.

Thornwick Pools hosted two Ringed Plover, a Ruff, a juvenile Little Stint, six Dunlin, six Green Sandpipers, three Common Sandpipers and three Redshank; a flock of 13 Common Sandpipers also frequented the rocky shore near Hartendale. Two Marsh Harriers and a Hobby graced the skies over the outer head. Passerine migrants were headlined by a Greenish Warbler that graced Old Fall from early afternoon, showing best on the sheltered southern side of the wood in the willows. An Icterine Warbler was discovered mid-morning along Lighthouse Road, but proved elusive. Later in the day a Red-backed Shrike commuted from Thornwick to North Landing. Passerine totals included 17 Willow Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher, nine Pied Flycatchers, a Redstart, three Whinchat, six Yellow Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail.

In addition to the Cory’s Shearwater, sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included 218 Oystercatchers, ten Golden Plover, seven Whimbrel, a Curlew Sandpiper flying south-east, two Common Sandpipers, four Green Sandpipers, seven Willow Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher, two Whinchat, a Wheatear and 22 Yellow Wagtails.

Little Stint, Thornwick Pools, by Andy Hood

Greenish Warbler, Old Fall, by Craig Thomas

Red-backed Shrike, North Landing, by Andy Hood

Sunday, August 9th, 2020

The weather consisted of moderate north-easterly winds throughout, mainly overcast skies during the morning with sunshine in the afternoon; temperatures reached 19 degrees C.

Seawatch highlights included a Great Shearwater flying north past the Fog Station (1905-1910hrs), a Cory’s Shearwater north close inshore at 1545hrs, one Sooty Shearwater, 259 Manx Shearwaters, a Red-throated Diver, 43 Teal and 190 Common Scoter. Southbound wader passage past the Fog Station included an all time record 1358 Oystercatchers, together with three Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 24 Knot, 11 Sanderling, 19 Dunlin, 36 Redshank and a Greenshank. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew north along with 114 Sandwich Terns, 245 Common Terns and 43 Arctic Terns; 11 Arctic Skuas and five Bonxies were also logged.

A Hobby flew east over the village and a Marsh Harrier hunted fields at Buckton. Away from the sea, notable wader records included 17 Golden Plovers, a Grey Plover, one Ringed Plover (Thornwick Pools), 54 Curlew, a Ruff (Thornwick Pools), two Greenshank, two Wood Sandpipers (Thornwick Pools), 12 Green Sandpipers and a Common Sandpiper. A juvenile Cuckoo frequented Breil Nook, a Fieldfare at South Landing was an early returning migrant and a Whinchat graced Thornwick. A total of 36 birds trapped during a ringing session at South Landing included a Garden Warbler.  

Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included 21 Whimbrel, a Green Sandpiper, one Greenshank, 14 Willow Warblers, a Wood Warbler, one Whinchat and 26 Yellow Wagtails. 

Oystercatchers, Fog Station, by Craig Thomas

Wood Warbler, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Trevor Charlton

Saturday, August 8th, 2020

A day of strong northerly winds, sunny during the morning, overcast in the afternoon, whilst temperatures only reached 17 degrees C. Seawatch highlights included 57 Teal, 71 Common Scoter, 20 Manx Shearwaters north, 57 Oystercatchers south, ten Arctic Terns north, two Bonxies and five Arctic Skuas. A Merlin that initially flew north over the sea ‘U’-turned and headed south into Bridlington Bay and a Minke Whale swam south then north early evening. Passerine migrants included a Grey Wagtail and four Crossbills.

Eight Bar-tailed Godwits moved south-east over RSPB Bempton Cliffs, where there were also 14 Willow Warblers and a Pied Flycatcher.

Kestrel, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

Friday, August 7th, 2020

Light winds winds were south-easterly in direction for the most part during a sunny day, with temperatures reaching 23 degrees C. Seawatch highlights included a minimum of one juvenile Caspian Gull attending fishing boats  and an impressive count of 196 Whimbrels flying south. Additional records included a Shoveler, 17 Teal, a Goldeneye, 28 Manx Shearwaters and a juvenile Arctic Tern all moving south. 

Wader totals away from seawatching included a Golden Plover, nine Ringed Plover, four Whimbrel, a Knot, a Sanderling, ten Dunlin and three Green Sandpipers. Amongst increased numbers of passerine migrants there were 62 Willow Warblers, two Garden Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher, one Wheatear, a Lesser Redpoll and one Crossbill. 

Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included a Marsh Harrier flying south-east, four Golden Plover south, two Whinchat, two Wheatear, a Wood Warbler, 18 Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler, a Pied Flycatcher and 36 Yellow Wagtails (inc. 32 south-east). At least two Marsh Harriers hunted cliff top fields at Buckton. 

Small Red-eyed Damselfly, by Andrew Allport

Thursday, August 6th, 2020

A light wind from the south-west backed south-east in the afternoon of a day that featured sunny intervals and temperatures that reached 20 degrees C. During the seawatch, 66 Manx Shearwaters flew south, along with two Whimbrel, five Knot, 55 Dunlin and 50 Common Terns; 69 Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua flew north, whilst a juvenile Caspian Gull attending a fishing boat off the headland was a highlight. 

A ringing session at South Landing was rewarded with 46 birds being trapped and ringed, with notable records seven Willow Warblers, a Wood Warbler and a Tree Pipit.

Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included single Red Kite and juvenile Marsh Harrier, 120 Swallows, six Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler and seven Yellow Wagtails; a Minke Whale fed offshore. 

Kittiwake, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Don Hustings

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

A relatively overcast day, with a moderate south-westerly wind and temperatures that peaked at 22 degrees C. Seawatching was rewarded with 16 Teal, 42 Manx Shearwaters, ten Whimbrel, 30 Black-tailed Godwits (south), 16 Knot, 44 Dunlin, 55 Redshank, juvenile Yellow-legged and Mediterranean Gulls, 220 Sandwich Terns (north) and single Arctic Skua and Bonxie.

Thornwick Pools attracted 22 Dunlin, three Ringed Plovers and two Redshank, with a Hobby hunting over the Golf Course.

Wall butterfly, Hartendale, by June & Malcolm Fox

White-letter Hairstreak, South Dykes, by Andrew Allport

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

After a bright start, overcast skies dominated a day of increasingly strong south-west winds and temperatures peaking at a mere 17 degrees C. Seawatch highlights included 12 Teal flying south, 80 Common Scoters, a Sooty Shearwater, 41 Manx Shearwaters north, 11 Sanderlings south and a Bonxie north. Two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls lingered off the headland, often attending small fishing boats. Ten Harbour Porpoises represented an increase on recent days. 

Elsewhere, a second-summer Mediterranean Gull frequented South Landing, a Hobby was observed successfully hunting Swallows over Selwick’s Bay. Passerine migrants included 17 Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler and 26 Crossbills, the latter moving south over South Dykes in small groups. 

Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included a Hobby and a Short-eared Owl flying north-west, a Bonxie on the sea and nine Willow Warblers amongst a selection of migrant warblers.

Swallow, Thornwick Pools, by Rob Little

Monday, August 3rd, 2020

Light winds veered from the north-west to the south-east during a relatively bright day, whilst temperatures peaked at 15 degrees C. A Cory’s Shearwater that flew south past the Fog Station at 1845hrs provided the seawatch highlight. Other notable sightings included 36 Teal, a Blue Fulmar north, 43 Manx Shearwaters, 32 Whimbrel south, an Arctic Tern south and two Arctic Skuas south; a Minke Whale also fed offshore. A ringing session at South Landing was rewarded with 46 birds caught and ringed, including 11 Blackcaps, three Garden Warblers, five Chiffchaffs and three Willow Warblers. 

Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included a juvenile Marsh Harrier, a Reed Warbler, one Wheatear and ten Yellow Wagtails. 

Common Seals, Flamborough, by Alan Walkington

Sunday, August 2nd, 2020

A day of moderate west-south-westerly winds, sunny intervals and occasional light showers, with temperatures reaching 20 degrees C. Eighteen Common Scoters, 19 Sandwich Terns, 16 Common Terns and single Bonxie and Arctic Skuas flew north during the seawatch. 

Raptors were again to the fore, with a Red Kite drifting over the Dykes and latterly heading west over RSPB Bempton Cliffs and five Marsh Harriers flying south: three at Buckton included a male, one over Bempton and another over the Dykes. A Hobby also flew south-east through RSPB Bempton Cliffs, where a juvenile Mediterranean Gull moved north-west: grounded migrants there included four Blackcap and five Willow Warblers. The latter species was apparent at several locations including 25 birds present at Thornwick, whilst six Crossbills were also notable.

A ringing session at Thornwick was rewarded with a total of 75 birds being rung including 22 Willow Warblers, eight Reed Warblers, four Sedge Warblers and four Lesser Whitethroats. 

Reed Warbler, Thornwick, by Jo Hood

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

The weather consisted of light west-south-westerly winds and sunny intervals resulting in temperatures reaching 23 degrees C. During the seawatch, seven Teal, a Tufted Duck, two Velvet Scoters, 214 Common Scoters, 16 Whimbrel and an Arctic Skua flew south; 143 Sandwich Terns and three Common Terns moved north. In addition, a Minke Whale fed offshore, whilst a Little Egret flew past the Fog Station.

Thornwick Pools attracted four Teal, two Ringed Plover, six Dunlin, three Green Sandpipers, a Common Sandpiper and two Snipe. Two Green Sandpipers flew over the outer head, with a Wood Sandpiper heading south-east over RSPB Bempton Cliffs; 22 Whimbrels also flew south-east there. A total of seven Grey Herons flying west over the headland included two birds coming in off during the seawatch. 

It proved to be a fantastic day for raptors: a Honey Buzzard initially seen over RSPB Bempton Cliffs (1105hrs) was relocated circling over South Dykes before it drifted off west (1120hrs). A minimum of seven Red Kites visited the headland, with six over Bempton and another flew west over Flamborough village. At least three Marsh Harriers flew south-east over Bempton, whilst three Hobbies over Flamborough village represented a notable local count. A Short-eared Owl flew south-east over Bempton and latterly Flamborough village early evening.  

An influx of gulls was another feature of the day. The vast majority observed coming in off the sea from due east, then after making landfall, they flew west over the southern half of the headland to pass over Mid-/South Dykes; totals of 1225 Black-headed Gulls and 180 Common Gulls were logged. Interest along the outer head’s coastal path included a juvenile Cuckoo and a Wheatear.

Meadow Pipit, Thornwick, by Don Hustings

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)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

A relatively overcast day, with moderate south-west winds and temperatures that reached 17 degrees C. During the seawatch, 95 Common Scoter, a Red-throated Diver and 12 Manx Shearwaters flew south, with 17 Manx Shearwaters and two Bonxies heading north. A first-summer Mediterranean Gull lingered off the Fog Station; the latter had been ringed as a juvenile in the Netherlands in 2019, spent the winter in southern Spain and then returned north to Flamborough via Minsmere.  

Away from the sea, further interest was provided by single Hobby and Cuckoo, 1030 Swifts, the majority involving birds drifting south, two Crossbills and 23 Siskin.

Siskin, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

Monday, June 29th, 2020

Near gale force south-westerly winds once again on a day of overcast skies, light showers and temperatures that only reached 14 degrees C. The seawatch was quiet, with two Manx Shearwaters and a Grey Heron flying north and six Common Scoters and two Curlew moving south. Thornwick Pools attracted a Little Ringed Plover and four Dunlin.

Razorbill, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Alan Walkington

Sunday, June 28th, 2020

Near gale force south-westerly winds dominated an overcast day with squally showers and temperatures reached 16 degrees C. Raptors provided the highlights, with two Honey Buzzards coming in off the sea at the Fog Station in the morning; the first at 0730hrs and the second at 0830hrs. In addition, a Hen Harrier toured the headland during the afternoon.

Notable sightings during the morning’s seawatch included 15 Common Scoters, three Manx Shearwaters and 14 Curlews flying south, with an adult summer Mediterranean Gull and 12 Sandwich Terns heading north. For the second day running, a substantial movement of Swifts took place: 1590 flying south during the morning. 

Puffin, Flamborough, by Alan Walkington

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

Generally overcast, with occasional sunny intervals and squally showers; temperatures reached 16 degrees C. During the morning’s seawatch, two Shoveler, five Teal and five Manx Shearwaters flew south, with 40 Common Scoter and a first-summer Mediterranean Gull heading north. Thornwick Pools attracted single Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover and Dunlin.

A southerly movement of 878 Swifts took place during the morning, split between birds moving around the entire headland and others cutting down the Dykes. In addition, a Hobby flew south between Buckton and Speeton. A Marbled White was recorded for the second day running, when one was located at High Holme.

Kestrel, Flamborough, by Andy Hood

Friday, June 26th, 2020

The weather consisted of sunny intervals, temperatures reaching 19 degrees C in a light onshore breeze, with thunderstorms by the evening. 

Thornwick Pools attracted three Teal, three Little Ringed Plovers, a Ringed Plover and two Black-tailed Godwits. An Osprey flew south over the outer head mid-morning, when 16 Sandwich Terns moved in the opposite direction. A Willow Tit at Old Fall which sang briefly was a major surprise – a species that isn’t annual on the headland; a Grey Wagtail overflew the Fog Station. Butterfly interest included the Dark Green Fritillary for its second day and a Marbled White.

Dark Green Fritillary, Lighthouse Grassland, by Craig Thomas

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

Sunny throughout, with a light/moderate easterly breeze and temperatures reaching 19 degrees C. 

Eleven Shelduck flew south past the outer head, together with 93 Common Scoters, four Curlew and 33 Black-headed Gulls, whilst six Sandwich Terns headed north. Twelve Crossbills were present and a Corn Bunting frequented the outer head. However, the day’s most notable sighting related to a Dark Green Fritillary near the Seawatch Observatory. 

Whitethroat, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Jo Hood

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

A warm sunny day, with light east-south-easterly winds and temperatures reaching 18 degrees C. Birds on the move included five Shelduck, 27 Curlew, one Whimbrel, a Green Sandpiper and 452 Swifts. However, more notable still were 195 Siskins that flew south during the morning, with seven Crossbills also moving in the same direction along the Dykes. Ten species of Odonata included two Red-veined Darters

Red-veined Darter, Flamborough, by Andrew Allport