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

Friday, January 31st, 2020

An overcast day, with a moderate west-south-westerly wind and temperatures that peaked at ten degrees C. Large numbers of birds fed off the Seawatch Observatory during the morning, including 650 Gannets, 155 Cormorants and tens of thousands of Guillemots; 168 Razorbills were also recorded. 

The day’s highlight was a Grey Phalarope that was located on Thornwick Pools mid-afternoon; a first for the site and certainly a major surprise, it was still present at dusk. Other notable sightings included two Mute Swans (North Marsh), the Russian White-fronted Goose, three Pink-footed Geese, three Shelduck, a Water Rail (Thornwick Pools), one Chiffchaff (Thornwick Pools) and a Grey Wagtail at South Dykes. Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included a Short-eared Owl

Grey Phalarope, Thornwick Pools, by Andy Hood

Thursday, January 30th, 2020

The weather consisted of largely overcast skies, south-west winds and temperatures that reached eight degrees C. Wildfowl interest included two Mute Swans, three Pink-footed Geese and the Russian White-fronted Goose. Thornwick Pools attracted two Shelduck and 11 Teal.

Grey Heron, Thornwick Pools, by Mike Smith

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

Relatively bright at first, increasing cloud arrived during the morning and a westerly wind built in strength throughout the day. Significant numbers of birds fed off the Seawatch Observatory during the morning, including 100 Gannets and 150 Cormorants; four Eiders flew south, with six Razorbills moving in the opposite direction. Hartendale/South Dykes attracted a Mistle Thrush, two Goldcrests, five Treecreepers, a Nuthatch, a Jay and 35 Yellowhammers. Three Short-eared Owls were present at RSPB Bempton Cliffs during the afternoon.

Nuthatch, South Dykes, by Craig Thomas

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

A relatively bright day, with a moderate south-westerly and temperatures that peaked at five degrees C. Sightings during a quiet seawatch included five Common Scoters, 28 Red-throated Divers, 191 Gannets, three Kittiwakes and two Razorbills. Three Pink-footed Geese, the White-fronted Goose and two Mute Swans frequented the headland. Single Jay and Nuthatch were located in South Dykes. 

Yellowhammer, by Kevin Groocock

Monday, January 27th, 2020

A bright day, with a moderate/strong south-south-west wind and temperatures reaching seven degrees C. During the seawatch, 160 Gannets flying past represented an increase; the Black Redstart also re-appeared at the Fog Station. Wildfowl interest on the headland included two Mute Swans, the Russian White-fronted Goose, three Pink-footed Geese, 35 Wigeon and a drake Pintail. 

Reed Bunting, North Marsh, by Rob Little

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

An overcast morning, with rain from early afternoon and a moderate south-westerly wind. Four Shoveler flew south during the morning seawatch, along with 70 Gannets, 56 Common Gulls, 32 Great Black-backed Gulls and 125 Herring Gulls. North Marsh and its immediate environs attracted three Pink-footed Geese, 36 Wigeon and 11 Teal, with two Shelduck and seven Teal at Thornwick Pools. The season’s first Gannet returned to the ledges at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, where a Short-eared Owl was also seen.

Red-throated Diver, Fog Station, by Brett Richards

Saturday, January 25th, 2020

An overcast day, with a south-westerly wind increasing in strength during the day, with temperatures reaching six degrees C. Relatively little flew past the headland during the morning’s seawatch, although a large feeding flock off South Stacks included 65 Gannets and 29 Cormorants. The Russian White-fronted Goose and three Pink-footed Geese remained on the outer head, whilst a Chiffchaff located was at Hartendale. 

Rock Pipit, Fog Station, by Brett Richards

Friday, January 24th, 2020

The weather consisted of light south-westerly winds, increasing amounts of sunshine and temperatures that reached eight degrees C. The seawatch was quiet, with three Shelduck flying south and 21 Purple Sandpipers in residence; in addition, the first-winter Black Redstart made one of its sporadic appearances around the Fog Station. North Marsh and its immediate environs attracted ten Pink-footed Geese, the Russian White-fronted Goose, two Shelduck, 25 Wigeon, 15 Teal and a Grey Heron. A Chiffchaff frequented a garden near South Landing.

Sparrowhawk, Flamborough village, by Rob Little

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

A day of light south-west winds, sunny intervals and periods of fog; temperatures reached seven degrees C. The highlight of the morning’s seawatch was a Black-throated Diver that flew south, whilst the long-staying Russian White-fronted Goose remained on the outer head. Eight Snipe along Water Lane represented the highest count for some time. 

Kestrel, Fog Station, by Brett Richards

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

A relatively overcast start, with brighter spells developing during a still day; temperatures reached seven degrees C. Although the seawatch was quiet, a Mistle Thrush at the Fog Station was an unusual visitor there. Wildfowl interest was provided by the White-fronted Goose and four Pink-footed Geese. Passerines at Thornwick included eight Meadow Pipits, 41 Goldfinch, 47 Linnet, and 38 Reed Buntings; a total of 14 new birds caught during a ringing session included three Starlings and four Reed Buntings. Three Short-eared Owls frequented RSPB Bempton Cliffs early afternoon. 

Starling, Flamborough village, by Jo Hood

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

Sunny throughout, with temperatures reaching seven degrees C after an overnight frost and light westerly winds. The White-fronted Goose and four Pink-footed Geese remained in residence, while passerine interest included a Grey Wagtail near Lighthouse Road.

Grey Seal, Fog Station, by Alan Walkington

Monday, January 20th, 2020

The weather consisted of prolonged sunny intervals, light westerly winds and temperatures that peaked at seven degrees C. During the morning’s seawatch, five Eider and 23 Red-throated Divers flew south. Passerine interest included 50 Magpies, a Mistle Thrush, 25 Reed Buntings (Thornwick) and seven Corn Buntings. Four Short-eared Owls frequented RSPB Bempton Cliffs during the afternoon. 

Short-eared Owl, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Kevin Groocock

Sunday, January 19th, 2020

A sunny day, with a light north-west wind and temperatures reaching five degrees C after an overnight frost. During the morning seawatch, a Black-throated Diver flew south. Sightings along Lighthouse Road included a Woodcock, one Grey Wagtail and ten Redwing; a Chiffchaff frequented Hartendale. In addition, two Short-eared Owls were at RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

Yellowhammer, outer head, by Craig Thomas

Saturday, January 18th, 2020

Sunny throughout, with light west-north-west winds and, after a frosty start, temperatures reached seven degrees C. The White-fronted Goose and three Pink-footed Geese remained in residence, a Water Rail frequented a pond immediately east of the village, whilst single Snipe and Jack Snipe were located near Thornwick Pools. Passerine interest included eight Redwing, 80 Linnets, 55 Reed Buntings, 70 Yellowhammers and 24 Corn Buntings. Two Short-eared Owls were at RSPB Bempton Cliffs during the afternoon. 

Grey Heron, Beacon Hill, by Brett Richards

Friday, January 17th, 2020

The weather consisted of light westerly winds, temperatures briefly touching eight degrees C in the morning, before heavy showers precipitated a drop to three degrees. During the morning seawatch, two Shelduck and a Wigeon flew south, 28 Red-throated Divers were seen off the Fog Station and 42 Razorbills represented a substantial increase. 

A Whooper Swan flew west over the village, the Russian White-fronted Goose and three Pink-footed Geese remained with the Greylag flock and 35 Wigeon were near North Marsh. Passerine interest included a Redwing and 28 Snow Buntings, the latter at Cattlemere. RSPB Bempton Cliffs hosted a Short-eared Owl, a Redwing and 40 Corn Buntings.

Shelduck, Thornwick Pools, by Kevin Groocock

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

Strong winds featured yet again, with southerlies, relatively overcast skies after a bright start and temperatures reaching seven degrees C. During the seawatch, five Kittiwakes and seven Razorbills represented a subtle increase on recent days, whilst at least 10,000 Guillemots were also present. Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included 114 Pink-footed Geese flying north, 89 Skylark, 95 Linnet and 110 Corn Buntings.

Sparrowhawk, Flamborough, by June & Malcolm Fox

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

The weather consisted of moderate/strong south-south-west winds, overcast skies in the morning, before brighter spells and temperatures that reached six degrees C. Five Pintail flying south during the morning’s seawatch were notable, as were 50 Purple Sandpipers frequenting the nearby rocky shores. Passerine interest included 80 Linnets and nine Corn Buntings at Thornwick.

Guillemot, Breil Nook, by Craig Thomas

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

Another day of strong south-south-west winds, rain during the latter half of daylight hours and temperatures that reached a mild 12 degrees C by dusk. The seawatch was quiet, with two Great Crested Grebes offshore, 20 Red-throated Divers, two Razorbill and four Kittiwakes.

Kestrel, Fog Station, by Alan Walkington

Monday, January 13th, 2020

Strong south-south-west winds increased in strength during an overcast day, with temperatures reaching eight degrees C. Seawatch highlights included single Pink-footed Goose and Gadwall flying south, together with 46 Red-throated Divers. The Black Redstart again appeared on the cliff top in front of the Seawatch Observatory. In addition, 60 Pink-footed Geese overflew the outer head and headed towards North Landing, whilst Thornwick Pools attracted a pair of Shelduck and a lone Coot. 

Coal Tit, South Landing, by Jo Hood

Sunday, January 12th, 2020

A day of predominantly light westerly winds and brighter spells developing after a band of rain; temperatures reached seven degrees C. Seawatch highlights included two Velvet Scoter and a Knot flying south. The White-fronted Goose and three Pink-footed Geese frequented fields near North Landing, whilst 27 Snow Buntings remained at Cattlemere. 

Black Redstart, Seawatch Observatory (10/1), by Phil Buxton

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

Cloudy, mild and dry all day. The strong south-westerly blew at force 7-8 all day. Maximum temperature 11°C.

At the Fog Station, apart from thousands of Guillemots, little passed though there was interest on the sea in the shape of 21 Red-throated Divers and a Great Crested Grebe while 10 Purple Sandpipers fed on the rocks.

The local goose flock still retained the adult White-front and 3 Pink-feet.  A lone Coot was at Thornwick Pools. 

Purple Sandpiper, High Stacks (Andy Hood)

Friday, January 10th, 2020

A chilly start, then a mainly dry, bright day with some lengthy spells of sunshine with a light to moderate westerly. Maximum temperature 8°C.

A White-fronted Goose and 4 Pink-feet were with the local gaggle of Greylags still and a further 9 Pink-feet flew over. A Merlin was hunting on the Outer Head and  a Black Redstart appeared on the cliff top path in front of the seawatching observatory. Buntings were again evidence with 28 Snow Buntings commuting between Cattlemere and North Marsh area while Lapland Buntings numbered 3 at Cattlemere and 5 over North Marsh. South Landing held 17 Turnstones and a lone Eider, a single Great Crested Grebe and a couple of Red-throated Divers were offshore there.

A single Barn Owl and 3 Short-eared Owls continued to hunt at Bempton Cliffs RSPB and a single Lapland Bunting flew over.

Snow Buntings, Cattlemere (Andrew Allport)

Thursday, January 9th, 2020

After overnight rain driven by strong easterly winds veering westerly, the day was overcast, with spells of lighter rain and a temperature that reached ten degrees C. The juvenile Iceland Gull flew past RSPB Bempton Cliffs early afternoon and re-appeared off the Seawatch Observatory two hours later. Thornwick attracted a pair of Shelduck, 60 Linnets and 21 Corn Buntings. Two Short-eared Owls and an additional 30 Corn Buntings frequented Bempton.

Kestrel, Lighthouse, by Brett Richards

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

The weather consisted of light westerly winds, overcast skies and temperatures that reached nine degrees C. Juvenile Glaucous and Iceland Gulls were present off the outer head during the course of the day. Elsewhere, one Whooper Swan, four Pink-footed Geese and a White-fronted Goose were present, together with 36 Wigeon, with a flock of 30 Lapland Buntings along the cliff top east of North Landing. RSPB Bempton Cliffs attracted two Short-eared Owls, a Snow Bunting and 48 Corn Buntings.

White-fronted Goose, Lighthouse Road, by Ian Howard

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

An overcast day, with spells of relatively light rain during the morning and a strong south-westerly wind; temperatures peaked at 12 degrees C. Single Great Northern Diver and Bonxie flew south during the morning seawatch. The Whooper Swan was still present, along with three Pink-footed Geese and the Russian White-fronted Goose. Although the favoured stubble field near North Marsh has now been ploughed, it still contained at least 42 Lapland Buntings and 20 Snow Buntings; 22 Snow Buntings were also present at Cattlemere. 

Lapland Bunting, outer head, by Andy Hood

Monday, January 6th, 2020

An overcast day, with a strong south-south-west wind and temperatures peaking at seven degrees C. Once again the seawatch was quiet, although two Puffins that flew south were notable. The Whooper Swan remained on the outer head, as did 37 Wigeon and 15 Teal; two Shelduck returned to Thornwick Pools, after an absence since late summer. The day’s highlight was a juvenile Iceland Gull that followed the plough on the northern side of the headland. After sightings in late 2019, a Jay in South Dykes indicated a wintering presence for the first time ever. Finally, 33 Lapland Buntings were again present on the northern side of the headland.

Iceland Gull, outer head, by Andrew Allport

Iceland Gull, outer head, by Andrew Allport

Sunday, January 5th, 2020

An overcast day, with a light south-west wind and temperatures reaching seven degrees C. Waterfowl interest included the Whooper Swan, 32 Wigeon and a Coot. Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included three Short-eared Owls, a Snow Bunting and 40 Corn Buntings.

Treecreeper, South Landing, by Jo Hood

Saturday, January 4th, 2020

The weather consisted of moderate westerly winds, sunny intervals and temperatures reaching nine degrees C. Seawatching was rewarded by a Great Northern Diver flying south. The Whooper Swan and at least five White-fronted Geese lingered on the outer head; a single White-fronted Goose also flew east over South Dykes early morning. A Nuthatch was located in South Dykes, whilst 25 Snow Buntings and five Lapland Buntings frequented stubble fields.

Greylag & Pink-footed Geese, outer head, by Andrew Allport

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

A strong north-north-westerly gradually relented during the day, with sunny intervals establishing after an overcast start. The seawatch was quiet, with 32 Red-throated Divers moving south and a Razorbill offshore.

A total of 30 Russian White-fronted Geese were present on the headland (flock of 27 and a group of three), along with three Pink-footed Geese and the Whooper Swan. Thirty-four Wigeon were a slight increase on recent days.  Two Woodcock and a Sanderling represented the most notable wader records, whilst passerine interest included a Chiffchaff, 25 Lapland Buntings, 38 Snow Buntings and a Corn Bunting. However, more significant numbers of the latter were seen at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, where there were 120 Corn Buntings mid-morning; a Short-eared Owl was also present there.

White-fronted Geese, outer head, by Andrew Allport

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

An overcast day, with moderate/strong south-south-west winds and temperatures reaching eight degrees C. During the seawatch, a Barnacle Goose, two Whooper Swans, a Gadwall, nine Golden Plovers and a Lesser Black-backed Gull flew south; 70 Turnstone and 40 Purple Sandpipers frequented the adjacent rocky shores.

Twenty-eight Russian White-fronted Geese came in off and landed on the outer head early afternoon; they were still present at dusk, with the flock consisting 23 adults and five juveniles. The long-staying White-front also remained, along with three Pink-feet. The Whooper Swan lingered in fields alongside Lighthouse Road, where 25 Golden Plovers and three Lapwing flew south, with a Chiffchaff nearby. 

Barnacle Goose, Fog Station, by Brett Richards

Wednesday, January 1st, 2020

Happy New Year from all at Flamborough Bird Observatory!

A better than average winter day with a tally of 95 species; in part, due to the improved coverage that the start of the year brings. A moderate south-westerly wind featured throughout, with heavily overcast skies at either end of the day sandwiching a spell of sunshine; temperatures reached five degrees C. 

The seawatch proved rewarding, with an appreciable (in the local context) passage of wildfowl, including ten Shelduck, 11 Shoveler, 18 Gadwall, 65 Wigeon, 14 Mallard, three Pintail, 75 Teal, five Pochard, two Tufted Duck, a Scaup, one Velvet Scoter and two Goldeneye; the vast majority of these moved south, with the tallies of Gadwall and Shoveler the observatory’s highest ever January counts. Two Dunlin and two Puffin also headed south. 

Wildfowl interest on the headland included the long-staying Whooper Swan, Russian White-fronted Goose and four Pink-footed Geese, together with 33 Teal and 28 Wigeon. A Woodcock was flushed from the cliff top near North Marsh, whilst 37 Curlew were also present. Passerine interest included 34 Redwing, 130 Tree Sparrows, 135 Yellowhammers, 50 Reed Buntings, 35 Lapland Buntings, 28 Snow Buntings and six Corn Buntings.

Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included a Merlin, two Short-eared Owls, one Stonechat, six Yellowhammers and 57 Corn Buntings.

Flamborough Lighthouse by Chrys Mellor