Wednesday, 1st October, 2014

A fine, warm and clear day with light to moderate south-westerly winds and sunshine for most of the day. The seawatch produced 6 Sooty Shearwater and 5 Manx. 1 Arctic Skua moved north and 1 Pomarine Skua south in the afternoon. Little Gull numbers dropped today with only 21 south and 54 north. Northcliff Marsh is proving to be a good roost site for freshwater ducks with good water levels this autumn. 83 Mallard, 38 Wigeon, 12 Teal and 1 female Pintail were present at dawn. On Thornwick Pool 18 Teal, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Snipe and 2 Dunlin. At least 2 Water Rails were calling again here early morning. A count of 10 Kestrel continued the excellent autumn for this species. 2 Merlin were also recorded on the Outer Head.

The Yellow-browed Warbler was present again by the Lighthouse along with a female redstart. 3 Redwing and a Brambling were in Holmes Gut early morning. There were 3 Great-spotted Woodpeckers on the Outer Head and 1 on the cliff top by Little Thornwick.

Male Great-spotted Woodpecker Thornwick cliff top, Richard Baines
Male Great-spotted Woodpecker Thornwick cliff top, Richard Baines

Thursday, 2nd October, 2014

Calm weather continued but the wind switched from south-west to a light northerly overnight and consequently improved the seawatch results! A Black Guillemot flying south at 0941 was the highlight, the first records of the year for the Observatory. All 4 species of Skua were recorded with 4 Long-tailed, 1 Pomarine, 10 Arctic and 3 Great. 2 Sooty and 28 Manx Shearwater moved north along with a single Balearic Shearwater. It was another good day for small gulls offshore the highlight being an adult Sabines Gull south at 1737. Little Gulls continue to feed in the calm conditions with 69 recorded south and 96 north. It was also another good day for Black-headed Gull passage with 3,330 logged.

There were very few new passerine migrants today. The Yellow-browed Warbler  remained by the Lighthouse with a single Redwing. A Merlin was recorded near Head Farm.

Diving Gannets off Bempton RSPB, Steve Race
Diving Gannets off Bempton RSPB, Steve Race

Friday, 3rd October, 2014

A change in weather conditions today with cooler stronger winds from the south west but still mild and dry for the time of year. The morning seawatch was again productive with the highlight being a second calendar year Sabines Gull north at 0935. Little Gull numbers increased again with 2186 all moving north slowly and feeding today, 7 Common Tern and 6 Arctic Tern represented typical numbers seen daily this week. 3 Sooty and 11 Manx Shearwaters were seen along with a good variety of ducks: 100 Wigeon, 28 Teal, 2 Mallard, 1 Pintail, 90 Common Scoter and 1 Red-breasted Merganser. 2 Pomarine Skua were recorded along with 2 Arctic and 4 Great Skua. Small numbers of waders were on the move with Bar-tailed Godwit, Snipe, Dunlin, Grey Plover and Curlew recorded.

Great Skua, Richard Baines
Great Skua, Richard Baines

Saturday, 4th October, 2014

The day started with moderate south-south-easterly winds and darkening clouds as the first rain for several weeks approached. After moderate rain, westerly winds and clear weather ended the day. The large number of Little Gulls continued to dominate the morning seawatch with 2145 moving north and 77 south. This mass feeding helped once again produce a Sabines Gull south at 0833 followed by another sighting of a juvenile which roosted on the sea off the Fog Horn at 1730. It was another good Skua day with 7 Pomarine, 1 Long-tailed, 17 Arctic and 9 Great recorded. Red-throated Divers were again on the move after a quiet few days with 33 south and 2 north. The variety of ducks were up with 8 species seen including 4 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, 1 Pochard and 5 Pintail. 15 Manx Shearwater moved south but only 1 Fulmar was logged in 8.20 hours!

At Thornwick Pool, Water Rail and Little Grebe were still present along with 3 Snipe. A Yellow-browed Warbler on the Outer Headland was considered a new bird continuing the good run of daily sightings for this species.

Fulmar, Richard Baines
Fulmar, Richard Baines

5th October 2014

Weather was sunny throughout the day with a light SW wind, turning SSE.

The sea watch produced 1 Balearic, 13 Sooty and 14 Manx Shearwater, 4 Pom and 24 Arctic Skua. Another impressive count of Little Gull saw 2166 going north. 4 Dark-bellied Brent and 3 Pintail were also noted along with 2 Short-eared Owl heading north.

On the land, Jays provided the most excitement with at least 8 birds recorded (5 south landing, 4 Gorse field). Thornwick pool held Little Grebe and snipe.

Short-eared Owl. Martin Garner
Short-eared Owl. Martin Garner

6th October 2014

Weather conditions were difficult with a strong SSE wind and constant rain from 9:30am onwards. The sea watch again produced the days highlights. A notable passage of wildfowl included; 16 Pintail, 188 Teal, 321 Wigeon and 2 Velvet Scoter. 1 Balearic, 22 Manx shearwater, 1 Pom and 11 Arctic Skua and 3 Arctic Tern were also recorded. Little Gull numbers dropped dramatically to just 21. Another 1st calendar year Caspian Gull was off the fog station during the morning. 80 Dark bellied Brent were off south landing along with 2 Little gull. Thornwick pool again held single Little grebe, 39 Teal, 2 Dunlin and 4 Snipe.

juv Little gull

Little Gull, Martin Garner

wigeon and pintail

Wigeon and Pintail, Martin Garner

7th October 2014

Fog during the morning, with scattered showers and a strong SW wind produced a notable arrival of passerines. 3 Yellow browed warbler were new on the outer headland, whilst a large pipit species was seen to fly west over cattlemere but was not relocated. Song Thrush were present in particularly high numbers with a minimum count of 460. 18 Brambling, 2 Redwing, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Reed warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Woodcock, 4 Lapwing, 3 Grey Wagtail and at least 22 Rock Pipit were also recorded. A Merlin was on the outer head.

High numbers of wildfowl were again moving south during the sea watch including; 402 Dark bellied Brent, 1398 Wigeon (plus 54 north), 2 Gadwall, 462 Teal, 15 Pintail, 2 Shovler, 2 Tufted duck and 1 Scaup. 2 Jack Snipe, 28 RT Diver, 1 Manx, 23 Little Gull and 3 Great Skua were also seen.


Dark bellied Brents, Martin Garner

8th October 2014

Weather was sunny for most of the day with brief showers early afternoon. A stong SW wind began to ease during the afternoon. There was a further arrival of passerines during the day. Highlights included 6 Yellow browed Warbler (2 outer head, 2 old fall, 1 Thornwick, 1 Booted gully), 1 Firecrest (old fall), 1 Ring ouzel (Booted gully), Black redstart (Thornwick) and a Snow bunting (over gorse field). Jays were again mobile around the headland with a minimum of three birds recorded. Song Thrush numbers were noticeably lower than the previous day though Redwing increased to 15. 1 Merlin, 6 Brambling, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow warbler, 1 Reed warbler, 5 Blackcap, 3 Wheatear, 9 Redpoll and 12 Goldcrest were counted. A British race Treecreeper near north landing was unusual for this location. 3 Mistle Thrush on wires north of lighthouse road was also noteworthy.

The sea watch produced a single Scaup, 286 Little gull north (plus 14 south), 9 Pink footed geese and 6 Dark bellied Brent. Presumably the same flock of Brent were later in fields by north marsh along with a single Barnacle and 2 pink feet. A further two Brents were off south landing.

An additional Yellow browed warbler was present on the cliff top at Bempton, along with 2 Wheatear. Buckton held a single whinchat.


Firecrest, Lee Johnson


Redwing, Andrew Allport

male Ring ouzel Booted G 8.10.14

Ring ouzel, Martin Garner

9th October 2014

Weather was generally sunny with scattered showers in the afternoon. Wind was again a strong south westerly. Though many passerines had moved on, 3 Yellow browed warbler were seen. This inlcuded a new individual in the lighthouse bushes. A single whinchat at North Marsh was also notable. Other passerine totals included; 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 3 Goldcrest and 2 Grey wagtail.

The single Barnacle Goose was again near North Marsh along with 6 Dark bellied Brent and 2 Pink feet. A further 120 Pink footed geese flew south. 2 Pomarine Skua flew north on the sea watch, with 4 Great Skua, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 405 Little Gull (324 north, 81 south) and 30 Red throated Diver.

Teal numbers on Thornwick pool built up to 52, with 12 others at North marsh. The Little Grebe remained on Thornwick pool.


Whinchat, Andy Hood


Song Thrush, Richard Baines

10th October 2014

Weather was sunny for most of the day, with scattered heavy showers late afternoon. Wind was a moderate south westerly.

Highlight of the day was an Ortolan Bunting, seen briefly in Holmes Gut late morning. 6 Yellow browed Warbler included singles at Thornwick CP, Old fall plantation and North Marsh, with 3 on the outer head. The Firecrest remained in Old fall plantation. A single Snow Bunting flew over the headland during the morning. Other passerine totals included 2 Whinchat, 2 Wheatear, 5 Brambling, 6 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, 2 Whitethroat, 12 Goldcrest, 4 Siskin and a Grey Wagtail. There was a notable movement of Tree Sparrow, with at least 150 birds passing the outer head during the morning. Small numbers of hirundines were on the move with 4 House Martin and 3 Swallow. Merlin and Buzzard were also recorded.

A Great Northern Diver flew south during the morning sea watch, along with 31 RT Diver, 2 Velvet Scoter, 2 Dark bellied Brent, 1 Pomarine Skua, 1 Arctic Skua, 10 Great Skua, 10 Little Gull and 3 Sandwich Tern. However the best bird was a single Grey Phalarope which flew south at 16:10.

Geese were again on the move with at least 210 Pink feet recorded. 2 Barnacle Geese were again near North Marsh. The first Whooper Swans of the autumn were also seen with flocks of 6 and 22 heading south.

Buckton held 2 Whinchat and 2 Barnacle Geese flew west.

Tree 3

 Tree Sparrows, Martin Garner

11th October 2014

Weather was sunny throughout, with a light SW wind. A Red breasted Flycatcher was new in, along the hedge running south from the lighthouse and showed well throughout the day. 4 Yellow browed Warbler included birds still at Thornwick and old fall plantation. Other passerine totals included 1 Garden warbler, 10 Blackcap, 2 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat and 1 Lesser Redpoll. Chiffchaff numbers increased with 17 birds recorded. The good passage of Jay over recent weeks continued, with 4 birds passing old fall and a single in Whelkie Wynds. 4 Swallow and a House Martin were also seen.

Wildfowl movements included at least 310 Pink footed geese south (plus 5 on North Marsh), 6 Whooper Swan, 2 Dark bellied Brent and 3 Barnacle Geese. Sea watch highlights included 1 Sooty shearwater, 1 Pomarine Skua, 6 Great Skua and 12 Little Gull. 7 Little Grebe across the headland represented a particularly high count for the species.

Buckton recorded a Long-eared Owl around the Heligoland trap early morning, 4 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Redwing and 530 Pink footed geese (5 flocks). A Little Owl was calling here overnight near the paddocks off Hoddy Cows Lane.


Red breasted Flycatcher, Lee Johnson

Whooper Swans 003edited

Whooper Swans, Andy Hood


Yellow browed Warbler, Lee Johnson

12th October 2014

A light SW wind during the morning swung around to a north easterly by mid afternoon. Weather was sunny throughout.

A Radde’s Warbler was found early morning in the gorse field and showed well throughout the day. A Siberian Chiffchaff was also new in, located late afternoon in the hedge south of the lighthouse. 3 Yellow browed warbler were still present including birds at Thornwick and old fall plantation. Other passerines included 4 Brambling, 1 Garden warbler, 6 Blackcap and 5 Chiffchaff. 2 Swallow flew south.

4 Whooper Swan passed over Grange farm. The sea watch was fairly quiet with 14 Red Throated Diver, 7 Little Gull, 2 Great and 1 Arctic Skua.

At Buckton 550 Pink-footed Geese flew SE (4 flocks), 11 Whooper Swans went S and 3 Stonechat were caught and ringed.


Radde’s Warbler, Lee Johnson


Siberian Chiffchaff, Martin Garner

13th October, 2014

A contrast with the weather today compared with yesterday. A northerly strong wind bringing rain throughout much of the day and cooler.

The morning sea-watch produced some great birds with the highlight being a Brunnich’s Guillemot past, 7 Little Auk, 20 Pomarine Skua, 120 Great Skua, 10 Manx Shearwater, 6 Sooty Shearwater, “Blue” Fulmar, 6 Velvet Scoter, Brent Goose (2 pale-bellied and 5 dark-bellied) and 6 male Eider. Additional sea records later had 15 Little Gull past 20 Common Scoter and a Bar-tailed Godwit.

500 Redwing were inland as well as 3 Yellow-browed Warbler, 1 Red-breasted Flycatcher, 2 Black Redstart, 2 Brambling, 4 Chiffchaff and 9 Goldcrest.

Interesting weather patterns follow the next few days which may bring in further migrants.

Juvenile Pomarine Skua and Shag by Martin Garner
Juvenile Pomarine Skua and Shag by Martin Garner

Tuesday 14th October, 2014

Another day of strong north-easterly winds but plenty of dry weather meant migrant birds were found across many parts of the Outer Headland producing an excellent variety of birds.

With most people concentrating on birds on the land there were only a couple of short sea-watches which produced 2 Long-tailed Skua, 7 Pomarine Skua, 10 Great Skua, 13 Little Auk, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 9 Red-breasted Merganser, 103 Little Gull and 20 Eider. The first Goldeneye of the autumn flew north.

A Radde’s Warbler was present in the gorse-field near the lighthouse, presumably the same bird since Sunday pinned down by the bad weather. North Marsh had 90 Teal and 35 Wigeon but the hedges and fields around the headland produced an excellent mix of migrants. 3 Yellow-browed Warbler, Holmes Gut, Old Fall and Booted Gully 2 Long-eared Owl, 2 Short-eared Owl, 3 Jack Snipe, 2 Great-grey Shrike one in Old Fall hedge and 1 at Hartendale, one or two Shore Lark close to Booted Gulley, Siberian Chiffchaff in Old Fall, 15 Chiffchaff, at least 8 Ring Ouzel, 50+ Brambling, 16 Blackcap, 100+ Redwing, 2 Fieldfare, and 100+ Goldcrest.

Buckton had Yellow-browed Warbler, 4 Brambling, 10 Redwing, 2 Ring Ouzel, Swallow, Whitethroat, 5 Stonechat, Siskin, 5 Chiffchaff, and 100 Goldcrest,

Long-eared Owl Flamborough Outer Headland by Richard Baines
Long-eared Owl Flamborough Outer Headland by Richard Baines
Great-grey Shrike by Alan Walkington
Great Grey Shrike by Alan Walkington
Redwing by Richard Baines
Redwing by Richard Baines

15th, October, 2014

An excellent birding day with lots of good birds! The day started with a north east wind dropping in speed from the previous two days to a force 5, the majority of the day staying dry. By the end of the day the wind switched to an easterly direction. The seawatch was again full of diversity. A Black Guillemot north at 0903 was the highlight with single Great Northern and Black-throated Diver, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 9 Velvet Scoter (4 south, 5 north) 4 Pomarine Skua, 3 Long-tailed Skua, 2 Mediterranean Gull and 1 Little Auk. Little Gulls continue to be seen with 292 north of which 286 were adults.

Up to 4 Grey Phalaropes were recorded 1 off Smithick cliff, south of the Lighthouse at 0850 followed by a further 3 at South Landing on the sea between 1030 and 1122! Duck numbers gathered on the sea off Booted Gulley late in the day with Goldeneye, Long-tailed Duck, 3 Pintail and 5 Velvet Scoter recorded.

On the land the bird of the day was a Little Bunting found at Holmes Gut. 2 Barred Warblers were also new with 1 in Old Fall late afternoon. The Shore Lark was again in ploughed fields on the south cliffs. Red-breasted Flycatcher, Siberian Chiffchaff and Great Grey Shrike continued to show well in Old Fall along with numbers of common migrants and a late Garden Warbler. Up to 4 Yellow-browed Warblers were recorded with 1 at Hartendale and up to 3 at South Landing, A Lapland Bunting was found near Booted Gulley, a Snow Bunting near Old Fall and a Black Redstart at South Landing. Other migrant totals included 4 Ring Ouzel, 2 Redstarts and 1 Jay.

At Buckton 5 Ring Ouzel (1 caught and ringed), 2 Fieldfare, 40 Redwing, 4 Brambling, Wheatear, 5 Stonechat, 1st W Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Redpoll, Woodcock, 3 Chiffchaff, 82 Goldcrest were ringed and Short-eared Owl were present.

Great Grey Shrike Old Fall by Richard Baines
Great Grey Shrike Old Fall by Richard Baines
Goldcrest by Martin Garner
Goldcrest by Martin Garner
Shore Lark by Tony Dixon
Shore Lark by Tony Dixon

16th, October, 2014

A day of change in the weather started with ESE winds with rain gradually veering south-west by the end of the day as the rain cleared to leave sunny calm conditions. The seawatch was much quieter than recent days the only highlight being 1 Pomarine Skua.

With good numbers of birders covering the land there were some good birds around. The day started with flocks of Redwing arriving in the rain with many flocks of 1-200 in size. It was a good day for Ring Ouzel with up to 30 recorded in the Flamborough area and 3 at Bempton RSPB. The bird of the day was a Short-toed Lark at Thornwick joining the Shore Lark on the Headland which remained near South Landing. 2 Firecrest were also new including 1 ringed in Old Fall Plantation. The Great Grey Shrike remained on Old Fall. Other migrant totals included 5 Yellow-browed Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 1 eastern type Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Jay, 1 Black Redstart, 2 Woodcock.

The male Long-tailed Duck showed well on the sea off Booted Gulley with a Scaup flying east early in the morning. 2 Dark-bellied Brent Geese also flew east. 3 Goldeneye were on Thornwick Pool. At the end of the day a Long-eared Owl flew in off the sae by the Fog Station.

Birds at Buckton included 4 Ring Ouzel, 3 Goldeneye east, 250 Redwing, 100 Song thrush, Tree Pipit, 2 Chiffchaff, Woodcock, 6 Blackcap, 30 Goldcrest, 2 Stonechat and a Short-eared Owl hunting at dusk.

Short-eared Owl Buckton by Paul Reed
Short-eared Owl Buckton by Paul Reed
Ring Ouzel Buckton by Paul Reed
Ring Ouzel Buckton by Paul Reed

17th, October, 2014

Light southerly winds and clear skies dominated the day with no rain. The morning seawatch recorded a good variety of species in small numbers with a light passage of waders, ducks, skuas and terns. 3 Pintail and 2 Goldeneye flew south along with 5 Grey Plover and 18 Knot. A Red-necked Grebe was on the sea off the Fog Station and a Short-eared Owl came in off the sea.

On the land the highlight of the day was a Pallas’s Warbler found at Thornwick and Sea Farm Holiday Centre. Also in the Thornwick area were 2 Yellow-browed Warblers with another 1 in Old Fall, 1 Selwicks Bay, 1 in Hartendale and 1 at Bempton. A Black Redstart was at the big house at Thornwick with another at South Landing. The Great Grey Shrike remained on Old Fall with another bird seen in hedges west of by Danes Dyke entrance. Also at old Fall was a Firecrest. Short-eared Owls were again recorded with 1 in Millenium Wood and 1 over the Golf Course. 300 Tree Sparrow were counted over the Gorse Field early a.m. 3 Whooper Swan flew south at Bempton. Additional migrant records included 1 Whitethroat, 2 Swallow, 1 Garden Warbler and 3 Ring Ouzel.

Two rare micro moths both new for Flamborough were trapped near the Lighthouse a Rusty Dot Pearl and an Olive Tree Pearl.

Pallas's Warbler Thornwick by Lee Johnson
Pallas’s Warbler Thornwick by Lee Johnson
Olive Tree Pearl by Martin Garner
Olive Tree Pearl by Martin Garner
Rusty Dot Pearl by Martin Garner
Rusty Dot Pearl by Martin Garner

18th, October, 2014

A mild, dry and breezy day with a southerly wind veering south west. The morning seawatch followed a similar pattern to the previous day with a high number of species 41 recorded mostly in small numbers. The highlights were 2 Long-tailed Skua and a Goosander a scarce species this autumn. 11 species of wildfowl was a good tally including a good passage of 15 Tufted Duck.

On the land migrants continued to arrive in small numbers with thrushes, starlings and lapwings the main movers. The Pallas’s Warbler was found again at Thornwick along with a Yellow-browed Warbler and a Brambling. 3 Ring Ouzel were in the Thornwick/North Marine road area and a short-eared Owl above North Marine Road

2 Velvet Scoter were again on the sea off South Dykes along with the male Long-tailed Duck off South Landing. A little Stint was a late record at Thornwick joining the Water Rail and a Little Grebe.

Male & Female Stonechat Buckton by Paul Reed
Male & Female Stonechat Buckton by Paul Reed

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

A F5 south south westerly increasing to a blustery F6-7 later in the day. Wildfowl and gulls very much the theme for seawatching which included seven Wigeon, ten Teal and singles of Long-tailed Duck and Goldeneye all south. In addition, 252 Little Gull, 204 Common Gull and a single 1cy Mediterranean and Caspian Gull recorded south were the highlights.

Very quiet on land with the excepting of a Great Grey Shrike found in the dell at Buckton. Also there were small numbers of Redwing and Song Thrush, as well as c.20 Goldcrest.

Thornwick birds included 14 Teal, 17 Mallard, one Little Grebe and five Snipe. A Buzzard was seen over Danes Dyke being mobbed by two Carrion Crow.

Great Grey Shrike at Buckton, by Paul Reed
Great Grey Shrike at Buckton, by Paul Reed
Common Buzzard over Danes Dyke by Paul Reed
Common Buzzard over Danes Dyke by Paul Reed

Monday, October 20th, 2014

A cooler west south westerly F5, with showers across the headland mid-morning. Seawatching highlights were Pomarine, Arctic and three Great Skua south, one north. Juvenile Sabine’s Gull, Mediterranean, 160 Little, 211 Common and 123 Black-headed Gull south. But the star bird was a Pallid Swift seen flying in off at 1642 hrs but sadly wasn’t relocated.

At Thornwick Pool were three each of Jack and Common Snipe, 13 Teal, 10 Mallard, one Little Grebe and a male Great Spotted Woodpecker. A single Yellow-browed Warbler was still present near the recycling centre.

Other birds include a male Ring Ouzel along the hedge at Old Fall plantation late afternoon, a Merlin was on the outer head as were a flock of 12 Twite and c.30-40 Goldcrest. A skein of 85 Pink-footed Geese flew south over the headland and at South Landing there was a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and an adult male Long-tailed Duck.

Curlew Sandpiper 015edited
Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper at Sth Landing by Andy Hood

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Ex-hurricane Gonzalo still packed a bit of a punch as it reached the east coast. West north westerly winds for much of the day, ranging between F6-8, were felt across the headland. A fairly quiet seawatch compared to previous days which included three Pink-footed and two Dark-bellied Brent Geese south, three Arctic, two Great and a single juvenile Pomarine Skua south. Ten Little Gull south (52 north) and a Grey Phalarope north complete the highlights.

South Landing still attracted the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, feeding with four Redshank, two Sanderling, a Curlew and a Grey Wagtail also there. A cracking Little Gull was hanging out amongst the Black-headed Gulls.

A late Barn Swallow was seen over Head Farm sheep field this morning, and at Thornwick Pool five Teal and the Little Grebe remained; Mallard numbers increased to 23.

Little Gull at South Landing, by Rich Baines
Little Gull at South Landing, by Rich Baines

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

West north west F4, switching to west south west F5 as the day progressed. Seawatching picked up after yesterday with a fine selection on offer… moving south unless otherwise stated were 12 Wigeon, 12 Mallard, Red-breasted Merganser, 30 Red-throated Diver (three north), Great Northern Diver, Black-throated Diver (a sum plum north), Manx Shearwater (five north), Sooty Shearwater north, 10 Pomarine Skua (two north), eight Arctic, two Long-tailed and 109 Great Skua (two of the latter north) and eight Little Gull north were the best bits.

Thornwick Pool saw four Common Snipe, Little Grebe, nine Teal and Mallard numbers reached 25.

South Landing still held the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and male Long-tailed Duck. Also there were ten Redshank, two Sanderling, two Ringed Plover, two Curlew and one Bar-tailed Godwit. Nearby were 16 Turnstone and eight Oystercatcher completing the wader fest.

Sanderling at South Landing, by Rich Baines
Sanderling at South Landing, by Rich Baines

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

South south west F5, temperatures started off cool but increased to a mild 14°C as the day progressed. Seawtching dropped off, compared with yesterday, with Red-necked Grebe and Long-tailed Duck recorded south; Arctic Skua, 12 Great Skua and 231 Little Gull north were the highlights.

At Thornwick Pool, Mallard numbers reached 35! Also there were nine Teal and singles of Little Grebe and Water Rail.

Elsewhere, a Snow Bunting and two Stonechat near the Lighthouse and seven Twite were on the headland. A 1w Yellow-legged Gull was in a field at Old Fall with a Mistle Thrush in Old Fall hedge. A Mistle Thrush was also seen at the golf course as was a Jay. South Landing birds included Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, two Curlew, eight Turnstone, Dunlin, 14 Oystercatcher, 12 Redshank, Merlin, Grey Wagtail, Jay and the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper continued its stay.

Snow Bunting near Lighthouse, by Andrew Allport
Snow Bunting near Lighthouse, by Andrew Allport
Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper at South Landing, by Alan Walkington
Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper at South Landing, by Alan Walkington

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Bird(s) of the day were five Bearded Tit which flew north over Northcliff Marsh – a local MEGA. The Snow Bunting and two Stonechat remained on the outer head, Twite numbers increased to 33 and five Little Gull flew south past the Fog Station.

Eleven Whooper Swan flew over Thornwick and on Thornwick Pool the Water Rail lingered. A Barn Owl was also nearby.

The juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was still loitering at South Landing, as was a Grey Wagtail. At Grange Farm were 40 Pink-footed Geese.

Twite at Breil Nook, by Rich Baines
Twite at Breil Nook, by Rich Baines

Saturday, October 26th, 2014

Continued south south westerly’s, a gentle F3 rising to F5 as the day went on, averages of 10°C across the headland. South-bound birds recorded today include 14 Red-throated Diver, Mute Swan (locally scarce), Brent Goose (Dark-bellied), 36 Mallard and two Great Skua; north-bound movement saw a juvenile Pomarine Skua, Arctic Skua and 350 Little Gull (ten south).

The Snow Bunting and charm of 33 Twite were still present near the Lighthouse. At Thornwick Pool two Bearded Tit were noted, as were four Jack Snipe. Also in the Thornwick area was a fem/1w type Black Redstart.

Seven Whooper Swan flew south over South Landing; also there amongst the mixed wader flock the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and Bar-tailed Godwit remain.

Bar-tailed Godwit at South Landing, by Alan Walkington
Bar-tailed Godwit at South Landing, by Alan Walkington

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

South south westerly’s reaching F6, dropping toward the end of the day, mean temperatures of 11°C. Seawatching highlights recorded two Black-throated Diver north, 33 Whooper Swan south, two Goosander south, three Arctic Skua south, four Great Skua north, an adult winter Mediterranean Gull south and 20 Little Gull south (38 north).

Late hirundines in the form of two Swallow and a House Martin flew over North Landing; the Snow Bunting remained on the outer head and Twite numbers reduced to two. Other birds on or around the headland included 12 Long-tailed Tit at Bay Brambles, two Stonechat, Great Northern Diver and 12 Purple Sandpiper.

Two Whooper Swan flew south east over Thornwick Pool; an additional 11 were recorded south earlier in the day with a further six an hour later. On the pool were three Common Snipe, Jack Snipe, Grey Wagtail and Little Grebe. The fem/1w type Black Redstart remained near the Big House.

South Landing saw eight Oystercatcher, Sanderling, juv Curlew Sandpiper, two Curlew, three Redshank, 22 Turnstone and a Grey Wagtail.

Archive Common Snipe at Thornwick Pool, by Dave Aitken
Archive Common Snipe at Thornwick Pool, by Dave Aitken

27th October 2014

A moderate south-south-westerly and sunny intervals. Seawatch highlights included two Great Northern Divers flying south (including an immaculate summer-plumaged adult), two Whooper Swans doing the same, a dark-bellied Brent Goose, two Gadwall south, a single Red-breasted Merganser, 32 Little Gulls moving north and an adult Glaucous Gull flying south.

Elsewhere, a Little Grebe frequented Thornwick Pool, a single Pink-footed Goose accompanied the Greylag flock at North Marsh and the Snow Bunting remained at the Fog Station.

Snow Bunting Fog Station Andy Hood
Snow Bunting, Fog Station, Andy Hood

28th October 2014

A light/moderate south-south-west wind and sunny intervals. Seawatching recorded a single Great Northern Diver flying south, one Manx Shearwater north, two Tufted Duck south, 55 Little Gulls moving north and a Common Tern.

The juvenile Curlew Sandpiper remained at South Landing, whilst a Yellow-browed Warbler appeared in the Roadside Willows along Lighthouse Road. Single Brambling and Twite overflew the Fog Station, with the single Snow Bunting still present there.

Curlew Sandpiper, South Landing, John Beaumont
Curlew Sandpiper, South Landing, John Beaumont

29th October 2014

A light/moderate north-north-westerly and sunny intervals resulted in 33 Bonxies moving south; in addition, a Great Northern Diver flew south, three Shoveler did the same, 231 Little Gulls moved south and three Common Terns were present offshore.

A Jack Snipe appeared near Old Fall, where there was also a Ring Ouzel, whilst 11 Twite were present near the Fog Station. Additional migrants included 40 Blackbirds at North/South Landing, three Goldcrests and a Woodcock. At least 220 Starlings came in off the sea, the Snow Bunting remained at the Fog Station and another overflew Old Fall.

Stonechat Alan Walkington
Stonechat, Alan Walkington

30th October 2014

A high pressure window, with a light easterly airflow and overnight rain, produced a large arrival of thrushes. Only partial coverage of the area yielded 1550+ Redwing, 600+ Fieldfare, 400 Blackbirds, 40 Song Thrush and five Ring Ouzels. Two Yellow-browed Warblers were new in; singles near the Lighthouse and at Thornwick CP. A Hawfinch flew in off the sea, two Black Redstarts frequented the Outer Head and three Woodcock were also present.

Four dark-bellied Brent Geese went south, a single Barnacle Goose overflew the headland, whilst single Little Grebe and Water Rail remained at Thornwick Pool. The Snow Bunting was still present at the Fog Station, where two Little Gulls appeared offshore.

The large thrush arrival was mirrored at Bempton Cliffs, where another Ring Ouzel and Black Redstart were on the cliff top, together with four Woodcock, a Jack Snipe and a Short-eared Owl.

Curlew, South Landing, Alan Walkington
Curlew, South Landing, Alan Walkington

31st October 2014

A south-south-west wind picked up in strength during the day, whilst overcast conditions predominated. Seawatch highlights included 17 Red-throated Divers flying south, a Great Crested Grebe north, a dark-bellied Brent Goose heading south, a Gadwall north, one Goldeneye south and 21 Little Gulls also moving south. Seven Whooper Swans flew south over South Landing and were accompanied by three Greylags, whilst a Little Gull was on the beach there. Two Jack Snipe and two Water Rail were again at Thornwick Pool.

In a local context, the day’s highlight was provided by a Green Woodpecker that visited a garden on the Outer Head; one of only a handful of records over the last 15 years. Forty Twite were at Bempton Cliffs RSPB and the Snow Bunting remained at the Fog Station.

A Jay was noted in Bempton village. Single Yellow-browed Warbler and Ring Ouzel were trapped at Buckton. Other birds here  were 65 Blackbirds, Great-Spotted Woodpecker (male), 210 Lapwing and 90 Pink-footed Geese SE.

Ring Ouzel, Buckton, Mark Thomas
Ring Ouzel, Buckton, Mark Thomas
Yellow-browed Warbler at Buckton (Mark Thomas)
Yellow-browed Warbler at Buckton (Mark Thomas)
Chiffchaff, Outer Head, Martin Garner
Chiffchaff, Outer Head, Martin Garner