Tuesday 1st November

Early mist and drizzle cleared quickly to reveal a sunny day, with a moderate north westerly wind.

The wind direction was conducive to an improved sea watch, with totals including 6 DB Brent, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Great northern Diver, 57 RT Diver, 9 Bonnie, 4 Pom Skua and 7 Arctic Skua.

Thornwick Pools attracted 63 Teal, 3 Wigeon, Dunlin and 4 Snipe, with 2 Jack snipe and 2 Snow Bunting also logged on the outer headland.


Grey Wagtail, Thornwick pool by Alan Walkington

Wednesday 2nd November

A moderate north westerly wind persisted during the day, with sunny skies throughout.

Sea watch highlights included a Little Auk, 1 Whooper Swan, 24 Wigeon, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Scaup, 2 Goldeneye, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Manx, 10 Bonxie and 1 Arctic Skua.

A particularly high local count of 18 Goldeneye were noted sat on the sea, whilst a further Little Auk was flew East past South Landing during the late afternoon.


Linnet, Thornwick Pools, by Don Hustings

Thursday 3rd November

Temperatures were cooler than of late, reaching a peak of 7 degrees Celsius. Wind was a moderate south westerly with mainly overcast skies.

There was a notable fall of migrants, with increased numbers of thrushes coming in off the sea. Notable sightings included ten Waxwing (nine in-off and one over Oceanview), 25 Woodcock, 1 SE Owl and a large pipit species, which flew north over the golf course but could not be relocated.

The sea watch was also productive with 14 Little Auk, 1 GN Diver, 1 BT Diver, 43 RT Diver, 1 RB Merganser, 1 Scaup, 1 V Scoter, 157 C Scoter, 2 LT Duck, 4 Goldeneye, 55 Wigeon, 10 Whooper Swan, 7 DB Brent and 18 PF Geese. The highlight however related to a single White-beaked Dolphin.

Five additional Little Auk and a Grey Phalarope were off South Landing, along with a female LT Duck, 1 GN Diver, 1 RB Merganser, 8 Goldeneye and 470 C Scoter. An additional 2 Whooper Swan flew south, whilst 6 DB Brent were noted feeding on the headland.

Sightings at Buckton included a ringtail Hen Harrier and 5 Woodcock in-off.


Whooper Swan, South Landing by Alan Walkington.


Long-tailed Duck, South Landing by Andrew Allport.

Friday 4th November

Wind was a moderate south westerly, with broken cloud throughout the day.

The days highlight was a juvenile Pallid Harrier which hunted the cliff top grassland between the Heligoland trap and trig point at Buckton. This represents a long overdue first record for the wider headland. The same area also held a ringtail Hen Harrier, 4 SE Owl and 4 Woodcock, whilst a Long-tailed Duck flew past Bempton.

On the outer headland, a Ring-necked Parakeet was seen flying around the Bay brambles and outer head gardens before flying West along Lighthouse Road. The Long-tailed Duck remained at South Landing, while a quieter sea watch than of late produced 1 Little Auk, 2 Velvet Scoter, 1 GN Diver, 21 RT Diver and 2 Whooper swan.


Pallid Harrier, Buckton by Paul Reed.


Pallid Harrier, Buckton by Andy Hood.

5th November 2016

A day of strong north-north-westerlies with intermittent rain showers. Southbound on the morning seawatch saw 53 Common Scoter, two Goldeneye, six Red-throated Diver (three north) and a Great Northern Diver. Present on the sea were 62 Common Scoter, a single Long-tailed Duck and a Little Auk.

The Ring-necked Parakeet relocated to Flamborough village and proved to be mobile throughout the day. At South Landing, four Long-tailed Duck, two Little Auk and 54 Common Scoter lingered on the sea as well as an adult Mediterranean Gull toward Bridlington.

At Bempton Cliffs RSPB singles of Great Skua, Little Auk and Long-tailed Duck all flew east early morning. At Buckton, a Long-tailed Duck overflew the heligoland trap; also present were two Woodcock, two Buzzard and a single Pale-Bellied and Dark-bellied Brent Goose flew east.

Goldfinch, Thornwick Pools, by Don Hustings
Goldfinch, Thornwick Pools, by Don Hustings

6th November 2016

Strong, brisk north-north-westerlies persisted, increasing to a moderate northerly gale; overcast with frequent showers. Seawatching highlights include 21 Wigeon south (nine north), single Teal, Goldeneye, Long-tailed Duck and Great Northern Diver north, 35 Common Scoter south (23 north), nine Red-throated Diver south (one north), 11 Sooty and a single Manx Shearwater north, seven Great Skua south and two Pomarine Skua one north, one south.

On land a Lapland Bunting overflew Oceanview Farm and a Waxwing was in Flamborough village. The South Landing wader assemblage contained 67 Turnstone, seven Redshank, three each of Purple Sandpiper and Sanderling, two Curlew and a Ringed Plover; a Little Auk, Long-tailed Duck, pair of Velvet Scoter and 63 Common Scoter were on the sea. Thornwick Pools attracted a Kingfisher, Jack Snipe and two Common Snipe.

At Buckton, a pair of Gadwall frequented the village pond and a Snow Bunting was near the heligoland trap; also present were two Stonechat and four Snipe.

Snow Bunting, Buckton by Mark Thomas
Snow Bunting, Buckton, by Mark Thomas
Sanderling, South Landing, by Andy Hood

Monday 7th November, 2016

Weather conditions consisted of mostly cloud cover with some rain and sleet towards the end of the morning. The wind was in a northerly direction force 5 dropping to 3 with a temperature of 6c.

The morning sea-watch produced a mix of species with the highlights being – a single Dark-bellied Brent Goose north, 54 Common Scoter south and 78 north, two Long-tailed Duck north, 14 Red-throated Diver south and 45 north, then Great Northern Diver, 79 Fulmar, Sooty Shearwater, Grey Phalarope, 13 Little Gull, eight Great Skua, six Little Auk and three Snow Bunting all north.

Other locations had five Whooper Swan north over Danes Dyke, Short-eared Owl at Oceanview, 30 Common Scoter, 13 Turnstone, seven Sanderling and 13 Rock Pipit at South Landing. A female Blackcap was at Flatmere and a Mealy Redpoll at Greenacres.

At Buckton a male “Northern” Bullfinch was caught, a Woodcock there plus two Gadwall on the pond.

Adult male Northern Bullfinch, Buckton by Mark Thomas
Adult male Northern Bullfinch, Buckton, by Mark Thomas
Female Common Scoter by Andy Hood
Female Common Scoter, South Landing, by Andy Hood

Tuesday 8th November, 2016

Weather mostly cloud cover with a light NNW wind and 4c.

Another excellent, mixed species sea-watch with the highlights being – 22 Wigeon south and 57 north, 27 Teal north, a Scaup north, 174 Eider north, Velvet Scoter north, 15 Common Scoter south and 34 north, three Long-tailed Duck north, two Goldeneye south and one north, 14 Red-throated Diver south and 10 north, Great Northern Diver south, three south Fulmar and 58 north including two dark phase “D” type, two Little Gull south and 51 north, Mediterranean Gull north, Great Skua south and Little Auk north.

At Oceanview were two Waxwing, Lesser Whitethroat, Barred Warbler, 25 Siskin and two Lesser Redpoll. Around the wider headland, 47 Teal and a Water Rail at Thornwick Pools, five Curlew, Woodcock, two Snipe, Chiffchaff, 186 Blackbird and a female “Northern” Bullfinch near the Golf Course chalets.

Buckton still had the male “Northern” Bullfinch, Short-eared Owl and Common Redpoll.

Barred Warbler by Andy Hood
Barred Warbler by Andy Hood
Woodcock by Andrew Alport
Woodcock by Andrew Allport

Wednesday 9th November, 2016

Weather poor today with the day being mostly overcast with some light rain, winds south to east force 3 and temperature 5c.

The couple of hours sea-watch in the morning produced four Eider north, five Common Scoter south and eight north, three Red-throated Diver south and 19 north, Black-throated Diver north and three Dunlin south. Present off the headland were 50 Fulmar and thousands of Guillemot.

Due to the poor weather a rather steady day elsewhere with 31 Teal, Water Rail, Snipe and Barn Owl at Thornwick Pools. A Woodcock and Rose-ringed Parakeet were in a garden near Flamborough Church.

Buckton had Common Redpoll, 60 Blackbird, Common Buzzard, five Woodcock and five Snipe.


Common Redpoll by Geoff Carr
Common Redpoll by Geoff Carr

Thursday 10th November, 2016

Weather today overcast at first with some mist and drizzle but clearing with half cloud later and winds south-west to west-north-west force 4.

A rather steady sea-watch this morning with fewer species than the last couple of days. Highlights were 25 Eider, two Great Northern Diver, eight Fulmar all north and 42 Gannet south plus 134 north. A male Peregrine was present off the headland.

South Landing had six Common Scoter, seven Oystercatcher, 31 Turnstone, Knot, three Curlew, six Sanderling, two Purple Sandpiper and 12 Rock Pipit. A male, female and juvenile Peregrine was at North Marsh and elsewhere 43 Blackbird and a pair of Bullfinch.

Rock Pipit South Landing by Geoff Carr
Rock Pipit South Landing by Geoff Carr

11th November 2016

A predominantly calm, clear day with gentle easterlies and sunshine; highs of 9°C. Seawatching highlights included two Black-throated and a Great Northern Diver north, 13 Red-throated Diver north (11 south), eight Eider north, 50 Common Scoter north (11 south), a single Little Gull north, three Great Skua north and a single Grey Heron and Lapland Bunting south.

On land, flocks of 54 and 18 Siskin were present on the headland. A Mealy Redpoll was at Thornwick as were two Snipe and a Jack Snipe. Twenty-one Pink-footed Geese overflew North Landing. At South Landing, four Red-throated Diver, two Great Northern Diver and 28 Common Scoter were on the sea. Also there 50 Turnstone, six Sanderling, four Purple Sandpiper, two Curlew and singles of Knot, Dunlin and Woodcock as well as a flock of 35 Siskin.

At Bempton Cliffs RSPB, four Stonechat, two Chiffchaff and singles of Snow Bunting and Short-eared Owl were noted. Also there eight Red-throated Diver flew east, 13 Eider north-west and five Whoopers alighted on the sea. 

Mealy Redpoll, Thornwick, by Brett Richards
Knot, South Landing, by Alan Walkington

12th November 2016

Weather was largely wet and miserable for the most part; a strong southerly breeze early on easing in the afternoon. Slim pickings on the morning seawatching; seven Shelduck, five Wigeon and two Shoveler south, 13 Teal south (one north), six Common Scoter south (one north), two Red-throated Diver south, eight Gannet south (one north), single Lapwing south, four Black-headed Gull south, single Common Gull south (two north) and a lone Blackbird in-off.

The adult male Mealy Redpoll remained at Thornwick. Elsewhere, a Siberian Chiffchaff, Mealy Redpoll and two Lesser Redpoll were noted on the Outer Head, as was a female ‘northern’ Bullfinch.

At Buckton, a Chiffchaff caught and ringed on 24/10 has been confirmed as the race abietinus, (DNA sample from small dislodged body feather) only the fourth confirmed record in the UK and probably first definite for Yorkshire.

Chiffchaff confirmed race abietinus, Buckton 24/10 by Mark Thomas
Chiffchaff confirmed race abietinus, Buckton 24/10 by Mark Thomas
Juvenile Sanderling at South Landing by Geoff Carr
Juvenile Sanderling, South Landing, by Geoff Carr

13th November 2016

A day of moderate north-north-westerlies, sunshine and highs of 8°C. Southbound highlights on the morning seawatch, unless stated, saw a single Eider, two Common Scoter and 21 Red-throated Diver (five north). Northbound birds include a single Wigeon and two Snow Bunting.

Three Waxwing graced the Outer Head, a late Swallow was at North Landing, 30 Siskin were present at South Landing and a first winter Mediterranean Gull was immediately west of the Dyke.

At Buckton, a Jack Snipe and two Gadwall were on the pond; a Jack Snipe, four Common Snipe, 15 Redwing and a Stonechat were near the heligoland trap.

Fieldfare, Thornwick Pools, by Don Hustings

Monday 14th November

Weather was overcast, with a moderate south westerly wind.

Six Gadwall flying south on the seawatch was notable, as was a Chiffchaff which flew in off the sea. Otherwise seawatch counts included 28 Common Scoter, 41 RT Diver, 4 Purple Sandpiper and 8028 Guillemot.

Addittional sightings included a Long-tailed Duck and 5 RT Diver at South Landing and 52 Teal across the headland.


Red-throated Divers, South Landing by Alan Walkington.

Tuesday 15th November

Mild temperatures continued, with overcast skies and a light westerly wind.

Due to the weather conditions the sea watch was relatively quiet, with Velvet Scoter, 46 Common Scoter, 56 RT Diver and 2 DB Brent Geese being the highlights. Other off-shore records related to two GN Diver off Bempton, 36 Common Scoter and a single LT Duck at South Landing.

In what has been an exceptional year for the species on the headland, a male Kingfisher briefly visited Thornwick Pools. A Lapland Bunting flew south over Oceanview, whilst 200 Pinkfeet were also logged flying south during the day. Singles of Blackcap and Chiffchaff were also noted.


Knot, South Landing by Andrew Allport.

Wednesday 16th November

The day saw sunny spells and a light to moderate south westerly wind.

Seawatch counts included 26 Common Scoter, 18 RT Diver, 1 BT Diver, 2 Bonxie, 1 Pom Skua, 10 Purple Sandpiper and 18747 Guillemot. Six Whooper Swan flew south over the headland late morning.


Curlew, South Landing by Alan Walkington.

Thursday 17th November, 2016

Weather today was mainly overcast with a south-westerly wind force 4-6 and 7c.

The morning sea-watch had 32 Pink-footed Goose, three Gadwall, nine Common Scoter, 11 Red-throated Diver and four Great Northern Diver all south. A Sooty Shearwater and Little Gull both north and 40 Oystercatcher, 50 Turnstone and five Purple Sandpiper present off the headland.

At Bempton four Great Northern Diver were on the sea, 140 Pink-footed Goose flew over and two Wheatear spp were reported. Thornwick Pools had 20 Teal, six Snipe and a “sinensis” Cormorant.

"sinensis" Cormorant on Thornwick Pools by Brett Richards
“sinensis” Cormorant on Thornwick Pools by Brett Richards

Friday 18th November, 2016

A part cloudy day with winds in a south-west direction force 5 and a temperature of only 3c.

A rather steady morning sea-watch with five Velvet Scoter and seven Common Scoter south, 10 Red-throated Diver south and 13 north, Great Northern Diver south and 52 Shag, 23 Oystercatcher and three Turnstone present at the headland.

An interesting day of movement elsewhere with at least 67 Whooper Swan and 310 Pink-footed Goose south in various sized groups. 30 Common Scoter, 37 Turnstone, four Sanderling and 15 Rock Pipit were at South Landing. A single Velvet Scoter off South Dykes. Thornwick Pools had 28 Teal, six Common Snipe, Jack Snipe and two Barn Owl. Two Hooded Crow flew west of Lighthouse Road and five Snow Buntings were also flyovers at various locations. A further two Snow Bunting were near Buckton Dell.

Turnstone at South Landing by Geoff Carr
Turnstone at South Landing by Geoff Carr
Whooper Swans by Andrew Alport
Whooper Swans by Andrew Allport

Saturday 19th November, 2016

The weather today was part cloud cover, a south-west wind force 4 and a cool 3c.

The usual morning sea-watch produced 18 Common Scoter south, five Red-throated Diver south and four north, Black-throated Diver south and two Snow Bunting south. Present off the headland were 33 Shag, 32 Turnstone and one Purple Sandpiper.

Again, Whooper Swan movement today with three over Oceanview and seven over Buckton and shortly after over Hartendale. 79 Teal and a Barn Owl at Thornwick Pools, 16 Common Scoter, 10 Oystercatcher, 20 Curlew, 14 Turnstone and four Sanderling at South Landing. Two Chiffchaff were recorded east of the Dykes.

At least 80 Pink-footed Geese over Buckton towards Flamborough late afternoon.

Barn Owl by Andrew Allport
Barn Owl by Andrew Allport

20th November 2016

Strong north-easterlies first off switching north-westerly by the afternoon; rain showers and periods of mist early on, highs of 7°C. Seawatching highlights consisted of five Velvet Scoter south and three Long-tailed Duck present off the headland.

Dunlin, by Alan Walkington

21st November 2016

Cold, wet and miserable; the morning started off overcast with light rain and moderate north-north-easterlies, deteriorating into heavy rain and strengthening north-easterlies by the afternoon. A brief seawatch produced three Red-throated Diver south (one north), 52 Fulmar north, 49 Gannet south (34 north), 35 Kittiwake north and a single Common Gull south (two north).

Grey Heron, by Andy Hood

22nd November 2016

Overcast with light rain and mist early on, clearing later; wind from the south-east switching to south-south-west by late morning, highs of 8°C. Seawatching highlights included 15 Red-throated south (26 north), single Black-throated Diver north, single Great Northern Diver south, one Sooty Shearwater north and 11 Great Skua south (one north).

A single Twite associated with the Linnet flock on the Outer Head.

Bullfinch, by Alan Walkington

23rd November 2016

The weather consisted of moderate north-easterly winds, sunny intervals and light showers. Seawatching was productive with sightings including six Eiders, a Goosander and a Red-breasted Merganser flying north, with five Velvet Scoters and a Long-tailed Duck heading in the opposite direction. A total of 120 Red-throated Divers were logged passing the headland, whilst a Black-throated Diver flew north and three Great Northern Divers moved south. Six Sooty Shearwaters and two Manx Shearwaters flew north, 16 Little Gulls and 18 Bonxies went south, with two Pomarine Skuas heading north.

Snipe, Thornwick Pools, by Don Hustings
Snipe, Thornwick Pools, by Don Hustings

24th November 2016

The winds remained light and from the north-east during a generally overcast day. Seawatching highlights included a Scaup, four Eider, 44 Common Scoters, a Great Northern Diver, four Little Gulls and a single Little Auk north, with a Bonxie heading south.

Three Long-tailed Ducks remained on the sea off South Landing.

Grey Wagtail, Thornwick Pools, by Don Hustings
Grey Wagtail, Thornwick Pools, by Don Hustings

25th November 2016

Another day of light north-easterly winds, but with largely sunny skies. During the seawatch, a Pochard and two Little Gulls flew south, whilst 106 Eider, 30 Common Scoter and a Great Northern Diver moved north.

Amongst the wildfowl present off the southern side of the headland were two Velvet Scoter and a Long-tailed Duck. Sixty Skylarks were on Beacon Hill, whilst 15 Snow Buntings were at Oceanview.

Snow Buntings, Oceanview, by Andy Hood
Snow Buntings, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

26th November 2016

It was a sunny day, with virtually no wind and temperatures peaking at 7 degrees C. During the seawatch, ten Eiders flew north, a Velvet Scoter headed south and between 20-30,000 Guillemots headed south out to sea.

A Whooper Swan flew south-east over the village, whilst west of the Dykes sightings from Buckton included a Grey Heron, three Snipe, a Stonechat, 40 Yellowhammers and a Corn Bunting.

Water Rail, Thornwick Pools, by Don Hustings
Water Rail, Thornwick Pools, by Don Hustings

27th November 2016

The weather consisted of moderate north-easterly winds and sunny intervals. During the seawatch, two Tufted Duck, 128 Common Scoter, a Little Gull and five Bonxies flew south, whilst a Sooty Shearwater and a Pomarine Skua headed north.

Sightings along the southern side of the headland included three Goldeneye and two Long-tailed Ducks. Single Water Rail and Tawny Owl were also recorded.

Teal, Thornwick Pools, by Craig Thomas
Teal, Thornwick Pools, by Craig Thomas

28th November 2016

The light north-easterly airstream continued with overcast skies developing after a sunny start. Seawatching highlights included 70 Teal north, three Tufted Duck, seven Eider and two Velvet Scoter south, 91 Common Scoter, two Long-tailed Ducks north, three Goldeneye and a Goosander. Solitary Little and Mediterranean Gulls flew south, whilst three Pomarine Skuas headed north.

Six Wigeon and 128 Teal were in residence on the headland’s freshwaters, with a Long-tailed Duck and 81 Common Scoters below the South Cliffs. A total of 41 Snipe was above average and a Merlin frequented North Dykes.

Peregrine, by Andrew Allport
Peregrine, by Andrew Allport

29th November 2016

A sunny day with very light south-west winds, but temperatures only reached 4 degrees C by late morning. During the morning’s seawatch, 16 Eider and a Black-throated Diver flew north and three Golden Plover moved south.

Three Whooper Swans frequented Thornwick Pools. Twenty-one Snipe, a Water Rail and a Woodcock on the outer head were indicative of local, cold weather displacement. A Waxwing flew south over the headland, with three Snow Buntings at Oceanview.

Snipe, Oceanview, by Andy Hood
Snipe, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

30th November 2016

Another cold day, with weak wintry sunshine throughout and a very light south-westerly wind. Single Long-tailed Duck and Velvet Scoter were on the sea off South Landing, where 23 Rock Pipits fed on the beach. Thornwick Pools attracted 43 Teal, a Grey Heron and one Snipe.

Dunlin, South Landing, by Alan Walkington
Dunlin, South Landing, by Alan Walkington