Sunday, 1st December 2019

A moderate north-westerly brought sunny spells and the occasional shower with temperatures ranging between 4 and 7C.

Yesterday’s adult Kumlien’s Gull put in another appearance, passing north at the Fog Station during the morning seawatch.  Other highlights included a Sooty Shearwater heading north and a juvenile Pomarine Skua also offshore. Also notable (second highest ever total) was a flock of 330 Cormorants which came out of Bridlington Bay while 103 off South Landing /South Dykes were possibly part of the same movement. 

A Goosander and 8 Great Crested Grebes were off South Dykes.  On land, 2 Chiffchaffs frequented South Dykes.

Stonechat, Outer Head (Lynn Wraith)

Monday, 2nd December 2019

A quiet day from a  weather perspective.  Light westerlies with variable cloud and temperatures rising from 2C to 8C.

The morning’s seawatch was relatively uneventful, the best sightings being a redhead Goosander and an adult winter Mediterranean Gull both heading southwards.

Curlews put in another good count with 34 (31 by Old Fall hedge) while 2 Stonechats were by the Golf Course.

A couple of Stonechats also featured at Buckton by the Heligoland trap  where 50 Corn Buntings and 65 Yellowhammers were also present.  In addition, 2 Chiffchaffs were at Buckton Pond.

Corn Buntings, Buckton (Mike Smith)

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019

A mainly sunny day with light to moderate westerly and the temperature reaching 9C.

Few birds passed during the morning seawatch though these did include a Great Northern Diver, a Goosander and a Goldeneye with 3 of the latter also offshore.

On the Outer Head, 108 Pink-footed Geese flew south and a Woodcock was in a local garden.

A couple of Chiffchaffs remained at Buckton Pond and a Short-eared Owl was present at Bempton Cliffs RSPB.

Rock Pipit, South Landing (Brett Richards)

Wednesday, 4th December 2019

The day was slightly cooler than of late with the temperature peaking at 7C after an overnight ground frost. Generally sunny with a light south-westerly breeze.

Seawatching was largely uneventful with the highlights being 32 Red-throated Diver flying north and 9 south and a Lesser Black-backed Gull wandering north.

A Black Redstart lingered at the Fog Station whilst 15 Snow Buntings were nearby at Cattlemere.  South Dykes held a Chiffchaff.

Three Short-eared Owls quartered the fields at RSPB Bempton Cliffs where a Goldcrest and 4 Stonechats were also present.

Stonechat, Buckton (Mike Smith)

Thursday, 5th December 2019

A mainly cloudy day with a fresh and strengthening south-westerly.  Daylight temperatures were between 5 and 7C.

Red-throated Divers again provided the main interest on the morning seawatch with 47S and 25N.  A single Pink-footed Goose passed south and 5 Common Scoters north.

Birding on land was quiet with a single Chiffchaff at Greenacres and a Stonechat near the Fog Station.   The number of Wigeon present was 22.

Common Scoter, Fog Station (Brett Richards)

6th December 2019

The day started with overcast skies, with spells of light rain with brighter intervals later; moderate south-west winds also featured and temperatures peaked at a mild 11 degrees C. During the seawatch, two Pochard, two Red-breasted Mergansers and 26 Red-throated Divers flew south. On the land, a Whooper Swan rested on fields near North Landing and two Waxwings flew from the Golf Course entrance west towards the village. Two Short-eared Owls frequented RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

Rock Pipit, Fog Station, by Phil Buxton

7th December 2019

After a relatively calm and bright start, an increasingly strong south-westerly wind and overcast skies developed. The flock of geese near North Marsh contained two Tundra Bean Geese, a Eurasian White-fronted Goose and one Pink-footed Goose, with 23 Wigeon also present. A flock of 33 Curlew toured the outer head, with passerine interest including two Goldcrests, one Fieldfare and a Chiffchaff. Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included two Short-eared Owls and a Lapland Bunting.

Tree Sparrow, Flamborough village, by Rob Little

8th December 2019

The weather consisted of strong south-westerly winds and blustery showers. During the morning’s seawatch, a Great Northern Diver flew south. The goose flock that lingered in the vicinity of North Marsh contained single Pink-footed and White-fronted Geese. A Jay in South Dykes was an unusual local record, whilst a Waxwing frequented the hedgerows near the entrance of the Golf Course; the latter had been colour-ringed near Aberdeen on 23rd November. 

Waxwing, Old Fall Steps, by Rob Little

9th December 2019

Gale force north-north-west winds were the main feature of a day that featured heavy showers during the morning, with brighter intervals later. Seawatch highlights included two Manx Shearwaters moving north, with a juvenile Iceland Gull and two Bonxies heading in the opposite direction. 

Goldcrest, Bempton, by Alan Walkington

10th December 2019

Gale force southerly winds replaced yesterday’s gale force northerly winds, with spells of rain including heavy showers and temperatures reaching eight degrees C. During the seawatch, a Great Northern Diver initially on the sea eventually flew north. A lone Bonxie flew north, whilst a Snipe in off the sea was relatively unusual. 

Stonechat, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, by Alan Walkington

11th December 2019

A relatively cool day, with temperatures reaching five degrees C by late morning, sunny intervals and a moderate/strong south-westerly wind. Two Velvet Scoters flying south represented the highlight of the morning’s seawatch. Two Short-eared Owls continued to show well at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, whilst 20 Snow Buntings remained on the cliff top south of the Lighthouse.

Blackbird, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

12th December 2019

After a relatively bright and frosty start, cloud increased during the morning and heavy rain arrived after; south-westerly winds increased in strength. During the morning seawatch, two Velvet Scoters flew south and single Eider and Puffin flew north; Guillemots were back on the cliffs, with thousands flying past the headland from first light. A pair of Stonechat was also near the Fog Station.

Curlew, outer head, by Phil Buxton

13th December 2019

Light south-westerly winds featured, with sunny intervals and temperatures that reached six degrees C. Seawatch highlights included a dark-bellied Brent Goose and a Blue Fulmar flying north, with two Velvet Scoters and a Great Northern Diver heading south. The Eurasian White-fronted Goose continued its residence with the goose flock near North Marsh, where a Merlin was also present. A Short-eared Owl, two Stonechats and a Black Redstart were present near the Fog Station. A total of 49 Snow Buntings represented a good showing, with 37 near North Marsh and 12 on the cliff top south of the Lighthouse. Sightings at RSPB Bempton Cliffs included 85 Pink-footed Geese flying south, with two Short-eared Owls still in residence.

Barn Owl, Thornwick, by Alan Walkington

14th December 2019

The weather consisted moderate/strong west-south-westerly winds, sunny intervals during the morning, with heavy showers, occasionally of sleet later; temperatures reached five degrees C. During the seawatch, two dark-bellied Brent Geese, 21 Wigeon and a Great Northern Diver flew south. A Whooper Swan lingered on the outer head, whilst a southerly passage of Pink-footed Geese took place late morning: a total of 438 birds headed south. The Eurasian White-fronted Goose was still present near North Marsh.

The Black Redstart was seen again at the Fog Station, with 17 Snow Buntings and eight Lapland Buntings also located on the outer head.

Whooper Swan, outer head, by Andrew Allport

15th December 2019

A south-westerly wind increased throughout a sunny day, although temperatures only reached a maximum of four degrees C. During the morning seawatch, no fewer than three Black-throated Divers flew south, with two Great Northern Divers moving in the opposite direction. Away from the sea, 57 Pink-footed Geese flew south/west and the long-staying White-fronted Goose accompanied a further ten Pink-footed Geese near North Marsh. A Waxwing also visited gardens on the outer head.

Rock Pipit, South Landing, by Craig Thomas

16th December 2019

Another day of relatively strong south-west winds, sunny intervals and temperatures that reached five degrees C. The Whooper Swan lingered in fields on the outer head, whilst the Black Redstart remained in residence at the Fog Station, with two Stonechats nearby. A total of 38 Snow Buntings was recorded: a flock of 18  birds near North Marsh and 20 along the cliff top south of the Lighthouse. Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included 21 Pink-footed Geese flying south and a Short-eared Owl hunting the cliff top. 

Snow Bunting, outer head, by Alan Walkington

17th December 2019

A relatively overcast day, with a light westerly wind and temperatures that reached a mere three degrees C. Seawatch highlights included 50 Red-throated Divers and a Black-throated Diver flying south. The Whooper Swan was still present on the outer head, with lone Pink-footed Goose, White-fronted Goose and dark-bellied Brent Goose near North Marsh. An appreciable arrival of 295 Fieldfares took place, whilst the resident Black Redstart remained at the Fog Station and 16 Snow Buntings still frequented the cliff top south of the Lighthouse. Three Lapland Buntings were located near North Dykes, with six Corn Buntings at Thornwick. Further west, two Short-eared Owls hunted the grasslands near the centre at RSPB Bempton Cliffs. 

Whooper Swan, outer head, by Brett Richards

18th December 2019

Thick fog following an overnight frost rendered birding nigh on impossible for much of the day, with an increasingly strong southerly wind and overcast skies predominating once the fog cleared; temperatures eventually reached five degrees C. The only notable records related to the Whooper Swan still present on the outer head and two Siskins visiting a feeder in a village garden. 

Parrot Waxcap, South Dykes, by Andrew Allport

19th December 2019

A relatively overcast day with brighter intervals, a strong southerly wind and higher temperatures that peaked at nine degrees C. During the seawatch, five Wigeon flew south, a Great Crested Grebe moved north and two Puffins also flew past; the latter relatively unseasonal. Away from the sea, six Whooper Swans were at Oceanview, 37 Curlews were again present on the outer head, as were two Stonechats. Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included two Short-eared Owls and a Lapland Bunting.

Curlew, Flamborough, by Kevin Groocock

20th December 2019

Early morning mist/fog only dissipated once heavy rain set in which then lasted until dark. The lone Whooper Swan remained near Old Fall, with an additional six Whooper Swans in residence at Oceanview.  Both a dark-bellied Brent Goose and 33 Wigeon were also on the outer head. 

Kestrel, South Landing, by Alan Walkington

21st December 2019

An overcast day, with spells of light rain in the morning, a moderate southerly wind and temperatures that reached six degrees C. Seawatching highlights included three Shelduck, two Gadwall, 13 Wigeon, 16 Teal, a Goldeneye, one Great Northern Diver and two Bonxies flying south, with seven Eider moving north.

Seven Whooper Swans remained in residence (six at Oceanview, one outer head), as did two dark-bellied Brent Geese, a Russian White-fronted Goose and 32 Wigeon. Passerine interest included 23 Rock Pipits, 40 Redwing, 40 Yellowhammers, nine Lapland Buntings and a Corn Bunting near North Marsh. Eighteen Snow Buntings were also located (17 south of the Lighthouse and another near North Marsh). Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included three Short-eared Owls and a Lapland Bunting.

Russian White-fronted Goose, North Marsh, by Craig Thomas

22nd December 2019

An overcast morning, with spells of light rain before sunny spells developed during the afternoon; winds remained light throughout. The six Whooper Swans stayed in residence near Oceanview and were joined by nine Pink-footed Geese; two dark-bellied Brent Geese were again near North Marsh. Passerine interest included 35 Redwing, 22 Fieldfare, a Black Redstart near the Fog Station, four Stonechats, 44 Yellowhammers, six Lapland Buntings, 27 Snow Buntings and six Corn Buntings. Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included two Short-eared Owls, eight Redwing moving north-west and 100 Corn Buntings.  

Corn Bunting, Flamborough, by John McLoughlin

23rd December 2019

The weather consisted of light/moderate south-westerly winds, sunny intervals and temperatures that reached seven degrees C. During the morning’s seawatch, an Eider flew south and a Velvet Scoter headed north. Seven Whooper Swans lingered on the headland, with a second-winter near Old Fall and six birds in fields near Oceanview. A Little Owl calling pre-dawn at Bempton station was a notable record.

Whooper Swans, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

24th December 2019

Light south-westerly winds and an overcast start to the day , with spells of light rain until brighter spells developed later. The seawatch was quiet, although 22 Purple Sandpipers were present on rocks below the Seawatch Observatory. Away from the sea, the six Whooper Swans were still present on fields at Oceanview, with the second-winter remaining near Old Fall. The lone White-fronted Goose and Pink-footed Goose also lingered on the northern side of the headland. Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included two Whooper Swans flying south, 18 Yellowhammers and 80 Corn Buntings.

Whooper Swan, outer head, by Andrew Allport

25th December 2019

From everyone at Flamborough Bird Observatory, a very Merry Xmas to all!

This year’s Christmas weather consisted of light north-west winds, sunny intervals and temperatures that reached five degrees C. The seawatch was quiet, with two Kittiwakes, 960 Guillemots and six Razorbills moving past the headland, along with three Eider flying south. The day’s highlight was reported to the bird services late in the day; a Rough-legged Buzzard resting on roadside hay bales between Speeton and Buckton. A quick search from local birders revealed no further sign immediately before dusk.

Seven Whooper Swans, two Pink-footed Geese and a White-fronted Goose frequented the outer head. Meanwhile, a walk along the beach from Danes Dyke towards Sewerby was rewarded with 30 Ringed Plovers, six Purple Sandpipers, 30 Redshank and 50 Turnstones. A 27-strong flock of Snow Buntings remained on the cliff top south of the lighthouse.

Merry Xmas

26th December 2019

An overcast day and a moderate south-easterly wind throughout. Seawatching highlights included a pale-bellied Brent Goose and a Bonxie flying north. The seven Whooper Swans and White-fronted Goose remained on the outer head. 

Razorbill, Fog Station, by Brett Richards

27th December 2019

An overcast day, with light south-east winds and temperatures reaching eight degrees C. Despite the seven Whooper Swans resting on the sea off the Fog Station late morning, they later returned to favoured fields on the southern side of the headland. The goose flock near North Marsh contained the usual Russian White-fronted Goose and 16 Pink-footed Geese. Nearby stubbles attracted 35 Snow Buntings

Snow Bunting, outer head, by Alan Walkington

28th December 2019

An overcast day, with a light south-west wind and temperatures reaching eight degrees C. During the morning’s seawatch, a Shelduck, two Gadwall, 20 Wigeon, nine Mallard and 13 Teal flew south, with 13 Eider heading in the opposite direction; 12 Lapwing also flew south, whilst a Blackbird at the Fog Station appeared to come in off the sea. Wildfowl interest on the headland included seven Whooper Swans, one Pink-footed Goose and the Russian White-fronted Goose

Whooper Swans, Oceanview, by Andy Hood

29th December 2019

The weather consisted of moderate south-south-west winds, heavily overcast skies until mid-afternoon and temperatures that reached seven degrees C. During the seawatch, five Wigeon, nine Teal, four Eider, a Goosander and 93 Golden Plovers flew south. The seven Whooper Swans, Pink-footed Goose and Russian White-fronted Goose fed in fields alongside Lighthouse Road. Sightings from RSPB Bempton Cliffs included a Waxwing flying north-west. 

Russian White-fronted Goose, Lighthouse Road, by Brett Richards

30th December 2019

A day of light south-west winds, prolonged sunny intervals and temperatures reaching nine degrees C. During the seawatch, a Velvet Scoter and a Great Crested Grebe flew south. Nine Whooper Swans frequented Oceanview, together with three Pink-footed Geese and the long-staying Russian White-fronted Goose; an additional 45 Pink-footed Geese flew south. Ten Eiders were present offshore, with North Marsh/Thornwick Pools hosting 28 Wigeon and 31 Teal. Further interest included 375 Woodpigeons, four Stonechats, a Grey Wagtail, six Siskins, 40 Greenfinch, 52 Yellowhammers, 33 Reed Buntings, ten Lapland Buntings, 30 Snow Buntings and a Corn Bunting. 

A Merlin and two Short-eared Owls were present at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, whilst five Pink-footed Geese were located on fields west of Buckton.

Yellowhammer, North Marsh, by Craig Thomas

31st December 2019

Another sunny, calm day with temperatures reaching six degrees C. A lone Whooper Swan remained on the outer head, along with the Russian White-fronted Goose and three Pink-footed Geese. A Chiffchaff was a new discovery, whilst stubble fields between North Dykes and the outer head attracted a cumulative total of 34 Redwing, 92 Skylarks, 25 Meadow Pipits, 17 Rock Pipits, 65 Greenfinch, 178 Yellowhammers, 35 Reed Buntings, 30 Snow Buntings, 42 Lapland Buntings and six Corn Buntings.

Immediately west of the Dykes, an additional 120 Skylarks, three Lapland Buntings, 18 Yellowhammers and 110 Corn Buntings frequented stubbles at RSPB Bempton Cliffs. Buckton hosted a Water Rail, ten Reed Buntings, 40 Yellowhammers and 25 Corn Buntings.

Great Black-backed Gull, South Landing, by Alan Walkington