Flamborough Head 3rd Sept

Fifteen people met up for the outing, noting reasonable numbers of Swallows and some House Martins as we parked, these were seen in good numbers through the day. We started with a sea watch from the top of the cliffs: Gannets were moving in small groups and there were a few Guillemots and Razorbills, some closer in. Both Cormorant and Shag were showing and the occasional Fulmar near to the cliffs. At least five Red-throated Divers were seen moving south, a few Arctic Skuas were noted, one chasing a Sandwich Tern and some of us picked out Great Skua. Unusually, a cream-crowned Marsh Harrier was seen over the sea.

A short walk to see the plentiful seals and to check the wave-cut platform for waders was interrupted by panic! News came through that the regular sea watchers on the cliffs had spotted a Brown Booby, so we dashed back to the fog horn station and most of us scrambled down the cliffs in the hope of catching sight of it. We heard that the bird was still in view but very distant, perhaps two miles out, and impossible without a scope. A small number of us got a glimpse of it in flight but it was not visible even to the local experts when landing on the sea. We sat a while on the cliff in the vain hope that it would come closer (it has been reported this morning – 4th Sept – at Filey Brigg!)

The weather was glorious, hot and sunny, but this made the birding quieter than hoped for and the Head was heaving with day trippers. A walk along Motorway Hedge added a Whitethroat and we scanned more of the rocks for waders. A falcon on the ground across a field was called as a Hobby however, with hindsight, perhaps we weren’t thorough enough in our checking it to eliminate the possibility that it could have been the Merlin that had been recorded in the area over the past few days. On reflection, it was browner (we had assumed a young bird) and had barring on the tail. The Golf Course willows held a female-type Pied Flycatcher, which showed well, and a Willow Warbler.

Thornwick Pools were checked for waders, just a Dunlin, and duck: Shoveler, Mallard and Teal. More hirundines, including three Sand Martins, and a flock of at least 30 Linnets were there too. Many left at that point but eight of us visited South Landing late afternoon and were treated to a mixed flock of waders foraging in the seaweed: Knot, Dunlin, Turnstone, Sanderling, Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover. A few more auks were on the sea and some Sandwich Terns fishing. We caught up with more Sand Martins but sadly Rock Pipits eluded us again.

We even saw the lifeboat bring in someone rescued from the cliffs to be loaded into an ambulance, fortunately he didn’t look too severely injured.

Total species that I noted from the group for the day was 55.

Rob & Jane