Great sea­watch­ing, with a chance of mi­grant ‘falls’

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - JOHN MILES

THIS LOCATION WAS the site of my first ever ‘twitch’. It seemed a long way then, but it was worth it, with a flock of La­p­land Bunt­ings show­ing! A lot has changed since the early 1970s and a large car­a­van park is now found close to the best bird­ing ar­eas, but the list of rare birds con­tin­ues to grow. It seems any­where on this York­shire coast can pick up a move­ment of seabirds, and here, with all four species of divers and pas­sage of Lit­tle Auks in the win­ter to its name, Barm­ston is well worth a sea-watch, even if it’s not a Flam­bor­ough Head. A Kum­lien’s Gull is another good bird to look for in win­ter, along with the closely re­lated Ice­land Gull or a pas­sage of Lit­tle Gulls in the early au­tumn. Skua pas­sage tends to be more in the au­tumn on the east coast, and both Po­ma­rine and Long-tailed Skuas have been picked out at sea. Even duck pas­sage can give a sur­prise of Gar­ganey or Smew, just to con­fuse the watcher, with more reg­u­lar pas­sage of Com­mon and Vel­vet Scoter, Gold­en­eye, Wi­geon and also Teal. Birds of prey have in­cluded Osprey, Marsh and Hen Har­rier and Hobby, with a real gem be­ing Rough-legged Buz­zard. Owls are com­mon com­ing off the North Sea and both Short-eared and Long-eared have dropped in here. East winds can add the chats dur­ing mi­gra­tion pe­ri­ods, with both Whin­chat and Stonechat be­ing found along with Black Red­start and Red­start, and even Pied Fly­catcher. Richard’s Pipit takes the hon­ours among the smaller passer­ines, and La­p­land and Snow Bunt­ing can be joined by Twite.

TOP TIP Visit dur­ing a pe­riod of east­erly winds for best results

Short-eared Owl

Richard’s Pipit

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