Great seawatching, with a chance of migrant ‘falls’
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