Friday 14th – Monday 17th September 2018EAST YORKSHIRE - SEABIRD & MIGRATION SPECIAL
This tour is designed to see the best of bird migration along the East Yorkshire coast with the added bonus of a boat trip off the coast to look for migrating seabirds such as shearwaters, skuas and petrels. With famous birding sites that include Spurn Point, Flamborough Head, Bempton Cliffs and Filey we can expect to see good birds such as Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike, Red-breasted Flycatcher and maybe Greenish Warbler or something rarer.
With the right conditions we can hope for an action-packed few days birding!
Tour Leader: Steve Grimwade
Maximum Group Size: 8
We leave our base in Essex and drive northwards with possible pickups en-route and depending on 'recent bird news' we spend the afternoon exploring the Spurn Peninsula. Spurn is a three and a half mile long sand and shingle spit, well vegetated with Marram Grass and Sea Buckthorn and to the west is an extensive area of tidal mudflats.
The geographic location of Spurn makes it one of the best places on the east coast to watch autumn migration which can include large numbers of passerines as well as waders and wildfowl which gather on the River Humber.
Spurn boasts an impressive list of past rarities which are particularly likely after easterly winds and during 2016 species included Pallas’s Grasshopper, Blyth’s Reed, Yellow-browed, Barred and Greenish Warblers, Ortolan Bunting, Richard’s Pipit and Great Egret amongst others!
We arrive at our comfortable hotel near Bridlington early evening where a warm welcome is guaranteed.
Overnight: Near Bridlington
Days 2 - 3
Our boat trip takes us approximately 3.5 miles off Flamborough Head in search of a wide range of seabirds. We hope to connect with Arctic and Great Skuas, Manx and Sooty Shearwaters as well as plunge-diving Northern Gannets – a photographer’s dream! Arctic and Great Skuas are regularly seen during the season and on occasion small numbers of Pomarine and Long-tailed Skuas, both from northern Scandinavia and Russia.
Masses of Fulmars are normally seen frequenting the chum-line in the wake of the boat, with occasional ‘blue’-phase birds from higher Arctic areas. Leach’s Petrel have been noted too, with reports of probable European Storm Petrels. Both Red-necked and Grey Phalaropes have been recorded, mostly observed very close to the boat, occasionally allowing the boat to circle around them offering brilliant views.
Once back on dry land we will explore the areas around Flamborough Head, Bempton Cliffs and Filey Brigg, which are well-known migrant traps. The chalk headland of Flamborough Head juts out into the North Sea, creating cliffs upon which Black-legged Kittiwake, Northern Gannets, gulls and auks breed. In the autumn this is a superb place to watch migrating seabirds; Arctic Skua, Great Skua and Manx Shearwater are commonly seen and rarer species such as Pomarine Skua and Sooty Shearwater are frequent. Also in the autumn, Flamborough is a good place to see arriving and departing migrants, with large numbers of common migrants such as Common Redstart, Whinchat and Spotted Flycatcher coming in off the sea. If there is an easterly wind anything can turn up, with Yellow-browed Warbler occurring most years.
The RSPB Bempton Cliffs reserve is probably best-known for the vast seabird colonies that nest during the summer and in autumn it is a great place to see Eurasian Tree Sparrow, with occasional rarities in the wooded dells and copses.
To the south of Scarborough we will visit Filey, where again we will be on the lookout for migrants. The wetlands of Filey Dams attract waders at this time of year and may include Curlew Sandpiper or Little Stint and we will be on the lookout for seabirds and passerines in the many habitats that occur.
Overnight: Near Bridlington
We will spend the morning birding locally before commencing our journey home.
Full board accommodation
All ground transport
Full guiding throughout
Lunch on day one
Drinks and items of a personal nature
Relaxed, one to two miles walking per day
Expect between 110 and 130 species
Tour Price: £490
Single Supplement: £90