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Flamborough Head

From Opus

England, Yorkshire


[edit] Overview

Flamborough Head is a large promontary, in Yorkshire on the east coast of England standing 10km out into the North Sea. It has one of three bird observatories along the Yorkshire coast (the others being Filey Brigg and Spurn Peninsula) and it is a well covered area containing a variety of habitats.

Chiefly a migration site, Flamborough Head attracts large numbers of seabirds and passerine migrants and is famous for its record of extreme rarities such as Brown Shrike, Asian Brown Flycatcher and Red-flanked Bluetail in recent years.

The site can be subdivided into several areas including Danes Dyke, a wooded fortification and the western boundary, South Landing, a second wooded valley with a sandy beach, North Landing and Thornwick Bay, a more scrubby area and rocky beaches and finally, North Marsh, a small wetland within the golf course close to the actual head, Old Fall Hedge and Plantation, famous for its rarities and finally the Head itself notable for both its passerines and the seawatching that takes place from a precarious viewpoint halfway down the cliff face below the fog station.

[edit] Birds

[edit] Notable Species

Divers, Grebes and seaducks are notable offshore during the winter and early spring, especially between the Head and South Landing. Shearwaters and Skuas tend to pass from July to October and are usually seen from the Head, beneath the fog station. Late autumn is usually productive for Little Auk & Grey Phalarope when sea watching. Peregrines hunt the headland year round, joined by Merlin in the winter months. During passage periods scarce passerines are often found in Bay Brambles (between the Lighthouse and the Fog Station) & Old Fall Hedge. In winter Lapland Bunting, Shorelark, Snow Bunting & Twite are often found on the stubble fields across the head.

Great Northern Diver, Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Sooty Shearwater, Fulmar, Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Common Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Purple Sandpiper, Eurasian Woodcock, Grey Phalarope, Great Skua, Long-tailed Skua, Pomarine Skua, Arctic Skua, Little Gull, Sabine's Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Arctic Tern, Guillemot, Razorbill, Atlantic Puffin, Little Auk, Short-eared Owl, Eurasian Wryneck, Shore Lark, Richard's Pipit, Rock Pipit, Bohemian Waxwing, Common Redstart, Black Redstart, Bluethroat, European Stonechat, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Barred Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Pallas's Leaf Warbler, Firecrest, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Red-backed Shrike, Great Grey Shrike, Hooded Crow, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Brambling, Common Rosefinch, Twite, Rustic Bunting, Snow Bunting, Lapland Longspur, Ortolan Bunting, Little Bunting, Corn Bunting.

[edit] Rarities

Flamborough Head has a long history of recording rarities especially those from the East.

Baikal Teal, Yellow-billed Diver, , Black-browed Albatross, Great Shearwater, Cory's Shearwater, Macaronesian Shearwater, Fea's Petrel, Snow Goose, King Eider, Little Bustard, Black-winged Stilt, Baird's Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Bonaparte's Gull, Franklin's Gull, Laughing Gull, Ivory Gull, Ross's Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, Whiskered Tern, Bridled Tern, Sooty Tern, Lesser Crested Tern, Pallas's Sandgrouse, Tengmalm's Owl, Little Swift, Pallid Swift, Red-throated Pipit, Olive-backed Pipit, Citrine Wagtail, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Desert Wheatear, Pied Wheatear, Asian Desert Warbler, Western Subalpine Warbler, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Paddyfield Warbler, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Booted Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Eurasian River Warbler, Iberian Chiffchaff, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Arctic Warbler, Radde's Warbler, Dusky Warbler, Hume's Warbler, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Taiga Flycatcher, Red-flanked Bluetail, Lesser Grey Shrike, Isabelline Shrike, Turkestan Shrike, Brown Shrike, Spotted Nutcracker, Rose-coloured Starling, Two-barred Crossbill, Pine Bunting, Black-headed Bunting, Yellow-breasted Bunting, Black-faced Bunting, White-throated Sparrow, Blackpoll Warbler.

[edit] Check-list

Birds you can see here include:

To do

[edit] Other Wildlife

Roe Deer are common across the headland as are a variety of small mammals which support a healthy Common Kestrel population. Grey Squirrels are common in South Landing Woods. Offshore Grey Seals are usually to be seen in small numbers especially hauled out below the fog station. Sightings of cetaceans include Harbour Porpoise, Atlantic Bottle-nose Dolphins and White-beaked Dolphins. Minke Whales are regular in late summer and Humpback Whales have been a yearly occurrence since 2017. Sunfish and Basking Shark have also been logged in recent years. The outer head holds a population of both Black Oil Beetle and Violet Oil Beetle which can be found near the solitary bee nests on the cliff edge. Over 25 species of Dragonflies and Damselflies have been recorded including Willow Emerald Damselfly, Southern Migrant Hawker, Vagrant Emperor and Lesser Emperor. The wild hedges and paths around the headland offer good opportunity for Butterflies with Wall Brown having a stronghold here and recent colonisation of White-letter Hairstreaks.

[edit] Site Information

[edit] History and Use

Flamborough is renowned for its seawatching and bird migration as well as its breeding seabirds and has been "birded' properly since the early sixties. The head has been designated a Special Area of Conservation by the JNCC.

Flamborough Head has the oldest lighthouse in Britain present next to Old Fall hedge, built in 1674. This is along way back from the headland and a new lighthouse is present much closer. Danes Dyke despite its name is known to have been excavated in the Bronze age, with arrow heads from this time having been found within it.

Formally it was a fishing and farming village but sadly due to declining fish stocks and mechanisation, its major industry is now tourism.

[edit] Areas of Interest

Danes Dyke - An area of Bronze age excavation and later Viking fortification, Danes Dyke is a wooded valley demarking the western boundary of Flamborough Head. The southern end is regularly birded with common woodland birds present. Firecrest occasionally winter here and other scarce passerines occur in passage periods. Has held Blackpoll Warbler and the headlands only record of Red Grouse.

South Landing - Beyond Flamborough village and turn right is South Landing, a wooded gorge which contains similar species to Danes Dyke but usually has more scarcities. Scarcer Phylloscopus warblers (Hume's Warbler, Dusky Warbler and Pallas's Warbler) can turn up in autumn. The primary ringing site on the headland has included Cetti's Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Wryneck and Asian Desert Warbler finding their way into the nets here.

Old Fall Plantation and Hedge - Between Flamborough village and the Lighthouses, this famous area has held many 'mega' birds and has produced the first Brown Shrike and the first Asian Brown Flycatcher for mainland Britain. The plantation is 2/3 of the way along the hedgerow and regularly holds scarce warblers & flycatchers. The hedge itself is good for shrikes and chats.

The Outer Head - around the fog station are several areas good for passerines including Bay Brambles which commonly holds Eurasian Wryneck and Barred Warbler amongst other scarce species. The area of gorse to the south of the Lighthouse is a good area for chats on passage and have held county rarities in the form of Melodious Warbler, Radde's Warbler, Greenish Warbler and Siberian Stonechat. The Garner-Richards Seawatch Observatory sits just south of the Foghorn Station and is open to all not just members, see the website for details. For those longing to be old school, the seawatching ledge is just below the fog station on a dangerous cliff path. Here the experienced seawatchers regularly pick out good birds. It is recommended you don't climb down to the ledge for safety.

Thornwick Bay - the fields around the bay can hold Red-backed Shrike & Whinchat on passage and in winter hunting Merlin and Peregrine are common place. Winter finches and bunting flocks feed on the fields and there is a Corn Bunting roost in the small reedbed at Thornwick Bay. Offshore the usual seabirds are seen and Bempton Cliffs are only a mile or so further north.

Thornwick Pools- Formally an agricultural field, a collaboration between FBO and Haven Thornwick campsite has created this wetland reserve that boasts over 30 species of wader including Pectoral Sandpiper and Buff-breasted Sandpiper as well as passerine rarities such as Citrine Wagtail, Hume's Warbler and Bluethroat. Two public hides overlook the pools from different vantage points and the scrub planting around the pools is now a CES ringing site.

North Marsh - this small wetland held Yorkshire's first record of Baikal Teal a stunning adult male, and regularly attracts passage wildfowl and waders and local scarcities (such as Bittern and Kingfisher) can occur.

The Observatory recording area covers the geographical chalk headland includes other sites close by- Bempton Cliffs RSPB, Buckton and Speeton.

[edit] Access and Facilities

Access is from Bridlington along the B1225 Bridlington Road. There are car parks at South Landing, the Head, North Landing, Danes Dyke (south) and Thornwick Bay. There are toilets and cafes at all of these areas. To access to Old Fall Hedge and plantation park at the Head and walk back along the main road 0.5km to Old Fall steps on the southside of the road. Follow this path to the plantation.

[edit] Contact Details

Flamborough Bird Observatory Trust Secretary: Tony Hood, 9 Hartendale Close, Flamborough, East Yorkshire, YO15 1PL email: [email protected]

[edit] External Links


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