Welcome to the first of our monthly migration round-ups here on the Bempton blog, this one covering the month of August. As described in the previous post, Bempton isn't just about the seabirds - it's also a magnet for migrating landbirds, particularly in the autumn, and it's been an especially good one so far.... as part of the same area (and only a short walk west of the reserve), we've included neighbouring Buckton in our summaries to give a better overall picture of what's happening locally.
Peregrine- Chrys Mellor
A Little Egret took up residence at Buckton Pond from 1st (to at least 10th), while 2nd saw a Cuckoo also setting up shop there for a few days and a Hobby over Bempton village. A quiet few days followed before seven Yellow Wagtails dropped into the reserve on 7th, when no less than 300 Swallows were also present. 9th was all about the raptors, with a low-flying Osprey putting on a great show around the reserve, as well as six Common Buzzards and at least one Hobby in the general area. The excitement continued the next day when a Minke Whale was observed from the viewpoints, kindly sticking around for several days and much appreciated by many visitors!
Minke whale - Tony Mayman
Birds of prey continued to perform well with two Marsh Harriers and a Common Buzzard on 11th and another Marsh Harrier the following day, when wader passage began with a Black-tailed Godwit and two Golden Plovers over the reserve. Another Common Buzzard on 13th was upstaged by a Cuckoo on the reserve on 14th, when a nice cast of migrants arrived at Buckton including three Sedge Warblers, two Reed Warblers, a very early Fieldfare and both Green Sandpiper and Greenshank at the village pond.
Spotted Flycatcher - David Aitken
Action picked up further on 15th when a Wood Sandpiper and a Greenshank overflew the reserve, a Garden Warbler, two Blackcaps and two Willow Warblers arrived in the dell, and Buckton hosted a Marsh Harrier, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Whinchat and a Common Sandpiper. The following day saw the first Pied Flycatcher arriving at Buckton, soon followed by both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers and a Garden Warbler on the reserve on 19th.
Osprey - Chrys Mellor
A Wheatear at Buckton on 20th and both Common and Green Sandpipers at the village pond were very much the calm before the storm, and a fantastic fall - a simultaneous mass arrival of continental migrants, as eulogised about in the last post - occurred over the next couple of days, the like of which hasn't been seen for several years in an early autumn context.
Pied Flycatcher - David Aitken
A fantastic roll-call at Buckton was headlined by no fewer than three Wrynecks, with good numbers of other passerines including 20 Pied Flycatchers, six Whinchats, 20 Willow Warblers, four Redstarts, four Spotted Flycatchers, a Tree Pipit and a Reed Warbler, with a Merlin no doubt attracted by the bounty on offer... 24th saw our erstwhile warden striking patch gold with an Icterine Warbler in the dell by the reserve car park, as well as seven Pied Flycatchers, two Spotted Flycatchers and two Wheatears; back over at Buckton, common migrant numbers swelled further, with a staggering 100 Willow Warblers, plus single figures of Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Whinchats and Redstarts, as well as Green and Common Sandpipers and the (no doubt well-sated) Merlin still.
Icterine Warbler - David Aitken
Many had cleared out by 25th, but some were still arriving, as evidenced by a new cast at the reserve which included four Pied and two Spotted Flycatchers, three Garden Warblers, a Reed Warbler and six Willow Warblers. Habitat creation work at Buckton Pond in recent years has provided a small but attractive area of mud for passage shorebirds, and with various common waders dropping in over recent weeks, it was perhaps only a matter of time before a rarer relative graced its shallows: that time came on 25th, when a pristine juvenile Little Stint pottered around innocently in front of appreciative admirers.
Little Stint - Martin Garner
A quieter (but still good quality) end to the month saw both Cuckoo and Whinchat at Buckton on 29th, a small new arrival there on 30th involving a Short-eared Owl, a Redstart, a Whinchat and a Wheatear, and two Whinchats, four Willow Warblers and a locally rare Curlew Sandpiper overhead on 31st.
Common Redstart - Chrys Mellor
Thanks to those who provided records and photos, especially Mark Thomas, Chrys Mellor, David Aitken, Tony Mayman, Martin Garner and the Flamborough Bird Observatory team.
Mark James Pearson