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North Yorkshire

Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea ©Martin & Sue Timmins

Birding North Yorkshire

The county of North Yorkshire is the largest local authority, by area, in England. It is predominantly rural with much of the land utilised for agriculture. There are large expanses of upland habitats in the Pennines supporting important populations of breeding waders plus Red Grouse and Ring Ouzel. The North York Moors National Park has the most extensive expanse of heather moorland in the UK hosting breeding Merlin, whilst the forests of Dalby and Wykeham are home to important populations of Nightjars, and rare raptors such as Goshawk and Honey Buzzard.

The important seabird colonies at Bempton and Flamborough Head are just across the border in East Yorkshire, but the North Yorkshire coast still supports good breeding populations of Kittiwake and Fulmar. In the right conditions seawatching from Filey, Scarborough and the Whitby area can be rewarding. Although somewhat overshadowed by the migrant hotspots of Flamborough and Spurn, the North Yorkshire coastline is productive for the migrant hunter with Filey and the Scarborough and Whitby areas all offer excellent migrant watching in the right conditions.

Inland sites include the wildfowl havens of the Lower Derwent valley, the upland habitats of the Pennines, in particular Swaledale and Arkengarthdale and the excellent woodlands at Bolton Abbey.

Top Sites

Bolton Abbey Woods

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Excellent for breeding woodland species including Pied Flycatcher, Common Redstart and Wood Warbler.

Castle Howard Lake

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Attracts wintering wildfowl such as Pochard and Tufted Duck plus scarcer species in cold weather. Has breeding Reed Warbler, whilst Ospreys and Black Terns are sometimes seen during the spring and autumn.

Filey Brigg and Country Park

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Sea watching yields shearwaters, skuas, terns, auks, but the bay is also good for divers, grebes and gulls, and is one of the most reliable site for Purple Sandpiper in the region. Migrant passerines occur in good numbers in the surrounding area, and this well-watched site is especially good in autumn. The nearby Filey Dams reserve (TA 107807) attracts small numbers of wildfowl and passage waders.

Forge Valley

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Woodland species. Dipper can be found on the river at Hilla Green. Nearby the lake at Hackness (SE 968901) is a reliable location for Mandarin Duck.

Long Nab, Burniston

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The clifftop fields with hedgerows and scrub in this area are attractive to a variety of migrant passerines. Seawatching from the point at Long Nab can be rewarding and will produce a similar selection of species to Filey or Flamborough Head.

Nosterfield Gravel Pits and LNR


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Attracts significant numbers of wintering and migrant wildfowl and waders, including the occasional rarity.

Scalby Mills and Scalby Lodge Pond

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This pond just inland from the Cleveland Way attracts small numbers of migrant waders and has wintering Wigeon. The rocks at Scalby Mills are attractive to wintering waders and gulls, sometimes including rarer species like Iceland and Glaucous Gull.

Scarborough Harbour & Castle Hill

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The town of Scarborough offers some good birding, especially in the spring/autumn and winter. The cliffs at Castle Hill have breeding Kittiwakes, and the trees and scrub here attract interesting migrants. The harbour attracts gulls, sometimes including Iceland and Glaucous, and there is a regular roost of Purple Sandpiper.

Skipwith Common

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This used to be one of the best places in the region for Nightjar, at the northern edge of its range (but now only occasionally seen on passage), plus Woodcock and other heath and woodland species.

Swaledale and Arkengarthdale

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Excellent in spring and early summer for species characteristic of the uplands, including Red and Black Grouse, Golden Plover, Curlew, Lapwing, Dipper and Ring Ouzel.

Wheldrake Ings

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This Yorkshire Wildlife Trust area forms part of the Lower Derwent Valley NNR and attracts huge numbers of winter wildfowl including Whooper and Bewick's swans, as well as an array of other species throughout the year. The car park is a favourite spot for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, and a few pairs of Garganey are usually present through the summer months.

Wykeham Forest and Raptor Watchpoint

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Watchpoint for Goshawk and Honey Buzzard, also good for Crossbill and Turtle Dove. Nightjar is regular in the forest clearings during the summer, whilst Great Grey Shrikes may be present during the winter months.


County Recorder

Rarities - County Recorder or YNURC Chris Robinson

01302 788304


Ian Court

2 Burley Mews, Steeton, Keighley, BD20 6TX

01535 658582


Useful Reading

Best Birdwatching Sites Yorkshire

By Neil Glenn, with John Miles | Buckingham Press | 2017 | Paperback | 340 Pages | 120 Two-tone Maps |

ISBN: 9780956987679

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in Yorkshire

by John Mather | Christopher Helm | 2008 | Paperback | 320 pages, line drawings, maps |

ISBN: 9780713687828

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Yorkshire Bird Report 2011

Edited by Craig Thomas | Yorkshire Naturalists Union| 2013 | Paperback | 248 pages, colour photos, colour & b/w illustrations, colour maps, colour tables |

ISBN: #206948

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

Chair of the YNU Rarities Committee

Garry Taylor 07970 714178

Yorkshire Ornithological Committee

Chairman: Craig Thomas 16 Scarborough Road, Filey, North Yorkshire, YO14 9EF, Tel: 01723 513055 e-mail craigcthomas@yahoo.co.uk Elected members: Mike Pilsworth, Hillcrest, Whitgift, Goole, DN14 8HL, Tel: 01405 704082 e-mail: mikepilsworth@hotmail.com Representative on Humber Wildfowl Refuge Committee: Miss A Gowland
(Not part of committee) YNU Protection Officer: Doug Simpson, 51 Heather Way, Harrogate, HG3 2SH, Tel: 01423 538645 e-mail: doug@milvus.me.uk


East Dales Ringing Group


The inaugural meeting took place on 26th August 1996. A constitution was drawn up and the group registered with the BTO. There are seven full members and four associate members. Full members are active in the club area and the associates help in the area when required. As well as group activities members have their own individual sites and projects. The group also help Robin Ward with his cannon netting on the Tees estuary or Seal Sands when required. He is also helping with projects within the group area…

East Yorkshire Ringing Group (Many sites in N Yorks)


The Ringing Officer for the Group is the registered ringer in charge, and ultimately all responsibility as regards trapping and ringing birds in the area lies with him….

Filey Brigg Ornithological Group


Filey Town is situated on the east coast of North Yorkshire between the towns of Scarborough and Bridlington. Filey Brigg is a finger of limestone that juts almost half a mile out to sea. The Brigg to the north and Flamborough Head to the south, form the natural breakwaters for Filey Bay…

RSPB Craven & Pendle Local Group

Facebook Page

Events, meetings etc.

RSPB York Local Group


This web site aims to provide information for the members and for anyone who is interested the work of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, particularly in the York area in England…

Ryedale Natural History Society


The area covered by the Ryedale Natural History Society extends from the Hambleton Hills in the west to the A169 Pickering to Whitby road in the east and from Bransdale Moor and the Lyke Wake walk in the north to the River Rye and its environs in the south, a total area of some 800 square kilometres.

Scarborough Field Naturalists


Scarborough Field Naturalists' Society (SFNS) was founded in 1889. We are a group of amateur naturalists' with interests throughout the spectrum of natural history. There are members at all levels of knowledge, from interested beginners to those with specialist knowledge in their chosen fields. We would encourage anyone with an interest in the natural world around them to take a look at our Meetings web page, choose a talk that is of particular interest (or just the next one on the list), and come along to see what we are all about…

Wharfedale Naturalists Society


The Society has reprinted NATURE TRAIL ON ILKLEY MOOR together with the equally popular GEOLOGY TRAIL ON ILKLEY MOOR, both of which are completely sold out. The leaflet, Birds of Ilkley Moor, is illustrated by John Busby and Jeremy Taylor. Each sells at 40p…

York Ornithological Club


Welcome to the YOCs website. Find out about the club, activities and the best sites for watching birds in the York recording area.

Yorkshire Naturalists Union


The Yorkshire Naturalists' Union is devoted to studying and recording Yorkshire's flora and fauna. We are an association of amateur and professional naturalists covering a wide range of aspects of natural history. We are one of the country's oldest wildlife organisations, having celebrated our 150th anniversary in 2011.

Yorkshire Red Kites


The Yorkshire Red Kite Project was the fifth in this sequence and began at Harewood Estate in West Yorkshire in 1999. By this time, the newly established Chilterns population had been so successful that, up to 2003, it was able to supply a total of 68 young birds for release in Yorkshire…


Abbreviations Key

North York Moors National Park


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The North York Moors National Park is a beautiful landscape of stunning moorland, spectacular coast, ancient woodland and historic sites. It's a great place whatever time of year…

Nosterfield Local Nature Reserve - Lower Ure Conservation Trust


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Welcome to the Lower Ure Conservation Trust’s website.
LUCT is a small charity but with big successes; working hard to promote and support our local wildlife, whilst thinking big landscape scale. We manage Nosterfield Local Nature Reserve, generally acknowledged as North Yorkshire’s premier wetland grassland nature reserve… See also: http://www.ydmt.org/what-we-do-details-nosterfield-local-nature-reserve-11669

Yorkshire Dales National Park


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Covering an area of 1,762 square kilometres (680 square miles), the National Park is located in the north of England, and straddles the central Pennines in the counties of North Yorkshire and Cumbria…

Forums & Mailing Lists

Birdwatching in the County of Yorkshire

Mailing Group

This list is for Yorkshire birders, birdwatchers, birdspotters, and related subjects in the Counties of North, East, South, and West Yorkshire England.



This group is for everyone interested in birds and birding in North East England (Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham, Cleveland, North Yorkshire). It is a discussion forum for all aspects of birding - sightings, trip reports, census work, personality profiles, bird race and Big Day records, lists - and jokes.



@nybirdnews - Rare and scarce bird news from North Yorkshire and a bit of other stuff if it's quiet

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Verdant Wildlife

Tour Operator

All our tours are on gentle to moderate terrain unless otherwise stated, but we do recommend a basic level of fitness, sturdy footwear and suitable outdoor clothing. A welcome pack including a tick list and copy of the Birdwatcher's code, lunch and refreshments are included in the price and binoculars can be provided if required. Transport between sites is provided unless otherwise stated…

Trip Reports


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Cotterdale Cottage Holidays


The tranquil pursuit of bird watching can be enjoyed in the Yorkshire Dales, an area that boasts a vast and varied collection of local birds. Often bird watching is incorporated into walking…

Filey - Ennerdale Apartments


Ennerdale, 31-33 Station Avenue, Filey, North Yorkshire. YO14 9AE Tel: 01723 513798

Let's Stay North Yorkshire Moors


Welcome to our North York Moors accommodation and tourist guide. Here you will find everything you need to know for your holiday in the spectacular North Yorkshire Moors National Park…

Marmion - Robin Hoods Bay


Situated in the centre of the village of Fylingthorpe on the delightful Yorkshire Coast, 5 minutes walk from Robin Hoods Bay. Marmion is a substancial Victorian house, offering comfortable, well-equipped and spacious holiday self catering accommodation for up to seven people. Only 10 to 15 minutes walk from the beach, Marmion is in a pleasant position to absorb the character of the Robin Hoods Bay Area. Marmion has sea and countryside views, old beams, an open fire and a sunny patio…

River View B&B


River View B&B holiday accommodation is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, England, UK and is a famous area for a vacation, close to the market towns of Hawes, Sedbergh, and Ingleton. It is 3½ miles from the historical village of Dent, which is still cobbled, with white painted houses, and a 12th Century church, much as it has been for hundreds of years…

Standfield Hall Cottage


Standfield Hall Cottage is a fantastic, detached, cosy two bedroom holiday cottage on an organic farm within beautiful Yorkshire scenery. It's your basis for a perfect farm holiday, a home-from home all year round and with a lovely big garden so if you have kids, they have a safe place to run around...


Filey Bird Observatory

Observatory Website

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Our aims include the recording and studying of Filey’s birds, and protecting and enhancing local habitats for wildlife (including ownership and management of several nature reserves). Our work is entirely voluntary and reliant on our membership and their generosity. Members receive a range of benefits, as well as regular newsletters, the annual report, and the satisfaction of helping the study and protection of local wildlife.


Yorkshire Museum


The biology collection does also have avian exhibits…


Andy Walker - A W Birder


World birder working as a guide/tour leader for Birding Ecotours and Freelance Consultant Ornithologist. Main focus on Europe, Asia and Australasia. Increasingly interested in reptiles, amphibians and mammals! I like Pittas...you can see my pics below...

Calderdale Birds


This is the blog for bird sightings and related news in the Calderdale area. It is generally updated daily. Any non-member wishing to report and post sightings should send them to: info(at)calderdalebirds(dot)co(dot)uk

Dave Craven - Why Watch Wildlife?


A blog dedicated to watching birds and other wildlife in Yorkshire, and further afield

James - Nature North


Thirsk - I get out and about mainly in Yorkshire, Cleveland and Bedfordshire. I photograph/digiscope birds, bugs, mammals and flowers with variable success. I am a member of RSPB, BTO, Teesmouth Bird Club, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Butterfly Conservation.

Jono Leadley - Birding Dad


I am a birder from York, who became a Dad in April 2008 (and again in March 2010). I birded York until 1993 when I went off to UEA in Norwich. After spending some time in Madagascar and Indonesia, I ended up in Cambridgeshire. In May 2009 I moved away from one of the best inland birding patches, Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire, to live in Norfolk. I birded the mid-Yare Valley NNR (Strumpshaw - Buckenham - Cantley) for 18 months, but have now moved back to York, where I'm from.

PicStop - Optics


01624 670005 - York House, Wetherby Road, Long Marston, York, YO26 7NH - High quality optics from leading brands - If astronomy or wildlife spotting is more your thing we have an amazing collection of telescopes, binoculars and spotters that are ideal for beginners and experts…

The official blog for the North York Moors National Park


The North York Moors – forged by nature, shaped by generations. Come and explore our National Park – 554 square miles of secluded dales, magical moors, ancient woodland, historic sites and 26 miles of stunning coastline, all easily reached from York, Teesside and County Durham. Read about our work here, and then pay us a visit!

Other Links

Huddleston & Jackson Bird Ringing Partnership


This Web Site is being created to pass on information from the Huddleston & Jackson Bird Ringing (Banding) Partnership that operates in the York area of the UK…

Nature in the Dales - Birds


These pages include local information about 29 bird species found in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, from curlew to cuckoos and lapwings to linnets. Why not use our A-Z of wildlife below or the general search box at the top of the page to quickly find the species you are looking for and then have the facts at your fingertips.

Nature Station


Nature Station is a UK, family run company specialising in quality, low cost and predominantly locally-sourced products for your wildlife garden or natural space...

North York Moors Wildlife


From moorland birds to minke whales, there’s a wealth of wildlife waiting to be discovered on the North York Moors. Here's a selection of spots that are easy to get to and where you've got a pretty good chance of seeing something.

Scarborough Birders


Scarborough birders is a group of people interested in the birds of the Scarborough area, and provides a network and a voice for local birdwatchers. The group is self-administered and is for the benefit of anyone interested in wild birds.

Songbirds Of The North Yorkshire Forests And Moors


Learning bird song can be a daunting task. This tour focuses on birds of woodland and open country in North Yorkshire, getting to grips with a wide range of species from common warblers to finches. The North Yorkshire forests have a great variety of habitats from ancient deciduous to recent coniferous woodlands, containing specialist birds such as Crossbills, Redstarts and Tree Pipits. Close by in the heather of the North York Moors National Park, Whinchats and occasional Ring Ouzels reside.

Top 10 Wildlife Watching Spots


Get closer to nature by discovering Yorkshire's wilder side! With rolling countryside, unspoilt habitat and the stunning Dinosaur Coast, Yorkshire is a perfect sanctuary for many of England's greatest species. Not to mention the keenest wildlife enthusiasts.

Photographers & Artists

Artist - Robert E Fuller - A Day In the Life of a Wildlife Artist


Robert E Fuller is one of Britain's foremost wildlife artists. His paintings sell all over the world and his trademark, highly-detailed images have been adopted at home by the RSPB and the National Trust. He has exhibited in wildlife galleries across Europe and up to 7,000 people visit his own gallery in North Yorkshire each year.

Artist - Steven Lingham


Steven Lingham is a self-taught artist born in Derby, England in 1973, who previously worked as a trained printer. He has spent the majority of his life living in Yorkshire and is now living in a small village near the beautiful old city of York with his wife. Steven is a member of the RSPB, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and The Wildlife Art Society all of which promote conservation of British Wildlife. Subsequently it is not surprising that most of his work is focused around wildlife, including his real passion for British birds…

Photographer - Dave Mansell - East Ayton Birding


This website contains wildlife photos taken from along the Yorkshire coast of Northern England, mostly in the Scarborough area, plus images from the odd trip further afield.

Photographer - Simon Phillpotts - Wild Dales Photography


My name is Simon Phillpotts and I live and work within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. I have long been fascinated by the wide range of wildlife habitats the area contains and its biodiversity…

Photographer - Steve Mills


Steve Mills is an award-winning photographer based in North Yorkshire, England. His image 'The Assasin' won the Birds: Behaviour category in the prestigious Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011 and he was the only category winner from Britain.