East Yorkshire

Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis ©David Mason Website

The recording area of East Yorkshire is the same as the ceremonial county known as The East Riding of Yorkshire (area 61 in the Watsonian scheme), often abbreviated to the East Riding or East Yorkshire. It is a ceremonial county in the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England. It borders North Yorkshire to the north and west, South Yorkshire to the south-west, and Lincolnshire to the south across the Humber Estuary.

Birding East Yorkshire

East Yorkshire offers some of the best birding in the UK! Its coastal sites include seabird colonies on cliffs, estuarine marshes and reedbeds and superb migration hotspots. It has a considerable reputation as a great county for sea-watching, rare migrants at the coast and has some excellent inland sites too. Nesting auks, Gannet, Kittiwake and Fulmar can be seen at Bempton Cliffs and Flamborough Head, while the Humber Estuary is of international significance as a Ramsar site and is designated as a Special Protection Area for the large flocks of overwintering, migratory and breeding waders.

Sites such as Patrington Haven Paull Holme Strays and Blacktoft Sands RSPB are all worth a visit. Marsh Harrier, Bittern, Bearded Tits and Avocet breed.

East Yorkshire boasts two Bird Observatories, at Spurn and Flamborough, and the variety of rare and scarce migrants that have been recorded is legendary.

Bempton Cliffs ©Chris Lotz

Inland sites of significant interest include Allerthorpe Common YWT, the Lower Derwent Valley NNR, North Cave Wetlands YWT, and Tophill Low NR. Moreover, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has been working with the local farming community on a two-year project to restore a network of dew ponds across the Wolds, as well as trying to protect and connect the land along the chalk streams that are the headwaters of the River Hull.

East Yorkshire has beautiful scenery too, as well as interesting towns and terrific beer! Moreover, it is one of the best places to try a pelagic in the autumn for skuas and shearwaters.

Top Sites
  • Flamborough Head

    WebpageSatellite View
    This headland near Bridlington can produce outstanding sea watching from the point in autumn and winter, with good falls of migrants regular at South Landing and Danes Dyke.
  • Hornsea Mere

    InformationSatellite View
    This large freshwater lake close to the sea proves very attractive for divers, grebes, sea ducks and terns, and is the prime Yorkshire site for Little Gulls which peak in August. Raptors and waders often pass through in migration.
  • RSPB Bempton Cliffs

    WebpageSatellite View
    North of Flamborough, these high chalk cliffs hold nationally important breeding seabird colonies, for which April-July visits are best. Up to 75,000 Kittiwakes provide a spectacular backdrop for large numbers of Common Guillemots, Razorbills and Puffins, as well as one of the only Gannet colonies in mainland Britain.
  • RSPB Blacktoft Sands

    WebpageSatellite View
    This nationally important reed bed is the best site in the region for Marsh Harrier and Bearded Tit, and the carefully managed water levels on different pools make this an excellent site for passage waders as well as breeding Avocet.
  • Spurn Point

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The unusual geography of this peninsula acts to funnel migrants from the coast onto the point. Active migration over the narrows can be spectacular, and the list of rarities seen in the dunes on the point and in the surrounding bushes is impressive. Sea watching can also be productive, and waders and wildfowl use the sands of the Humber shore.
  • Geoff Dobbs

    | geoffdobbs@aol.com

County Recorder
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 469

    All Yorkshire
  • Number of bird species: 354

    Flamborough Observatory Recording Area
  • Number of bird species: 406

    East Riding according to eBird
Useful Reading

  • Bird Watching in East Yorkshire, the Humber and Teesmouth

    | By Stephen C Elliott | Hutton Press | 1989 | Paperback | 120 pages, 26 colour plates, line illustrations. | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780907033790 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Birds of the Hull Area

    | By R K Broughton | Kingston Press | 2002 | Paperback | 260 pages, 280 b/w illus | ISBN: 9781902039145 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Birds on the Spurn Peninsula

    by Ralph Chislett | Peregrine Press | 1996 | Hardback | 216 pages, 12 b/w plates, tables, map | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780952026877 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Where to Watch Birds in Yorkshire

    | By John Mather | Christopher Helm | 2008 | Paperback | 320 pages, line drawings, maps | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780713687828 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Useful Information
Festivals & Bird Fairs
  • Spurn Migration Festival

    Join us on September 6th, 7th and 8th September 2024 for one of the highlights of the birding calendar, as we pull together walks, talks and all things migration based!
  • Flamborough Bird Observatory

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    Flamborough Bird Observatory is a membership organisation run on a volunteer basis and as such there are a team of people involved… Warden: Chrys Mellor, Woodview, Lighthouse Road, Flamborough YO15 1AJ chrys.mellor@btinternet.com
  • Spurn Bird Observatory

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    There's been a Bird Observatory at Spurn since 1946 which occupies a superb location off the tip of the coast of the East Riding of Yorkshire.
  • East Yorkshire Ringing Group

    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
  • Flamborough Ornithological Group

    Ornithological records from Flamborough Head in the historic East Riding of Yorkshire in England, date back to the 19th Century. The fascination with the splendid cliffs and their thousands of nesting seabirds is obvious, but the attraction of the head to migrant birds was well known to some of the taxidermists of that time, such as Matthew Bailey. The history of his specimens and associated field observations were summarised in 1872 and 1894, mainly be John Cordeaux. Their intriguing lists inspired much of the endeavour of the earliest FOG members…
  • RSPB Hull & District Local Group

    This is the website of the Hull & District Local Group. RSPB local groups are a great way to meet friendly, like-minded people in your area while learning more about birds and wildlife.
  • RSPB East Yorkshire Local Group

    The website of the East Yorkshire RSPB Members Group. This site contains information about their forthcoming activities and also the latest newsletter and copies of past editions…
  • South Holderness Countryside Society

    Facebook Page
    The South Holderness Countryside Society was set up in 1983 with the primary aim of 'Making a Better Place for Wildlife'. We own two large award-winning nature reserves, Beacon Lagoons and Hollym Carrs, and have over 100 subscribing members from all walks of life. We have also recently inherited a farmhouse, its outbuildings and approximately two hectares of land in Hollym near Withernsea…
  • York Ornithological Club

    York Ornithological Club's recording area includes parts of East Yorks
  • 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

  • CP Humber Bridge

    PDF brochureSatellite View
    In the woods the mature ash trees are nurtured for their insects and nesting birds. Other trees such as hawthorn, elder and crab apple are encouraged to provide ample berries for hungry resident and migrating birds.
  • LNR Allerthorpe Common

    WebpageSatellite View
    Allerthorpe Common is a mosaic of habitat types - dry heath, wet heath, marshy grassland, mire, tall grass, bracken, ponds, broadleaved woodland and scrub, sitting within Forestry Commission coniferous woodland. The site lies on river and lake sands and has historically been an oasis for wildlife. A variety of breeding birds can be seen, including Woodcock, Green Woodpecker and Garden Warbler, plus a range of flora and fauna that includes adders, lizards and dragonflies…
  • LNR Danes Dyke

    PDF brochureSatellite View
    Danes Dyke is a 148 acre nature reserve on Flamborough Headland. It acquires its name from the ancient ditch and bank earthwork which runs across the Headland and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument of national importance. The reserve contains the most extensive area of woodland on the Headland,
  • LNR Flamborough Outer Headland

    PDF brochureSatellite View
    Flamborough Outer Headland is located approximately 2 miles east of Flamborough village and 5 miles east of Bridlington. By road from Bridlington approach on the B1255 to Flamborough, and then the B1259 to the Flamborough Lighthouse
  • LNR Millington Wood

    PDF brochureSatellite View
    The woodland ride has been widened to make a long woodland glade, a new habitat for different plants and animals. Ash dieback may affect how the wood is managed in the future. Bird and bat boxes offer homes for several species, including tits, redstarts and owls, and pipistrelle, noctue and brown long-eared bats.
  • LNR North Cave Wetlands

    WebpageSatellite View
    North Cave Wetlands is a true example of a 21st Century nature reserve, developed in the footprint of a large sand and gravel quarry. Shallow gravel islands have been created in three lakes to provide breeding sites for Little Ringed and Ringed plovers, Avocet, Oystercatcher, Lapwing and Common Tern. There is a resident population of Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Shelduck, Shoveler, Great Crested and Little Grebe. In spring and autumn small numbers and migrant wading birds pass through. Reed and Sedge warblers and Reed Buntings are common in and around the reedbed and north side of the nature reserve.
  • LNR South Landing

    PDF brochureSatellite View
    Listen out for great spotted woodpeckers hammering on the tree trunks. The reserve also hosts an important colony of tree sparrows, whose numbers have declined across the country by 95%. Tree sparrows have beautiful chestnut-coloured heads and black spot on their cheek.
  • LNR Tophill Low

    WebpageSatellite View
    Tophill Low Nature Reserve is an active Yorkshire Water Treatment Works built in 1959. It formally opened as a Nature Reserve in 1993 and features 12 hides spread across a 300 acre site that flanks the River Hull. The two reservoirs - 'D' and 'O' dominate the reserve and have SSSI status for their massive wildfowl numbers, including good numbers of wintering Wigeon and Goldeneye. Around the perimeter a network of marshes, ponds, woodlands and grasslands result in an annual 160+ bird species, with over 60 readily visible even in mid winter. It is also a good site for seeing otter.
  • NNR Lower Derwent

    Facebook PageSatellite View
    The Lower Derwent Valley NNR comprises a series of flood meadows, pastures and woodlands spanning both East and North Yorkshire. Important viewing points in East Yorkshire include Aughton, Bubwith and Ellerton Ings, and East Cottingwith. The site supports a rich breeding bird community with more than 80 species recorded in recent years. Breeding wildfowl are of particular importance, with 13 species found here including Gadwall Garganey and Shoveler. Breeding waders seen in the area include Curlew, Lapwing, Snipe and Redshank. In winter the grasslands support a herd of Whooper Swan and nationally important numbers of Teal, Wigeon, Pochard and Golden Plover.
  • NNR Spurn National Nature Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    Spurn's location makes it one of the best places on the east coast from which to watch the spring and autumn migrations, and in the winter large numbers of waders and wildfowl gather on the sand and mud of the river Humber. Spurn boasts an impressive list of rarities, which are particularly likely after easterly winds…
  • RSPB Bempton Cliffs

    WebpageSatellite View
    The Bempton Cliffs reserve, on the spectacular Yorkshire coast, is home to one of the UK's top wildlife spectacles. Around half a million seabirds, including puffins, flock here from March to October to raise a family on towering chalk cliffs which overlook the North Sea.
  • RSPB Blacktoft Sands

    WebpageSatellite View
    You'll find Blacktoft Sands hiding on the south bank of the River Ouse, where the waterway widens to become the Humber Estuary. This magical reserve hosts a diverse population of waders, warblers and raptors, which can be easily spotted from the accessible trails and hides.
Sightings, News & Forums
  • YorkshireBirds

    Mailing List
    Discussion Group - This list is for Yorkshire birders, birdwatchers, birdspotters, and related subjects in the Counties of North, East, South, and West Yorkshire England. The list is a forum for news of rare bird sightings in the four Counties. You may also make requests for bird-related information and information on local birdwatching sites. This is a public forum do not post details of species or sites that could help egg collectors identify nest sites. Do not send file attachments.
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Oriole Birding

    Tour Operator
    The East coast of the UK is synonymous with the arrival of migrant birds from Scandinavia during the autumn migration period, and along with the Norfolk coast and the islands of Scotland, one other area stands out for its amazing track record of producing rare and scarce birds – the East Yorkshire coast between Flamborough Head in the North and Spurn Head in the south. Following our successful spring trips to this area, we are returning again in 2018 for this special September tour based at the wonderful Georgian Farmhouse at West Carlton near Aldbrough.
  • RSPB Seabird Cruises

    When summer turns to autumn this area can be a great place to watch multitudes of migrating seabirds. Sail out into the North Sea on the famous MV Yorkshire Belle from Bridlington and look for seabirds such as shearwaters, skuas, divers, auks, gulls and terns, in addition to marine life such as porpoises and seals.
  • Yorkshire Belle

    ...all the details of our public cruises...
  • Yorkshire Coast Nature

    Tour Operator
    Welcome To Yorkshire Coast Nature Experience the varied and stunning landscapes of the Yorkshire coastline, where inspiring wildlife encounters await between North Yorkshire and the Humber. Our tours and workshops are led by expert and friendly guides eager to help you discover the secrets of Yorkshire
Places to Stay
  • Andy & Kate's Air B&B Bempton

    Suitable for couples and small families, we provide a peaceful place to stay. Recently refurbished and comes with wifi and smart TV.
  • Alan Whitehead - Duffbirder meets South Holderness

    Alan Whitehead's birds at home and abroad
  • Erich's Birding & Biking Blog

    I’ve previously blogged on Hull Valley blog but as of 2013 I wish to use this purely for HVWG information and my patch work within the valley. I’ve been interested in wildlife since very young, largely thanks to my father. I actually started birding in the early 70’s but then took it up seriously in the mid 80’s becoming a serious twitcher in 1992
  • Hull Valley Blog

    Last Updated March 2016 - The intention of Hull Valley blog is to the promote wildlife interest in the Hull Valley Wildlife Group recording area. The bulk of it will be my observations but I’ll try and include as much other information as I can, including stuff gleaned from the internet and birding information services as well as anything passed on from friends etc.
  • James Spencer - Ornithological Idiocy

    Nafferton, East Yorkshire - Birder, ornithologist, father, husband, idiot.
  • Mark Quiggs - Q@Spurn

    Crazy birding blog from the Spurn area - I used to go to Spurn every weekend but when I reached 20 visits got less and less but now the visits are starting to increase and I get there as much as work and family allow. I'm updating the blog retrospectively, I wrote the entries on the day but never had the chance to publish on the internet…
  • Michael Flowers - East Yorkshire Birding with Flowers

    A blog describing the visits and showcasing the resultant pictures from wildlife sessions held in east Yorkshire, England, UK…
  • Steven Farley - Yorkshire Wild

    I consider my patch to be anywhere in the Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire area. My favourite places being, Bank Island, Wheldrake, Alkborough Flats, Spurn Point, North Cave Wetlands and the many other sites around the Humber.
Photographers & Artists
  • Artist - Robert E Fuller

    Born in 1972, Robert E Fuller was brought up on a farm in Great Givendale, East Yorkshire, not far from where he still lives today. His father, Richard Fuller, is an award-winning farmer conservationist and author whose sensitive response to the rush to modernise farming practices in the seventies was ahead of its time…
  • Photographer - Mike Robinson Bird Photo's

    Photo's of birds taken by me in the local area and the occasional holiday. Also includes my Great Tit Nest Box Live Stream

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Skip to content