Aiming high on the Head


Teams of birders are invited to take part in a unique event on the Yorkshire coast this autumn, and will be directly helping breeding and migratory birds in the process. Flamborough Head, one of the UK's most dramatic and legendary avian hotspots, is in better shape than ever for birds (and birders) these days, thanks to partnerships between Flamborough Bird Observatory (FBO), local landowners, stakeholders and conservation organisations — but we need your help to complete a vital project on the Head.

Flamborough Head (Photo: Mark Pearson)

We're hoping that the crowning glory of the projects thus far will be the restoration and enhancement of Northcliff Marsh, a mouth-watering coastal wetland beneath the flash of the lighthouse's beams. FBO and Natural England funds are already being used to turn the marsh into thriving, diverse wetland for birds and a host of other wildlife, with great birding opportunities for visitors and locals alike (including access paths and a new hide). Grand plans are close to being fulfilled, but we can only do the work if we can raise essential funds.

And what better way to raise the funds than by birding? FBO is holding a unique, month-long event from 1st–30th September 2010, focusing on the wonders of visual migration. September, of course, is one of the most productive months of the year for bird migration, and Flamborough is one of the very best places to experience it in the British Isles. Species arrive from all points on the compass, from Scandinavian Siskins to Australasian Sooty Shearwaters...

Anyone can take part, and teams can consist of two, three or four people. You can take your pick of various predetermined static 'vantage points' (VPs) on the headland, and participants can take part as much or as little as they like, over a flexible period of time — from just a few hours upwards. (Each VP has been chosen for either its ideal position in the landscape, or because of its reputation as a migration route, or usually both.)

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Sparrowhawk (Photo: Mark Pearson)

Prizes will be given for various achievements, but the most important aspects are to get sponsorship (per species, per individuals counted, or as direct fund donations), and to have a great time birding on the Head.

The Visible Migration Event is a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in bird conservation to contribute directly to habitat creation in a wonderful place. And you don't have to be there to help — donations from individuals, groups and companies are of course very welcome.

To register, donate or just to find out more, email richard.baines@woldecology.co.uk.

Good luck!

The organisers would like to thank Opticron and BirdGuides for generously donating prizes for the event.

Written by: Mark Pearson, Volunteer Press Officer, Flamborough Bird Observatory