Welcome to The Yorkshire Nature Triangle
Where else in England can you look down on a seabird city home to the
unmistakeable puffin, enjoy a lakeside vista where
otters go fishing, stare in awe at the regal red kite
or magnificent marsh harrier hunting for prey, or be in
with a chance of seeing our majestic ocean-going seals
and porpoises? Here in East Yorkshire you can do just
that, and much more besides.
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Your chance to discover…
Puffins dressed for dinner
Not got your sea legs but would love to see a puffin? Don’t worry. Every year, these colourful characters in their black and white dinner jackets make a home in the ‘seabird cities’ of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s (YWT) Flamborough -probably the best mainland site for seeing puffins in the country - and RSPB Bempton cliffs home to our largest seabird, the gannet.
Magnificent marine mammals
Whether it’s an inquisitive grey seal, a porpoise giving a tantalising glimpse beneath the waves or a chance encounter with dolphins and perhaps even a whale, Yorkshire’s seas are home to much more than you might expect. Start your discovery at the brand new YWT Living Seas Centre north of Bridlington or on an organised boat trip for budding seafarers.
Aerial displays and starling spectaculars
Every autumn and winter, countless thousands of wading birds call the Humber Estuary home and as the tide inevitably turns every day, they gather together in striking skyward displays often just inches above the water at YWT Spurn. From the comfort of a hide at RSPB Blacktoft Sands or just over the Humber Bridge at LWT Far Ings you can also take a front row seat for a starling murmuration, one of nature’s greatest shows.
You otter believe it
Just a few years ago, the iconic otter returned once again to every county in Britain – and they’re right here in East Yorkshire too. These shy and secretive mammals are being seen with increasing regularity, so keep your eyes open on a visit to Yorkshire Water’s Tophill Low or YWT Wheldrake Ings .
In the heart of the Wolds, the five-foot wingspan of the red kite is back – second only to Scotland’s eagles in sheer size and aerial prowess. East Yorkshire’s reedbeds and wetlands are home to the marsh harrier too, its presence given away by a distinctive hunting technique across the reedbed tips.
Wolf-whistling wigeon and elegant avocets
East Yorkshire’s wetlands like YWT Wheldrake are packed with wildlife in the autumn and winter months and the unmistakeable whistling of wigeon has a supporting cast of colourful waterbirds like the pochard, shoveler, teal and the exquisite pintail. Spring and summer finds the delicate monochrome avocet arriving at YWT North Cave and RSPB Blacktoft Sands, where tiny chicks are raised amongst the myriad islands.
It might feel like the end of the world, but YWT Spurn is just an hour’s drive from the hustle and bustle of Hull. With a true windswept, wilderness feel and the sense that you can get away from anything, Spurn is also one of the country’s top bird migration hotspots. For a quiet getaway stroll along the shore or a chance encounter with an exotic rare species in spring or autumn, there’s no better place to be. Head to the iconic lighthouse (new visitor experience due to open in late 2015) for a real panoramic view.
What to see and when
Seabirds begin to return to coastal cliffs, including the UK’s largest gannet colony right here in Yorkshire, ready to build their high-rise residences for the summer.Red kites are busy nest-building in the Wolds, gathering strange materials for their own version of home decorating! Spurn plays host to our first summer visitors from Africa like swallows, swifts and warblers, whilst birdwatchers flock to the area for the chance of seeing a rare migrant blown off course. Our wetlands see the arrival of elegant waders like the avocet, house-hunting for the months ahead.
Cliff tops come alive with the subtle pinks of thrift and orchids, and just yards below, thousands of seabirds – including the ever-popular puffin - and a supporting cast of guillemots, gannets and fulmars are dedicatedly sitting on their precious eggs or busy fishing out at sea. Longer days give a great opportunity to explore the rock pools of North and South Landing – why not take your findings to the team at the Living Seas centre too? Wildflowers carpet the grasslands of the Wolds and butterflies and dragonflies busily hit the skies.
Shorter days see the arrival of our winter visitors, as redwings and fieldfares drop in to gorge on the hedgerow berry bounty. Along our estuary shores, flocks of wading birds like knot, dunlin, oystercatcher, godwits and plovers gather together in flocks hundreds and thousands strong, with stunning starling ‘murmurations’ the evening spectacle not to be missed above the reedbeds of the Humber Estuary. In the far flung spots of Spurn and Flamborough, the chance of a rare visiting species sees birdwatchers scouring hedgerows for the chance of an exotic treat.
Far from a time of wildlife winter slumber, the coldest months can play host to some of our most colourful and dazzling wildlife, as ducks and swans come into their brightest attire of the year. Male wigeon, teal, pochard, shoveler and handsome pintail are joined by noisy lapwings all hunkering down in our wetlands. Arctic travellers like whooper and Bewick’s swans bring a flash of crisp white, and the reedbeds are often home to hunting marsh harriers or the elusive bittern.