Bird Watching in Whitby or Rosedale Abbey

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The North York Moors are a wild, wide, and high upland area with the most expansive area of heather moorland in England.  And the coastline to the North or South of Whitby is dominated by high sea-cliffs, small bays, and sandy beaches.  

So you'll find a good range of birding habitat and various species on any trip to Whitby or Rosedale Abbey.

From the lounge room of Spyglass 1708, we even have fabulous views of the annual spectacle of the Herring Gulls nesting and their rearing chicks on near-by chimney pots.

Swan at Ruswarp

Swans Are Often Seen on the River Esk Between Whitby and Ruswarp.

On the Moors, you’ll find Red Grouse, Merlin, and Ring Ouzel higher up. Honey Buzzards are found in a few wooded areas, Dippers in some streams; and a wide variety of birds in the lower dales.

Barn Owl - Mike Nicholas

Barn-owl are Often Spotted in Rosedale.  Beautiful!

We also have a host of near-by coastal areas and sea cliffs for observing sea birds.
For good close-up photographic opportunities, there are just heaps of places to visit.

Listed on our website is just a small selection of the best spots for bird-watching in the area.

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Filey Brigg

Filey Brigg Bird Observatory. Filey Brigg is a finger of limestone that juts almost half a mile out into the North Sea. The Brigg to the north and Flamborough Head to the south form the natural breakwaters for Filey Bay, and the area is abundant with sea birds.
Sea watching yields shearwaters, skuas, terns, auks, divers, grebes and gulls, and is one of the more reliable sites for spotting Purple Sandpiper’s.
Migrant passerines occur in good numbers in the surrounding area, and the brig is especially good in autumn.

Scaling Dam

Scaling Dam is a good spot to look for migrating birds.  It on the A171 road between Lockwood Beck turn-off and Whitby.  There is an unlocked hide overlooking the nature reserve at the end of the reservoir with the sailing club building and a large car park.  There is also a nice circular walk around the reservoir; over a mixture of moorland and lakeshore with very easy walking.  It can get a little muddy in one or two places and takes about an hour and a half to traverse the full lake.

Dalby Forest

The forests of Dalby and Wykeham are home to important populations of Nightjars, and rare raptors such as Goshawk and Honey Buzzard.  The Dalby Forest Visitor Centre in Thornton-le-Dale is a good starting point for bird watching trips to this area.

Grouse - Mike Nicholas

Red Grouse are Our Iconic Local Bird.  See them on the Moors between Whitby and Rosedale.

Castle Howard

A beautiful location which attracts wintering wildfowl such as Pochard and Tufted Duck; plus rarer species in cold weather.
Ducks over frozen lake Castle Howard - Tracey Phillips

Ducks in Winter at Castle Howard on the Edge of the North York Moors.

There are breeding Reed Warblers; whilst Ospreys and Black Terns are sometimes seen during the spring and autumn.
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