What to see in October

Go wildlife watching in OctoberSpurn © George Stoyle

October is a great time to visit East Yorkshire to spot a huge variety of migratory birds at the end of their travels as they reach the UK for the winter. Bird migration is well underway in October and the prominent landmarks of the Yorkshire Coast and Humber Estuary act as a huge natural arrival and departure lounge for millions of birds.

Given that East Yorkshire is famous for its bird migration, it’s maybe no surprise that it has the most bird observatories of any UK county. Filey, Flamborough and Spurn are all fantastic places to visit to greet a host of new arrivals as migrating birds touch down on these eastern shores of the UK for the very first time. Facilities in these areas are excellent and whether you’re an experienced or novice birdwatcher, you’ll be guaranteed an enjoyable visit with plenty of resident and migrant birds to watch, plus there’s always a chance that something a little rarer will drop in. Take a look at the Spurn Bird Observatory, Filey Bird Observatory, Flamborough Bird Observatory or Birdguides websites to see what’s about.

If you’d prefer an organised visit to make the most of your trip to witness bird migration, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust run regular safaris at Spurn to take you down to the end of the peninsula with a knowledgeable guide in tow or you can sign up to a tour or workshop with Yorkshire Coast Nature.

October is also a good month to see starlings perform acrobatics in the early evening skies. Starling murmurations offer an amazing visual display and the best time to see these are at dusk when starling flocks perform these aerial stunts whilst preparing to roost. RSPB Blacktoft Sands or over the River Humber to Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust's Far Ings Nature Reserve are good places to visit as the estuary’s abundant reedbeds make an ideal overnight spot for a starling sleepover.

The Humber Estuary is also a great place to see waders that have arrived to winter in the UK. RSPB Blacktoft Sands is the largest inland reedbed in the country and is well-known for its secretive species like bitterns, bearded tits and marsh harriers. Autumn is the best time to look out for bearded tits as they ‘ping’ their way through reedbeds plus it’s a good time to see wader birds such as spotted redshanks, greenshanks, black-tailed godwits, ruff and dunlin on the lagoons.

Out at sea whales are also migrating along the Yorkshire coastline and, come November, will have left the UK seas. This makes September and October optimum months for whale watching. Boat trips offer opportunities to see the minke on the move and, if you’re really lucky, you could also see sei, fin and even humpback whales! Try the Whitby Whale Watching Centre or Yorkshire Coast Nature for whale watching boat trips.

Heading back inland, October is the perfect time to wrap up and get out into the countryside. Whether you like to walk, cycle or drive through the countryside, the Yorkshire Wolds is spectacular in October and the rolling open countryside with its expansive views and endless skies make misty mornings and cold, crisp starry nights incredibly inviting. Plus, October is also the month that the trees explode into a myriad colours and deliver a spectacular autumn display – a treat for any outdoor explorer at one of the many vantage points in the Yorkshire Wolds. Find out more about this area at Visit Hull and East Yorkshire.