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Sightings for the current month

February 13th

Male Blackcap from earlier this week – Jimmy Main
...and male Bullfinch on Wick – Alan Crockard

Firstly, a big thanks to Yoav Perlman for a great talk last night, which was enjoyed by around 60 people; but also our apologies to Yoav for the non-Israeli weather - easterly wind and fairly constant rain - hampering our efforts to bird with him this morning! Unsurprisingly, news is limited but does involve a Sandwich Tern off Mudeford Quay and the Spotted Redshank at Stanpit. Also from the quay, a Great Crested Grebe offshore and the 2 Raven.

  CHOG Chairman - Chris Chapleo
will be giving a talk to the Bournemouth Natural Science Society
Birds and Wildlife of the Christchurch Harbour Area
on Wednesday 17th February at 2:30. More details...

Tides February 14th: H00:50 | H04:05 | L08:05 | H12:50 | H16:20 | L20:30

February 12th

Dunlin Cormorant
On Mudeford Sandspit this morning Dunlin and Cormorant – Clinton Whale

The only news received so far today is from the sandspit where groyne S8 held 14 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin.

Additional news: the Spotted Redshank was at Stanpit.

February 11th

Kestrel – Alan Crockard
Salt Hurns
...and another view of the inundated Salt Hurns,
this time from the top of Hengistbury – Colin Raymond

After a crisp night, a couple of Redwing and a Brambling leaving the Nursery roost with the more-expected Greenfinch gave a hint of birds being displaced by the cold. On the converse, as the sun warmed things, 3 Skylark were disputing territory around the Barn and Long Fields, while there were 2 Treecreeper in Wood - assuming they are able to, if they get it together it would be a breeding first for the area - and a total of 22 Siskin fed in alders south of Holloway’s Dock. Off the Beach Huts, an Eider and a Great Northern Diver could be picked out on the calm sea, a Red-throated Diver headed east and a Razorbill moved west. In the on-going high water levels, waders are being forced onto slightly higher ground; for example, 5 Turnstone huddled on a small tussock on the Salt Hurns. Finally, there are still a few places left for tomorrow's talk by Yoav Perlman on Bird Migration through Israel. If you wish to attend, please email.

February 10th

Common Gull
Common Gull (left) and Black-headed Gull – Alan Crockard

High levels of water persisted making it difficult to access some areas, not least Stanpit Marsh. From Fisherman’s Bank, however, over 200 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover and 9 Snipe could be counted; while a Grey Wagtail was seen on Priory Marsh from the golf course embankment. There is currently no news from Hengistbury, but a Sandwich Tern headed west past Mudeford Quay, over which 3 Shelduck arrived, and a Bullfinch was on Wick.

  February 9th

Rock Pipit
Rock Pipit on the sandspit – Clinton Whale
Purple Sandpiper
Some of the 22 Purple Sandpiper that were flitting between groynes S3 and S4
– Clinton Whale
Flooded Salt Hurns
...and the flooded Salt Hurns – Clinton Whale

It was thankfully much calmer today, even encouraging Song Thrush to sing and Great Spotted Woodpecker to drum. The best record, however, was Woodcock seen over the Ironstone Quarry at 10:45, after presumably being flushed from its day-roost. This species is usually encountered as an incoming migrant during November or as the result of cold weather, so one present in mild conditions is intriguing and may hint at a winter resident. Elsewhere, a Firecrest showed well behind the Nursery, a Bullfinch was on Wick, 2 Siskin passed over and the Treecreeper was in the Wood. On the sandspit, there were 22 Purple Sandpiper on groyne S3, then later S4, 5 Rock Pipit and a couple of Raven.

February 8th

Storm Imogen raged from the west all day, with a gust as high as 94km/h being experienced just outside the recording area. There was little rain, however, and barely many more birds. From the Beach Huts this morning, there were: 2 Kittiwake, 2 Fulmar, 8 Gannet, a Razorbill and a Red-breasted Merganser, all low to the west; while a Great Northern Diver struggled into the wind at a higher level. Meanwhile, a further Red-breasted Merganser, a redhead, took refuge inside the harbour, where they are far from usual. A total of 22 Purple Sandpiper were on the beach at the southern end of the sandspit, their preferred habitat of the stone groynes being almost completely submerged, and 8 Siskin were in the Wood.

February 7th

The strong wind continued well into the day, which unfortunately meant the CHOG-led RSPB bird boat had to be cancelled. A trip was made to the Beach Huts later in the morning and produced a Grey Phalarope at sea, but very little else. Meanwhile, at Stanpit, at least 2 Chiffchaff and 2 Stonechat were making the most of the shelter afforded by the North Scrubs. The penultimate WeBS count of the season was hindered by the very high tide, so making many parts of Stanpit inaccessible to the counters. Nevertheless, the following were returned: the Spotted Redshank in Stanpit Scrubs, a Jack Snipe along the western edge of the North Scrubs, 25 Snipe, just a couple of Black-tailed Godwit, 212 Dunlin and a healthy 773 Lapwing; as well as 9 Pintail, 168 Teal, 398 Wigeon, 201 Brent Goose and 2 Shelduck; plus a Mediterranean Gull.

Additional news: there were 16 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit - one on groyne S5, the others on on S8.

February 6th

A southerly wind and the ever-constant threat of rain meant most of those wanting to look at the sea were hunkered behind the shed on Mudeford Quay early this morning; although one hardy soul did venture to the Beach Huts. The totals from the sites were: a Fulmar, 3 Kittiwake, 3 Gannet and a few auks west, an adult Mediterranean Gull that came into the harbour, 2 Common Scoter which were rather aimless and a Great Crested Grebe on the water. A flock of 13 waders that came from the Avon Beach area past the quay contained Purple Sandpiper and a single Dunlin, while the regular 2 Raven were about.

February 5th

All the news comes from the morning, after which drizzle set in for much of the day. On Mudeford Quay, there were two presumed Scandinavian Herring Gull, while a couple of Firecrest were on Hengistbury behind the Nursery. The only other news involves 90+ Dunlin, 9 Pintail and 185 Brent Goose at Stanpit, plus 2 Great Crested Grebe inside the harbour.

February 4th

Mudeford Sandspit
Low tide at the northern end of the ever-extending Mudeford sandspit – Clinton Whale

On a relatively fine day, which encouraged some of the resident species into song, the presumed Scandinavian - tristis - Chiffchaff was with four or five Chiffchaff on the Stanpit golf course embankment, adjacent to the North Scrubs. Meanwhile, a Firecrest was on the Batters at Hengistbury and 4 Siskin were in the aforementioned scrubs. The better waders were the Spotted Redshank on the marsh and a single Purple Sandpiper at the southern end of the sandspit, while a Grey Plover, a Black-tailed Godwit and 190 Dunlin were inside the harbour; as were 5 Pintail.

Additional news: 10 Shelduck went west past Mudeford Quay, a Raven was on it and a Great Crested Grebe was offshore.

February 3rd

The only news for the day is of 3 Sandwich Tern inside the harbour.

February 2nd

Great Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull, presumably paired up for the breeding season – Clinton Whale

Breaking the recent run of grey skies it was nice to see some blue today and, as a consequence, tonight looks set to produce a frost. The post is based around two visits to Stanpit, morning and afternoon, with the best being 2 Sandwich Tern, the Spotted Redshank and a Rook, the latter adjacent to the car park. The early part of the day saw a fine total of 125 Dunlin, while other counts and estimates came to: 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 560 Lapwing, 3 Pintail, 160 Brent Goose and 350 Wigeon.

February 1st

Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale

The sea was gazed at for an hour or two this morning, but other than a short spell that produced a Red-necked Grebe on the water with 3 Great Crested Grebe and a Red-throated Diver west it was significantly uneventful. The only other snippets involve a Razorbill and 8 Pintail, the latter flocking with 3 Cormorant, all west. Elsewhere, 3 Firecrest were in a holly bush along the northern edge of the Wood, where the Treecreeper was again present, and the three photographed Purple Sandpiper were at the end of the head.

January 31st

The afternoon at Stanpit produced a Firecrest and a Water Pipit, while the only other news from a very quiet day was of the Treecreeper, 2 Coal Tit and several Goldcrest in the Wood on Hengistbury.

January 30th

Brent Goose
A real rarity this winter, juvenile Brent Goose (centre). The left-hand bird is also one
– Clinton Whale

There was a remarkable record of 2 Hawfinch briefly atop the Stanpit golf course pines. this morning. This remains a much-envied species for some who keep harbour lists. Meanwhile, just beneath them was the presumed Siberian Chiffchaff and three standard Chiffchaff. Most other activity was at sea, where the best was a Sandwich Tern fishing off the Beach Huts, but also two distant divers, an adult Mediterranean Gull, a Common Scoter, 2 Gannet, 4 Pintail and 2 Great Crested Grebe.

January 29th

Now the storms have names, it’s hard not to use them. Gertrude arrived overnight and with her some light drizzle. Christchurch Bay, however, did not contain the hoped-for mass of displaced sea birds - we really should know better by now. In fact, the best of the morning was a single Great Skua and 8 Common Gull west; while a further effort in the afternoon came up with a Common Scoter, 4 Wigeon and a single Common Gull, again all west. Meanwhile, the Wood held 2 Firecrest, a total of 13 Purple Sandpiper was reckoned along the sandspit and the pair of Raven was seen at various times.

January 28th

Today saw more Skylark on the Barn Field than of late, including this individual with very worn and abraded feathers - presumably soon to moult – Clinton Whale

Other than the Skylark observation associated with the image above, the only news for day involves around 10 Siskin in the Wood on Hengistbury.

January 27th

Given the constant rain until at least the mid-afternoon, it won't be a surprise to hear it's a struggle to eke out more than a couple of sentences about today. Actually, the news of 12 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit is all there is.

January 26th

Stanpit under the influence of a high tide and large amount of rain – Clinton Whale
...forcing the Starling that normally feed on the marsh
to relocate to Hengistbury – Clinton Whale

Nearly all the day’s news comes before the late-morning onslaught of rain, the exception being what was presumably a very damp Marsh Harrier over Wick at 12:30. Earlier, there were 2 Firecrest in holly alongside Holloway’s Dock, while the sea produced the year’s first Fulmar, a Great Northern Diver, an adult Mediterranean Gull, 2 Gannet, 2 Guillemot, a Razorbill and an unidentified diver, mostly west. In addition, around 60 Herring Gull and 15 Great Black-backed Gull were feeding in the choppy, offshore waters. Meanwhile, a flock of 350 Black-tailed Godwit circled the harbour before heading off high to the west and a further sixty sat it out on South Marsh before that itself disappeared. To round up, the Treecreeper, 3 Coal Tit and 6 Goldcrest were in the Wood.

January 25th

The on-going mild weather means there are still several Stonechat hanging around the area
– Linda Davison
Redshank – Clinton Whale

It was dry again today, although that may well change tomorrow as the weather system from the eastern seaboard of the US reaches us. Once more, it’s interest more than numbers, with a Water Pipit and the Spotted Redshank both showing well on North Marsh, Stanpit; while 4 Sandwich Tern were along the harbour side of the sandspit, where 5 Purple Sandpiper were on groyne S9. Staying with the above-average, a Tawny Owl flew over the Long Field towards the Batters at 7:15 and a female Bullfinch was on Wick. In fact, the only really routine news concerns 11 Dunlin on the sandspit.

January 24th

Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper – Jimmy Main
One of two Stonechat on Wick Fields – Clinton Whale
...and drake Teal – Clinton Whale

Again, there is relatively little volume of news, but a fair degree of interest. This morning there were a couple of Chiffchaff along the Stanpit golf course footpath - one of them looking, plumage-wise, to be a Siberian Chiffchaff, but frustratingly the bird remained silent meaning confirmation couldn’t be obtained. Meanwhile, over on Hengistbury, a Firecrest was in the Wood and a total of 14 Purple Sandpiper, ten of them on the Long Groyne, was returned. The only other news concerns the Tufted Duck on the river.

Sightings for earlier months can be found in our Sightings Archive.