Sightings for the current month

December 7th

A 2.5-hour seawatch from the Beach Huts saw most birds heading into the Solent, including: 8 Red-throated Diver, 19 Guillemot, 7 Razorbill, 17 Common Scoter and 44 Brent Goose. Meanwhile, a Firecrest, a Water Pipit, 3 Redwing and a Grey Wagtail were at Stanpit. At Mudeford Quay, there was a heavily-streaked-on-the-head Herring Gull - possibly one of the putative argentatus birds from last winter, but more scrutiny is needed.

Wednesday 14th December
New Forest Woodcocks - Manny Hinge
Manny has been a professional, freelance wildlife cameraman for over 20 years, during which time he has worked on many of the major BBC natural history productions. More details...

Tides December 8th: H02:55 | H06:30 | L11:00 | H14:40 | H18:15 | L22:55

December 6th

It was a dully and dreary day with very low cloud hanging around throughout, meaning it never seemed to get properly light. Waders dominate the post - the best being 2 Avocet in Holloway’s Dock and the Spotted Redshank off Fisherman’s Bank - as well as: 18 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Turnstone, 30 Ringed Plover and 110 Dunlin. Wildfowl of above-average interest, namely Shoveler and Pintail, rose to 17 and 11 respectively; while Kingfisher were seen in Stanpit Creek and Parky Meade Rail. The only news from Hengistbury involves a Firecrest in the Wood.

December 5th

A Spoonbill was settled on North Marsh late in the afternoon, while wader peaks from then and an earlier visit comprised: 17 Grey Plover, 28 Black-tailed Godwit, 56 Ringed Plover, 165 Dunlin and 4 Turnstone. In addition, there were half a dozen each of Pintail and Shoveler, as well as 3 Shelduck. To finish this short post, both Kingfisher and Peregrine were also seen at Stanpit.

December 4th

Wigeon – Chris Dresh
Dunlin – Chris Dresh
A cold, clear day was made even more uncomfortable by a stiff easterly breeze. On the Hengistbury side, there were singles of Firecrest in the Wood and on Wick, while the Marsh Harrier was watched hunting from both parts of the area. Although Stanpit was visited on a couple of occasions during the morning, tide and sun made things difficult; but 6 Grey Plover, 60 scattered Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Ringed Plover and 60 Dunlin were logged, as were a lone, drake Pintail and 6 Shoveler amongst an estimated 550 Wigeon.

December 3rd

For the first time in several days there was no frost, as cloud in the small hours warmed the air by a few degrees. That said, a biting, north-easterly wind made if feel actually far colder. At Stanpit, there was at least one Water Pipit in the Priory Marsh area, with singles being seen on that part of the marsh itself and then by the stile leading on to it. The male Marsh Harrier seemed to be about the area all day, but around 8:30 it hunted with a second bird over Wick Hams. At sea, the offshore Common Scoter flock, until flushed by a jet-ski, was quite close in and numbered around 45 - none of them adult drakes, however, i.e. all pale-faced birds; but some paler than others. Meanwhile, 6 Red-throated Diver moved into the Solent and one left it, a pair of Red-breasted Merganser headed east, a V of 25 Brent Goose that arrived was led by a female Shoveler, a Pintail west east, as did a Great Crested Grebe, and a lone Gannet was logged. There were also 2 Eider holding position, viewable from both the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay. The remaining news involves a Firecrest in the Wood by the Double Bends, a couple of Redwing over the HHC area and 2 Raven on Wick. 

December 2nd

Little Egret
Little Egret – Steve Hogan
Robin – Emma Pounds

Another windless day meant the flat sea off Mudeford Quay gave up birds relatively easily. At lunchtime, 2 Great Northern Diver, 4 Eider and 5 Great Crested Grebe were settled, while 5 Sandwich Tern fished and 2 Red-throated Diver headed into the Solent. Earlier, from the Beach Huts, it looked as if the Common Scoter flock had risen to around 35 birds and a single Red-throated Diver passed west; and just after dawn, flocks of Cormorant numbering 60, 20 and 10 headed way out to sea from their valley roost. Inside the harbour, there were marked increases in a number of species, most notably Grey Plover and Ringed Plover at 20 and 48 respectively, but also 7 Pintail and 8 Gadwall. Meanwhile, a couple of Goosander passed through and a Bar-tailed Godwit, 39 Black-tailed Godwit, 90 Brent Goose and 10 Shelduck were also around. Passerine-wise, there was a Brambling in the North Scrubs, 2 Chiffchaff on the Wick riverside path, a Mistle Thrush on Wick and 4 Redwing. For the corvid enthusiasts, at dusk there were 81 Jackdaw amongst the Crows and gulls on Blackberry Point - something that would have been deemed unimaginable just a couple of years ago.

December 1st

It was a clear, windless and quite frankly glorious day throughout. Despite the morning cold, a couple of degrees below, a Goldcrest found the energy to sing in Stanpit car park just after dawn; while a sound not often heard over the area is the mewing of Common Gull - a single bird, perhaps recently arrived, calling frequently as it headed inland. In fact, most of the news for the post comes from Stanpit, where a Water Pipit was in Stanpit Scrubs and a Jack Snipe was on Priory Marsh, with the regular male Marsh Harrier, as well as a female bird, being present on and off. The male also spent some time on a fence post at Wick Hams. Before moving back to the marsh, the best from the Hengistbury side; namely, a trio of Sandwich Tern into the harbour through the Run and a couple of Firecrest in the Wood. The pick of the Stanpit Bight waders was the Spotted Redshank, but also 9 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Black-tailed Godwit, 13 Ringed Plover and 70 or so Dunlin; plus 2 Pintail and 10 Shelduck. Finally, a couple of desperation counts come courtesy of 22 Long-tailed Tit in the Wood and 23 Carrion Crow on South Marsh. 

November 30th

In continuing cold weather, the month finished quietly. The best for today being a Jack Snipe, the Marsh Harrier and 14 Skylark, the latter possibly the result of some cold-weather movement, at Stanpit.

November 29th

Snipe at Stanpit – Clinton Whale

The wind shifted a few degrees to the east overnight, which meant the Beach Huts offered little shelter against its chill. To counter, there was a warm sun but this hampered visibility when scanning into the Solent. Nevertheless, 7 Red-throated Diver were logged - a group of three and one east, and three singles west - as well as the Eider, 30 Common Scoter and 2 Great Crested Grebe settled, plus six further scoter east. There was some evidence of late migration, with a Chiffchaff and 2 Goldcrest moving along Wick Hams; while charms of Goldfinch were frequently heard passing over, but only 30 could be seen in the clear blue sky, as were 6 Linnet. The Marsh Harrier was seen hunting Wick Hams before sunning itself on a wind-sheltered post in the same area. 

November 28th

With the wind again just east of north, there was more to be seen at sea this morning; mainly from the Beach Huts, but also from Mudeford Quay. Other than a Velvet Scoter that passed west, from the rather mixed directions it may be that most other movements were fairly local. As a indication, here are the records from a two-hour period as they occurred, i.e. no attempt to consolidate: a drake Red-breasted Merganser east; Red-throated Diver 3, 1, 1 and 1 west, 1 east; a diver species west; Common Scoter 15, 4, 1 and 1 east, 8, 3, 2 and 1 west; 2 Wigeon and a Pintail east, all together; a Razorbill and a Guillemot in tandem east; 3 Shelduck east; 2 Great Crested Grebe east; and a Gannet west. In addition, there were 4 Eider settled and 15 or so Common Scoter, not accounted for previously, held station. Meanwhile, a redhead Goosander came in over the Barn Field and eventually settled on the river, and a party of 3 Grey Plover moved high over Whitepits. There was also a modicum of passerine migration, including a Pied Wagtail in-off from far out to sea; 4 Redwing north and 38 Goldfinch and 11 Chaffinch east. 

November 27th

Mute Swan
Mute Swan at dusk – Emma Pounds

The moment of a definitely better-than-average seawatch from Mudeford Quay came around 9:30, when a skein of 22 Barnacle Goose was seen coming in from the east. The birds moved straight on through, however, and later spent a short time in the north-west corner of Poole Harbour, at Swineham. There were again multiple Eider offshore - six in total, including an adult or near-adult drake in a group of three that settled off Highcliffe - while at least 10 Common Scoter and 2 Great Crested Grebe were also on the water. Red-throated Diver were seen on at least six occasions, heading in a number of directions, and a Pochard moved into the Solent; as did 3 Shelduck. The Marsh Harrier spent a good deal of the morning hunting the Wick reeds and 5 Fieldfare passed north over there. 

November 26th

Marsh Harrier Marsh Harrier
The regular Marsh Harrier – Roger Howell

There were a fair few pieces of wildfowl around this morning. At first, mainly due to the presence of dabbling duck on the sea, it was thought this could be the result of birds being displaced by wildfowling; however, a total of 7 Pochard at Stanpit suggest there may have instead been a genuine arrival. Clearly on the move though were Avocet, with four passing east at sea and ten settled at Stanpit. Also on the marsh, a Water Pipit on Grimmery Bank and 2 Marsh Harrier, while a Black Redstart was amongst the huts at the southern end of the sandspit. Completing the duck story, there were: 3 Eider, 30 Common Scoter, 5 Gadwall, 15 Wigeon and 2 Teal settled off the Beach Huts; 3 Red-breasted Merganser and four unidentified mergus west; 3 Shelduck east; and 7 Pintail, 6 Shoveler, 8 Gadwall and 9 Shelduck inside the harbour. Three sets of wader counts were received from Stanpit, with the peaks being: a Knot, plus three more arriving over the sandspit, 2 Grey Plover, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 25 Ringed Plover, 86 Dunlin and a Turnstone. The last few days have seen Red-throated Diver start to appear in bays off Hengistbury - a minimum of eight reckoned for this post. Meanwhile, the only other bird news involves a Grey Wagtail on Fisherman’s Bank, but the Grey Seal was again just offshore. Please check back to yesterday for some additional news.

November 25th

Gadwall Gadwall
Gadwall – Alan Crockard

The wind continued from the north-east, but brought little with it. A one-hour, on-and-off look at the sea from Hengistbury produced just ten settled Common Scoter and a Great Crested Grebe. Meanwhile, the Marsh Harrier was seen several times until 9:30 at least, a couple of Chiffchaff were in the area and the Red-legged Partridge was on a fence by the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre. 

Additional news: the Marsh Harrier was at Stanpit, as were a couple of Pintail, 14 Shoveler, 2 Grey Plover and 34 Black-tailed Godwit.

November 24th

Redshank – Steve Hogan

In an easterly wind, there were some moments of interest at sea over a 2.5-hour period this morning, from the Beach Huts, including: a Little Auk and 7 Red-throated Diver west; and an Eider and 15 Common Scoter on the water. In addition, a couple each of Brambling and Redpoll moved over. As is becoming the norm, Thursdays see some prolonged coverage at Stanpit, where the best were a Goosander north-west and the Marsh Harrier. Meanwhile, the waders came to: 3 Grey Plover, a Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit, around 30 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Ringed Plover and 70 Dunlin; with other above-average wildfowl represented by 2 Pintail, 9 Shoveler, 6 Gadwall and 2 Shelduck. Finally, there was a good count, for winter that is, of 3 Mediterranean Gull and the same number of Common Gull.

November 23rd

A pair of Shoveler on Stanpit today – Clinton Whale

At Hengistbury this morning 2 Firecrest and 9 Goldcrest were in the wood while 3 Bearded Tit were by the HHC and the Black Redstart was still around. On the other side of the harbour a couple of Crossbill passed over Ashtree Meadows. To sum up the Kingfisher was by the wooden bridge, a Razorbill was on the sea off the cliffs, 6 Shoveler, a drake and five duck, were on Stanpit and a total of 5 Snipe was logged.

November 22nd

Wigeon in Holloway's Dock – Clinton Whale

Although the weather had mellowed somewhat this morning it was thought that the sea was worth a look so both the beach huts and the quay were covered for a time. The highlight was a Great Skua that moved west but there was very little else, just singles of Guillemot and Red-breasted Merganser, also west, while two each of Purple Sandpiper and Ringed Plover were on the sandspit. A Merlin moved through Stanpit where there were 50 Dunlin, 30 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Gadwall.

Late news: from Mudeford Quay mid morning there were singles of Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver, Red-breasted Merganser, Kittiwake and Razorbill plus 35 Gannet, all west, also 23 Common Scoter on the sea off the sandspit.

November 21st

rock pipit
Rock Pippit – Clinton Whale

After the foul overnight weather and the dire forecast for today the quay was the only option this morning. A couple of hours from dawn yielded very little, however, with just a Peregrine heading into the harbour over The Run, an unidentified diver moving west and around 20 Common Scoter off the sandspit.

November 20th

Long Groyne Purple Sandpiper
The Long Groyne is a popular haunt of Purple Sandpiper, but not this morning!
Instead, six birds, of which these are two, preferred the calm of S8 – Clinton Whale

Storm Angus blew up overnight, but delivered very little in the way of seabirds. Just over two hours at the Beach Huts from first light saw: 4 Kittiwake, a diver sp., a Razorbill, 19 unidentifiable auks and 12 Common Gull; all west. As mentioned above, the peak Purple Sandpiper figure from the sandspit was six.

November 19th

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale

Mudeford Quay experienced something of a purple patch this afternoon, when 2 Velvet Scoter, a Black-throated Diver and 2 Red-throated Diver were all seen heading west, while around 25 Common Scoter were settled. Earlier, before the rain took hold, it was Stanpit that saw most of the activity with the wader estimates headed by: a Jack Snipe, 6 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 45 Black-tailed Godwit, plus a further 15 in Barn Bight, 46 Ringed Plover and 120 Dunlin. Meanwhile, 6 Pintail and 5 Shelduck were around Stanpit Bight, where 536 Wigeon and 138 Coot were also counted. The Marsh Harrier was seen on and off, a couple of Raven overflew and Kingfisher were seen in a few locations. Chiffchaff are still lingering about the area - three on each side of the harbour today. 

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