Sightings for the current month
Black-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale
The front row of birds illustrates what a good proportion of
young Brent Goose,
recognised by the three diagonal white lines towards the rear of
there has been this winter – Clinton Whale
The best today was probably one of the two wintering Firecrest - again in the Nursery. Early on, a couple of Mediterranean Gull, an adult and a first-winter, were on the lawn at Mudeford Quay, while a Fulmar and Common Scoter were at sea off the Beach Huts. This afternoon, 20 Black-tailed Godwit and 13 Shelduck were in Stanpit Creek, with the post’s only other news involving the familiar 2 Raven.
AGM & Indoor Meeting – Wednesday, 11th March
The Great Heath Living Landscape - Nicola Hoar, Dorset Wildife Trust
This talk will be preceded by the AGM, which is planned to be a much shorter process than usual. For example, the minutes of last year’s meeting and the 2014 accounts can be viewed on-line in advance, in order to save them being recited in full on the night. All other reports will also be presented in a summary form.
Please note, there is one outstanding vacancy, Outdoor Meetings Organiser, for which we would significantly welcome any volunteers. This role involves arranging a couple of members’ days and guided walks each year. Please email the Secretary if you are interested or would like further details.
Tides March 2nd: L01:55 | H06:50 | H07:00 | L14:20 | H19:20 | H22:20
Great Black-backed Gull – Alan Hayden
Herring Gull – Alan Hayden
As a consequence of the morning’s persistent rain, all the news comes from Mudeford Quay. The first five minutes of the session started well - a party of four pale-bellied Brent Goose, which lingered for an hour or so, and up to 20 Purple Sandpiper, the latter being accompanied by a Dunlin that didn’t look altogether comfortable stood on a wave-lashed rock. After that, however, it was hard work - the next couple of hours producing just: a Red-throated Diver, a Common Scoter, possibly the same lone drake that has been around for a while, 6 Mediterranean Gull, all adults and looking to be paired, 2 Shelduck and the regular pair of Raven. For those who are interested in such things, the latest set of accounts, covering the period April to December 2014, are now available.
Additional news: a Fulmar lingered off the Beach Huts, from where 2 Guillemot and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull were also seen.
One of several singing Reed Bunting at Stanpit this morning – Alan Crockard
...and the pair of Raven on the sandspit – Clinton Whale
Today saw a couple of clear indicators of the impending spring - firstly, several Linnet were by the HHC this afternoon; while up to 10 Reed Bunting were about Stanpit, a good deal of them in song. Since last weekend’s high tides, small waders have been completely absent inside the harbour; but the Spotted Redshank and 68 Black-tailed Godwit seem more enamoured with the situation. Meanwhile, 6 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit. Other pieces of interest for the day include: a drake Shoveler, 6 Pintail and 12 Shelduck at Stanpit; a Water Rail in Brewer’s Creek; a Coal Tit in the Nursery; and 2 Raven on the sandspit.
Pied Wagtail – Alan Crockard
Meadow Pipit – Alan Crockard
Around 7:30 this morning, a thick misty cloud descended onto the area and things didn’t brighten up until well into the afternoon. On Hengistbury, a Water Rail was in Brewer’s Creek and 3 Lapwing were on the Barn Field, from which the cattle have now been removed to make way for the Skylark. Meanwhile, a Grey Wagtail was in the Wick horse paddock. Over on Stanpit, in addition to a couple of Stonechat, there is the traditional late winter build-up of Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit.
Oystercatcher – Alan Hayden
There was a Chiffchaff in the North Scrubs at Stanpit today, while the Water Pipit and 11 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit were on North Marsh. Despite a southerly, onshore wind, the sea produced less than 6 birds in 90-minutes, the most notable being a Red-breasted Merganser west.
A biting, easterly wind marred the day, but a few trips were made into the field. A Water Pipit and 8 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit were on North Marsh, Stanpit, where the Spotted Redshank and 49 Black-tailed Godwit sheltered in Stanpit Creek, along with many of the Wigeon and Teal, and 206 Brent Goose were counted on South Marsh. Although the sea was in significant swell, little was on the move - just a Great Northern Diver from Mudeford Quay and a single Red-throated Diver east past Hengistbury.
Second-winter Common Gull – Alan Hayden
Yesterday's deluge and the resultant flow from the rivers Avon and Stour meant there was even more water over the area today, despite a much weaker tidal influence. As a consequence, the only report received was of a Water Rail in the unexpected location of Roebury Lane, a bird presumably displaced by the inundations.
Little Grebe – Alan Hayden
Pair of Tufted Duck – Alan Hayden
As a result of a rare alignment of the sun, moon and earth,
today's bird-boat experienced the highest tides in just over 18
years – Alan Hayden
The only remaining evidence of Blackberry Point – Alan Hayden
The Bailey Bridge over Mother Siller's Channel – Clinton Whale
...and various angles of Stanpit under a great deal of water – Alan Hayden
It was a day dominated by water. The highest tide for 18.5 years occurred at 11:00, which completely swamped many parts of the area, while the forecast rain descended right on cue at 12:30 and continued until dusk at least. At Hengistbury, a Firecrest was once more in the Wood, but little else to report from there. Thanks to the resident, semi-tame drake, the true status of Tufted Duck has become slightly blurred, but a pair that were around for most of the morning were certainly in addition to the regular bird. Meanwhile, an adult Mediterranean Gull passed through and, during the afternoon’s wind and rain, a Fulmar lingered around the Run.
An excellent comparison of Firecrest
(above) and Goldcrest
- both captured in the Wood today – Alan Crockard
Despite its westerly direction, the wind this morning more than warranted the term biting. As a consequence, much of the Hengistbury birding was done from the shelter of the Wood and the Coastguards respectively - the former site again hosting a Firecrest. Meanwhile, the best from the Coastguards was a settled Red-necked Grebe, with either that or another earlier being seen from Mudeford Quay heading into The Solent. Otherwise, the combined totals from the quay and the high point of the head were: 5 Red-throated Diver, 5 Red-breasted Merganser, those in contrast to yesterday all west, 5 Great Crested Grebe and a Common Scoter. Also around Hengistbury, an adult Mediterranean Gull and at least 2 Raven. Over on Stanpit, a single ‘Scandinavian” Rock Pipit was close to the Pod.
Additional news: a Chiffchaff was at Stanpit, along with 5 Rock Pipit, 11 Pintail and twelve fly-over Black-tailed Godwit.
Some of the 23 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit this morning – Clinton Whale
Some of the highest tides for 20-years are expected this weekend – Colin Raymond
The morning was almost completely windless, but a hint of northerly breeze was in the air by lunchtime. Therefore, it was not altogether a surprise that genuine seabirds were completely absent from Hengistbury waters. That said, there were bits-and-pieces of interest - the best being a Red-necked Grebe passing west. In addition, 7 Red-throated Diver were logged, three in each direction and a settled bird, as well as 6 Red-breasted Merganser, a Common Scoter and 2 Shelduck, all east. The Purple Sandpiper, today numbering 23 birds, were split into two groups - sixteen on S9 and seven on S5.
A southerly, onshore wind drove a few seabirds close to Hengistbury this morning, including: a Great Skua, 5 Fulmar, 9 Kittiwake and 2 Gannet, all west; plus 12 Red-throated Diver, a skein of 55 Brent Goose and one-hundred-and-twenty distant auks, all east. In addition, a total of 38 Common Gull was logged moving down-channel. Then, just before the rain set in for the remainder of the day, a Firecrest was again by the Nursery in the Wood.
In similar conditions to yesterday, a Marsh Harrier was again
seen, albeit very briefly, at Stanpit. Also there, the Spotted
Redshank, 73 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Ringed Plover, 57 Dunlin, 3
Shelduck, 10 Pintail and 203 Brent Goose.
This Marsh Harrier, a
male reckoned to be in its second winter,
was over Crouch Hill at lunchtime – Alan Hayden
Once the sun got up, it turned out to be a quite glorious day. So much so, that a mini raptor-fest took place over Stanpit at lunchtime, when singles of Marsh Harrier, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk were all soaring over harbour airspace. The Marsh Harrier looks likely to be the bird that has been seen frequently from Coward's Marsh, just north of the area, over the last few weeks. Comments would be welcome on the age of this bird. The true status of Woodcock in the recording area is currently of some debate, so one seen over the HHC this evening was of interest - one wonders whether the recent reed clearance may have been of attraction? The only other news concerns 6 Pintail at Stanpit.
Curlew – Chris Dresh
From about 9:00 onwards this morning it was wet and downright miserable - although the Beach Huts provided a good degree of refuge and allowed a total of 28 Red-throated Diver, all but three west and including a flock of fourteen, to be amassed; plus singles of Red-breasted Merganser and Razorbill, both of those west. Meanwhile, groyne S9 hosted 16 Purple Sandpiper, 15 Black-tailed Godwit were in Holloway’s Dock and the Spotted Redshank was at Stanpit. Final pieces of local interest came from: a Coal Tit in the Wood; a Peregrine stooping over the Salt Hurns; and 2 Raven about the sandspit.
Apologies for the potential overload of Spoonbill
but these two are rather good – Chris Dresh
What is interesting, is that this young bird (brown flecks in feathering and pale bill coloration) has taken to the same spot the original adult bird favoured when it was first seen on 9th. While the youngster remains, both adults seem to have moved on.
Only one Spoonbill, a young bird, was at Stanpit today, along with the brownhead Goldeneye, a lone Black-tailed Godwit, 37 Ringed Plover, 246 Dunlin, 2 Pintail and 137 Brent Goose. Elsewhere, a Red-throated Diver and a Common Scoter passed east at sea, a further 3 Black-tailed Godwit were on the Hengistbury side and Reed Bunting are still making efforts to sing.
Long-tailed Tit – Alan Crockard
Coverage was light this Saturday, so presumably some of the regulars were spending Valentine’s morning treating their better halves! Either that, or they’d disappeared off to sample some the New Forest’s winter specialities. However, the 3 Spoonbill remained at Stanpit, one of them is very confiding and spends much of its time close to the Pod. Other notables about the marsh included a Merlin and 2 Water Pipit; but also 8 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit, the Spotted Redshank, 6 Grey Plover, 35 Ringed Plover and 70+ Dunlin. A Mediterranean Gull was seen over the Barn Field and one was heard at Stanpit this afternoon, 19 Pintail were spread along Blackberry Point and Reed Bunting were starting to sing about the area.
Green Woodpecker – Alan Crockard
The morning at least was subject to an uncomfortable south-easterly wind, with rain adding to the proceedings from around 10:30 onwards. However, from the scant shelter of the Beach Huts in such conditions, there were some moments at sea. A Long-tailed Duck passed east, in the company of 2 Great Crested Grebe, and a Slavonian Grebe was settled a short distance offshore for around 30-minutes. In addition, a Great Northern Diver, 3 Red-throated Diver, 3 Kittiwake and 35 auks were logged. Elsewhere, a Jack Snipe was on the Salt Hurns, 2 Firecrest were in the Wood and a Peregrine passed over Wick.
The second and third Spoonbill
- an adult and a young bird - to arrive on-site this week
– Alan Hayden
The 3 Spoonbill were around Stanpit all day, but rarely together. There is the lone, adult bird that arrived on Tuesday; while the later two, which seem to stick together, are an adult and a young bird. That said, the adult of those is almost constantly trying to see off its younger companion. Also around the marsh, the Avocet in Stanpit Creek, which seems to be constantly asleep, plus a Sanderling,12 Ringed Plover, 15 Black-tailed Godwit and 50 Dunlin. During the morning, there was a marked movement of birds east over the area, including two flocks of Lapwing totalling 80 birds, the groups containing a single Ruff and Golden Plover respectively, as well as 62 Wigeon. Finally, the brownhead Goldeneye was again inside the harbour.
Goldeneye – Alan Hayden
Despite there being no overnight frost, it was still cold enough around the area today. This afternoon, the incumbent Spoonbill at Stanpit was joined by a further two birds, while the Avocet was still present as well as 4 Mediterranean Gull. Earlier, there had been an easterly flight of at least 22 Red-throated Diver into Christchurch Bay, with a Goosander and Common Scoter settled on the water there, plus 2 Red-breasted Merganser passing west. Further along Hengistbury, a total of 24 Great Crested Grebe were on the sea off the western extreme of the recording area. The maximum count of Black-tailed Godwit for the day was thirty-eight, that in Barn Bight, a Grey Wagtail and female Bullfinch were on Wick, and a Raven was on the top of the head.
Additional news: of course, there was a Goldeneye off Rushy Piece again.
Drake Teal – Alan Hayden
Meadow Pipit – Alan Crockard
The adult Spoonbill remained on-site today - after first being
on East Marsh, the bird flew a short distance to North Marsh where
it had a species-characteristic doze adjacent to the Pod. Also on
Stanpit, a Water Pipit, that also on North Marsh, and a
newly-arrived Avocet. Meanwhile, other waders were represented by
the Spotted Redshank, 4 Grey Plover, a couple of Turnstone, over
60 Black-tailed Godwit and around 180 Dunlin. Once again, the
Goldeneye was feeding off Rushy Piece, with 40 Pintail, 2 Gadwall
and 9 Shelduck also logged inside the harbour. The
best-of-the-rest was the Firecrest in the Nursery, while the
miscellany came from: a Peregrine over Stanpit; a couple of
Stonechat on Central Marsh; a Raven on the top of Hengistbury; and
the lone, ringed Brent Goose that has resumed its affection for
North Marsh, well away from any of the other birds currently using
Spoonbill on North Marsh this morning - the lower shot giving an excellent size comparison with Little Egret. Twenty-five years ago, imagine the hysteria had these two been found feeding side by side! – Alan Hayden & Richard Cordery (centre)
Water Pipit on Central
- the head at least tending towards breeding plumage – Alan Hayden
The best birds of a cold, dismal and damp day were an adult Spoonbill on North Marsh, a Water Pipit on Central marsh, just north of the small causeway beyond the Pod, and 2 Mediterranean Gull around Stanpit Bight. The latter worthy of mention due to their almost complete absence around Christchurch for the last month or so, other than a few birds at sea. Also of note, a fine count of 54 Great Crested Grebe this afternoon in Christchurch Bay - the birds visible from Mudeford Quay, but the actual count being made from just outside the area at Steamer Point. A Bar-tailed Godwit at Stanpit was a first for the year, while other waders inside the harbour included 3 Grey Plover, 55+ Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Ringed Plover and 16 Dunlin. The brownhead Goldeneye, today off Rushy Piece, headed the wildfowl with a supporting cast of 22 Pintail, 3 Gadwall and 7 Shelduck.
Sunrise from the sandspit – Colin Raymond
The old 'CHOG pond' in the Nursery, dug by the group in the 1970s, is undergoing a full restoration; courtesy of Bournmemouth Borough Council – Hugh Goldsmith
It was both WeBS count and bird-boat day, which produced a Ring-billed Gull that was seen only very briefly in Stanpit Creek early this morning. Despite being looked for a short while after the initial sighting, the bird couldn’t be relocated. Otherwise, the best was probably a brownhead Goldeneye, seen from the boat, at the mouth of the creek. However, before the rest of the wetland bird numbers, a Firecrest was again in the Nursery, a Redwing was in the North Scrubs and the bright sun got a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming on Hengistbury. The best of the figures was 7 Purple Sandpiper on the Long Groyne; with other aggregate totals from across the recording area including: 20 Pintail, 16 Shelduck, 230 Teal, 616 Wigeon, 203 Brent Goose, 8 Great Crested Grebe, 100 Black-tailed Godwit, 138 Dunlin and a very notable 199 Redshank.
Additional news: by late afternoon, the Purple Sandpiper on the Long Groyne had risen to fifteen and had been joined by a Sanderling. Slightly later, a Spoonbill flew west over the harbour.
Brent Goose – Chris Dresh
Coal Tit – Chris Dresh
The easterly wind made for uncomfortable conditions at the Beach Huts this morning; nevertheless, at least one enthusiast sat it out for 90-minutes and a few birds were logged. Today’s flight of Red-throated Diver comprised 11 birds, all west, while a Great Northern Diver was offshore, along with a Common Scoter and at least 7 Great Crested Grebe. Elsewhere, 2 Redwing and a Coal Tit were in the Wood, a Raven passed north over Wick and 3 Black-tailed Godwit were on the water meadows there.
While some areas were sheltered enough to allow birds - Collared
- to perch out in the open – Clinton Whale
...others, however, were just about un-birdable – Clinton Whale
A Sandwich Tern that flew through the harbour was a good winter record; as was an apparent pair of Stonechat, the male at least showing strong characteristics of being a continental bird, rubicola, on Whitepits. A succinct, easterly movement of Red-throated Diver, which is thought to related to short-distance feeding relocation, was again seen from the Beach Huts - 11 birds the day’s tally. Also, a Great Northern Diver settled offshore and a party of three high-flying birds to the west; as well as 3 Red-breasted Merganser east and around 50 auks logged. Meanwhile, a couple of Purple Sandpiper were again on the Long Groyne and the Collared Dove at the northern end of Wick numbered 20 birds.
Grey Wagtail – Alan Crockard
Other than the recent arrivals of Shelduck and Pintail, twenty-eight and eighteen respectively at Stanpit this morning, there hasn’t been an obvious displacement of birds due to the on-going, cold weather; however, a Woodcock at Stanpit, in the North Scrubs, and a total of 34 Great Crested Grebe off Mudeford Quay suggested there is, in fact, something more going on. Also on the marsh, a Water Pipit, 6 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit, 7 Gadwall and 6 Grey Plover, as well as a northbound skein of 8 Egyptian Goose over.
Some of the 0.5ha of reedbed management so far completed this
by Bournemouth Borough Council. Well done Hugh and team! – Hugh
The team on the current habitat management project, which is now deep into the Wick reeds, enjoyed close views of a female Bearded Tit and a Marsh Harrier this morning. Meanwhile, despite a brisk offshore wind, the sea picked up somewhat after a notably quiet period. All movement was east and comprised: 2 Black-throated Diver, 18 Red-throated Diver, 500+ auks, a Fulmar, 12 Gannet, 6 Common Scoter and 3 Shoveler. To finish up, a drake Goldeneye circuited the harbour.
For a while this morning, it looked as if the night’s snow sprinkle was going to be augmented by something far more significant; however, no sooner had the larger flakes started, the temperatures rose and it was all a short-lived memory. Actually, rather than prompting a hoped-for cold-weather movement of passerines, the events seemed to shift the few birds we were hosting onwards. For example, Stanpit held only 2 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock pipits, but no other pipits, nor stonechat, while wagtail numbers were greatly reduced. Other than an Eider west past Mudeford Quay, the sea was equally quiet, with a later morning visit to Hengistbury producing just 5 Common Scoter, 2 Gannet and a few auks. Meanwhile, 18 Pintail and 31 Shelduck remained in the harbour, as did the Spotted Redshank and 4 Grey Plover.
Ringed Plover and Dunlin – Clinton Whale
Mercifully, the recent wind has abated; but clear overnight skies made for a lower actual air temperature. A couple of trips out to Stanpit came up with a Water Pipit and 6 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit, while in addition to yesterday’s Pintail, which all seemed to be hanging around, there was a clear influx of Shelduck - as many as 40 birds. Also 3 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, c.40 Ringed Plover and 200+ Dunlin around the marsh. The best on the Hengistbury side was a Bearded Tit, heard by a working party in the Wick Reeds, as well as 2 Purple Sandpiper on the Long Groyne. During the recent couple of weeks, the Brent Goose have developed a liking for Wick water meadows - 182 individuals there today, plus a single Black-tailed Godwit.
Goldcrest – Chris Dresh
Wren – Chris Dresh
Given the on-going windchill, it’s respect to today’s field-workers and photographers. From Fisherman’s Bank, a fine total of 39 Pintail was counted inside the harbour, which represents a significant immigration from somewhere, near or far. Also from the bank, the Spotted Redshank, 33 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Ringed Plover and 37 Dunlin; while 5 Turnstone were on the inner shore of Mudeford Quay. Over on Hengistbury, there just 2 Purple Sandpiper on the Long Groyne today.
SUBSCRIPTIONS 2015A reminder, these are now due. Full payment details are available on the Membership Page »
with respect to this
The Birds of Christchurch Harbour 2013Another excellent production containing:
- Over 110 pages
- 8 plates of colour photos
- Review of the birding year
- 215 species systematic list
- Breeding bird surveys
- Butterfly report
- Mammal, reptile and amphibian summary