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Sightings for the current month

November 30th

It was more of the sea this morning, but before all that some of the other stuff. It was reckoned there were 2 Black Redstart on the sandspit and 2 Firecrest were in the Wood, while a late Sandwich Tern flew into the harbour over Mudeford Quay, with it or a further bird later passing the Beach Huts. That site was manned until midday – the best being a Red-throated Diver just 10m offshore at 11:40 – but also: a Black-throated Diver, a Red-throated Diver, 18 Kittiwake, 93 Common Gull, 200 Herring Gull, 7 Razorbill and 2 Guillemot , all west; plus up to twenty-four milling Common Scoter. Despite the date, 111 Goldfinch and a Redpoll trickled over westward, and a Redwing arrived. To round up, a couple of Purple Sandpiper and 3 Raven were around.

Outdoor Meeting – Birdwatching at Holes Bay – January 16th 9.30-11.30am
Join Nicky Hoar from the Dorset Wildlife Trust for a walk along the shoreline to see the birds of Holes Bay Nature Park, part of The Great Heath Living Landscape. Numbers are limited so booking is essential – please email Malcolm Barrett by December 10th. If you have already contacted Malcolm, you don’t need to do so again. Meet at Upton Country Park. Suggested donation £3.00.

Tides December 1st: H00:20 | H03:10 | L07:15 | H12:20 | H15:20 | L19:40

November 29th

Not surprisingly, after the overnight and on-going south-westerly blow, the sea received some close attention this morning. Remarkably, however, it is Herring Gull that top the bill, with a significant westerly passage. After an observation from Mudeford Quay that they were passing at around fifty a minute, there was a count from Hengistbury of 2300 in just over three hours. Other counts, mainly from the head but some from the quay, came to: a Black-throated Diver, a Great Northern Diver, 31 Kittiwake, 4 Mediterranean Gull, 15 Razorbill, 6 Guillemot, ten unidentified auks, 18 Common Scoter and 24 Gannet, all west; while 2 Great Northern Diver, 12 Common Scoter and a Great Crested Grebe were settled. Moving away from the water, a Black Redstart was on the amenities block closest to the Beach House café, a drake Goldeneye was in Barn Bight and a couple of Chiffchaff were around. Despite the conditions, the monthly WeBS count turned in really decent numbers of birds – not least a mighty total of 847 Wigeon inside the harbour; as well as a Shelduck, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Gadwall, 5 Pintail, 6 Shoveler, 111 Teal and 223 Brent Goose. Meanwhile, the waders totalled: the Spotted Redshank, 15 Purple Sandpiper, most of them in the regular groyne-S9 spot, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 87 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Turnstone, 28 Ringed Plover and 25 Dunlin. Finally, at least 2 Kingfisher were around.

Omission: a Black-necked Grebe was seen from Mudeford Quay on a couple of occasions.

Tides November 30th: H02:30 | L06:30 | H11:30 | H14:30 | L19:00

November 28th

Common Scoter
Common Scoter – Chris Chapleo

A west-south-westerly wind, which gathered strength throughout the daylight hours, dominated the day. As a result, a good few hours were spent at the Beach Huts this morning, when the pick was: a Little Auk west; singles of Pomarine Skua, a juvenile, and Great Skua out amongst the gulls feeding above the ledge; and a Black-necked Grebe that drifted north off the sandspit. In addition, there was a good showing of Razorbill – sixteen west and three settled – a Guillemot, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Red-throated Diver, at least 20 Common Scoter, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and a Great Crested Grebe. Later, from Mudeford Quay, two further each of Red-throated Diver and Mediterranean Gull, a settled Guillemot and an arriving Grey Plover were added to the seawatching list. Back to the sandspit in the morning, when the Black Redstart was present towards the southern end, while several Purple Sandpiper and 60 Ringed Plover were about groyne S9. Just after first light, there were a few thousand Woodpigeon north of the area over the Avon Valley, but they were struggling to determine what to do. Meanwhile, Brambling, Redpoll, Siskin and a handful of Goldfinch passed over Hengistbury and 2 Chiffchaff were on Wick, where a Kingfisher was also logged.

November 27th

There was far less reported today, but groyne S9 on the sandspit held a nice congregation of waders; namely, 15 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Turnstone, 20 Ringed Plover and 25 Dunlin. Meanwhile, 32 Kittiwake and 14 Common Gull moved west at sea. Elsewhere, there were 4 Chiffchaff across Hengistbury and Wick, 3 Redpoll on the Batters and a Coal Tit in the Wood.

November 26th

Let’s start at Stanpit for a change, where a fine selection of waders included: the Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, 5 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 45 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Turnstone, 40 Ringed Plover and 65 Dunlin; while 3 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit and 6 Chiffchaff were also logged. The last few days have seen an influx of duck - 2 Pochard, 2 Pintail and 4 Shoveler about this morning - to the extent of the tame, drake Tufted Duck being joined by another and both associating with Mallard on the Ironstone Quarry. Meanwhile, a Black Redstart and 5 Purple Sandpiper were at the southern end of the sandspit, 2 Firecrest were in the Wood and a Black-necked Grebe was on the sea under the Coastguards. Another westerly movement of Kittiwake – 315 birds before 9:15 when it all stopped suddenly – was joined by an Arctic Skua, 2 Black-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver, 15 Red-throated Diver, 11 Great Crested Grebe, including a flock of five, 2 Razorbill, 14 auk sp., 12 Common Scoter, 16 Mediterranean Gull and 200 Common Gull. It’s worth noting that divers now seem to be in southern waters after being a little conspicuous by their absence so far this autumn. For such a late date, there were plenty of eastbound finches on the move: a Brambling, 14 Redpoll, 62 Siskin, 250 Linnet, 270 Chaffinch and 450 Goldfinch over the end of the head; plus 12 Reed Bunting. As is their wont, thrushes headed inland at dawn; for example, 2 Fieldfare, 10 Redwing and 14 Song Thrush. 15 Purple Sandpiper were seen from Mudeford Quay.

Of mammal interest, a Grey Seal was off Mudeford Quay at lunchtime.

November 25th

Today saw a clear influx of Black Redstart. The Beach-Huts bird of the last couple of days was joined by another, while further singles were by the Long Field and the HHC. Otherwise, the sea held most of the interest, with 6 Little Gull, an incredible 420 Kittiwake, over 100 Common Gull, a Red-throated Diver, 3 Razorbill and eight unidentified auks west past the sandspit early on. Later in the morning, sources in Hampshire informed us of a large feeding-flock of Kittiwake in waters off Milford that was attracting skuas, so Mudeford Quay was checked out. From there, a Black-throated Diver was seen to pass by close-in west and a skua that was too distant to confirm its identity was haranguing gulls. Just after dawn, some westward overhead passage was noted and included: a Crossbill, 2 Brambling, 3 Redpoll, 12 Siskin, 60 Linnet, 125 Chaffinch, 210 Goldfinch, 1500 Woodpigeon and 31 Stock Dove; with a Mistle Thrush, 2 Fieldfare and 5 Redwing heading inland from the Nursery at dawn. At Stanpit, there were again Scandinavian Rock Pipit, 4 birds, by the Pod and a Peregrine disturbed around 300 Lapwing.

November 24th

Oystercatcher on the Long Groyne – Clinton Whale

There was a little bit of local quality around today with the Black Redstart again at the Beach Huts and a Marsh Harrier over Wick Hams at just after 9:00. In addition, 8 Purple Sandpiper and a Grey Plover were on the sandspit, while 7 Chiffchaff and 9 Goldcrest were on Wick. 

November 23rd

In pigeon-perfect conditions - clear skies and little wind - another 91000 Woodpigeon (and 6 Stock Dove!) were logged from the top of Hengistbury. Counts were also made at Whitepits and Mudeford Quay of 77000 and 54000 respectively, but it would seem a bit of a stretch to add those to the day-total. Incredibly, all of this happened in the hour prior to 8:15, when for some reason the skies emptied even though the cloud was still sparse. It may be the New Forest simply ran out of birds to offer. Other highlights for the day came from: a Tree Sparrow at the end of the head; a Water Pipit again by the Rusty Boat on Stanpit; a Black Redstart on the Beach Huts; and a Merlin past the HHC early on. Waders were also noted moving; for example, 9 Avocet west and two arriving, plus 2 Knot and a Bar-tailed Godwit west. Wildfowl also travelled - 3 Shoveler, 6 Pintail, 11 Common Scoter, 68 Wigeon and 73 Brent Goose west - while 2 Pintail, 4 Shoveler and 14 Shelduck were at Stanpit and the apparently injured drake Common Scoter was just off the sandspit. Also at sea, a Great Northern Diver, 7 Red-throated Diver, a first-winter Mediterranean Gull and 125 Common Gull, again all west. Meanwhile, passerines to the west over Hengistbury comprised: 4 Brambling, 15 Siskin, 270 Chaffinch, 300 Goldfinch and 21 Skylark; and the dawn-rush of incoming thrushes included: a Fieldfare, 25 Redwing and 15 Song Thrush. To round up, 6 Chiffchaff were on-site and 5 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit were adjacent to the Pod on Stanpit. 

November 22nd

Stonechat – Clinton Whale

Although the skies weren’t totally clear this morning, there was little enough of both cloud and wind to set the Woodpigeon going. Between 7:00 and 10:00 a record-breaking 105300 birds travelled west, either over or just inland from the area; the largest group being around 5000 strong. Most birds were high, but a couple of flocks were low enough to hear the ‘wing-rustle’ from the top of Hengistbury. Far out at sea, duck were also on the move but too distant to allow identification, although pintail was a suggestion - 2-300 of them. In addition, 2 Goldeneye, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 13 Common Scoter and 2 Great Crested Grebe moved west, while ten further scoter headed in the opposite direction and eleven more were settled, along with a Razorbill, another Great Crested Grebe and 13 Teal, and at least 50 Brent Goose commuted back and forth across Poole Bay. Meanwhile, a Great Northern Diver passed through the harbour, exiting over Wick Hams, and a Tufted Duck plus14 Shelduck arrived. Late in the afternoon, a Short-eared Owl also checked in - high over Whitepits and off to the north. A few thrushes were incoming, namely a Fieldfare, 4 Redwing and a Song Thursh, and 2 Chiffchaff were settled. Other birds moving, but not formally logged as the single ‘vis-migger’ was blinded by pigeons, were indicated by calls of Brambling, Redpoll, Siskin, the commoner finches, Dunlin and Skylark. Finally, 16 Purple Sandpiper were returned and the newly-grazed Barn Field is proving attractive to Lapwing with thirty-three on there today. 

Omission: a Spoonbill was in Holloway's Dock during the afternoon and a Red-throated Diver passed west at sea.

November 21st

Great Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull – Clinton Whale

It certainly did turn cold today - a near-frost air temperature was chilled even further by a blasting north-westerly wind. Although the dawn broke to clear skies, cloud and rain marred the first hour. When things cleared a little, however, Woodpigeon started to stream south-west across the area - a total of 16100 in the 30 minutes around 9:00 had another thousand added to it throughout the morning. There was also a modicum of finch movement over the end of the head, with 3 Brambling, 85 Linnet, 120 Chaffinch and 300 Goldfinch making up the numbers. Earlier, at least 40 Redwing headed north-west at first light, as did a flock of 9 Fieldfare. From the relative warmth of the Beach Huts, a couple of hours’ seawatching mustered just 3 Red-throated Diver, 9 Shelduck west and 4 Common Scoter; while 6 Purple Sandpiper were hopping between groynes.  

November 20th

Common Scoter
Common Scoter – Clinton Whale
Black-headed Gull
This colour-ringed Black-headed Gull was photographed on Stanpit recreation ground the morning after the bonfire. Since then, we have ascertained it was ringed in Poland,
but rather frustratingly we can't get any further information as to when and exactly where
– Alan Hayden

Other than 11 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit and the regular, drake Common Scoter just off it, all the news comes from Stanpit. Waders there included 3 Grey Plover, a Turnstone, 43 Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin - the green algae plague still ensuring the latter are avoiding the area. Meanwhile, a pair of Pintail, 3 Tufted Duck and 2 Shelduck were logged, and a Raven looked as it it might be intending to roost in the Nursery.

November 19th

The sea was quoted as being, ‘surprisingly good,’ this morning; particularly from Mudeford Quay off which a Great Skua lingered until 9:00 at least, as well as a Velvet Scoter settled with some Common Scoter, a Black-throated Diver west and 7 Eider which came out of the Solent and then sat on the water, along with a Great Northern Diver. Not to be outdone, the Beach Huts returned a first-winter Little Gull, 5 Mediterranean Gull and 50 Common Gull, most those also heading down channel. Meanwhile, between them the two sites logged: 25 Common Scoter, 3 Red-breasted Merganser west and 2 Great Crested Grebe.

November 18th

The blustering south-west wind continued into today, conditions that gave rise to a significant westerly passage of gulls off Hengistbury. In addition to the several-hundred-strong feeding flock that is still present, 15 Mediterranean Gull, 25 Kittiwake, 220 Common Gull, 800+ Black-headed Gull and 3000+ Herring Gull moved through. The water also produced a Velvet Scoter, a close-in Great Skua, an adult Little Gull, a Great Northern Diver, 4 Gannet, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and a Great Crested Grebe, all west, as well as twenty-six aimless Common Scoter. Elsewhere, there were 2 Firecrest, 9 Goldcrest and a Treecreeper in the Wood, 3 Chiffchaff were by the HHC, a couple of Goldeneye flew upriver and 5 Purple Sandpiper were at the southern end of the sandspit. Overhead, 5 Fieldfare and 2 Redwing headed inland; of 5000 Woodpigeon, 80% of them headed east; and 260 Goldfinch, 120 Linnet, 90 Chaffinch and 12 Brambling travelled west.

November 17th

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit with interloping Starling – Alan Crockard

The afternoon wind was gusting in excess of 50kph, so a wet trip to the Beach Huts was made and came up with a Grey Phalarope and an adult Little Gull, both briefly settling on the water before heading off west. Also a couple of Great Skua west, as well as 6 Kittiwake and 5 Gannet. Much earlier, in fact just after dawn, Ashtree Meadows on Stanpit held over 100 Redwing and 3 Fieldfare, while 2 Chiffchaff were in the nearby North Scrubs. Waders about the marsh included: the Spotted Redshank, a Golden Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 44 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Dunlin; along with a Brent Goose count of 182 adults. 

November 16th

Probably the best bird of the day was a Swallow leaving the Nursery at dawn, where it had seemingly roosted. Otherwise an arriving Golden Plover was the best of the overhead migrants, which included: a Fieldfare and 15 Redwing north; and 1200 Woodpigeon, 370 Goldfinch, 310 Chaffinch, 230 Linnet, 31 Brambling, 26 Redpoll and 20 Siskin west. Meawhile, the sandspit hosted 7 Purple Sandpiper plus four settled Common Scoter, a drake and three female-types, as well as a further two passing west off there. To finish with birds, there were 4 Black-tailed Godwit on the Salt Hurns, but other interest came from an email telling of Natterjack tadpoles which were seen on Hengistbury yesterday.

Addition: the Wick Little Owl were thought to have gone a few years ago, so one calling from by the Wooden Bridge tonight is a real bonus!

November 15th

Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale

After a night of strong south-westerly wind, the sea was given a look this morning and proved to be relatively interesting. A Velvet Scoter appeared from the west and eventually settled just off the Beach Huts with 7 Common Scoter. At the same time, however, a further flock of scoter that headed into the Solent was found to contain another Velvet Scoter and 6 Common Scoter. A Great Northern Diver was also feeding just off the sandspit, while a bird that entered the harbour over Mudeford Quay early on was seen off the Long Field during the afternoon before drifting upriver. Westbound birds over the water were: a Red-throated Diver, 6 Red-breasted Merganser, a redhead Goosander that actually passed over the Double Dykes, 3 Kittiwake, 5 Mediterranean Gull, a Guillemot, 2 Razorbill and a Grey Plover. Meanwhile, a large feeding-flock of gulls that has been out over the ledge for a few days now attracted 2 Gannet and at least two each of Kittiwake and Mediterranean Gull, but nothing more interesting. To finish with the sandspit, the Purple Sandpiper peaked at sixteen on groyne S9, along with 22 Ringed Plover. Other bits and pieces for the day included: a Mistle Thrush over Wick; a Tawny Owl being mobbed by Jay in the Wood at dawn; an adult Mediterranean Gull inside the harbour; 5 Redwing north; 190 Linnet and 135 Goldfinch west; a Kingfisher around Wick Hams and a count of 220 mixed corvids leaving the roost.

Update: we've just learnt that the Velvet Scoter seen moving into the Solent headed back towards Christchurch Bay at 9:00, seen from Milford-on-Sea.

November 14th

It was dry for only the first hour of daylight; thereafter driven rain from the west set in. The Grey Phalarope was seen until just before 11:00, after which it could not be found despite a good deal of searching. There was a Water Pipit in the same area, however. Earlier, the best from Mudeford Quay was an adult Kittiwake west and 5 Purple Sandpiper on the end of the sandspit; while 2 Fieldfare and 3 Chiffchaff were logged at the northern end of Wick Fields.

November 13th

Grey Phalarope
Grey Phalarope
Grey Phalarope – Alan Crockard

The Grey Phalarope remained at Stanpit all day, on various ridiculously-small patches of water between the Rusty Boat and Grimmery Point. The early wind was south-west, but veered to north-west as the day progressed, so was not optimal for visible migration. That said, there was a 45-minute pigeon window just after dawn, when 12000 Woodpigeon and one or two Stock Dove were logged westbound before the appearance of cloud curtailed things. Although, most of the movement was again inland, a flock of at least 1000 birds rapidly descended above Hengistbury before u-turning and heading back north, making for quite a sight. A little later, a Merlin headed out to sea from the end of the head and a Bullfinch was on Wick Fields. A couple of Purple Sandpiper were seen moving along the sandspit, but a gathering of 15 birds on groyne S9 was the peak count for the day. The sea was watched during the morning rain - four settled female-type Common Scoter and a Great Crested Grebe east being the only experiences of note - while a Kingfisher was in Barn Bight. 

November 12th

Grey Phalarope
Grey Phalarope
Grey Phalarope
Grey Phalarope at Stanpit – Alan Hayden

There is an awful lot to write about tonight. The day started to clear skies and almost no wind, so giving rise to the first Woodpigeon spectacle of the season. During the first hour of daylight, 31,500 passed west inland from the area, but viewed from Hengistbury. The movement stopped abruptly, however, as soon as the cloud set in. More on the rest of the visible migration later, as there were a few other highlights. Just before lunch, an at-times very approachable Grey Phalarope was found on Stanpit along the path west of the Rusty Boat, where it remained until well into the afternoon. A female Hen Harrier was seen heading north high over the marsh, as was a Marsh Harrier, while a further two of the latter were hunting the area. Earlier, a Water Pipit had been on Crouch Hill and a House Martin was noted heading north! Other out-of-the-ordinary records included: 2 Hawfinch, 7 Crossbill and a high count of 125 Brambling, including a flock of 40, east over Hengistbury; a Firecrest settled on the head; 6 Grey Wagtail, four east and two decked; 4 Goosander west; and an adult Mediterranean Gull offshore. In addition, there were good numbers of commoner birds on their travels: for example, 1500 Goldfinch, 720 Linnet, 720 Chaffinch, 95 Siskin, 18 Redpoll, 18 Reed Bunting, 48 Meadow Pipit, 32 Skylark and 230 Starling east; 26 Redwing and 26 Song Thrush north; and 2 Shoveler, 8 Pintail, 19 Gadwall and 136 Wigeon west. Meanwhile, 9 Chiffchaff and 25 Goldcrest were spread across Wick and Hengistbury, and a Grey Plover and 4 Sanderling were seen to arrive. 

November 11th

The Marsh Harrier hunted the Wick Hams reeds for an hour this morning, when a second bird passed through the harbour over Stanpit. Firecrest were also around in multiples - four in total - two in the North Scrubs, one on Hengistbury and one in Ashtree Meadows. Meanwhile, a Merlin and a Brambling were seen from Warren Hill and 9 Purple Sandpiper, along with 15 Ringed Plover and 5 Turnstone, were on groyne S9. At least 30 Goldcrest were at Stanpit, with observations from around the periphery of the area suggesting they are currently spread right across Christchurch - what a remarkable autumn it has been for this species! In addition, 5 Chiffchaff and a Treecreeper were turned in from the head. To round up, the Spotted Redshank, a Grey Plover, three saltmarsh-feeding Rock Pipit and a Greylag Goose were at Stanpit.

November 10th

Jay hoarding for the winter – Alan Crockard

Given how much southerly-biassed wind there has been over the last few weeks, in addition to diminutive gulls one strangely absent species has been Kittiwake; so an adult bird on Stanpit this morning was a nice amendment to the trend. Other seabirds, all seen from the head, included: a female Common Scoter and 2 Razorbill on the sea, plus a first-winter Mediterranean Gull; while an adult ‘Med’ passed west through the harbour. Back to Stanpit, where the Water Pipit was again logged, as well as the Spotted Redshank, a Grey Plover, 23 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Dunlin, a Pintail and 3 Gadwall. Passerine records were sparse, but did involve 7 Fieldfare north and 3 Chiffchaff on the head. Finally, there were likely two Scandinavian-race birds on site: a littoralis Rock Pipit by the Pod, Stanpit, and a presumed argentatus Herring Gull on Mudeford Quay.

November 9th

Raven on Mudeford Quay – Leo Pyke
Cormorant on the sandspit – Clinton Whale

The early wind was from the north-east and rather chilly, but this switched to the south-west by just before lunch. Just after first light, 2 Tawny Owl were calling to each other in the Wood, where there were 8 Goldcrest, and 2 Brambling passed over Warren Hill. Later in the day, one but perhaps 2 Water Pipit were in the now-regular spot on Stanpit - between the Rusty Boat and Grimmery Point - with other interest on the marsh coming from 9 Ringed Plover, 2 Snipe and a Turnstone. As proceedings drew to a close, a couple of Raven visited Mudeford Quay and 18 Stock Dove were seen heading towards their roost.

Omission with apologies: the Marsh Harrier was seen from Wick at around 4:30 this evening.

November 8th

Kestrel – Alan Crockard
Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale

Despite drizzle in the air for most of the morning and a stiff southerly breeze, it was actually quite a good day. Pipits head the bill: with a Richard’s Pipit briefly over the southern end of the Beach Huts and at least one Water Pipit on Stanpit, that around 100m beyond the Rusty Boat. Raptors, however, were not far behind: an Osprey, possibly CHOG’s first-ever November record, was seen over the Broadway late in the morning; while a Short-eared Owl came up from the Lily Pond area and disappeared over the head. The pick of a decent overhead count was a Woodlark, but also 1400 Goldfinch, 850 Linnet, 350 Chaffinch, 17 Brambling, 11 Siskin, 9 Redpoll, 27 Skylark and 58 Meadow Pipit, all east, plus 500 Woodpigeon west. Meanwhile, 9 Chiffchaff and 26 Goldcrest were settled across Wick and Hengistbury, 3 Purple Sandpiper were on groyne S9, 20 Common Scoter moved into the Solent and a further five were settled off the sandspit, and 2 Pintail arrived.

November 7th

Ringed Plover
Mixed-age Ringed Plover – Clinton Whale

It was another day of wind and rain, the moisture only abating well into the afternoon. An early trip to the Beach Huts produced just 3 Gannet as sea, as well as 2 Ringed Plover and 5 Turnstone. By the afternoon, the Ringed Plover increased to 12 birds, when the Spotted Redshank and 22 Black-tailed Godwit were logged from Fisherman’s Bank.

November 6th

On an utterly foul day, the pick of news comes from what must have been a very exposed sandspit. A Merlin sat on a beach hut adjacent to groyne S5 before flying round the end of the head. Meanwhile, a Raven was about the spit and a Firecrest was in the Wood. From elsewhere, just a single Shelduck in Stanpit Creek is worth a mention.

November 5th

On a quiet day the only early morning report was from Wick Fields where just 7 Goldcrest and 5 Chiffchaff were seen. Later, before the rain set in, there was a possible first-winter Caspian gull on Mudeford Quay. The bird, which will be looked for tomorrow, favoured the area around the buildings.

November 4th

There is still a presence of Goldcrest on Hengistbury – Jean Southworth

Before the mid-morning rain showers, there was a decent selection of birds moving over Hengistbury. The best was perhaps a Hawfinch that briefly settled with a few Chaffinch in the conifers at the end of the head, but also a Lapland Bunting, a Yellowhammer, 11 Crossbill and a Woodlark, all moving east, and a male Hen Harrier west at sea. Meanwhile, 2100 Woodpigeon, were looking as if they wanted to go somewhere but ended up circling somewhat aimlessly. The rest of the larger numbers, all east, included: 1400 Goldfinch, 650 Linnet, 430 Chaffinch, 41 Brambling, 19 Siskin, 3 Redpoll, 110 Meadow Pipit and 85 Reed Bunting; while 28 Redwing, 36 Skylark and 32 Snipe arrived. In addition, 7 Chiffchaff were by the HHC and the same number of Gadwall were in the harbour. 

November 3rd

Goldcrest – Alan Crockard

Nearly all the day’s news comes from before lunch, after which frequent showers made things difficult. At Stanpit, the 2 Water Pipit were just west of the Rusty Boat, while a Firecrest remains in the North Scrubs, as does the pale Buzzard. Meanwhile, over on the sandspit, there were 9 Purple Sandpiper on groyne S9. Early on, 135 Goldfinch and 65 Meadow Pipit passed east over the lower reaches of Hengistbury; then later a Mistle Thrush did the same, while 5 Redwing arrived. Settled birds from Wick to the Wood included: 17 Goldcrest, 9 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 12 Reed Bunting in the bracken at Whitepits and a charm of 40 Goldfinch on Wick. In addition, several Dartford Warbler could be seen picking spiders from their dew-soaked webs. A thorough count of birds from Fisherman’s Bank turned in 41 Black-tailed Godwit (a further four of those in Holloway’s Dock), 7 Ringed Plover, 9 Dunlin and 11 Snipe; plus some species normally reserved for WeBS days - 340 Coot, perhaps as many as 450 Wigeon and 180 Brent Goose, the latter seemingly all adult birds.

November 2nd

Common Scoter
Common Scoter
Drake Common Scoter just off the sandspit – Clinton Whale
Firecrest at Stanpit yesterday– Alan Crockard

Thick fog again dominated until the late morning. Early on, however, it was possible to connect with birds - not least 3 Woodcock, two in flight over Wick Hams and one rising from the end of the head. In addition, a Yellow-browed Warbler was with 2 Firecrest along the southern edge of the Nursery, while a Black Redstart was encountered by the Natterjack Pond and a Tawny Owl called from the Wood. Thrushes also put in a decent show, with a Fieldfare, 50 Redwing and 30 Song Thrush coming off Hengistbury first thing; but then 2 Fieldfare and 5 Redwing were settled on Wick Fields and a further fifteen and eight of each respectively spiralled out of the sky as the mirk cleared. Also grounded across the southern side of the area were 3 Brambling, a Blackcap, 14 Chiffchaff, around 25 Goldcrest and 150 Greenfinch. A further 5 Brambling passed over east, as did few unseen Siskin and Goldfinch, along with 15 Meadow Pipit. Meanwhile, a drake Common Scoter was just off the sandspit.

November 1st

Redwing, high in the tree-tops at Stanpit – Alan Crockard
Wigeon and Brent Goose – Clinton Whale

The area was shrouded in dense fog until 10:30 at least, so no early visits were made to Hengistbury. Stanpit, however, was looked at and found to have doubled its Water Pipit population to two birds, while the North Scrubs held a Firecrest, 25 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap and 3 Redwing. Meanwhile, in the main navigation channel, a couple of Sandwich Tern rested on buoys, a Kingfisher has taken a liking to the wrecked tree on Speller’s Point and 4 Raven passed over. The south side of the harbour did receive some attention after lunch, when despite the time of day a little overhead passage was going on - 30 Goldfinch, 5 Linnet and 40 Meadow Pipit, all east - as well as twenty or so Meadow Pipit settled on the Wick Fields. On the theme of visible migration, the fields at Burton, a kilometer or so inland from the recording area, were teeming with finches, wagtails and pipits this morning; presumably all birds grounded by the fog. Finally, thanks to the power of Twitter, we have learnt that yesterday’s sea-faring Coot were initially seen leaving the harbour through the Run.

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