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Sightings for Month: January 2022

January 31st

White-tailed Eagle – Jackie Smith

Water Rail – Jimmy Main

…and Shelduck, or in this case sheldrake, numbers are starting to increase – Clinton Whale

Around 3:15 this afternoon, a White-tailed Eagle, one of two which had previously been in the Avon Valley, came over Stanpit and then Mudeford Quay while continuing an easterly, coastal route. Earlier, a couple of Great Northern Diver and a Common Scoter passed west, and a Sandwich Tern was off the Beach Huts. Late in the day, when the breeze dropped away, a total of 38 Great Crested Grebe and a single Great Northern Diver could be seen settled from the quay.

January 30th

Grey Plover in the sunshine – Clinton Whale

What a fabulous, winter’s day – early frost, clear blue skies and a fantastic setting sun. All the news for the post comes from Stanpit, where, this afternoon, there were 3 Marsh Harrier about – two of them seen going to roost, the other leaving to the west. Meanwhile, the waders included: 9 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 55 Black-tailed Godwit and 230 Dunlin; with a Kingfisher also around the marsh.

January 29th

The only news for the day is of 30 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock.

January 28th

Black-tailed Godwit in the frost – Alan Crockard

Grey Heron and attendant Black-headed Gull – Alan Crockard

Despite some really nice weather – a crisp frost, blue skies and little wind – there is little to report. There was a bit of a highlight, however, and something that reflects changing times – a Green Woodpecker at Stanpit! This species was a common resident on both sides of the harbour until less than five years ago, but all of a sudden became absent. Otherwise, it’s just a Marsh Harrier to remark upon.

January 27th

Grey Wagtail – Clinton Whale

Rock Pipit in littoralis-liking habitat – Clinton Whale

There is little to report from a slightly warmer day than of late. At least 6 Grey Plover were seen at Stanpit, along with the same number of Shelduck and a Grey Wagtail, the latter by the Rusty Boat. Late in the day, a Marsh Harrier was around the HHC and a Peregrine passed over.

January 26th

Golden Plover with Dunlin – Clinton Whale

Bar-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale

…and Turnstone – Roger Tidball

Once more, there were two male Marsh Harrier around this morning, seen about Wick Hams; while a Brambling, a Great Northern Diver and a Purple Sandpiper were also logged from Hengistbury. Over at Stanpit, the best was a Golden Plover amongst 14 Grey Plover, but also a Bar-tailed Godwit and around 150 each of Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin; along with 2 Kingfisher.

January 25th

It was another still, damp and cold day – conditions which seem to send passerines into a torpor – the vegetation almost silent throughout. A fly-over flock of 12 Golden Plover belied the temperature, while 5 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 85 Black-tailed Godwit, 45 Ringed Plover and 250 Dunlin were settled. The weather perhaps also moved Marsh Harrier about – the regular sub-adult male being seen alongside another this morning.

January 24th

More images from the hide – Grey Heron and Pheasant – Roger Tidball

The sea again saw a general eastbound movement this morning, when a Black-throated Diver, a Great Northern Diver, 11 Red-throated Diver, 5 Razorbill, 3 Guillemot, 11 auk spp., 4 Common Gull and 6 Brent Goose passed; as did a lone Shelduck in the opposite direction. The male Marsh Harrier flushed a Jack Snipe while hunting Wick Hams, but the only confirmed wader number for the day is 12 Grey Plover at Stanpit.

January 23rd

Great Spotted Woodpecker from the hide – George Garland

Bar-tailed Godwit – David Faulkner

Site-wide totals, but mainly from Stanpit, for the monthly WeBS included: 9 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 415 Black-tailed Godwit, 52 Ringed Plover and 269 Dunlin; as well as 12 Shelduck, 51 Teal and 869 Wigeon. Notable lows, however, were a complete absence of ‘brents’ and just 21 Coot. Also, no incidental raptors at all were noted. To finish, it’s just a 30-minute seawatch from Hengistbury to recount, all generally east – 2 Red-throated Diver, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 13 Razorbill, 3 Guillemot, 6 auk spp. and a Common Gull.

January 22nd

Outside of the late-autumn finch migration, Brambling are quite rare in the area – so one on Roebury Lane this morning takes the bird-of-the-day spot. Meanwhile, other notables came from: a Chiffchaff in the uncharacteristic location of Mudeford Quay, plus a flock of 7 Red-throated Diver west and a total of 3 Red-breasted Merganser east. A single Knot at Stanpit was the best of the waders, but also 10 Grey Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 85 Black-tailed Godwit, 22 Ringed Plover and 120 Dunlin there. The customary male Marsh Harrier was around, a Kingfisher was along Grimmery Bank and a couple of Common Gull loafed on South Marsh.

January 21st

Cattle Egret leaving roost – Chris Chapleo

Goosander – Peter Boardman

In what sounds reminiscent of a Brian Hanrahan 1982 news return from the South Atlantic, they were all counted out and all counted back; the difference now, the total, eleven, being permissible to mention – Cattle Egret, this is. Another figure of note is 54 Great Crested Grebe off Avon Beach, but seen from Mudeford Quay this evening. Earlier, an apparent pair of Goosander had been in Barn Bight, with a Merlin and 2 Jack Snipe being at Stanpit. At least 101 Black-tailed Godwit are still on site, while a Grey Plover and 14 Ringed Plover were also logged. A male and female-type Marsh Harrier were again about and a Common Gull at Stanpit concludes the post.

January 20th

A Crossbill flying over the Nursery at Hengistbury this morning before eventually heading west was the first January record for over ten years. Also at Hengistbury, 2 Great Northern Diver moved past at sea, 13 Cattle Egret left the Nursery roost and a Firecrest was in the Wood, while a Buzzard was noted at Wick Water Meadows. Moving over to Stanpit, the waders included at least 315 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 12 Grey Plover. Finally, a Chiffchaff was at the Old Depot site and a Peregrine was perched on the Priory.

January 19th

Over the last few years, Little Gull have become real scarcities, almost rarities, about the place – so a first-winter bird off the Beach Huts this morning was more than welcome. Also from there: 6 Red-throated Diver – five east and one settled; 9 Razorbill and nine unidentified auks; a Common Scoter; and a Peregrine. Sticking with raptors and there were three Marsh Harrier around – the usual, sub-adult male and two cream-crowned birds; one of those a second-winter male and one reckoned to be a female. Before moving on to Stanpit news, a dozen Cattle Egret left the roost, 2 Firecrest were in the Wood and 3 Bullfinch, two of them males, were on Wick. Now the marsh, which hosted: 15 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 260 Black-tailed Godwit and 230 Dunlin, all roosting-out the morning high; as well as a Kingfisher along Grimmery Bank.

January 18th

Greenfinch in the early frost – Alan Crockard

Coal Tit from the hide – Leo Pyke

…and nice to see a Grey Plover taking advantage of the fenced area on the sandspit – Samuel Levy

A Glossy Ibis put in another cameo performance at Stanpit this morning, being on East Marsh and then off to the north. There is obviously a bird using the locale around Christchurch and perhaps even roosting within the recording area, as did 11 Cattle Egret last night. Meanwhile, other highlights for the day comprise: a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull from Fisherman’s Bank; a drake Goosander over Hengistbury and towards the Solent; and 2 Marsh Harrier hunting together at dusk. Moving to the more expected, namely: 3 Red-throated Diver and a Mediterranean Gull at sea; 12 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 210 Black-tailed Godwit inside the harbour; a further Grey Plover, 30 Dunlin and 23 Turnstone on the sandspit; 3 Bullfinch – two on Wick and one in the Nursery; and Kingfisher on Fisherman’s and Grimmery Banks.

January 17th

This adult male Black Redstart, which has been on the southern walls of the the Priory for a couple of days now, can be ‘scoped from within the recording area – Alan Hayden

Of course, the pick of the day goes to the photographed Black Redstart – in a plumage scarcely seen in this area. The prolonged, windless spell continued into today, when the waders at Stanpit included: 14 Grey Plover, 124 Black-tailed Godwit, 31 Ringed Plover and 125 Dunlin; as well as 12 Shoveler, which is not a bad number in these parts. As is becoming a more-than-welcome routine, the male Marsh Harrier was again about and two female Bullfinch were on Wick.

January 16th

Goldcrest – David Faulkner

The only news from yet another still day is of a male Marsh Harrier about Wick Hams and a female Bullfinch at Solent Meads.

January 15th

It was another windless day, but this time cloudy. The morning from Fisherman’s Bank saw a Golden Plover, 12 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 120 Black-tailed Godwit, 45 Ringed Plover and 120 or so Dunlin. Around the same time, the sea was being watched, but with the reports being second-hand they are a little light on detail. It is known a Red-necked Grebe passed east, however, with all three divers and ‘lots’ of Razorbill also being mentioned. At dawn, 13 Cattle Egret left the roost; while a lunchtime visit to Stanpit suggested small numbers of birds were arriving. For example, a flock of 4 Mallard appeared from high and then circuited for over thirty minutes, before deciding it was safe to join the hundreds of incumbent wildfowl. Also, a single Pintail, 3 Snipe and around 30 Lapwing descended from the skies. To finish, the male Marsh Harrier was around Wick Hams, as was a Kingfisher.

January 14th

A finely attired, adult Grey Heron, which are already into the breeding cycle – Mark Taylor

Lapwing – Roger Tidball

After a clear and frosty night, with ice forming on some of the fresh water in the area, Golden Plover were a feature – a flock of thirty-two south over Stanpit this morning, with four settled. Also over the marsh, a northbound Merlin. Meanwhile, around Stanpit Bight, there were: 8 Knot – those definitely new-in, 9 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 130 Black-tailed Godwit, 31 Ringed Plover and at least 180 Dunlin. A Firecrest was in Ashtree Meadow, while singles of Common Gull and Kingfisher were in or around Parky Meade Rail. To finish, this evening, 13 Cattle Egret were seen going to roost.

January 13th

Wigeon – Alan Crockard

The nice conditions don’t seem to be encouraging too much field activity. The only reports are of 6 Red-throated Diver passing west in a 15-minute spell this morning and over 50 Greenfinch, some of them in song, on Stanpit.

January 12th

Meadow Pipit – Alan Crockard

The only news from a fantastic day of sunshine and calm is of 12 Cattle Egret leaving roost this morning and a Red-throated Diver west at sea.

January 11th

Despite some excellent birding conditions for much of the day – good light and little wind – until a dense mist descended late on, it is very light on news. A male Marsh Harrier was at Stanpit this morning and Grey Plover could be heard during the late mirk from Fisherman’s Bank.

January 10th

Water Rail – Clinton Whale

Goldfinch – Clinton Whale

This morning’s roost flight included 14 Cattle Egret, 7 Little Egret and a Fieldfare, while a Tawny Owl was heard. Nearly all the Stanpit news comes from Fisherman’s Bank, from where a Water Pipit and two ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit were picked out, along with: 7 Grey Plover, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Ringed Plover and 150 Dunlin; plus 4 Shoveler and 2 Pintail. A couple of hours sea-watching, from the Beach Huts again produced a nice tally of Red-throated Diver – eleven – as well as: an unidentified diver, three loitering Sandwich Tern – always good to see in winter, a high-flying westbound Grey Heron, 4 Razorbill, 5 auk spp., 3 Common Gull, 6 Great Crested Grebe and at least 30 Gannet. To finish, a male Marsh Harrier was logged and a Firecrest was again adjacent to Holloway’s Dock.

January 9th

This morning’s roost flight of Cattle Egret comprised thirteen, although one more was present on their current out-of-the-area feeding ground. A multiple presence of Purple Sandpiper hasn’t occurred for a couple of weeks, so ten on a groyne adjacent to the Beach House café this afternoon made for a nice record. Before the inevitable turn to the sea, a Firecrest was at the eastern end of the Wood and a Bullfinch was heard close to the Nursery. Now the water: 2 Red-throated Diver, a further diver, 2 Razorbill, nine auks of indeterminate identity, 9 Common Gull – those west, 3 Brent Goose and fifteen or so Gannet.

January 8th

Common Scoter – Matthew Barfield

Brent Goose – Matthew Barfield

Mediterranean Gull – Matthew Barfield

Starting with the early gloaming, when 12 Cattle Egret headed out of the roost and left for the fields to the north. Between 08:00 and 10:30, the sea was covered from both Mudeford Quay and the Beach Huts and came up with: a Black-throated Diver that grazed the end of the head, a Red-throated Diver, an unidentified diver, a Fulmar – always a bonus in mid-winter, 5 Common Gull, 3 Mediterranean Gull – one of those entering the harbour, 7 Razorbill, 2 Guillemot, 2 Common Scoter, 6 Brent Goose and around 25 Gannet; nearly all west. Meanwhile, there was the bizarre sight of a Peregrine briefly attempting to pick-off one of the twenty or so offshore Shag. Moving to the afternoon and Stanpit, where 7 Grey Plover, 90 Black-tailed Godwit and 120 Dunlin were present, along with a female-type Marsh Harrier and a male Peregrine.

January 7th

Peregrine – David Faulkner

For the third day in succession, a Velvet Scoter was seen from the Beach Huts – coming from the east, then sitting on the water before leaving to the west. Also from the huts: a Black-throated Diver, a total of 8 Red-throated Diver, 2 Common Scoter, 13 Kittiwake, 25 Common Gull, 9 Razorbill and a Guillemot – an interesting mix in comparison to yesterday – 14 auk spp., 17 Gannet and 5 Great Crested Grebe. Otherwise, from elsewhere, it’s just a male Marsh Harrier and two drake Pintail to report upon.

January 6th

Male Kingfisher (upper) and female – note the red lipstick – Colin Somers (upper) & Clinton Whale

Adult, on left, and young Brent Goose – Clinton Whale

Although it was again cold early on, cloud and then heavy rain later warmed the temperatures. This morning, all three divers were recorded – singles of Black-throated Diver and Great Northern Diver, plus 16 Red-throated Diver, all east; with a further three of the latter passing the opposite way over the harbour itself. The best at sea, however, was a Velvet Scoter, also heading towards the Solent – as did 3 Red-breasted Merganser. Meanwhile, at least 800 auks were moving way out in the distance – the flocks close enough to get to grips with suggesting the majority were Guillemot. By local standards, there was a reasonable show of winter thrushes – 3 Fieldfare on Wick and 4 Redwing in the Wood – presumably the result of the overnight sub-zero conditions. Despite the afternoon precipitation, Stanpit was visited and produced: 7 Grey Plover, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 55 Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Ringed Plover and 105 Dunlin, as well as a Pintail and 59 Brent Goose including the two young birds. Earlier, 34 Ringed Plover had been counted on the sandspit. As is becoming the norm, 2 Marsh Harrier were about – described as male and immature – while a Kingfisher were at Wick Hams and on the marsh.

January 5th

The male Marsh Harrier, thought to be a third-calendar-year bird, that has been with us for a while – David Faulkner

Male Kestrel – Alan Crockard

After an overnight frost, there were fewer records received today. At sea, 4 Red-throated Diver passed east, with 5 Razorbill, 2 Guillemot, 4 auk spp. 12 Gannet and 10 Teal being logged. At Stanpit, a third-calendar-year Mediterranean Gull was the best, but also 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Shoveler, a Shelduck and around 60 Brent Goose, of which just two were young birds. Meanwhile, 26 Ringed Plover were on the sandspit. The only Marsh Harrier records are of a female-type early on and a female at dusk. Earlier, in the clear skies, a Buzzard passed over high to the north.

January 4th

Gannet from the Beach Huts – Leo Pyke

Rock Pipit on Stanpit – Clinton Whale

For much of the day, a cold north-westerly wind blew and was probably responsible for a flock of around 30 Golden Plover over Stanpit early on, when 2 Cattle Egret were on Wick Hams. The Marsh Harrier previously being referred to as ‘the adult male’ was well photographed today – although only back-of-camera shots are in circulation – and the tail pattern actually suggests a third-calendar-year bird instead. Meanwhile, a female-type was again about and, today, was reckoned to be a second-calendar-year male. Also inside the harbour, around Stanpit Bight, were: 3 Knot, 17 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and around 100 Black-tailed Godwit; plus 4 Pintail. The smaller waders ,however, chose to escape the flooded marsh and locate to the sandspit, where 30 Ringed Plover and 100 Dunlin were estimated. A two-hour seawatch from the Beach Huts came up with: 2 Red-throated Diver, a Common Scoter, 12 Wigeon, 4 Common Gull, 17 Gannet, 13 Razorbill, 6 Guillemot, 9 auk spp. and a Great Crested Grebe. To wrap things up, the North Scrubs hosted a Redwing, a Chiffchaff and a Bullfinch, while a Peregrine was again on the Priory.

January 3rd

Black-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale

On another windy day, the sea was watched until 08:45 from Mudeford Quay and then from the Beach Huts until 11:00. The combined totals come to: a Velvet Scoter heading towards the Solent, a Common Scoter, 2 Great Northern Diver, 3 Red-throated Diver – one of those settled off the quay, 9 Kittiwake, 5 Common Gull, 62 Gannet – all west, 34 Guillemot, 14 Razorbill, 19 auk spp., 3 Brent Goose, 8 Wigeon – initially on the water and then west and, likewise, 6 Teal. A Golden Plover heard to arrive over Hengistbury was then seen at Stanpit, along with 17 Grey Plover – quite an increase – 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 108 Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Ringed Plover and 85 Dunlin; while a lone Purple Sandpiper was about the sandspit. Once again, the adult male and a female-type Marsh Harrier were around, with the miscellany coming from: 3 Shoveler and 2 Pintail in Stanpit Bight, a pair of Bullfinch by the Viewing Platform, and Kingfisher at the Wooden Bridge and Wick Hams.

January 2nd

Pied Wagtail looking for dry land on an inundated Stanpit – Clinton Whale

…and one of the many Blue Tit now enjoying the bird feeders by the hide – George Garland

A look at the sea this morning produced a reasonable count of Kittiwake – twenty-one birds – but more were reckoned to be further out. Also from the watch at the Beach Huts: 3 Red-throated Diver, 2 Mediterranean Gull – these scarce here at the moment – 13 Common Gull, 10 Razorbill, 6 Guillemot, 50-60 too-distant-to-identify auks and twenty-eight, inter-site-moving Brent Goose. The walk down yielded 2 Firecrest in the Wood, while Wick returned a single Bullfinch. As suggested by the photographs, accessing Stanpit early on was a challenge. Nevertheless, 11 Grey Plover, 52 Black-tailed Godwit and 24 Brent Goose were managed. Once again, both the adult male and a female-type Marsh Harrier were around.

January 1st

A well-brushed Fox – Clinton Whale

The mild temperature was tempered a little by a strong, south-westerly wind that lasted throughout. The best record, brought on by a relatively high tide displacing the birds, was a count of 76 Snipe on the Salt Hurns. Meanwhile, all three divers were logged – singles of Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver and Red-throated Diver, all west – as well as a diver spp., 22 Razorbill, 7 Guillemot, an auk spp. and 3 Brent Goose at sea. Passerine-wise, in addition to a couple of Firecrest in the Nursery, there were 3 Chiffchaff and a pair of Bullfinch on Wick. Moving to Stanpit, there were 9 Grey Plover, along with unquantified Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit; and, today, 12 Brent Goose. To finish, Kingfisher were seen by the Mudeford Quay slip and along Fisherman’s Bank.


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