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Sightings for Month: October 2022

October 31st

Female Marsh Harrier – Scott Usher

Red Admiral – Barrie Taylor

The sea was a stark contrast to yesterday – only a dozen or so Mediterranean Gull and around fifty lingering Gannet. A, presumably the, female Marsh Harrier was seen from Wick, where there were 8 Chiffchaff – with a further two on Hengistbury. Also on the head, a Nuthatch was by the Double Bends. Of other wildlife interest, a Stoat was seen by the Hiker café.

October 30th

Sub-adult Gannet – Matthew Barfield

Arctic Skua – Matthew Barfield

1cy Yellow-legged Gull – Matthew Barfield

Adult (left) and juvenile Brent Goose – Matthew Barfield

The sea was watched from first light until 14:15 and did produce some decent stuff. After first being seen from the Beach Huts early on, a dark juvenile Long-tailed Skua was watched well from the Gully on a couple of occasions just after 11:00. Then, in the early afternoon, also from the Gully, a Leach’s Petrel was seen losing water to the wind and being forced towards the Solent. Also, during the period, a couple of Arctic Skua, a 1cy Yellow-legged Gull, at least 150 Mediterranean Gull, 12 Common Scoter, 15 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill and a Great Crested Grebe. On a general note about the sea, the first 90 minutes of daylight were pretty spectacular as hundreds of gulls headed out of Christchurch Bay – possibly to join the large feeding frenzy about a mile offshore. After some dialogue with the Mudeford-based commercial fishermen, it seems the attraction is a mix of Sprats and baitfish being driven to the surface by arriving shoals of Bass. Also seen while watching the sea, a female-type Merlin in-off and west. Meanwhile, Wick and the Wood were virtually birdless, but did muster a Firecrest, 10 Goldcrest and 8 Chiffchaff, with 2 Redpoll and a Grey Wagtail moving over with modest numbers of the more expected. Over at Stanpit, it was nice to see another Brent Goose increase – to eighty-one, with a nice-looking mix of juveniles – along with six each of Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit, four each of Black-tailed Godwit and Turnstone, and 30 Dunlin. To finish, other interest involved: 2 Cattle Egret north from roost, the male Marsh Harrier about the marsh, as well as a Buzzard there, and a Woodpigeon attending to a chick in a nest on Wick.

October 29th

Short-eared Owl – Matthew Barfield

Dartford Warbler on Stanpit, where they are notable. Also interesting to see how the vegetation is still budding – Scott Usher

…and a Willow Emerald still active – Peter Boardman

On another incredibly mild day, a Pallas’ Warbler was seen for a few minutes at the end of the head; but despite a good amount of subsequent searching was not definitely seen again. Also, a Firecrest in that area. Meanwhile, a Short-eared Owl spent a few minutes over Hengistbury and a Kittiwake was offshore from the sandspit. Early on, 3 Cattle Egret headed north and the adult male Marsh Harrier and a female-type hunted Stanpit, where the photographed Dartford Warbler was a nice record. At least 65 Mediterranean Gull were inside the harbour, as were a minimum of 10 Common Gull, and the Brent Goose presence nudged fifty.

October 28th

Curlew – David Faulkner

…and the view from Crouch Hill, which has been an island for much of the week, across Central Marsh – Alan Crockard

This afternoon, a total of 180 Mediterranean Gull was counted at Stanpit – while a massive feeding flock of gulls, during the morning, way out to sea off Hengistbury, may well explain why we’re currently experiencing so many. All the other news comes from Wick, where: a Mistle Thrush passed south; 4 Chiffchaff were around the fields; and the adult male Marsh Harrier was logged.

October 27th

1cy Pied Wagtail in moult – David Faulkner

Wigeon – David Faulkner

Jay – Peter Boardman

…and the Stunted Oaks basking in 20C+ temperatures this afternoon – Nick Whitehouse

There were again really high numbers of Mediterranean Gull around today – the notable figure being 200 that left south and west over Hengistbury in the afternoon – 90% of them adults. Otherwise, it’s just a female-type Tufted Duck in Parky Meade Rail and a Kingfisher about Crouch Hill to report upon. Of butterfly interest, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Small Copper and Speckled Wood were all still on the wing at Stanpit.

October 26th

An extremely inundated Wick Meadows. The House on Stilts, left, seeming to need them this morning – Peter Boardman

There were couple of big events today – one involving a potential rarity, the other some incredible numbers. Firstly, a swift species was watched over Wick Hams for a few minutes this morning, battling the wind, but was unfortunately never seen well enough to progress beyond a ‘spp.’ record. Secondly – Mediterranean Gull: a figure of 119 on the sea off the Beach Huts in the morning was enough to raise the eyebrows, but an in-harbour total of at least 384 on South Marsh in the mid-afternoon is simply eye-watering! Not least for the time of year – a winter scarcity here – and, by a country mile, the best count ever of settled birds in the area. It will be interesting to learn if adjacent sites experienced a similar phenomenon. To finish this particular subject, of the in-harbour birds, it was estimated 35-40% were 1cy individuals. Moving back to the sea, where a Manx Shearwater, 3 Common Scoter and 31 Guillemot passed west, along with 7 Kittiwake, 5 Common Gull and 3 Razorbill on the water with the ‘meds’. Meanwhile, it was a reasonable day for raptors – a Merlin, 2 Marsh Harrier, the adult male and a female-type, a Peregrine and a Buzzard, plus of course Kestrel and Sparrowhawk, all being logged. Turning to waders and those at Stanpit, where the picks were: a Golden Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Ringed Plover, 68 Dunlin and a Turnstone; plus, a Tufted Duck, a Shoveler and 40 Brent Goose around the bight there. Now the passerines – those departing included a minimum of 7 Chiffchaff and Blackcap, with 11 Redwing checking-in over Wick. To finish, the Bailey Bridge at the depth of tide again proved its Water Rail worth – one showing really well and three others heard – and a Kingfisher was returned from Hengistbury.

October 25th

Common Snipe beside Holloway’s Dock – Dave Miller

Black Redstart near the Beach House café – Dave Miller

After a few fairly quiet days, there’s plenty to report today. All records are from the morning. Firstly, a spell of visible migration (‘vismig’) at Hengistbury Head for an hour-and-a-half after dawn yielded (all best estimates): 150 Meadow Pipit (most W); 350 Linnet, 400 Goldfinch, 25 Siskin, 15 Chaffinch – these finches mainly heading E, but some W; 12 Skylark (W), 80 alba Wagtail, 2 Swallow; 1 Fieldfare (W), 3 Reed Bunting (W) and 3 Starling very high in off the sea. The sea itself appeared quiet, with just a handful of Common Scoter noted. The morning also saw a record of a Red-throated Pipit flying low over Hengistbury which, if accepted by BBRC, will be the fourth for the Harbour and our first since 2015. Meanwhile, there were 2 (probably female-type) Marsh Harrier and 3 Cattle Egret over Wick Water Meadows; additionally, first reported as being present last Saturday, a female-type Black Redstart was again near the Beach House café on the Sandspit. To finish up, singleton Kingfishers put in an appearance at Wick Wooden Bridge and over Stanpit Bight during an exceptionally high morning tide.

October 24th

Great Spotted Woodpecker at Wick – Peter Boardman

Wheatear at Wick – Peter Boardman

The sea was watched for a short while this morning, but the only movement was a few Gannet heading west. Meanwhile at Wick a Woodlark flew west over Wick Fields, there was a Kingfisher by the Wooden Bridge, a Wheatear by the Education Centre, and five Chiffchaff and four Redpoll were noted. At Stanpit there were 31 Brent Goose, 85 Ringed Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Turnstone, 20 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank, a Grey Plover and a Ruff, plus a male Marsh Harrier over East Marsh mid-afternoon.

October 23rd

After yesterday’s comment about the adult male Marsh Harrier (upper), fingers crossed it may be him, and what looks structurally like a female – Scott Usher (upper) & Peter Boardman

Wren – Peter Boardman

Although the morning forecast was way-off and there were long periods of unexpected sunshine, the ferocity of the mid-afternoon rain, hail and thunder storm delivered what we had been warned about. Power been lost to the Christchurch side of the recording area for an hour at least. Now the birds: in the calm after, a Short-eared Owl was over Whitepits; while the male Marsh Harrier was at Stanpit just before, with the female-type over Wick early on.

October 22nd

Grey Plover in the rain – Scott Usher

A male Marsh Harrier was hunting Central Marsh this afternoon – the second time this week such a bird has been seen – perhaps the regular winterer having returned? Also around Stanpit at that time: 3 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 16 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover and 24 Dunlin; plus 10 Brent Goose and a Peregrine. Much earlier in the day: a flock of 3 Cattle Egret flew upriver, 4 Chiffchaff were on Wick; and a Kingfisher was by the Wooden Bridge.

October 21st

Grey Wagtail at Clay Pool – Alan Crockard

Before the southerly blow and accompanying rain took hold, a Yellow-browed Warbler was heard by the Hiker Café, while a Firecrest was by the Wooden Bridge, 6 Chiffchaff were across Wick Fields and 3 Grey Wagtail were there or about Clay Pool. The only news from an afternoon seawatch is of a Sabine’s Gull and a Sooty Shearwater west past Hengistbury; when at least 2 Mediterranean Gull – one or two adults, plus a 1cy – and three adult Common Gull were in the pre-roost of large gulls off Grimmery Bank.

October 20th

Water Rail beside the Bailey Bridge at Stanpit – Jackie Smith

During a grey and drizzly morning, the first Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn for the Harbour was at the east end of Hengistbury Head, while just after midday, a female type Black Redstart was discovered (appropriately!) by The Discovery Den at Wick. There were good numbers of thrushes and finches going over early morning and auks passing at sea; 29 Greylag Goose headed north from Stanpit mid-morning; then early evening, a group of 10 Grey Heron flew over the Head heading west. News of birds on the deck includes 8 Brent Goose and a Golden Plover at Stanpit and a Grey Wagtail at the Stunted Oaks.

Addendum for yesterday’s post: a flock of 7 Ring Ouzel flew east over Hengistbury during the morning.

October 19th

Barnacle Goose at Stanpit – Jackie Smith

Greenshank in Holloway’s Dock – Dave Miller

The day started overcast, but it remained mostly dry and the sun broke through for a while this morning. There was a strong easterly wind, but the blustery conditions didn’t seem to deter birds moving over land and sea. The highlights at Hengistbury were a Goldeneye – a species which has become locally rare in recent years – heading east into the Solent, 7 Barnacle Goose also east with a further individual at Stanpit later, and a Ring Ouzel flying over the HHC towards Wick. Passerine migrants going east over the Head included an excellent 2,350 Linnet, together with 630 Meadow Pipit, 312 Goldfinch, 215 Alba Wagtail, 43 Siskin, 18 Skylark, 11 Redpoll, 16 Swallow, 5 Reed Bunting and a Grey Wagtail. Numbers at sea comprised 400 Auk and 32 Gannet moving in various directions, as well as 30 Brent Goose west, 39 Mediterranean Gull east plus three west, and 15 Common Gull. Also eastbound were 3 Common Scoter, a Red-throated Diver and a Great Crested Grebe. Waders logged were 26 Dunlin flying along the Sandspit, 5 Knot in Barn Bight and 3 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock. A Firecrest, a Blackcap and 6 Chiffchaff were at Wick, with a further two of the latter in the wood at Hengistbury with 2 Nuthatch. The only other sightings from Stanpit involve at least 8 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Gull, 2 Sandwich Tern and a further 41 Brent Goose.

October 18th

One of several flocks of Goldfinch over Stanpit – Alan Crockard

Grey Heron – Alan Crockard

Southern Hawker Dragonfly at the Lily Pond, Hengistbury – Peter Boardman

The bright, sunny conditions and easterly breeze encouraged a good movement of birds this morning. Cloud cover increased from lunchtime onwards. At Hengistbury, totals of passerines travelling east were 855 Goldfinch, 520 Linnet, 335 Chaffinch, 87 Skylark, 65 Alba Wagtail, 52 Siskin, 9 Redpoll and 6 Brambling, together with 21 Swallow and singles of House Martin and Grey Wagtail. At sea, a Great Northern Diver flew west, as did 250 unidentified Auk, 53 Mediterranean Gull, and 31 Common Gull, while 3 Kittiwake and a lone Eider went in the opposite direction. Another Grey Wagtail was at Stanpit, where other news included 3 Pintail – two duck and a drake, 4 Avocet, a Golden Plover and at least 1 Grey Plover. Three Sanderling were on the Sandspit and four Cattle Egret left the Hengistbury Nursery roost around dawn.

October 17th

It was an overall quiet day in terms of returns – the pick being: a male Marsh Harrier about the place just after 08:00 this morning; a Golden Plover to the west over Wick; and a couple of Firecrest – one near Solent Meads car park, the other in the Wood. General wader news is sparse, although singles of Greenshank, Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit were about; while up to 20 Brent Goose were in Stanpit Bight. Settled passerine numbers barely reached respective double figures – 9 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap and 10 Goldcrest – with a Woodlark being the only known statistic from an unreported visible-migration watch.

October 16th

Wigeon, Brent Goose, one of them a youngster, Pintail and Coot in Stanpit Bight – Richard Cordery

It was a glorious morning, but a wet and windy late afternoon. Early on, 4 Cattle Egret came out of the roost and, an hour or two later, a Great White Egret was present on the Salt Hurns for a few minutes. Currently, Marsh Harrier are only infrequently being recorded – so a female-type at Stanpit this morning was nice – when a Peregrine rested on the Priory. Meanwhile, the members’ walk around the bight there enjoyed: a Golden Plover, 8 Grey Plover, a Greenshank, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Sanderling, 65 Ringed Plover, 85 Dunlin and 10 Turnstone; plus a Pintail and a Kingfisher. Elsewhere, a Firecrest and 2 Treecreeper were in the Wood; and, to finish, a comment on Rook: five this afternoon on the Recreation Ground – a bit of a rarity to be settled in the area – although they do regularly roost.

October 15th

Water Rail – Alan Crockard

Curlew Sandpiper – Scott Usher

Kingfisher – David Faulkner

On a day that was dominated by a south-westerly wind, the main feature at sea were auks – several hundred passed west off Hengistbury this morning – seemingly, mostly Guillemot. Also, a Balearic Shearwater, a juvenile Arctic Tern, 2 Mediterranean Gull and 3 Sandwich Tern seen on the watch. An hour late in the day saw eighteen more auks, a further Mediterranean Gull and a Common Gull. There was a nice mix of waders inside the harbour, including: a Curlew Sandpiper, a Golden Plover, a Grey Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Sanderling, 120 Ringed Plover, 85 Dunlin and a good count of 8 Turnstone. No vis-mig counts were returned, but 3 Brambling passed over, as did unquantified Siskin, Goldfinch, Linnet, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Swallow and Skylark. Meanwhile, there was a good presence of settled ‘pied-wags’ and ‘mipits’ on Crouch Hill. To finish, although it should be to start, 5 Cattle Egret came out of the roost.

October 14th

Grey Plover – Alan Crockard

It’s a similar report to yesterday’s really. A reasonable visible passage, mainly east, during the morning over Hengistbury included: 285 Goldfinch, 200 Linnet, 12 Chaffinch, 17 Pied Wagtail, 40 Meadow Pipit, 2 Skylark and 30 Swallow; while 2 Mediterranean Gull headed west at sea. Golden Plover was again the best of the waders, but three today at Stanpit, where there was also a Grey Plover and 15 Bar-tailed Godwit. Elsewhere, 3 Sanderling were amongst a 150-strong mix of Ringed Plover and Dunlin on the sandspit, and a Black-tailed Godwit was in Holloway’s Dock. To round-up: a Firecrest and 8 Goldcrest were in the Wood; around 20 Chiffchaff and 3 Blackcap were across the site; a Grey Wagtail was on the Salt Hurns; a drake Pintail, plus 34 Brent Goose, were inside the harbour; and a 1cy Common Gull passed through.

October 13th

Golden Plover – Scott Usher

Starting with the waders and the best being singles of Curlew Sandpiper and Golden Plover at Stanpit; where 2 Grey Plover and both species of godwits were also present. The morning visible migration was light – some details later – but a surprise visit to Hengistbury in the late afternoon saw 3 Siskin, 50 Linnet and 15 Goldfinch on the move. Now the morning highlights, which comprised: a Brambling, 25 Siskin, 100 Linnet, 60 Goldfinch, a Grey Wagtail, 45 Pied Wagtail, 5 Skylark and 5 Reed Bunting. Additionally, 5 Mediterranean Gull and 2 Sandwich Tern passed west through the harbour. Meanwhile, a couple of Firecrest, plus a Treecreeper, were in the Wood; and up to 50 Chiffchaff and 5 Blackcap were scattered. Early on, a single Cattle Egret left the roost; with other news coming from 34 Brent Goose and a Pintail on the marsh, where a Kingfisher was along Grimmery Bank.

October 12th

Firecrest – Leo Pyke

Dartford Warbler, adjacent to a public path – Dave Miller

Meadow Pipit – Alan Crockard

The day’s visible migration over was to the east over Hengistbury and included: 2 Brambling, 23 Siskin, 540 Linnet, 510 Goldfinch, 13 Chaffinch, 4 Grey Wagtail, 200 Pied Wagtail, 285 Meadow Pipit, 8 Skylark, 4 Reed Bunting and 10 Swallow. Meanwhile, a couple of Firecrest, 15 Goldcrest, 30 Chiffchaff and 6 Blackcap were settled. The best of the waders were 2 Golden Plover over Wick and a Greenshank from the head; with Stanpit hosting a Grey Plover and 10 Black-tailed Godwit. To finish, a Kingfisher was around Barn Bight.

October 11th

Goldfinch at Hengistbury: several landed briefly before continuing their journey east – Leo Pyke

It was a cold start to another lovely sunny day, with a light northerly breeze. At Hengistbury, 2 Cattle Egret and 26 Little Egret left the Nursery roost, while 11 Song Thrush and 7 Redwing flew north. A couple of locally scarce species were logged, namely Pochard, with a pair heading east through the harbour, and a Nuthatch in the Wood. However, the main focus was again on overhead migration with eastbound passerines including 1,190 Goldfinch, 895 Linnet, 355 Meadow Pipit, 295 Alba Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail, 175 Chaffinch, 7 Brambling, 16 Siskin, 2 Lesser Redpoll and 17 Reed Bunting, together with 63 Swallow and 18 Skylark. Waders were represented by 5 Golden Plover flying east, a Greenshank in Brewer’s Creek, 2 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock, plus 55 Ringed Plover, 40 Dunlin and 3 Sanderling in the Sandspit roost. Three Gadwall flew west, as did 10 Brent Goose at sea while another 14 of the latter were at Stanpit. Hengistbury and Wick hosted 50 Chiffchaff, 18 Goldcrest and 3 Blackcap, and an influx of at least 20 Stonechat was noted in addition to numbers present over the last few days

October 10th

It was dull and overcast with some light drizzle for the first hour or so. However, the rain stopped and the cloud gradually dissipated to give a fine, sunny day. The brisk northerly wind also eased perceptibly as the morning wore on. All today’s news comes from Hengistbury, where less common species seen were a Ring Ouzel, which flew west off the top of Head towards the Ironstone Quarry, and a total of 11 Golden Plover heading north. Overhead passerine migration continued with good numbers of birds moving east, totals being 815 Linnet, 915 Goldfinch, 465 Meadow Pipit, 80 Siskin, 32 Chaffinch and 110 Alba Wagtail. There were also 350 Swallow, 42 House Martin and a single Sand Martin logged. On the ground, there was a small arrival of Firecrest, with six in the Wood – the best count of the autumn so far – as well as 20 Goldcrest and 35 Chiffchaff. A further five of the latter and 11 Reed Buntings were at Wick. At sea, a flock of 51 Ringed Plover, 24 Brent Goose and 23 Common Scoter headed west, with ninety unidentified Auk flying in various directions and 20 Gannet fishing offshore. A further 125 Ringed Plover roosted on the Sandspit, with about 100 Dunlin and 11 Sanderling.

October 9th

Grey Wagtail at the Lily Pond – Peter Boardman

Migrant Hawker Dragonfly – Peter Boardman

There was plenty of sunshine again today for the monthly Wetland Bird Survey, but the south-easterly wind was just strong enough to make viewing difficult at times. Not all counts were received by the time of writing this post, but the highlights, mainly from Stanpit, were 21 Brent Goose, 456 Wigeon, 142 Coot, 2 Golden Plover, 4 Grey Plover, 25 Bar-tailed Godwit, 29 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Greenshank and an adult Mediterranean Gull. Two Yellow Wagtail were on Crouch Hill and a Grey Wagtail flew over. Meanwhile, at Hengistbury, there was a good movement of pipits and finches, mostly in the first 90 minutes after dawn. Best estimates, with a few additions from Stanpit, were 1,200 Linnet, 380 Goldfinch, 375 Meadow Pipit, 23 Siskin and 24 Chaffinch generally heading east, as did 710 Swallow and 200 House Martin, while 100 Alba Wagtail and 2 more Grey Wagtail flew mainly west. At sea, 15 unidentified Auk and a further 21 Mediterranean Gull moved west. To round up, 3 Blackcap, 8 Goldcrest and 25 Chiffchaff were at Hengistbury, with a further two of the latter at Stanpit, where a Buzzard was also present.

October 8th

Buzzard over Wick Water Meadows – Peter Boardman

Dartford Warbler – Peter Boardman

It was a lovely autumn day, with very little cloud and a negligible northwesterly breeze which backed to the southwest during the afternoon. The best of the birds at Hengistbury were a Ring Ouzel, which landed on Warren Hill calling loudly, 2 Jack Snipe, which arrived over the beach huts and landed near Holloway’s Dock, as well as 4 Woodlark heading west. Earlier, 14 Cattle Egret and 38 Little Egret were counted emerging from the Nursery, and two juvenile Marsh Harrier drifted over the harbour for several minutes. There was a good variety of birds moving over, with 110 Alba Wagtail, a Yellow Wagtail and 90 Meadow Pipit flying west, while most other species moved mainly east and totalled 510 Linnet, 260 Goldfinch, 45 Chaffinch, 32 Siskin, 9 Skylark and 4 Redpoll. A single Sand Martin was logged, together with 225 Swallow and 75 House Martin. Scattered around the head were 50 Chiffchaff, 2 Whitethroat, 10 Blackcap, 35 Goldcrest and a Firecrest. There were fewer small waders on the Sandspit this morning, with some 100 Dunlin and 40 Ringed Plover, while the Greenshank in Holloway’s Dock increased to five. At sea, 41 Common Gull and 73 Mediterranean travelled west, and a lone Shelduck left the harbour in the same direction.

October 7th

Greenshank roosting in Holloway’s Dock – Leo Pyke

Willow Emerald still present on the Lily Pond – Peter Boardman

The day was mainly bright and sunny, with a brief shower during the morning and some heavier rain in the late afternoon. The wind remained mainly west-southwesterly, strengthening to moderate later.   Passerine migration continued at Hengistbury with lower numbers recorded than yesterday, due to less comprehensive coverage. Travelling in various directions were 19 Alba Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail, 90 Meadow Pipit, 115 Linnet, 80 Goldfinch and 25 Swallow. Grounded migrants included 4 Blackcap, 11 Goldcrest and 20 Chiffchaff with a further ten at Wick, where a Mistle Thrush was also logged. The sea was quiet with 55 Gannet, 6 Sandwich Tern and 9 Brent Goose heading west and 3 Common Scoter flying east. A Kingfisher was present and the 3 Greenshank were roosting again in Holloway’s Dock at high tide. The only news from Stanpit was of a Curlew Sandpiper and 4 Grey Plover. Finally, one Willow Emerald dragonfly was still on the Lily Pond at Hengistbury.

October 6th

On a fine, sunny day with a fairly light west-southwesterly breeze, the majority of records came from Hengistbury, where a Great White Egret, 6 Cattle Egret and 34 Little Egret emerged from the Nursery roost, as well as 7 Redwing and 6 Song Thrush. There was also a modest overhead movement of a nice variety of passerines. Moving mainly in a westerly direction were singles of Woodlark and Yellow Wagtail, together with 75 Skylark, 115 Swallow, 45 House Martin, 85 Alba Wagtail, 4 Grey Wagtail, 340 Meadow Pipit, 450 Linnet, 170 Goldfinch, 22 Siskin, 25 Chaffinch and 14 Reed Bunting. Further grounded migrants across Hengistbury and Wick involved some 25 Goldcrest, 33 Chiffchaff, at least 6 Blackcap, and a further 3 Grey Wagtail at Wick. The sea was quiet, with 3 Brent Goose arriving at Stanpit and nine heading west, with a lone Common Scoter and 2 Common Gull moving in the same direction. Sixteen Sanderling were around the Sandspit groynes, where a mixed roosting flock of about 300 waders comprised mostly Dunlin and Ringed Plover, and 3 Greenshank were again in Holloway’s Dock. At Stanpit, there was a Common Sandpiper and a Kingfisher logged, while a Peregrine and 4 Raven were noted from Hengistbury. 

October 5th

It was a mixed bag of weather today, which was mainly overcast with the occasional bright spell and a couple of hours of rain from late morning. The strong south-westerly wind, which gradually eased during the afternoon, encouraged several observers to sea watch at Hengistbury, where the highlights were 10 Balearic Shearwater heading west – the best day count for over seven years – and the first Purple Sandpiper of the autumn flying towards Mudeford Quay. Other birds moving west at sea included a total of 95 auk, of which nine were close enough to identify as Guillemot, 3 Brent Goose, 3 Kittiwake, 6 Mediterranean Gull, 11 Sandwich Tern and 78 Gannet, while 42 Swallow flew mainly east and 3 Greenshank lingered on the Salt Hurns. Afternoon visits to Stanpit produced 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 5 Grey Plover, 21 Bar-tailed Godwit and 8 Sanderling, with a further 3 of the latter on the beach at Hengistbury. Passerines were thin on the ground, with 4 Chiffchaff and a Grey Wagtail at Wick, while a Firecrest was in the Wood at Hengistbury. One Cattle Egret was seen leaving the Hengistbury roost and a Kingfisher was around the wooden bridge at Wick.

October 4th

Starting with the waders, firstly the Ringed Plover and Dunlin, which flooded in today – 168 and 285 respectively at Stanpit during the afternoon. Earlier, 3 Greenshank had been in Holloway’s Dock; while moving back to the marsh, where a Curlew Sandpiper, a Whimbrel, 4 Knot, 5 Grey Plover 11 Sanderling, 18 Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Black-tailed Godwit and 6 Turnstone completed the rest of the interest. Otherwise, it’s just a Wheatear on the end of the sandspit to mention and an in-harbour count of 365 Wigeon.

October 3rd

Southern Hawker – Matthew Barfield

On a generally mild day, although chilled slightly by the south-easterly breeze, most of the news comes from Stanpit. Just before 16:00, a couple of adult Spoonbill dropped in from the east for a few minutes; while waders throughout the day included: a Curlew Sandpiper, 8 Grey Plover, 5 Sanderling, a Knot, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Black-tailed Godwit and a Turnstone. Also about the marsh, two adult Mediterranean Gull, 4 Brent Goose and a handful of Chiffchaff. Earlier, Wick held eleven of the latter, with 40 House Martin and 25 Swallow over.

October 2nd

Migrant waders, mainly Ringed Plover, resting on the sandspit – Matthew Barfield

Willow Emerald – Matthew Barfield

Wall Brown – Matthew Barfield

The morning was almost a write-off weatherwise, although one hardy soul experienced a Ring Ouzel flying up from the No Dogs Field on Wick. Also around Wick at that time, around 15 Chiffchaff – plus a further twenty-five, at least, across the head when the rain had stopped. The only other news, however, is of a Wheatear on Crouch Hill.

October 1st

House Martin – the upper a juvenile and showing quite a dusky rump, the other an adult – Scott Usher

The pick of the day came in the afternoon, when a Sand Martin headed west at Stanpit – a nice record for the month of October – as did a juvenile Arctic Tern. Earlier in the day, as suggested in the photos, there had been quite a presence of House Martin about the area – as many as one hundred feeding over Wick at one point. Back to Stanpit, where the bight hosted: 3 Curlew Sandpiper, a Whimbrel – that also good for the month, 4 Knot, 4 Grey Plover, a nice number of 24 Bar-tailed Godwit and up to 10 Black-tailed Godwit. Migrant passerines were almost non-existent – around five each of Chiffchaff and Blackcap – while 6 Sandwich Tern remained and a 1cy Common Gull was present.


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