It was a dull, overcast morning, but a few breaks appeared in the cloud by lunchtime leading to a brighter afternoon. The light north-easterly breeze felt quite brisk at times. All the day’s news comes from Hengistbury, where the sea received several hours’ attention. The best was two drake Eider which landed on the sea for a while before continuing east, and 2 Golden Plover which flew over the east end of the Head. A Great Northern Diver headed west, and the Red-throated Diver were split equally with four west and four east. Other species logged, travelling mainly east, were 16 Brent Goose, 59 Wigeon, 9 Common Gull, at least 5 Mediterranean Gull and 5 Guillemot, with a lone Kittiwake over the beach huts and probably the same Great Crested Grebe moving past several times. There were 2 Firecrest in the Wood, while 2 Siskin and a Redpoll flew over and a Kingfisher was in Holloway’s Dock. Three Little Grebe and a further Great Crested Grebe were inside the harbour, as were 8 Shoveler, 6 Tufted Duck and an Avocet.
It was a murky start to the day; the overcast conditions persisted throughout with a very light northerly breeze and the temperature noticeably cooler than of late. Starting at Wick, 10 Redwing were around the wooden bridge, whilst Wick Hams hosted 2 Cattle Egret, a male Marsh Harrier and a Kingfisher, together with 2 Little Grebe in Barn Bight. There were a lot of birds at Stanpit, where the highlights were 9 Knot, 150 Black-tailed Godwit and 14 Bar-tailed Godwit. There was also a sizeable flock of Greylag Goose, a species which has recently been visiting the harbour in larger numbers than usual.
This is a good opportunity to report on two ringing recoveries. The first is a Black-headed Gull, which was at Christchurch Quay on 22nd November. It was ringed as a first-year bird at Oberkirch, on the Sempachersee, Switzerland, in November 2020. Three previous sightings were all from Basel in January and February 2022. BTO records suggest only 10 Swiss-ringed Black-headed Gulls have been found in UK and Ireland. The second is a Redshank, ringed as an adult in the Lower Avon Valley in 2021, which was at Stanpit in August 2021 and 2022. It has recently been seen in Perros-Guirec on the coast of northern Brittany, France.
After overnight rain, the day was mainly sunny apart from a period of increased cloud this morning which brought the odd rain shower. The light south-westerly wind soon veered to westerly. Most of today’s sightings come from Stanpit, where the Great Northern Diver continues to linger – today back in Mother Siller’s Channel, a Merlin flew over East Marsh towards Wick and a male Marsh Harrier was quartering Central Marsh. Also present were 69 Brent Goose, 4 Egyptian Goose, 65 Dunlin, 60 Ringed Plover, 5 Grey Plover, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and 5 Black-tailed Godwit. A Dartford Warbler was still around Crouch Hill and Kingfisher were up to four birds. Hengistbury was fairly quiet; the wood held a brace each of Redwing and Coal Tit as well as singles of Firecrest and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Four Little Grebe were in Barn Bight and a mobile Grey Wagtail travelled between the HHC and Salt Hurns. Two Chiffchaff and a Bullfinch were on Wick, while an hour and a half spent watching a relatively calm sea off Hengistbury produced just 6 Kittiwake, 2 Mediterranean Gull and a Red-throated Diver all heading west.
There was a significant drop in the wind overnight, with the day turning to heavy rain late on. Firstly, the more interesting species: a Snow Bunting went over the Nursery early in the morning; a Little Gull was seen from Mudeford Quay; the Great Northern Diver remains in the harbour, today favouring the river off Grimmery Bank; a Nuthatch and a Firecrest were in the Wood; 4 Cattle Egret left the roost; 5 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit; and two male Marsh Harrier were at Stanpit. Despite the calm conditions, the sea was given a go and returned: 4 Red-throated Diver, a Red-breasted Merganser, 13 Common Scoter, a Razorbill, 2 Great Crested Grebe, a nice count of 23 Shag and a settled Coot! Rounding things up: the Avocet and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit were on the marsh, plus 6 Mediterranean Gull there; a Chiffchaff was by the HHC; Grey Wagtail were by the Lilly Pond and the Rusty Boat; and, of the day’s two Kingfisher, one was on the fence posts about Wick Hams.
An onshore wind blew for most of the day and brought with it more Kittiwake – a minimum of a hundred were estimated passing west this morning, most at sea, but a few through the harbour. In the late afternoon, at least ten were seen also cutting through – a flock of six even calling their name as they passed over the HHC. Other sea-related birds on the move, all before noon and west, included: an adult Little Gull, a pale-bellied Brent Goose with a dark-bellied partner, a Great Northern Diver, at least 3 Red-throated Diver, a Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Common Scoter, a late Sandwich Tern and 10 Mediterranean Gull, but just one Common Gull. Further gull interest, inside the harbour, came from an adult Little Gull, 8 Mediterranean Gull and 4 Common Gull. The news from Wick is of a Swallow heading north(!), a Mistle Thrush south and a single Chiffchaff. Meanwhile, the Avocet was again at Stanpit, as well as 9 Grey Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, just 6 Black-tailed Godwit and 130 Dunlin; plus 41 Brent Goose. Finally: a flock of 4 Cattle Egret came out the roost this morning – but, this evening, three of the former returned with one of the latter, while 170 Stock Dove were also seen turning in for the night; a Grey Wagtail was on Hengistbury; and a Kingfisher was in Holloway’s Dock.
It was a glorious day of almost uninterrupted sunshine and a much-reduced wind. A Great White Egret flew through the harbour during the morning, when a Firecrest was in the Wood. This afternoon, an Avocet and a female Marsh Harrier were at Stanpit, along with the juvenile Great Northern Diver, that in Parky Meade Rail again, 5 Grey Plover, 75 Ringed Plover and 200 Dunlin; plus a Mediterranean Gull. 48 Brent Goose, a Pintail and 2 Grey Wagtail. Meanwhile, Kingfisher were seen by the Wooden Bridge, around Barn Bight and Stanpit Bight.
In stormy conditions, the sea was watched from 07:30 for four hours, both from the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay. A notable Kittiwake passage was ongoing – at least 235 birds – some of them passing through the harbour itself. Also to the west: 3 Little Gull, 15 Mediterranean Gull, 10 Common Gull, a Great Northern Diver, 3 Red-throated Diver, a Red-breasted Merganser, a Common Scoter, a Razorbill, 15 Gannet, a Great Crested Grebe, 2 Brent Goose and 8 Mute Swan(!). In addition, 2 Velvet Scoter passed east, a Black-throated Diver was settled and a Kittiwake passed over Two Riversmeet. Meanwhile, there was some passerine migration happening, including: a Brambling, a Bullfinch, 3 Redpoll, 10 Siskin, 124 Goldfinch, a Fieldfare and 2 Redwing; with 2 Chiffchaff settled on Wick. Stanpit was under water for much of the day, resulting in an Avocet on North Marsh; as well as 2 Sanderling, 3 Grey Plover, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover, 100 Dunlin, 3 Pintail and 50 Brent Goose being around the place. To finish, 4 Cattle Egret left the roost and a male Marsh Harrier also headed inland early on.
There is a little bit from everywhere today. Mudeford Quay saw an Arctic Skua pass west and 6 Common Scoter head towards the Solent. Hengistbury produced a Nuthatch in the Wood and a lone Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit. A 1cy Kittiwake drifted north over Stanpit, where the Great Northern Diver was again in Parky Meade Rail and a Grey Wagtail was by the Rusty Boat. Wick, meanwhile, once more returned the male Marsh Harrier.
Although the weather was much, much better today, there is little to report upon. The Great Northern Diver was again in Parky Meade Rail, as was a Kingfisher, and an estimated 250 Dunlin circuited Stanpit Bight. Meanwhile, from Wick, the male Marsh Harrier was seen, as well as a couple of Chiffchaff and a Bullfinch.
On a quite awful day of weather, there is, unsurprisingly, nothing to report.
An Avocet topped the waders at Stanpit, where 4 Grey Plover, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 50 Ringed Plover and 90 Dunlin were present. Also about the marsh: the Great Northern Diver in Parky Meade Rail, the Crouch Hill Dartford Warbler, 3 Mediterranean Gull and 8 Common Gull. Elsewhere, a Chiffchaff was on Wick, from where the male Marsh Harrier was logged, and a Kingfisher was by the Wooden Bridge.
There is not much to report from a near-cloudless day with just a hint of easterly breeze. That said, a Woodlark over the Driving Range is a nice record, with 6 Fieldfare also passing there. At Stanpit, the were 4 Mediterranean Gull and a locally significant count of 25 Common Gull. Otherwise, it’s just a 1cy Peregrine on the Priory to mention.
Although the sun shone for much of the day, in the northerly breeze it was less than comfortable. Early on, around 3200 seemingly aimless Woodpigeon were logged, as were: a Siskin, 19 Chaffinch, 50 Linnet and 155 Goldfinch, most of the finches being westbound. Interest in the Wood, meanwhile, came from 7 Redwing, 2 Firecrest, 7 Goldcrest and a Great Spotted Woodpecker encouraged into drumming by the clear skies. Over at Stanpit, waders included: 6 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 85 Dunlin and 2 Turnstone; plus 2 Mediterranean Gull, 4 Common Gull and 48 Brent Goose on the marsh. To finish, 2 Marsh Harrier were again about.
Despite the strong, north-westerly breeze, passing raptors were battling into it – a couple of Red Kite came through together, flushing everything in the harbour as they did so, while at least one Marsh Harrier re-enacted the scene. In fact, the day-total for the latter may be four – two of them the seemingly incumbent male and female. The Great Northern Diver now seems to favour Parky Meade Rail, with another late Swallow sighting also at Stanpit. All the wader news comes from Hengistbury, where a Golden Plover passed west and a Purple Sandpiper, along with 20 Ringed Plover, was on the sandspit. Other interest from the head involved: 2 Firecrest, 10 Goldcrest and 2 Chiffchaff – at least three more ‘chiffs’ elsewhere, however; a couple of Treecreeper in the Wood; and 34 Goldfinch and 16 Linnet east, perhaps marking the tail-end of the finch passage. The final miscellany comes from: two Great Crested Grebe inside the harbour; the same number of Mediterranean Gull west; and 41 Brent Goose on the marsh.
The Great Norther Diver was in Parky Meade Rail late in the morning, while 3 Cattle Egret had earlier been on Wick Water Meadows and a late Swallow headed east over the Broadway. Otherwise, it’s just bits and pieces from a largely quiet Hengistbury, where: 4 Redwing were in the Wood; a Blackcap was by the Ironstone Quarry; a Kittiwake, 3 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Scoter and a Shelduck were at sea; and a Kingfisher was around Wick Hams.
It’s a little light on news today, no doubt due to the near-constant rain and stormy winds. What we have, however, is: the Great Northern Diver and a couple of Marsh Harrier from Grimmery Bank; 6 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 55 Ringed Plover and 144 Dunlin around Stanpit Bight; plus 55 Brent Goose and a Kingfisher there.
As the photos describe, the Great Northern Diver was again present – seeming to spend most of the day off Grimmery Bank. Meanwhile, other niceties came from: 2 Black Redstart by the HHC and a Glossy Ibis over Crouch Hill this morning, when a single Cattle Egret was with the ponies and a male Marsh Harrier hunted Wick Hams. Presumably due to initially clear skies but then a sudden appearance of cloud, around 3500 Woodpigeon and 35 Stock Dove attempted to leave west – before about-turning. Smaller passerines, however, were more purposeful – a Brambling, two each of Redpoll and Siskin, 14 Chaffinch, 80 Linnet, 220 Goldfinch, 16 Meadow Pipit and 6 Skylark – all heading east. To finish: 4 Common Scoter passed west at sea; a couple each of Grey Wagtail were by the HHC and along Fisherman’s Bank respectively; with a Kingfisher there, plus one in Holloway’s Dock and one from the Viewing Platform; and the Crouch Hill Dartford Warbler remains.
In similar conditions to yesterday, a very approachable juvenile Great Northern Diver fished in Mother Siller’s Channel all the time the water was high enough. Meanwhile, the clear highlight of the more-expected WeBS count entries was a party of three drake Pochard in Barn Bight, along with a Tufted Duck; with other wildfowl interest coming from 2 Pintail, 6 Shoveler, 786 Wigeon, 85 Brent Goose and a Shelduck. The best of the waders was a Curlew Sandpiper that circuited with 7 Sanderling, as well as 2 Avocet, 9 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 29 Black-tailed Godwit, 47 Ringed Plover and 157 Dunlin. Travelling passerines, mostly east, were represent by: a Redwing, 4 Redpoll, 5 Siskin, 283 Goldfinch, 87 Linnet, 13 Chaffinch, 9 Pied Wagtail, 32 Meadow Pipit and 8 Skylark; while at least thirty Long-tailed Tit which erupted from the Ironstone Quarry area and heading high west perhaps also being on the move. Rounding up: 3 Chiffchaff were about; a Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier were in the area; 40 Mediterranean Gull were inside the harbour; and 6 Common Gull, something of a scarcity at the moment, passed west.
A really mild day was chilled slightly by the south-easterly breeze, but the sheltered spots were warm indeed. All that said, there is little to report. Stanpit hosted two male Marsh Harrier, a nice record of 3 Redpoll and a couple of arriving Shelduck; while a single Cattle Egret was on Wick Water Meadows.
Additional news: a Snow Bunting went over Hengistbury this morning and 7 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit during the afternoon.
Other than a Leach’s Petrel that drifted slowly past the Beach Huts, it was a pretty quiet day. Additionally, the sea yielded a Little Gull, an Arctic Skua, a couple of Great Northern Diver and an auk. Four Cattle Egret were around at each end of the day and, during the afternoon, an adult male Marsh Harrier and a female flew together for around thirty minutes high above the area.
The day’s highlight was a 1-2cy Iceland Gull, which was first seen arriving over Double Dykes and then watched leaving east from Mudeford Quay. The sea was also worth a look – the best being, all from the Beach Huts: 5 Little Gull, 2 Great Northern Diver, 2 Goosander, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 18 Kittiwake, at least 26 Mediterranean Gull and 4 Common Scoter; also, a Swallow around that area. Meanwhile, inside the harbour, there were a further 20 ‘med’ gull, a really good count of 15 Grey Plover and over 100 Dunlin. The roost continues to host an eclectic mix – first light seeing 2 Buzzard and 7 Cattle Egret departing – when 2 Tawny Owl were also logged. Wrapping up the birds, a female-type Marsh Harrier was about Wick.
To finish, some other bits and pieces…
What a great talk last night by our very own Paul Turton. Fantastic photos and film footage of our local Otter population, packed with lots of facts. Also nice to see Paul involved with Chris Packham projects. Many thanks Paul!! It was also our first combined CHOG in-person and on-line Indoor Meeting. As this seemed to go very well, it is likely to become the norm. We will keep you updated.
Paul has also been heavily involved in the CHOG-sponsored Barn Owl camera, which is situated a few miles north of the recording area. Incredibly, for the last few nights, it has been shared by up to two owls and a Kestrel. See here for some fantastic footage…
It’s difficult to know where to start today, as there is a real mix of birds to cover. Perhaps those of more interest about the area? A female-type Merlin was around Wick early on, when: 5000 Woodpigeon and 12 Stock Dove passed west; a Great White Egret came in from the east over the Beach Huts; 9 Purple Sandpiper and 2 Sanderling were on groyne S7; a Bullfinch was in the Nursery, with a couple of Redpoll over there; and 2 Great Northern Diver went west at sea, plus 6 Common Scoter, a Mediterranean Gull and 10 Brent Goose. Other waders across the site included: 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, maybe up to 120 Ringed Plover and as many as 100 Dunlin. Wrapping up: there was a good number of Skylark at Stanpit – sixteen; the Great Crested Grebe was again in Barn Bight; a Peregrine patrolled; and a Kingfisher was in Holloway’s Dock.
On yet another stormy day, the sea was watched from the Beach Huts, commencing first light, until just after 11:00. A total of 3 Leach’s Petrel battled the south-west blow – at 08:35, 08:38 and 09:25 respectively – with other numbers comprising: uncounted, but fewer than yesterday, Kittiwake, a 1cy Little Gull, a sub-adult drake Eider, a Great Northern Diver, a Red-throated Diver, a Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Mediterranean Gull, a Common Gull, a Guillemot and four, too-far-out-to-ID auks. The only others news, but interesting it is, concerns a late Reed Warbler at the end of the head.
A morning-long seawatch produced a fine count of Kittiwake – a mix of 345 adults and 1cys – all west, as well as: an Arctic Skua, 115 Gannet, 11 Mediterranean Gull, 4 Common Gull, 3 Common Scoter, 2 Brent Goose, 4 Razorbill and five, unidentified auks. A further 2 Common Scoter headed toward the Solent and a Goosander arrived from the east. Unsurprisingly, given another stormy day, there is little else to report, save for 4 Redwing on Wick and a Great Crested Grebe in Barn Bight. To finish this short post, an egret update – the roost is currently holding up to 9 Cattle Egret and at least 25 Little Egret.
The peak of the day’s interest came from a skein of 7 pale-bellied Brent Goose west over Whitepits this afternoon, when the first settled Purple Sandpiper of the season – five birds – were about the tip of the sandspit. A reasonable wader selection at Stanpit included: a Golden Plover, 5 Grey Plover, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Black-tailed Godwit, 47 Ringed Plover and 85 Dunlin; with 4 Mediterranean Gull and 2 Common Gull also on the marsh. Meanwhile, Wick produced a Firecrest and two female Bullfinch; the adult male Marsh Harrier was present and correct; a late Swallow passed through; and a couple of Kingfisher were around.
On a quite awful day of the weather, nearly all the news is of a 10:00-12:00 seawatch from Mudeford Quay, which yielded: a constant trickle of Common Gull, Mediterranean Gull and Kittiwake – two to three birds every ten minutes or so – a diver spp., a Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Common Scoter, 7 Great Crested Grebe and 5 Shelduck; the latter now seeming to be returning after their trip to the Netherlands to moult. Otherwise, for today, it’s just the adult male Marsh Harrier on Wick to mention, plus a gathering of 8 Reed Bunting there. Finally, although well away from the area, but relevant to it – yesterday, a total of 264,644 woodpigeon were counted passing a site in Gwent, South Wales!
The first clear morning of the period saw the expected mass movement of Woodpigeon to the south-west – a total of 30000 logged from Hengistbury between 07:30 and 11:00, passing mostly north of the area. Also seen when looking inland, a couple of Red Kite, while a Merlin headed west. There were some decent waders seen from the head, including a Ruff, 2 Avocet, a Knot and a Golden Plover – the latter then appearing at Stanpit, where 2 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 65 Ringed Plover and 25 Dunlin were added to the day’s list. A decent presence of arriving thrushes comprised 4 Fieldfare and as many 43 Redwing; with 4 Brambling also noted in the mostly, unreported overhead passage. On the deck, 3 Firecrest were in the Wood, where the Grey Wagtail remains, and up to 30 Chiffchaff were across the site. To finish, 3 Cattle Egret and the adult male Marsh Harrier were about Priory Marsh in the morning, when 17 Mediterranean Gull and a Great Crested Grebe were also inside the harbour.
A Short-eared Owl headed south over Wick just after 09:00 this morning, when 7 Chiffchaff and 2 Blackcap were logged there. Otherwise, the sea provides all the interest. Early in the day, two each of Velvet Scoter and Great Northern Diver were returned from the Beach Huts; while, late in the afternoon, a Long-tailed Duck was settled off Mudeford Quay. Generally speaking, there is still a 250+-strong, offshore feeding flock of gulls – mainly Herring Gull, but also around 20 Mediterranean Gull.
Another day, another Leach’s Petrel – one west off Hengistbury early this morning. The main feature at sea, however, was Kittiwake – a total of fifty-six – generally passing west. Also: a Great Northern Diver was settled; and 2 Common Scoter, 12 Brent Goose and 9 Mediterranean Gull passed; while a drake Red-breasted Merganser headed west over the Barn Field. The best of the thrushes was a Ring Ouzel up-and-out of the Nursery, likewise 8 Redwing; with other bits and pieces including 2 Firecrest and 10 Goldcrest in the Wood, plus a couple of Chiffchaff on Wick. Meanwhile, a modest overhead passage comprised 48 Linnet, 31 Greenfinch, 26 Goldfinch and 35 Meadow Pipit, all to the east. To round up, some of the usual miscellany: the Grey Wagtail that seems to have taken up residence in the muddy pool in the Stunted Oaks was again present; 4 Cattle Egret came out of roost; a Nuthatch and a Treecreeper were in the Wood; at least the adult male Marsh Harrier was about; the adult male Peregrine, VA, was on the Priory; and a Kingfisher was by the Wooden Bridge.
During south-westerly winds which frequently exceeded 50 kmh, the sea was watched from first light until noon at least. Leach’s Petrel was seen on two occasions and probably a third, but that sighting going down as a spp. Also, on what was actually a fairly quiet watch in terms of overall quantity, a couple each of Grey Phalarope and Arctic Skua west, plus 3 Kittiwake, all 1cy birds, a Red-throated Diver and a handful of Mediterranean Gull. The only other news is of a Swallow lingering around the Beach Huts for a while.