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Sightings for Month: December 2022

December 31st

During the morning, the sea was watched for couple of hours from just after 8:00 and produced: a Red-throated Diver, 11 Kittiwake, a Fulmar – always a good mid-winter record – a drake Red-breasted Merganser on the water, 24 Gannet, 3 Razorbill, a Guillemot, five unidentified auks and 4 Brent Goose. Meanwhile, a further Kittiwake went over Wick Hams and the the Great Northern Diver was off Rushy Piece. A little later, an adult Little Gull came into the harbour and a Great Northern Diver passed east at sea. A look at Stanpit over the high tide saw 126 Black-tailed Godwit, 85 Dunlin, a Turnstone and 6 Pintail, but just the same number of Brent Goose. And, the final sentence of 2022 involves an adult male Marsh Harrier at Stanpit and 3 Purple Sandpiper from Mudeford Quay – Happy New Year!

December 30th

Golden Plover amongst Wigeon – Scott Usher

Bar-tailed Godwit – Scott Usher

The day was punctuated with rain, but a few nice bits and pieces were around. A Golden Plover was at Stanpit around lunchtime; while the afternoon saw a (the?) Great Northern Diver on the River and a Sandwich Tern was off Mudeford Quay; and, at dusk, a single Cattle Egret flew to roost with 6 Little Egret. Moving back to the marsh, where the ‘goldie’ was complemented by 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, around 200 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Ringed Plover, 100 Dunlin and a Turnstone; with three drake Pintail, a Shoveler and a couple of Kingfisher also being logged.

December 29th

Redshank – Alan Hayden

Kestrel – David Faulkner

Most of the day’s news comes from the sea, where singles of Black-throated Diver and Great Northern Diver, plus 9 Red-throated Diver, all passed west; as well as: a Common Scoter, 58 Gannet, a Guillemot, an auk spp., 2 Shelduck, a Great Crested Grebe and a Common Gull. Elsewhere: a Spoonbill, 2 Pintail, a Turnstone and a Kingfisher were at Stanpit; a Chiffchaff and 2 Marsh Harrier were returned from Wick; 3 Great Crested Grebe were in Barn Bight; and 160 Stock Dove left the roost.

December 28th

Unsurprisingly, given the all-day onslaught of rain and south-westerly wind, there is only one report – but it’s not a bad one. A Black Redstart was in the dinghy park on Mudeford Quay.

December 27th

Pintail – Alan Hayden

Today’s Marsh Harrier maximum was three – all from Wick in the morning. Meanwhile, the sea mustered a Red-throated Diver west, singles of Razorbill and Guillemot, 6 Gannet and a Great Crested Grebe. The only other reports involve: a further 2 Great Crested Grebe in Barn Bight; a Grey Plover in Holloway’s Dock; and 2 Redwing in the Wood.

December 26th

Raven, Carrion Crow and Magpie – Peter Boardman

Spoonbill – Alan Hayden

Snipe – Peter Boardman

Avocet – Alan Hayden

There were at least 4 Marsh Harrier around today – perhaps even more. Meanwhile, the 1cy Dutch-ringed Spoonbill remains, as does the Avocet. Stanpit Bight hosted a nice total of 20 Grey Plover, as well as: 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, around 70 Black-tailed Godwit and a Turnstone; 14 Pintail; and 3 Mediterranean Gull and a Common Gull. Other interest came from: 3 Great Crested Grebe in Barn Bight; up to 3 Kingfisher; and a Buzzard over the Pod.

December 25th

On this festive day, all the news comes from a seawatch at Hengistbury, which was highlighted by an adult Little Gull, plus singles of Black-throated Diver and 11 Red-throated Diver. A Merry Christmas to you all!

December 24th

Redwing – Leo Pyke

Kingfisher taking in Priory Marsh – Paul Turton

A mild Christmas Eve produced a variety of birds. At dawn, 2 Cattle Egret left the roost; the Spoonbill was about Stanpit, as was an Avocet; and up to 4 Marsh Harrier were logged; including an adult male west at sea, where a Red-throated Diver and Mediterranean Gull also passed, with a Razorbill settled. The Wood hosted 5 Redwing and a Treecreeper, plus a Redpoll over, while 3 Bullfinch were on Wick. To finish, at least 16 Pintail make the post, along with at least one Peregrine.

December 23rd

Long-tailed Tit – Alan Crockard

There are, unfortunately, no reports for today.

December 22nd

There were some notable influxes today – almost certainly associated with the Avon Valley now being in flood – a minimum of 300 Black-tailed Godwit at Stanpit, along with 12 Pintail. The rest of the news also comes from the marsh and involves a Spoonbill, a Barnacle Goose, an Avocet and an adult male Marsh Harrier.

December 21st

It was a largely, uneventful day, headed by a 1cy Little Gull north along the sandspit and the Dutch-ringed Spoonbill again at Stanpit, where it favoured the ditch between North and East Marshes. Also making the post: 12 Redwing on Wick and Hengistbury; a Treecreeper in the Wood; a Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-breasted Merganser west – both drakes, a Gannet and 4 Great Crested Grebe, all at sea; a further ‘great crest’ inside the harbour; and a roosting, adult male Marsh Harrier.

December 20th

The two first-winter Spoonbill at Stanpit today – David J Faulkner (upper) and Scott Usher

It was a lovely mild and sunny day with a fairly light south-westerly breeze. The only reports come from Stanpit, where two different first-winter Spoonbill were recorded. The first, bearing a Dutch colour-ring, was on North Marsh this morning and then, this evening, an un-ringed bird was on the tip of South Marsh before flying to North Marsh. Also on the latter area was a drake Shoveler, while a Chiffchaff was in North Scrubs and two Great Crested Grebe were inside the harbour.

December 19th

On another rain- and wind-dominated day, there is little to report. In fact, a Grey Plover, a Turnstone and a Peregrine, all on or above North Marsh, is it.

December 18th

Goosander – Scott Usher

Lapwing – Mark Taylor

From a day of almost complete rain, the only news is of a Spoonbill over Hengistbury this morning and a couple of Goosander inside the harbour

December 17th

On what was, hopefully, the last sub-zero night for a while, a few Avocet arrived – seven on South Marsh this morning. Otherwise, it’s just a couple of Jack Snipe, from Wick Hams and Stanpit, plus 3 Bullfinch, those on Wick Fields, to mention.

December 16th

Global-warming colonisers, such as these Cattle Egret hunkered on the Barn Field, must be really feeling it – Chris Chapleo

Male Kingfisher at the Clay Pool – Alan Crockard

…and Cormorant at dawn by the Long Groyne – Chris Chapleo

The cold kept most people indoors today, so there is relatively little to mention. The two photographed Cattle Egret were in the strange location of the Barn Field, while Holloway’s Dock hosted an Avocet and 2 Grey Plover. Snipe were coming up from all sorts of places and a Jack Snipe that passed high over Stanpit seemed to come down in the Ship in Distress reedbed. At least 2 Marsh Harrier were about; a Peregrine hunted; and 3 Pintail passed through.

December 15th

Peregrine – Chris Chapleo

Ringed Plover – Roger Tidball

Redshank – Paul Turton

Despite the all-day sun, the temperature barely broke even and the struggle goes on – Stanpit once again littered with out-of-place, frantically probing waders. If only they knew the respite comes in a day or two! Talking of which, 4 Golden Plover were seen coming in-off – with another on the Salt Hurns, 2 Purple Sandpiper were on Mudeford Quay and 25 Snipe were spread about. A walk along the south-facing Beach was rewarded with eleven, passing Red-throated Diver and a Peregrine seeking shelter from the wind. Once again, a couple of Marsh Harrier were about, as were 2 Cattle Egret, a Great Crested Grebe was inside the harbour, just off the ferry jetty, where a Kingfisher perched.

December 14th

Male Kestrel on Wick – Dave Miller

There were lots of snipe around the area today – singles of Jack Snipe were seen on Stanpit and by the Salt Hurns, with at least 100 Snipe about the area. Golden Plover feature again – fourteen on the Barn Field – along with the same number of settled Lapwing. Meanwhile, a Nuthatch was out of place on Wick, where 3 Redwing were also logged. The best from elsewhere was a Little Gull through the harbour, a Spotted Redshank and a Goosander; while the sea mustered just: a few passing wildfowl and 7 Common Gull.

December 13th

Golden Plover on Solent Meads golf course – Jackie Smith (upper) & Alan Hayden

The early afternoon saw inland-displaced Golden Plover start to drop onto Solent Meads golf course, where the final total came to a round forty. Meanwhile, a Barnacle Goose and an Avocet were on Stanpit. As the cold continues, the small waders no longer roost-out the high tide, as they need to near-constantly feed to keep up their calorie count, and have now taken to probing the salt marshes when the mud is covered – South Marsh was carpeted in Dunlin and Ringed Plover. It all looked rather desperate.

December 12th

Black-tailed Godwit at Stanpit by Paul Turton

It was a cold, gloomy day, with a wintry sun briefly appearing in late afternoon. Temperatures reached just two or three degrees above freezing, but much of the overnight ice started to thaw by lunchtime. The only news from Hengistbury is of four Cattle Egret which, having left the Nursery roost, varied their usual routine by stopping briefly on the Long Field before continuing north. At Stanpit, a group of at least 20 Black-tailed Godwit and a few Dunlin were near the Visitor Centre for most of the day, while singles of Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel were also logged.

December 11th

Barnacle Goose – Scott Usher

Avocet – Scott Usher

Pochard, a contemporary rarity, and Grey Heron – Scott Usher

Grey Wagtail – David Faulkner

The last WeBS count of the year was highlighted by a Barnacle Goose and a drake Pochard. Thanks to the team of counters for their work throughout, not least in the damp cold of this morning! Also detailed were: 6 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 73 Black-tailed Godwit 37 Ringed Plover and 160 Dunlin. The RP numbers have dropped significantly in the last day or two, likewise Curlew – thirty or more a week ago, today just nine. Now the more routine wildfowl, which included 58 Brent Goose, 814 Wigeon, 76 Teal, 84 Coot and 3 Great Crested Grebe. Meanwhile, out from Mudeford Key, 3 Eider, an eastbound Great Norther Diver and a further 7 Great Crested Grebe were logged. To finish, both adult male Marsh Harrier were seen and at least one Kingfisher was about.

The continuing cold weather is forcing waders to venture closer to paths. These, Black-tailed Godwit (upper) and Dunlin with Redshank behind, just a few metres from the Pod – Alan Crockard

Although there was another heavy frost, the almost complete lack of wind made for a glorious winter’s day. Despite that, there is relatively little to report upon. A Firecrest showed well in the Wood for the Outdoor Meeting attendees, who were also treated to some dolphins offshore. Meanwhile, a male and female Marsh Harrier lingered around Wick Hams. Otherwise, it’s just a Grey Wagtail by the Pod to mention.

Golden Plover – Samuel Levy

After another heavy frost, the forecast sunshine was delayed until around midday. Perhaps expected in such conditions, a Golden Plover was settled briefly on Solent Meads golf course, with small flocks of airborne Lapwing present throughout the day and 18 Teal west through the harbour. Chiffchaff are now sparser, but there was one in the Wood, along with a Treecreeper and 4 Redwing. Meanwhile, a nice count of 69 Greenfinch came from Whitepits. Stanpit was fairly routine – 4 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 38 Black-tailed Godwit, 90 Ringed Plover and 120 Dunlin, providing the the wader interest – plus two pairs of Gadwall, 3 Shelduck and 51 Brent Goose. Two Marsh Harrier were logged, a male and a female, and a Grey Wagtail was by the Pod.

December 8th

Rock Pipit at Stanpit, the annual littoralis debate begins – Alan Crockard

Grey Wagtail, also at Stanpit – Alan Crockard

After a night of clear skies and frost, it was actually rather a low-key day. The Great Northern Diver reappeared in the harbour this morning; shortly after it, or another, was close-in off the Beach Huts. The only certain new birds were a couple of Knot at Stanpit, where everything went otherwise unreported, although a skein of 3 Barnacle Goose did pass west. Meanwhile, the sandspit hosted 6 Purple Sandpiper and 2 Marsh Harrier – an adult male and a female-type – were around. The light, northerly breeze meant the sea was calm, allowing 11 Great Crested Grebe to be seen on it from Mudeford Quay, plus 3 Common Scoter and a westbound Red-throated Diver from the Beach Huts. To finish, a Bullfinch was by the HHC sea and a Kingfisher fished by Goldeneye Point.

December 7th

1cy Brent Goose – Dave Miller

Female Marsh Harrier – Dave Miller

Stanpit hosted a good number of waders today; for example, 11 Grey Plover, 80 Ringed Plover and 130 Dunlin; plus 3 Shelduck there. The early morning saw at least 12 Redwing pass over, as well as a Redpoll; when a Chiffchaff was settled on Wick. The sea was a little quieter, meanwhile, just 2 Great Northern Diver, 3 Common Scoter and a Great Crested Grebe. To finish: a female Marsh Harrier was about; 9 Cattle Egret came out of the roost; and a minimum of 2 Kingfisher were on the Hengistbury side of the area.

Goldcrest – Alan Crockard

Kingfisher – Dave Miller

For the first time in a few days there was sun to be seen, although the cruel north-easterly wind persisted. At sea, from the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay, the pick was: a Black-throated Diver, 4 Red-throated Diver, a Kittiwake, 3 Common Scoter, 4 Great Crested Grebe and a eight auks. Meanwhile, an Avocet was the best at Stanpit, but also 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 200 Dunlin. At least 4 Chiffchaff were around, a Grey Wagtail was at Mudeford Quay, the sunshine encouraged a Goldcrest into song and a Kingfisher was about Hengistbury.

December 5th

On another bitterly cold day, the Marsh Harrier count rose to four – the three from yesterday, plus a female-type. The again saw a couple of Velvet Scoter, those to the east, plus at least 2 Red-throated Diver, two other divers, a late Sandwich Tern, 2 Razorbill, 3 Guillemot, 19 auk spp. and 8 Gannet. Elsewhere, 2 Siskin moved over, a Chiffchaff was on Wick, 6 Cattle Egret left the roost and a Kingfisher was in Barn Bight.

December 4th

Adult male Marsh Harrier – Scott Usher

Pied Wagtail – Paul Turton

In the wind, it was another bitterly cold day, heightened by the complete lack of sun. This evening, 3 Marsh Harrier – two males and a female – all adults were about the area; while what is becoming the customary, at-dusk exodus to the north of Curlew involved twenty-seven birds. Earlier, the best at sea were a Red-throated Diver, an unidentified diver and 21 Common Gull, the latter east. Otherswise, there were: 4 Cattle Egret out of roost; 2 Ringed Plover and 20 Black-tailed Godwit at Stanpit; 4 Chiffchaff across the site; and a couple of Kingfisher – those at Wick Hams and Grimmery Bank.

December 3rd

Little Egret at Stanpit – Scott Usher

On another bitterly cold day, courtesy of a north-easterly wind, a Red-necked Grebe passed east at sea during the morning. Meanwhile, the support, mostly in the opposite direction, included: 2 Red-throated Dover, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Pintail, 8 Wigeon, 4 Brent Goose and 2 Common Gull; as well as 13 Gannet. At Stanpit, a couple of Grey Plover and 4 Barwit were in the bight; plus 4 Shoveler there. Moving back to Hengistbury, 3 Cattle Egret left the roost at first light.

December 2nd

Stonechat – Paul Turton

It’s a day of few reports, but the sea did return a Scaup, 2 Velvet Scoter, 2 Black-throated Diver and 12 Red-throated Diver. Otherwise, it’s just a Chiffchaff on Wick to mention.

December 1st

A few of the Wigeon at Stanpit when the fog lifted – David J Faulkner

Egghead Mottlegill Mushroom (Panaeolus Semiovatus) at Stanpit – Rod Jenkins

Grey Plover at Stanpit yesterday – Alan Crockard

The area was shrouded in fog for much of the day, but there were intermittent clearer periods when the sun came out. Given the conditions, there was reasonable coverage on both sides of the harbour. At Hengistbury, Holloway’s Dock held a good number and variety of birds including 34 Mute Swan, 82 Wigeon, 17 Teal, 33 Redshank, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Dunlin and a Kingfisher, while a Great Crested Grebe and a Guillemot were on the sea off the beach huts. Two Brent Goose headed east, and 12 Purple Sandpiper were on the Sandspit. A Grey Plover called in the fog over Barn Bight and 2 Redwing were in the wood, where a Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming. Coal Tit were seen near Holloway’s Dock and on Wick, with a Buzzard also noted at the latter site. Several visits were made to Stanpit, where the various goose flocks comprised over 200 Greylag, 150 Canada and 17 Brent. Also about the Marsh were 4 Skylark, 3 Little Grebe and a male Marsh Harrier. Rounding up, 3 Goldcrest were about the area and a Chiffchaff was present at Wick.


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