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Sightings for Month: February 2023

February 28th

Ruddy Shelduck – Leo Pyke

Depending on one’s point of view, the best of the day came from 3 Ruddy Shelduck in Barn Bight. Meanwhile, the sea was a little livelier than of late: the drake Eider was again off the Beach Huts, from where 2 Red-throated Diver, a Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Common Scoter, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Pintail, around 80 Wigeon and 5 Common Gull were also seen, mostly all settled. A Grey Wagtail passed over Hengistbury and it was confirmed that the male of the Peregrine pair now incumbent on the Priory is, indeed, VA.

February 27th

The sea has been very quiet of late, so a drake Eider for most of the morning off the Beach Huts was very welcome; otherwise, it’s just three, lingering Common Gull and a Great Crested Grebe to mention from there. Close by, 143 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock were another reminder of how a fence can simply ‘create’ habitat – also 26 Teal in the dock. A pair of Peregrine, presumably that from last season, spent the day interacting around the Priory – so raising hopes of a repeat performance – while a confirmed 3 Marsh Harrier were logged, adults of female and male, plus a sub-adult of the latter. Stanpit hosted 7 Shelduck, something of an increase, as well as 8 Pintail and at least 6 Grey Plover; with a couple of Redwing again feeding on the berries along the Purewell Stream.

February 26th

It’s another day of light news – no doubt due to the bitterness of the continuing, easterly biased wind. What we do have, however, comes from Stanpit; where at least 2 Redwing and a Chiffchaff were around the Purewell Stream, while an adult male Marsh Harrier ranged the marsh. Of mammal interest, during the morning, a Stoat was again seen along the northern fringe of North Marsh.

February 25th

Despite the north-easterly breeze giving an uncomfortable wind chill, Stanpit got some good coverage this morning. The picks being: 18 Grey Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 241 Black-tailed Godwit, 25 Ringed Plover and 220 Dunlin; 146 Teal, 131 Brent Goose and a pair of Shelduck; a Peregrine and 7 Skylark. Meanwhile, on the south side of the area, a Cattle Egret was seen leaving to the north and a seawatch offered a Common Scoter, a Mediterranean Gull and 5 Common Scoter, all east, plus 6 Mute Swan arriving from the direction of the Isle of Wight.

February 24th

Despite some pretty nice weather, there are no reports for today.

February 23rd

It was another day of slim pickings. The Wood produced a Redwing, while a single Marsh Harrier was returned from Wick. Meanwhile, the sea saw just: a Red-throated Diver and a Pintail, east; 4 Brent Goose and 2 Great Crested Grebe, west; and a further ‘GCG’ settled, plus 3 Common Gull.

February 22nd

The only report received is of 122 Brent Goose at Stanpit.

February 21st

Purple Sandpiper – Dave Miller

There were 8 Purple Sandpiper on the groynes behind the Beach House café this morning, while Stanpit hosted 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, a nice total of 95 Black-tailed Godwit and, once again, a good showing of Brent Goose – 140 on Central Marsh – where an adult Mediterranean Gull was resting. A Chiffchaff again sang in the North Scrubs and a Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed there.

February 20th

Goldcrest – Alan Crockard

Most of the report comes from Stanpit, where the Brent Goose totalled an unexpected 142 – around a two-fold increase than of late; also 3 Pintail and 3 Gadwall. A bigger surprise, however, came with a forty or so Golden Plover west over Wick. Meanwhile, settled on the marsh was another good show of Grey Plover – 17 birds – plus 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and 25 Black-tailed Godwit, the latter also later seen westbound over Wick. After first being heard yesterday afternoon, a Chiffchaff sang, as did 3 Reed Bunting; and, to finish, two adult Mediterranean Gull and a Common Gull were returned.

February 19th

White-tailed Eagle – Scott Usher

…and some of an alarmed wisp of 32 Snipe – Scott Usher

A White-tailed Eagle was over the northern part of the recording area just after 11:30, before drifting slowly towards the Avon Valley. Most of the rest of the news comes from the WeBS counters and involves: a nice total of 19 Grey Plover, seven each of Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit, 27 Ringed Plover and 181 Dunlin; 2 Pintail, 2 Gadwall, 74 Brent Goose, 139 Teal and 835 Wigeon; 3 Common Gull; and 8 Great Crested Grebe. Meanwhile, a figure of just 6 Coot was a surprise and suggests many have headed eastwards quite early.

February 18th

Other than a couple of Marsh Harrier hunting at Stanpit, all the news comes from the CHOG-led BTO Youth event at Hengistbury, which saw: a Grey Plover, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Black-tailed Godwit inside the harbour, 31 Brent Goose leaving it to the east and a couple of breeding-plumaged Great Crested Grebe sleeping on the sea; plus a Grey Seal. Just as the post was about to be sent, a little in from Stanpit – 2 Pintail, a Shoveler, an additional 70 Brent Goose and 3 Mediterranean Gull.

February 17th

There were signs of wildfowl starting to move around a bit today. For example, most of yesterday’s Pintail had shifted from Stanpit, but there seemed to be more Teal and Wigeon about, while 7 Brent Goose headed east at sea. Other signs of the coming season were the first calls of the normally silent-during-the-winter Mediterranean Gull, singles of Brambling, Redpoll and Siskin over the Wood, and four, very active Great Spotted Woodpecker there. Early on, the 2 Cattle Egret were seen leaving the roost; while, a little later, a male Marsh Harrier hunted, a littoralis Rock Pipit was on the Salt Hurns, 4 Bullfinch were on Wick and a Chiffchaff was on Grimmery Bank. To wrap up, a 3-hour seawatch, in addition to the already mentioned geese, mustered just a pair of Red-breasted Merganser and three settled Great Crested Grebe.

February 16th

Right on cue, there are Grey Heron heading in and out of the traditional herony in the area – Peter Boardman

The notable event of the day was an influx of Pintail at Stanpit – at least 30 birds, which is a really decent number for the area; also 56 Brent Goose and a pair of Shelduck there. The waders, meanwhile, were headed by: 6 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Ringed Plover and 210 Dunlin; with a single Mediterranean Gull in Stanpit Bight and a Peregrine on the Priory mopping up proceedings.

February 15th

Female Bullfinch – Alan Crockard

Adult Mediterranean Gull – Scott Usher

…and Skylark are now starting to return to breeding areas – Alan Crockard

The Green-winged Teal put in another show today – again in Parky Meade Rail, but at times elusive. Elsewhere at Stanpit, mostly around the bight, there were 2 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, around 60 Ringed Plover and 380 Dunlin; while in-harbour wildfowl included: a couple of Pintail moving through, at least 3 Gadwall, 7 Shelduck and 61 Brent Goose. During the morning, a couple of Bullfinch were logged at Wick; at least three each of Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull were about, as was a male Marsh Harrier; and 2 Cattle Egret went to roost.

February 14th

Two adult Common Gull with Herring Gull in the background and Black-headed Gull in the foreground – Scott Usher

It’s fairly slim pickings for the day – the best being a Redwing in the North Scrubs and 8 Shoveler, five of them drakes, in Stanpit Bight. Meanwhile, a Peregrine again on the Priory is raising hopes of a repeat breeding performance.

February 13th

Dunnock – Alan Crockard

Adult male Marsh Harrier – Peter Boardman

All three, now-UK-resident egrets went to roost tonight – a Great White and 2 Cattle Egret, with the uncounted Little Egret. Throughout the day, a couple of Marsh Harrier was about, as well as a Peregrine on the Priory, and 2 Chiffchaff were logged – both of those around Wick. Moving back to the late afternoon, when Stanpit held a Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Gull, 6 Pintail, a pair of Shoveler, a pair of Gadwall and a single Shelduck.

February 12th

The only reports are of a single Marsh Harrier at Stanpit, a Grey Wagtail at Mudeford Quay and, of mammal interest, a Stoat by the HHC.

February 11th

It was a grey, mild day, which saw a Chiffchaff at the end of the head – so perhaps an arriving bird. Meanwhile, there were again three of the same in the brambles on Grimmery Point. An hour’s look at sea yielded: a Red-throated Diver, a Common Scoter, 7 Great Crested Grebe, 29 Shag and at least 150 Wigeon, all settled. The only wader news comes from 6 Bar-tailed Godwit at Stanpit, 9 Turnstone on the sandspit and 19 Lapwing on the Barn Field. To finish, a couple of Gadwall were inside the harbour, where there was plenty of song – Reed Bunting, Cetti’s Warbler, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Great Tit and Blue Tit, all in Spring voice.

February 10th

The pick of the wildlife news comes from a Weasel in the Solent Beach car park, Hengistbury Head. Meanwhile, a male Bullfinch in full song on Wick comes a very close second. Elsewhere: there were 2 Firecrest and a Coal Tit in the Wood; a Common Buzzard interacting with a Marsh Harrier over Stanpit; and 17 Lapwing on the Barn Field. Moving back to mammals, the sun tempted out at least 3 Fox.

February 9th

Green-winged Teal – Alan Hayden

After a week and a half, the Green-winged Teal was around again for the day – spending all of it in Parky Meade Rail. Also in that area, a total of 4 Chiffchaff, including a cluster of three on Grimmery Point. Elsewhere about Stanpit: 2 Cattle Egret were on East Marsh late on; 5 Redwing were in the North Scrubs; 14 Grey Plover and 5 Bar-tailed Godwit were in the bight; and the Brent Goose peaked at 76. Finishing up: there is only one Marsh Harrier encounter to report on; the Barn Owl was seen briefly at dusk; and, after dark, there was a northbound flight of Wigeon over the Two Riversmeet football pitches.

February 8th

Song Thrush – six of them doing so at around Wick Fields today – Peter Boardman

The Barn Owl again heads the post – this evening, at 5:35, from the Wooden Bridge. In fact, all the other news also comes from Wick – 3 Bullfinch along the central path in the morning, when the Curlew gathering on the water meadows peaked at seventeen.

February 7th

The surprise of a quiet day was a Barn Owl hunting around the Wooden Bridge at dusk. Otherwise, it’s just 3 Bullfinch, during the morning, from the same area.

February 6th

Goldfinch – Dave Miller

Teal – Peter Boardman

After a night of frost, a single Cattle Egret left the roost with 13 Little Egret. A seawatch saw around seven, lingering Red-throated Diver, likewise several hundred Wigeon, a Razorbill and 5 Great Crested Grebe. Meanwhile, 6 Pintail and 4 Brent Goose went east, with a Common Scoter and 6 Teal in the opposite direction. The only other news is from Wick, which produced a Chiffchaff and a male Bullfinch.

February 5th

The only news for the day is of a Chiffchaff on Wick and total of 5 Marsh Harrier.

February 4th

Flight shot of the not-so-in-these-parts Common Gull – Scott Usher

…and a presumed ‘continental’ – sinensisCormorant – Peter Boardman

The picks of the day were 2 Cattle Egret on North Marsh for while this morning and another confirmed day-total of at least 6 Marsh Harrier. There was a bit of disturbance around Stanpit Bight early on, but 12 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Ringed Plover and 150 Dunlin were managed. A two-hour, pre-dusk gull watch from Grimmery Bank was headed by two adult Mediterranean Gull and four, likewise, Common Gull; amongst at least a thousand, in that part of the harbour alone, of the commoner species, which were dominated by adult Herring Gull. Earlier, a drake Tufted Duck had flown upriver.

February 3rd

There was a hint of westerly wildfowl movement this morning, as 8 Pintail, 3 Teal and 14 Brent Goose passed through. Meanwhile, a further 3 Pintail were settled, with a pair of Gadwall also about the place. Staying on the south side of the area, 2 Firecrest, a Siskin and a Coal Tit were in the Wood, and a Great Crested Grebe was off the Beach Huts. Elsewhere, a vocal and very active Chiffchaff was on Grimmery Point and six individual Marsh Harrier were logged – all but one of them males of varying ages.

February 2nd

One of the 3 Skylark at Stanpit – David J Faulkner

It was a fairly bright start to the day, but cloud increased during the morning. The light westerly wind did not augur well for a sea watch from Hengistbury, and so it proved with just 4 Common Scoter and 2 Great Crested Grebe on the sea plus another of the former heading west, as did two adult Mediterranean Gull. However, a visit to Mudeford Quay in late afternoon produced 2 Spoonbill flying east. At Stanpit, the uncounted Wigeon included 2 Gadwall and 8 Pintail; also there, in addition to the usual Dunlin and Ringed Plover, were at least 10 Grey Plover and 3 Skylark. A male Marsh Harrier over the Harbour gained height and drifted off west. Ten Curlew were on the meadows at Wick, where 3 Bullfinch were around the central path.

February 1st

The only news for the day is of a Marsh Harrier over Priory Marsh in the early morning.


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