A bright, but rather hazy start to the morning ended up with a few light showers before lunchtime. There was very little wind initially, but such as there was increased to a light south-easterly by mid-morning. The afternoon was cloudy, with some sunshine. Again, most of the passerines were at Stanpit, in Ashtree Meadows, where the first Nightingale since 2017 was seen. Other newly arrived birds there included 3 Garden Warbler, 12 Blackcap, a Lesser Whitethroat, 10 Whitethroat and 6 Willow Warbler, with a further six of the latter across Hengistbury and Wick. Six House Martin, a Tree Pipit and 4 Yellow Wagtail flew north over the marsh, while another Yellow Wagtail and a Swift moved over Wick. A Cuckoo heard on Wick this morning was seen to fly over the river and land on Speller’s point this afternoon. Totals of waders at Stanpit today were 35 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 11 Black-tailed Godwit. Sandwich Tern increased to 45 inside the harbour – probably the best count so far this year – but Mediterranean Gull were down to just 17 traversing the harbour. Hengistbury was relatively quiet, but a feeding flock of mainly Herring Gull and terns fairly close inshore included at least 50 Sandwich Tern and 8 Common Tern. Otherwise, the sea produced just 12 Common Scoter, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin and 3 Gannet east, while a Whimbrel and 2 Ringed Plover were briefly in Holloway’s Dock. Two Wheatear were on the Barn Field at Hengistbury, with another at Stanpit, a drake Tufted Duck flew south through the Harbour and a Marsh Harrier, the first for several weeks, was at Stanpit. Finally, a small pod of at least three Dolphin were briefly off the beach huts.
It was a mainly bright, sunny day, warmer and more humid than recently. The still conditions for the first two or three hours meant that birding was extremely taxing due to swarms of tiny midges settling on face, hands and even binocular eyepieces! From about 9 a.m., a temporary increase in cloud cover and a light easterly breeze brought welcome relief. The first Spotted Flycatcher of the spring was at Stanpit, together with another Lesser Whitethroat in addition to the one still present at Crouch Hill. Also about the marsh were 2 Cattle Egret which flew high east, 20 Shelduck, over 100 Dunlin, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, one each of Black-tailed Godwit and Grey Plover, as well as 5 Whimbrel with a further three at Hengistbury. Combined counts of other migrants across the harbour were 65 Swallow, 48 Blackcap, the majority of both at Stanpit, 16 Willow Warbler and a Yellow Wagtail. Thirty-four of the 45 Wheatear recorded were seen arriving on the Long Groyne and Warren Hill at Hengistbury in about 30 minutes. Casual scans of the sea here produced 2 Common Tern, a Red-throated Diver and 3 Sanderling east, while a Great Northern Diver and 5 Shelduck travelled in the opposite direction.
It was another overcast morning, although breaks in the cloud gradually increased to give a pleasant, sunny afternoon. The light wind was more westerly than the forecast south-westerly, and it was several degrees warmer than of late. There was good coverage on both sides of the harbour, with a female Yellowhammer – a scarce species in the harbour – lingering on the top of Hengistbury, a Hobby heading north and a first-year Little Gull moving east through the harbour being thehighlights. Following yesterday’s first bird of the spring, a further 13 Swift arrived today with 72 Swallow. The variety of waders at or over Stanpit comprised a Little Ringed Plover, 16 Ringed Plover, 21 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Sanderling and 53 Dunlin, while 6 Grey Plover passed over east without stopping, as did 80 Mediterranean Gull. Wildfowl were represented by an Egyptian Goose, 12 Shelduck, the lingering pair of Wigeon and 2 Gadwall. Three Yellow Wagtail plus singles of Garden Warbler and Redstart were also at Stanpit, a Lesser Whitethroat was at Wick, whilst 6 Willow Warbler and 8 Wheatear were scattered across the area. Additional waders at Hengistbury included a further Ringed Plover, a Purple Sandpiper, 14 Sanderling east and 7 Whimbrel. The conditions were far from ideal for sea watching, but 2 Fulmar vying with each other around Whitepits and a further bird east were nice to see. Otherwise, there was just a Red-throated Diver, 3 Common Scoter and 5 Gannet, all going east, and 19 Sandwich Tern travelling in various directions. Finally, a Great Crested Grebe was in Barn Bight, the Buzzard continues to inhabit Wick Fields and an afternoon visit to Stanpit produced a Common Tern and a newly arrived Whitethroat in the Old Council Depot site.
Weather-wise, the morning was very similar to yesterday – overcast with a chilly south-easterly breeze – but with rain setting in for much of the afternoon. Two spring ‘firsts’ were a Black Tern flying east with 3 Common Tern and a Swift arriving over Hengistbury. There was a small scattering of passerine migrants, with a Grasshopper Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Willow Warbler and 4 Blackcap at Hengistbury as well as a Wheatear and a Redstart at Stanpit. Once again, the sea was watched for several hours and produced another Arctic Skua east. Also heading mainly in the same direction were 66 Common Scoter, 38 Gannet, 2 Fulmar 9 Common Gull, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 61 Sandwich Tern, a further Common Tern, 4 Guillemot, 3 Razorbill and 3 Shelduck. For the second successive day, all three species of diver were recorded, with one each of Black-throated and Red-throated, and 2 Great Northern. Waders on the move included 48 Bar-tailed Godwit, 42 Whimbrel, 9 Purple Sandpiper and 18 Sanderling, while a Common Sandpiper was in Holloway’s Dock. More settled at Stanpit were 35 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, a Grey Plover, a further 11 Sandwich Tern and the lingering pair of Wigeon. The only news from Wick involves the Buzzard still around the No Dogs Field, at least 1 Sedge Warbler and 5 Whitethroat probably now on territory.
It was dull and overcast for most of the day, and the brisk south-easterly breeze made it feel quite chilly. The conditions meant that the sea was given much attention, with the best from Hengistbury being 5 Arctic Skuas east, including three together at about 06:15, and a Little Ringed Plover that arrived and headed north. Also at Hengistbury, mostly moving east, were singles of Red-throated and Black-throated Diver, a Great Northern Diver going west, 32 Common Scoter, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 9 Common Gull, 9 Guillemot and 2 Razorbill. Tern passage continues to be disappointing, with just 2 Common Tern past, although 78 Sandwich Tern was some improvement on recent numbers. Waders on the move included 16 Whimbrel, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Sanderling, while a further 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and a Turnstone were about the Sandspit, and 8 Purple Sandpiper preferred the Long Groyne. The only arriving passerines noted were a Yellow Wagtail and a lone Swallow. A Cuckoo was at Wick, as were 2 Sedge and 3 Reed Warbler. Moving across to the other side of the Harbour, Stanpit held a Greenshank, 4 Whimbrel, 22 Shelduck and one new-in Reed Warbler, as well as a lingering pair of Wigeon with a second drake in Barn Bight.
Although it was relatively quiet, a passing Osprey and 4 Yellow Wagtail, those with the ponies at Stanpit, were nice. In addition, at least 20 Willow Warbler and 3 Wheatear were on Hengistbury, 2 Whimbrel went east at sea and 2 Wigeon remain.
Stanpit hosted a nice variety of waders during the morning, including: a Greenshank, a Golden Plover over, 2 Grey Plover, a Knot, 6 Whimbrel, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Ringed Plover and 43 Dunlin. Meanwhile, 9 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit. A 2cy Little Gull was the best at sea, but also: a Red-throated Diver, a Kittiwake, 10 Common Tern plus one heading inland, 26 Sandwich Tern, 7 Common Gull and a Great Crested Grebe. The Mediterranean Gull are starting to confuse – for the second day in succession, those at Stanpit are reporting birds heading mostly west, while those on Hengistbury are seeing a clear movement in the opposite direction – as a result, the only definite figure for the day is sixty. Three Lesser Whiethroat arrived overnight, likewise 7 Blackcap, 15 Willow Warbler and 6 Wheatear. Finishing off, three each of Wigeon and Teal linger, as well as 3 Gadwall present, 2 Rook were on Hengistbury and the Buzzard was on Wick.
Despite a westerly wind, the sea put on a reasonable show this morning, with: a Black-throated Diver, in breeding attire and initially on the sea, a Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver, an Arctic Tern, a Little Tern, 20 Common Tern, 41 Common Scoter, 16 Common Gull, a Brent Goose, 8 Sanderling, 4 Whimbrel, 6 Ringed Plover, a Brent Goose, 5 Shelduck and 2 Little Egret – in the main, to the east. The pick at Stanpit was a Cattle Egret on East Marsh during the morning, but a Knot, 3 Grey Plover, 6 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and around 25 Dunlin were also nice to see. Meanwhile, fifteen or so Purple Sandpiper were knocking about the sandspit. There were fewer passerines than yesterday – a Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, a Whinchat, a Wheatear and a ‘few’ Willow Warbler on Hengistbury. It’s difficult to assess the Mediterranean Gull total, and the direction of travel, but probably at least one hundred.
Mediterranean Gull passed east in their hundreds today – 245 over and by Hengistbury up until the late morning, but the air was still full of yelping calls from thereon and into the late afternoon. The other welcome sound was of a Cuckoo around Wick, where there was a Yellow Wagtail and a Whinchat by the Wooden Bridge. A further Whinchat was on the Barn Field, along with a male Redstart, while a female Pied Flycatcher was around Riversmeet Meadow and over 100 Willow Warbler were across Hengistbury and Wick. The only wader news is of 5 Whimbrel, four of them on the Salt Hurns; and, to finish, a Firecrest in the Nursery, a Bullfinch on Wick and the Buzzard.
The morning saw northbound falcons and an owl – Merlin, Hobby and a Short-eared Owl, all from Hengistbury – as well as an obvious arrival of passerines. Willow Warbler passed the one hundred mark, with a male Whinchat on Wick and 5 Redstart spread, one of them actually in song at Stanpit, plus 5 Wheatear and a presence of Sedge Warbler. Meanwhile, a Grasshopper Warbler was again reeling by the HHC and a Tree Pipit, 3 Yellow Wagtail and a House Martin, never an easy bird to see incoming, and a steady trickle of Swallow moved over. Also travelling over the area, an estimated 130 Mediterranean Gull to the east and a Spoonbill early on. Activity at sea included: 3 Arctic Tern, 2 Common Tern, 7 Fulmar, 16 Common Scoter, 7 Whimbrel and two auks; exclusively east, save for two of the scoter. The Grey Plover was on the Salt Hurns for its second day, along with a further 7 Whimbrel in that area, a Knot was at Stanpit and 4 Purple Sandpiper were on the Long Groyne. Wrapping up, a pair of Bullfinch was by the Wooden Bridge, 3 Gadwall were on site and Crouch Hill hosted over 60 Linnet.
It was a relatively quiet day, with the best, perhaps, being a Redpoll in Stunted Oaks; but also: a Grasshopper Warbler reeling by the HHC; a Garden Warbler on Wick; a male and female Redstart on the Barn Field, plus a male in the North Scrubs; around 20 Willow Warbler; and at least 3 Wheatear. A Grey Plover and 2 Whimbrel on the Salt Hurns was nice for that spot; with 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and a further 2 Whimbrel at Stanpit, where the Brent Goose and 2 Gadwall were present.
The three, photographed Garganey spent much of the afternoon in Brewer’s Creek; while, during the morning, a Grasshopper Warbler reeled by Holloway’s Dock and a fine, male Whinchat was on the Barn Field, but the only other migrant passerines were 5 Wheatear and 3 Willow Warbler. A feature of the day was the most obvious arrival of Swallow of the season so far – a sample count from Mudeford Quay coming to sixty-two in an hour. At Stanpit, the wader interest is starting to pick up – a Greenshank, 2 Grey Plover, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 31 Dunlin, amongst the fast-dwindling Redshank and Curlew. Meanwhile, passing birds, mainly at sea included: 2 Common Tern, 2 Common Scoter, 3 Fulmar, 17 Gannet, 20 Mediterranean Gull, 8 Whimbrel, 2 Curlew and 8 Shelduck. To finish: the Lesser Whitethroat was again on Crouch Hill, so we won’t mention him again; the Brent Goose, 6 Wigeon and 4 Teal remain; and the Buzzard was about Wick.
The early morning was enlivened by a Black-winged Stilt seen flying upriver from Hengistbury, but despite some searching it couldn’t be relocated. The other notable was a further Green Woodpecker record – one seen on Warren Hill. Meanwhile: the Lesser Whitethroat was again on Crouch Hill, where a Yellow Wagtail overflew; 4 Sedge Warbler – three of them definitely newly arrived – were in a short stretch of hedgerow around Two Riversmeet Meadow; and a Blackcap at Whitepits, a Reed Warbler by the Rusty Boat and 4 Willow Warbler were also new-in. At least 8 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit, with passing birds including: a Whimbrel, 2 Shoveler, a Shelduck, 4 Greylag Goose and around 40 Mediterranean Gull.
There was another reasonable, by present-day standards that is, arrival of passerines; but, before discussing those, a Short-eared Owl passed Hengistbury in the mid-afternoon. Back to the morning now, when the best was 2 Grasshopper Warbler – one reeling behind the Nursery and one calling at Whitepits – and a male Redstart in the North Scrubs, where he remained for the day, plus a female elsewhere. Also in, up to 100 Willow Warbler, 19 Wheatear, 10 Whitethroat and at least one Reed Warbler. Meanwhile, around 20 Purple Sandpiper were on the Long Groyne and a Great Northern Diver, 3 Common Tern, 5 Whimbrel and 24 Mediterranean Gull passed east; with a Great Crested Grebe settled on the sea.
There was a nice, overnight arrival of passerines, including three firsts-for-the-year – a Grasshopper Warbler reeling on the Long Field during the morning, a Lesser Whitethroat on Crouch Hill throughout the day and 2 Sedge Warbler around Stanpit; also, three new-in Reed Warbler, the same number of likewise Whitethroat, 35 Willow Warbler – thirty of them clustered on the eastern end of Hengistbury – and at least 3 Wheatear. Falcons were represented by a Merlin zipping north and the Buzzard, while breeding interest came from the Priory Peregrine and a presumed two pairs of Kestrel. A couple of Grey Plover were on South Marsh, with 12 Whimbrel also recorded – a flock of seven north over the Recreation Ground; with other news from Stanpit coming from thirty, passing Mediterranean Gull, the Brent Goose, 2 Wigeon and ten or so Teal.
A White-tailed Eagle visited briefly this morning – seen from the Hiker café, before leaving to the west. Just prior to that, the bird had been messaged-in, from outside of the recording area, above Fairmile Road. Meanwhile, the female Peregrine breakfasted on the south side of the Priory tower after the tiercel had delivered the meal for her. Save for three male Redstart in the No Dogs Field again, and possibly a fourth on the Barn Field, where there was a couple of Wheatear, and a Reed Warbler full of mimicry in a hedgerow; there were no transitory passerines reported. The best from Stanpit is 3 Whimbrel, the Brent Goose and 8 Teal; and the Buzzard was again in residence on Wick.
A showy, male Pied Flycatcher graced the North Scrubs this afternoon, while, a little later an Osprey passed over at just after 6:00. Earlier, the south-easterly wind encouraged a seawatch from the Beach Huts, with the reward being two, dark-phase Arctic Skua, along with a Fulmar, 2 Common Scoter, 14 Sandwich Tern, 4 Gannet, a Common Gull and 2 Mediterranean Gull. Meanwhile, the male Peregrine continues to attend his mate on the Priory.
The No Dogs Field again held male Redstart – two, in fact – while a Whitethroat had arrived on the Long Field, at least 6 Willow Warbler were around Two Riversmeet Meadow and 2 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill. Moving to waders, and the pick at Stanpit was: a Common Sandpiper – the first of the season – 5 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Whimbrel and 27 Dunlin. The day-total for Mediterranean Gull was just ten, with the remaining, winter wildfowl represented by: a lone Brent Goose, 5 Wigeon, 15 Teal and a drake Gadwall.
Despite the overnight weather, three male Redstart made landfall and spent the morning, at least, in the No Dogs Field on Wick, where a couple of Willow Warbler were present, plus the Buzzard. The first couple of Common Tern of the season were logged – one offshore and one coming in through the Run. Also from Mudeford Quay, a flock of 4 Whimbrel seen arriving, while 6 Purple Sandpiper remained on the sandspit.
Just a few years’ ago, it was inconceivable that bird-of-the-day would go to a Green Woodpecker – one around Two Riversmeet Meadow this morning – previously a year-round resident. The first Reed Warbler and Whitethroat of the season were both in song, while a Redstart was in the No Dogs Field on Wick, a Wheatear was on Crouch Hill and a dozen or so Willow Warbler were about Stanpit. Meanwhile, the waders, mostly seen from Fisherman’s Bank included: 4 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 91 Black-tailed Godwit and 45 Dunlin; also, a lone Brent Goose, 6 Wigeon, a drake Gadwall, a Common Gull and twenty-seven, passing Mediterranean Gull. To finish, the Buzzard was again on Wick.
A couple of hours at the Beach Huts this morning were rewarded with a reasonable selection of wildfowl – 5 Eider were settled and drifted with the tide towards the Solent; 3 Red-breasted Merganser headed west; and 57 Common Scoter were logged – thirty west, seven east and twenty-two resting. In addition, 3 Kittiwake, 3 Fulmar, a Razorbill and 12 Gannet were logged, mainly west. The mid-April wader lull is now upon us – most of the winter visitors having left and the northbound passage migrants yet to come – one each of Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit, from Stanpit, being testament to that. Incoming passerines numbered 8 Willow Warbler in the Wood and 7 Wheatear, those either on the sandspit or Crouch Hill. Meanwhile, the day-total for Mediterranean Gull was seventy-six; around 15 Sandwich Tern were about or passing; and Swallow again only trickled in.
With most individuals’ birding time spent a few miles outside of the recording area, upstream on the Stour, the harbour itself got relatively little coverage. A Yellow Wagtail and 2 Wheatear were at Stanpit, while a further of the latter was on Wick. Also about the marsh, a Whimbrel, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and at least a couple of Sandwich Tern.
It was a lovely sunny day, with a light south-easterly breeze. The greatest selection of birds came from Stanpit, where the first Whitethroat and Common Sandpiper of the year were seen, a male Yellowhammer flew over the river and 3 Garganey circuited the harbour before flying off east. There was also a Golden Plover, 6 Grey Plover and 2 Shoveler around the Marsh, as well as 68 Mediterranean Gull heading east overhead. Moving across to the other side of the harbour, the Sandspit held 14 Purple Sandpiper, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Sanderling, and a total of 7 Wheatear were about the Head. Hengistbury and Wick hosted a total of 30 Chiffchaff – some of which are on territory, 15 Willow Warbler and 17 Blackcap while, at Wick, a Redstart was heard calling on the edge of the reeds, a Reed Warbler was singing near the HHC and a Buzzard loitered in the No Dogs Field. Another Osprey flew north at around 9 a.m. and an immature/female-type Marsh Harrier was also seen. Finally, singles of Bullfinch were at Hengistbury and Wick and a Coal Tit was in the Wood.
The morning saw a definite arrival of incoming migrants, but all had moved on well before lunch. The pick was a male Pied Flycatcher by the HHC and 2 Redstart – the photographed individual in the Stunted Oaks and one at Stanpit. Meanwhile, across the site, there were: a Garden Warbler, up to 100 Willow Warbler, and an influx of Blackcap and Chiffchaff; with a Tree Pipit, 2 Yellow Wagtail and a spring-oddity of a Yellowhammer passing over. Again, there were Purple Sandpiper midway along the sandspit – around 20 birds, while a Whimbrel, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Grey Plover and 41 Dunlin were at Stanpit; as were 2 Common Gull, 3 Gadwall and just, twenty-one remaining Wigeon. The Buzzard was still present on Wick and 35 Mediterranean Gull headed east.
Again, for the date, it was pretty quiet – although, a Ring Ouzel did shoot through around 7:30. Willow Warbler numbered just seven and a couple of Wheatear were on the Barn Field. Mediterranean Gull, however, were conspicuous – at least eighty heading east over the harbour. A pair of Bullfinch was by the Viewing Platform on Wick, while 2 Gadwall were around and the male Peregrine brought food to his, presumed, sitting mate.
Despite some reasonable weather, there isn’t too much to include in the post. The best was easily a total of 28 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit groynes, while the seemingly, now-resident Buzzard on Wick is keeping the local Adder population in check. Otherwise, it’s just 7 Willow Warbler on around Wick Fields, 14 Sandwich Tern offshore, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and a trickle of Swallow to mention.
It was a fantastic day of sunshine, when a Great White Egret passed through at around 8:00 this morning. Otherwise, however, it’s just a Grey Wagtail south over Wick, 4 Wheatear on Hengistbury and seven, spread-about Willow Warbler to mention.
Non-breeding Red Kite from further north were on their spring wanders today – five seen together over the Priory at one point this morning. Overall, however, other than an Avocet at Stanpit, it was pretty quiet. At least 2 Grey Plover and 10 Black-tailed Godwit were inside the harbour, as was a drake Shoveler and 19 Brent Goose. The only passing birds noted were 2 Sandwich Tern, 35 Mediterranean Gull, 15 Sand Martin and 3 Willow Warbler.
The early morning saw a Pied Flycatcher on Two Riversmeet Meadow, along with 5 Willow Warbler there, and an early Hobby pass over Wick. Meanwhile, Stanpit Bight held the two pale-bellied Brent Goose amongst a total of twenty-one of the species, a drake Shoveler and 110 Black-tailed Godwit. Efforts at sea paid scant reward – just 3 Brent Goose, 3 Oystercatcher and 6 Mediterranean Gull east. To finish, some seasonal updates: the Priory Peregrine and a Kestrel in the area now have eggs; there are now several established Chiffchaff territories; Sand Martin are back around the cliffs on Hengistbury; Shelduck seem likely to produce young in a month or so; and the calls of Mediterranean Gull heading east are becoming ever more frequent.
There was another afternoon Osprey today – a bird north over Wick around 16:15. Earlier a Little Ringed Plover passed over the Long Field, while 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Sandwich Tern, 4 Mediterranean Gull, 7 Gannet and 3 Shelduck were all at sea from Mudeford Quay. Also from there, a couple of Sparrowhawk coasting in tandem and to finish a short post both Peregrine were about the Priory.