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Sightings for Month: October 2023

October 31st

A Yellow-browed Warbler performed a little better today – being seen and heard, on and off, at the junction in the paths around 50m south of the Wooden Bridge. Over Hengistbury, a couple of Merlin were probably the best, but also: a Brambling, 5 Redpoll, 7 Siskin, a Swallow and 6 Skylark. Meanwhile, at Stanpit, a late Wheatear was in the North Scrubs; with at least 20 Chiffchaff and 14 Goldcrest stopping off on the other side of the area. Just 2 Marsh Harrier were seen; a Bullfinch was on Wick; a Treecreeper was again in the Wood; and a Kingfisher was around Barn Bight.

October 30th

What was presumably the same Hoopoe as seen nine days ago put in another cameo this morning – seen in flight across the non-driving end of the Driving Range on Wick, before seeming to land somewhere in the village. Mention of Kingfisher is usually reserved until the end of the post, but no less than four on show together around a flooded Wick Hams promotes them to this position. Later in the day, 2 Yellow-browed Warbler were by the Wooden Bridge, but largely elusive, and at least 10 Chiffchaff were in the same general area. Another Red-breasted Merganser, this time an adult drake, was noted – moving south over the harbour; with passerine passers-by including: a Brambling, 7 Redpooll, 35 Siskin, 50 Goldfinch, a couple of Reed Bunting and a Swallow. In the Wood, there were 2 Firecrest, a Treecreeper and 2 Coal Tit; and, to finish, the 3 Marsh Harrier were about – now reckoned to be an adult of either sex and a 2cy male – at one point arriving in formation from high over Christchurch.

October 29th

Bar-tailed Godwit (centre) – Scott Usher

Despite, at times, biblical weather and water levels at least 0.3m higher than a spring tide – there are some reports. A Yellow-browed Warbler was close to the Wooden Bridge on Wick, where there were also at least 5 Chiffchaff; while, the second Snow Bunting of the week was seen in flight by the HHVC. Red-breasted Merganser are, nowadays, scarce in status – so a redhead in the Run early on was nice. Around the same time, 11 Cattle Egret left the roost and an adult Marsh Harrier was around. At sea, an Arctic Skua passed; but a Great Northern Diver took the short route over the harbour. At Stanpit, during the morning, waders were finding dry ground difficult – singles of Bar-tailed Godwit and Dunlin with the Black-tailed Godwit on North Marsh, where 17 Brent Goose were also present; and, on Hengistbury, a Jack Snipe was pushed to the edge of the Salt Hurns.

October 28th

Female Marsh Harrier – Scott Usher

…and storm clouds from Mudeford Quay – Barrie Taylor

The area was pretty much unbirdable for the day – frequent, driving rain and a flooded Stanpit. At sea, the best was a Goosander, 2 Great Northern Diver and a Red-throated Diver, all west. Meanwhile, Stanpit returned 2 Marsh Harrier – an adult male and a female reckoned to be in the same age range – with Wick recording 3 Chiffchaff.

October 27th

This post won’t take too long – the only news being of 3 Marsh Harrier about the area, a Swallow over the Coastguards and 5 Chiffchaff on Wick.

October 26th

Snow Bunting – Samuel Levy

Treecreeper – a seldom-seen bird in the area – Dave Miller

Blue Tit – Clinton Whale

It was another good day – headed by a Snow Bunting by the Coastguards, before appearing to drop to the Beach. Almost as good, for the date that is, was a Whinchat at Whitepits. It’s possible 3 Short-eared Owl were involved today – sightings in the hour or so after 11:00, when the Stanpit marshes were flooding, perhaps meaning decked birds were being forced airborne? Before the numbers: two adult male Marsh Harrier were logged; singles of Firecrest were at the end of the head and on Wick; and a pair of Tufted Duck overflew. The smaller passerine migration included: 3 Brambling, 14 Redpoll, 12 Siskin, 49 Chaffinch, 103 Linnet, 108 Goldfinch, 15 Pied Wagtail, 91 Meadow Pipit, 3 Swallow, 15 Skylark and 2 Reed Bunting – mainly east, although the Redpoll were encountered as they took stock of things on Wick. Meanwhile, 9 Song Thrush and 25 Starling were seen arriving; and 16 Stock Dove and 38 Woodpigeon, west, were perhaps the vanguard of bigger things. Sticking with land birds, 9 Chiffchaff, a Blackcap and 27 Goldcrest were feeding-up; but, at sea, 19 Mediterranean Gull and 3 Common Gull travelled west. To finish, the only wader returns were a Grey Plover, 17 Black-tailed Godwit and 18 Ringed Plover; with the Brent Goose day-total being forty – twenty-four of them west.

Short-eared Owl – Samuel Levy

Ring Ouzel – Samuel Levy

A few days of quiet news, there is quite a bit to write about for this post. A Yellow-browed Warbler was on the Batters and a Ring Ouzel was initially heard by Solent Meads car park before heading toward Wick, where it was relocated on a couple of occasions. Meanwhile, a Short-eared Owl arrived, drawing the attention of the local gulls, with a couple of Marsh Harrier – one of them an adult male – perhaps doing the same. The sea was also lively – a Grey Phalarope and 2 Arctic Skuathe best – but also: 3 Sandwich Tern, 84 Mediterranean Gull, mostly adults, 16 Common Gull, 17 Guillemot and 5 Razorbill, all west; with 29 Common Scoter settled. Overhead migration, all to the east comprised: a Brambling, 14 Chaffinch, 18 Siskin, 103 Linnet, 173 Goldfinch, 10 Pied Wagtail, 30 Meadow Pipit, 4 Reed Bunting, the same number of Skylark, 11 Jackdaw and 10 Swallow. In the bushes, a Firecrest was amongst 18 Goldcrest, along with a Redpoll, 40 Chiffchaff and a single Blackcap. Across the area, the wader returns included: a passing Golden Plover, a Grey Plover, a Greenshank, a Sanderling, 48 Black-tailed Godwit and 21 Dunlin. Moving to wildfowl and a nowadays premium bird, a Pochard, at Stanpit, where a Shoveler and 17 Brent Goose were also logged. This evening, at least one Marsh Harrier went to roost – one an adult male.

October 24th

Male Bearded Tit – Peter Boardman

This 1cy male Marsh Harrier, still in juvenile plumage, was tagged in the nest on July 6th in Norfolk. Since then, it was seen on September 21st, near Boston, Lincolnshire, before visiting us – Scott Usher

It’s hard to decide if the highlight of the day was the 3 Bearded Tit close to the Wooden Bridge on Wick or the wing-tagged Marsh Harrier this afternoon at Stanpit, when there were two further individuals. Meanwhile, the ever-busy Stanpit Bight held a Greenshank, 7 Mediterranean Gull – all adults – 3 Common Gull and 9 Brent Goose.

October 23rd

Once again, it’s light on news and, today, all from Wick. A Red Kite passed west mid-morning, with a Buzzard and 25 Siskin having earlier been encountered.

October 22nd

Weasel – David Faulkner

Carrion Crow – Henk Nieuwenhuis

There is very little news for today – in fact, just: 2 Chiffchaff and a Blackcap; 40+ Black-tailed Godwit; and 14 Brent Goose – all from Stanpit.

October 21st

Around noon, a Hoopoe was seen coming from Whitepits and settling on the lawn of St. Nicholas’ church on the Broadway. Unfortunately, the observer had to quickly leave to attend to a parking matter and, on return, the bird couldn’t be relocated. Earlier, there had been local quality elsewhere: an adult Little Gull was off Mudeford Quay; while, an hour or so after dawn, 2 Great White Egret and 3 Cattle Egret were on Central Marsh.

Omission: the Razorbill was again in the Run.

October 20th

Kingfisher – Dave Miller

Cattle Egret – Jackie Smith

Reed Bunting – Dave Miller

Bearded Tit are something an enigma in the area, but October has been a time to see them – presumably on some kind of migration – three over the Ironstone Quarry, this morning, heading towards Mudeford Quay, making for a nice record. Meanwhile, a Razorbill was close off Mudeford Quay, from where 5 Brent Goose were seen to arrive. Wader-wise, only godwits were counted – 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 95 Black-tailed Godwit, from Fisherman’s Bank; with migrant passerines at Stanpit including 2 Siskin, a Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaff, all in the North Scrubs. Also about the marsh, during the day, a Marsh Harrier and at least 2 Kingfisher; while the late afternoon produced 3 Cattle Egret.

October 19th

It was mainly cloudy with showers, but the southerly wind increased temperatures to above the mid-teens. The sea was again watched at Hengistbury, the best being a juvenile Little Gull. Also mainly flying west were 20 Common Scoter, 40 Gannet, 15 Mediterranean Gull, 25 Kittiwake and 2 Sandwich Tern, while a Razorbill was on the sea and at least 180 Herring Gull were in the offshore feeding flock. Four Sanderling were in the mixed flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plover on the Sandspit. Three Bar-tailed Godwit were at Stanpit, together with 2 adult Mediterranean Gull, and a Grey Wagtail flew over Priory Marsh. After lunch, small numbers of finches headed east – totals were 70 Siskin, 50 Linnet, 25 Goldfinch, 5 Chaffinch and 7 Swallow. Eight Chiffchaff, 15 Goldcrest and a Blackcap were also noted.

October 18th

The wet and windy conditions for much of the day meant there was little coverage. At Wick, 6 Chiffchaff were near the viewing platform and 6 Siskin flew over. An hour’s sea watch from Mudeford Quay in a break between showers this morning only produced 6 Common Scoter and 2 Brent Geese east.

October 17th

It was generally a bright day, but the strengthening easterly wind made it feel several degrees cooler than the forecast temperatures. Once again, there was reasonable overhead passage at Hengistbury, with totals of birds heading into the easterly wind being 365 Siskin, 520 Linnet, 935 Goldfinch, 31 Redpoll, 80 Chaffinch, 60 Meadow Pipit and 33 Swallow. A Mistle Thrush, not a common bird locally, 2 Redwing and 2 Sparrowhawk were also on the move, while a Merlin was over the eastern end of the Head and a Red Kite drifted over Stanpit. The sea also received some attention; flying mostly east were 23 Brent Goose, 42 Common Scoter, 9 Wigeon, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Kittiwake, a Razorbill and 23 Dunlin. Goldcrest and Chiffchaff numbers were up, especially the former, with at least 60 and 35 respectively noted across Hengistbury.

October 16th

It was cloudier today, but temperatures remained in single figures until mid-morning. Most of today’s news comes from Hengistbury, where good numbers of birds were moving overhead, but with a more limited variety of species. Flying into the lively north-easterly breeze were 1,350 Goldfinch, 1,050 Linnet, 275 Siskin, 39 Swallow, 17 Redpoll and 85 Meadow Pipit. At least 5 Sparrowhawk were also moving in the same direction. The sea was also quieter with a Razorbill and a Common Scoter on the sea, as well as a further 15 Scoter east. Other birds on the move were a Great White Egret south and a Buzzard east, while a Peregrine loitered overhead for several minutes. Settled at Hengistbury were about 20 Goldcrest, 2 Firecrest and 25 Chiffchaff, with a further 9 Chiffchaff and 20 Siskin noted at Wick. This evening at Stanpit, at least 100 Pied Wagtail were around the reeds at Parky Mead with more birds continuing to drop in.

October 15th

The first frost of the autumn brought a chilly start to a lovely, sunny autumn day, with a light northerly breeze. There is much to write about on a busy day in the harbour, with the monthly WeBS count and excellent visible migration at Hengistbury in the morning and a CHOG walk at Stanpit this afternoon. Starting at Hengistbury, the highlight of a good variety of species was 2 Tree Sparrow west, the first, and possibly the only, record of the year of this now scarce species, and 2 Ring Ouzel north. Totals of other birds heading north-east totalled 975 Linnet, 1,150 Goldfinch, 138 Redpoll, 18 Brambling, 310 Siskin, 135 Chaffinch, 48 Reed Bunting, 275 Meadow Pipit, 85 Alba Wagtail and 79 Skylark, as well as 16 Swallow. Also on the move were 37 Rook west and 5 Sparrowhawk north, while 7 Tufted Duck and 10 Snipe came into the Harbour.  At sea, 3 Pintail and 8 Shoveler went west, as did a Great Northern Diver, 98 Cormorant, 130 Mediterranean Gull, 57 Common Gull, 23 Dark-bellied and 5 Pale-bellied Brent Geese. The WeBS count included 295 Canada Goose, 74 Greylag Goose, 11 Egyptian Goose and a further 6 Dark-bellied Brent. Wigeon increased to 422, Coot totalled 244, but otherwise just 19 Teal and one more Tufted Duck were logged. Fewer waders were at Stanpit, the best being a Greenshank, 16 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ruff and a Whimbrel. One Avocet was seen in the morning, with two noted in the afternoon. Other reports involved 20 Pied Wagtail at Stanpit, a further 12 Siskin at Wick, 2 Cattle Egret at Wick Hams, plus a Peregrine and a Red Kite over.

October 14th

One of the two Osprey over the Harbour this morning – Scott Usher

In contrast to yesterday, it was a fine, sunny day, encouraging some overhead passerine movement at Hengistbury. Mostly heading into the light westerly wind were 420 Goldfinch, 380 Linnet, 144 Redpoll, 204 Siskin, 31 Reed Bunting, 67 Skylark, 35 Chaffinch 2 Brambling, 125 Alba Wagtail and 95 Meadow Pipit, as well as a single Fieldfare, 18 Swallow and 22 House Martin. The sea produced a Velvet Scoter, 19 Common Scoter, 8 Guillemot, 19 Common Gull and 26 Mediterranean Gull also moving west, while 2 Goosander were inside the Harbour and a Great White Egret was seen to arrive. Six Cattle Egret left the Hengistbury roost and waders departing on the rising tide included 9 Grey Plover, 5 Golden Plover and 2 Ruff. Two different Osprey visited the Harbour during the morning, at least one of which failed to catch a fish. The only other reports were of 3 Firecrest at Hengistbury, a Wheatear near the Hiker Café with another on Stanpit, where there were a further 40 Meadow Pipit on Crouch Hill.

October 13th

Despite the wet and windy conditions, which prevailed for most of the morning and again from mid-afternoon, the sea was watched from Mudeford Quay for several hours from dawn and from Hengistbury for an hour at lunchtime. However, visibility wasn’t good and the combined totals were just 23 Common Scoter, 6 Sandwich Tern and 2 Mediterranean Gull, with a few unidentified auk and Gannet also on the move. The only other report is of 3 Ruff at Stanpit with Black-tailed Godwit.

October 12th

There is a little more to write about today. This morning, somewhat out-of-the-blue, there was a westerly movement of seabirds off Hengistbury – including: 70 Mediterranean Gull, 200 auks – all those close enough to identify being Guillemot – and 100 Gannet. Meanwhile, a Spoonbill headed east over Wick. The late-season Osprey activity continued with visits at 10:10 and 13:20 – the latter successful and off to the north-east – and a Peregrine was also about. At least 3 Ruff remain with the Black-tailed Godwit, which numbered around forty, on Stanpit; along with a Greenshank, 2 Knot and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit. Migrant passerines on the ground are now getting sparse – just a single Wheatear on Crouch Hill – although 20 Pied Wagtail fed-up for a while there; and, to finish, a couple of Swallow passed through.

October 11th

Great Spotted Woodpecker, from the CHOG bird hide – Clinton Whale

Once again, there is little to report. In fact, just: an Osprey at Stanpit around 08:15; a Treecreeper in the Stunted Oaks; and 4 Chiffchaff on Wick.

October 10th

Great White Egret – Dave Miller

There isn’t too much news today. In fact, just: a couple of Great White Egret in Holloway’s Dock for a while late in the morning; an Osprey fishing successfully at 5:00 this evening; 4 Knot in Stanpit Bight; and a single Wheatear.

October 9th

Starting with odonata and the big, but perhaps not unexpected, news that Willow Emerald Damselfly have bred on Hengistbury – a number of egg scars being located this afternoon over a targetted, three-hour search. Earlier, the ninety minutes after dawn on the head produced: 2 Ring Ouzel out of the Double Dyke, 2 Redwing and 14 Redpoll amongst the overhead migration; with the returns of decked birds being 15 Chiffchaff and 9 Blackcap. At dusk, 4 Great White Egret head north over the area and a mixed flock of thirty egrets was seen heading to the roost.

October 8th

Water Rail on Grimmery Bank – Matthew Barfield

Jay – Matthew Barfield

On the afternoon low, 5 Ruff – 3 ruff and 2 reeve – were in Stanpit Bight, along with 4 Greenshank, while 4 Knot were on Blackberry Point. The first few hours of the morning saw some light visible migration – 3 House Martin, 40 Swallow and 10 Redpoll amongst other departing birds which included: a Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Siskin, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch and Reed Bunting. Meanwhile, Skylark were apparently northbound – calls heard frequently during the period, the best visual being a flock of twelve – also on that course, 8 Shoveler and a pair of Tufted Duck. Meanwhile, Snipe were encountered arriving – again, more heard than seen, but at least twelve confirmed – and, for some time, Stanpit was carpeted in feeding Meadow Pipit. To finish, a female-type Marsh Harrier was again about.

October 7th

There are only a handful of Yellowhammer records each year – almost entirely fly-overs – so a settled bird, albeit briefly, is a real bonus – Scott Usher

Buzzard over Stanpit – Scott Usher

On an incredibly warm day, the highlights were: a Yellowhammer, with Reed Bunting, Linnet and Goldfinch, on Crouch Hill; 7 Great White Egret that circled for a while, before heading inland; and a Honey Buzzard over Wick being mobbed by corvids. Meanwhile, a female-type Marsh Harrier and a Buzzard were also logged from Stanpit. Late morning suggested some finch movement may be on-going – 3 Redpoll and 30 Siskin over the top of Hengistbury; with a Kingfisher in Holloway’s Dock. To finish, back to Stanpit, where a Ruff and a Grey Plover were present; and 4 Wheatear, plus the juvenile Dartford Warbler, were on Crouch Hill.

October 6th

Greenshank – Jackie Smith

There isn’t much too report today – Cattle Egret featured morning and evening, three on Wick and eight to roost respectively; with 3 Greenshank at Stanpit and a modest number of Chiffchaff spread about.

October 5th

Ruff – David Faulkner

…and a total of five amongst the Black-tailed Godwit – David Faulkner

As mentioned in the photos, there were 5 Ruff on North Marsh today – along with a Bar-tailed Godwit and 70+ Black-tailed Godwit. Meanwhile, the best from Stanpit Bight were 3 Greenshank and 4 Knot. Also about the Stanpit: 5 Brent Goose and a female-type Pintail, plus the Dartford Warbler again on Crouch Hill.

October 4th

Juvenile Dartford Warbler are starting to pop-up in non-breeding spots – Dave Miller

What will hopefully be the first, as opposed to the only, Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn was encountered on Hengistbury this morning; but there are no details as to where. Meanwhile, 2 Ruff remain with the 100 or so Black-tailed Godwit on North Marsh, with 10 Knot and a Bar-tailed Godwit about Stanpit Bight. There were again 2 Cattle Egret on the Wick Water Meadows, plus a Grey Wagtail over there, as well as 12 Chiffchaff reported across the site and a Dartford Warbler on Crouch Hill. Finishing with moths, and a first for the area – a Radford’s Flame Shoulder in a trap on the head overnight.

October 3rd

Water Rail – Jackie Smith

Cattle Egret – Peter Boardman

There were a couple of Cattle Egret with the cows on Wick Meadows, while Stanpit returned a fine total of four juvenile Ruff, 3 Greenshank, 8 Knot, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 100 Black-tailed Godwit – the ruff associating with the ‘blackwits’. Also from the marsh, an increase of the Brent Goose to four and sightings of Marsh Harrier, Peregrine and the ‘North Scrubs’ Buzzard; as well as 8 Wheatear, plus a few Skylark amongst the Meadow Pipit gathering, on Crouch Hill. Over on Wick, a Grey Wagtail passed over, with the site total for Sandwich Tern coming to eight.

October 2nd

It all comes from Stanpit again, with the best being 3 Ruff; but also: a Greenshank, a Bar-tailed Godwit, over 100 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Ringed Plover and 61 Lapwing. Singles of Brent Goose and Sandwich Tern – the former the vanguard of the arrival, the latter a straggler in departing – were also around the bight, while 5 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill.

October 1st

Kingfisher – Matthew Barfield

Other than six Blackcap in a single bush on the Long Field, all the news comes from the afternoon at Stanpit. Waders there included: a Curlew Sandpiper, at least 4 Knot, 5 Sanderling, a Bar-tailed Godwit and up to 50 Black-tailed Godwit; all around Stanpit Bight. Meanwhile, four 1cy Common Gull were new-in – three in first-winter plumage, the other midway from juvenile – and a Brent Goose was present, along with a Kingfisher. On Crouch Hill, 4 Wheatear were accompanied by 30+ Meadow Pipit.


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