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Sightings for Month: January 2024

January 31st

Just after 08:00, the White-tailed Eagle put in a fairly brief appearance – settling on its preferred Blackberry Point for a few minutes, before heading back into the valley. Meanwhile, at sea, were noted: a remarkable 95 Shoveler(!) and 82 Pintail – what is this recent dabbling duck phenomena? Also: a Great Northern Diver, 23 Red-throated Diver – mostly east – 4 Razorbill, 20 auk spp., a Mediterranean Gull, 25 Common Scoter and 15 Gannet; with a single Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit groynes. The only other news is of a Cattle Egret out of roost, plus an adult male and a female Marsh Harrier.

January 30th

Unfortunately, it’s another day when no reports have been received.

January 29th

There is actually no news for today, so it’s a good time to give some details about the eagle that has been regularly visiting. She is known as G818 and is from the 2021 release. As she is now in her fourth calendar-year, she should be looking to establish a territory.

January 28th

White-tailed Eagle – Scott Usher

Showing the size against crows – Alan Crockard

…and fishing – Scott Usher

The White-tailed Eagle dominates today’s post – first seen at 08:15 over Stanpit, the bird caught a fish and settled on Blackberry Point to enjoy. A spring tide meant it had to shift, however, to another part of the area, from where it left just after 10:30. Staying with raptors, two each of Peregrine and Marsh Harrier were logged. Otherwise, there is mention of Red-throated Diver, Guillemot and Pintail seen from Hengistbury, but no further details.

January 27th

It was a strange morning in terms of Pintail. Around 265 were reckoned to have passed at sea – 155 east and 110 west. (Just a couple of miles east, however, at Barton, 453 were seen travelling east!) Again, there were locally high numbers of Red-throated Diver on the move – ninety-six being the final figure. (As another comparison, from dawn until 09:30, 350 Red-throated Diver were logged, westbound, from Selsey Bill!) To finish with the sea, also noted between 08:45 and 11:15 were: a Great Northern Diver, 40 auks, 32 Shoveler, 10 Teal, 14 Common Scoter and 8 Common Gull. Rounding-up on the birds, a White-tailed Eagle spent 3.5 hours inside the harbour, from 11:00, mostly settled on Blackberry Point, but seen fishing as well; and 16 Grey Plover were at Stanpit. Mammal-wise, a Grey Seal was offshore and a Stoat shot across the path by the Nursery.

January 26th

At least one Chiffchaff remains in winter residence on Grimmery Bank – Scott Usher

After a late report of 47 Pintail yesterday at Stanpit – something of a number for the recording area – twenty-nine remained this morning, along with: a single Grey Plover, 215 Dunlin, 157 Brent Goose and the photographed Chiffchaff. Meanwhile, a quiet sea contributed just 4 Red-throated Diver, a Fulmar and 2 Great Crested Grebe; although Mudeford Quay did turn in a decent auk total – ninety-nine – of which two were confirmed as Razorbill. To finish, a couple of Chiffchaff were in the Wood and at least 4 Marsh Harrier were about.

January 25th

Starting at dawn and out of the roost: 2 Cattle Egret, a Bullfinch and 3 Siskin. A little later, over on Stanpit, there were 8 Rock Pipit, most likely all of the race littoralis, and 85 Brent Goose. Meanwhile, at sea, there was a significant westbound passage of Red-throated Diver – 118 counted, including flocks of twelve and eleven – as well as: a Black-throated Diver, 8 Kittiwake, 35 auks, 14 Pintail and 29 Common Gull; with a Fulmar and 5 Great Crested Grebe also noted.

January 24th

The Hengistbury regulars noted quite a westbound passage of auks this morning – at least 240 being the reported estimates – as well as a Black-throated Diver and 19 Red-throated Diver, two of the latter settled. Also from the head, at sea: 24 Pintail – all west, 15 Common Scoter, a settled Great Crested Grebe, and fifteen each of Gannet and Common Gull. Otherwise, it’s a fine total of 315 Dunlin from Stanpit.

January 23rd

Grey Wagtail in yesterday’s evening light at Stanpit – Alan Crockard

It was a day of constant rain and strengthening wind – as a result, there is nothing to report upon.

January 22nd

At 08:05, a White-tailed Eagle flew north over the harbour and possibly landed on Priory Marsh. Otherwise: an Avocet was in Stanpit Creek; a Bullfinch was on Wick; and the best from a quiet sea was 2 Red-throated Diver, a further diver and twelve, settled Common Scoter.

January 21st

It was just about a week ago we thought the eagle activity may be over, but this morning proved otherwise. Around 10:00, a White-tailed Eagle arrived and sat on Blackberry Point for a while, before heading north over the Priory around fifteen minutes later.

January 20th

As the wind picked up a little from the south-west, albeit uncharacteristically cold, all the news comes from the sea. The Beach Huts witnessed 6 Red-throated diver, 22 auks, 15 Gannet, 6 Common Gull and 4 Great Crested Grebe; while Mudeford Quay added a ‘red-throat’ and an adult Mediterranean Gull.

January 19th

Avocet around Stanpit Bight – Scott Usher

Great Crested Grebe at sea – Dave Miller

Turnstone – Dave Miller

Stanpit is well and truly frozen, but the thaw looks likely to set in over the weekend. Such conditions mean Snipe are more conspicuous than usual – a count of forty-nine testimony to that – as well as an Avocet, 6 Grey Plover, 7 Pintail, 2 Shoveler, 80 Brent Goose and a wandering Buzzard. Hengistbury saw 5 Red-throated Diver pass towards the Solent, while 5 Cattle Egret went to roost this evening and Marsh Harrier went over Wick.

January 18th

Despite the cold, these Oystercatcher were looking ahead to spring – Alan Crockard

A greater-than-of-late number of Pintail and Shoveler – fourteen and nineteen respectively – in Stanpit Bight today, suggested something of a cold weather ‘influx’. Elsewhere, 2 Red-throated Diver and 4 Great Crested Grebe were seen from Mudeford Quay, and a single Marsh Harrier was returned from Wick. Switching to mammals, a Grey Seal again showed well in the Run.

January 17th

On a grey, cold day, there is news from the sea, where: 18 Red-throated Diver, two unidentified divers, 4 Razorbill, 32 auk spp., 43 Gannet and 15 Common Scoter were logged. Meanwhile, at Stanpit, the pick was: 6 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Pintail and 82 Brent Goose. Elsewhere, 4 Marsh Harrier were seen from Wick in the morning, likewise the Buzzard.

January 16th

Fox – Alan Crockard

The only bird news on a cold and icy day is 7 Great Crested Grebe from Mudeford Quay.

January 15th

Another morning, another White-tailed Eagle visit – today, around 07:50, but she didn’t settle and may have left high to the east. Otherwise, the pick was a Sandwich Tern off Mudeford Quay; with 28 Ringed Plover on the sandspit and 3 Great Crested Grebe offshore completing a short post.

January 14th

White-tailed Eagle, against the harbour, and a Great Black-backed Gull – Alan Crockard

For the fifth day in succession, the White-tailed Eagle spent the earlier part of the morning around the harbour, while a definite 8 Marsh Harrier – an adult male, two females, a 3cy male and four 2cy males – used the area. With raptors being recordable on WeBS counts, it was nice to add those to the results, which also included: a Grey Plover, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 61 Ringed Plover and 210 Dunlin; 7 Pintail, 75 Teal, 775 Wigeon, 138 Brent Goose and 5 Shelduck; plus 3 Common Gull; but, absolutely no coot! Meanwhile, at least one Chiffchaff remains on Grimmery Bank.

January 13th

The White-tailed Eagle was again about during the morning and briefly in the afternoon. There isn’t too much other news, however: 15 Cattle Egret went to roost; at least 6 Marsh Harrier used the area; 5 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Mediterranean Gull and 7 Great Crested Grebe were returned from Mudeford Quay; and the Common Scoter flock was visible on the calm waters from the end of Hengistbury.

January 12th

White-tailed Eagle – Scott Usher

Avocet – Dave Miller

The White-tailed Eagle spent much of the morning around the area, and greater Christchurch, for the second day in succession. Meanwhile, at sea: 11 Red-throated Diver, 20 Common Scoter, 19 Gannet, 95 auks and 25 Pintail were logged; with the single Purple Sandpiper again at the southern end of the sandspit; plus 2 Avocet at Stanpit. At least 8 Marsh Harrier used the area – an adult male, a 3cy male, a female and the rest seeming to be 2cy males – and, at dusk, 3 Cattle Egret and 70 Stock Dove headed to roost.

January 11th

White-tailed Eagle – David Faulkner

Red Kite – David Faulkner

Stanpit was well used by raptors this morning! From the various reports received, it would seem the White-tailed Eagle spent around an hour about the place – at one point searching for food over the River. In addition, a Red Kite was again logged, plus singles of Marsh Harrier, Peregrine and Buzzard. Other interest for the day came from: a Velvet Scoter at sea; 16 Cattle Egret leaving the roost; a Great White Egret on the marsh during the afternoon; a really decent tally of 66 Redwing from Hengistbury, plus a Firecrest there; and 2 Great Crested Grebe in Barn Bight.

January 10th

A Black Redstart took advantage of the Hengistbury cliffs, below the Coastguards, to shelter from the continuing, northerly wind; with the only other bird news being of an inland-bound Marsh Harrier over Stanpit. Mammal-wise, an Otter was seen on the Stour – slightly upstream from Clay Pool.

January 9th

Great Crested Grebe – Peter Boardman

The only news for the day is of a Red Kite over Stanpit, the photographed Great Crested Grebe in Barn Bight and an increase in Shelduck to ten – those on North Marsh.

January 8th

Firecrest in the Wood – Alan Crockard

A drake Scaup, no doubt the result of the cold snap we’re now experiencing, was the clear highlight of the day – after being picked up in flight over Christchurch Bay, he settled with the offshore Common Scoter flock, which numbered around 20. Also at sea, a drake Red-breasted Merganser – these are now scarce here – 10 Red-throated Diver, 5 Shelduck, those west, and 6 Common Gull. Early on, 9 Cattle Egret left the roost and 14 Redwing were in the Wood; while a low Red Kite makes one wonder if that perhaps overnighted? Meanwhile, 3 Fieldfare were logged on Wick. Over the last few days, a wing-tagged Marsh Harrier, fledged this season in Norfolk, has been seen in the Avon Valley and the Keyhaven-Pennington Marshes – so confirming a long-held suspicion there is movement between the two sites – meaning a bird incoming from the east this morning, also seen from Barton, could well have been involved in that commute.

January 7th

There is very little news from a day with a bitter northerly wind. A Short-eared Owl hunted the Barn Field for around five minutes just before 10:30 and at least 6 Marsh Harrier used the area.

January 6th

Blue Tit – Alan Crockard

Again, there is relatively little to write about. On Hengistbury, a couple of Firecrest and a Redwing were in the Wood, while the sea produced 8 Red-throated Diver and 16 Brent Goose – all west, other than one diver settled. The only Stanpit news is of 2 Shoveler and 4 Shelduck.

January 5th

Goldcrest – Alan Crockard

Despite a significant upturn in the weather – the day feeling a little like the sort of winter we used to enjoy – there isn’t too much to report upon. In fact, just 14 Grey Plover and a single Coot (where are they?) at Stanpit; 3 Marsh Harrier – two adult males and a 2cy male – about the place; and 2 Buzzard on Wick.

January 4th

Kingfisher hunting Parky Meade Rail – Alan Crockard

While it was a reasonable start to the day, just after 11:00 the deluge started. The best of the morning was a Green Sandpiper over the Wooden Bridge and a Mistle Thrush in the North Scrubs, but 2 Redwing also there and a Fieldfare was on Wick; plus 4 Firecrest in the Wood. Waterbirds at Stanpit included: 8 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Ringed Plover and 100 Dunlin, as well as a pair of Pintail, 55 Brent Goose and 2 Shelduck. Meanwhile, the pick at sea was a count of 26 Shag, but also: 8 Red-throated Diver, a Kittiwake, an auk, 5 Great Crested Grebe and 23 Pintail.

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January 3rd

It was a much better day of weather and the sea produced, west, unless mentioned: an adult Little Gull, 6 Kittiwake, 10 Red-throated Diver – six settled, 20 Common Scoter on the water, 85 Gannet and fifteen auks. Also from Hengistbury, a Goosander arrived over the sandspit, where there was a single Purple Sandpiper. Elsewhere, 3 Marsh Harrier and around 100 Brent Goose were logged at Stanpit, and the Buzzard was one Wick. To finish, it’s not custom to mention non-recorded species, but the apparent, complete absence of Coot within the harbour – considering it’s mid-winter – is something quite remarkable.

January 2nd

The morning was dominated by rain and the afternoon by some violent wind – the day’s only report being of a Peregrine on the Priory.

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