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Sightings for Month: February 2024

February 22nd

The morning was a complete wash-out – the afternoon only partially so. Nevertheless, Hengistbury contributed: a Firecrest in the Stunted Oaks; 9 Purple Sandpiper, 20 Ringed Plover and 10 Dunlin on the sandspit; and a nice record of a Little Grebe on the Ironstone Quarry. Meanwhile, there was a nice total of 35 Pintail at Stanpit, along with 48 Brent Goose. Earlier, around 300 Black-tailed Godwit visited from the Avon Valley.

February 21st

The only news for the day is from Mudeford Quay, which produced a Little Gull and 17 Purple Sandpiper.

February 20th

Great Spotted Woodpecker – Dave Miller

There was a definite influx of Chiffchaff and Blackcap this morning – three and two respectively in song, plus a female of the latter – all at Stanpit. Also seeming to be arriving are Firecrest – one on Wick – while a Bearded Tit around Parky Meade Rail could well be in the same category. Passing through, however, on their journey to beyond our shores were a Water Pipit and up to 21 Rock Pipit on the salt marsh. At sea, a Red-throated Diver, a Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Mediterranean Gull and 4 Common Gull moved west; with 12 Common Scoter settled. To finish, inside the harbour, there were: 10 Pintail, 5 Shoveler, 126 Brent Goose and a further five ‘meds’.

February 19th

Starting with mammals and a Grey Seal was close offshore from the Beach this morning; where, unfortunately, there was a washed-up Fulmar and a passing Red-throated Diver. Around the same time, the White-tailed Eagle visited from the valley, where it was later seen on a number of occasions, and a female Marsh Harrier was about. Meanwhile, at Stanpit, the picks were: a Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, two adult Mediterranean Gull, 7 Pintail, 96 Brent Goose, a Great Crested Grebe and another nice congregation of Meadow Pipit – around twenty-five – on Crouch Hill.

February 18th

There is little news for the day, but a couple of decent records. A Nuthatch was in the No Dogs Field on Wick and a Water Pipit was at Stanpit, between the Pod and Crouch Hill. Of amphibian interest, a Smooth Newt was in the flooded path adjacent to the Pod.

February 17th

The Priory Peregrine are now very short odds to make it three years in succession – Alan Crockard

The day started well, when, at first light, a Short-eared Owl went over Hengistbury; while 4 Brambling, 30 Chaffinch and at least six, but possibly more, Cattle Egret left the roost. Hints of spring were plentiful: a Firecrest in song in the Wood; Goldcrest, Skylark, Dunnock and Greenfinch, likewise at Stanpit; where around 20 Meadow Pipit and 10 Pied Wagtail on Crouch Hill were presumed incoming from mainland Europe; and of 3 Mediterranean Gull, one had a full hood. The best at sea was single Black-throated Diver, but also a couple of Red-throated Diver and thirty-seven, westbound Common Gull. Around Stanpit Bight, there was a decent number of waders – headed by 3 Avocet, as well as 6 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit and around 200 Dunlin; with wildfowl highlighted by 10 Pintail, 2 Gadwall, 98 Brent Goose and 3 Shelduck. Wick again produced Fieldfare, two today, as well as a Bullfinch along the central path; and a female Marsh Harrier was about.

February 16th

Purple Sandpiper – Peter Boardman

Grey Seal – Dave Miller

Dunlin and a Ringed Plover – Dave Miller

A pair of Stonechat, perhaps back on territory, in the No Dogs Field, Wick, is a nice start to a short post. In contrast, however, a reminder we’re still actually in winter came from 2 Fieldfare, a Redwing and 5 Purple Sandpiper about the area. Moving back to the coming spring though, 4 Mediterranean Gull passed over Stanpit.

February 15th

Male Chaffinch in song on Riversmeet Meadow – Alan Crockard

Goldcrest, in the same area – Alan Crockard

The sea hasn’t been looked at for a few days; so, it’s nice to mention singles of Great Northern Diver and Great Crested Grebe from an hour at the Beach Huts, this morning. Meanwhile, a vocal Mediterranean Gull went over Crouch Hill, and Wick produced a Fieldfare, a male Bullfinch by the Wooden Bridge and the seemingly, now-resident Buzzard.

February 14th

There is nothing to report from another damp day of weather.

February 13th

Cetti’s Warbler – Alan Crockard

The only news from a largely damp day is of 3 Mediterranean Gull over Wick, plus a Bullfinch along the central path there.

February 12th

Turnstone – George Garland

Bar-tailed Godwit – Alan Crockard

The photos are the day’s only news.

February 11th

Knot are scarce in winter here – this bird was seen arriving over Mudeford Quay, before joining the in-harbour Dunlin flock – Scott Usher

…which also hosted this one of 2 Purple Sandpiper – a real rarity on the saltmarsh – Scott Usher

The highlights of the WeBS count were a Knot and 4 Purple Sandpiper, but also: eleven each of Grey Plover and Ringed Plover, a good total of 290 Dunlin and 8 Black-tailed Godwit – the latter presumably not knowing that something approaching 10% of the world population of their race was around four miles to the north, on the floods of the Avon Valley. Back to the harbour, where the wildfowl included: 2 Pintail, 4 Shelduck, 42 Brent Goose, 108 Teal and 854 Wigeon; and, although a single Moorhen was logged, coot were again a no-show! To finish, the Marsh Harrier numbered at least three.

February 10th

There were more signs of spring today – a Chiffchaff in song by the Wooden Bridge, while a Mediterranean Gull settled on Crouch Hill. Offshore, from the Beach Huts, a Great Northern Diver, 7 Red-throated Diver, 15 Common Scoter, a further 3 Mediterranean Gull and 4 Common Gull passed by; with 24 Pintail, 5 Shoveler and 2 Great Crested Grebe also logged. The White-tailed Eagle was on South Marsh from at least 08:40 and left just under an hour later, when the saltmarsh was pretty much all covered by water.

February 9th

Little Gull – Scott Usher

A Firecrest in the No Dogs Field on Wick may be a hint they are on the return to their breeding areas; likewise, two calling Mediterranean Gull over Stanpit. Gull of the day, however, was an adult Little Gull that hawked Stanpit Creek and a flooded North Marsh. The rest of the news comes from: 16 Purple Sandpiper midway along the sandspit; a Fieldfare on Wick; a Marsh Harrier over the Wick reeds; and the White-tailed Eagle around the area early on.

February 8th

All the news for the day comes from Wick and involves: 2 Fieldfare in the North Paddock, a pair of Bullfinch on the central path, 3 Shelduck over and 3 Marsh Harrier.

February 7th

Meadow Pipit – Dave Miller

Again, it’s a day of slow news, although a Jack Snipe on Wick Water Meadows was a nice record.

February 6th

There is very little to report upon today – the best probably being a Red Kite over at 08:10 and 15 Purple Sandpiper seen from Mudeford. Meanwhile, a Bullfinch was on Wick and at least one Marsh Harrier was about.

February 5th

As has been noted in other places, Mediterranean Gull seem to be on the return – they are something of a rarity here in winter, so eight out to sea over Mudeford Quay this morning was of note. Also from the quay, 10 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit, while what was probably a further three were at the southern end of the spit. Combined seawatching totals come to: 3 Red-throated Diver, and minimums of 21 Common Scoter and 5 Great Crested Grebe respectively. To finish, at dawn, a Redpoll, 7 Cattle Egret and over 40 Little Egret left the roost.

February 4th

Purple Sandpiper – Adam Court

Ringed Plover – Adam Court

Winter thrushes are still trickling in – a Fieldfare and 8 Redwing this morning on Wick, where there was also a Grey Wagtail. Other than at least 3 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit, the White-tailed Eagle briefly visited at around 08:00.

February 3rd

A group of 14 Purple Sandpiper on groynes at the northern end of the sandspit, during the afternoon, was a nice record. Earlier, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 76 Dunlin, 9 Pintail, 52 Brent Goose and 3 Shelduck were counted at Stanpit. To finish a rather short post, the White-tailed Eagle, G818, was around Stanpit Bight from 08:30-10:30.

Hengistbury Head Outdoors – Membership Launch

CHOG and Hengistbury Head Outdoor Education Centre have a long history together, right back to the original MTC opening in 1964.

A new charitable Community Benefit Society has now been created to work with BCP council to get the centre passed into community ownership and be run for its members, by its members to benefit the community and the aims of the society

HHO see growing the membership as a vital element as not only does it give you a voice (A vote) on how the society is run but also shows BCP council the level of support from the community to see the centre open again.

We hope you can take this opportunity to join the Hengistbury Head Outdoors Community Benefit Society and help bring the centre back to life, and the partnership with CHOG can continue into the future.

More on Hengistbury Head Outdoors and their progress and how to purchase your member share can be found here…

February 2nd

Water Rail – Dave Miller

It’s looking like the Peregrine are heading towards their third season on the Priory – Alan Crockard

…and a recent rarity – Coot – Dave Miller

A Glossy Ibis circuited the area late in the morning, with a Great White Egret having previously been seen heading inland. Meanwhile, spring was in the air on Wick – 6 Song Thrush singing there; plus a Grey Wagtail by the Wooden Bridge. At sea, 14 Red-throated Diver headed towards the Solent, and 47 Pintail, 26 Shoveler and a Mediterranean Gull went west; while 15 Common Scoter and 5 Razorbill were also logged; and 5 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit groynes. To finish, 2 Firecrest and 6 Redwing were returned from the Wood.

February 1st

The contemporarily, scare species of Pochard was a nice sight this morning – one circuiting and then heading inland. A White-tailed Eagle was seen, airborne well north of the area, but from within. The sea returned 21 Red-throated Diver, mostly east, and 3 Fulmar; 26 Cattle Egret left the roost; a Treecreeper was opposite Holloway’s Dock; and at least 3 Marsh Harrier used the area.

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