Sightings for October 2002
Despite the murky conditions migration was steady with 80 Pied Wagtail, 120 Meadow Pipit, 24 Swallow, 300 Linnet, 450 Goldfinch, 100 Greenfinch, 180 Chaffinch, 150 Siskin, 55 Redpoll, 10 Brambling, 30 Reed Bunting, 5 Yellowhammer and 250 Starling all moving east or south-east; also 56 Skylark arrived off the sea. The north-westerly movement of thrushes continued with 100 Redwing, 30 Song Thrush and 1 Fieldfare. The woodland still held large numbers of Goldcrest and 3 Firecrest were present; also on Hengistbury today were 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 4 Jay and 1 Merlin. Waders moving this morning included 2 Knot east and the arrival of 40 Dunlin and more than 50 Snipe. On Stanpit there were 7 Turnstone, 7 Grey Plover, 5 Avocet, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Common Sandpiper. 10 Tufted Duck and 3 Pochard, both species uncommon in the Harbour, arrived during the morning. The information services reported Whooper Swan in the harbour.
The overnight rain combined with early morning low cloud and mist put a real dampener on things today. There was virtually no movement but Redpoll, Siskin, Fieldfare and Stock Dove were noted. There were also Bearded Tit calling in the reedbed by the HHC.
Things were much quieter today although finches were still on the move. Counts today, all heading south-east, included 50 Chaffinch, 250 Linnet, 200 Goldfinch, 50 Siskin and 25 Redpoll. 21 Swallow were also noted heading south. The sea produced 1 Arctic Skua, 34 Little Gull, 7 Kittiwake and 2 Red-breasted Merganser all moving west. There were 5 Purple Sandpiper on the groynes, also Kingfisher and Grey Plover in Barn Bight.
As expected after yesterday's storms there was a significant movement of birds this morning. The day got off to a good start when 2 Spoonbill flew through the Harbour at daybreak. Thrushes were also moving soon after dawn, mainly north-west, with 70 Song Thrush, 40 Redwing, 5 Fieldfare, 30 Blackbird and just 1 Ring Ousel being noted. Finch counts today, all heading south-west, included 350 Chaffinch, 1000 Linnet, 700 Goldfinch, 500 Greenfinch, 300 Siskin, 200 Redpoll, 35 Brambling and 1 Bullfinch; also taking a south-westerly route were 150 Meadow Pipit, 200 Skylark and 25 Reed Bunting. A dozen Swallow and 2 House Martin went due south. A single Golden Plover was seen and 25 Stock Dove arrived off the sea. For the second time in less than a week a male Lapland Bunting was seen on the ground - this time at the end of the Head - is it the same bird? Not surprisingly the sea was rather quiet although a Storm Petrel, 1 Great and 2 Arctic Skua and a Red-breasted Merganser were seen.
The extreme south-westerly winds didn't produce the expected numbers of seabirds, nevertheless, from the Beach Huts this morning, 4 Storm Petrel and 1 first winter Little Gull moving west were good records. 4 Common Scoter also moved in the same direction. Today was the second WeBS count of the winter and a thorough count on Stanpit included, 250 Lapwing, 200 Wigeon, 198 Coot, 164 Mallard, 77 Brent Goose, 71 Dunlin, 55 Oystercatcher, 48 Redshank, 32 Ringed Plover, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Little Egret, 2 Grey Plover and 1 Greenshank. Late migrants in the harbour were 2 House Martin and 2 Swallow over Stanpit and 1 Wheatear on Priory Marsh. 2 Bullfinch in the North Scrubs are good harbour birds. Finally, in the afternoon 1 Little Gull and 1 Kittiwake were seen lingering off Mudeford quay
The sea promised much but delivered little, just 7 Pintail, 3 Common Scoter, 2 Kittiwake, 1 Guillemot and 5 auk spp. in a 2 hour watch from the Beach Huts. There were, however, lots of passerines passing west into the wind. Over the head, there were small numbers of Goldfinch, Linnet, Greenfinch, Siskin, Redpoll, Meadow Pipit and alba Wagtails on the move, while the Wood held around 25 Goldcrest and a couple of Chiffchaff. 12 Black-tailed Godwit spent a short time on Holloway's Dock before moving into the harbour. Off Mudeford Quay a Great Skua left the harbour via the Run mid-afternoon. This morning at Stanpit, there were 4 Knot, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Sanderling and 1 Wheatear, while this afternoon there were 73 Brent Goose, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Grey Plover. Common Gull numbers still seem low with only 6 birds being noted. Kingfisher were seen on both sides of the harbour today.
This morning's combination of strong winds and heavy showers almost brought migration to a standstill. At Hengistbury, only a few Meadow Pipit, Linnet and the odd Siskin braved the conditions. There was a flock of more than 60 Greenfinch on the beach and at least 25 Goldcrest in the woodland. Surprisingly the sea was also quiet with just 2 Kittiwake, 3 Razorbill and a Red-throated Diver moving west past the head, while 2 Little Gull were seen moving west off Mudeford Quay.
There was no sign of the Pallas' Warbler this morning but 4 Firecrests were seen. A Lapland Bunting was on the ground by the Coastguards early morning but unfortunately it didn't linger. Migration was in full swing today with most birds moving east, the exception being thrushes and pigeons which were going north-west. The thrush count included 22 Redwing, 30 Song Thrush, 2 Fieldfare, 1 Mistle Thrush and 1 Ring Ousel. Today's movement of pigeons was the first of the autumn with 250 Wood Pigeon and 23 Stock Dove being noted. Moving east were 8 Swallow, 180 Redpoll, 900 Goldfinch, 250 Chaffinch, 400 Greenfinch, 130 Siskin, 500 Linnet, 5 Brambling, 2 Bullfinch, 130 Jackdaw (including one flock of 70), 45 Reed Bunting and 3 Yellowhammer. A major influx of Stonechat involving more than 60 birds also occurred. Waders on the move were 16 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Golden Plover, and 12 Grey Plover. Three Merlin were recorded and the information services reported a Short-eared Owl. There were still at least 4 Bearded Tit in the reedbed by the HHC. Just 1 Little Gull was recorded today.
This morning's highlight was the discovery of a Pallas's Warbler on the edge of the Nursery - the bird was still present late afternoon; there were also 3 Firecrests a Coal Tit and a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the vicinity. After yesterday's lull passerine migration improved markedly with 16 Redwing, 32 Song Thrush, 80 Skylark, 120 Meadow Pipit, 15 Swallow, 80 Redpoll, 350 Goldfinch, 100 Chaffinch, 100 Siskin, 250 Linnet and 11 Crossbill being noted. Most of the birds were moving west or north-west. A Wood Lark was seen on Wick Fields and there were at least 5 Bearded Tit in the reedbed by the HHC. Shortly after dawn 5 Goosander and 12 Pintail flew south through the Harbour and at sea a single Sandwich Tern and 7 Little Gull moved west.
A two hour sea watch off Hengistbury this morning produced a juvenile Long-tailed Skua, 2 Great Skua and 28 Little Gull. The inclement weather obviously reduced passerine migration to a minimum with just a handful of Swallow and 2 Redpoll being noted. As Stanpit was under water for most of the day due to the high spring tides very few waders were visible - a Greenshank and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit were the only species of note.
The high overnight wind had weakened considerably by daybreak. On Hengistbury, 3 Ring Ouzel and 1 Redwing passed over the Common before pitching down into Wick Fields. The Bearded Tit are still in the HHC reeds, but keeping low in the wind. Around 12 Chiffchaff were in Wick Ditch and 20 Swallow passed overhead.
A strong easterly wind blew all day, but didn't produce anything really noteworthy. Best bird was a Merlin moving east at sea, also seen from the Beach Huts were 25 Common Scoter and 1 Great-crested Grebe. 2 Bearded Tit were seen in the HHC reeds, but more were heard. Overhead migration this morning comprised 100 Goldfinch, 31 Swallow, 30 House Martin, 25 Meadow Pipit and 20 alba Wagtail. Small numbers of Redwing were over Wick Fields in the morning and a Kingfisher was there in the afternoon. In the later afternoon a second winter Mediterranean Gull was on Mudeford Sandspit viewed from the Quay.
A fine day which resulted in a quiet day for birds. There are now 9 Bearded Tit in the HHC reedbed and a Firecrest was in the Wood. Other birds on Hengistbury included around 45 each of Siskin and Redpoll over and 2 Grey Wagtail, while 40 Song Thrush and 10 Redwing moved north-east. A few Goldcrest and 1 Blackcap were also noted. On Stanpit, 2 Knot and both species of Godwit are present, a first winter Mediterranean Gull was also seen. A Kingfisher was on Fisherman's Bank at dusk.
Some visible migration was happening today, birds were counted as follows: 118 Goldfinch, 65 Greenfinch, 59 Swallow, 52 alba Wagtail, 50 Meadow Pipit, 11 Siskin, 9 Chaffinch, 9 House Martin, 8 Linnet, 5 Reed Bunting, 4 Skylark, 3 Sand Martin, 2 Rook and, the best of the pick, 1 Yellowhammer. 2 Bearded Tit were in the HHC reeds, while other birds on the ground included 100+ Goldcrest, 4 Blackcap, 10 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 1 Fieldfare and 1 Wheatear. Also seen were 3 Shoveler, 2 Kingfisher, 1 Sandwich Tern , 1 Grey Plover and 1 Peregrine.
A fairly settled day with a good selection of birds. There are now 4 Bearded Tit in the HHC reedbed and a Short-eared Owl was quartering the same area this morning. A Little Owl has also been seen around Wick Fields over the last couple of days. 2 Firecrest are still present in the Wood along with 35 Chiffchaff, but Goldcrest numbers are reduced. Easterly visible migration was recorded as 800 Goldfinch, 600 Linnet, 500 Chaffinch, 350 Meadow Pipit, 300 Greenfinch, 300 alba Wagtail, 180 Siskin, 76 Swallow, 45 Reed Bunting, 25 Brambling, 23 Rook, 11 Golden Plover, 11 House Martin and 7 Jackdaw. Moving north-west were 163 Skylark, 50 Song Thrush, 11 Redwing, 5 Mistle Thrush and 1 Ring Ouzel.
A complete change of weather. The day started with a light north-westerly which had swung east by the afternoon. These conditions produced an early Little Auk moving west past the Beach Huts in the company of 2 Razorbill, also seen were 5 Mediterranean Gull and 4 first winter Little Gull. A couple of Bearded Tit spent the morning in the HHC reedbed and 2 Short-eared Owl moved north off the head. There was an impressive visible migration totalling 2500 Meadow Pipit, 2000 Linnet, 1500 Goldfinch, 600 Greenfinch, 400 Chaffinch, 250 alba Wagtail, 200 Siskin, 34 Redpoll, 6 Grey Wagtail and 2 Tree Pipit. All were moving east. Other migrants seen about Hengistbury today were 20 Redwing, 5 Wheatear, 9 Pochard east, 3 Raven east and 1 Golden Plover north off the sea.
Today's weather almost completely ruled out any birding. Mudeford Quay was the only practical spot and 11 Little Gull and 1 Arctic Tern were seen from there in the afternoon.
The Black Brant was again in the harbour today, hopefully the bird may settle to spend the winter here. There was also 1 Spoonbill, 3 Avocet, 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank and 1 Grey Plover at Stanpit. The blustery overnight conditions raised seawatching hopes, but by daylight the wind had started to die down which tempered the potential. At Hengistbury, a 2 hour seawatch from dawn produced 15 Avocet east, comprising 2 flocks of 3 and 12 respectively; 4 Little Gull, 1 adult over the Beach Huts into the harbour and 3 birds moving east together; also 2 Sandwich Tern and 1 juvenile Arctic Tern. Other birds moving on the sea were 70 Gannet east, 21 Common Scoter west and 1 Red-throated east, there was also an evident passage of Swallow, Meadow Pipit, alba Wagtail and Goldfinch. A Black Redstart was feeding on the beach at the end of the head, a Ring Ouzel was in bushes on the Common and a Firecrest was again around the Nursery. Common passerines were estimated at 100 Goldcrest and 60 Blackcap. A Pintail was seen flying around Holloway's Dock.
The appalling weather meant that very little birding was done in the harbour today, although one hardy soul did venture out onto Stanpit and located the Black Brant around Crouch Hill. It could also be seen at times from Fisherman's Bank. Black Brant is the nigricans sub-species of Brent Goose and breeds in an area stretching from eastern Siberia, across Alaska and into western Canada. The normal wintering location for these birds is the Pacific, specifically in areas around the Yellow Sea and the Californian coast. The "conventional" Brent Geese which winter in the harbour are of the race bernicla , whose breeding grounds are across western Siberia as far as the Taymyr Peninsula.
The abrupt change in wind direction made the weekend birding a little disappointing when compared to the previous few weekdays. Nevertheless, there were still 2 Firecrest on Hengistbury, 1 calling in Double Dykes and the other on the Batters by the Nursery. There were also 2 Ring Ouzel seen today on the head as they flew over the Coastguard Station towards Wick. In the mid-afternoon a Short-eared Owl flew east across the top of Warren Hill. A brief morning seawatch from the Beach Huts produced 2 Avocet, 3 Sandwich Tern and 1 Razorbill. Overhead migrants were estimated as 150 Meadow Pipit, 100 Goldfinch and 2 Pintail. Chiffchaff were reckoned to be around 120, with birds heard calling from all suitable habitat across Hengistbury and Wick, meanwhile, Goldcrest were fewer at around 45. A Fieldfare was by the HHC at dawn and 4 more Rook were seen from there heading east. A Kingfisher was in Barn Bight, along with 45 Teal, 2 Grey Plover and 1 Black-tailed Godwit. There are at least 400 Wigeon in the harbour, as well as 60+ Brent Geese. On Stanpit, there were 3 Curlew Sandpiper, a Peregrine was seen to take a Blackbird and a Whinchat was on Crouch Hill. The information services reported a Black Brant viewable from Crouch Hill this evening.
Another good selection of birds on Hengistbury this morning, with 3 Firecrest on the eastern end of the Batters, just before the Lily Pond. The easterly finch passage comprised 220 Goldfinch, 95 Linnet, 45 Chaffinch and 14 Siskin. Other migrants overhead included 230 Meadow Pipit, 55 alba Wagtail, 40 Swallow, 8 House Martin, 3 Reed Bunting and 1 Tree Pipit. On the ground, 14 Song Thrush and a mutation of 6 Redwing were recorded. Other birds seen were 4 Goldcrest, 3 Shoveler, 2 Pintail and 1 Peregrine.
Today was far livelier with top billing going to a Yellow-browed Warbler heard calling vigorously and seen briefly in the Ironstone Quarry area on Hengistbury. The Head also held large numbers of commoner species, including a fall of thrushes around the Nursery, over 150 Song Thrush, 150 Blackbird, 3 Redwing and 1 Mistle Thrush were in bushes there, while 2 Fieldfare flew over. Goldcrest numbers were up on yesterday with 150 birds being estimated. Flyover easterly migration was particularly good with numbers as follows: 1000 Swallow, 800 Meadow Pipit, 700 Goldfinch, 700 alba Wagtail, 600 House Martin, 600 Linnet, 350 Greenfinch, 300 Chaffinch, 100 Siskin, 50 Reed Bunting, 46 Redpoll, 2 Brambling, 1 Tree Pipit and 1 Sand Martin. Also of real interest was a small group of 6 Golden Plover moving north. Offshore migrants were counted as 49 Brent Goose, 32 Wigeon, 15 Pintail, 5 Common Scoter, 4 Kittiwake and 3 Great-northern Diver. Incredibly, a flock of 40 or so Black-headed Gulls contained 7 Mediterranean Gull, 3 first winter, 2 adult and 2 second winter. Another, possibly two, Tawny Owl were heard today, this time in the Purewell Meadows area, but heard from Two Riversmeet at 5:30 this morning. Diving duck are not commonplace in the harbour, so 6 Pochard flying towards the Avon valley was nice record. At Stanpit this afternoon, there were 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Knot, 5 Snipe, 1 Greenshank and 1 Dartford Warbler.
Early morning reports from Hengistbury indicated there was very little overhead movement. The sea provided the most excitement, with 3 Jack Snipe and 2 Merlin seen arriving from the south. Also past were 2 Arctic Skua, 1 Great Skua, 4 Kittiwake, 1 Sandwich Tern and a few auks.
A disappointingly quiet day despite the promising south-easterly wind direction. In comparison to yesterday the pipit, finch and wagtail passage was almost non-existent. The best birds by far were 2 Jack Snipe flushed by the rising tide and flying around the Common at Hengistbury. Also of interest were 2 Fieldfare feeding around Double Dykes. Otherwise, the sea provided the most interest with 100 Brent Goose heading west, 14 Common Scoter and 3 Guillemot going east, and 45 Gannet and 6 Sandwich Tern noted. 75 Chiffchaff, 40 Goldcrest and 1 Willow Warbler were working along the Batters. Around 250 Swallow passed overhead. 4 Pochard were in Stanpit Bight in the early afternoon.
Another good passage of birds over Hengistbury today with the highlights being 2 Lapland Bunting and 1 Woodlark. The buntings appeared to go down into the area around Holloway's Dock, but were undoubtedly later moved on by the high spring tide. Most movement today was easterly and the totals were, 1200 Linnet, 1000 Meadow Pipit, 500 alba Wagtail, 350 Goldfinch, 100 Chaffinch, 100 Reed Bunting, 26 Redpoll and 4 Siskin. There was a small north-westerly thrush movement which included 45 Song Thrush and 2 Redwing. Skylark were also conpsicuous today, with 50 birds feeding on the Golf Course at dawn and another 32 passing overhead later in the morning. It seems the main arrival of Brent Geese is now happening, 212 headed west, 62 east and 82 were settled in the harbour, the latter containing the first juvenile birds of the autumn. Other westerly moving wildfowl were 86 Wigeon, 27 Shelduck and 11 Shoveler, also heading that direction were 135 Common Gull and 3 Sandwich Tern. A Spotted Redshank was flying around the harbour in the morning and was then seen on Stanpit in the afternoon. Also on Stanpit were 13 Knot, 4 Snipe, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Greenshank. The Yellow-legged Gull was in its favourite spot on East Marsh at lunchtime and throughout the afternoon.
The passage today contained a wider selection of finches, but just a handful of hirundines; and, like yesterday, movement was both eastward and westward. Between 7:00 and 10:00 this morning, 243 Linnet, 176 Goldfinch, 38 Greenfinch, 13 Siskin, 6 Redpoll and 2 Brambling overflew Hengistbury. Other moving birds were 5 Raven, 3 to the east and 2 to the west, that makes 6 species of corvid in the harbour this weekend, 91 alba Wagtail, 85 Meadow Pipit, 20 Swallow, 5 House Martin and 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker from the sea. Looking down onto Stanpit, 32 Brent Geese and 18 Little Egret were counted. 2 Kingfisher were in the Barn Bight area and 1 Wheatear was in the Barn Field. Wader watching on the falling afternoon tide in Stanpit Bight produced 47 Dunlin, 10 Knot, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Greenshank. A Dartford Warbler was again seen on Crouch Hill and 3 Sandwich Tern have visited Stanpit today. There are still many Chiffchaff and Goldcrest on both sides of the harbour. A Hobby and Buzzard moved south over Wick Fields this afternoon and 2 Grey Plover were on the HHC sandbar.
Today's migration contained some real harbour rarities - 4 Rook, 3 Jackdaw, 1 Yellowhammer and 1 Mistle Thrush were all seen moving over Hengistbury this morning. The more expected species weighed in with 1500 Swallow, 1000 House Martin, 800 Meadow Pipit, 300 Goldfinch, 250 Pied Wagtail, 150 Linnet and 2 Siskin, small numbers of travelling Reed Bunting were also seen. Interestingly, the direction of movement was mixed, with parties of birds heading east and west. Most of the pipit passage was westward, on a route that was just offshore. A few Gannet were on the sea and 3 Kingfisher and 1 Greenshank were in Barn Bight. Chiffchaff are still numerous, with at least 50 birds being noted across Wick and the head. Goldcrest and Blackcap are also still feeding up in the bushes around the harbour. From Mudeford Quay, a Guillemot was on the sea just off the sandbar.
Just after dawn there were 20 Ringed Plover and 3 Turnstone on Mudeford sandbar. Over on Hengistbury, overhead migrants included 115 Goldfinch, 35 alba Wagtail and 1 Tree Sparrow. There were very few hirundines and Meadow Pipits were almost completely absent. Birds on the ground were 20 Chiffchaff, 3 singing Willow Warbler, 7 Blackcap, 2 Jay, 1 Wheatear and a handful of Goldcrest; a Kingfisher was also seen. On Stanpit in the mid-afternoon there were still reasonable numbers of Dunlin, 20 Knot, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Black-tailed Godwit. There was a steady high flying passage of Swallow, which attracted at least 2 Hobby, one of which was seen to head south out to sea. The Brent Geese have now reached 28, 2 Dartford Warbler were calling on Crouch Hill, 1 Wheatear was present, 4 Buzzard were soaring north of the harbour and the Yellow-legged Gull was again there.
Another reasonably quiet day with just a few Chiffchaff and Goldcrest on Hengistbury, along with 2 Blackcap, 2 Jay, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker and 1 Jay. Overhead migrants noted were 100+ Meadow Pipit, 80+ alba Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail and 2 Song Thrush, while Siskin were heard on several occasions. On the Common an influx of Blackbird was obvious and looking into the harbour 23 Brent Geese and 1 Sanderling could be seen. Lunchtime at Fisherman's Bank produced just 1 Buzzard soaring over Wick Village and 1 Grey Wagtail. Around Stanpit in the last couple of daylight hours were 100 or so Dunlin, 12 Knot, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Greenshank. Many Swallow were still on the move at this time and seemed to become more vocal as darkness fell. A Cetti's Warbler was noted very close to the main car park.
The constant overnight drizzle put paid to any large overhead movement. The only birds recorded were on the ground and these were pretty sparse, with just a few Chiffchaff and Goldcrest, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Garden Warbler on Hengistbury. On the sea 27 Sandwich Tern and 50 Gannet were seen. There is still a reasonable selection of waders on Stanpit, between 4:30 and 6:00pm, 150 Dunlin, 13 Knot, 4 Sanderling, 4 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank, 2 of each Godwit and 1 Grey Plover were present. Other birds seen on Stanpit were 1 Wheatear, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Water Rail and, without fail, the Yellow-legged Gull.
The first 2 hours of daylight saw another sizeable passage of birds over Hengistbury, although today far fewer hirundines were moving. The direction of movement was south-east and the totals were 750 Meadow Pipit, 600 Swallow, 550 alba Wagtail, 350 Linnet, 270 Goldfinch, 150 Greenfinch, 100 House Martin, 85 Chaffinch, 21 Reed Bunting, 19 Grey Wagtail, 11 Rock Pipit, 10 Tree Pipit and 6 Siskin, while 5 Jay may also have been migrants. On the ground there were still lots of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest with smaller numbers of Blackcap. Best bird in the Wood was a Firecrest as well as 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker and 1 Redstart. A Lesser Whitethroat was on the Batters and a Turtle Dove flew from there to Wick. Also seen from Hengistbury were 1 Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight, 2 Sandwich Tern and 1 Tufted Duck. A brief check from Fisherman's Bank at lunchtime produced over 150 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Grey Wagtail. At dusk an adult Little Tern was feeding in the Run and around 10 Ringed Plover were on the sandbar.