Sightings for February 2003

February 28th

Despite the possibility of an early Wheatear ( 1 at Durlston on Wednesday ) or a more exotic Hoopoe ( 3 on Scilly yesterday ) the only report received today was of the regular Great Crested Grebe off Mudeford Quay.

February 27th

Skylark, Dartford Warbler and Reed Bunting were all in good voice this morning in the comparatively mild conditions. A Yellow-legged Gull was on the beach at Hengistbury and Holloway's Dock held 4 Pintail. On Stanpit there are still 140 Brent Geese, 450 Wigeon, 150 Teal, 35 Shelduck, 400 Dunlin, 35 Grey Plover, 11 Ringed Plover, 7 Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Turnstone. Two Scandinavian Rock Pipit of the littoralis sub species were feeding by the main path on Stanpit between the gate and the warden's caravan, and a Grey Wagtail was in Mother Siller's Channel.

February 26th

Despite the continuing sunshine and spring like conditions no birders could be tempted into the harbour hence no reports have been received today.

February 25th

On Priory Marsh today there was one Water Pipit and a male Bearded Tit was also seen. The only other reports received were of a Goldeneye in Barn Bight and a Great Northern Diver heading west.

February 24th

An early afternoon walk along Fisherman's Bank produced similar sightings to yesterday although the Dunlin count had increased to more than 400 and there was just 1 Black-tailed Godwit remaining on the Marsh. There were also 18 Snipe and 2 Turnstone feeding on Blackberry Point - another 2 Turnstone were on the Mudeford Sandspit.

February 23rd

Once again the sunny spring like conditions made for very pleasant bird watching in the harbour today . The morning's highlight was provided by two Raven which alighted on the ground near Crouch Hill for a few minutes before flying off towards the head. Following Thursday's impressive four figure count of Black-tailed Godwit there were 350 birds feeding on East Marsh - these are presumably birds from the wintering flock in the Avon Valley. Other counts included 250 Dunlin, 35 Grey Plover, 7 Little Egret, 135 Brent Geese, 350 Wigeon, 90 Teal, 25 Shelduck and 4 Pintail. This evening on Stanpit there were 2 Scandinavian Herring Gulls of the argentatus form and a Cormorant of the Continental race sinensis . There was also a Firecrest in the Priory Marsh hedge.

February 22nd

Another glorious day today which was suprisingly warm considering the south easterly winds. The first noteworthy birds included 5 Black tailed Godwits seen to leave the harbour after first light. A disappointing sea watch of about 3.5 hours only managed to produce 1 Red-throated Diver, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Common Scoter and 1 Fulmar. There seemed to be a small movement of Herring Gulls and Common Gulls. At least 2 Herons were seen to be carrying nest material towards the nursery. The highlight of the the day however, was the return migration of Brent Geese with an estimated 350 birds moving east in small to medium sized flocks.

February 21st

After the early morning mist the sun broke through to provide glorious sunshine for most of the day. On Stanpit, 27 Grey Plover were recorded from East Marsh amongst the large Dunlin flock of (150 plus). There were also 15 Ringed Plovers, 10 Curlew, and an unusually high count of 50 Common Snipe mostly associated with the Lapwing. A pair of Pintail were seen in Stanpit Bight (male and female) and 5 Little Grebes were seen in the harbour. Finally, 3 Purple Sandpipers were seen from Mudeford Quay, possibly the birds sighted yesterday.

February 20th

The temperature was higher today with no overnight frosts, initially cloudy, but brightened up later. A large flock of Black tailed Godwits(1000 plus) were seen to rest on East Marsh today at least for an hour before flying back up the valley. Other birds on Stanpit included 30 Grey Plover, 12 Common Snipe, 130 Brent Geese and 1 Grey Wagtail. On Mudeford Spit there were small groups of Dunlin and Ringed Plover and 3 Purple Sandpipers. There was no sign of the Great Northern Diver today but a pair of Goldeneye were seen from the HHC.

February 19th

Unfortunately, no reports have been received for today.

February 18th

Unfortunately, no reports have been received for today.

February 17th

Unfortunately, no reports have been received for today.

February 16th

The day started cold, dull and grey, the few snow flakes that fell didn't amount to anything and could have been missed. The highlight of the day being the presence on the marsh of 2 Ravens seen from 11-45am until 3.00pm, most of the time battling with the resident Crows before flying off north up the valley. Other birds on Stanpit include 250 Wigeon, 33 Common Snipe, 16 Grey Plover, 30 Ringed Plover, and an adult and third year Yellow-Legged Gull. Finally the pager reported the continued presence of the Great Northern Diver in the harbour..

February 15th

A bitterly cold day today, but at least there was plenty of sunshine. A good movement of divers today with 28 Red-throated, and 2 Black-throated moving west. The first Harbour record of fulmar was recored from the Head today, other birds of note include 2 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Eider, 3 Shoveller, and 3 Pintail. The Great Northern Diver is still present in the Harbour.

February 14th

Another icy day with a light, but cold, easterly wind. On Stanpit in the early morning there were 2 White-fronted Goose grazing on Central Marsh, by lunchtime, however, there was no further sign. A rough count totalled 200 Dunlin, 120 Brent Goose, including colour-ringed 8C first seen on 29th December, 40 Wigeon, 5 Grey Plover and 1 drake Shoveler.

February 13th

At last some news! A remarkable sighting by local standards was a drake Pochard feeding in the Run, just off Mudeford Quay; and, from Stanpit, 2 Goldeneye were seen. A cold, damp day with the merest hint of snow.

February 12th

Unfortunately, no reports have been received for today.

February 11th

Unfortunately, no reports have been received for today.

February 10th

The weather turned colder overnight leaving a moderate frost first thing this morning. Only one bird reported today, but, nevertheless, real quality. This morning between 8:00 and 9:00, a Barn Owl was accidentally flushed from the Nursery on Hengistbury and seen a few minutes later around Whitethroat Corner.

February 9th

A very wet and still morning with the rain persisting until around 9:30, when the wind picked up to clear the cloud. Stanpit was covered with the sort of detail normally reserved for a WeBS count. Pick of the bunch were a Chiffchaff calling on the Golf Course, a Peregrine terrorising the duck, Yellow-legged Gull and a single Canada Goose. Also seen were 4 Black-tailed Godwit, despite at least 2000 wintering in the Avon Valley, they have been locally rare birds this winter. The more numerous birds were counted as: 450 Dunlin, 269 Wigeon (on the increase again) 188 Coot, 154 Brent Goose, 58 Snipe, 55 Teal, 21 Grey Plover, 15 Shelduck, 6 Ringed Plover and 2 Little Grebe. The day would have been even better, if only the ball hadn't hit Anelka's hand!

February 8th

A mild day with a fresh south-westerly saw a good level of birding activity in the harbour. Just after dawn the Lapwing flock over Stanpit contained 1 Ruff, also there were 4 Canada Goose, a locally rare bird. A walk along the beach and 2 hours at the Beach Huts produced 7 Red-throated Diver including 1oiled bird showing a deceptive white flank patch, but a little later a genuine Black-throated Diver did pass by east. In addition, 5 Common Scoter, 2 Gannet, 1 Razorbill and 6 unidentified Auk were seen. Throughout the morning small parties of Brent Goose headed eastwards, perhaps starting their return journey. In Barn Bight single Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser drakes were seen. This afternoon on Stanpit, the best birds were 5 Golden Plover which arrived and looked to settle before heading north up the Avon Valley; while a flock of Lapwing from the Valley contained 2 Ruff which came down on East Marsh. Also on East Marsh, in its regular square meter, was the familiar, limping third-winter Yellow-Legged Gull. Grey Plover numbers were high with 32 birds noted, also counted were 350 Dunlin, 150 Brent Goose and 100 Wigeon. Other sightings of note were 20 Pintail high over the harbour heading out to sea and 1 Turnstone on Blackberry Point. Finally, 13 Little Egret roosted in the Nursery after spending the day feeding north of harbour, and a Little Owl was calling around Two Riversmeet at 6:15.

February 7th

Apologies for the late update of yesterday, but an unscheduled business trip put paid to any chances of getting to a computer. In fact, for the remainder of the month, due to various individuals' travel commitments, the harbour is likely to be very underwatched. During the period, any reports will be extremely welcome. So far, no reports have been received for today.

February 6th

No counts were made at Stanpit, but numbers of Brent Goose, Dunlin, Teal, Grey Plover and Shelduck are estimated to be static. Notable by their absence were Lapwing.

February 5th

Despite a cold and frosty start, Hengistbury was almost spring like by mid-morning and this seemed to spark some vocal activity among the Reed Bunting in the HHC reeds. The Great-northern Diver confirmed its continued presence in the harbour, this time it was seen from the path by the Nursery. Other birds were pretty thin on the ground, just 67 Teal in Barn Bight and a few Goldcrest in the Wood. Looking over towards Stanpit: Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover and Brent Goose numbers seemed consistent with Sunday's count, but Wigeon totals still appear to be dwindling. The Great-northern Diver was seen again late this afternoon.

February 4th

The dawn temperature was 3ºC, but there was a fine covering of frost and a chilly northerly wind. The only reports received were of a handful of Ringed Plover and 2 Turnstone on the Sandspit, viewed from Mudeford Quay.

February 3rd

On a moderate day with only a light westerly wind, only Hengistbury was birded. In Barn Bight, there was just 1 brownhead Goldeneye and 1 Little Grebe. Later on in the day, the Firecrest was seen in the Wood and 3 Purple Sandpiper were on Long Groyne.

February 2nd

Today was the second WeBS count of the year, so Stanpit got some really detailed coverage. However, just before the count started a group of 4 swan that briefly overflew the harbour contained 2 Bewick Swan. Unfortunately, they didn't like the look of the place and headed back up the Avon, from whence they came. The count itself totalled: a healthy 390 Dunlin, 217 Coot, 173 Brent Goose, 154 Wigeon, 83 Teal, 63 Lapwing, 52 Snipe, 33 Ringed Plover, 16 Grey Plover, 11 Shelduck, 9 Little Egret, 3 Little Grebe, 1 Goldeneye and 1 Jack Snipe. On Hengistbury, at least 3 Redpoll were recorded - 2 in the Nursery and 1 on the Common. On the sea just 8 Common Scoter and 4 Diver sp. east were noted.

February 1st

Against all predictions, the weather warmed significantly overnight meaning the hoped for arrival of diving duck in the harbour was completely without foundation. Instead, the sea off Hengistbury provided all the action. Red-throated Diver passed by in cricket score numbers, in total 51 were seen, mainly moving west, including 1 group of 18. In addition, 1 Black-throated Diver went east and a mixed group of 5 duck heading west comprised 3 Scaup and 2 Goldeneye. Also seen were 6 Guillemot, 6 Common Scoter, 4 Gannet, 2 Pintail and 1 Razorbill, while 5 Purple Sandpiper were around the groynes. In or over the Wood were 1 Firecrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Coal Tit and at least 1 Siskin; while in the harbour, 3 Goldeneye were in Barn Bight. The only report from Stanpit was a Water Rail on Priory Marsh.

Return to the Sightings Archive Index

View the full archive of photographs, which now contains over 250 species.

Here is the full archive of features that have previously appeared on the CHOG website.