Sightings for January 2005

January 31st

Stanpit produced all its regular goodies this morning. A total of 6 Ruff were feeding on the mud in Stanpit Bight, as was the single Golden Plover. Looking towards Fisherman's Bank, the Common Sandpiper could also be picked out; while 12 equally distant Turnstone on Blackberry Point were also a good record. Shelduck numbers are steadily increasing, with 17 birds present today. Other counts included: 450 Dunlin, 34 Grey Plover, 34 Ringed Plover and 15 Black-tailed Godwit.

January 30th

Another reasonably mild and settled day, with the best bird being a female Merlin dashing through the gorse on Crouch Hill, Stanpit, mid-afternoon. Also on the marsh were 77 Black-tailed Godwit on the margins of the North Scrubs and around 60 Brent Goose on Central Marsh. Singing Song Thrush are becoming more obvious, a hopeful sign of spring. A seventh Goldeneye, another brown-headed bird, has joined the flock, which was visible from Hengistbury this morning. Also seemingly increasing, albeit slightly, are Little Grebe, 4 were off the HHC this morning, while 2 in Parky Meade Rail this afternoon may have been different birds. Not much to report from the sea, just 1 Razorbill off Double Dykes and a couple of Great-crested Grebe below the Coastguards. A Kingfisher was again in the HHC/Barn Bight area and 2, maybe 3, Dartford Warbler were on Crouch Hill. Some later news from Stanpit includes a Golden Plover from Crouch Hill, also 350 Wigeon and 26 Grey Plover counted from there.

January 29th

The wind, which had been so unforgiving over the last few days, dropped overnight and made for a reasonable morning. Most of the morning's effort went towards the sea, where a total of 8 Red-throated Diver were seen moving in both directions. A Great-northern Diver was also settled, but distantly, off the Beach Huts. The calm sea made viewing settled birds relatively easy and around 10 Razorbill were on the water, one feeding just a metre offshore, also close in was an oiled Guillemot. Red-Breasted Merganser are not of regular status, so 2 moving east was a nice record. No large Turnstone numbers today, just 17 on the Sandspit, along with 3 mobile Purple Sandpiper. Only other interest from Hengistbury was a Kingfisher in Barn Bight and a Golden Plover heard from the HHC. From Stanpit, after a few blank days, 4 Ruff were reported and 2 Water Pipit were on Priory Marsh.

January 28th

No reports received on another cold and unpleasant day. With crested visitors ravaging most of the Dorset berry crop, hopefully, tomorrow will be better.

January 27th

In very similar conditions to yesterday, both side of the harbour were watched. Best bird came from Stanpit, where a single Golden Plover was resting on East Marsh. A Chiffchaff was calling in brambles by the Recreation Ground and an adult Peregrine passed over the North Scrubs. The Goldeneye flock of 6 birds was again seen, a Dartford Warbler was on Crouch Hill and a Shoveler was on South Marsh. Commoner species were counted as: 77 Brent Goose on Central Marsh, including the colour-ringed bird; and 400 Dunlin, 127 Black-tailed Godwit, 34 Grey Plover and 20 Ringed Plover around Stanpit Bight. Off Hengistbury, all 3 diver were seen: single Black-throated Diver and Great-northern Diver passed close by, while 4 Red-throated Diver were slightly more distant.

January 26th

Despite the continuing north-easterly wind and associated chill, Hengistbury and Wick received several visits today. During the morning, the wintering flock of 6 Goldeneye were in the harbour off Blackberry Point and 1 Little Grebe was in Barn Bight. From the windward Beach Huts, only 15 minutes could be tolerated and these yielded just a single Gannet on an apparently quiet sea. On Wick Fields floods, 57 Black-tailed Godwit were feeding in the company of 5 cock Pheasant, there was also a good record of 1 Grey Wagtail. Either the weather turned warmer at lunchtime or the afternoon visitor was far hardier than the early day team, as the term, "lovely afternoon for a walk," was used. In fact, it produced a good record of 2 drake Pochard in Barn Bight, plus an extra Little Grebe. The Black-tailed Godwit on Wick Fields had risen to 117 birds and a further 50 were seen inside the harbour. The 5 Pheasant were still present. With these and the recently reported hen birds, we may soon be overrun.

January 25th

The cold north wind continued and the only reports are from Fisherman's Bank, where the wintering Common Sandpiper was again present. On East Marsh, a couple of Ruff were visible, while 130 Black-tailed Godwit, 25 Grey Plover and 12 Ringed Plover could be seen on the restricted, available mud around Stanpit Bight; and South Marsh held a drake Shoveler.

January 24th

A light frost and biting north wind made for a pretty uncomfortable morning on Stanpit, from where 110 Brent Goose, 96 Black-tailed Godwit and a Kingfisher in Mother Siller's Channel are the only reports. On Wick Fields, the feeding Black-tailed Godwit flock numbered 85 birds, along with 2 hen Pheasant.

23rd January

The east of Dorset has seen a large immigration of Waxwing over the last 2 days, no doubt brought on by the severe weather further north, so a flock of 30-40 birds moving quickly over the harbour this morning were not totally unexpected. The birds were seen from the top of the head, moving east and were lost to view somewhere over Mudeford Quay. It is not certain, but this is the first harbour record for perhaps as long as 20 years. Even without these stars, it was a good, varied day with sea providing infinitely more interest than yesterday. In the north-east wind, a Hengistbury beach walk was well sheltered. There were 2 Great-northern Diver on the sea looking west from Double Dykes, while the oiled Guillemot is still surviving there, about 3 feet offshore. Also on the water were 9 Great-crested Grebe. A total of 14 Red-throated Diver went west, as did 3 Velvet Scoter and a tight group of 14 Kittiwake. Heading east were 2 Eider and 4 Common Scoter. To complete the morning's interest, a single Purple Sandpiper was on the Long Groyne, 3 Tufted Duck passed through the harbour, a Raven was watched over Stanpit and a Gadwall was in Barn Bight. Stanpit was visited after lunch and, from there, a Merlin could be seen making its way over the Beach Huts on the sandspit towards The Run. The Goldeneye flock has doubled to 6 birds, 1 drake and 5 brown-heads, 3 Shoveler were also in the harbour. Just 2 Ruff could be seen in Stanpit Bight, along with 47 Black-tailed Godwit and at least 26 Grey Plover. The Brent Goose again number 60 or so and included 8C, and a Great-spotted Woodpecker was in the North Scrubs. Please check back to yesterday for some late Turnstone news.

22nd January

It was hard work for the regular, Saturday beach hut assembly this morning, but 5 Eider did light up an otherwise largely dull seawatch. Diver were sparse with just 5 Red-throated Diver recorded, Gannet were even sparser however, with just 1 recorded. Small number of auk were seen in flight, but a badly oiled and sick looking Guillemot was attracting gull attention in the surf off Double Dykes. Only other seabird notables were 3 Common Scoter. A Bullfinch was heard in the Wood, further suggesting a wintering individual, and 6 Purple Sandpiper were on groyne S12 during the morning. An afternoon of rain curtailed any further outdoor activity; however, from the comfort of the car, the wintering Common Sandpiper was seen feeding on the slipway by the lifeboat station on Mudeford Quay. The 5 Ruff were again seen at Stanpit today.

Late news. An incredible total of 99 Turnstone were on Avon Beach today, including 1 flock of 88. Although, strictly speaking, this is outside of the recording area, the birds would have been visible from within and almost certainly visit the sandspit.

January 21st

All records today are from a pleasantly warm afternoon, in spite of a north-westerly wind. A clockwise trip around Stanpit started with a Chiffchaff in the brambles approaching the Warden's Caravan. Stanpit Bight held 2 Ruff, 57 Black-tailed Godwit, a pair of Pintail and at least 10 Grey Plover, but there must surely be more. The Brent Goose gaggle was on Central Marsh and numbered 64 birds, including colour-ringed male 8C and 5 first-winter birds. At the same time, over on Wick Meads, 147 Black-tailed Godwit were present, meaning over 200 birds were in the area today. Further downriver, in Wick Hams, 2 Water Rail were seen on the low tide.

January 20th

Only report is from a windswept Stanpit, where a quick lunchtime excursion produced 65 or so Brent Goose and a tiding of 14 Magpie along the edge of the North Scrubs.

January 19th

In a cold, westerly wind, divers were very conspicuous with 9 Red-throated Diver and 2 Black-throated Diver being seen from the Beach Huts this morning. Direction of movement was apparently random, but not for Great-crested Grebe, as 7 were recorded heading east. Other seabirds were sparse, just 2 Razorbill and 9 auk sp. west, and single Common Scoter and Gannet. A Kingfisher was by the relatively unusual location of the Lily Pond and the drake Gadwall was by Barn Bight.

January 18th

A very cold day with the south-west wind being uncharacteristically biting. A brief look from Fisherman's Bank this morning revealed the 5 Ruff are still on East Marsh. The only other report is of a Raven over Hengistbury.

January 17th

A stiff south-westerly breeze promised some more reward from the sea, but, despite a 90 minute watch, things were fairly quiet. Movement was tending to the west with 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 9 Razorbill, 2 Guillemot and 2 Great-crested Grebe being recorded. More varied in their direction were Gannet, with 12 west and 9 east, also 28 auk sp. Only other interest was a drake Gadwall on Wick Hams.

January 16th

Firstly, please look back to yesterday for some interesting late news. This morning was similar to yesterday and, again, the sea was watched. The early shift from the Beach Huts produced 1 Black-throated Diver from the east that then landed on the sea. There is definitely a lingering bird. Also 2 Red-throated Diver, 1 east and 1 on the sea. A slightly later shift, commencing 10:30, involved a beach walk and produced even more divers. A couple of Black-throated Diver moved east together, as did 21 Red-throated Diver, while a Great-northern Diver was on the sea off Double Dykes. All birds were seeming to move in an easterly direction, including a group of 4 Eider that contained 1 drake, a drake Pochard, 11 Common Scoter, 2 Razorbill, 42 auk sp. and 1 Great-crested Grebe. The remaining highlights from that side of the harbour were a Bullfinch in trees by Holloway's Dock, the same area as one a week or so ago, and the now regular 3 Goldeneye and 3 Gadwall in Barn Bight. From Stanpit, there were 2 Ruff on East Marsh, but 3 were seen in flight from Hengistbury, equating to the wintering quintet. Also of interest were 2, but maybe 3, Grey Wagtail in the Monkswell Green and Recreation Ground areas. More usual suspects numbered 1600 Lapwing, 400 Dunlin, 90 Brent Goose, 56 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Grey Plover and 3 Shoveler. Not put off by the recent scrub clearance, a Dartford Warbler is wintering on Crouch Hill.

January 15th

Not a morning to miss, unfortunately, some did! The early morning rain separated the men from the boys, but those that made it to the Beach Huts were well rewarded. After his gap year, Roger Howell made a surprise return and was immediately rewarded with a harbour lifer, as a Slavonian Grebe was seen drifting east offshore. After 10 years, this species also finally made it onto my harbour list! Prior to this, the sea had produced some other gems: firstly, a Red-necked Grebe seen flying east, followed shortly by a group of 5 Scaup heading in the same direction. Divers were also plentiful with all 3 species being recorded, but with no clear direction of movement. These included, 15 Red-throated Diver, 3 Great-northern Diver and 1 Black-throated Diver. Also of interest at sea, were 10 Kittiwake, 30 Snipe seen arriving in the harbour, 12 Shelduck west, 20 Gannet, a female-type Red-breasted Merganser, above average numbers of roving Brent Goose and a steady trickle of auk in both directions. The 3 Goldeneye were again seen in Barn Bight and a Great-spotted Woodpecker was by the Nursery. At least 3 Purple Sandpiper were on the Sandspit this morning and over 10 Turnstone were roosting there this afternoon, along with 48 Ringed Plover. Today's sightings indicate there has been some kind of displacement of birds, perhaps caused by recent conditions. Please also check back to yesterday for some interesting late counts from Stanpit. Finally, a big thank you to Shaun Robson for a very entertaining talk last night, it brought back many memories.

Late news. Stanpit was visited around lunchtime with the highlights being a Merlin causing panic over East Marsh, 1 drake Pochard in Parky Meade Rail and 25 Pintail west over Crouch Hill. The 11 Canada Goose were still on Priory Marsh, please leave soon, and Brent Goose were counted at 77 and Black-tailed Godwit at circa 150. However, the day's most impressive count comes from Hengistbury, where 60 Turnstone were roosting on the Sandspit, a quite exceptional total for the area. Also there, 6 Purple Sandpiper and 65 Ringed Plover. Finally, a dog flushed 11 Snipe from the Salt Hurns.

January 14th

A lovely clear morning, which turned out to be fairly quiet bird-wise. This morning on Hengistbury a Chiffchaff was closeby the Nursery and a couple of rock Pipit were reported from their usual haunts on the Sandspit. Looking toward Stanpit, 3 Shoveler, 2 drake and 1 duck, could be seen; while 5 Snipe and 2 Gadwall were around, and 2 Goldeneye and 2 Little Grebe were in, Barn Bight.

Late news from Stanpit. A commendable, detailed count was carried out this morning with the highlight being a Brent Goose arrival which contained a colour-ringed bird thought to be our friend 8C. Although the rings couldn't be read, the colour combination ties in. Assuming it is the same bird, it was first recorded at Stanpit in December 2002, into 2003 and then throughout the first quarter of 2004. It is a male bird and was ringed as an adult on its breeding grounds in the Taymyr Delta, Siberia, on July 11th 1989. Since then, the bird has mainly been seen on the Waddensee in Holland and occasionally in France. If you see him, please let us know. In total, the Brent Goose gaggle numbered 204 birds. Other figures are: 75 Black-tailed Godwit, 153 Teal, 11 Canada Goose (let's hope their tenure here is only temporary), 7 Shelduck, 307 Wigeon, a good count of 89 Snipe and over 200 Dunlin.

January 13th

Despite a slight overnight frost and temperatures just above freezing the combination of sunshine and not a breathe of wind made for very pleasant 'almost springlike' conditions this morning. The birds were certainly fooled with at least 4 Song Thrush singing on Stanpit and another 3 on Wick. Another very high tide pushed the birds from East Marsh to Central Marsh where by late morning there was an excellent count of 187 Black-tailed Godwit. Earlier 34 Grey Plover and 3 Ruff were on East Marsh. On the fringes of Priory Marsh were 2 Jack Snipe and the 14 Canada Geese were still present; 2 Grey Wagtail were also seen. A Bullfinch flew over the Golf Course where 7 Rook were on the ground. At Hengistbury a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew north out of the Nursery, 3 Little Grebe and 1 Great Crested Grebe were in Barn Bight and a Kingfisher was on Wick Hams.

January 12th

A complete contrast in the weather with sunshine and clear blue sky for much of the morning although a strong south-westerly continued to blow. The 2 Raven were once again over the coastguards mid-morning. On Wick Hams 2 drake Gadwall were amongst the Wigeon flock and both Great Crested and Little Grebe were in Barn Bight. Another Great Crested Grebe moved west at sea, also seen were 35 Kittiwake, 15 Gannet, 6 Razorbill and a further 25 unidentified auk. Finally there was a lone Purple Sandpiper on the groynes.

January 11th

This morning's exceptionally high tide meant that much of Stanpit was under water. Hence many of the wintering waders and wildfowl had left although there were still good numbers of Lapwing present. These birds together with a few Dunlin and the odd Grey Plover had been pushed off their usual roosts on South Marsh and East Marsh and were scattered along the river bank. On the river the pair of Goldeneye was still present, also 2 Little Grebe and just 1 Great Crested Grebe. A brief sea watch produced one each of both Red-throated Diver and Black-throated Diver plus 5 Kittiwake and 5 Razorbill. All the birds were moving west. Off Mudeford Quay this afternoon 45 Turnstone including one flock of 40 birds headed towards the sandspit - a further 14 birds were on the shingle on Avon Beach.

January 10th

The strong south-westerlies accompanied by pulses of heavy rain continued throughout the day so once again the sea was the only option this morning. Between 9&10am a Red-throated Diver was on the sea just off groyne S1 whilst 2 more moved west. There was also a Guillemot on the sea close in shore. Also moving west were 31 Kittiwake, 18 Razorbill, another dozen or so unidentified auk, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Guillemot and a lone Common Scoter.

January 9th

The wind persisted from the south-west this morning, gathering strength throughout the day and bringing heavy rain by mid-afternoon. On Hengistbury, just after daybreak, a pair of Raven was seen tumbling over the head and then heading off, presumably north. Around the same time, 5 cock Pheasant were feeding together on Wick Fields. Water birds make up the remainder of the report and, as this was a WeBS day, they received some detailed attention. First the interesting stuff. As a result of yesterday's arrivee, the Goldeneye flock is now up to 3 birds, 1 drake and 2 female-types, however, this is well down on the annual norm of 10 or so. There is still a hill of 5 Ruff on East Marsh, also a single drake Pintail there; while a Gadwall was on Wick Hams, 6 Canada Goose were on Priory Marsh and 1 Purple Sandpiper was on the tip of the Sandspit, the latter viewable from Mudeford Quay. Generally, common bird numbers are pretty much average, the exception being Brent Goose and Coot, which numbered 79 and 202 respectively, both low figures. Selected totals from the count go like this: 1600 Lapwing, 440 Wigeon, 425 Dunlin, 150 Teal, 112 Black-tailed Godwit, 70 Ringed Plover, 34 Grey Plover, 25 Snipe, 9 Shelduck, 2 each of Great-crested Grebe and Little Grebe, and 1 Kingfisher. Some later news from Hengistbury, where there were 12 Purple Sandpiper just east of groyne S13. Also, 20+ Gannet and 2 Guillemot at sea, and a Pheasant calling in the Wood.

January 8th

Yesterday's south-westerly wind gusted throughout the night and into the morning, raising expectations for a good winter seawatch. As the Saturday crew hot-footed it through the Wood, the phrase, "there could be anything out there," was heard and the list of anticipated birds grew, petrels and skuas to name just a couple. How disappointed we were! It was a case of quantity over quality with well over a hundred distant Kittiwake and Gannet constantly on view, as they moved west. The only real pedigree was a Black-throated Diver, seen briefly before appearing to land on the sea and thereby adding further substance to yesterday's postulation. A single Purple Sandpiper flew past the Beach Huts towards the end of the Sandspit and, slightly later, 7 were seen there from Mudeford Quay. Other birds at seam were 40 or so auk, mainly Razorbill, and 1 Great-crested Grebe. There were 2 more of these in Barn Bight and 2 drake Pintail were seen to come up off Stanpit. At Stanpit this afternoon, there were 5 Ruff on East Marsh, over 60 Black-tailed Godwit and 21 Grey Plover. A late afternoon walk from Wick Field to Hengistbury added some late interest to the day. There were frequent small groups of Black-tailed Godwit at various points, but the main flock was 80 birds feeding on the flooded Wick Fields, along with a Ruff. A female-type Goldeneye was seen arriving in the harbour from over the Beach Huts. Late news from Stanpit: 5 Ruff and 1 Water Pipit.

January 7th

The wind really picked up during the night and, by morning, caused quite a sea swell. Consequently, it was the water that received the attention. Another Black-throated Diver was seen from the Beach Huts, today going west. The sightings are, currently, almost daily, making one wonder if there is a lingering bird; a theory given weight by records of a bird on the water. There was reasonable count of Red-throated Diver, a total of 9 birds moving west. Also heading in that direction, were 18 very close Kittiwake, 55 Razorbill, 25 Guillemot, 40 unidentified large auk, 26 Gannet and 1 Great-crested Grebe. There were 5 Common Scoter seen, but only 3 birds may have been involved. From Holloway's Dock, 14 Black-tailed Godwit is an interesting winter record. They normally only use that area on passage.

January 6th

Even less to mention about the weather than yesterday. Today's star bird was a male Bullfinch sat in the open by the pool at the end of Hengistbury. The sea was disappointing, just 2 Guillemot west, however, the pair of Goldeneye and 2 Great-crested Grebe were again in Barn Bight. The 5 wintering Ruff are still on East Marsh at Stanpit, along with 61 Black-tailed Godwit there. Only other point of interest is 2 Little Grebe on the river.

January 5th

Again very little change in the weather and, again, a Redwing passage could be heard over Two Riversmeet last night. Hengistbury provided another good diver selection with all 3 species being recorded. A Black-throated, in the company of a Red-throated Diver, went west, while a Great-northern Diver and a further Red-throated Diver headed independently east. Also 10 Gannet recorded during the watch. Slightly earlier, a male Peregrine had spent some time terrorising the Teal in Wick Hams. On Stanpit, a single Chiffchaff was in reeds by Parky Meade Rail, and 4 Rock Pipit and a Dartford Warbler were close to the Warden's Caravan. Brent Goose were at a low count of 50 and similar numbers of Black-tailed Godwit were noted. This afternoon, a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull was on the shingle bank off Mudeford Quay.

January 4th

Sheltering in the lee of Beach Huts from a cold north-westerly wind made for a rewarding 90 minute seawatch this morning. A Velvet Scoter was watched sitting on the water for 10 minutes, before moving on west. Other quality birds going west included: 1 Black-throated Diver, a flock of 3 Pochard, 1 Red-throated Diver and a group of 5 Kittiwake, which contained 1 heavily oiled, first-winter bird. More expected species were 17 Guillemot, 6 Razorbill, 6 auk sp., 3 Common Scoter and 1 Gannet, again all heading west, but 9 Brent Goose did go east. Water Rail were very conspicuous today, 2 flew across the path from the wooded area at the end of the head into Holloway's Dock, and another bird crossed the path from the Long Field into Barn Bight. Something which may suggest a small influx. A couple of Great-crested Grebe were in Barn Bight, while a further bird was on the sea. At midday, 4 Purple Sandpiper were seen flying around The Run, before settling on the sea wall.

January 3rd

No change in the weather of the last day of a long Christmas break. All three areas of the harbour received some attention this morning. From Hengistbury, presumably the same Black-throated Diver as yesterday was on the sea off the Beach Huts, along with a Razorbill. Seen flying west were single Kittiwake, Gannet and Goldeneye. From the Point House Cafe, the Great-northern Diver was again present, also a Guillemot, but just 5 Great-crested Grebe today. There were also 2 very vocal Raven in the Nursery. Stanpit again held 5 Ruff on East Marsh, a Water Pipit with Rock Pipit by the Warden's Caravan, 1 Jack Snipe in Central Marsh and a pair of Pintail on the tip of South Marsh. The Black-tailed Godwit gathering on Wick Fields today numbered 122 birds. Interestingly, as yesterday, a Ruff was with them, it now seems there are 6 birds in the area. Also from Wick, a single Chiffchaff and 3 Pheasant. Later news, there were 4 Purple Sandpiper on groyne S1 on the Sandspit.

January 2nd

In fairly accommodating conditions, clear skies with a wind varying between south-west and north--west, another keenly contested bird race was fought out. The winning team scored with 88 species, while second place came in with 80. Most important, however, was the harbour year list reaching 92. There were no particular highlights to the day, instead a good selection of standard winter fayre. Following is a brief recount, for once, in something approaching systematic order. All 3 diver species made it on to the list, with a Black-throated Diver on the sea off the Sandspit, a flyby Red-throated Diver and a Great-northern on the water off the Point House Café. There were 4 Great-crested Grebe in the harbour and, seemingly mundane, but good for the area, a single Canada Goose. A good variety of wildfowl was seen, best being a single Pochard, also many Pintail scared out of the Avon Valley by shooting, 3 Gadwall and a couple of Shoveler. At sea, 3 Common Scoter went past and a pair of Goldeneye were viewable from Whitethroat Corner. The many Lapwing were again joined by 4 Ruff, but also today a single Golden Plover. Jack Snipe were present in Central Marsh and the wintering Common Sandpiper was on Fisherman's Bank. Gull of the day was an adult, winter-plumaged Kittiwake that flew into the harbour over the Beach House Café, also 2 Purple Sandpiper on groynes in the same area. A pre-dawn start on Wick Fields got the year's first owl, Little Owl, onto the list and, much later in the day, a Grey Wagtail was over Smithy's Field. More thrushes on the move this morning, as many Redwing were heard over Wick Fields while it was still dark and, a little later, 20 or so Fieldfare overflew the Stanpit Recreation Ground. At least 8 Chiffchaff were around the area and Coal Tit was in the Wood. Finally, a pair of Raven were seen over Stanpit and 97 Brent goose were spread across the marsh.

January 1st

The New Year broke to the sounds of a heavy Redwing passage. During the hours before and after twelve, in mild conditions, a constant movement could be heard over both Wick and Stanpit Villages. One can only conjecture that many hundreds must have passed over the harbour. A few Song Thrush could also be heard. In general, it was a low-key start to 2005, with all the action being planned for tomorrow. One particular highlight, however, was a gathering of 40 Great-crested Grebe on the sea west of the Point House Café. Apparently, numbers have recently been increasing steadily, but this figure represents a significant jump. Also seen off there were Red-throated Diver and Great-northern Diver, along with 9 Brent Goose east. The rising tide as Stanpit this morning provided all the usual suspects. Notables were 2 Ruff on East Marsh, 1 drake Goldeneye in the main navigation channel and 2 Turnstone on Blackberry Point. This afternoon, as the weather closed in and the south-westerly wind strengthened, a visit to Wick Fields showed the Black-tailed Godwit flock to comprise 152 birds, also recorded there were Chiffchaff and Pheasant.

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