Sightings for December 2006

December 31st

The end of CHOG's fiftieth year with hopefully many more to come. This morning, after a night of torrential rain, the clouds held and allowed a jaunt to the Beach Huts, where in a southerly gale and over a 90 minute vigil, it was something of singles game. The following individuals moved west: 1 adult Little Gull, 1 Kittiwake, 1 Gannet, 1 Curlew and 1 Guillemot. A solitary Red-breasted Merganser went east and a rather poorly looking Razorbill was being battered by the tideline surf. At least the Purple Sandpiper were in multiples, with 3 around groynes S1 to S3. Earlier, on the walk to the sea, a Redwing was seen over the Common; but there was more thrush interest on Stanpit, where 2 Mistle Thrush were briefly in the North Scrubs, before heading towards the Golf Course. Pied Wagtail numbers have been building up on Crouch Hill and 17 were counted today, along with 111 Brent Goose, 49 Dunlin, 3 Grey Plover and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit about the marsh. Late this afternoon, a Great-northern Diver was close off Mudeford Quay and 40 Turnstone entered the harbour via the Run. In recent weeks, there has been a flock of 120 Turnstone at Friar's Cliff, which is a few hundred meters east of the recording area.

December 30th

The Whitethroat put in a lengthy appearance today, from 1:00 to 1:30 at least. The bird, thought to be a first-winter male, was first seen in gorse close to the dog waste bin (sorry for that, but it's the only viable marker) by the Wooden Bridge on Wick. Initially, it showed very well, but was eventually forced into cover by a rain shower. As a result of the heavy, overnight blow, the Beach Huts were well attended this morning, when one of this year's listers finally caught up with Little Gull. In fact, 2 adult birds headed west, along with a Red-throated Diver and a Guillemot. A Grey Plover arrived from further east, 5 Purple Sandpiper were on the groynes and a Great-crested Grebe drifted by on the tide. A Firecrest, 3 Redwing and the Nuthatch were all seen in the Wood. The latter disappeared into a crevice and as it did so gave a short alarm call. This was followed by a Blue Tit acting very aggressively at the entrance to the hole. A minute or so passed and provoked speculation that perhaps a lurking Weasel or Squirrel had just seen off the Nuthatch. However, it then reappeared with a grub and immediately proceeded to give the watching Blue Tit a serious mauling. A drake and brownhead Goldeneye were in Barn Bight, as was a Kingfisher; and a Peregrine hunting over Stanpit flushing hundreds of Lapwing and 2 Black-tailed Godwit.

December 29th

The frequent showers made seawatching difficult this morning, however, just after lunch, a Hengistbury beach walk saw a Great Skua heading east. Seemingly in contrast to some other sites in Dorset, the number of wintering Chiffchaff inside the recording area appears to be slightly above average. For example, at least 6 birds were in the hedge along Smithy's Field late this morning. Only other interest comes from 7 Bar-tailed Godwit inside the harbour by the approach road to Mudeford Quay.

December 28th

Wick Fields once more takes the leading spot, as an extremely unseasonal Whitethroat was twice seen by the Wooden Bridge. Apparently, there have also been recent records from Hampshire and Devon. After a few days retreat, the Nuthatch showed well on a couple of occasions by the Double Bends - for the in denial, local year-listers (you know who you are), it could be worth making an effort to bag that on Monday. The sea was a little quieter than yesterday, with 2 Red-throated Diver and a Guillemot west, and 1 Great-northern Diver east. A total of 15 Turnstone were along the harbour shore and, as usual, Barn Bight held a couple of Gadwall and a Great-crested Grebe, as well as a lone Black-tailed Godwit. There were a further 13 of these on Stanpit in the afternoon, including a colour-ringed bird, for which we should soon have details. Also at Stanpit, 50 or so Dunlin, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Turnstone. The Lapwing peaked at 1000 in the morning, before leaving for the Burton fields, but most had returned by dusk. After yesterday's gull count, it was interesting to note that some of the flyways used 24 hours previously were empty tonight. Clearly, further work is needed - if one has the enthusiasm?!

Additional news: a couple of Pintail and a Kingfisher were around Barn Bight.

December 27th

Quite a bit to report upon today, not least an organised gull census this evening that saw over 5000 Black-headed Gull and 1500 Herring Gull arrive from the Avon and Stour Valleys during an 80 minute spell. Further details will be put together more formally over the next few days. For a change, why not start on Wick, where a Yellowhammer circled the end of the Driving Range and then plummeted into the bushes, also a Chiffchaff there. On Hengistbury, there was quite a Redwing presence, with 9 about the end of the head and others heard from deep within the Nursery. A walk along the Beach was particularly productive - 9 Red-throated Diver and 3 Great-northern Diver being recorded, most of these on the sea. Also on the water, a couple of Eider and 10 Razorbill, while 4 more Eider, 30 auk sp. and 5 Common Scoter passed by east, and 2 Great-crested Grebe went west. Along the inner edge of the sandspit and, then as the tide receded, on the Flats were: 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, 30 Ringed Plover, 11 Turnstone and 7 Ringed Plover; and a couple more Bar-tailed Godwit were in Barn Bight, as was a pair of Gadwall. At five past ten, presumably just as a shoot commenced in the Avon Valley, at least 200 Wigeon went over high and onto the sea, along with 9 Pintail and a Shoveler. Also seeking sanctuary were 300 or so Black-tailed Godwit, at least 170 of these making use of the HHC sandbar, the others being in Stanpit Bight. This afternoon, a male and female Peregrine were jointly chasing waders around Stanpit, perhaps a pair bonding action, as they seemed to allow the potential prey to escape all too easily. Finally, a diver sp., 9 Dunlin and a Great-crested Grebe were seen from Mudeford Quay tonight.

December 26th

Stanpit was a busy place this morning with many walkers blowing away yesterday's cobwebs. Despite the increased traffic, some Bar-tailed Godwit are still preferring to feed on Crouch Hill, along with the more expected Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit. The total Bar-tailed Godwit count is somewhere between 17 and 19 birds, which is a reasonable winter total. A Ruff on South Marsh was probably the marsh highlight, but there were also 9 Grey Plover, 146 Brent Goose, 122 Dunlin, 3 Turnstone and 1 Ringed Plover; while singles of Black-tailed Godwit and Pintail obviously haven't realised there are hundreds more of each enjoying the floods just 3 or 4 miles to the north. At least 1, but possibly 2, Kingfisher were again active on the southern edge of Parky Meade Rail. The only other news involves Wick Fields, where there was an overflying Fieldfare early on.

Omission: a Turnstone was on the beach at Whitepits.  

December 25th

The Christmas Day started with a light drizzle, which was coaxed along by a chilly easterly breeze that could hopefully move some things around over the next few days. As it was, today, Stanpit contained the normal numbers of Brent Goose and Wigeon; also at least 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, again feeding on Crouch Hill, while 100 or so Dunlin and 12 Grey Plover were on East Marsh. A Kingfisher was spending its time along the path by Parky Meade Rail, perching for times on the small wooden footbridges.

Additional news: on a crowded Hengistbury, a single Purple Sandpiper was on the sandspit and a Great-crested Grebe was in Barn Bight; and a Grey Wagtail and "some" Redwing were heard on Wick Fields.

December 24th

Starting where we eventually finished yesterday, that is Wick Fields, where there was a single flock of 28 Redwing this morning. This possibly ties in with thousands that now seem to have arrived in the New Forest. Also a couple of Bullfinch on Wick. Elsewhere around the area, it's waders that mainly feature. A single Knot on Stanpit was behaving strangely; rather than keeping to the mud, it was feeding with 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and some Oystercatcher on Crouch Hill. In fact, there was a nice total of 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, also 13 Grey Plover and 2 Turnstone. It just goes to show what a difference an hour can make, as two visits spaced that far apart produced 47 and 175 Dunlin respectively. Clearly, birds had arrived from somewhere within a relatively short space of time. The sandspit held a healthy total of 42 Ringed Plover, but also 5 Purple Sandpiper, as well as a 3 Grey Plover and 4 Turnstone. The Wood contained just a few Goldcrest and a Great-spotted Woodpecker.

December 23rd

Biggest surprise of the day was the discovery of a Cattle Egret in the Wick Field by the Wooden Bridge this morning. It later flew to an obscured field, which could possibly be viewed from Christchurch Quay. Of course, the discussion is whether it is the bird that was last seen on October 10th, or another? In a cold northerly breeze, the rest of the report comes from Hengistbury, where it was actually quite lively at sea, as over 100 auks passed east into The Solent. Of these, only a handful could be specifically identified and these were Razorbill. Also a group of 7 Eider that contained a young drake east; a total of 6 Red-breasted Merganser, one group of 5 redheads and a further single bird; and 4 Red-throated Diver. There was a single Black-tailed Godwit on Wick Hams, while a party of 9 Bar-tailed Godwit circled over Stanpit. A female-type Goldeneye was in Barn Bight, as were 5 Gadwall.

Additional news: a Little Owl was very vocal around the Driving Range at Wick just after 7:00 tonight.

December 22nd

The fog cleared today and prompted some excursions into the field, from where it was mainly woodland species, waders and some finches that provided the interest. On Hengistbury, the Firecrest and Nuthatch were again seen in the Wood this morning, along with 6 Goldcrest. An adult Common Sandpiper along Fisherman's Bank could well be the bird that has spent the last three winters in the area, while the Avocet from Wednesday was still favouring the tip of South Marsh. Linnet is a rare winter bird in the recording area, so a couple in the North Scrubs with a Reed Bunting is particularly noteworthy. Also well worth mentioning is the discovery of a 500+ flock of Black-tailed Godwit in the Avon Valley, admittedly north of the recording area, but clearly the origin of the recent large flocks in the harbour. Back to the official zone and 4 Shoveler, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Grey Plover and a single Ringed Plover were around Stanpit Bight; and a Kingfisher and Water Rail frequented Barn Bight. Although no seasonal, local bird race has been formally planned, it always pays to be cautious - so the site that held 2 Mistle Thrush this afternoon will just be documented as, "somewhere between Mudeford and Stanpit."

December 21st

The daylight was even shorter than expected, thanks to a constant blanket of fog. A trip to Hengistbury managed just a single Song Thrush over Wick Fields, which, given that the visibility was barely 10 meters, was quite an achievement.

December 20th

Although the air temperature was not far above freezing, the lack of wind made a mid-morning visit to Stanpit more than tolerable. The pleasant conditions were complemented by some new arrivals, not least an Avocet resting at the tip of South Marsh and a single Knot associating with 33 Dunlin. Pairs of Shoveler and Pintail were also welcomed, and the Shelduck increased to 10 birds. After disappearing earlier in the week, Bar-tailed Godwit made a comeback, with 13 being the day total; also 15 Grey Plover, 1 Turnstone and 1 Ringed Plover. The Brent Goose were counted at 132 and a single Great-crested Grebe was just off Rushy Piece. Some reports for yesterday have now been received.

December 19th

The whole recording area was blanketed by impenetrable fog until at least 11:00, meaning no observations could be made, despite a valiant attempt at Hengistbury.

Late news from Hengistbury: a Red-throated Diver flew close by the end of the head and a drake Goldeneye could be seen inside the harbour. There were 2 Grey Plover and a single Dunlin on the beach, while 2 Gadwall, a Little Grebe and a Kingfisher were in the Barn Bight area.

December 18th

There is only an afternoon visit to Stanpit/Mudeford upon which to report, where the most interest was provided by at least 5 Chiffchaff flycatching from the brambles on the golf course bank. Wader variety was greatly down; for example, neither species of godwit could be located and only 11 Grey Plover were with the 100 or so Dunlin in Stanpit Bight. The Brent Goose favoured Central Marsh and numbered 91 with 3 first-winters included. In total, 28 Common Gull were pre-roost bathing inside the harbour, while a subsequent trip to Mudeford Quay saw 4450 Black-headed Gull stream over the sandspit and out to sea in the 25 minutes after 4:00.

December 17th

An absolutely glorious, still and clear morning made the WeBS count an unusually pleasant experience. In general, however, numbers are a noticeably lower than last month. This is probably largely due to the recent flooding in the Avon Valley, which is making that habitat more attractive for some ducks and waders. In particular, Lapwing, Wigeon and Black-tailed Godwit were all well down, with 692, 471, and 3 respectively, being the totals. General highlights for the day include the now regular, adult male Peregrine hunting around Stanpit Bight. Its technique, rather than the traditional high level stoop on to an unwary pigeon, seems to be to encourage as many birds as possible onto the wing and then chase the slowest, usually a Lapwing. This action persuaded a Ruff to leave: while, on the sandspit, there were 4 Purple Sandpiper and 16 Ring Plover; a Chiffchaff was on Stanpit Golf Course and 2 Gadwall were on East Marsh. At least 3 Kingfisher were recorded, one settled around Fisherman's Bank, and others at Priory Marsh and Barn Bight, where the Goldeneye was still present. Of the remaining waders, the most notable were 10 Bar-tailed Godwit and a now reduced 8 Grey Plover. The commoner species counts include: 418 Coot, 125 Dunlin, 117 Brent Goose, but only 3 first-winters, 115 Teal, 79 Mallard, 28 Little Egret, 12 Snipe and 5 Shelduck. Stop press: a drake Goosander was in Stanpit Bight around lunchtime.

December 16th

Presumably what was "the" Spotted Redshank was seen on East Marsh, Stanpit, this morning. It's amazing how a bird can apparently remain, but not be detected for so long - November 19th being its last appearance. Also a Ruff in the same area and 8 Bar-tailed Godwit. From Hengistbury, 19 Grey Plover were seen inside the harbour, along with 3 more on the sandspit, accompanied by 35 Ringed Plover and 1 Purple Sandpiper. The Firecrest was again seen in the Wood, to the right of the main path around 30m beyond the Double Bends, while 2 Chiffchaff and 2 Dartford Warbler were feeding around the southern end of the Beach Huts. During the first half-hour of daylight, Redwing and Fieldfare were calling constantly from Wick Fields, but only 1 of the former and 2 of the latter were actually seen. The continuing mild weather encouraged 2 Great-crested Grebe to put on a display in Barn Bight, where there was a total of 6 birds, plus 4 Little Grebe and a female-type Goldeneye. A relaxed seawatch produced just 1 Red-throated Diver, 2 Common Scoter and a single Great-crested Grebe.

Additional news: there was a very grey Chiffchaff in the conifer clump on Stanpit Golf Course this morning.

December 15th

Both Hengistbury and Stanpit were visited this morning, which is surprisingly good and welcome coverage for a Friday. Starting at the south: a couple of Chiffchaff and Redwing were at the end of the head; while there were 10 Purple Sandpiper, 43 Dunlin, 18 Ringed Plover and 4 Grey Plover in the area of groynes S9 and S10. Moving north, there were also reasonable wader numbers on Stanpit, including 60 Dunlin, 24 Grey Plover, 22 Ringed Plover, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, just 3 Black-tailed Godwit (see addition to yesterday's post) and 2 Turnstone. Other interest came from a drake Pintail and 10 Common Gull. From double-century numbers earlier in the season, the Brent Goose have settled back to a more expected 135 or so.

December 14th

A couple of hours at the Beach Huts produced a Red-throated Diver west, also a group of 3 Great-northern Diver east and a further bird settled on the water. A Kittiwake lingered briefly, but then moved on; and out of 5 auk sp. passing west, there was one certain Guillemot, while other unassigned birds included 2 diver sp. A couple of Redwing passed over Hengistbury this morning and a bird moved over Two Riversmeet after dark tonight. Finally, Barn Bight held the single Great-crested Grebe. The present neap tide should make a Stanpit visit worthwhile at any time tomorrow.

Additional news: as earlier in the week, there were a large number of Black-tailed Godwit at Stanpit in the afternoon. These 300 or so made an impressive sight as they were spooked by a Peregrine, before settling in Stanpit Bight, where there were also 25 Grey Plover, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit and a female-type Goldeneye. Of 4 the Chiffchaff in Smithy's Field, one was of Scandinavian origin.

December 13th

What a difference a day makes! Stanpit was stuffed full of waders this afternoon. Most notable was an influx of Grey Plover, with 20 on the marsh and a further 4 past the sandspit. Also on Stanpit, 1 or 2 Ruff on East Marsh (check back to yesterday for some extra Ruff news), and a good winter count of 9 Bar-tailed Godwit in Stanpit Bight, along with 96 Dunlin and the 5 Shelduck. Highlights from Hengistbury were a showy Firecrest by the Double Bends and a group of 10 Purple Sandpiper on groyne S8. At sea, single Kittiwake and Red-throated Diver went west, while Barn Bight held a Little Grebe and a Great-crested Grebe.

Additional news: in the morning, there were 12 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Ruff on Stanpit, and a Peregrine was seen to take a Lapwing back to The Priory, then left north up the Valley.

December 12th

Numbers at Stanpit seemed strangely low today. For example, just 4 or 5 Dunlin, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Ringed Plover providing the wader interest. Brent Goose were also reduced, at 134 birds, but Shelduck have risen to 5 individuals, while a Chiffchaff was in Stanpit Scrubs. Just 1 Great-crested Grebe could be seen inside the harbour and a Little Grebe was in Barn Bight. Strangely for the winter, a couple of Mute Swan were on the sea off Hengistbury. Check back to yesterday for a good Turnstone count.

Additional news: 3 Ruff were on Priory Marsh in the afternoon .

December 11th

A heavy overnight blow and constant drizzle inspired the inevitable, hopeful trip to the Beach Huts, where daylight was still struggling to impose itself at 8:30. Despite the effort, the returns were disappointing, just 4 Kittiwake, 3 Common Scoter and 2 Guillemot, all west, upon which to remark. A Purple Sandpiper was just in front of the huts and a Chiffchaff made a cameo appearance by the seawatcher's feet, before disappearing back into the vegetation.

Additional news: an impressive 67 Turnstone were on the sandspit, seen from Mudeford Quay, during the morning.

December 10th

Last year, during December, there were no new birds for the year-list; but in 2006, for the second Sunday in succession, a further addition was made. An adult Ring-billed Gull was watched for some time on the morning's rising tide off South Marsh, Stanpit, but couldn't subsequently be refound; although the efforts did produce a nice count of 16 Common Gull. There were quite a few locally interesting wildfowl about the area throughout the day. Inside the harbour, there were single Red-breasted Merganser and Tufted Duck, along with 3 Pintail. All these were adult drakes, making the tuftie a different bird to yesterday. A pair of Red-breasted Merganser were also seen to leave over Wick and, at sea, a flock of 14 Eider headed east. Perhaps the strangest sight of the day was a group of 3 Coot on the sea just off the Beach Huts! Single Firecrest and Chiffchaff were on Hengistbury, where there were also 6 Purple Sandpiper on the Long Groyne and 2 Great-crested Grebe in Barn Bight. Shelduck have been absent for a while, but are now starting to trickle back with a couple of birds around Stanpit Bight, along with 4 Shoveler, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 41 Dunlin, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Ringed Plover in the same area. After the recent storms, the Beach is a comber's paradise with thousands of Cuttlefish bones, a few clumps of Goose Barnacle and many Oyster shells washed up along the more advanced than normal strandline.

December 9th

Firstly, a very big thank you to our speaker of last night, Richard Coomber, for his fascinating talk about some of the birds of the extreme North Pacific. Also a big thank you to all of you who attended, it was good to see some old faces again. A clear night and dawn sparked a small thrush and pigeon movement. Around 530 Wood Pigeon moved south-west over Stanpit Golf Course and small numbers of obvious migrants were heading out to sea over Hengistbury. At least 35 Redwing moved north over the recording area, as did 5 Song Thrush and 2 Fieldfare. Somewhat conversely, both Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush were singing, the latter from the vicinity of The Priory. Another surprise mover were Chaffinch, with a total of 72 west over Stanpit, where a Merlin also passed north, and 2 Chiffchaff and 2 Bullfinch were in Smithy's Field. Meanwhile, on Hengistbury, there are still 4 unseasonal Chiffchaff around the pool at the end of the head. A walk along the Beach was extremely pleasant, but not particularly bird filled. A couple of Guillemot and a single Razorbill were on the sea, and a Purple Sandpiper was on the Long Groyne. Inside the harbour, a Tufted Duck was in Barn Bight, along with now 4 Great-crested Grebe and 3 Little Grebe. Today's Kingfisher sighting comes courtesy of a bird hovering above the reeds at Rushy Piece.

Additional news: a drake Goldeneye was in Stanpit Bight during the afternoon.

December 8th

Happy 50th Birthday CHOG. After a few days of seaborne entertainment, it was back to normal this morning, with just 2 Red-breasted Merganser west being the only notables. A single Chiffchaff was at the end of the head, perhaps lingering from last weekend; also a Firecrest in the Wood, as was the Nuthatch. There were 3 Great-crested Grebe in Barn Bight, a Little Grebe on the flooded Wick Hams and a Kingfisher toured that area. Looking forward to seeing many of you this evening.

December 7th

It was more of the same today, with the sea once again being the focus of attention, although the weather was nothing like as severe as anticipated. Just after first light 3 Leach's Petrel came out of the Solent heading west, with another 3 birds seen more than an hour later making it 6 in all. The supporting cast was fairly poor with just one each of Great Northern Diver and Red-throated Diver, 2 Razorbill and 3 Common Scoter, all moving west, then another Common Scoter and singles of Red-breasted Merganser, Great-crested Grebe and Kittiwake moving east. A Peregrine appeared to be hunting out at sea, possibly on Leach's Petrel? Finally, there was still a Firecrest in the wood. This afternoon, 3 Purple Sandpiper passed by Mudeford Quay towards the sandspit.

December 6th

On a much more settled day the sea, which was watched for most of the morning, produced a little quality, albeit very slowly! The first couple of hours after dawn saw just 6 Kittiwake and 2 Red-breasted Merganser west with a single Common Scoter east, while another Red-breasted Merganser flew into the harbour over the Run. A pair of Pintail came in from the east and settled briefly before heading out over the Common. Later in the morning, a Leach's Petrel, no doubt a straggler from yesterday's wreck, headed west; moving in the same direction were 2 Little Gull and a Velvet Scoter. There was a Brambling on Wick and also a Firecrest with another Firecrest in the woodland. Other oddities included a Jack Snipe flushed from the top of the Head soon after dawn and a Peregrine which arrived from the east. The 2 Great Crested Grebe were still in Barn Bight.

December 5th

After another wet and stormy night the sea was the only option this morning, but despite good numbers of Leach's Petrels to the west and a few to the east, a two hour vigil from the beach huts failed to deliver! Very little was seen, with just 9 Kittiwake, 2 Great Northern Diver, a single Gannet and a Razorbill all moving west. Groyne S2 held 8 Purple Sandpiper. From Mudeford Quay a flock of 60+ Turnstone entered the harbour over the Run while 9 Pintail arrived from the east. The regular Great Crested Grebe was joined by another bird in Barn Bight. Check yesterday's posting for some late news.

December 4th

A huge, birdless swell! That's how the sea was described this morning. Consequently, the only interest came from the Wood, where the Nuthatch and few Goldcrest were present, while a Fieldfare went over the Batters. A Kingfisher was around Barn Bight and a Great-spotted Woodpecker headed towards Wick. Apologies for the omissions to yesterday's report, they are now appended. Finally, if you are coming along on Friday, please note you will need to access the Regent's Centre by the back entrance, which is best accessed from the car park by the post office. Alternatively, there is a passage from the High Street.

Late afternoon: A ringtail Hen Harrier over Stanpit flushed 15 Shoveler probably off Central Marsh.

December 3rd

An incredibly wet and stormy night did not deter some hopeful searching for yesterday's gem, but to no avail. However, one visitor did get their reward, as a Leach's Petrel, the year's first, was seen being blown into the harbour over the Barn Field, before being lost to view in heavy rain as it headed towards Stanpit. Earlier, there had been the quite remarkable sight of 350-400 Black-tailed Godwit leaving high south-west, presumably to Poole Harbour, from where they must have made a brief excursion. It was quite a day for seabirds inside the harbour, as 2 Guillemot and a Razorbill, perhaps the first ever "interior" bird, were sheltering just off Rushy Piece, with the attendant large gulls licking their lips in anticipation. Also on the calmer waters were 5 Great-crested Grebe. There was a near miss out at sea, as 2 medium sized grebe eluded identification, but 2 adult Little Gull just off the Beach Huts, 7 Kittiwake and 1 Red-breasted Merganser were more certain entries in the notebook. There was another good Purple Sandpiper total from the sandspit, with 9 or 10 being noted today, also 15 Turnstone and a single Sanderling mixed in. On the high tide at Stanpit, the Brent Goose and Wigeon were widely scattered and not counted, but 150 Dunlin, 22 Ringed Plover, 18 Black-tailed Godwit and 22 Turnstone were. Other interest came from the single Knot and 6 Pintail, which were joined by a further 6 later in the day.

Omissions: a Firecrest was in the Wood and a Red-breasted Merganser was seen at Stanpit.

December 2nd

This morning enjoyed some relatively settled conditions after the turbulent last couple of weeks. The presence of 8 Chiffchaff, not normally recorded on Hengistbury during December, by the pool at the end of the head, raised the interest and it wasn't long before the main prize was located. A superb Pallas' Warbler showed well for many visitors throughout the morning and was still being bagged at 3:30 this afternoon, when it had teamed up with some Long-tailed Tit. There were also around 6 Firecrest in the same area in the morning, but they soon moved on, as did most of the Chiffchaff. However, of the couple remaining, one was an incredibly grey individual, making it a really good tristis candidate. As unusual as the eastern phylloscs , but far less pleasurable, were some December Linnet, as a group of 25 or so went over Warren Hill. Also notable was a single Bullfinch and 2 Fieldfare in off, with a further of the latter on Wick Fields. At least 4 Purple Sandpiper were on the groynes and a Great-northern Diver moved past. The warm weather also encouraged a Song Thrush to start singing.

Omissions from the original post comprise: 2 Raven from the east and a Grey Wagtail over the end of the head.

December 1st

Although the inclement conditions mean there is nothing to report for today, there is some late interest from yesterday. Not least, the chance meeting of two CHOGgers, both fast approaching middle age, at the UFO concert in Bournemouth last night. In an attempt to turn back the years, at least one got a little carried away and paid the price this morning. Please check back to yesterday's report for the bird details.

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