Sightings for January 2006

January 31st

Again, no reports have so far been received. Anything, at all, would be very, very welcome.

January 30th

Only news was of the year's first Water Pipit, with 3 birds on Priory Marsh.

January 29th

Although still cold, it was never in the same class as yesterday, thanks to a lesser wind and a warm sun. The Priory Peregrine was seen on its perch for most of the day and was actually seen consuming prey in the early afternoon, attracting the interest of a Raven. The preferred spot is the left hand gargoyle above the clock on the south facing side of the tower. The bird can be seen well with a telescope from the north of the recording area, but excellent views can be obtained "off-limits" in The Priory grounds. This afternoon, a single Ruff was on the mud off Blackberry Point, as were 2 Pintail, which spent all day in the harbour; while a further 4 birds were seen from Hengistbury. Despite their prevalence along the south coast, Red-breasted Merganser are relatively rare birds inside the harbour, but today saw a drake fishing south of Fisherman's Bank. It later transpired the bird has probably been around a week or more. Other diving fowl included the 10 Goldeneye in the normal spot off Rushy Piece. On the sandspit, Purple Sandpiper numbers rocketed, a total of 11 birds were on groynes S9 and S10. However, most other waders were well dispersed and difficult to count, except for a tight group of 17 Ringed Plover on Blackberry Point. Finally, a word about the Brent Goose. Today, there were 94 birds, 49 of them first-winters. The normal harbour wintering population is around 100 birds, with roughly 15% of them being young birds. This year the ratio is 40% or even 50%. Shouldn't this mean that if the same number of adult couples are using the area, then we should expect regular gaggles of 130 or so? Or does it indicate that, in real terms, fewer family groups are actually using the harbour?

Additional news: a young Peregrine was seen over the harbour, with The Priory bird being an adult, that makes two for the day.

January 28th

An extremely cold day: in a cutting north-easterly wind.Given the conditions, the only option this morning was a Hengistbury beach walk, taking advantage of the shelter of the cliffs. Hard on the legs on the shingle, but warm! It was actually a well worthwhile exercise, as the sea offered up several new year species and the harbour total reached the century mark. The Red-throated Diver was not seen in the harbour during the morning, although a bird on the sea close to the Long Groyne could well have been it; a further 10 birds were seen, all in flight, in random directions. Also at sea were single Mediterranean Gull, an adult, 1 Kittiwake, 1 Fulmar and 1 Common Scoter; while good numbers of auk were recorded, most only to spp. level, but 1 Guillemot and 5 Razorbill were positively called. There was also a good Gannet presence, estimated at 20+ birds, all adults and all heading east; also notable were around 30 Common Gull heading in the same direction. A total of 6 Raven, in 3 distinct pairs, headed east over Hengistbury and the 10 Goldeneye were in Barn Bight. Finally, the Red-throated Diver put in a late appearance at 4:30 this evening, again off Grimmery Bank, where it was seen washing and preening, perhaps suggesting a roost site.

January 27th

Firstly, as a word of explanation, yesterday's Redwing record was down to typographical error in the submission of the report and actually related to Redshank instead. In a very cold north-easterly breeze, the Red-throated Diver was again on the river late this afternoon, close to the bench on Grimmery Bank. The bird does seem to favour this spot during the latter part the day. On the HHC mudbar, there were 2 Ruff, while 306 Wigeon were counted from the HHC itself. Earlier, the 10 Goldeneye were seen from South Marsh, a Peregrine headed upriver and made a low pass over Parky Meade Rail and, looking north, a couple of Buzzard could be seen worrying the Lapwing over the Avon Valley. The Brent Goose seemed to number around the 80 mark and single Ringed Plover were seen on Fisherman's Bank and Hengistbury.

Additional news: the Red-throated Diver was, in fact, seen in the morning off Grimmery Bank and on Central Marsh, there was a single Jack Snipe and 104 Brent Goose. Other snippets from the afternoon include 3 Grey Plover, 8 Shelduck and another couple of Ringed Plover.

January 26th

On another crisp day, Stanpit received at least two visits. In the morning, a single Ruff and Bar-tailed Godwit were on the tip of South Marsh, as well as 4 Ringed Plover and 2 Grey Plover, while on East Marsh, 280 Dunlin were counted. Perhaps the most unusual record of the year so far was a group of 70 Redwing around the Warden's Caravan and onto East Marsh. Brent Goose were around 60 birds, but by late afternoon had risen to around 85 birds on Central Marsh. The best Black-tailed Godwit count was 9 birds on Grimmery Bank; and 28 Curlew and 4 Shelduck were on South Marsh. A total of 350 Wigeon were counted just before dusk, also an airborne wisp of 15 Snipe heading towards Priory Marsh and 6 Little Grebe on the river. Kingfisher were seen throughout the day, at least 2 birds in total, with Grimmery Bank and Parky Meade Rail being the hotspots.

The information services reported the Red-throated Diver at 3:30 this afternoon.

January 25th

On a cold, but fairly calm day, both sides of the harbour were visited. From a partially frozen Stanpit this morning, a winter high of 15 Little Grebe were counted. Best record, however, were 3 Crossbill north over the harbour, presumably having first being on Hengistbury. In support, a couple of Jack Snipe were around Central Marsh and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull passed over; also 2 Pintail and 2 Gadwall. Later in the day, from Hengistbury, the Red-throated Diver could be seen fishing in the main harbour, also the 10 Goldeneye off the Knoll with the regular attendant, today a Black-headed Gull. On the sandspit, the solitary Grey Plover was noted, also 7 Turnstone near groyne S13. A Kingfisher was in Holloway's Dock, while just 2 Black-tailed Godwit could be located. Back to Stanpit, where there is a good finch presence in the North Scrubs, estimates were 100 and 50 of Greenfinch and Goldfinch respectively, along with a few Chaffinch.

January 24th

Firstly, please check back to yesterday for an update. This afternoon, the Red-throated Diver was seen was seen from the HHC, on the river off Grimmery Bank. Also seen from the centre was an increase in Goldeneye, to 10 birds, 2 drakes and 8 brown-heads; and a total of 10 Little Grebe, although there are rumours of a day count of 12. Do some of these increases form the vanguard of a cold weather arrival, I wonder? On the sandbar, a Bar-tailed Godwit rested after arriving with some Dunlin, but all were then scared off by a Sparrowhawk. There was a reasonable number of waders on the sandspit, including 21 Ringed Plover, 6 Turnstone at S13 and the Grey Plover, faithful as always, to the S10 pitch.

January 23rd

Unfortunately, there are no reports for today. In fact, for the next fortnight, information is likely to be scarce; so any reports, no matter how trivial they may seem, would be extremely welcome. As an incentive to get out there, the forecast, approaching cold front could bring in birds of interest.

Update: the Red-throated Diver was again on the river, around 50m upstream from the HHC.

January 22nd

A still, clear and frosty dawn on Stanpit was shattered only by the repeated attempts to fire-up a jet-ski on Mudeford Quay. On windless days, sound carries and the din sounded more like an entire Panzer division than a single "Personal Water Craft", as such machines are now deceivingly called. Perhaps an ASBO could be raised! Anyway, rant over and back to the birds. What was presumably yesterday's Red-throated Diver was on the calm sea just off the Beach Huts this morning, as it preened and drifted slowly north on the tide. Also from there, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, while the 7 Goldeneye were in Barn Bight. For a year or so in the mid-1990s, a Peregrine regularly used the Priory tower as a roost, and today the same was observed. This morning, a bird was perched on a gargoyle before terrorising the Feral Pigeon and then choosing an adjacent carving and remaining seemingly oblivious to the clanging bells just a few feet away! Just a single Ruff was seen on Stanpit, flying out of Parky Meade Rail towards the main part of the marsh. The Brent Goose were counted in Stanpit Bight and numbered 97, including colour-ringed 8C and 42 first-winter birds. There were also 13 Shelduck, some of the drakes becoming quite possessive, and over 25 Black-tailed Godwit were about the area.

Additional news: a drake Red-breasted Merganser was seen from Fisherman's Bank.

January 21st

A clear and pleasant morning with a light south-westerly breeze. With the superstructures of two large dredging vessels giving a backdrop to the Double Dykes, the area is currently vaguely reminiscent of an ocean terminal. In harbour divers are always a treat and an adult Red-throated Diver that was seen landing on the river mid-morning brightened an otherwise quiet day. The bird was then watched fishing, but was wary of any craft, often circling the harbour before re-settling. On a couple of occasions it was even seen heading as far upstream as Christchurch Quay. At times, there were fantastic photo opportunities, in particular from Grimmery Bank. The bird was still around late this afternoon. Earlier, it was noted the Goldeneye had increased by a further drake, they now number 7 in all, but the new bird was keeping a cautious distance from the incumbent male. On the sandspit, there were 2 Purple Sandpiper and the regular, single Grey Plover on groyne S10; while a seawatch produced a mere Gannet and Great-crested Grebe. Other interest for the morning involved a Chiffchaff and Kingfisher near the HHC; and in Barn Bight, there were 9 Black-tailed Godwit, along with a Stock Dove that was roosting on the mud. A visit to Stanpit this afternoon confirmed the previously mentioned diver and saw 2 Ruff present.

Additional news: a first-winter Mediterranean Gull was on Stanpit.

January 20th

A one hour seawatch this morning produced the first Black-throated Diver of the year, moving west past the Beach Huts, as did 3 Red-throated Diver and a further unidentified bird. Also seen were 3 Common Scoter, 2 west and 1 on the water, and a Guillemot. On returning to the HHC, some Bearded Tit were heard in the HHC reeds and the 6 Goldeneye had been seen in Barn Bight. Later in the morning, the 4 Ruff were seen from Fisherman's Bank. This afternoon, 24 Black-tailed Godwit were feeding on the flooded Wick Fields, also a "lek" of 7 Pheasant, 4 cocks and 3 hens, and 8 Snipe in Wick Meads.

January 19th

On Stanpit this morning only 1 Ruff was seen with just a single Grey Plover and the Bar-tailed Godwit. The colour-ringed Brent Goose, 8C, was still with the flock of 124 Brent. In Barn Bight 10 Snipe were out on the mud and 9 Black-tailed Godwit were present.

Additional news: a flock of 40 Black-tailed Godwit arrived from the east, circled the harbour and then left high to the north.

January 18th

On another mild and very pleasant morning 5 Avocet, possibly pushed off Stanpit by the rising tide, left the harbour and headed south-west. The 4 Ruff, however, remained in situ on East Marsh whilst Barn Bight held 9 Black-tailed Godwit. The 6 Goldeneye were also still present, 3 Little Grebe were seen and there was a Great Crested Grebe just off the Nursery. Both Brent Goose and Shelduck numbers showed a slight increase with 125 and 15 respectively. The colour-ringed Brent Goose, 8C, was in front of the warden's caravan. This afternoon on the Mudeford sandspit were 45 Oystercatcher, 22 Turnstone and 3 Purple Sandpiper; another Purple Sandpiper was on groyne S9. There was also a Chiffchaff in the pines adjacent to the caravan park by Mudeford Quay.

Additional news: a single Great-northern Diver moved west past Hengistbury.

January 17th

On Stanpit this afternoon, the 4 Ruff had reappeared, while over 200 Dunlin were mixed in with the airborne Lapwing. Earlier, a morning visit to Wick Fields produced 2 Bullfinch, it really is nice to have these around this winter. Aythya duck are also out of the ordinary, so a first-winter drake Tufted Duck was equally welcome. More expected were the 6 Goldeneye in Barn Bight, along with a Kingfisher there, with a further in Holloway's Dock. The Little Grebe again numbered 6 birds, but today in two threesomes; and a single Grey Plover was by groyne S11 on the sandspit.

January 16th

Not much action today, with the only report coming from a quiet Stanpit late this afternoon. A total of 9 Common Gull were picked out in the large, pre-roost gathering of Black-headed Gull, but nothing more unusual. Otherwise, just 75 Dunlin and 4 Black-tailed Godwit to mention.

January 15th

Yesterday, CHOG failed to bring the Dorset Birdrace Trophy to the east of the county, being narrowly beaten, 117 to 116, by an experienced and deserving Poole based team. Much was learnt, however, including a shady technique that involved tame geese in a public park and powerful flashlights! This morning, the first WeBS count of 2006 was conducted in a moderate, but cold, south-westerly wind. The tide was very high and some of the totals were surprisingly low; for example, just 19 Dunlin and a singe Grey Plover. Overall quality was also poor, just 1 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit qualifying for this title. Other notables were a Shoveler, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Shelduck increase to 12 birds. The 6 Goldeneye had shifted from Barn Bight to a position much further down the main channel. Selected counts include: 910 Lapwing 484 Wigeon, 170 Coot, 142 Redshank, 112 Teal, 110 Brent Goose, 35 Oystercatcher, 26 Snipe and 3 Little Grebe. Of interest, yesterday's sighting of Limpy was the first since 7th September last year. The initial record of this bird was in August 2002.

Additional news: a Raven was seen from Hengistbury and a Golden Plover was over Stanpit.

January 14th

Firstly, thanks to Russell Wynn for an excellent and informative talk last night. A combination of this morning's inclement weather and the fact that most of the Saturday regulars were seeking glory in the Dorset winter birdrace meant that the harbour received only limited coverage today. The highlight, reported this afternoon was the first Firecrest of the year in the North Scrubs on Stanpit near the warden's caravan. Yesterday we saw the return of the colour-ringed Brent Goose and today it was the turn of Limpy, the Yellow-legged Gull, its first appearance for some time. The Brent Goose flock was counted as 119 today. The 4 Ruff were still present amongst the 1000 or so Lapwing whilst the regular Peregrine also made a sortie over the marsh at around 15:30 putting the resting birds to flight. An afternoon visit to Hengistbury produced 5 Little Grebe off Wick Spires and the 6 Goldeneye off Goldeneye Point whilst 245 Dunlin were on the HHC sandbar and 25 Turnstone were on the beach.

Additional news: a couple of Jack Snipe came up from South Marsh.

January 13th

Today saw the return of colour-ringed Brent Goose, 8C. The bird, a male, was ringed as an adult in Siberia in July 1989 and carries a white ring on the left leg and an orange ring on the right. He was first recorded at Stanpit in December 2002 and now every winter since, lastly in February 2005. Other sightings have come from Holland and France. What is interesting is that he only appears in the mid-winter, normally after Christmas, thereby suggesting there is an established inter-site pattern of movement during the winter months. If past experience is anything to go by, he is likely to be here a few weeks, so please keep an eye out and let us know. All reports will be sent to the ringing project co-ordinator in Holland. In total, there were 104 Brent Goose around Stanpit. The Ruff on the marsh have increased to 4 birds, at one time all together on East Marsh. The Lapwing, an estimated 1200 birds, spent well over an hour in the air and a Peregrine seen over Priory Marsh may have been reason, had it previously been settled on the ground somewhere. A female Shoveler and 3 Shelduck were in Stanpit Bight, and 11 Black-tailed Godwit were counted. The Common Sandpiper was again along Fisherman's Bank. Finally, coverage of the area is likely to be sparse tomorrow, as the regulars are competing in the Dorset winter birdrace. All reports from the recording area will be therefore gratefully received.

Additional news from Hengistbury this afternoon. A total of 3 Purple Sandpiper were around groynes S7 and S8, also 26 Turnstone with them. A single Ruff was on the exposed HHC sandbar.

January 12th

It was a balmy, but uncomfortably windswept, 7°C around the harbour this morning, contrasting strongly with a heavy frost just 4 miles inland. Not much to report from the early period, just the 6 Goldeneye seen from Hengistbury. This afternoon, from a cold Fisherman's Bank, a couple of Ruff were in Stanpit Bight, also c300 Dunlin, 6 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Shelduck.

Additional news: in the morning, the Common Sandpiper was on Fisherman's Bank and the 2 Stanpit Ruff were seen from there.

January 11th

A blustery south-westerly brought about a very wet dawn, but things soon dried up. In seemingly promising conditions, the sea produced just a single Guillemot in a 45 minute spell! From the Nursery corner this morning, the 2 Avocet were seen between South Marsh and Blackberry Point, and a Kingfisher was in Barn Bight. The drake Goldeneye has increased his harem, there are now 5 female-type birds, making a total of 6. The Lapwing, for no apparent reason, seemed to spend most of the day in the air, and this afternoon a couple of Ruff were in with them. Also after lunch, a single Purple Sandpiper was by groyne S10, along with 23 Turnstone, while the Avocet had slightly relocated to a spot off Spellers Point.

Additional news: the Common Sandpiper was along Fisherman's Bank .

January 10th

Another miserable day in a cold southerly wind, giving rise to a paucity of records. Only reports are 3 Little Grebe on the river and a total of 12 Black-tailed Godwit seen.

January 9th

In near identical conditions to yesterday, a couple of visits were made into the gloom. The HHC sandbar contained the day's highlights, with 1 adult Mediterranean Gull and 2 Ruff using it to feed and rest, also 7 Common Gull. Other interest from the HHC came via 5 Little Grebe and a Kingfisher. On Hengistbury itself, the 5 Goldeneye remained faithful to Barn Bight and a Chiffchaff was also recorded. The high numbers of Turnstone that were using the sandspit at the end of last year seem to have dissipated, perhaps scared away by the holiday activity - just 4 birds noted today. Over on Stanpit, the Bar-tailed Godwit was picked out, and 13 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Grey Plover and 66 Brent Goose were counted. A mixed flock, around 30 strong, of Meadow Pipit and Rock Pipit were on Central Marsh.

Additional news: around 10 Siskin overflew Wick Fields.

January 8th

A few valiant attempts were made to bird the harbour today, however, by 9:00, it became obvious the rain would be with us all day. Thanks to all of you who responded about the term "whiffle". It seems yesterday's venture was correct, but there is still some uncertainty as to whether the definition applies solely to geese, or to other families as well? Teal and Curlew, for example. So there you go, you learn something new each day - and there I was thinking that whiffle was how Chris Eubank described the call of Wigeon! Needless to say after all this digression, there is very little to report. The Common Sandpiper was seen this morning on the Argyll Road slip; while the Goldeneye quintet was in Barn Bight and a Great-crested Grebe settled on the sea after arriving from The Solent. On Stanpit, the only count was of Brent Goose, with 65 present, 36 of them young birds. A 50%+ ratio.

Additional news: the 6 Little Grebe, still in 3 apparent pairs, were on the river and the Black-tailed Godwit on Stanpit were counted at 13 birds.

January 7th

Things warmed up slightly, due to an overnight easing of the wind. On Hengistbury this morning, it was a bit like an episode of Call My Bluff, as a claim was made that the tumbling action of geese is known as "whiffling". However, the OED definition doesn't mention birds at all, so can anyone shed further light on this? Now back to relative sanity, and the 5 Rattlewing, a drake and 4 brownheads, were seen well in Barn Bight! Earlier, a Brambling and a Bullfinch were in the company of Greenfinch as they departed the Nursery roost, and a Bar-tailed Godwit was in amongst the constantly alarmed Lapwing. The 2 Avocet were on Stanpit's South Marsh and 2 Bearded Tit were seen descending into Wick Hams reedbed. A characteristically, of late, poor seawatch resulted in a Great-northern Diver, 13 Brent Goose and an auk sp. east, and a Great-crested Grebe west; while a single Purple Sandpiper was also seen moving past the Beach Huts. Stanpit received some good coverage, with a Jack Snipe on the marsh, Chiffchaff and the Common Sandpiper, on Fisherman's Bank, being the best records. Other interest came from 2 Coal Tit in the car park and a Shoveler in Stanpit Bight. A total of 20 Snipe were counted and 2 Kingfisher were seen.

Additional news: on a disturbed Stanpit this afternoon, 72 Brent Goose were on Priory Marsh.

More news: the highest Little Grebe count of the winter, 10 birds, came from Stanpit.

January 6th

No change in the weather, but a pair of Red-breasted Merganser, rare inside the harbour, were seen from Crouch Hill late this morning; as was the Bar-tailed Godwit. Earlier, as the Lapwing flock came up off Priory Marsh, 3 Golden Plover and 1 Ruff were with them. The plover left north-east, but the Ruff, a male, returned to Parky Meade Rail. Surprisingly, the only small waders that could be seen were 12 Ringed Plover off Blackberry Point; the Black-tailed Godwit numbered around 15 and the Brent Goose, although not counted, seemed to be around the normal figure of 100 or so. The Goldeneye flock, today comprising 5 birds, was seen from both sides of the harbour and 6 Little Grebe on the river appeared to be forming 3 distinct pairs. Finally, even in these cold conditions, a Song Thrush was singing around the Old Council Depot site, which is fast being developed into so called luxury housing, "romantically" referred to as La Nautica.

January 5th

It was very cold again, thanks to the continuing north-easterly wind. There were 2 Avocet on Stanpit this morning and given the distance between the previous couple of days' sightings it is worth speculating there may have been this number all along. There was also a single Bar-tailed Godwit and commoner species counts included 112 Brent Goose and 15 Black-tailed Godwit, with a further 16 in Holloway's Dock. The Common Sandpiper was on Fisherman's Bank, and a Kingfisher and 1 Ringed Plover were also seen from there. A 45 minute seawatch produced a Red-throated Diver on the sea with another travelling west, also a settle Razorbill and a Great-crested Grebe east. From Mudeford Quay, a couple of Purple Sandpiper and 25 Turnstone could be seen; and the Goldeneye, today just 4 of them, 1 drake and 4 brownheads, were tucked in by the Avonmouth Hotel. A pre-dusk walk on Hengistbury saw the 2 Avocet now in Holloway's Dock, 2 Siskin over the Long Field, a nice January record, and a Kingfisher.

January 4th

The apparent warmth of 8°C was severely compromised by a cold north-easterly wind; nevertheless, over 2 hours were put in this morning. The Avocet was in Holloway's Dock, along with a few Black-tailed Godwit; while in Barn Bight, one of the drake Goldeneye seems to have left, making just 5 birds today. A 45 minute seawatch produced the first Common Scoter for over a week and consequently the year - a single bird east. A lone Red-throated Diver seen heading west suddenly banked and was joined by 6 more, all were then seen to gain height as they headed east towards the Isle of Wight. As the day wore on, a drizzle descended and dusk seemed to start around 2:00, but a late visit to Stanpit did turn up 2 Ruff in Stanpit Bight.

January 3rd

After a dire tail-end to last year, the opening days of 2006 are certainly throwing in some mid-winter quality. Of course, there is the theory that people are just trying harder, but it does seem there is genuinely more around. In The Run this morning, there was a first-winter Little Gull and the elusive Common Sandpiper was seen on Fisherman's Bank - both well above average for the time of year. Meanwhile, on Stanpit, the Avocet was again on South Marsh and the increased Lapwing, over 1500 of them, had brought in 3 Ruff. Just 1 Pintail, a drake bird, could be seen and 9 Common Gull were picked out amongst the gull throng. Commoner species counts included 220 Dunlin, 112 Brent Goose and 25 Black-tailed Godwit, but no plover at all could be seen. This afternoon, a single Purple Sandpiper was seen on the tip of the sandspit from Mudeford Quay, and a Kingfisher was off Fisherman's Bank.

Additional news: from Hengistbury, 2 Golden Plover were seen in the airborne Lapwing flock.

January 2nd

A thoroughly pleasant and warm day, even on this morning's pre-dawn owl chase it was extremely comfortable. Despite an hour's wait in the darkness, no owls were heard and the best was a Sparrowhawk found sitting on a post while it was still almost completely dark. The day's highlight came just before noon as Buzzard were being sought for the year-list. Some intense northerly scanning from Double Dykes resulted in a male Hen Harrier being seen heading west over the Lower Avon Valley. Around 15 minutes later, another high-moving bird was seen and could well have been a second individual. Earlier, an adult Yellow-legged Gull west over the Barn was a further good January record; as was an Avocet in Holloway's Dock this morning, from where it moved to South Marsh on Stanpit, however, by the afternoon, the bird was back in the original spot. At least 4 Bullfinch were on site, all in Wick Fields, as well as 2 Chiffchaff in that area. As suspected yesterday, there has indeed been a Goldeneye increase, with 6 birds, 2 drakes and 4 brownheads, showing well and displaying in the calm waters of Barn Bight. A group of 6 Pintail over Stanpit and a further 3 settled there are the first for a few weeks, also 2 Shoveler resting on the marsh. At sea, a Great-northern Diver was on the water and a group of 4 Red-throated Diver moved west, also 3 Gannet. A couple of Golden Plover were with the Lapwing over Stanpit this morning and a Peregrine was seen over the marsh this afternoon. Also later in the day, a single Purple Sandpiper was on the sandspit, which was overrun with walkers. Other interest comes courtesy of a Grey Wagtail on the Wick horse paddock and a Kingfisher hunting for a while around Brewer's Creek. At least 4 Little Grebe were in the harbour and many Water Rail could be heard, with one showing well by the HHC.

Additional news: an adult Mediterranean Gull was on Stanpit in the afternoon.

January 1st

Unlike other sites, the area received only minimal coverage today; we're saving ourselves for tomorrow! It was again mild, but with a stiff westerly breeze. Early on, a Bearded Tit was seen flying across the HHC reeds and, later, a total of 7 Purple Sandpiper were at the end of the sandspit, also 3 Grey Plover there, around S11. It was all change with the Goldeneye, various reports were received, but the largest count was 3 together in Stanpit Bight, but the make-up, 2 drakes and a duck, suggest the total could be more. A Bullfinch calling by the HHC is a good sign for tomorrow, as is a drake Gadwall in Stanpit Bight, also single Shoveler and c10 Shelduck there. A total of 60 Black-tailed Godwit across Stanpit this afternoon is a good total for this winter. The Brent Goose were also up in numbers and scattered, the final tally being 130+. A group of 4 Little Grebe were fishing on the river and 6 Grey Plover were seen in flight.

Additional news: a Chiffchaff was by the small pond at the northern entrance to Wick Fields and a Peregrine was seen over Stanpit from there.

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