Sightings for December 2007

December 31st

The year hardly ended with a bang as far as harbour birding was concerned. In fact, the most focus was on the Avon Valley and a pair of nice geese. See paragraph below for more on these. On the second windless day in succession, the sea produced a Red-throated Diver and Red-breasted Merganser west, but absolutely nothing else during a 1-hour shift! However, a couple of Redpoll over the end of the head salvaged something for the trip, also a Kingfisher in Barn Bight. Meanwhile, Stanpit, from Fisherman's Bank, was equally uninspiring - just singles of Grey Plover and Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Shelduck and 140 Dunlin to log. There was also a Kingfisher in that area.

Of real local interest, but outside the CHOG recording area, a couple of Pink-footed Goose were discovered today just off the Avon Causeway. Click here for photos and a few more details.

So, the last report from 2007, a year that contained many highlights, such as CHOG's first Wilson's Phalarope, the first Red-backed Shrike for almost 10 years, a spring Little Bunting in song and a Great-white Egret, as well as unprecedented numbers of Storm Petrel, over 160 in a day being the best tally. However, despite these moments of excitement, the final year-list was a poor 210. This compares to 213 last year and 224 in 2004. The days of 230+ in the late eighties now seem almost legendary, although the volume of observers during that period is enviable. A fuller summary for 2007 will be compiled during the coming January.

December 30th

Something of a lazy day with no coverage prior to lunchtime, when Wick turned up some local quality in the form of a Yellowhammer and 3 Bullfinch, these in the area by the pond just off the No Dogs Field. Also a Dartford Warbler in the Bobolink Field. The best at Stanpit in the afternoon was the Avocet roosting amongst gulls on South Marsh, a situation that made it almost impossible to pick out. At least 30 Black-tailed Godwit were also present, as were 20 Dunlin, 1 Grey Plover and up to 400 Lapwing, while a couple of Kingfisher were chasing each other over Grimmery Bank.

December 29th

The presence of 2 Firecrest in the Wood was pretty much confirmed this morning, as birds were seen almost simultaneously but at quite different locations, namely by the Double Bends and behind the Doreen Ann Lewis bench. The rest of the report involves the sea, where 2 Black-throated Diver passed, one in either direction, along with 11 Red-throated Diver, 8 of these east and the remainder west. A couple of Kittiwake, 1 Red-breasted Merganser and 30 Gannet also moved westwards, while 5 Razorbill, 2 Guillemot and 6 auk sp. went a mixture of directions. The only wader noted was a Purple Sandpiper heading towards Mudeford.

December 28th

Quite a blustery day with the wind speed peaking at over 25mph, directly from the south. As a consequence, the sea seemed the best option, but, as it turned out, the trek there saw the most interest. This came from a flock of Linnet in the trees towards the end of the head, where at least 51 birds were seen to leave over the harbour. However, there was plenty more chattering going on in the vegetation. Despite the blow, the sea was poor: around 40 Gannet passed west, as did 5 Kittiwake and 5 auk; a Red-throated Diver drifted past on the tide and two more headed into The Solent, likewise 4 Red-breasted Merganser. As the tide engulfed Stanpit, a flock of 200 Dunlin left over the sandspit, presumably to find some feeding in the Pennington area, but a further 30 remained around the Long Groyne. The offshore Shag count was 21 birds and the return trip to the HHC saw a Coal Tit by the Double Bends and a monstrous, first-winter Peregrine causing havoc over East Marsh. It, or another, was at it again just after lunch, when a drake Shoveler, 24 Black-tailed Godwit and 100 Lapwing were settled on Wick Hams, while 400 more of the latter were fretting above Stanpit.

Omission: a Bar-tailed Godwit was by Rushy Piece in the morning.

December 27th

A Firecrest was in the Wood again this morning, a very 'bright' individual suggesting a different bird to the one seen a couple of days ago, also a Coal Tit associating with the Long-tailed Tit flock. From the Beach Huts, a Black-throated Diver moved west and 2 Red-throated Diver were seen, one east and one west, while 2 Guillemot and a Razorbill were on the sea. The female Goldeneye remained faithful to Barn Bight, 23 Black-tailed Godwit were on Wick Hams and the Avocet was on South Marsh.

December 26th

On a glorious morning, it was small passerines that provided the surprises. At least 3 Chiffchaff were on Hengistbury, where they are more than unusual in winter, 2 by the Salt Hurns and 1 by Barn Bight. These locations strongly suggesting they were newly-arrived birds. Also of interest, 5 Redpoll and a single Siskin about the head, 3 Bullfinch on Wick Fields and 4 Linnet on North Marsh, Stanpit. However, the early afternoon provided the day's highlight with 2 Spoonbill on South Marsh, before they were scared off and away by canoeists. Fortunately, the Avocet was more resilient, choosing to stay put throughout. Back to the morning, when there was another good wader presence around the Long Groyne, headed by 7 Purple Sandpiper but also 20 Ringed Plover and 10 Dunlin, with 30 or so Turnstone touring the length of the sandspit. The sea improved as the day wore on. A stint from 8:30 to 10:00 saw just 1 Red-throated Diver east and a Guillemot on the water, but a later spell from 11:30 yielded 2 Black-throated Diver west and a total of 11 Red-throated Diver. Meanwhile, the maximum count of Shag was 22. The best of the rest comprises: the female Goldeneye and 4 Little Grebe in Barn Bight, and 160 Redshank, 55 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Dunlin and 15 Ringed Plover recorded on Stanpit, where around 300 Lapwing were present after several days absence.

December 25th

Hardly a white Christmas this morning, more of a submarine one, at least as far as Stanpit was concerned. The overnight rain and spring tide making the marsh inaccessible, even if the rain had abated. Consequently, the birding was largely reduced to feeding Black-headed Gull from the refuge of the car on Mudeford Quay. However, 4 Purple Sandpiper were seen alighting on the sandspit from the direction of Avon Beach and it was also possible to pick out the Black-throated Diver from the Argyll Road slip, where a Turnstone was seen entering the harbour over Blackberry Point. An afternoon trip to the same spot produced both the Avocet and Common Sandpiper, also around 70 Dunlin and the Black-throated Diver again. The ramp also seems a reliable location for Kingfisher, with birds being seen there morning and afternoon. At sea, over 25 Gannet were off Hengistbury, while a good count of 28 Great-crested Grebe in Christchurch Bay, off Steamer Point, could presumably have been scoped from within the recording area.

Additional news: 40 Black-tailed Godwit were on Wick Hams and a drake Shoveler was on Priory Marsh.

December 24th

The first day of the festive break saw good coverage on both sides of the recording area. For no particular reason, let's start at Stanpit, where the Common Sandpiper was seen from Fisherman's Bank just after lunch. Earlier, the Spotted Redshank was around Stanpit Bight and the Avocet was on East Marsh, while the drake Gadwall was in its sometimes favoured spot of North Marsh. Most of the Black-tailed Godwit, 25 of 30, were by Crouch Hill, the rest on East Marsh; also 3 Grey Plover, 58 Dunlin and 5 Shelduck counted, along with 68 Brent Goose. Birds that could be seen from both Stanpit and Hengistbury included the popular Black-throated Diver and the lone, female Goldeneye. When will it be joined by others? Moving to Hengistbury, with the sea being the main focus, and it was another good Red-throated Diver day. In a spell from 8:30 to just before11:00, 12 were noted going west and 7 headed east. Of course, duplication is a possibility, so a dozen is probably a fair claim. Also very notable were medium sized gulls, not least Common Gull, for example over a 100 west; but also Kittiwake, with 25 in the same direction. Also from the Beach Huts: a Great-crested Grebe, 5 Gannet, 4 Razorbill, 3 Guillemot and 4 unidentified auks. Due to the cold weather of the last couple of weeks, the sandspit has been relatively undisturbed, thereby encouraging roosting waders - today's total being: 40 Ringed Plover, 20 Dunlin and a Sanderling. A very dull Firecrest was between the Double Bends in the Wood, a pair of Raven were over the end of the head and a Fieldfare started the day at the HHC. To wrap up, an adult Yellow-legged Gull was off Mudeford Quay at dusk.

December 23rd

After another cold and frosty start, the combination of winter sunshine and very light wind made for a glorious late December day. The Black-throated Diver was again the star of the show, firstly off Rushy Piece, then later towards the Black House and the Avonmouth Hotel. The female Goldeneye was still present with at least 10 Little Grebe around the harbour. The 'wintering' Common Sandpiper put in its first appearance of the month, on Fisherman's Bank, and the Avocet was on South Marsh. On Stanpit, around 45 Dunlin were scattered over East Marsh at high tide, also 3 Grey Plover and 10 Black-tailed Godwit and, as the tide dropped, a flock of 39 Ringed Plover arrived. The Mudeford Sandspit held 5 Purple Sandpiper and 14 Turnstone, while 9 Snipe were seen today, 6 on the Salt Hurns and 3 in Brewer's Creek. There was a pair of Tufted Duck on Stanpit, with another pair in Barn Bight. Also in Barn Bight was the regular Kingfisher and a single Black-tailed Godwit. There was a Red-throated Diver on the sea and another east, also a Guillemot on the sea. Finally, a flock of 12 Skylark was on the Solent Meads Golf Course.

Additional news: a flock of 26 Pochard over Stanpit in the morning represents the largest of that species for a good number of years; also a Jack Snipe up off Central Marsh and 37 Black-tailed Godwit in that area, 26 Ringed Plover in Stanpit Bight and a Siskin over the North Scrubs.

December 22nd

The Black-throated Diver showed well on the calm waters of the harbour off Rushy Piece this morning. At one point, it was joined by 4 Little Grebe, but these were clearly an irritation, being quickly chased away. An earlier seawatch produced 9 Red-throated Diver, all west, with the largest group comprising 3 birds; as well as a first-winter Kittiwake and an auk sp. A small group of duck containing 3 Wigeon and 1 Pintail were also thought to have moved on through at some distance, however, the appearance of an identical collection, at least an hour later, over the harbour itself, does question that assumption. There was also something of an easterly Brent Goose movement. This was most marked with a single skein of 60, but a few others passed giving a total of just over 70 in all. Firecrest haven't been recorded for a couple of weeks, so one in the Wood was welcome, as was another recent absentee, Great-spotted Woodpecker. The female Goldeneye was off that point, along with a single Great-crested Grebe and several Little Grebe, while just after dawn, an adult female Peregrine hunted over the Salt Hurns. To conclude, a good count of 58 Ringed Plover comes from the Long Groyne, where there were also 3 Dunlin.

December 21st

A morning trip to Hengistbury saw just the female Goldeneye and 4 Little Grebe in Barn Bight, plus a Kingfisher by Wick Hams. Around lunchtime, the Avocet and 10 Black-tailed Godwit were off Fisherman's Bank, while 120 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover and 8 Grey Plover were on Blackberry Point. Late on in the day, as the sun set, a further 32 Dunlin were along Fisherman's Bank, with 15 Snipe by East Marsh.

Additional news: 2 Pochard, a Tufted Duck and a Fieldfare were over Wick Fields in the morning.

December 20th

As is becoming the norm, Fisherman's Bank at lunchtime served up the highlights, when both the Avocet and Spotted Redshank were recorded, along with 57 Dunlin. A couple more visits in the afternoon produced a similar number of Dunlin and 4 Black-tailed Godwit on the first, but absolutely nothing on the second, which was just 15 minutes later. Something had clearly spooked everything present. Early on in the day, a flock of 19 Redwing passed over Wick Fields, and a single Fieldfare and 2 Song Thrush were flushed from by the Double Dykes. In the harbour, the female Goldeneye was again present, as were 2 Shelduck, while the sole wintering Bar-tailed Godwit spent the afternoon about the Flats and Mudeford Quay, where there was a Kingfisher by the Lifeboat Station at dusk.

December 19th

The in-harbour Black-throated Diver was again seen today. This time from Hengistbury, sitting in the main channel between Goldeneye and Blackberry Points. True to its name, the former saw a female bird, presumably the one first reported on Monday, while 3 Shoveler, 2 drakes and a duck, were off the latter. Early on, there was a reasonable departure of waders over the Barn Field, including 21 Grey Plover and 11 Knot; meanwhile, 2 Fieldfare were sat and calling in trees by the HHC. At sea, from the Beach Huts, the best was a single Velvet Scoter and 2 Red-throated Diver east, but also 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 57 Common Gull, 3 Common Scoter and 7 auk sp. on the same route. A further 4 Shoveler and 7 Gadwall also moved past Hengistbury and, overhead, finches continued to trickle through: 53 Linnet, 23 Goldfinch, and 3 Siskin, all east, being the day's tally. After a few days' absence, a (the?) drake Pintail was seen from Fisherman's Bank, as was the Spotted Redshank, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 57 Dunlin, with 25 or so more in Stanpit Bight. Finally, please check over the last three posts for updates, including an impressive count for any local larid enthusiasts.

December 18th

As the cold weather continues, the best of today was a Black-throated Diver inside the harbour, seen off Blackberry Point from Fisherman's Bank this afternoon. While, earlier, during a 45-minute seawatch from Hengistbury, 2 drake Eider came from Poole Bay to where they returned, a Red-throated Diver was on the sea off Double Dykes and a flock of 5 passed east. Also, 6 Guillemot, 5 Razorbill and a Common Scoter in that direction, 2 Great-crested Grebe on the water and 2 Shelduck arriving over the Barn Field, with a further two passing west and a Raven at the end of the head. As well as the diver, the view from Fisherman's Bank produced an Avocet, a Kingfisher, a further Great-crested Grebe and 3 Little Grebe.

Additional news: a large gathering of Greater Black-backed Gull on Blackberry prompted a count that returned an impressive 109 birds. Other extras include: 59 Brent Goose, 180 Wigeon, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, just a single Lapwing, they must all be in the valley, and 6 Common Gull.

December 17th

A heavy frost shrouded most of the area this morning, with some of the fresher water areas even sporting a covering of ice. At sea, a Pomarine Skua spent three or four minutes hassling gulls off Hengistbury and 8 Red-throated Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, 5 Shoveler, 21 Wigeon and 15 auk sp. moved past. However, unlike the previous two days, the general movement was westerly. Conversely, an amazingly late finch passage was to the east and comprised: 166 Linnet, one group of over 60 birds, 71 Goldfinch, 62 Chaffinch, 16 Siskin, 4 Redpoll and a Brambling. Also, 9 Redwing and 4 Song Thrush over. The Avocet and Spotted Redshank were both viewable from Fisherman's Bank, as were 12 Grey Plover and 180 or so Dunlin, the majority of these along the edge of East Marsh. Finally, a return to Hengistbury, where 2 Purple Sandpiper and 3 Sanderling were about the sandspit.

Additional news: a female Goldeneye was in the harbour, while around 50 Ringed Plover and 20 Dunlin roosted on the sandspit. After dark, at least 2 Little Owl were calling on Wick Fields.

December 16th

Thanks to the WeBS count this morning and a seawatch after lunch, there was a good spread of coverage today. Although, the wintering interesting grebe and pied wader managed to secrete themselves away on the one day in the month it perhaps mattered the most, the Spotted Redshank, which itself can be elusive, was with Redshank off Fisherman's Bank. The latter were also present in good numbers; in fact, it is being discussed whether the count of 173 may actually be an area record. Also relatively numerous this winter are Little Grebe - 11 the maximum today, with 8 together on the river by Grimmery Bank. Even on this late date, there was evidence of a small finch passage. For example, a party of 9 Siskin moved east over the Salt Hurns and Goldfinch were heard frequently above the Wood. With the wind again being easterly, the Beach Huts again provided no protection, so the sea vigil was presumably another test of grit. Consequently, an Eider east, along with 9 Red-throated Diver and a Great-northern Diver, and a couple of Red-breasted Merganser west, were more than welcome. One of the biggest surprises of the census was the Dunlin presence, 180 of an impressive 182 being by Fisherman's Bank; while other interest came from a Bar-tailed Godwit on the Flats, a drake Gadwall and 7 Ringed Plover at Mudeford Quay, 5 Grey Plover in Stanpit Bight and 22 Black-tailed Godwit on the northern part of Central Marsh. The more mundane, in numerical order, comprised: 443 Wigeon, 251 Coot (the excitement is too much), 125 Teal, 95 Mallard, 77 Brent Goose, 43 Oystercatcher, 22 Curlew, 15 Little Egret, 10 Common Gull, a measly 4 Lapwing and 1 Shelduck.

Additional news: a total of 52 Ringed Plover were by the Long Groyne.

December 15th

In the face of a biting easterly wind, a hardy half-dozen sat out a 2 hour seawatch and were reasonably well rewarded for their discomfort. A Velvet Scoter passed by very close as it entered The Solent, while 2 female-type Scaup moved the opposite way in the company of 12 Teal. A really good Red-throated Diver total came to 24 birds, all but 1 eastwards, including one flock of 9. Also passing by: 70 auk, mostly Guillemot and mostly east, 2 Knot, a few Wigeon and Teal, 2 Great-crested Grebe and 1 Common Scoter. Meanwhile, 3 Pochard headed south over the harbour, an adult and first-winter Mediterranean Gull were together on the water off the end of the head, where at least 5 Raven were seen, and a very large swarm of gulls, numbering hundreds, was constantly on the horizon. To wrap up on Hengistbury, the Long Groyne hosted 4 Purple Sandpiper, with 15 Ringed Plover and 40 or so Dunlin also about the sandspit. For the less resilient, Fisherman's Bank currently offers good shelter from the wind. From there, the reason for the recent Stanpit wader paucity may have been discovered, as a very large Peregrine was seen perched on the first island off South Marsh. The Avocet also showed well and the drake Pintail remains on East Marsh.

December 14th

During the course of a 60-minute trip to Stanpit, other than the expected Redshank and Curlew, the only waders recorded were 2 Turnstone across the harbour towards the Black House and singles of Grey Plover and Dunlin off the tip of South Marsh. There were, incredibly, almost no Lapwing, and with duck and geese also being very low, it's difficult to imagine the year-list increasing from its current poor total of 210. That's still three down on last year, which, by recent standards, was also reduced. There was some interest though: a drake Pintail was on South Marsh; while the Slavonian Grebe was on the river with 4 Little Grebe. Finally, a Great-spotted Woodpecker flew from the Old Depot site to alight in the trees by the Sea Scout hut.

December 13th

A fairly mild day in terms of air temperature, but made to feel quite the opposite by a chilly south-east wind. The only reports are from a couple of lunchtime visits to Fisherman's Bank, where the Slavonian Grebe could be distantly picked out on the main channel. A Kingfisher was also around that area and East Marsh held a good, but uncounted, number of Wigeon.

December 12th

In spite of the ongoing chilly wind, there was some welcome coverage from most parts of the area today. Picking out the highlights, the Slavonian Grebe was showing well in Barn Bight this afternoon, when a group of 6 Red-throated Diver moved west past the sandspit, also 2 Sanderling mingling with 39 Ringed Plover there. Much earlier in the day, a Bullfinch and Chiffchaff were in Smithy's Field, and the information services reported a Spotted Redshank and a Mediterranean Gull at Stanpit. From Hengistbury, the Avocet was seen off the tip of South Marsh, while a couple of Tufted Duck in Parky Meade Rail were presumably the same two seen slightly later in Barn Bight. The first count for the current BTO winter survey was made in the area, with 4 Linnet on Whitepits being quite a surprise. Despite their status as a breeder and numerous passage migrant, these are more than unusual in the winter months. Other interest came from 2 Raven around the Nursery, 18 Black-tailed Godwit on Stanpit, at least 110 Teal and 400 Wigeon inside the harbour, Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher about Stanpit and 6 Little Grebe in Barn Bight. This also seems a good moment to thank Christchurch Angling Club for the recent additions to their members' handbook, which detail the more sensitive areas of Stanpit as far as wildlife disturbance is concerned.

December 11th

The only report received so far today comes from a cold, frosty hour spent on the Hengistbury Golf Course from sunrise - a small passage of finches (surprising given the late date) comprised of 3 Siskin, 2 Brambling, 60 Chaffinch and 20 Goldfinch. A Bullfinch was calling from Wick Ditch, and a Peregrine was spooking the Lapwing over Stanpit, with 8 Canada Geese departing up the Avon Valley.

Additional news from a full afternoon on Hengistbury, where a couple of Water Rail were calling in Wick Hams, a Snipe was in Barn Bight and single Little Grebe could be seen on the river.

December 10th

It seems a degree of December apathy has set in already. The only salvation being a Kittiwake seen during a brief lunchtime scan from Mudeford Quay, heading into the Solent.

December 9th

Yet more heavy rain and a driving west-north-west wind kept most people indoors today. Other than a quick scan of the sea from the Point House Café, which yielded 6 Gannet, it was Stanpit that received the attention during a dry spell mid-afternoon. The floods of the Lower Avon Valley seem to have dragged most of the Wigeon up there, as, right now, numbers on the marsh are probably no more than 150 birds; but there was a drake Gadwall on North Marsh and 2 Shelduck about. A lone Bar-tailed Godwit off South Marsh was the best of the waders, while over 100 Redshank were on North and East Marshes, 20 Dunlin fed off Fisherman's Bank and around 35 Black-tailed Godwit were across the area. Other local interest came from a tight flock of approximately 45 Stock Dove that arrived just before 3:00 to settle in the Nursery, presumably to roost. Finally, although I was unable to make it myself, I am told that Ian Lewis' talk on Friday evening was of the customary, excellent standard - so our thanks go to Ian for entertaining the 35 or so present.

Additional news: a count of 11 Skylark on Solent Meads golf course was one of the highest of the winter.

December 8th

With most of the regulars either nursing hangovers or simply avoiding the quite foul weather, there was very little going on this morning; and a 90-minute spell at the Beach Huts was hardly worth the soaking that ensued as the wind swung a little too south for the huts to afford their normal shelter. Best was a Red-throated Diver and a single Kittiwake, also 30 Shag and Great-crested Grebe on the water and 7 Brent Goose past. Barn Bight held a further Great-crested Grebe and 4 Little Grebe, while the more sensible option of Mudeford Quay saw 2 Purple Sandpiper.

December 7th

A drake Goldeneye, the first of the winter in the harbour, was off the Nursery this morning. The Slavonian Grebe was still present, on the main river, with 6 Little Grebe also in the area. On Wick Hams there were 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Snipe and a Kingfisher, while on Stanpit just 4 Grey Plover were on South Marsh. An afternoon visit to Stanpit found just 7 Dunlin and the Avocet in its favoured spot on the edge of Stanpit Bight, but no Grey Plover. A Jack Snipe was seen from the 'log' and East Marsh held 26 Snipe.

December 6th

Another day that was punctuated with heavy showers, meaning a Mudeford Quay trip was the only outing. From there, it's just 25 Turnstone, initially on the tip of the sandspit but then off towards Avon Beach, to remark upon.

December 5th

During a day of several deluges, it's not surprising that the only reports come from Mudeford Quay, where one can enjoy the sanctuary of the car. Visits were made morning and afternoon - the totals being 2 Purple Sandpiper and 35 Turnstone, with a Great-crested Grebe on the sea.

December 4th

A drizzly morning saw Stanpit getting some attention for a change, where the Avocet remains faithful to the tip of South Marsh, a spot it seems to have favoured since its arrival over a fortnight ago. Meanwhile, the high state of the tide encouraged the other lingering scarcity, the Slavonian Grebe, to have a paddle around in Stanpit Bight. Roosting waders included 17 Ringed Plover on the South Marsh gravel patch, 34 Black-tailed Godwit and 16 Dunlin on East Marsh, and a reasonable 145 Redshank between there and North Marsh.

December 3rd

An early trip to the sea was interrupted slightly to watch a small roost of thrushes leaving the Nursery. Among them 17 Redwing and a single Fieldfare, also 36 Stock Dove piling out of there. Despite the month, there are still small numbers of finches on the move, today comprising: 75 Chaffinch, 26 Linnet, 4 Redpoll and 3 Brambling. As yesterday, the sea was just better than dire, with singles of Red-throated Diver and Great-northern Diver passing close by westwards, also 2 Gannet and an auk sp.. Finally from the Beach Huts, another Shag count was made - 31 being the total. In Barn Bight, the Slavonian Grebe was again showing very well, a Kingfisher and 7 Black-tailed Godwit were on Wick Hams, and a Great-spotted Woodpecker was in the Wood.

December 2nd

The general feeling last night was that the wind would be too westerly to be of real interest, so no early plans were made. However, by mid-morning, it was realised the blow was actually from the south-west and a few petrels were being reported from nearby sites, so a dash was made to the Beach Huts between the downpours. This turned out to be a complete waste of the time, as the 75-minutes after midday produced just 4 Brent Goose west and a Purple Sandpiper on the groynes! Earlier, the information services reported a further 4 Purple Sandpiper just east of Mudeford Quay, while at least 23 Turnstone could be seen from there on the tip of the sandspit.

December 1st

The strong, overnight wind possibly contained just too much west, meaning the morning's seawatch was something of a disappointment. The best was certainly a Velvet Scoter that headed into The Solent, but there was only a single Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Great-crested Grebe west, 2 Common Scoter east and an auk sp. available to lend any further support. Before the head got too busy, the Slavonian Grebe was very close to the Barn Bight shore, while a hunting Peregrine flushed 21 Black-tailed Godwit and a Shoveler in supplementary plumage flew upriver. By mid-morning, it was time for some of the regulars to travel to north Hampshire to see an eagle.

Stop press: a lone pair of Brent Goose on a shingle bar in the harbour this morning comprised one pale-bellied, hrota , bird with the other being a more conventional dark-bellied, bernicla , type. A further snippet from the sea involves 2 female Common Scoter sat just off the Beach Huts and a diver sp. past.

Additional news: a Firecrest was again in the Wood this afternoon and 8 Purple Sandpiper were by the Long Groyne. Earlier, at least 12 Turnstone had been on the sandspit and 2 Kittiwake passed west off there

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