Sightings for April 2011

April 30th

The wind seemed to shift more to the direct east today and this encouraged Swallow and Swift to cross the channel in the biggest numbers so far this spring. It's reckoned that 75 Swift were seen arriving throughout the morning, while Swallow weren't counted but probably outnumbered their larger cousins 3:1 during the same period. There were a couple of firsts for the year: a Wood Sandpiper overflew the HHC and was then seen to come down onto East Marsh, Stanpit; and a pale Arctic Skua passed very close along the length of Hengistbury. The rest of the seawatch was fairly quiet, but was punctuated with: 2 Red-throated Diver, a Great Crested Grebe, 7 Sanderling, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 17 Whimbrel east; an immature drake Eider on the water and 20 aimless Gannet; and a Fulmar west. The last couple of days has seen a huge movement of Bar-tailed Godwit up the channel, with a couple of sites recording 5000+ in a day; so the 48 inside the harbour this morning, although notable for Christchurch, were just a tiny percentage of the current passage. Also around Stanpit Bight, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, a Spotted Redshank, 4 Grey Plover, 25 Whimbrel, no more than 40 Dunlin and the 3 Wigeon. Finally, the passerines, which included: a Wood Warbler that sang a few times in the sycamores close to the Rusty Boat; a Cuckoo and 3 new Reed Warbler on Wick; 3 Whinchat and 26 Wheatear, mainly on the Hengistbury; and 2 Yellow Wagtail over.

Additional news: a Yellowhammer was decked by the Coastguards at 10:30.

April 29th

One of today's Whinchat - Alan Hayden

The first overcast day for some time combined with a nagging northerly wind made it feel quite cool this morning. Most of the time was spent watching the sea as grounded migrants were hard to come by with just 6 Wheatear and 3 Whinchat on the Barn Field. At sea it was fairly standard fare for the time of year with 41 Bar-tailed Godwit, 26 Whimbrel, 13 Common Tern and 2 Greylag Geese east, a Great Northern Diver, a Guillemot and 4 Fulmar west, 13 Common Scoter on the sea and c20 Gannet lingering. Raptors over harbour airspace today were Peregrine and Common Buzzard.

Additional news: 3 Yellow Wagtail were on Wick Fields and at least 30 Bar-tailed Godwit were in the harbour late in the afternoon.

April 28th

The only real news from the southern side of the area was one, but possibly two, incoming Hobby over Wick, where there was a Lesser Whitethroat singing in Roebury Lane close to the HHC. Otherwise, it's down to the trusty old Fisherman's Bank to provide the rest of the news, which involves: a Knot, a Grey Plover, 16 Whimbrel, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, 26 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Dunlin, the three lingering Wigeon and 35 Sandwich Tern. Meanwhile, at the top end of Stanpit Creek, the pen Mute Swan continues to sit on the nest that survived last week's spring tides.

April 27th

There was perhaps an upturn in interest today, as a Puffin went past Hengistbury and the year's first Spotted Flycatcher came off the head over to Wick. Other new, passerine arrivees included: 2 Grasshopper Warbler, one on Wick and one by Double Dykes; 3 Garden Warbler, all on Wick; a Tree Pipit sat in a tree in the Double Dykes; 31 Willow Warbler across Hengistbury; a reckoned 35 Whitethroat that were additional to those already incumbent on-site; a Whinchat on the top of the head; 11 Wheatear, mainly on the Barn Field; and 4 Yellow Wagtail over. Also incoming, 55 Dunlin, 5 Grey Plover and 11 Whimbrel, all over the Barn Field.

Additional news: a Spotted Redshank, but not one of the regulars that both seem to have moved on, was at Stanpit in the evening, as was a Knot and 47 Dunlin.

April 26th

Whimbrel - Alan Hayden
...and a Black-headed Gull with a rather feisty Clam - Vincent Blood

Despite the fine daytime temperature, the northerly wind made it quite uncomfortable for the first hour or so this morning, when gloves were actually the order of the day. In terms of the bird news, other than a pair of Red-breasted Merganser east at sea, a good attempt could have been made at writing this post with no information received from the field. The rest of the stuff offshore comprised up to 10 Gannet and 4 Fulmar, but a noticeable drop in Sandwich Tern, although around 40 were inside the harbour during the afternoon. To finish on Hengistbury, 2 Whimbrel, a Willow Warbler, 5 Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail were on the Barn Field, while a further wagtail came in-off over the Natterjack Pond. On Stanpit, representing the waders, there were 11 Whimbrel, a Grey Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 26 Black-tailed Godwit and 104 Dunlin; as well as a pair of Shoveler, the 3 Wigeon, 29 Shelduck and 4 passing Mediterranean Gull.

April 25th

Yellow Wagtail on Wick Fields - Leo Pyke
Common Sandpiper sitting out the high tide aboard Ledge-End Hookers - Dave Cooke

After spending some of yesterday off Milford-on-Sea, the pod of 10 or so Bottlenose Dolphin were again off Hengistbury this morning, as was a Roseate Tern that moved east, along with 4 Common Tern, 2 Fulmar and 8 Gannet. At least 14 Yellow Wagtail passed through during the day, including a flock of four that settled on the No Dogs Field briefly, while 3 singing Lesser Whitethroat around the northern fringe of Stanpit suggested an overnight arrival of that species. Wheatear were again sparse, however, just 5 dotted about, likewise incoming Swallow with nothing more than a 'steady trickle' noted. The waders at Stanpit remain largely unchanged, with a Common Sandpiper, 2 Grey Plover, 14 Whimbrel, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, around 20 Black-tailed Godwit and 125 Dunlin in and around Stanpit Bight and Fisherman's Bank. After a quiet day yesterday, Mediterranean Gull were once more very obvious - the day's over-fliers exceeding 30 birds.

April 24th

Sedge Warbler - Alan Crockard
Cetti's Warbler - Barrie Taylor
...and a couple of shots of the members' day - Alan Hayden

It was another day when there was little to show for a good many pairs of eyes and ears on Hengistbury. The best was probably an Arctic Tern with 41 Common Tern and 57 Sandwich Tern that were logged moving east past Coastguards, as well as a Guillemot, 9 Gannet and a Fulmar, plus a Swift and 4 Yellow Wagtail that arrived in-off over there. Incredibly, after the last few days and weeks, Mediterranean Gull were almost completely absent, with just six being recorded today. The only evidence of grounded passerines came from 23 Wheatear spread about the area and a Garden Warbler in Stanpit Scrubs. The Ruff was off Fisherman's Bank, while other waders at Stanpit included 9 Whimbrel, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Grey Plover, around 20 Black-tailed Godwit and 120 Dunlin. Although the tame Tufted Duck hasn't been seen for a few days, a couple of wilder birds arrived, a drake Shoveler moved off west and 2 Greylag Goose circuited the area.

April 23rd

Sandwich Tern - Alan Hayden

It was hard work again this morning. For example, one individual's 4-hour stint produced just: a Wheatear and a Mistle Thrush on the Barn Field; a Red-throated Diver, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Common Scoter, a Fulmar and 2 Whimbrel at sea, all but the waders east; and at least 22 Mediterranean Gull of all ages over, mostly eastbound. Meanwhile, at Stanpit, the Ruff is still present, along with a Common Sandpiper, 10 Whimbrel, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, a dwindling 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Ringed Plover and 109 Dunlin. Also, 3 Wigeon remaining on site.

April 22nd

One of around 10 Bottlenose Dolphin off Hengistbury this morning - Chris Chapleo
...and Ruff & Spotted Redshank at Stanpit last night - Alan Hayden

No change in the weather and little change in the birds, save for a drake Garganey that flew up and down the river just before 7:00 this morning. Actually, interest in that bird was lost as a message crackled about a party of 10 or so Bottlenose Dolphin close off Whitepits. For the next 15-minutes, they put on a wonderful display just 150m offshore, breaching as they apparently fed on a Mackerel shoal that drifted east. A couple of hours later, the animals were seen again, but this time more distantly as they slowly cruised back towards the Purbecks. Back to the birds and a fine, breeding-plumaged Water Pipit that was seen in Wick Hams, but there was very little else of note. A few Yellow Wagtail, a lone Wheatear, a Rook and 32 Mediterranean Gull overflew, most of the latter to the west, and a Mistle Thrush again gathered food on the Barn Field. Due to the dolphins, the sea got more attention than it really deserved, but mustered just: a Kittiwake, 6 Common Tern, 5 Whimbrel, a Common Scoter, a Grey Heron and 3 Fulmar, nearly all of these east, while a single Greylag Goose and 6 Canada Goose were also seen.

Additional news: Grasshopper Warbler were reeling at Whitepits and by the HHC.

April 21st

Wheatear - Alan Hayden

As the fine weather blazes on, it was again a poor day for the date. On Stanpit, however, the year's first 2 Swift, likewise a single Ring Ouzel, passed through north; but other overhead movers at Hengistbury comprised a modest 7 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Tree Pipit, 3 House Martin and 45 Swallow. The best of the settled stuff were 2 Grasshopper Warbler and a Redstart on Wick Fields, while the only 2 Wheatear of the day were on Solent Meads golf course. To brighten things up, there was good wader medley, with nearly all being seen from Stanpit and including: a Ruff coming into some nice plumage, a Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Grey Plover, 10 Whimbrel, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, 26 Black-tailed Godwit and up to 100 Dunlin. Speaking of which, it looks as if yesterday's tagged bird is part of a project being run in Portugal and we hope to get more details soon. Common Tern remain sparse, with just 5 seen today, but there were at least 27 Sandwich Tern inside the harbour, where 2 Teal, a Wigeon and Gadwall were also present. The sea was once again desperate, turning in a paltry Fulmar, 7 Whimbrel and 2 Common Scoter; and, finally, for the bird-day log, the Mediterranean Gull total was in the region of 15.

April 20th

Whitethroat - Mike Crockard
It may seem that we're over-doing Whitethroat at the moment, but there do seem to be an awful lot around and, besides, a shot like this is always worthy of publication.

Weather-wise, it was a repeat performance of the last couple of days, with perhaps even fewer birds in general, but one piece of quality. That came courtesy of a Red-rumped Swallow, the first since 2005 and only the group's eighth record, which passed quickly north over Priory Marsh at 9:25 this morning. In fact, this was in one of the first groups of Swallow that travelled through, with the more expected species numbering just 35 or so between 06:30 and 10:00. Over on Wick, a Turtle Dove, never to be taken for granted nowadays, passed went over the Wooden Bridge early on and a Whinchat was settled in the Bobolink Field. Otherwise, in terms of passerines, the only others warranting a mention are: a Grasshopper Warbler in Smithy's Field, 6 Wheatear, mostly on the Barn Field, and 2 Tree Pipit, 4 Yellow Wagtail and 86 Meadow Pipit over. Another good miscellany of waders was present at Stanpit, including: a Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, a Knot, 3 Grey Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, just 11 Black-tailed Godwit, a single Ringed Plover and 84 Dunlin. This evening, one of the latter was adorned with a radio transmitter, two antennae, a leg flag and two colour rings, so details are being sought as to where all this gear was fitted. Also inside the harbour, still 3 Wigeon and 22 lively Sandwich Tern, while at least 14 Mediterranean Gull yelped their way through.

April 19th

Whitethroat - Alan Hayden

For the second day in succession, there were clear skies and a wind that started in the north-west but slowly rotated through 180 degrees. The best two birds were seen from the HHC, where a Spoonbill passed over eastwards, but chose not to stop, and a male Yellowhammer flew low through in the opposite direction. Close by, a couple of Yellow Wagtail were settled with the cattle in Wick Hams, while a further seven overflew, as did 2 Tree Pipit, 3 Rook, 50 Meadow Pipit and 30 Swallow until 10:30. The sea was again almost birdless, with just 9 Common Tern and a Brent Goose east, plus a Fulmar and some of the day's 29 Mediterranean Gull, to show for the effort. On Stanpit, a Sanderling seemed to be a new bird, but otherwise it was largely unchanged with 5 Grey Plover, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, around 80 Dunlin and 3 Wigeon logged from Fisherman's Bank.

April 18th

Continuing the recent theme of singing warblers - Dartford Warbler - Mike Crockard

It was a little more lively today, particularly for overhead migration, exception hirundines that is, which remain sparse to say the least. However, it was the best day so far for Tree Pipit and Yellow Wagtail, with 15 and 11 logged respectively, as well as a Cuckoo, 116 Meadow Pipit, 58 Linnet, 26 Goldfinch and a Rook. On the deck, there was again a decent presence of Grasshopper Warbler, with at least 5 heard reeling, mainly on Wick, but also in bushes adjacent to Rolls Drive. Also, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 32 Willow Warbler and 15 Whitethroat newly arrived. At sea, a couple of Common Tern, 15 Whimbrel and a Guillemot headed east, while 6 Fulmar were a little more aimless. Reports throughout the day from Fisherman's Bank revealed there is a half-decent wader selection at Stanpit, comprising: a Spotted Redshank, a Ruff, a Knot, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Snipe, 3 Grey Plover, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, 43 Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 92 Dunlin; along with a pair of Canada Goose and 16 Shelduck. To conclude, the Mediterranean Gull total for the day was in excess of 25 birds.

Omission: a Bullfinch was on Wick Fields.

April 17th

Singing Blackcap - Alan Hayden

After a good few days of cloud cover, the sun finally asserted itself and blue skies dominated the proceedings. However, there wasn't a great deal of change in terms of numbers of birds passing through - although a Short-eared Owl low over Stanpit at around 8:30, before heading off high north, was more than enough consolation for those out there. Otherwise, the best of the migrants were: a settled Yellow Wagtail on Wick, plus six more over Stanpit; a Whinchat and 2 Grasshopper Warbler at Stanpit; and total of 7 Wheatear from both sides of the harbour. The rest of the post will probably only interest those who are intimate with the area, so you may wish to look away now. On Wick, there were unseasonable records of 2 Snipe and a Kingfisher; the daft, drake Tufted Duck was again on one of the shallow artificial pools by the HHC and a Greylag Goose passed over; it is confirmed that a pair of Mistle Thrush are breeding on Hengistbury, something which is locally notable; a couple of Rook passed through; and at least 12 Mediterranean Gull and a regular leucistic Black-headed Gull were on site.

Omission: a Great Crested Grebe was on the sea off Double Dykes.

April 16th

Homemaking Chiffchaff - Alan Hayden
...and Hobby over Wick Fields - Alan Hayden

Again, it was largely quiet, but there was enough to keep the Saturday regulars entertained at times. Cuckoo are becoming increasingly difficult to catch up with, so a newly arrived, tired male that hung around the Barn Field briefly was most welcome. There were also 4 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 by the Natterjack Pond and a single bird on Wick, where a Hobby passed over. Otherwise, the only other obvious incomers were a Yellow Wagtail over the HHC, a Garden Warbler in Wick Ditch, 3 Wheatear and 28 Willow Warbler. A Red-throated Diver settled on the water was the best of a dull but pleasant seawatch, which also included 2 Fulmar, a Gannet, a Common Scoter and a Teal. On the occasions that the waders were airborne over Stanpit, from Hengistbury it was possible to pick out 7 Whimbrel, 9 Grey Plover and 11 Bar-tailed Godwit. To wrap up, at least 10 Mediterranean Gull were logged and the drake Tufted Duck remains in the area.

Additonal news: the final Bar-tailed Godwit total at Stanpit was 17 birds, as well as the 2 Spotted Redshank, the Ruff, the Greenshank, 80 or so Dunlin and 6 Wigeon.

April 15th

Willow Warbler in song - Alan Hayden

In similar conditions to yesterday, but slightly varied by some light drizzle and occasional blue sky, it was another relatively slow day in terms of quantity. There were, nevertheless, a few bits of quality. The second Osprey of the week was watched over harbour airspace at around 3:45 this afternoon from Stanpit village; the bird then headed north up the Avon Valley, being seen at Sopley and ultimately at Blashford Lakes, all in the space of 45-minutes or so. A morning seawatch was enlivened by a Spoonbill and an Avocet west, plus 6 Velvet Scoter amongst 16 Common Scoter, 6 Whimbrel and a Common Tern east. Also, 2 Purple Sandpiper remaining around the Long Groyne. As alluded to earlier in the post, migrant passerines were sparse, but did include: a couple of Grasshopper Warbler, one at Whitepits the other on the Long Field, the year's first Garden Warbler vocal close to Holloway's Dock, a late Brambling, a Yellow Wagtail over and 9 Wheatear.

April 14th

Male Reed Bunting - Alan Hayden

The wind dropped away overnight, but the cloud remained and only a handful of new birds were obvious. However, these included: at least 4 reeling Grasshopper Warbler on Wick Fields, with a further bird on Stanpit golf course; a Wood Warbler by the Civic Offices; while 30 Blackcap and 10 Sedge Warbler around Stanpit were also considered to be recently arrived. On Crouch Hill, there were 3 Wheatear, one of them looking good for a Greenland-type, and a further two were about Wick. That area also saw a couple of decent falcon records, as the first Hobby and a late Merlin both passed over. The morning at Stanpit hosted a Little Stint, 2 Common Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover, but these soon moved on. Meanwhile, throughout the day, around 11 Whimbrel passed through, one of them in the company of 6 Curlew, as did 3 Red-throated Diver over the harbour itself. Birds that were more settled, included: the 2 Spotted Redshank, a Ruff, a Greenshank, 3 Grey Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, around 70 each of Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin, 4 Shoveler, 4 Wigeon, 8 Teal and a second calendar-year Common Gull. Finally, the day's Mediterranean Gull count is 12.

April 13th

Stock Dove - not an easy bird to see on the ground in the harbour - Leo Pyke

Passerine migration was pretty much stalled by overnight cloud, relatively cold temperatures and a strengthening south-westerly wind, just 6 Wheatear on Hengistbury being the only certain new arrivals. Nevertheless, there were a few other birds on the move - for example, an Osprey headed north over the harbour at 8:20 this morning, while a Ruff, a Greenshank, a Whimbrel and 2 adult Grey Plover had checked-in at Stanpit by the afternoon. Meanwhile, waders already present there included: the 2 Spotted Redshank, 4 Grey Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 85 Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 82 Dunlin, most of the latter in varying stages of breeding plumage, but there were a couple of much less advanced, longer-billed birds. Also, still 3 Purple Sandpiper on Hengistbury, these on the Long Groyne this morning. Of breeding interest, it looks as if the Barn's Swallow may have returned and the 2 Mistle Thrush were still commuting between the adjacent field and the Wood, while a pair of Mute Swan have a nest at the north end of Stanpit Creek. Finally, 8 Mediterranean Gull, all paired adults, moved over, a couple of Canada Goose settled on the Ironstone Quarry and a single Greylag Goose toured.

Additional news: a male Yellowhammer perched in the HHC hedge briefly as the Osprey went over.

April 12th

Little Tern - Alan Hayden

Although it was another fine spring day, a stiff north-westerly breeze put paid to any migration with just 7 Wheatear on the Barn Field and 2 overflying Yellow Wagtail being seen this morning. A single Little Tern was on Stanpit, where the 2 Spotted Redshank remain; also 70 Dunlin, 36 Black-tailed Godwit, 24 Sandwich Tern, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Grey Plover and a Ringed Plover. The 2 Mistle Thrush were again on the Barn Field, while 2 Rook and a Peregrine passed overhead.

April 11th

Greylag Goose on Wick Fields this morning - Shaun Montgomery

Willow Warbler moved through again today with 400 counted in the first three hours of daylight, also 61 Swallow, 43 Wheatear, 16 Blackcap, 16 Chiffchaff, 12 Whitethroat, 11 Redstart, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler, a Wood Warbler, a Tree Pipit and a Grasshopper Warbler. This afternoon, the first Little Tern of the year appeared opposite Fisherman's Bank, where two birds were seen, while one of the Spotted Redshank was also there. Wildfowl numbers seem to be reducing daily, but a single Brent Goose was still around plus 22 Shelduck, 3 Canada Geese and 2 Greylag Geese. To round up, the 2 Mistle Thrush were on the Long Field and today's Mediterranean Gull count was 19, again mainly adult birds.

Evening update: there were 3 Little Tern on Stanpit, also 8 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Grey Plover, plus 3 Wheatear by the Visitor Centre.

April 10th

Another quiet day in terms of grounded migrants with just 21 Wheatear and 15 each of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff spread between the Barn Field and Wick; also plenty of Blackcap and Whitethroat, but it's thought that most of these are already on territory. The same can probably said of the 4 Sedge Warbler and 2 Reed Warbler in the Wick reedbed. There were also a few Swallow arriving with 52 counted. The 3 Greylag Geese were seen again today, as was the drake Tufted Duck still in the company of a pair of Mallard! To round up on Hengistbury, a single Rook passed over, 2 Mistle Thrush were on the Barn Field and 15 Mediterranean Gull, all adult birds, headed south-west. Meanwhile, on Stanpit, the 2 Spotted Redshank were on East Marsh and 72 Dunlin, 70 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Grey Plover were in Stanpit Bight.

Check back to yesterday for late news.

April 9th

Shelduck - Dave Cooke

After yesterday's bumper fall of common migrants, things were very quiet around Hengistbury and Wick this morning, with barely a dozen Willow Warbler and Blackcap present. Having said that, the first Lesser Whitethroat and Reed Warbler made it on to the harbour year-list, with 2 of each on Wick; also 25 Wheatear, 12 Whitethroat, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Yellow Wagtail and one each of Grasshopper Warbler, Redstart and Bullfinch. Although the wind was from the east, the sea received some coverage, but only produced a summer plumaged Red-throated Diver, a Great Crested Grebe, 2 Gannet and 38 Sandwich Tern east. A Common Buzzard passed over the Coastguards, while also on the move were 2 Raven, 2 Rook, 2 Mistle Thrush, 3 Greylag Geese, 3 Canada Geese, 3 Tufted Duck and 14 Mediterranean Gull.

Late news: visible migration figures for today were 200 Linnet, 150 Meadow Pipit, 60 Sand Martin and 30 Goldfinch.

April 8th

Sand Martin prospecting for nest sites - Alan Crockard

On another glorious spring morning with only light winds, Willow Warbler once again moved through Hengistbury in numbers, with 520 logged by 10:00. It was also a day for firsts-of-the-year, with a Nightingale on the Batters, 2 Pied Flycatcher, a very early Wood Warbler on Wick Fields, a Whinchat on Whitepits and a Whimbrel leaving the harbour. Other counts from Hengistbury were 85 Chiffchaff, 61 Blackcap, 26 Wheatear, 23 Whitethroat, 18 Redstart, a Grasshopper Warbler and a Sedge Warbler, while overhead were 6 Yellow Wagtail, 3 White Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and a Yellowhammer. Although it was much quieter on Stanpit, there were 10 Sedge Warbler, 3 Redstart, 2 Yellow Wagtail, aWheatear and aWhitethroat. A Rook and 2 Raven moved east over the harbour, while the Mediterranean Gull count today was 20. Finally, a Great Northern Diver headed west at sea, 2 Gadwall were around the harbour and the 2 Spotted Redshank remain on East Marsh.

April 7th

Whitethroat on the Long Field - Alan Hayden
Cetti's Warbler trapped and ringed yesterday - Alan Hayden

The first two Grasshopper Warbler of the year were on Stanpit this morning, while on Hengistbury and Wick it was easily the best day of the year for Willow Warbler, with a minimum of 250 birds, but surprisingly there were only 6 of these on Stanpit. A male Redstart on the Barn Field was probably the pick of the birds on the south side of the harbour, but also 56 Wheatear, 40 Chiffchaff, 20 Blackcap and 5 Whitethroat. A further 20 Wheatear were on Stanpit, plus 65 Blackcap, 10 Chiffchaff and 2 Sedge Warbler. Birds moving over Stanpit Golf Course were 69 Linnet, 57 Meadow Pipit, 38 Sand Martin, 16 Swallow, 3 Yellow Wagtail and 2 White Wagtail, while a Buzzard headed over Wick this afternoon. A count of 41 Curlew around Stanpit this morning was of local significance, also there were 125 Redshank, 45 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Sandwich Tern, 9 Dunlin, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Grey Plover, the Spotted Redshank and 6 Mediterranean Gull, a further 20 of these being noted over Hengistbury.

April 6th

The return of the fine weather saw hirundines on the move today, with 125 Swallow, 110 Sand Martin and 2 House Martin over Hengistbury; also the first Tree Pipit of the year plus 86 Linnet, 66 Meadow Pipit, 29 Goldfinch and 1 Redpoll. Scattered across Wick Fields and the head were 55 Willow Warbler, 41 Wheatear, 28 Chiffchaff, 11 Blackcap and 3 Whitethroat. Another 7 Wheatear were on Stanpit, but only 4 Blackcap and a single Willow Warbler there. A first-summer Little Gull came in off the sea and headed up river, while 19 Sandwich Tern and 2 Common Scoter moved east; also 12 Mediterranean Gull were logged. On Stanpit, the 2 Brent Geese remain and wader numbers were similar to yesterday with the 2 Spotted Redshank, 83 Black-tailed Godwit, 21 Dunlin, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Grey Plover.

Late news: the first Common Tern of the year was on Stanpit late afternoon, also the adult Little Gull was there.

April 5th

Grey Wagtail on Priory Marsh - Alan Hayden

A brief interruption to the fine weather saw a south-westerly front bring a belt of rain to the harbour, but if the forecasters are to be believed we can now look forward to a week of fine weather. A brief seawatch from the Beach Huts this morning produced just a single Red-throated Diver west, also 7 Purple Sandpiper and 19 Turnstone on the groynes. Holloway's Dock held 44 Black-tailed Godwit, while another 73 were on Stanpi,t where there was another Turnstone, plus 17 Dunlin, some of which were sporting black bellies, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Grey Plover and the 2 Spotted Redshank. Only 2 Brent Geese were present, plus 9 Teal and 4 Shelduck; also 4 Sandwich Tern in the high tide roost. After lunch, there was clearly a small movement of Swallow with 18 logged over Wick and Stanpit.

April 4th

Although there were a few more migrants around today, most of the birds had moved off the head onto Wick quite early. Firsts for the year were: Garganey, a drake which headed north without stopping: a Whitethroat in the 'no dogs field' on Wick; and Sedge Warbler, of which there were two, one by the HHC and one on Ashtree Meadows, Stanpit. Combined totals for the grounded migrants were 43 Willow Warbler, 12 Blackcap, 11 Chiffchaff and 3 male Redstart. A Wheatear came in-off and both Redpoll and White Wagtail moved over, but otherwise there was very little overhead movement. Waders today included a Little Stint in Stanpit Creek, where the 2 Spotted Redshank, beginning to look very smart, were also present, a Purple Sandpiper on the groynes and a Sanderling in the air with the godwit flock; counts were 76 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Dunlin, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Grey Plover. An adult Little Gull arrived and 7 first-summer Mediterranean Gull moved west. Finally, there was a Bearded Tit in the HHC reedbed and a Grey Wagtail on Fisherman's Bank.

April 3rd

Male Redstart on Wick - Alan Hayden

Again, slightly more was expected for the day, particularly as the wind had dropped overnight, during which there was just a light cloud cover. Having said that, interest was provided by a party of 3 Spoonbill that passed west just offshore around 11:00, after having previously been seen at Keyhaven, and a Tree Sparrow above the Barn Field a couple of hours earlier. Also over, a Yellow Wagtail and 13 Swallow, with the best of the settled migrants being a male Redstart in the north-west corner of the Bobolink Field and a fully plumaged Water Pipit by the Wooden Bridge. A late Redwing was also on Wick, as were most of the day's 20 Blackcap, 26 Chiffchaff and 7 Willow Warbler. Pairs of Mediterranean Gull overflew throughout - the final total being 22 - and on Stanpit, where the traditional early spring wader lull is now in full swing, the Spotted Redshank, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin were logged. Black-tailed Godwit, although not counted, were also thought to be down, and a group of 35 leaving west over Whitepits no doubt contributed to this suggestion. Dodgy geese were once more flying around, a skein of 10 Canada Goose making a tour, while the genuinely wild birds seem to have mostly left - just 5 Brent Goose using the harbour today. Finally, a couple of Grey Wagtail were on Priory Marsh and the confused Tufted Duck was hanging around the HHC.

April 2nd

Reed Bunting - Alan Crockard

It was perhaps not as good as hoped for this morning, during which some strange conditions saw the wind shift from a brisk south-east to a moderate south-west and the sun not really makes its mark until three hours after it had risen. The first Redstart of the year, however, made it on to Stanpit, while a Yellow Wagtail, 15 Swallow, 325 Meadow Pipit, 118 Linnet and a Redpoll headed inland over Hengistbury. It's becoming rather difficult to extricate the arriving Sand Martin from the 50 or so that are now resident along the cliffs, but 21 seemed to be on the move this morning and 50+ stopped briefly to feed over Priory Marsh this afternoon. Settled birds were relatively sparse on the Hengistbury/Wick side, but did include: 25 Chiffchaff, 5 Willow Warbler, 8 Blackcap and 6 Wheatear. The sea seemed quiet, although a Black-throated Diver passed fairly close as it headed east; also 10 Common Scoter and single unidentified diver and auk. A walk along the sandspit produced the first 2 Sanderling for the period, as well as 3 remaining Purple Sandpiper and a Red-breasted Merganser inside the harbour. Otherwise, the only other interest came from a young Peregrine and a few roaming feral geese, these comprising 3 Greylag Goose and 3 Canada Goose.

Additional news: a Firecrest was on Wick Fields, while the Spotted Redshank, a Knot, 18 Mediterranean Gull, a Rook and 6 Brent Goose were all at Stanpit.

April 1st

In almost identical conditions to the previous 24-hours, there was again little to be seen. The only obvious migrants were a newly-arrived Avocet at Stanpit, where a female Wheatear, 2 Swallow and 5 Willow Warbler were also logged. Brent Goose have been thin on the ground for a couple of days now - for example, just 6 today with a wandering, single Canada Goose. The only news from Hengistbury is of 2 Raven over, while the remainder of the news comes from 2 Grey Wagtail, hopefully a pair, on Priory Marsh and a Spotted Redshank, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit and 133 Black-tailed Godwit in Stanpit Bight. Of interest, the colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit, known amongst those who look out for such things as 'Bird 2', is still present after first being seen on Boxing Day last year.

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