Sightings for August 2012

August 31st

Greenshank in Barn Bight - Joe Murphy
Linnet - Joe Murphy

It was a decent day for overhead migration with, at any one time, a constant umbrella of several hundred coming-and-going hirundines, of all three species, hanging above the area; but only 2 Swift noted. The real highlight, however, was a juvenile Montagu's Harrier that moved west at sea - the bird was first picked up at 8:15 south of the West Field, but then circled for a while off the old Point House Café site, before moving onwards and next being seen at Arne around 45-minutes later. Meanwhile, there was a really good count of Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit moving across the area - the totals being 128 and 32 respectively - with many of the 'yellow wags' taking a line from Wick to Whitepits across the golf course, above which a couple of 15+ sized flocks were seen. In addition, a Grey Wagtail went over Wick. On the deck, there was a good number of Whinchat to be had - twelve across all sites - as well as 51 Wheatear, a Pied Flycatcher on Wick, 3 Spotted Flycatcher and 5 Redstart on Hengistbury, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Garden Warbler, over 110 Willow Warbler and 20 or so Chiffchaff. At Stanpit, a Little Stint was present in the morning, while the day-totals of settled birds come to: 4 Grey Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 8 Knot, 2 Greenshank, a Sanderling, a Turnstone, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 55 Ringed Plover and 70 Dunlin. There were also waders seen from Hengistbury that decided not to hang around, including a flock of 10 Knot with an accompanying Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Sanderling, 2 Snipe and 46 Ringed Plover. To complete the day's birds of note, a first-winter Little Gull and an adult Arctic Tern were off Fisherman's Bank late this afternoon. For the records, there are now 7 Wigeon in the harbour, where 2 Shoveler rested up, 2 Peregrine and 3 Hobby hunted the many airborne birds in the morning, 12 Raven went over, eleven in one group, and 62 Sandwich Tern loafed around Stanpit Bight.

Additional news: during a CBC bat event, a Tawny Owl was in the North Scrubs.

August 30th

The wind shifted to the north-west overnight meaning the sea was a shadow of yesterday. However, from Mudeford Quay, 150 Sandwich Tern moved west in the first hour of daylight, while Common Tern were constantly trickling by until 8:45 at least. Also from there: a Great Skua, a Balearic Shearwater and a pair of Common Scoter west; an Arctic Skua harrying some distant terns; and a Razorbill on the water. A walk across Priory Marsh produced very little; in fact, the reedbeds were devoid of birds, but 2 Tree Pipit went over and a Spotted Flycatcher was nearby. Meanwhile, a Swift and 5 Yellow Wagtail moved above Wick, doubles of Whinchat were on the Barn Field and Crouch Hill, with the latter spot also holding 7 Wheatear, and 4 Sand Martin travelled at sea. Otherwise, there were just single figures of Willow Warbler and Whitethroat around the site. Wader numbers are still very low, but there was a modicum of variety at Stanpit throughout the day, including: 3 Green Sandpiper, 4 Knot, a Greenshank, a Grey Plover, 3 Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Snipe, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin - the last two listed underlining just how few birds there are around. In addition, singles of Turnstone, Sanderling and Ringed Plover were about the sandspit, as were 6 Dunlin. To conclude, there were 6 Wigeon and up to 100 Sandwich Tern inside the harbour, with singles of Hobby and Peregrine making visits.

Additional news: a single Green Sandpiper was on Priory Marsh in the evening.

August 29th

The wind again blustered in from the south-west, meaning the sea was given some attention from both the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay - the former site coming up with some remarkable totals, but almost entirely in the first hour of daylight. These included: 4 Sooty Shearwater, 15 unidentified shearwater, 7 Arctic Skua, a Great Skua, a Roseate Tern, a Black Tern, 2 Arctic Tern, 820 Common Tern, 335 Sandwich Tern and 430 Gannet. However, those that arrived at Mudeford Quay just an hour or so later caught but a mere fraction, although they did register 8 Balearic Shearwater and 24 Manx Shearwater, while 2 Sooty Shearwater and 2 Arctic Skua from there may well have been covered already. In addition, both sites returned near identical figures for Fulmar, 41 and 40, and a further Black Tern and a Little Gull passed through the harbour. In terms of direction, save for smaller skuas, the movement was predominantly westward. Other than a Green Sandpiper and 4 Common Sandpiper in Holloway's Dock, there is no wader news from inside the harbour but birds were seen travelling at sea - namely, a Ruff, 3 Knot and a Sanderling past the huts and 2 Greenshank along the quay. Meanwhile, a Swift and 200 Sand Martin travelled west over the water, and it seemed the sandspit was the only place to be for migrant passerines, with 4 Tree Pipit and 14 Yellow Wagtail over there. Another species that notched up a notable day total was Raven, which came in at twenty-one - including an unkindness of 14 that arrived from the Avon Valley. Finally, a late afternoon go at the sea from Mudeford Quay came up with 5 Balearic Shearwater west and an Arctic Skua east over a 2-hour period.

Omission: 20+ Balearic Shearwater were also seen from the Beach Huts.

August 28th

Juvenile Knot - Dave Hill

It was much quieter than the last few days, but that could have been down to reduced coverage after a pretty intensive long weekend. Hengistbury and Wick saw a scattering of common migrants, including: 3 Whinchat on the Long Field, a Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Lesser Whitethroat and 10 Wheatear, while a couple of Yellow Wagtail and a Tree Pipit went over. This evening at Stanpit, the wader counts came to: 2 Knot, 4 Greenshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, a Whimbrel, 2 Ringed Plover and 40 Dunlin; as well as a lone Teal.

August 27th

Sanderling on the sandspit - Clinton Whale

For the last few days we were being warned about today's predicted deluge, but throughout yesterday the apparent timing of it got more and more variable, to the point where it still hasn't happened. The wind, however, did continue to blow, from a bearing a tad east of south, and brought on a reasonable number of seabirds - although the hours had to be put in for these. Hengistbury was watched, mainly from the Gulley, between 7:00 and 2:30, but the best came from Mudeford Quay in the form of a close Storm Petrel. It's not certain how many August records there have been, but it's a species that is far more expected in late spring. By local standards, there was a really decent total of 21 Arctic Skua, all west and all but one from Hengistbury. In addition, 3 Great Skua, 12 Balearic Shearwater, 3 Manx Shearwater, 2 Arctic Tern, a Little Tern, 230 Common Tern, 13 Common Scoter, 12 Teal, these in flocks of three and nine, and a Great Crested Grebe all moved mostly west. A little less expected over the water, however, was a Hobby that was presumably on the lookout for small passerines. On the subject of passerines, given the conditions they were always going to be sparse, so a Whinchat in the Bobolink Field was a nice record, while 7 Yellow Wagtail and 5 Wheatear were towards the end of the head and 2 Raven passed over. Wader-wise, there were 4 Sanderling on the sandspit and a single Greenshank at Wick, but Stanpit held further individuals of Sanderling and Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, a Common Sandpiper, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 18 Ringed Plover and 28 Dunlin.

Additional news: 6 Yellow Wagtail went over Stanpit golf course this evening.

August 26th

Sandwich Tern and Common Tern at Stanpit - Joe Murphy
...and fry in Barn Bight - Joe Murphy

The wind dropped away overnight and brought on a small arrival of passerines, but most had moved elsewhere after the couple of hours of daylight. For a brief period the Barn Field held 6 Whinchat and 15 Wheatear, with eight more of the latter on Crouch Hill; also 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warbler and 45 Willow Warbler spread about, while 12 Tree Pipit and 6 Yellow Wagtail went over. By late morning, it was clear there had also been an influx of waders as Ringed Plover and Dunlin numbered 85 and 54 respectively at Stanpit, where a Ruff passed over in the company of 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 11 Common Sandpiper, 6 Knot, 9 Whimbrel, a Greenshank, 3 Sanderling, 6 Turnstone, a Snipe and 8 settled Black-tailed Godwit were also present. Also round the marsh, a young Shelduck, 4 Tufted Duck, 45 Common Tern and 35 Sandwich Tern. However, there were far less terns at sea than yesterday; nevertheless, an estimated 200 Common Tern were offshore, as were singles of Kittiwake, a juvenile, and a Fulmar.

Additional news: a first-winter Mediterranean Gull and 2 Common Gull were on East Marsh.

More: in the evening, a Black Tern and 3 Great Skua were off the Double Dykes.

August 25th

Adult and juvenile Goldfinch - David Williams

The event of the day was a marked passage of Common Tern into the strong south-westerly wind and showers. A 3-hour watch at Mudeford Quay from dawn saw 507 birds pass close inshore - most of these in the middle hour when flocks were peaking at around fifty birds. About the same time, a count of 250 was turned in from the Beach Huts; of course, some duplication may exist but many birds do pass through the harbour so wouldn't have been seen from the huts. Then, from 11:00 onwards, a 4-hour spell at the Gully produced a further 390, but as a steady trickle of individuals rather than in flocks. It has to be said that probably as many birds passed by all sites at great distance, but the haze and swell made counting those a bit of a lottery. In addition, a juvenile Black Tern passed the quay and then spent a few minutes further along the sandspit, singles of Roseate Tern were seen morning and afternoon, the later bird hanging around the Long Groyne, 3 Arctic Tern went by the Beach Huts and 4 Little Tern were seen across the day. The early watch also produced a Great Skua, an Arctic Skua and 3 unidentified shearwaters, but the later attempt at The Gulley managed 8 Balearic Shearwater and 5 Manx Shearwater, all west, plus a further 'Bonxie', which passed the time away by assaulting a number of Great Black-backed Gull. Also hunting over the water was a Peregrine, with terns being its attempted victims; and to finish with the sea, a Guillemot, 10 Common Scoter and 11 Fulmar make the records. As the tide fell, the inside of the harbour was checked from Fisherman's Bank and yielded a Little Stint on Blackberry Point, as well as 2 Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, 6 Sanderling, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Ringed Plover and 12 Dunlin. Earlier, 37 Black-tailed Godwit left northwards and the seawatches added a Curlew Sandpiper, 20 Knot, a Common Sandpiper, two further Whimbrel, 11 Sanderling, 20 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin to the day's wader list. The only passerines of note were: at least 5 Yellow Wagtail hanging around the end of Hengistbury, a couple of Wheatear on the head and 4 Raven east over Mudeford Quay. Of mammal interest, it has been a good few days for Bottlenose Dolphin, including three off the Long Groyne this afternoon, plus at least ten in the same on a couple of occasions during the week.

August 24th

Turnstone - Clinton Whale
Curlew - Alan Hayden
...and Whimbrel - Alan Hayden

Almost ridiculously, what had to be the Spotted Crake again made a short flight over the same area of Priory Marsh this morning - this being the third time in six days the bird has been seen to do this, but so far no-one has managed to pin it down on the deck although more than conclusive flight views have certainly been had. Despite the still start to the day, the wind built up throughout the morning and brought with it the forecasted rain. Consequently, most of the reports come from well before lunch. From Argyle Road, a Roseate Tern and 2 Arctic Tern were logged, while a Green Sandpiper there may have been the same as heard over Priory Marsh and seemingly heading in that direction. Also, 3 Curlew Sandpiper in Stanpit Creek, as well as 8 Common Sandpiper, plus a further of those in Barn Bight, 8 Sanderling just east of the old Point House Café site and 6 Turnstone on the sandspit. In general, passerines were thin on the ground (and air), with the only returns of note being 2 Tree Pipit and a Yellow Wagtail over Wick, a flock of 6 Yellow Wagtail over Stanpit and a Garden Warbler in the North Scrubs. The sea threatens to produce some interest as a decent number of terns - around 250 Common Tern - were lingering off Hengistbury and a much larger gathering of 'dots', mainly Gannet, was much further out towards The Needles. As it was, a Balearic Shearwater and 4 Fulmar were seen from the head and the day closed with an Arctic Skua, seen from Mudeford Quay, that appeared to either enter the harbour through the beach huts or settle on the sandspit.

Additional news: 2 Knot were at Stanpit.

August 23rd

Whinchat - Darren Hughes
Red-veined Darter on Priory Marsh - Darren Hughes

The wind dropped away during the night, but this didn't result in an overly large amount of passerines on-site. However, there was a moment of interest when a Wryneck flew across the path at the eastern end of the Batters this morning, while a Pied Flycatcher and a Spotted Flycatcher were in pretty much the same spot. All three parts of the area held pockets of birds with aggregate totals coming to: 80 or so Willow Warbler, 26 Whitethroat, 10 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, both of those in the North Scrubs, and a Whinchat; but amazingly there was just a single Wheatear! Meanwhile, a comment from Stanpit suggested there were more Reed Warbler to be seen there than Sedge Warbler. Overhead, 3 Swift were logged from Wick, with 20 Tree Pipit, including a flock of 6 birds over the Long Field, 16 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Grey Wagtail making up the rest of the numbers. A Great Skua that headed high west over Coastguards was the best of the seabirds, although 3 Little Tern, 200 Common Tern and 120 Sandwich Tern also travelled down channel. A Little Ringed Plover was at Stanpit in the morning, when the Common Sandpiper peaked at nine, and a Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin were present throughout. Elsewhere, there were 2 Turnstone on the sandspit and a single Whimbrel in Holloway's Dock. Then, this evening, just as most were giving up for the day, a flock of 46 Black-tailed Godwit alighted onto the area from the east. For the records, a Buzzard passed west over the centre of the harbour in the morning and adults of Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull pre-roosted at Stanpit.

August 22nd

A varying westerly wind dominated the day from start to finish, a situation that seemed to favour both moving and lingering terns. In addition to around 315 Common Tern and 135 Sandwich Tern considered to be travelling, there was a quote of 'hundreds of terns' feeding way offshore, while 4 juvenile Arctic Tern were picked out closer in and 5 Balearic Shearwater were also over the water. Migrant passerines were there to be dug out in isolated pockets of shelter - the rather modest figures from Wick and Hengistbury coming to: a Whinchat, a Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 35 Whitethroat, 5 Tree Pipit and 4 Yellow Wagtail. Once more, the best wader record came courtesy of Wood Sandpiper, as one passed over the HHC early on, with other numbers coming from: 2 Knot, both of those adults, 5 Sanderling, a Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, 5 Common Sandpiper, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and 25 Ringed Plover. A selection of minor wildfowl interest was provided by 2 Shoveler, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Gadwall and 4 Teal; and most 'reportees' who ventured out, regardless of time of day, connected with at least one Raven, so suggesting a lingering bird - perhaps attracted to settle by a hint of myxomatosis becoming apparent in the local rabbits.

August 21st

Adult male Bearded Tit - Chris Chapleo
Juvenile Swallow - Jean Southworth

It was a fine day in terms of variety - not least a Bittern that was first seen in the reeds along the western edge of the river before it picked up and gained height over the HHC, but then chose not to leave and eventually came down onto Priory Marsh. This is the area's earliest ever 'autumn' record by four days - the previous being in 1973. Incredibly, a Spotted Crake was again seen in low flight over Priory Marsh mid-morning, while earlier a couple of Wood Sandpiper came over Wick and appeared to settle on the meadows, then at 10:10 an Osprey drifted ultimately west above the centre of the harbour. Before dropping down to the numbers, a Little Ringed Plover was settled at Stanpit and up to 4 Green Sandpiper were also there; the same 3 juvenile Bearded Tit, two of them still tail-less, were in the Great Spires reedbed and two more birds were trapped and ringed in the HHC reeds. Around 110 Sedge Warbler were estimated across Wick and over to Parky Meade Rail, with the former also turning in 85 Willow Warbler, plus a Spotted Flycatcher, a Redstart, a Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Tree Pipit, a Yellow Wagtail, 3 Wheatear, 25 Blackcap and 10 Chiffchaff. Meanwhile, a Whinchat was again at Stanpit, where three further Wheatear and 2 Yellow Wagtail were also logged. There were no waders reports turned in from Stanpit Bight, but at least 7 Common Sandpiper were elsewhere on site, as were 2 Black-tailed Godwit and at least 23 Snipe, including a flock of sixteen, and a Whimbrel overflew Wick. To complete the post, a Great Crested Grebe and 4 Teal were about.

Additional news: a further 70 Willow Warbler can be added to the day total, while extras of Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Pipit and Yellow Wagtail also make the records.

August 20th

As can be seen above, there is quite a bit of loral colour variety on Little Egret
- with current examples ranging from purple through the above and on to yellow-green
- Alan Hayden

There was far more to be seen this morning than over the entirety of the weekend. At least 2 Roseate Tern were inside the harbour, these part of a westerly movement of up to 200 Common Tern that took place north and south of the head. During this, the sea also came up with 2 Balearic Shearwater and 17 Common Scoter, while over 30 Sandwich Tern were resting up at Stanpit. The day saw a clear arrival of Green Sandpiper into the area, with records comprising: three around Holloway's Dock, three from Stanpit and one over Wick. Meanwhile, other waders obviously on the move included: a Curlew Sandpiper that came in off the sea and settled on the sandspit, 3 Little Ringed Plover seen or heard from Hengistbury and 45 Snipe, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Black-tailed Godwit west over the head. In addition, 3 Common Sandpiper, 6 Whimbrel, 3 Sanderling, 2 Turnstone, 37 Ringed Plover and 8 Dunlin were more settled, mostly at Stanpit. Sedge Warbler, with 40 around Parky Meade Rail at dawn, were easily the most numerous migrant passerine on-site, but also the autumn's first Whinchat by the Rusty Boat, a Turtle Dove over and a Grasshopper Warbler on Wick, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Redstart on Hengistbury, a total of 10 Wheatear across the area, and singles of Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit. To conclude, individuals of Hobby and Peregrine went over, as did 2 Raven, and 4 Wigeon and 8 Teal checked-in.

Additional news: this evening, another couple of Green Sandpiper were around Priory Marsh and up to 3 Greenshank were also at Stanpit.

Omission: a Grey Wagtail was on Wick Meadows.

August 19th

A typical, early morning view of a migrant Sedge Warbler
in the Parky Meade Rail reedbed - Jimmy Main

A two-hour vigil at Parky Meade Rail from dawn, during which a thick mist hampered viewing to some degree, failed to produce any crakes but did result in three juvenile Bearded Tit - two of them appearing tail-less - with a further two of those in the HHC reedbed. Other than 2 Tree Pipit, a Yellow Wagtail and 2 Green Sandpiper over Wick, there is nothing worth mentioning in terms of passerine or wader migrants. However, it is clear that hirundines are starting to move; in addition to a delayed report of a 300-strong Sand Martin roost in the Great Spires reedbed on Friday night, this morning saw a mixed flock of 60 or so birds over the river that was dominated by House Martin, a species that is only recorded in the area on passage. Meanwhile, on a related note, around 100 Swift drifted slowly west over the Stanpit recreation ground during the mid-afternoon. To conclude, fine views of Reed Warbler can currently be had along the southern edge of Parky Meade Rail, as a late brood of four youngsters are very obvious as they harangue their parents into providing an endless supply of food.

August 18th

Reed Warbler - Jimmy Main
...and a selection of Sanderling , Dunlin and Ringed Plover at Stanpit recently
- Jimmy Main

With there being absolutely no wind throughout the night, the two hours after 5:30 this morning must have been pure insect torment around Parky Meade Rail - but if one is chasing crakes then a visit during the lowest period of the tidal cycle is essential. Of course, all of this is building up to a Spotted Crake, which was actually seen at 7:30 in flight low over Priory Marsh and then dropping into the Great Spires reedbed. Just reward indeed for the individual concerned and something that will probably get a few people out of bed sooner than they would like tomorrow. However, that was the clear highlight of the day, with only a very, very light sprinkle of paserine migrants across the area - the best being a Garden Warbler in the North Scrubs and 40 Sedge Warbler on Priory Marsh - and even fewer waders than yesterday. In fact, other than an Avocet over Hengistbury, the only reported presence was: a Greenshank, 5 Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Snipe and 6 Ringed Plover at Stanpit. To round off, a couple of Fulmar were across a largely deserted sea, a juvenile male Peregrine and a similarly aged Mediterranean Gull passed over the Barn Field, as did up to 10 Swift and 2 Tree Pipit, while a Teal was at Stanpit.

August 17th

Stonechat - Clinton Whale

Other than 2 Spotted Redshank and a Little Ringed Plover at Stanpit this morning, the overall wader presence, despite some of the recent variety, is a little disappointing for the date. For example, in respect of the 'smalls', Sanderling and Common Sandpiper with nine and seven in the harbour respectively came to a higher aggregate total than the same statistic for Dunlin and Ringed Plover. Before moving on, there were also 2 Greenshank, 9 Whimbrel and 2 Snipe to be had. Even though the wind was still blowing fairly strongly from the south, some larger birds decided to travel - a Spoonbill that passed west was seen from Wick and Stanpit, while two Marsh Harrier were logged from the latter site, a slim bird that circuited the harbour then a larger individual that headed high south. A little like yesterday, but in far reduced numbers, there was something of a tern passage, with 168 Common Tern and 2 Arctic Tern through the harbour; as well as 225 Sand Martin south. Peregrine aren't often seen in multiples, so three together over Stanpit was notable; also a Hobby there mobbing one of the harriers, with the remaining bits-and-pieces coming from a Grasshopper Warbler on Priory Marsh, a Redstart in the North Scrubs, 4 Wheatear on Crouch Hill and 3 Teal seen to arrive.

August 16th

There was a reasonable Common Tern passage through the area this morning, with birds coming through on quite a broad front. A 90-minute spell on Mudeford Quay produced 470 west, while at Stanpit over 175 birds arrived from a little further inland, so effectively bypassing the quay. Stanpit also produced 4 Arctic Tern - two each of adult and juvenile - and a further twenty-two of these passed over Hengistbury in a single flock that came from inland. The southerly wind prompted a 4-hour watch from the beach on Hengistbury, which surprisingly came up with relatively few Common Tern, but did present variety in the form of: 9 Manx Shearwater, an Arctic Skua, a Great Skua, a Roseate Tern, 2 Little Tern, 92 Sandwich Tern, 2 Kittiwake, 6 Fulmar and 8 Common Scoter, all west; as well as an Osprey that headed in the same direction, but well out at sea. Meanwhile, at least 2 Balearic Shearwater were lingering in the area, being seen from the head and the quay. Perhaps the wader event of the day was a flock of 18 Bar-tailed Godwit that came from the north-west and passed over Wick, where there were also 2 Green Sandpiper. Elsewhere, a couple of Knot were seen from Mudeford Quay and a Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel, 5 Sanderling, 6 Turnstone, 25 Snipe, most of these leaving in one flock to the west, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin were at Stanpit. Also around Stanpit Bight, an eclipse drake Shoveler and an adult Common Gull, with a Great Crested Grebe seen to head upriver.

August 15th

Common Sandpiper - Alan Hayden
Wheatear - Alan Hayden

Conditions were quite foul until the mid-afternoon, when the cloud dispersed and blue skies began to dominate. Early on, the wind was blasting from the east, but gently coursed to the south-west and lost some strength as it did so. At 7:50, a Sooty Shearwater was off Mudeford Quay before returning west again, while 5 Manx Shearwater and a juvenile Arctic Tern were also seen from there; as well as 176 Gannet, 7 Fulmar, a Shelduck, 4 Common Scoter, 3 Teal and at least 10 Swift, all east, plus 25 or so Common Tern lingering. At lunchtime, during a particularly heavy period of drizzle, a flock of 10 waders that headed low into the harbour over the quay was led by 2 Wood Sandpiper; then a couple of hours later, a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was picked out at Stanpit where it remained for the rest of the day. Meanwhile, other birds around Stanpit Bight included: 10 Sanderling, 2 Knot, a fine adult Grey Plover, 3 Common Sandpiper, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, up to 15 Snipe, 30 Ringed Plover and c10 Dunlin. Late in the day, a juvenile Kittiwake passed east through the harbour and just beforehand the juvenile Peregrine was seen to successfully connect with an unfortunate Lapwing. Finally, in addition to the 'sooty', the marine highlight of the day was a dolphin, perhaps with a calf, feeding off Mudeford Quay at about 10:00 this morning.

August 14th

Common Sandpiper - Alan Hayden
Ringed Plover - Alan Hayden

The first Osprey of the autumn migration passed high south-west over Stanpit this morning, when a Redstart and a Garden Warbler were in the North Scrubs. Meanwhile, a Little Ringed Plover was again about the marsh, where 6 Whimbrel, a Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Sanderling, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 18 Snipe, 8 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin and 6 Common Tern were also logged.

Evening update: the Ringed Plover count rose to fifteen, a Common Gull was present and 3 Wheatear were on South Marsh.

August 13th

There was quite a bit to be seen right across the day. Starting at a few minutes past midnight, a Little Ringed Plover was heard flying over the HHC; then just after first light a Turtle Dove did much the same and a Black Tern flew upriver. Around the same time, a Marsh Harrier was over Priory Marsh and a Little Ringed Plover was at Stanpit, while an hour or so later a couple of Arctic Skua were at sea off Hengistbury. To wrap up the highlights, around 3:00 this afternoon, a party of 6 adult Curlew Sandpiper in varying stages of moult were off Fisherman's Bank briefly. Staying with waders, and in addition to those already mentioned, there was a decent in-harbour selection that actually outnumbered yesterday's, including: a Green Sandpiper, a Greenshank, 6 Common Sandpiper, 2 Sanderling, 4 Whimbrel, a Turnstone, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Snipe, 30 Ringed Plover and 31 Dunlin. On Wick, in addition to 2 Garden Warbler settled and around 25 Willow Warbler, a Swift, a Hobby and 2 Raven went over, as did a Tree Pipit from the head, where a further 35 Willow Warbler were encountered. Elsewhere, two each of Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull were present, along with 2 Wigeon, 4 Shoveler, 4 Teal and 2 Gadwall. In case you're wondering about the first record of the post, part of the Hengistbury Head Environmental Day was a late moth session, which resulted in the first record of Annulet for the area.

Additional news: last night's Canada Goose roost was 162 birds, plus a single Greylag Goose that has been coming in for the last few days, and 3 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill this morning.

August 12th

Fox on Wick Fields - Clinton Whale

The day started with a hint of rain and the continuation of yesterday's south-easterly breeze, but by 9:00 that had dropped completely only to be replaced by an equally brisk south-westerly less than an hour later. After a blank spring, Garganey was recorded for the year - with what was reckoned to be an eclipse drake with several Mallard in Stanpit Bight before decamping to Fisherman's Bank, where it dabbled amongst the Black-headed Gull. Also, at least 8 Teal logged at Stanpit and a flyover Tufted Duck. This afternoon, a juvenile Arctic Tern was around Blackberry Point with a couple of Common Tern, while earlier a tight group of 22 'commons' had arrived and looked to settle. The wader count for the day comes to fifteen species, the best being a couple of Green Sandpiper west over Wick in the morning and a lingering bird in the South Marsh ditches later on - also: a Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel, a Turnstone, 2 Sanderling, 5 Snipe, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Ringed Plover and at least 22 Dunlin at Stanpit, with Lapwing, Curlew, Redshank and Oystercatcher making the full complement. Passerines were modest in numbers; for example, 25 Willow Warbler and a Garden Warbler in the North Scrubs, plus 6 Wheatear on Crouch Hill. There was little to be seen overhead, although 2 Swift and a Fulmar were directly over Hengistbury, and a Great Crested Grebe headed high inland. Of other wildlife interest, a Hedgehog was at Stanpit and a Painted Lady was on Wick.

August 11th

Pied Wagtail attending to its second brood around Clay Pool this morning - Alan Crockard

There was an easterly wind right from dawn, which gathered strength during the course of the morning. While this was amenable for keeping the torturous insects at bay, it also ensured that passerines were keeping well hidden in all but the most sheltered areas. However, a Pied Flycatcher was seen from the Wooden Bridge, with the Willow Warbler total from there and the North Scrubs coming to around 50 birds. Also, at least 9 Wheatear on Stanpit, plus two on the Barn Field, and a trickle of travelling Swallow. A Green Sandpiper that was first picked up over Wick eventually settled in Mother Siller's Channel, where it spent around 45-minutes before pushing off high to the east. In addition to that, there were 5 Common Sandpiper, 2 Sanderling, 3 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 24 Ringed Plover and 11 Dunlin, including the first juvenile of the autumn passage, at Stanpit; as well as a Kingfisher and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull.

August 10th

What was reckoned to be the year's 200th species - a Wood Sandpiper - headed west across the north end of Wick Fields this morning, while a Green Sandpiper came up from the adjacent meadows and between three and five Crossbill headed north-west. Otherwise, the best for the day was a Marsh Harrier that passed directly over the Stanpit Visitor's Centre at around 3:30 this afternoon. With no cloud cover from dawn to dusk, there were fewer migrant passerines on site - the Willow Warbler total from Hengistbury and Wick coming to around 70 birds, with 40 Whitethroat and 7 Wheatear also logged - most of the chats being on Crouch Hill, Stanpit. Throughout the afternoon, however, there was a light outward passage of Swallow as well as a couple of Swift, the latter now seeming to have largely departed the Christchurch area for the winter. The wader selection inside the harbour included: a Grey Plover, a Knot, 2 Whimbrel, 6 Common Sandpiper, a Greenshank, 3 Sanderling, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Ringed Plover and 6 Dunlin; while a further 16 Knot headed west at sea off Hengistbury. Unlike this time over the last couple of years, Mediterranean Gull really are at premium in the area - just two today, an adult and a juvenile - along with an adult Common Gull. Meanwhile, 6 Shoveler and a couple of Teal were still about and the Canada Goose roost came to one shy of 120 birds. Tomorrow's neap tide at Stanpit should mean there is a reasonable border of mud, which this year is completely algae free so hopefully attractive for the 'big-one', until the late afternoon at least.

August 9th

On another fine and still morning all suitable parts of the recording area were busy with Willow Warbler, many of them in song, particularly the North Scrubs on Stanpit that was reminiscent of an inland birch wood in spring - the aggregate estimate from that site, the entirety of the head and Wick Fields is 225 birds. In addition, a Wood Warbler and Pied Flycatcher were on the Batters, a Garden Warbler was in Wick Ditch, a couple of Yellow Wagtail and a Tree Pipit passed over, 3 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill and around 30 migrant Blackcap were reckoned. Normally, a single Whitethroat in the North Scrubs would not get a mention, but it has been an extremely poor year for these and orders of magnitude greater numbers would be expected. The morning saw a Spotted Redshank and 14 Knot move west past Hengistbury, plus a Golden Plover and 10 Black-tailed Godwit head north, while settled birds at Stanpit throughout the day included: a Little Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpiper, 4 Turnstone, a Greenshank, a Sanderling, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 25 Ringed Plover and 10 Dunlin. Up to 6 Shoveler, 3 Tufted Duck and 2 Teal were logged, and 97 Canada Goose roosted overnight with four more replacing those that left for the Avon Valley. The pick of the gulls was a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and 4 Common Gull, the latter west at sea; as well as 11 Common Tern inside the harbour tonight. Finally, a report update - all are now in the mail - if you haven't received yours in the next few days then please contact us.

August 8th

A grey, humid day that remained almost windless throughout, which meant some irritating morning drizzle. The feeling on both sides of the area was that the bushes held migrants, as at least Blackcap and Willow Warbler could be heard constantly, but they were somewhat reluctant to reveal themselves so no meaningful attempt could be made at numbers. However, around Priory Marsh, Sedge Warbler were a little more obliging with 60 being the estimate there, as well as a Grasshopper Warbler and a Yellow Wagtail. Sticking around that part of the marsh, there were 3 juvenile Bearded Tit, which may have been a fresher brood than those so far encountered, while a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was on the HHC mudbar. Overnight, there had been a small arrival of Dunlin and Ringed Plover, which peaked at 25 and 17 respectively, with 2 Greenshank, 5 Common Sandpiper, 8 Whimbrel and a Black-tailed Godwit also logged. Of wildfowl interest, 3 Shoveler and a 2 Gadwall were in Parky Meade Rail, and the Peregrine made a couple of visits - nearly connecting with a Lapwing on one of them.

August 7th

Stonechat - Joe Murphy

There were 8 Goosander at Stanpit this morning, along with 2 Teal, while a young Shelduck passed through in the late afternoon. The early morning also saw a movement of 30 or so Swift west, as well as a Tree Pipit over Central Marsh, 22 Common Tern west and a presence of migrant Sedge Warbler in most of the reedbeds. Small wader numbers are still very low; for example, just 2 Dunlin, 9 Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper, but there were 12 Whimbrel, a Greenshank and 7 Black-tailed Godwit around the marsh, which also hosted 3 Wheatear on Crouch Hill with a further bird on the Hengistbury side. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was loafing on South Marsh and a single Raven passed over The Hiker café.

Omission: a Hobby was at Stanpit in the evening.

August 6th

Goosander on the river at Stanpit - Chris Chapleo
...some of the Wheatear on Crouch Hill - Alan Crockard
...and Natterjack toadlet on Hengistbury - Joe Murphy

There were plenty of passerines about the area this morning, the best being a Wood Warbler in the North Scrubs, where there was also a Garden Warbler, 5 Blackcap and at least a dozen Willow Warbler; but also 3 Redstart, a further 2 Garden Warbler and around 150 Willow Warbler on Hengistbury, with 3 Yellow Wagtail and a Tree Pipit over there. Meanwhile, Sedge Warbler were also numerous - 130 estimated to be by the Wooden Bridge on Wick very early on and at least 30 by Parky Meade Rail on Stanpit - 7 Wheatear were on site and there was an overnight roost of 700 Sand Martin in the reeds along the western side of the river. A party of 5 redhead Goosander, presumably all young birds from one of the feeding rivers, spent some time at Stanpit, while of far less interest were 3 Canada Goose loitering in Stanpit Bight. In terms of waders, a Green Sandpiper over Wick and a Little Ringed Plover over Hengistbury were the pick - those in addition to: 38 Ringed Plover straight over and 3 Common Sandpiper, a Greenshank, 4 Whimbrel and a Black-tailed Godwit at Stanpit. The sea was largely quiet save for a Roseate Tern and 48 Common Tern west, with the post's final entry being 3 juvenile Bearded Tit at Stanpit.

August 5th

Kestrel at Stanpit - Jimmy Main
Chiffchaff , also about the marsh - Alan Crockard

Another couple of hours were spent looking at the sea early this morning, when in a 2-hour spell from 7:00 a steady, westward passage of 200 Common Tern was seen, as well as 2 Balearic Shearwater, a Little Tern and around 40 Sandwich Tern, again all of those west; while a Great Crested Grebe headed east out of the harbour and 35 or so Gannet were fishing. Most of the day's wader interest, namely 30 Sanderling, was turned in from the sandspit, but Stanpit produced some variety in the form of: 3-4 Common Sandpiper, an adult Grey Plover, a Greenshank, 7 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin. Singles of Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull were logged, 28 Canada Goose were in Stanpit Bight for some of the morning and the trainee Peregrine made several unsuccessful sorties into the area.

Additional news: Stanpit also produced a Grasshopper Warbler, a Redstart, a Nuthatch, 3 Knot, a Turnstone and 7 Dunlin that went straight through the harbour, and a Hobby.

August 4th

Common Gull - Jimmy Main
Gannet - Jimmy Main

In between the rush of golds, the sea was watched for much of the day. A total of 6 Balearic Shearwater make the post - including three lingering birds during the morning, with the others passing quickly west - as well as 3 Manx Shearwater east and a Roseate Tern from the Gully in the afternoon. The later period also saw 32 Sanderling, a Turnstone, 3 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin on the Beach at Hengistbury.

August 3rd

The sea was watched from varous points at Hengistbury this morning and also from Mudeford Quay. Up to 3 Balearic Shearwater were seen together with 7 Manx Shearwater, an Arctic Skua, 4 Kittiwake and 5 Common Tern, all west, while 4 Common Scoter moved east. Other than Redshank and Curlew, which numbered 45 and 21 respectively, waders were again thin on the ground with just 4 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper and one each of Greenshank, Ringed Plover and Dunlin reported. Finally, a Treecreeper was in the Wood at Hengistbury.

August 2nd

Juvenile Kittiwake passing through the harbour on Tuesday evening - Jimmy Main

After an early morning shower that ensured cloud dominated for much of the day, the sea was far quieter this morning, although a group of 3 Manx Shearwater did pass very close to Mudeford Quay and the Gully. Additionally, up to 70 Gannet were seen moving into The Solent and 8 Common Scoter were logged over the water. There is no wader detail from inside the harbour, but 53 Sanderling were on Hengistbury in two flocks - one around the Long Groyne and the other on the sandspit. For whatever reason, a Nightjar took a daytime flight at the end of the head, where a Peregrine was also seen, but the only migrants were a Redstart, a Lesser Whitethroat and 25 Willow Warbler. Apologies in advance, but due to a matrimonial event tomorrow afternoon there will probably be no post, while the subsequent fall-out may mean there is an overall low-key presence in the field on Saturday morning.

August 1st

Whimbrel - Alan Hayden

Seabirds head the post with up to 3 Balearic Shearwater passing by to the west this morning - two were seen from Mudeford Quay, with a further, but possibly one of the former, logged from the western end of Hengistbury. Also, an unidentified shearwater and an Arctic Skua from there, the latter attracted by 15 or so Common Tern lingering off the Long Groyne, while another twenty-five were doing likewise off Mudeford Quay and eighty-seven moved west over the harbour. In recent years, Wigeon have started to appear in August, but usually in the middle of the month, so a drake at Stanpit today was certainly on the early side. Overhead, 63 Swift and 135 Sand Martin passed the marsh over a 60-minute spell this morning, as did a single Curlew Sandpiper, but there was otherwise very little evidence of active migration. Save for 2 Common Sandpiper and a single Dunlin, no small waders could be located, but there were half-a-dozen Whimbrel remaining on-site. The final miscellany comes from 5 Bearded Tit, up to 2 Kingfisher and the still, seemingly clueless juvenile Peregrine.

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