Sightings for November 2012

November 30th

Shelduck - Alan Hayden

Another cold day, but the lack of wind made it quite a pleasure to be out in the field, which saw more Shelduck returning from Holland and northern Germany - the numbers at Stanpit peaking at twenty-one after the first few incomers last week. Other duck, however, were down on yesterday with just 2 Pintail and 7 Gadwall inside the harbour, although a Red-breasted Merganser and 35 Common Scoter were on the sea, along with 3 Great Crested Grebe. During the early afternoon, a large, female Marsh Harrier was around Stanpit and just before dusk a Knot arrived in The Run but quickly moved on. Meanwhile, counts from the marsh included: the Spotted Redshank, a significant increase in Grey Plover to 18 birds, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 25 Ringed Plover and 60 Dunlin. Just after first light, as seems to be its habit, a Grey Seal was off Mudeford Quay.

November 29th

Some of the young Brent Goose at Stanpit are becoming very tame and seem quite comfortable to feed alongside the main footpath Alan Hayden

Clear overnight skies and the resultant frost brought a decent selection of new birds to the area, including: 8 Golden Plover north over Stanpit, plus 4 Avocet and a Knot settled there, along with a Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Pochard, 8 Tufted Duck, 15 Gadwall, 12 Pintail, 10 Shoveler and 6 Shelduck. Also, 2 Egyptian Goose on the marsh, in addition to 150 or so Brent Goose, 2 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 75 Dunlin and a Kingfisher. A brief look from the old Point House Café site at lunchtime saw around 75 Common Scoter head towards The Solent and 5 Guillemot settled on the water.

November 28th

A record shot of the morning's Great White Egret dwarfing a Little Egret - Chris Roughley

A cold north wind was still threatening the area for most of the day, but did bring some interest with it. At 8:30 a Great White Egret, in the company of a Little Egret, was seen in flight over Wick and was thought to have left to the east; however, at 9:00, the bird was discovered on Stanpit, again with a Little Egret, where it remained for a short time before heading over towards Hengistbury. Around an hour earlier, a male Marsh Harrier lifted up from Priory Marsh then headed across to The Run and, at 10:30, a Black Redstart was seen on the sandspit. The Wood today turned in 2 Firecrest, plus 8 Goldcrest and a Nuthatch, while 2 Chiffchaff and a Bullfinch were on Wick. In Stanpit Creek, the Spotted Redshank was again present-and-correct, in addition to a Grey Plover and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, but in contrast to yesterday only 9 Dunlin could be found. There was a hint of incoming wildfowl interest with 4 Shoveler, three of them drakes, a likewise Pintail and a Shelduck, all seen from Fisherman's Bank, as was a Kingfisher.

November 27th

The weather was fairly unremarkable all day, although by dark a cold wind suggested the cold snap maybe just upon us. In fact, this was perhaps reinforced by the increased numbers of small waders that seemed to be commuting between Stanpit and the sandspit - around 90 Dunlin were turned in from the marsh, while a more exact figure of 53 Ringed Plover came from the spit. Also, 9 Purple Sandpiper on groyne S9 and the Spotted Redshank from Fisherman's Bank, where there were also 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. A female-type Black Redstart was again amongst the Beach Huts, near to the Beach House Café, 2 Firecrest were in the Wood, 3 Chiffchaff were on Wick and a couple of Raven passed over to the west.

November 26th

The only reports for the day come from Fisherman's Bank in the early afternoon, when 6 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Kingfisher were logged.

November 25th

Oystercatcher and Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit this morning - Olly Frampton

Other than a few recorded gusts in the small hours, the predicted onslaught of wind seemed to largely pass us by. Nevertheless, a Grey Phalarope was seen in flight and then landing on the water from Mudeford Quay, as were a couple of Great Northern Diver and 4 arriving Shelduck. It was much quieter at the Beach Huts, however, where 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 40+ settled Common Scoter and a Razorbill were the best over two hours. Actually, the best bird there was a female-type Black Redstart, but also 8 Purple Sandpiper on the groynes, while up to 4 Firecrest were in the Wood and a Bullfinch was calling from Redpoll Alley. The only other report for the day concerns a second-winter Mediterranean Gull off Fisherman's Bank.

November 24th

Pretty much as forecast, the rain started just after dawn and is still coming down as daylight fades, with apparently the worst still to come. A south-easterly wind meant that seawatching was always likely to be hard work, but combined totals from morning sessions at the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay came to: 4 Sandwich Tern, these all new birds to the area, a Red-throated Diver, a Kittiwake, over 60 Common Scoter still settled, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Guillemot and 2 Razorbill; while 2 Purple Sandpiper were on the tip of the sandspit and 3 Grey Plover left the harbour. Despite the conditions, some passerines were dug out, including: a Firecrest on Wick about 100m north of the HHC, a Brambling over the northern end of Wick, a Nuthatch in the Wood, 2 Chiffchaff and a total of 10 Redwing. A seal, this time a Grey Seal, was once again off Mudeford Quay. To clarify the present situation, it is actually thought there are three animals involved in the recent spate of sightings - two greys of differing sizes and a common. To wrap up, a big thank you to Simon Woolley for an extremely interesting, informed and lively talk last night.

November 23rd

Redshank - Clinton Whale

Quite incredibly, given how much wind and rain was about late last night, this morning was clear and still with the harbour resembling a millpond. As a consequence, the hopeful seawatchers were left a little disappointed. From Hengistbury, 4 Eider, a Great Northern Diver and a Red-breasted Merganser were seen heading east, a Red-throated Diver went in the opposite direction and just over 70 Common Scoter were settled offshore. Also on the head, a Woodcock was flushed from the Salt Hurns and 5 Bearded Tit were in the HHC reeds. At least 16 Pintail were about the harbour at various times, while Fisherman's Bank turned up the Spotted Redshank, 2 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 33 Dunlin and a Kingfisher, and 40 Ringed Plover were on the sandspit. Finally, a Common Seal was seen once again from Mudeford Quay.

Additional news: a 90-minute seawatch from the Gully during the morning added: an adult Mediterranean Gull lingering off the Long Groyne, 10+ Kittiwake and a further Red-throated Diver west, plus a group of 17 Shag and 4 Razorbill fishing.

November 22nd

The day was dominated by a south-south-west wind, which had strengthened even further by this evening. There wasn't as much to be seen as hoped for off Mudeford Quay during the morning, but 3 Velvet Scoter close and west were a bonus, while other bits-and-pieces were made up of a Manx Shearwater, a Red-throated Diver, a constant trickle of Kittiwake on the horizon, a Red-breasted Merganser and a few auks, all to the west. A decent flock of Purple Sandpiper was seen on-and-off during the day on the sandspit, with twenty-two being the definitive figure late in the afternoon, when a Common Seal was also in The Run. Please don't forget that tomorrow evening is the first meeting of the winter programme.

November 21st

Stonechat - Clinton Whale

After a couple of weeks away, this post is a relatively gentle break-in for me as the migration season is now almost wound up. Early, lashing rain courtesy of a southerly blow meant Mudeford Quay was the only place reported from first thing, where a couple of redhead Goosander came in-off and two Fulmar, a great record for the month, moved into The Solent. Those, in addition to singles of Red-throated Diver and Red-breasted Merganser, as well as 6 Common Scoter west and 3 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit. Around 10:30, when the rain had largely abated, a trip to Fisherman's Bank saw the Spotted Redshank, a Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 194 Black-tailed Godwit (but still 1000+ of these a few miles north in the Avon Valley) and 19 Dunlin. To wrap up, at least one Kingfisher was about Stanpit, as was a Stonechat, which are never common there in winter, and 132 Canada Goose came to roost in the harbour late in the afternoon.

November 20th

On a day of strong southerly winds and very heavy rain the only report received so far is from Mudeford Quay, where a Great Skua spent some time harrassing the gulls; also offshore were 5 Common Scoter, a Little Gull and a Red-breasted Merganser.

November 19th

Although it remained fine for most of the day, despite forecasts to the contrary, there was very little field activity. The sum total of a couple of visits to Mudeford Quay were a Red-throated Diver and 3 Common Scoter west and 2 Little Gull east; also a flock of 25 Turnstone that moved from the sandspit towards Avon Beach. The Spotted Redshank was seen from Argyle Road, also a single Bar-tailed Godwit and 190 Redshank, the latter a much higher total than yesterday's WeBS figure. Elsewhere, 2 Raven were over the Stanpit car park.

November 18th

Purple Sandpiper on groyne S6 today - Clinton Whale

A drake Red-crested Pochard in Parky Meade Rail was this morning's highlight. Unfortunately, the bird didn't linger but flew off upriver after a few minutes, possibly coming down again just below Bridge Street. The bird was found as the morning's main activity, the monthly WeBScount was coming to a close. Before the numbers a couple of bits from Hengistbury, where a female Merlin moved quickly through the HHC car park. There were 3 Firecrest, two in the Wood and one by the HHC, also 2 Chiffchaff, 5 Redpoll, 3 Brambling and 2 Siskin. The Spotted Redshank was opposite Fisherman's Bank and a Jack Snipe was on Priory Marsh. The other wader counts were 99 Dunlin, 43 Ringed Plover, 33 Turnstone on the sandspit, 20 Grey Plover, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, just 9 Common Snipe, 4 Purple Sandpiper and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, while the wildfowl numbers were 429 Wigeon, 185 Brent Geese, 8 Pintail, 2 Shoveler and a Gadwall; also up to 3 Kingfisher were about the harbour. On Stanpit this afternoon, 2 Rook were amongst the Carrion Crow on Blackberry Point and a Peregrine made its daily visit to terrorise the waders and wildfowl; meanwhile, the Black-tailed Godwit flock had risen to 280.

November 17th

The morning was fine and dry with a slight breeze; conditions which encouraged some overhead movement. The day started well: as dawn broke a Bittern lifted out of the HHC reeds and headed west over Wick Fields; then a little later a Lapland Bunting flew low over the eastern end of the Head. There was also a late Swallow, while on Stanpit 2 Egyptian Geese that had arrived from the valley, rested on East Marsh for a few minutes before heading back north. Jackdaw were on the move today with 230 birds in three flocks, also 315 Chaffinch, 225 Goldfinch, 130 Linnet, 62 Siskin, 21 Redpoll, 19 Skylark, 12 Redwing, 11 Brambling, 3 Fieldfare and a Bullfinch. A total of 65 Goldcrest were scattered across Hengistbury, a Nuthatch was in the wood and 3 Chiffchaff were on Wick. Stanpit Bight held 7 Shelduck and three each of Pintail, Shoveler and Gadwall, while the Brent Goose flock numbered 169. Waders on Stanpit were 150 Black-tailed Godwit, 51 Ringed Plover and 22 Dunlin, together with singles of Spotted Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit and Turnstone. A Golden Plover passed over Hengistbury and 9 Pochard did a circuit of the harbour. A visit to Stanpit this afternoon found an adult Mediterranean Gull, also 126 Canada Geese and 3 Greylag Geese.

November 16th

A record shot of the Little Gull off the quay today - Alan Hayden

With the harbour blanketed in fog for much of the day there is very little to report. However there was a bit of quality! Off Mudeford Quay 2 Red-necked Grebe and a Slavonian Grebe moved east this morning and then an hour later a second Slavonian Grebe also headed east into The Solent. The only other report received was of an adult Little Gull feeding just off the quay this afternoon.

November 15th

On a grey and chilly morning with a slightly stronger easterly than yesterday, there was a hint of overhead movement but it fizzled out almost as soon as it started, with just 2 Redpoll and a Brambling, plus small flocks of Goldfinch, Linnet and Chaffinch. The Wood was fairly empty, but 'Redpoll Alley' held a small feeding flock of 'crests' and tits amongst which were a Firecrest, 2 Chiffchaff and a Coal Tit; also 4 Redwing there. A late Sandwich Tern was off Double Dykes, where a Red-throated Diver was on the sea, as were 4 Razorbill and 3 Common Scoter. Waders counted from Fisherman's Bank this afternoon were 94 Dunlin, 47 Ringed Plover, 19 Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Grey Plover and 3 Turnstone; also from there 2 drake Shoveler and a pair of Gadwall plus the 'plastic' , i.e. 129 Canada and 3 Greylag Geese. In the gull pre-roost off South Marsh were 14 Common Gull, while 2 Kingfisher were by the boatyard.

November 14th

A light easterly breeze produced some overhead movement this morning, the highlights being a Woodlark and a Yellowhammer, but also 16 Brambling, 180 Linnet, 140 Goldfinch, 130 Chaffinch, 34 Redpoll, 16 Redwing, 9 Fieldfare, a Mistle Thrush and a late Swallow. A Marsh Tit, only the second of the year, was by the Ironstone Quarry before it moved into the Wood. At sea, all moving west, were 11 Kittiwake, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Red-throated Diver, 4 Razorbill and 2 Guillemot. Waders on Stanpit included the Spotted Redshank, a good count of 138 Common Redshank, 32 Ringed Plover, 9 Grey Plover, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit; also a Shoveler and 2 Shelduck on the marsh. Finally, 3 Peregrine and a Merlin were seen today and 4 Chiffchaff were on Wick.

November 13th

Ringed Plover on the sandspit - Paul Crowley

On a much better day, when it was fine and mild, both sides of the harbour received coverage. A Jack Snipe was seen on Stanpit, where the Spotted Redshank was still present together with a Greenshank, 230 Black-tailed Godwit, 55 Ringed Plover, 40 Dunlin, 16 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Turnstone. On the Mudeford Sandspit, 19 Purple Sandpiper were on groyne S9 this morning, while on the sea off the Beach Huts were 44 Common Scoter, 7 Guillemot, 6 Razorbill and a Red-throated Diver. An adult Little Gull was feeding offshore, while another Red-throated Diver and 2 Kittiwake moved west. There were still plenty of Goldcrest around Hengistbury, also 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Coal Tit and a Brambling, the latter in the wood. Two Kingfisher were seen today, one on Wick Hams and one flew upriver.

November 12th

The forecast rain, which arrived more or less on cue this morning, obviously put paid to any field activity as no reports have been received so far.

Late news: A brief late afternoon visit to Fisherman's Bank found 130 Canada Geese and a Grey Plover.

November 11th

Song Thrush - Clinton Whale

The weather was fine and sunny this morning after a light overnight frost, conditions which produced one or two good birds and a modest amount of overhead movement. A ringtail Hen Harrier, which came in high from the south, moved off towards the forest fairly quickly; then around half-an-hour later a female Marsh Harrier also arrived. A Woodlark flew over the Solent Meads Golf Course and a Yellowhammer passed over Hengistbury. The 'vis-mig' totals were 270 Goldfinch, 190 Chaffinch, 140 Linnet, 110 Siskin, 40 Brambling, 39 Redpoll and a Mistle Thrush, while a Firecrest, 14 Goldcrest and 8 Chiffchaff were the only grounded migrants. The Spotted Redshank was again on Stanpit, also 67 Dunlin, 52 Ringed Plover, 10 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Turnstone. Singles of both Shoveler and Tufted Duck were on the marsh, plus 2 Kingfisher, while another 3 Tufted Duck circuited the harbour. Finally, just 5 Common Scoter and 3 Razorbill were on the sea off the Beach Huts today.

November 10th

There was little or no evidence of 'vis-mig' today with just 2 Crossbill, 4 late Swallow and a Fieldfare over Wick, plus 2 Redpoll and a Siskin over Hengistbury. The Wood still held a Firecrest, while another one was in the North Scrubs on Stanpit, but very little else was on the ground -just 40 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff and 2 Coal Tit. A Marsh Harrier left the Wick reeds and headed off up the valley this morning, while a Merlin flew low over Wick Hams rapidly gaining height as it moved north. Only 25 Common Scoter were off the beach huts today, also 2 Guillemot moved west and 1 Red-throated Diver east, with another Red-throated Diver off Mudeford Quay, while 13 Purple Sandpiper were on the groynes. Waders on Stanpit included 47 Dunlin, 41 Ringed Plover, 32 Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Grey Plover and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit; also 4 Shelduck there. Up to 3 Kingfisher were around the harbour with sightings on Wick, Barn Bight and Fisherman's Bank.

November 9th

Wigeon - Clinton Whale

A quiet day in the harbour, although there were one or two bits of quality around with 2 Scaup in Barn Bight briefly and 2 Velvet Scoter settled on the sea off Mudeford Quay. There were also 2 Little Gull off the Long Groyne and 5 Kittiwake moved past there, while the flock of Common Scoter off the beach huts numbered 57. In the Wood, the 2 Firecrest, the Nuthatch and 2 Coal Tit were seen, but only about a dozen Goldcrest today; also a Bullfinch in Wick Ditch. The only overhead movers were Linnet, with 130 counted. On Stanpit, only two first-year birds were among the flock of 131 Brent Geese. Of interest, a Grey Seal that drifted past the Beach Huts this morning was seen in The Run later.

November 8th

Red-throated Diver off Double Dykes today - Dave Cooke

The Yellow-browed Warbler was heard on a couple of occasions this morning, but could not be pinned down. However, 2 Firecrest and a Coal Tit were seen amongst numerous Goldcrest. A Yellowhammer was the pick of the overhead movers, with the other totals being 185 Goldfinch, 140 Linnet, 135 Chaffinch, 130 Starling, 95 Meadow Pipit, 19 Siskin, 12 Brambling, 2 Redpoll and a Mistle Thrush, while a late Swallow moved through Stanpit. Both Little Stint and Spotted Redshank were on Stanpit, together with 10 Grey Plover and a Bar-tailed Godwit. Another Spotted Redshank, or the regular bird, was in Brewer's Creek later in the day. The sea produced 3 Velvet Scoter, 6 Little Gull, 3 Red-breasted Merganser and an adult Mediterranean Gull, all west, while the Red-throated Diver was still on the sea off Double Dykes and 5 Razorbill were also offshore. To round up, a Peregrine moved along the cliffs, the Marsh Harrier hunted over Stanpit this morning, 2 Raven were again in the Nursery and 8 Pintail arrived in the harbour.

November 7th

This morning's cloud cover seemed to put paid to any further Woodpigeon movement. In fact there, was very little on the move with just 11 Redpoll, 11 Brambling, 6 Redwing and a House Martin. A Yellow-browed Warbler was still in the wood on Hengistbury, also 2 Firecrest, 3 Coal Tit, a Chiffchaff and 35 Goldcrest about the area. Off Double Dykes, there were 2 Red-throated Diver on the sea, together with 4 Razorbill and a Guillemot, while another 3 Guillemot were off the Beach Huts, where at least 29 Common Scoter remain. The groynes held five each of Turnstone and Purple Sandpiper. To round up, 2 Sandwich Tern moved east, 2 Raven were over the Nursery and 3 Bearded Tit were on Priory Marsh.

November 6th

Pied Wagtail - Mike Trew

There was a decent bit of quality around today, namely: a Lapland Bunting past Double Dykes, calling as it went, towards Coastguard; at least one Yellow-browed Warbler in the Wood, but possibly two with reports from the Nursery and the Lily Pond; a Little Stint in Holloway's Dock; and 2 pale-bellied Brent Goose, plus a couple of Avocet, from Fisherman's Bank. That site also saw a decent arrival of waders, including 3 Knot, a Sanderling, 19 Grey Plover, 75 Ringed Plover and 80 Dunlin, while what was presumably 'the' Spotted Redshank was turned in twice from Hengistbury and once from Stanpit, a further Sanderling was in Holloway's Dock and 13 or so Turnstone were around the sandspit. The conditions were absolutely perfect for a big movement of Woodpigeon and 5200 went over Mudeford Quay prior to 7:40, with other numbers from low lying spots bringing the total prior to 10:00 to 16200 birds. However, one can but only wonder what the count would have been from the top of Hengistbury, so giving a view further inland? Other than 24 Redwing, 20 Fieldfare and 10 Blackbird off the head north-west, 5 Brambling, most of them over Wick, a very late House Martin and a Swallow over Hengistbury, there are no other 'vis-mig' records, but 2 Chiffchaff were settled on-site. The scoter flock was elusive today, with only five birds being seen, along with a Red-throated Diver, a Great-crested Grebe, 6 Razorbill and 2 Guillemot offshore. Once again, a Bullfinch appeared settled in Wick Ditch, 3 Goosander, an adult drake and two redheads, went south-east over Mudeford Quay, the Raven number peaked at six and Peregrine were reported on a couple of occasions.

November 5th

A very cold northerly wind and some intermittent cloud eventually brought on an excellent day for visible migration. After a slow start, it wasn't until 9:00 that Woodpigeon got going and they were still heading west by the time the site was left at 11:00. In all, 17500 birds were counted, with the peak numbers occurring in the last half-hour of the watch. In addition, 450 Stock Dove moved with them. The best of a sizeable, generally east finch movement was a female Crossbill over the sandspit, but also 2 Bullfinch, what must be a record-shattering 238(!) Brambling, some of the flocks numbering as many as 40 birds, 110 Redpoll, 190 Siskin, 235 Greenfinch, 320 Linnet, 1350 Chaffinch and 1800 Goldfinch; while 6 Woodlark, 2 Yellowhammer, a Merlin and Short-eared Owl, 4 Swallow, 125 Meadow Pipit, 97 Skylark and 230 Starling moved with them. Meanwhile, also travelling were 260 Lesser Black-backed Gull high to the west. Tits and 'crests were also around in decent numbers; for example, a flock of 37 Long-tailed Tit in the North Scrubs, plus plenty of Goldcrest and 3 Firecrest on Hengistbury, along with a few Coal Tit. Early on, a Ring Ouzel came off the head, with other thrushes doing the same including 3 Fieldfare, 14 Redwing and 26 Song Thrush. Inside the harbour, there was a really decent total of 23 Grey Plover and a lone Sanderling was on the sandspit, where a few wintering Turnstone are now hanging around. To round up, around 9:20 the Spoonbill took a short tour to the south-west of Hengistbury but soon returned, a Bullfinch was vocal in Wick Ditch, the 50 or Common Scoter remain faithful to the Beach Huts, a Goosander was on the river and 2 Shoveler were at Stanpit.

November 4th

Heavy and relentless early rain even turned to a touch of sleet as the temperature fell to 3C around 9:00. However, by lunchtime the westerly wind had largely abated and the sun began to dominate. Close scrutiny of the Goldcrest on Hengistbury this afternoon produced 2 Yellow-browed Warbler - one by the Nursery and one by the Lily Pond - as well as a Firecrest; while earlier, a Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, 4 Redpoll and Chiffchaff had been logged on or over Wick. The 50+ Common Scoter were again settled close to the Beach Huts, as was a single Red-throated Diver, with 2 Sandwich Tern and 2 Shoveler also being recorded at sea. The only wader news comes from Mudeford Quay, where half-a-dozen Purple Sandpiper could be seen on the sandspit, along with 5 Grey Plover and 10 Black-tailed Godwit that left the area to the east.

November 3rd

Bar-tailed Godwit - Lorne Bissell

A strong and uncomfortable westerly wind meant that most observers gravitated to the Beach Huts area and made the best they could at sea, despite the bright sun glare. In terms of Common Scoter, it's currently like turning the clock back 25-years or so, as there is a settled feeding presence of around 50 birds just offshore. Interestingly, nearly all of them are female-types, with just two or three adult drakes mixed in. Also at sea, 2 Sandwich Tern, a Razorbill and a Guillemot. Around 7:15, a Spoonbill passed high east over the area, but the regular bird was inside the harbour throughout the day, as were 600 Black-tailed Godwit, a Grey Plover, 57 Ringed Plover and 40 Dunlin. Several people remarked how the Wood seemed to be holding good numbers of Goldcrest, but no effort was made to put a number on them, while a couple of Coal Tit were also in the area. The conditions put paid to any serious attempt to log the overhead movement, but it was clear there were isolated flocks of Woodpigeon, Goldfinch, Linnet and Chaffinch, along with a few Siskin, Brambling and Redpoll. An early shoot must have started in the Avon Valley, as just after dawn the skies above the harbour filled with hundreds of Wigeon from the north, as well as tens of Pintail and a few Gadwall. These then spent the morning settled on the sea before wheeling about in rather fragmented flocks and returning to their favoured feeding areas.

November 2nd

Some early heavy showers in a westerly wind meant the shelter offered by the Coastguards building was much appreciated. Not surprisingly, there was only modest overhead movement, but at least 350 Goldfinch, 175 Linnet and 100 Chaffinch attempted to travel, as did perhaps the year's final Swallow, along with a few Brambling, Redpoll and Siskin. Meanwhile, there seemed to have been an influx of Bullfinch with up to 5 birds on site, including at least two vocal individuals around the HHC. A Merlin caught a passerine very high over Hengistbury and the Marsh Harrier headed into the valley early on after thoroughly checking out East and Central Marshes. However, this afternoon, what was reckoned to be a different bird was around Stanpit, so lending further weight to the theory that two individuals may be using the area. To close the raptors, there were two male Peregrine hunting around Hengistbury in the morning - an adult and a bird-of-the-year - the latter showing some maniacal tendencies when, after making several hapless attacks on passerines, decided to toy with a few Great Black-backed Gull, which seems a rather hazardous way of passing the time! A Firecrest was in the Wood, amongst a good presence of Goldcrest, and a foray into the reed bed just south of the Wooden Bridge produced over 5 Bearded Tit, plus further calling birds by the HHC. In the period prior to 9:00, over 400 Black-tailed Godwit arrived onto Stanpit from the Lower Avon Valley, while a Golden Plover, the Spotted Redshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and as many as 55 Ringed Plover were already on the marsh, as was the Spoonbill, with a Great Crested Grebe settled on the river.

November 1st

A Lapland Bunting north over Wick Fields, the third of the autumn, was the pick of this morning's birds; also 8 Redwing north there. The Spoonbill was still present on Stanpit, where there was a huge influx of Black-tailed Godwit with 520 birds mid-morning, a total that increased to 700 by late afternoon. Presumably, these birds have been displaced from the Avon Valley. There was also the unusual sight of a Red-throated Diver inside the harbour. Other wader totals from Stanpit were 65 Snipe, 60 Ringed Plover, 40 Dunlin, 11 Grey Plover, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Sanderling and the Spotted Redshank. From Mudeford Quay, 45 Brent Geese moved east, while one each of Red-throated Diver and Red-breasted Merganser, together with 2 Common Scoter, moved west. Finally, the Marsh Harrier put in an appearance today.

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