Sightings for November 2014

November 30th

Teal – Clinton Whale
The area between the Pod, aka the Visitor’s Centre, and Crouch Hill on Stanpit is currently holding some pipit interest - today, there was a Water Pipit and four littoralis (Scandinavian) Rock Pipit present. Also on the marsh, a Ruff, 35 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Pintail and 2 Shoveler. The only other news is of 3 Fieldfare north over Hengistbury and a single Purple Sandpiper on the Long Groyne. Thanks to our team of volunteers, all numbers for this autumn are now entered on Trektellen

November 29th

The year-list notched up another species this morning, when a White-fronted Goose passed north over Stanpit amongst a skein of Canada Goose, which was separate to a gaggle of seventy-three of the latter that left the area around 8:30. There was a surprise, late-season passage of finches over Hengistbury, namely 3 Siskin, 32 Linnet and 132 Goldfinch, all east, counted prior to the observers involved descending to the Beach Huts; however, birds were still moving after an uneventful 90-minute seawatch, so the total figures could well have been significantly higher. As suggested, the water was quiet, with just 2 Red-throated Diver, 2 Common Scoter, 3 Mediterranean Gull, a Pintail and a Grest Crested Grebe to mention; although a flock of 12 Purple Sandpiper did pass in front of the huts. Inside the harbour, the Spotted Redshank was present-and-correct, along with 7 Grey Plover, 30 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Turnstone, 41 Ringed Plover, 69 Dunlin and an estimated 650 Lapwing. A drake Pintail and 6 Shoveler were also on-site, while Kingfisher were reported from Fisherman’s Bank, the Wooden Bridge on Wick and Holloway’s Dock. 

Additional news: a 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit was on Stanpit. 

November 28th

Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale

There were a few moments of late, autumn interest on Hengistbury this morning; not least a Lapland Bunting on the cliff near to the Long Groyne and then working its way east towards the end of the head. To complement this, a female Bullfinch was on Wick and a couple of Mistle Thrush passed over the Double Dykes. On the sandspit, a decent total of 18 Purple Sandpiper, again on the 'hotspot' of groyne S9, was logged; while 3 Red-throated Diver were offshore. There were also 6 Turnstone and a Raven on the sandspit.

November 27th

Kestrel on Crouch Hill – Corinne Yarwood

Both sides of the harbour received some attention this morning, when a drake Pochard circled the area before coming down into Barn Bight. Also on a little tour were 4 Egyptian Goose - presumably from the ever-growing, Avon Valley population - as well as 4 Gadwall. On Hengistbury, a Firecrest was in the Wood and a Brambling passed over, but a 75-minute look at the sea mustered just a single Great Northern Diver. A Golden Plover was the pick of the waders at Stanpit, where the Spotted Redshank, 32 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Snipe, a Turnstone, 29 Ringed Plover and 25 Dunlin were counted from Fisherman’s Bank. In addition, a drake Shoveler and a pair of Pintail were on the marsh, along with at least 2 Kingfisher.

November 26th

Blue Tit
Blue Tit – Alan Crockard

There was no real change in the weather overnight and, in still, damp conditions, the only news comes from Stanpit. A Goosander headed south over there, while a Knot, 3 Grey Plover, 35 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Ringed Plover and 55 Dunlin were settled.

November 25th

Goldcrest in the Wood on Hengistbury – Alan Crockard

It was another, fairly awful day of frequent rain with a pervading, damp chill to the air. The best came early on, when a juvenile Pomarine Skua was seen heading east past Mudeford Quay. Later, from Fisherman’s Bank, 38 Ringed Plover, 27 Dunlin, a Turnstone and a pair of Pintail were turned in.

November 24th

On what was probably the coldest day of the season so far, there were no reports received.

Update: still struggling with the intricacies of Twitter, so a report of 3 Purple Sandpiper and a diver sp. from Mudeford Quay at lunchtime was previously overlooked.

Additional news: a couple of Firecrest were again in the Wood on Hengistbury.

November 23rd

Sunset – Clinton Whale
Oystercatcher – Clinton Whale

As forecast, it pretty much rained all day, with the sun only appearing just before setting in spectacular fashion. A little ahead of then, a Swallow was seen moving east towards Hengistbury from the western extreme of the recording area on The Broadway. Despite the conditions, some records have been received for the morning from the head, including: 2 Purple Sandpiper on groynes at the south-east tip; 5 Fieldfare and 8 Redwing north; a Great Crested Grebe on the sea off the Beach Huts; and a Kingfisher in Holloway’s Dock. Finally, thanks to Dave Cooke, the CHOG visible-migration figures for September are now entered into Trektellen

November 22nd

Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit – Alan Hayden
Dunlin & Ringed Plover
...and a mixture of Dunlin and Ringed Plover – Clinton Whale

Despite a more-than-irritating drizzle and a southerly breeze the sea was watched all morning from both the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay; however, rewards in terms of true seabird were sparse - just 5 Red-throated Diver, 2 Kittiwake, a Mediterranean Gull, up to 10 Common Scoter, 3 Red-breasted Merganser and several Guillemot. Nevertheless, there was interest from moving wildfowl: for example, a drake Pochard and a flock of 5 Goosander west past the huts; while a single Pintail and 3 Shoveler were settled inside the harbour. Waders also seemed to be on the move, with 3 Golden Plover west over the head, a Bar-tailed Godwit in-off over the quay, a Sanderling at the end of the head and 2 Black-tailed Godwit straight through west. The best of the land-based migrants was another Short-eared Owl, this one first seen over Wick Hams from where it was escorted north by a Carrion Crow; also a Mistle Thrush over the Beach Huts, 4 Fieldfare and 14 Redwing over Wick and a Chiffchaff by the HHC. A total of 16 Purple Sandpiper were in the area today, as well as 2 Raven, 3 Grey Plover, a Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Ringed Plover and 24 Dunlin.

November 21st

Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail – Tony Adamcik

There was a fair degree of interesting miscellany to be seen today: a Short-eared Owl battled into the brisk, easterly wind over the end of head; a Water Pipit and 2 Ruff were at Stanpit; a Little Gull moved west at sea; and 2 Firecrest were in the Wood, at the normal spot on the Double Bends. Also at Stanpit, a single Knot, 3 Grey Plover, 4 Pintail and 7 Shoveler. From the Beach Huts, at least 5 Kittiwake were seen heading into the Solent, while 3 Gadwall moved east past the Natterjack Pond. In addition, 3 Red-throated Diver reavelled west and a total of 40 auks, all those identifiable being Guillemot, were varied in their headings. Early on, 3 Fieldfare and 6 Redwing were on Wick, while a couple of Peregrine were logged at Stanpit.

November 20th

This morning's highlight was a Great White Egret, the third of the year; the bird flew east over the Nursery and appeared to land near Holloway's Dock, but could not be relocated. Other than that, the Spotted Redshank was seen from Fisherman's Bank together with 650 Lapwing, 42 Dunlin, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover and a couple of Shelduck.

November 19th

Goldfinch on Wick Fields recently – Leo Pyke

Woodpigeon were on the move again this morning with 4500 logged, but unusually they moved east. That was it for visible-migration, however! Although there was nothing exceptional, the sea became livelier as the morning wore on with totals being 4 Red-throated Diver, a Black-throated Diver, 35 auks, 21 Grey Plover and 6 Brent Geese east; another seventeen of the latter moved west together with 2 Little Gull, a Goosander, 8 Kittiwake and 9 Gannet. A couple of adult Mediterranean Gull joined the flock of gulls following a fishing boat, while 20 Common Scoter and 3 Great Crested Grebe were also offshore. The sandspit held 8 Purple Sandpiper and 14 Ringed Plover, while 3 Kingfisher were about Hengistbury. A Water Pipit was on the inner-harbour shore not far from Holloway's Dock. Elsewhere on the head were 4 Redwing and 4 Chiffchaff.

November 18th

Stonechat Stonechat
A couple more shots of the 'Continental' Stonechat – Alan Hayden

There was a hint of migration today with 56 Meadow Pipit, 3 Song Thrush, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Bullfinch and 2 Redpoll logged at Hengistbury. There was also a Merlin over Wick Hams and the two regular Raven above Warren Hill. A Red-throated Diver landed on the sea off Double Dykes, while two further birds travelled east. The rubicola Stonechat was still in the Bobolink Field and another less well-marked individual was on Whitepits close to the car park.

November 17th

Stonechat Stonechat Stonechat Stonechat Stonechat_171114 Robson
A selection of record shots of the continental race Stonechat, rubicola, top four Alan Hayden, final one Terry Elborn

On a day of persistent rain, there was very little field activity. The Isabelline Shrike appears to have gone but the 'continental' Stonechat of the sub-species rubicola showed well in the Bobolink field. That apart, a flock of 46 Black-tailed Godwit flew south-west over Wick and the 2 Raven were about Hengistbury.

November 16th

Isabelline Shrike
Another shot of the Isabelline Shrike – Lee Fuller

The Isabelline Shrike remained faithful to the golf course hedge on Wick for most of the day, where despite the heavy rain it showed well on-and-off. Also on Wick, in the Bobolink Field, there is an interesting looking Stonechat. The bird, which was first seen yesterday, has some features of the continental race, rubicola, but Siberian Stonechat hasn't been ruled out. It will be looked for again tomorrow. A late 'commic' tern was seen off the Beach Huts, but otherwise there was just a drake Eider on the sea, a Red-throated Diver east and 2 Red-breasted Merganser west. Earlier, a Spoonbill flew high over the harbour to the east and a Marsh Harrier was over Stanpit. On Hengistbury, a few Fieldfare and Redwing were around and a Black Redstart was near The Hiker cafe, while a Nuthatch was at Stanpit by the car park. The only wader news is of a Jack Snipe behind the visitor centre at Stanpit.

November 15th

Isabelline Shrike Isabelline Shrike Isabelline Shrike Isabelline Shrike Isabelline Shrike
Today's first winter Isabelline Shrike on Wick, top three Alan Hayden followed by
Hugh Goldsmith and finally Chris Dresh

There was plenty of excitement today as a first-winter Isabelline Shrike, the first record for the harbour, was found on Wick by Steve Simmonds. Initially, the bird was resting on a low perch where the central path meets Roebury Lane but was almost immediately it was lost to view. Another hour-and-a-half passed before the bird was relocated in the hedge that runs alongside the golf course. It then performed well for a steady stream of admirers throughout the day. The best-of-the-rest was a Twite by the Natterjack Pond and a Jack Snipe that was flushed by a dog from Warren Hill. It was also a big day for visible-migration with 1300 Woodpigeon and 65 Stock Dove west, 142 Fieldfare and 6 Redwing north, and everything else east. These were 490 Goldfinch, 330 Chaffinch, 310 Linnet, 270 Starling, 210 Greenfinch, 115 Meadow Pipit, 54 Reed Bunting, 35 Skylark, 18 Siskin, 14 Redpoll, 11 Crossbill, 5 Brambling and 2 Bullfinch. To wrap up on Hengistbury, there was a Red-throated Diver east, a Merlin, 2 Avocet, 2 Pochard and 5 Tufted Duck. On the Stanpit side waders counted from Fisherman's Bank were 32 Dunlin, 18 Ringed Plover, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, a Snipe, a Bar-tailed Godwit and the Spotted Redshank.

November 14th

Skylark feeding on the Solent Meads golf course today – Clinton Whale

After the early morning rain much of the effort was directed towards Stanpit, where a pale-bellied Brent Goose was with the flock and a Water Pipit was present. There was also some overhead movement of wildfowl and waders with 40 Snipe north and 8 Goosander, 15 Pintail and 4 Knot west. A Ruff was amongst the Lapwing and 4 Shoveler were also on the marsh. A Brambling, 9 Song Thrush and 28 Blackbird were in the North Scrubs while 45 Skylark were logged moving west. An hour at the quay produced an Arctic Skua, 4 Eider that landed on the sea, 6 Common Scoter and 75 Gannet, all these west, and 2 Red-breasted Merganser east. Then, later in the morning, a group of 8 Red-breasted Merganser passed the Beach Huts, also to the west. Two Kingfisher were seen today, one in Holloway's Dock and one in Barn Bight. The two regular Raven flew over the quay towards the sandspit, where there were 6 Purple Sandpiper and 4 Ringed Plover.

November 13th

Sandwich Tern
A late Sandwich Tern inside the harbour at Mudeford Quay today – Alan Hayden

The wind, which was from the south-east, strengthened to 50kmh as the day progressed, hence the sea was watched from both Mudeford Quay and the Beach Huts for much of the daylight hours. The early session from the huts produced a Black Guillemot with 3 Guillemot heading east; also a Pomarine Skua lingered off there briefly before moving west. Later, around lunchtime, another Pomarine Skua, initially seen off the quay, moved past the huts a short time later. It is possible that three birds were involved, but more probably two. A Long-tailed Duck was on the sea off the beach huts in the early afternoon, but then flew half-a-mile further west, before landing on the sea once more. An adult Little Gull settled on the car park at the quay, while a Sandwich Tern was feeding just off the dinghy park inside the harbour. Up to 150 Gannet and 25 Kittiwake were logged, also 10 Shelduck, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Red-throated Diver and a Manx Shearwater, all west. Singles of shearwater and skua plus two divers couldn't be specifically identified. The Wood held 40 Goldcrest, while in the copse behind the beach huts there were 5 Brambling, 3 Redpoll and a Siskin. The only other hint of movement was of 3 Golden Plover south over Hengistbury.

Thanks to Jason Fathers for an excellent evening's entertainment at last night's indoor meeting.

November 12th

With the weather showing a slight improvement on yesterday. the harbour today received wider coverage. On Stanpit, a Lapland Bunting flew low over the golf course, but although it appeared to land it wasn't seen again; also at the top end of Stanpit was a Firecrest, a Ring Ouzel, 3 Fieldfare, 6 Redwing, 35 Song Thrush and two high-flying Bearded Tit. Another Ring Ouzel flew west over the Mudeford Quay car park, while on Hengistbury 3 Redpoll and a Siskin were logged, also moving west. Additionally from the quay, a Great Northern Diver was settled on the sea, 2 Red-breasted Merganser moved past and 8 Shelduck arrived.

November 11th

The heavy rain that persisted for most of the day meant that Mudeford Quay was really the only option. The day was saved by a Sabine's Gull that was close inshore, but only briefly, just before 8:00 this morning. Unfortunately the bird drifted out into the bay and wasn't seen again. Otherwise, there was just a Red-throated Diver east, 3 Teal west and around a dozen Turnstone commuting between the sandspit and Avon Beach.

November 10th

A morning of showers hampered field activity, but there are nevertheless bits-and-pieces to report upon. A flock of 7 Bullfinch in the North Scrubs, Stanpit, was reasonably unexpected, even more so a late Tree Pipit up by the Coastguards; while 2 Fieldfare and 2 Redpoll over Hengistbury were less of a surprise - that said, it has been a quite awful autumn for the latter. In addition to a couple of Brambling that were heard, there was a very light passage of Goldfinch, Linnet and Meadow Pipit, but no real attempt was made at numbers. Meanwhile, the only settled passerines were up to 6 Chiffchaff about the area. In the relatively calm conditions, the sea was better than might have been expected - not least, 20 Kittiwake and 10 Mediterranean Gull that were lingering offshore - plus singles of Great Northern Diver and Red-throated Diver past, along with 3 Common Scoter and 2 Sandwich Tern. The Purple Sandpiper on groyne S9 today numbered sixteen and 5 Sanderling were also turned in from the spit. To finish this early post, a couple of Kingfisher, 3 Raven and a Peregrine were logged. Additional news may follow. 

November 9th

Long-tailed Tit
Long-tailed Tit - Chris Chapleo
Curlew on an overcast Stanpit – Clinton Whale

The wind dropped away completely overnight and for the greater part of the day the waters of the area resembled a millpond. Meanwhile, the forecast rain did eventually appear, but not until much later than expected. All that said, it was actually quite a low-key day in terms of birds. The WeBS counters turned in the Spotted Redshank at Stanpit and 8 Purple Sandpiper on groyne S9, as well as 3 Grey Plover, 32 Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Turnstone, 4 Snipe, 23 Ringed Plover and 30 Dunlin. For their troubles, they also managed a Marsh Harrier over the northern section of Stanpit and a Firecrest in the Nursery, plus singles of Fieldfare and Redpoll on Wick; where there was also a couple of Chiffchaff. To round-up, a total of 4 Kingfisher and 3 Raven were reckoned to be about.

November 8th

Juvenile Gannet passing the Beach Huts – Chris Chapleo
...and one of at least 2 Firecrest in the Wood – Chris Chapleo

As forecast, the wind was directly from the south and raised hopes for a good day at sea. In fact, looking back at what was seen, it didn’t turn out too badly, although it  perhaps didn’t feel like that at the time - thanks to the frequent, driving rain and lack of shelter offered by the huts in the wind direction. Watches covering the period from dawn to 10:30 were made from both the huts and Mudeford Quay, with the picks being: 2 Arctic Skua - one directly west and the other seeming to linger in Christchurch Bay - an adult Little Gull just off the Run and a Red-throated Diver high and over the harbour. The best of the afternoon session at Hengistbury, which was split between the huts and the Gully, until the rain put paid to that spot, was a flock of 3 Pomarine Skua west at around 12:50, as well as two, very close-in Great Northern Diver. A further Pomarine Skua was seen from the quay, also heading west, at 3:15. Also throughout the day, moving over the water and west: 77 Kittiwake, including a flock of nineteen, 7 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Sandwich Tern, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 50 Common Scoter, 2 Guillemot, 12 Brent Goose, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Grey Plover and 7 Dunlin. Moving away from the sea, there were at least 2 Firecrest showing well around the northern of the Double Bends in the Wood and 5 Purple Sandpiper were about the sandspit.

November 7th

Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale

Although the wind was equal in strength to yesterday, a westerly component in the direction seemed to quieten things down a little at sea. That said, there were still moments of significance. Once more a Little Auk pitched onto the sea just meters in front of the Beach Huts, before moving off to the west; while moments earlier a female-type Velvet Scoter had done pretty much the same thing. Also of note - Black-necked Grebe seen moving with Common Scoter. All of these were later in the morning, but the sea had in fact been watched from first light onwards, from both the huts and Mudeford Quay, the combined totals being: 3 Little Gull, 3 Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver, 38 Common Scoter, 16 Red-breasted Merganser, 7 Kittiwake, 8 Mediterranean Gull, 20 Common Gull, around 150 Black-headed Gull, 200 or so Herring Gull, an auk sp. and 71 Dunlin; in the main to the west. Meanwhile, single Merlin were seen coming in-off from the sandspit and east towards Highcliffe from the quay, so two birds may have been involved. The high, flood tide made Stanpit tricky to access, but a Water Pipit way by the visitor’s centre and there was an increase of Black-tailed Godwit to 95 birds; also, the Spotted Redshank, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Sandwich Tern and pale-bellied Brent Goose, the latter presumably being the same bird that was in the Run late in the afternoon, when there were a further 2 Sandwich Tern patrolling just offshore. Moving back to the Hengistbury side, where a Woodcock was accidentally disturbed in the Wood and a decent total of 11 Purple Sandpiper was on groyne S9.

November 6th

After a clear and relatively still start, which saw 21000 Woodpigeon move west well inland from the harbour, a brisk southerly wind picked up and prompted, locally speaking, a spectacular passage of birds at sea. A total of 3 Little Auk passed by the Beach Huts - two with a Common Scoter and then a single bird that briefly sat on the water less than 10m offshore - also a Grey Phalarope that likewise settled for a short period, a Pomarine Skua, an Arctic Skua and 2 Great Skua. Before the rest of the stuff at sea, back to the calmer part of the day and mention of a Great White Egret and a Spoonbill that both circled high over the harbour; also a Ring Ouzel on the top of the head, a Merlin in-off the sea and an Avocet seen from the HHC. Returning to the water and a considerable list of westbound birds, comprising: 3 Red-throated Diver, an unidentified diver, 115+ Kittiwake, 47 Mediterranean Gull, 100+ Common Gull, a Goldeneye, 13 Red-breasted Merganser, 58 Common Scoter, 4 Gadwall, 7 Pintail, 21 Wigeon, 25 Teal, 6 Shelduck, 9 Golden Plover and 101 Dunlin; while 42 auk sp. were a little more mixed in their directions. Before the wind got up, there was some finch movement, including: 2 Bullfinch, 7 Siskin, 170 Linnet and 290 Goldfinch, all these to the east. This evening, at least 10 Mediterranean Gull were settled on the exposed bar in the Run, the Spotted Redshank was in Stanpit Creek and a Peregrine passed over. 

November 5th

It was a morning of some frustration, when what looked set to be a very significant movement of pigeon was stopped in its tracks by cloud that rolled in from the north at around 7:45. Before then, however, a total of 17000 Woodpigeon and 215 Stock Dove was logged, all travelling south-west and many of them directly over the harbour. To put the spectacle - albeit way too brief - into perspective, around 70% of the numbers came through in a 20-minute period, when the area reverberated to the soft rustle of wing beats. The cloud didn’t deter other travellers, with 5 Brambling, 18 Siskin, 275 Linnet, 330 Goldfinch and 425 Chaffinch recorded eastbound, as well as a Swallow and 56 Skylark in the opposite direction. There was also a notable, westerly passage of gulls; not least a flock of 17 Little Gull of mixed ages that passed through the harbour, while 46 Mediterranean Gull, 165 Common Gull and 530 Black-headed Gull moved at sea. In addition, a flock of around150 gulls, mainly Herring Gull, was lingering around 3km offshore, but unfortunately seemed unattractive to anything more interesting. Also over the water and west: a Red-throated Diver, a Goldeneye, 6 Red-breasted Merganser, a Pintail, 9 Shoveler, 9 Common Scoter, 66 Brent Goose and a couple of Sandwich Tern. Meanwhile, duck-of-the-day was a Goosander north over the area; likewise a Golden Plover, 2 Mistle Thrush and 16 Redwing. To round up, 3 Blackcap and 6 Chiffchaff were on Hengistbury, up to 6 Grey Plover were noted, a Peregrine forced several hundred pigeon to whiffle over Wick and 5 Gadwall were in the area, as was the Tufted Duck.

November 4th

The overnight temperatures have dropped by almost 10C in the last 48-hours and the pre-dawn, clear skies prompted hopes of a Woodpigeon spectacle. However, as the sun came up it was clear there were quite significant patches of mist around the area and these limited the numbers to just 1700 birds west over Stanpit. Also west over the marsh, a female Marsh Harrier, 2 Buzzard, a Woodlark, 70 Skylark, 2 Fieldfare, 2 Brambling and 70 Jackdaw. Over on Hengistbury, there were a few, lingering passerines: namely 2 Blackcap, at least 8 Chiffchaff and a similar number of Goldcrest. Meanwhile, 5 Purple Sandpiper flew around the end of the head and an adult Mediterranean Gull passed west at sea. A minimum of 7 Raven were on-site during the morning, when one of them was diving at the many Wigeon and Teal on Priory Marsh, presumably trying to seek out any weak looking targets. 

November 3rd

Lapland Bunting
Lapland Bunting
Lapland Bunting
Lapland Bunting – Alan Hayden (upper two) & Colin Raymond

There was a fairly abrupt temperature change today, when the south-westerly wind took on a nasty chill. This, coupled with the constant presence or threat of heavy rain, kept field work to a bare minimum. Given those conditions, many can be thankful the Lapland Bunting have had the good grace to frequent an area less than 5m from Solent Beach car park. A young bird was showing extremely well throughout the day, in exactly the same spot as yesterday - that’s just over the embankment directly behind the fenced off area in the car park. At times, that bird could only be located as it ran from under one’s feet! Just after first light, the first bird to be seen was actually an adult, probably a male, but that quickly dived into the adjacent, fenced cattle area and couldn’t be re-found. This ties in with Saturday’s initial account of there being two individuals present. There are actually no other reports to include in this post, so to finish off it’s a correction to last night’s - rather than the suggested late 1980s, the last on-the-deck record for the species is October 24-25th 2004 at the Salt Hurns. 

November 2nd

Lapland Bunting
Lapland Bunting
Lapland Bunting
Lapland Bunting
Lapland Bunting at Whitepits – Alan Hayden (upper three) & Chris Roughley

The first few hours of the day were dominated by driving rain whipped up by the south-westerly blow. However, once the precipitation passed on, there were moments of passerine interest to be had. What was presumably one of the two Lapland Bunting present yesterday, but not reported to the group, was located at the eastern end of Whitepits. The bird was very confiding and faithful to a spot, behind the heavy plant enclosure, just over the eastern embankment of Solent Beach (Whitepits) car park. This is probably the first non-flyover record since the late 1980s, when one was at Stanpit for a short time. Many thanks to the dog-walkers who were willing to make a short diversion this afternoon, so allowing the bird to be well-watched in the fading light. Earlier, a Yellow-browed Warbler was along the northern edge of the Wood, adjacent to the Salt Hurns, while a Firecrest was in the same sort of area, and a Swallow was over the Barn. During the rain, the sea was watched from Mudeford Quay and the Beach Huts until just before 10:00, when some frustrating glimpses of a wader ruled out a definite phalarope claim; but certainly seen were: a Red-throated Diver in full breeding-plumage, 3 Kittiwake, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, one of them travelling with a Teal, 2 Common Scoter in the company of a Guillemot, 6 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Shelduck and 7 Brent Goose, all heading west. A later watch from the huts added a single Red-breasted Merganser and 21 unidentified auks, the latter eastbound. The pick of the wader news for the post involves 4 Purple Sandpiper about the end of the sandspit and the Spotted Redshank off Fisherman’s Bank, but also a Grey Plover, 25 Turnstone, 52 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Ringed Plover and 25 Dunlin. Finally, a couple of Raven went over Hengistbury.

November 1st

Turnstone - Clinton Whale

The forecast rain came and went before first light, meaning it was a dry morning for field work; but with an ever-increasing, south-westerly wind. No overhead migration counts were made, as the woodland was given a good degree of attention. That said, the calls of finches, larks, pipits and buntings could be heard moving above the trees. Save for 3 Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaff and a presence of Goldcrest, the bushes failed to produce the goods; nevertheless, there was a good deal of variety elsewhere to report upon. A single Yellowhammer, presumably just the one bird, was seen over the Batters, in the Barred Warbler Bush and on Wick Hams; 2 Short-eared Owl were logged - one west at sea from the Natterjack Pond and one over the end of the head and seeming to come down near the Ironstone Quarry; at least one, but quite possibly two, Black Redstart were at the southern end of the sandspit; and a total of 6 Bullfinch, flocks of four and two, passed over. A Brambling and 5 Redwing were also passing by, at least 90 Lapwing and 15 Jackdaw moved west, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and a Great Crested Grebe passed at sea, and 2 Sandwich Tern fed just off the Run. Looking out to sea, there seemed to be many large clumps of floating seaweed and these attracted plenty of gulls, including at least 4 Mediterranean Gull, but nothing more interesting. Meanwhile, 2 Purple Sandpiper were on groyne S7, but other than the photographed Turnstone they were the only waders reported. The concluding miscellany comprises singles of Raven, Little Grebe on the Ironstone Quarry and Shoveler.

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