Sightings for September 2015

September 30th

The clear highlight of the day was a Long-eared Owl that ghosted into the North Scrubs past the Pod this morning. A few moments later, the bird was seen flying into the adjacent poplars from where it was quickly seen off by corvids. Over on Hengistbury, there has been an influx of Coal Tit, around twenty being estimated, along with a Yellow-browed Warbler briefly by Holloway’s Dock and a Firecrest on the Long Field. Overnight, the wind had edged a little from north to east and this encouraged more birds to move into it. A total of 2 Tree Pipit, 800 Meadow Pipit, 3 Grey Wagtail, 9 Yellow Wagtail, 520 alba Wagtail, 86 Redpoll, 140 Chaffinch, 750 Linnet, 870 Siskin, 950 Goldfinch, 630 House Martin and 1400 Swallow being logged from Warren Hill East. Meanwhile, a further Grey Wagtail and 4 Yellow Wagtail were decked on Wick, with 75 Chiffchaff, 35 Goldcrest and 15 Blackcap spread across there and the head, and a Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Wheatear at Stanpit. The was also some eastbound wildfowl movement, including: 4 Tufted Duck, 14 Shoveler, 50 Wigeon and 8 Common Scoter; while 11 Brent Goose were inside the harbour. Remaining interest comes from a Greenshank and 12 Black-tailed Godwit on the marsh; 3 Razorbill and 2 Mediterranean Gull at sea; and 3 Raven.

September 29th

A bird we haven't featured for a while, the Whitepits 'white-rumped' Stonechat
– Clinton Whale

It was all fairly routine today, with no real stand-out birds but a decent selection nevertheless. Just over 40 Chiffchaff, but only 5 Blackcap, were across Wick and the western portion of Hengistbury, while a Grey Wagtail was on the Lily Pond, 7 Yellow Wagtail were on the Wick meadows and a Wheatear was at the base of the Gully. There was light overhead passage, all east, for a couple of hours including: 6 Redpoll, 60 Siskin, 20 Chaffinch, a further Grey Wagtail, 20 alba Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit, 100 Meadow Pipit, 400 Swallow and 100 House Martin. At Stanpit, a couple of Knot were still present, along with 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 23 Ringed Plover and 38 Dunlin; while, this evening, 2 Common Tern, a Mediterranean Gull and 4 Common Gull were off Mudeford Quay. Low-flying Buzzard were over Wick on a couple of occasions during the day, 4 Little Grebe found shelter from the northerly wind in Barn Bight and a Kingfisher was around the Wooden Bridge. 

September 28th

Wick Reedbed
This habitat creation in the Wick reedbed has been carried out by Bournemouth Borough Council after consultation with CHOG. The smoothly-sloped edges lead to over 1m depth of water; hopefully a winter haven for Bittern, amongst other species, once the vegetation re-establishes. Already, only days after completion, there is evidence of Otter in area
– Hugh Goldsmith
Wheatear – Jimmy Main
Clouded Yellow
...and there have been a few Clouded Yellow around the area over the last couple of days
– Clinton Whale

To start the post, the day’s highlights. A juvenile Ring Ouzel was on the Long Field this morning, showing well at times; a Short-eared Owl spiralled up over the Barn Field early on and moved off west; a Marsh Harrier hunted the Wick reeds just after lunch; and a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull was off Mudeford Quay in the afternoon. Like yesterday, there was an initial flurry of eastward movement, including: a Grey Wagtail, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 20 alba Wagtail, a Tree Pipit, 200 Meadow Pipit, 7 Redpoll, 150 Siskin, 200 Linnet, 250 Goldfinch, 150 House Martin and 1000 Swallow. Meanwhile, 39 Chiffchaff were on Wick, 15 Blackcap were on the Long Field and a single Wheatear was present. There was little change in wader numbers with Stanpit hosting 4 Knot and a Greenshank, while 3 Sanderling, 5 Turnstone, 23 Ringed Plover and 36 Dunlin were on the sandspit. A couple of Razorbill on the sea are the first recorded auks for several weeks; at least 3 Mediterranean Gull were about; 2 Shoveler, 178 Wigeon and 11 Brent Goose were inside the harbour; a Peregrine passed over; and, late in the day, 3 Common Tern and 2 Common Gull were off the quay.

September 27th

Redpoll – Jimmy Main
Sanderling – Jimmy Main
Raven in one of their preferred spots on the sandspit – Clinton Whale

Despite the early-morning conditions being very similar, the visible-migration over Hengistbury was a shadow of yesterday’s. In the period from dawn to 9:30, the following all moved east: a Yellow Wagtail, 92 alba Wagtail, 94 Meadow Pipit, 200 Siskin, 14 Redpoll, some of these settling for a few moments, 142 Linnet, 100 Goldfinch, 2 Chaffinch, 8 Reed Bunting, 870 House Martin, 10 Sand Martin and 860 Swallow; while 2 Common Gull, 2 Brent Goose and 17 Wigeon headed in the opposite direction. What may have been yesterday’s Wryneck was seen briefly on the Barn Field and a Sedge Warbler, 5 Whitethroat, 3 Blackcap and 8 Chiffchaff were there or on the Long Field; a Spotted Flycatcher came in-off the sea and a further bird was in Monkswell Green; and there were 3 Wheatear on-site. The first WeBS count of the winter came up with: the Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 4 Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit,18 Black-tailed Godwit at Stanpit; 4 Sanderling, 8 Turnstone, 28 Ringed Plover and 46 Dunlin on the sandspit; and a Pintail, 3 Shoveler, 162 Wigeon, 33 Teal and 9 Brent Goose elsewhere around the area. The census also noted: a Common Tern and 3 Sandwich Tern off the Beach Huts, at least 3 Mediterranean Gull and a couple of Kingfisher. 

Additional news: a Tree Pipit passed over Wick Fields, where 2 Lesser Whitethroat were settled.

September 26th

A light north-easterly wind in late September was almost bound to produce a decent movement of birds and so it proved today. With easterlies forecast for the next few days, hopefully there will be more of the same. Another Wryneck was seen briefly this morning, this time in the No Dogs Field on Wick; the bird then flew towards Hengistbury but wasn't seen again. The Coastguards was the vantage point from which the movement was logged. Interestingly, the finches moved east while more or less everything else went west. The exception to this was a Yellowhammer that also travelled east; the finch numbers were 560 Goldfinch, 230 Siskin, 190 Linnet, 32 Chaffinch and 27 Redpoll. Heading to the west were 6000 House Martin, 2000 Swallow, 1700 Meadow Pipit, 220 alba Wagtail, 6 Grey Wagtail, 3 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Tree Pipit. In addition, there was a noteworthy westerly movement of gulls offshore with 550 Black-headed Gull, 31 Mediterranean Gull and 16 Common Gull; also from the Coastguards, 3 Pintail and a Red-throated Diver headed west and 11 Shoveler were on the sea. On the ground across Hengistbury and Wick were 75 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, 3 Whitethroat and one each of Redpoll, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and Wheatear; another four of the latter were on Stanpit. The Spotted Redshank was again on Stanpit, plus a Green Sandpiper, 10 Knot, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Snipe, 2 Greenshank and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. Other points of interest were a late Hobby over the Long Field and 2 Kingfisher in Wick Hams.

Additional news: a wader selection at Stanpit included: 6 Greenshank, 5 Knot, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 21 Ringed Plover and 31 Dunlin; while 4 Shoveler, 7 Brent Goose and 2 Common Gull were also around the marsh. A Marsh Harrier was seen above the Wooden Bridge on Wick, with 3 Bearded Tit in that area and a further two across the river.

September 25th

A couple of Turnstone on the sandspit today – Clinton Whale
Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit on the Barn Field fence – Jean Southworth

On a another fine morning reasonable numbers of birds were moving west into a very light north-westerly breeze, while on the ground there was an abundance of Chiffchaff with 204 logged, also more than 70 Goldcrest, 33 Blackcap, 15 Coal Tit, 10 Whitethroat, 3 Redpoll, 2 Wheatear, 2 Sedge Warbler and a Garden Warbler, all these on Hengistbury and Wick. The numbers overhead were 900 Swallow, 430 Meadow Pipit, 370 Goldfinch, 310 Siskin, 220 Linnet, 200 House Martin, 145 alba Wagtail, 73 Redpoll, 25 Chaffinch and five each of Tree Pipit and Grey Wagtail. Waders today included 14 Black-tailed Godwit on the Solent Meads golf course, with another six birds west, 7 Turnstone on the sandspit and 3 Greenshank, one in Barn Bight and two arrived in the harbour. To round up a Great Crested Grebe was on the sea, 2 Brent Goose moved east offshore, 2 Kingfisher were seen and a Buzzard was over the Stanpit Visitor Centre.

September 24th

The first Yellow-browed Warbler of the year was in Ashtree Meadows this morning, albeit briefly. The bird was with a largish feeding flock of Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and tits, the latter mainly Long-tailed Tit. Another good early autumn species was a Hawfinch, a less than annual visitor, which passed overhead. In all, 56 Chiffchaff were logged across the harbour area, as well as 24 Goldcrest, 20 Blackcap, 8 Wheatear, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Reed Warbler, 2 Yellow Wagtail, these on the Long Field, plus one each of Whinchat and Sedge Warbler. The Spotted Redshank was again seen from Fisherman's Bank, so it's looking increasingly likely that it's the returning bird. An Arctic Tern, 2 Little Tern and 5 Common Tern were off Mudeford Quay, while another 3 Common Tern were settled inside the harbour. Wader counts from Stanpit included 51 Dunlin, 18 Ringed Plover and 7 Sanderling.

September 23rd

Yesterday evening's rainbow over Hengistbury – Chris Chapleo

Visible migration picked up again this morning with the birds taking advantage of the fine weather. The numbers, all moving west into the stiff breeze, were 2300 Meadow Pipit, 550 Siskin, 500 Linnet, 450 Goldfinch, 230 alba Wagtail, four of which were white, 75 Reed Bunting, 71 Redpoll, 7 Yellow Wagtail, 6 Tree Pipit and 5 Chaffinch. Hirundines were less easy to be accurate about, but over a two-hour period 3000 moved through, of these at least 1200 were Swallow and 340 were House Martin. There was a late Willow Warbler on Wick, also 10 Redpoll grounded there, while across the whole area there were 114 Chiffchaff, 53 Blackcap, 10 Whitethroat, 6 Wheatear, 2 Coal Tit, these on the Barn Field, a Whinchat, a Garden Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher. A Spotted Redshank was on Stanpit and 3 Knot were seen to arrive. From the cliff top, a Red-throated Diver was seen, also an Avocet, both these heading west, while this afternoon from Mudeford Quay 2 Little Tern, 10 Common Tern and 15 Sandwich Tern were logged. Finally, 2 Kingfisher, both on Wick, were seen.

September 22nd

There was a better selection of waders on Stanpit this morning with a Common Sandpiper, two each of Greenshank and Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Knot, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Ringed Plover and 25 Dunlin; also 4 Brent Goose and 4 Common Tern. On Hengistbury, the Treecreeper was in the Wood and there was a Kingfisher near the wooden bridge on Wick but migration has stalled somewhat with just a single Wheatear, 19 Chiffchaff, 7 Goldcrest and 5 Blackcap. Off the quay, 12 Sandwich Tern moved west and Swallow trickled through in the same direction, but no more than 40 or so in an hour. A late afternoon visit to the quay came up with a Black Tern, a Little Tern and 3 Common Tern offshore, plus 18 Sanderling.

September 21st

It was overcast, dull and quite cool this morning, hence things were slower than of late although 1300 Swallow was a reasonable total. Otherwise, overhead were 37 Siskin, 2 Grey Wagtail, a Redpoll and a Tree Pipit. There was another decent fall of 70 Goldcrest, also 50 Chiffchaff, 2 Wheatear and a Whinchat. On what is quite a late date for the species, there was a Little Ringed Plover on the foreshore in Barn Bight. To round up, the Treecreeper was again in the wood, 7 Black-tailed Godwit flew east, 6 Common Tern were offshore and 2 Raven passed over, while the only news from Stanpit is of the presence of 2 Brent Goose and a Kingfisher off Fisherman's Bank.

Check back to yesterday for late news.

September 20th

Wheatear Ringed Plover
Wheatear on Stanpit yesterday and Ringed Plover on the sandspit today – Clinton Whale

The harbour was shrouded in mist until just after 9:00 this morning, hence migrants were scarce. The only reports were of 2 Whinchat, a Wheatear, a Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Whitethroat, 9 Blackcap and 22 Chiffchaff. Needless to say visible migration was almost non-existent, although a few Siskin were heard. Later, in the afternoon, the Wryneck posed for photographs on the Long Field.

Late news: 2 adult pale-phase Arctic Skua headed south along the sandspit then west around the head c14:30 and 5 Little Tern were offshore for most of the afternoon.

Check back to yesterday for some late news.

September 19th

Wryneck today – Steve Birt
Chiffchaff on Stanpit – Corinne Yarwood

Although the general feeling was that fewer birds were around today there was, however, still plenty to see. The Wryneck was still on the Long Field and there was a Treecreeper in the wood, also a Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Whinchat, 15 Wheatear, 15 Blackcap, 22 Chiffchaff, 48 Whitethroat and 50 Goldcrest. The overhead movement oddly came to an abrupt halt after a couple of hours, almost as if someone had pulled a switch! The numbers were 700 House Martin, 600 Swallow, 370 Meadow Pipit, 312 Siskin, 150 Goldfinch, 120 Linnet, 65 alba Wagtail, 24 Redpoll, 23 Reed Bunting, 21 Chaffinch, 12 Tree Pipit, 11 Yellow Wagtail and 6 Grey Wagtail. A juvenile Arctic Tern and 8 Common Tern, together with a decent count of 82 Sandwich Tern, moved west past Hengistbury. From Fisherman's Bank there were just 6 Ringed Plover, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Knot and 2 Dunlin. A late afternoon visit to Stanpit found at least 20 Wheatear on site.

Late news: An afternoon visit to Hengistbury produced at least 2 Spotted Flycatcher and a Treecreeper in the Nursery and a Redstart on the Long Field, also a Kingfisher on Wick Hams and a Buzzard over the HHC. On Stanpit early evening a pale-bellied Brent Goose was present, also a juvenile Arctic Tern. Later, a Tawny Owl was calling near the Ironstone Quarry.

September 18th

Another fine day with light winds produced lots of birds once again. Highlights included the Wryneck on the Long Field, 3 Nuthatch, two in the wood at Hengistbury and one in the North Scrubs, a Grasshopper Warbler on Whitepits, two Firecrest and two Yellowhammer overhead. Hirundine numbers were similar to yesterday with 5000 Swallow and 2300 House Martin logged over Hengistbury; similarly Meadow Pipit with 820, while finch totals were 370 Siskin, 70 Goldfinch, 45 Linnet, 5 Redpoll and a Bullfinch, also 25 alba Wagtail, 17 Grey Wagtail, 15 Yellow Wagtail and 4 Tree Pipit. A further 8 Yellow and a Grey Wagtail passed over Crouch Hill. On the ground at Hengistbury were 26 Wheatear, 3 Redstart and 2 Whinchat, plus 200 Chiffchaff, 125 Blackcap, 60 Whitethroat, 5 Reed Warbler, 4 Garden Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher. Another 5 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill and North Scrubs held 11 Chiffchaff and 5 Blackcap. There was a Hobby over Wick Water Meadows first thing and a Peregrine at Stanpit, while the late morning saw a Buzzard settled briefly on Priory Marsh before the local corvids chased it off; also 8 Sparrowhawk noted over Hengistbury were considered to be migrants. On Stanpit there were 3 Brent Geese, a Greenshank and 21 Black-tailed Godwit. plus 2 Kingfisher around the area. A late afternoon visit to Mudeford Quay found a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and two juvenile Arctic Tern offshore.

September 17th

Kingfisher at Wick – Jimmy Main
Aerial View of the Harbour
How a high-flying bird approaching from the west would see the recording area, and beyond.
Taken from a helicopter recently – Ian Julian
Oystercatcher – Clinton Whale

Apologies in advance, but this post is inevitably going to turn into a few long lists of passerines. Before those, however, the main bits of interest: a Wryneck was on Warren Hill this morning, on the burnt patch, while the information services reported what must have been another on the Long Field after lunch; a White Wagtail briefly landed on top of the head; 4 Firecrest were in the Wood, along with a Nuthatch; and a Treecreeper was in the North Scrubs, Stanpit. Now the number crunching. Airborne and eastbound over Hengistbury were: 4500 House Martin, 3000 Swallow and 200 Sand Martin, many of these hirundines stopping to feed before moving on, 850 Meadow Pipit, 9 Tree Pipit, 12 Grey Wagtail, 8 Yellow Wagtail, 29 Redpoll and 530+ Siskin. Meanwhile, settled birds included: 400 phylloscs, all but around thirty reckoned to be Chiffchaff as opposed to Willow Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warbler, 50+ Whitethroat, 200+ Blackcap, 20 Sedge Warbler, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Redstart, 4 Whinchat and 43 Wheatear. Over at Stanpit, around Crouch Hill, there were: 22 Yellow Wagtail, 45 Meadow Pipit, 5 Sedge Warbler 3 Whinchat, 12 Wheatear; and the North Scrubs held 3 Spotted Flycatcher, a Redstart, 14 Chiffchaff, 8 Whitethroat and 8 Blackcap. Almost there! Wader news come from 7 Sanderling and 5 Whimbrel, and the more-interesting wildfowl were represented by 5 Shoveler and 9 Teal. 

Additional news: a Grasshopper Warbler showed well on Wick and a couple of Redpoll were decked there.

September 16th

Cetti's Warbler
Cetti's Warbler – Jimmy Main
Tree Pipit
Tree Pipit – Jimmy Main

Between 8:00 and 10:00, there was a sizeable movement of swallows and martins into the easterly wind logged from Crouch Hill, including 8000 Swallow and 6000 House Martin; while passerines heading in the same direction comprised: over 50 Yellow Wagtail, 9 Grey Wagtail, 3 Tree Pipit, 520 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit and 185 Siskin. Settled about Crouch Hill were 3 Whinchat and 22 Wheatear, with the nearby North Scrubs hosting 3 Spotted Flycatcher, a Garden Warbler, 22 Blackcap, 8 Whitethroat, 3 Reed Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler and 45 Chiffchaff. On the Hengistbury side, the Barn and Long Fields held: 2 Whinchat, 4 Wheatear, a Whitethroat, 7 Blackcap, 5 Willow Warbler and 56 Chiffchaff; 3 Yellow Wagtail were on the Wick water meadows and 2 Grey Wagtail overflew. A couple of Hobby were seen – one east and one south – and two juvenile Arctic Tern came into the harbour via the Run. Also during the morning, the waders at Stanpit were censused as: a Little Stint, a Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank. a Golden Plover, a Grey Plover, a Sanderling, 11 Knot, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Turnstone, 3 Ringed Plover and 32 Dunlin. By early afternoon, constant drizzle had set in and any further field activity was from the confines of a car.

Afternoon update: a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and a diver sp. were seen from Mudeford Quay, as was a Shag that was sat on the end of the sandspit - as close to an in-harbour record as we may get. Meanwhile, a black-tern sp. that flew into the harbour could have been of the more-interesting type.

September 15th

Small Copper
Small Copper – Chris Chapleo

Between them this morning, the well-attended Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay could muster just a very distant Great Skua, a Little Tern, 2 Common Tern, 105 Sandwich Tern, 9 Common Scoter and 20 Gannet, all into the south-westerly blast. In fact, the most interest was provided by 5 Kestrel in-off from the east. After a good day or two of wind, it now seems clear there a few birds out in the channel available to be blown onshore! Surprisingly, there was a hint of overhead passage from 145 Siskin, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail, 7 alba Wagtail and 5 Meadow Pipit; while a Grasshopper Warbler, a Redstart, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Whinchat, a Wheatear and 10 Chiffchaff were noted around the Long Field, and a Firecrest and 40+ Goldcrest were in the Wood. To round things up, 6 Sanderling were on the Beach and a Kingfisher was about the Run.

September 14th

Greenshank on the Salt Hurns – Leo Pyke
Nuthatch - always a local novelty - in the Wood – Leo Pyke
...and Dunlin on the sandspit – Clinton Whale

Although the sea wasn’t really expected to deliver early in the day, it was hoped that by late in the afternoon when the wind had moved a little to the west we may have seen some action. In fact, the morning fared slightly better with a Balearic Shearwater, a skua sp., a juvenile Kittiwake, 2 Little Tern and 5 Common Scoter, all west, from the Beach Huts - the afternoon adding just a juvenile Common Tern through the Run. Meanwhile, there were modest numbers of Gannet and Sandwich Tern present throughout. Given the ferocity of the wind and some of the deluges, it’s a nice surprise to get some passerine records, namely: a Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Whinchat, 2 Wheatear, around 30 Chiffchaff, 8 Whitethroat, 30 Blackcap, 5 Yellow Wagtail and 3 Grey Wagtail from across Hengistbury and Wick. In the Wood, a wandering Nuthatch has now joined the Treecreeper, while 3 Goldcrest and a Coal Tit were also logged. Waders were returned as: 2 Greenshank, one on Wick Meadows and one on the Salt Hurns, a Common Sandpiper from Mudeford Quay and 2 Snipe over Wick, plus 10 Turnstone and 59 Dunlin about the sandspit. The day’s Kingfisher were two in Holloway’s Dock and one on Wick, and 2 Raven passed over the Beach Huts.

September 13th

The Wryneck re-appeared on the Long Field this morning – Chris Dresh
Redstart – Jimmy Main
Sandwich Tern
...and adult and juvenile Sandwich Tern – Clinton Whale

An overnight south-easterly wind might have been expected to deliver greater things, but a well-attended Hengistbury was nevertheless entertaining this morning. The Wryneck on the Long Field behaved well on a number of occasions, while a Firecrest was in the Nursery and a Marsh Harrier passed over high to the east. Siskin were once again conspicuous - a total of 820 reckoned to be travelling east - some of the flocks grazing the gorse and heather of the Long Field. Currently, the south coast is seeing the lion’s share of this significant movement and for those interested in such things here is a national overview. Also on the wing, in the same direction, were: 5 Yellow Wagtail, 15 Grey Wagtail, an alba Wagtail, 12 Meadow Pipit and 150 Swallow. A scattering of common migrants across Hengistbury and Wick included: a Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, 7 Whinchat, 5 Wheatear, 27 Blackcap, a Willow Warbler and 60 Chiffchaff, the latter including a gathering of 35 birds with Long-tailed Tit at the eastern end of the Long Field; while the North Scrubs at Stanpit hosted a Lesser Whitethroat and a Spotted Flycatcher, plus small numbers of Blackcap, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff. There was limited activity at sea: for example, just 2 Common Tern and a handful of Gannet and Sandwich Tern from the Beach Huts, but two juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and an adult Common Gull were off Mudeford Quay late in the day. The best of sparse wader reports was a Greenshank on Central Marsh, as well as a Snipe over Stanpit and 6 Dunlin in Holloway’s Dock. To finish up, there were 2 Kingfisher on the boardwalk by the Rusty Boat and a storm from the south-west seems scheduled to hit just after lunchtime tomorrow. Tuesday morning could be interesting. 

September 12th 

One of 3 Firecrest in the Wood today – Alan Crockard
Honey Buzzard
Honey Buzzard high over Wick Fields – Chris Dresh
Arctic Skua
We've just received this Arctic Skua shot,
taken from a boat inside the harbour on 6th September – Jimmy Main
...and although we've now had two Osprey-less days,
these images also received today are a nice reminder of the week just gone – Jimmy Main

A strong southerly wind and morning drizzle put paid to any hopes of another decent count of Siskin - only 17 birds being logged - but a Honey Buzzard over Wick Fields that eventually drifted to the east was more than recompense; likewise, a total of 3 Firecrest in the Wood, plus a September Swift over Mudeford Quay. The early conditions encouraged most observers to the sea, but it was something of a disappointment - the best being a bird-of-the-year Yellow-legged Gull, along with eleven westbound Brent Goose, 12 Common Scoter, 5 Shelduck, 8 Common Tern, 40 or so Sandwich Tern and a light passage of Swallow. Commoner passerine migrants were hard to dig out, but did include: 2 Redstart, 4 Whinchat, 2 Wheatear, 4 Willow Warbler and 5 Yellow Wagtail. The only wader news is from the sandspit and concerns 2 Knot, 6 Sanderling, 14 Turnstone, 16 Ringed Plover and 37 Dunlin.

Additional news: three juvenile Arctic Tern were fishing off Mudeford Quay.

September 11th

Wryneck on the Long Field – Alan Hayden
Some of the 900+ Siskin that passed over this morning – Alan Hayden
...and one of the estimated 9300 Swallow – Alan Hayden
Pink Herring Gull
Herring Gull – Kimm Fearnley
This pink-coloured Herring Gull has been around Christchurch for several weeks now and is a bit of a mystery, having even featured in the Bournemouth Echo.
In a south-easterly wind the skies received a lot of attention this morning, when an estimated 920 Siskin moved east over Hengistbury. Looking at the CHOG Trektellen data this is quite a significant number ahead of the expected peak dates for the species. In addition, 9400 Swallow, 117 Sand Martin and 91 House Martin moved over to the west across a broad front, while 12 Yellow Wagtail and 3 Grey Wagtail tended towards the south, and a tight flock of 20 Sandwich Tern arrived from the east. Not surprisingly, given the number of hirundines in the airspace, a Hobby was seen early on. Meanwhile a Spoonbill passed through west and a Wryneck spent most of the day ranging the Long Field, including the fenced-off cattle paddock. Settled passerines were around in small numbers, but reasonable variety, and included: 2 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 4 Wheatear, a Garden Warbler, 9 Whitethroat, 8 Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warbler,  most of these from Wick and the western portion of Hengistbury; as well as 3 Spotted Flycatcher on the golf course embankment at Stanpit. Wader species were also well represented, the best being a flock of 9 Avocet that left to the west, but also: 11 Knot, a Grey Plover, a Greenshank, a Whmbrel, 2 Sanderling, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, a Turnstone and thirty each of Ringed Plover and Dunlin around Stanpit Bight at various times of the day. The presence of 5 Brent Goose is a reminder that autumn is moving on; also 120 Wigeon and several Teal now on site. As usual, to finish off, the more notable miscellany which today comprised: a Mediterranean Gull, 3 Kingfisher, a Peregrine, a Little Grebe, 2 Raven and 15 Stock Dove; the latter actually a resident but under-recorded as such.

The final piece of news is that the Navitus Bay Windfarm planning application has been denied by the government. Thanks to all those involved with CHOG who participated in the consultation process.

September 10th

Spotted Flycatcher Blackcap
Spotted Flycatcher on Ashtree Meadows and Blackcap at Hengistbury – Alan Hayden

On a glorious September morning the Osprey duly turned up at 8:45 and was then around for some twenty minutes before heading off with its catch. There were just 65 Siskin logged today, plus 53 Yellow Wagtail and 4 Grey Wagtail; another Yellow Wagtail was on Crouch Hill. Otherwise apart from a few Blackcap and Whitethroat there were 3 Wheatear, 2 Whinchat and singles of Spotted Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat and Redstart. Waders on Stanpit seem to have thinned out but included 2 Greenshank, 2 Knot, a Whimbrel and a Common Sandpiper. There were 9 Shoveler, 2 Pintail and 48 Wigeon, all these in Stanpit Bight. To conclude, 2 Kingfisher were noted, 2 Raven were on the quay and 7 Grey Heron moved high to the west.

September 9th

Little Stint
Little Stint – Alan Hayden
Today's three Avocet – Alan Hayden
Whinchat on the Long Field – Jean Southworth

The wind strengthened and moved almost due east today so it felt even colder than yesterday, until the sun broke through. There were, however, a few highlights starting with a juvenile Spoonbill west over the harbour at 7:15. An hour later an Osprey made a successful visit then headed off north-east with its catch. A female Marsh Harrier moved west mid-morning, while 2 Hobby and a Peregrine were also noted. The Little Stint was elusive but still around and 3 Avocet were present for most of the day. In addition, the wader selection on Stanpit included: 59 Ringed Plover, 52 Dunlin, 9 Knot, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Sanderling, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank and a Grey Plover. It was the quietest day for grounded migrants for more than a week with just 22 Blackcap, 8 Whitethroat, 5 Chiffchaff, 5 Reed Warbler, 5 Willow Warbler, 4 Whinchat, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Redstart and 2 Wheatear across the area. Overhead, 103 Siskin and 8 Yellow Wagtail were logged. Wildfowl numbers continue to build with 68 Teal, 35 Wigeon, 3 Pintail, 2 Shoveler and 2 Tufted Duck today, also 40 Canada Goose on Stanpit. A count of Coot found 232 around Stanpit, with another dozen or so in Barn Bight. Finally 2 Raven and 2 Kingfisher were noted.

September 8th

osprey osprey
A couple of Osprey shots from yesterday - Darren Crain
Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail on the Barn Field - Alan Hayden

On another fine day the wind had moved to the north-east, hence it was quite chilly for the first couple of hours after dawn. The Osprey fest continued with three sightings, at 9:15, 9:45 and 15:2, all of which were successful as the birds left the harbour with fish. Clearly, at least two birds are involved. Given the cool conditions migrants were hard to come by, but eventually as it warmed up the birds appeared. The totals for both sides of the harbour were 39 Blackcap, 24 Whitethroat, 13 Chiffchaff, 6 Whinchat, 6 Willow Warbler, 5 Wheatear, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Redstart, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and singles of Garden Warbler and Sedge Warbler. A Redpoll over was the first of the autumn, while 32 Siskin continued the trend of recent days. A Little Stint on Blackberry was the pick of the waders, while on Stanpit totals were 82 Ringed Plover, 58 Dunlin, 18 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Knot, 5 Sanderling and a Turnstone. There are now 26 Teal and 14 Wigeon in the harbour. To conclude, both Peregrine and Buzzard were logged, also 2 Raven, a Kingfisher was on Stanpit and the Bullfinch was still in the North Scrubs.

Please check back to yesterday for updated numbers and late news.

September 7th

Redstart Whinchat Siskin
Redstart and Whinchat on the Long Field and Siskin by Double Dykes, upper and lower Leo Pyke, middle Alan Hayden

There were two sightings of Osprey this morning at 9:20 and 11:55; in both instances the bird caught a fish and headed off to the north. Then later, just before 3:00, the information services reported a further sighting of two birds east over the harbour. There was a late Swift over the Barn Field and another decent count of Siskin with a minimum of seventy-five birds, plus a reasonable selection of grounded migrants. The totals across the area were 54 Chiffchaff, 41 Blackcap, 18 Whitethroat, 8 Willow Warbler and four each of Whinchat, Sedge Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Reed Warbler and 2 Garden Warbler, as well as singles of Wheatear, Redstart and Lesser Whitethroat. Swallow were also moving on a broad front making a realistic estimate out of the question, but at one stage several hundred birds were over the Barn Field. Around the horse fields on Wick were 45 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Grey Wagtail. On Stanpit waders included a Little Ringed Plover over Crouch Hill and 4 Ruff over Priory Marsh; the counts were 49 Dunlin, 44 Ringed Plover, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Knot, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and a further Ruff. In conclusion, a Little Grebe, a Kingfisher and 6 Teal were in Barn Bight while 5 Wigeon were at Stanpit.

Late news: both Peregrine and Hobby, together with 3 Buzzard, were seen over Stanpit today.

September 6th

Green Woodpecker
Juvenile Green Woodpecker – Chris Dresh
Whinchat – Olly Frampton (upper) and Chris Dresh
Water Rail
Water Rail – Alan Crockard
Osprey Watching
...and all eyes on an Osprey – Chris Dresh

It was hoped some Osprey would put on a show for the Members’ Day and they duly obliged. After a good ringing demonstration and less than 10 minutes into the guided walk, a bird appeared at 8:40 and eventually left with a fish. Later on, around 10:00, the moth-trap event was interrupted when another fished successfully. This afternoon, two hunted Stanpit Bight together, both leaving with a meal. Back to the morning, when a Kingfisher also performed in Barn Bight, as did 2 Water Rail, with 2 Whinchat and a Spotted Flycatcher showing well on the Long Field. Siskin were again conspicuous, over ninety estimated to have moved west over Hengistbury and Wick, but probably more as calls could not always be pinpointed. Also over, at least 26 Yellow Wagtail, plus thirty-five more settled at the Wick water meadow, a Grey Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and, by mid-morning, a gathering of 100 or so Swallow above the Barn Field. Meanwhile, further singles of Spotted Flycatcher and Whinchat, were settled - as were a Bullfinch and Lesser Whitethroat on Wick - and 5 Wheatear as well as low numbers of Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff were dotted about. There are no wader reports from Stanpit, but a Green Sandpiper was about the northern end of Wick, with an additional 2 Kingfisher there, 5 Wigeon were in the harbour, 2 Raven were passed over the Long Field and a couple of Peregrine overflew the Barn Field. 

September 5th

Kingfisher and Osprey, both seemingly real possibilities during tomorrow morning's event
– Alan Crockard (Kingfisher) and Bob Moore
Whinchat – Chris Dresh
Mimic Hoverfly
Hornet Mimic Hoverfly - Chris Dresh
As its name suggests, this fly is an excellent mimic of the Hornet but is harmless.
Only a very rare visitor to the country up to the 1940s, in recent years it has become more common in southern England and is still spreading northwards,
perhaps as a result of the warmer climate.

Although Osprey have thankfully long since lost their rare-bird status, perhaps because of the species’ association with CHOG, seeing them in the harbour is still one of the highlights of the year. This morning, between 7:30 and 10:00, there was an almost constant presence, when as many as 4 birds were thought to have been involved - three of them seen to successfully grab a meal and one of them, a juvenile, remaining to messily pick at it on Blackberry Point. After a still first 2 hours of daylight, an uncomfortably cold north wind came about which then shifted to the east during the afternoon. The morning saw a significant movement of Siskin - 131 birds, mainly eastbound - over Hengistbury, as well as 5 Tree Pipit, 2 Grey Wagtail and 14 Yellow Wagtail on the wing; with a further thirteen of the latter at Stanpit later on. The pick of the grounded migrants was a Turtle Dove in the North Scrubs, but also a Lesser Whitethroat, 11 Whitethroat, 2 Whinchat and 3 Wheatear, mostly on the Long Field. Inside the harbour, the waders included: 2 Ruff, 5 Knot, a Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 48 Ringed Plover and around 20 Dunlin; while migrant duck were represented by an arriving Shelduck, 4 Wigeon and 7 Teal. Meanwhile, the tame Tufted Duck was typically associating with Mallard. To complete the day, Bearded Tit were in the Great Spires reeds and Kingfisher were seen around Stanpit as two birds and as a singleton at Wick Hams.

Evening update: an Osprey caught a fish at 17:45.

September 4th

Osprey, morning and afternoon – Chris Chapleo (upper two) and Clinton Whale
Two of four Ruff at Stanpit last night – Alan Hayden

Osprey sightings are normally over in a matter of minutes, but thanks to a dead tree stranded in the harbour since last winter things were different today. The bird was initially seen attempting to catch a fish around 7:25, but was lost to view; then at 8:15 all the waterbirds in the harbour took to the air and it was clear the ‘mullet hawk’ was again active, but it took several observers at least 10 minutes to realise it was perched on the aforementioned tree, rather than amongst the airborne mass. After that, the bird remained in-situ for a further couple of hours and was again in location mid-afternoon before leaving with a caravan of crows. The perch is best viewed from the Barn Bight shore and should be in comfortable range of long lenses. Further interest during the morning came from a Wryneck, seen on several occasions, in the bramble clump in the non-fenced section of the Long Field, and a Little Stint at Stanpit. The more routine on Hengistbury included: a Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 3 Wheatear, 2 Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Reed Warbler, also on the Long Field; as well a 5 Tree Pipit, a Grey Wagtail, 35 Whitethroat, 24 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff and 3 Willow Warbler more widely spread. Up to 13 Sanderling were on the sandspit, while a Shoveler and 8 Teal were logged.

Evening update: an Osprey caught a fish at 17:45.

September 3rd

Greenshank – Alan Hayden
Egyptian Goose
Egyptian Goose
Egyptian Goose at Stanpit last night – Alan Hayden
Wheatear in the low sun – Chris Chapleo
...and an illustration of the bill of Shoveler – Alan Hayden

The picks of a reasonable day were an Osprey fishing the harbour at ten past three this afternoon and a Hobby over the HHC in the morning. Also over early on were 25 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail and 25 Siskin, while 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 22 Blackcap, 14 Whitethroat, 7 Chiffchaff, 6 Willow Warbler and 5 Wheatear were settled, in the main on the Hengistbury and Wick fields. In addition, the North Scrubs held a Bullfinch enjoying the rowan berries. There are currently few waders reports, save for 4 Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Ringed Plover from Stanpit, and 5 Snipe at Wick. A coil of 5 Teal arrived and Kingfisher were seen at Wick and from Fisherman’s Bank. 

Wader update: Stanpit this evening can add 4 Ruff, 2 Knot, a Whimbrel and 18 Dunlin.

September 2nd

There was a decent number of Wheatear around the area today – Clinton Whale

A presence of Wheatear was the theme of the day. Between 7:30 and 8:30 thirty-nine were present, largely around the eastern end of Hengistbury, while 14 were on Solent Meads golf course and a dozen were at Stanpit. During the afternoon, over twenty were at the eastern extreme of the head and an extra two were on the marsh. From this, an aggregate of just under 90 birds would seem reasonable. Also on Hengistbury and Wick, 2 Whinchat, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Lesser Whitethroat and modest numbers of Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff; while Garden Warbler were at Stanpit. Finches were a feature, with a Crossbill over Stanpit, a total of 16 Siskin over both sides of the area and 2 Bullfinch in the North Scrubs. To finish with the passerines, 31 Yellow Wagtail were about Wick water meadows and a further twelve went over there, as did 3 Tree Pipit. This morning, a Spotted Redshank was in Barn Bight - hopes are high it could be ‘the’ bird back for another winter - then later on 4 Knot, 3 Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover and 6 Dunlin were around Stanpit Bight; as were 4 Wigeon. Towards dusk, the arriving Canada Goose brought 13 Egyptian Goose with them, but as Coward’s Marsh has recently hosted as many as 63 birds then more could be using the harbour as an overnight stop. Today’s Kingfisher action was at the Wick water meadows, a Peregrine makes the post, 2 Common Scoter passed east at sea and 41 Collared Dove were counted in the oaks around the Wick horse paddock.

Cattle Egret update: we have just heard from the Isle of Wight, where a flock of around 25 egrets passed Brighstone at 9:00 on Sunday morning, an hour before it all kicked off here. It would seem the flock had made land at St. Catherine’s Point and then coasted along the south-western aspect of the island before crossing the Solent.

September 1st

Little Egret
Little Egret – Alan Crockard
Redshank – Alan Crockard

The 2 Cattle Egret that were yesterday in the Lower Avon Valley were this morning on South Marsh, Stanpit, - perhaps suggesting they may have roosted in the Nursery. Also at Stanpit, a couple of Garganey, a Nightingale on the golf course embankment, a Redstart and 3 Garden Warbler. The southern side of the area saw an arrival of Wheatear, a round total of fifty coming in from various sites, as well as a Whinchat, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Garden Warbler, a Reed Warbler and of 35 phylloscs those identified were all Chiffchaff. A total of 22 Yellow Wagtail was returned, fourteen of them settled about the Wick meadows and adjacent horse paddock, and a Tree Pipit moved over the fields. A Ruff was also on the meadows and 12 Black-tailed Godwit moved west over there, while a Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, a Whimbrel and 3 Snipe were on the Salt Hurns. Barn Bight held 2 Tufted Duck, a Wigeon and 6 Teal; a Treecreeper and a Coal Tit were in the Wood; the recently-fledged 2 Goldcrest and their parents were behind the Nursery; a Kingfisher was in Wick Hams; and a juvenile Peregrine was seen at Stanpit.

News just in from Stanpit at dusk: waders included a Knot, a Greenshank, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Ringed Plover and 19 Dunlin; duck were represented by 6 Wigeon and 2 Shoveler; a further Whinchat and 2 Wheatear were present; and a second-summer Mediterranean Gull was noted. Earlier in the day, a Clouded Yellow butterfly had been around the Rusty Boat.

Sightings for earlier months can be found in our Sightings Archive.
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