Sightings for April 2016

April 30th

On another fine morning the day got off to a great start with a 'first of the year' Roseate Tern off the Barn Field cliffs at 6:15am, also a Black-throated Diver moved past there. Then some time later the Roseate Tern was offshore from Mudeford Quay together with 6 Little Tern. The Ring Ouzel was still on Stanpit, in the North Scrubs, this morning. There were a few migrants on Hengistbury with two each of Whinchat, Wheatear and Redstart plus a dozen Willow Warbler and half a dozen Blackcap. Waders on site included 190 Dunlin, 19 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Common Sandpiper. To round up two pairs of Gadwall remain in the harbour and the Red-legged Partridge was heard from the Barn Field.

April 29th

Ring Ouzel
Ring Ouzel
Ring Ouzel on Crouch Hill – Roger Howell (upper) & Clinton Whale
Grey Heron
Grey Heron – Alan Hayden
Sandwich Tern
Sandwich Tern – Clinton Whale

What is a very obliging, seemingly female, Ring Ouzel was again on Crouch Hill and seen throughout the day. It was early on, however, when the bulk of the passerine migrants were witnessed at Stanpit, including: a Wood Warbler in Ashtree Meadow, a Grasshopper Warbler on Crouch Hill, 2 Redstart, a Whinchat, 7 Wheatear and several Reed Warbler not in reeds. Meanwhile, a couple of Yellow Wagtail and 5 Swift moved over.  Wader-wise on the marsh, there were 4 Common Sandpiper in Parky Meade Rail, a Grey Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Black-tailed Godwit and 110 Dunlin; also some late Brent Goose - sixteen settled for some time and three east. Another dismal seawatch from Mudeford Quay mustered just 4 Little Tern. 

April 28th

Chaffinch – Barrie Taylor
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker – Alan Hayden
Skylark in song – Clinton Whale
Grey Plover
Grey Plover – Emma Pounds

A Yellow Wagtail over Mudeford Quay early on raised suspicions that it might be a good day and when the first report, from Stanpit, hit the inbox and told of a Ring Ouzel settled on Crouch Hill, a further 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Whinchat, 4 Wheatear, 6 Whitethroat and 8 Sedge Warbler, the latter in the North Scrubs, it was starting to look like there really had been an arrival of birds; which was confirmed with the following returns. The lone ringer at the HHC estimated the constant stream of Willow Warbler departing Hengistbury perhaps totalled in excess of 200 birds; while 2 Redstart were on Wick, one of them a stunning male, as well as at least six new Sedge Warbler, ditto 2 Reed Warbler, 15 Whitethroat, that’s a marked increase, and 12 Blackcap. Meanwhile, the first individuals of ‘sedge’ and ‘reed’ for the year were ringed. Slightly later, on the main part of the head itself, there were: a Grasshopper Warber, two female Redstart, a Whinchat, 14 Wheatear and a Sedge Warbler, plus a Yellow Wagtail, 40 Swallow and a Buzzard over. To finish with the migrant passerines, a Grasshopper Warbler was seen by the Pod on Stanpit this evening. Before moving to the passing waders, a few words about the sea which saw: 10 Little Tern off Mudeford Quay for a short time this morning and a sub-adult Eider, 2 Great Crested Grebe and 6 Shelduck east. Moving on, a Greenshank was in Barn Bight, a Common Sandpiper was on Central Marsh and a Grey Plover, 9 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Ringed Plover and 30 Dunlin were on site. The day-total estimate for Mediterranean Gull is forty-five, the female-type Marsh Harrier was seen at 7:30, a couple of Raven were about and the 60-strong flock of Linnet is still at Stanpit. 

April 27th

Cetti's Warbler Cetti's Warbler
 Cetti's Warbler are normally shy and secretive, but a couple at the eastern end of Roebury Lane have been inviting photographs such as these for a few weeks now – Brian Wadie
Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale
Ringed Plover & Dunlin
Travelling Ringed Plover and Dunlin resting on the sandspit
- it would be great to know just how far these birds have yet to go – Clinton Whale

Yesterday, the word flurry was used to describe an aspect of the weather; but today it could be applied to a movement of passerines through Hengistbury during the early hours of daylight, when: two female Pied Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, a Grasshopper Warbler, a Garden Warbler, 38 Blackcap and 38 Willow Warbler were logged. Meanwhile, across the site, there was a total of 10 Wheatear, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 10 Whitethroat and a handful more of Willow Warbler and Blackcap. Wader numbers were turned in from Stanpit, the sandspit and the headland itself, and aggregated to: a Snipe, 2 Greenshank, 50 Whimbrel, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Black-tailed Godwit, 41 Ringed Plover and perhaps as many as 90 Dunlin. Early on, the Marsh Harrier upped and headed north and 2 Great Crested Grebe were in Barn Bight.

April 26th

Linnet Linnet
Linnet – Chris Dresh (upper) & Barrie Taylor
Wheatear – Clinton Whale

Another cold day that even saw a couple of snow flurries! The most interesting report came from late in the afternoon, when a potential Caspian Gull, described as sub-adult, was turned in from Mudeford Quay. Earlier, however, it had been thin pickings. Of the passerines, the Wheatear total was five, a Yellow Wagtail moved over Stanpit and a Lesser Whitethroat was still by the horse paddock on Wick, but that’s it. The best of the waders were a Greenshank in Holloway’s Dock and a Grey Plover on Stanpit, where there were also 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Whimbrel and 8 Dunlin; while a further 2 Whimbrel and 15 Black-tailed Godwit moved about on the other side of the harbour. There is still an uncharacteristic presence of Linnet - around 50 birds - on Crouch Hill, which is posing some questions; with other interest for the day provided by 4 Gadwall and the tame Tufted Duck. 

April 25th

Whimbrel in Holloway's Dock – Clinton Whale
Kestrel – Jimmy Main

Despite a cold westerly wind and consistent drizzle, there was still a fair degree of fieldwork, although the returns were much reduced in comparison to yesterday. The Willow Warbler total just made double figures, while a Reed Warbler away from reeds on the Batters, 3 Yellow Wagtail at Stanpit, 2 Blackcap and 10 Wheatear make up the rest of the travelling passerines. Meanwhile, a Lesser Whitethroat was on Wick, but in a traditional nesting area so it may be planning on staying put. Also on the fields again, the pair of Bullfinch. To finish up, 4 Whimbrel and 12 Black-tailed Godwit were present, and the Mediterranean Gull tally came to 44 birds. 

April 24th

Pied Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher
First- or second-summer male Pied Flycatcher – Chris Dresh
Redstart Redstart Redstart
Male Redstart – Alan Hayden
...and one of the whiter-rumped Stonechat on Hengistbury – Clinton Whale
Although the wind, which had shifted a little to the north-west, was still cold; there was a marked improvement in the birds on site this morning and well into the afternoon. It’s been a good spring for Pied Flycatcher and there were a further two today - a male that spent the day in the Nursery and a female very briefly on Wick - and the same could be said of Redstart - up to four today, three of them males. Lesser Whitethroat have been slow to get going, but there were two on the golf course embankment at Stanpit, where at least four each of Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler were present, while the site-wide totals for other settled birds comes to 8 Yellow Wagtail - split 50/50 between the Wick horse paddock and Stanpit - 45 Willow Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap and 7 Wheatear. In addition, 5 Yellow Wagtail and a Tree Pipit passed over. Wader-wise, the most notable was perhaps a latish Snipe by the Wooden Bridge on Wick, but also a couple of Common Sandpiper, 8 Whimbrel, 22 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, two remaining Curlew, 38 Dunlin and 8 Redshank - there was no sign of the spotted bird, however, so it may have now headed north-east. Inside the harbour, there were five resting Common Tern as well as a peak estimate of 50 Sandwich Tern, plus 6 Gadwall. Of presumed breeding interest, there were 2 Treecreeper in the Nursery and a Coal Tit. Please check back to yesterday for some additional news.

April 23rd

Whinchat Whinchat
Whinchat on the Barn Field – Nick Whitehouse
Chiffchaff – Chris Dresh

The day was largely tainted by an uncomfortable northerly wind, but there is a reasonable amount to write about. The best was a Spoonbill that came in from the west, took a look at Stanpit, but decided to head on along the coast towards Hampshire. Meanwhile, the first in-harbour Little Tern was fishing off the tip off East Marsh. Passerine migrants were few and far between, although a Whinchat was on the Barn Field, ten or so Willow Warbler were returned and around a dozen Wheatear was reckoned to be on site. Overhead, singles of Yellow Wagtail and Swift checked in. A couple of visits to Fisherman’s Bank confirmed the Spotted Redshank has not yet departed, while 2 Common Sandpiper, a breeding-plumaged Grey Plover, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Whimbrel, and 20 Dunlin were also noted. The post’s concluding miscellany comes from: 105 Mediterranean Gull, initially mostly west but later tending to the east, so some duplication cannot be ruled out; the Marsh Harrier seen early on from the Wooden Bridge; the pair of Bullfinch again on Wick; and a pair of lingering Teal at Stanpit. 

Additional news: a very obliging Cuckoo was by the Pod on Stanpit and a Little Gull was around Blackberry Point.

April 22nd

Blue Tit
Blue Tit – Jimmy Main

There was just enough of an early dry spell to allow a reasonable list to be generated for the day, but once the rain set in it was pretty much a write-off. At Stanpit, in addition to a fine-looking Water Pipit on Central Marsh, there were a couple of reeling Grasshopper Warbler - one on Crouch Hill and one on Ashtree Meadow - plus a Yellow Wagtail briefly settled in the North Scrubs and two over, 5 Willow Warbler, a Reed Warbler and a Sedge Warbler. Also of real note was the settled Linnet flock on Crouch Hill, now reckoned to be around 60 birds. Meanwhile, a further 5 Willow Warbler were turned in from Wick. As we move towards the latter part of the month, the wader variety starts to build; today’s picks being: a Greenshank seen from both sides of the area; singles of Knot and Grey Plover east; 16 Whimbrel settled and 3 north; and 11 Bar-tailed Godwit plus 28 Dunlin around Stanpit Bight. The sea was again yielding little, just 3 Common Scoter east in an hour from Mudeford Quay, while the Mediterranean Gull day-tally is forty-two, a Peregrine moved over to the west and a couple of Raven were present.

A thanks to Bournemouth Water, the harbour-bed landowners, for their work this week in maintaining and and adding six buoys around the wildlife-sensitive area of Stanpit Bight.

April 21st

Whitethroat Whitethroat Whitethroat
Whitethroat – Jimmy Main (upper), Alan Crockard (centre) & Roger Howell

An early post tonight means that, other than several settled Whitethroat about the area, there is so far no news. An update may follow later this evening. 

Update: for what it's worth; a personal 90 minutes at Mudeford Quay this evening produced a heady 8 Whimbrel and 5 Common Tern.

April 20th

Sand Martin
Sand Martin – Jimmy Main
Blackcap Blackcap
Blackcap – Chris Dresh (upper) & Alan Crockard
Wheatear – Chris Dresh

There was far less excitement today; the best of the passerines amongst modest numbers of the commoner species were a Redstart on Wick, a Whinchat on the Barn Field and twenty or so Wheatear spread across the site. An easterly wind, the longed-for direction in spring for passing seabirds, prompted a jaunt to the Beach Huts; but other than 9 Gannet, the highest total of those for weeks, just 26 Whimbrel, 30 Sandwich Tern and 2 Pintail were logged eastbound; plus a milling Fulmar. Overhead, however, there was a little more action with site-wide aggregates coming to: a Tree Pipit, 12 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Swift, 3 House Martin, 250 Swallow and 89 Linnet, all incoming; as well as a Greenshank, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Sanderling seeming to arrive. Inside the harbour, there were a further 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Whimbrel, 22 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Dunlin, along with two day-sleeping Common Gull, 2 Pintail and 6 Gadwall. Yet again, nearly all of the estimated 90 Mediterranean Gull moved west, as did plenty of uncounted Black-headed Gull as they have also been doing for the last couple of weeks; while the settled Linnet were remarked upon to have increased - as an example, a figure of forty coming from Stanpit. 

April 19th

Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler – Clinton Whale
Teal - still on site – Sarah Mitchell
Great Crested Grebe
...while these Great Crested Grebe are also notable for the date – Clinton Whale

The old, local adage says it’s never good two days on the run, but we’ve just had a third! A still and cloudless morning hosted an awful lot of birds across Hengistbury and Wick. The premium being a Nightingale that sang for a good deal of the morning around the south-western corner of the Nursery, where it was glimpsed on one occasion. Also present: at least 3 Pied Flycatcher - a male and a female in the morning, then two females after lunch; 4 Grasshopper Warbler - one of them actually showing itself on Wick; at least 3 Redstart, a Whinchat and a minimum of 21 Wheatear; and a Siskin over. Meanwhile, Willow Warbler were literally everywhere - the peak estimate being 120 - but with birds still very obvious late into the afternoon, instinct suggests several hundred may have passed through the area during the course of the day. The other warblers are challenging in terms of separating the incumbents from the passers-by, however, but for the records there were 17 Blackcap, 10 Whitethroat, 7 Chiffchaff and 3 Sedge Warbler. Stanpit saw further returns of a Whinchat and 5 Wheatear; as well as a decent total of 6 Common Sandpiper plus 12 Whimbrel. Elsewhere, 14 Whimbrel moved through to the east. To finish, some potentially significant news from the Wood where at least 2 Treecreeper were present on a date that is well into their season; while 3 Great Crested Grebe in Barn Bight were also quite unexpected. 

Additional news: the Red-legged Partridge was again on the Barn Field.

April 18th

Pied Flycatcher Pied Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher in the Wood – Roger Howell
Common Lizard
Common Lizard – Gary Foyle

Another chilly night saw another good arrival of birds, including 2 Pied Flycatcher - a male and a female - in the Wood; the former ringed. Also across Hengistbury and Wick Fields: 5 Redstart, 9 Wheatear, 80 Willow Warbler, 18 Whitethroat and 12 Blackcap; plus 9 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Common Tern over. Whimbrel were again conspicuous with seventeen inside the harbour and six east, while 18 Black-tailed Godwit remain on site. The Mediterranean Gull total was down today, 38 birds being the return, but other interest came from a pair of Bullfinch on Wick, the Treecreeper in the Wood and a Peregrine passing over. 

April 17th

Mallard Mallard
Mallard – Clinton Whale
Speckled Wood
Speckled Wood – Clinton Whale

For many of those out this morning, it was the best session of the spring so far. A cold start, which saw frost on the fringes of the area, gave way to clear blue skies and a light, northerly wind. New for the year were: a Cuckoo on Crouch Hill; a Lesser Whitethroat that moved quickly across the Long and Barn Fields; and a high-flying, inland-bound Arctic Tern that was picked up while scouring the overhead Mediterranean Gull. Back down to earth, and a Grasshopper Warbler reeled loudly by the HHC for 5 minutes or so and a total of 6 Redstart were logged - 3 males on Hengistbury and three that included 2 females in Ashtree Meadow. At least 6 Yellow Wagtail were encountered; the best being an eye-blistering male on the Barn Field for a short time before it was seen off by a Stonechat, as well as a couple settled at Stanpit where a White Wagtail was also present.  Willow Warbler top the numbers across the site, seventy-seven being the final tally, with other passerines coming to: 20 Blackcap, 5 Whitethroat, 3 Sedge Warbler, a Reed Warbler and 7 Wheatear; plus 3 House Martin and 15 Swallow incoming; and 21 Rook and a Buzzard east. The wader news is light, but does involve 39 Whimbrel, twenty of them arriving from the west then heading off back the same way and sixteen settled at Stanpit, 3 Common Sandpiper in Parky Meade Rail, 20 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock and 14 Dunlin also at Stanpit. The over-flying Mediterranean Gull estimate for the day is seventy-five; wildfowl interest came from 2 Pintail, 6 Shoveler and 6 Gadwall at Stanpit; and by this evening a 50-strong flock of Linnet had formed on Crouch Hill. 

Additional news: extra numbers from Wick during the early morning come from: a Redstart, 2 Wheatear, 4 Whitethroat, 4 Blackcap and 20 Willow Warbler; as well as a male Bullfinch.

April 16th

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit – Gary Foyle
Cormorant in typical pose – Emma Pounds

It was a relatively quiet morning in terms of birds and a westerly breeze introduced quite a chill to proceedings. A Grasshopper Warbler was again reeling, today on the Wick riverside path adjacent to the newly-created pool; while singles of Redstart were seen on the Long Field and the No Dogs Field; and a Tree Pipit came in off the sea. Otherwise, the western portion of Hengistbury and Wick mustered no more than 11 Wheatear, 13 Willow Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 8 Whitethroat and a Sedge Warbler. Also, a Greenshank seen from the head as it circuited the harbour, 2 Whimbrel north and a lone Gannet at sea. Two estimates of Mediterranean Gull - ninety and seventy-five - have been received and some duplication is inevitable, so a best-guess of around 130 may have to be applied. As has been the case of late, it was difficult to determine a real sense of their direction; although an easterly bias seemed to develop as the morning progressed. The Marsh Harrier was seen on two occasions - once heading east and then around an hour later seemingly returning. Of breeding interest, it would appear that 3 pairs of Rook are nesting on site. 

April 15th

Northbound Dunlin in a variety of plumage – Clinton Whale

Nearly all of today’s passerine numbers involve a pulse of birds seen between the HHC and the Barn Field in the first hour of daylight, and include: a female Pied Flycatcher, a Redstart, the year’s first Whinchat, 21 Wheatear, 78 Willow Warbler, 18 Chiffchaff, 36 Blackcap, 5 Whitethroat and an overhead Yellow Wagtail. The numbers turned in from Wick, where there was a singing Garden Warbler, are incorporated in these totals. Despite the wind coming from the south-east for most of the day, the sea was again a relative disappointment; the season’s first two Little Tern off Mudeford Quay late in the afternoon being the best, but also throughout the day: an adult Little Gull, a Great Northern Diver and a Red-throated Diver west, 14 Common Scoter, a couple each of Gannet and Fulmar, an arriving Swift and a patrolling Peregrine. Early on, travelling waders were noted as 6 Knot, 10 Grey Plover, 15 Whimbrel, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and 22 Dunlin; while a Common Sandpiper, a further 10 Dunlin and 29 Turnstone were resting on Hengistbury. To round up, the Treecreeper remains in the Wood. 

Omission: there were 2 Grasshopper Warbler present, including a bird by the HHC that sang until the early afternoon at least.

April 14th

Little Egret
The lore colour of Little Egret seems to be
a bit of a lottery at this time of year – Emma Pounds
Fox Cubs Fox Cubs
Fox cubs enjoying the sunshine – Clinton Whale

More settled weather during the morning saw another wave of birds, including the first Common Sandpiper for the year - that in Mother Siller’s Channel, Stanpit. Also new was a Tree Pipit over, while Blackcap put in their first real numbers with forty or so estimated around the area. Other warblers came to: 2 Grasshopper Warbler - one on Wick and one in Ashtree Meadow - ditto 2 Garden Warbler; plus 2 Reed Warbler, a Sedge Warbler, 4 Whitethroat and 3 Willow Warbler; with 3 Wheatear on the Barn Field and 11 Siskin in the North Scrubs finishing up the settled passerines. Overhead, however, there were 58 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 70 Meadow Pipit, 53 Linnet and 31 Goldfinch. Before moving to the larger birds, mention of some further Bullfinch intrigue; with pairs being seen on Wick and Ashtree Meadow - as mentioned on numerous previous occasions, breeding has being suspected but never proven. The day’s Mediterranean Gull tally is one or two below 150, nearly all westward, a Grey Plover was at Stanpit, and the Marsh Harrier was turned in from Wick where up to 10 Cetti’s Warbler are thought to be present.

April 13th

Settled conditions saw a nice arrival of birds this morning, including 2 Osprey – one attempting to fish in the harbour around 10:00, the other passing high north over Two Riversmeet an hour or so later. Also seen incoming: the year’s first Swift and 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 73 Meadow Pipit, 130 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 150 Linnet, 65 Goldfinch and a Little Ringed Plover; while 21 Whimbrel and 31 Sandwich Tern headed east; and 86 Mediterranean Gull were a little more random. The pick of the decked birds was 5 Grasshopper Warbler – three reeling across Hengistbury and two in the Wick Fields; but also a Firecrest by the Double Dykes, a Redstart by Holloway’s Dock, 75 Willow Warbler, 30 Chiffchaff , 11 Blackcap, at least 7 Whitethroat and 6 Wheatear. A Red-legged Partridge was again present on the Barn Field. There was also considerable interest at Stanpit, including a pair of Garganey accidentally flushed from South Marsh and 2 Yellow Wagtail on Crouch Hill. In addition, a Greenshank was in Parky Meade Rail and a female Red-breasted Merganser was in Stanpit Bight; while passerines about the marsh involved 3 Wheatear, a Sedge Warbler, a Whitethroat and a couple of Willow Warbler. Remaining news so far comes from a duck Pintail on Central Marsh and a Gadwall at Hengistbury. Apologies, but we’ve had to script the post relatively early today so if you have sent in additional bits and pieces then we’ll incorporate them tomorrow.

Additional news: a female Redstart was on Wick in the evening.

April 12th

Swallow Swallow
Swallow by the horse paddock at Wick – Clinton Whale
Redstart Redstart
Male Redstart on the Long Field and at Wick – Jean Southworth (upper) & Colin Raymond

By far the best record of the day was two ‘Vees’ of Curlew, totalling 80 individuals, heading east over Hengistbury - perhaps the largest flock of migrating birds of this species to have been recorded by the group. Over the course of a fine day, small numbers of migrant passerines were logged throughout, including the year’s first of Garden Warbler and Reed Warbler; those in the old depot at Stanpit and Wick respectively. Meanwhile, there were also: 3 Redstart, one on each of the main sites, a Whitethroat, 6 Willow Warbler, 7 Blackcap 12 Wheatear, the peak being six on the Barn Field, and up to 30 Swallow. Various Mediterranean Gull returns were received; namely, ‘lots’, sixty-eight, fifty-four, eleven and ten, so in excess of 100 birds would seem a reasonable figure; although there are no directional details. A Common Tern and 2 Shoveler were logged at Stanpit, as were a Greenshank, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover, 8 Turnstone and 31 Dunlin. The Marsh Harrier was over the Wick Reeds shortly after dawn, while a Buzzard traversed the same area around lunchtime. To round up, a Red-legged Partridge was again seen; this time between the Barn and Wick Hams. 

Curlew update: the flock passed over at about 17:45. It was initially heard, but then picked up at some considerable height.

April 11th

Despite rain that set in late yesterday afternoon and continued until lunchtime at least, some new arrivals did manage to filter in; namely a Whitethroat in Stanpit Scrubs and a Sedge Warbler by the Rusty Boat. The sea was watched during the rain for 2.5 hours from Mudeford Quay and came up with: 26 Common Tern and 3 Whimbrel east; 2 Red-breasted Merganser and a Great Crested Grebe west; and a Bar-tailed Godwit resting on the sandbar. Meanwhile, inside the harbour there was further evidence of some new-in waders - for example, 3 Knot – as well as 4 Whimbrel, a single Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Black-tailed Godwit and the Spotted Redshank. Also on the marsh, a total of 4 Gadwall. Hengistbury was visited during the early afternoon, when around 30 Mediterranean Gull were seen moving west, a Sanderling left to the north in the company of 2 Grey Plover and 5 Willow Warbler were in song. 

Additional news: a Whitethroat was in Ashtree Meadows.

April 10th

Canada Goose
There are a rather concerning number of Canada Goose
loitering around Priory Marsh at the moment – Clinton Whale
More welcome, however, are the breeding Linnet on Crouch Hill – Clinton Whale
Spotted Redshank
A real record shot of the Spotted Redshank and included only to illustrate how the bird is  now darkening up, a couple of weeks ahead of its expected departure date – Dave Cooke

After an all-night south-easterly wind, the sea showed some signs of life this morning; not least from an Arctic Skua that headed south along the sandspit, but also 4 Common Tern and a Whimbrel east, all from Mudeford Quay. Despite the wind speed increasing throughout the day, however, normal service was resumed this afternoon when 60 minutes at the quay yielded just a Fulmar and 2 Gannet. Back to the morning and there were further Common Tern and Whimbrel - one and six respectively - inside the harbour, as well as: the Spotted Redshank, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, two of those in quite stunning plumage, 18 Black-tailed Godwit and a Ringed Plover. Meanwhile, the day total for Mediterranean Gull was probably in excess of 60 birds, although there appeared to be no real direction of movement, and having dropped to four yesterday the Brent Goose for this post numbered fifteen. The only passerine effort was put in on Wick early on, when 7 Willow Warbler and 3 Swallow were logged. To round off, there seems to be presence of Canada Goose lingering on Priory Marsh, nine today. Would it be too much to ask if this alien species could refrain from breeding in our area?

April 9th

Skylark – Nick Whitehouse

It’s come to something when the event of an April day involves a Red-legged Partridge! One was heard and then seen in the Barn Field, before it or another was later heard in the Bobolink Field. Meanwhile, the second spot goes to a more authentic migrant -  a Greenshank at Stanpit, which is always a decent bird here in spring. There was again a good showing of Mediterranean Gull - 162 in total - the majority of them seen early on heading upriver into one or both of the river valleys. As the morning progressed, however, a more-expected  easterly passage got underway. Before the numbers, mention of a Marsh Harrier that drifted west high above the northern edge of the recording area. The south-westerly breeze did little for incoming birds, the totals before 10:30 coming to just twenty or so Willow Warbler, around 9 Blackcap, 3 Wheatear and 8 Swallow; while an almost deserted sea mustered a lingering Gannet and 2 Common Scoter; and a pair of Greylag Goose flew into Stanpit from the Avon Valley. Finally, a pair of Cetti’s Warbler put on an uncharacteristic out-in-the-open face-to-face courtship display for over 10 minutes by the HHC this morning. 

Update: the bird-of-the-day award has been revised to cover a Pied Flycatcher in the Wood at 10:30.

April 8th

Curlew – Emma Pounds

It was another slow day in terms of expected arrivees, although the Mediterranean Gull total is a decent one - 125 west, plus a few lingering - like yesterday though, note the strange direction of movement. The pick, however, was a Spoonbill seen from Hengistbury as it descended onto Stanpit during the morning; although it didn’t appear to be around later in the day. Other news from the marsh included: a Bar-tailed Godwit, around 20 Black-tailed Godwit, a Dunlin, 12 Teal, 8 Shelduck and, for the last couple of days, now just five remaining Brent Goose. For what it’s worth, the passerine migrant totals across the entire area came to: 8 Willow Warbler and 3 Wheatear; while a a Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Common Scoter and 33 Sandwich Tern passed east at sea; a couple of Peregrine were logged; and a latish Snipe was on the Salt Hurns. 

April 7th

Kestrel – Charlie Sutcliffe

The described wind of yesterday seem to notch up a grade or two and made things even less welcoming in the field. Stanpit turned in the best results, with a Little Ringed Plover on South Marsh, plus the Spotted Redshank, a Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 32 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Dunlin around Stanpit Bight. Meanwhile, over 60 Mediterranean Gull defied regulations and headed north-west, perhaps preferring to move into the wind rather than obey spring-time convention, including two flocks of twelve birds. In some contrast, Hengistbury mustered just singles of Redwing and Wheatear, as well as 3 Common Scoter, 2 Gannet and a Purple Sandpiper. The first breeding news of the spring reaches us today - a brood of 12 Mallard ducklings at Stanpit. 

April 6th

Reed Bunting
Male Reed Bunting – Clinton Whale
Turnstone – Charlie Sutcliffe (top) & Clinton Whale

A brisk, westerly wind made it quite uncomfortable to be out in the field, but nevertheless a few excursions were made to Stanpit. The Grimmery Bank area held 2 Little Ringed Plover, a Water Pipit and 6 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit during the morning, while a littoralis was elsewhere on Central Marsh later, and a slightly-oiled adult Kittiwake arrived and sat on the water. Two sets of commoner-bird counts underline the decrease in winter visitors, e.g. just 19 Brent Goose and 35 Wigeon, but also the increasing number of the summer birds - 18 Sandwich Tern and 30 Linnet.

April 5th

Sand Martin
Apologies to our Twitter Followers, who last night saw this fine shot of Sand Martin around the Hengistbury cliffs, but it received so much positive comment that we thought we'd air it here as well – Clinton Whale
Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway's Dock – Clinton Whale

There was a clear, overnight arrival of phylloscopus warblers - Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff - with the returned numbers indicating the former dominated by quite some way; totals from across Wick and Hengistbury coming to 150 and 40 birds respectively, but most of them earlier in the morning. Meanwhile, Redstart put in their first appearance of the year - six in total, all males - four on the Long Field and two on Wick. Of as much interest was a female Ring Ouzel on the Barn Field, along with 3 Wheatear there, and at least 10 Blackcap spread about. Not to be outdone, Stanpit chipped in at midday, when a Short-eared Owl was watched being hassled away from Hengistbury by the local gulls; also 4 Mediterranean Gull over the marsh. Finally, you may have noticed the Bearded Tit photographed a couple of days ago was sporting a ring. Thanks to the quality of photographers and their equipment nowadays, it was possible to read some of the coding from the images - as a result, it seems very likely this was a bird ringed at Christchurch in August of 2012 and re-trapped here a year later. 

April 4th

Linnet – Charlie Sutcliffe
Redshank – Ali Germain
Sandwich Tern
Sandwich Tern – Emma Pounds

Stanpit this morning hosted 3 Spoonbill on South Marsh, as well as singles of Water Pipit and ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit on Grimmery Bank. The south-easterly wind gave rise to, relatively speaking, the best seawatch for quite some time; the up-channel figures being: a drake Eider leading a gaggle of Brent Goose, of which a total of forty-three was logged, a Red-throated Diver, a Common Tern, 58 Sandwich Tern, 62 Common Scoter, 15 Mediterranean Gull and 85 Common Gull; while two very high-flying Kestrel headed south-west; and 2 Fulmar and 6 Gannet also made the records. Passerine interest was sparse - just 5 Wheatear, 3 Willow Warbler and a Blackcap - but a Common Seal in the Run was a decent mammal contribution.

April 3rd

Ring Ouzel Ring Ouzel
Male Ring Ouzel – Charlie Sutcliffe (top) & Chris Chapleo
The Treecreeper in the Wood – Charlie Sutcliffe
Bearded Tit Bearded Tit
...and not atypical views of the currently-unobliging Bearded Tit – Alan Crockard

Save for a male Ring Ouzel that spent all day in the Long Field on Hengistbury, there is not actually that much to report upon. The day total for Wheatear was nine, mostly on the Barn Field late in the day, while Willow Warbler came in at 12 birds. The Treecreeper was in the Wood and at least 20 Black-tailed Godwit were on site.

April 2nd

Mediterranean Gull
Second-summer Mediterranean Gull – Roger Howell
...and male Wheatear – Clinton Whale

As has been the case a few times recently, Hengistbury was probably usurped in terms of interest by Stanpit.  The first 2 Whimbrel of the year were on East Marsh this morning, when a Common Tern was inside the harbour, a Merlin headed north, 2 Water Pipit were along Grimmery Bank and a distinctive ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit was by the Rusty Boat. Beyond these, however, given the date, the rest was all rather low key - for example,just 2 Willow Warbler, 8 Wheatear, 7 Swallow and several Sandwich Tern across the whole area - although 32 Mediterranean Gull and eight northbound Jackdaw were logged. A total of 7 Tufted Duck on the river was of local interest, as were four soaring Buzzard seen from Hengistbury, while there were 20 Black-tailed Godwit at Stanpit and the Treecreeper was in the Wood.  

April 1st

Chiffchaff – Alan Crockard
Wheatear – Nick Whitehouse

A fine day saw a good variety on site, if not much in the way of numbers. The stretch of Stanpit between the Rusty Boat held 3 Water Pipit and at least 4 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit, while a Bearded Tit was heard calling from there this afternoon. Further ‘beardies’ were seen, however: a female on Priory Marsh and at least a couple on Wick. Also after lunch, some post-Katie debris clearance on Priory Marsh resulted in records of 2 Jack Snipe and 5 Snipe. Back to the morning, when there were 3 Willow Warbler, just under 10 Chiffchaff, 2 Wheatear and a few Swallow; while up to 20 Sand Martin seemed to be roaming the area. The Marsh Harrier was initially over Wick, but then pushed off to the north-west, 11 Mediterranean Gull and 8 Turnstone were turned in from Hengistbury, and the Spotted Redshank, a Grey Plover and around 40 Black-tailed Godwit were at Stanpit. 

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