Sightings for February 2016

February 29th

Treecreeper in the Wood – Chris Chapleo
Green Woodpecker
Green Woodpecker on the Barn Field – Clinton Whale
View from Wooden Bridge
...and Little Egret and Teal from the Wooden Bridge – Chris Chapleo

When we first embarked on this website, who would have thought we would reach four 29ths of February! Anyhow, we somehow have and here it is for today. Although the cruel easterly had abated slightly there was still a chill in the air, but the clearer skies mercifully offset that a little. What was presumably ‘the’ Marsh Harrier, a smallish-looking cream-crowned bird, was seen on several occasions from both sides of the area this morning and a Firecrest was in the Wood: while a Water Pipit was on Priory Marsh and 2 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit, plus twenty-five or so Meadow Pipit, were by the Rusty Boat. From Stanpit, a total of 104 Black-tailed Godwit with an accompanying Ruff were noted heading west, the Spotted Redshank fed on North Marsh, 11 Little Grebe were on the river, and 5 Pintail and 4 Gadwall were scattered. Moving back to the head, as the photo suggest a Treecreeper was again present, 2 Raven were logged and around 12 Skylark were on the Barn Field. 

February 28th

Wigeon and Brent Goose
Wigeon (foreground) and Brent Goose at Stanpit – Clinton Whale

Apologies in advance if this post is a little erratic - it should probably have been written in advance of the stresses of a penalty shoot-out! On another chilly day, the best was a Sandwich Tern inside the harbour during the early afternoon, when 2 Great Crested Grebe were also seen from a boat in the main channel. Earlier, the waders at Stanpit included: the Spotted Redshank, 5 Grey Plover, a Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Ringed Plover and 60 Dunlin; while 12 Pintail, a Gadwall and 2 Shelduck were amongst the wildfowl.

Omission: a redhead Red-breasted Merganser was at Stanpit, where other duck numbers actually peaked at 22 Pintail and 2 Gadwall.

February 27th

Curlew at Stanpit – Clinton Whale

A brisk easterly wind made it feel much colder than the still-air temperature suggested. On Wick, there was a total of 3 Bullfinch - a pair by the HHC and a further male by the Wooden Bridge - as well as a Chiffchaff in the riverside willows. The best at Stanpit was a redhead Goosander that left Stanpit Bight some time after nine, the Spotted Redshank and 2 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit, one of them at least starting to show some nice tinges of pink and grey. In addition, a Turnstone, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Dunlin and 11 Pintail were inside the harbour, along with 3 Great Crested Grebe. 


February 26th

A ready-for-spring, male Stonechat – Clinton Whale
Black-headed Gull
...and while these two Black-headed Gull are lagging a little in plumage,
their intentions are clear – Clinton Whale

Although the weather was favourable for much of the day, there is relatively little news to report on. After a poor showing of late, the sandspit Purple Sandspit numbered eighteen this morning, all on groyne S9, along with a dozen Turnstone in that area. A single ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit was returned from Stanpit, as well a Mediterranean Gull and 3 Ringed Plover. 

February 25th

Tufted Duck
Pair of Tufted Duck in Parky Meade Rail – Clinton Whale

There was more than a fair bit of interest spread right across the area today. The best was probably a female-type Black Redstart on the cliffs by the Long Groyne, Hengistbury; but also: a female-type Marsh Harrier west through the area; a Water Pipit and 2 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit by the Rusty Boat; a minimum of 3 Chiffchaff at Stanpit; at least one Firecrest by the Double Bends; a Mistle Thrush west over the Wood; and 3 Bullfinch again on Wick. Meanwhile, a pair of Tufted Duck in Parky Meade Rail were also out of the ordinary and the drake Red-breasted Merganser, along with a couple of Great Crested Grebe, was in the middle of the harbour. In terms of waders, just one Purple Sandpiper was turned in from the sandspit, but a lone, limping Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Dunlin and around 20 Ringed Plover were at Stanpit; as were 2 Stonechat on Crouch Hill, a Mediterranean Gull, a pair of Shoveler and 16 Shelduck. A Greylag Goose was on Wick this evening and Raven were seen throughout the day with at least 3 birds involved, but two most notably emptying a bin in the Hengistbury Head car park. 

February 24th

Dunnock in song on Stanpit today – Clinton Whale

Blackcap are not known to winter on Hengistbury Head, so one gently singing in the Wood today would seem a good candidate for the first travelling bird of the year. Also in that area, the 2 Treecreeper. The fine morning saw a little more activity at sea: a Black-throated Diver and a Red-throated Diver in loose association moved west; there was a tangible easterly passage of Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull, seven and twenty-three respectively; 15 Shelduck arrived and 2 Common Scoter lingered. 

February 23rd

Song Thrush
Song Thrush on Wick Fields – Clinton Whale

The best of another fairly low-key day were 2 Firecrest in the Wood on Hengistbury - one behind the Nursery, the other along the southern edge of the Salt Hurns. Also in the Wood, a Coal Tit and 8 Goldcrest. Meanwhile, resident birds were in full song and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming on Wick. 

February 22nd

All the news comes from the afternoon, when the Spotted Redshank, 12 Dunlin and 223 Brent Goose were logged from Fisherman’s Bank. Slightly later, a Mediterranean Gull arrived in the pre-roost on South Marsh and a Great Crested Grebe was in the main channel. 

Omission: a Red-throated Diver moved west past Mudeford Quay mid-morning.

February 21st

Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull – Clinton Whale

It was fairly blustery all day, but the constant cloud thankfully failed to produce any rain. There were a couple of locally-scarce ducks inside the harbour this morning, both drakes: namely, a Pochard in Barn Bight and a Red-breasted Merganser, seen for its second day, in the main channel a little south of Blackberry Point, but also noted from Stanpit as it flew upriver. In addition, there were two in-harbour Great Crested Grebe, one of them in breeding plumage. A surprise from the RSPB bird boat were 2 Redwing in Elkins Boatyard, while a further three in the Wood were in a more-expected location. On Stanpit, a Chiffchaff again fed along the golf course embankment, a couple of ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit were with the Pied Wagtail on Crouch Hill and an adult Mediterranean Gull rested on North Marsh. To finish the post, the regular 2 Raven were logged over Hengistbury.  

February 20th

Brent Goose
Brent Goose over North Marsh, Stanpit – Clinton Whale
Long Groyne
...and waves crashing over the Long Groyne this afternoon – Clinton Whale

The day started finely enough, but by late morning cloud had set in and later on a steady drizzle. Meanwhile, the south-westerly wind gathered pace throughout. On Hengistbury, a Firecrest was by the Double Bends, along with 8 Goldcrest, one of them in continuous song, and 2 Siskin; while a Bullfinch was on Wick. At Stanpit, the best were a Chiffchaff on the golf course embankment and 3 Scandinavian Rock Pipit amongst a single Meadow Pipit and around 20 Pied Wagtail on Crouch Hill.

February 19th

Rock Pipit
Rock Pipit – Clinton Whale

The Siberian Chiffchaff was again at Stanpit, today on the golf course embankment; while other figures from the marsh include: a Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover, 110 Dunlin, a counted 200 Brent Goose, 6 Shelduck and a Great Crested Grebe. On the other side of the harbour, at Hengistbury, a Mediterranean Gull was seen heading west and a total of 3 Coal Tit was in the Wood. 

January 18th

One of 9 Turnstone on the sandspit today - Clinton Whale

The Siberian Chiffchaff was in the north end of the North Scrubs this morning, while a Firecrest was close by in Ashtree Meadows. Also at Stanpit, 2 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit by the Pod and at least 4 Stonechat on Central Marsh, the latter representing a small influx. Sticking with passerines, there were 3 Bullfinch, 9 Siskin, 12 Linnet and a Raven returned from Hengistbury. A quiet sea mustered just a Sandwich Tern, an adult Mediterranean Gull and a Great Crested Grebe, but a redhead Red-breasted Merganser inside the harbour around Barn Bight was of more interest.

February 17th

Jay – Jimmy Main

There is, unfortunately, nothing to report on today.

February 16th

Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover – Clinton Whale
Pair of Shelduck sizing up Stanpit - hopefully, they may resume breeding there
– Clinton Whale

During another day of blue sky there were further signs of spring, courtesy of 3 Reed Bunting in Wick Hams. A nearby Chiffchaff was probably a winter visitor, however, while the 3 Little Grebe off Wick Spires certainly were.

February 15th

Some fine shots of Sparrowhawk – Jimmy Main
You can also see a video of this bird on the newly-launched CHOG YouTube channel

Although the sun was shining for most of the day, a north-easterly wind made it feel very cold. The shelter of the Hengistbury cliffs saw a Great Northern Diver, a Black-necked Grebe and 6 Great Crested Grebe on the water; while a Red-throated Diver headed into the Solent. Other than a Purple Sandpiper plus a few Ringed Plover and Dunlin on the sandspit, the bulk of the waders numbers came from Fisherman’s Bank; namely: the Spotted Redshank, 19 Black-tailed Godwit, 34 Ringed Plover and 58 Dunlin. Also, a pair of Shoveler and 15 Shelduck seen from there. Linnet are typically absent from the area during the winter, so eight on the Barn Field gave a hint of spring; although 3 Siskin in the Wood were a reminder it’s still February.

February 14th

Water Rail
Water Rail – Jimmy Main
Spotted Redshank
Spotted Redshank
Spotted Redshank – Clinton Whale

The record of a much drier day was a Shag on Blackberry Point. Although common just offshore during the winter months, in-harbour birds have been few and far between over the years. On Stanpit Marsh itself, a Water Pipit and 2 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit were on Central Marsh, while the Spotted Redshank, 6 Grey Plover, 6 Ringed Plover and 35 Dunlin were also logged. At Hengistbury, 4 Siskin were in the Wood and a Red-breasted Merganser passed east at sea. Finally, those of you who attended Yoav Perlman’s talk on Friday evening might be interested to read about his trip down to Christchurch and its surrounds.

February 13th

Male Blackcap from earlier this week – Jimmy Main
...and male Bullfinch on Wick – Alan Crockard

Firstly, a big thanks to Yoav Perlman for a great talk last night, which was enjoyed by around 60 people; but also our apologies to Yoav for the non-Israeli weather - easterly wind and fairly constant rain - hampering our efforts to bird with him this morning! Unsurprisingly, news is limited but does involve a Sandwich Tern off Mudeford Quay and the Spotted Redshank at Stanpit. Also from the quay, a Great Crested Grebe offshore and the 2 Raven.

February 12th

Dunlin Cormorant
On Mudeford Sandspit this morning Dunlin and Cormorant – Clinton Whale

The only news received so far today is from the sandspit where groyne S8 held 14 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin.

Additional news: the Spotted Redshank was at Stanpit.

February 11th

Kestrel – Alan Crockard
Salt Hurns
...and another view of the inundated Salt Hurns,
this time from the top of Hengistbury – Colin Raymond

After a crisp night, a couple of Redwing and a Brambling leaving the Nursery roost with the more-expected Greenfinch gave a hint of birds being displaced by the cold. On the converse, as the sun warmed things, 3 Skylark were disputing territory around the Barn and Long Fields, while there were 2 Treecreeper in Wood - assuming they are able to, if they get it together it would be a breeding first for the area - and a total of 22 Siskin fed in alders south of Holloway’s Dock. Off the Beach Huts, an Eider and a Great Northern Diver could be picked out on the calm sea, a Red-throated Diver headed east and a Razorbill moved west. In the on-going high water levels, waders are being forced onto slightly higher ground; for example, 5 Turnstone huddled on a small tussock on the Salt Hurns. Finally, there are still a few places left for tomorrow's talk by Yoav Perlman on Bird Migration through Israel. If you wish to attend, please email.

February 10th

Common Gull
Common Gull (left) and Black-headed Gull – Alan Crockard

High levels of water persisted making it difficult to access some areas, not least Stanpit Marsh. From Fisherman’s Bank, however, over 200 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover and 9 Snipe could be counted; while a Grey Wagtail was seen on Priory Marsh from the golf course embankment. There is currently no news from Hengistbury, but a Sandwich Tern headed west past Mudeford Quay, over which 3 Shelduck arrived, and a Bullfinch was on Wick.

  February 9th

Rock Pipit
Rock Pipit on the sandspit – Clinton Whale
Purple Sandpiper
Some of the 22 Purple Sandpiper that were flitting between groynes S3 and S4
– Clinton Whale
Flooded Salt Hurns
...and the flooded Salt Hurns – Clinton Whale

It was thankfully much calmer today, even encouraging Song Thrush to sing and Great Spotted Woodpecker to drum. The best record, however, was Woodcock seen over the Ironstone Quarry at 10:45, after presumably being flushed from its day-roost. This species is usually encountered as an incoming migrant during November or as the result of cold weather, so one present in mild conditions is intriguing and may hint at a winter resident. Elsewhere, a Firecrest showed well behind the Nursery, a Bullfinch was on Wick, 2 Siskin passed over and the Treecreeper was in the Wood. On the sandspit, there were 22 Purple Sandpiper on groyne S3, then later S4, 5 Rock Pipit and a couple of Raven.

February 8th

Storm Imogen raged from the west all day, with a gust as high as 94km/h being experienced just outside the recording area. There was little rain, however, and barely many more birds. From the Beach Huts this morning, there were: 2 Kittiwake, 2 Fulmar, 8 Gannet, a Razorbill and a Red-breasted Merganser, all low to the west; while a Great Northern Diver struggled into the wind at a higher level. Meanwhile, a further Red-breasted Merganser, a redhead, took refuge inside the harbour, where they are far from usual. A total of 22 Purple Sandpiper were on the beach at the southern end of the sandspit, their preferred habitat of the stone groynes being almost completely submerged, and 8 Siskin were in the Wood.

February 7th

The strong wind continued well into the day, which unfortunately meant the CHOG-led RSPB bird boat had to be cancelled. A trip was made to the Beach Huts later in the morning and produced a Grey Phalarope at sea, but very little else. Meanwhile, at Stanpit, at least 2 Chiffchaff and 2 Stonechat were making the most of the shelter afforded by the North Scrubs. The penultimate WeBS count of the season was hindered by the very high tide, so making many parts of Stanpit inaccessible to the counters. Nevertheless, the following were returned: the Spotted Redshank in Stanpit Scrubs, a Jack Snipe along the western edge of the North Scrubs, 25 Snipe, just a couple of Black-tailed Godwit, 212 Dunlin and a healthy 773 Lapwing; as well as 9 Pintail, 168 Teal, 398 Wigeon, 201 Brent Goose and 2 Shelduck; plus a Mediterranean Gull.

Additional news: there were 16 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit - one on groyne S5, the others on on S8.

February 6th

A southerly wind and the ever-constant threat of rain meant most of those wanting to look at the sea were hunkered behind the shed on Mudeford Quay early this morning; although one hardy soul did venture to the Beach Huts. The totals from the sites were: a Fulmar, 3 Kittiwake, 3 Gannet and a few auks west, an adult Mediterranean Gull that came into the harbour, 2 Common Scoter which were rather aimless and a Great Crested Grebe on the water. A flock of 13 waders that came from the Avon Beach area past the quay contained Purple Sandpiper and a single Dunlin, while the regular 2 Raven were about.

February 5th

All the news comes from the morning, after which drizzle set in for much of the day. On Mudeford Quay, there were two presumed Scandinavian Herring Gull, while a couple of Firecrest were on Hengistbury behind the Nursery. The only other news involves 90+ Dunlin, 9 Pintail and 185 Brent Goose at Stanpit, plus 2 Great Crested Grebe inside the harbour.

February 4th

Mudeford Sandspit
Low tide at the northern end of the ever-extending Mudeford sandspit – Clinton Whale

On a relatively fine day, which encouraged some of the resident species into song, the presumed Scandinavian - tristis - Chiffchaff was with four or five Chiffchaff on the Stanpit golf course embankment, adjacent to the North Scrubs. Meanwhile, a Firecrest was on the Batters at Hengistbury and 4 Siskin were in the aforementioned scrubs. The better waders were the Spotted Redshank on the marsh and a single Purple Sandpiper at the southern end of the sandspit, while a Grey Plover, a Black-tailed Godwit and 190 Dunlin were inside the harbour; as were 5 Pintail.

Additional news: 10 Shelduck went west past Mudeford Quay, a Raven was on it and a Great Crested Grebe was offshore.

February 3rd

The only news for the day is of 3 Sandwich Tern inside the harbour.

February 2nd

Great Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull, presumably paired up for the breeding season – Clinton Whale

Breaking the recent run of grey skies it was nice to see some blue today and, as a consequence, tonight looks set to produce a frost. The post is based around two visits to Stanpit, morning and afternoon, with the best being 2 Sandwich Tern, the Spotted Redshank and a Rook, the latter adjacent to the car park. The early part of the day saw a fine total of 125 Dunlin, while other counts and estimates came to: 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 560 Lapwing, 3 Pintail, 160 Brent Goose and 350 Wigeon.

February 1st

Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale

The sea was gazed at for an hour or two this morning, but other than a short spell that produced a Red-necked Grebe on the water with 3 Great Crested Grebe and a Red-throated Diver west it was significantly uneventful. The only other snippets involve a Razorbill and 8 Pintail, the latter flocking with 3 Cormorant, all west. Elsewhere, 3 Firecrest were in a holly bush along the northern edge of the Wood, where the Treecreeper was again present, and the three photographed Purple Sandpiper were at the end of the head.

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