Sightings for September 2016

September 30th

A record shot of this morning's Hoopoe – Jean Southworth
One of the many Goldcrest on Hengistbury – Alan Crockard
Bar-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit - Leo Pyke

The undoubted highlight of a relatively quiet day was a Hoopoe briefly on the Barn Field this morning, before it was seen off by a Kestrel and not relocated despite quite some searching. The Wood held many vocal ‘crests including a couple of Firecrest, while a Whinchat was on the Barn Field, at least 15 Wheatear were spread across the site, most of the regular areas held ‘hweeting’ Chiffchaff and a couple of Blackcap were logged. This afternoon, the waders at Stanpit included: the Spotted Redshank, 4 Knot, a Sanderling, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, ten passing Snipe, 40 Dunlin and an uncounted number of Ringed Plover; also 6 Brent Goose. The saltmarsh around Holloway’s Dock accommodated 20 or so Little Egret, the Red-legged Partridge was in the Barn Field and 2 Kingfisher were together at the Ironstone Quarry. 

September 29th

Lapwing on the tide line – Clinton Whale
Linnet on Crouch Hill – Clinton Whale

Conditions looked good for autumn sea watching in a strong south-westerly this morning, hence the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay were the focus of field activity. The returns were paltry, however, with combined totals of 58 Gannet, 44 Sandwich Tern, 5 Common Tern, 3 Common Scoter, 3 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Grey Plover, a Guillemot and an arriving Bar-tailed Godwit. Swallow were struggling into the wind just offshore, also through the harbour, with 1450 birds logged heading south. The only other passerine news is of the 3 Firecrest in the Wood, single Wheatear on the sandspit and Crouch Hill, and 60 Meadow Pipit over Stanpit. Waders included, on Hengistbury, 41 Dunlin in Holloway's Dock and three each of Sanderling and Turnstone on the sandspit, while Stanpit held 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Snipe, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Common Sandpiper.

September 28th

Teal on Wick water meadows – Clinton Whale

The return of the fine weather encouraged birds to move on a broad front this morning. Hirundines were particularly numerous with 2500 Swallow and 630 House Martin heading south over Hengistbury; only three Sand Martin, however, as it's getting late in the year for these. Other summer migrants on their way to warmer climes were a Grasshopper Warbler by the HHC, 89 Chiffchaff, 6 Yellow Wagtail, 6 Blackcap, 3 Whitethroat and 3 Wheatear, plus another two on Stanpit. Overhead travellers more associated with the autumn were 1100 Meadow Pipit, 225 Linnet, 210 alba Wagtail, 130 Goldfinch, 53 Siskin, 23 Chaffinch, 9 Skylark and 4 Grey Wagtail, while on the ground were 97 Reed Bunting and 52 Stonechat, clearly an influx of these two species, also 25 Goldcrest. Earlier, at first light, an impressive count of 83 Little Egret left the Nursery roost; also exiting there were 120 Rook, 100 Jackdaw and 47 Stock Dove, while the Marsh Harrier emerged from the Wood and a Tawny Owl was heard from the West Batters. On Stanpit this afternoon there were 50 Dunlin, 5 Knot, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Sandwich Tern, an adult Mediterranean Gull and 2 Common Gull. Finally, Kingfisher were either side of the harbour and a Buzzard was north over Wick.

September 27th

Arctic Tern
Today's juvenile Arctic Tern off the quay, a record shot by Roger Howel
Hooded-type Crow
A Hooded-type Crow on South Marsh recently – Jimmy Main

On a morning of miserable weather the 2 Firecrest were still on Hengistbury, one in the Wood and one on the Lower Batters, but there were very few migrants around, just 14 Chiffchaff and 5 Goldcrest. The sea was watched from Mudeford Quay continuously for five hours with very little return. The best was a juvenile Arctic Tern, which lingered for more than an hour in a feeding flock of gulls and terns just offshore; also seen were 20 Sandwich Tern, 12 Gannet, 3 Mediterranean Gull, singles of Guillemot, and a Sanderling, plus a very meagre 14 Swallow. A later visit found a juvenile Little Gull off the quay. From Fisherman's Bank on the rising tide this afternoon, the Spotted Redshank was seen as well as 50 Ringed Plover, 40 Dunlin, a good local count of 28 Curlew and 2 Black-tailed Godwit.

September 26th

Ringed Plover Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover – Chris Dresh
Sanderling – Clinton Whale
Pheasant – Alan Crockard

It was dry until around 8:15, before which 290 Meadow Pipit, 3 alba Wagtail and 75 Swallow headed east; but this slowed after the precipitation when just a further 20 pipits and 70 Swallow moved through. Earlier, a small group of 5 Yellow Wagtail left a roost by the HHC, while settled passerines on Hengistbury and Wick included a single Redstart, around 50 Chiffchaff and 9 Blackcap, and an adult Common Gull headed west. The only wader report this morning from Stanpit was of 2 Curlew Sandpiper, but this afternoon there were: 3 Grey Plover, 4 Knot, 5 Sanderling, a Common Sandpiper, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 32 Ringed Plover, 53 Dunlin, 3 Snipe and 10 Turnstone; the latter actually on the sandspit. In addition, as the afternoon tide rose, 24 of the Curlew in the area upped and left towards the Solent. Finally, the Marsh Harrier snuck in a late appearance over Wick at dusk.

  September 25th

CHOG Team for Bird Trail
The CHOG team at the HOS Bird Trail event,
pictured with Chris Packham – Jean Southworth
Turnstone – Chris Dresh
Chiffchaff – Alan Crockard
Redshank & Greenshank
Redshank & Greenshank – Alan Hayden
Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale

If it wasn’t for waders, there would be very little to write about tonight. This afternoon, Stanpit produced: a Greenshank, 5 Knot, 5 Grey Plover, 3 Sanderling, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit and 23 Ringed Plover; but no Dunlin. There were, however, four of those on the sandspit, along with a few Turnstone. A stiff south-westerly breeze seemed to force passerines deep into bushes, save for a Whinchat on Whitepits and a Wheatear on Crouch Hill. Otherwise, around 20 Chiffchaff, several Blackcap and a few Goldcrest were reckoned about the area. The Brent Goose inside the harbour numbered four and 8 Sandwich Tern lingered. 

September 24th

Long Tailed Tit
Long-tailed Tit recently at Hengistbury – Alan Hayden
From today, Stonechat on the Barn Field and juvenile Great Black-backed Gull from Fisherman's Bank – Alan Hayden
Great Black-backed Gull

This morning's strong southerly wind encouraged a reasonable number of Swallow to move through with 1500 logged in the three hours up to 10:30. Otherwise, movement was limited with just 100 Meadow Pipit, 46 alba Wagtail, 5 Grey Wagtail, 3 Yellow Wagtail and a Tree Pipit. There was a dearth of grounded migrants apart from 7 Firecrest along the back edge of the Wood and a couple of Spotted Flycatcher. Given the strength of the wind, the sea was worth some effort and a 2,5-hour session from Mudeford Quay produced a Great Skua, an Arctic Tern, 2 Common Tern, 9 Sandwich Tern and 25 Gannet; another forty of the latter were counted from the Beach Huts. The sandspit held a single Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Knot and 4 Grey Plover; while inside the harbour the Spotted Redshank was present, plus 45 Dunlin, 15 Ringed Plover, another 7 Knot, 3 Grey Plover, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and a Turnstone. A further 2 Sandwich Tern were settled off South Marsh, where there were also 7 Brent Goose.

September 23rd

Cettis Warbler
Cetti's Warbler on Hengistbury today and below a late Willow Warbler in the wood,
both – Alan Hayden
Willow Warbler

After a rather chilly start we were treated to another glorious morning when, despite the lack of wind, there was a modest amount of overhead passage plus a decent fall of Chiffchaff. The highlight was a Tree Sparrow that passed over Hengistbury without pause; also airborne in a southerly direction were 520 Swallow, 320 Meadow Pipit, 41 Linnet, 35 alba Wagtail, 5 Grey Wagtail, 4 Tree Pipit, 3 Siskin and 2 Yellow Wagtail plus, heading north, 12 Jackdaw and 6 Song Thrush. There were 3 Firecrest today, the two regular birds in the Wood with a further bird on the Lower Batters. The Chiffchaff count was 180, also 23 Blackcap, 5 Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Wheatear, singles of Whinchat and Lesser Whitethroat plus a Garden Warbler on Stanpit. There were also a couple of dozen Reed Bunting around, these probably a mix of local birds and birds from further up the valley. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull left the harbour over the Barn Field heading west, while 2 Common Scoter moved east. Waders reported today included 3 Snipe, 2 Common Sandpiper and a Bar-tailed Godwit in Barn Bight, plus, on Stanpit, 2 Little Stint,12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Grey Plover, another six of the latter travelled west, and 2 Knot. To round up today's news, a couple of Great Crested Grebe were in the harbour, 4 Pintail moved over, the regular Marsh Harrier was seen and there were 9 Brent Goose on Stanpit

September 22nd

A Ring Ouzel was the pick of today's migrants; the bird was on Stanpit in the North Scrubs. On Hengistbury there was just a Whinchat, 2 Grey Wagtail, 4 Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaff and the 2 Firecrest were still in the wood. The Spotted Redshank was opposite Fisherman's Bank, while around Stanpit Bight there were singles of Curlew Sandpiper and Golden Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Knot and 2 Grey Plover, another seven of these passed over without stopping; also 11 Shoveler. A brief seawatch from the quay produced a single Sandwich Tern and 7 Gannet offshore, plus a Brent Goose on the sea and 4 Common Scoter west. To round up today's news, Bearded Tit was heard from Great Spires reed bed, a couple of Snipe were on Wick and a Raven passed over the harbour.

September 21st

The pre-dawn shower was probably responsible for another decent fall of birds today. Highlights included the first Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn and a flyover Dotterel. The Yellow-browed Warbler was at the eastern end of the head and then later by marker post 19. The Dotterel, seen from the Coastguards in the early afternoon, was picked up over the Wood moving east to west calling, then after circling the harbour a couple of times it headed off west. There were 2 Firecrest in the Wood, also 2 Spotted Flycatcher, a Redstart, a Garden Warbler, 2 Whinchat on the Barn Field and one on Priory Marsh, 5 Wheatear, 6 Whitethroat, 66 Blackcap, 205 Chiffchaff and the first significant movement of Goldcrest with fifty counted. Airborne were 1800 Swallow, 1100 Meadow Pipit, 32 alba Wagtail, 27 Linnet, 26 Goldfinch, 19 Reed Bunting, 12 Yellow Wagtail and 11 Grey Wagtail. The movement wasn't confined to passerines as a miscellany of other species were logged; these were 9 Grey Heron, 86 Wigeon, 13 Brent Geese, 6 Shelduck and 4 Mediterranean Gull, all west plus waders, 77 Grey Plover and a single Black-tailed Godwit, also west. The 3 Brent Goose, two pale-bellied and a dark-bellied were on site still. The Curlew Sandpiper was present with harbour totals of waders being 150 Dunlin, 45 Ringed Plover, 20 Snipe, 12 Grey Plover, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Common Sandpiper and 2 Knot. Finally, a Great Crested Grebe was inside the harbour off Blackberry Point.

September 20th

Dartford Warbler
A couple of recent shots of Dartford Warbler on Hengistbury – Alan Hayden above and Jean Southworth below
Dartford Warbler

On a murky morning with poor visibility, certainly for the first hour or so, much of the effort was put into the first WeBS of the season. Earlier, however, the first Honey Buzzard of the autumn headed south-west, high over the Two Riversmeet golf course; the Marsh Harrier also left its roost at 6:45. The highlights of the WeBS, which yielded seventeen species of wader, were a Garganey and the two pale-bellied Brent Goose, plus singles of Curlew Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Ruff and the Spotted Redshank. There was also a Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Knot, 9 Grey Plover, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Ringed Plover, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 58 Snipe and 87 Dunlin. Wildfowl have moved into the harbour in good numbers in the last week, hence the counts were 263 Wigeon, 252 Mallard, 197 Teal, 23 Pintail and 6 Shoveler. There were a couple of Sandwich Tern off the quay and 3 Kingfisher about the harbour. On Hengistbury, just 18 Chiffchaff, 9 Blackcap and 4 Whitethroat were noted, while 9 Yellow Wagtail passed over Stanpit.

September 19th

This morning's three Spoonbill in Barn Bight – Alan Hayden

Three Spoonbill dropped into Barn Bight at low tide this morning then after feeding for a few minutes the birds flew across to Stanpit. Barn Bight also held large numbers of wildfowl, mainly Mallard, Wigeon and Teal, but also a couple of pale-bellied Brent Goose; these were later in Stanpit Bight with just one of their dark-bellied cousins. There were 232 Wigeon and 40 Teal settled in the harbour, while on the move were 86 Wigeon west, 77 Teal, 23 Pintail, 10 Shoveler and 2 Garganey. Generally, however, there were less birds about than on recent days with counts of 600 House Martin, 400 Swallow, 300 Meadow Pipit, 14 alba Wagtail, 6 Grey Wagtail and a Tree Pipit overhead. On the ground there was a decent count of Chiffchaff with 80 on Hengistbury and 18 on Stanpit, but otherwise just 6 Blackcap and one each of Redstart, Wheatear and Grasshopper Warbler, the latter on Priory Marsh. Waders, mainly from Stanpit, included a single Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Knot and 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, plus 56 Snipe in the air and 10 Grey Plover heading south. Later in the day, from Mudeford Quay, a Little Stint, a Grey Plover and 2 Ringed Plover were on the sandspit. The Marsh Harrier made its regular, early morning appearance.

September 18th

Red-Backed Shrike
Red-backed Shrike – Chris Dresh
Red-Backed Shrike
Red-backed Shrike – Chris Dresh
Grasshopper Warbler
Grasshopper Warbler – Chris Chapleo
Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler – Jean Southworth

It was a fine autumn day for the Members' morning on Hengistbury, when most of those present enjoyed some real quality birds. The early focus was on the ringing demonstration with close-up views of Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and, best of all, a Grasshopper Warbler, the latter only the second one trapped this autumn. Shortly before 8:30, a party of 4 Spoonbill moved over the harbour heading south-west. Then, saving the best till last, the Members' walk through Wick Fields found a Red-backed Shrike in the Bobolink Field. It's worth noting that it's just over nine years since the last Wick Red-backed Shrike, which was also in that field, on the 4th September 2007, and the finder was the same! The morning wasn't just about rarities, however, as House Martin moved in significant numbers, almost filling the sky at one point, with 7000 being logged. Wildfowl and waders were also on the move with 520 Wigeon, 210 Teal and 73 Pintail plus 33 Snipe, 16 Ringed Plover, 7 Green Sandpiper, 4 Grey Plover and a single Golden Plover noted. To complete the overhead movers were 630 Meadow Pipit, 34 Yellow Wagtail, 9 Grey Wagtail and 3 Tree Pipit. On the ground moving through Double Dykes there was almost a constant presence of Chiffchaff with 230 birds in the three hours after dawn, also 65 Blackcap, 33 Wheatear, 7 Whinchat, 2 Redstart, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Grasshopper Warbler and a Firecrest. Stanpit held singles of Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Spotted Redshank and Common Sandpiper, plus 85 Dunlin, 56 Curlew, 22 Ringed Plover, 12 Snipe, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Turnstone, 7 Knot, 6 Grey Plover, 6 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Sanderling. Settled wildfowl included 20 Teal, 4 Shoveler, 2 Pintail and a Gadwall. To round up the day's news the Marsh Harrier was seen early morning and 12 Common Scoter were off Mudeford Quay.

September 17th

Last night's Harvest moon penumbral eclipse Chris Dresh.
The photos were taken at 8pm from Mudeford Quay.
Eclipse Blackcap
Recently-fledged Blackcap Chris Dresh

There was something of a shock to the system this morning, as the lower temperatures combined with a stiff, westerly breeze made it feel quite chilly. Although the numbers didn't match yesterday, there was still a good mix of birds. Highlights included a Wryneck seen briefly as it flew across the old pitch & putt field and disappeared into the hedge bordering Roebury Lane and 2 Grasshopper Warbler calling by Double Dykes at first light. Wheatear spread across Hengistbury totalled 45 with another 9 on Stanpit; also 4 Whinchat plus 2 on Stanpit, 57 Chiffchaff, 33 Blackcap, 6 Whitethroat, 3 Redstart and a Spotted Flycatcher. Around 1200 Swallow were logged in a couple of hours, plus 430 Meadow Pipit, 40 Yellow Wagtail, 16 Grey Wagtail and 8 Tree Pipit; another 7 Yellow Wagtail were on Stanpit. The Marsh Harrier left its reed-bed roost at 6:45 and left to the north while both Hobby and Buzzard were seen. The Spotted Redshank was still on Stanpit together with 55 Dunlin, 3 Knot and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit while 15 Ringed Plover moved over Hengistbury. From Fisherman's Bank late afternoon a Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Little Stint were on the mud off East Marsh. Earlier four juvenile Pintail were on Stanpit and a single adult bird was over the river. Finally, a party of 6 Raven visited the harbour, the first occurrence of this species for a few weeks.

September 16th

Grey Plover
Grey Plover – Chris Dresh
Linnet – Alan Hayden

After last night's storm it was almost inevitable that there would be a significant movement of birds this morning and so it proved. Hirundines, in particular Swallow, moved on a broad front over the harbour and just off the cliffs between 7am & 10:30am. A conservative estimate is of 16,750 Swallow, 4,000 House Martin and 70 Sand Martin, also 900 Meadow Pipit, 47 Yellow Wagtail, 9 Tree Pipit and 5 Grey Wagtail. The overcast conditions also grounded a good selection of passerines. Chiffchaff and Wheatear were the most numerous with 160 and 81 respectively, also 40 Blackcap, 9 Whitethroat, 7 Whinchat, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Redstart, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Reed Warbler; another 13 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill. Waders on the move over Hengistbury included 35 Dunlin, 25 Ringed Plover, 7 Snipe, 4 Knot, 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 Grey Plover while settled birds, mainly on Stanpit, were single Curlew Sandpiper and Avocet plus 20 Dunlin, 5 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Knot, 3 Ringed Plover, 3 Snipe, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Common Sandpiper. The two Brent Geese on Stanpit are oddly, for the time of year, an adult and a juvenile; it's thought to be rather early in the season for the latter. Today's Wigeon count was 88, these in flight over the river. At first light a Garganey flew up river and 2 Marsh Harrier, a female and a young bird, were seen from Wick. Please check back to yesterday for late news.

September 15th

Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher – Chris Dresh
Adult male Wheatear - a bird of such age on this date is surely
a candidate to be a Greenland breeder – Chris Dresh
Bar-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit – Alan Hayden

Summer met winter today, when a late Swift contrasted with the first two dark-bellied Brent Goose of the coming season at Stanpit. The marsh held another good selection of waders, including: 6 Curlew Sandpiper briefly, 4 Avocet, the Spotted Redshank, 4 Grey Plover, a Common Sandpiper, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, around 40 Dunlin and 50 or so Lapwing. Some early rain saw 640 Meadow Pipit and 1300 hirundines, mainly Swallow, pass east over Hengistbury in 45 minutes; while a further 100 and 150 respectively trickled through when things dried up. The North Scrubs at Stanpit held 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Yellow Wagtail were by the Rusty Boat and 2 Whinchat plus 12 Wheatear were about Crouch Hill. Meanwhile, the other side of the area saw a Redstart on Wick, a Lesser Whitethroat on the Batters, a couple of Whinchat, 9 Wheatear, a Spotted Flycatcher, 25 Chiffchaff, 4 Tree Pipit, 6 Grey Wagtail and 20 Yellow Wagtail. Also on the move were wildfowl; for example, a Pintail, 4 Wigeon and 25 Teal heading west. The Marsh Harrier left his roost just after 7:30, a Peregrine passed over the HHC and a couple of Kingfisher were at Stanpit.

Additional news: at Stanpit late this afternoon, there was a Little Stint and a Curlew Sandpiper, as well as extras of 15 Knot, a Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 6 Ringed Plover; along with 65 Wigeon.

Late news: a bull Grey Seal, eating a fish, was seen in The Run at 7pm this evening

September 14th

Reed Warbler
Reed Warbler – Alan Hayden
Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail – Steve Hogan
Whinchat – Alan Hayden
Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover – Gary Foyle

On a gloriously warm day, waders were a feature of Stanpit where a Wood Sandpiper, the first of 2016 for Christchurch, a Curlew Sandpiper, a Spotted Redshank again, so possibly the regular bird, and 2 Avocet were present; as well as a Grey Plover, 14 Knot, 2 Whimbrel, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Black-tailed Godwit and 55 Dunlin. Elsewhere, 6 Sanderling, 35 Ringed Plover and 10 Turnstone were on the sandspit, and a Snipe was logged at Hengistbury. Passerines were also conspicuous, the best probably a Firecrest on the head, from where 5 Whinchat, 13 Wheatear, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 20 Whitethroat, 5 Willow Warbler, 25 Chiffchaff, 20 Whitethroat, 4 Reed Warbler, 5 Tree Pipit and 10 Yellow Wagtail also make the log. Meanwhile, Stanpit returned: 79 Yellow Wagtail, 9 Grey Wagtail, 27 Tree Pipit, 630 Meadow Pipit, 250 Sand Martin, 1500 House Martin and 3500 Swallow, all over and presumed west; plus a Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Garden Warbler, a Redstart, 21 Wheatear and 20 Sedge Warbler, all settled. To round things up, the young, male Marsh Harrier was seen at both ends of the day, a Peregrine hunted the area, while being constantly attended by a Crow, and a Kingfisher was by the Ironstone Quarry. Please check back to yesterday for some additional news.

September 13th

Wryneck on the Long Field, above Martin Bennett and below Alan Hayden
Wryneck Osprey
Osprey with its successful catch and Red-legged Partridge by the Visitor Centre
Alan Hayden
Red Legged Partridge Sanderling
Sanderling on the sandspit – Clinton Whale

Although fairly flighty and elusive at times the Wryneck on the Long Field showed well enough today for the above photographs. The Osprey also put in another appearance as it fished successfully in the harbour mid morning. Otherwise there were less birds than yesterday but 230 Swallow were logged plus 90 House Martin, 4 Grey Wagtail and 2 Tree Pipit while on the ground there were 16 Whitethroat, 7 Blackcap, a few phylloscs and just a single Wheatear. The only wader news is from the sandspit with counts of 27 Ringed Plover, 6 Sanderling and one each of Turnstone and Dunlin. In conclusion, a Kingfisher was off Argyle Road, the Red-legged Partridge was in the Barn Field, 2 Common Scoter were offshore and the Buzzard was over Wick. Please check back to yesterday for some late news.

Additional news: late in the day, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and three similarly-aged Mediterranean Gull were off Mudeford Quay.

September 12th

Osprey over the harbour today and below, yesterday's Spotted Redshank at Stanpit
Alan Hayden
Spotted Redshank

The morning got off to a good start when, just after dawn, a Great White Egret flew west over the harbour. Around the same time there were 4 Marsh Harrier airborne over the northern parts of Stanpit. The next bit of excitement came mid morning when a Wryneck was found on the Long Field. Views were mainly in flight before the bird disappeared into the Barn Field. A little later an Osprey caught a fish and then moved off north-east. Both Hobby and Peregrine were logged and a Buzzard was over Wick Fields. Throughout the morning there was some modest overhead movement with 1700 Swallow, 170 Meadow Pipit, 80 Sand Martin, 77 Yellow Wagtail, 59 of these were birds leaving the reed bed roost,10 Tree Pipit and 7 Grey Wagtail. However grounded migrants were hard to find with just 14 Wheatear, 13 phylloscs, 5 Whitethroat, 1 Whinchat and 1 Spotted Flycatcher. An Arctic Skua headed west at sea, also 41 Sandwich Tern and 4 Common Scoter while 4 Greenshank moved high over the Long Field. There was another Greenshank on the Salt Hurns and 5 Sanderling with 2 Turnstone on the sandspit, also a Pintail in the harbour today. A late morning visit to Stanpit found singles of Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwit plus 15 Dunlin.

Late news: At 6pm juveniles of Little Gull, Yellow-legged Gull and Mediterranean Gull were seen at Mudeford Quay.

September 11th

Ringed Plover
The sandspit today with Ringed Plover above and Sandwich Tern below – Clinton Whale
Sandwich Tern

Normal service resumed today with the return of the fine weather after yesterday's blip! Hence there were plenty of birds around after a couple of quiet days. The highlights were an Osprey and 3 Marsh Harrier. The Osprey was over Blackberry at 9:45am while the 3 Marsh Harrier, an adult and two young birds, left the HHC reed bed just after dawn. Overhead there was a mix of departing summer migrants plus some early signs of autumn migration. The numbers were 155 Meadow Pipit, 34 Yellow Wagtail, 21 Tree Pipit, 15 alba Wagtail, 9 Grey Wagtail and 1000 hirundines, the latter mainly Swallow, say 700, plus 200 House Martin and 100 Sand Martin. Wheatear totalled 41 on Hengistbury with another four on Stanpit, also 30 Sedge Warbler, 2 Whinchat, 2 Redstart, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and c40 phylloscs. On Stanpit a Spotted Redshank was present late afternoon together with 63 Dunlin, 11 Ringed Plover, 10 Knot briefly, 3 Snipe, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Black-tailed Godwit. Earlier the sandspit held 44 Ringed Plover and 8 Turnstone while waders on the move seen from Hengistbury this morning included 4 Sanderling, 3 Greenshank, a Green Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover. There were 34 Wigeon and 29 Teal in the harbour today plus 138 Canada Geese and 3 Greylag Geese.

September 10th

Turnstone on the sandspit yesterday and Grey Heron below – Clinton Whale
Grey Heron

On a grim morning of persistent heavy drizzle the sea was watched from Mudeford Quay for almost three hours. Other than 2 Little Gull moving west pickings were slim! The numbers were 30 Sandwich Tern, 6 Gannet, 5 Common Tern and 4 Fulmar all west plus 3 Common Scoter east while 5 Turnstone and 2 Ringed Plover were about the sandspit. The only other report is from Wick where a couple of Wheatear were on the golf course and 2 Kingfisher were by the wooden bridge.

September 9th

A moderate westerly breeze and some cloud cover produced fairly similar conditions to yesterday but today migration was almost a non event, the highlight being 2 Firecrest behind the Nursery. Otherwise there were single Wheatear and Spotted Flycatcher on Wick, a few Chiffchaff around the area and 30 Swallow heading south. There was, however, some quality with a party of 13 pale-bellied Brent Geese that arrived over the Barn Field mid morning and settled just off Blackberry. A first winter Little Gull headed out over the Long Field during the morning then later, either that or a second bird was inside the harbour by the beach cafe. The only wader reports today were of 8 Dunlin in Barn Bight and one each of Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit on site. Finally 7 Shoveler were on the river and the Marsh Harrier was seen over Wick.

September 8th

Bar-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit on Stanpit today – Roger Howell
Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier – Chris Dresh
Recent shot of a Wheatear – Jimmy Main

On another fine morning Hengistbury again produced plenty of migrants. One small pocket of woodland just opposite the Nursery held a Pied Flycatcher and 10 Spotted Flycatcher; another ten of the latter elsewhere on the head made twenty in all, which, in the modern era, is noteworthy to say the least. Also logged were 83 'phylloscs', 21 Whitethroat, 14 Wheatear with another ten on Stanpit, 6 Whinchat and a Redstart by the visitor centre, also on Stanpit. Overhead movement included 1000 Swallow,150 House Martin, 72 Yellow Wagtail, 9 Tree Pipit, 8 Grey Wagtail and a single Siskin. There was a really good selection of waders with the pick being an Avocet on Stanpit and a Little Stint on the harbour shore at Hengistbury; the totals were 65 Dunlin, 30 Ringed Plover, 11 Knot, 5 Whimbrel, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Green Sandpiper, these off Fisherman's Bank, 2 Sanderling, 2 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper and a Ruff. To round up the Marsh Harrier made its daily visit to the harbour, around 25 Common Tern were offshore and wildfowl on Stanpit included 18 Wigeon and 15 Teal. Check back to yesterday for some late news.

September 7th

Greenshank in Holloway's Dock – Colin Raymond
Mute Swan
Mute Swan – Steve Hogan
Green Woodpecker
...and a rather tatty-looking Green Woodpecker –Clinton Whale

On a gloriously warm day with little breeze, there was plenty of interest about. This morning, Priory Marsh held a Garganey, keeping the company of 3 Teal; while a Turtle Dove was briefly on the adjacent golf course embankment and a Woodlark overflew. Meanwhile, a juvenile Black Tern was lingering off the sandspit, viewable from Mudeford Quay. There was also a decent movement of hirundines to the south-east. From Hengistbury, a one-hour sample count saw 290 Swallow and 40 House Martin moving low over the sea, while an estimate spanning 3.5 hours from Stanpit produced 7500 Swallow, 150 House Martin and 55 Sand Martin. Also over Stanpit, a total of 95 Yellow Wagtail, uncharacteristically most of these were well after first light when traditionally the larger numbers are encountered, 11 Grey Wagtail, 23 Tree Pipit and the autumn’s first passage of Meadow Pipit – comprising 120 birds – all eastbound. Passerines weren’t particularly numerous, but there were 18 Chiffchaff and a Spotted Flycatcher on Wick, as well as 2 Whinchat and 14 Wheatear at Stanpit. There was a fair variety of waders, mostly at Stanpit, with the best being: a Spotted Redshank, a Green Sandpiper, 3 Grey Plover and 2 Greenshank; but also a Common Sandpiper, 3 Knot, 11 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Turnstone, 14 Snipe, 20 Ringed Plover and 35 Dunlin. Other than the previously mentioned hirundines, a seawatch was largely uneventful, although 9 Shoveler headed east, as well as singles of Fulmar and Gannet being logged. That activity was salvaged, however, by 7 Bottlenose Dolphin moving west across Poole Bay. Finally, the Marsh Harrier was seen throughout the morning, the Red-legged Partridge that has been about for a few days was on the Barn Field and 2 Little Grebe were in the harbour. A reminder about the Members' Day on 18th, see below for details. 

An early evening visit to the quay found the Black Tern still present, also an Arctic Tern off there.

September 6th

Little Egret
Little Egret – Chris Dresh
Swallow – Chris Chapleo
Sand Martin
Sand Martin – Chris Chapleo

Late this afternoon a gathering of 300 birds, split fairly evenly between gulls and terns, was just off Mudeford Quay and contained a White-winged Black Tern, a Black Tern and a Little Gull. All were juveniles, with the gull, in particular, being very striking – a pristine, all dark-mantled individual. An hour or so later, nearly all had moved on but there was a juvenile Arctic Tern on show. Earlier in the day, between 10:00 and 11:00, there was a small, westerly movement of terns through the harbour – around 40 birds in total – some of them pausing briefly and comprising: a Roseate Tern, 2 Little Tern, 3 Arctic Tern and 35 Common Tern. Meanwhile, 22 Bar-tailed Godwit and 15 Knot dropped in to join the 3 Knot, one Sanderling, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Ringed Plover and 60 Dunlin already on site. Much earlier, other than 78 Yellow Wagtail west over Hengistbury, including a group of 50 coming out of roost, there were just 2 Tree Pipit, a Spotted Flycatcher, 10 Wheatear, 17 Chiffchaff and 5 Willow Warbler spread across the Barn Field and Wick. Swallow were conspicuous throughout, with an estimated 150 lingering about Wick, along with a few Sand Martin. Back to Stanpit, where the Marsh Harrier was seen around Priory Marsh and 13 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill.

September 5th

Sparrowhawk with a hapless Starling – Alan Cherry

Low cloud and drizzle early this morning forced an unexpected arrival of waders onto Stanpit. The most notable was perhaps a flock of 37 Bar-tailed Godwit, the type of number more associated with spring, as well as 14 Knot. These were all juvenile birds travelling as one from their Arctic fledging grounds to warmer climes. Also settled were: 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Green Sandpiper, a Greenshank, 10 Common Sandpiper, 2 Sanderling, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Ringed Plover and 70 Dunlin. In addition, the following passed straight through west or paused momentarily: 2 Little Stint, 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Green Sandpiper, a Ruff, 68 Knot, 36 Bar-tailed Godwit, 17 Black-tailed Godwit, 58 Ringed Plover, 140 Dunlin and 9 Snipe; as did 86 Common Tern, 18 Wigeon and 19 Teal – with six and four respectively of the latter lingering. Stanpit also saw the bulk of the day’s passerines with 4 Garden Warbler and 2 Redstart in the North Scrubs, 2 Whinchat on Central Marsh, a brief peak of 19 Wheatear on Crouch Hill but quickly reducing to ten, 9 Blackcap and 19 Sedge Warbler; plus 7 Tree Pipit and 5 Yellow Wagtail over. Meanwhile, Hengistbury and Wick mustered just a Whinchat, 9 Wheatear and 18 Yellow Wagtail. Finally, Kingfisher were seen by the HHC and the Wooden Bridge. 

Omission: the regular, young male Marsh Harrier was about Priory Marsh this morning.

September 4th

Rock Pipit
Rock Pipit – Clinton Whale
Juvenile Dunlin that is fast attaining its first-winter plumage – Clinton Whale

Firstly, please see yesterday’s post for an update relevant to the initial piece of news. A party of four pale-bellied Brent Goose was again seen at Stanpit, so perhaps the supposition that those from yesterday had moved further west was invalid, particularly as it today became clear a good number had arrived along the Dorset coast. These are not the Siberian-breeding, dark-bellied birds that we regularly get in the winter, but part of the population that breeds in Canada and Greenland and should now be travelling to Ireland. In fact, a colour-ringed individual noted in Weymouth yesterday proves just that. Although September is traditionally a good month to see the pale birds, the actual date is possibly two weeks earlier than previously recorded in the county. Waders from Fisherman’s Bank included: 4 Knot, 3 Whimbrel, a Common Sandpiper, 12 Ringed Plover, 62 Dunlin and 126 Redshank, while singles of Common Sandpiper and Turnstone were seen elsewhere. Passerines were hard to come by, although 7 Yellow Wagtail did pass west over Wick Hams at dawn. A juvenile Peregrine again visited and inexpertly chased the Lapwing, one of which seemed to be almost toying with it, and a Great Crested Grebe was in Barn Bight. The best bird of a dire, 90-minute seawatch from the Beach Huts was a Common Tern west, but the walk was made worthwhile by a pod of at least 8 Bottlenose Dolphin that was watched for over 30 minutes.

September 3rd

Little Egret Mute Swan & Canada Goose
Some recent portraits from Fisherman's Bank - Little Egret (upper)
and Mute Swan & Canada Goose – Alan Crockard (egret) & Steve Hogan

As the weathermen said, a south-westerly wind picked up soon after a clear dawn and this brought on a series of heavy showers which persist into the evening. A Grasshopper Warbler in a reedbed net just after first light was the passerine highlight, but there were also singles of Redstart and Lesser Whitethroat on Wick, where Whitethroat and Blackcap numbers hovered around twenty; as well as what is now becoming almost a 50:50 split between Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff – perhaps ten of each. Overhead, a dozen Yellow Wagtail and an unseen Tree Pipit were logged, while a Hobby made a low pass over the Barn Field – presumably searching for the relatively few hirundines there were. The only wader news is of 2 Avocet heading up river and a Spotted Redshank in Stanpit Creek, plus a few Dunlin and a passing Turnstone. As usual, a Kingfisher frequented Wick Hams and 2 Raven spent some time over the area.

Additional news: a party of four pale-bellied Brent Goose spent a short time in the harbour before being moved on by canoes. It seems likely these were the four birds seen late in the morning at Titchfield Haven, in the Solent, and then subsequently in Weymouth. A total of 16 Knot was records – twelve leaving east, the other remaining – also 5 Common Sandpiper and 3 Whimbrel. There were 3 Wheatear on Crouch Hill and a juvenile Peregrine nabbed some prey.

September 2nd

Sedge Warbler
Sedge Warbler – Jimmy Main
Juvenile Goldfinch – Gary Foyle
Great Black-backed Gull
...and a Great Black-backed Gull of the same age – Clinton Whale

The day was subjected to a stiff south-westerly wind and cloud, which turned to drizzle late in the morning. The first few minutes of daylight saw 79 Yellow Wagtail, including flocks of 31 and 27, pass west over the HHC, as well as a Grey Wagtail and a Tree Pipit. That was pretty much it for Hengistbury and Wick, however! Meanwhile, the waders at Stanpit were headed by a Knot, a Whimbrel and a Black-tailed Godwit, with other interest coming from 6 Wheatear on Crouch Hill, 2 Wigeon and a Kingfisher.

Additional news: a Tawny Owl was heard calling from Ashtree Meadow.

September 1st

There are still young Swallow being fed in the area – Chris Dresh

After a quiet morning it took until just after 1:30 for some excitement to arrive, when an Osprey flew into the harbour over the Run. A few hours later, Stanpit held two juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, as well as: 2 Knot, 2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Sanderling, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Ringed Plover and 135 Dunlin. In addition, 18 Wheatear and 4 Yellow Wagtail were on Crouch Hill; while an ungodly 400 Canada Goose were on site – quite possibly an unwanted record. As suggested earlier in the post, the morning on Hengistbury was relatively poor with just 2 Whinchat, 15 Wheatear, 4 Tree Pipit, a Grey Wagtail, and 9 Yellow Wagtail worth a mention, plus no more than handfuls of Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat.

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