Sightings for April 2017

April 30th

The weather forecasters were spot on today when a strong south-easterly brought heavy rain, the latter a little later than predicted. Hence the morning was dry and although conditions were unpleasant for the holiday weekenders the sea watching was again rewarding. Unfortunately most of the Pomarine Skua passage occurred to the east past the major sea watching sites in Kent and Sussex with hundreds of birds logged. There was just one probable Pomarine Skua past Double Dykes. However, there were a few other highlights with the first Manx Shearwater of the year, three birds west, and 2 Great Skua, one off the Gully and one off the Quay, also 3 Arctic Skua. The sea was watched for most of the morning from three or four different points with combined totals of 83 Gannet, 71 Common Scoter, 18 Sandwich Tern, 18 Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Whimbrel, 8 Little Tern, 4 Sanderling, 4 Fulmar, 3 Brent Goose, 3 Shelduck, 3 Common Tern and a Kittiwake, all east. There were also 3 Eider, 2 drake and a duck, on the sea off Double Dykes. Migrants included a Turtle Dove on Wick Fields, a Yellow Wagtail, 2 Swift and a steady stream of Swallow offshore with 76 logged heading east. An afternoon visit to the Quay found birds still on the move with another 55 Gannet, 2 Arctic Tern, 2 Little Tern and 5 Common Tern plus two distant unidentified skuas. Inside the harbour on the high tide there were just 20 Dunlin, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Grey Plover, 2 Whimbrel and 2 Common Tern while 8 Mediterranean Gull passed overhead.

April 29th

Greenshank on the Salt Hurns – Barrie Taylor

The first Pomarine Skua for two years was the reward for a two and a half hours' sea watch from The Gully. The bird headed east into The Solent late morning, otherwise there were 25 Gannet, 18 Common Scoter and singles of Guillemot and Common Tern all east. Until the sun broke through it was again unpleasantly cold hence the only migrants reported were 2 Wheatear on Crouch Hill and a female Redstart in the North Scrubs. Six Egyptian Geese provided a bit of novelty for those who attended the organised walk on Stanpit, also 26 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Whimbrel were seen. Barn Bight held another 7 Black-tailed Godwit plus a Whimbrel, a Greenshank, a drake Wigeon and a pair of Gadwall. Mediterranean Gull continue to move west with ten logged today.

April 28th

Sanderling on the Long Groyne this morning – Clinton Whale
The local Kestrel – Mike Lyons
The Nursery
The Nursery, a welcoming and sheltered area for migrants – Nick Whitehouse

The first Lesser Whitethroat of the year was singing by the Stanpit visitor centre this morning while 3 Wheatear and 2 Yellow Wagtail were on Crouch Hill. A further 2 Wheatear and a Whinchat were on the Barn Field, a Grasshopper Warbler was 'reeling' by Holloway's Dock and 11 Willow Warbler were counted. Waders today included the Sanderling on the Long Groyne and a Knot on Stanpit plus harbour totals of 144 Dunlin, 49 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Whimbrel, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and 5 Common Sandpiper. The 2 Gadwall were seen from Fisherman's Bank and 2 Mediterranean Gull moved west.

April 27th

Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper – Sue Marshall

After another very cold night, for late April that is, there were few migrants to be found with just 7 Willow Warbler, 3 Wheatear and singles of Garden Warbler and Sedge Warbler. The high tide roost on Stanpit held 6 Little and 34 Sandwich Tern plus 70 Dunlin, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Grey Plover, also two each of Shoveler and Wigeon present. The flock of Black-tailed Godwit in Barn Bight totalled 22 while both Whimbrel and Greenshank were around. Mediterranean Gull are still moving west with ten logged today.

April 26th

The reed and willow scrub around the HHC where today Reed, Sedge and Grasshopper Warbler were in song – Nick Whitehouse

Gloves and woolly hats were in evidence as the temperature was barely above freezing for the first hour or so today. It's no surprise then that migrants were hard to come by although the first House Martin of the year moved over Wick. Otherwise there was a Yellow Wagtail over Priory Marsh, a Grasshopper Warbler by the HHC, a couple each of Reed and Sedge Warbler, 7 Willow Warbler and 7 Wheatear. On Stanpit 80 Dunlin arrived in Stanpit Bight where there were 6 Whimbrel and 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, also Grey Plover and Common Sandpiper elsewhere on the marsh. A late afternoon visit to Mudeford Quay found 2 pale-bellied and 3 dark-bellied Brent Geese settled on the sea, also 2 Arctic Tern east and 12 Mediterranean Gull were logged.

April 25th

Grey Plover
Grey Plover – Steve Hogan

Since the weekend, the pickings have been getting ever thinner; with today not helped by a strong and cold northerly wind that gathered pace early in the morning. There were, however, the first Swift of the year – a couple of birds passing over Stanpit – but the best elsewhere came from: a Redstart and Grasshopper Warbler on Wick; and a Whinchat on the Barn Field. In addition, there were 2 Wheatear and around 20 Willow Warbler across the site. Common Sandpiper put in their best appearance so far – three in total – one on the Ironstone Quarry, one on the Hengistbury shore and one at Stanpit. A Greenshank was in Holloway’s Dock, while other wader interest came from a couple of Grey Plover, 6 Whimbrel, a lingering Curlew, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Black-tailed Godwit and 70 Dunlin. A look at the sea was enlivened only by some close fishing boats, which attracted 3 Common Gull, 15 Great Black-backed Gull and around 100 Herring Gull; a few in-and-out-of-harbour Sandwich Tern, a distant auk and 4 Gannet being the only other birds to look at. Of potential breeders, Firecrest, Bullfinch and Redshank were all in song; while a pair of Tufted Duck flew upriver, a single Wigeon was at Stanpit and a couple of Raven were logged. 

April 24th

Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail at Solent Meads this morning – Leo Pyke
Wheatear – Leo Pyke
Stanpit Walk
Last night's walk at Stanpit was attended by over 35 people, which is a record for our outdoor events. A big thank you to all those who attended – Ali Germain

There were fewer birds again, but like yesterday more than average interest. A Wood Warbler was in the Wood, by the Nursery, but ultimately elusive; while a total of 5 Grasshopper Warbler were around, most of them on Wick, where males of Yellow Wagtail and Redstart were also settled. It’s been a great spring for ‘groppers’, but as far as we know no-one has actually been fortunate enough to see one. Otherwise, there were 25 Willow Warbler, 17 Wheatear and a newly-arrived Sedge Warbler. During the morning, a couple of Little Tern were feeding with the gulls in Stanpit Bight and 2 Common Tern rested on Blackberry Point; also around 20 Sandwich Tern inside the harbour. The waders are similar to the previous post – 4 Grey Plover, 7 Whimbrel, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Black-tailed Godwit and 6 Dunlin – likewise the duck – 2 Teal and 2 Gadwall. A short spell at Mudeford Quay late in the afternoon was fruitful, when an Osprey and 2 Red-throated Diver headed east and 8 Mediterranean Gull, all second-calendar-year birds, travelled in the opposite direction, along with 15 Gannet. Earlier, around 30 ‘meds’ were turned in from Hengistbury, as were a couple of Raven.

Odonata Update
Sunday finally saw the first damselfly sightings of the year, with a mass emergence of Large Red Damselflies at Lily Pond. In total, 14 adults were recorded with over 20 exuviae (the larval case from which they emerge).  Two had deformed wings and were unable to fly and one freshly-emerged damselfly was pumping its wing up at 3:00pm, which is much later in the day than expected. Two exuviae were found at Quarry Pond but no signs of life at Nursey Pond yet. The first dragonfly can be expected within the next fortnight.

April 23rd

After a clear night, there were fewer birds on site but enough to hold the interest. A Wood Warbler was seen in the Wood at 8:00, but not thereafter; while Grasshopper Warbler reeled at the northern end of the Double Dykes and on Crouch Hill. A Whinchat was on Wick Hams, 2 Redstart were in the stunted-oak patch just east of the Nursery and around a dozen Wheatear were logged. Meanwhile, the Willow Warbler, many of which were in song, came to 40 or so and there was a northbound stream of Swallow; a Hobby over Stanpit with them, as well as a Yellow Wagtail. A flock of 3 Spoonbill came in from the west and spent 30 minutes off the tip of South Marsh, before moving on east. The wader news from the late afternoon at Stanpit comprises: 3 Grey Plover, around 10 Whimbrel, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and 25 Black-tailed Godwit, but just a single Dunlin. Sticking with waders, there were a pair of Redshank on Wick Hams, one of them singing; it’s probably over 40 years since breeding last took place in the area. Finishing up a Bullfinch was along Roebury Lane, up to 40 Mediterranean Gull passed over, and 5 Wigeon, 2 Gadwall, 6 Teal and 2-3 Raven were noted.

Additional news: there was actually a pair of Bullfinch on Wick.

April 22nd

Wood Warbler
Wood Warbler
Wood Warbler – Tom Carley
Pied Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher – Tom Carley

Once more, a grey sky and light wind combined to produce a reasonable number of grounded migrants, with some quality amongst them. Pride of place went to a, at times, very obliging Wood Warbler on the Double Bends, where there was also a female Pied Flycatcher and a reeling Grasshopper Warbler; giving the place a bit of an eastern-Europe feel. There were further ‘groppers’ in the Long Field, the No Dogs Field and the Barn Field, while the former two sites also hosted three of the day’s 4 Redstart. A couple of Garden Warbler were present – one on Wick and one in the Nursery – their song causing the normal first-of-the-spring, is-it-isn’t-it question, with respect to the similar sounding Blackcap. Speaking of which, it was suspected there was small arrival of those, as a few birds were in places away from the already-established territories. Sedge Warbler were certainly new-in – three in song, including one from gorse on the Long Field. Meanwhile, a Whinchat was on the Barn Field, up to 25 Wheatear were across the area and just over 50 Willow Warbler were returned from Hengistbury and Wick. A couple of flocks of Meadow Pipit, numbering 16 and 5, passed north – given the date, perhaps bound for Iceland – and carried an alba Wagtail with them. Also over, a trickle of Swallow and 18 Mediterranean Gull. There was a similar in-harbour wader selection to yesterday, with the Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 14 Grey Plover, 2 Sanderling, 10 Whimbrel, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Ringed Plover and 120 Dunlin being present; mostly in Stanpit Bight. The only other news involves a Firecrest, 2 Gadwall and a drake Wigeon.

Additional news: a Grasshopper Warbler was singing at Stanpit late in the afternoon, when the Dunlin total crept up by a further ten.

April 21st

Leaden skies and a close-to-force-0 wind resulted in far more birds this morning. At Stanpit, a Serin overflew Crouch Hill and 2 Yellow Wagtail were settled there; while the best on the other side were a female Pied Flycatcher on Wick, as many as 4 Grasshopper Warbler, three across the Wick Fields and one on the Long Field, and 2 Redstart. There were also up to 50 Willow Warbler, a few seemingly new Whitethroat and 17 Wheatear, eight of those on Stanpit. In addition, a single Tree Pipit and at least 25 Swallow passed over. Waders took a much-wanted turn for the better; the totals, mainly from Stanpit Bight, coming to: a Knot, a Sanderling, the Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 9 Grey Plover, 15 Whimbrel, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 45 Black-tailed Godwit and 40 Dunlin. At sea, there was a milling flock of 12 Common Scoter and 3 Gannet, but little else; however, 27 Sandwich Tern were loafing inside the harbour. The Mediterranean Gull tally probably nudges 40, again many of them heading west, and a pair of Bullfinch was once more on Wick. Miscellany for the post is provided: 3 Wigeon, 2 Gadwall and 7 Teal; a Peregrine and a Raven; 2 Common Gull and 127 Herring Gull resting on the HHC mudbar; and a fresh brood of 13 Mallard. 

April 20th

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale
Jay – Alan Cherry

Other than an estimated 20 Willow Warbler on Wick and 4 Wheatear, there were no new passerines reported today. In fact, the area around the HHC yielded absolute zero in the 90 minutes after first light. From there, 12 Whimbrel and 25 Mediterranean Gull were logged, while a further two and twelve respectively came from Stanpit, where there were also 4 Bar-tailed Godwit. A Swallow is now on territory at the HHC and 2 Raven were about.

April 19th

Fox – Alan Cherry

It was another day of almost complete sunshine, although an edge in the easterly wind chilled things a little. At Stanpit, a drake Garganey was in Parky Meade Rail until 8:20, but then headed off upriver. In the main, however, it was a little quieter than of late, with a Whinchat on Wick and 2 Yellow Wagtail over being the best of the passerines. Otherwise, numbers came from around 25 Willow Warbler, mainly on Hengistbury, 6 Wheatear and couple of new Reed Warbler. There are now also Whitethroat appearing in traditional territories, including the one adjacent to the Pod on Stanpit. The mid-April wader lull will hopefully soon be over, as 2 Greenshank, a Snipe and around 30 Black-tailed Godwit in Barn Bight, plus 2 Whimbrel arriving, is the only news of those for today. Meanwhile, a Firecrest was in the Nursery, 4 Wigeon and 2 Teal were in Barn Bight, and 3 Raven along with 3 Rook were using harbour airspace, as were 10 Mediterranean Gull. The only news from the sea concerns eight passing Brent Goose.

April 18th

Whimbrel – Clinton Whale
Speckled Wood
Speckled Wood – Clinton Whale

There were again spring migrants to be had on Hengistbury and Wick this morning, including: a Whinchat on the Old Pitch-and-Putt Course; 2 Grasshopper Warbler, one by the Wooden Bridge and one in the No Dogs Field; and 3 Redstart, all on the Long Field. As well as 50 Willow Warbler, that probably conservative in an effort to avoid duplication, 2 Wheatear and a trickle of inbound Swallow. Much later in the day, when the year’s first Little Tern was off Mudeford Quay, there were 12 Wheatear and a White Wagtail on the sandspit. At least one, but possibly two, Greenshank were on the Hengistbury side of the harbour, as were the 50 or so Black-tailed Godwit and 7 Whimbrel were returned. Around 20 Mediterranean Gull passed over, as did 2 Rook, while the pair of Gadwall and single drakes of Wigeon and Teal were seen.

Omission: 3 Red-breasted Merganser passed Mudeford Quay.

April 17th

Whitethroat – Clinton Whale
Turnstone showing glimpses of breeding plumage – Clinton Whale

It was another good morning around the area, with the best coming from: 2 Pied Flycatcher, a male and a female, in the Wood at the south-eastern corner of the Nursery; 2 Grasshopper Warbler, one by the Visitors’ Centre on Hengistbury and one on Crouch Hill; a Whinchat on Wick; 3 Redstart, including a first-summer male in the Wood; and 5 Yellow Wagtail over. There was also a nice moment at Stanpit, when a Yellow Wagtail, a Pied Wagtail and 2 Wheatear were all perched on the same bench. Finishing off the passerines, around 70 Willow Warbler, 16 Wheatear and five new-in Whitethroat were across Wick Fields and the head as far as the Nursery, and a further 4 Wheatear were at Stanpit. In addition to 52 Black-tailed Godwit, a Greenshank was in Barn Bight, and a Knot, 3 Grey Plover, 4 Whimbrel, a Ringed Plover and 40 Dunlin were in Stanpit Bight, and a Snipe came up off Priory Marsh. Persistent winter wildfowl were represented by 5 Wigeon, 7 Teal and 2 Gadwall, while today’s breeding intrigue comes from 3 Collared Dove, one of them in song, hanging around the Nursery. The overhead count of Mediterranean Gull, almost exclusively west, was 58 birds, a Peregrine headed over the harbour and a single Raven was about.

April 16th

Pied Flycatcher
Female Pied Flycatcher in the Nursery – Tom Carley
Adder Adder
Dancing Adder – Chris Roughley

The sun shone for most of the morning, which, despite a chilly north-westerly wind, resulted in far more migrants on show than yesterday. The best was a female Pied Flycatcher in the Nursery and a Grasshopper Warbler that sang from the southern edge of the Long Field, but also just under 50 Willow Warbler, 13 Wheatear and a new-in Whitethroat. Around 10:00, Swallow started to become more obvious and a steady trickle of birds was noted thereafter; it was certainly the best day of the season for those. A Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight was also a new bird, while 53 Black-tailed Godwit and a single Dunlin were also there, the Spotted Redshank was again in Stanpit Creek and 2 Whimbrel were in the adjacent bight. Rounding up: a quick look at the sea came up with 3 Gannet; the pair of Firecrest remained faithful to their spot; 3 Wigeon and Teal, all drake linger on; a couple of Peregrine passed over the head; and a pair of Raven are starting to favour Stanpit. Of 20 or so Mediterranean Gull, all but four headed west.

April 15th

Wren – Alan Cherry

One of those mornings to forget really. Other than a cameo piece of song by a Grasshopper Warbler by the HHC at 6:30, 4 Willow Warbler and 3 Wheatear, there appeared to be no newly-arrived passerines on site. Meanwhile, 28 Mediterranean Gull passed east and a couple Swallow travelled rapidly north. Also eastbound was a selection of waders, comprising 12 Whimbrel, a Ringed Plover and 19 Dunlin, with 26 Black-tailed Godwit and a further Whimbrel settled in Barn Bight. A presumed pair of Firecrest was again in the Wood and twos, but not all pairs, of Wigeon, Teal and Gadwall were in Barn Bight.

April 14th

Wheatear – Clinton Whale
Sandwich Tern
Sandwich Tern – Clinton Whale

In contrast to the forecast, the morning enjoyed clear blue skies and a decent number of birds with them. On Stanpit, a Nightingale was glimpsed in the North Scrubs and a Whinchat was on Central Marsh, while on Hengistbury there were 2 Grasshopper Warbler, one at the western end of the Batters and one in the Nursery, and a Garden Warbler was on Wick. Moving to the slightly more routine, mainly across the western portion of the head and Wick, there were 3 Redstart, 9 Whitethroat, a minimum of 90 Willow Warbler, 7 Reed Warbler and 9 Wheatear. Save for ten or so Swallow, however, there was little overhead. The wader selection at Stanpit stepped up a notch and included: the Spotted Redshank, now very dark indeed, off Fisherman’s Bank, a Little Ringed Plover, a Greenshank, 8 Whimbrel, 3 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 42 Dunlin; with 43 of the 51 Black-tailed Godwit still favouring Barn Bight. The latter presumably being remnants from the winter, which were also represented by a Snipe, 2 Shoveler, 5 Wigeon and 9 Teal. Of potential breeding interest: Firecrest have now been heard singing in four distinct locations this week; a Bearded Tit was seen high in display flight; and a male Bullfinch was on Wick. Finally, a word about Mediterranean Gull, of which there were 24 today. The last decade has seen an easterly movement develop through the area during the month of April - this year, however, the direction has been a lot more varied, with the majority of the birds seen actually heading west.

April 13th

It was a very quiet morning; for example, just 11 Willow Warbler across Hengistbury and Wick. In addition, 3 Whitethroat, a Sedge Warbler, a Reed Warbler and 2 Wheatear were on site, while a Tree Pipit and a single Swallow moved over. A total of 5 Whimbrel was also logged, as were 14 Mediterranean Gull and a Raven.

April 12th

Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting – Clinton Whale
Bar-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit – Diarmuid Murphy

The pick of the migrants this morning was a Wood Warbler seen briefly around the Nursery and a female Pied Flycatcher on Wick. There was also an arrival of Willow Warbler – at least 50 across Wick and onto the head as far as the Double Bends – as well as a Redstart on the Long Field, 2 Whitethroat and 7 Wheatear. Meanwhile, the area around the golf course on Stanpit held 3 Redstart, 15 Willow Warbler and nine considered-to-be-migrant Blackcap, plus a further 3 Wheatear on Crouch Hill. The marsh, mainly around Stanpit Bight, held a slightly better wader selection than of late, including a heard-only Greenshank, 3 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Dunlin; those complementing the 30 or so Black-tailed Godwit loitering in Barn Bight. Lingering wildfowl comprised two each of Shoveler, Gadwall and Wigeon; a female Bullfinch was again on Wick; a Peregrine sat on East Marsh for at least an hour this afternoon; and Crouch Hill held 26 Linnet.

April 11th

Sand Martin
Sand Martin – Clinton Whale
Red Admiral
Red Admiral – Clinton Whale
Stanpit probably peaked the interest this morning; not least a male Ring Ouzel in the North Scrubs, but also the year’s first Reed Warbler around Parky Meade Rail and 6 Wheatear on Crouch Hill. On Hengistbury, the settled birds again clustered in the stunted oaks just east of the Nursery – two male Redstart and most of the twenty or so Willow Warbler there. There was, however, a flurry of 30 Willow Warbler that quickly moved past the HHC and a couple of Wheatear were on the Barn Field. Breeding hopes continue for Bearded Tit and Firecrest, while casual observations suggest there are above-average numbers of Sand Martin about the site. Waders are traditionally sparse until later in the month, although there were 4 Whimbrel, 50 Black-tailed Godwit and 12 Dunlin inside the harbour. Overhead, a total of 15 Mediterranean Gull was reckoned, along with 3 Rook. 

April 10th

The skies weren’t as grey as the forecast suggested; in fact, out of the slightly chilly, northerly breeze it was a fine morning. Migrant interest matched the conditions with a Nightingale that sang for a short time from the hedge bordering the eastern edge of the Driving Range and two male Pied Flycatcher – one in and around the Nursery all morning and one along the Wick river-side path. In addition, the were two male Redstart, a minimum of 20 Wheatear, peaks being 12 on the Barn Field and nine on the end of the sandpit viewed from Mudeford Quay, a Tree Pipit and 20+ Willow Warbler. At sea, a Black-throated Diver and 4 Whimbrel passed, while at least 15 Mediterranean Gull overflew the area. To finish up, a pair of Gadwall were in Brewer’s Creek, a couple of Raven were about, the 30 Black-tailed Godwit again favoured Barn Bight and a Collared Dove was in the strange location of the Wood.

April 9th

Shelduck – Steve Hogan

There were a few bits and pieces seen throughout a glorious morning, including firsts-for-the-year of Sedge Warbler, one in song by the Wooden Bridge, and Whimbrel, actually two birds, on the Salt Hurns. There were also 3 Redstart on Wick, where most of the day’s twenty or so Willow Warbler and 20 Blackcap were, while the Wheatear on the Barn Field peaked at six birds. At least one Firecrest was again in the Wood, a Bullfinch was calling in the No Dogs Field, a Rook headed south over Wick and 6 Gannet were offshore.

April 8th

Linnet – Leo Pyke

There were a lot more passerines around today; but the numbers were dominated by Willow Warbler, with scant variety. Around 50 were between the Wooden Bridge on Wick and the central part of the Wood, with a real concentration on the eastern side of the Nursery. Otherwise, however, it was just 4 Wheatear on site, a Garden Warbler in the North Scrubs, a few Blackcap and a White Wagtail on Crouch Hill. Meanwhile, a Common Tern moved west along the cliffs, but Swallow barely trickled in. The third Osprey of the spring was logged. After initially being seen at Chewton Bunny, a way east of the area, those on Hengistbury were ready for it. After a quick circuit of the harbour, the bird headed back from whence it came and was then seen moving over Hurst Castle in Hampshire. Just after that piece of excitement, an Avocet arrived very loudly over the Barn Field and a Rook headed north-east. The time in the Wood also confirmed three singing Firecrest, while a male Bullfinch was seen on Wick where a female was in the last two days. The latter, although suspected, has never been proven to breed in the area. Rounding up, 20 Mediterranean Gull can be added to the monthly bird-day total, the 30 Black-tailed Godwit remain and 4 Greylag Goose put in a brief appearance.

April 7th

Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler – Alan Cherry
Blackcap – Alan Cherry

It was a glorious morning, although incoming migrants were again fewer than might be expected. Willow Warbler across the entire site perhaps nudged the thirty mark, while a single Wheatear was along the Broadway and a handful of Blackcap were on Wick. Of around 40 Swallow logged, 35 of them were from Stanpit and at least 20 Mediterranean Gull passed to the west, The marsh held a modicum of wader interest, including a Little Ringed Plover north, 2 Avocet, the Spotted Redshank, 7 Grey Plover, 3 Dunlin, 35 Black-tailed Godwit and 112 Redshank. Back to the head, where a couple of Firecrest were in the Wood, a female Bullfinch was along Roebury Lane and 2 Raven were about the Nursery. The only genuine wildfowl news involves 6 Shoveler inside the harbour, but a skein of 5 Egyptian Goose did pass over the Bobolink Field.

April 6th

Mute Swan
Mute Swan – Diarmuid Murphy

An Osprey put on a bit of a show early this morning, when it was seen from both Hengistbury and Stanpit. The bird caught a fish around 6:50 and then took it off to the west, before returning around 10 minutes later. After being harassed by gulls and crows, it settled on a post on East Marsh and started to tuck-in, eventually leaving northwards – still with the fish. On Hengistbury, a Firecrest sang briefly and a Bullfinch was on Wick. The head also hosted a Garden Warbler, 12 Blackcap, 25 Willow Warbler, plus a further three on Wick, and a flyover Tree Pipit. Meanwhile, Stanpit appeared to hold not a single migrant passerine. A couple of Lapwing were about the marsh, however.

April 5th

On a fine morning, prior to 8:30 at Stanpit, other than a Jack Snipe that was feeding up against the Priory Marsh boardwalk, a party of three drake Shoveler north and 2 Mediterranean Gull, there was little of interest. Over the next couple of hours, however, things got much better. A Yellowhammer landed briefly for a minute or so on the golf course embankment before heading off north; 2 Tree Sparrow were also seen somewhere around the golf course; a Great White Egret passed north, as did a Tree Pipit; a Common Tern was on the river; and a female Redstart was on Crouch Hill. The Mediterranean Gull also picked up dramatically - 42 being logged heading west. The best on the other side of the river was certainly 3 Redwing, seen from the Wooden Bridge, but also 2 Wheatear on the Barn Field. Commoner migrants were very sparse, with just 3 Willow Warbler and 2 Blackcap turned in. Wader-wise, there were 5 Grey Plover in Stanpit Bight and 36 Black-tailed Godwit in Barn Bight, while ducks weighed in with a further 5 Shoveler and 2 Gadwall. Of breeding interest, some of the Sand Martin are already gathering material to line their burrows, suggesting they have already excavated new ones or restored those previously used.

April 4th

There was more early mist and, although it was far from jumping with birds, there was a little more than yesterday. A Grasshopper Warbler reeled in the Long Field for some time around 9:30, up to 15 Willow Warbler were spread across Hengistbury and Wick, and 6 Wheatear were on the Barn Field; the latter only turning up quite late in the morning. The only other passerine news concerns a further Wheatear on Crouch Hill, Stanpit, and 2 Raven at Hengistbury, while the moving hirundine count wasn’t able exceed six birds. To finish up, a flock of 23 Black-tailed Godwit moved east and around a dozen Mediterranean Gull were logged.

April 3rd

Fog at dawn cleared away for around an hour, but soon set back in. Other than a Little Ringed Plover in off the sea and over the Ironstone Quarry, a Wheatear on the Barn Field and 4 Swallow moving north over the HHC, there was no evidence of new birds across the entirety of Hengistbury and Wick. Meanwhile, a couple of Yellow Wagtail and a White Wagtail were logged from Priory Marsh. That site also produced 2 Bearded Tit and a Firecrest again sang in the Wood. The Mediterranean Gull total was nine, 3 Raven passed over the Nursery and a Red-legged Partridge was on Wick Fields. 

April 2nd

The year’s first Redstart was on Wick Fields today, where it favoured the north-east corner of the Bobolink Field. Also in that area, a couple each of Willow Warbler and Blackcap, while the Wood held a further five of the former and six of the latter. A total of 4 Wheatear were logged – two on the Barn Field and two on Crouch Hill – a couple of Firecrest were in the Wood and the Sand Martin increased to around 45. There were Mediterranean Gull about throughout the day; for example, 18 over Hengistbury in the morning and five over Priory Marsh later. A Knot was the pick of the waders at Stanpit, where around 30 Black-tailed Godwit were also present; as was a female Pintail and ten remaining Brent Goose. 

Addtional news: a Water Pipit was by the Rusty Boat and 3 Avocet were over Wick Fields.

April 1st

Bearded Tit Bearded Tit
Bearded Tit – Alan Crockard

Stanpit held most of the day’s interest including a male Bearded Tit, but also a Water Pipit on Priory Marsh and 2 White Wagtail on Central Marsh. Routine migrants were far from numerous – just a single Wheatear on the Barn Field, 4 Blackcap and a Willow Warbler at Stanpit, and five or so Swallow arriving. There were, however, plenty of Mediterranean Gull about late in the morning – 22 east and four west – as well as three over the marsh later in the day. Wader interest was headed by the ever-darkening Spotted Redshank, plus 2 Grey Plover, at least one Bar-tailed Godwit, 49 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Dunlin and 19 Turnstone; while wintering wildfowl remaining on site included 3 Shoveler, 65 Wigeon, 16 Teal and 33 Brent Goose. The Sand Martin around the cliffs now number 30 birds and Raven peaked at four. 

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