Sightings for February 2017

February 28th

Weasel on Wick Fields this afternoon – Clinton Whale

The last day of February saw the tiniest hint of spring migration, when a Linnet, a species essentially absent from the area during the winter months, was on the Barn Field; while resident Cetti’s Warbler and Reed Bunting were in song from the reed beds. Elsewhere, there were 3 Firecrest in the Wood – two in the Nursery – and a Bullfinch on Wick. Rounding up, a couple of Kingfisher were logged – one by the Wooden Bridge, the other on Wick Hams.

Additional news: during a very high tide this morning, close to the Pod at Stanpit, there were a Water Pipit, 5 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit and 25 Meadow Pipit; while the drake Red-breasted Merganser was in Stanpit Creek.

February 27th

Black-headed Gull
Many of the Black-headed Gull are now
in their brown-headed breeding plumage – Sue Marshall

A morning dominated by showers, which were the wrong side of intermittent, saw just 4 Common Scoter and a Common Gull pass west, plus a solitary Gannet linger.

February 26th

Eider Eider
The young, drake Eider that has been resident off the sandspit all winter – Clinton Whale

It was another day dominated by westerly wind, during which the sea was given yet more time. As well as the Eider off the sandspit, 2 Red-throated Diver passed west, 4 Common Scoter headed east and 6 Shelduck arrived. Meanwhile, a drake Red-breasted Merganser was inside the harbour. On Wick, a Chiffchaff and a female Bullfinch were along the riverside path, with totals of 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Pintail, at least a further 2 Shelduck and 79 Brent Goose being turned in from elsewhere, but mainly Stanpit. Finally, thank you to all the 25 or so members who braved the weather today at Keyhaven.

February 25th

Wigeon – Wayne Dodd

In blustery conditions, the sea was watched from Mudeford Quay and the Beach Huts – the combined totals being: a Great Northern Diver, 6 Red-throated Diver, 2 Common Scoter, 8 Fulmar and 10 Common Gull west; a further 14 Common Scoter east; and the Eider and a Great Crested Grebe settled. Firecrest were in song in the Wood, where two birds were confirmed, while 8 Redwing and 4 Raven were logged. Inside the harbour, a Tufted Duck was present.

February 24th

Turnstone at Mudeford Quay – Luka Peart

Two Marsh Harrier were in the air together, high over Hengistbury, this morning. Otherwise the Eider was on the sea off the sandspit, a Firecrest was in the wood, 7 Black-tailed Godwit were on Wick floods and an adult Mediterranean Gull passed over Wick Fields.

February 23rd

Given today's weather forecast the sea was the main focus this morning but once again it failed to deliver! More than three hours of effort produced nothing more than the Eider off the sandspit, 3 Common Gull west, a second winter Mediterranean Gull and 23 Turnstone, the latter entering the harbour through The Run.

February 22nd

A couple of Moorhen on Stanpit recently – Clinton Whale

With the wind picking up from the west the sea received some attention this morning, from both Mudeford Quay and the Beach Huts. For the second day running a Great Skua was logged, this morning's bird being seen distantly off the huts, moving rapidly west. The Eider was again off the sandspit and 17 Turnstone were around the groynes, while there were 4 Gannet, three each of Fulmar and Red-throated Diver and an adult Mediterranean Gull that arrived from the east and settled on the car park at the quay. Counts from a lunchtime visit to Stanpit included 35 Brent Geese, 35 Dunlin and 6 Pintail, while a Jack Snipe was on Central Marsh and, on the Hengistbury side, a Bar-tailed Godwit was in Holloway's Dock. The only passerine record is of 2 Scandinavian-type Rock Pipit, also on Stanpit.

February 21st

rock pippit
A good candidate for littoralis Rock Pipit on Stanpit this morning – Clinton Whale

On Stanpit this morning, the Marsh Harrier was hunting over Central Marsh, while 2 Skylark were present, also a couple of small flocks of pipits; these were mainly Meadow Pipit but included one or two Rock Pipit. Both the Eider and the Great Crested Grebe were offshore from the quay. The only news from Hengistbury was of a wintering Chiffchaff, plus 6 Curlew, in the 'No Dogs Field' on Wick. An early evening visit to the quay saw a Great Skua enter the harbour over the Run.

20th February

This evening's sunset from Whitepits – Clinton Whale
black-backed gull
Great Black-backed Gull with lunch – Steve Hogan

On a glorious day with the thermometer nudging 17C, a very early Wheatear was reported from Stanpit. The bird was seen late morning between Stanpit Scrubs and the Visitor Centre. However, it couldn't be found later. Counts from the marsh were something of an improvement on recent days with 66 Dunlin, 61 Brent Geese, 30 Black-tailed Godwit -a further nine were in Barn Bight - 4 Shoveler, 4 Pintail, 4 Grey Plover, 4 Turnstone and a Bar-tailed Godwit. A Buzzard was over Hengistbury and 2 Bullfinch were on Wick.

February 19th

Dunnock - just one of the species in song today – Clinton Whale

Mediterranean Gull are trickling back through the area – at least two birds were seen today, but more calls were heard. Meanwhile, a Fieldfare was on Wick, the Eider was off Mudeford Quay, the Spotted Redshank was in Stanpit Creek, the Marsh Harrier was about at 9:35 and, looking west from Whitepits, a total of 52 Great Crested Grebe could be seen in Poole Bay. Otherwise, it’s just 44 Brent Goose, a Ringed Plover and a couple of Kingfisher to mention.

February 18th

Dense mist curtailed things somewhat this morning, when 2 Firecrest were in the Wood, a Mediterranean Gull passed over Wick Hams and 15 Black-tailed Godwit were on the nearby meadows. Much later, at Stanpit, the Bar-tailed Godwit and 5 Grey Plover were seen, while the calls of Mediterranean Gull could be heard.

February 17th

In almost windless conditions and light cloud, the sea was monitored for two hours from the Beach Huts this morning. During that period, a Golden Plover a Fulmar, a Common Scoter, a Shelduck and 7 Teal moved west, while 8 Red-throated Diver headed into the Solent. In addition, a Sandwich Tern lingered, the drake Eider was in its normal spot offshore, a posse of 6 Shoveler toured the bay, a Peregrine circled the end of the head a couple of times and 2 Great Crested Grebe were settled. On the way back through the Wood, a total of 3 Firecrest was confirmed – two of them displaying to each other for a brief time. There were relatively few birds logged inside the harbour – the most notable being the call of at least one Mediterranean Gull – but also 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 38 Dunlin, 9 Shoveler, 4 Pintail, 5 Shelduck, 72 Brent Goose, 14 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Greylag Goose.

February 16th

Redshank – Sue Marshall
Curlew – Sue Marshall

A very mild day, which spurred many birds into song, produced a Brambling with around 30 Chaffinch in the North Scrubs. Meanwhile, a Water Pipit was on Priory Marsh, the Marsh Harrier was around and 4 Buzzard were logged from Stanpit.

February 15th

Sparrowhawk – Jimmy Main

There’s some news from Stanpit today, where 6 Pintail, 33 Brent Goose, 4 Shelduck and 40 Dunlin were present. At sea, an adult Little Gull east was the best, but also 17 Red-throated Diver, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Fulmar and 22 Common Gull in the same direction. The Marsh Harrier was seen morning and afternoon, while 2 Raven were about Hengistbury.

February 14th

The only news for today is of the Marsh Harrier around the harbour during the morning.

February 13th

MallardMallardMallard - Sue Marshall

The wind was even more unpleasant than yesterday – from the east and strong. A brave, 20-minute effort from the Beach Huts produced singles of Common Scoter and Guillemot west, plus a lingering Shag. Around the same time, the Marsh Harrier hunted Stanpit and a Peregrine was over Wick.

February 12th

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale (upper) & Alan Crockard

Today was WeBS count day, but despite a commendable amount of effort there were relatively few birds to be seen. For example, a total of 386 Wigeon is easily the lowest for many years, while a count of 140 Teal was below that of a more casual effort in the week. On the converse, there were 20 Shag – by far and away the highest figure of the winter – off the sandspit. More numbers are listed later, but the non-waterbird details are: the Marsh Harrier at Stanpit; a Firecrest by the Double Bends in the Wood, a couple of Bullfinch on Wick; and the Red-legged Partridge on the roof of the Barn at 7:15. Back to the survey, which included: an adult Mediterranean Gull over the Recreation Ground; a Bar-tailed Godwit and 25 Black-tailed Godwit; 8 Shelduck and 39 Brent Goose.

February 11thMarsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier
Some recent images of the Marsh Harrier – Alan Crockard and Jimmy Main (centre)
Earlier in the week, the harrier was being given a hard time by crows; a situation seen by a Peregrine that proceeded to step in and lend a hand to see off the corvids.

In a cold, northerly wind and a hint of snow, the sea this morning came up with its best numbers for quite some time. In total, 34 Red-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver and 3 Goldeneye passed west, while an Eider, 100 auks and 32 Common Gull moved into the Solent. Later in the day, as the tide dropped off, Stanpit produced: the Spotted Redshank, 2 Grey Plover, around 140 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Ringed Plover and 60 or so Dunlin; plus 6 Pintail, 3 Shoveler, a Shelduck and 64 Brent Goose, of which four were youngsters. To round up, a Peregrine hunted the Wick Hams area and a Raven passed west. 

February 10thGoldcrest

Goldcrest – Alan Crockard

A north-easterly wind made for a bitter day, but field visits were made. The Marsh Harrier was seen a couple of times, while 6 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, around 40 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 120 Dunlin were at Stanpit, as were 9 Pintail and a Shoveler. On Wick, the Bullfinch pair was again present, along the riverside path.

February 9th

On a thoroughly unpleasant day, when it was difficult to keep warm, all the records are of birds either on or over Stanpit. Dealing with the small stuff first, a Woodlark and 5 Skylark moved north, while a Mistle Thrush, undaunted by the cold, was in full voice; also 2 Chiffchaff present. The Spotted Redshank was opposite Fisherman's Bank together with a single Bar-tailed Godwit, 65 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Grey Plover, 8 Pintail, 4 Shoveler, 12 Common Gull and a noteworthy count of 175 Teal. There were 2 Marsh Harrier today, plus a Peregrine and the usual couple of Raven. A late afternoon visit found 2 adult Mediterranean Gull in the pre-roost.

February 8th

There is little to report today. In fact, just: 2 Raven about, 4 Little Grebe in Barn Bight, a Sparrowhawk resting on Wick Hams and four singing Song Thrush. 

February 7thKestrel

Kestrel with lunch – Steve Hogan

Most of the winter regulars put in a show today, namely: a Firecrest in the Wood on Hengistbury; the Spotted Redshank off Fisherman’s Bank; the Marsh Harrier over Stanpit and then north; and the pair of Bullfinch by the HHC. In addition, there were 3 Grey Plover, the Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Black-tailed Godwit and 52 Dunlin inside the harbour, while a couple of Raven were about the Nursery.

February 6thRazorbill

This Razorbill, under steam, was photographed far upriver last week – Jimmy Main
Song Thrush
Song Thrush - one of the species in song today – Sue Marshall

The harbour was covered in frost and ice this morning, but a complete lack of wind made it a very pleasant place to be. The best was a drake Pochard seen on a few occasions, at one time with a Tufted Duck in Barn Bight. At Stanpit, singles of Water Pipit and Jack Snipe were logged, as well as 2 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit and around 20 Black-tailed Godwit. Meanwhile, a Mediterranean Gull and 2 Raven passed over Hengistbury. The fine conditions prompted lots of spring-like song, including: Reed Bunting, Song Thrush, Goldcrest, Cetti’s Warbler, Teal and Great Tit.

Additional news: the Marsh Harrier and 60 Brent Goose were at Stanpit.

February 5th

Wigeon Wigeon WigeonDrake Wigeon at Stanpit – Sue Marshall

The only news for the day comes from Stanpit during the afternoon, when 75 Black-tailed Godwit were present. It would seem birds are sensing the Avon Valley is starting to flood after the recent rains and starting to home-in on it. Also, a Grey Plover, 15 Dunlin, 6 Pintail and 5 Brent Goose. It really is a concern as to why the harbour has lost its appeal to the latter - in excess of 200 would be normal. More positively, the Marsh Harrier was hunting Central Marsh.

February 4th

Jay – Chris Dresh

The strong wind of yesterday evening died away completely overnight and it was a really pleasant day. The only bird news, however, is of a first-winter, female Snow Bunting on the southern end of the sandspit between 8:10 and 8:30, when it flew off never to be re-found. In fact, the spit was unable to produce anything else of any interest whatsoever, either on it or offshore.

February 3rd

Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper have been quite scarce of late – Clinton Whale
Cormorant – Alan Crockard

An easterly wind gathered apace throughout the day, but brought relatively little with it. Between them, seawatches from the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay yielded 7 Kittiwake, 15 Red-throated Diver and 3 Mediterranean Gull west, with a further three of the latter seemingly lingering. Meanwhile, a few Purple Sandpiper were back on the sandspit – the best count being three on groyne S5. During the morning, on the rising tide, the Spotted Redshank, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 19 Black-tailed Godwit and a Turnstone were seen from Fisherman’s Bank; as were 15 Pintail and 8 Shoveler. Most notable from there, however, was an Otter in Stanpit Creek around 8:00.

February 2nd

After another morning of challenging weather there is very little to report, although the Firecrest was still in the Wood at Hengistbury. The sea was disappointing with just a Red-breasted Merganser and 3 Gannet east, and a single Common Scoter west. On a flooded Stanpit this afternoon the few birds present had been pushed onto Central Marsh, where there were 60 Lapwing, 15 Brent Geese and 9 Black-tailed Godwit; also the Marsh Harrier was around.

February 1st

Another rainy start put paid to much field activity with just a female Bullfinch on Wick reported. Later in the morning, as the weather improved, a tight-knit group of eight Mediterranean Gull headed west past Mudeford Quay, while a single adult bird moved east; also a Red-throated Diver west. On Stanpit this afternoon, there were just 18 Brent Geese together with16 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Shoveler, 2 Pintail and a Raven.

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