Sightings for September 2017

September 30th

Despite a reasonable south-westerly blow and drizzle, birds were on the move this morning. Between 7:15 and 9:15, totals from Hengistbury, all east, came to: 1100 Meadow Pipit, 120 alba Wagtail, 235 Goldfinch, 135 Linnet, 6 Redpoll and 2 Siskin; while Swallow passed over in low numbers. The best in the bushes was a Firecrest in the Wood, with around 50 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap and 20 Goldcrest west from there to the Wooden Bridge, plus a site-total of 8 Wheatear. Early on, a Cattle Egret was on the Salt Hurns. The best wader at Stanpit was a Whimbrel – there’s not been one since much earlier in the month and this one did have white in all the right places – along with a Knot, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Black-tailed Godwit. The winter bird population increases; for example the first returning Little Grebe to Barn Bight, while the Wigeon rose to c220, the Coot to 168, 18 Brent Goose and a duck Gadwall. A further 10 Brent Goose passed west, as did a Common Gull and one of those was also settled on South Marsh.  

September 29th

Avocet in Holloway's Dock – Clinton Whale

The morning was dominated by the threat and eventually the realisation of rain. Before this, moving largely east were: a couple of Tree Sparrow over the Long Field, some unseen Siskin, around 100 Meadow Pipit, a Grey Wagtail, a sample of 100 Swallow in 20 minutes later in the morning, 10 Linnet and 3 Reed Bunting. Grounded between Wick and the Wood were 50 or so Chiffchaff, 20 Blackcap, 3 Whitethroat and 4 Wheatear, while single Firecrest were in the Wood and on the Batters. There was a sizeable gathering of small waders in the uncharacteristic spot of the inner shore to Mudeford Quay, which contained 2 Little Stint and 2 Sanderling; but the Ringed Plover and Dunlin were disturbed before they could be counted. Earlier, however, what was probably pretty much the same flock, as it held a couple of Sanderling, was seeing out the high tide on the sandspit when the commoner two species were estimated at around 70 each. Elsewhere, a Ruff passed over Whitepits, what was presumably the same Avocet was seen in Holloway’s Dock and from the Barn Bight area, at least 3 Bar-tailed Godwit were in Stanpit Bight and a Black-tailed Godwit flew across the harbour. The 6 Goosander were again around and, of exotic interest, the 4 Black Swan which have recently been on the Stour by the Captain’s Club ventured into harbour waters. Rounding up, one each of Grey Wagtail and Snipe were by the Wooden Bridge.

September 28th

By lunchtime, the temperature was nudging 20°C on a gloriously sunny, late-September day. Earlier, however, when it was a little cooler, around 7:00, an Osprey visited the harbour and caught a fish at its fourth attempt, then left to the west. The Marsh Harrier was also an early riser, as it moved over the Wick reed bed towards Stanpit. Later, a Merlin dashed across the Long Field. Migration was again limited with not much happening overhead, but a Whinchat, 3 Yellow Wagtail and 6 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill, while across the site were 42 Chiffchaff, 22 Blackcap and a single Whitethroat. The 6 Goosander were in Stanpit Creek and the Brent Goose flock has grown to 25, these off Blackberry Point. A Ruff was opposite Fisherman's Bank and singles of Avocet, Grey Plover and Snipe were on Stanpit, together with 2 Knot, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 23 Ringed Plover and 50 Dunlin.

September 27th

Around 9:00, a Great White Egret flew into Barn Bight where 3 Little Egret and a Grey Heron were already feeding thus providing a golden opportunity for side-by-side comparison of these species. The 6 Goosander were also in Barn Bight for a brief spell before they headed off up river; later these birds were off the Black House. Other than hirundines, there was no clear evidence of overhead movement but migrants settled, mainly on Hengistbury, were 35 Chiffchaff, 30 Blackcap, 3 Wheatear, another four of these on Stanpit, 2 Whinchat and 2 Whitethroat. Waders on Stanpit included 4 Knot, 3 Snipe, an Avocet, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a flock of 100 Lapwing that arrived from the west; also 8 Brent Goose on the marsh. Earlier, a Marsh Harrier was seen from both sides of the harbour.

September 26th

Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail – Steve Hogan
Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher – Steve Hogan
Teal – Clinton Whale (upper) & Chris Chapleo

On another windless and murky day, the biggest surprise by far was a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at the eastern end of Hengistbury mid-morning. Later, the Lesser Yellowlegs was reported by the information services as still being on Priory Marsh. A total of 200 phylloscs was turned in from Hengistbury, but given the day they were almost certainly all Chiffchaff, while other totals from that side of the area came to: 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Whinchat, 3 Wheatear, 3 Whitethroat, 40 Blackcap, a Firecrest and 20 Goldcrest, along with a couple of Treecreeper in the Wood. Meanwhile, a further Spotted Flycatcher, a Yellow Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail and the Bullfinch were at Stanpit. Wildfowl were headed by two pale-bellied Brent Goose and an Eider off Mudeford Quay this evening – also 22 Common Scoter there – with the 6 Goosander and 14 more-conventional Brent Goose at Stanpit. The morning low tide made waders difficult to get to grips with, but singles of Avocet, Knot, Grey Plover, Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit were managed. Rounding up, a Little Grebe was on the Ironstone Quarry, a couple of Buzzard passed over and there were three sightings of Kingfisher. 

September 25th

The Lesser Yellowlegs was again on Priory Marsh, over which 2 Cattle Egret flew; while the Ruff was nearby in Parky Meade Rail. A Curlew Sandpiper was in flight around Stanpit Bight and total of 5 Avocet fed inside the harbour. In addition, a Greenshank was in Holloway’s Dock, the Spotted Redshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Sanderling were at Stanpit, with a further Sanderling and 40 Dunlin on the sandspit. Meanwhile, there was a big influx of 200 Ringed Plover, including a flock of 30 that arrived noisily over Hengistbury. Like the plover, a couple of airborne wisps of Snipe – perhaps 15 birds – were also acting as if they might have just arrived. The best of the passerines was a latish Spotted Flycatcher in the North Scrubs, but also a Whinchat on the old pitch-and-putt course and a Whitethroat. Site-wide totals for Chiffchaff and Blackcap came to just under 50 and 14 respectively. Also in the bushes, the Bullfinch at Stanpit and some small pockets of Goldcrest on Hengistbury. At times, the sky was full of hirundines, with conservative estimates of 125 Swallow and 375 House Martin, as well as 4 Siskin and 2 Yellow Wagtail, all generally east. A Kingfisher was in Parky Meade Rail and an adult Mediterranean Gull flew over there.

Additional news: there were 19 Brent Goose in the harbour.

September 24th

Whinchat – Clinton Whale
Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit – Clinton Whale
Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail – Clinton Whale

Just a couple of days after the moan about wader variety, the first WeBS count of the winter season turned up 18 species! The Lesser Yellowlegs remained on Priory Marsh with its associate Ruff, while a further of those was in Parky Meade Rail. Across the entire area, the totals came to: the Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, 2 Avocet, 8 Knot, 2 Grey Plover, a Sanderling, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 101 Ringed Plover, 67 Dunlin, 2 Snipe, 3 Turnstone, 36 Curlew, 107 Oystercatcher and 162 Redshank; plus uncounted Lapwing to make the number. There was also a good showing of herons; not least a Great White Egret that passed west over Priory Marsh, but 45 Little Egret and 21 Grey Heron. Meanwhile, a male Marsh Harrier inspected the Wick Reeds and a female Bullfinch was in the North Scrubs. The south-easterly breeze prompted some overhead passage – figures from Wick and Hengistbury over a 90-minute spell coming to: 4 Siskin, 60 Linnet, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 9 alba Wagtail, 200 Meadow Pipit, 50 House Martin and 400 Swallow; all east. On the deck, the estimates were 85 Chiffchaff and 10 Blackcap, as well as a couple of Whinchat, a Wheatear and a Whitethroat. Moving back to the censused species and wildfowl, which included: a Goosander, 3 Pintail, 7 Brent Goose and 284 Mallard. Finishing off the birds, a Peregrine took prey, Kingfisher were seen on several occasions and 2 Coot were bobbing on the sea off the sandspit. There are still some odonata on the wing, the best perhaps 2 Migrant Hawker, also a Brown Hawker, 2 Southern Hawker and 5 Common Darter. 

September 23rd

Lesser Yellowlegs Lesser Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs - Olly Frampton (upper) & Alan Crockard

Seeing a Ruff is highlight enough these days, but when it’s realised the bird next to it on Priory Marsh is a Lesser Yellowlegs things get a good bit better. The bird, found just after 4:00, was still present at dusk and is the second harbour record of this North American wader. Earlier, Stanpit Bight had produced: a Curlew Sandpiper, the Spotted Redshank, 6 Knot, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, a Turnstone, 37 Ringed Plover and 75 Dunlin; as well as a Pintail and the Emperor-ish Goose. Also on the Marsh, at least 4 Wheatear, while Wick and Hengistbury returned 21 Chiffchaff and 10 Blackcap. A further 8 Black-tailed Godwit passed south over there.

Additional news: the 6 Goosander were around, a Grey Plover was at Stanpit and Yellow Wagtail were heard several times over Priory Marsh.

September 22nd

Greenshank – Alan Crockard
Blackcap – Alan Crockard

Back in the day, before the algae, at this time of year we sometimes got towards 20 species of wader in a day; so given the declining state of the area’s habitat, today’s variety is probably as good as could be hoped for. The juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was again around Stanpit Bight, as was the Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, a Grey Plover, which for some reason are traditionally a scarce bird here in autumn, 7 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 55 Ringed Plover and 70 Dunlin. In addition, at least 6 Snipe took to the air at various points. Chiffchaff were reasonably plentiful on both sides of the river – a total approaching 50, including one or two in song – as well as 10 Blackcap, a Whitethroat and 4 Wheatear. Overhead, Yellow Wagtail and Grey Wagtail were heard, but didn’t reveal themselves against the blue sky, while 250 Swallow were estimated above Wick. A few alba Wagtail, including one certain White Wagtail, plus a few Meadow Pipit, were touching down on Crouch Hill and a Bullfinch was in the nearby North Scrubs. The six redhead Goosander were again about the marsh, but seemed to have divided into four and two. Finally, the suspect goose, which was first ventured as being a snow goose but is now reckoned to be almost, if not completely, an Emperor Goose again visited.

September 21st

Black-tailed Godwit & Bar-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale
Curlew – Clinton Whale

There was a rather sorry looking Manx Shearwater sat in the mouth of the Run this morning, when for a time it looked as if the gulls may do for it. The bird did, however, seem to regain its energy and move off. Also from Mudeford Quay, an Arctic Tern and a Little Stint seen in flight amongst the sandspit wader gathering. Inside the harbour, a Curlew Sandpiper, the Spotted Redshank, 5 Knot, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and 8 Black-tailed Godwit, as well as around fifty each of Ringed Plover and Dunlin, were present. Four Chiffchaff were returned from Wick and Kingfisher were seen on five occasions.

September 20th 

For the first hour or so of daylight, the weather forecast was spectacularly wrong. Instead of a brisk south-westerly and dry, we experienced almost no breeze and some quite heavy rain! Whatever though, there was a definite arrival of wildfowl; not least 11 Brent Goose - all dark-bellied - seven settled at Stanpit and four west past Mudeford Quay, but also a Goosander and an increase of Wigeon to 86. Also new-in, were a Curlew Sandpiper around Stanpit Bight and a surge of Bar-tailed Godwit to seven. Meanwhile, the Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, 3 Knot, 35 Ringed Plover, around 50 Dunlin, those a mixture of variously-sized juveniles, and 4 Snipe were also on the marsh. A juvenile Little Gull and two similarly-aged Arctic Tern were logged from the quay, while a presumed further of the latter rested briefly on South Marsh, where at one point it sat adjacent to a Common Tern and gave excellent opportunity for structural comparison. Also, at least 3 Common Gull about – singles of juvenile, second-winter and adult plumages. In addition to 8 Yellow Wagtail over Stanpit, five were returned from Hengistbury, where a tit flock on the Batters carried 2 Firecrest, c30 Goldcrest, a Treecreeper and 20 Chiffchaff. Elsewhere on the head, around 60 more Chiffchaff were reckoned as well as 25 Blackcap. Finishing with the regular Kingfisher information – two were around Central Marsh, Stanpit, and one was on the Lily Pond, Hengistbury. 

September 19th

Chiffchaff – Chris Chapleo
Wheatear – Clinton Whale

An Osprey headed south-west over Stanpit at 8:50 this morning, when there were also plenty of Meadow Pipit and Swallow passing through, with a few lingering Sand Martin. In addition to a Whitethroat; Chiffchaff and Blackcap were also present about the marsh. Over on Wick, it was a similar story with 25 Chiffchaff and 15 Blackcap counted, plus a male Whinchat in the No Dogs Field, 10 Goldcrest and 2 Yellow Wagtail. Meanwhile, there were 3 Wheatear on the sandspit. The only wader news comes from there and involves 7 Sanderling, 28 Ringed Plover, 26 Dunlin and 15 Turnstone. Finally, a Kingfisher was watched repeatedly hovering about a pool close to Crouch Hill.  

September 18th

Mediterranean Gull
Juvenile, moulting to first-winter, Mediterranean Gull – Clinton Whale

All the main spots were checked out today; so starting with waders at Stanpit, which included: the Spotted Redshank, a Grey Plover, 4 Knot, a Greenshank, 5 Sanderling, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 36 Ringed Plover and 3 Snipe, while the Dunlin were uncounted. There was also a reasonable presence of duck, not least the 6 Goosander and 5 Shoveler, but in excess 30 Wigeon. Late this afternoon a dark Arctic Skua moved west past Mudeford Quay, from where six settled Common Scoter, all female types, at least 3 Common Tern and an arriving Shelduck were additionally logged. At the same time, there was still a steady passage of Swallow to the east. Winding back to the first couple of hours of daylight, when 13 Yellow Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail and some heard-only Siskin moved over, with settled numbers on Hengistbury coming to 36 Chiffchaff and 11 Blackcap.

Additional news: a flock of 4 Spoonbill headed west past Mudeford Quay at 5:45 tonight.

September 17th

Other than a few migrants on Hengistbury this morning, namely 29 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 7 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail and single Sedge Warbler, Wheatear and Whinchat, all the sightings for the day are from Stanpit. An early walk around the marsh produced Ring Ouzel in the North Scrubs and a Firecrest on the golf course embankment as highlights, with 7 Avocet, 6 Knot and 6 Goosander also being noteworthy. By this afternoon, the Knot count had increased to 13, including an adult, and counts of settled birds totalled 35 Ringed Plover, 22 Dunlin, 49 Lapwing, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank and a single Bar-tailed Godwit; also 33 Wigeon and a Shoveler.

September 16th


A party of 3 Spoonbill flew west over Hengistbury just after 7:30 this morning, then later, around 9:00, a Short-eared Owl came in off the sea and headed west. Otherwise, despite conditions being very similar to yesterday, migration was much lighter with 520 Meadow Pipit, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail and a Tree Pipit overhead, while on the ground were 64 Chiffchaff, 28 Blackcap, 8 Whitethroat, 6 Wheatear and singles of Whinchat, Redstart and Sedge Warbler. All these were on the Hengistbury side of the harbour, also 2 Kingfisher there. On Stanpit this afternoon, the Spotted Redshank was present, together with 2 Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 17 Ringed Plover and 35 Dunlin. Please check back to both the 13th and the 15th for additional news.

September 15th

Kingfisher on the wall at the Clay Pool – Alan Crockard

A light, northerly wind and generally fine weather produced a mega-movement of birds this morning, in particular hirundines and Meadow Pipit. In the two hours between 7:15 and 9:15, 12000 House Martin were counted, also 2500 Meadow Pipit, a further 200 of these were noted later and 1200 Swallow. Less numerous were 50 Sand Martin, 26 Yellow Wagtail, 16 Grey Wagtail, 14 Reed Bunting, 11 alba Wagtail, 6 Siskin, the first of the autumn and 2 Tree Pipit. Of the settled migrants a Tree Sparrow was the pick; the bird perched briefly by Double Dykes before moving off. Chiffchaff was the most numerous with 160 over Wick Fields and Hengistbury, also 37 Blackcap, 17 Wheatear, 6 Whitethroat, 5 Whinchat, four on Whitepits and one in the Bobolink Field, 2 Reed Warbler and a Redstart. The presence of 16 Stonechat on the old pitch-and-putt course was indicative of an influx of this species. Later in the morning, raptors featured strongly with 21 Buzzard over the harbour, also a Peregrine put in an appearance. The 6 Goosander were in Barn Bight and 27 Wigeon were on site. Wader news was fairly sparse with just 7 Grey Plover east, a Greenshank in Holloway's Dock and the Spotted Redshank on Stanpit. Finally, 2 Kingfisher were seen today.

Late news: an evening visit to Mudeford Quay produced an Arctic Skua, 3 Arctic Tern, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and 6 Mediterranean Gull.

September 14th

Goosander at Stanpit yesterday – Steve Hogan and in Barn Bight today – Alan Hayden

An Osprey, the first for a couple of weeks, visited the harbour and put everything to flight around mid-morning. Earlier, 2 Peregrine arrived over Mudeford Quay and 2 Buzzard were seen from Hengistbury. The 6 Goosander were in Barn Bight having moved across the harbour from Mother Siller's Channel. A two-hour sea watch from the quay between 8:30 and 10:30 produced 85 Sandwich Tern moving west and 3 Common Scoter; another 40 Sandwich Tern were offshore at 5:00 this evening. There was a small movement of 62 incoming Meadow Pipit over the quay, while on the ground, over the whole area, just 17 Chiffchaff and 2 Wheatear were recorded. Waders included a Ruff on Stanpit, a Greenshank in Brewer's Creek, a Common Sandpiper on the sandspit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit in Barn Bight and 5 Turnstone also on the sandspit.

September 13th

Arctic Tern
Two shots of Arctic Tern off Mudeford Quay today – Roger Howel
Arctic Tern

After last night's blow it was inevitable that the sea was the focus of interest. The highlight was a juvenile Sabine's Gull that was seen from the Beach Huts moving west around 9:00. This is the first harbour record of this species since 2014. The supporting cast included an adult and three juvenile Arctic Tern, which were present most of the morning off Mudeford Quay, a Roseate Tern, a Black Tern, 132 Sandwich Tern, 12 Common Tern and 2 Red-throated Diver, together with singles of Kittiwake and Mediterranean Gull, plus 11 Common Scoter. The Cattle Egret was again on the Salt Hurns soon after dawn. On Stanpit, 6 Goosander were in Mother Siller's Channel and a Kingfisher was by the Bailey Bridge. The only waders reported were a Greenshank in Holloway's Dock and a Bar-tailed Godwit inside the harbour from the quay. A Tawny Owl and a couple of Hobby were logged at Hengistbury, while Wheatear numbered just two, one on the sandspit and one at Stanpit.

Late news: a Grey Phalarope entered the harbour over Mudeford Quay.

September 12th

Small Copper
Small Copper – Clinton Whale

A Roseate Tern west past Hengistbury was easily the pick of today's sightings. The only other news from the sea is from a late afternoon visit to Mudeford Quay, where a juvenile Arctic Tern was offshore. On a fairly quiet day migrants were hard to come by with just 20 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcap, 6 Wheatear, three either side of the harbour, 2 Willow Warbler and singles of Whitethroat and Reed Warbler, also 4 Grey Wagtail and 3 Yellow Wagtail overhead. The Spotted Redshank was on Stanpit together with 35 each of Dunlin and Ringed Plover, 2 Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Common Sandpiper. On the sandspit later, counts of 61 Ringed Plover and 42 Dunlin were made, presumably there was some overlap here, plus 8 Turnstone and 6 Sanderling. A Little Grebe was on the Ironstone Quarry, 6 Teal were in the harbour and the Peregrine was over Stanpit.

September 11th

Turnstone and Dunlin on the sandspit today – Clinton Whale

A Cattle Egret was with 30 Little Egret on the Salt Hurns soon after dawn, presumably birds that had vacated the Nursery roost. Otherwise the forecast of strong winds, sunshine and showers proved accurate, so the sea was watched from both Mudeford Quay and the Beach Huts for more than four hours. A Balearic Shearwater was seen from the quay and 2 Arctic Skua moved east past the huts, while the first diver of the autumn, a Red-throated Diver, was logged; also a single Fulmar, 2 Wigeon, 3 Arctic Tern, 3 Common Tern, 18 Gannet, 41 Sandwich Tern and a Great Crested Grebe on the sea. A total of 34 Common Scoter included a female on the sea, 28 west and five east. The adult Spotted Redshank was again opposite Fisherman's Bank, but few other waders were present on Stanpit with just 26 Ringed Plover, 18 Dunlin, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Black-tailed Godwit. Later this afternoon, however, the sandspit held 75 Dunlin, 47 Ringed Plover and 8 Turnstone. There were just 2 Wheatear, these on Whitepits, while a mixed flock in the Wood had 8 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest and 2 Blackcap.

September 10th

Fortunately the weather held for the Members' Day activities this morning, so given the reasonable conditions there was a good selection of common migrants around. There were 5 Whinchat, four in the Whitepits area and one in the Bobolink Field, plus two each of Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher; also 97 Chiffchaff, 63 Blackcap, 26 Wheatear, 22 Whitethroat and 4 Sedge Warbler, all on Hengistbury and Wick, while another 20 Blackcap and 4 Sedge Warbler were on Stanpit. Hirundines moving south through the harbour were counted from Stanpit for an hour from 7:30 onwards, the totals being 2000 Swallow, 250 House Martin and 130 Sand Martin. Other overhead movers were 320 Meadow Pipit, 25 Yellow Wagtail, 9 Grey Wagtail and 6 Tree Pipit. The ringing demonstration, which ran from 6:30-10:00, yielded 69 birds, the highlight of which was a Sparrowhawk that took some careful handling! Chiffchaff was the most numerous species trapped with 27 birds, also 13 Sedge Warbler, 10 Blackcap and a couple of Cetti's Warbler. At least 2 Black Tern were seen occasionally from Mudeford Quay and two juvenile Little Gull were offshore late in the morning. Otherwise, there were 43 Gannet, 65 Sandwich Tern, including settled birds, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and a Common Scoter on the sea. A late afternoon visit to the quay found a juvenile Roseate Tern that entered the harbour through the Run. Waders today included 20 Sanderling on the sandspit, 3 Greenshank in Holloway's Dock, a Ruff in flight with the Lapwing flock, 30 Ringed Plover and 7 Dunlin. The 2 Raven put in an appearance and up to 3 Kingfisher were about.

September 9th

Southern Hawker
Southern Hawker at Hengistbury – Chris Chapleo

It was a much better morning with good numbers of common migrants across Wick Fields and Hengistbury. A Pied Flycatcher moved over Double Dykes and a Whinchat was on Whitepits while the totals were 57 Chiffchaff, 16 Blackcap, 12 Whitethroat, 3 Wheatear and 3 Spotted Flycatcher, also in the wood were two each of Firecrest, Treecreeper and Coal Tit. Another 3 Wheatear were on Stanpit. Overhead were just 4 Tree Pipit, 2 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Grey Wagtail. There were still 2 Black Tern amongst a couple of dozen Sandwich Tern off Mudeford Quay, also a juvenile Mediterranean Gull passed there and a couple of Teal were on the sea. There were up to a hundred Sandwich Tern inside the harbour with seventy on "The Flats" and thirty around Stanpit, although timing differences probably mean there was some duplication. Similarly with Ringed Plover possible duplication and timing was a problem as three counts were made, 45 on the sandspit, 18 on "The Flats" and 79 from Fisherman's Bank. A Ruff flew west over Hengistbury and the Spotted Redshank was opposite Fisherman's Bank, also present were 43 Dunlin, 2 Knot and 2 Whimbrel plus 8 Sanderling on the sandspit.

September 8th

Black Tern
Black Tern off Mudeford Quay today – Roger Howell
Wheatear on Crouch Hill – Clinton Whale

A couple of Black Tern again lingered offshore this morning but further birds also arrived from the east and moved straight through. Hence it was difficult to arrive at a figure but seven was considered a reasonable total. A Merlin that crossed the bay from east to west was seen from Mudeford Quay, also from there a skua was seen too briefly to identify but Arctic was the most likely. Otherwise the combined totals from the Quay and the beach huts, all mainly west, were 95 Sandwich Tern, 60 Gannet, 26 Common Scoter, nine of these east, 4 Common Tern and 2 juvenile Mediterranean Gull plus 2 Kingfisher from the huts. A flock of 12 Black-tailed Godwit was in The Run at low tide and 2 Greenshank were in Holloway's Dock while the sandspit held 45 Ringed Plover, 37 Dunlin, 8 Sanderling and 4 Turnstone. Needless to say given the weather there were very few migrants with just 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap and 2 Wheatear, one on the sandspit and one on Crouch Hill.

September 7th

Migration certainly picked up this morning with probably the best overhead passage of the autumn so far; also a decent fall of Blackcap with 115 birds spread across Wick Fields and Hengistbury. The numbers were 220 Swallow, 210 Meadow Pipit, 94 Yellow Wagtail, 23 Tree Pipit and 7 Grey Wagtail, while grounded were 27 Chiffchaff, 11 Garden Warbler, 10 Whitethroat, 6 Wheatear, 5 Firecrest, 2 Redstart, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and singles of Lesser Whitethroat, Whinchat and Reed Warbler, all these on Hengistbury. There was another Wheatear and a couple of Yellow Wagtail on Stanpit. Offshore, it was quieter although a Great Skua passed by the Beach Huts and 3 Black Tern were still off the Mudeford Quay; another 2 Black Tern were seen inside the harbour later in the day. Also from the quay 20 Gannet and 20 Sandwich Tern moved west and 5 Common Scoter headed into the Solent. Mudeford Sandspit held 8 Sanderling and a Knot, also 2 Greenshank were on the Salt Hurns. On Stanpit, the wader selection included two each of Common Sandpiper and Whimbrel, plus singles of Knot, Sanderling, Black-tailed Godwit and Bar-tailed Godwit. Earlier, two each of Common and Green Sandpiper passed over Hengistbury. A Tawny Owl was being mobbed by a Jay at the eastern end of the head and the Merlin was seen again this morning. The Wigeon count was 24 and 8 Teal were on Stanpit, where 271 Canada Geese were logged. To round up, 2 Treecreeper and a Coal Tit were in the Wood at Hengistbury.

September 6th

This morning, the sea was watched from Mudeford Quay from dawn until around 1:00. A juvenile Arctic Tern and 5 Black Tern were offshore in a mixed feeding flock of gulls and terns. The flock, which also held 25 Sandwich Tern, 15 Common Tern and a few Gannet, moved slowly west, while 5 Common Scoter headed east. Two juvenile Curlew Sandpiper were on the sandspit, together with 5 Sanderling and 2 Knot. A further 3 Knot were seen from Fisherman's Bank, also a juvenile Spotted Redshank, while Stanpit held 50 Ringed Plover, 50 Dunlin, 3 Whimbrel and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. Visible migration over Hengistbury saw the first Meadow Pipit passage of the autumn with 85 birds logged, plus 12 Yellow Wagtail, 11 Tree Pipit and 9 Grey Wagtail, with a further five of these over the quay, while hirundines checked in with 340 Swallow and 130 Sand Martin. Settled were 37 Willow Warbler, 35 Chiffchaff, 5 Whitethroat and 4 Wheatear, three on the sandspit and one on Crouch Hill. It was a good morning for raptors with 2 Marsh Harrier and singles of Peregrine and Hobby all seen from Hengistbury. The lone Brent Goose and the adult Shelduck were both still on site and there are now 21 Wigeon, with a further seven north. Finally, 2 Kingfisher were logged today and there was a Common Gull on Stanpit.

Evening update: A Wheatear was by the Coastguards and there were 8 Sanderling on the sandspit.

September 5th

Sand Martin
It was an absolute surprise to see Sand Martin
still in a burrow this morning– Clinton Whale
Ringed Plover & Dunlin
Ringed Plover and Dunlin – Clinton Whale

An increasing south-westerly wind served to keep above-average-interest terns coming to the area. A feeding flock that comprised mainly Black-headed Gull and around 40 Sandwich Tern patrolled up and down the sandspit for most of the day. The lingering Black Tern were reckoned at five birds, but more may have been involved. For example, a group of six passed by briefly far out to sea. At least 2 Arctic Tern were also in the mix, while this evening an adult Little Gull and an Arctic Skua joined for some time. Throughout the day, a Fulmar, a Common Tern, 5 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Gull and a couple of Common Scoter were also seen over the water. A Merlin was again around, today seen over the Salt Hurns, and an Osprey passed east over the area late this afternoon. Inside the harbour, the Spotted Redshank, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit – two juveniles joining the regular adult, 8 Knot – five settled birds joined by a further three that arrived over the quay, a Common Sandpiper, 31 Ringed Plover and 29 Dunlin were logged, with 2 Greenshank and 6 Sanderling between Holloway’s Dock and the midpoint of the sandspit. The wind meant passerines largely kept their heads down, although a Spotted Flycatcher, a Whinchat and 3 Yellow Wagtail were noted. The Brent Goose that arrived on Sunday was at Stanpit, along with 18 Wigeon.

September 4th

Juvenile Sanderling – Clinton Whale

Yesterday’s wind dropped off almost completely and Black Tern were a feature of the morning, at least. A minimum of five were about – all together off Mudeford Quay for a while – but two birds were resting on buoys inside the harbour and one settled on South Marsh. Of those seen well enough to age, two were moulting adults and one was a juvenile. The first Curlew Sandpiper of the season was on the sandspit, viewable from the northern end of the quay, as was a minimum of 14 Sanderling; while a Ruff, the Spotted Redshank, 3 Knot, the Bar-tailed Godwit, 45 Ringed Plover and 40 Dunlin were at Stanpit, a Green Sandpiper was on Wick meadows and 2 Greenshank were over Hengistbury. An Osprey headed directly west over the area at around 8:15 and it was a good day for small falcons – a Merlin came in from the north towards the Nursery, then about-turned and headed back again, and 2 Hobby were logged from Stanpit. Passerines on Wick came to: 2 Yellow Wagtail, 7 Chiffchaff and 6 Blackcap; 3 Teal left to the west; and 2 Kingfisher were in Barn Bight. Of mammal interest, at least 5 Bottle-nosed Dolphin, including two calves, and a Grey Seal were off Mudeford Quay late in the afternoon.

Omission: a juvenile Arctic Tern and a single Common Scoter were seen from Mudeford Quay.

September 3rd

Redshank in today's constant rain – Clinton Whale

An onshore, south-easterly breeze prompted the first sea-watching for a couple of weeks. From the Beach Huts, singles of Arctic Skua and Manx Shearwater were seen, while Mudeford Quay returned 2 Fulmar, 2 Mediterranean Gull and 7 Common Scoter. Two Spoonbill, an adult and a juvenile, headed west over the quay and then straight through over the HHC. It’s amazing, given the conditions, there are any records from Stanpit, but a Ruff was by the Bailey Bridge this afternoon and the Spotted Redshank was off Fisherman’s Bank. Earlier, a couple of Common Sandpiper had been hanging around the Run. The only passerine news comes from Wick, where 17 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler and 5 Blackcap were present, as were 2 Kingfisher on Wick Hams.

Additional news: a Brent Goose arrived over the Barn Field, and a Treecreeper plus 3 Goldcrest were in the Wood.

September 2nd

Two Tree Sparrow flew from Stanpit towards the Two Riversmeet leisure centre at 4:00 this afternoon, while around 1:20 a Honey Buzzard soared high over the harbour and then drifted south east. Also after lunch, an adult Spotted Redshank was in Stanpit Bight – perhaps the regular bird returning for its 12th winter? Other waders around the bight included: four juvenile Knot, 2 Whimbrel, the adult Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Ringed Plover and 85 Dunlin; while a total of 3 Greenshank, two of them in Holloway’s Dock, were on the Hengistbury side. Migrant passerines were headed by a Garden Warbler at Stanpit, a Redstart in the No Dogs Field and a Whinchat on the Barn Field, but also a site total of 17 Wheatear, a Reed Warbler, 4 Willow Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, 10 Whitethroat and 6 Blackcap. A Tree Pipit and 6 Yellow Wagtail went over, with eight of the latter settled on South Marsh. The Wigeon crept up to 14 birds, all in Barn Bight, where there was a Great Crested Grebe, and 5 Teal were in Mother Siller’s Channel.

September 1st

Ruff on the algae-obscured mud at Stanpit – Clinton Whale

Starting with Stanpit and Crouch Hill, where this morning out of nine alba Wagtail three were White Wagtail; plus 3 Yellow Wagtail there and 5 Wheatear. Close by, in the North Scrubs, there were 3 Spotted Flycatcher and a Garden Warbler. Over on Hengistbury and Wick, there was a Spotted Flycatcher in the No Dogs Field and a Garden Warbler on the Long Field, as well as a further of the latter ringed, and 2 Wheatear. Meanwhile, site-wide totals for the more common fare came to: 29 Willow Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 13 Whitethroat, 10 Sedge Warbler, a Reed Warbler, a Tree Pipit, 11 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Grey Wagtail. Fairly early on, a Marsh Harrier left Wick Meadows to the north and 3 Avocet were watched arriving onto Stanpit, while a Greenshank and a Snipe circled the top of the head. Late in the afternoon, a Ruff was at Stanpit. The customary Kingfisher mention involves two birds by the Wooden Bridge on Wick and one by the Bailey Bridge at Stanpit.

August 31st

There was a fair mix of birds at Stanpit this morning, including a Wood Sandpiper roosting on South Marsh, a Garganey in Parky Meade Rail and a White Wagtail on Crouch Hill. Meanwhile, a Garden Warbler and 2 Spotted Flycatcher were in the North Scrubs and a Whinchat, 5 Wheatear and 3 Yellow Wagtail were on the hill. On the other side of the area, a Redstart was in the Long Field, a Lesser Whitethroat was on Wick and a Whinchat was on the Barn Field, with commoner species coming to: the first obvious migrant Goldcrest of the season, 21 Willow Warbler, 17 Chiffchaff, 20 Blackcap, 10 Whitethroat, 2 Reed Warbler, a Sedge Warbler and 6 Wheatear; plus 2 Tree Pipit, a Grey Wagtail and 17 Yellow Wagtail over. More incoming wildfowl were logged – the best being 4 Pintail that circuited the area, but also 5 Shoveler and 6 Wigeon about. The adult, male Bar-tailed Godwit remains in Stanpit Bight, along with a Common Sandpiper, 8 Whimbrel, 19 Ringed Plover and 60 Dunlin. The juvenile Bullfinch again fed on berries close to Long Field; 2 Kingfisher were around; and 2 Buzzard were over harbour airspace this afternoon.

August 30th

Nightjar, on the verge of the recording area in Rolls Drive – Chris Noyes

Cloud dominated all day, with showers late in the morning. The best came late on, when a Short-eared Owl alighted in the Barn Field after approaching from the Wick Hams direction. Earlier, the photographed Nightjar may have been visible from inside the recording area and a Spoonbill was seen briefly as it arrived from the west. A mild variety of passerines were at Stanpit, including a Pied Flycatcher, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, a Whinchat and 9 Wheatear, while a further Wheatear, 22 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Grey Wagtail were returned from the other side of the river. The waders about the marsh were checked from Fisherman’s Bank and South Marsh, comprising: 2 Greenshank, 2 Knot, a Grey Plover, a Sanderling, a Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Ringed Plover, 56 Dunlin and 3 Snipe. Finishing with wildfowl, the totals of winter duck came to: 2 Shoveler, 7 Wigeon and 5 Teal.

August 29th

Redstart – Leo Pyke
Greenshank – Alan Crockard

There was another Wood Sandpiper record this morning – a bird over the Wick meadows. Otherwise, it was once again relatively quiet. The pick of the passerines on Hengistbury and Wick were 3 Redstart and a Spotted Flycatcher, but also 19 Blackcap, 19 Whitethroat and 3 Sedge Warbler. There were also 35 phylloscs logged – that term being used as there seemed to be a proportion of Chiffchaff in those that were grilled. Overhead, there were 3 Tree Pipit, 15 Yellow Wagtail and a Grey Wagtail, plus around 75 lingering House Martin. The Wigeon nudged up to three birds and at least 9 Teal arrived. Rook are now roosting again in the Nursery, with small numbers being logged on Crouch Hill, Stanpit, during the evening. Please check back to yesterday for some additional news.

August 28th

Stonechat – Clinton Whale

On another hot day, there seemed to be even fewer birds around than yesterday. Although there were around 35 Yellow Wagtail settled about Wick Meadows, just six passed over the more expected areas; while 3 Grey Wagtail and 3 Tree Pipit did likewise. Other than 5 Wheatear and 10 Willow Warbler, there is little else worth mentioning in terms of settled passerines. A Firecrest was again seen, but today in the more characteristic location of the Wood, where it uttered some subdued song. It was actually a fair day for the less-common, freshwater waders – a couple of Wood Sandpiper passed over the No Dogs Field and a Green Sandpiper was seen from the viewing-platform on Wick. Also around, a Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, a Bar-tailed Godwit, at least one Black-tailed Godwit, a dozen Ringed Plover, c20 Dunlin and 7 Snipe. The 2 Wigeon remain, plus 7 Teal and 3 Gadwall at Stanpit; two juvenile Mediterranean Gull were logged; Kingfisher were seen from the viewing-platform, on Wick Hams and in Barn Bight; and the Raven total was three. Please check back to the last couple of days for some added news.

Additional news: a Little Gull was at Stanpit in the evening, along with 5 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper and 2 Whimbrel.

August 27th

A good few, collective hours on a warm Hengistbury and Wick this morning could have been spent more productively, to say the least. Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit came to 15 and seven respectively, while the best on the deck were a couple of Whinchat flycatching from a barbed-wire fence in Wick Hams, 5 Wheatear on the Barn Field and a calling Bullfinch on the Long Field, where a juvenile was seen yesterday. Meanwhile, a further Tree Pipit was in Stanpit Scrubs and up to 6 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill. A Swift went over, as did a mixture of martins but Swallow were the dominant hirundine. The only wader news from the morning was of 3 Sanderling by the Long Groyne, while this evening, on Stanpit, there were singles of Whimbrel, Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit; plus around 35 Yellow Wagtail and an obliging Kingfisher in Mother Siller’s Channel. 

Omission: a Nuthatch was calling from the eastern side of the Driving Range in the morning.

August 26th

Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher – Steve Hogan
Jay – Clinton Whale

Firstly, the news from Stanpit where there were 3 Wood Sandpiper, a Grasshopper Warbler and a Hobby. No further details are known, however. There was an August surprise on Wick – a migrant Firecrest at the western end of the fields, where 2 Garden Warbler and 3 Spotted Flycatcher were also present. A further Garden Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat were in the No Dogs Field, while the Long Field hosted another Garden Warbler, a Redstart and 2 Spotted Flycatcher, with a Whinchat in the Barn Field. The Yellow Wagtail estimate for the west side of the river is a minimum of 70, including another high-flying, dawn flock, today around 30 birds, moving west; also 4 Tree Pipit and a Grey Wagtail. In the order of 100 Sand Martin quickly passed over the HHC, a Swift and a few House Martin were over Wick, and Swallow were ever present. A total of 13 Grey Heron headed into the Nursery at dawn, making one wonder if they had been feeding nocturnally; the Raven went one better with eight; 4 Shelduck left to the south west; and a couple of Kingfisher were seen – by the Wooden Bridge and in Barn Bight.

Additional news: 3 Spoonbill were at Stanpit in the evening.

August 25th

Raven – Leo Pyke

It was a reasonable day for large birds, not least Osprey. The first inkling there was at least one about came during a couple of periods of frenzy above the harbour; although a bird couldn’t be picked out, there was almost certainly a mullet-hawk around.  A little later, one coasted east and headed inland over Highcliffe, while one visited Stanpit just after 6:00 tonight. Just after first light, a flock of 5 Spoonbill headed west and a male Marsh Harrier, first seen on a post on Priory Marsh, later soared high and north. Looking at the plumage of that bird, it could well be the individual that has spent the last two winters here, but time will tell. Yellow Wagtail were again a feature – at least 45 over Hengistbury this morning, including a flock of 24 over Double Dykes in the gloaming, plus around ten on Stanpit with the ponies this afternoon – as well as 2 Grey Wagtail and a minimum of 18 Tree Pipit, but possibly more of those. Also over, a single Swift, several House Martin and a day-long trickle of Swallow. On the deck, there were: singles of Redstart and Grasshopper Warbler, 50 Willow Warbler, 25 Whitethroat, 10 Blackcap and 5 Wheatear, all on Hengistbury and Wick; with Stanpit adding 2 Spotted Flycatcher, a Garden Warbler and a further 7 Wheatear, plus a few more each of Willow Warbler, Whitethroat and Blackcap. Wader-wise, there were singles of Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper and Greenshank over the head; a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Common Sandpiper, a Whimbrel, around 20 Dunlin and 14 Snipe at Stanpit; and a further Whimbrel in Holloway’s Dock. A Pochard was the best of the duck, but also 2 Wigeon and 2 Teal at Stanpit; the Red-legged Partridge was on the Long Field; and, after being dismissed yesterday, the 2 Raven were joined by five more.

August 24th

Recently-fledged Swallow on Wick – Roger Howell
Lesser Whitethroat
Lesser Whitethroat – Gary Foyle

A fair morning saw a good number of Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit over many parts of the area. On the Hengistbury/Wick side of the river, 41 and 11 respectively were returned, while Stanpit came in with 28 and 7. Some duplication may have occurred, but it’s not easy to determine how much. Also over, 2 Swift, 2 House Martin and 90 Swallow. A decent selection of birds was also decked – the following from Wick and the western portion of Hengistbury: 4 Redstart, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Whinchat, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 20 Whitethroat, 4 Blackcap, 5 Sedge Warbler, 25 Willow Warbler and 3 Chiffchaff, the latter all in song. Meanwhile, the only Wheatear for the day, six birds, were all on Crouch Hill, Stanpit. It seems little attention was given to waders, but four airborne wisps of Snipe numbering 2, 4, 5 and 8 were logged, as were 14 Greenshank, 12 of those over the Barn Field, a Common Sandpiper and 6 Black-tailed Godwit. Incoming wildfowl included 5 Shoveler north and 5 Teal in Parky Meade Rail; a Yellow-legged Gull was about; a Red-legged Partridge was vocal in the Nursery; and singles of Kingfisher and Shelduck were at Stanpit. The 2 Raven make their last entry as a website bird.

August 23rd

Sanderling – Clinton Whale
Little Egret
Little Egret – Roger Howell
Swallow – Leo Pyke

A juvenile Black Tern was seen at Stanpit this morning, as were 18 Common Sandpiper – those soon reducing to just two – a couple of Ruff and a Green Sandpiper. There were also two of the latter at Wick and a fine total of Greenshank – 11 west and three settled – was returned. In addition: a Knot, a Grey Plover, 5 Whimbrel and 50+ Dunlin were on the marsh; a further Knot and a Black-tailed Godwit were logged from Hengistbury; and 17 Sanderling and 14 Ringed Plover were on the sandspit. Warblers were at a real premium, however – all species in single figures – but there were 2 Spotted Flycatcher, a Redstart, a Whinchat and 5 Wheatear, mainly on Hengistbury, plus 7 Yellow Wagtail and 4 Swift over. A group of 7 Common Tern moved west, while four rested in the harbour, as did a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and a Common Gull. It almost goes without saying, the 2 Raven were about.

August 22nd

Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher – Leo Pyke
Greenshank – Clinton Whale
...and Bullfinch - never an easy bird to see in the area – Leo Pyke
Once again, it seemed to take a while to get going this morning, but in the end a total of 9 Spotted Flycatcher was reached; spread between the Bobolink Field and the Nursery. There was also a Redstart on the Long Field, as well as 15 Blackcap, 15 Whitethroat and 13 Willow Warbler scattered about, plus a couple of Garden Warbler at Stanpit, and 2 Yellow Wagtail and a Swift over. There is no wader news from Stanpit, but a Grey Plover, 2 Greenshank and 5 Black-tailed Godwit moved east, while a further Greenshank and 2 Whimbrel were in the Holloway’s Dock area, and 2 Sanderling, 16 Ringed Plover and 10 Turnstone were on the sandspit. On Wick, 3 Bullfinch were a bit of a treat, at least 5 Water Rail were seen there – two of them from the viewing-platform – and the now expected 2 Raven make the post.

August 21st

Common Lizard
Common Lizard – Nick Whitehouse
Slow Worm
...and Slow Worm, both on Hengistbury today – Nick Whitehouse

Other than a sub-singing Reed Warbler in Double Dykes, 4 Sedge Warbler and a handful of Whitethroat, the first 90 minutes of daylight were a dead loss on Hengistbury. Things picked up a little later, however, not least on the Bobolink Field in the early afternoon, when a Grasshopper Warbler and 2 Redstart were present. In addition, between there and the Wood, a Spotted Flycatcher, 10 Whitethroat, 14 Blackcap, 11 Willow Warbler, a further out-of-reeds Reed Warbler and 2 Wheatear were noted. Overhead, mainly above Wick, there were: a Yellow Wagtail, 4 Swift, 200 House Martin, 50 Sand Martin and 75 Swallow; while a male Marsh Harrier, presumably a local bird, headed north over Two Riversmeet. A very modest, westbound movement of Common Tern was noted – 35 from Mudeford Quay and six through the harbour – with a juvenile Kittiwake tagging along. Keeping with terns, 21 Sandwich Tern were counted at Stanpit, but this evening over 70 were feeding off the quay, where a couple of Yellow-legged Gull were logged. Waders at Stanpit comprised: 2 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel, 3 Sanderling, a Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Ringed Plover and 20 Dunlin; the two Wigeon and at least one Shelduck were also there; a Kingfisher was on Wick Hams; and the 2 Raven again feature.

August 20th

Common Sandpiper
Adult Common Sandpiper, still with hints of breeding plumage – Clinton Whale
Grey Seal
It was around this time last year that a (the?) Grey Seal appeared
way upriver in the Clay Pool. Here's a record shot from this morning,
when the animal seemed quite unperturbed by the river traffic – Alan Crockard

There weren’t quite so many birds around today, although a total of 21 Yellow Wagtail on Wick is notable, as were the first two, returning-for-the-winter Wigeon on Stanpit. Moving back to the passerines, a further 3 Yellow Wagtail and 5 Tree Pipit were over Hengistbury, while 23 Willow Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 22 Sedge Warbler and 3 Wheatear were returned from across the area. Hirundine passage has yet to get going, but there were 10 or so House Martin lingering above Wick Fields. The only wader report from Stanpit involves the photographed Common Sandpiper; with 4 Ringed Plover, a Dunlin and 6 Redshank seen to leave over the Barn Field. Juvenile Dartford Warbler are currently very, very conspicuous – suggesting a bumper season – the Barn and Long Fields being particularly good spots to catch up with them. Finishing up, a Peregrine hunted the area and the 2 Raven were logged.

Correction: there was a typo in the Wick Yellow Wagtail report as we received it - it should have read two.

August 19th

A Great White Egret was seen briefly this morning, when if flew up from behind the new viewing-platform on Wick and headed upriver. Despite the overnight westerly wind, there was a nice selection of migrants to be seen, including: a young male Redstart and Whinchat on the Barn Field, 2 Garden Warbler and a further Redstart on Wick, a Lesser Whitethroat in the Long Field, 28 Willow Warbler and 2 Wheatear, and 6 Tree Pipit and 9 Yellow Wagtail over. Also of interest, was a Bullfinch calling from somewhere on the Batters. A total of 3 Green Sandpiper was returned – two on Wick meadows and one over Barn Bight – and Kingfisher were seen in the bight and by the Wooden Bridge.

August 18th

A strong south-westerly wind meant passerines largely kept their heads down this morning, although there were 2 Tree Pipit over Wick, a Yellow Wagtail over Mudeford Quay and a Wheatear on the sandspit. Meanwhile, a Turtle Dove was at Stanpit. The sea was quiet, to say the least, with just singles of Common Scoter and Common Tern, plus an arriving Whimbrel and two westbound Greenshank, being logged in over two hours. The Stanpit waders included, throughout the day: a Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 14 Sanderling, 7 Whimbrel, 22 Ringed Plover and 30 Dunlin; while 3 Greenshank were in Holloway’s Dock. Just one Mediterranean Gull, a juvenile, makes the post, a Great Crested Grebe was in Barn Bight and a Raven croaked its way over the quay.

August 17th

Drizzle and a westerly wind started the day, but at least a couple of trips were made to Stanpit. The Wood Sandpiper again moved between South Marsh and Priory Marsh, and a couple of Green Sandpiper were returned. In addition, there were 7 Whimbrel, 11 Sanderling, a Common Sandpiper, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 23 Ringed Plover and 3 Snipe, while 3 Greenshank were in Barn Bight and a further Common Sandpiper was on the sandspit. Seawatching produced little more than 8 Common Scoter, a few Common Tern, a westerly trickle of Sandwich Tern and around 80 Gannet, those also westbound. A Yellow-legged Gull was on Mudeford Quay early on, a Kingfisher was in Barn Bight, 3 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill and the 2 Raven were about.

August 16th

Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper – Clinton Whale
The Linnet flock on Stanpit now numbers around fifty – Clinton Whale

On a grey, still and insect-ridden morning, the Long Field on Hengistbury was the place to be. Passerines there included: a Pied Flycatcher, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Lesser Whitethroat and a Garden Warbler. Nearby, a Whinchat was on the Barn Field, while around 30 Whitethroat and 7 Willow Warber were across both areas. Overhead, single Tree Pipit passed over Wick and Stanpit, where 2 Yellow Wagtail and a Grey Wagtail were also logged. The only sighting of the Wood Sandpiper was when it alighted in front of the photographer for 30 seconds at Stanpit, with further wader interest on the marsh coming from: a Grey Plover and a Bar-tailed Godwit both in breeding plumage, 2 Greenshank, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 22 Dunlin. Rounding up, a Yellow-legged Gull was on Blackberry Point, a Mediterranean Gull left the area and a couple of Kingfisher plus a Rook were at Stanpit.

Additional news: 17 Ringed Plover arrived late in the afternoon.

August 15th

Little Grebe
Little Grebe – Alan Crockard

There was a nice concentration of birds by the HHC for a while this morning, including 4 Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler and 2 Reed Warbler. Close by, on Wick, there were 5 Willow Warbler and 8 Blackcap, 35 Whitethroat were reckoned across Hengistbury and 4 Wheatear were across the site. On Stanpit, as the tide ebbed during the morning, the Wood Sandpiper was again with the roosting waders along the southern edge of the bight, along with 3 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper and a Black-tailed Godwit. Otherwise though it’s just bits and pieces: Barn Bight hosted 5 Common Tern; a Swift, 40 House Martin 120 Sand Martin, 70 Swallow, 2 Tree Pipit and a Yellow Wagtail were overhead; Buzzard were conspicuous – two this morning and one this afternoon; 3 Teal were about; and the regular 2 Raven toured.

Later news from Stanpit: a total of 3 Garden Warbler and 12 Water Rail was returned.  

August 14th

Wheatear – Jean Southworth

After a series of flight-only records, a Wood Sandpiper was pinned down for about an hour this afternoon in Stanpit Bight, with the roosting Redshank and Dunlin, before it relocated to Priory Marsh. Other waders for the day, mostly in and around the bight, included: 4 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 4 Sanderling, 3 Whimbrel, a juvenile Black-tailed Godwit, plus 19 west, 21 Ringed Plover, 63 Dunlin and 2 Snipe. Migrant passerines were sparse to say the least; for example, just 3 Yellow Wagtail, those with ponies on Priory Marsh, 2 Tree Pipit, 4 Wheatear, 6 Willow Warbler, 10 Sedge Warbler and 2 Reed Warbler being the return for quite a bit effort. Overhead, at least 5 Swift moved through, but it was unclear as to whether a coming-and-going over hirundines over Wick constituted a movement. A couple of Mediterranean Gull were on South Marsh, a Raven passed over the North Scrubs and a Kingfisher fished from a buoy in Barn Bight.

Omission: 3 Yellow-legged Gull were at Mudeford Quay between 8:30 and 8:45, and a further bird flew over the HHC. All were juveniles.

August 13th

Goldfinch – Clinton Whale
Wheatear – Clinton Whale

There were a couple more Wood Sandpiper sightings today; firstly, one north over Ashtree Meadow, then one east off the HHC mudbar. Other waders included: a Knot in breeding plumage, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 10 Whimbrel, a Sanderling, the first two juvenile Black-tailed Godwit of the year, plus nine north, 7 Ringed Plover, 57 Dunlin and a Snipe. Moving to passerines: a Garden Warbler was in the North Scrubs, a couple of Lesser Whitethroat were by the HHC, at least 25 Willow Warbler were on site, some of them in song, and 3 Wheatear, 10 Blackcap, 15 Sedge Warbler and 10 or so Reed Warbler were spread about. The presumed resident of the latter still in song on Stanpit. Meanwhile, a couple of House Martin and 55 Swallow were logged overhead. Rounding up: at least 4 Teal were around, a young Shelduck remains, there were two similarly aged Mediterranean Gull, the Peregrine was on The Priory, two Raven passed over and just under 50 Sandwich Tern rested at Stanpit.

Omission: a Yellow Wagtail was at Stanpit.

August 12th

It took a while for the breeze to get going this morning and before it did the biting insects bordered on the intolerable. A two-toned crow feeding on the exposed mud in the harbour, firstly in Barn Bight and then on Blackberry Point, was considered to be good for Hooded Crow. Meanwhile, a Spoonbill headed south-west over Hengistbury. Otherwise, however, it was hard going – the best of the reported passerines being 2 Garden Warbler on Wick, 9 Willow Warbler and a Wheatear on Crouch Hill. Overhead, a couple of Swift moved through, as did 14 Black-tailed Godwit. At Stanpit, there were 2 Greenshank, uncounted Whimbrel, 7 Ringed Plover and 35 Dunlin. Contrasting the spring and autumn were a still-singing Reed Warbler by the Bailey Bridge, a drake Shoveler in eclipse and 3 Teal. At least 2 Kingfisher were about, but possibly more.

August 11th

After a still, clear start, by mid-afternoon an increasing south-westerly wind brought full cloud cover with it. Tringa sandpipers again featured at Stanpit, namely a Wood Sandpiper over Crouch Hill and appearing to come down on East Marsh this afternoon and a flock of 4 Green Sandpiper over Central Marsh and seemingly onto North Marsh in the morning. Meanwhile, other waders included: 14 Sanderling and 6 Turnstone on the sandspit; plus 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, several Whimbrel, a Ringed Plover and 40 Dunlin around Stanpit Bight; and at least 40 Black-tailed Godwit moving through. The best of the settled passerines were 4 Garden Warbler – three at Stanpit and one on Wick – and a Lesser Whitethroat by the HHC. Otherwise, it was hard going; for example an hour by the HHC produced just 5 Willow Warbler coming off the head, with the final totals for the area west of the Wood and onto Wick being: a further 27 Willow Warbler, 19 Whitethroat, a couple in song, as was one of the uncounted Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 4 Sedge Warbler and 2 Reed Warbler. More ‘acros’ were ringed, however, with a higher proportion of ‘reeds’ than of late. Moving to the miscellany: the low spring tide meant a good count of Water Rail, 14; a Common Tern rested inside the harbour; a total of 4 Mediterranean Gull was logged; and 2 Raven passed over.

Omission: a Yellow Wagtail and 2 Tree Pipit went over Hengistbury and 2 Wheatear were on the sandspit.

August 10th

Kestrel – Matthew Barfield

Clear skies dominated, but early on gloves were actually a consideration in a less-than-warm, north-easterly breeze. A Nightingale was on Hengistbury, on the Long Field, plus 2 Cuckoo, 18 Wheatear, 25 Willow Warbler and 32 Whitethroat there. For a brief moment, when a Garden Warbler warmed itself in the North Scrubs, it looked as if there may be passerines at Stanpit; but 3 Wheatear, a Willow Warbler and a Whitethroat later those hopes vanished. The marsh again received good coverage, the wader maxima being: 2 Greenshank, 10 Whimbrel, 5 Ringed Plover, 40 Dunlin, a Snipe, 40 Lapwing and a decent count of 132 Redshank. In addition: 3 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Common Tern and 5 Teal were at Stanpit; the Peregrine was on The Priory; and 2 Raven passed over.

Additional news: a couple of Swift lingered over Stanpit in the morning.

August 9th

Turnstone – Clinton Whale
Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover – Clinton Whale

During the course of a wet day, Stanpit was pretty well covered but it was the period 9:45-11:00 that produced all the action. The totals from that visit being: a Wood Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpiper, a Spotted Redshank, 5 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, a Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Ringed Plover and 45 Dunlin; as well as 2 Raven.

August 8th

Grey Wagtail
Grey Wagtail – Alan Crockard
Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail – Alan Crockard
...and some of the 21 Sanderling on the sandspit – Clinton Whale

A light, north wind and on-and-off drizzle made things a little difficult today. At Stanpit this afternoon, a Wood Sandpiper came up from East Marsh and flew around for a few minutes, calling as it did so. Most of the other wader news came from Mudeford Quay and the sandspit, comprising: 21 Sanderling, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel, an arriving Curlew, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, 20 Dunlin and a Turnstone. Meanwhile, further offshore, a tern gathering attracted 3 Little Tern, 55 Common Tern and 28 Sandwich Tern, with 2 Teal, 15 Common Scoter and 3 Mediterranean Gull passing west. The regular, juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was about the quay and a Kingfisher was at Stanpit.

August 7th

A patch of water just off the northern end of the sandspit attracted a decent number of terns this morning - at least 40 Common Tern were estimated to come and go through it and a Roseate Tern lingered for over an hour. The gathering also interested an Arctic Skua enough to come very close to shore and deliberate the scene. All of this was watched from Mudeford Quay, which also saw 65 Common Scoter move by – both east and west – and a group of 3 Great Crested Grebe settled on the water. The breezy conditions meant passerines largely kept their heads down, but a Redstart was on the Long Field, where 14 Whitethroat and 7 Willow Warbler were counted. At Stanpit, there were 3 Greenshank, 11 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover, 25 Dunlin and a Snipe, while 3 Sanderling were about the sandspit. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was again hanging around the quay and 4 Mediterranean Gull were noted overall. Elsewhere, a Peregrine passed over the head, a couple of Kingfisher were by the Bailey Bridge, a party of 6 Shelduck – an adult and five juveniles – arrived and the three ‘Polish’ cygnets are still doing fine. 

August 6th

Common Tern Common Tern
Common Tern – Alan Crockard
Wheatear – Clinton Whale

It was much quieter this morning, although a Redstart, 2 Garden Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat were by the HHC, while a Tree Pipit was on the Long Field, around 25 Willow Warbler came off the head and a couple of Wheatear were on Stanpit. Green Sandpiper were again about, with two birds being recorded either side of the harbour, and the first two Snipe of the ‘winter’ toured. Other waders logged included: a Greenshank, 8 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover and 12 Dunlin. Around 20 Sandwich Tern and 6 Common Tern rested in Holloway’s Dock, and the day-total for Mediterranean Gull was four – three adults and one juvenile. A couple of Teal were in Barn Bight and the Peregrine was on The Priory. 

Omission: a Marsh Harrier was seen from Wick and a Raven from Fisherman's Bank.

August 5th

Another view of the ringed Sparrowhawk that bred close to Mudeford sandspit;
this time doing something strange with its left leg– Simon Lee

There was a massive number of birds recorded by the HHC this morning, including: 300 Sedge Warbler, 170 Willow Warbler, 3 Garden Warbler, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, a Redstart, 3 Tree Pipit, a Yellow Wagtail and 92 Common Tern. Over on Stanpit, during pretty much the same period it was quite a contrast, with just 2 Garden Warbler, an out-of-place Reed Warbler, a dozen Willow Warbler, 10 Sedge Warbler, a couple of Wheatear and 6 Common Tern logged. Meanwhile, one of the locally-fledged Marsh Harrier made perhaps its first foray to the harbour, where it received the unwelcome attention of the local corvids; singles of Green Sandpiper were seen on both sides of the area; and Bearded Tit were heard by the Rusty Boat. Overhead, on a couple of occasions very high Swift, up to 12 birds, and unidentified hirundines were seen slowly moving west, while 50 Swallow passed through Stanpit a ground level and 4 House Martin were over Wick. Also on the move were Black-tailed Godwit – around 50 heading generally west. On the deck, waders at Stanpit included: 2 Greenshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, 6 Whimbrel, 4 Ringed Plover, 13 Dunlin and 60 Lapwing, as well as 2 Mediterranean Gull and 80 Sandwich Tern. 

August 4th

Greenshank – Clinton Whale
Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit (rear) and Sandwich Tern – Gary Foyle
Sanderling – Clinton Whale

The raging weather of the last two days settled down a little, so it was perhaps unexpected that Arctic Skua would feature so strongly after a previous absence. In total, there was a minimum of five in Christchurch Bay this morning – at one time four were chasing a rather hapless Sandwich Tern – while one that passed west through the harbour may have been an additional bird. Wader variety continues to notch up with site-wide maxima coming to: 2 Greenshank, 2 Knot, 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Sanderling, 14 Whimbrel, 11 Ringed Plover and 25 Dunlin. Passerines were represented by a Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit over Hengistbury, a Lesser Whitethroat and 20 Willow Warbler on it, and 8 Blackcap in the North Scrubs, Stanpit. At least 2 Yellow-legged Gull, all juveniles, were about, as were 6 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Tern and 70 Sandwich Tern.

August 3rd

Fulmar – Roger Howell

The conditions meant more focus on the sea today – the morning at Mudeford Quay produced a shearwater, 2 Fulmar, 13 Common Scoter and 10 Sandwich Tern, while an hour in the afternoon at Hengistbury added a further 2 Common Tern and 42 Sandwich Tern. Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull again were a feature, with singles been turned in from the quay and Stanpit, where there were 2 Lesser Whitethroat, a Mediterranean Gull and a Common Tern. Moving to waders: the Long Groyne hosted 20 Sanderling; the quay saw 3 Whimbrel, 3 Sanderling and a Dunlin; and the marsh produced another Whimbrel and 10 Dunlin.

August 2nd

Yellow-legged Gull Yellow-legged Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
Yellow-legged Gull,
including for the purists a nice shot detailing the tail-band pattern – Roger Howell

A south-westerly wind blew all day and from 9:00 the heavens were open. The sea was watched from Mudeford Quay for a continuous six hours and if it hadn’t been for a couple of lingering, juvenile Yellow-legged Gull to buoy the spirits! The remaining interest was provided by two shearwaters, probably manx, west, 23 Common Scoter, around 20 Common Tern, a Mediterranean Gull, a Sanderling, 3 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Dunlin and 3 Turnstone. Meanwhile, two groups of Swift, totalling 34 birds, headed in off the sea. Off mammal interest, when a seal was first spotted it was assumed to be the regular grey, but in fact turned out to be a Common Seal.

August 1st

Greenshank in Holloway's Dock – Clinton Whale
Sandwich Tern
Sandwich Tern, also in Holloway's Dock,
proving it's never too late in the season – Clinton Whale

A southerly breeze meant the birds in the reeds kept their heads down this morning, but the ringing efforts proved they were in there. From dawn to 8:30, around 80 birds were caught – over 60 of them Sedge Warbler, but also a handful of Reed Warbler and Willow Warbler, plus a single Blackcap. Meanwhile, on the Long Field around 20 Whitethroat and a dozen Willow Warbler were field recorded. At some point during the day, a Wood Sandpiper came up from South Marsh, Stanpit; with other waders on site including the two photographed Greenshank, 7 Whimbrel and 3 Turnstone. At sea, a couple of skuas briefly harried terns far off Mudeford Quay; also 14 Common Scoter and 6 Common Tern from there. To finish off, by far the best Sandwich Tern count – 74 – came on the afternoon low tide from Holloway’s Dock on and up to 3 Raven were about Hengistbury.

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