Sightings for April 2019

April 30th

It was a fairly low-key day, during which Stanpit hosted a Whimbrel, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 40 Black-tailed Godwit and 20 Dunlin, as well as a Common Tern and 2 Shoveler. Early on, at least 21 Mediterranean Gull passed over the HHC split pretty much 50:50 east to west while a couple of Wllow Warbler were there and a female Wheatear was on Crouch Hill.

April 29th

Linnet Tina Scott

The numbers of incoming birds are tailing off, as would be expected for the date; but, in addition to a sprinkling of Willow Warbler and 2 Wheatear, there was a reeling Grasshopper Warbler on the Salt Hurns and a Cuckoo elsewhere on Hengistbury. Meanwhile, there are singing Whitethroat seemingly everywhere; for example, over twenty on the head alone. Otherwise, its just a couple of Whimbrel and 3 Common Scoter to remark upon. 

April 28th

There were 2 Firecrest singing in the Wood this morning, while a couple of Little Tern fed off Whitepits and a Great White Egret came out of the valley and u-turned over the Nursery. The best of the waders was a Purple Sandpiper towards the end of the sandspit, as well as a couple of Knot at Stanpit, a Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, at least 60 Whimbrel moving about and over 100 Black-tailed Godwit. Finishing off, a pair of Bullfinch were by the HHC. 

April 27th

Sandwich Tern numbers are building up inside the harbour Clinton Whale

Seawatching is a spring westerly rarely yields results, so those at the Beach Huts this morning shouldnt have been so surprised about the paucity of birds. A 3.5-hour watch yielded just: 5 Common Scoter, 18 Fulmar, 16 Gannet, a Razorbill and 4 Sandwich Tern. Prior to that, a Hobby passed over the HHC and, on the walk back, a Firecrest was singing in the Wood. 

April 26th

Song Thrush Alan Crockard

The sea was given another go this morning, but it was frankly dire. A diver into the Solent was the best, along with 4 Common Tern, 3 Gannet and an auk. On the land, the only signs of migration were 4 Wheatear, a couple of Willow Warbler and a resting Whimbrel. 

April 25th

The first Foal of the season at Stanpit Tina Scott

A morning seawatch saw 2 Pomarine Skua, a Great Skua, 4 Little Gull and 4 Common Tern head into the Solent, as well as a Manx Shearwater, 4 Fulmar, a Guillemot and 7 Whimbrel. Meanwhile, inside the harbour, there were 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Common Tern, a couple of Wheatear and drake Teal. 

April 24th

Before the heavy rain set in around mid morning there were a few migrants to be found on Hengistbury.  A Wood Warbler was singing in the wood where singles of Spotted Flycatcher and Garden Warbler were present, also 2 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Yellow Wagtail and a few Willow Warbler while a Hobby moved north over the Long Field.  The sea was watched from the beach huts and from Mudeford Quay.  Totals were 86 Bar-tailed Godwit, 27 Whimbrel, 21 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Common Tern and 1 Little Tern, all these east as 46 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Fulmar, 2 Kittiwake, 1 Red-throated Diver and 1 Guillemot travelled west; lingering offshore were 27 Gannet and 12 Sandwich Tern.  An afternoon visit to the quay was rewarded with a single group of 20 Manx Shearwater moving west.  Waders inside the harbour were 24 Dunlin, 10 Whimbrel, 8 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit.  The only other sighting of note was a Marsh Harrier seen from Hengistbury.

April 23rd

Shorteared Owl from yesterday - Jackie Smith
Shoveler Jackie Smith
Green Woodpecker Roger Tidball

After the last week it was back down to earth in terms of passerines, although there were three singing Lesser Whitethroat about the site. As expected for the date, wader numbers are picking up at least 30 Whimbrel and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit passed to the east, while 12 barwits, a further 2 Whimbrel. 2 Ringed Plover and 21 Dunlin were settled. A couple of Common Tern were about, as were 3 Shoveler and 3 Gadwall. At sea, a Red-throated Diver headed west; a total of 33 Mediterranean Gull moved around and a Bullfinch was on Wick. 

April 22nd

One of last night's 3 Blackwinged Stilt at Stanpit Scott Usher

Last nights stilts were nowhere to be seen, but there was a Short-eared Owl that spent some time at Stanpit before heading off to the west. Passerine-wise, it was much quieter than of late with the site-wide totals being: a Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Redstart, a Yellow Wagtail, a Wheatear and a handful of Willow Warbler. A short seawatch produced 18 Whimbrel and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit east, while a 8 Whimbrel were seen to arrive. Also inside the harbour, the years first 2 Little Tern, around 50 Sandwich Tern, a Greenshank and 2 Common Sandpiper. 

April 21st

It was a cracking day for Mediterranean Gull Scott Usher
Yellow Wagtail on Wick Mike Gibbons
Garden Warbler Jackie Smith
Water Pipit on Stanpit recently Scott Usher

It was more a case of quality rather than quantity this morning, as the Willow Warbler staple seemed well down on the previous few days. The best was a singing Wood Warbler by the Double Bends, as well as a female Pied Flycatcher there. It may well be the best spring on record for those. A couple of Whinchat were on the Barn Field, while one was in the Bobolink Field, and the No Dogs Field held 6 Yellow Wagtail; the latter viewable amongst the cattle from Roebury Lane. Otherwise, its just 8 Wheatear and a further couple of Yellow Wagtail to mention, plus a trapped-and-ringed Garden Warbler. Over at Stanpit, there were 6 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 203 Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Dunlin and five, getting-late Common Gull. Between 6:15 and 8:45, over 70 Mediterranean Gull were counted passing over the HHC; but with a constant backdrop of calls until noon at least, the day-total could be reasonably ventured as low hundreds. 

April 20th

Female Pied Flycatcher Leo Pyke

The first Garden Warbler of the year was on Wick this morning, singing along the central path, while another first, a Cuckoo, headed west over the Wood. As the fine weather continued, there were also plenty of other migrants around, including: a Grasshopper Warbler reeling on the Long Field; a female Pied Flycatcher in the Stunted Oaks; 3 Redstart a male on Wick and two females on the Barn Field; 2 Whinchat one on Hengistbury and one on Stanpit; a further 2 Garden Warbler; a Lesser Whitethroat; 13 Wheatear; at least 30 Willow Warbler; and a Tree Pipit over. Meanwhile, there was some interest over Stanpit, comprising: a couple of Cattle Egret over the Priory; 3 Little Ringed Plover that headed north; a Little Gull; and over 180 Mediterranean Gull, the largest flock being of 38 birds. Also on the marsh, a Water Pipit was by the Rusty Boat, with waders there coming to 6 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 260+ Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Ringed Plover and 25 Dunlin. Rounding up, a male Bullfinch was on Wick and a pair was in the North Scrubs, and 3 Gadwall were present.

Additional news: a White Wagtail was on top of the head and pair of Bullfinch was on the Batters.

April 19th

Pied Flycatcher Leo Pyke
Linnet Clinton Whale
Sandwich Tern Ian Wigley

There was more migrant interest this morning, including a relatively early Spotted Flycatcher that in the Stunted Oaks. Also around: a male Pied Flycatcher near the Wooden Bridge; a Whinchat around the Barn Field; the first 2 Lesser Whitethroat; 4 Redstart; and 6 Wheatear. For the second day in succession, there was some egret interest today a Cattle Egret on South Marsh during the morning. Meanwhile, around Stanpit Bight, a Greenshank, the Spotted Redshank and at least 5 Whimbrel were present; as was the lone Brent Goose and the Gadwall pair. 

April 18th

An early flurry of birds at Hengistbury included: a Hawfinch, 3 Brambling, a Yellowhammer, a Wood Warbler, a female Pied Flycatcher, a Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Tree Pipit, 8 Yellow Wagtail and an Arctic Skua. Those arriving slightly later added a further two Grasshopper Warbler one on Wick and one in the Nursery 5 Wheatear and up to 30 Willow Warbler. The first Hobby of the year headed north over the Long Field, while a Great White Egret spent some time on East Marsh, Stanpit. Finishing off with the miscellany: a couple of Sanderling were inside the harbour, as were 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel and 31 Shelduck; a Fulmar passed west off the Beach Huts; a male Bullfinch was on Wick; and the day-count for Mediterranean Gull came to just over 105, mainly from Stanpit and including a flock of 25.

April 17th

There was a huge fall of spring migrants this morning, in particular Willow Warbler with a minimum of five hundred birds across Hengistbury and Wick.  Blackcap were also present in good numbers with 120 on Hengistbury and 9 on Stanpit.  The stars of the show, however, were Pied Flycatcher and Redstart with eight of the former and seven of the latter; the stunted oaks along the harbour side of the wood held 5 Pied Flycatcher and 4 Redstart.  Other totals were 13 Wheatear, 4 Whitethroat and 2 Reed Warbler; also logged were 135 Meadow Pipit, 85 Swallow, 35 Sand Martin, 6 House Martin and 3 Tree Pipit.  The Spotted Redshank was by the Bailey Bridge on Stanpit and 8 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit.  A group of 4 Whimbrel headed north while four remained on the marsh where there were around 250 Black-tailed Godwit and 46 Dunlin, also 5 Common Gull.  Mediterranean Gull were again on the move with c45 birds noted.  Finally both Buzzard and Peregrine were over the harbour.

April 16th

There was a complete change in the weather today as the recent dominant easterlies gave way to much milder conditions albeit with a some light rain.  A pair of Garganey came out of the murk and settled in Stanpit Bight then moved to Stanpit Creek before flying towards Central Marsh.  The Spotted Redshank was also present on Stanpit plus 7 Dunlin, 5 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Ringed Plover.  Another 18 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Whimbrel arrived on the sandspit where there was a single Purple Sandpiper and 3 Turnstone.  The flock of 305 Black-tailed Godwit moved between Holloway's Dock and Stanpit.  Migrants were again hard to come by with just 12 Swallow and two each of Wheatear and Willow Warbler.  This afternoon around a dozen Mediterranean Gull were inside the harbour while earlier sixteen were logged heading west and six moved east off the quay.  The Brent Goose was on Stanpit together with 8 Gadwall and 8 Wigeon.

April 15th

Off Mudeford Quay this morning most birds travelled east into the strengthening wind, the exceptions being Kittiwake and Common Scoter which headed west.  Totals were 15 Gannet, 12 Common Tern, 7 Common Scoter, 4 Swallow, 2 Shoveler, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Brent Goose, the regular Brent Goose remained on the marsh together with 6 Gadwall and 5 Greylag Geese.  Over Hengistbury another 2 Swallow and 16 Mediterranean Gull were logged.  The Mudeford Sandspit held 3 Bar-tailed Godwit while less Black-tailed Godwit were around today with 120 in Holloway's Dock and 44 off Fisherman's Bank.  This afternoon a young Peregrine was settled on East Marsh.  As I finalise this post 2 Arctic Tern are off the Quay.

April 14th

With little change in the weather migrant numbers didn't improve, just 4 Wheatear on the Barn Field, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap and a Swallow.  Offshore from Mudeford Quay, moving east, were 13 Common Scoter, 12 Sandwich Tern, another 22 of these around the harbour, also 3 Whimbrel and four each of Mediterranean Gull, Common Tern and Common Gull.  A further 6 Mediterranean Gull moved west over the HHC.  Settled waders today included 2 Sanderling on the tip of the sandspit, the Spotted Redshank, a Grey Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 15 Dunlin and 318 Black-tailed Godwit.  The Brent Goose was still inside the harbour together with 7 Gadwall and 11 Wigeon.

April 13th

The recent dearth of migrants coupled with a stiff easterly breeze directed attention towards the sea this morning.  From the beach huts a Great Skua was seen moving west and 16 Common Scoter headed east while off Mudeford Quay an Arctic Skua, 2 Common Tern, 5 Sandwich Tern, 5 Gannet and 12 Common Gull moved east; another 8 Sandwich Tern were inside the harbour.  The few migrants were 5 Wheatear on the Barn Field, 3 Willow Warbler on Wick and a single Swallow.  On Stanpit the Spotted Redshank was again present plus five newly-arrived Whimbrel, also a Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Grey Plover, 15 Dunlin and 313 Black-tailed Godwit.  A late Brent Goose was in the harbour where between five and nine Gadwall were present.

April 12th

The Spotted Redshank was showing well again this morning, viewed from Fisherman's Bank; also 10 Dunlin and around 300 Black-tailed Godwit.  Shelduck numbers are increasing with ten on Stanpit together with 5 Gadwall and 8 lingering Wigeon.  There were just 2 Wheatear on the Barn Field today while Wick held a Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler and five each of Chiffchaff and Blackcap plus 3 Bullfinch, two of which were male.

April 11th

Cetti's Warbler Alan Crockard

Despite a chilly start, the years first Reed Warbler was on site this morning a bird in sub-song around the Wooden Bridge on Wick. A Blackcap total of twenty was returned from Wick Fields, but some of these may be birds holding territory as opposed to passing through. For example, three singing males were logged. Definite travellers, however, were Willow Warbler and Wheatear three and two respectively while a female Bullfinch remains. A Marsh Harrier hunted the Wick side of the river during the afternoon. 

April 10th

One of two Osprey this morning Leo Pyke

There were 2 Osprey around during the morning: one at 07:45 that caught a fish and moved off quickly; then one around an hour later that fished for twenty or so minutes before succeeding and also leaving with its prey. In addition, a male Merlin was logged. The best of the waders was the Spotted Redshank, now starting to darken, off Fishermans Bank, but also a Greenshank, 147 Black-tailed Godwit and 9 Dunlin in Holloways Dock. The only passerine news concerns a Yellow Wagtail over, plus two each of Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat. Wrapping up, at least 12 Mediterranean Gull were returned, along with the pair of Gadwall. 

April 9th

The day started well enough with a little sunshine, but by lunchtime a drizzle held in the still air. Before that, at least 8 Willow Warbler were on site and 3 Swallow moved through. The singing Blackcap on Wick were counted at eight, along with 10 Chiffchaff. 

April 8th

Spoonbill Jackie Smith
Blackcap Alan Crockard

An adult Spoonbill, in breeding attire, that stopped briefly at Stanpit this afternoon was probably the bird of the day; as, after a night of fog, it was hard-going on the incoming migrant front. The Willow Warbler total nudged 20 birds, while the Wheatear numbered five. Overhead, a couple of Swallow and a House Martin were logged, but that was pretty much it. Two Whimbrel were at Stanpit, but the only other wader note is the 150+ Black-tailed Godwit. 

April 7th

The second Osprey of the season passed over the eastern fringe of the area thins morning, after approaching from the west. Meanwhile, a first-for-the-year was a Whitethroat briefly around Solent Meads car park. Also seen coming in a Yellow Wagtail and a couple of House Martin, one of the latter narrowly escaping the talons of a young Peregrine. The peak Wheatear return is of four on the Barn Field and 2 Willow Warbler were on Wick. At sea a Red-throated Diver and a Fulmar both headed towards the Solent, while a male Marsh Harrier was about the area.

Omission: a Water Pipit was on Priory Marsh.

April 6th

Ruff - Scott Usher (upper) & Ray Scott

There were a couple of out-of-the-ordinary gull records today. Firstly, a second-calendar-year Ring-billed Gull was seen in flight off the Beach Huts; then, later in the day, a Yellow-legged Gull of the same age was coming to chips on Mudeford Quay. There were a number of first-of-the-spring returns, all from Stanpit and namely: a House Martin, 4 Yellow Wagtail and a Whimbrel; while at least 2 Ruff were on the marsh, as were 220 Black-tailed Godwit. The Wheatear total for the day was six and there were just 3 Willow Warbler logged on Hengistbury. Elsewhere, the male Marsh Harrier and a male Bullfinch were seen from Wick, a Peregrine passed over the Long Field, and 6 Shoveler and 4 Gadwall were inside the harbour.

Omission: at least 55 Mediterranean Gull moved over Stanpit.

April 5th

Avocet Ray Scott
Blacktailed Godwit - Ray Scott

The clear highlight of the day was a Hoopoe in the North Scrubs mid-morning - being seen briefly before heading off towards the former golf course, where it unfortunately couldnt be re-found. With the wind coming from the south-east, seawatching was given some rightful attention. Unlike some of the Solent sites, however, there were no skuas, but a couple of morning sessions at Mudeford Quay did produce: a Manx Shearwater, a Little Gull, 4 Eider, a Red-throated Diver, 6 Kittiwake, 3 Fulmar, 2 Common Tern, 16 Sandwich Tern, 7 Mediterranean Gull and 28 Common Scoter. A further 30 Mediterranean Gull were turned in from elsewhere, but going uncharacteristically west. The best of the waders at Stanpit was an Avocet, but 367 Black-tailed Godwit, the majority of them in beautiful colour, toured the area; while the Ringed Plover and Dunlin came to just four and six of each respectively. Finishing off, a male Marsh Harrier was around during the afternoon, a Firecrest was in the Wood and a single Wheatear was at Stanpit. 

April 4th

On a dawn-to-dusk, wet day, there is nothing to report. 

April 3rd

Spring migration was much slower today with just a single Willow Warbler in Stanpit Scrubs, 3 Blackcap in the North Scrubs and 4 Wheatear on the Barn Field being returned. Meanwhile, at least 30 Mediterranean Gull trickled through overhead. A couple of Bullfinch were again on Wick, but the Brent Goose and Teal are shipping out 15 and 30 respectively being the days estimates. 

April 2nd

As the long spell of fine weather came to an end today the first Common Tern of the year put in an appearance moving east past Mudeford Quay.  Otherwise there were just 3 Willow Warbler and 3 Sandwich Tern at Hengistbury, also 8 Sand Martin at the eastern end of the head.  Meadow Pipit were also on the move with a minimum of two hundred and fifty birds arriving over the beach huts.  A flock of 310 Black-tailed Godwit was in Holloway's Dock this morning with the bulk of these birds moving across to Stanpit Creek where 248 were counted this afternoon.  The sandspit held 15 Turnstone and 12 Purple Sandpiper were seen from the quay while at Stanpit 28 Brent Geese and 68 Redshank are hanging on, also two each of Shelduck and Shoveler.  Finally 7 Mediterranean Gull headed west.

April 1st

It was much quieter this morning with just 3 Wheatear on the Barn Field, plus on Wick, 18 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler and a couple of Bullfinch.  Overhead 11 Mediterranean Gull moved east.

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