Sightings for December 2020

December 31st

Almost adult, male Marsh Harrier Penhill Man
Kestrel Roger Tidball
Kingfisher Roger Tidball

As a couple of the photos above capture well, the early part of the day was subject to a deep, cold mist; but later on the sun put in a welcome appearance. Nevertheless, the Glossy Ibis remains fit and well being seen around Stanpit all day, where a couple of Kingfisher showed well on the perches along the cleared ditch close to the Rusty Boat. The male Marsh Harrier around today was not the regular, well-into-adulthood bird; while 2 Firecrest a male and female were in the Wood, along with a Treecreeper; and 4 Kittiwake passed west at sea. A further Kingfisher was in the also-favoured spot of the fence posts adjacent to Wick Hams. 

December 30th

Great Crested Grebe Peter Boardman
Kingfisher Alan Crockard

A roost survey this evening saw the Glossy Ibis, 8 Cattle Egret and 21 Little Egret come home to. The cattles comprised of one with three littles and then seven with nine of the latter. The later siege presumably being the Harpway Lane, Winkton, regulars coming in from a few miles north of the recording area. Earlier, a male Marsh Harrier had been hunting Wick Hams, while a Chiffchaff was in the Nursery. Elsewhere, a Great Crested Grebe passed west off the end of the head, with Kingfisher seen by the Long Field, around the Ironstone Quarry and by the Rusty Boat. 

December 29th

Rock Pipit Peter Boardman

Although there was talk of a good number of seabirds off Hengistbury, the only definite report is of 4 Red-throated Diver west. Meanwhile, a couple of Marsh Harrier, both males, were logged around the Wick Hams area. The Glossy Ibis was again at Stanpit, where good counts of Dunlin and Brent Goose 232 and 108, including nine juveniles, were returned respectively. Elsewhere, a Mistle Thrush and 2 Chiffchaff were on Wick; and the usual Great Crested Grebe was in Barn Bight, with a Kingfisher on the adjacent fence posts. 

December 28th

Sparrowhawk Trevor Wilkinson

Despite the damp, cold and associated drizzle, there was a fair bit of field activity today. A female-type and a male Marsh Harrier hunted Wick Hams either side of midday respectively, while an adult Yellow-legged Gull was in the harbour just of its namesakes hotel this evening and a couple of Purple Sandpiper were about the Mudeford Quay area. At Stanpit, as well as 8 Pintail five of them drakes, there were: 9 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Ringed Plover and c120 Dunlin, plus 4 Common Gull. A Kingfisher was around the Lifeboat Station on the quay; where, of mammal interest, a Grey Seal was seen at 11:45. 

December 27th

Glossy Ibis going to roost Jackie Smith
Kestrel and Crow Alan Crockard
Goldcrest Mark Taylor

There was again a good presence of seabirds. An aggregate of sixty-five minutes from Mudeford Quay produced: 2 diver spp., a Common Scoter, 7 Kittiwake, 72 Gannet and up to ten auks. Meanwhile, a Great Skua and a remarkable 100 Common Gull were returned from Hengistbury. Also on the head, the Siskin flock is now reckoned to be around twenty, with a one or two Redpoll also. Close by, a Chiffchaff was on Wick and a Bullfinch was by the viewing platform. At the end of the day, the Glossy Ibis went to roost at 16:20 from Stanpit, when 9 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and around 30 Dunlin were also about the marsh. 

December 26th

There were masses of birds at sea visible from the area today. Although no prolonged observations were made, the following sample counts were returned. In fifteen minutes from Hengistbury, 19 Kittiwake, 65 Gannet, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 7 Common Gull, and 80+ auks were logged; while a half-hour at Mudeford Quay saw a Common Scoter, 3 Kittiwake, 90 Gannet and 120 auks, mainly Guillemot. All movement was to the west. A further comment spoke of several thousand birds around 2km offshore and, this evening, around 100 Gannet were fishing close-in, just to the west of the former Point House Caf site. Otherwise, there was a Chiffchaff on Wick, while the best at Stanpit were 8 Pintail, 2 Shelduck and a Kingfisher. 

December 25th

A very Happy Christmas to all our website visitors. Early on, a Firecrest was active around the Double Bends in the Wood and a couple of Bullfinch were along Roebury Lane. The Glossy Ibis was a Stanpit throughout the day and a Great Crested Grebe was with 3 Little Grebe in Barn Bight. 

December 24th

Jupiter and Saturn this evening over Wick Alan Crockard

Thin pickings again today, with the only direct reports being of: a Marsh Harrier high over Stanpit in the morning; the Glossy Ibis going to roost at a fraction after 16:00; and a Chiffchaff along Roebury Lane. There is also a second-hand return of a ringtail Hen Harrier at Stanpit in the afternoon. 

December 23rd

Despite some reasonably fine weather, the only news for the day is of the Glossy Ibis; which spent until 10:15 on Wick Hams, before moving over to Stanpit. 

December 22nd

Knot Ian Wigley
Redwing Jackie Smith

It was a little better weather today, but still no sign of any planets! This morning, at Stanpit, the Glossy Ibis was still present, as were 2 Knot, 6 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and 12 Black-tailed Godwit. Also on the marsh, a Redwing in the North Scrubs. Meanwhile, over on Hengistbury, there was a Firecrest and 4 Siskin in the Wood, plus a couple of Razorbill settled off the Beach Huts. Rounding up, a total of 3 Great Crested Grebe was inside the harbour. 

December 21st

It was predicted, as there was a significant astronomical event tonight, the skies would be obscured; as indeed they were for the entire day. Only another 800 years to wait then! There are, however, some bird records to report. Early on, a Red-necked Grebe drifted west off the Beach Huts, from where a subsequent 60-minute watch yielded: a Great Northern Diver, 6 Red-throated Diver, a drake Red-breasted Merganser, 8 Guillemot and 92 Gannet, west; plus a Fulmar, always a good bird for December, and 3 Brent Goose, east. Additionally, there were 7 Siskin in the Wood and the information services reported the Glossy Ibis to be at Stanpit. 

December 20th

A Marsh Harrier passed over Stanpit this morning, when a Chiffchaff was enjoying the sun by the Purewell Stream. Later in the day, at least 3 Purple were on the sandspit two of them on groyne S12 and a couple of Red-throated Diver were close-in on the sea off the former Point House Caf site. 

December 19th

Portugese Manof -War on the beach at Hengistbury - Greg Lambe

Strangely, the only bird news for the day is of the Glossy Ibis leaving from and returning to roost. The jellyfish was pretty good though!

December 18th

Barnacle Geese Scott Usher
Kingfisher Rod Jenkins

A skein of 11 Barnacle Goose circuited the area a few times this afternoon, before becoming a gaggle on East Marsh. These birds were particularly skittish and not at all fond of humans, not least distant water-sporters, who, it must be stressed, were in legitimate areas. The point is made to suggest the geese were of wild origin. Also on East Marsh, a drake Tufted Duck. Around the same time, a one-hour seawatch from the Beach Huts produced: a Great Northern Diver settled; 14 Kittiwake, 130 Guillemot, 9 Common Scoter and 8 Wigeon, all west; and around 80 Gannet, most lingering but some drifting west. Finally, some probably sad news about Lagertha. The last signal from her was at 23:00 on the 7th, but with just a 700m accuracy to it. The transmitter has a small battery that relies on solar power for re-charging and it is reckoned there has been enough sunlight since that date to keep it going. As such, the evidence is now pointing to her having succumbed and, yesterday, Natural England spent eight hours on site in difficult areas to try and find evidence of her, but without success. To put this in context, the natural mortality rate of harriers and, in fact, most birds of prey in their first year is 70-80% - so a sad, but perhaps not unexpected outcome. 

December 17th

Stonechat Mark Taylor
Oystercatcher Roger Tidball

It was a fairly low-key day the best being the male Marsh Harrier hunting Wick Hams this morning, 4 Red-throated Diver west and one east past the end of the head, plus the Knot on South Marsh in the afternoon. In addition, a couple of Common Scoter, a Guillemot, a Shag and a Great Crested Grebe were at sea, with a further of the latter in Barn Bight. The Glossy Ibis remains at Stanpit and 2 Kingfisher hunted together from the bridge over the channel feeding Holloways Dock. 

December 16th

The male Marsh Harrier continues to slightly confuse. After seeming to favour the harbour to roost, this evening he headed high to the south-east around 30 minutes before dusk. Earlier in the day, hed been watched from Fishermans Bank plucking a wader, presumably a snipe, from the reeds. Otherwise, its light on news; although 13 Pintail at Stanpit, eight of them drakes is a good local number, and a minimum of 3000 Black-headed Gull pre-roosted inside the harbour. 

December 15th

There was again another good presence of Gannet off Hengistbury this morning an estimate of 150 birds being made as well as a Red-throated Diver west. Meanwhile, around 60 Snipe were on the Salt Hurns, 8 Siskin were opposite Holloways Dock and a Great Crested Grebe was in Barn Bight. This evening, the Glossy Ibis went to roost at just after 16:15. 

December 14th

Longtailed Tit - Mark Taylor

After around a couple of weeks, the Snow Bunting was again seen from Mudeford Quay, looking across the Run, on the sandspit; presumably on fence posts. Incredibly, despite multiple treks to the spit, this bird has only ever been seen from the quay it must be spending its time very well camouflaged in the newly fenced area. After yesterdays southerly wind, one foresightful individual headed for the Gully and was amply rewarded. The quality came from a Velvet Scoter, 2 Great Skua, 11 Red-throated Diver and a Great Northern Diver, all west, but some serious quantity was provided by: 1150 auks other than three confirmed Razorbill, all thought to be Guillemot 1050 Gannet, 650 Kittiwake, 22 Mediterranean Gull, 30 Common Gull, 1400 Herring Gull, a Common Scoter, a Pintail, a Teal and 15 Brent Goose, again all west; with 6 Common Scoter and two unidentified divers moving in the opposite direction. All this between 8:00 and 11:00, while afterwards 72 Gannet were counted lingering off the end of the head. After all that excitement, the only other news for the post is of a single Chiffchaff on Wick. 

December 13th

Not surprisingly, given the quite awful weather - heavy drizzle and wind, pretty much throughout - there are no reports for today. 

December 12th

It was another mild day, with reports received from Fishermans Bank and Wick. The former returned: a Ruff, the Knot, 3 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 23 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Pintail and 28 Common Gull; the latter a couple of Chiffchaff. 

December 11th

Pintail Alan Crockard

On a reasonably mild day, a Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, a Chiffchaff and 2 Bullfinch were turned in from Wick; with a Firecrest in the Wood and a Peregrine perched at Wick Hams making the post during the afternoon. At dusk, after presumably being at Stanpit for the day, the Glossy Ibis hit the sack at 16:14, while 4 Cattle Egret came in five minutes later. Also, 12 Little Egret joining the roost by 16:40. Of dubious interest, after pre-roost-bathing in the harbour, there seems to be a clear preference for the small and large gulls to leave to Christchurch and Poole Bays respectively. To wrap up, a small bat, presumed pipistrelle spp., was active over the Salt Hurns. 

December 10th

Siskin arent really considered a bird to linger in the area; so after ones or twos around the Wood in recent days, eight feeding in birches by the Nursery this evening is quite a nice record. Earlier, the same area held a Firecrest, 2 Redpoll and a couple of Coal Tit, when it was noticed some of the Starling are already starting to get a breeding-coloured bill. The quite mild conditions also encouraged a Blackbird into a hint of song. Meanwhile, Wick chipped in with 2 Chiffchaff, a Bullfinch and 5 Goldcrest. The Glossy Ibis was a Stanpit for the day and the adult male Marsh Harrier, plus a Peregrine, were seen late on. 

December 9th

The Glossy Ibis starting to get a bit of shine - Mike Foote

On a damp, cold day, there was a good selection of waders to be seen from Fishermans Bank during the morning. The pick being a Common Sandpiper, but also a Knot, 15 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 64 Black-tailed Godwit, 34 Ringed Plover and at least 235 Dunlin. The spotted redshank has been notable by its absence of late, however. Also from the bank, a Tufted Duck, 4 Pintail and a Shoveler, plus 6 Mediterranean Gull and 18 Common Gull. Over on Hengistbury, the early part of the same period produced: a couple of Firecrest, a Treecreeper, a Fieldfare and 3 Siskin; with 6 Great Crested Grebe on the sea off Mudeford Quay.  

December 8th

Goldcrest Alan Crockard
...and a cold Stanpit this morning Jackie Smith

It was a cold night with frost and ice being a feature this morning. Before todays news, however, although not being seen for the last couple of days, it is now known that Lagertha used the area yesterday; so she may still be around. Perhaps due to the cold, the 9 Cattle Egret had a late start leaving roost at 08:33 and returning almost exactly eight hours later. Meanwhile, the adult male Marsh Harrier appeared to go in at just before 16:00 and the Glossy Ibis around ten minutes before the egrets; the ibis spending most of the day close to the Rusty Boat. During the afternoon, a Red-throated Diver came in from the west and could then be seen on the mirror-calm sea from the Beach Huts, with 13 Common Scoter and a couple of Gannet from there. Interestingly, around the same time, there was a Redpoll and 3 Siskin in the Nursery, as well as a couple of Firecrest close by and up to 40 Snipe visible on the Salt Hurns. Over at Stanpit, the best was a single Knot, but also 11 Grey Plover, 42 Ringed Plover, a Dunlin in full breeding plumage amongst the uncounted, an adult Mediterranean Gull and 22 Common Gull. 

December 7th

This Siberian Chiffchaff has been by the Civic Offices for a couple of weeks now. Although not believed to have been heard to call, the overall greyish plumage tone, buff ear coverts, greenedged remiges and yellowish alula are difficult to dispute Chris Chapleo
Female Kingfisher Mark Taylor
...and, around these parts, the notso Common Gull Peter Boardman

There is little to report today, the best being a Merlin over East Marsh in the afternoon, with other news from Stanpit involving: the fine sight of two wisps of airborne Snipe, totalling 53 birds; an equally impressive, winter count of 223 Dunlin; and 6 Pintail plus 3 Shoveler. Elsewhere, a Kingfisher put in a nice hovering performance by the Noddy Train Terminus. 

December 6th

Hen Harrier Matthew Barfield
The adult male Marsh Harrier Matthew Barfield
Glossy Ibis Matthew Barfield

Thankfully, it was much better weather today some bright sunshine for large parts of it was most welcome. Lagertha, the Hen Harrier was about, but last seen at 11:15; then a little later outside of the recording area over the Twyneham School playing fields. The adult male Marsh Harrier was also around, as was the Glossy Ibis that seen coming to roost at 16:15 after spending the day, as usual, at Stanpit. Other notables for the season/area were singled of Chiffchaff and Fieldfare respectively on Wick; while Kingfisher seemed very conspicuous multiple sightings from both sides of the site. There was an impressive pre-dusk count of Herring Gull at Stanpit around 1400 birds, with 400 or so of them leaving inland. 

December 5th

Some more of the Hen Harrier, taken yesterday in better weather - Chris Chapleo
It wasnt until lunchtime that the rain showed any signs of easing and even then an unpleasant easterly wind made things quite uncomfortable. Nevertheless, there were again three harriers the Hen Harrier and the adult male Marsh Harrier, the latter being joined briefly by a silhouetted, hence non-detailed bird. Meanwhile, the Glossy Ibis seemed to favour the North Marsh area and 11 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, c40 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Mediterranean Gull, 19 Common Gull and a drake Pintail were on a largely inundated Stanpit. 

December 4th

Lagertha the Hen Harrier, her antenna clearly visible the upper three shots in the harbour today, the lower from July in Cumbria Alan Hayden (upper two), Simon Coupe & Natural England

The Hen Harrier, which is now known to be named Lagertha, was about the harbour all day and tonight was seen going to roost. We now have the following information. After hatching this year in Cumbria, she was fitted with a radio-tag on July 14th. Since leaving her natal area, she has spent time around the Humber Estuary, that in mid-November, before moving to the Severn Estuary where she left on November 28th. She is very welcome here! In addition, the regular male Marsh Harrier was about, while what was likely a second-calendar-year bird of the same sex inspected the area in the afternoon; earlier a Buzzard had made-off over the Barn Field. Moving on, there is little else to cover. The Glossy Ibis was at Stanpit throughout; 2 Firecrest were in the Wood; and Kingfisher were returned from both sides of the area. 

December 3rd

Curlew Roger Tidball

The ringtail Hen Harrier put in a late-afternoon performance at Priory Marsh. Some careful scrutiny of yesterdays photographs revealed the bird is carrying a Natural England-fitted radio-tag, with early feedback telling us it has recently been to Spurn, Yorkshire, and Slimbridge on the Severn Estuary. More information will follow as it gets to us. Just before the harrier, a female-type Merlin zipped about the same area, even settling briefly. Over towards Stanpit Bight, the  Glossy Ibis was still present, along with 12 Grey Plover, 24 Ringed Plover, 125 Dunlin and a really good count of 28 Common Gull. 

December 2nd

Hen Harrier David Cuddon

The best of the day, by far, was a ringtail Hen Harrier that was seen at Stanpit in the early afternoon. Way prior to that, the roost gave up a Great White Egret, so yesterdays bird may have stuck around, and 10 Cattle Egret; plus the Glossy Ibis, which then spent its day around the marsh again. Also early on, a Golden Plover and 9 Grey Plover left the area. Just one Firecrest was located in the Wood today, but there were 7 Redwing in there as well as 35 Snipe on the adjacent Salt Hurns. A calm sea allowed five, settled Guillemot to be picked-out, along with three other unidentified auks; while a Razorbill and 4 Shelduck passed by. There is also still a huge flock of birds feeding way out towards the Needles, but it was too far away to see any details. To finish, a Great Crested Grebe was in Barn Bight. 

December 1st

Despite suffering nationally, Greenfinch are holding their own here Clinton Whale

After some overnight frost, it was another three-egret day. A Great White Egret came in from the west and settled briefly at Hengistbury, before moving on. To coin a news-report phrase from 1982, the 9 Cattle Egret were all counted out and all counted back, while the only Glossy Ibis report was on the latter occasion at 16:05; also 16 Little Egret then. There was a fair degree of other interest to be had, including: an unspecified number of Bearded Tit in the HHC reedbed; a Sandwich Tern fishing off Mudeford Quay in the afternoon; the male Marsh Harrier; an incoming Golden Plover; and a settled Great Northern diver, plus a passing Red-throated Diver. The Wood held 3 Firecrest and a maximum of 7 Redwing, four of those departing early on, with a single Chiffchaff being returned from Wick. To finish, there was still some overhead migration, albeit light, the best being: a Grey Wagtail, 12 Siskin, 12 Chaffinch and 28 Goldfinch all west, other than the goldies and three of the Siskin. 

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