Sightings for February 2021

February 28th

Skylark on the Barn Field Mark Taylor

The warmth of the sun was tempered a little by the northerly breeze, but it was overall a very nice experience to be outside. Bird news is a little light, however - just: a Firecrest, a Chiffchaff and a Mediterranean on Wick; a further Firecrest in the Wood; and a couple breeze-blown Buzzard soaring slightly too far south over Stanpit and attracting plenty of gull and corvid activity, as well as temporarily alarming the Brent Goose gathering. 

February 27th

One of 3 Bullfinch by the Viewing Platform, Wick, today Alan Crockard

It was another glorious day, when 3 Avocet were seen heading east over the sandspit and 2 Great Northern Diver, 4 Red-throated Diver and a Great Crested Grebe were at sea; along with 10 Purple Sandpiper on the spit. Signs of Spring came from several vocal Mediterranean Gull and an over-flying Grey Wagtail, plus singing males of Chiffchaff and Cettis Warbler. Early on, a Golden Plover and a Marsh Harrier passed over the Barn Field, while at least 240 Brent Goose arrived from their Poole Harbour roost. 

February 26th

Unringed Peregrine Alan Hayden
Glossy Ibis Paul Boult
Cetti's Warbler Alan Crockard

Other than a nice total of 27 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit, close to the Beach House, it was a low-key day. The remaining news being just: the Glossy Ibis at Stanpit, a Chiffchaff on Wick and a Peregrine on the Priory. 

February 25th

A nice comparison of palebellied and dark-bellied Brent Goose - Alan Hayden
Lesser Blackbacked Gull - Alan Cherry

Other than a slight, northerly wind and a touch of early drizzle, it was a Spring-like day; but perhaps a little quiet on bird news. The Glossy Ibis was at Stanpit, where there were also 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, a couple of Redwing and a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker. Over on the other side of the area, there were 2 Firecrest and a Bullfinch in the Wood; while 3 Great Crested Grebe and around 150 Wigeon were on the sea. To finish, a single Peregrine was on the Priory and there was the strange sight of Buzzard, plus attendant corvids, on the ground by the HHC slip. 

February 24th

A pale-Bellied Brent Goose, which was first seen on Sunday, was with 224 dark-bellied Brent Goose at Stanpit today; where, of 14 Rock Pipit, once was a nailed-on Scandinavian the bird showing signs of pink on the its breast. Also about the marsh: a Grey Plover, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Dunlin, 18 Pintail and a single Mediterranean Gull. Of at least 2 Chiffchaff on Wick, one was in song, while a pair of Bullfinch were by the Viewing Platform. Also currently in voice, is a Firecrest in the Wood, where 3 Redpoll were logged. The sea saw something of an eastbound gull movement over 16 Mediterranean Gull and 65 Common Gull as well as 5 Red-throated Diver, a Razorbill, 3 Common Scoter, 5 Pintail and a Great Crested Grebe. Meanwhile, the were a further three great-crests inside the harbour, a Grey Wagtail passed over Hengistbury and a Peregrine hunted this afternoon. 

February 23rd

Mediterranean Gull at Mudeford Quay Jackie Smith
Some of the Bartailed Godwit at Stanpit - Clinton Whale
...and the Glossy Ibis this morning Jackie Smith

A Cattle Egret and the Glossy Ibis emerged from the roost this morning, while the latter, after spending the day at Stanpit, headed back that way at 17:36 tonight. The sea saw quite a mixture of birds, including: a Fulmar; 3 Kittiwake and 14 Wigeon east; and 2 Red-throated Diver, 14 Mediterranean Gull and 12 Common Gull west. The best at Stanpit was a flock of 10 Bar-tailed Godwit; a male Bullfinch was on Wick; a single Peregrine was on the Priory; and two finely attired Great Crested Grebe were in Barn Bight. 

February 22nd

Dunlin, one already showing some breeding plumage Clinton Whale
Marsh Harrier Peter Boardman
Purple Sandpiper Clinton Whale
House Sparrow Paul Boult

The days highlights were: a Water Pipit and the Glossy Ibis at Stanpit; a final total of 12 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit; the adult male Marsh Harrier hunting Wick Hams; and at least 20 Mediterranean Gull, some vocal, including an eastbound flock of twelve. Moving around the three areas of the site: the sea off Hengistbury saw a Great Northern Diver, a Great Crested Grebe, a Peregrine, a Curlew and 2 Common Gull passing, plus around 350 Wigeon on it; Stanpit yielded 4 Grey Plover, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 60 Dunlin, 6 Pintail, a pair of Gadwall and 238 Brent Goose; while Wick returned 5 Bullfinch, a Chiffchaff and a Redwing. To finish, the warmer weather encouraged 2 Skylark into some delightful song. 

February 21st

Goldcrest Alan Crockard
Sheldrake (rear) and Shelduck Clinton Whale

The Mudeford Quay Black Redstart made a welcome return today, being seen at 12:10 by the  RNLI slip, while 6 Purple Sandpiper were at the northern end of the Run. Earlier, the Glossy Ibis was returned from North Marsh, with others at Stanpit including: 4 Grey Plover, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 27 Pintail, 3 Shoveler and 3 Shelduck. Elsewhere, a few Siskin were on Hengistbury and two pairs of Bullfinch were on Wick. To round-up, sounds of Spring came from a Meadow Pipit in full song, with some display to boot, and around half a dozen vocal, adult Mediterranean Gull some of these now getting some nice head feathering. 

February 20th

Glossy Ibis Mike Gibbons
Male Sparrowhawk John Fletcher

The Glossy Ibis left its roost at dawn, when a Brambling and Grey Wagtail also went over Hengistbury, and then spent the day at Stanpit. The best at sea was an adult Little Gull east, along with a couple each of Kittiwake and Red-throated Diver doing the same, while a Sandwich Tern lingered. From Fishermans Bank, 4 Grey Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit and six of the currently, uncharacteristically scarce Black-tailed Godwit were counted, along with 4 Mediterranean Gull, a good tally of 33 Pintail and 275 Brent Goose. 

February 19th

Its another day that is light on news, although a female Merlin over the Barn Field and then east this afternoon, when 20 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit, was a nice record. The only other report, however, is of 200+ Brent Goose at Stanpit. 

February 18th

Purple Sandpiper Alan Cherry
A good candidate for 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit Jackie Smith

The only reports for today are of the Glossy Ibis at Stanpit and 8 Purple Sandpiper about Mudeford Quay. 

February 17th

All the days news comes from Mudeford Quay, where 24 Purple Sandpiper were seen traversing the Run, a Sandwich Tern was offshore and a calling Mediterranean Gull was a welcome sound the latter almost exclusively mute outside of the Spring and Summer months. 

February 16th

Sinenisrace, ('Continental') Cormorant, in breeding plumage - Peter Boardman

The Glossy Ibis had not been reported since midway into the recent cold snap and we were starting to fear the worst, so it was great to hear it was at Stanpit all day. Also around the marsh, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover, 44 Dunlin, 22 Pintail a good number here and a fine count of 238 Brent Goose, fifteen of them second-calendar-year birds. The on-going, warmer weather got Cettis Warbler to clear their throats, while a couple of Redshank were looking interested in each other on Wick Farm Meadows who knows what might happen in the improved habitat there that work being part-funded by CHOG and the Dorset Bird Club. To round up, a Grey Wagtail went over Mudeford Quay and a Kingfisher was watched from the Viewing Platform on Wick.

February 15th

Pintail Jackie Smith
Redwing Jackie Smith

The temperatures took another, very welcome, notch up the scale again today; when, at dawn, a single Cattle Egret left the roost. Later, at least 3 Bullfinch were on Wick a pair that showed exceptionally well along Roebury Lane and into the No Dogs Field, plus a singing bird by the Wooden Bridge. Elsewhere, a Redwing and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit were at Stanpit, while 3 Sandwich Tern lingered off Mudeford Quay. 

February 14th

A Merlin hunting Riversmeet Meadow at the start of the mornings WeBS count is the highlight of the post, when the local male Peregrine was also about the marsh. Meanwhile, the picks of the census were: 4 Grey Plover, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, 48 Ringed Plover and 62 Dunlin; as well as 5 Shoveler, 22 Pintail, 144 Teal and 803 Wigeon; but, after a good showing earlier in the week, just 41 Brent Goose . 

February 13th

Redshank George Garland
Dunlin George Garland

The highlight from what is hoped to be the last of the cold days was a small group of Sanderling a rare bird here outside of the two passage periods with Ringed Plover, late this afternoon, off the lawn at Mudeford Quay. Earlier, a Firecrest and 2 Redwing had been in the Wood, while a Sandwich Tern, 3 Great Northern Diver, a couple of Razorbill and an eastbound skein of 22 Brent Goose were logged at sea. Elsewhere two pairs of Shoveler were on Central Marsh and the male Peregrine, with an unfortunate Snipe, was on the Priory. 

February 12th

Kestrel and the Rusty Boat Scott Usher
Goldcrest Jackie Smith

Not unsurprisingly, from the few reports received 14 Bar-tailed Godwit on the Flats and the pair of Peregrine on the Priory it seems the cold is getting to many of the field observers. 

February 11th

Ringed Plover
This colourringed and flagged, Ringed Plover, was at Mudeford yesterday. Some quick research by the photographer reveals it was ringed in Telemark, Norway, in August 2018,  and has been subsequently seen in Denmark in 2018 and 2020 Derek Hopkins  

The only news from another bitter day is of the Black Redstart at the Mudeford RNLI station and the pair of Peregrine on the Priory. 

February 10th

Black Redstart Mark Taylor (upper), Alan Hayden (middle) & Jackie Smith
Redwing in the North Scrubs Ray Scott

The female-type Black Redstart was again around and under the RNLI slip on Mudeford Quay all day; while, earlier, a Cattle Egret left the roost at dawn and the adult male Marsh Harrier patrolled Wick Hams. Winter thrushes are always good birds in the area, so a single Fieldfare and 3 Redwing in the North Scrubs early on was nice; with 4 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit these have been really sparse this winter and 46 Ringed Plover also on the marsh; plus increased numbers of Pintail and Brent Goose twenty-eight and around 250 respectively. At sea, 3 Great Northern Diver, 9 Red-throated Diver, 3 Great Crested Grebe, a Tufted Duck, 4 Pintail and an adult Mediterranean Gull were logged, mostly eastbound; with Wigeon from who knows where again sat on the water. Finally, a couple of Bullfinch were on Wick. 

February 9th

Despite the Baltic-like conditions, a few hardy souls ventured out. A Jack Snipe was in the boggy area just north of the Gully on Hengistbury, where for the second day running there were 8 Wigeon in the strange location of the Ironstone Quarry. The Black Redstart was present until lunch time, at least, by the RNLI slip on Mudeford Quay; where there was also a Ringed Plover plus 4 Purple Sandpiper the latter at the east end of the Run. Meanwhile, Wick contributed the customary male Marsh Harrier, as well as a single Bullfinch. 

February 8th

A ringed Ringed Plover Ray Scott
Meadow Pipit Ray Scott

As expected, it was a bitterly cold day; but a female-type Black Redstart under the RNLI slip at Mudeford Quay this afternoon was a nice surprise - also a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull from the quay. The chill saw Lapwing seeming to move a flock of twenty-eight headed directly out to sea over Coastguards, while around fifty circled Stanpit without appearing to settle. Sticking with the marsh, the decked birds there included: a Ringed Plover, at least twelve drake Pintail and around 150 Brent Goose. Finishing at Wick, a pair of Bullfinch was again present. 

February 7th

Otter, recently photographed from a boat in the harbour Jimmy Main
Rock Pipit on the saltmarsh at Stanpit Jackie Smith

A bitterly cold north wind set the pattern for the coming few days, but there was a total of 3 Marsh Harrier logged. Two adult males were around Wick Hams this morning, while a cream-crowned bird arrived across Christchurch Bay and over Mudeford Quay. Wick also saw a Firecrest on the Central Path and two pairs of Bullfinch. The in-harbour Pintail numbered eighteen, counted from Fishermans Bank, where 4 Grey Plover and 6 Bar-tailed Godwit were also logged. 

February 6th

The Glossy Ibis was at Stanpit today, along with 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Grey Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, 13 Dunlin, 3 Snipe and around a dozen Pintail; as well as the male Marsh Harrier, a Redwing in the North Scrubs and a Mediterranean Gull in Stanpit Bight. A single Purple Sandpiper was seen from Mudeford Quay, where there was also a Grey Wagtail, while a pair of Bullfinch was on Wick. A Peregrine once more surveyed from the Priory and a Tawny Owl called by the Driving Range at 5:00 this morning. 

February 5th

A Black-throated Diver and 17 Red-throated Diver were seen passing at sea this morning, where a quick count of Shag came to thirty-four birds. Meanwhile, a flock of 26 Cormorant fished as a team inside the harbour, with a single Great Crested Grebe also logged. Elsewhere, a female Bullfinch was on Wick, a Kingfisher was about Holloways Dock and a Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed in the Wood. 

February 4th

Probably due to the amount of rain this morning, there are few reports. An adult Mediterranean Gull and 11 Pintail were at Stanpit; 8 Red-throated Diver, a Fulmar and a Common Scoter were seen at sea; a pair of Bullfinch were on Wick; and a Great Crested Grebe was inside the harbour.

February 3rd

Ringed Plover Peter Boardman

There were again 20 Purple Sandpiper on the Sandspit, along with at least one Ringed Plover. The only other news, however, is of 2 Great Crested Grebe and a Kingfisher in and around Barn Bight. 

February 2nd

Some of the 20 Purple Sandpiper today Peter Boardman
Great Crested Grebe in breeding plumage Peter Boardman

There were some good counts from Stanpit today, comprising: 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Pintail, 168 Brent Goose and 14 Common Gull. Meanwhile, another excellent return was of 20 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit. Offshore, there were fewer birds than yesterday, but the following were all noted: Red-throated Diver, Common Scoter, Fulmar, Guillemot, Razorbill, Kittiwake and Mediterranean Gull. Of mammal interest, early on, an Otter was on the Hengistbury inner shore. 

February 1st

Sparrowhawk Jimmy Main
Dartford Warbler, adjacent to a public path Alan Crockard

On a calm day, when the long-distance-travelling rollers were clearly visible, there were again thousands of birds at sea. The following is a list that provides an estimate of numeric priority: Razorbill, Kittiwake, Gannet, Common Gull, Red-throated Diver, Wigeon, Shag, Mediterranean, Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Black-throated Dover and Great Northern Diver. Meanwhile, the male Marsh Harrier was about the Wick reeds and 5 Bullfinch were around the fields. To finish, the Grey Heron are now busy home-making in the Nursery and a Magpie was also seen carrying a twig.  

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