Sightings for January 2021

January 31st

In terms of weather, an award-contender for one of the dampest, coldest ever perhaps? Nevertheless, there is a bit to report. Winter Blackcap within the recording area are quite a rarity, so one on Wick today is a nice record. Equally rare in the season now, but no only a decade or so, are Goldeneye; so a couple of female-type birds passing at sea are equally notable. Otherwise, its just the male Marsh Harrier over Wick Meadows, 10 Snipe on the Salt Hurns and big numbers of auks in Christchurch Bay to report upon.

January 30th

The Marsh Harrier and the Glossy Ibis, as well as an adult Mediterranean Gull, were at Stanpit today; while a Firecrest was on Wick. From Mudeford Quay, 4 Purple Sandpiper could be seen across the Run and an Egyptian Goose arrived over there. 

January 29th

Razorbill streaming west Chris Chapleo

There is little to report, other than seemingly good numbers of Razorbill again moving west off Hengistbury, where singles of Peregrine and Great Crested Grebe were logged. 

January 28th

Drake Pintail and a pair of Wigeon Jackie Smith

It was estimated that low thousands of Razorbill and several hundred Kittiwake were off Hengistbury this morning, plus 3 Sandwich Tern and 150 or so Gannet. A few described the scans they made as the most birds theyd ever seen using these waters. It was reckoned there were fewer Red-throated Diver today, however. The Glossy Ibis kept up its developing routine of Wick Hams and then Stanpit, where 6 Shoveler and 7 Pintail were present.  Four Bullfinch were along the central path on Wick and a Great Crested Grebe was inside the harbour, while Kingfisher were returned from the Long Field and the Noddy Train Terminus.

January 27th

Looking out to sea over the last few day has suggested there are a good number of Red-throated Diver around; not least a flock of twenty-nine that was seen passing Hengistbury this morning. Also, off the head for a while 3 Sandwich Tern. The pick elsewhere was a pair of Goosander at Stanpit, where 6 Shoveler, 13 Pintail and 156 Brent Goose, those including thirteen young birds, plus 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, were present. Moving back across to Hengistbury, a couple of Firecrest and 12 Siskin were in the Wood, while the Glossy Ibis spent until 09:15 on Wick Hams before de-bunking to Stanpit. In addition, the male Marsh Harrier was about the hams, a male Bullfinch was by the HHC and a Kingfisher was adjacent to Barn Bight. 

January 26th

Turnstone Peter Boardman

The Glossy Ibis was again at Stanpit, while a Great Crested Grebe was on the sea at the end of the head, a Peregrine headed over the sandspit and a Kingfisher was by the Viewing Platform. 

January 25th

Glossy Ibis in active moult. Look at the older, worn (frayed) feathers contrasting with newly grown, glossier ones David Cuddon
Adult male Marsh Harrier Jackie Smith (upper) & Peter Boardman

In addition to a Black-throated Diver, a few looks out to sea saw multiple Red-throated Diver passing by. Meanwhile, a Cattle Egret was on the Salt Hurns, the Glossy Ibis was at Stanpit, a couple of adult Marsh Harrier of each sex hunted the area and a Peregrine was again on the Priory. It was nice to get some numbers from Stanpit, which comprised: 5 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover, 101 Dunlin and 2 Turnstone; plus 6 Pintail and 147 Brent Goose. To finish, a couple of Shoveler were in Barn Bight. 

January 24th

Grey Plover Tina Scott
Fox, three off Peter Boardman

Other than the photographed Grey Plover at Stanpit, the only news is of 3 Bullfinch a male and two females on Wick, plus a Kingfisher around Wick Hams. 

January 23rd

Glossy Ibis Peter Boardman
Kingfisher Peter Boardman

Despite the frosty start, there were signs of birds thinking about the coming season. Most notable was a Mistle Thrush in song on Wick; while a Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed in the North Scrubs. The Glossy Ibis again started on Wick Hams, but ended up close to the Rusty Boat, and the male Marsh Harrier did pretty much the same. The only other birds news is of a Peregrine once more on the Priory; but of mammal interest, a seal, presumably the regular grey, was seen in Clay Pool. 

January 22nd

Grey Seal
Grey Seal Adrian Simmonds
Little Egret Peter Boardman

There were a couple of Firecrest seen today one near the HHC and one on the Double Bends; while the Glossy Ibis spent until 11:15 on Wick Hams before moving over to Stanpit, where it was seen from the North Scrubs. Otherwise, its just 3 Common Scoter at sea and the same number of Kingfisher to report those from the Viewing Platform, Wick Hams and the Stunted Oaks. Of mammal interest, a Grey Seal was way inside the harbour this morning.

January 21st

Kingfisher Roger Tidball

The only news from a day that wasnt as wet as anticipated is of 6 Pintail four drakes and two ducks at Stanpit; where the photographed Kingfisher was also seen. 

January 20th

Some casual looks at the sea throughout a wet-and-windy day saw a steady stream of Gannet heading west, with a few Kittiwake, Fulmar, Common Scoter, Guillemot and Mediterranean Gull mixed in. 

January 19th

Blue Tit Alan Crockard

A single Cattle Egret came out of the roost at dawn; while a little later a Fulmar and Pintail were at sea, plus an uncounted number of passing Red-throated Diver. Otherwise, its just 2 Siskin in the Wood and a Kingfisher at Holloways Dock to mention. 

January 18th

There is quite a bit to report on today. Firstly, a drake Eider and (the?) Black-throated Diver were seen when looking out to sea. Meanwhile, inside the harbour, the Marsh Harrier and Glossy Ibis were again present, along with 2 Grey Plover, 4 Pintail and 147 Brent Goose. Rounding up, a Peregrine was at sea, 5 Siskin were in the Wood, a Chiffchaff was on Grimmery Point, a drake Tufted Duck was by the Christchurch Harbour Hotel and at least 3 Kingfisher were around. 

January 17th

On a lovely, sunny day, other than the regular male Marsh Harrier and a Peregrine, all the records fit neatly with the monthly WeBS count. Of course, the Glossy Ibis was around, along with a Grey Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Dunlin. Meanwhile, the pick of the wildfowl was: a pair of Tufted Duck, a Shoveler, 3 Pintail, 130 Teal, 832 Wigeon and 102 Brent Goose. Finishing off, a Kingfisher was in Barn Bight. 

January 16th

Barnacle Goose Jackie Smith (upper) & Peter Boardman
Glossy Ibis Mark Taylor

After a very wet and windy start, the day transitioned into something rather nice. Just before 11:00, a skein of 27 Barnacle Goose headed south-west over the harbour, seen from Mudeford Quay; then, around 13:30, a gaggle numbering twenty-six was on Central Marsh, Stanpit. The only other news, however, is of the Glossy Ibis in Stanpit Scrubs. 

January 15th

The totals of birds passing at sea this morning come to: 4 Red-throated Diver, 6 Common Scoter and 6 Guillemot, all west, plus 3 guillies east; as well a two lingering Mediterranean Gull and two settled Great Crested Grebe. Elsewhere, perching raptors included the males of Marsh Harrier and Peregrine on Wick and the Priory respectively; with a Chiffchaff on Wick and a Grey Wagtail at RIBS Marine making the rest of the bird news. Of mammal interest, a seal spp. was in the Run this afternoon. 

January 14th

The only news for the day is of a Peregrine on the Priory this afternoon. 

January 13th

The Glossy Ibis and male Marsh Harrier did their normal stuff today, while 5 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit and a Red-throated Diver passed offshore. Otherwise, for birds, its just 2 Pintail, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 77 Brent Goose at Stanpit, plus a Bullfinch on Wick, to mention. Of mammal interest, however, there was a single Bottlenose Dolphin seen from the end of the head in the early afternoon and a Stoat by the southern end of Roebury Lane in the morning. 

January 12th

Stonechat Mark Taylor

Its a little light on news today. The mirror-calm sea off Hengistbury held 14 Great Crested Grebe, while 3 Red-throated Diver passed east. The head is rarely good for wintering Chiffchaff, so one on the Batters was nice, with 3 Siskin close by. Elsewhere, its just the Glossy Ibis at Stanpit to mention. 

January 11th

A scan of the sea at 11:00 saw 2 Red-throated Diver pass east off Hengistbury, where an adult male Marsh Harrier hunted after being seen at Hengistbury. Earlier, along with 6 Cattle Egret, the Glossy Ibis was watched leaving the roost, then spent time on Wick Hams and Stanpit. The best from elsewhere was 8 Purple Sandpiper at Mudeford Quay; with 78 Brent Goose on the marsh, plus Kingfisher there, around Barn Bight and in Holloways Dock. 

January 10th

The male Marsh Harrier was again around Wick Hams, while 15 Lapwing on Wick Fields were probably birds displaced here by the cold. Finishing in that area, a Bullfinch was close to Solent Meads. The only other report from elsewhere on the south side of the river concerns 8 Redwing in-off-the-sea. Meanwhile, Stanpit hosted: 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 128 Dunlin, 20 Pintail and 56 Brent Goose, thirteen of them young birds.

January 9th

Sandwich Tern in winter is always a good record, so a couple off Mudeford Quay this morning was nice. Also at the quay, after a dozen yesterday, there were 15 Purple Sandpiper. After being largely deserted for the previous post, the waters off Whitepits held some seabirds again a couple of Kittiwake, 8 Razorbill and 12 Gannet but not at all approaching the previous numbers. The last decade or so has seen Pochard become a premium bird for the site one in Barn Bight this morning being very welcome along with the male Marsh Harrier frequenting the adjacent Wick Hams, a couple of Little Grebe and a Kingfisher. A flock of 16 Redwing were around the northern edge of Holloways Dock, while a Chiffchaff was along Roebury Lane. 

January 8th

Herring Gull Alan Crockard

A brief look at the sea this afternoon revealed the recent seabird frenzy has gone presumably, the food source having moved on. Earlier, 3 Common Scoter had passed west, while one was settled. The older, adult male Marsh Harrier was again about Wick Hams, with nearby Roebury Lane hosting a Chiffchaff. Otherwise, its just a Firecrest and a Treecreeper in the Wood to remark upon. 

January 7th

It was a cold, damp day during which the temperature barely rose above zero and the mist never really cleared. A sandpiper flushed by HHC this morning, due to probability is assumed to have been a Common Sandpiper; although the rarer, spotted option couldnt be ruled out on the views afforded. Something to look out for! Also from the morning, a Treecreeper and 3 Redwing in the Wood. This afternoon, there were two each of Grey Plover and Ringed Plover at Stanpit, as well as 20 Dunlin; while a further twenty of the latter plover were on the sandspit, by the ferry jetty, as was a Kingfisher. 

January 6th

Gannet Roger Tidball

Some quick glances out to sea today produced a total of 4 Red-throated Diver, a Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Kittiwake, up to 90 Razorbill and 40 or so Gannet. Elsewhere, the Glossy Ibis was at Stanpit and, of mammal interest, a Grey Seal was in the Run. 

January 5th

Oystercatcher Jackie Smith
Meadow Pipit Alan Crockard

There is little to report from, courtesy of a cruel, north-easterly wind, a bitterly cold day. A male Marsh Harrier was over Wick Hams this morning, when a large flock of Gannet and gulls was still feasting off Hengistbury.  

January 4th

The large number of seabirds currently using both the bays around Hengistbury prompted us to enquire of the local, commercial fishermen as to what may be happening out there. It turns out there are large, inshore shoals of Bass and Whiting, which are consuming Anchovies. Todays returns include over 200 Gannet feeding off Whitepits; with at least 5 Red-throated Diver, over 45 Kittiwake, around 35 Razorbill and a Guillemot logged from the areas coastline as a whole. The last few days have also seen sizeable bunches of Wigeon on and over the sea, but that cant be a feeding attraction, can it? Moving a few hundred metres north, the Glossy Ibis was present at Stanpit all day, going to roost at 16:23, while a male Marsh Harrier was about and a Peregrine again resided on the Priory. In addition, from Fishermans Bank, 4 Grey Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit and two pairs of Pintail were counted. 

January 3rd

The most unusual record for the day is of a Water Pipit showing well on the Mudeford Quay lawn at some point during the morning. This is reckoned to be probably the first of that species ever recorded at the quay. The sea once again provided interest a couple of Red-throated Diver close off the former Point House Caf perhaps the best; while the Beach Huts contributed: 2 Red-throated Diver and 31 auks east, 35 Common Scoter, 2 Kittiwake, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 6 Common Gull and a Great Crested Grebe. Fishermans Bank produced a nice wader selection, including: 7 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Black-tailed Godwit and 24 Ringed Plover; with other interest there provided by 8 Pintail, 5 Shoveler, 22 Common Gull and 3 Great Crested Grebe. After its excursion to the Avon Valley yesterday, the Glossy Ibis stayed local today, with a male Marsh Harrier, a Redpoll, 5 Siskin and 3 Chiffchaff returned from across the site. Although it was far from warm, a pair of Redshank were getting amorous on North Marsh this morning. 

January 2nd

Chiffchaff Mark Taylor
Kingfisher and Grey Heron George Garland

The sea, from the Gulley and the Beach Huts, produced another reasonable show of birds this morning, including: a Great Skua and a Black-throated Diver east, a settled Great Northern Diver with 8 Common Scoter and 8 Red-throated Diver west; as well as another good number of Razorbill there were thirty-five settled, plus all the identified birds amongst 220 auks, along with at least 14 Kittiwake. A male Marsh Harrier was around the area for much of the day, as was the Glossy Ibis that roosting at 16:20, a couple of Purple Sandpiper were midway along the sandspit and a total of 3 Chiffchaff were about. A pair of Peregrine were again on the Priory and Kingfisher were seen on Wick, by the Rusty Boat and on Grimmery Marsh. 

January 1st

Yellowlegged Gull - Alan Hayden
Tufted Duck Jackie Smith
...and Kingfisher in the frost Jackie Smith

Due to the current restrictions, the harbour received some above-average attention for the first day of the year; which produced some nice records and is something we should perhaps consider for next time round. The biggest surprise came at close-of-play, when a Barn Owl appeared by the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre and drifted over towards Wick Hams, plus at least one Woodcock seen around the same time. This area has been quite frequently visited at this time over the last couple of weeks, so perhaps these encounters are the results of the recent, cold couple of days. Also, a Tawny Owl was seen by the Driving Range two-owl days dont occur often here. The frost certainly affected the behaviour of the Glossy Ibis and Cattle Egret: the former, after spending the first couple of hours at Stanpit, departed the area to the north; while seven of the latter fed briefly on South Marsh before doing the same. Mr G and five of the egrets came back to roost at 16:25 and 16:45 respectively, however. The sea also played its part, not least at the western extreme of the area, i.e. the site of the former Point House Caf. From there, looking into Bournemouth Bay, there was a locally exceptional raft of 50 Razorbill along with 13 Great Crested Grebe, plus a Sandwich Tern and 25 Common Scoter east. At the other end, a Red-throated Diver 3 Great Crested Grebe were settled off Mudeford Quay, with at least eight more red-throats heading towards the Solent; as well a Great Northern Diver and 3 Brent Goose moving east past Hengistbury. Finishing up: a small, so presumably female adult Yellow-legged Gull was in the inner harbour by the Mudeford Quay lawn, as was a drake Tufted Duck; Marsh Harrier were seen at Wick Hams and Priory Marsh; and Kingfisher were again by the Rusty Boat. 

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