After a few fairly quiet days, there’s plenty to report today. All records are from the morning. Firstly, a spell of visible migration (‘vismig’) at Hengistbury Head for an hour-and-a-half after dawn yielded (all best estimates): 150 Meadow Pipit (most W); 350 Linnet, 400 Goldfinch, 25 Siskin, 15 Chaffinch – these finches mainly heading E, but some W; 12 Skylark (W), 80 alba Wagtail, 2 Swallow; 1 Fieldfare (W), 3 Reed Bunting (W) and 3 Starling very high in off the sea. The sea itself appeared quiet, with just a handful of Common Scoter noted. The morning also saw a record of a Red-throated Pipit flying low over Hengistbury which, if accepted by BBRC, will be the fourth for the Harbour and our first since 2015. Meanwhile, there were 2 (probably female-type) Marsh Harrier and 3 Cattle Egret over Wick Water Meadows; additionally, first reported as being present last Saturday, a female-type Black Redstart was again near the Beach House café on the Sandspit. To finish up, singleton Kingfishers put in an appearance at Wick Wooden Bridge and over Stanpit Bight during an exceptionally high morning tide.
The sea was watched for a short while this morning, but the only movement was a few Gannet heading west. Meanwhile at Wick a Woodlark flew west over Wick Fields, there was a Kingfisher by the Wooden Bridge, a Wheatear by the Education Centre, and five Chiffchaff and four Redpoll were noted. At Stanpit there were 31 Brent Goose, 85 Ringed Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Turnstone, 20 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank, a Grey Plover and a Ruff, plus a male Marsh Harrier over East Marsh mid-afternoon.
During a grey and drizzly morning, the first Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn for the Harbour was at the east end of Hengistbury Head, while just after midday, a female type Black Redstart was discovered (appropriately!) by The Discovery Den at Wick. There were good numbers of thrushes and finches going over early morning and auks passing at sea; 29 Greylag Goose headed north from Stanpit mid-morning; then early evening, a group of 10 Grey Heron flew over the Head heading west. News of birds on the deck includes 8 Brent Goose and a Golden Plover at Stanpit and a Grey Wagtail at the Stunted Oaks.
Addendum for yesterday’s post: a flock of 7 Ring Ouzel flew east over Hengistbury during the morning.
The only reports received on another quiet day are of a Knot opposite Fisherman’s Bank, the Lesser Whitethroat still at the Solent Meads driving range, and a Spotted Flycatcher by Wick Wooden Bridge.
On a quiet morning at Stanpit, 3 Gadwall, three adult Mediterranean Gull and two each of Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin were recorded, along with a Wheatear on Crouch Hill. At Hengistbury, the CHOG Outdoor Meeting group saw a pair of Dartford Warbler feeding three young at the edge of Long Field, and an adult Fox with three cubs on Barn Field. Earlier, three first-summer Mediterranean Gull went over, heading north-east. From Fisherman’s Bank, a Curlew, 13 Shelduck and 5 Egyptian Geese were logged; while from Mudeford Quay, 2 Little Tern, 45 Sandwich Tern and 6 Common Tern were noted inside the Harbour. Elsewhere, 2 Lesser Whitethroat were reported – one from the golf driving range at Wick and another beside the Visitor Centre at Stanpit.
On a blustery and initially wet day, the only non-lepidopteran news is of a Cuckoo late evening that flew towards Wick and a Weasel near the Visitor Centre at Hengistbury.
A Wood Sandpiper flew over the Harbour early this morning. Also returned from Hengistbury: 15 Egyptian Geese in the Harbour, 24 Dunlin, 4 Sanderling, a late Purple Sandpiper on the Sandspit groynes, a Little Gull on the sea, 26 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Willow Warbler and 2 Spotted Flycatcher. While from Stanpit on this morning’s rising tide there were 20 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Ringed Plover and 6 Dunlin logged, along with 2 Wheatear on Crouch Hill.
It was quite a cloudy start to the day, with increasing sunny spells as the morning went on, and a fairly stiff southerly breeze. Cloud increased again during the afternoon. At Stanpit, the first local Little Stint of the year was in a flock of small waders that circuited the harbour but probably did not land, and 2 Avocet headed east. Other waders coming and going through the Harbour included 4 Ringed Plover, 6 Grey Plover, 59 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Sanderling, 89 Dunlin, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Curlew and singles of Greenshank and Turnstone. Meanwhile, a total of 96 Mediterranean Gull flew east – all adults, which should be on their breeding grounds. Two Little Tern were briefly off the tip of South Marsh, 2 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill and 2 Hobby were logged. The only news from Hengistbury was of a Red-throated Diver and an immature Kittiwake off the Beach Huts, while a distant unidentified diver was on the sea off Mudeford Quay.
The day was mainly bright and quite sunny, until showers arrived early evening, with a light south-easterly breeze. An Arctic Skua seen from Mudeford Quay harassing a couple of gulls was the sea highlight of the morning and caused havoc in the mixed feeding flock off Hengistbury. There were an estimated 1,500 birds today – mainly Herring Gull with about 15% Black-headed Gull. Also from the headland, a Little Gull, 150 Sandwich Tern and 75 Common Tern were noted in the feeding flock, while an eastbound Fulmar avoided the crowd. Going in the same direction was a Red-throated Diver and two of the 3 Great Northern Diver seen today, while 30 Common Scoter flew west. At Stanpit, there was a good selection of waders passing through the Harbour, generally to the east, including 7 Whimbrel, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 42 Black-tailed Godwit, singles of Knot and Grey Plover, 14 Ringed Plover, 62 Dunlin and 2 Sanderling, with another eight of the latter on Mudeford Sandspit. Mediterranean Gull moving overhead totalled 33, while the northerly movement of Swallow and House Martin was just 55 and nine respectively. Migrant arrivals were limited to singles of Spotted Flycatcher and Yellow Wagtail at Stanpit, 2 Wheatear on Crouch Hill, at least one, possibly two, Whinchat at Hengistbury, and a Cuckoo that flew from Wick towards Stanpit. Finally, a Red Kite was seen from Stanpit, and 3 Buzzard were soaring just north of the area.
The morning was warm and humid after overnight thunderstorms. Though the threat of rain remained, the overcast conditions eventually cleared a little to give some brighter spells. With the light south-westerly wind, the sea was watched again from both Hengistbury and Mudeford Quay. The unseasonal feeding flock of gulls and terns was still off Hengistbury, with today’s mix including 350 Sandwich Tern and 75 Common Tern. The flock also attracted 2 Little Gull and a Kittiwake, while a Little Tern put in a brief appearance at Mudeford Quay. A total of 38 Common Scoter was noted, all but nine heading east, together with a late Brent Goose flying into the Harbour and two unidentified Auk moving east. Waders included 6 Sanderling west, 3 Turnstone on the Sandspit groynes and 17 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock, while a further three arrived over Mudeford Quay, where 5 Dunlin and 2 Ringed Plover were also logged.
Persistent showers during much of the morning probably resulted in lower observer coverage of the area today but, before the rain really set in, a visit to Stanpit produced the Harbour’s second Wood Warbler of the spring in Ashtree Meadow. Also seen there were a Willow Warbler and 2 Spotted Flycatcher, with a further two of the latter in North Scrubs, as well as 4 Wheatear on Crouch Hill and 2 Yellow Wagtail over the Marsh. A few waders headed east through the Harbour, including 17 Sanderling, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Whimbrel. Meanwhile, sea watches from Hengistbury and Mudeford Quay proved disappointing in view of the easterly wind. The mixed feeding flock of gulls and terns off Hengistbury contained at least 150 Sandwich Tern and 25 Common Tern, with 15-20 Gannet also lingering offshore; 3 Fulmar flew west and 39 Common Scoter moved mainly in the opposite direction. Waders were represented by 25 Dunlin and 5 Sanderling, which moved along the Sandspit, while a lone Whimbrel headed east. This evening, 2 Grey Plover were on the HHC mudbar, one of which was in summer plumage, as was the single Knot in the same location. On the inner Harbour shore, viewed from the Quay, were another 2 Knot, 5 Sanderling, 45 Dunlin and 8 Ringed Plover.
There was a definite arrival of Spotted Flycatcher overnight – somewhere between 11 and 20 being across Hengistbury and Wick – with, as is often the case, the Stunted Oaks being the place to be. Also, a female Whinchat in the fenced area on the Sandspit and 9 Wheatear spread about. Meanwhile, overhead, 6 House Martin, 15 Swallow, 3 Swift and 2 Siskin passed through. A couple of Little Tern were nice to see – one at Stanpit, the other from the Beach Huts – with other bits and pieces at sea coming from: a breeding-plumaged Great Northern Diver, 4 Common Scoter west and 18 Gannet. Now the site-wide wader estimate: 6 Sanderling, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a minimum of 127 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover and at least 60 Dunlin. The rest comes from a pair of Firecrest in the Wood and a greatly reduced number of 5 Gadwall at Stanpit.
There were a few birds moving through the area this morning, including 490 Swallow, 140 House Martin, 200 Meadow Pipit, 9 Yellow and 4 Grey Wagtail, all mainly coasting in a westerly direction. Site total for Chiffchaff came to 65, with just 1 Willow Warbler. At Hengistbury, a Whinchat and 5 Wheatear were on the Barn Field, with a further 3 of the latter species seen at Stanpit and Mudeford Quay. Once again, waders were well represented at Stanpit this morning with a Curlew Sandpiper, a Spotted Redshank, 3 Grey Plover, 7 Bar-tailed and 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Knot, 4 Greenshank and 8 Snipe. A single Brent Goose was on South Marsh, together with 68 Canada Goose and the lone Pintail, while Common Sandpiper were logged on both sides of the harbour. This evening, a Whimbrel was seen leaving the harbour and a Peregrine successfully caught a small wader at Stanpit. Of mammal interest, a pod of 6 or 7 Dolphin were observed from Mudeford Quay and Hengistbury.
On a mainly overcast day, the best bird was undoubtedly a Turtle Dove south of the Hengistbury Visitor Centre this morning. Apart from a record in late July, this is the first autumn record of this species for a couple of years. Also from Hengistbury, 2 Raven were observed moving over the area. At Wick, 11 Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler were present, as well as a lone Snipe with a further individual at Stanpit. Otherwise, the majority of the day’s sightings come from Stanpit, where wader totals included 6 Knot, 2 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Black-tailed Godwit. A Kingfisher was on site, plus 4 Wheatear and a flock of approximately 50 Linnet around Crouch Hill. On the mammal front, a small pod of Dolphin was noted to the south-west off Hengistbury.
The early morning mist and murk eventually cleared so most of the day was warm and sunny. There was an excellent selection of waders on both sides of the harbour, with 2 Golden Plover, 5 Greenshank, 4 Common Sandpiper and singles of both Green and Wood Sandpiper at or flying over Stanpit. The latter was lost in the mist, but might have landed on Priory Marsh. Meanwhile, a high tide visit to the Sandspit at Hengistbury returned 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 9 Sanderling, 41 Ringed Plover, 155 Dunlin and 3 Turnstone with a lone Black-tailed Godwit also on site. Wildfowl were represented by 3 Shoveler and 3 Tufted Duck. Overhead passerine movement included 2 Siskin, 80 Meadow Pipit and 3 Yellow Wagtail east at Hengistbury and Wick. A couple of Tree Pipit flew over Stanpit, where a Grasshopper Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher were settled around the golf course bank. Totals of grounded birds for the whole site came to 48 Blackcap, 70 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler and a dozen each of Sedge and Reed Warbler. Finally, after the first sighting of the autumn two days ago, 2 Brent Goose flew south over Double Dykes.
Let’s start today’s post with waders – all at Stanpit, but viewed from both Fisherman’s Bank and around Stanpit Bight: a Little Stint, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 8 Knot, 6 Greenshank, 4 Sanderling, 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Turnstone and 4 Snipe; plus uncounted Ringed Plover and Dunlin. Moving to passerines, at least 22 Yellow Wagtail were returned from Stanpit, including some settled birds around Crouch Hill; while the sandspit also held some, but no numbers mentioned. Elsewhere, a Redstart was on the Batters, a Spotted Flycatcher was in the North Scrubs, a Whinchat was on the Barn Field and over 16 Wheatear were spread about. To finish; an adult Mediterranean Gull roosted on East Marsh; a Shoveler, 44 Wigeon and 18 Teal were on site; and a Great Crested Grebe was around Blackberry Point.
After over ten days of easterly wind, a Balearic Shearwater off Hengistbury this morning was a major surprise; with two eastbound Common Scoter and 16 Gannet also being logged at sea. A minimum of 3 Spotted Flycatcher were in the North Scrubs, a Garden Warbler was on Wick and a Lesser Whitethroat was on Hengistbury; while around 30 Willow Warbler, 22 Chiffchaff, 6 Whitethroat and 6 Wheatear were across the site. Moving to waders: early morning on the sandspit saw a Curlew Sandpiper, 9 Sanderling, 122 Ringed Plover, 165 Dunlin and 5 Turnstone; then the afternoon at Stanpit added a Little Stint, 4 Greenshank, a very smart Grey Plover, 4 Knot, 2 Whimbrel, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and 7 Black-tailed Godwit; plus a Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight. After a couple of blank days, the distinctively tailed Osprey visited morning and afternoon, and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was at Mudeford Quay in the early evening.
Presumably it’s the over-a-week-long spell of easterlies which continue to bring Pied Flycatcher to the area – another today in the No Dogs Field. Also, a Redstart there with 10 Willow Warbler and 6 Chiffchaff. Meanwhile, a Whinchat and half-a-dozen Wheatear were west of the Barn Field, towards Whitepits; a Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap and 2 Wheatear were at Stanpit, mostly in the North Scrubs; and a remarkable 16 Yellow Wagtail and 11 Wheatear were in the fenced area at the end of the sandspit. Not just waders benefitting from that project! Speaking of waders, the best was a Green Sandpiper over Wick in the afternoon, while Stanpit held: a Curlew Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, a Whimbrel, at least 3 Sanderling, a Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 110 Ringed Plover and 150+ Dunlin. For those planning to attend the ringing demonstration on Saturday, please note above the change of venue.
For the area, the most notable record of the day was certainly a doubling of Nuthatch – to two birds – in the Nursery; while a Garden Warbler was on the adjacent Long Field, 7 Wheatear were about and 5 Yellow Wagtail passed over. The pick of the waders was a juvenile Ruff that appeared at Stanpit late in the afternoon; where, earlier, 3 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, a Grey Plover and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit were logged. Meanwhile, the returning wildfowl came to: a Shoveler, 10 Wigeon and 12 Teal.
The Osprey’s two visits today were at 11:30 and 15:40 with a successful catch at the earlier visit. Reasonable numbers of migrants were logged, mainly this morning, including 200 Swallow north-east over Hengistbury plus site totals of 18 Willow Warbler,16 Whitethroat, 15 Sedge Warbler, 9 Wheatear, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Whinchat and a Redstart; also a Nuthatch in the Nursery. With so much exposed mud in the harbour the waders were difficult to count accurately but amongst the birds present were 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Snipe and singles of Greenshank, Grey Plover, Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit. The Tufted Duck was still around together with 22 Wigeon, 7 Teal and 2 Shoveler; also a Kingfisher was on Stanpit.
Save for a few Yellow Wagtail and Willow Warbler, passerines were few and far between; wader variety, however, made for a reasonably decent day. This morning, three juvenile Curlew Sandpiper appeared in Stanpit Bight and during the afternoon the Little Stint was again on Blackberry Point. In addition, there and on the Flats, a Ruff, 2 Knot, 3 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, a Grey Plover, 5 Sanderling, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a juvenile Black-tailed Godwit, 85 Ringed Plover and 90 Dunlin were all logged. The Osprey visited around 10:30 and 15:30, both times successfully, a Peregrine hunted and 45 Sandwich Tern loafed.
In addition to the pictured Grasshopper Warbler by the HHC, there were 3 Pied Flycatcher and a Lesser Whitethroat briefly at Stanpit this morning; while; more settled, across Wick and Hengistbury, as far as the Nursery, were: 5 Redstart, 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Whinchat and a Garden Warbler; plus around thirty each of Willow Warbler and Whitethroat; with ten or so Wheatear spread across the site. Overhead, singles of Tree Pipit and Grey Wagtail passed, as well as 40 Yellow Wagtail – a further twelve of the latter grounded at by Mother Siller’s Channel in the evening. An adult Little Stint was on Blackberry Point during the afternoon, with other waders in and around Stanpit Bight coming to: 3 Greenshank, 4 Sanderling, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 26 Ringed Plover, 83 Dunlin and 2 Turnstone. There were three Osprey moments – around 9:30, 14:30 and 15:30 – the latter definitely resulting in a catch. On that occasion, the bird left so low over the Recreation Ground that it was possible to hear its wingbeats. Common Gull are now creeping back – adults seen passing to the west and one loafing on South Marsh. The same can be said of wildfowl – a Pintail, a Wigeon and 13 Teal all returned today; along with the drake Tufted Duck. To finish, a Peregrine was about.
A couple of Little Stint, a Curlew Sandpiper and an over-flying Little Ringed Plover were at Stanpit this morning, along with: 3 Knot, 6 Sanderling, 2 Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 15 Turnstone; the latter a notable, in-harbour number. Passerine-wise, there was a brief Grasshopper Warbler at Stanpit, but two each of Whinchat and Redstart were more amenable, as were up to 10 Wheatear. Meanwhile, on the other side of the area, a Spotted Flycatcher was on the Long Field, a Lesser Whitethroat was by the HHC, and twos of Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit passed over. Early on, a Great White Egret was about the marsh, as were two juvenile Mediterranean Gull – a species that is a bit scarce this late-summer – as well as a Tufted Duck. To finish, this evening, between 6:30 and 7:30, at least 22 Yellow Wagtail headed towards the harbour over the Two Riversmeet football pitches.