Sightings for the current month

November 18th

One of 5 Firecrest at the eastern end of Hengistbury – Alan Crockard

At dawn, a Hawfinch left the Wood on Hengistbury with a few Brambling and Redwing. A subsequent, 2.5-hour seawatch was pretty quiet, with just a Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe west, an unidentified diver and a Shelduck east, plus 3 Sandwich Tern, 30 Common Scoter and 2 Gannet; all logged from the Beach Huts. An offshore gull flock that peaked at around 400 birds was reckoned to contain a good few Mediterranean Gull, perhaps 40 individuals, as well as some Kittiwake – a reasonable estimate for them being 20. Later in the day, there were gulls pausing off Mudeford Quay before heading west, these included: 30 Mediterranean Gull, 75 Common Gull, a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull and an argentatus Herring Gull. Moving back to passerines, there were 5 Firecrest in the holly by the steps at the eastern end of the head and a couple of Bullfinch were along Roebury Lane. A Greenshank remains in Holloway’s Dock and a flock of 7 Purple Sandpiper were about the sandspit. Meanwhile, the Marsh Harrier was seen at 8:00 and 9:30, hunting the Wick reeds, and a Kingfisher was by the new viewing platform.  

OUTDOOR MEETING - November 26th
The details of this are now fixed. For more information....

Tides November 19th: H00:20 | L04:20 | H09:15 | H12:35 | L16:40 | H21:35

November 17th

A Marsh Harrier, a male of undetermined age, was seen at 8:15 this morning from Mudeford Quay as he came in off the sea, while an hour or so later the regular, third-calendar-year male was hunting the Wick reeds. Around the same time, a Golden Plover passed north over Stanpit and Bearded Tit were making a racket in the reeds by the stile to Priory Marsh. Later in the day, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit were logged in Stanpit Bight, as well as 10 Grey Plover, 50 Ringed Plover and 100 Dunlin; also 9 Black-tailed Godwit on North Marsh. Rounding up, 4 Pintail and 2 Common Gull were on the marsh.  

November 16th

Starling – Matthew Barfield

The Great White Egret was around again this morning, showing well in Stanpit Creek from Fisherman’s Bank. Also at Stanpit, a Ruff, a Knot and a couple of Tufted Duck. The Marsh Harrier was seen around the site, while a Redpoll and at least 4 Chiffchaff were in the North Scrubs, couple of Bullfinch and 3 Fieldfare were on Wick, and a Buzzard toured. At least one Greenshank remains in Holloway’s Dock and the sea, from the Beach Huts, came up with a first-winter Kittiwake west, 4 Sandwich Tern heading into the Solent and 20 settled Common Scoter. A Kingfisher was again on Wick Hams.  

November 15th

A Yellow-browed Warbler was in the North Scrubs this morning, but during a subsequent 45-minute search just a Bullfinch, 2 Redpoll, 2 Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest and a Coal Tit could be found. Earlier, a Great White Egret had flown across the harbour towards Stanpit and a Spoonbill was in Holloway’s Dock. There were 3 Black Redstart returned from Hengistbury, but details of only one – 200m from the southern end of the sandspit – are known. A seawatch produced a Black-throated Diver, a Northern Diver, 5 Red-throated Diver and 2 Common Gull west, plus 20 Common Scoter and 5 Gannet. In total, 6 Firecrest were on the head, as was a Fieldfare and a Bullfinch, while a female-type Marsh Harrier was at Stanpit. The only wader news involves a Greenshank and 6 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock, plus 7 Snipe flushed from Wick Hams. Kingfisher were by the Salt Hurns and along Fisherman’s Bank.

November 14th

Kestrel – Matthew Barfield (upper) & Jimmy Main

There was some variety to be seen on and off the sandspit this morning. At sea, a Great Northern Diver drifted close past the Beach Huts, a couple of Kittiwake headed west and a Sandwich Tern moved east; while 7 Purple Sandpiper were on the groynes. In addition to a Greenshank in Holloway’s Dock, a Jack Snipe came up from Central Marsh, Stanpit, where 6 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 24 Black-tailed Godwit were present. A Fieldfare was on the Long Field, Hengistbury, and two presumed littoralis Rock Pipit were on the Marsh, along with 10 Pintail, 6 Shoveler  and a Great Crested Grebe, the latter in the relatively shallow waters of Stanpit Creek. 

November 13th

Venus & JupiterVenus & Jupiter
Venus, Jupiter and some birds, just before dawn – Alan Crockard

It was another cold day in the continuing north wind, but the bright sun tempered things a little. The highlight was 5 Mandarin Duck – two drakes and three ducks – in Stanpit Creek this morning. Earlier, a two-hour seawatch from dawn at the Beach Huts produced very little; in fact, just: a Red-throated Diver west, an unidentified diver east, at least 15 Common Scoter, those largely settled, 2 Shelduck west and a Great Crested Grebe into the Solent. Also a gathering of up to 100 large gulls on the horizon, a Common Gull, 2 Gannet and a Kingfisher on the groynes. Overhead, finches could be heard moving, including Brambling, Redpoll, Siskin and Goldfinch. A further Brambling and 2 Redpoll were on Wick, where 4 Chiffchaff were by the HHC, and a Firecrest was seen in the Nursery. The Marsh Harrier was over Central Marsh around 9:30 and a Kingfisher was along Fisherman’s Bank.

Additional news: at Stanpit, there were: a Grey Plover, 20 Black-tailed Godwit, a Turnstone, 15 Ringed Plover and 50 Dunlin; plus 4 Pintail, 6 Shoveler, an estimated 400 Wigeon, 30 Brent Goose and a Shelduck. 

November 12th

Dartford Warbler
Dartford Warbler – Jimmy Main

It’s an early post today, so any additional news will follow tomorrow. A biting north-westerly deterred most efforts, other than a trip to the Beach Huts. From there, a Red-throated Diver, 3 Kittiwake, 5 Sandwich Tern and 12 Gannet were logged, while a Firecrest, 5 Chiffchaff and 2 Redpoll were on Wick. 

Additional new: 70 Ringed Plover were on the sandspit.

November 11th

Kingfisher – Alan Crockard
Fieldfare – Jimmy Main

During a wet morning and into the afternoon, there was some evidence of a small arrival of wildfowl. Early on, from Mudeford Quay, 4 Shoveler, 2 Brent Goose and 6 Shelduck came out of the Solent; then later, at Stanpit, the season’s first juvenile Brent Goose was seen, along with3 Pintail, 8 Shoveler and 2 Gadwall. Also on the marsh, 5 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Sandwich Tern, 3 Mediterranean Gull and 10 Common Gull. Back to the start of the day, when there were a couple of Fieldfare on Wick Fields.

November 10th

Purple SandpiperPurple Sandpiper
There were 11 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit today – Clinton Whale
Great Black-backed Gull
This colour-ringed Great Black-backed Gull was also on the sandspit, but in October. We have just received details of its origin - ringed in the nest as a chick in Norway during July 2016 and previously seen at Minsmere, Suffolk, in March 2017 – Nick Whitehouse

A milder morning produced nothing of real interest, but there was a nice selection of birds to be had. The pale-bellied Brent Goose remains inside the harbour, as does the Spotted Redshank, while 3 Bullfinch were on Wick by the Wooden Bridge, a Firecrest was in the Wood and 2 Sandwich Tern fished off Mudeford Quay. As support, 4 Chiffchaff and 3 Goldcrest were on Wick, at least 19 Black-tailed Godwit were around, 28 Ringed Plover, 44 Dunlin and 4 Shoveler were at Stanpit, a Kingfisher was watched from the Wick viewing platform and 440 Wigeon were counted in Barn Bight.

November 9th

Around 8:30, a Hen Harrier was seen from Hengistbury but no further details are available. Otherwise, from that side of the area, there were just 3 Bullfinch, 7 Redwing, a Blackcap, 8 Chiffchaff and 10 Goldcrest. There were more waders than of late at Stanpit, not least the Spotted Redshank and 2 Snipe which were all flushed from East Marsh by more-than-the-agreed number of anglers in that spot. Also at Stanpit, a good count of 12 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 42 Ringed Plover and 75 Dunlin; as well as 9 Shoveler, 2 Pintail and 2 Common Gull. Finally, a Peregrine headed off north.

November 8th

On a frosty morning, the pale-bellied Brent Goose was again inside the harbour, as was the Marsh Harrier, a Firecrest was by the Wooden Bridge on Wick and 2 Bullfinch were present. In addition to 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, at least 30 Black-tailed Godwit were spread around, 9 Shelduck were on the marsh and 4 Great Crested Grebe were on the sea off Mudeford Quay.

November 7th

On a wet and windy day, the sea got most of the attention. Sometime during the morning, a Long-tailed Duck was seen from Mudeford Quay as it picked up off the water and appeared to come down somewhere off Steamer Point. Also during the morning, a Great Skua was seen from the Beach Huts, as it hassled Great Black-backed Gulls, while other birds from there and the quay included: a Red-breasted Merganser, 15 Kittiwake, 10 Common Scoter, a Grey Plover, 3 Dunlin and 6 Turnstone; all west. In addition, a couple of Sandwich Tern and a Bar-tailed Godwit headed in the same direction over the Barn Field; with other notable waders on site comprising a Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit and 2 Greenshank on Wick Hams. The most remarkable record from the Wood, where there was a Firecrest, was of 2 Treecreeper together by the Nursery, while a further Firecrest was by the Wooden Bridge on Wick, as was a Bearded Tit, and 5 Chiffchaff were on the fields. The Marsh Harrier was around in the early part of the day at least.

November 6th

It reached, or was extremely close to, zero degrees overnight and with a hint of fog. Bird-wise, it was very quiet – both in the bushes and overhead – the only airborne sounds over Hengistbury being a few Goldfinch and Chaffinch, plus the odd Redpoll; but 2 Siskin and 6 Redpoll were seen over Stanpit golf course. Meanwhile, the bushes around the western end of the head and onto Wick held just 5 Chiffchaff and 11 Goldcrest. The best of the waders was a Greenshank at Stanpit and a Sanderling on the Long Groyne, with 25 Dunlin and 50 Ringed Plover also on the marsh. The Marsh Harrier was again around, as were the 2 Pintail.

November 5th

A westerly wind at dawn had an uncharacteristic chill to it, but the accompanying clear skies failed to produce the hoped-for pigeon bonanza – just 3200 were logged moving west. A light finch passage, which was hard to get to grips with against the blue sky, contained one Brambling and 18 Redpoll, among higher numbers of Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Linnet; all moving west. Meanwhile, a couple of Firecrest were settled – one on Wick by the Wooden Bridge and one in the Wood – as were 11 Goldcrest, 5 Chiffchaff and 2 Blackcap. Rounding up the morning, a young Sandwich Tern flew into the harbour over the Barn Field. This afternoon, there was some wildfowl interest; namely the pale-bellied Brent Goose in Stanpit Bight and a redhead Goosander that flew up river, as well as 2 Pintail and 3 Shoveler. The waders at Stanpit were headed by a Knot and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, but also 29 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Ringed Plover and 25 Dunlin. Perhaps the rarest event of the day, for the season that is, was a calling Mediterranean Gull, an adult. Outside of the breeding period this species seems almost exclusively mute. The only Kingfisher of the post is one on Wick Hams.

November 4th

A night of torrential rain left a significant amount of standing water around the area as dawn broke. Early on, a Yellow-browed Warbler was calling alongside the path that runs from Solent Meads car park to the Wooden Bridge, while 7 Redwing headed north and 2 Bullfinch, 8 Redpoll, 4 Chiffchaff and 9 Goldcrest were also recorded on Wick. Later on, a Great Northern Diver moved east at sea off the Barn Field and an adult Mediterranean Gull, something of a winter rarity here, was by East Marsh. This afternoon, the pale-bellied Brent Goose, which we now understand is here for its fourth day, was with 115 of its conventional cousins and a Green Sandpiper, another seasonal rarity, was at Stanpit. In addition, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Ringed Plover and 18 Dunlin were inside the harbour, as was a Great Crested Grebe. A Sandwich Tern was offshore from Mudeford Quay and at least one Kingfisher was logged at Fisherman’s Bank.

November 3rd

Fog, once again, blighted the morning at Hengistbury, although a Lapland Bunting was over the Batters, Redpoll could be heard and at least 8 Firecrest, plus 20 Goldcrest and 2 Chiffchaff, were in the Wood. Ducks on the river – a Goldeneye and 3 Tufted Duck – suggested an arrival, while a Ruff was at Stanpit, along with 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Black-tailed Godwit; with 40 Ringed Plover roosting on the sandspit. The North Scrubs held 4 Redpoll, the Marsh Harrier was about and a total of eight, presumed Scandinavian Rock Pipit were around the marsh, as was a Kingfisher. Meanwhile, Little Grebe are also trickling in for the winter – two off Wick Spires this afternoon.

Omission: a Sandwich Tern and 20 Common Scoter were seen from Mudeford Quay.

November 2nd

Peregrine at Stanpit recently – Jimmy Main

Thick fog enveloped the area until late morning at least. During that time, Hengistbury and Wick between them produced: 3 Bullfinch, 3 Brambling, some Redwing calls, 14 Goldcrest and 19 Chiffchaff; as well as a westbound Sandwich Tern. Slightly later, at Stanpit, there were 6 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 18 Ringed Plover and an estimated 12 Dunlin; plus a pair of Pintail and 6 Common Gull.

November 1st

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit – Alan Crockard
Grey Plover
Grey Plover – Clinton Whale

A relatively mild and still morning produced very little to write about. The best was a Yellowhammer over Stanpit golf course, likewise a Redpoll. Over on Wick, the Marsh Harrier was again seen, as were 11 Goldcrest, half a dozen Chiffchaff and a further 5 Redpoll. Meanwhile, the warm air even tempted a Goldcrest into song in the Stanpit car park pines.

October 31st

Greylag Goose
Greylag Goose – Alan Crockard
Rock Pipit
Rock Pipit – Gary Foyle

It was far cloudier than yesterday and even fewer birds. For example, the first hour of daylight produced just 90 Goldfinch, 38 Redpoll, 14 Linnet, 10 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling and some heard-only Siskin east over Hengistbury. Stanpit, meanwhile, returned 26 Skylark west. There were also some settled finches across Hengistbury and Wick, including 3 Bullfinch, 17 Redpoll and 4 Siskin; plus low single figures of Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Redwing. At sea, a total of 4 Red-breasted Merganser west was a good local record, but last night’s settled Common Scoter had reduced to nine, with a similar number moving in the same direction as the sawbills. Wader-wise, there was a Greenshank in Holloway’s Dock and 5 Avocet at Stanpit, as well as 3 Grey Plover and 5 Black-tailed Godwit. Also about the marsh, 2 Bearded Tit, 3 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit and a ‘continental’ Coal Tit. Rounding up, the third-calendar-year, male Marsh Harrier was around, a Treecreeper was in the Wood, 4 Egyptian Goose visited the area and Kingfisher were noted on four occasions.

October 30th

There was a frustrating moment early this morning, when an asio owl being mobbed by gulls over the sea off Whitepits was strongly suspected as being long-eared. The bird however, was just that too far out to make the final call. Despite seemingly ideal conditions – clear skies, a hint of frost and light wind – the Woodpigeon didn’t play ball; just 2500 moving west during the course of the morning. On the other hand, the great run of Redpoll continues – 106 being today’s count – and with most being recorded low over the Wood just after dawn they may well have been roosting overnight. Likewise, the majority of the 8 Brambling were very first thing; as was the season’s initial Fieldfare, heading north off the head, and Redwing which were calling from Double Dykes and the Nursery. The rest of the day’s rather modest overhead migration, all east, were: 405 Goldfinch, 37 Siskin, 29 Linnet, 23 Chaffinch, 4 alba Wagtail, 10 Meadow Pipit, 9 Skylark, 6 Starling, 2 Lapwing and 2 Swallow. Meanwhile, a minimum of 2 Bullfinch were at the opposite end of the head and 2 Bearded Tit were in the HHC reeds. Of the ‘crests on Hengistbury, it was split fairly evenly between Firecrest and Goldcrest – around eight each – with a Blackcap on the Batters and 4 Chiffchaff on Wick. The regular Marsh Harrier was around morning and afternoon, when the waders at Stanpit included: the Spotted Redshank, 6 Grey Plover, a Knot, 6 Black-tailed Godwits, 60 Ringed Plover and 50 Dunlin. Late in the day, a Great Skua moved west, 6 Eider headed into the Solent and 70 Common Scoter were settled on the water. Other wildfowl for the post comprise 4 Pintail, a drake Tufted Duck and 83 Brent Goose, all inside the harbour.

October 29th

A much quieter day all round although there were a couple of highlights. A ringtail Hen Harrier passed west over the Priory and a Black Redstart was on a house roof adjacent to the old depot site at Stanpit. The Woodpigeon count was a mere 7,990 while other vis-mig totals were much lower with 180 Goldfinch, 81 Redpoll and 7 Siskin, plus singles of Woodlark, Brambling and Golden Plover. There was just a single Firecrest today, in the Nursery, while 17 Goldcrest and 3 Chiffchaff were on site, also a couple of Bullfinch on Wick and a Kingfisher on the Purewell Stream. The regular Marsh Harrier was hunting over Wick Hams around mid-morning. The Spotted Redshank was in its usual spot and 22 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover and 2 Black-tailed Godwit were present. The only report from the sea was of 2 Red-throated Diver past the Beach Huts. 

October 28th

A much cooler start to the day with the thermometer giving a reading of 3C at 7:30am. Once the sun appeared it soon warmed up although there was more cloud today.  The first harbour Pallas's Warbler for six years was seen briefly in the bushes just below the steps at the eastern end of the Head, also in the vicinity were 2 Yellow-browed Warbler and 12 Firecrest. On the other side of the harbour the Great White Egret was flushed from Central Marsh as the Marsh Harrier passed over. A Water Pipit was on Priory Marsh and a Siberian Chiffchaff was on the golf course bank. The westerly passage of Woodpigeon continued as 32,000 birds were logged; other vismig numbers were 560 Goldfinch, 320 Linnet, 170 Chaffinch, 162 Stock Dove, 86 alba Wagtail, 75 Starling, 62 Siskin, 60 Redwing, 43 Redpoll, 42 Skylark, 30 Song Thrush, 11 Brambling, 6 Mistle Thrush, 2 Fieldfare and singles of Woodlark, Ring Ouzel, Swallow and Golden Plover. 

October 27th

On a glorious autumn morning, fine and clear, the first significant westerly movement of Woodpigeon took place with 7000 logged. The highlight, however, was a Serin that passed over the eastern end of the head at 8:20. A Woodcock and a Tawny Owl were in the Wood and a couple of Bearded Tit were in the HHC reedbed, while the Marsh Harrier moved from Stanpit to Wick. The vis-mig totals were: 850 Goldfinch, 680 Linnet, 270 Chaffinch, 165 Meadow Pipit, 126 Siskin, 117 Redpoll, 55 Skylark, 45 Song Thrush, 43 Redwing, 22 Brambling, 4 Golden Plover and a Ring Ouzel. Settled migrants across the site were 16 Goldcrest and 15 Chiffchaff.

October 26th

Judging by reports on social media and the information services, it was another big day for visible migration along the south coast and Hengistbury was no exception. A single Hawfinch was the highlight, while Goldfinch and Linnet were the most numerous with 1100 and 700 respectively. The other figures were 420 Chaffinch, 230 Meadow Pipit, 139 Siskin, 53 Reed Bunting, 51 Song Thrush, 46 Skylark, 23 Redwing and 12 Brambling. Earlier, on Stanpit, a Bittern flew over Central Marsh adjacent to Crouch Hill. The sea was also productive with a couple of Arctic Skua east past Mudeford Quay, then another plus a Great Skua moved west off the Beach Huts. Also in a westerly direction were 66 Brent Goose, 35 Mediterranean Gull, 10 Common Gull and 2 Red-breasted Merganser, while settled on the water were 25 Common Scoter, 8 Shag and 5 Eider. Grounded migrants included 27 Goldcrest, 4 Chiffchaff and 3 Blackcap. In addition, the Treecreeper was in the Wood, a Coal Tit was in the North Scrubs and 2 Bullfinch were on Wick. The first-winter Yellow-legged Gull was again around the quay and a Kingfisher was on Stanpit, while up to 200 Jackdaw left the Nursery roost at dawn.

October 25th

Under overcast skies, there was a heavy finch passage this morning with 1800 Linnet, 1500 Goldfinch, 430 Chaffinch, 240 Siskin, 78 Redpoll, 8 Brambling and a single Bullfinch; as well as 260 Meadow Pipit, 130 alba Wagtail, 39 Reed Bunting, 26 Skylark and two each of Golden Plover and Knot. A Treecreeper was behind the Nursery, where a Firecrest and a settled Brambling were present. Elsewhere, a Mistle Thrush was on the Batters, a Kingfisher was by the Lily Pond, 7 Chiffchaff were counted and 3 Peregrine were airborne.

October 24th

Despite this morning's murk and drizzle, there was a little more bird activity than of late. The highlights were a Yellow-browed Warbler at the eastern end of Hengistbury and a Lapland Bunting overhead; also 7 Firecrest logged on the head. Finches and thrushes were on the move, the numbers being: 480 Linnet, 175 Chaffinch, 115 alba Wagtail, 47 Siskin, 33 Redpoll, 23 Redwing, 21 Song Thrush and 6 Bullfinch. A Merlin was hunting Holloway's Dock, where 2 Greenshank were present. Over on Stanpit, the Spotted Redshank was opposite Fisherman's Bank, also 26 Dunlin, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 96 Brent Goose. Finally, other than the already-mentioned warbler, the only grounded migrants reported were 8 Goldcrest and 5 Chiffchaff on Wick.

Additional news: late in the afternoon, 8 Eider passed west off Mudeford Quay and 40 Common Scoter were on the water.

October 23rd

The morning was a complete washout, but once the weather improved a couple of visits to Stanpit were made. The Brent Goose flock had increased to 28 and 2 Greylag Goose were on the marsh, while wader numbers were 18 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Snipe and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit. A Kingfisher was seen and the North Scrubs held 5 Goldcrest and 2 Blackcap.

Additional news: late in the day, a Yellow-legged Gull and 35 Common Scoter were seen from Mudeford Quay.

October 22nd

A group of 5 Hawfinch flew north over Wick this morning, while on Stanpit at least 20 Siskin were settled in trees by the Purewell Stream. There were a couple of Wheatear on site, one on the beach and one on Crouch Hill; also 11 Chiffchaff and a female Bullfinch on Wick. The second wetland bird survey of the season produced mixed results with poor numbers of small waders, but decent counts of Redshank and Curlew; also the winter wildfowl, with the exception of Brent Goose, building up as expected. The count wasn't helped by the visit of a Marsh Harrier to Stanpit during the morning! The wader totals were 179 Redshank, 37 Dunlin, 28 Curlew, 26 Ringed Plover, 17 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Grey Plover, a Knot and a Greenshank. The Wigeon checked in at 485, but there were just 14 Brent Geese.  Elsewhere, 2 Kingfisher and 2 Raven were logged, while 10 Common Scoter were on the sea off the sandspit.

October 21st

With Storm Brian in full swing the sea was the only option this morning. The highlights were a Grey Phalarope that passed close to Mudeford Quay around 8:30 and a Merlin offshore from the Beach Huts, both these heading west. Otherwise it was disappointingly quiet. In more than three hours there was just a lingering Sandwich Tern, 15 Common Scoter, 4 Kittiwake, six arriving Brent Geese, plus two west, and 3 Razorbill on the sea.

Additional news: a Wheatear was on the West Field, Hengistbury.

October 20th

Jay – Matthew Barfield

A Great White Egret flew north over Stanpit, where a Water Pipit and 2 Rock Pipit were by the Rusty Boat. Meanwhile, 19 Skylark headed north over the marsh. A Red-breasted Merganser was off Mudeford Quay, as were 17 Common Scoter, 16 of them settled. 

October 19th

Redshank – Alan Crockard

There is a little news from a largely wet day. The best were a Mistle Thrush in the Nursery, a Firecrest on the Batter and 9 Redpoll, with 14 Chiffchaff and 8 Goldcrest making the numbers. On Stanpit, around 6 Black-tailed Godwit were present.

October 18th

Sandwich Tern
Sandwich Tern – Clinton Whale

There were 5 Wheatear on South Marsh today, while Hengistbury and Wick held around 25 Chiffchaff and 30 Goldcrest, plus 11 Redpoll. Elsewhere, there were two latish Sandwich Tern seen at Stanpit and off the sandspit; two each of Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit, as well as 30 each of Ringed Plover and Dunlin, were inside the harbour; and 56 Brent Goose were on the sea at the tip of the spit.

October 17th

Wheatear – Clinton Whale

Ophelia really did blow herself out overnight, as dawn broke to almost no breeze at all. Although the overhead finches weren’t counted, there were reasonable numbers settled about the area; not least Bullfinch with a total five of reckoned – three on the Long Field and two in the North Scrubs. A Brambling was also logged from the scrubs, while aggregates of 11 Redpoll and at least 7 Siskin were returned, and over 100 Linnet were on Crouch Hill. Also settled were: 4 Firecrest and a Treecreeper in the Wood; 3 Wheatear around the sandspit; and 22 Chiffchaff, 11 Goldcrest and a Blackcap. Meanwhile, 4 Grey Wagtail and 13 Skylark passed west over Wick. The male Marsh Harrier was seen again, with the wader highlights at Stanpit being a Knot, a Greenshank and 4 Black-tailed Godwit. Finishing off, a couple of adult Mediterranean Gull moved west, 10 Common Scoter were on the sea, the Little Grebe remains on the Ironstone Quarry, a Kingfisher was by the Black House and 88 Brent Goose were counted.

October 16th

Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail – Leo Pyke
Portugese Man o' War
Portugese Man o' War, also dramatically known as Floating Terror,
washed up in the recording area – Chris Dresh

The day started with an easterly breeze and grey skies, which leadened significantly in the run-up to the fringes of Ophelia arriving; after which the direction of blow was very much south-south-west. The best came early in the afternoon, when two swifts were seen from Hengistbury, perhaps over Stanpit, but were too far away to put a definite name on. Once the wind got going, Mudeford Quay was given some attention but came up with just a juvenile Arctic Tern, four Mediterranean Gull and the incumbent Common Scoter. The early part of the day saw the best spell of visible migration so far this autumn, when between 7:00 and 9:00, from the western end of the head, the following were counted: 1055 Linnet, 510 Goldfinch, 73 Siskin, 17 Chaffinch, 3 Redpoll, 370 Meadow Pipit, 118 alba Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail, 13 Swallow and 3 Starling; all east. Meanwhile, a heard-only Bullfinch was probably the seemingly resident bird in the Batters. Two Firecrest were on the Batters and a further bird was in the North Scrubs, Stanpit, while around 20 Chiffchaff and 13 Goldcrest were also logged. Waders at Stanpit included a Jack Snipe amongst 22 Snipe, an Avocet, the Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Black-tailed Godwit. In addition to a juvenile Gannet seeking refuge in The Run, the Grey Seal was there. 

October 15th

Green Woodpecker
Green Woodpecker – Clinton Whale

Three Hawfinch passed west over the North Scrubs during the morning, when a Green Sandpiper was on Wick Water Meadows. Later on, after lunch, a Great White Egret spent some time in Stanpit Bight, the male Marsh Harrier was over East Marsh, a couple of Firecrest were on the Batters and a Nuthatch, always a local event, was by the Lily Pond. Other numbers for settled passerines from the morning at Wick and the late afternoon on the Batters come to 3 Redpoll, 27 Goldcrest and 22 Chiffchaff. A couple of looks at the waders from Fisherman’s Bank this afternoon came up with nothing like the variety and numbers of yesterday, but did manage: the Spotted Redshank, a Grey Plover, 6 Black-tailed Godwit and around 20 each of Ringed Plover and Dunlin; as well as 35 Brent Goose.  

October 14th

On a mild day, there were 2 Curlew Sandpiper at Stanpit, along with the Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 2 Knot, 4 Grey Plover, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Ringed Plover and 35 Dunlin. A reasonable finch movement took place to the east and, between 7:00 and 9:00, comprised 555 Linnet, 290 Goldfinch, 8 Chaffinch, 4 Greenfinch, a Siskin, plus heard on five occasions, and three instances of Redpoll calls. In addition, a Mistle Thrush, 78 alba Wagtail, 28 Meadow Pipit, 18 Swallow and 5 Reed Bunting passed over. Meanwhile, a Red-throated Diver headed in the opposite direction and the settled Common Scoter were reckoned to be 25. At least 27 Goldcrest and 18 Chiffchaff were about, a Wheatear was by the Coastguards and a Bullfinch was heard on the Batters. Later in the day, Linnet were holding up at Stanpit, where as many as 150 may have been present, and the Brent Goose were counted to be 76. Peregrine were seen a couple of times and a Kingfisher was on Wick Hams.

October 13th

On another blustery day, there was a Hawfinch on the western slopes of Hengistbury for a brief time this morning, while a Bullfinch and 4 Siskin were logged. Later on, a couple of Greenshank were in Holloway’s Dock and 6 Chiffchaff were noted.

October 12th

Goldfinch – Alan Crockard

On a fine morning, there were 2 Little Stint inside the harbour on the Flats and a Lapland Bunting headed west over the Batters. Meanwhile, a White Wagtail was with 14 Pied Wagtail on Crouch Hill. On Hengistbury and Wick, a total of 18 Chiffchaff, 14 Goldcrest and 3 Blackcap were logged, as well as the male Marsh Harrier hunting over Wick Hams, while a few flocks of Linnet and Goldfinch were about Stanpit. Rounding up, a Rock Pipit at Stanpit was in a location suggesting littoralis, a Peregrine was over Wick and Kingfisher was by the Lily Pond. Of exotic interest, the 4 Black Swan were around the Mudeford Quay area.

October 11th

As expected, a strong south-westerly wind dominated the day and later on brought rain with it. An early morning seawatch from Mudeford Quay produced: an adult Red-throated Diver west, likewise 8 Common Scoter, 2 Brent Goose and an auk, while a further 20 Common Scoter were settled. After lunch, from the same spot, around 70 Gannet drifted west, along with 2 Sandwich Tern and 3 Common Gull. A couple more Sandwich Tern were also returned from Hengistbury. This afternoon, the first 4 Redwing of the season passed over Wick.

October 10th

Sanderling – Clinton Whale

Although it was much drier today, a strengthening south-westerly made birding conditions less than perfect. The best actually came late in the day, when a Manx Shearwater was seen from Mudeford Quay. Much earlier, a couple of Peregrine – an adult male and a slightly larger bird of the year – put on some great interaction along the Hengistbury cliffs, with at least one Raven joining in at times. Otherwise, overhead action was limited with token counts coming to: 160 Linnet, 50 Goldfinch, 4 Redpoll, a couple of Chaffinch, 70 Meadow Pipit, 5 alba Wagtail and a few Swallow; all east. On the deck, at least 40 Chiffchaff and 13 Goldcrest were logged, although 2 Song Thrush off the head before it was fully light suggested they had only just arrived. The only wader news is of 4 Sanderling and 45 Ringed Plover on the sandspit. A skein of around 40 Brent Goose came across Poole Bay and over the Beach Huts at dawn, so suggesting they have already settled into their winter routine; a Little Grebe was on the Ironstone Quarry; and a Kingfisher was at Wick Hams. Off mammal interest, a pod of at least 12 Bottle-nosed Dolphin and a Grey Seal were off the quay this evening.

October 9th

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker – Alan Crockard
Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail – Gary Foyle

The weather forecast was spectacularly wrong this morning, which resulted in a severe soaking for those out in it! A female Merlin was again patrolling Hengistbury and was seen as many as three times, while the male Marsh Harrier put in an early morning appearance over Central Marsh. Later, a female was around Wick Hams. There was some attempt at overhead movement by passerines, but the conditions soon got the better of them. Afterwards, a large flock of Long-tailed Tit on Wick, perhaps 50 birds, carried a few Chiffchaff; while on Stanpit a smaller group had a Firecrest and a Goldcrest tagging along. This evening, the Bar-tailed Godwit at Stanpit peaked at 22 birds, with an earlier look producing 2 Knot, 20 Ringed Plover and 35 Dunlin. The Brent Goose now number 60 and the offshore Common Scoter flock is around half that. Also off Mudeford Quay, an adult Mediterranean Gull.

October 8th

Kingfisher & Herring Gull Kingfisher
Kingfisher and Herring Gull on groyne S6 – Gary Foyle
Clouded Yellow
One of several Clouded Yellow on Hengistbury today – Clinton Whale

There was little wind and quite dense cloud for the first couple of hours, but then the expected westerly gathered some momentum. A Yellow-browed Warbler was in a garden adjacent to the Argyle Road slip this morning, but couldn’t be re-found after the initial encounter; a Lapland Bunting was heard several times above the eastern end of Hengistbury; a Ring Ouzel came up from the western end just after dawn; and an Arctic Skua was seen from Mudeford Quay. There was a light passage of birds eastwards over the area, including: 60 Meadow Pipit, 54 alba Wagtail, 255 Linnet, 90 Goldfinch, 8 Redpoll, at least 7 Siskin and 10 Swallow. Meanwhile, a further 5 Redpoll pitched into Wick Fields. Also on the deck, around 50 Chiffchaff and 5 Blackcap. The male Marsh Harrier was seen over Wick Hams, where a Kingfisher lingered. The relatively fine conditions saw Clouded Yellow and Red Admiral butterfly on the wing, as well as a few Migrant Hawker dragonfly.

Additional news: before first light, a Tawny Owl could be heard from Solent Meads.

October 7th

In a strong westerly, the only real news for the day comes from Mudeford Quay, where the period prior to 10:00 saw 3 Arctic Skua. Two dark birds amongst a large feeding flock of gulls and Gannet just west of the Needles and pale individual that passed close west. In addition, a Goosander and Razorbill were in The Run, while a Great Northern Diver was further out on the water. The end of the sandspit hosted a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull and a Mediterranean Gull; a couple of Purple Sandpiper were logged; and 4 Brent Goose, 3 auks and over 50 Swallow headed west. A stint this afternoon saw just the Gannet flock, which had moved closer, when a number of around 60 was put on it, plus a group of 15 Common Scoter near to Clarendon’s Rocks. A good three hours was put into sheltered areas around the north of the area, but most bushes proved to be largely silent.

October 6th

Goldcrest Goldcrest
Goldcrest – Alan Crockard
Juvenile Dunlin - moulting into its first-winter plumage– Clinton Whale

What is presumably now a semi-resident Cattle Egret was seen again today – flying north over Stanpit early in the afternoon. Slightly later, a female Marsh Harrier was over Priory Marsh; then a short period of time afterwards a near-adult male was quartering the same area. It’s starting to look as if the latter, first seen almost a fortnight ago, may be the bird that has spent the last two winters with us and is now in its third calendar-year. Despite clear skies and relatively little wind – what there was coming from the north-west – there wasn’t much moving purposefully; frequent Siskin calls, two or three Redpoll and a Grey Wagtail being the pick of the expected pipits, wagtails and finches. On the deck, a couple of Firecrest were in the Wood, a Whinchat was on Crouch Hill and the site-wide Wheatear touched 20, while Chiffchaff approached 40 and Blackcap nudged 15. The fine conditions did make the incumbent Dartford Warbler conspicuous, however, with a few of the 15 or so noted even in song. Wader numbers have taken a dip of late – 28 Ringed Plover and 17 Dunlin on the sandspit being the maximum count of the smaller species. Meanwhile, the Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, a Knot, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 8 Black-tailed Godwit were inside the harbour. The Brent Goose now number 35 and a single Shelduck was around; a Peregrine was over Stanpit; an adult Mediterranean Gull passed Hengistbury; and a Little Grebe remains on the Ironstone Quarry. Finally, the Emperor Goose was again tagging along with the Canada Goose gaggle that is spending more and more time in the area.

October 5th

A very quiet day in the harbour with a Firecrest on the Batters the highlight. Otherwise there were just 30 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap and 2 Coal Tit with a few Siskin overhead.

October 4th

Goldfinch on the Long Field – Clinton Whale
Kestrel – Steve Hogan

The Wryneck was still present this morning, on the Long Field at Hengistbury, where it preferred the fenced off area, also on the Long Field was a single Whinchat while Chiffchaff numbered no more than two dozen across the whole site. Overhead passage dominated the morning's activity, however, with good numbers of birds logged. The highlight was a group of 4 Spoonbill, seen from both sides of the harbour as they headed west. Also noteworthy was a party of 4 Crossbill over Hengistbury and the first Brambling of the autumn, one over Wick and three in the wood. The vismig totals, all west, were 370 Linnet, 185 Meadow Pipit, 170 Goldfinch, 121 Swallow, 86 alba Wagtail, 84 Chaffinch, 29 Reed Bunting, 14 Siskin, 6 Tree Pipit and 3 Yellow Wagtail. There was another Merlin today, north across the harbour, while a Marsh Harrier headed south-west and the regular bird quartered the Wick and Priory reed beds. The only wader news is of a Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit and a Bar-tailed Godwit on the inner shore. Finally offshore there was a huge mixed feeding flock that held at least 100 Gannet and 1000 Black-headed Gull.

October 3rd

Today's Wryneck on the Long Field – Nick Whitehouse

The much anticipated first Wryneck of the year turned up today, on the Long Field at Hengistbury. In recent years this species has become a regular autumn visitor so it's been something of a surprise that there hasn't been an earlier one. There was also a flyover Lapland Bunting, over the eastern end of the Head. The latter was the highlight of this morning's visible migration, the numbers being 620 Meadow Pipit, 420 Goldfinch, 330 Linnet, 315 alba Wagtail, 88 Chaffinch, 36 Siskin and 8 Redpoll. This was the first significant movement of finches this autumn. On the ground were 60 Chiffchaff, 14 Wheatear, seven of these on Stanpit, 7 Goldcrest and a Lesser Whitethroat. There were still a couple of dozen Brent Geese on Stanpit, also the Spotted Redshank and a single Bar-tailed Godwit.

October 2nd

Skylark – Nick Whitehouse
Chiffchaff – Nick Whitehouse

Yet another day of westerly wind – it feels as if the autumn is passing us by without any hint of a decent easterly! The Salt Hurns Cattle Egret was present with about 15 Little Egret from dawn until at least 7:15 and a female Merlin was seen on four occasions – three times on Hengistbury and once at Stanpit. A Spotted Flycatcher was on Wick, close to Solent Meads car park, 2 Whinchat remain at Whitepits, a notably late Willow Warbler was at Stanpit and 2 Firecrest were by Holloway’s Dock. In addition, there were 7 Wheatear, around 30 Chiffchaff and 10 Goldcrest spread across the area. Overhead, it was a case of milling rather than moving with token numbers of the expected species, but including 4 Siskin. The Spotted Redshank was at Stanpit, where 5 Greenshank were certainly new birds, plus 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 6 Black-tailed Godwit there. The biggest count of the smaller waders came from the sandspit, however, with 45 Ringed Plover and 35 Dunlin returned. A couple of Little Grebe were at Stanpit and Kingfisher were logged there as well as on Wick. Finishing off with the plastic wildfowl, namely the 4 Black Swan and the Emperor-type Goose. 

October 1st

Wigeon – Clinton Whale

It’s been a decent week for white herons and that continued today, when a Cattle Egret was seen a couple of times over Wick and two Spoonbill passed west without stopping. Otherwise though, it was pretty tough going in the south-westerly wind and on-off drizzle. The best were singles of Firecrest and Treecreeper in the Wood, plus a Yellow Wagtail over Crouch Hill, with site-totals for others coming to 10 Wheatear and 35 Chiffchaff. Wader interest seems to have waned a little – just a Sanderling, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover and 50 Dunlin being reported today. The Brent Goose held steady at 18 birds and Kingfisher were logged at Stanpit and Wick.

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