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Sightings for the current month

December 21st

Stonechat – Clinton Whale

The clear highlight of the winter solstice was a Black Guillemot seen from Mudeford Quay to come from the east and settle on the water a couple of hundred metres out. Unfortunately, there was too much of a chop to see the bird after that. Meanwhile, a Firecrest was again by the Double Bends on Hengistbury and 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 120 Brent Goose and 10 Moorhen were at Stanpit. The latter count being mentioned because the species is so rarely formally recorded in the area. On the subject of Black-tailed Godwit, we now have details of the colour-ringed bird that was featured in a photo earlier this month. The bird, a male, was ringed as chick in Langhus, Fljot, Iceland in July 2012 and was first re-seen at Stanpit in November of the same year. Since then, it has been noted around Poole Harbour, where it apparently spent its first summer, in June and then December of 2013; before being logged back in Iceland during July of this year. 

Tides December 22nd: H00:15 | L04:05 | H08:55 | H12:30 | L16:20 | H21:10

December 20th

The area between the Long Groyne and the extreme of Hengistbury held a fine, male Black Redstart, which was clearly a new bird in. However, elsewhere on the head, it was just a presumed, regular Firecrest in the Wood, along with a Coal Tit there, and a Kingfisher in Barn Bight. On Stanpit, North Marsh hosted 4 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit, as well as singles of Linnet and Reed Bunting. The last two species warrant a mention because: the former is always a scarcity in the winter months; the latter due to an almost complete absence in the recording area since the autumn, something which isn’t at all usual.

Additional news: an ever-hopeful seawatch came up with a Red-breasted Merganser, a Great Crested Grebe, 14 Guillemot, 6 auk sp. and 12 Gannet, as well as a Raven over the Beach Huts. 

December 19th

Ringed Plover & Dunlin
Ringed Plover and Dunlin on groyne S9 – Clinton Whale

Other than a continuing presence of ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit, seven birds today, opposite the Pod at Stanpit and a Bullfinch on Wick, most of the news comes courtesy of waders on sandspit groyne S9; where a total of 16 Purple Sandpiper were accompanied by an estimated fifty each of Ringed Plover and Dunlin. The only other snippet to report is of 11 Black-tailed Godwit on Wick meadows. 

Additional news: a total of 60 Dunlin and 30 Ringed Plover, which may have been the some of the same as on the sandspit, were at Stanpit, as well as 4 Pintail.

December 18th

A gusting, westerly wind built up throughout the course of the day with some notable gusts being experienced late in the afternoon. Just ahead of this, the sea was watched and came up with: 2 Red-throated Diver, 11 Guillemot, 4 Razorbill and 27 Gannet, all west; plus around 25 unidentified auks that were moving in a mixture of directions and 4 Great Crested Grebe on the water. A Raven was also seen from the Beach Huts, while 2 Ringed Plover and 8 Dunlin were further along the sandspit. Once again, the Little Grebe was on the Ironstone Quarry.

December 17th

The post’s news comes entirely from Fisherman’s Bank, either side of midday. The Spotted Redshank was present in Stanpit Creek, while 5 Grey Plover, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Turnstone, 15 Ringed Plover and 95 Dunlin were also logged, plus 14 Snipe feeding on the open mud. The only other species worth a mention is Pintail - four birds of two pairs. 

December 16th

Redshank – Tony Adamcik
...and an unseasonable Swallow – Tony Adamcik

A still, gloriously clear morning saw a very late Swallow feeding around the end of the head; while the highlight at Stanpit was a party of 4 Spoonbill, but that seemed to have departed by lunchtime. The calm conditions off the Natterjack Pond revealed a significant influx of Great Crested Grebe into the area - a tally of sixty-eight birds in flocks of seven, nine, twenty-four and thirty-eight; as well as 2 Red-throated Diver on the water. Meanwhile, moving back to Stanpit, where the Spotted Redshank was again logged, along with 10 Grey Plover, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Ringed Plover, 85 Dunlin and a Kingfisher. In addition, 10 Snipe could be seen; but as the observer remarked, there are clearly many more present as is occasionally proven when the sanctum of the marsh is disturbed. 

December 15th

A Firecrest was again on Hengistbury, in the favoured spot by the Double Bends, while a couple of Purple Sandpiper were on the Long Groyne. Offshore, a Red-throated Diver passed west, as did a Guillemot, with two more of those plus a Razorbill and 2 Common Scoter settled. The only Kingfisher report for the day was of one bird in Barn Bight. 

December 14th

Long Groyne
The Long Groyne at Hengistury – Clinton Whale

All the news for a fairly quiet day comes from Stanpit, where it is reckoned there may now be up to 9 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit, but also: 12 Grey Plover, around 60 Black-tailed Godwit, 37 Ringed Plover, 160 Dunlin, 2 Turnstone and 30 or so Snipe; as well as a drake Shoveler. 

December 13th

Stanpit was throughly checked-out this morning and, in terms of waders, produced: the Spotted Redshank, 12 Grey Plover, around 80 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Snipe, 41 Dunlin and 148 Dunlin. In addition, a couple of ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit were by the Pod, while 4 Pintail and a Shoveler were on the marsh. A Sanderling was again on the Hengistbury side, where a Chiffchaff, 2 Fieldfare and at least 14 Redwing were about the Long Fied. The sea was quiet, with just 5 Red-throated Diver, an unidentified diver, 2 Common Scoter and 2 Great Crested Grebe making the notebooks. For the records, a total of 91 Stock Dove exited the Nursery roost. 

December 12th

One of two Sanderling by the Long Groyne today,
a good winter record for the area – Clinton Whale

After a night of extremely heavy rain and a decent south-westerly blow, although the wind was perhaps not as strong as the forecasts suggested it might be, it was all eyes on the sea this morning. In terms of numbers, it was actually a little disappointing, but there were three moments of local quality. A couple of Slavonian Grebe passed west off the Beach Huts; then a Black-necked Grebe was picked out on the water before that also flew around the end of the head; and what was the first Goldeneye of the winter headed in the same direction offshore. The rest of the 3-hour watch, however, managed just modest numbers, namely: 6 Red-throated Diver, 9 Kittiwake, a Razorbill, 43 Guillemot, 2 Common Scoter and a dozen or so Gannet. A couple of Sanderling were by the Long Groyne, while 9 Purple Sandpiper were on groyne S9 and a further six were about Mudeford Quay. To round up, a Brambling was on Wick, close to the HHC, and a Kingfisher was in Barn Bight.

Omission: on Stanpit, the Black-tailed Godwit had risen to around 200 birds, while 50 Ringed Plover and 20 Dunlin were also estimated, as well as 300 Brent Goose. In addition, drake Goosander flew straight into the harbour and directly up the river, while 2 Pintail and a Shelduck were on East Marsh.

December 11th

Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper at the end of the sandspit – Olly Frampton
Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale (upper) & Alan Crockard
The colour-ringed bird has been around for a couple of weeks now and we know it was fitted-out during the summer of 2012 in Iceland. However, until today, the dark blue ring on the left leg had not been seen, but we should now be able to pin the bird down to an individual.

There was another record of Black-necked Grebe today - a bird west past Mudeford Quay early in the morning. During the afternoon, a female-type Marsh Harrier was seen over Holloway’s Dock, before working its way along the southern edge of the harbour. This is the third record for the species in a week, so there could well be an individual frequenting the area. The best-of-the-rest was a fine total of 21 Purple Sandpiper, all eventually flocking of groyne S8, as well as 2 Stonechat on the sandspit that may not have featured in yesterday’s number. The Little Grebe remains on the Ironstone Quarry and a Kingfisher was in Barn Bight, along with a strange duck that looks to contain features of both pintail and mallard. 

December 10th

Peregrine hunting at Stanpit – Alan Crockard

The brisk, westerly wind encouraged a couple of good looks at the sea this morning, when the aggregate totals, all west, came to: a Black-necked Grebe that was initially on the water close-in, 4 Red-throated Diver, 175 Kittiwake, 37 Guillemot, 80 auk sp., 6 Common Scoter, 15 Great Crested Grebe, 58 Common Gull and eighty or so Herring Gull; the latter two species actually amongst ‘hundreds’ of westbound gulls, most of which were too far out to put a name to. In addition, ten unidentified auks headed into the Solent and 3 Great Crested Grebe were settled off Mudeford Quay. A couple of Firecrest - one in the Wood and the other by the Ironstone Quarry - and a Redwing were on Hengistbury, where the Stonechat seem to have stabilised to eight birds.  Over on Stanpit, a Ruff was again on East Marsh amongst an estimated 300 Lapwing; while other news for the day involves the Little Grebe on the Ironstone Quarry pool, a Raven in the North Scrubs and a Kingfisher on Grimmery Bank. 

December 9th

Dartford Warbler
Dartford Warbler – Alan Sutton

A clear, sub-zero morning soon clouded, but despite the air temperature ultimately nudging double figures it still felt cold throughout. By this evening, however, drizzle had set in and the outdoor experience was a tad warmer. Actually, there will be more weather news than birds, with the only return for today being of 5 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit at Stanpit, along with around 25 Meadow Pipit.

December 8th

Brent Goose
Brent Goose – Clinton Whale

The best at Stanpit, on a fairly low-key day, was actually a Dartford Warbler; as well as 5 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit, a good count of 14 Grey Plover and 52 Dunlin about the marsh. Earlier, a Fieldfare and 25 Redwing had been spread across Hengistbury, but a 90-minute seawatch could produce just a single Guillemot. 

December 7th

Marsh Harrier Razorbill
Marsh Harrier – Darren Matthews, and Razorbill - Alan Sutton,
both from yesterday afternoon

It was WeBS count day today - but before the records relevant to that event, some of the others. A total of 6 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit were on Stanpit this morning, all around the Pod, and a Firecrest was in the Wood; while later, from Hengistbury, a Red-throated Diver and 30 Kittiwake were logged westbound. The highlights of the count were a couple of Goosander north early on, so may have roosted in the area overnight, 2 Ruff on East Marsh and 9 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit. Other waders for the spreadsheet, included the Spotted Redshank, 10 Grey Plover, 6 Turnstone, 30 Black-tailed Godwit, 59 Ringed Plover, all but one of those on the spit, and 97 Dunlin. Meanwhile, the more-interesting wildfowl came to 7 Pintail, 414 Wigeon, 155 Teal and 154 Brent Goose. Two species for the census that were both far fewer than average were Coot and Redshank, at ninety and seventy respectively, so we’re not sure what’s happening there. There was a good in-harbour count of 15 Common Gull, however, as well as the now almost, expected 3 Kingfisher. Please check back to yesterday for some omitted news.

December 6th

Wheatear – Chris Chapleo
Red Admiral
Red Admiral – Mike Gibbons

There was a brief flicker of hope this morning that the area’s dubious honour of never having hosted more than a conventional Wheatear could be put to bed. However, any potential excitement soon settled down - that said, this is probably the latest ever date the species has been recorded in the harbour, so is remarkable in itself. On what was a glorious, almost windless day, there were a few other moments of interest: a Marsh Harrier was over Priory Marsh in the afternoon; the Spotted Redshank was off Fisherman’s Bank this morning; and 6 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit. Meanwhile, other waders about the area included 11 Grey Plover, an estimated 50 Black-tailed Godwit, 42 Ringed Plover and 47 Dunlin. Coal Tit have been sparse of late, so it was good to hear of one in the Wood, over which 2 Redwing headed north. The only news from the sea is of Red-throated Diver, while other bits of miscellany come from an adult Mediterranean Gull, 7 Pintail and a count of 134 Brent Goose inside the harbour, and a Kingfisher on the ferry pontoon.

Omission: a couple of Water Pipit were on Priory Marsh and a Razorbill was on the sea just off the sandspit.

December 5th

Wigeon at Stanpit today – Alan Crockard (upper two) & Clinton Whale
After a clear dawn, the skies had clouded by mid-morning. Early on, a small movement of finches along the sandspit - 51 Linnet and 32 Goldfinch - carried a Snow Bunting with them; while 3 Firecrest, two in the normal spot and one by Holloway’s Dock, and a Redpoll were more settled. Over on Stanpit, a Water Pipit was in the Crouch Hill area and 3 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit were on South Marsh. At sea, a total of 16 Red-throated Diver, mostly west, was logged, all but two of them in the morning. Also from the water, a couple of settled Common Scoter, a Razorbill, 10 Guillemot and 28 unidentified auks. At Stanpit, the Black-tailed Godwit were estimated at around 100 birds, with the Spotted Redshank, 9 Grey Plover, 24 Ringed Plover, 70 Dunlin and 8 Pintail also being present.

Additional news: a Marsh Harrier was over Priory Marsh at 11:20.

December 4th

Something between mist and drizzle hung in the air all day, when the temperature barely cleared the 5C mark. Other than an aural record of the Spotted Redshank, a morning visit to Stanpit produced nothing of note; this afternoon, however, there were 5 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit by the Pod. Also later in the day, a 30-minute seawatch from Hengistbury came up with a Red-throated Diver and an adult Mediterranean Gull off the Beach Huts.

December 3rd

In the continuing, cold wind, reference was made this morning to ‘thousands’ of birds feeding right out on the horizon from the Beach Huts - the distance and light, however, rendered nearly all of them unidentifiable. Those that did venture close enough to have a name put to them included: a Pomarine Skua that circled over the end of the head, 9 Red-throated Diver and a Great Northern Diver west, 3 Kittiwake, 5 Mediterranean Gull, 350 Common Gull, 85 Gannet and 12 auks. In addition, 9 Common Scoter, 16 Pintail and 73 Wigeon moved past to the west. Most of the previous had dispersed by the afternoon, when 6 Red-throated Diver, 2 Kittiwake, 3 Common Scoter and a lone Gannet were added to the day-totals. A couple of Firecrest were again in the Wood, by the Double Bends, and 2 Redpoll may have set up winter residence in the species’ favoured spot alongside Holloway’s Dock. Meanwhile, 2 Brambling went over, 2 Fieldfare were in the Long Field and 8 Redwing were logged. At first light, the Woodpigeon and Stock Dove leaving their roost were counted at 630 and 38 birds respectively. 

December 2nd

A very, cold northerly wind made it far from comfortable in the field today, but the conditions did give rise to the most Gannet for quite some time. During the hour after 8:15, from Mudeford Quay, a total of 65 birds was logged moving into the Solent; along with 6 Red-throated Diver. Meanwhile, 3 Common Scoter headed west. On Stanpit, the pipits were again given a grilling and at least 4 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit, the race littoralis, were reckoned to be present. The 9 Pintail, five drakes and four ducks, remain, but the Shoveler had decreased to three. In terms of waders, the Spotted Redshank, 2 Grey Plover, 53 Black-tailed Godwit, 21 Ringed Plover and around 55 Dunlin were on the marsh, while 22 Turnstone were on the sandspit. 

December 1st

This morning saw the first record of a settled Twite, albeit very briefly, for more years than one can care to remember. The bird perched on fence wires on Crouch Hill before heading off towards Hengistbury. In fact, an unidentified, small finch seen in the same area on Stanpit yesterday could well have related to this individual. The last few days have seen a marked influx of waders - in addition to a Jack Snipe and a Ruff at Stanpit, there were 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, one of them in full breeding-plumage, 4 Grey Plover, 55 Black-tailed Godwit, 70 Ringed Plover, 80 Dunlin and 65 Snipe. Wildfowl numbers are also seem to have stepped up, something which has likewise been noted in the adjoining Avon Valley, with nine each of Pintail and Shoveler at Stanpit; but also evidence of movement at sea, where a Velvet Scoter, 10 Common Scoter, 3 Tufted Duck, 46 Wigeon and 9 Teal travelled west, while 8 Shelduck moved in the opposite direction. From the timings of the reports received most of the activity at sea was early on, when in addition to the duck: a Black-throated Diver, 4 Red-throated Diver and 8 Guillemot passed west; and a Great Northern Diver was setted off the Double Dykes. To finish off a good day, the putative rubicola Stonechat was again at Whitepits, a Chiffchaff and a dozen Goldcrest were in the Wood, and 6 Redwing and 3 Siskin moved over Hengistbury. 

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