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Sightings for the current month

March 4th

Tufted Duck
The tame drake Tufted Duck doing his best to impress a Mallard
on a pond in the Nursery – Hugh Goldsmith

Although the weather forecast held true, yesterday’s bold predictions about the imminent arrival of early migrants didn’t. In fact, not a single bird was seen to pass over an early stint at the Coastguards. The sea did provide some interest, however, in particular a Red-necked Grebe on the water just off the Beach Huts. Also, a Black-throated Diver and 7 Red-throated Diver, those mostly west, and 23 Mediterranean Gull, including a flock of fifteen birds, and 40 Common Gull, those all west. To round up, a Firecrest was seen in the Nursery. 

AGM & Indoor Meeting – Wednesday, 11th March

The Great Heath Living Landscape - Nicola Hoar, Dorset Wildife Trust

This talk will be preceded by the AGM, which is planned to be a much shorter process than usual. For example, the minutes of last year’s meeting and the 2014 accounts can be viewed on-line in advance, in order to save them being recited in full on the night. All other reports will also be presented in a summary form.

With respect to the Committee, all existing officers are planning to stand again, but if there any other nominees please email details to the Secretary

Please note, there is one outstanding vacancy, Outdoor Meetings Organiser, for which we would significantly welcome any volunteers. This role involves arranging a couple of members’ days and guided walks each year. Please email the Secretary if you are interested or would like further details.

More details on meeting time and venue

Tides March 5th: L03:55 | H08:50 | H12:00 | L16:10 | H21:15

March 3rd

Unfortunately, no reports have been received for the day. However, the weather for the remainder of the week is looking good for incoming migrants.

March 2nd

A bitter, west wind made it very uncomfortable this morning, but a Firecrest by Holloway’s Dock, that in addition to the two in the Nursery, was a good candidate to be a moving bird. Otherwise, it’s only the sea to remark upon, where 4 Gannet were the first to be logged for quite some time; also, a Red-throated Diver, 3 Common Scoter and 5 Great Crested Grebe.

March 1st

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale
Brent Goose
The front row of birds illustrates what a good proportion of young Brent Goose,
recognised by the three diagonal white lines towards the rear of the bird,
there has been this winter – Clinton Whale

The best today was probably one of the two wintering Firecrest - again in the Nursery. Early on, a couple of Mediterranean Gull, an adult and a first-winter, were on the lawn at Mudeford Quay, while a Fulmar and Common Scoter were at sea off the Beach Huts. This afternoon, 20 Black-tailed Godwit and 13 Shelduck were in Stanpit Creek, with the post’s only other news involving the familiar 2 Raven.

February 28th

Great Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull – Alan Hayden
Herring Gull
Herring Gull – Alan Hayden

As a consequence of the morning’s persistent rain, all the news comes from Mudeford Quay. The first five minutes of the session started well - a party of four pale-bellied Brent Goose, which lingered for an hour or so, and up to 20 Purple Sandpiper, the latter being accompanied by a Dunlin that didn’t look altogether comfortable stood on a wave-lashed rock. After that, however, it was hard work - the next couple of hours producing just: a Red-throated Diver, a Common Scoter, possibly the same lone drake that has been around for a while, 6 Mediterranean Gull, all adults and looking to be paired, 2 Shelduck and the regular pair of Raven. For those who are interested in such things, the latest set of accounts, covering the period April to December 2014, are now available. 

Additional news: a Fulmar lingered off the Beach Huts, from where 2 Guillemot and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull were also seen.

February 27th

Reed Bunting
One of several singing Reed Bunting at Stanpit this morning – Alan Crockard
...and the pair of Raven on the sandspit – Clinton Whale

Today saw a couple of clear indicators of the impending spring - firstly, several Linnet were by the HHC this afternoon; while up to 10 Reed Bunting were about Stanpit, a good deal of them in song. Since last weekend’s high tides, small waders have been completely absent inside the harbour; but the Spotted Redshank and 68 Black-tailed Godwit seem more enamoured with the situation. Meanwhile, 6 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit. Other pieces of interest for the day include: a drake Shoveler, 6 Pintail and 12 Shelduck at Stanpit; a Water Rail in Brewer’s Creek; a Coal Tit in the Nursery; and 2 Raven on the sandspit. 

February 26th

Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail – Alan Crockard
Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit – Alan Crockard

Around 7:30 this morning, a thick misty cloud descended onto the area and things didn’t brighten up until well into the afternoon. On Hengistbury, a Water Rail was in Brewer’s Creek and 3 Lapwing were on the Barn Field, from which the cattle have now been removed to make way for the Skylark. Meanwhile, a Grey Wagtail was in the Wick horse paddock. Over on Stanpit, in addition to a couple of Stonechat, there is the traditional late winter build-up of Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit. 

February 25th

Oystercatcher – Alan Hayden

There was a Chiffchaff in the North Scrubs at Stanpit today, while the Water Pipit and 11 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit were on North Marsh. Despite a southerly, onshore wind, the sea produced less than 6 birds in 90-minutes, the most notable being a Red-breasted Merganser west. 

February 24th

A biting, easterly wind marred the day, but a few trips were made into the field. A Water Pipit and 8 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit were on North Marsh, Stanpit, where the Spotted Redshank and 49 Black-tailed Godwit sheltered in Stanpit Creek, along with many of the Wigeon and Teal, and 206 Brent Goose were counted on South Marsh. Although the sea was in significant swell, little was on the move - just a Great Northern Diver from Mudeford Quay and a single Red-throated Diver east past Hengistbury.

February 23rd

Common Gull
Common Gull
Second-winter Common Gull – Alan Hayden

Yesterday's deluge and the resultant flow from the rivers Avon and Stour meant there was even more water over the area today, despite a much weaker tidal influence. As a consequence, the only report received was of a Water Rail in the unexpected location of Roebury Lane, a bird presumably displaced by the inundations.

February 22nd

Little Grebe
Little Grebe
Little Grebe – Alan Hayden
Tufted Duck
Pair of Tufted Duck – Alan Hayden
Josephine 2
As a result of a rare alignment of the sun, moon and earth,
today's bird-boat experienced the highest tides in just over 18 years – Alan Hayden
Blackberry Point Sign
The only remaining evidence of Blackberry Point – Alan Hayden
Mother Siller's Channel
The Bailey Bridge over Mother Siller's Channel – Clinton Whale
Various High Tide Images
...and various angles of Stanpit under a great deal of water – Alan Hayden

It was a day dominated by water. The highest tide for 18.5 years occurred at 11:00, which completely swamped many parts of the area, while the forecast rain descended right on cue at 12:30 and continued until dusk at least. At Hengistbury, a Firecrest was once more in the Wood, but little else to report from there. Thanks to the resident, semi-tame drake, the true status of Tufted Duck has become slightly blurred, but a pair that were around for most of the morning were certainly in addition to the regular bird. Meanwhile, an adult Mediterranean Gull passed through and, during the afternoon’s wind and rain, a Fulmar lingered around the Run. 

February 21st

An excellent comparison of Firecrest (above) and Goldcrest
- both captured in the Wood today – Alan Crockard

Despite its westerly direction, the wind this morning more than warranted the term biting. As a consequence, much of the Hengistbury birding was done from the shelter of the Wood and the Coastguards respectively - the former site again hosting a Firecrest. Meanwhile, the best from the Coastguards was a settled Red-necked Grebe, with either that or another earlier being seen from Mudeford Quay heading into The Solent. Otherwise, the combined totals from the quay and the high point of the head were: 5 Red-throated Diver, 5 Red-breasted Merganser, those in contrast to yesterday all west, 5 Great Crested Grebe and a Common Scoter. Also around Hengistbury, an adult Mediterranean Gull and at least 2 Raven. Over on Stanpit, a single ‘Scandinavian” Rock Pipit was close to the Pod.

Additional news: a Chiffchaff was at Stanpit, along with 5 Rock Pipit, 11 Pintail and twelve fly-over Black-tailed Godwit.

February 20th

Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper
Some of the 23 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit this morning – Clinton Whale
Wick in Flood
Some of the highest tides for 20-years are expected this weekend – Colin Raymond

The morning was almost completely windless, but a hint of northerly breeze was in the air by lunchtime. Therefore, it was not altogether a surprise that genuine seabirds were completely absent from Hengistbury waters. That said, there were bits-and-pieces of interest - the best being a Red-necked Grebe passing west. In addition, 7 Red-throated Diver were logged, three in each direction and a settled bird, as well as 6 Red-breasted Merganser, a Common Scoter and 2 Shelduck, all east. The Purple Sandpiper, today numbering 23 birds, were split into two groups - sixteen on S9 and seven on S5.

February 19th

A southerly, onshore wind drove a few seabirds close to Hengistbury this morning, including: a Great Skua, 5 Fulmar, 9 Kittiwake and 2 Gannet, all west; plus 12 Red-throated Diver, a skein of 55 Brent Goose and one-hundred-and-twenty distant auks, all east. In addition, a total of 38 Common Gull was logged moving down-channel. Then, just before the rain set in for the remainder of the day, a Firecrest was again by the Nursery in the Wood. 

February 18th

In similar conditions to yesterday, a Marsh Harrier was again seen, albeit very briefly, at Stanpit. Also there, the Spotted Redshank, 73 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Ringed Plover, 57 Dunlin, 3 Shelduck, 10 Pintail and 203 Brent Goose.

February 17th

Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier
This Marsh Harrier, a male reckoned to be in its second winter,
was over Crouch Hill at lunchtime – Alan Hayden

Once the sun got up, it turned out to be a quite glorious day. So much so, that a mini raptor-fest took place over Stanpit at lunchtime, when singles of Marsh Harrier, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk were all soaring over harbour airspace. The Marsh Harrier looks likely to be the bird that has been seen frequently from Coward's Marsh, just north of the area, over the last few weeks. Comments would be welcome on the age of this bird. The true status of Woodcock in the recording area is currently of some debate, so one seen over the HHC this evening was of interest - one wonders whether the recent reed clearance may have been of attraction? The only other news concerns 6 Pintail at Stanpit. 

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