Sightings for August 2002


August 31st

Another good day of birding in the harbour with the highlight being a Wryneck behind the Ranger's cottage on Hengistbury. The bird was watched until at least 11am and seemed reasonably settled. Crossbills reached the harbour today with 11 birds heading west over the head. 2 Goosander flew over the Hengistbury before turning back inland to fly up the Avon valley, and 2 Tufted Duck were around for most of the morning. Heading south were 12 Yellow Wagtail and 5 Tree Pipit, while on the ground Sedge Warblers were estimated at 100+ birds and there were 6 Whinchat, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Redstart and 1 Pied Flycatcher. 2 Kingfisher flew around the common briefly, a Fulmar skirted the same area and 3 Greenshank and 1 Whimbrel passed over. At least 15 Buzzard were seen from the harbour, including a kettle of 11 birds. An early afternoon wader count at Stanpit produced 300+ Dunlin, 120+ Ringed Plover, 29 Knot, 25 Curlew Sandpiper, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Sanderling, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Turnstone. 3 Peregrine were seen from Stanpit and 3 Wheatear were there.


August 30th

A quiet morning, probably related to the south-westerly wind. Off the head this morning 8 Common Scoter passed east, also 1 Fulmar. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was on the exposed sand bar by the HHC and 1 Wheatear was seen. A Hobby was seen over North Scrubs, Stanpit in the morning. From Fisherman's Bank at lunchtime a group of 6 Greenshank were roosting on the high tide, there were also at least 20 Knot and 3 Curlew Sandpiper in the harbour. The Stanpit Ringed Plover total reached an impressive 200, along with 6 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat and 1 Yellow Wagtail.


August 29th

The only birds reported today were 1 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 1 Wheatear, 3 Blackcap and 1 Spotted Flycatcher, all on Hengistbury, while 4 Yellow Wagtail were noted overhead. Looking towards Stanpit, 18 Knot were counted and a Greenshank was on Barn Bight. There were 17 Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Redstart seen at Stanpit.

Tides 30th August H:02:45, H05:22, L09:15, H15:14, H17:55, L22:10


August 28th

Another good bird, this time an Ortolan, put in an all but brief appearance as it flew low over the HHC early this morning before appearing to come down in Wick Fields, it wasn't looked for subsequently. Also at that time a Black Tern was seen feeding over the harbour. A Black Redstart was on the beach at Hengistbury, close to the Long Groyne, and a single Manx Shearwater passed by. Sedge Warbler were more numerous today with around 100 birds estimated, while overhead 40+ Yellow Wagtail and 23 Tree Pipit were noted. Other passerines recorded were 16 Wheatear across the harbour and 3 Whinchat and 2 Spotted Flycatcher at Hengistbury. A total of 43 Shoveler headed west throughout the morning, other wildfowl seen were 6 Wigeon, 6 Teal and 3 Pintail. At Stanpit, on the late morning rising tide, there were 350+ Dunlin, 100+ Ringed Plover 25 Knot, 12 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Sanderling, 3 Turnstone, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. This evening the Black Tern was sat out towards Blackberry Point before heading towards Priory Marsh. Wader numbers and variety were slightly down in comparision to this morning, with Dunlin estimated at 250 and Ringed Plover at 70 . The regular Yellow-legged Gull was also present.


August 27th

A little quieter today. In the early morning a Spotted Flycatcher was in the sallows adjacent to Stanpit Golf Course and 9 Yellow Wagtail passed overhead. A Kingfisher was seen on the river from Priory Marsh and 2 Tufted Duck passed through the harbour. 6 Water Rail were on Parky Meade Rail and Teal numbers are increasing steadily. On the Hengistbury side there were just 3 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat and 1 Yellow Wagtail over. A much smaller Peregrine than yesterday visited the harbour. Dartford Warblers are presently widespread and conspicuous all over Hengistbury. Later in the morning the waders at Stanpit were numerous, counting Dunlin and Ringed Plover was difficult, but there were 22 Knot, 15 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Turnstone and 1 Ruff. Another 2 Wheatear and 3 Yellow Wagtail were noted. This evening the information services reported 1 Black Tern, 2 Garganey, 12 Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Spotted Redshank from Stanpit.


August 26th

Highlight of the day was a Kentish Plover seen briefly on the rising tide at Stanpit this morning. The northerly overnight winds seemed to put wildfowl on the move, a Garganey was at Stanpit, while 20 Pintail, 15 Teal, 15 Wigeon and 5 Shoveler were seen over the harbour in the early morning. An adult Mediterranean Gull also flew over the HHC at this time. Passerine migration at Hengistbury included 16 Yellow Wagtail, 7 Tree Pipit and 5 Grey Wagtail overhead, while on the ground 50 Wheatear were counted on the lower parts of the head and a Spotted Flycatcher was in Double Dykes. Waders seen from Hengistbury during the morning included 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Turnstone, 4 Ruff, 3 Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Greenshank, while Green and Common Sandpiper were heard. A large juvenile Peregrine came into the harbour on a hunting trip, but left empty handed being pursued by a Kestrel. This evening there were 2 Garganey at Stanpit, one on the Bight and the other on Priory Pools, 20 Wigeon were looking to settle in the harbour and another 2 Pintail were seen. Dunlin and Ringed Plover numbers were similar to yesterday, other counts were 23 Knot, 10 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Sanderling, 3 Greenshank, 3 Turnstone and 3 Common Sandpiper. 10 Wheatear were scattered across Stanpit and a Whinchat was on Crouch Hill.


August 25th

The information services reported an impressive 45 Knot and 30 Curlew Sandpiper from Stanpit this morning, also 2 Sanderling and 1 Little Stint. These recent Knot and Curlew Sandpiper numbers are significantly above average making it well worthwhile visiting the harbour. Best time is 2 hours before the first high, or 2 hours after the second. Not as many waders in the harbour this evening, just 200 Dunlin and 100 Ringed Plover. There were also 20 Knot, 5 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Greenshank, 4 Sanderling, 3 Turnstone, 3 Ruff and 1 Whimbrel. Around Stanpit were 4 Wheatear and 2 Yellow Wagtail, while a Spotted Flycatcher was in the North Scrubs. The Yellow-legged Gull was seen again. Clouded Yellow butterflies are also being noted around the harbour. A Wood Warbler was by the double bends on Hengistbury.


August 24th

105 species were recorded in the harbour today, in a 15 hour "big day" watch. Highlight was a young Red Kite that flew south through the harbour, picked up a few mobbing crows, then headed out to sea. A Little Owl was heard calling before dawn over towards the Priory. Passerine migration was sparse today, except for Yellow Wagtail; 6 left the reeds at dawn, a further 30 passed overhead throughout the morning and around 50 roosted in Wick Hams reedbed. Other passerines included 25 Wheatear, 3 Redstart, 2 Whinchat and 2 Spotted Flycatcher. Waders are continuing to provide good views with Dunlin and Ringed Plover estimated at 400 and 140 respectively, also 32 Knot, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 12+ Curlew Sandpiper, 8 Sanderling, 8+ Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Turnstone, 2 Ruff, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Avocet, the latter flying past the head only. Wildfowl around the harbour included 1 Brent Goose, 12 Teal, 2 Shoveler and 1 Wigeon. 2 juvenile Mediterranean Gull, one metal ringed on the right leg, were at Stanpit this afternoon, along with the regular, limping third winter Yellow-legged Gull. At least 10 Buzzard and 3 Hobby were seen from the harbour during the course of the day. A siege of 35 Little Egret was on East Marsh mid-morning.


August 23rd

1 Greenshank was off Fisherman's Bank this morning. During the day 12 Yellow Wagtail were feeding amongst the livestock on Crouch Hill, Stanpit. An evening wader count at Stanpit weighed in with 290 Dunlin, 85 Ringed Plover, 15 Knot, 5 Sanderling, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank and 1 Turnstone. The Brent Goose is still present, as were 3 Wheatear and 5 Water Rail.


August 22nd

A Honey Buzzard was seen distantly from Stanpit Bight just before 2:00pm, it was then lost to sight as it headed north-west. This morning 11 Avocet briefly visited the harbour but were quickly moved on by the rising tide. Another good sighting was a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker in an oak tree at the north end of Wick Fields. Over the harbour today were 16 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail, 3 Tree Pipit, 10 Shoveler, 16 Teal and 2 Pochard, while 3 Spotted Flycatcher were around the Ranger's Cottage on Hengistbury and at least 50 Wheatear were spread across the harbour. A Bar-tailed Godwit and Common Sandpiper were on Parky Meade Rail in the early morning. An early afternoon wader count tallied at 300 Dunlin, 80 Ringed Plover, 13 Knot, 10 Sanderling, 2 Ruff, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Turnstone. The lone Brent Goose was seen again today and this evening on Parky Meade Rail were 5 Water Rail and 2 Greenshank. The information services reported a Red-backed Shrike in the North Scrubs at 6:15 this evening.


August 21st

A new record for the harbour today in the form of a Bee-eater heard calling then seen flying west over Priory Marsh at 12:45. This is species 313 for Christchurch Harbour. There was also an influx of Wheatear with at least 50 around Stanpit and Hengistbury. Still 5 Curlew Sandpiper present today, but these were all moulting adults meaning there has been a change of birds since yesterday. Other waders noted were 4 Sanderling, 4 Greenshank, 2 Ruff, 2 Little Stint and 1 Knot. 2 Hobby were over the harbour and 2 Shoveler flew up the Avon.


August 20th

A definite influx of waders at Stanpit today. This evening 19 Curlew Sandpiper - 18 juveniles and 1 adult - were present, along with 310 Dunlin, 65 Ringed Plover, 5 Sanderling, 3 Greenshank, 2 Turnstone, 1 Ruff and 1 Whimbrel, also seen was 1 Wheatear. During the morning, the information services reported 1 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 17 Common Sandpiper and 1 Mandarin from Stanpit.


August 19th

Small numbers of passerine migrants were on Hengistbury during the morning, these include 7 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat and many Willow Warblers around the Batters. 2 Green Sandpiper were on the marshy field by the HHC, and 5 Common Sandpiper, 2 Kingfisher and 1 Water Rail were also seen at Hengistbury.


August 18th

Today's waders were counted at 335 Dunlin, 100 Ringed Plover, 3 Sanderling, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Knot and 1 Greenshank .


August 17th

There was a marked movement of wildfowl this morning, over 100 Teal moved west at sea, one group numbering over 50 birds; while 2 Gadwall, 1 Wigeon, 1 Pintail and 1 Shoveler were seen over the harbour. A Hobby came into the harbour on an unsuccesful hunting foray and 15 Yellow Wagtail and 11 Tree Pipit headed south. On the ground were 3 Whinchat and 3 Wheatear. Also noticeable was a westerly movement of juvenile Black-headed Gull. Waders seen from Hengistbury included 6 Sanderling, 4 Knot, 3 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Snipe, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Little Ringed Plover and Black-tailed Godwit. 37 Little Egret left the roost this morning. Stanpit still has large numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plover, as well as 1 Turnstone and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit.


August 16th

A Melodious Warbler was seen mid-morning by the Ironstone Quarry on Hengistbury, it was watched well for over a minute before mixing with a mobile flock of Tits and Willow Warblers. Early morning at Hengistbury produced flyover views of 3 Crossbill, 1 Garganey with a flock of 11 Teal, 9 Shoveler, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Grey Wagtail and 9 Yellow Wagtail. A female type Marsh Harrier was seen over the common mid-morning, just after 3 young Buzzard had toured the harbour. Other migrants seen on Hengistbury throughout the morning included 250 Willow Warbler, 200 Swift, 100 Whitethroat, 31 Wheatear, 10 Garden Warbler, 6 Tree Pipit, 6 Whinchat and 1 Pied Flycatcher. Green Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover were heard overhead. Over at Stanpit the rising afternoon tide saw 250 Dunlin, a good count of 100 Oystercatcher, 82 Ringed Plover, 6 Sanderling, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Greenshank, 1 Knot and 1 Common Sandpiper. A Spotted Crake was reported from 13th, but has not been seen since.


August 15th

Nowhere near as many birds today, the best being 2 Spotted Flycatcher in Smithy's Field. Also scattered around the northern part of Stanpit were 35 Whitethroat and 8 Garden Warbler. There were 2 Green Sandpiper settled on Priory Pool and 7 Water Rail on Parky Meade Rail along with 1 Gadwall. No wader count made today.


August 14th

Best bird amongst a bird filled day was an adult male Black Redstart by Long Groyne on Hengistbury this morning. Also at Hengistbury early on were 1 Redstart and 20 Common Tern over. On Priory Marsh there was 1 Green Sandpiper, an adult Mediterranean Gull flew over Parky Meade Rail and a small number of Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat were on the Golf Course and in the North Scrubs. Total wader numbers for Stanpit were 400+ Dunlin, 125 Ringed Plover, 8 Common Sandpiper, 5 Greenshank, 4 Knot, 4 Sanderling, 3 Whimbrel and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit.


August 13th

4 Little Stint and 2 Green Sandpiper left the harbour over Hengistbury early this morning and passerine migrants there included 100 Willow Warbler, 50 Sedge Warbler, 2 Redstart, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Wood Warbler and 1 Tree Pipit. Off Fisherman's Bank were 2 Greenshank and 1 Turnstone. A mid-morning wader count at Stanpit produced 300 Dunlin, a minimum of 80 Ringed Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Common Sandpiper. There were also 25 Common and 15 Sandwich Tern roosting. This evening on Stanpit were 1 Whimbrel, a third winter Yellow-legged Gull and 3 Water Rail.


August 12th

Wader numbers are increasing, this morning 350 Dunlin and 90 Ringed Plover were counted along with 1 Whimbrel, 1 juvenile Little Ringed Plover and 1 Black-tailed Godwit. A Garden Warbler and Jay were in the North Scrubs, while a Great-crested Grebe overflew the harbour. A brief evening seawatch yielded just 1 Fulmar off the head. A Wheatear was by the HHC, a Sanderling was on the sand bar there and a Kingfisher was heard. The Brent Goose could be seen distantly over on Stanpit. Over 2000 Starling went to roost in Priory Reeds.


August 11th

A Roseate Tern and 2 Wood Sandpiper were in the Stanpit Bight area around 7:00 this morning. A little later, the rising tide wader count totalled 300 Dunlin, 30 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Green Sandpiper. Also during the morning a Raven was seen over the harbour. This evening, another Roseate Tern, this time a juvenile, 1 third winter Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Greenshank, 1 Sanderling and 1 Little Ringed Plover were present. A Kingfisher was hunting in Mother Siller's Channel, 2 juvenile Water Rail were in Parky Meade Rail and the Brent Goose is still around.


August 10th

A Pacific Golden Plover was heard but unfortunately not well seen as it flew east over Hengistbury at around 10:00am. Earlier in the morning a Temminck's Stint arrived in the harbour, up to 8 Goosander were seen and a Merlin was glimpsed on a couple of occasions. The northerly wind was not conducive to seawatching, however, 1 Roseate Tern and 6 Common Scoter were noted heading west, while around 35 Gannet were feeding offshore, some extremely close. Waders noted entering or leaving the harbour included 200 Dunlin, 40 Ringed Plover, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Snipe and 1 Little Ringed Plover; and 9 Common Sandpiper were in Barn Bight. Passerine migration was light, nevertheless 12 Yellow Wagtail were seen or heard and 2 Wheatear were present. A small movement of Swift was evident, some heading north off the sea. 9 young Dartford Warbler were seen around the head and a Kingfisher was over Wick Hams.


August 9th

The southerly wind brought terns close to the shore this morning, between 6:00 and 7:00 5 Black Tern, 115 Common Tern and 80 Sandwich Tern headed west past Mudeford Quay. Also seen moving west were 1 drake Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Razorbill. By mid-morning several Gannet were feeding close in, but the tern passage had ceased.


August 8th

At first light 4 Green Sandpiper were seen from Hengistbury leaving the harbour, 2 Garganey flew through west and a little later 4 Greenshank arrived. Just 15 birds were ringed today, 12 of them Sedge Warbler, while Willow Warbler presence was estimated to be around 80 birds. Wheatear numbered 17 around the Barn Field with 7 Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight. On the sea a pale phase Arctic Shua headed west, as did 3 Little Ringed Plover, and total of 130 Common Tern went by or through the harbour. This evening 2 Turnstone were off Fisherman's Bank.


August 7th

Ringing activity on Hengistbury indicated a large arrival of migrants with over 70 birds caught in a 4 hour period, most of them Sedge Warblers. On Stanpit, Smithy's Field contained small numbers of common migrants this morning including Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and Blackcap, while 7 Wheatear were around Crouch Hill. The area off Fisherman's Bank held 21 Black-tailed Godwit early morning, but this had reduced to 4 by mid-morning. Other waders present were 100 Dunlin, 14 Common Sandpiper, 2 Turnstone, 1 Grey Plover and 1 Ruff, also around were 8 Shoveler and 1 Kingfisher.


August 6th

A Green Sandpiper and 3 Snipe were over Central Marsh just after dawn, and at least 1 Yellow Wagtail overflew Priory Marsh. There seems to be a slight increase in Willow Warbler numbers. Waders this afternoon included 200 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Little Stint, 1 Greenshank and 1 Whimbrel. A party of around 10 Swift headed west and a Kingfisher was in Mother Siller's Channel.


August 5th

Not much to report today, the only waders seen were 150 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Sanderling and 1 Whimbrel. The Brent Goose was also present and a Kingfisher was off Fisherman's Bank in the early morning. Photos of the Spotted Crake are now on this site .


August 4th

Most of yesterday's Sedge Warblers seem to have moved on. Three Greenshank and 1 Whimbrel were off Fisherman's Bank during the morning. Elsewhere in the harbour wader numbers seem pretty much static. The Brent Goose is still present.


August 3rd

Migration was in evidence today with a large overnight arrival of Sedge Warblers, hundreds were spread across the harbour with a lesser number of Reed and Willow Warbler. Other returning passerines included 6 Wheatear, 1 Wood Warbler and an overflying Yellow Wagtail. The rising early morning tide moved 12 Black-tailed Godwit, around 10 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 Whimbrel out of the harbour, while later on a Greenshank was seen to arrive and a Golden Plover flew over. At low tide Stanpit Bight and Blackberry Point held well over 200 Dunlin, around 10 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel and 2 Black-tailed Godwit. Small numbers of Common Tern have been moving west throughout the day. Widfowl started to appear today with 4 Pochard, 2 Gadwall, 2 Teal and 2 Shoveler being seen. The lone Brent Goose is still present and 2 Peregrine were observed hunting over Wick Fields. A second year Meditteranean Gull was also seen today. News was received of Little Egret numbers rising to 40 during the week.


August 2nd

The 2 adult Spotted Crake are still present. Present tides are neap, meaning there is only a relatively short time with exposed mud in the crake area. The best opportunity to view will be one hour either side of tomorrow's low. On Stanpit Bight was the early Brent Goose, the Curlew Sandpiper, over 200 Dunlin, several Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank and 1 Whimbrel.


August 1st

The information services reported at least 1 Spotted Crake this morning at 07:45, but there were no subsequent sightings. Very few records today other than 220 Dunlin, 13 Common Sandpiper and 1 summer plumaged Grey Plover. The information services also reported 1 Brent Goose.

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