Sightings for August 2004


August 31st

The close of a quite exceptional month. Weather today was very pleasant early on, but became overcast later. Stanpit in the morning had the pick of the bunch as the year's first record of juvenile Curlew Sandpiper consisted of 2 birds in Stanpit Bight. Also there were a Ruff, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Greenshank and 4 Turnstone. A group of 40 small duck entering the harbour contained a single Garganey among the Teal; while a group of 7 commic tern comprised 1 Arctic Tern. Also from Stanpit before lunch were 6 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Wheatear. The morning on Hengistbury was quiet by comparison, although 10 Knot heading east over the HHC continued the recent good numbers of this species. The Barn Field and Common held 10 Wheatear, 4 Whinchat and a Redstart; and warblers numbered 25 Willow Warbler, 35 Whitethroat, 3 Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Blackcap. A Great-spotted Woodpecker was also in that area and a Common Sandpiper was in Barn Bight. Waders on Stanpit in the afternoon had changed somewhat, Dunlin and Ringed Plover weren't counted, but 15 Sanderling, 13 Knot, 2 Whimbrel and a Black-tailed Godwit must have all arrived since the morning visit. Finally, the regular Yellow-legged Gull was again recorded.


August 30th

Yesterday's wind died down during the hours of darkness, but soon picked up from the west as daylight resumed. Overhead passage at Hengistbury was good and included 7 Crossbill going west, one group of 6 plus a single bird; also an impressive 123 Yellow Wagtail, heading generally west, 4 Grey Wagtail and 6 Tree Pipit. Migrants on the ground were less impressive, just 28 Willow Warbler, 7 Wheatear, 3 Whinchat and a Redstart. Probably the highlight of the day was the wader numbers on or past the sandspit. These birds are pushed there by the rising tide in the harbour and will tolerate an incredible amount of disturbance from beach users. The Dunlin and Ringed Plover numbers were average, but Sanderling were very high with 84 birds recorded. As per Saturday, Knot were again moving in large numbers, 53 went east and 17 went west. A Little Ringed Plover was also heard over the sandspit and 11 Turnstone were hanging around there. Other wader interest was a Ruff in the harbour and 2 Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight. The sea contributed to the day with a constant feeding flock of tern and Gannet off the Beach Huts this morning. The flock was ever changing with birds slowly moving west, the numbers were estimated at 70 Gannet, 170 Common Tern and 68 Sandwich Tern. As would be expected, this attracted 3 Arctic Skua, one of which put on a good show at it persistently hassled the feeding terns. A couple of Fulmar went by west and a juvenile Peregrine appeared from the east. Little Grebe are starting to reappear, a single bird was in Barn Bight today. A few late additions have been made to yesterday's posting. Some late news, a Peregrine was also seen over Priory Marsh


August 29th

A full summary of yesterday's race is now below. Today was overcast with a strong south-westerly blowing throughout, however, three species not seen yesterday were recorded: 6 Golden Plover passed west over Hengistbury, 1 Arctic Tern also went west past the Beach Huts and a female Shoveler spent the afternoon around Stanpit. Passerines were, not surprisingly, well down on the previous day, just 12 phylloscs and 2 Blackcap noted around the HHC, and 2 Yellow Wagtail over; while the Wheatear total for the entire area is only 3 birds. Waders were conspicuous around Hengistbury as they were pushed out of the harbour by the high tide. A flock of 18 Knot left over Double Dykes, while roosting on the sandspit were 180 Dunlin, 105 Ringed Plover, 40 Sanderling, 6 Turnstone and a single Knot. A couple of Wigeon flying over the river were possibly the vanguard of the winter population. The sea gave reasonable reward as 50+ Sandwich Tern, 40 Common Tern and 1 Fulmar were noted heading west. A Kingfisher was in its normal position close to the HHC. This afternoon, a windswept Stanpit was not particularly productive. The female-type Tufted Duck remains with the Coot off South Marsh, a lone Knot was in Mother Siller's, Limpy was, as usual, sitting on the edge of South Marsh and waders totalled approximately the morning's roosting total of Dunlin and Ringed Plover, as well as 24 Sanderling and 2 Whimbrel.

Late news from the evening. On Stanpit 8 Bar-tailed Godwit arrived just before dusk; and a two hour seawatch between 5:30 and 7:30 produced 1 Arctic Skua and 4 Manx Shearwater. Also late in are 6 Wigeon and a Shoveler around Priory Marsh.


August 28th

Today's bird race saw the best fall of the autumn so far, which probably should have received more attention. Nevertheless, a good total of species and birds were recorded. The collective harbour total for the day was 112 species. One team scored 101, while another totalled 100. However, if it hadn't been for the sporting alert of Black Tern then scores would have been level. A draw seems the best result. Among the large numbers of birds present early morning, the highlight was a Wryneck, found by Jean Southworth in the Wick Field adjacent to the HHC. The sea also provided quality with a Balearic Shearwater off Double Dykes briefly, the aforementioned tern and a late party of 4 Little Tern. Other highlights were 5 Crossbill west over the Batters and a Wood Warbler in the sycamores there; also 2 Raven east over the harbour and a couple of Green Sandpiper were heard. Before first light, both early teams had notched up Little Owl, but it wasn't until after 7:00am that things really started to pick up. A wave of common migrants started to work their way off the head and into the Wick Fields. This included an impressive 27 Lesser Whitethroat, thought to be a harbour day-total record, 115 Willow Warbler, 90+ Whitethroat, 17 Blackcap, 12 Spotted Flycatcher, some of these lingering all morning on the Batters, 3 Cuckoo, 3 Resdtart, 2 Pied Flycatcher and 2 Whinchat, with another on Stanpit in the afternoon. There was also a slightly early movement of Grey Wagtail, with 9 recorded west, also 9 Tree Pipit and 31 Yellow Wagtail. Wheatear was another species present and obvious throughout the day, the figure for the entire area is 88 birds, including a strange, leucistic individual on Priory Marsh. Wader numbers were probably not as high as expected, but Knot proved the exception. Small parties moved east all day, the largest being 22 birds at sea. The total number is a noteworthy 103 birds with most moving through without stopping, and those that did so soon departed again. Only other wader interest was 3 Bar-tailed Godwit west, around 8 Sanderling on the Long Groyne and similar numbers in the harbour, also 4 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, and a few Turnstone and Grey Plover . Dabbling duck were not obvious, however, a Wigeon whistling in the dawn fog was a good record. Diving duck, however, pushed up the species total, with both Pochard and Tufted Duck present. Miscellaneous records worth noting include Mistle Thrush, never reliable in the area, Kittiwake, 3 Common Scoter, Canada Goose, Peregrine, Yellow-legged Gull, a few Kingfisher and a single late Swift.

Late news: Priory Marsh was watched between 10:00am and 5:00pm, during which time 3 Greenshank, 1 Shoveler, 2 Whinchat and 1 Spotted Flycatcher were the best sightings.


August 27th

Given the appalling conditions this morning, a strong westerly with heavy rain, no reports were anticipated. However, a pair of hardy souls ventured to the Beach Huts and got a soaking for their efforts. Unfortunately, it was no real avail, as the sea was disappointing, 17 Gannet east and 12 Sandwich Tern, 3 Common Tern, 3 Common Scoter and 2 Fulmar west being the sole seabird interest. Waders were slightly more interesting with 20 Sanderling on the beach edging west, 3 Turnstone and 1 Grey Plover, a couple of Whimbrel were also seen. Only other migrants were 85 Sand Martin and 15 Pied Wagtail, all west. By coincidence, the same pair met up on Stanpit this afternoon, just in time for another dowsing! Best bird there was an adult Little Stint, also 12 Sanderling, 2 Turnstone ,1 Whimbrel and 1 Greenshank. The Yellow-legged Gull is still sitting on South Marsh, 3 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill and tern numbers are generally reducing. Tomorrow is the late summer bird race with three teams competing around the harbour from before first light. Consequently, tomorrow's posting may be later than normal.


August 26th

Early morning at Stanpit probably provided the best birds of the day, although Hengistbury didn't lag far behind. From the former, a Garganey was reported and 2 Green Sandpiper were on Priory Marsh, both these were initially seen yesterday evening; while the latter held a Wood Warbler in the cottage garden and a Little Ringed Plover passed over west. Passerine migrants on or over Hengistbury numbered: 47 Yellow Wagtail and 22 Tree Pipit south-east; and 51 Willow Warbler, 26 Wheatear, 27 Whitethroat, 12 Blackcap, 6 Whinchat, 3 Redstart, 1 Pied Flycatcher and 1 Lesser Whitethroat; there were also plenty of Sedge Warbler around Stanpit in the morning. Waders seen from Hengistbury included a Green Sandpiper and 1 Common Sandpiper in the muddy field by the HHC, while 70 Ringed Plover, 31 Turnstone, 4 Snipe and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit headed west. Also seen moving was a single and now late Swift. In the harbour before lunch were 12 Sanderling, 6 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, 1 Knot and 41 Sandwich Tern. Later in the afternoon, a Little Stint was seen, along with 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 25 Sanderling. By the evening, however, most had gone, presumably pushed out by the high tide, although 2 Bar-tailed Godwit had arrived. Later in the evening, 10 Knot joined 60 or so Dunlin and 7 Wheatear were in the Crouch Hill area. Kingfisher were seen on both sides of the harbour in the morning.


August 25th

The southerly wind marked the start of the day, but, by the evening, the direction had swung to the north-west. The run continues with another new year-bird, this time a moulting adult Grey Phalarope on the sea off Double Dykes early this morning before it lifted off and headed west. A Short-eared Owl over the top of Hengistbury is a good record and probably slightly earlier than would be expected. Before getting into totals, a Raven seen distantly and moving west over the Priory towards Southborne is the first for a few months. Passerines were pretty well represented around Hengistbury this morning, the most notable figure being 7 Pied Flycatcher, 5 on the Batters and 2 at the far end; another figure worthy of mention is 4 Redstart between Wick Fields and the Barn Field. Also recorded were: 26 Whitethroat, 16 Blackcap, 23 Willow Warbler, 6 Garden Warbler, 4 Wheatear and 2 Lesser Whitethroat; while overhead a reasonable 23 Yellow Wagtail and 9 Tree Pipit were either seen or heard. Sea totals moving west numbered: 88 Sandwich Tern, 46 Gannet, 35 Common Tern, 1 Arctic Tern, 1 Little Tern, also 6 Sanderling and 5 Turnstone. There were 3 Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight. Switching to Stanpit and from Fisherman's Bank mid-morning, 24 Sanderling were seen around Blackberry Point, also noted were 3 Knot, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Ruff, 1 Greenshank and a Kingfisher; meanwhile, 80 Sandwich Tern were resting in the harbour. During the afternoon, a breeding-plumaged Grey Plover was present, also 2 Turnstone while the Whimbrel had doubled in numbers, and 120 Ringed Plover must have arrived since lunchtime. A brisk stroll around Stanpit this evening turned up 2 Wheatear on Crouch Hill and Limpy, the Yellow-legged Gull on South Marsh. Late in from Stanpit is a Garganey and Green Sandpiper on Priory Marsh.


August 24th

The strong southerly winds persisted through the night and presented another good seawatch this morning. From the Beach Huts, the best was a pale Pomarine Skua briefly lingering among the terns before moving west; also seen were 3 Arctic Skua and 1 Great Skua, all heading the same direction. Other totals heading down-channel were: 3 Black Tern, 125 Sandwich Tern, 50 Gannet, 25 Common Tern, 2 Common Scoter, 1 Fulmar and 1 Guillemot. A couple of Sanderling were on the beach and a Common Sandpiper was in Barn Bight. A total of 10 Wheatear were around the harbour today, as were 4 Whimbrel. The afternoon wader count at Stanpit produced a Little Stint, also 175 Dunlin, 123 Ringed Plover, 19 Sanderling, 18 Turnstone, high counts for both these species, 3 Knot and 1 Common Sandpiper. Also in the harbour were 70 Sandwich Tern, but just 6 Common Tern. An information services report includes 1 Roseate Tern and 3 Arctic Tern. More late news from Stanpit, where there was a Green Sandpiper on Priory Marsh this evening, also 15 Wheatear on Crouch Hill and 4 Greenshank and 1 Grey Plover in Stanpit Bight.


August 23rd

Some squally conditions with the blow coming from the south promised good seawatching. The lone observer was well rewarded, although, by his own admissions, there were so many birds passing that today's totals are certainly a gross underestimate. During a two and a half hour watch from the Beach Huts this morning, the highlights were 5 Arctic Skua, 2 Great Skua and 1 unidentified skua going west, with 2 Manx Shearwater heading east, also 7 Black Tern west. Terns, as has been the case for the last few days, were present in impressive numbers, especially Common Tern with 180 moving west today, accompanied by 5 Arctic and 275 Sandwich Tern; while a further, more distant, 150 or so remained unnamed. Support came in the form of a westerly passage of 100 Gannet, 13 Common Scoter, 22 Fulmar and 3 Kittiwake. Waders on the move included 8 Sanderling east and a single Turnstone west. This afternoon, the interior of the harbour was equally impressive with 3 Roseate and 7 Arctic Tern being recorded moving through from Stanpit, also 62 Common Tern and 55 Sandwich Tern. Also from Stanpit, waders throughout the day, totalled: 7 Whimbrel, 5 Knot, 4 Sanderling, 3 Ruff, 2 Common Sandpiper and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit. Finally, a single Wood Sandpiper is still on Priory Marsh; a sure sign of an exceptional 3 week period is this bird getting the final mention! Late news from Stanpit includes a Green Sandpiper on Priory Marsh and 2 Wheatear on Crouch Hill.


August 22nd

A Wryneck on the Batters this morning was the 200th species recorded in the harbour this year. The bird, which was seen only by Steve Simmonds, was flushed by a dog walker and couldn't be relocated. There was precious little else in the way of passerine migration - on Hengistbury about a dozen Willow Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler and 1 Wheatear and on Stanpit, 7 Wheatear. A couple of odd sightings involved a Fulmar over the HHC heading west and a Kittiwake passing through the harbour. A Peregrine also moved west over Wick and there were 2 Green Sandpiper in Barn Bight. On Parky Mead were 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Water Rail, 2 Kingfisher, 1 Greenshank and 1 Green Sandpiper. The tern count on Blackberry Point numbered an estimated 75 each of Sandwich and Common. Waders included 9 Sanderling, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Common Sandpiper, 3 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 1 Little Stint and 1 Greenshank.


August 21st

Another Aquatic Warbler was found today. Once again it was on Priory Marsh and needless to say was very elusive; hence it was only seen by two or three observers. The second good bird was a male Goshawk reported from Stanpit this morning. There were also 2 Roseate Tern, both on Stanpit, an adult this morning and a juvenile this evening. After a few days of little or no movement, passerine migration really picked up again - counts today were, from Hengistbury, 50 Wheatear, 32 Yellow Wagtail, 35 Whitethroat, 5 Whinchat, 4 Tree Pipit, and a Redstart; and from Stanpit, 21 Wheatear, 11 Tree Pipit, 5 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and Blackcap. Small numbers of phylloscs and hirundines were also on the move. A Wood Sandpiper flew over the HHC and left the harbour to the west early this morning. Waders noted today were 13 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Knot, 5 Snipe, 4 Greenshank, 1 Turnstone, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Grey Plover. Both Peregrine and Hobby were seen today, there was a Great Spotted Woodpecker in North Scrubs and a male Tufted Duck overflew the harbour. This evening Stanpit held impressive numbers of terns when in addition to the Roseate there were 150 Sandwich and 75 Common. There was also a juv Med Gull present.


August 20th

Despite the severity and unpredictable nature of this morning's squally showers the harbour was well covered. An adult Little Stint on Stanpit provided some compensation for the soaking received by its finder; also present amongst the Dunlin and Ringed Plover were 4 Turnstone, 3 Sanderling, 3 Greenshank, 2 Knot, 2 Whimbrel and 2 Black-tailed Godwit. Limpy, the Yellow-legged Gull was in Stanpit Bight and the Wood Sandpiper was on Priory Marsh. There were 9 Wheatear around Crouch Hill and 1 Yellow Wagtail was reported. Off the Beach Huts, the sea produced 1 Great Skua, 2 Common Scoter and a single Fulmar.


August 19th

With the wind strengthening and moving round to the south-west the sea seemed the best option this morning but in the event it was rather disappointing. In two hours the counts were 35 Gannet, 12 Common Tern, 2 Fulmar, 1 Kittiwake and 1 Common Scoter all moving west apart from the Fulmar. There were still 9 Sanderling on the beach, 4 Shoveler and a Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight and just 1 Wheatear was reported. Priory Marsh still held 1 Wood Sandpiper and 1 Black-tailed Godwit whilst in Parky Meade were 3 Greenshank, 2 Water Rail and another Common Sandpiper. Up to 40 Teal were also around the marsh. This evening Stanpit held 130 Dunlin, 110 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Turnstone and 1 Grey Plover. There were 6 Wheatear on Crouch Hill and a Pied Flycatcher in North Scrubs.


August 18th

The harbour's recent good run was continued today when a Pectoral Sandpiper was seen in the flooded field adjacent to the HHC reedbed. The bird was present for a few minutes during the late morning before it flew off towards Barn Bight. It remained elusive with only one other confirmed sighting about an hour later when it flew towards Wick. Earlier the highlights of a four hour sea watch were 6 Black Tern (3 juvs west and 2 adults and 1 juv east), 1 Roseate Tern, 1 Great Skua, 1 Arctic Skua and 1 Manx Shearwater. The supporting cast included 197 Gannet east, 101 Common Tern west, 79 Sandwich Tern west, 22 Fulmar west, 14 Common Scoter and 5 Kittiwake west. Despite the inclement conditions a south-westerly movement of Sand Martin occurred involving 125 birds. There were also 10 Sanderling on the beach. On Stanpit there were 50 Sandwich Tern, a flock of 10 Turnstone, another 3 Sanderling, 1 Greenshank and 1 Arctic Tern. A Wood Sandpiper was still on Priory Marsh together with 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Green Sandpiper and another Greenshank. The only passerines reported were 4 Wheatear on Crouch Hill. Finally a drake Pochard on the main river was an unusual record for the time of year. An evening visit to Hengistbury produced a juvenile Med.Gull in Barn Bight and a Green Sandpiper on Wick Fields. Please note that yesterday's posting has been amended with one or two additional sightings.


August 17th

At least 1 Wood Sandpiper was still present on Priory Marsh this morning with 3 being reported from there this evening. A lone Wheatear was on Crouch Hill, 2 Greenshank were on North Marsh, 2 Peregrine passed east over the harbour and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was in Stanpit Scrubs. This afternoon an attempt to watch the birds on the falling tide was to some extent thwarted by the mindless activity of a couple of people on Blackberry Point. Having landed their boat on the point they then spent more than an hour making numerous abortive attempts to fly an enormous kite - each attempt disturbing the resting birds! If that wasn't enough 3 fishermen then walked over South Marsh and pushed the birds off there! Ringed Plover and Dunlin numbers were similar to yesterday; there were also 2 Common Sandpiper and 1 Black-tailed Godwit present. Limpy, the Yellow-legged Gull was on the mud off South Marsh and there were 3 Wheatear on Crouch Hill. In the evening a Hobby was seen and 4 Shoveler overflew the harbour.


August 16th

After the excitement of last week things were much quieter in the harbour today. A morning sea watch produced just 3 Manx Shearwater moving west and 2 Sanderling on the beach. There was very little evidence of passerine migration with just 6 Wheatear and 1 Whinchat reported from Crouch Hill. Wader counts from Stanpit were 154 Dunlin, 75 Ringed Plover, 3 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel and 2 Sanderling with only 1 Wood Sandpiper remaining on Priory Marsh. Limpy, the Yellow-legged Gull was seen again and a Common Gull on South Marsh was noteworthy.


August 15th

A still, grey and damp start, which brought a marked influx of Poole birders to the harbour. Quite a varied selection was around Stanpit this morning. The Bight held 2 Little Stint, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Knot, while Priory Marsh hosted 3 Wood Sandpiper, and 5 Greenshank and 3 Common Sandpiper were in flight over Central Marsh. A juvenile Peregrine was seen approaching the area from the north and equally familiar was the lame Yellow-legged Gull on East Marsh. The old Council Depot site was lively with birds, including at least 5 Blackcap, while the golf course bank held 1 Garden Warbler and 1 Lesser Whitethroat; and 3 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill. A Kingfisher zipped across the Recreation Ground and several more Teal were around today. The morning on the other side of the harbour between Wick and the Common reaped just 10 Whitethroat, 7 Reed Warbler in bushes, suggesting obvious migrants, and 1 Lesser Whitethroat; also a Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight. Back to Stanpit and the afternoon produced: 167 Dunlin, 89 Ringed Plover, 11 arriving Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Sanderling, 1 Turnstone, 1 Whimbrel and a Wood Sandpiper, all around Stanpit Bight and South Marsh. This evening, there is a second-winter Mediterranean Gull off the tip of South Marsh and a total of 29 Whimbrel have so far passed through, including a group of 21, as did a lone Swift. It's definitely worth checking back to the end of yesterday's posting for some revised wader numbers and other good birds.


August 14th

After some overnight rain, the day started with little wind, but, as always, a south-westerly picked up steadily. These conditions seemed to stimulate a significant wader passage with counts from Hengistbury this morning of: 135 Ringed Plover arriving into the harbour, but many were heard leaving; also arriving were 70 Dunlin. A total of 52 Black-tailed Godwit passed west through the area, the largest group comprising 29 birds. At least 3 Green Sandpiper and 1 Wood Sandpiper were airborne over Wick, and 5 Little Ringed Plover and 2 Knot were seen leaving. Other good counts were 10 Common Sandpiper, 10 Whimbrel and 7 Greenshank. Common Tern were also on the move, with 81 recorded generally west. Less common passerine migrants included 10 Tree Pipit and 8 Yellow Wagtail overhead, 2 of the former actually perched for a short while on the Barn Field, also in that area were 6 Whinchat and 2 Redstart, while a Pied Flycatcher was on the Batters. Common migrants in between Wick Fields and the Batters were counted at 81 Willow Warbler, 75 Whitethroat, 9 Wheatear, 6 Lesser Whitethroat and a Garden Warbler. Wildfowl continue to trickle in, 7 Shoveler and 6 Teal being seen today, also 2 Kingfisher and 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker around Wick. As ever, the afternoon focus switched to Stanpit, where 2 Wood Sandpiper and 1 Green Sandpiper remain on Priory Marsh; and another 3 Wood Sandpiper were on East Marsh. What an incredible year for both of these species! Other waders totalled 400+ Dunlin, 250 Ringed Plover, tying in nicely with the morning's arrival, 5 Sanderling, 2 Greenshank and 1 Common Sandpiper. Also 3 Wheatear around Crouch Hill. A juvenile Black Tern also put in an appearance and was definetely different to the week's earlier bird. Late information from the morning involves a Wood Warbler in the sycamores behind the rusty boat, and a Spotted Flycatcher in Stanpit Scrubs.


August 13th

Friday the 13th and unlucky for some, but not Paul Morrison, who accidentally put a Quail up from the between the stiles to Priory Marsh. The bird then appeared to come down in Priory Marsh itself. Flushed with success, one could say. Around the same time, 6 Wood Sandpiper were seen from the golf course and, this afternoon, a party of 9 Black-tailed Godwit took a close look at the pools, before heading on west. From Hengistbury this morning, an Arctic Tern was seen in the harbour and a Green Sandpiper was over Wick Fields. It seems just 1 Black Tern remained from yesterday, seen this morning from Fisherman's Bank and elsewhere. More mundane stuff from before lunch included 15 Willow Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Blackcap and a Great-spotted Woodpecker around the Wick area. This evening, after the deluge, a Stanpit wader count totalled 60 Ringed Plover, which just outnumbered the Dunlin; also 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Turnstone, 3 Green Sandpiper and 1 Wood Sandpiper over South Marsh, 1 Greenshank and 1 Common Sandpiper. Meanwhile, 4 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill and an overhead movement of House Martin contained a single Swift. A pair of Shoveler spent the day in the harbour, ending up in Stanpit Bight.


August 12th

This excellent week continues, no doubt thanks to south-easterly winds. Today's gem was an Aquatic Warbler seen 3 times in a welly stomp through the juncus on Priory Marsh. Once annual in the area when ringing was more prevalent, this is the first record for a number of years. Marsh terns featured again today with a probable 6 Black Tern, a group of 2 adult and 1 juvenile were around East Marsh, while a group of 3 adults passed west over Priory Marsh. This exceptional year for Wood Sandpiper was upheld with a total of 7, 5 on Priory Marsh and 2 leaving the harbour. Green Sandpiper numbers are also breathtaking for the area, a group of 5 over the HHC reedbed circled and were joined by a further 9 coming up out of the Nursery. All left over the Coastguards. An additional 2 birds were on Priory Marsh, along with 60 Sedge Warbler, 31 Snipe, 8 Teal, 1 Yellow Wagtail and a Pheasant. Other birds that would normally feature far earlier in the account were a female Garganey, 2 Little-ringed Plover and 2 juvenile Mediterranean Gull, all around the Stanpit area. Also reported from Stanpit today were a total of 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 4 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Kingfisher; 4 Common Sandpiper were also earlier in Barn Bight.


August 11th

After yesterday's excitement, today seems something of an anticlimax. However, if you discard the memories it was a reasonable day. The 2 Wood Sandpiper were still on Priory Marsh and made a brief excursion to South Marsh. On Hengistbury, the best bird was a Pied Flycatcher in the garden of the warden's cottage, and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull at sea also makes it into the rankings. Warblers, mainly around the Common and adjacent reedbeds, numbered: 73 Whitethroat, 71 Chiffchaff, 48 Sedge Warbler, 16 Willow Warbler and 3 Garden Warbler. Chats comprised 7 Wheatear and 2 Whinchat, while, overhead, 2 Tree Pipit went south-east, also 2 Swift. A group of 5 Common Sandpiper were feeding in the muddy cattle field by the HHC. Stanpit's morning passerines in the area between the old Council Depot and North Scrubs included: 1 Garden Warbler and 1 Lesser Whitethroat, and there were also 2 Wheatear on Crouch Hill. Waders were not comprehensively counted, but there was 1 Grey Plover in the morning and 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank, 2 Knot, 2 Whimbrel and 1 Sanderling this afternoon. A single Kingfisher was seen around Purewell Stream. Some late evening reports involve 2 Green Sandpiper and 1 Wood Sandpiper on Priory Marsh, and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull over Wick Fields.


August 10th

A fantastic day with two birds vying for top spot. This morning, a Melodious Warbler was around the old Council Depot site; while this evening a moulting adult White-winged Black Tern was off Fisherman's Bank, at times feeding down to 30 metres and affording unbeatable views. This is the first record of the latter for over 10 years. A sign of the day's quality is the fact that Priory Marsh's 3 Wood and 3 Green Sandpiper are not headline birds, also out of the ranking is a Pied Flycatcher from Wick Fields. The old Council Depot was actually, uncharacteristically, jumping with migrants: 12 Willow Warbler, 6 Whitethroat, 5 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat and 1 Blackcap were recorded; and a Wheatear was on Crouch Hill. Earlier in the morning, Wick Fields and the Batters were also lively, with 60 Willow Warbler, 40 Sedge Warbler, 35 Whitethroat, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Garden Warbler and 1 Whinchat. The Stanpit wader selection was reduced today, just 3 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Knot. A late report received of a juvenile Little Ringed Plover circling South Marsh in the evening, then heading north towards Priory Marsh.


August 9th

A strangely humid, still night and day with frequent and sometimes heavy drizzle. A real wader fest on Priory Marsh this morning with 2 Wood Sandpiper, click here for photo of one, an amazing 11 Green Sandpiper and 5 Greenshank. Also reported were 13 Whimbrel, but these were presumably elsewhere on the marsh, and slightly later 11 were seen leaving over Wick Fields. Passerines around Wick were reasonable, with 150 Sedge Warbler on the HHC reedbed and a dozen each of Willow Warbler and Whitethroat in the adjacent field. Back to Stanpit and a Great-crested Grebe, never frequent at this time of year, was fishing on the river. An afternoon wader count produced a nice selection of 240+ Dunlin, 24 Ringed Plover, a notable 16 Greenshank all together in one flock, 11 Sanderling, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Knot, 1 Turnstone and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit. Finally, another highlight was an adult Little Gull just off South Marsh.


August 8th

During the night a moderate south-easterly breeze got up, which died down by mid-afternoon when things got very humid. At least 2 Wood Sandpiper and 2 Green Sandpiper were around Priory Marsh most of the day, but there could well be more in the hidden pools. The golf course probably offers the best viewing options. Also a couple of Greenshank there this morning and 11 Snipe this afternoon. Waders around Stanpit Bight, at various times of the day, totalled: 240 Dunlin, 34 Ringed Plover, 9 Common Sandpiper, 8 Whimbrel, 3 Greenshank, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Knot and 1 Sanderling. All this despite the seemingly constant low flying aircraft presence associated with Mudeford "Fun" Day. A group of 3 duck arriving at Stanpit this morning was made up of 1 Shoveler, 1 Gadwall and the first returning Wigeon; while another local highlight was the welcome return of Limpy the Yellow-legged Gull, now a full adult and back for the third consecutive year. A brief seawatch from Hengistbury this morning produced another vanguard wildfowl, in the form of a Red-breasted Merganser, also 150 Gannet and 1 Common Scoter. Migrant passerines at Stanpit included 2 Wheatear and a Whinchat on Crouch Hill and a Garden Warbler in the North Scrubs, also a Bullfinch in that area, possibly attracted by the bumper damson crop. A Kingfisher was heard about Central Marsh and the afternoon conditions caused a large insect hatch which attracted thousands of gulls over the harbour.


August 7th

Dawn broke to heavy mist and another Hengistbury rave, nevertheless, quality soon arrived. The HHC birders were called by Mark Andrews in Wick Fields to say there was a Tawny Pipit heading that way; within seconds the bird was heard and then seen as it passed east towards Hengistbury. The first harbour record since Britain's latest ever in November 2001. In general though, Hengistbury was quiet, a single Tree Pipit and a distantly heard Little Ringed Plover being the next best offerings. Common passerines were definetely down, only 100 Sedge Warbler, including 30 trapped and ringed, 36 Whitethroat, 28 Willow Warbler, 6 Blackcap and 1 Lesser Whitethroat. A couple of Kingfisher and 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker wrap it up for Hengistbury. Priory Marsh had 2 Wood Sandpiper this afternoon, while, early morning, 2 Green Sandpiper were on the Wick Fields floods. Difficult tides throughout the day made wader counting difficult, however, the following were recorded in the harbour: 8 Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Greenshank, 3 Snipe, 2 Turnstone, 2 Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Knot. This afternoon, a juvenile, moulting to first-winter, Mediterranean Gull was roosting on EastMarsh, Stanpit; also resting on the high tide were 42 Little Egret. A trip round Stanpit just before dusk saw many hundreds of Black-headed Gull streaming over the river from the valleys to roost; also a skein of 69 Canada Goose arrived to spend the night in the harbour. This species only uses the area as a roost site in from mid-August through to September.


August 6th

On many occasions throughout the year, Priory Marsh offers apparently ideal habitat but remains largely birdless. Not today. This morning, 3 Wood Sandpiper were still present, along with 5 Green Sandpiper and 3 Greenshank, proving the area is worthy of the attention it gets. Meanwhile, Stanpit Bight held 320 Dunlin, 6 Common Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank, additional to the Priory birds, 2 Sanderling, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Knot and 1 Curlew Sandpiper. In Wick Fields this morning, there were several concentrations of migrants, mainly in the elder bushes: the estimate was 80 Whitethroat, 50 Willow Warbler and up to 3 Lesser Whitethroat. 2 Common Sandpiper were in Barn Bight.


August 5th

High spring tides are attracting tringa waders to Priory Marsh: this morning 2 Wood Sandpiper were flushed and flew high east; also 5 Green Sandpiper were settled in the same area. It is conceivable the day count for these is as high as 19, a further 12 birds were seen by a different observer, including a group of 8 circling high before heading north. Other morning waders around Stanpit totalled 340 Dunlin, an impressive 53 Curlew, including 12 west, 14 Ringed Plover, 13 Whimbrel, 5 down and 7 west, 9 Greenshank, 6 down and 3 west, 8 Common Sandpiper, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Grey Plover, seen arriving. Passerine interest featured a pair of Bullfinch and a male Yellowhammer in Smithy's Field, while an estimated 150 Sedge Warbler were around the northern section of Stanpit. Overhead, there were 3 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and 130 Swift, all heading east. Meanwhile, on Wick Fields, there were 25 Willow Warbler, 12 Whitethroat, 1 Garden Warbler and 1 Lesser Whitethroat. From that side of the harbour, 2 Common Sandpiper were in Barn Bight and 7 Canada Goose were seen on Blackberry Point. An impressive sight about the harbour panorama this morning was 12-15000 Black-headed Gull feasting high up on emerging ant swarms; 3 Mediterranean Gull, 2 adult and 1 first-summer, were amongst the throng. This evening, there were 3 Wood Sandpiper and a single Green Sandpiper on Priory Marsh, potentially additional birds to this morning; while in Stanpit Bight there were 2 Curlew Sandpiper with photos forthcoming. A Kingfisher were also seen today.


August 4th

A gloriously warm day which has probably produced the most postings to the site in its history, so apologies if I miss something. Going in chronological order. Early morning, Parky Meade Rail: no crake, but 5 Water Rail, 2 Greenshank and 1 Snipe over Priory Marsh. Slightly later, Hengistbury and Wick Fields held good numbers of passerine migrants: 98 Willow Warbler, 82 Whitethroat, 12 Blackcap, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Garden Warbler and 1 Spotted Flycatcher were counted across the combined area. A single Tree Pipit went east, 3 Teal were seen and a female Pheasant with 2 chicks was just north of the Wood, although known to breed in the area, rarely seen. Piecing together the various reports, the wader totals for the harbour are estimated to be 400 Dunlin, 11 Common Sandpiper, 10 Ringed Plover, 10 Whimbrel, 4 Greenshank, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 breeding plumaged Knot. On the low tide at Stanpit, many Reed and Sedge Warbler were obvious, feeding amongst the reed stems on the muddy fringes, also a couple of Garden Warbler on the golf course bank. A notable count of 136 Redshank was made from Hengistbury and a Common Tern was on East Marsh, Stanpit. By the evening, there were 2 adult Curlew Sandpiper at Stanpit.


August 3rd

After a some rain in the small hours, one might have expected migrant passerines to be conspicuous today, but it was the converse. Waders feature in the only report from Hengistbury, with 2 Common Sandpiper and a Greenshank on the Sand Spit, and a further Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight. Late morning, there was a another Greenshank off Fishermans's Bank, while East Marsh alone held 53 Little Egret. The wader selection on Stanpit included: 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper over Priory Marsh, 4 Greenshank, 4 Common Sandpiper and 1 Black-tailed Godwit. A couple of Water Rail and a Shoveler were in Parky Meade Rail, a juvenile Great-crested Grebe was in Mother Siller's Channel and 4 Wheatear were around. Stop Press: as I write this at 8:20pm, I get the call there is a Wood Sandpiper in the northern section of Wick Fields.


August 2nd

An early morning vigil at Parky Meade failed to produce the hoped for crake; just 3 Water Rail and a Kingfisher were seen. Elsewhere on Stanpit wader numbers showed little change with the Dunlin flock around 400, also half a dozen Ringed Plover, 4 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel and 1 Black-tailed Godwit. The Peregrine made its usual unsuccessful sortie over the Marsh before heading off over Wick being harrassed by the local corvids.


August 1st

Not much changed at the start of the new month, but it did seem slightly warmer than yesterday and a light south-easterly brought the enchanting sound of offshore jet-skis into the harbour. Stanpit received some good early morning attention and put on the normal selection of waders. Over 400 Dunlin were estimated: also the Ruff and a Reeve, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, all in Stanpit Bight; a total 9 Common Sandpiper, most in Mother Siller's along with 3 Snipe; also 5 Greenshank off Fisherman's Bank; while a Grey Plover, previously unseen, left as the last of the mud was covered. Earlier, the hopelessly hunting juvenile Peregrine had caused havoc amongst the waders, as did, later, a fisherman who walked right across East Marsh to get to his preferred spot! The probable highlight of the morning was a party of 6 Great-crested Grebe that arrived from the north, circled the area, then headed out to sea over the Run. A Kingfisher was also seen on Stanpit. Late afternoon, 2 Water Rail were showing well in Parky Meade Rail. Best way to view is to cross the small Purewell Stream bridge and then scan the south side of Parky Meade.

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