Sightings for February 2004.


February 29th

The only report received today was of a Raven seen over Wick Fields then over the HHC before it headed back north up the Avon Valley.


February 28th

On another bitterly cold day in the harbour only two or three birders ventured out. On the sea the 2 Velvet Scoter were seen again along with a flock of about 20 Common Scoter. There was a Mediterranean Gull on the river behind the HHC, also 6 Little Grebe there and a Jack Snipe was seen in flight over the reed bed adjacent to the Nursery. Around mid-morning a Raven flew over Stanpit heading south towards the Isle of Wight. The Avocet wasn't seen today and the number of Black-tailed Godwit was back into single figures.


February 27th

For the second time in less than a month the harbour had a covering of snow this morning. The only noticeable change however was the presence of 37 Black-tailed Godwit, the highest count for a couple of weeks. The Dunlin flock was still around 500, the Avocet was on Blackberry Point and the 6 Goldeneye were in the main river just off Barn Bight; also present were 30 Grey and 14 Ringed Plover.


February 26th

The white headed Stonechat reappeared on Hengistbury this morning - this bird which hasn't been seen since the autumn was on the Barn Field and was first seen 18 months ago. Off the beach huts there were 16 Common Scoter and the 2 Velvet Scoter were present. On the edge of the woodland 2 Siskin were feeding on the Alder. The Avocet was again roosting off Blackberry Point today and also noted were 4 Black-tailed and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit. Wintering birds still in the Harbour were 6 Goldeneye, 6 Gadwall in Barn Bight and the Common Sandpiper on Fisherman's Bank. A late item of news from yesterday - 2 Raven drifted high over Stanpit.


February 25th

There was an Avocet on Stanpit again this morning - the bird was asleep on Blackberry Point. The Dunlin flock has now increased to 550, also present were 27 Grey Plover, 6 Ringed Plover and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. A flock of 13 Black-tailed Godwit left the marsh heading north.


February 24th

There was very little to report today - just 3 Purple Sandpiper on the groynes, a Treecreeper in the woodland and the 6 Goldeneye remain in the harbour.


February 23rd

Over the past week or so the number of wintering birds using Stanpit has fallen. Today there were no Black-tailed Godwit and very few Lapwing remaining. However there were still 250 Dunlin and 32 Grey Plover roosting on East Marsh at high tide. This afternoon a pair of Tufted Duck and 4 Goldeneye were in the Harbour and Parky Mead held 2 Little Grebe.


February 22nd

At Hengistbury this morning the 2 Velvet Scoter were on the sea off the beach huts; also seen were 3 Purple Sandpiper and one each of Great Northern Diver, Red-throated Diver, Razorbill and Common Scoter. A Great Crested Grebe was in the Harbour along with the 6 Goldeneye and the 4 Gadwall remain in Barn Bight. There were also 2 Grey Wagtail on Wick. On the Mudeford Sandspit were 45 Ringed Plover, 25 Oystercatcher and 5 Turnstone. The information services reported just 3 Water Pipit on Priory Marsh today.


February 21st

Priory Marsh held just 5 Water Pipit this morning; the birds were feeding in the usual spot under the golf course bank. Waders on the high tide roost were 400 Dunlin, 45 Ringed Plover, 30 Grey Plover, 2 Turnstone and 1 Black-tailed Godwit. The Brent Goose flock numbered 105, there were 5 Common Gull on East Marsh and still 6 Goldeneye in the Harbour.

Last night's meeting, an illustrated talk on "The Birds Of Goa", was once again very well attended. At this rate, future meetings may have to be held at the B.I.C.! Thanks are due to Ian Southworth for an excellent presentation, as well as to Jean, Alan and Leo for providing the pictures and spending considerable time converting them to Powerpoint.


February 20th

Only one hardy soul braved the east wind this morning and he confined his visit to Priory Marsh where 11 Water Pipit were still present. Incidentally yesterday there were 16 Water Pipit and the Scandinavian Rock Pipit was seen again.


February 19th

Hengistbury was very quiet this morning, just 5 Goldeneye, including 1 drake, and 4 Gadwall to report. The Stanpit side of the harbour faired a little better with a Jack Snipe in Central Marsh and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit in Stanpit Bight. Within the 135 Brent Goose was colour-ringed bird 8C.


February 18th

The glorious spring like conditions tempted a few more birders into the Harbour this morning resulting in a good selection of records. At least 14 Water Pipit were still present on Priory Marsh and also reported from there was an exceptionally early Reed Warbler. Elsewhere on Stanpit a Jack Snipe was accidentally flushed from Central Marsh; the bird was very close to the main path near the wooden bridge. There were also 15 Common Snipe in the area and 3 Little Grebe on the river. Other counts included 375 Dunlin, 144 Brent Geese, 13 Shelduck but only half a dozen Black-tailed Godwit. Off Hengistbury the sea was remarkably quiet with just 10 Common Scoter noted. The wintering Common Sandpiper was seen in Holloway's Dock and also on Fisherman's Bank. The Treecreeper was again in the woodland, a Common Buzzard was over Wick Fields and the 4 Gadwall remain in Barn Bight.


February 17th

Amongst the more common birds on Stanpit today were 3 Ruff and a Golden Plover. A Raven was also seen. T he information services reported 15 Water Pipit on Priory Marsh.


February 16th

Some of the usual suspects seen again today. The Water Pipit count on Priory Marsh was 11 birds, also noted were 1 Redwing overhead and one of the Mandarin. There is still movement of Black-tailed Godwit to and from the Avon Valley, with almost 80 birds seen commuting in a short period this morning. Seawatching from the Beach Huts proved the 2 Velvet Scoter to still be there, as well as the 25 Common Scoter and 2 Razorbill. Off Mudeford Quay, was 1 Great-crested Grebe and 12 Turnstone could be seen on the sandspit. The harbour total so far this year is reckoned to stand at 125 species. Finally, it seems some email sightings reports have not been getting through, our apologies, we are not ignoring you. If you haven't seen some records appear, please re-send and we will update the site retrospectively.


February 15th

Stanpit's newly found collection of Water Pipit attracted a few visitors today. It is possible there are up to 20 birds on Priory Marsh, seeming to favour the corner under the golf course bank. The presumed Scandinavian Rock Pipit was also there again. At the same time, one of the Bridge Street Mandarin showed briefly from Priory Marsh. It was an overall good day, with a nice selection of uncommon records. A couple of Brambling overflew Smithy's Field mid-morning and there was a Siskin in the North Scrubs. The interesting waders around Stanpit Bight included 2 Golden Plover, 2 Ruff and the Bar-tailed Godwit; as the tide dropped 2 more Ruff took up residence on the HHC sandbar and spent most of the afternoon there. Finally, there are at least 2 Jack Snipe in Central Marsh, but most Snipe seem to have departed.


February 14th

A quality selection of birds during a mild and windless morning. An Avocet was in the harbour, spending time in Parky Meade Rail and Stanpit Bight. At the low tide, 2 Ruff and an almost compete summer-plumaged adult Mediterranean Gull were on the HHC sandbar. On a mirror calm sea, the 2 Velvet Scoter showed well continuously, also settled was a tight raft of 25 Common Scoter. In general, sea-watching was light on birds, but did produce some goodies: 1 Black-throated Diver went east in the company of a Red-throated Diver, presenting an ideal comparison, 4 Tufted Duck also went east. Other records were 3 Great-crested Grebe, 2 east and 1 off Double Dykes, 2 Red-throated Diver, 1 east and 1 west, and a single Gannet. The Treecreeper was between the double bends in the Wood, 6 Gadwall were in Barn Bight and a Grey-lag Goose overflew the head. Purple Sandpiper were again seen, this time 2 birds on groynes close to The Hut Cafe. Linnet are not common winter birds in the area, so 3 on Priory Marsh were a good seasonal record, also Grey Wagtail and Chiffchaff around there. Late morning, there were still 4 Shoveler on Stanpit and, this afternoon, there were 6 Water Pipit on Priory Marsh. Earlier, the information services had reported a heady 17 Water Pipit and a scandinavian Rock Pipit on Priory Marsh, also 2 Jack Snipe and a Golden Plover.


February 13th

Very little to report. However, there were 4 Bar-tailed Godwit at Stanpit late afternoon and at least 13 Little Egret passed over to roost, including a flock of 11.


February 12th

The harbour was remarkably well birded this morning and showed some evidence of a return finch passage. A single Brambling spent a short time in the North Scrubs with 15 Chaffinch, but all soon moved on; while 4 Siskin were over the wood on Hengistbury. A Treecreeper was also there, close to Whitethroat Corner, this is another bird which has probably been there all winter, but rarely showing; however, the 2 Velvet Scoter did perform again today, along with 18 Common Scoter. Other sea interest included 1 Red-throated Diver and 1 Great-crested Grebe east, the latter being something of a recent rarity. A couple of Grey Wagtail were also seen on the head, which is not typical for the time of year. There were 2 Purple Sandpiper on the groynes east of Double Dykes, click here for some excellent photos. Duck in the harbour included the same 6 Goldeneye; possibly 18, but certainly 10 Shoveler, of which 8 were drakes and now 4 Gadwall. Other Hengistbury woodland birds noted were 2 Jay and a Great-spotted Woodpecker, with another in the North Scrubs. Counts of birds from Stanpit comprise 400 Dunlin, 135 Black-tailed Godwit, 18 Grey Plover, 2 Turnstone and the site faithful Bar-tailed Godwit. The gorse on Crouch Hill housed at least 3 Dartford Warbler.


February 11th

Much milder this morning. After a few weeks' absence, the 2 Velvet Scoter made a short flight off the head this morning. One assumes they have been present, but unnoticed, throughout. Also seen were 8 Common Scoter on the sea. Moving birds included, 7 Red-throated Diver, a total of 90 Brent Goose east, also a Razorbill in that direction, with another on the water. A Purple Sandpiper flew east also, but that was probably just a local hop. 2 Pintail were also recorded from Hengistbury, along with a Great-spotted Woodpecker; and the pair of Gadwall are still in Barn Bight. Numbers of commoner species on Stanpit are still at high levels, including the Brent Goose which now number 136. At least 3 Shoveler were on the marsh.


February 10th

Another cold day, this time with little to report. However, a couple of Avocet in Stanpit Bight this evening is a quality February record. Other than that, 6 Goldeneye in the harbour and a Great-spotted Woodpecker on Hengistbury were the only other birds of interest. Also seen were 2 Chiifchaff by Stanpit Golf Course.


February 9th

A frosty dawn with the mercury staying below zero until almost mid-morning. An excellent harbour bird was a Slavonian Grebe off the Long Groyne this morning. Both the small winter sea grebes are rare in the area, which is strange given the relative abundance just east and west. A sure sign of the cold weather were 57 Fieldfare, comprising 2 flocks, going east over the top of the head. The cold also encouraged another Goldeneye to visit us, there are now 6 birds, the newcomer being a second drake. An excellent record was of 4 Raven low over the Whitepits area. The Stanpit Lapwing estimate has risen to 3000 and Black-tailed Godwit also increased to an approximate 300 birds. This is a good winter for both these species, something is certainly keeping them out of the valley. Counts of other species on Stanpit include: 400 Dunlin, 161 Brent Goose, 21 Shelduck and 4 Shoveler. Of greater interest on the marsh was a Peregrine causing general mayhem and a Dartford Warbler on Crouch Hill. Most of the year listers have now passed the 100 mark, and at this stage it's not clear if DNS is leading!


February 8th

An uncomfortable north wind spoilt a clear and potentially wonderful day. No reports were received for this morning; while this afternoon, Stanpit, despite holding many birds, contained little of real interest. At least 3 female Shoveler are the best offering, but the Brent Goose gaggle did exceed 100, as did the Black-tailed Godwit. Lapwing were well down on yesterday with just a couple of hundred present.


February 7th

Two glorious hours basking in the sun by the Beach Huts, which afforded their normal shelter in a south-westerly, produced 8 Red-throated Diver, 7 west and 1 east, also an oiled Guillemot very close in and attempting to haul out on the groynes. Further out at least 25 Common Scoter were in a tight raft on the water and 8 unidentified Auk were seen. Prior to this, a Raven was seen flying west over Whitepits just after dawn. Stanpit holds thousands of birds, most of them Lapwing, with around 2000 spending much of the morning airborne over the marsh. The impressive cloud also included 1 Golden Plover. On occasion, the Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin also came up and were estimated at 200+ each.


February 6th

This morning, there were 10 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit, viewable from Mudeford Quay, also a single Turnstone. In addition, there were 150 Dunlin, presumably roosting on the high tide, while 5 Common Scoter and 1 Guillemot passed west. This afternoon, there was an impressive, but seasonal, total of 7 Ruff.


February 5th

Extremely mild, but extremely damp. Due to the mist, visibility off the Beach Huts was around 60% less than normal; consequently, only records are 1 Purple Sandpiper on the groynes and 3 Common Scoter and 1 Great-northern Diver west. Stanpit fared slightly better around lunchtime with 3 Water Pipit on Grimmery Bank and a female Merlin around Crouch Hill. Football doesn't get any better than last night!


February 4th

A morning visit to Hengistbury was generally quiet, but the female Bullfinch was again near the Nursery and 7 Kittiwake went by at sea. Meanwhile, Stanpit was also quiet due to the high tide, so a detailed Lapwing count was undertaken; the total being 1700 birds, bringing in to question the accuracy of previous estimates. Otherwise, the 250 Black-tailed Godwit were still around, but the smaller waders have dwindled to 17 Grey Plover and just a few Dunlin. Brent Goose weighed in at 91 and, this afternoon, 100 or so of the Black-tailed Godwit left for the Valley.


February 3rd

Stanpit produced some good records with a Merlin hunting between Stanpit Bight and Priory Marsh mid-afternoon, and a Jack Snipe was on Central Marsh. The Black-tailed Godwit have again increased, today there were over 250 birds in Stanpit Bight. Elsewhere, a brief lunchtime visit to Mudeford Quay saw a slightly oiled Kittiwake over the Run, before heading along the sandspit.


February 2nd

Another damp and blustery day, but, nevertheless, there was an extended seawatch from the Beach Huts, even involving some visiting Hampshire birders! Totals moving west were 19 Gannet, 10 Razorbill, plus 1 on the sea, 7 Guillemot, 4 Kittiwake, 3 Common Scoter, 1 Great-crested Grebe and 1 Red-throated Diver. There were also around 25 Common Scoter on the sea and 3 Purple Sandpiper on the groynes. In Barn Bight, there were 2 Little Grebe and further out in the harbour the flock of 5 Goldeneye remains.


February 1st

Today's WeBS count was preceded with some excitement on the sea, as a Little Auk passed close by the Beach Huts heading west. Also seen on the sea were singles of Red-breasted Merganser out to sea, Kittiwake west and Razorbill and Red-throated Diver on the water. The best birds of the count were undoubtedly 2 Golden Plover in with the 750 or so Lapwing. Also of interest was the re-sighting of the wintering Bar-tailed Godwit, 13 Shoveler, 5 Goldeneye and 4 Gadwall. Other totals were: 451 Wigeon, 435 Dunlin, 242 Teal, 237 Coot, 113 Brent Goose, 113 Black-tailed Godwit, 33 Grey Plover, 21 Ringed Plover, 14 Snipe and 3 Water Rail. A Peregine made two passes of the harbour, before pursuing a Starling along Argyll Road! Late afternoon, a first-winter Mediterranean Gull was off Fisherman's Bank.

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