Sightings for August 2005
The light easterly winds on another fine day produced a significant movement of wildfowl and waders in the first couple of hours after dawn. The supporting cast included the first Wryneck of the year and 2 Ospreys. The Wryneck was seen near the HHC in flight heading towards Wick but wasn't relocated thereafter. The Ospreys headed south high over the river just before 7am. The Barn Owl was seen again this morning perched on a post towards the western end of Wick Fields; the Little Owl was also present. Wildfowl this morning mainly west included 82 Teal, 30 Shoveler, 6 Pintail, 4 Gadwall, 2 Garganey, 1 Pochard and 1 Shelduck. Waders also moving west were 270 Ringed Plover, 37 Knot and 11 Green Sandpiper while 4 Whimbrel and a Little Stint arrived. There were also 4 Greenshank in the Harbour and a further 3 Green Sandpiper flew from Priory Marsh towards Hengistbury. Yellow Wagtail were numerous today with 82 overhead this morning then around half a dozen on Stanpit and 11 on Wick this evening. There were also 7Grey Wagtail, 15 Tree Pipit and 6 late Swift today. Grounded migrants were 85 Sedge Warbler, 45 Whitethroat, 7 Whinchat, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Wheatear and a Pied Flycatcher. A Hobby was seen this morning and 4 Mediterranean Gull also went west. On Stanpit this evening in the thunderstorm amongst the more common waders were 3 Knot, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Ruff and 1 Greenshank. There was also a juvenile Mediterranean Gull while Crouch Hill held 3 Wheatear and a Whinchat. At dusk an estimated 350 Canada Geese came into the harbour to roost.
A fairly similar day to yesterday with another bout of wall-to-wall sunshine which produced a good variety of migrants albeit in small numbers. Scattered over Wick and the Barn Field were 55 Willow Warbler, 25 Whitethroat, 13 Wheatear, 4 Redstart, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Garden Warbler, 1 Pied Flycatcher and a late Cuckoo. Overhead were 13 Yellow and 2 Grey Wagtail plus 2 Tree Pipit. There was also a Coal Tit near the Ranger's Cottage. A Kingfisher was in Barn Bight and 3 Greenshank were heard from Stanpit. A group of 8 Knot flew west over Wick while 2 Shoveler came into the harbour. An impressive 2-3000 hirundines moved east offshore with 11 Whimbrel and 9 Sanderling moving in the opposite direction. From the beach both Great Skua and Peregrine were seen together with a feeding flock of 96 Common Tern. A late afternoon visit to Stanpit found the 2 Shoveler with 7 Wigeon in Stanpit Bight. Waders were estimated as 150 each of Dunlin and Ringed Plover plus 20 Sanderling, 4 Knot, 4 Greenshank and 2 Curlew Sandpiper. There were also another 3 Wheatear on South Marsh.
On a gloriously sunny Bank Holiday Monday an early start was in order before the harbour and Hengistbury in particular was overrun with visitors. Most of the passerine movement occurred before 8:30am with 43 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Grey Wagtail and 10 Tree Pipit logged over Hengistbury. Grounded migrants there included 40 Whitethroat, 7 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 3 Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Redstart; also 2 Garden Warbler in North Scrubs. Hirundines were also present in numbers with a mixed flock of more than 500 feeding House Martin, Sand Martin and Swallow over Whitepits and the Barn Field. By mid-morning most of the migrants had moved on but 7 Whinchat were on the fence near Double Dykes. A good local record was of a Bullfinch on Wick late morning. A spot of seawatching from the beach produced 81 Common Tern and 3 Little Tern offshore. The waders weren't counted today but 23 Knot went east without giving the harbour a second glance. A Little Ringed Plover was heard overhead whilst a Bar-tailed Godwit left the harbour west and a Ruff headed towards Priory Marsh. Yesterday's Canada Goose flock of around 120 birds left their roost soon after dawn; also in the harbour this morning were 6 Gadwall and a 1st year Mediterranean Gull. The Barn Owl was again hunting over Wick around 8:30pm and a Little Owl was seen.
An overnight mist and some reasonable passerine migrants at Stanpit suggested Hengistbury could have been good, had it been watched from early on. There were several well-deserved lie-ins after yesterday. A Pied Flycatcher just off the Recreation Ground, behind the warden's caravan, showed really well for a while; as did, most uncharacteristically on passage, a Tree Pipit that landed on a rowan in the North Scrubs. There were a further 2 Tree Pipit logged, as well as a good total of 24 Yellow Wagtail, including a flock of 14 birds. The North Scrubs also held a Lesser Whitethroat and a few Whitethroat, and there were 2 Wheatear on South Marsh. On Hengistbury the first Swift for a few days was seen; also a Garden Warbler and a handful of Whitethroat were reported. Waders on Stanpit remain difficult to count, due to a combination of tides and hazy sunlight. This morning, a single Curlew Sandpiper, Greenshank, 5 Sanderling and 2 Whimbrel could be picked out; while doing so, a Sparrowhawk was seen administering a violent and noisy end to a Starling on the tip of South Marsh. There are certainly many Sparrowhawk around at the moment. Although they failed to successfully fledge young on Hengistbury, they must have fared better elsewhere. An afternoon visit to Stanpit added only Mediterranean Gull, 3 more Sanderling and 2 Knot for the day. The traditional late August/early September roost of Canada Goose is presently occurring. Their mercifully short stay centres around Fisherman's Bank and makes for quite a wake-up call as they leave each morning. This evening around 150 birds were seen to arrive. At dusk the Barn Owl was hunting over Wick and a Little Owl was heard.
A very hard birdrace with birds of all types lacking in abundance, which, for time of year, was very frustrating. No doubt, things will change in the next couple of days. A total of 106 species were recorded in the area throughout the period. The winning team logged 97 species, while the runners-up finished with two less. Despite the hard work, another enjoyable day. The best bird by far and the first of the year was a Barn Owl on Wick Fields just before 6:00am. This species was not recorded at all last year. Probably the biggest surprise was a total of 9 Great-crested Grebe, 6 on the sea off Double Dykes, and 2 east and 1 west. Other than feeding terns, the sea was awfully quiet, a dark Arctic Skua went west, as did a Fulmar and a Razorbill. The offshore, feeding terns probably comprised hundreds of birds, but these were almost entirely Sandwich Tern and Common Tern, although 16 Arctic Tern were seen joining the melee. A total of 9 Yellow Wagtail were noted, these included 6 over Wick and 3 feeding in seaweed by the Long Groyne, one of which was a blue-headed type. Other passerines of interest were 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 7 Wheatear, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whinchat and 1 Redstart. A few Tree Pipit were heard and, late in the day, a Turtle Dove descended into the Nursery. As the tide fell in the morning, the best of the waders was a Little Stint, also 25 Sanderling, 8 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Greenshank, Snipe and a Whimbrel. In the afternoon, Knot had increased to 16 birds. Duck and gulls were difficult to find, although a single Gadwall, 1 Tufted Duck, 7 Wigeon, 1 Common Gull and 1 Mediterranean Gull did make it onto the lists. Other birds of interest during the event were a Little Owl calling around Wick, a Hobby over there, the Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Shelduck on Stanpit, 5 Common Sandpiper and perhaps as many Kingfisher.
A quiet day ahead of tomorrow's birdrace. By far the most notable sight was a group of 41 Knot that arrived from the west, with 4 Black-tailed Godwit, and settled for 30 minutes in Stanpit Bight, before departing unseen. A good miscellany of singletons comprised Curlew Sandpiper, Grey Plover, Greenshank, Whimbrel and Turnstone. Kingfisher were around Parky Meade Rail and the HHC, and Black-tailed Godwit numbered 31 birds. Apologies, but fatigue and post-match refreshment is likely to postpone tomorrow's post until Sunday.
Update: the high tide roost at Stanpit this evening contained 4 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Turnstone and 1 Sanderling.
A real contrast to yesterday, as the dawn was dry and still, although there were some showers later in the morning. Early on, the elderberry bush on the Stanpit golf course bank held its regular selection of feeding warblers. A single Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Cettis Warbler and a couple of Reed Warbler, all showed well. Meanwhile, there were a few Willow Warbler in the North Scrubs, including a singing individual. A Kingfisher was seen along the river. On Hengistbury, the areas around the HHC held over 50 Willow Warbler, while 2 Wheatear and 1 Whinchat were on the Barn Field; and Yellow Wagtail were heard, but not seen. A largely quiet seawatch from the Beach Huts, however, did produce a Black Tern west and an Arctic Tern east. Later in the morning, on Stanpit, there were 30 Teal, 5 Wigeon and 3 Turnstone. Wick Fields were visited very early and held some passerine interest - 3 Wheatear, a Redstart, 2 Whinchat and 4 Lesser Whitethroat, also 35 Willow Warbler and 6 Whitethroat. Among the roosting waders around Stanpit Bight, 220 Ringed Plover could be counted, along with 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 6 Sanderling and 4 Knot.
A strong south-westerly blew up overnight and rain had set in by mid-morning. Early on, 3 Black Tern were seen heading west off Mudeford Quay and what were presumably the same birds were then seen off Hengistbury. Other dual location records were 50+ Gannet and 6 Common Scoter west, but a Manx Shearwater was seen only from Mudeford. The advantaged position of Hengistbury then went on to produce a single Storm Petrel, a close Balearic Shearwater and 2 Arctic Skua, all west. Also on the move at sea were 62 Sandwich Tern, 56 Common Tern, 15 Kittiwake, 10 Fulmar, 3 Turnstone, 2 Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Sanderling. Despite the conditions, some passerine migrants were around, including 8 Yellow Wagtail, feeding with alba wagtail on the cliffs, 3 Wheatear and a single Tree Pipit. To wrap up on Hengistbury, a couple of Greenshank were feeding in Holloway's Dock. This evening 4 juvenile Little Gull that were feeding in the surf on Avon Beach could just be seen from Mudeford Quay. There is also an information services report of 3 Curlew Sandpiper from Stanpit, from where there are also some late reports for yesterday.
Another fine morning with a light south-westerly wind. The Barn Field on Hengistbury held a reasonable total of 5 Whinchat this morning, along with 5 Wheatear; while 3 Yellow Wagtail over there seemed to come down on the golf course. Just after 10:30, Stanpit saw the day's best, as a female Marsh Harrier approached over Stanpit Village and then headed north over the Recreation Ground, flushing 18 Teal from East Marsh as it did so. Also 3 Wigeon recorded. Curlew Sandpiper today numbered 9 birds in Stanpit Bight, also 13 Turnstone, 4 Sanderling, 2 Knot and 2 Greenshank. Light conditions made it difficult to census the Ringed Plover and Dunlin, but there were a certain 21 Black-tailed Godwit. Passerine-wise, 10 Wheatear and 1 Whinchat were on Crouch Hill, and 4 Yellow Wagtail were about the marsh.
Later news: there was a Wood Sandpiper around Stanpit Bight late this afternoon.
More late news from Stanpit. There was an adult Little Stint, 3 or 4 Curlew Sandpiper and 3 Wheatear.
After some overnight rain in a westerly wind, there was a mass arrival of Curlew Sandpiper this morning. A total of 20 birds, all juveniles, were seen on Stanpit in groups of 9, 7 and 4. Ringed Plover numbers had also risen to over 200 and outnumbered the Dunlin. Other waders included 4 Snipe, 3 Sanderling and a Greenshank. A reasonable wildfowl presence comprised 14 Wigeon, 20 Teal and 2 Shoveler, all a sign of the impending autumn. Significantly less exciting was a lone Canada Goose with the Mute Swan, although come Saturday's bird race this will be a much sought after individual! Around 35 Common Tern were recorded moving through, along with 3 Yellow Wagtail; while there were 3 Wheatear on Crouch Hill. It was fairly quiet on Hengistbury, the best record was probably 3 Eider east at sea. Also over the water were small numbers of westerly moving Sandwich Tern and Common Tern, and 1 Common Scoter. Earlier, there was a Grey Plover on the HHC sandbar, also a Kingfisher there. Only passerine migrants really noted were 6 Blackcap. This evening, almost all the Curlew Sandpiper, excluding 3 birds, seemed to have deserted, but there were 4 Sanderling and a Whimbrel. A few terns, namely 25 Sandwich Tern and 15 Common Tern were resting up in Stanpit Bight; and low water at Parky Meade produced a couple of Water Rail and 2 Yellow Wagtail over.
Yesterday's north-west wind continued, but by mid-afternoon had veered to the west. The rising tide in the morning produced the first Curlew Sandpiper, a juvenile bird off the tip of South Marsh, of the return passage. Also seen from there, 6 Sanderling, 2 Greenshank and 2 Whimbrel. Ringed Plover numbers remain healthy with 124 counted this morning; these are predominantly adult birds though. Also an estimated 120 Dunlin, but there are certainly more. At least 2 Grey Wagtail were around Priory Marsh and the pool in the North Scrubs. As this report is being compiled, news is received of an adult Black Tern, amongst a steady tern movement, moving slowly west off Whitepits, characteristically picking at the surface as it went. Back to this morning and there was a single Tree Pipit over Stanpit and a total of 6 Wheatear on the ground, most of these on South Marsh. The low tide around Parky Meade saw no crakes, but instead 5 Water Rail. Meanwhile, the elderberry bush by the sycamores on the golf course bank held a constant selection of easy-to-see warblers, including Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Whitethroat. A flock of 21 Common Tern moving high west suggested a larger, unobserved migration. On the other side of the river, in Wick Fields, there were 2 Whinchat and 1 Lesser Whitethroat. As the spring tide receded this afternoon, there were now 2 Curlew Sandpiper in Barn Bight and a single Ruff was another newcomer. Sanderling had increased slightly to 8, but just 1 Greenshank could be seen. The familiar Yellow-legged Gull was on South Marsh and a juvenile Whinchat was on Crouch Hill.
A definite chill this morning, brought on by a north-westerly breeze. Although there weren't that many birds about, both sides of the harbour contributed a nice miscellany of returning migrants. At Stanpit, in the sycamores by the Rusty Boat, there were singles of Pied Flycatcher and Spotted Flycatcher and, nearby, a Redstart was on the edge of the golf course. On the bank below the course, Reed Warbler were feeding on elderberry in preparation for their long journey that will ultimately take them across the Sahara. A few Willow Warbler and Whitethroat were also knocking about there. Working down North Scrubs, a Lesser Whitethroat was at the Warden's Caraven end. Further interest was on Crouch Hill with a Whinchat and a lone Wheatear. Hengistbury's best was probably a Turtle Dove that quickly passed west over the Barn Field, which also held a Whinchat. By modern day standards, a Yellow Wagtail count of 31 west, including a flock of 8, is all too sadly impressive; also 6 Tree Pipit. There were 2 Spotted Flycatcher and a Garden Warbler on the Batters. A flock of 21 Teal were about the area this morning and 7 Shelduck arrived, the latter being an autumn scarcity. Ominously, from the Batters, at least 95 Canada Goose were seen over the Burton area. Please stay away. We seem to be in another wader lull. This morning, there were 3 Knot, a Whimbrel and a Grey Plover; and, this afternoon, just 2 more Whimbrel, 5 Sanderling and 2 Turnstone could be added. Ringed Plover and Dunlin were very distant on Blackberry Point, but seemed to number no more than 50 each. As is refreshingly becoming the norm, please check back to yesterday for some late reports.
After a night of thunder and rain, it was almost windless about the harbour this morning. The pick of the day comes from Stanpit, where the information services reported 1 Black Tern, 1 Roseate Tern and 5 Arctic Tern. Not surprisingly in the conditions, a seawatch was far from exciting. Around 150 Gannet went east and a tight flock of 18 Common Tern headed west. A further 7 birds over the Barn Field suggests more may have been cutting the corner over the harbour. Also moving over the sea were 22 Dunlin and 12 Ringed Plover, while a Sanderling alighted on the beach, which also held 2 Wheatear. A couple of Yellow Wagtail were seen on the groynes and 6 more were recorded around the head. This afternoon, the waders were not easy to see with most birds being displaced by a kitesailer. In Stanpit Bight, a single Knot was with a few Dunlin and there were 2 Whimbrel. A Turnstone and 3 Sanderling passed quickly through. On East Marsh, at least 2 Yellow Wagtail were in the grass with the ponies. There are some interesting, late information services reports for yesterday.
Late news: with some quality from Stanpit; where a Wood Sandpiper was watched for 15 minutes on South Marsh late in the afternoon, also 5 Sanderling and 1 Grey Plover were new for the day. The duck presence continues to rise, there was a group of Shoveler in Stanpit Bight all afternoon and 9 Teal were recorded. A Peregrine went overhead and there was 1 Wheatear. Later, around 8:00, there were 2 Wheatear at Whitepits and a Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight.
There was a combined birding and sunbathing session on Hengistbury from 6:00 to 2:00, which resulted in another wide and varied selection. A total of 3 Wood Sandpiper and 1 Green Sandpiper were seen heading west. In fact, many waders were seen leaving in the same direction, including 220 Ringed Plover, one group comprising 70 birds, 5 Grey Plover, 4 Turnstone and 2 Sanderling; while 6 Common Sandpiper remained in Barn Bight. Terns were also moving that way: 235 Common Tern, the largest group being 36, and 4 Arctic Tern were counted. Later, a couple of adult Roseate Tern went east very close by the beach. Also seen at sea were 4 Common Scoter and3 Fulmar. Overhead small migrants numbered 21 Tree Pipit, 10 Swift and 13 Yellow Wagtail, although some of the latter may have settled on the top of the head, as a Grey Wagtail did. Grounded warblers totalled 30 Willow Warbler, 25 Whitethroat, 11 Blackcap, a healthy 8 Lesser Whitethroat and 1 Garden Warbler. The wildfowl were headed by 2 Garganey west and supported by 26 Teal, 8 Gadwall and 3 Shoveler all over the harbour. Also over the area was a Peregrine. Amazingly, there are still around 300 Sand Martin present, some even still going into nest holes. But even more amazing was the sight of a few House Martin attempting to do the same. This evening on Stanpit, there was a very showy Garden Warbler in Stanpit Scrubs, while further out on the marsh, 4 Sanderling, 1 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Grey Plover were present, along with Limpy. Dunlin and Ringed Plover numbers seem to be as the previous couple of days.
Late news: from Stanpit, the information services report a Little Stint, a Spotted Redshank, 4 Greenshank, 4 Yellow Wagtail and a Cuckoo.
Another good August selection, headed by a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker seen flying from Smithy's Field to the trees in Two Riversmeet car park. Little Egret hit a probable all-time high this morning as 81 were counted leaving the Nursery roost, also 7 east. Passerine numbers were low, just 25 Willow Warbler, 16 Whitethroat, 8 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler and 1 Lesser Whitethroat, but 8 Tree Pipit and 4 Yellow Wagtail were on the move overhead. A couple of Arctic Tern headed west, as did 11 Grey Plover. More duck variety today, including 3 Tufted Duck over the harbor, 4 Wigeon arriving before leaving west, 35 Teal did the same, and 5 Shoveler and 2 Gadwall were also recorded. Later in the morning, the day's best migrant, a Grasshopper Warbler was around the HHC. There are also at least 2 Coal Tit on Hengistbury, interesting for the forthcoming bird-race. Stanpit waders were counted at 80 or so Ringed Plover, 23 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Whimbrel, 4 Turnstone, 3 Sanderling, 2 Greenshank and 1 Common Sandpiper. There were also 2 Wheatear around for most of the day and the funny juvenile Sandwich Tern was seen again. Finally, premiership standard disturbance this evening, as a Microlight fitted with floats was watched and photographed landing in the harbour.
Some late snippets from Wick. A brood of 5 small Pheasant were a different family to that seen earlier this month. Also 2 Snipe and a single Swift south.
Not the glut of passerines that yesterday held, but a couple of Pied Flycatcher on the Stanpit golf course bank this morning were very welcome. Also during the early period, a Grey Plover in breeding plumage, 1 Sanderling, 5 Snipe and 34 Black-tailed Godwit. More Teal today, 12 birds seen before lunch, also 2 Shoveler and a Common Gull on Priory Pools. The evening tide produced the autumn's first Little Stint, an adult bird around Stanpit Bight. Another notable record was a group of 3 Spotted Redshank seen briefly before apparently descending into the Fisherman's Bank area, where they unfortunately couldn't be relocated. Other waders were 8 Sanderling, 2 Greenshank and 2 Turnstone; and just before dusk a group of 8 Whimbrel were seen leaving. A pair of Wigeon arriving from the east were another first for the season, while the iminent departees included a Wheatear on Crouch Hill and a Hobby over the river. The Wick floods are fast drying out, just 2 Snipe there this evening. Of other interest, there was a pale juvenile Sandwich Tern with a completely horn coloured bill in the area today.
In the first 90 minutes of daylight, there was an impressive selection of passerine migrants around the HHC, however, as a breeze picked up, things soon quietened down. The best included: 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Whinchat, a Redstart, 4 Garden Warbler and 3 Lesser Whitethroat; while the commoner warblers numbered 110+ Willow Warbler, 90+ Sedge Warbler, 56 Whitethroat and 3 Blackcap. Also 5 Wheatear, 16 Tree Pipit and 2 Yellow Wagtail. A really good August record was a juvenile Merlin over Hengistbury, also 3 Hobby. The wader selection was well above average - 2 Spotted Redshank and 1 Little Ringed Plover headed west, as did a group of 5 Greenshank with a further 5 birds being seen elsewhere. Wood Sandpiper was again recorded, along with 22 Turnstone and 3 Grey Plover. Remaining interest comes from 4 Shoveler, 3 Gadwall and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull. Stanpit didn't fare quite so well, although 7 Wheatear did outnumber the Hengistbury total. Around Stanpit Bight, there were 4 Sanderling, 1 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, a Knot and a Turnstone. Dunlin weren't counted, but the Black-tailed Godwit numbered 27.
Best records for the day are of a Grasshopper Warbler accidentally flushed from the Priory Reeds, and a Roseate Tern around Stanpit Bight. On the low tide this morning, there was a really good count of 97 Ringed Plover, along with a Ruff, 14 Sanderling, 2 Whimbrel and a Grey Plover. There were also 125 Dunlin, 24 Black-tailed Godwit and a grand total of 135 Sandwich Tern. A Hobby was over the area briefly this morning and 8 Teal spent all day on the marsh.
Late news: a Green Sandpiper was seen this evening flying across Barn Bight and disappearing round Goldeneye Point.
After a reasonably good week, it was a disappointing Saturday morning with almost a complete absence of passerine migrants. At first, the wind was light and from the north, before dying completely and then picking up from the west, bringing rain with it by early afternoon. Before it was fully light, a Tawny Owl was heard from the Two Riversmeet car park. Very slightly later, the day's best record came in the form of 3 Garganey flushed from the floods at Wick. An hour or so later, 3 small duck were seen going down into Priory Marsh. This part of the area also hosted a Wood Sandpiper this morning, while a Green Sandpiper was seen a couple of times over Hengistbury. Wildfowl then went on to provide the best of the rest: a group of 10 Shoveler were seen flying up river, a Gadwall was in the harbour and a Tufted Duck settled in Mother Siller's Channel for a short while, before leaving north. Common Tern were again on the move, around 90 seen going west over the harbour, also 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Turnstone and 2 Sanderling heading the same way. Common Sandpiper numbered at least 8 individuals, including a flock of 6 in Holloway's Dock, also 10 Snipe in flight over Hengistbury during the course of the morning. Willow Warbler were thought to number just 45 birds and the top of the head hosted just 3 Wheatear, but 5 Tree Pipit suggested the day should have been better. The Little Egret count reached 75, possibly a day total record. These were all seen leaving the Nursery with one flock comprising an impressive 32 birds. Before the rain set in, the hundred or so small waders in Stanpit Bight were dominated by Dunlin with smaller numbers of Ringed Plover, but also 1 Sanderling and 1 Turnstone. There were 2 Wheatear on Crouch Hill and a Whimbrel on South Marsh.
Lots of coverage at Stanpit this morning, but little to excite. Best was a couple of female-type Bullfinch in Smithy's Field just after first light, also a handful of Willow Warbler and 2 Garden Warbler there. It's the time of year when Parky Meade Rail gets a lot of attention at low tide, hence a good count of 12 Water Rail. The regular Little Gull, fast moulting into adult plumage, was also seen in that area, as was a Kingfisher. Between them, the HHC sandbar and Stanpit Bight produced the following wader totals: 135 Dunlin, 75 Ringed Plover, these are definitely on the increase, 6 Common Sandpiper, 5 Sanderling, 2 Turnstone, 1 Grey Plover and 1 Knot. There was also a Whimbrel on North Marsh and a Golden Plover on South Marsh. As the Red Arrows flashed overhead, 3 Wheatear were on Whitepits Rough and there were a further 2 on Crouch Hill. This afternoon, a Swift, now even single birds becoming notable, was over Whitepits. On Stanpit, there were 2 Knot and 3 Whimbrel. There's bound to be another rave at Hengistbury tonight, so if you were wondering how to spend the small hours
Probably the quietest day of the week on Hengistbury with just 20 or so Willow Warbler between the HHC and the Barn Field. On the HHC sandbar, there were 90 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover, 18 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Sanderling, while 5 Common Sandpiper were in Barn Bight. Both Jay and Great-spotted Woodpecker were seen from the HHC. A Buzzard low over Priory Marsh gave rise to the highlight of the day, when it flushed a group of 4 sandpiper from the Wick floods. Of these, 3 were Green Sandpiper, which subsequently settled on Priory Marsh, but the fourth, a Wood Sandpiper, returned back to Wick. Also a Hobby seen from Priory and a couple of Garden Warbler around the edge. In the mid-afternoon at Stanpit, there were 6 Wheatear on Crouch Hill and 4 Whimbrel on East Marsh, also a group of 26 Little Egret in that area. Goldfinch are a species that has had a good season, this was underlined by a group of 12 birds, including juveniles, on the South Marsh gorse clump. Also 60 Dunlin and 20 Ringed Plover on the tip of the marsh.
Late news: a Green Sandpiper flew off the flooded field at Wick in the evening.
Starting with Stanpit for a change. Throwing down the Treecreeper gauntlet last week produced the year's second record. This time right on the northern fringe of the area, in oaks by the Old Riding Stables site. Also 6 Willow Warbler there and a further 12 in the North Scrubs. As the years pass, Yellow Wagtail get scarcer with just a single bird today, but also 2 Wheatear. Just over a hundred Dunlin, 102 in fact, were on the HHC Sandbar, also 36 Ringed Plover, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 breeding-plumaged Knot and a Sanderling. Moving south the Hengistbury, there were 3 Greenshank and 4 Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight; a Little Ringed Plover overhead, a Whimbrel in Holloway's Dock; and 2 Ringed Plover and 1 Turnstone at the end of the sandspit. Best of the passerine migrants were 2 Pied Flycatcher, 1 behind the HHC and the other in the Wood, also a Redstart. Across Wick and Hengistbury, 80 Willow Warbler were estimated, also 2 Lesser Whitethroat and 5 Blackcap. A single Tree Pipit was heard and 3 different Great-spotted Woodpecker were seen. Little Tern are conspicuous by their current absence, so 2 birds west today was refreshing, also a couple of Mediterranean Gull. Only news from the sea is of 30 or so Gannet off the head. Later, from a quiet Priory Marsh, 2 Hobby and 6 Buzzard were seen.
Not such comprehensive coverage this morning, with just one observer out on Hengistbury. Willow Warbler around the HHC numbered around 20 birds, also a dozen or so Sedge Warbler. A total of 90 Dunlin were on the HHC sandbar and in Barn Bight, and while the former held 25 Ringed Plover the latter held 9 Common Sandpiper, with an extra bird in Brewer's Creek. A visit to Stanpit in the mid-afternoon produced 3 Wheatear that stayed through until this evening, also a Yellow Wagtail, 2 Whimbrel and 2 Common Sandpiper. There was a real social gathering around Crouch Hill this evening, so much so, my wife thought I was in a pub due to the background chatter when she called. The tally at the time included 35 Ringed Plover, 3 Sanderling, similar Dunlin to earlier, around 12 Black-tailed Godwit, Limpy and 2 adult Common Gull. Over on Wick, a brood of 7 Pheasant were seen.
A lot of birding activity around the harbour yielded a good variety of migrants. On Hengistbury, there was a Grasshopper Warbler and a Pied Flycatcher around the HHC, also good numbers of Willow Warbler. On the top of the head, there were single Whinchat and Wheatear, while an Eider and Fulmar moved past east and west respectively. As yesterday, Common Tern were reported to be using the harbour as a thoroughfare, but, so far, no numbers are available. Stanpit contributed with a Garden Warbler and 15 Willow Warbler in the North Scrubs. The waders around Stanpit Bight were 6 Whimbrel, 5 Dunlin, 3 Snipe and 2 Common Sandpiper. These were complemented by 12 Dunlin, 12 Black-tailed Godwit and 10 Ringed Plover on the HHC sandbar, plus 5 Common Sandpiper in Brewer's Creek. A great day for Mediterranean Gull, 15 were seen from Hengistbury, including a flying flock of 9; there were also 2 birds at Stanpit that may have been additional. As the day progressed, Stanpit pulled in more waders, including 3 Avocet seen to arrive from the west at 5:30 tonight. The Dunlin had increased to over 80 birds, also up were Ringed Plover at 17 and an adult Sanderling was another newcomer, but the Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper dropped to 4 and 1. The young Little Gull that has summered in the area was seen again this evening, as was Limpy and an adult Common Gull. Finally, there was a Wheatear in the clearance on Crouch Hill and a Canada Goose off South Marsh.
Late news. It was the best day of the autumn so far for Willow Warbler - in addition to the 25 mentioned above, there were a further 170 around the HHC, also 120 Sedge Warbler, a Wood Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Garden Warbler. There was also a Redstart on Wick Fields, and 3 Tree Pipit and 1 Yellow Wagtail over. All of these were in the first 2 hours of daylight, after that, things noticeably slowed. A movement of Black-headed Gull mainly comprised of juvenile birds, over 180 headed west in a 45 minute spell. The passage also contained 92 Common Tern, the Mediterranean Gull numbers from the main report and an Arctic Tern. A Green Sandpiper was seen in flight on a couple of occasions over the western part of Hengistbury, there were a further 6 Common Sandpiper and 40 Dunlin were in Barn Bight. The morning total for the latter is now thought to be 74 birds. Waders seen on the move were 2 Avocet over the top of the head, while 3 Knot, 2 Sanderling and 1 Turnstone left over the Common. The first returning Teal, 5 birds, were in Barn Bight, along with a Shoveler. Also 1 Pochard, 1 Tufted Duck and 1 Gadwall recorded today. In the evening, there was a large group of 42 Little Egret feeding together in Stanpit Bight.
All today's effort went into Stanpit, where the wind tended to come from the north and refreshed an otherwise hot day. Despite it not being right on the coast, the northern section of the recording area does attract a small number of returning migrants. A Pied Flycatcher was in the sycamores on the Golf Course Bank, 3 Garden Warbler were in what is left of the Old Council Depot site and a Whinchat was on Priory Marsh. There was also a scattering of Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler were being seen away from reedbeds, and a Wheatear was on Crouch Hill. For the year-listers, a Treecreeper was in the silver birch clump in the North Scrubs. One of the more impressive sights of the day was a small movement of Common Tern - in a thirty minute period, 86 moved west over the harbour in various sized groups, the largest being 24 birds. Also of interest was a tight flock of 10 Cormorant that moved steadily west. The highlight of the current wader drought was 2 Green Sandpiper up from Central Marsh, while around Stanpit Bight, no more than 15 Dunlin, 26 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel and 1 Ringed Plover could be conjured up. Although in a moment of stoic dedication, 77 Oystercatcher were counted. A Mediterranean Gull was heard from South Marsh, Limpy was on it and an adult Common Gull was in Parky Meade Rail. A final 30 minute raptor watch from the Golf Course produced 8 Buzzard, 2 Peregrine and a Hobby, all well north of the area.
Late news: the first-summer Litttle Gull, now in heavy moult, was seen on Stanpit.
A still dawn and no breeze until after 9:00, making insect repellent a must this morning. A couple of locally good waders were recorded; a Golden Plover was calling and circling Stanpit and a Green Sandpiper was on the Wick Fields floods. Tree Pipit buzzed along to the beat of the now seemingly, regular overnight raves that last well beyond 7:00. A total of 8 bird were noted this morning, including a couple on the ground on the top of the head, also a Yellow Wagtail over. A reasonable scattering of passerine migrants included 65 Willow Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, plus a few Whitethroat and Reed Warbler. At least 18 Common Sandpiper were on the Hengistbury side of the harbour, including a group of 9 that flew up river. Juvenile Mediterranean Gull were seen on 2 occasions, but it may have been the same bird, a first-year was also in area. Mid-morning, 32 Ringed Plover were seen to arrive, while 4 Whimbrel had already been counted and a male Peregrine was again over Stanpit. The sea hardly warrants a mention, just a small feeding assembly of Gannet, and 1 Common Scoter and 1 Fulmar west. A few visits to Stanpit proved that yesterday's dearth of waders wasn't an isolated incident. The day total for Dunlin barely exceeds 20 birds, along with 10 Ringed Plover, 3 Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank and 1 Knot; and 2 Snipe on Priory Marsh. A Wheatear spent all day around Crouch Hill and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull was seen in the afternoon. There are still people out on the marsh, so more reports may follow.
In a easterly wind, there was a great 90 minutes of seawatching at Hengistbury this morning. So as not to intrude on the vacationers in the Beach Huts, most watching is now being done from the sea defences just east of the Long Groyne. From there, a group of 3 Sooty Shearwater was seen moving past to the west at 9:30. Slightly earlier, a pale adult Arctic Skua was seen tussling with some juvenile large gulls before heading east. Moments later, a Great Skua arrived from the west, took a look at the same young gulls and then headed back down the coast. Around 55 Gannet were thought to be circuiting the entrance to the Solent in an anti-clockwise direction, but 25 Sandwich Tern and 1 Fulmar purposefully migrated west. Also on Hengistbury were 6 Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight, also a Whimbrel there with a further bird in Holloway's Dock. In not unfavourable tidal conditions at Stanpit this afternoon, wader numbers were very poor. Just 10 or so Dunlin, 8 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Whimbrel could be seen. An adult male Peregrine was watched terrorising the Lapwing flock.In the evening, a skein of 11 Greylag Goose appeared over the harbour and headed south-west towards the HHC.
A warm, but breezy day produced a few snippets of interest. This morning, a Turtle Dove flew over Smithy's Field towards Wick, where, around the same time, 2 Green Sandpiper were accidentally flushed from the floods. Back on the Stanpit side, there was a Redstart, 2 Garden Warbler and 26 Willow Warbler, also a Tree Pipit over. After an early year glut, Raven haven't been recorded for a while, but today saw 3 young birds heading north over Stanpit. There were also 3 Shoveler seen flying around. Migrants on Wick and the western section of Hengistbury included 25+ Willow Warbler, 1 Blackcap, an increased presence of Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler, and a Wheatear at Whitepits Rough. A total of 7 Common Sandpiper were around Barn Bight, as was a single Kingfisher. Late in the afternoon, the Yellow-legged Gull was seen over Priory Marsh. This evening, there was a Wheatear on Stanpit, while only 80 Dunlin and 1 Grey Plover could be seen. Finally, a Hobby was over Wick before drifting to the other side of the harbour.
Some light, overnight rain made for a humid and still start, but pretty soon the normal south-westerly breeze picked up. Smithy's Field produced what will probably be the only Nuthatch record of the year, as well as 27 Whitethroat, 12 Willow Warbler, 3 Garden Warbler and last, but definitely not least, a Grasshopper Warbler. Raptors were a major feature of the day: a female-type Marsh Harrier went west over the area this morning; also 3 Hobby and a Peregrine; but perhaps the most unexpected record was of a Buzzard watched hunting low over the marsh. This afternoon, a Peregrine took a Starling just off South Marsh. Morning waders numbered 200 Dunlin, 37 Curlew, 9 Whimbrel, 8 Ringed Plover, 6 Common Sandpiper and 5 Greenshank. By the afternoon, 10 Sanderling and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit had joined the congregation, and there was a small Dunlin increase to 225+ birds. A couple of Canada Goose were present all day and, this afternoon, a siege of 28 Little Egret were feeding closely together in Stanpit Bight.
Later news: very early at Stanpit, the Dunlin had been counted at 329 birds and, in the evening, 3 Snipe flew up out of Wick Fields.
More fog blanketed the whole area this morning, resulting in some good ringing totals. In all, Wally netted 28 birds: of these, definite migrants were 8 Willow Warbler and 1 Garden Warbler; while 4 Reed Bunting and 2 Lesser Whitethroat probably were. Presently, there are many Reed Bunting about, they have certainly had a good season. Only out-of-hand record is of a Common Sandpiper on the flood in Wick Hams. Check back for a late item from yesterday.
Update: a lunchtime stroll around Wick Fields produced 40 Willow Warbler and a Wheatear.
A heavy fog covered Hengistbury this morning, but this was very local as the rest of the recording area was clear. A Wood Sandpiper was heard several times over the HHC, but remained invisible in the mirk. Passerine migration was the theme of the day and was headed by a Wood Warbler around the HHC. Also in that area were 39 Whitethroat, 18 Willow Warbler and 12 Sedge Warbler. The latter, along with Reed Warbler, have been very low this season, so a mere dozen indicates a movement. Overhead, 120 House Martin were feeding and 3 Tree Pipit were heard. There were 9 Common Scoter on the sea and 2 Common Sandpiper were recorded. Yesterday's report has been updated.
Late news: a Wood Sandpiper was flushed from the pools at the northern end of Wick fields at 8:30 this evening.