Sightings for August 2006


August 31st

Firstly, please check back to yesterday's report for some additions from Wick. A brisk south-westerly wasn't something that had been forecast, nevertheless, it was welcomed by the seawatchers. Of course, all movement was west and was topped by an adult, pale phase Pomarine Skua seen close in from the Gully; also a heady total of 16 Arctic Skua, one or two of these almost shaving the head. A Balearic Shearwater was also a good record, while slightly lesser specimens comprised 3 Kittiwake, 6 Fulmar, 3 Little Tern, 46 Common Scoter, 50 Gannet, 200 Sandwich Tern and 175 Common Tern, but strictly speaking, given the distance, these should go down as commics. A wisp of 3 Snipe was seen heading out to sea, 4 Common Sandpiper were on the groynes and a Sanderling moved past. There was also seabird interest inside the harbour, coming from a feeding Roseate Tern. Over the HHC, both Little Ringed Plover and Golden Plover were seen arriving, and single Common Sandpiper and Greenshank were in Barn Bight. A Hobby was also busying itself around the area. A scan into the harbour, presumably from Mudeford Quay, saw 27 Ringed Plover and 5 Sanderling on the exposed bar, which is currently undergoing a naming process. Also on Stanpit, the Spotted Redshank and 2 Black-tailed Godwit in Mother Siller's Channel, a Knot off Blackberry Point, 3 Teal in the bight and a Common Gull in Parky Meade Rail.

News just in from Stanpit this evening, where the familiar Yellow-legged Gull was again present, also a Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit, but just a token showing of Dunlin.

Additional news from a nice tour of the harbour. A Black Tern was seen at sea, while the Whimbrel that likes Stanpit Golf Course was still present, with a Spotted Flycatcher around there. A Swift was over Wick Fields, as were 2 Yellow Wagtail. A couple of Greenshank were in Holloway's Dock and 5 more were at Stanpit. Passerines across Hengistbury and Wick included: a Whinchat, a Lesser Whitethroat and a few Whitethroat.   


August 30th

Despite a respite from the wind this morning, there was not much movement over the area. For example, just 11 Common Tern, compared with hundreds in the same period yesterday. The exception, however, were hirundines with hundreds, if not thousands, constantly heading west across the entire recording zone, until 8:30 at least. The majority were Swallow, but also a significant percentage of House Martin and Sand Martin. At sea, an Arctic Skua was seen a way offshore, but a few Gannet were closer in. Migrant passerines across the head included: a concentration of 25+ Willow Warbler on the Batters, 10 widespread Wheatear, and 3 Redstart, 3 Whinchat and 1 Lesser Whitethroat on the Barn/Long Field, also a singing, migrant Chiffchaff on Wick Fields; while overhead, at least 2 Tree Pipit and 10 Yellow Wagtail went through, but some small flocks of the latter could also be seen moving over Stanpit. The male Peregrine was today favouring the right-hand gargoyle on south face of The Priory tower, a Raven was over Hengistbury and a Kingfisher perched by the HHC. A little wildfowl interest came from 2 Tufted Duck and 2 Shoveler; but the wader dearth continues, with just the Spotted Redshank on Stanpit, and 4 Common Sandpiper and 2 Greenshank on the mud in Barn Bight and Holloway's Dock. So far, no reports have been received from Stanpit.

Additional news from Wick. Around mid-morning, there was a relatively large, albeit brief, presence of passerines on the fringe of the No Dogs Field. These included 80 Sedge Warbler, 70 Whitethroat, 45 Willow Warbler, 31 Blackcap, 9 Wheatear, 7 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Garden Warbler, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Redstart and 1 Whinchat. Over 25 Yellow Wagtail and 3 Swift passed overhead, as did 7 Tree Pipit, but a further 7 came up from the Old Pitch and Putt Course, which is now natural grass.


August 29th

Although the reviled westerly wind did weaken overnight, by this evening it has again gathered strength and looks set to continue for at least another day. Nevertheless, the two major sites in the area received good coverage this morning, with the northern section of Stanpit, in particular, seeing some good passage. In a two hour spell just after dawn on Priory Marsh, 110 Yellow Wagtail, 22 Tree Pipit, including a group of 10 birds, and 3 Grey Wagtail went overhead to the west; also seen from there, 2 Black Tern moving downriver, a Turtle Dove and Swift; while a Green Sandpiper and 6 Snipe were about the area. There were also around 60 Sedge Warbler around this section, and 4 Spotted Flycatcher were briefly in the North Scrubs, as were 2 Lesser Whitethroat; while Crouch Hill hosted a Whinchat and 5 Wheatear. Hengistbury performed less well, but did muster a Grasshopper Warbler between the Long and Barn Fields, and 10 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and 2 Grey Wagtail over. Meanwhile, the Common Tern exodus continues, with around 275 birds moving west through the harbour before 10:30 today. Waders are remarkably low in numbers given the date, but a Golden Plover north over Hengistbury and 17 Black-tailed Godwit across Stanpit were certainly new birds. Other totals include: 8 Knot straight through, likewise, 9 Ringed Plover; more settled were 3 Greenshank, the Spotted Redshank, the Whimbrel that favours Stanpit Golf Course and a lone Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight. The wildfowl presence is slowly building, an extra Wigeon now making it 4 birds, also today 16 Teal and 2 Shoveler. Perhaps of more interest, at least 17 Water Rail were seen or heard in the Priory Marsh/Parky Meade Rail area; and to complete the picture, a Kingfisher was seen from the HHC slip and a Peregrine went east over Hengistbury. Some news just received for Stanpit tonight - Limpy, the Yellow-legged Gull, was in Stanpit Bight, that's the first sighting for quite a while, but is not unseasonal; also 6 Whimbrel and an isolated Knot. Even later Wick news, from where 4 Red-legged Partridge materialised after a couple of months and a Whinchat on the fields.

Additional news: a Little Ringed Plover was seen over the HHC just after dawn.


August 28th

The Bank Holiday weather has been harsh on the working birder, and today was no different with a strong westerly wind decimating any hopes of a large presence of passerines. The sea was the best option and, from the end of the head, it was clear there were huge numbers of tern feeding out on the horizon. Most were "commic" types and from 117 closer birds identified as Common Tern, it seems reasonable that nearly all the distant specks also were. A Black Tern was, however, picked out, moving east into The Solent. Escaping firm identification though, was a Shearwater sp. moving west past The Needles. Earlier, a very tight group of 30 Little Tern, moving west at the start of the vigil, raised hopes of greater things to come; but they then returned west around 10 minutes later. A further, juvenile then spent some time fishing just offshore. Other seabirds recorded included: 3 Common Scoter and around 70 Gannet. A vocal group of 50 or so waders that passed over Hengistbury contained Curlew Sandpiper, Sanderling, Ringed Plover and Dunlin. There was also a steady Swallow passage into the wind, with around 250 recorded in a four-hour period. Around Barn Bight, there were 3 Common Sandpiper and 2 Greenshank were also seen from Hengistbury. A Hobby and a male Peregrine were over Hengistbury, where the two fledgling Sparrowhawk were hunting together, unsuccessfully, a Common Sandpiper. The only passerines encountered, were 20 Willow Warbler, 13 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Wheatear and 2 Tree Pipit. There was a further Wheatear on Stanpit and a comprehensive Little Egret count raised a total of 31 birds about the harbour. Late this afternoon, there was a very loud dispute between a Peregrine and a Kestrel over the Recreation Ground at Stanpit.

Omission: a Tufted Duck flew downriver, seen from the HHC.


August 27th

Again, it was pretty quiet in terms of migrant passerines. The morning totals from Wick and Hengistbury are: 55 Willow Warbler, 40 Whitethroat, 9 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat and 1 Lesser Whitethroat in the bushes, while flyovers comprised 8 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and 1 Grey Wagtail. At least 150 House Martin moved over the area, and a Common Buzzard came in over The Run, circled the area, and then headed from whence it came. Barn Bight held 3 Common Sandpiper and 3 Wigeon, but that's about it for Hengsitbury. This evening, there was a Spotted Flycatcher on Wick, also hundreds of hirundines gathering there and a Peregrine over. Earlier, a visit to Stanpit saw 4 Turnstone leaving the area, after being flushed off East Marsh by a rudely gesturing man in wellies; but deciding to stay were 3 Knot, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, these are new birds, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Greenshank. The smaller waders were far out on Blackberry Point, where the gathering of 50 or so birds seemed to be split evenly between Ringed Plover and Dunlin. In general, wader numbers have dropped significantly in the last couple of days, perhaps a result of the Bank Holiday activities in the harbour. There were also 2 Teal in Stanpit Bight and a Wheatear on Crouch Hill.

Additonal news: the Spotted Redshank popped up at Stanpit in the evening, along with 10+ Greenshank and 2 Black-tailed Godwit.


August 26th

Just as the day's report is finished, you get a phone call telling you a Purple Heron flew west over Stanpit Golf Course around 5:00 this evening. The bird was initially heard and the not-quite-right heron call caused some intense skywatching. After a short while, it was seen, quite high, and from the plumage noted thought to be a juvenile. There were also thousands of hirundines, including 10 Swift, feeding over Wick Fields. The earlier posting is below.

A buzzard-type raptor that was seen dropping in the Wood on Hengistbury last night was, at the time, suspected of being quite interesting. That was proved this morning, as a Honey Buzzard emerged at 10:45, just as the sun broke the cloud, and was watched from Stanpit for a couple of minutes, being mobbed by crows, before being lost to view. In fact, Stanpit had most of the interest today: a total of 5 Black Tern flew up the river and a Little Ringed Plover was on the mud in Parky Meade Rail. One of the features of the morning was a Common Tern passage, at least 450 birds moved west, either at sea or over the harbour. However, other than Yellow Wagtail, at 57 birds over the area, and 14 Tree Pipit, including a flock of 5 over the HHC, it was largely quiet on the passerine front. Hengistbury, in particular upheld its Saturday reputation, providing just a single Whinchat, 1 Wheatear, a Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Blackcap, also around 30 Willow Warbler in a close flock in the Wood. It was no better on Wick, where only 2 more Blackcap and a Spotted Flycatcher could be added to the day's list. Smithy's Field, on Stanpit, fared slightly better, with a Turtle Dove, a Redstart and 3 Lesser Whitethroat, also a Grey Wagtail over there, 10 Wheatear on Crouch Hill and 200+ Sand Martin west. The wader collection inside the harbour comprised: the Spotted Redshank, 7 Greenshank, 1 breeding-plumaged Grey Plover, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Knot, 3 Turnstone, 3 Whimbrel, 8 Common Sandpiper, 30 Dunlin, a few Ringed Plover and 142 Redshank, including many juveniles. From the end of the head, a Fulmar and Common Scoter were seen, also 30+ Ringed Plover and 2 Common Sandpiper. Other minor interest came from: a pair of Gadwall and an accompanying Wigeon touring the area, a Kingfisher by the Ironstone Quarry, a Snipe over the HHC, an adult Common Gull over the Barn Field and a Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Earlier omission: a Curlew Sandpiper, in the company of 2 Dunlin, left the area, over the HHC, this morning.


August 25th

A really good number of common migrants spread across the Barn and Long Fields this morning. The numbers were headed by 86 Willow Warbler and 43 Whitethroat, while the more interesting species were: 9 Spotted Flycatcher, 6 Whinchat, 1 Pied Flycatcher and 1 Redstart. Even more interesting though, was a Wood Warbler on the Batters. There are certainly now more Wheatear coming through, today saw 17 on Hengistbury and 2 on Wick. At least 6 Garden Warbler were in those two areas, also a single Blackcap; and 35 Yellow Wagtail, including a group of 10 heading towards the Golf Course, and 8 Tree Pipit moved over, as did 3 Swift. At sea, an Arctic Skua passed by, and 169 Common Tern and 2 Black-tailed Godwit moved west through the harbour. Also on the move were House Martin, with at least 200 travelling over the head. As yesterday, lots of raptors on the air: a group of 4 Hobby, thought to be a family, were above a kettle of 9 Buzzard just north of the area, and a Peregrine was high over the HHC. A couple of Raven moved conspicuously over the Hengistbury, and 3 Coal Tit and a Great-spotted Woodpecker were settled. This evening, there were 5 Greenshank off Fisherman's Bank and the Spotted Redshank was by South Marsh, also 2 Wigeon.


August 24th

The wind had turned to the north, but there was still a reasonable scattering of migrants across the whole area. A Grasshopper Warbler was in the Barn Field, as were a Whinchat, 2 Redstart and a Wheatear; a couple of Spotted Flycatcher were over the Double Dykes; and Wick held 4 Lesser Whitethroat, also 4 Yellow Wagtail on the Golf Course and 2 Tree Pipit over. Not to be outdone, Stanpit hosted Pied Flycatcher and Redstart in Smithy's Field, with 9 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail and 5 Tree Pipit, all airborne. There were lots of Sedge Warbler on Priory Marsh, perhaps 70 birds in all, also 15+ Willow Warbler around the fringes. On the other side of the water, Hengistbury/Wick numbers are 62 Willow Warbler and 45 Whitethroat. In the morning, Stanpit Bight was completely devoid of small waders, just 5 Knot, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Turnstone and 13 Greenshank. However, Priory Marsh was much better, holding a locally, incredible 11 Greenshank, the Wood Sandpiper were heard, and 5 Snipe and 16 Teal were seen. At least 2 Buzzard ventured well into harbour airspace today, one over Wick in the morning, the other over South Marsh in the afternoon, where there were also 2 hunting Hobby. In fact, Stanpit received a lot of attention after lunch, when it was clear many small waders had arrived. As the tide dropped, around 100 Ringed Plover could be seen in the haze of Blackberry Point, with around 10 Dunlin. Some of the Knot had left, just 3 remaining, and a similar number of Whimbrel. The best from Stanpit had come from slightly earlier, as 2 Black Tern were seen from Fisherman's Bank at midday. Just a single Wheatear on Crouch Hill completes the Stanpit story. Remaining snippets from Hengistbury include: 45 Gannet feeding off the cliffs, a Kingfisher and a Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Additional news: the 2 Wood Sandpiper were seen on Priory Marsh this evening, with 8 Greenshank still there, but less welcome were 2 Canada Goose. It's approaching that time of year when 1-200 will, for some reason, start to roost in the harbour for a few weeks. The Spotted Reshank was seen from South Marsh.


August 23rd

In a morning of intermittent showers and south-westerly breeze, Hengistbury received some good coverage. A single Black Tern passed west over the harbour, as did a total of 136 Common Tern and 1 Little Tern; while, at sea, a couple of Arctic Skua were seen. On the ground, a Grasshopper Warbler was in the Long Field, and 3 Redstart and 3 Wheatear were on the Barn Field; and a single Tree Pipit and 8 Yellow Wagtail went over. Both Spotted Redshank and Little Ringed Plover were heard, but 6 Common Sandpiper were seen together in Brewer's Creek. There was another good Ringed Plover count, today 128 birds, but nearly all were seen to leave, along with 9 Sanderling. A single Pintail, possibly the same bird as seen on Sunday but carelessly left out of that day's report, was in the harbour; and 2 Hobby, 2 Swift and a single Peregrine were all notebook entries.


August 22nd

Following yesterday's large raptor interest, a kettle of 5 birds, seen from both sides of the harbour this morning, was found to contain 1 Honey Buzzard and 4 Common Buzzard. Other notable birds today include: a Wood Warbler in the Wick field adjacent to the HHC; the 2 Wood Sandpiper on Priory Marsh all day; and the Spotted Redshank, finally photographed, presumably around Mother Siller's Channel, this afternoon; also a Curlew Sandpiper at Stanpit around the same time. The best of the passerine migrants were: a Spotted Flycatcher in the North Scrubs, Stanpit; at least 9 Yellow Wagtail around the marsh; and a female Redstart and 2 Whinchat on the Barn Field, Hengistbury. Over the head, 5 Grey Wagtail, 3 Yellow Wagtail and 12 Swift were seen on the move, while on the ground, the commoner species numbered: 92 Whitethroat, 62 Willow Warbler, 57 Sedge Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warbler and a Blackcap. A Peregrine was over Stanpit, where there was a Knot, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, the first for a few days, 1 Turnstone, 1 Whimbrel, at least 6 Greenshank and 2 Common Sandpiper; and a further 2 Common Sandpiper were across the harbour in the Barn Bight area. Other Stanpit news comprises: 20+ Willow Warbler and a Blackcap in the North Scrubs, 5 Wheatear on Crouch Hill, and 15 Sedge Warbler and a Grey Wagtail on Priory Marsh.

Additional news: an evening visit to Stanpit saw the 2 Wood Sandpiper in Stanpit Bight for 5 minutes, also the Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 49 Ringed Plover, 22 Dunlin, 3 Whimbrel and 2 Common Sandpiper.


August 21st

After a blank spring, today saw the year's first Mullet Hawk - a.k.a. Osprey. The bird was seen from Priory Marsh, as it made its way north-west over Mudeford, causing alarm amongst some of the factory nesting gulls. Also during the course of the morning, a large Peregrine was marauding over Stanpit, as was a Hobby. The 2 Wood Sandpiper remained on Priory Marsh, favouring the central pool by the dilapidated, small concrete bridge and allowing very close approach. Not much else on Priory though, other than 3 Snipe and a Common Sandpiper. There was a small passage of Common Tern over the HHC between 6:30 and 8:30, with a total of 61 birds counted. Elsewhere on the head, 2 Whinchat, 3 Wheatear and 12 Whitethroat were in the Barn Field, and a Kingfisher circuited it several times. Also, 2 Common Sandpiper in Brewer's Creek, and single Turnstone and Greenshank noted. Further interest on Stanpit came from a Nightjar in the strange location of the North Scrubs, also a Redstart there, and 12 Swift, 2 Raven and 2 Little Tern recorded. Waders were disappointing in the morning period, with just 30 Ringed Plover and single figure Dunlin. The afternoon saw an improvement, with the Spotted Redshank performing photogenically in Mother Siller's Channel and several Whimbrel in Stanpit Bight. Off Fisherman's Bank, there were 6 Greenshank in a feeding group, also 2 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper and a good total of 94 Redshank. Some other wildlife news: a Roe Deer, very rarely recorded in the area, was in the Long Field on Hengistbury. Almost inevitably, it was chased into Barn Bight by a dog, but swam to the reeds by the Nursery, where it seemed to escape into the vegetation. Of other interest, a Striped Hawk Moth was on Hengistbury.


August 20th

With the wind turning to the west, Hengistbury was neglected today; however, Priory Marsh was visited in the morning and produced a nice congregation of 2 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper and 4 Greenshank feeding together in the pool to west of the boardwalk. Throughout the day, the 2 Wood Sandpiper relocated to the central pool, where they were still showing this evening. Also, 3 Snipe, a few Teal and a Yellow Wagtail on Priory Marsh; while a Swift went over in the morning and a Raven in the evening. To complete the trio of locally good waders, the now regular Spotted Redshank was in Mother Siller's Channel this afternoon. In general though, wader variety was down with just 50 Ringed Plover, 30 Dunlin, 3 Turnstone and 2 Whimbrel in Stanpit Bight on the late afternoon rising tide. On Crouch Hill, there was a Whinchat and 4 Wheatear, and a Hobby was attracted over the marsh by the feeding House Martin.


August 19th

There wasn't anything too exciting, so it must be Saturday! That's the current grouse amongst the weekend only regulars. The best was a couple of Green Sandpiper over Priory Pools this morning, with a bird also being heard from Hengistbury. An Arctic Tern was again off Long Groyne, but apart from a single Fulmar, the sea produced not much else; other than 14 Common Scoter, 5 Swift west, a few Gannet and constant presence of feeding Sandwich Tern. There was a steady coming and going of waders beneath the Gully. These included: 23 Sanderling, 25 Ringed Plover, 5 Turnstone and 1 Common Sandpiper; also a Yellow Wagtail heard from there and an adult Common Gull. I read a recent comment that Wheatear are alarmingly scarce this autumn, a suggestion that is backed up by the week's poor showing; and today just 3 were recorded, 2 on Warren Hill and 1 on the Barn Field. That field also hosted a Redstart, just by the Barn itself, while a Pied Flycatcher was in the Long Field and the end of the head held a few Willow Warbler. Stanpit this afternoon was also less than might have been expected. Of the 80 or so small waders, over 60 were Ringed Plover, with Dunlin and 2 Sanderling making up the rest. However, a hunting Hobby scared most of these off for good. Also, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Turnstone and 1 Greenshank. Of breeding interest, the pair of Swallow now seem to be raising a second brood in the Barn, which is possibly their third laying of the season, the first thought to have failed in the early spring. Anyhow, tomorrow is Sunday, but then it's Monday - cue the action…


August 18th

Some heavy rain that arrived just before 9:00, unfortunately curtailed a good morning in the field. Prior to this, an overnight southerly breeze brought in the period's third Melodious Warbler, initially in the Barred Warbler Bush, but then slightly later in tamarisk behind the Barn. Just after dawn, a female-type Marsh Harrier appeared to come out of the HHC reeds, before heading north. Around the same time, the Nursery revealed a healthy population of roosting birds: among them were 71 Little Egret, including a group of 7 that immediately went off high east, 135 Carrion Crow and, most surprisingly, a Raven. A small group of Common Tern around the Long Groyne also contained an Arctic Tern, while 12 Sanderling were on the beach there and 7 more went east. Notable passerine migrants were a single Turtle Dove over the Barn Field, also a Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Redstart and a Pied Flycatcher; and flyovers comprised 7 Yellow Wagtail and a single Tree Pipit. The more numerous common species were Sedge Warbler, with 130 estimated, also 48 Whitethroat and 26 Willow Warbler about the area. A couple more Little Ringed Plover went over, also 48 Ringed Plover, 5 Snipe, 7 Shoveler and 1 Pochard doing the same thing. In the floods adjacent to Barn Bight, the Spotted Redshank was again settled, along with 8 Common Sandpiper and a Greenshank. This afternoon saw a Swift passage, with 33 birds heading south in a 90 minute spell from 1:30 onwards. Presumably the same Turtle Dove was resting up in the Barn Field and a female-type Redstart was still present, but almost nothing else remained. However, a recently received report involves 5 Wheatear late afternoon that certainly weren't present earlier, and a couple more Swift.

Additional news: a further 26 Swift around noon made the day total 62 birds. A Kingfisher was around Barn Bight and a Wheatear just east of the Point House Cafe at dusk.


August 17th

Some overnight rain brought about a reasonable fall of birds onto Hengistbury; however, the best went by just off the sandspit. As the year's first Sooty Shearwater, accompanied by a Balearic Shearwater, passed by very close in, a ringtail harrier was spotted being mobbed by gulls. The bird could only be seen heading away, but it was almost certainly identified as a Hen Harrier, albeit a rather unseasonal individual. A further Balearic Shearwater also went by to the west, along with a Great Skua. Across the head, there were 170+ Willow Warbler and 100+ Whitethroat, but the best was a single Wood Warbler on the Batters. Also noted were: 86 Blackcap, 7 Redstart, 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat and a Wheatear; while overhead, 2 Tree Pipit and a single Swift were seen. A Garganey, in the company of 6 Teal, was seen heading west over the HHC, as were 4 Pochard and a Green Sandpiper. A total of 9 Sanderling headed the same way along the seashore, and the Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank and 3 Common Sandpiper were in the Barn Bight area. This evening, a group of 3 Grey Wagtail were over Wick Fields, as were 3 Swift.


August 16th

The forecast of a south-easterly wind promised more than was actually delivered, with below average number of migrant passerines about the Barn and Long Fields. This was also reflected in a ringing total of just 2 birds. In terms of numbers, Whitethroat came out on top with 35 recorded, also 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Redstart, 1 Garden Warbler, just a single Wheatear and 15 Willow Warbler. At sea, a Great Skua went west and a lone Common Scoter headed the opposite way. The Spotted Redshank was today seen well in Barn Bight, as were 3 Greenshank. Early on, a Hobby was over the HHC, a Kingfisher was in Barn Bight and a Great-crested Grebe was in the harbour. Stanpit was equally quiet, where what was presumably the same Wigeon as earlier in the week was in Parky Meade Rail. A couple of Little Ringed Plover and 5 Yellow Wagtail went over Priory Marsh, while 17 Teal were on it. There were also 4 Whimbrel and 3 Greenshank off Fisherman's Bank.

Additional news: in the evening, an adult and juvenile Mediterranean Gull were over Wick, along with 3 Swift.


August 15th

A much quieter day than yesterday with the only reports coming from Hengistbury and Wick. On the fields, a Lesser Whitethroat was the only notable migrant and a Mediterranean Gull could be heard. Meanwhile, on Hengistbury, a total of 13 Swift were recorded heading west, 2 Wheatear were on the Barn Field and around 15 Willow Warbler were estimated. A Great-spotted Woodpecker was in the Nursery, a Kingfisher was in Barn Bight and a couple of Black-tailed Godwit were on the HHC mud. A total of 36 birds were ringed, including a Reed Warbler re-trap from 2004, also a Garden Warbler, a further 3 Reed Warbler, 15 Sedge Warbler and 3 Whitethroat. Thanks to our temporary hosts for putting up today's report.


August 14th

An extremely good variety of birds were recorded on a morning that started with no wind, but as time wore on a north-west breeze developed. Highlight was a male Goshawk over Stanpit around 10:30 this morning, seen from South Marsh as it made its way north. A fine wader selection over the HHC was topped by a single Wood Sandpiper west, also 1 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Green Sandpiper and 15 Greenshank moving in the same direction; while at least 8 more Greenshank and 1 Green Sandpiper were more settled. Equally sedentary, was the juvenile Spotted Redshank, again around Mother Siller's Channel. Another Knot was recorded today, but this time a moulting adult, and to complete the wader picture there were also 55 Dunlin, 30 Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpiper and 1 Grey Plover. Moving onto terns and the best was a moulting adult Black Tern flying downriver, however, 3 Little Tern recorded over The Run were the first for a while. The recent good numbers of Common Tern held up with 116 west and a further 40 feeding in The Run. The first returning Wigeon was on Stanpit and 38 Teal, 12 Shoveler, 3 Pochard and a Gadwall moved west. A bird not seen for a couple of months is Raven, but a single was over Hengistbury, as was a Peregine and 2 Swift; and another 4 Swift and a Hobby were over Wick in the evening. Morning passerines on the western section of Hengistbury were: 46 Sedge Warbler, 34 Whitethroat, 20 Willow Warbler, 11 Blackcap, 2 Redstart and 2 Yellow Wagtail.


August 13th

A pretty similar mix to yesterday, both in terms of weather and birds. A Spotted Redshank, a juvenile bird, was around the mouth of Mother Siller's Channel for some time this morning and 6 Greenshank were also counted from there. Stanpit Bight again hosted reasonable numbers of resting terns, today saw a peak of 57 Common Tern and 45 Sandwich Tern. A Peregrine was seen coming in off from the Isle of Wight and a male bird was later roosting in the normal spot on The Priory tower. The rapid turnover of waders using the harbour was underlined by the day's Ringed Plover counts. On the morning flood tide, just 6 could be seen, but, on the second afternoon high, there were at least 25 birds. Dunlin, however, remained constant at around 35-40 on both counts. Both of these species' flocks now include a good mix of adult and juveniles. Further interest in the afternoon came from a juvenile Knot, 2 Common Sandpiper and an adult Turnstone, while an adult Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Black-tailed Godwit were seen in the morning. A group of 8 duck in Barn Bight comprised 6 Teal and 2 Shoveler, with a further, single bird of the latter, at Stanpit, making it 3 for the day.

Additional news: a family of four Grey Wagtail that had bred just outside the area, under the bridge on Bridge Street, were on Priory Marsh in the evening, also 3 Snipe off there around the same time.


August 12th

A moderately strong north wind served to remind of the impending autumn. Probably the most impressive sight today, was over 90 Common Tern, a mixture of adults and juveniles, resting around Blackberry Point mid-morning. Such numbers within the harbour are largely unprecedented. At sea, around the same time, there were another 100 or so feeding with a similar number of Gannet, a congregation that attracted the attentions of a Great Skua. This is turning into an exceptional summer for Spotted Redshank, with at least 2 recorded today. One was on Stanpit early on and one was heard from the HHC; however, later, two birds were seen flying together into the Wick Hams SSSI. Also a Green Sandpiper and Grey Plover heard over the HHC, and a Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight. An adult Little Gull was feeding over the river, while a Common Gull in juvenile plumage was particularly interesting, as that attire is not often seen in the harbour. Continuing the larid interest, an adult Yellow-legged Gull was at Stanpit. The wader counts from there are headed by 80 or so Dunlin, 15 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Greenshank and 3 Black-tailed Godwit. The more interesting passerines included: a Coal Tit and Redstart by the HHC, 3 Great-spotted Woodpecker off the head, 4 Tree Pipit towards Wick, a Yellow Wagtail in the Barn Field, 2 Lesser Whitethroat and a total of 3 Wheatear across the area. Also Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat noted in small numbers. A Hobby went west over the West Field and 2 Swift were seen before lunch. Parky Meade Rail on the low tide continues to serve up confiding Water Rail, with 5 being counted there this morning. Unfortunately, Stanpit suffered a high degree of disturbance throughout the day. This was led by what seems to be an ever-increasing number of canoes going across Stanpit Bight, some skirting East Marsh and disturbing the roosting birds as they do so. There were also instances of people on East Marsh and Speller's Point, as well as windsurfers in Stanpit Bight. Please do continue to report all occurrences to CHOG for submission to Christchurch Borough Council, who have the responsibility to warden what is both a byelaw protected Local Nature Reserve and SSSI.


August 11th

Spotted Redshank rarely linger in the harbour, but what is thought to be the same bird as that seen from Hengistbury a couple of days ago was recorded, associating with Redshank, off Blackberry Point this morning. Other wader quality came from a Avocet in Stanpit Bight; while the commoner counts from there were: 136 Dunlin, 41 Ringed Plover, 7 Whimbrel, including one on the now wet Priory Marsh, and 5 Greenshank; along with 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Sanderling on the HHC sandbar. There were also 4 Common Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank and a handful of Dunlin on the south side of the harbour. The best from Hengistbury was a Nightjar flushed from the small area of burnt gorse at the northern end of the Double Dykes. On Wick, there were 25 Willow Warbler, 3 migrant Reed Warbler and 1 Lesser Whitethroat; and in the Barn Field, there were 12 Whitethroat and 2 Wheatear, although 7 more of the latter were on Stanpit. After a poor breeding year in terms of birds surviving the winter, Dartford Warbler and Stonechat are now far more conspicuous, hopefully suggesting a good season that will bolster the populations. A couple of Swift were over Stanpit and a Peregrine was sat on a Priory gargoyle. Please check back for a Stanpit update for yesterday.


August 10th

A brisk northerly wind actually made it feel quite cold this morning and, as would be expected with such a direction, birds were far fewer than of late. The recent run of woodland specialities continued with another Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, today in the oaks in Smithy's Field. There was also a Treecreeper hanging around there. The silver birches in the North Scrubs held 5 Garden Warbler, a few Willow Warbler and a couple of Blackcap; and there were a dozen or so Willow Warbler and at least 2 migrant Reed Warbler by the HHC. Waders were also down in numbers, the exception being Oystercatcher with a locally impressive 123 counted at Stanpit. Other totals numbered: 57 Dunlin, 19 Ringed Plover, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Greenshank, including a bird with an injured leg, and a solitary Sanderling. Only other interest so far comes from 3 Wheatear on Crouch Hill.

Additional news: an evening visit to Stanpit saw a Ruff and 4 Common Sandpiper on site, while 2 Yellow Wagtail were also noted. On the low tide at Parky Meade, a total of 6 Water Rail, 2 adults and 4 juveniles, were present.


August 9th

Highlights of the day were a Black Tern that came west through the harbour in the company of 30 or so Common Tern, a Spotted Redshank feeding in Brewer's Creek for a while this morning, and a group of 3 adult Curlew Sandpiper off Stanpit and headed west. On the passerine front, there was a single Grasshopper Warbler and 2 Redstart on the Barn Field; while the combined Hengistbury/Wick totals are 50 Willow Warbler, 40 Sedge Warbler, 40 Whitethroat and 8 Garden Warbler. A Yellow Wagtail and 4 Swift moved overhead, as did a skein of 36 Canada Goose to the north. Moving waders included: 2 Green Sandpiper and 2 Sanderling west; and 16 Ringed Plover and 7 Black-tailed Godwit arrived to feed up on Stanpit. There were 71 Dunlin settled in Barn Bight, along with 8 Common Sandpiper, 4 Greenshank and 2 Teal. In recent days, most of the Sand Martin have been replaced with House Martin - just over 100 birds feeding over Hengistbury today. On Wick this evening, 4 Greenshank were seen to leave west and 2 Swift were feeding overhead.


August 8th

Another, or the same, Melodious Warbler was seen today. This time, the bird was in the clump of vegetation surrounding the small pond adjacent to the "No Dogs" field on Wick. There were also 3 Lesser Whitethroat and a Blackcap in that area. A Pied Flycatcher briefly alighted on a bush on the Barn Field, also in that spot 2 Whinchat and 6 Wheatear, but a passing Sparrowhawk abruptly quietened things down. Estimates of the commoner stuff about the west of Hengistbury and Wick include: 50 Whitethroat, 45 Willow Warbler and 20 Sedge Warbler. A Swift moved east over the HHC, while a Grey Wagtail made a circular tour before heading over Wick, as did a Yellow Wagtail. A couple of Teal arrived this morning, at least 3 Great-spotted Woodpecker were around the area and 4 Jay represented a species that always makes it difficult to pick out potential migrants from the residents. There was a definite Ringed Plover influx on Stanpit, where 21 were present off Blackberry Point, along with 20 or so Dunlin. A group of 10 Black-tailed Godwit arrived from the south-west just after first light and a total of 5 Greenshank were recorded during the day.

Additional news: there were single Mediterranean Gull and Knot at Stanpit.


August 7th

A clear dawn, but a large bank of cloud just to the west of the area seemed to encourage a nice fall of birds. Headline species was a Melodious Warbler, seen a couple of times in vegetation on the edge of the Barn Field. Earlier, in a five minute spell, a total of 4 Great-spotted Woodpecker left the head accompanied by the much rarer Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, the first of the year. There were also 2 uncharacteristic Great-spotted Woodpecker in the North Scrubs on Stanpit. Commoner passerines were present in numbers, headed by: 185 Willow Warbler, 117 Whitethroat and 85 Sedge Warbler; while providing slightly more interest were 5 Grasshopper Warbler, including 4 vocal birds in one bush, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Garden Warbler, 3 Wheatear, 1 Redstart and 1 Yellow Wagtail. Most of these birds were generally making their way from Hengistbury towards Wick Fields. In keeping with the weekend, there was a good wader passage with single Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank all seen moving west, also 4 Greenshank, 1 Knot and a Grey Plover. Meanwhile, duck numbers increased with 21 Shoveler, 25 Teal and 4 Pintail all heading west, also 15 Swift, 47 Common Tern, 1 Arctic Tern, 2 Common Gull and 2 Mediterranean Gull in the same direction. At least 5 Greenshank were settled about the recording area, as were 30 Dunlin and 8 Whimbrel. A Peregrine sat on The Priory before making a couple of passes over Stanpit and leaving with a kill. Purely of local interest, a Greylag Goose was sat on the HHC slip.

Additional new: a lone Red-legged Partridge was on Wick Fields.


August 6th

The "autumn's" first Curlew Sandpiper was recorded at Stanpit this morning, a moulting adult bird that made itself scarce amongst 50 or so Dunlin, which were also all adult. Other waders on the rising tide around Stanpit Bight were: 10 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Greenshank, 1 Turnstone and 1 Common Sandpiper; while 5 more of the latter were in Brewer's Creek on Hengistbury. An adult Little Gull was seen over Crouch Hill heading towards Parky Meade Rail, as was a juvenile Mediterranean Gull. Over Wick, an insect hatch encouraged thousands of Black-headed Gull to the wing, but welcomingly also attracted just over 40 Swift. A group of 6 Teal returned to Stanpit this morning, but seemed uncertain as to where to settle, unlike the 2 young Great-crested Grebe that are still making themselves comfortable. The sea barely warrants a mention, producing just 5 Common Scoter west and 8 Common Tern east. This is the time of year for Parky Meade Rail to produce crakes, but so far no luck: on the afternoon low tide, just 2 juvenile Water Rail were the only reward. This evening, Fisherman's Bank added a further 15 Dunlin to the day total, 65 in all, also an extra Greenshank and 6 resting Common Tern.


August 5th

A very light northerly breeze produced a reasonable mixture, but nothing really out of the ordinary. Most of the observations come from a three-hour loaf by the HHC - from 5:45 to just before 9:00. The surrounding vegetation held plenty of migrant warblers, these were mainly Sedge Warbler, estimated at around 70, but also 40 Whitethroat and 35 Willow Warbler. A couple of Wheatear were on the Barn Field and a single Yellow Wagtail passed overhead. Duck provided interest, not least a pair of Pochard that came from the north, circled the harbour and then returned, also 2 drake Tufted Duck, 5 uniformly plumaged Shoveler and 1 Gadwall. At least 5 Greenshank and 1 Common Sandpiper were feeding in channels on Wick Hams, before being moved on by the tide, while a party of 8 Snipe went west, as did 6 Whimbrel and 2 Ringed Plover. Also moving in that direction was a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and 3 adult Common Gull. A Hobby plunged into the feeding Sand Martin around the Coastguards and another passed straight through. Swift are now very sparse, so 8 birds throughout the day were a nice reminder of these all too brief summer visitors. A Kingfisher was by the HHC, as was one of the Great-crested Grebe; a Peregrine was on The Priory and 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker visited Hengistbury. A brief look at the sea produced a flock of 50 Common Scoter west.

Additional news: a female-type Redstart was on Wick in the morning and a Garden Warbler was there in the evening, plus lots of the commoner acros and phylloscs.


August 4th

A Nuthatch, always a good bird in the harbour, was in the trees adjoining Priory Marsh this morning; other passerines around Stanpit were 16 Willow Warbler, 11 Wheatear, 1 Redstart and 2 Swift were overhead. A further 6 Wheatear were on Hengistbury, a Garden Warbler was in Wick Ditch and the first returning Whinchat was on the West Field not far from the Point House Cafe. Waders on Stanpit included a Little Ringed Plover with the Dunlin flock and 3 Green Sandpiper while a Spotted Redshank moved west without stopping. The Dunlin flock numbered 52, other counts included a noteworthy 49 Curlew, 6 Whimbrel, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 2 Greenshank. Another Green Sandpiper was on Hengistbury on the SSSI along with 2 Greenshank and 2 Common Sandpiper while 2 Whimbrel and a Greenshank were in Holloway's Dock. There was little activity at sea with just 10 Common Tern and 7 Sanderling east and 2 Common Scoter west. By this afternoon the wader numbers on Stanpit had changed to 85 Dunlin, 5 Whimbrel, 3 Greenshank, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Sanderling. This evening, an adult Little Gull was feeding on insects over Wick and a Hobby was seen there.


August 3rd

The wind had moved round to the north this morning bringing with it overcast skies so with very little evidence of passerine migration the sea was the best option. The highlights of an hour and a half sea watch from the beach huts were 2 Great Skua heading east; also moving east were 80 Gannet, 52 Common Tern, 35 Sandwich Tern, 11 Sanderling, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and a juvenile Kittiwake. There were still 2 Greenshank in Holloway's Dock while Barn Bight held just 9 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling and 1 Common Sandpiper. The Peregrine was again on the Priory tower and a juvenile Great Crested Grebe was off Goldeneye Point. Either that or the second bird was on the river off Blackberry later on. A late afternoon visit to Fisherman's Bank at high tide produced 44 Dunlin, 32 Curlew, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Sanderling and a Common Sandpiper; all these birds were either on East Marsh or the tip of South Marsh; also there were 111 Oystercatcher.


August 2nd

A fine sunny morning with a stiff westerly breeze started well with a Turtle Dove over the HHC towards Wick; also overhead were 3 Yellow Wagtail. On the ground were 47 Whitethroat, 38 Willow Warbler, 27 Chiffchaff and the first returning Wheatear, a very odd looking leucistic bird on the Barn Field. A count of 4 Dartford Warbler was encouraging after the dearth of records this year. Hopefully, the population will recover fairly quickly to its 2005 level. There was a steady westerly movement this morning with 75 Sandwich Tern, 45 Gannet, 10 Common Tern and 2 Sanderling past Double Dykes; also on the sea off there was a raft of about 2 dozen Common Scoter. Another 63 Sandwich Tern were counted in the harbour. Barn Bight held 21 Dunlin, 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Sanderling and the 2 juvenile Great Crested Grebe while 5 Gadwall settled on the river. In Holloway's Dock there were 2 Whimbrel and 2 Greenshank. An adult and 2 juvenile Mediterranean Gull were seen and the Peregrine was again on The Priory tower.


August 1st

The only report received so far today was from Hengistbury where this morning the Peregrine could be seen roosting on the gargoyle on the south side of the Priory tower. In Barn Bight the Sanderling was still present with 9 Dunlin and 1 Common Sandpiper while there were just 3 Black-tailed Godwit on the HHC mudbar. An evening visit to Stanpit found a juvenile Cuckoo on the path by the caravan while Stanpit Bight held 10 Dunlin, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel and 2 Greenshank.

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