Sightings for October 2007


October 31st

Despite there being some patches of cloud, the pigeons put on a reasonable performance this morning. A total of 22500, all moving westwards towards the coastal sweep of Poole Bay, were counted between dawn and 10:00. The birds were moving in relatively tight flocks, averaging a few hundred individuals each, as opposed to the lines of many thousands of birds, spread over perhaps a kilometre, that can be seen on a really good day. Nevertheless, standing on the top of Hengistbury and listening to the light whoosh of wings is still a favourite pastime for the fanciers among the group. The Stock Dove content was low - less than 1% - just 136 mixed up with the Woodpigeon. This was one of the site's best ever days for Jackdaw, as 454 passed west, along with an impressive 38 Rook. Equally notable was a flock of 150 Skylark that moved the same way, 205 being the actual day-total, also 98 Starling. Smaller passerines were headed by 3 Tree Sparrow, as well as: 510 Chaffinch, 170 Linnet, 156 Goldfinch, 145 Meadow Pipit, 47 Brambling, 24 Siskin and 16 Redpoll. Meanwhile, 32 Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush, a Fieldfare and 16 Golden Plover headed inland. A Red-throated Diver, spotted just off the HHC slip mid-morning, was seemingly moved on by canoes as the staff photographer rushed to the scene. Still, a nice Grey Heron shot was some consolation. A further 2 Red-throated Diver moved eastwards at sea, as did 5 Common Scoter. Overnight, the HHC reeds hosted an alba Wagtail roost of at least 50 birds, all leaving prior to 7:00; later both male and female Peregrine sought breakfast amongst the 600 or so panicky Lapwing over Stanpit, while 13 Grey Plover seemed less alarmed, opting to sit it out on the mud.

Additional news: a party of 5 Tufted Duck flew upriver early in the day.


October 30th

Some slight cloud overnight meant it wasn't quite the hoped for pigeon bonanza, but there was definitely something going on, albeit scrappy. While the movement was generally south-west on a coast-hugging line, at least 1000 of the 4500 birds headed east. It was far from a classic and the best is certainly yet to come. Single highlights for Hengistbury come courtesy of a Lapland Bunting heard over the Barn, a Firecrest and a continental Coal Tit at the back of the Nursery. After yesterday's record breaking total for Woodlark, it was just a single bird for the notebook this morning. However, Fieldfare numbers hit the magical three figures, with 93 over the head, including a flock of 25, and 16 over Stanpit golf course. In fact, it was overall a great dawn for thrushes, as 78 Redwing and 43 Song Thrush were also recorded. Other notables were 4 Bullfinch, one of these in the North Scrubs, 65 Brambling east and a Merlin over Stanpit. Moving with the pigeon, to the west, were 132 Stock Dove, 138 Skylark and 62 Jackdaw; conversely, 1400 Chaffinch, 420 Goldfinch, 210 Linnet, 135 Meadow Pipit, 79 Redpoll and 21 Siskin travelled east. All visible migration figures are up to 9:00. The Slavonian Grebe was again seen, along with a good total of 8 Little Grebe; 4 Tufted Duck, 6 Pintail and a Gadwall were about; and a Golden Plover passed over. Best on Stanpit was a late Sandwich Tern, also at least one Spotted Redshank, 4 Grey Plover, 12 Dunlin, 10+ Black-tailed Godwit and a single Ringed Plover. To wrap up, 3 Raven traversed the area, a Peregrine chased Lapwing over Stanpit and a Kingfisher was by the HHC.


October 29th

A light north-westerly breeze with patchy cloud brought on some pieces of interest this morning. Personally, it was Woodlark that endorsed the outing, with the species eventually getting on to my harbour life-list! A total of 9 were ultimately recorded, 3 east, then 2 west, with a further 4 in an unspecified direction. Raptors also showed well, a ringtail Hen Harrier arrived over the sandspit and headed north, as did 3 separate Buzzard; also 2 Merlin and 2 Peregrine over the area. The Wood again held Firecrest, 2 seen today, while overhead a Bullfinch and 2 Golden Plover passed through, and 3 Ruff were with the flighty Lapwing over Stanpit. Just after dawn, 31 Redwing and a Fieldfare headed inland; then during the course of the morning, 9 Song Thrush and a similar number of Blackbird did likewise. Among the smaller passerines, Reed Bunting stood out, with at least 60 noted, also 465 Chaffinch, 420 Goldfinch, 180 Linnet, 118 Skylark, 110 alba Wagtail, 53 Siskin, 32 Redpoll, a few of these settled in the Wood, 11 Brambling and 6 Swallow. Also passing by were 2 Rook and 4 Jackdaw, with Raven being heard. A total of 4 Little Grebe were noted, along with a single Kingfisher and 3 Black-tailed Godwit, all of these in the Barn Bight area. This evening's skies are clear, a frost is threatened and the odds are rapidly shortening on the first pigeon spectacle of the autumn taking place tomorrow.


October 28th

The rain held off until just after 9:00, allowing the WeBS count to take place in the relative dry. Friday's wader selection on Stanpit had raised hopes of a really good morning, however, it turned out to be relatively disappointing. The thinking is that yesterday's 1.8m spring tide, which engulfed large parts of Stanpit, had pushed many birds away. The best were 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 8 Grey Plover, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit and 10 Black-tailed Godwit, while 15 Turnstone were again by the Beach Huts on Hengistbury. The south-westerly blow, which was the first real wind of the autumn, encouraged a seawatch, but this produced just 3 Kittiwake, 2 Common Scoter and a few Gannet. Meanwhile, a Firecrest was in the Wood and the Slavonian Grebe put in an appearance in Barn Bight, along with a single Little Grebe. Remaining numbers from the count include: a low 277 Wigeon, 115 Brent Goose with just 8 juveniles mixed in, a good 140 Redshank, 44 Dunlin, 559 Lapwing, 61 Teal, 117 Coot, 9 Snipe, 86 Mute Swan and 60 Oystercatcher.

Additional news: a further seawatch produced a Great Skua, along with singles of Common Tern and Arctic Tern, while 2 Jack Snipe were washed out of Wick Hams.


October 27th

The south-westerly wind was far stronger than the forecast "breeze" and effectively curtailed any real movement. Nevertheless, there were elements of interest. At dawn, a Little Owl was seen along The Broadway, from just inside the recording area, and later a total of 4 Firecrest were behind the Nursery, with a couple of Chiffchaff. As the spring tide flooded Wick Hams, a small wisp of Snipe alighted, bringing with it a single Jack Snipe. Offshore, an adult Mediterranean Gull spent most of the morning around the end of the head, while a Common Scoter and 2 auk sp. moved by, and around 15 each of Turnstone and Sanderling were on the beach. At least 1 Fieldfare toured the Batters and a pair of Raven were constantly hassled by Crow over the Coastguards. Of the small migration, Linnet were the most numerous, around 300, also 220 Goldfinch, 120 Chaffinch, 110 Meadow Pipit, 21 Siskin, 18 Reed Bunting, 16 Redpoll, 6 Swallow and 2 House Martin, all going with the wind rather than against it. To finish off at Hengistbury, as the final two stragglers loitered by their cars, a female Merlin showed well over the HHC reeds. The only news from Stanpit is of 6 Spotted Redshank - this before the marsh was largely submerged.


October 26th

Although the day broke to drizzle and low cloud, it soon lifted and gave rise to a significant easterly movement. Finches were led by Chaffinch, with 1270 estimated, also 975 Goldfinch, 400 Linnet, 211 Siskin, 60 Redpoll and 8 Brambling. A flock of 45 House Martin is notable on this date, and a further 10 birds made it 55 in all, also 8 Swallow. The best of the other passerines was a Lapland Bunting heard and seen twice with Meadow Pipit on the top of the head, while 230 of the latter moved by, as did 175 alba Wagtail and 63 Reed Bunting, Also 28 Redwing and 18 Song Thrush counted arriving. A Firecrest was in Wick Ditch this evening and 5 were on Hengistbury during the day. Three of these by the Nursery, one at the end of the head and the other in between. Also in the Wood, 20+ Goldcrest, 5 Chiffchaff, a Coal Tit and a Great-spotted Woodpecker. Given the presence of 'crests, it's certainly worth bush-bashing for another eastern phyllosc in the morning. Judging by the wader variety across a couple of Stanpit visits, it seems the marsh has been unfairly neglected for most of the week. A Little Stint, 2 Curlew Sandpiper and 5 Spotted Redshank were present all day, with the afternoon trip producing singles of Ruff and Knot, 2 Greenshank, 62 Dunlin and 30 Ringed Plover. Before lunch, 35 Black-tailed Godwit and 20 Bar-tailed Godwit were around, but this later reduced to 11 and 3 respectively. After disappearing for 3 days, the Slavonian Grebe was again seen on the river and 5 Pochard flew north.


October 25th

Just as it was beginning to look like a complete non-event, a Pallas' Warbler put on a brief, but welcome, show in the bushes opposite Holloway's Dock. The bird was seen in the company of a Firecrest, however, both promptly disappeared for good into the mass of vegetation. Also a Fieldfare over the spot and a couple of Redpoll hanging around. Prior to all of this, the overhead migration was best described as dire; just very, very low numbers of the recent, usual suspects. This despite some good observer coverage. At sea, 30+Gannet were fishing on Mackerel, which are currently being attracted by Sprat shoals, also a Razorbill on the water.


October 24th

The visible migration was back on track this morning, when the best Chaffinch passage of the autumn, so far, took place - a total of 733 over Hengistbury, along with 19 Brambling. As has been usual, Goldfinch dominated numerically, 1130 the final count, but also 370 Linnet, 146 Meadow Pipit, 136 alba Wagtail, 103 Siskin, 79 Skylark, 53 Redpoll, 39 Reed Bunting, 4 Grey Wagtail, 3 Rook, 3 Jackdaw and 3 Swallow. All these into the north-easterly breeze above the end of the head. Meanwhile, over the HHC, a Fieldfare, 9 Redwing and 17 Song Thrush headed inland, and 285 Woodpigeon were seen moving west. There were 3, possibly 4, Firecrest about; a single bird by the Ironstone Quarry, the others around the Double Bends. Also recorded this morning, an adult Mediterranean Gull, Raven and Great-spotted Woodpecker. Late this afternoon, Wick Field's first 2 Dartford Warbler of the year were noted, suggesting local disperal or immigration from slightly further afield.


October 23rd

A rather strong easterly wind meant a light passage this morning, while on the ground, the only highlight was a Firecrest in the Wood. Overhead numbers in this short post were made up of: 292 Goldfinch, 88 Linnet, 43 Meadow Pipit, 25 Chaffinch, 23 Siskin, 21 alba Wagtail, 9 Greenfinch, 8 Starling, 5 Redpoll, 5 Reed Bunting, 5 Skylark, 3 Rook and Jackdaw, all east. The watch period was from dawn until 9:00. Additionally, in the first hour of daylight, 15 Song Thrush moved off the head towards Wick Fields.


October 22nd

In a south-easterly breeze with some cloud, things started off lively enough. However, by 9:30, the movement had largely ceased and a seawatch was the better option. A large flock of gulls feeding distantly off the Beach Huts contained a Great Skua, while a lone Sandwich Tern passed closer to the sandspit. Best of the overhead movers was a Woodlark, but a Great-northern Diver taking a short cut over the HHC came close. The Slavonian Grebe was again on the river, a Firecrest was at the northern end of Double Dykes and 2 Raven went through. Despite the short-lived visible movement, Goldfinch, Linnet and Siskin were all up on previous days, 2300, 520 and 158 being the respective numbers, all heading to the east. A party of 4 House Martin scuppered the suggestion that yesterday's were the year's ultimate, also a trio of Swallow recorded. Incoming birds included a Golden Plover, a Fieldfare and 17 Song Thrush, with the remaining easterly travellers comprising: 220 alba Wagtail, 158 Siskin, 130 Meadow Pipit, 70 Chaffinch, 50 Greenfinch and 37 Redpoll. The only news from Stanpit concerns 6 or so Sanderling and a Greenshank, these from Fisherman's Bank.

Additional news: the information services report a Curlew Sandpiper and 4 Spotted Redshank on Stanpit.


October 21st

Clear skies and a light breeze saw another reasonable morning of visible migration. Star bird was a male Lapland Bunting that was heard on three occasions about Hengistbury, before being seen reasonably well in flight over Warren Hill. Other highlights were made up of 2 Tree Sparrow, a Yellowhammer and 3 Bullfinch over the end of the head, a Firecrest in Wick Ditch, the Slavonian Grebe giving crippling views in Barn Bight to lunchtime, at least, and a Merlin over the HHC just after dawn. A couple of Avocet were seen to leave the harbour and a Ruff was with the Lapwing flock that hung over Stanpit, from where the information services reported 6 Spotted Redshank and a Jack Snipe. Blackbird were relatively abundant as migrants this morning, a total of 45 moving off the head, along with 18 Song Thrush, 3 Redwing, 2 Fieldfare and a Mistle Thrush. Also increased in numbers were both Goldcrest and Chiffchaff - 40 and 25 of each respectively on Hengistbury. Easterly migration numbers until 11:30 were: 1500 Goldfinch, 230 Chaffinch, 186 Linnet, 170 Meadow Pipit, 165 alba Wagtail, 137 Redpoll, 110 Greenfinch, 106 Skylark, 57 Siskin, 18 Rook, 16 Swallow, 4 House Martin, these could be the last, and 1 Brambling. Finally, 310 Woodpigeon and 63 Jackdaw headed the opposite way.

Additional news: waders from Fisherman's Bank this morning included 53 Dunlin, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Greenshank, while 2 Swallow were feeding over South Marsh and, this afternoon, a Great-spotted Woodpecker was on Hengistbury.

After being lost somewhere on the www, more bits and pieces from the northern fringes: a pair of Pintail were seen circling the harbour with Mallard, while a Gadwall was also associating with these off the approach road to Mudeford Quay, where there was also a concentration of 10+ Blackbird in the small conifer belt. A total of 4 Grey Wagtail were about, 2 on the quay and 2 on Grimmery Point, 5 Shelduck moved over, the same number of Little Grebe were on the river/Parky Meade Rail, 56 Brent Goose were on East Marsh and Kingfisher were recorded from two different locations.


October 20th

As is becoming the custom, let's deal with the highlights ahead of the numbers. A couple of visiting birders glimpsed a wing-barred warbler in the Wood, but, unfortunately, the view was so brief as to make it impossible to discount either possibility. However, a couple of Firecrest, one at the end of the head and the other by the Ironstone Quarry, were seen well. A Little Stint was briefly in Holloway's Dock and the Slavonian Grebe is still in its favoured spot on the river just north of the HHC, best viewed from Stanpit. Bearded Tit were heard on a couple of occasions in Wick Hams, an adult Mediterranean Gull was off the Long Groyne, and a Yellowhammer and 2 Merlin passed over. Best of the visible migration was a Jack Snipe, with 5 Snipe, seen arriving in off the sea. Also 7 Eider, a Little Gull, a Red-throated Diver and 7 Guillemot east over the water. Moving wildfowl and waders were particularly obvious today - a total of 25 Pochard, 9 Tufted Duck, 12 Pintail, 5 Gadwall, 117 Wigeon, 27 Teal, 36 Brent Goose and 2 Common Scoter moved through this morning; as did 86 Dunlin, 22 Sanderling, 7 Grey Plover, 5 Ringed Plover and 3 Knot. There was again a hint of Woodpigeon passage to west, today numbering 830, while 12 Rook headed in the opposite direction. The bulk of the migration was to the east and, prior to midday, numbered: 1060 Goldfinch, 530 Linnet, 190 Chaffinch, 140 Greenfinch, 137 alba Wagtail, 119 Redpoll, the bird of the autumn, 118 Meadow Pipit, 73 Siskin, 68 Slylark and 10 Swallow. Meanwhile, thrushes took a north-westerly bearing and were made up of 18 Song Thrush, 3 Fieldfare, a Mistle Thrush and 5 Blackbird, along with 49 Starling. One of the most fascinating sights of the day was seeing a flock of Long-tailed Tit attempting to leave the end of the head. These tiny birds were calling frantically, spiralling out of the bushes, then losing their nerve and heading swiftly back. Remaining notes from Hengistbury are of single Peregrine and Greylag Goose. This afternoon, given the number of travelling waders from earlier, Stanpit was something of a disappointment; only 5 Grey Plover, a Sanderling and a Greenshank to note.

Additional news: a Tawny Owl was calling from the vicinity of Smithy's Field and a late Tree Pipit went over Hengistbury.


October 19th

The first frost of the season hit the recording area and, in a northerly breeze, made it very cold on the exposed sites at the top of the head. The clear skies encouraged some Woodpigeon to move, with around 900 west early in the morning. These took a route well to the north of Stanpit, as did 90 Jackdaw, including a tight flock of over 50 birds. The best birds of the day were probably a Woodlark over the end of the head and a redhead Goosander that circled the harbour after first being spotted from the HHC. However, a pale juvenile Arctic Skua close past the Coastguards, a Merlin east over Mudeford Quay, the Slavonian Grebe on the river and a Yellowhammer over the Ironstone Quarry, are also well worthy of a special mention. The skua had been lured in by a gull flock, off the Point House Café, which comprised mainly Black-headed Gull, but also first and second winter Mediterranean Gull. With the exception of 14 each of Fieldfare and Redwing, also several Song Thrush, the visible migration was actually down on the previous few days. Exact numbers are not available, but estimates are 200 Goldfinch, 100+ Linnet, fewer Chaffinch than of late, ditto Siskin, around 60 Redpoll, 8 Rook, 2 Grey Wagtail, a high-flying Great-spotted Woodpecker and a Brambling. Duck interest came from 3 Pintail and 2 Shoveler, while 40 or more Brent Goose are now seemingly settled on Stanpit, where 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and a Grey Plover were present, and 40 Dunlin were on the HHC bar. A possible migrant Buzzard passed through the harbour mid-afternoon, causing mild panic, and the fine weather encouraged many of the Avon Valley residents onto the wing. In the morning, male and female Peregrine hunted the harbour and 2 Raven passed over.

Additonal news: late in the morning, Bearded Tit were heard from Stanpit on the other side of the river, also a Wheatear on Crouch Hill and at least 2 Spotted Redshank in Stanpit Bight. Both Water Rail and Kingfisher were also recorded there.

Omission: a Red-throated Diver went west at sea and the information services reported a Ring Ouzel in the North Scrubs.


October 18th

There was interest over the whole recording area right throughout the day. Late this afternoon, over the mirror-like seas off Mudeford Quay, there was a massive feeding flock of gulls, drifting slowly west. This congregation attracted the attentions of at least 8 Great Skua, but also 3 Pomarine Skua and 3 Arctic Skua. Earlier, a possible Yellow-browed Warbler had been heard calling in the North Scrubs, Stanpit, where the 5 Spotted Redshank and 1 Curlew Sandpiper remain. Meanwhile, the best from Hengistbury comprised: a Firecrest by the Ironstone Quarry; a Short-eared Owl in from the Isle of Wight; a Woodlark high over, calling; and 3 Tree Sparrow past the end of the head. Also of interest were 2 Ring Ouzel, a single Tree Pipit over and 2 Golden Plover arriving. As well as 63 Redpoll moving through, a flock of 70 or so spent a couple of hours feeding in the alders just to the west of the Wood; while over movers included 510 Linnet, 505 Goldfinch, 380 Chaffinch, 220 Meadow Pipit, 135 alba Wagtail, 86 Siskin, 86 Greenfinch, 73 Reed Bunting, 50 Skylark, 26 Swallow and 7 House Martin. All these heading west. Conversely, the crows, namely 94 Jackdaw, including a flock of 28, 31 Rook and 4 Raven went east. As did 520 Woodpigeon, something of an appetizer for next month! To wrap up on Hengistbury, a couple of Tufted Duck and 4 Gadwall were seen in flight. Back to Stanpit, where there were 45+ Brent Goose and up to 400 Wigeon; also 90+ Redshank, 45 Dunlin, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Grey Plover, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Knot and 1 Greenshank.


October 17th

In spite of a blustery wind from the west, there was a light movement of birds this morning. However, before the numbers, the less routine. Just after first light, Bearded Tit were calling in the HHC reeds and an Arctic Tern left the harbour, while a group of 3 Little Egret arrived high from in off the sea. Slightly later, it was something of a corvid bonanza: at least 10 Rook with an accompanying Jackdaw were milling about over Hengistbury, before moving off west; pairs of Raven were seen on three occasions; and a total of 9 Magpie pitching into the end of the head were mooted as being movers. There was a reasonable total of 20 Wheatear, 15 of these on the beach by the Long Groyne, where there was again a gathering of Pied Wagtail; the others being on Solent Meads golf course and the Barn Field. Holloway's Dock held a Spotted Redshank and 6 Turnstone were on the beach for a while. Over a dozen Song Thrush moved over Wick Fields, as did 4 Blackbird, and a Great-spotted Woodpecker was in the Nursery. Now the totals: 54 alba Wagtail, 44 Goldfinch, 40 Meadow Pipit, 35 Linnet, 23 Redpoll, 23 Chaffinch, 11 Siskin, 8 Skylark, 7 Reed Bunting, a paltry 4 Swallow and 1 Brambling. All of these east.


October 16th

Hengistbury was the only site to receive a visit today and that was around lunchtime, but with a south-westerly wind and rain it's doubtful much was missed early on. As it was, there was a small flock of 10 or so Redpoll feeding in birch at the end of the head, as well as 4 Goldcrest. Overhead, just a handful of Linnet and Meadow Pipit passed through, but there were 3 Wheatear on the sandspit. Also there, a single Sanderling and 16 Turnstone, a family party of Brent Goose sat slightly offshore and, in Holloway's Dock, half a dozen Bar-tailed Godwit.


October 15th

It was Stanpit that hogged the interest this morning, when both Richard's Pipit and Serin overflew Crouch Hill. The pipit was seen to go down onto South Marsh, but could not be refound this afternoon. On Hengistbury, a Black Redstart on the Long Groyne was, incredibly, the first of the year; while a Bullfinch circling high and calling was the first of the season. At first light, when it was still clear, a locally impressive 87 Song Thrush moved through, accompanied by a single Ring Ouzel and 3 Redwing. However, the cloud soon descended and put paid to most of the movement. Nevertheless, the following were logged: 330 Linnet, 315 Goldfinch, 230 Meadow Pipit, 160 alba Wagtail, 150 Chaffinch, 51 Redpoll, 43 Reed Bunting, 39 Siskin, 3 Grey Wagtail and 2 Brambling. Meanwhile, on the deck, there were over 100 Pied Wagtail feeding on the sandspit, as well as 42 Goldcrest, 2 Wheatear and a Whinchat elsewhere. A pair of Tufted Duck went over the HHC and 25 Brent Goose were on Stanpit, but of less pedigree were 23 Canada Goose on the marsh and 6 Greylag Goose over the head. Wader numbers at Stanpit varied throughout the day, but peaks of each comprise: 25 Black-tailed Godwit, including an arriving flock of 14 birds, around 25 Dunlin, 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Knot, 3 Spotted Redshank, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and a single Greenshank; with other interest coming from 4 Common Gull and 3 Wheatear. This evening, there were a further 4 Wheatear on Wick Fields, along with 2 Blackcap and numbers of Swallow on the move overhead.


October 14th

After the low cloud of the last two days, the clearer skies and south-easterly breeze of this morning gave rise to a far better visible migration. Exact numbers will follow later, as the man with the notebook is currently AWOL. What I do know, however, is that Linnet numbers really picked up, being matched only by Goldfinch, and I'm told it was also a good day for Brambling. Another species that turned in a good score was Skylark - in excess of 200 over Hengistbury this morning and odd birds still on the move over Stanpit late this afternoon. From the traditional vantage point at the western end of Warren Hill, 3 Avocet and 2 Ruff were seen to leave the harbour, 18 Snipe and 1 Golden Plover arrived, the Slavonian Grebe could be picked out on the river, 4 Mistle Thrush headed north-west, 2 Crossbill were heard and an Arctic Tern moved by at sea. Also from there, 4 Pochard were logged, 3 moving upriver and 1 leaving south. Having not been recorded for a few months, Bearded Tit made a welcome return, with 5 birds in the HHC reeds; also 2 Coal Tit heard on the Batters. Stanpit is starting to shape up for the winter: for example, 23 Brent Goose, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, a peak of 25 Bar-tailed Godwit that quickly reduced to 4, 4 Knot and 25 Dunlin, this afternoon; these contrasting with a Whimbrel, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Greenshank and a single Sandwich Tern, all of which are getting fairly late. Equally so, an information services message of a Garganey on the marsh. Also in that report, the 5 Spotted Redshank and a Ring Ouzel. Other bits from Stanpit include 2 Spotted Redshank late afternoon, a drake Tufted Duck sleeping in Stanpit Bight and 3 Wheatear on Crouch Hill. Interestingly, 11 Grey Plover seen this morning had deserted by lunchtime. Back to Hengistbury, where Dartford Warbler are currently very conspicuous, perhaps setting up winter territories; while 3 Bottle-nosed Dolphin were seen a long way out into Poole Bay.

Visible migration numbers, almost exclusively east. 1600 Goldfinch, 1200 Linnet, 720 Meadow Pipit, 411 alba Wagtail, 395 Chaffinch, 310 Swallow, 278 Skylark, 212 Reed Bunting, 170 Greenfinch, 142 Siskin, 140 House Martin, 109 Redpoll ( a really good year for these), 76 Song Thrush, 27 Brambling, 14 Redwing, 6 Sandwich Tern, 3 Fieldfare and 2 Grey Wagtail.


October 13th

The morning started well enough with the first bird being a Short-eared Owl, pursued by Carrion Crow, over the HHC reeds while it was still largely dark. A complete lack of wind and accompanying drizzle made for a light visible migration, the best being a single Yellowhammer and an excellent total of 149 Redpoll, including 25 or so that were settled in the Wood. Other numbers follow later in the post. The Slavonian Grebe remained on the river and 2 Firecrest were on Hengistbury, one by the Ironstone Quarry and the other in the Wood itself. Migrant thrushes included 25 Redwing, some of these actually feeding up rather than moving straight through, also 15 Song Thrush and a Fieldfare. A total of 8 Raven, in groups of 4, 2 and 2, moved east, while 38 Brent Goose were seen to arrive on Stanpit and a family of 5 went by west at sea. The sea also saw 3 Mediterranean Gull, one each of first-winter, second-winter and adult, a Red-breasted Merganser and 3 Sandwich Tern. A group of 7 Golden Plover arrived and headed north, but 2 Pintail left to the west. Heard, but not seen, was a Curlew Sandpiper from the HHC, however, in contrast, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit in Holloway's Dock were very showy indeed. Despite last night's gathering, the HHC reedbed appeared to hold very few alba Wagtail this morning, although 225 were noted moving east throughout the day. Other totals logged between dawn and mid-afternoon, most to the east, include: 420 Chaffinch, 325 Meadow Pipit, 170 Goldfinch, 112 Swallow, 90 Linnet, 70 Starling, 73 Reed Bunting, 38 Greenfinch, 33 Siskin, 22 House Martin, 16 Rock Pipit, 14 Skylark and 2 Grey Wagtail. The Wood held a couple of large tit flocks that received some scrutiny, but only 38 Goldcrest, a few Chiffchaff and 2 Blackcap could be picked out from within them. Finally, a Peregrine was again recorded, as was a single Kingfisher.


October 12th

After a promising start, a northerly breeze brought some low cloud that halted the ongoing passage. Although things cleared up after an hour or so, the remaining movement was erratic, but was still going on at midday. The dominant species was Goldfinch with 440 noted, then 312 Meadow Pipit, 175 alba Wagtail, 118 Linnet, 115 Chaffinch, 52 Swallow, 47 Reed Bunting, 32 House Martin, 23 Siskin, 23 Redpoll and 21 Skylark. For the purists, 6 Rook and 2 Jackdaw also went by, while the first Fieldfare of the season was recorded, along with several Song Thrush and Blackbird. Other than the thrushes, which went their customary north-west route, all movement was easterly. As conjectured yesterday, it does seem there is a temporary alba Wagtail roost in the area, as up to 100 birds were noted leaving the Wick Hams reeds just after dawn. As well as the movers, there were also Siskin settled in the Wood and around 50 Meadow Pipit about Coastguards. There was a total of 6 Wheatear, 2 with the pipits and a further 4 on the sandspit, where 14 Turnstone and a few Rock Pipit were feeding with them amongst the flotsam. The Slavonian Grebe put on a strange show - actually leaving the water to stand alongside a Mallard on the HHC slip! It's not an everyday occurrence to see a grebe on its feet. Other interest from Hengistbury involves an adult Mediterranean Gull, a Peregrine, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker and a Kingfisher. By mid-afternoon, the tide was ebbing and a Stanpit visit proved the Spotted Redshank invasion is still in full swing. A sum of 5 was present, along with 3 Greenshank, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Knot, 2 Greenshank, a single Grey Plover and 39 Dunlin. No Brent Goose were on the marsh, but earlier in the day a skein of 5 had inspected the area without stopping.

Additional news: to complete a good day of coverage, Stanpit received a couple of pre-dusk visits, when at least 200 alba Wagtail were on the exposed mud of the HHC bar and Parky Meade Rail, as they gathered to roost. Of course, the majority were Pieds, but there were a few Whites mixed in with them. Also out in the open in Parky Meade Rail were 7 Water Rail, while the Slavonian Grebe had taken up with the autumn's highest count of 7 Little Grebe on the river. A Jack Snipe came off Priory Marsh, along with 6 Snipe, a Peregrine moved overhead and a single Wheatear was on Crouch Hill.

More news: what was presumably yesterday's Ring-necked Parakeet was heard from Wick Fields.


October 11th

A heavy mist took until late morning to properly clear, which, in combination with no wind, ground migration to a halt. The only passage migrant seen in any numbers was alba Wagtail, with around 80 early on - however, the birds were flying in such a way as to suggest emergence from a possible roost in the area of the Hungry Hiker Cafe/Whitepits, rather than true migrants. Siskin and Redpoll formed a loose flock below the Ironstone Quarry, with 30 of the former and 10 of the latter, a Wheatear was on the Golf Course, and 12 Goldcrest and 30 Chiffchaff were in and around the Wood. The Slavonian Grebe remains on the river by the HHC, while over on Stanpit there were 10 Black-tailed and 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Brent Geese, a Greenshank and 2 Wheatear.

Additional news: at dusk, a Ring-necked Parakeet in the North Scrubs, Stanpit, was receiving the attentions of the local corvids.


October 10th

The day dawned to a brisk northerly wind, which swung to the east and subsided as the day progressed. Overhead passage was varied this morning, but perhaps a little disappointing - 195 alba Wagtail, 125 Linnet, 290 Meadow Pipit, 93 Siskin, 86 Chaffinch, 69 Redpoll, 390 Goldfinch, 32 Reed Bunting, 160 Swallow and 270 House Martin providing the numbers, and single Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail and Golden Plover the variety. Totals of 46 Goldcrest, 15 Chiffchaff, 3 Firecrest and 5 Wheatear were on the deck, and a Red-breasted Merganser flew east. Meanwhile, over on Stanpit, the information services reported 6 Curlew Sandpiper, 5 Spotted Redshank (continuing their impressive run this year), Avocet and Ring Ouzel. The Avocet was still present in an afternoon visit, accompanied by 15 Dunlin, 4 Bar-tailed and 3 Black-tailed Godwit, a Snipe, 3 Grey Plover, 6 Brent Goose and a Greenshank (with a late report of 4), but only 2 each of Curlew Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank, with 6 Wheatear on Crouch Hill. Two or three Wheatear near Solent Beach carpark and a single on the golf course first thing this morning completed a reasonable total for this species given the date. Finally, an early evening wander over Wick was quite productive, with an Osprey fishing mid-harbour briefly, also the Slavonian Grebe mid-channel by the HHC, 2 Raven over and a Peregrine with prey heading towards the Priory.


October 9th

A brief visit to Hengistbury this morning before the deluge found the Slavonian Grebe showing well on the river behind the HHC; also seen were 6 Pochard that circled the harbour before flying back upriver. The only other birds of note were 2 Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail.


October 8th

In still conditions this morning a few finches, pipits and wagtails were moving east, but there were very few hirundines. Counts were 140 Meadow Pipit, 125 alba Wagtail, 80 Linnet, 60 Goldfinch, 35 Siskin, 16 Redpoll, 6 Jackdaw and 1 Bullfinch, while 22 Redwing went north. A female Pintail was just off the Nursery and 2 Black-tailed Godwit were in Holloway's Dock. On Stanpit this afternoon, one of the 2 Grey Plover present was colour-ringed, also there were 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Spotted Redshank, 25 Dunlin, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank and a Knot, plus a Wheatear on Crouch Hill.


October 7th

In cool overcast conditions with a light north-easterly wind, reasonable numbers of birds were on the move; the highlights being 10 Brambling, 2 Yellowhammer and a Tree Sparrow. It was the best day of the autumn for Goldfinch with 800 logged and the noteworthy passage of Siskin continued with a count of 235 birds. Other totals were 1200 Swallow, 380 Linnet, 340 alba Wagtail, 310 Meadow Pipit, 265 Chaffinch, 210 House Martin, 126 Redpoll, 65 Greenfinch, 63 Reed Bunting, 12 Grey Wagtail and 2 Tree Pipit, all heading east, while 35 Song Thrush went north. The pick of the grounded migrants were 2 Firecrest and a late Willow Warbler, also noted were 93 Chiffchaff, 53 Goldcrest, 6 Coal Tit and 2 Wheatear. The sea produced a 7 Common Scoter and a Razorbill east, and a first-year Mediterranean Gull west. A Raven flew towards the Nursery and then, a little later, a party of 6 birds flew north. Finally, a single Golden Plover arrived and 3 Shoveler flew upriver.

Late News: A Slavonian Grebe was seen from Grimmery Point this morning, the bird was on the opposite side of the river.


October 6th

Richard's Pipit and Spoonbill were the pick of the morning's birds. The Richard's Pipit came up off the Barn Field and flew east along the top of the Head, while the Spoonbill circled East Marsh before heading off south-west. A couple of minutes later the pipit was heard calling loudly over the far end of the Wood and could well have landed in the Salt Hurns area. There were 4 Tree Sparrow today, 2 went east over the Beach Huts and 2 were on Wick Fields, also on Wick were 4 Ring Ouzel. In the alders just beyond the Wood, there was a mixed flock of over 50 finches, mainly Redpoll, say 40, but also a few Siskin. Other grounded migrants were 25 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap and 1 each of Wheatear, Whinchat and Lesser Whitethroat. Heading into the easterly wind were 1600 House Martin, 620 Swallow, 510 Goldfinch, 285 alba Wagtail, 237 Meadow Pipit, 170 Linnet, 96 Siskin, 73 Chaffinch, 58 Greenfinch, 51 Reed Bunting, 19 Redpoll, 16 Skylark, 12 Sand Martin, 4 Grey Wagtail, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and 1 Brambling, while 17 Song Thrush flew north. A first-year Mediterranean Gull flew west past the cliff and 4 Golden Plover came in off the sea heading north-east. Other bits and pieces this morning, included 3 Common Buzzard, both Raven and Peregrine, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Shoveler and 4 Gadwall. On Stanpit there were 60 Dunlin, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Spotted Redshank, 7 Curlew Sandpiper, 6 Grey Plover, 5 Greenshank, 4 Golden Plover, 2 Avocet, 2 Knot, 1 Ruff, 1 Little Stint, 1 Sanderling, 1 Common Sandpiper and 22 Brent Geese.


October 5th

At least 6 Ring Ouzel were on Wick Fields this morning, also 17 Blackcap and 40 Chiffchaff. Another 55 Chiffchaff were scattered over the main part of Hengistbury, while a Whinchat was on the Long Field with 4 Wheatear. In very clear conditions, good numbers of passerines were once again moving into the light easterly wind. Counts were 1100 House Martin, 420 Swallow, 390 Meadow Pipit, 380 Goldfinch, 272 Linnet, 260 alba Wagtail, 130 Chaffinch, 92 Siskin, 54 Redpoll, 39 Skylark, 12 Reed Bunting, 2 Grey Wagtail, 1 Jackdaw and 1 Brambling, with 36 Song Thrush north and 3 Rook west. There were also at least 15 Jay and 5 Great Spotted Woodpecker on Hengistbury this morning. The sea was quiet with 32 Common Gull and 9 Sandwich Tern heading west, along with around 20 Gannet in the bay. Flocks of 9 Brent Geese and 11 Pintail were seen arriving, and a Gadwall was in Barn Bight. Waders on Stanpit today were 5 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Greenshank, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Grey Plover, 3 Spotted Redshank, 2 Knot and a Little Stint. Finally the only raptor of note was a Merlin.

Afternoon update: A Raven was over Hengistbury soon after lunch, while Holloway's Dock held 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Whimbrel.


October 4th

On another fine autumn day with just a light south-westerly breeze the birds were moving on a broad front, most of them into the wind. A sub-adult female Marsh Harrier was watched from both sides of the harbour for about ten minutes around mid-morning. before it headed off up the Avon Valley escorted by a couple of the local corvids. A little later a kettle of 24 Common Buzzard were soaring on the thermals to the north; at one point they were joined by 6 Sparrowhawk. There were another 2 Ring Ouzel today, both heading north, also 27 Song Thrush, 4 Redwing and 3 Mistle Thrush. Heading into the wind were 2050 Swallow, 1200 House Martin, 545 Meadow Pipit, 335 Linnet, 170 alba Wagtail, 140 Siskin, 140 Chaffinch, 80 Reed Bunting, 75 Goldfinch, 57 Skylark, 45 Redpoll, 10 Grey Wagtail, 3 Yellow Wagtail and 1 Brambling. A Raven flew towards the Nursery while 2 flocks of Rook, totalling 27 in all, went north. There was a good count of Wheatear with 21 birds, also 94 Chiffchaff, 8 Goldcrest, 6 Blackcap and a Coal Tit was in the Nursery. Waders today included flocks of 9 Golden Plover and 7 Little Stint heading north over Stanpit, while feeding around the Bight was another Little Stint and 2 Curlew Sandpiper, plus 83 Dunlin, 17 Ringed Plover, 8 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Knot, 3 Spotted Redshank, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Ruff; and a Jack Snipe was seen on Priory Marsh. On the Hengistbury side of the harbour in Holloway's Dock were 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel and a Greenshank, while on the Mudeford Sandspit were 23 Dunlin, 21 Ringed Plover and 19 Turnstone. Check back to yesterday for some late news.

Late news from Wick: a Richard's Pipit was flushed in the Bobolink field this evening, but could not be relocated, also a Ring Ouzel nearby and a Redpoll over.


October 3rd

First the excitement! A distant raptor, which dropped into the Nursery on Hengistbury while being watched from Crouch Hill this afternoon, was tentatively identified as a possible Short-toed Eagle and caused something of a local twitch! Fortunately, the bird had been photographed and hence was eventually identified as a pale phase Common Buzzard. Now back to reality!

There was a complete absence of wind at Hengistbury this morning and the whole area was shrouded in mist. Nevertheless, there were a few bits and pieces including a Firecrest on the Lower Batters and 2 male Ring Ouzel, one of which dropped into the Double Dykes, while the other was on Wick Fields. Another 3 Ring Ouzel were at the top end of Stanpit in the trees behind the Civic Centre. Staying with grounded migrants, a Lesser Whitethroat was in Wick Ditch and yesterday's Whitethroat was in the same place on Warren Hill, also seen were 53 Chiffchaff, 10 Jay, 7 Wheatear, 3 Blackcap and on Stanpit 1 Spotted Flycatcher. There has also been an influx of Stonechat in the last few days, with at least 60 on Hengistbury and another 9 on Stanpit. Despite the conditions, birds were still on the move with 450 Swallow, 218 Meadow Pipit, 170 Linnet, 120 House Martin, 116 Siskin, 85 alba Wagtail, 70 Reed Bunting, 8 Redpoll, 6 Grey Wagtail, 6 Skylark, 2 Tree Pipit and 1 Yellow Wagtail all heading east, 3 Rook went west, while 22 Song Thrush and 3 Redwing headed north. Wader numbers on Stanpit were 18 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Curlew Sandpiper, 5 Spotted Redshank, 5 Knot and 2 Ruff. On Hengistbury, 19 Snipe, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, and 1 Spotted Redshank were in Barn Bight, while 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank and 1 Whimbrel were in Holloway's Dock. A Garganey was also on Stanpit this morning.

Evening update: 2 Ring Ouzel flew south over Wick Fields, as did the first Redwing of the autumn.

Late news: Around midday a Bittern was seen on 3 occasions, firstly in the Wick reedbed, secondly flying across the river and dropping into Central Marsh, where it was then seen again a little later.


October 2nd

Unfortunately, due to the inconvenience of work amongst other things, Hengistbury received only brief coverage this morning. Stanpit, however, was better served, although waders were less numerous today but 4 Curlew Sandpiper were still present. Other numbers included 12 Black-tailed and 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Knot, 3 Grey Plover, 2 Greenshank and 1 Spotted Redshank. On the Hengistbury side, 10 Turnstone were on the sandspit, a Greenshank was in Holloway's Dock, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit were on the HHC mudbar, while 6 Snipe and singles of both Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwit were on Wick Hams. A few passerines were moving into the light easterly wind and an hour's watch produced 180 Meadow Pipit, 150 House Martin, 50 Swallow, 35 Linnet, 24 Siskin, 10 alba Wagtail, 6 Reed Bunting, 2 Redpoll and 2 Yellow Wagtail. Both Raven and Peregrine moved west. Grounded migrants from both sides of the harbour totalled just 35 Chiffchaff, 4 Wheatear and 3 Blackcap.

Late afternoon: a visit to Hengistbury found 25 Chiffchaff, 4 Siskin in the Nursery, 1 Whitethroat and 1 Grey Wagtail, also 5 Black-tailed Godwit and a Curlew Sandpiper in Holloway's Dock.


October 1st

On a damp and dismal morning the highlight was a very vocal Pectoral Sandpiper, which came up off either Priory Marsh or Parky Meade and appeared to go down on South Marsh, but then could not be relocated. Continuing with waders, Stanpit had an excellent mix today with 3 Little Stint, 6 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 5 Spotted Redshank, 20 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Grey Plover, 8 Knot, 6 Greenshank, 1 Jack Snipe and a Whimbrel, but very few Dunlin. The 2 Brent Geese were still present, 2 Pintail flew south and 2 Gadwall were in Barn Bight. Needless to say, passerine migration was almost on hold despite the easterly wind; counts were 295 Swallow, 85 Meadow Pipit, 27 Goldfinch, just 8 House Martin and 2 Jackdaw. A Yellowhammer was in Smithy's field and up to 55 Chiffchaff were around the harbour area.

Late afternoon update from Wick Hams: 2 Jack Snipe, 2 Greenshank, 16 Snipe, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Dunlin.

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