Sightings for August 2008


August 31st

A strange day weather-wise, when storm clouds threatened constantly but only really threw down any water in the late afternoon. With one of the regulars spending a few days in a beach hut, the sandspit is set to receive some good coverage between now and the middle of the week. The highlight from there today was a ringtail harrier that appeared over the head just after this afternoon's deluge. Unfortunately, although Monty's is the prime suspect, the views of the bird as it disappeared towards Wick were not conclusive enough. One that gets away! Before the spit became too busy, a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was present, along with 10 Turnstone, a few Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper, while at least 20 Yellow Wagtail picked off insects from the flotsam. A total of 3 Arctic Skua seemed to be lingering in the bay, singles of Fulmar and adult Mediterranean Gull passed by, and a steady passage of Common Tern went on throughout the day. The best from the main part of Hengistbury were 3 Bearded Tit across the Wick Hams reeds and a Pied Flycatcher briefly on the Barn Field, with a further of those on Wick tonight along with a Redstart. The remaining passerine interest came from: 16 Wheatear, 4 Whinchat, 5 Grey Wagtail, 7 Yellow Wagtail, a Tree Pipit, 20+ Whitethroat, plus a few Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler. Greenshank seemed to be calling constantly and often aerial, but although 5 was the most seen together it is likely there were more. Also, 3 Snipe over the HHC, a Common Sandpiper on the river, 6 Black-tailed Godwit and a Whimbrel west, and 3 Knot east. Hirundine passage was not evident, but there were birds seeming to feed very high up; then for a short time around 9:00, there appeared to be a westerly movement of Black-headed Gull, with 114 being logged. As the summer concludes, duck are trickling back: a couple of Shelduck arrived this morning, when 8 Teal and 3 Wigeon were also about the area. Finally, a Treecreeper was again in the Nursery, the overnight Canada Goose roost was in excess of 150, the local Carrion Crow were very agitated by the prolonged presence of 2 Raven, and the information services reported Garganey and Spotted Redshank on Stanpit.

Additional news: there were more passerines on Hengistbury than previously credited. The Long Field held 2 Redstart, 2 Whinchat and a Spotted Flycatcher, while the Nursery produced another, with around 25 Willow Warbler and 9 Blackcap spread across both sites. The Wheatear day total stepped up by 9 birds and 4 Whimbrel were seen to arrive.

More: a further 3 Wheatear were hopping around on lobster pots at Mudeford Quay.

Tides 1st September: H01:15 L05:35 H10:40 H14:10 L17:50 H22:40


August 30th

After yesterday's passerine bonanza, hopes were high for a repeat performance this morning, but it was not to be. One should not complain however, as a Tawny Pipit calling and seen low eastwards over the HHC made amends. Curlew Sandpiper have so far been sparse, so if a juvenile Hobby had succeeded in catching the bird it pursued over the Double Dykes, the falcon may not have been popular. As it was, the fortunate wader eluded its assailant and appeared to head towards Stanpit, from where a Spotted Redshank had earlier been heard. As usual, the Long Field held the most passerines, with the elderberry clump containing at least 6 Blackcap, while a Whinchat, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Redstart and 3 Wheatear were around the Barn Field, and a Garden Warbler was on Wick. There was a steady passage of southbound Swallow throughout the morning, when over 500 birds were logged; also 100 or so House Martin that seemed to start moving slightly later. Meanwhile, 6 Yellow Wagtail, a Tree Pipit and 3 Grey Wagtail were also airborne. Other Hengistbury interest for the day involved a Raven, 3 Wigeon from the west, 3 Teal, a Gadwall and a Kingfisher. Early on, a brief visit to Stanpit produced 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Kingfisher, 3 Wheatear and 2 Peregrine, one of which was seen to stoop on a feral pigeon. Thanks to a favourable tide, more waders were about for the afternoon walk, when the best were: 2 Spotted Redshank, 4 Greenshank, 4 Sanderling, a Turnstone, 3 Common Sandpiper and 3 Whimbrel, as well as 80 Dunlin and 25 Ringed Plover. Also a juvenile Mediterranean Gull on the tip of South Marsh.

Additional news from Wick in the morning: where a single bush held 2 Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 6-7 Blackcap, 4 Whitethroat and a Sedge Warbler. Also, a Spotted Flycatcher and Whinchat in the No Dogs Field, and a Swift over.


August 29th

A cracking variety of passerine migrants were about Hengistbury and Wick this morning, with totals comprising: a Wood Warbler, 3 Pied Flycatcher, 11 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Redstart, 7 Lesser Whitethroat, 87 Whitethroat, 48 Willow Warbler, 36 Blackcap, 25 Sedge Warbler, 2 Wheatear and a Whinchat. Most of these were actually in the Barn and Long Fields, the bramble clump in the fenced off area of the latter being particularly rich in birds. There was also a reasonable overhead movement, including: 370 Swallow, 200 House Martin, 2 Swift, 26 Yellow Wagtail, 7 Tree Pipit and a Grey Wagtail. Then, to cap this off, an Osprey passed high south at 10:45. Earlier, a Green Sandpiper had been heard, 2 Common Sandpiper were along the river and a Snipe was over Wick Hams, while a Peregrine toured overhead and a Grey Plover left the area. On Stanpit this afternoon, there was another good selection of waders, which will hopefully stick around for tomorrow afternoon's jaunt. Both of the Spotted Redshank showed well, as did 6 Greenshank, at least 5 Whimbrel, a Snipe and 120 Dunlin. Also viewable, but slightly more distantly on Blackberry Point, were 13 Knot, 6 Sanderling, 2 Turnstone and 46 Ringed Plover; and, as is usual, Crouch Hill hosted Wheatear, with 3 birds there today. To close the report, some ringing statistics. So far this autumn, one ringer alone has netted 400 birds, among them over 100 Sedge Warbler.

Omission: I tried to forget them, but they came back to haunt. There was a large Canada Goose roost again, this time holding 2 Greylag Goose.

Additional news: a Hobby was over Wick in the evening, a Redstart was settled, and a few Dunlin and Ringed Plover were seen leaving.


August 28th

On a still morning, when the insects were biting, there were quite a few passerine migrants to be seen, both settled and overhead. The combined totals for Wick and Hengistbury include: a Pied Flycatcher, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, one of these being trapped, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warbler, 17 Yellow Wagtail, 9 Tree Pipit, 46 Whitethroat and over 23 Blackcap, but very few Willow Warbler. Also numerous were hirundines, although other than 2 Swift, no counts were made. There also seems to be something of a temporary Sand Martin roost in the reeds around Priory Marsh, as just after dawn a mass of 350 birds fed briefly over the river, then soon moved on. Late in the morning, a Merlin was seen taking prey over Wick, this time a Goldfinch; and a couple of hours later a Peregrine rampaged around Stanpit. The Nursery hosted at least 2 Crossbill, the Nuthatch and the Marsh Tit, 3 Kingfisher were about Hengistbury, 4 Common Scoter moved west at sea and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was on Wick. At Stanpit, a Spotted Redshank is still present and presumably will be through the winter - another fated prediction, no doubt! Meanwhile, the Ringed Plover seem to have cleared-out, with only 3 being reported from two visits around midday, when other waders numbered: 110 or so Dunlin, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank and 2 Sanderling. Also at Stanpit, 3 Wheatear on Crouch Hill and an early morning flight from their traditional late-summer roost of 114 Canada Goose. Finally, a Roe Deer parading around the Barn Field provided some mammal interest.


August 27th

A couple of Spotted Redshank were at Stanpit this morning, as was an Arctic Tern, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Whimbrel; while a lunchtime count from Fisherman's Bank added 3 Greenshank, another 3 Whimbrel, 80 Dunlin and 55 Ringed Plover. The North Scrubs was quiet, holding just a few phylloscs and 3 Blackcap, as well as a male Great Spotted Woodpecker. Hengistbury was equally uneventful, with the only migrant passerine being a Yellow Wagtail north, but a Common Sandpiper and Greenshank were there, presumably in Barn Bight. At sea, just 20-25 Gannet and 2 Common Scoter were logged; however, an evening watch is underway, so more could follow. Please check back to yesterday for an update.

Additional news: the evening seawatch was poor - a Common Gull being the best on offer.


August 26th

Tuesdays traditionally suffer from reduced coverage and this one was no different. In fact, there were no reports at all received for the morning, but a Common Sandpiper and 2 Whimbrel were off Fisherman's Bank at lunchtime, while a brief trip to Hengistbury saw 4 Wheatear and 2 Whitethroat on the Long Field. A late afternoon gaze across Stanpit Bight yielded an adult Spotted Redshank, but the information services had earlier reported 3, also 7 Turnstone and 9 Black-tailed Godwit that were new birds. In general though, the numbers of Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper have reduced, but some of these will pick up again if the incessant westerly wind gives way. On Crouch Hill, 5-8 Wheatear were jumping about and an adult Common Gull was on South Marsh.

Additional news: the first Merlin of the season, a female, was seen to catch a passerine over Wick Fields, then head north this morning, when there were around 12 Whitethroat and 8 Willow Warbler by the HHC. A short seawatch mustered a brace of Arctic Skua and 9 Common Scoter east, a Fulmar west, with 17 Common Tern and 20 or so Gannet passing in both directions.


August 25th

In a strong south-westerly, it was almost all hands to the Gully for a seawatch, which, by Hengistbury standards, turned out rather well. A total of 7 Arctic Skua, some quite close, were lingering offshore looking for an easy meal. In fact, one of them may well have taken a hapless migrant, perhaps one of the passing Swallow, as they struggled into the wind. It was also good to see Balearic Shearwater close in; firstly, a single bird west, then 2 together in the same direction. Although the commoner terns were not so numerous, an adult Roseate Tern and a juvenile Arctic Tern moved past, as did an adult Kittiwake and 12 Common Scoter, 4 west and 8 east; also a Kestrel moving purposefully south suggesting it was intending to travel some distance, while a fly-by Peregrine was probably making a shorter trip. Passerine migrants were hard to come by at the western end of Hengistbury, however, in the sheltered bushes at the eastern tip, there were over 50 phylloscs and a few Blackcap, with 11 Wheatear on the cliff top in that area. On Stanpit, the 2 Spotted Redshank were present this morning, with definitely one, but probably both, still there this afternoon, when 3 juvenile Knot were new birds. Meanwhile, the small waders look to have reduced in numbers and there were 3 Wheatear on South Marsh. The remaining migrant interest on Hengistbury came from a Grey Wagtail by the HHC, also Yellow Wagtail heard from there, a Swift over and 2 Turnstone on the beach. Some of the recent woodland oddities remain, with a Nuthatch and the Marsh Tit, in the company of a Coal Tit, behind the Nursery. Finally, a Kingfisher was by Barn Bight and the information services carry a report of Arctic Tern and Hobby at Stanpit in the morning.

Additional news: adults of Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull were at Stanpit in the evening.


August 24th

Overnight rain that only really stopped around 9:00 meant the late morning flood tide at Stanpit received most of the day's attention. An adult Spotted Redshank, unfortunately already in full winter dress, in Stanpit Bight could be the bird that has spent the last two winters in the harbour. Time will tell. A couple of small duck sleeping in Parky Meade Rail were considered a good bet for Garganey, but they kept their heads out of view for most of the time they were watched. Back to Stanpit Bight, where a party of 4 Avocet flew through west, also 6 Sanderling and 2 Turnstone amongst the 340 small waders, most of which were only silhouettes in the bright sunlight. Other waders present in the harbour, included 6 Greenshank, 5 Whimbrel, 7 Common Sandpiper and 2 Black-tailed Godwit. Whilst Sandwich Tern and Common Tern have been plentiful this summer, Little Tern have been sparse, so one fishing inside the harbour off East Marsh this morning was very welcome. Meanwhile, an Arctic Tern and 21 Common Tern left the area southwest, with 25 moving likewise at sea along with 35 Sandwich Tern, 21 Gannet and 2 Fulmar. Conversely, 6 Shelduck and 3 Common Scoter moved up channel. Passerines were almost non-existent, the only migrants being 16 Wheatear, just one of these on Hengistbury, and a Lesser Whitethroat in the North Scrubs. To conclude the day's news, a single Swift was over Wick Fields. Please check back to yesterday for some significant additional news.

Additional news: a party of 3 Crossbill flew north over Hengistbury at 7:30, a Spotted Flycatcher was in the Wood and a superbly plumaged Grey Plover was on the beach at the end of the head. At Stanpit in the evening, there were actually 2 Spotted Redshank, as well as a Mediterranean Gull and a juvenile Great-crested Grebe.


August 23rd

In almost still conditions, for a brief time this morning it looked like a really good passerine day might be about to happen. However, as it turned out, it was something of a flurry but full of variety nevertheless. During an hour or so, a Grasshopper Warbler, a Garden Warbler, 4 Whinchat, 4 Redstart, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 9 Wheatear and up to 50 Willow Warbler were spread across the Long and Barn Fields, while 7 Tree Pipit and 2 Yellow Wagtail moved overhead. There was also a 10-minute spell of swarming hirundines, mainly House Martin with around 200 estimated, but also 80 Swallow and 3 Swift. Some wildfowl interest was provided by a Tufted Duck, a Shoveler and 4 Teal, with an Arctic Skua and 61 Common Tern brightening a fairly dull seawatch. No reports from Stanpit, where lots of small waders could be seen from Hengistbury, so only 2 Greenshank and 3 Common Sandpiper on the head itself can be firmly logged. An adult Mediterranean Gull was over Wick, as was a Great-spotted Woodpecker and a Raven arrived from the west. Quite a bit of additional news was received for yesterday, so it's worthwhile scrolling down a little.

Additional news: a Corncrake was heard calling at 10:15am at Whitepits, while 2 Greenshank, 3 Sanderling, a Common Sandpiper and a Peregrine were at Stanpit.


August 22nd

There was quite an arrival of Wheatear into the area today, perhaps a result of the north-westerly breeze. At least 45 were reckoned, including 26 lining a fence by Double Dykes, also 3 Whinchat in that area. Meanwhile, a party of 16 juvenile Black-tailed Godwit that appeared on Stanpit this afternoon may also have benefited from the tailwind bringing them over from Iceland. A good Crossbill tally was enjoyed - 5 west over Wick Fields and 2 north over the HHC - also at least 20 Yellow Wagtail and a Grey Wagtail moving through; while on the ground, Whitethroat were in evidence, 30 between the HHC and the Long Field, for example. There was also a suggestion of the start of a hirundine passage, as around 100 each of Swallow and House Martin went over Wick, as did 3 Swift. The best of the waders was a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper off Fisherman's Bank, where a couple of morning counts produced peaks of 240 Dunlin, 90 Oystercatcher, 70 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 4 Sanderling, 2 Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper, with two more of these in Barn Bight. Before a Peregrine saw them off, 150 Sandwich Tern and 30 Common Tern were resting in the harbour, but a female-type Shoveler sat it out. Ringing-wise, 31 birds were netted by the HHC, with 14 Sedge Warbler 4 Reed Warbler, 4 Willow Warbler and 2 Whitethroat amongst them. This evening on Wick, there was a Redstart, as well as 15 more Swift. Sadly, there is a Cormorant about the area whose head is being held at a downward angle to its neck by a tourniquet of fishing line, meaning it is unlikely to be able to dive or even swallow. The bird is able to fly, however, so capturing it seems unlikely at the moment.

Additional news: of which there is quite a bit. A couple more Redstart than previously reported were on Hengistbury, 2 birds on the Batters, in fact. Also, a Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Yellow Wagtail and still 14 Wheatear in the evening, when a two hour seawatch produced 2 dark Arctic Skua chasing a Crow, over 80 Common Tern and 3 Common Scoter. Finally, a late visit to Stanpit added a further Greenshank, an adult Mediterranean Gull, a Common Gull and a Teal to the day's tally.


August 21st

After the early morning rain had cleared through, there was a hint of passerine migration on Hengistbury, where 12 Whitethroat and a couple of Sedge Warbler were adjacent to the HHC. Later in the day, Crouch Hill, Stanpit, held up to 5 Wheatear with 3 Yellow Wagtail over. In defiance of the suggestion that yesterday's Swift could be the last, a flock of 11, with an accompanying House Martin, moved east over the head, while a flock of 20 Black-tailed Godwit headed in pretty much the opposite direction. The only new waders for the day appeared to be 2 Turnstone in Barn Bight, where numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plover seemed consistent with the last couple of days, also 5 Whimbrel, the 2 settled Black-tailed Godwit and a Common Sandpiper. A further 2 Common Sandpiper were in Barn Bight, as were single Greenshank and Ringed Plover, a Great-crested Grebe was again on the water and a Raven went down into the Nursery.


August 20th

A couple of juvenile Goosander on the river by the HHC were presumably from a brood raised not too far away, but 2 Crossbill over Wick Fields may have come from much further afield. Also by the HHC this morning, a Redstart, while a Green Sandpiper, 14 Yellow Wagtail and a Tree Pipit moved overhead. The final date for Swift last year was 26th of the month, so a single bird today could conceivably end up with that accolade for 2008. There weren't too many of the commoner passerines to remark upon; for example, just 9 Wheatear across Stanpit and Wick, but little else noteworthy. The Stanpit waders were assessed from South Marsh and Fisherman's Bank, numbering: 120 Dunlin, 50 Ringed Plover, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Sanderling, 2 Whimbrel, a Greenshank and a Knot; also what seems to be now a sole juvenile Shelduck about the marsh. An attempt at an evening seawatching was thwarted by the late afternoon cloud burst, so from the shelter of the HHC a Kingfisher and Little Grebe were added to the day list, which had earlier recorded 2 Gadwall, a Great-crested Grebe in the harbour and a Raven over.


August 19th

Not really an awful lot to write about today, when Stanpit was the only site to turn in some news. This morning a good total of 130 Ringed Plover were present, along with 150 Dunlin, 3 Whimbrel and 3 Sanderling, the latter hanging around all day. Late in the afternoon, a party of 3 Bar-tailed Godwit were off South Marsh, 4 Black-tailed Godwit went through, while 2 Greenshank and 2 Common Sandpiper were also present. The highest in-harbour tern counts for the day were 62 Sandwich Tern and 6 Common Tern.

Additional news: a couple more Greenshank were off Rushy Piece and an adult Common Gull was on Stanpit.


August 18th

The arrival of 3 Wigeon at Stanpit certainly added to the wintry feel that was provided by the very strong south-westerly and high water levels. In fact, it was a mixture of summer and winter duck on the marsh, with a Garganey accompanying a Teal in the morning; then, this afternoon, a couple more Teal dropped in. A Green Sandpiper was over Wick Fields early in the day and two further birds were on pools on South Marsh, while a Golden Plover moved northwards overhead. The other waders on Stanpit had changed little from yesterday and included: 150 Dunlin, 75 Ringed Plover, 6 Sanderling, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Whimbrel. In spite of the wind, a Hengistbury seawatch totalled just 19 Common Tern and 2 Gannet. Also on the head, a couple of Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight, but the only passerine reports from the entire area involve 'a few' Wheatear on Crouch Hill. Meanwhile, a single Canada Goose littered South Marsh.


August 17th

The headline for the day involves a Hawfinch in the North Scrubs, Stanpit, for a time this morning, before it headed off towards the old riding stables at Monkswell Green. This bird could well represent the area's first 'non-autumn' record. Hengistbury was visited early on, but the only news currently in suggests there were quite a few Whitethroat about. Stanpit Bight was watched for most of the afternoon, but produced little out of the ordinary. The best was perhaps an adult Arctic Tern that was seen leaving the South Marsh roost; but a juvenile Hobby flushing most of the small birds and making an unsuccessful lunge at a Linnet was also good value. The Yellow Wagtail passage is yet to get fully underway, so one over was nice, also 3 Wheatear about Crouch Hill. Most of the small waders sat out the high tide on the small shingle patch just beyond the last gorse patch on South Marsh, numbering: 250 Dunlin, 50 Ringed Plover and up to 12 Sanderling, while 4 Common Sandpiper were dotted around the Bight. As the water fell, the 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, an adult and juvenile, and a Common Gull jumped onto the mud. Earlier, a Peregrine had made a couple of patrols around the harbour. Finally, some further news on yesterday's Monty's Harrier - what could only have been the same bird travelled past Totland, the Isle of Wight, at a time consistent with the Hengistbury bird.

News now coming in from Hengistbury, where a Green Sandpiper lifted up from close the HHC and headed west, also a singles of Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight and Greenshank in Holloway's Dock.

Additional news: a Green Sandpiper passed over Stanpit a couple of times and the Greenshank total there rose to 4. There was also a fly-past of 33 Canada Goose that arrived from the south-east.


August 16th

Seeing a party of three Arctic Skua together off Hengistbury is a spectacle indeed, but when it's realised that the bird they're harrying is a ringtail Montagu's Harrier around 100m offshore and moving east, then that's a different story and just reward for the lone watcher who endured after all others had given up the ghost! In fact, when everyone left Roger Howell to sit it out at 10:00, the totals had been just a single Arctic Skua, 3 juvenile Kittiwake, around 150 Common Tern west and 2 Common Scoter. In the subsequent 3 hours, however, the numbers rose to: at least 8, but possibly up to 12, Arctic Skua, a juvenile Arctic Tern, 400+ Common Tern and 120 Gannet west, 2 shearwater sp. east, 18 Common Scoter, 4 juvenile Kittiwake and a Fulmar. A really commendable effort, from a position that was uncomfortably exposed to the strong south-south-easterly wind. While the rest of the area seemed almost devoid of migrant passerines, a clump in the Long Field held all the action. At least 20 Blackcap provided the numbers, but 2 Spotted Flycatcher and a Garden Warbler were the premium birds, also 2 Wheatear on the head. Nothing at all to report from Stanpit, so to round up at Hengistbury; single Peregrine were seen on two occasions, a couple of Raven arrived from the Valley and 5 Ringed Plover went over the Hungry Hiker. The strong wind hampered the ringing and only 12 birds were caught - 5 Sedge Warbler, 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Whitethroat and 2 Reed Warbler.


August 15th

There was a quite significant fall of passerines onto Hengistbury this morning. As an example, in a 5-minute spell from 6:30, over 100 phylloscs were seen jumping the track between the Double Dykes and Wick Ditch. Before the totals however, the picks of the session. A Pied Flycatcher was in the Nursery with a Redstart close by, 5 Whinchat were spread across the Long and Barn Fields as well as Wick, 2 Tree Pipit and 5 Yellow Wagtail moved over, while 4 Garden Warbler were in one bush alone and 3 Lesser Whitethroat were logged. An apparent movement of Sparrowhawk saw 6 birds moving high west; while, more routinely, 210 Willow Warbler, 132 Whitethroat, 35 Sedge Warbler, 23 Blackcap and 11 Wheatear were recorded. Hengistbury also witnessed a good number of waders, most of them passing by and including: a Green Sandpiper, 2 Avocet, 25 Knot with one flock of 16 birds, 3 Greenshank, 65 Ringed Plover and 47 Black-tailed Godwit, with 2 Common Sandpiper settled in Barn Bight. Also on the head, a Nuthatch heard in the Wood and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull. Even after the midday high tide roost had been booted about by multiple canoeists, Stanpit still held a reasonable number of waders on the afternoon low. The Dunlin estimate was 200, also 50 or so Ringed Plover, but more accurate numbers comprise 9 Snipe up off East Marsh and north, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, the juvenile Knot, 1 Sanderling and 1 Common Sandpiper. Raven are normally early morning birds, so 2 over the harbour this afternoon was relatively unusual, also 3 Wheatear on Crouch Hill. As of 7:00 tonight, more news may follow, as the rising tide in Stanpit Bight is still being watched and photographed.

The extra Stanpit news involves a party of 5 juvenile Knot that left west, plus the Greenshank and Sanderling day totals rising to 4 and 2 respectively.

Additional news: a couple of Swift were over the Hungry Hiker just after lunchtime.


August 14th

Another seawatching attempt was made this morning, but it was even quieter than yesterday, with numbers reaching only 25 Gannet, 41 Common Tern, 23 of these west, and a Fulmar east. Again, however, there was some wader interest, as a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper skimmed the groynes, while Holloway's Dock held 2 Greenshank and 2 Whimbrel. At Stanpit, even on a high tide, 18 Common Sandpiper were evident; also an exceptional count of 157 Redshank with, encouragingly for this declining species, a high incidence of juvenile birds. Also about the marsh, 3 Greenshank dodging the mullet anglers on East Marsh, 21 Ringed Plover, 3 Sanderling and the now regular Knot. The North Scrubs registered a reasonable passerine presence, including 27 Willow Warbler, 9 Blackcap and a Garden Warbler, and Crouch Hill held 8 Wheatear. In the afternoon, subsequent trips were made to Fisherman's Bank, when a Turnstone, a Grey Plover, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Sanderling, 45 Ringed Plover and a couple of hundred Dunlin were all added to the day list. Just as the main bulk of the post is finished, news has been received of a Wood Sandpiper over Fisherman's Bank early in the morning and the incredible sight of 2 Nuthatch together in the Nursery conifers. The final field news involves a Green Sandpiper over Wick Fields tonight, with Kingfisher being recorded at Hengistbury and Stanpit. On the first favourable ringing day for a while, the two man team netted 40 birds including 13 Sedge Warbler, 7 Reed Warbler and a Willow Warbler.


August 13th

The Holloway's Dock area held the best of the day's birds. On the lagoon itself, a party of 5 Greenshank were accompanied by 2 Wood Sandpiper, which later left independently of each other. In addition, the adjacent Salt Hurns held a particularly showy Grasshopper Warbler, while a Yellow Wagtail moved over. All of these were recorded en route to an early seawatch that ultimately spanned the two hours from 6:30. However, despite the blow, other than 2 Balearic Shearwater, a Manx Shearawater and a Little Tern, all west, it was perhaps a touch disappointing. For example, just 100+ Gannet, 130 Common Tern, some of these on the beach feeding juveniles, and 85 Sandwich Tern. Moving waders were more notable with the totals from Hengistbury turned in as follows: 35 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Ringed Plover, 14 Knot, 7 Sanderling, 4 Turnstone and 4 Common Sandpiper. From Fisherman's Bank, at least 44 Dunlin were counted, also the juvenile Knot and a further Common Sandpiper. Tonight, the information services report a Wood Sandpiper in Stanpit Bight.


August 12th

The westerly wind seems to be gathering pace as the month rolls on, but brings few seabirds with it. From Hengistbury, just 110 Gannet, 36 Common Tern and 24 Sandwich Tern were logged, all moving east, which is particularly strange for the terns at least. Stanpit hosted the day's best two records: firstly, 3 Curlew Sandpiper were visible from the Argyle Road slip at around 7:30 this morning; while a couple of female-type Garganey were roosting in Stanpit Bight tonight, before heading across the harbour towards Barn Bight. In the main, the waders were difficult to census, as even the low tides were up around 0.9m meaning little, if any, mud. However, 150+ Dunlin, 9 Ringed Plover, 3 Common Sandpiper, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Sanderling, 2 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel and the young Knot were all recorded. A party of 4 Raven were seen over Hengistbury, as were 3 Teal, and a single Wheatear was on Crouch Hill.

Additional news: a group of 14 Bar-tailed Godwit left west at 11:00.


August 11th

The first Curlew Sandpiper of the autumn - a moulting adult, as would be expected on such a date - was seen to arrive in a small group of waders at Stanpit mid-morning, when, after yesterday's dip, the overall numbers were back up. Peak counts from Fisherman's Bank and Stanpit Bight, spanning the period from 7:30 to 12:30, include: 270+ Dunlin, 33 Ringed Plover, 7 Common Sandpiper, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel, the juvenile Knot, a Greenshank and a single Sanderling. Early in the day, a small group of 3 Crossbill went northwards over Priory Marsh, while Crouch Hill briefly hosted 5 Wheatear, 10 Willow Warbler and a Sedge Warbler. A couple of Kingfisher were seen together from Fisherman's Bank and a single bird was about the Bight. Meanwhile, it seems the 2 young Shelduck are no longer attended to by an adult, so have hopefully made it. The highlight from Hengistbury was a Bearded Tit heard during the ringing around the HHC area, where a total of 21 birds, made up of 10 Sedge Warbler, 8 Reed Warbler, 2 Reed Bunting and a Whitethroat, were caught.


August 10th

In the recent few years, this date has turned up some goodies, so it was early to Stanpit full of hope and anticipation. However, after yesterday's wader glut, which no-one feels was fully exploited due to the quite awful weather, there had clearly been something of an overnight clear-out. The small waders had reduced to just 125 birds, the overwhelming majority of them Dunlin, but also 15 or so Ringed Plover and a single Sanderling. The juvenile Knot remained in Stanpit Bight, as did 3 Whimbrel, around 3 Common Sandpiper and 1 Greenshank, with 3 more of the latter on North Marsh. Migrant wise, a total of 4 Wheatear were about Crouch Hill, while 3 Swift moved through. Of other interest, a Peregrine briefly rampaged the airspace, a Kingfisher darted across Central Marsh and a Shoveler rested all day in Stanpit Bight. Despite a few afternoon visits, the marsh could produce nothing more; and, in a strong south-westerly, the sea was not visited - a lost opportunity perhaps? Please check back to yesterday for some late interest at Stanpit.

Correction, the sea was watched for two hours and the 'lost opportunity' was that of time! Just a single Arctic Skua and Arctic Tern during the whole spell.

Additional news: 2 juvenile Mediterranean Gull were on Stanpit in the evening.


August 9th

This morning, before the all-day rain set in, Stanpit was visited and found to hold a group of 4 adult Little Stint just off South Marsh. Also, a seemingly juvenile, but it does seem early, Knot and 2 Grey Plover, including the really smart bird; as well as 2 Greenshank, 200+ Dunlin, up to 80 Ringed Plover, 8 Common Sandpiper, a Sanderling, 2 Whimbrel and a Black-tailed Godwit in Stanpit Bight. Common Tern were clearly on the move, with around 250 passing over the area in various sized groups, the largest being 57 birds very early on; while a Little Tern rested up in the harbour, as did 8 Arctic Tern briefly. There was a smattering of passerine interest, headed by a female-type Pied Flycatcher in the Wood, where the Marsh Tit was found to be still present, 2 Grasshopper Warbler by the HHC, 6 Wheatear about the area and 1 Yellow Wagtail over. The sea was largely quiet, in fact just a pair of Common Scoter west to really note. However, it was somewhat distressing to see a second-year Gannet hauling itself onto the Long Groyne, debilitated by the type of net-bag that oranges are supplied in. Although an attempt was made to capture the bird for taking into care, it jumped back into the water and drifted off on the tide, with the scavenging gulls already in attendance. Finally for the morning, the 3 Teal from last night flew downriver, an adult Mediterranean Gull was on Stanpit, a Kingfisher was by the HHC and 2 further Greenshank were in Brewer's Creek. This afternoon, the showers were dodged and additional news from Stanpit involves 3 Greenshank and a Peregrine.

Additional news: a Wood Sandpiper was at Stanpit in the late afternoon.


August 8th

There were Stanpit wader highlights at both ends of the day. In the morning, an adult Little Stint spent some time on the tip of South Marsh before heading off towards Blackberry Point, after which is was never seen again. Late this afternoon, a Wood Sandpiper was in the regular gull and tern roost on the shore of South Marsh, before it too took flight, but only as far as the tip. Interestingly, the only reason the bird was located was as a result of it calling in response to an overhead Green Sandpiper, another local scarcity! At least 300 Dunlin spent the day at Stanpit, with the flocks now being a real mixture of age and probably race; also 9 Sanderling, 8 Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Turnstone, a magnificently attired Grey Plover, a Knot, the Bar-tailed Godwit, a Greenshank and 1 Black-tailed Godwit. A couple of Wheatear parked themselves on the bench on Crouch Hill for a short time, while the North Scrubs held 25 Willow Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat. On the saltmarsh, another juvenile Mediterranean Gull was recorded and two pairs of Shoveler were seen on a few occasions around Stanpit Bight. From Hengistbury, Barn Bight chipped in with 2 Greenshank and 6 Common Sandpiper, as well as a very showy Water Rail. As expected, Kingfisher sightings are on the increase, with both sides of the harbour seeing birds. Late this afternoon, an ant hatch on Hengistbury attracted several hundred Black-headed Gull, as well as 3 Mediterranean Gull.

The now customary evening visit to Stanpit added 3 Teal and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, before the Red Arrows, returning to Hurn after displaying over Cowes, cleared the harbour.


August 7th

At last, Wood Sandpiper made it onto the year list with a bird initially in Mother Siller's Channel seeming to push-off towards Parky Meade Rail as the tide flooded in this morning. Also by Mother Siller's, an adult Little Ringed Plover on Speller's Point, but that too was moved away by the rising water. This is the time for Kingfisher to start becoming more frequent, so one at Stanpit today was no real surprise, nor indeed was a Hobby overhead. Another wave of Dunlin appears to be on the move, with over 270 in the harbour today, also 29 Ringed Plover, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, at least 6 Sanderling, 10 Whimbrel, 6 Common Sandpiper and the Bar-tailed Godwit, also the Shelduck family still at 4. On Hengistbury, the Barn Bight area held 2 Greenshank and 4 Common Sandpiper. A dawn rain shower effectively ruined the ringing, with the nets having to be furled almost as soon as they had been opened. This meant that just 18 birds were eventually caught, amongst them 8 Sedge Warbler, 5 Reed Warbler and a juvenile Cetti's Warbler.

Additional news: an adult Knot was at Stanpit this evening, as well as 40+ Ringed Plover and 3 Shoveler.


August 6th

A real selection of bits and pieces from both the main sites today. A couple of Raven, 6 Crossbill and 8 Arctic Tern passed over Hengistbury, while a Great Skua, 7 Arctic Skua, 5 Common Scoter and 4 juvenile Mediterreanean Gull went by westward at sea. Also offshore were masses of terns, with the term uncountable being mentioned. Passerines were relatively low in numbers, but did include a Grey Wagtail, 15 Willow Warbler and 3 Lesser Whitethroat. It was waders, however, that really produced the totals. A late morning visit to Stanpit saw: 125 Dunlin, 15 Ringed Plover, 15 Sanderling, 3 Turnstone, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, the Bar-tailed Godwit and a high count of 102 Oystercatcher; but, earlier, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 115 Dunlin, 44 Ringed Plover and 3 Knot had been seen to leave the area. Meanwhile, on Hengistbury, at least 9 Common Sandpiper, 5 Greenshank, 4 Sanderling and 8 Black-tailed Godwit were dotted about.

Additional evening news from Stanpit: 3 Greenshank and 3 Common Sandpiper were new for the day, and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull was on the marsh. Also, a count of 40 Little Egret made earlier in the day.


August 5th

Some quite atrocious early weather limited the morning records to just 3 Turnstone on Stanpit. However, things cleared up by lunchtime and an afternoon trip was made, despite the unfavourable, high tide. Nevertheless, the following totals were turned in: 56 Dunlin, 9 Whimbrel, 8 Common Sandpiper, 8 Ringed Plover and an increase to 4 Turnstone. Also, a Wheatear still on Crouch Hill and a single Common Gull. There is a further visit ongoing, so a later update may follow. As you will have seen from the recent promotional guff, the 2007 report is now back from the printers. This year sees another excellent piece of work and credit must go to the report editor, Leo Pyke, for the many, many hours she puts into producing such a fine publication.

As promised, a Stanpit update, where 6 Common Sandpiper, 15 Ringed Plover and the Bar-tailed Godwit were present.


August 4th

Again it was terns that dominated the numbers, with over 500 Sandwich Tern and 285 Common Tern heading through the harbour into the south-westerly breeze. Both the species seem to be carrying a reasonable proportion of juvenile birds, which is good news. Migrant passerines were also on the move in reasonable quantities - 163 Willow Warbler and 47 Whitethroat were watched crossing the gap between Hengistbury and Wick Ditch, while the reedbeds were stuffed full of Sedge Warbler at dawn. A Redstart was on the Barn Field, and 2 Yellow Wagtail and a Lesser Whitethroat were also recorded. There was a short spell early on that produced an impressive selection of waders, including: 2 Spotted Redshank west, 2 Golden Plover north, a Green Sandpiper seemingly arriving, as did 7 Knot and 23 Ringed Plover, 9 Black-tailed Godwit west and likewise 4 Whimbrel. Inside the harbour, there were at least 15 Common Sandpiper, mainly in Barn Bight along with 2 Greenshank, the Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Whimbrel, and a further 36 and 6 of Dunlin and Ringed Plover respectively. A count of 7 Shoveler from Fisherman's Bank was nice and the Shelduck family continues to survive unscathed. Other morning notes come from 70+ Gannet at sea, a couple of undetailed Mediterranean Gull, a juvenile Peregrine over and a Great Spotted Woodpecker by the HHC. The ringers were out in force and bagged over 50 birds. Of these, 28 were Sedge Warbler, but also 3 Reed Warbler, a Sand Martin that had presumably roosted in the reeds and 8 Willow Warbler. It's interesting to note that 90% of the birds were caught between dawn and 7:30, with the next 3 hours producing the remainder. A sure indicator of the way to bird Hengistbury! At 6:45, a report just in from Stanpit, where there are currently 120 Sandwich Tern and 90 Common Tern, also a Greenshank and Sanderling, 70 Dunlin, 16 Ringed Plover and 7 Common Sandpiper that were almost certainly not part of the previously mentioned total; also a Wheatear on the marsh. Slightly earlier, the information services carried news of 15 Arctic Tern.


August 3rd

Despite it being another wet morning, because the wind had shifted to the south-west, there was ample shelter to be found on Hengistbury, meaning a good two-hour seawatch could be undertaken. Although the highlights were a Black Tern and 6 Arctic Skua, including a group of 3 birds together, the sheer number of commoner terns was spectacular in itself. During the period, 465 Sandwich Tern and 119 Common Tern were counted heading west, as were over 400 Gannet after an easterly movement yesterday. Also 38 Swift on the move, while a Yellow Wagtail and Wheatear were settled at the end of the head. Ruff have been few and far between this year, so a bird on Wick Hams was very welcome. Elsewhere, however, waders were a slight disappointment. For example, just 20 Dunlin, 15 Ringed Plover, a Greenshank, 5 Common Sandpiper, 6 Whimbrel and the Bar-tailed Godwit on Stanpit, where there was also a lone Canada Goose and the regular Shelduck family of 4.

Additional news: a Wheatear was by the Point House Cafe in the evening.


August 2nd

A pretty miserable morning with drizzle from the south-east meaning no shelter and the keeping of dry optics very difficult indeed. From what shelter the currently occupied Beach Huts offered, a couple of Arctic Skua were seen passing west and presumably the same female Eider went by in both directions. A count of 108 Gannet into The Solent is almost certainly on the low side, but visibility was constantly poor and many more could have easily slipped past. A group of 40 or so Dunlin were flushed from the Beach and headed east, while a Turnstone and 2 Ringed Plover moved by west. By the afternoon, things had cleared up and a further Arctic Skua and 4 Mediterranean Gull were offshore. There were sparse records of in-harbour waders, but 4 Common Sandpiper and 2 Whimbrel are amongst them. Over Wick, a Hobby preyed on one of the locally reared Swallow and, despite being aggressively mobbed by the parents, managed to devour its meal inside a minute. On the bright side, it looks as if another Swallow family may be just about to leave the Barn. Prior to 5:30, when the outlook was still looking good, a total of 13 birds were trapped, including 5 Sedge Warbler and 2 Reed Warbler. However, once the rain set in, the nets were furled.

Additional news: 2 adult Turnstone were on Stanpit in the evening.


August 1st

In a strong south-westerly, the first trip to the Beach Huts for almost a week was undertaken. Nothing too special was turned up however, with counts including 8 Common Scoter east and 55 Gannet, 35 Sandwich Tern, 31 Common Tern and a Fulmar west, also 6 Common Sandpiper, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and a Dunlin heading down the channel. A party of 5 Snipe were seen coming up from Wick Hams and between them Holloway's Dock and Barn Bight held 4 Common Sandpiper and 3 Whimbrel. The only other report of note was the Nuthatch heard in the Wood.

Additional news from Wick: where there was an 80 strong Goldfinch flock on thistleheads, also a Peregrine seen over Whitepits. A group of 3 newly fledged Swallow, presumably a second brood from the Barn, showed very well by the HHC.

More from Stanpit, where 4 Common Sandpiper, 4 Whimbrel and the plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit were present. Additionally, the DBC website carries a report of 3 Greenshank.

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