Sightings for November 2008
It was a pretty miserable morning for WeBS counting, meaning the most of the day's maximums actually come from a dusk visit to Fisherman's Bank, where the Spotted Redshank and Avocet were again both intermittently present. Before the grind of the numbers, the remaining records of above-average value: 3 Shoveler and the drake Pintail in Stanpit Bight; 6 Grey Plover and 5 Turnstone off Fisherman's Bank; a Redwing in the North Scrubs and the year's first two young Brent Goose with the 56 adults that were on the marsh today. Also notable, but for all the wrong reasons was the Snipe count - just 3 making the spreadsheet - even after Central Marsh had been given some serious attention. Now the rest in something approaching numerical order: 435 Wigeon, 252 Dunlin, a low 173 Coot, 136 Redshank, 101 Mallard, 77 Teal, 47 Oystercatcher, 43 Ringed Plover, 20 Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Curlew, an almost unbelievably poor 15 Mute Swan and 4 Kingfisher.
An extremely cold north-easterly wind made Hengistbury a pretty uncomfortable place to be this morning - and while the trusty Beach Huts provided some shelter, the sea turned in very little of interest. The best was a Red-throated Diver fishing just 10m offshore, plus a further bird east. A few duck moved past, including 2 Eider, 4 Red-breasted Merganser and singles of Gadwall and Teal. Meanwhile, a Razorbill and a Great Crested Grebe were on the water off the Double Dykes. Inside the harbour, there was another impressive Little Grebe count, with 22 being the day-total, also a Great Crested Grebe in Barn Bight. On Wick, a Fieldfare moved over and around 10 Redwing were between there and the end of the head, where there were at least 3 Redpoll. To conclude, a Chiffchaff was calling by the HHC and a Coal Tit was in the Wood.
The last couple of days have seen a definite influx of Little Grebe and it seems this has now also attracted a Slavonian Grebe, with a bird being seen briefly off Speller's Point this afternoon. This is the 220th species for the year, excluding feral pigeon, and is something for the Saturday regulars to try and relocate tomorrow. Around the same time, a female Tufted Duck in Barn Bight may well have been one of a pair that were in there this morning. The Fisherman's Bank Avocet has been joined by another, while 12 Black-tailed Godwit and 55 Brent Goose were also counted from there. Some counts around Stanpit Bight from the log revealed 2 drake and 1 duck Pintail, 6 Grey Plover, 14 Common Gull and 157 Dunlin.
A brief seawatch from the Beach Huts this morning produced just 2 Velvet Scoter and a single Common Scoter, while from Mudeford Quay 2 Red-throated Diver were seen; all the birds were heading west. The 6 Redpoll were still feeding in the birches opposite Holloway's Dock, the 2 Coal Tit were again in the wood and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was present. Today's count of Little Grebe on the river was 19.
This morning's highlights were yet another Hen Harrier, it's been a good autumn for this species, and Bearded Tit on both sides of the harbour. The Hen Harrier, a ringtail, moved east over the Beach Huts just after 9:00. A little earlier, Central Marsh held 4 Bearded Tit, while a further 2 birds flew over the HHC slipway towards Wick Hams. The harbour, which was like the proverbial millpond, had a good selection of less common wildfowl with 4 Pintail and 4 Shoveler in Stanpit Bight, and 2 Tufted Duck off Grimmery; also 7 Gadwall arrived and a flock of 26 Pochard flew downriver. There were 185 Teal around Stanpit and another 25 in Barn Bight making a total of 210, the best count of the winter so far. Little Grebe also made the most of the conditions with 22 birds present and a single Great Crested Grebe was on the river. Towards the end of the head, 6 Redpoll were feeding in the birches, while 2 Coal Tit were again in the Wood, a Chiffchaff was by the HHC and 3 Siskin flew over. On this morning's high tide, waders were hard to find but the Spotted Redshank was on Stanpit and the Mudeford Sandspit held 34 Ringed Plover and 31 Dunlin. Finally, to round up, 2 Grey Wagtail were on Stanpit, a flock of 8 Raven visited the locality and a Red-throated Diver moved west at sea.
The highpoint of the day was a diving duck gathering in Barn Bight that comprised 11 Pochard - a massive flock for the area - and a single Tufted Duck. Meanwhile, there were 5 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit and 2 Coal Tit in the Wood. Sanderling are certainly an above-average winter record, so 2 from Fisherman's Bank is well worthy on note; also 140 Dunlin, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Shoveler and 26 Brent Goose logged from there.
After a few day's apparent absence, the Avocet was again off Fisherman's Bank this afternoon, from where 192 Dunlin and 45 Ringed Plover were also counted. Outside of the area, but in the satellite zone of the Lower Avon Valley, there have been up to 4 each of Pink-footed Goose and White-fronted Goose over the last couple of days. These are best looked for southwards from double bends pull-in on the causeway.
Additional news from Hengistbury: a Redpoll was over the Wood, which also contained 8 Goldcrest, while 4 Raven and a Pintail were also noted.
On a rather unpleasant day, the only news comes from Stanpit, which was checked out from Fisherman's Bank at lunchtime and from the log in the late afternoon. The best were an adult Mediterranean Gull, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Grey Plover and 4 Shoveler, but a healthy 150 or so Dunlin were also in the bight along with 22 Ringed Plover and 14 Black-tailed Godwit, while a wisp of 8 Snipe came up out of East Marsh and the drake Pintail was bobbing around beyond Blackberry Point. The cold, northerly wind seemed to catch out one of the Avon Valley Buzzard that found itself suddenly over North Marsh and being intercepted by local corvids. Brent Goose have been declining in the area for a number of seasons, however, this winter seems particularly bad; for example, a paltry 19, which is around 100 less than expected, being the maximum count for today. Also seemingly scarce are young Black-headed Gull, with very few having been noted over the last fortnight or so.
Omission: a Ruff was seen to come up from Wick Hams in the morning and perhaps went down onto Stanpit.
In a biting north-westerly wind, the Beach Huts provided some welcome shelter and the sea was consequently watched for the entirety of the morning. The first couple of hours were particularly good, not so much for numbers, but instead quality. An immaculate drake Goosander passed by west very close, while a Scaup that circled The Solent for a few minutes was in slightly less spectacular garb. Also, 4 Eider in the early period and 3 Redpoll out to sea. As the watch wore on, the quantities increased and final totals, generally west, include: 5 more Eider, 3 Red-throated Diver, the same or another Scaup, a Pochard, 89 Pintail - the largest flock being 36, 4 Tufted Duck, 6 Shoveler, 3 Gadwall, 167 Wigeon, 38 Common Scoter - one group consisting 35 birds, 19 Shelduck, 26 Mallard and 58 Common Gull. There was also a noticeable trickle of Mute Swan from the east, with a total of 10 arriving in 4 small groups. Meanwhile, 2 Razorbill and 21 auk sp. headed towards the Isle of Wight. Wader-wise, the sandspit was relatively quiet, save for 25 Ringed Plover and a passing Turnstone, but a male Peregrine overhead may have been the reason. At dawn, a couple of Redwing went over the HHC and a Kingfisher was about Barn Bight.
Again, pretty quiet, although the Spotted Redshank and Pintail remained at Stanpit, where there were also 15 Ringed Plover and 75-80 Dunlin. A trip to Hengistbury logged pretty standard fayre, but 6 Turnstone by the Black House were of interest, as were 18 the other side of The Run by the dinghy park on Mudeford Quay.
Only Fisherman's Bank can turn in some news, where the Avocet was again present, along with 80 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover and 2 Grey Plover. There really isn't anything else to remark upon!
Additional news: the Spotted Redshank and drake Pintail were still at Stanpit, as were a pair of Shoveler.
There was a late, but small, flurry of Wood Pigeon this morning, as 3185 moved west just north of Stanpit with other interesting movers including 6 arriving Bearded Tit, a Bullfinch and a Brambling; more on the numbers later though. A Sandwich Tern was in the harbour off Rushy Piece for a short time, a Tufted Duck toured the area, a Peregrine forced 50 Dunlin and 6 Black-tailed Godwit into the air, and 8 Little Grebe were on the river. The tail end of the season's finch passage comprised: 195 Goldfinch, 160 Linnet, 125 Chaffinch, 14 Redpoll and 8 Siskin; while other passerines came courtesy of 160 Starling, 21 Redwing and 3 Fieldfare inbound.
It was left to the Avocet and Spotted Redshank from Fisherman's Bank to salvage something for the day's post. In fact, two visits were made during the morning, with peak counts coming in at 126 Dunlin, 42 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Snipe and a Grey Plover; also around 275 Lapwing in the harbour. The Wood on Hengistbury was pretty deserted save for half a dozen Goldcrest, while the sea produced just 2 auk sp. and a Great-crested Grebe was in the harbour.
Additional news: a Sandwich Tern left the harbour over the HHC this morning, when a Golden Plover was up with the spooked Lapwing.
A pair of Goosander upriver past the HHC were the undoubted highlight of the day and possibly represent an arrival of birds into the south of the UK for the winter, as a few have been dotted around sites in the both Hants and Dorset. It will be interesting to see if the Ibsley Water roost, just north of Ringwood, builds up in the next few days. An Avocet was again in the creek off Fisherman's Bank and one now starts to wonder if it is the same bird that spent most of last winter there; whereas today's Spotted Redshank is almost certainly into its third season on the site. Generally, wader numbers from a couple of low tide counts look quite healthy and included: 90 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Grey Plover, 30 Ringed Plover and 172 Dunlin. To conclude the day's sightings, 6 Little Grebe were on the river and a Great Crested Grebe flew south over them. Finally, the weekend's Great Northern Diver shot was the 220th species/sub-species to be added to the website photographic archive - for a full index, please click here .
Stanpit received the most attention today with a drake Pintail around Stanpit Bight and a redhead Red-breasted Merganser off Blackberry Point providing the most interest, although 46 Ringed Plover was not a bad counts by recent standards. While Hengistbury was very quiet, a couple of Bullfinch and a Grey Wagtail over are worth picking out, as was a Great Northern Diver on an otherwise uneventful sea. The only other news from the head is of 5 Redwing northbound and 6 Little Grebe in Barn Bight. Back to Stanpit, where there were some reasonable counts of Black-tailed Godwit, 100+ Redshank and 47 Dunlin, but also 6 Snipe and 12 Common Gull, with at least one of the latter being a bird of the year. Rather disconcertingly, only 15-20 Brent Goose could be seen, which has been the case for the last few days. As the week closes, it seems timely to reflect that the autumn migration is all but over and to a large degree was stifled by a period of westerly wind. Despite being eagerly awaited, for the first time in many years the Wood Pigeon did not pass through in numbers, and less than 5000 in near perfect conditions last Tuesday suggests that, whatever you may wish, it probably is now all over.
It had the air of a social occasion this morning, rather than a concerted effort to find a good bird to round off the autumn. Consequently, there is so far little to report. The sea was very quiet, producing just a Great Northern Diver that circuited the head a couple of times before pushing off west, along with 4 Red-throated Diver and a few Brent Goose and Shelduck on the move. A pair of Raven spent some time touring the cliffs and agitating the local crows, while an adult male Peregrine passed by close then went out to sea. Early on, a single Fieldfare was over the HHC and a Redwing was briefly settled at the end of the head. Despite the chat, it was clear there was some overhead migration going on and it's hoped to get those details before this evening, else an update will follow tomorrow. Per the information services, Stanpit held a Spotted Redshank, an Avocet and a Mediterranean Gull.
Additional news: 3 Firecrest were together in one bush at the end of the head.
A pretty mild and uneventful morning, other than a Black Redstart by the Coastguards and a late Swallow over the head. Meanwhile, a flock of 150 Black-tailed Godwit arrived from the east, along with 1000 or so Lapwing and 9 Greylag Goose. Had something caused all these to leave Pennington or Keyhaven, I wonder? The rest was fairly routine and probably represents the rundown of season. For example: 1500 Wood Pigeon west, 2 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, a Brambling, 15 Redpoll and 70 Chaffinch, but no other finches to report. At sea, a Red-breasted Merganser passed, as did 6 Gadwall, while a Peregrine was about the airspace and 5 Little Grebe were in the harbour. Late this afternoon, from Fisherman's Bank, just 15 Black-tailed Godwit remained accompanying 45 Dunlin.
Before the persistent rain set in there was a moderate amount of migration this morning. The highlights, however, were 2 ring-tailed Hen Harrier seen from the Coastguards, moving west towards the Purbecks. The birds were just a few minutes apart, then, shortly afterwards, a Marsh Harrier arrived and headed inland. The sea was generally quiet with just a Great Northern Diver east, also 8 Gadwall and 3 Pochard west. Migration totals logged were 1470 Wood Pigeon, 270 Starling and 67 Stock Dove west, 32 Blackbird, 27 Song Thrush, 9 Fieldfare and 3 Redwing north, while coasting were 310 Goldfinch, 263 Chaffinch, 56 Linnet, 28 Siskin, 23 Reed Bunting, 15 Brambling and 4 Redpoll. Around Double Dykes were 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 3 Chiffchaff were on Wick Fields.
Despite almost perfect conditions, a fine clear morning with a light westerly wind, the promised pigeon bonanza didn't happen today! Only 4245 Wood Pigeon were logged, all the birds heading south-west in the first couple of hours after dawn. There were still plenty of other birds on the move however, with thrushes in particular leaving the head soon after first light - counts were 61 Fieldfare, 30 Song Thrush, 27 Redwing and 4 Mistle Thrush. The best of the rest was a single Yellowhammer over the Barn Field, plus 225 Chaffinch, 142 Starling, 125 Meadow Pipit, 100 Goldfinch, 46 Redpoll, 37 Linnet, 18 Siskin, 10 Skylark, 5 Rook and a Grey Wagtail. This afternoon, the wood on Hengistbury held 4 Firecrest and 2 Coal Tit, while a Great Spotted Woodpecker was over Wick Fields. Finally, 3 Purple Sandpiper were on the Mudeford Sandspit. Check back to yesterday for additional news.
Things were a lot more settled overnight, when there had been a clear arrival of 'crests. The Wood held up to 3 Firecrest and far more Goldcrest than of late, while a couple of Chiffchaff and Blackcap on Wick had probably been around for a few days already. Little else from the southern section of the area though, other than 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker. Fisherman's Bank was tried morning and afternoon, but the later session saw the most birds with a Bar-tailed Godwit, 65 Black-tailed Godwit and 48 Dunlin counted. Right now, the skies are promisingly clear and if it stays that way the pigeons could be on at dawn. In recent times, over 100 000 per autumn have consistently passed through. To date this year, we have seen less than 35000 - so the season could have some life in it yet.
Additional news: the information services reported 8 Purple Sandpiper on Mudeford Quay.
Foul is probably the best word to describe the weather for the greater part of the day, with the respite from showers being measured in minutes. Before the wind took on too much south, the Beach Huts provided a modicum of shelter and a reasonable list of birds, given the conditions. Singles of Great-northern Diver and Red-throated Diver passed west, as did a Great Skua and a flock of 15 Kittiwake. A Purple Sandpiper was again about, along with 22 Turnstone and 47 Ringed Plover. To complete the sea records, a count of 45 Shag was made, a Guillemot was on the sea, while a Razorbill and 8 Common Scoter moved westward. Around lunchtime, a white-winged gull was seen entering the harbour over Mudeford Quay and the Spotted Redshank, along with a few Dunlin, was off Fisherman's Bank.
The blow continued overnight, but had shifted to slightly more westerly, so no prizes for guessing where most of the reports come from. Two completely separately timed seawatches produced an unerringly similar list of birds. For example, both had a Great Skua, an Arctic Skua and 2 adult Mediterranean Gull west! Other records from across the combined stints included a Great-northern Diver, a Razorbill, up to 30 Kittiwake, 7 Common Scoter, 6 Brent Goose, 3 Shelduck, a diver sp. and an auk sp., again all west. Although not seen at sea, a Red-breasted Merganser does feature, with a female-type inside the harbour in Barn Bight for a while; also 4 Little Grebe and a Kingfisher about that area. Despite the conditions, one of three Chiffchaff on Wick decided to sing, where there were 2 Redwing over plus a Peregrine. Not surprisingly, there is no wader news from a wind battered Stanpit, but a Purple Sandpiper from the Beach Huts goes some way to making amends. The wind is currently gusting in excess of 40mph, so it could be more of the same, but even better, tomorrow? Meanwhile, the day can't pass without mention of a well-known regular, who won't be named but he does get a lot of photos featured on the site, spotted returning from a seawatch on the Noddy Train!
With the wind and rain as strong as forecast, the sea was the only option this morning - a tactic that result in an eight-gull day. Actually, this isn't all that remarkable, but it does have a nice ring to it! In addition to the five expected species, 3 Little Gull, 2 adults and a first-winter, 6 Mediterranean Gull, 3 adults and 3 first-winters, and 11 Kittiwake, all but one an adults, moved through or past the area heading westward. Also at sea, a Black-throated Diver was seen to settle, but the swell made it impossible to pick out again, 2 Eider, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 7 Common Scoter and a Great-crested Grebe, while 4 Turnstone and 2 Sanderling were on the sand in front of the Beach Huts. It was the heavily wooded area at the end of Hengistbury that held the best bird of the day, as a Woodcock was flushed during a search for interesting warblers. Little else in there though, other than a Firecrest and a Coal Tit. This afternoon, in slightly drier conditions, a further 3 Mediterranean Gull, 2 adults and a second-winter, were at Stanpit, along with: a Spotted Redshank, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Grey Plover, 30 Ringed Plover, around Dunlin and 44 Black-tailed Godwit. Also, an adult Peregrine, 5 Common Gull and a Great-crested Grebe in the harbour.
Additional news: a Swallow was over Hengistbury.
For no apparent reason, it was a quite awful morning for overhead movement. This was particularly strange given the conditions - light cloud and a south-westerly breeze - that would not normally deter moving birds. The only exceptions were a party of over 100 Starling arriving from the south and a very distant group of Wood Pigeon. The day was not without its highlights though, as a Yellow-browed Warbler showed particularly well for 3 observers this morning along the northern edge of the Wood. Earlier, a Merlin had passed through north, while a little later a couple of Raven moved west. On Stanpit, a Spotted Redshank was again present and 75 each of Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin were approximated. The only other interest involves 3 Gadwall and a Kingfisher. To conclude, some feedback on the putative White Wagtail caught a couple of days ago suggests the bird is probably an intergrade between pied and white.
With all the forecasts adamant that the few days from Saturday will be rain soaked by south-westerlies, then tomorrow could well be the swan song of this year's autumn migration. Anyhow, back to the present, when it was quality rather than sheer numbers that grabbed the attention this morning. A calling Serin flew the length of the head on a couple of occasions, while singles of Crossbill and Woodlark passed by just the once. Also over, but only just, was a Goosander that grazed the area by the Coastguards at literally head height! A Ruff from Fisherman's Bank would be nice winter resident should it stick around, as would a Golden Plover that has been heard calling from presumably Stanpit for the last day or so. Meanwhile, the Spotted Redshank remains. As alluded to previously, visible migration numbers were fairly average, but included: 215 Goldfinch, 170 Chaffinch, 46 Linnet, 35 Redpoll, 19 Siskin, 6 Brambling, 31 Reed Bunting, 59 Meadow Pipit and 58 alba Wagtail east; as well as 230 Starling, 35 Song Thrush, 8 Redwing, 5 Fieldfare, 2 Mistle Thrush and 26 Skylark inbound. To complete the log, 3 Pintail and 4 Gadwall were over Hengistbury and 102 Dunlin were counted from Argyle Road. Finally, on the off chance that anyone was trying to comment on last night's alba Wagtail photo and found the email link to be duff, it has now been corrected.
Additional news: a House Martin was over Hengistbury.
Well, it was still clear at 11:00 last night, but some time later the northerly wind resumed and rolled a lot of cloud down from up country, thereby completely dashing the predicted pigeon bonanza. Instead, it was geese and grounded migrants that made the day, not to mention some reasonable overhead numbers. In the early gloaming, a skein of 4 smallish grey geese that seemed to pick up off Stanpit and head inland eluded firm identification, as did a single bird slightly later, but there was plenty of suspicion as to what they were. Then, much later in the morning, a pair of birds over-flying the sandspit could eventually be named as White-fronted Goose. A Yellow-browed Warbler was very vocal about the Nursery, calling at least a dozen times and glimpsed on a couple; while a Black Redstart was by the Beach Huts and 2 Firecrest were in the Wood, along with 23 Goldcrest and 11 Chiffchaff. A single Swallow and Grey Wagtail moved over, but finches were, of course, far more numerous and comprised: 720 Goldfinch, 445 Chaffinch, 340 Linnet, 101 Siskin, 91 Redpoll, 52 alba Wagtail and 42 Brambling, nearly all east. Also, 235 Meadow Pipit, 31 Song Thrush, 24 Redwing, 19 Skylark, 17 Reed Bunting and 15 Fieldfare on the go overhead. As usual, the thrushes and larks were incoming, as was a lone Golden Plover. In contrast to the last few days, the sea was very quiet, conjuring up just 2 Red-throated Diver east, 3 Pochard and 32 Brent Goose. Finally, mention must be made of a group of 21 high-flying Long-tailed Tit that suddenly fell out of the sky and onto the end of the head.
It was much, much milder this morning, with the wind dropping right away overnight. A phone call from Barton at 9:00 got the teeth gnashing as it became clear we'd probably missed a skein of 5 White-fronted Goose in the previous few minutes. However, spirits were lifted when a party of 8 Brent Goose that appeared low over the Barn Field also carried an adult White-fronted Goose with them. This mixture passed right through the harbour, barely gaining height and left at eye level via The Run. Interestingly, by the time they reached Barton, where they were also seen, another brent had joined in. Amazingly, but sadly outside of the area and not even in the county, a further 25 white-fronts also went north-east just inland of Barton, while a probable four more headed east over Burton village. All this after birds had been heard over north Hampshire last night. Prior to this excitement, a group of 9 Tufted Duck in the middle of the harbour had been considered good, as was a Ring Ouzel over Warren Hill and 2 Firecrest in the Wood. To complete the birds of above average status, a further Tufted Duck headed up river, 2 Eider passed east and 2 Gadwall came in-off the sea, as did 70 Starling, 12 Skylark, 5 Redwing and 2 Mistle Thrush. It was also a good day for finch migration, although an under-strength team probably let a lot slip by. Nonetheless, numbers included: 290 Goldfinch, 177 Chaffinch, 128 Linnet, 47 Siskin, 30 Greenfinch and 5 Redpoll, as well as 50 Wood Pigeon, 10 Reed Bunting and 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker. Other than the 'peckers and the woodies, all movement was east. The regular morning look from Fisherman's Bank again produced the Spotted Redshank, 3 Grey Plover and 2 Knot. Meanwhile, over 40 Ringed Plover were roosting on the sandspit and 7 Turnstone were around the dinghy park on Mudeford Quay and, for the records, a single Chiffchaff was on Hengistbury. Right now the skies are clear, so if this continues through the night we could be sinking under the weight of pigeons tomorrow!
Additional news: the fast diminshing HHC wagtail roost held just 8 birds tonight, of which 4 were trapped.
Once again, the shelter afforded by the Coastguards Look-out from the northerly wind was very much appreciated, as were 2 Black Redstart feeding on the adjacent cliff edge. This was where much of the day's efforts were centred, but before embarking on the numbers from that spot, some highlights from other parts of the recording area. The pale-bellied Brent Goose, which is a rather scruffy individual, was with the main gaggle of 98 conventional types on Priory Marsh; a Short-eared Owl arrived from the east over The Run and then skimmed Stanpit village on its way north; and the Spotted Redshank was off Fisherman's Bank, as were a trio of Goldeneye, a drake and two female-types - this a strange location for diving duck. Now, back to Coastguards, where 2 Mistle Thrush were seen coming in-off, ditto 67 Starling, 38 Skylark, 17 Golden Plover, including a flock of 16, and 7 Snipe; while, earlier, 8 Redwing and 4 Fieldfare had breezed inland over the Barn Field. It was again a good day to see wildfowl on the move at sea and the totals, moving in a mixture of directions, comprised: 48 Brent Goose, 42 Wigeon, 30 Common Scoter, 19 Gadwall, 15 Red-breasted Merganser, 8 Tufted Duck, 6 Teal, 5 Shoveler, 4 Shelduck, 2 Pochard and a Goldeneye. The morning, up until 11:00 or so, also produced some reasonable passerine movement, which was almost exclusively eastward. As would be expected, finches headed the tally with 590 Goldfinch, 325 Linnet, 145 Chaffinch, 46 Siskin, 35 Redpoll and 3 Brambling, but also 78 Meadow Pipit on the move. A flock of 47 Dunlin moved into The Solent, as did a slightly larger flock of small waders that eluded identification. To conclude, the settled waders at Stanpit were made up of 33 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Grey Plover, a Knot and up to 100 Dunlin; a Peregrine also made a pass that startled the 200+ Wigeon and one of the same had also been hunting at sea.
The last couple of days have seen Hen Harrier arriving, presumably to spend the winter on the nearby Hampshire and Dorset heaths. Following on from Friday's bird in-off, another ringtail was seen today, this time being hassled by Carrion Crow over Wick Fields, where it actually descended. Then, about 30-minutes later, the bird reappeared as it hunted Central and Priory Marshes, before leaving northwards beyond The Priory. Of interest, but a couple of kilometres outside the area, a male bird went over the A35 on Roeshot Hill shortly afterwards. Even after the acoustics of last night's fireworks, Stanpit held a reasonable selection of birds. The pale-bellied Brent Goose was with 30 or so darker cousins on Central Marsh, with 30 more of these around South Marsh. The rising tide off 'the log' saw a Spotted Redshank, 5 Knot, 6 Grey Plover, 4 Ringed Plover and 70 Dunlin, while of 60+ Black-tailed Godwit most were on Grimmery Bank. Frustratingly, by mid-afternoon, Stanpit Bight and its adjoining marshes were completely devoid of birds. This was due entirely to a couple of kite-surfers who had pitched their gear on East Marsh and were using the bight as a sailing area! This activity is a real menace and the over-sized sails and long, trailing lines pose a threat to birds and human water users alike. Its continuation within the tight confines of the harbour really must be questioned. Things were better on Hengistbury, however, where small groups of duck were again moving offshore. The best was a Long-tailed Duck in a flock of 2 Gadwall, 9 Common Scoter and a Razorbill - with other interest and totals coming from: 3 Eider, 3 Shoveler, 86 Wigeon and 19 Common Scoter. Divers were also present, with 5 Red-throated Diver and 4 Great-northern Diver passing through, as did 2 adult Mediterranean Gull, 38 Common Gull, 16 Brent Goose, a Guillemot and 2 unidentified auks. Surprisingly for the afternoon, thrushes were still trickling in - 15 Redwing and a Fieldfare, for example; as well as 10 Lapwing. Finally, back to Stanpit, which held a Nuthatch in the North Scrubs, a lingering House Martin over the same sort of area and at least one Dartford Warbler on Crouch Hill.
In similar, but perhaps colder, conditions to yesterday, there was a real miscellany of local quality. At Stanpit, a Mealy Redpoll was in the North Scrubs and a Woodlark over Fisherman's Bank is one of only a handful of records for the year. Meanwhile, Hengistbury contributed a Short-eared Owl mobbed by Carrion Crow over Warren Hill, a Velvet Scoter close past the Beach Huts, a couple of Avocet that circled the harbour before continuing towards Poole and all three divers - a Black-throated Diver into The Solent, with singles of Red-throated Diver and a breeding attired Great-northern Diver heading the opposite way. For most of the morning, there were small parties of duck moving off the head, including some very strange mixtures. For example: 2 Goldeneye, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and a Wigeon settled together on the water; a full drake Eider with 2 Common Scoter east; 3 Shoveler and a drake Pochard west; and a Pintail, 5 Teal and 4 Wigeon again east. For the records, the final numbers including those already mentioned were: 93 Wigeon, 67 Brent Goose, 27 Common Scoter, 14 Teal, 6 Pintail, 5 Shoveler, 3 Tufted Duck, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Eider and 2 Goldeneye. Although the direction of movement was mixed, westerly birds dominated. A couple of Golden Plover were seen arriving, as were 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Grey Plover; these joining a minimum of 51 Black-tailed Godwit, 45 Dunlin and 2 Grey Plover on Stanpit, where there was also 62 Brent Goose. To complete the wader story, a further 30 Ringed Plover and a Turnstone were by the Long Groyne. North-westerly moving thrushes included 19 Song Thrush, 12 Redwing and 4 Fieldfare, most of these over Wick, also 375 Starling seen coming in, 78 Wood Pigeon west and 3 Swallow. The visible migration effort is best described as token, with the cold wind making the best spot very uncomfortable indeed. However, 410 Goldfinch, 225 Chaffinch, 200 Linnet, 68 Meadow Pipit, 47 Siskin, 34 alba Wagtail, 28 Redpoll and 9 Brambling were recorded, mainly east. Conversely, 190 Black-headed Gull and 36 Common Gull moved west at sea.
Additional news: a Little Stint was on Stanpit in the East Marsh wader roost.