Sightings for October 2009


October 31st

A southerly wind and drizzle at first light suggested not much was going to happen, but conditions rapidly improved and it actually turned out to be a rather good morning. For some reason, wildfowl were on the move, the best being 9 Goosander and a single Velvet Scoter west, but also 41 Shoveler, 28 Pintail, 23 Wigeon, 10 Gadwall, a Red-breasted Merganser, 7 Common Scoter and a drake Mallard. There was also a clear influx of Black Redstart, 4 in total - 2 by the HHC, 1 on the Beach Huts and 1 by the Coastguards - as well as 5 Firecrest on Hengistbury, most of them at the end of the head. As the conditions improved, an easterly passerine movement got underway that trickled on into the late morning. The best were 2 Crossbill, a Bullfinch and 6 Brambling, as well as a Swallow, 670 Goldfinch, 240 Chaffinch, 205 Linnet, 27 Redpoll, 12 Siskin, 69 Skylark, 3 Grey Wagtail, 47 alba Wagtail and 180 Meadow Pipit. A small number of thrushes, namely 17 Redwing, 3 Fieldfare and 15 Song Thrush moved generally north, while 150 Wood Pigeon and 38 Lapwing headed west. There is currently no wader news from Stanpit, but there was a Greenshank in Holloway's Dock.

Omission: the Treecreeper was again seen in the Wood.


October 30th

With a light, easterly breeze on the go, things started fairly brightly; but rather disappointingly, by around 9.30, most of the passage had died way. Beforehand, however, a Lapland Bunting headed east, while 4 Crossbill, including 2 red males, fed in the Nursery for around 30-minutes but then left north. For the first hour of daylight, Wood Pigeon seemed to be flying around everywhere, and it was clear that many more than normal had roosted the night on Hengistbury. Despite this, obvious movement was not evident, save for 280 birds, along with 20 Stock Dove, to the west. The remaining movers, in approximate order of interest and all eastward, included: a Bullfinch, 4 House Martin, 22 Skylark, 9 Brambling, 18 Redpoll, 23 Siskin, 12 Reed Bunting, 85 Greenfinch, 275 Chaffinch, 460 Linnet, 680 Goldfinch, 40 alba Wagtail and 290 Meadow Pipit. Meanwhile, 6 Fieldfare, 8 Redwing, a Mistle Thrush and 5 Blackbird took the traditional north-westerly thrush route. Elsewhere on Hengistbury, the Treecreeper was again in the Wood, where Firecrest could also be heard, a pair of Gadwall was on the Ironstone Quarry, a Tufted Duck left east and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull headed out over the Barn Field. At lunchtime, the Spotted Redshank was off Fisherman's Bank, from where a Grey Plover, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, around 50 Ringed Plover, 13 Black-tailed Godwit and 21 Dunlin could be counted. To wrap up, Wick was a little quiet but did muster a Grey Wagtail and 12 Snipe.

Omission: a Great Crested Grebe and 5 Little Grebe were inside the harbour.


October 29th

Despite the now-customary thick blanket of cloud that greeted the early risers, the cloud base was much higher today, and as a result there was far more movement into the south-easterly wind. Reversing yesterday's result by some margin, Goldfinch led the way, with 1700, and Chaffinch also outnumbered Linnet, with 870 and 510 respectively. Many other species also moved in good numbers , including 420 Meadow Pipit, 28 Redwing, 180 Starling, 116 Skylark, 175 Siskin, 195 alba Wagtail, 66 Redpoll, 71 Brambling, 20 Fieldfare, 56 Song Thrush, 62 Reed Bunting and 7 Crossbill, plus single Bullfinch and Yellowhammer. Unusually, the thrushes moved in a variety of directions. Other interest came from 12 Snipe and a Golden Plover that were seen to arrive, whilst miscellaneous records included 2 Black Redstart, both well-marked males, a couple of Firecrest, and single Merlin and Sandwich Tern.


October 28th

A gloomy start to the day, with a little light drizzle, led to a lack of direction from the early-rising finches, gathering in ever-increasing flocks whilst deciding what to do. However, once conditions brightened and a light westerly breeze developed the usual easterly passage commenced. Linnet totalled 425 today, just outnumbering Goldfinch at 400 while other counts included 295 Chaffinch, 49 Redpoll, 41 Siskin, 27 Skylark, 63 Reed Bunting, 290 Meadow Pipit, 115 alba Wagtail, 3 Brambling and 9 Crossbill, with 8 Swallow and 4 House Martin surely being near the tail-end of the hirundine movements for the autumn. Moving north were 7 Redwing, 15 Song Thrush, 65 Blackbird and a Fieldfare, with a token westerly movement of 370 Woodpigeon and 47 Stock Dove. The Wood's resident Treecreeper was joined by 4 Firecrest and a Coal Tit, and a sizeable arrival of Ring Ouzel included 6 on the top of the head, plus singles on Long Field and on Wick. A couple of Mistle Thrush over Wick and Barn Field were perhaps most likely to be local birds rather than migrants. Over at Fishermans Bank, the lunchtime round-up comprised 28 Black-tailed and 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Snipe, 62 Dunlin, 43 Ringed Plover and a single Turnstone.


October 27th

Following the overnight rain migration slowed somewhat today, with much lower counts being turned in. The highlight, however, was the second Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn moving through the Lower Batters in a large flock of Long-tailed Tit. Elsewhere on Hengistbury were 4 Firecrest, the Treecreeper, 8 Chiffchaff and 3 Coal Tit, but only 2 Goldcrest. Overhead were 154 Meadow Pipit, 107 Linnet, 98 Goldfinch, 25 Chaffinch, 20 Jackdaw, 20 Blackbird, 19 Reed Bunting, 18 Redpoll, 12 Skylark, 8 Song Thrush, 6 Brambling, 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 Swallow and 1 Siskin. A brief seawatch produced a Great Northern Diver and a Sandwich Tern, both heading west. The only reports from Stanpit were of a Mistle Thrush in the North Scrubs and a Greenshank on Priory Marsh, while opposite Fisherman's Bank were just 10 Dunlin, 8 Black-tailed Godwit and 7 Snipe

Check back to yesterday for late news.


October 26th

Another good day in the harbour started just after dawn when a Tawny Owl was heard calling from Wick Fields. A little later, a Serin flew east over the Batters and then by late morning Stanpit got in on the act when 2 Lapland Bunting flew north over South Marsh. With migration in full swing once again, a total of 83 Crossbill were logged; this is probably a record day count for this species, certainly in modern times. Soon after first light, good numbers of thrushes moved north off the head, with 93 Redwing, 65 Song Thrush, 65 Blackbird and 3 Fieldfare counted. It was also the first day of noticeable Wood Pigeon and Jackdaw movement, with counts of 1600 and 266 respectively, heading west. On Stanpit singles of Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Avocet and Spotted Redshank were present, plus 2 Grey Plover and, on Hengistbury, a Greenshank was in Barn Bight. A group of 5 Bearded Tit came off Central Marsh and headed south, while earlier 3 birds had been by the HHC. There were only 2 Firecrest today, also a Mistle Thrush in the North Scrubs and 5 Coal Tit on the head. Now the numbers, 670 Goldfinch, 525 Chaffinch, 410 Linnet, 330 Meadow Pipit, 96 Skylark, 78 alba Wagtail, 68 Siskin, 59 Redpoll, 47 Reed Bunting, 28 Brambling, 16 Jay, 3 Swallow, 2 Grey Wagtail and a House Martin. The Brent Goose flock was 106 and 2 Pochard circled the harbour. There were 4 Raven by the Coastguards, while the only raptor of note was a Merlin. Commoner wader counts from Stanpit included 82 Dunlin, 52 Ringed Plover, 40 Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Turnstone and 5 Snipe. Finally the juvenile Arctic Tern was still off Mudeford Quay this morning.

Additional news: a Little Gull was off the Beach Huts, also 2 Razorbill and a Guillemot.


October 25th

For the monthly WeBS count it was fine and mild, if a little breezy. More of that later, however, as the morning's highlights were clearly on Hengistbury. A group of 3 Glossy Ibis, only the second harbour record, moved south-west past the Beach Huts just after 10:00. The previous harbour record was on 10th August 1972, when a bird flew over Stanpit. Hopefully, for those of us who missed out this morning it won't be another 37 years before the next one! Also at Hengistbury, the first Woodcock of the year was accidentally flushed from the woodland, where the Treecreeper put in another appearance. At least 15 Firecrest were scattered around, but only 3 Goldcrest in a very poor autumn for this species; also 9 Chiffchaff, 6 Coal Tit, 6 Blackcap and a Ring Ouzel. After yesterday's blank day, migration was back in full swing with good numbers of finches, pipits and wagtails, the pick being 2 Tree Sparrow, a Yellowhammer and a Bullfinch. Now the numbers, 660 Goldfinch, 440 Linnet, 235 Chaffinch, 190 Meadow Pipit, 111 Siskin, 90 alba Wagtail, 83 Reed Bunting, 38 Redpoll, 10 Swallow and 5 House Martin, all south; while heading north were just 8 Song Thrush and 4 Redwing. There was also some wader movement west with 31 Bar-tailed Godwit, 17 Knot and 2 Ruff. Off the Beach Huts, no doubt brought in by yesterday's inclement weather, were 10 Sandwich Tern and 2 juvenile Arctic Tern; and another Arctic Tern was off Mudeford Quay. The WeBS count didn't spring any surprises; the Spotted Redshank was still opposite Fisherman's Bank and 8 Grey Plover were in the harbour. Other counts were: an impressive 423 Coot, 348 Wigeon, 140 Teal, 90 Brent Geese, 2 Gadwall, 12 Little Grebe; with the waders numbering 160 Redshank, 91 Dunlin, 53 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Ringed Plover, 29 Curlew, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit and 8 Turnstone. Finally, a Kingfisher was on Wick Hams and the Raven made its daily visit to the harbour.

Check back to yesterday for some late news.


October 24th

A total wash-out this morning, with none of the Saturday regulars making it into the field. A little later, however, one hardy soul did a two-and-a-half hour stint from the Beach Huts but there was precious little reward for his efforts. A Red-breasted Merganser and 5 Gannet moved west, and 4 Razorbill were on the sea. A Raven over the Nursery and a late Blackcap in the Wood were the only other sightings of note.

Late news: the information services reported a Little Gull at Mudeford Quay this evening.

Additional news: an earlier visit was made to Hengistbury, when the Wood held 3 Firecrest, a Treecreeper and 3 Chiffchaff; also a Brambling headed north and a Raven was around. At sea, only 1 Razorbill and 2 Kittiwake were worthy of note.


October 23rd

The winds of the last few days subsided completely overnight, to the extent of making mosquitoes an irritation for those out on Hengistbury early on. However, the still conditions got birds moving again, with highlights coming from 3 Woodlark, 2 Yellowhammer, 2 Brambling over the head, and a locally impressive flock of 60 Redwing north-west above Wick. There was also interest on the deck, not least 5 Black Redstart - 2 by the Natterjack Pond, 1 by the HHC and 2 on roofs at Solent Meads; as well as 3 Firecrest in the Wood. Not to be outdone, Stanpit came up with a Marsh Harrier this afternoon that even hunted briefly, before heading towards Highcliffe, along with the lingering Curlew Sandpiper, the familiar Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, a couple of late Sandwich Tern, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Grey Plover. As hinted earlier, the overhead passage was back on and numbered: 830 Goldfinch, 420 Chaffinch, 290 Linnet, 89 Siskin, 42 Redpoll, 146 Reed Bunting, 270 Meadow Pipit, 160 alba Wagtail, 116 Skylark, including a flock of 48, 27 Song Thrush, 3 Swallow, 120 Jackdaw and, finally, 212 Wood Pigeon, of which there will surely be plenty more over the next fortnight. For the data collectors, the lack of wind meant directions were varied, but in general terms most went east, the exceptions being the pigeons, corvids and thrushes, which headed in the opposite direction, while the larks seemingly headed out to sea. To wrap up, it's back to Stanpit, where a young female Peregrine, a couple of Raven, 90 Brent Goose and 30 Black-tailed Godwit were logged.


October 22nd

With conditions persisting that make 'vis-migging' a fairly pointless exercise at Hengistbury, all the day's efforts were on Stanpit; in particular South Marsh, but there was unfortunately no sign of yesterday's bunting. Nonetheless, the focus the area received proved there are still some quality waders to be had. Best was a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper on South Marsh this afternoon but also: a Golden Plover up and off west; the regular Spotted Redshank; 2 Knot, 2 Grey Plover and in excess of 10 Bar-tailed Godwit; as well as 24 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Ringed Plover and 50 Dunlin. Other interest came from 3 Skylark and 3 Swallow south overhead in the morning, 3 Mediterranean Gull in the evening South Marsh roost, a flock of 37 Jackdaw decked, but then leaving east, and 50 Brent Goose present throughout.


October 21st

Apologies, but time dictates this is a rather rushed and potentially incomplete post, with updates probably following tomorrow. The continuing, albeit lesser, south-easterly wind appeared to have pushed some birds over from continental Europe, not least Firecrest. At least 10 were on Hengistbury this morning, compared with just a single Goldcrest, which are remarkably a bsent from most of the south coast for the date. Also seeming to have arrived overnight were Song Thrush, Blackcap and a few Chiffchaff. Meanwhile, there was some easterly overhead movement of Siskin, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch, as well as 2 Redwing, 12 Skylark, 8 Jackdaw and 3 Swallow. The sea was disappointing, producing just: 3 Kittiwake, 7 Grey Plover, 6 plover (grey/golden) sp., a shearwater sp. and 5 or so Mediterranean Gull, all west. The sandspit, however, held slightly more interest, namely: a Sanderling, 20 Turnstone, 70 Dunlin and 40 Ringed Plover.

News just in: a Snow Bunting was on South Marsh, Stanpit, in the late afternoon.

Visible migration update: the figures for the morning, all west - 325 Goldfinch, 220 Linnet, 85 Chaffinch, 33 Siskin, 75 alba Wagtail and 60 Meadow Pipit.


October 20th

An hour before dawn, there wasn't a hint of rain in the sky, but right on 7:00 that all changed! From then on, the downpour was pretty much constant and inevitably reduced the efforts to car-bound birding from Mudeford Quay. A Great Skua off there at lunchtime was presumably showing signs of weakness, as a few large gulls felt emboldened enough to hassle it continually. Otherwise, it's just 2 or 3 Turnstone to mention.

Additional news: the regular look from Fisherman's Bank tonight saw: the Spotted Redshank, a Knot, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit and 87 Dunlin.


October 19th

The south-south-west wind brought rain with it and made for pretty much zero overhead movement, other than 7 Swallow and 3 Redwing. In fact, the best was on Stanpit, where a Lapland Bunting, in the company of 2 Skylark, settled on South Marsh very briefly. Also noted there, a Curlew Sandpiper and the Spotted Redshank along with 425 Wigeon and 85 Brent Goose. On the Hengistbury side, the sea was given a 2-hour bash and produced: a Black-throated Diver, an Eider and an unidentified diver, all east; a lingering Sandwich Tern and Razorbill; and 14 Common Scoter west, nearly all drakes. Meanwhile, on the sandspit, there were 19 Turnstone, up to 100 Ringed Plover and 20 or so Dunlin, while a couple of Little Grebe were in Barn Bight.

Additional news: around 5:00 tonight, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Knot, 32 Black-tailed Godwit and 47 Dunlin were logged from Fisherman's Bank.


October 18th

This weekend saw the second of three nationally organised visible migration counts for the autumn, meaning most of the day's efforts were once again directed skywards. Before the number-crunching, however, the best bits: a single Woodlark came in-off and headed directly north, while 3 Brambling moved east; the first three Goldeneye of the season, all brown-headed birds, flew downriver and may have settled in the harbour; and the young Turtle Dove completed it second week on site, seemingly faithful to the area adjacent to Solent Meads car park. Now the final figures, which were recorded in similar conditions to yesterday, although the wind was perhaps slightly lighter. North-east: 16 House Martin in one flock. West: 8 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, a diver sp., 2 Mediterranean Gull, 11 Common Gull and 18 Black-headed Gull. East: 370 Goldfinch, 200 Linnet, 38 Chaffinch, 31 Siskin, 15 Greenfinch, 12 Redpoll, 28 Reed Bunting, 90 alba Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail, 95 Meadow Pipit, 8 Skylark, 27 Starling and 3 Jackdaw. ! In terms of settled migrants, a few Chiffchaff linger in the area, but most other warblers have now left completely. Of ringing interest is a colour-ringed White Wagtail that was controlled at the HHC roost this week, after being fitted-out on 29th September at East Kilbride, Scotland.

Additional news: a Merlin was seen from Stanpit golf course around midday.


October 17th

In clear skies and a light north-west wind, there was plenty moving over Hengistbury this morning. A Lapland Bunting was seen and heard from a couple of spots, before going down into the Salt Hurns, where it was looked for but could not be relocated. Also of interest, a total of 10 Tree Sparrow, 14 Crossbill, 2 Brambling, 11 Golden Plover and 85 House Sparrow, all moving east. The first 30-minutes of daylight saw 87 Redwing, including a flock of 38, moving north-west over the HHC; as well as the autumn's first 9 Fieldfare and 21 Song Thrush. Bearded Tit were again seen coming out the HHC reedbed, that's the third time in a week, with today producing five birds seeming to head towards Wick; meanwhile, a party of 15 or so Long-tailed Tit kept pretending they wanted to leave the end of the head eastward, but never really plucked up the courage to do so. Of the commoner, easterly heading migrants, Goldfinch were the most numerous, 1350 in all: along with 73 Siskin, 73 Redpoll, 150 Greenfinch, 225 Chaffinch, 430 Linnet, 57 Reed Bunting, 240 alba Wagtail, 3 latish Grey Wagtail, 210 Meadow Pipit, 28 Skylark, 24 Swallow and a Grey Heron; with 105 Jackdaw going west instead. At sea, Mediterranean Gull again featured, as 9 travelled west, as did 19 Common Gull, 36 Brent Goose, 17 Shelduck, a single Common Scoter and a Common Tern, the latter being quite a notable record for the date. Most of the area's waders appeared to prefer the sandspit this morning, where over 100 Ringed Plover, 12 Turnstone and 2 Sanderling were present, while Stanpit could muster just 60 Dunlin and around 25 Black-tailed Godwit. A Wheatear spent its second day on top of Hengistbury and up to 10 Chiffchaff were on Wick. Finally, the information services reported a Jack Snipe on Priory Marsh.


October 16th

A light northerly breeze strengthened fairly quickly after dawn, which seemed to stifle much of the overhead migration, although by local standards it was a pretty good day for thrushes. The best was a Ring Ouzel in Wick Ditch for a short time, as well as 22 Redwing, 49 Song Thrush and 18 Blackbird, all heading north-west towards Wick. Duck also provided some interest, with a party of 3 Goosander coming from the east and then seeming to cut inland, as did a single drake Tufted Duck, while 5 Eider headed into The Solent and 9 Shelduck passed west. Also westward heading at sea were: 19 Mediterranean Gull, 28 Common Gull and 35 Brent Goose. The passerines though were moving east and included: 2 Redpoll, 14 Siskin, 60 Chaffinch, 72 Linnet, 135 Goldfinch, 25 Reed Bunting, 36 Meadow Pipit, 75 alba Wagtail, 17 Swallow and a Jackdaw, along with a Raven that was probably of more local origin. Finally for Hengistbury, settled migrants are now sparse, but a Wheatear was on the top of the head and the ringers caught a few Blackcap and Chiffchaff. Little news from Stanpit however, but there was an Avocet present this afternoon and 4 Pintail passed over there.

Omission: a Sandwich Tern was lingering off Hengistbury.


October 15th

The Harbour remained under a thick blanket of cloud all day and, with only a hint of a north-easterly wind, migrant numbers were greatly reduced. Despite this, an exaltation of larks seen arriving over the sea contained 7 Woodlark (surely a record number for the site?) and 46 Skylark (with a further 12 Skylark in ones and twos during the morning). Single Ring Ouzel, Wheatear, Grey Wagtail and Brambling added variety to the regular migrants, comprising 125 Chaffinch, 225 alba Wagtail, 130 Meadow Pipit, 265 Linnet, 475 Goldfinch, 56 Siskin, 16 Redpoll and 15 Swallow, plus a single flock of 40 Jackdaw and a Rook, with all movement once again to the east. Three Little Grebe were in Barn Bight, 4 Chiffchaff were counted in Long Field and the Turtle Dove remained at Solent Meads. With less overhead to distract, the sea was watched for a while this morning; 7 Eider were the first for quite a while, and 78 Common Gull, 86 Brent Geese, 7 Mediterranean Gull, 72 Wigeon, 18 Shelduck and a Pintail all headed west. Over on Stanpit, maximum counts included 61 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover, 3 Knot, 5 Grey Plover, 33 Black-tailed and 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 56 Brent Geese, 14 Snipe and a Spotted Redshank, plus 2 Wheatear on Crouch Hill.


October 14th

With better coverage on Hengistbury today, the visible migration was indeed found to be in full flow. In almost windless conditions, the birds were surprisingly faithful to their eastward course. Heading the roll-call were 1700 Goldfinch, with Linnet mustering an impressive 1130; other counts were 380 alba Wagtail, 210 Meadow Pipit, 395 Siskin, 142 Reed Bunting, 580 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, 112 Redpoll, 40 Swallow, 21 Skylark and 25 Jackdaw, with 34 Song Thrush and 6 Redwing taking a more northerly route. Variety came courtesy of 23 Crossbill, including 6 briefly landed in the Nursery (we seemed to be missing the large numbers of this species just a few miles to the west, so it was nice to redress the balance a little today), 2 Ring Ouzel (1 high north, the other on the head), a Woodlark that appeared to land on Wick, and a single Golden Plover, with the regular brace of Raven around the Nursery and the Turtle Dove remaining by Solent Meads - with what must surely have been a second bird was seen heading towards the Nursery, as the original has been seen in the usual spot throughout the day. Finally, 3 Bearded Tit flew high from Wick Hams this morning, only to return again almost immediately. Over on Stanpit, visits to the marsh and Fisherman's Bank on a couple of occasions yielded a Snipe, 120 Dunlin, the regular Spotted Redshank, 24 Black-tailed and 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Knot, 30 Ringed Plover, 36 Brent Goose and a pair of Shoveler, with Kingfisher evident on both sides of the Harbour.


October 13th

Another calm, settled day, with just a gentle north-easterly, but a little more cloud first thing. The conditions looked ideal for visible migration and a good variety of birds were seen in a little over an hour spent wandering over Wick Fields, but lack of observers meant that no formal counts were undertaken. All the usual suspects were noted, with 2+ Crossbill and a single, low Brambling being the best of the bunch. The Turtle Dove remains on the path leading from Solent Meads clubhouse to Roebury Lane, occasionally flying into the trees and adjacent field, but always returning; it was seen early this morning and again around 4pm. The only other news comes from the lunchtime count at Fisherman's Bank, where 28 Black-tailed and 9 Bar-tailed Godwit were noted, plus 100 or so small waders in two groups, of which 60 were Dunlin and the remainder thought to consist of around 13 Ringed Plover and 27 Dunlin.

A whole host of late updates: late morning on Hengistbury saw a Lapland Bunting south over Wick Hams, 46 Siskin, 2 Raven, 4 Blackcap and 60+ Goldfinch, while a Ring Ouzel left Double Dykes to the south and, alittle later on, a Firecrest was on the seaward edge of Holloway's Dock. On Stanpit this afternoon were 3 Knot, 4 Snipe and 27 Brent Geese, with the information services reporting single Curlew Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank.


October 12th

A bright, cloudless and relatively calm day allowed migration to continue unhindered, with a good number and variety of "vismig" passage, albeit mostly at high level and nearly all moving to the east. A Lapland Bunting low over the Coastguards was the highlight, with a very late Hobby adding interest and 7 Crossbill also noteworthy. Now to the numbers, in no particular order: 630 alba Wagtail, 220 Siskin, 570 Meadow Pipit, 135 Reed Bunting, 420 Chaffinch, 230 Greenfinch, 950 Linnet, 56 Skylark, 860 Goldfinch, 130 Swallow, 30 House Martin, 57 Redpoll, 7 Grey Wagtail and a Brambling. Four Ring Ouzel were on the top of the head, a Firecrest was at the far end, 2 Jay were seen to arrive and a Redwing went north; whilst at sea, 43 Brent Geese, 37 Teal, 5 Common Scoter, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 65 Common Gull and 5 Mediterranean Gull went west. In the harbour itself were 7 Pochard, 4 Tufted Duck, 5 Pintail and 11 Greylag Geese. There had also clearly been a sizeable arrival of Stonechat, with over 70 noted, mostly on top; Dartford Warbler numbers have also increased over the past few days, with 5 or more adults seen regularly. Over on Stanpit, 76 Dunlin, 15 Black-tailed and 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Knot were counted from Fisherman's Bank at lunchtime, and a couple of Buzzard circled Central Marsh then drifted north, Peregrine were noted on both sides of the harbour and an unspecified number of Bearded Tit were in Priory Marsh reeds.

October 11th

Contrary to the forecast, today started damp and didn't really brighten up until late afternoon. Few observers were out, but it was clear that the weather had stifled overhead migration, with groups of finches in particular moving aimlessly over the head and Wick. Maybe this was just a local phenomenon, as Durlston, for example, recorded good numbers this morning. A single Woodlark over the head early on, a couple of young Goosander off Rushy Piece and 3 Ring Ouzel (1 on the Batters late morning, 2 in North Scrubs this afternoon) were the pick of the sightings. Other counts were 175 Linnet, 150 Goldfinch, 28 Chaffinch, 19 Siskin, 20 Redpoll, 45 Meadow Pipit, 15 Swallow, 10 Skylark, 20 Reed Bunting and just 10 alba Wagtail; while 9 Blackcap, 35 Chiffchaff, 2 Coal Tit, 2 Raven, 5 Pintail and a male Tufted Duck were around or over the head during the morning. A couple of brief seawatches around lunchtime produced a Razorbill on the sea, 20 Common Scoter east, 3 Brent Geese and 5 Gannet west, plus 36 Ringed Plover arriving. Kingfisher were noted on the Ironstone Quarry, in Barn Bight and off Fisherman's Bank, where the usual stalwart counted 58 Canada Geese, 66 Dunlin, 22 Black-tailed and 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Knot, 18 Brent Geese, a Grey Plover and 2 Ringed Plover this morning. Finally, the information services reported Water Pipit and Jack Snipe on Priory Marsh early in the day.

Additional news - a Guillemot was in The Run, Mudeford, around 4:00 this afternoon.


October 10th

On a fine morning when visible migration slowed up somewhat, there were still some good birds to be found. The first Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn was in the sycamores on the Batters in a flock of Goldcrest, while Crossbill moved east in four small groups totalling 13 in all. Earlier, the 5 Spoonbill left the harbour heading low over the HHC towards Poole Harbour. A Tree Sparrow flew north across the harbour with 3 more moving east. Travelling in the same direction were 360 Swallow, 270 Meadow Pipit, 210 Linnet, 210 alba Wagtail, 170 Chaffinch, 130 Goldfinch, 77 Siskin, 61 Reed Bunting, 56 House Martin, 8 Redpoll and 4 Grey Wagtail, while 47 Song Thrush, 3 Jay and 2 Redwing headed north. Sunday's Turtle Dove was relocated on Wick Fields with other grounded migrants including 40 Chiffchaff, 35 Reed Bunting, 16 Goldcrest and 5 Blackcap. Although the sea didn't receive much attention, 11 Shelduck were noted heading west. Dartford Warbler were much in evidence today with birds being seen on the Long Field, by the Ironstone Quarry and on Warren Hill. To round up, a Greenshank was in Barn Bight, 2 Knot were on Stanpit, a Kingfisher was by the Ironstone Quarry, a Pintail circled the harbour, the usual 2 Raven were around and 22 Canada Geese arrived.


October 9th

Overcast and quite cool early on with a north-easterly breeze, which by mid morning had moved round to due east. Ideal autumn conditions to produce a bumper crop of birds and so it proved - but the day's highlight occurred this afternoon, when 5 Spoonbill were on the tip of South Marsh at high tide. Back to the morning, when impressive numbers of birds were counted, with Linnet and Swallow being the most numerous at 4300 each, also 2000 House Martin, 1800 Goldfinch, 1400 Meadow Pipit, 890 alba Wagtail, 660 Greenfinch, 560 Chaffinch, 290 Siskin, 135 Reed Bunting, 86 Redpoll, 70 Jackdaw, 21 Rook, 19 Song Thrush, 13 Skylark, 2 Mistle Thrush, 2 Tree Pipit and 2 Grey Wagtail, all east. A Marsh Harrier moved through, while both Merlin and Peregrine were seen again today; also 2 Common Buzzard and 3 Raven. With so much going on overhead grounded migrants were somewhat neglected, with just 18 Chiffchaff and 5 Blackcap on Hengistbury and, this afternoon, 5 Wheatear on Stanpit. At sea, 55 Common Gull and 12 Mediterranean Gull moved west, while another Mediterranean Gull, an adult, was over the HHC. Waders on the move included 11 Grey Plover and 7 Bar-tailed Godwit west, also 5 Knot and 6 Golden Plover north. The HHC mudbar held 22 Dunlin and 17 Black-tailed Godwit, while opposite Fisherman's Bank were another 35 Dunlin and 33 Black-tailed Godwit, plus 12 Bar-tailed Godwit. A pair of Pochard and 9 Tufted Duck circled the harbour this morning and 6 Greylag Geese were with the Canada Goose flock, while on Stanpit this afternoon 6 Gadwall were present and the Brent Geese now number 18. Finally, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Kingfisher were seen today.


October 8th

After yesterday's deluge, we enjoyed a clear and sunny morning although it felt a little cool in the northerly breeze. Once again migration was in full swing, but the numbers didn't quite match the previous day. Highlights were 2 Woodlark north, a Yellowhammer and 2 Goosander, the latter on the river. Goldfinch were the most numerous with 1500 logged, also 820 Linnet, 780 Meadow Pipit, 550 Swallow, 520 alba Wagtail, 450 Chaffinch, 320 House Martin, 183 Siskin, 84 Reed Bunting, 73 Skylark, 24 Redpoll, 21 Jackdaw, 14 Rook, east and 2 west, and just 2 Tree Pipit. A Firecrest at the eastern end of the head and a Spotted Flycatcher on the Barn Field were the pick of the grounded migrants, although 16 Wheatear is a reasonable count for early October. Scattered around the area were 70 Chiffchaff and 9 Blackcap, while a Mistle Thrush was in the Nursery. There were still 5 Arctic Tern offshore together with 5 Sandwich Tern and 2 Common Tern. A single Avocet passed by at sea, also 16 Pintail, 35 Common Gull, 23 Mediterranean Gull, 10 Brent Geese and 7 Common Scoter, all heading west. Waders today included a Golden Plover and 3 Grey Plover north over the head. On the Mudeford Sandspit, a mixed flock of around 120 Ringed Plover and Dunlin held 3 Sanderling. Earlier, 5 Sanderling were opposite Fisherman's Bank, also 54 Black-tailed Godwit, 28 Dunlin, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Grey Plover. Both Merlin and Peregrine put in appearances this morning and up to 10 Raven were about the area. On Stanpit, 9 Brent Geese remain and 3 Greylag Geese were with the Canada Goose flock. Finally, 38 Stock Dove left the Nursery roost at dawn.


October 7th

It was certainly the best overhead migration of the season so far, with a north-west wind veering north-east by 11:00, when the rain commenced its activities for the remainder of the day. Before the totals though, the oddities: a ringtail Hen Harrier came in high over Hengistbury and moved on north-east; a couple of Golden Plover headed southwards; and a Bullfinch and 3 Yellowhammer passed over east. The sea also provided a degree of interest, with at least 10 Arctic Tern, including a flock of 7, moving west; likewise, 2 Great Skua, 3 Common Tern, 10 Sandwich Tern, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 4 Common Scoter and 4 Razorbill. It was also interesting to note several groups of Shag deliberately moving into Hengistbury waters from the Isle of Wight. Now the numbers, all east: 3350 Linnet, 2200 Goldfinch, 420 Chaffinch, 285 Siskin, 62 Redpoll, 40 in one flock, 125 Reed Bunting, 3800 Meadow Pipit, 1100 alba Wagtail, 7 Grey Wagtail, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 1709 Swallow, 470 House Martin and 1 Jackdaw. A gaze along the sandspit mid-morning produced another good showing of waders, with 24 Turnstone and 12 Sanderling amongst 75 or so Dunlin, plus 7 Snipe arriving. Meanwhile, Fisherman's Bank saw 3 Knot, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, 35 Black-tailed Godwit, a further 11 Dunlin and 4 Ringed Plover. To conclude a good day, 3 Raven overflew, with others calling from the Nursery.


October 6th

From the reports coming in from adjacent seawatching spots, it's clear an opportunity was missed today. Almost embarrassingly, the only efforts came from a couple of brief spells in the car at Mudeford Quay. In the morning, an Arctic Tern was lingering off there, while 45 Gannet circuited Christchurch Bay, 3 Common Scoter passed by and 5 Turnstone commuted between the sandspit and Avon Beach. The only other return from the comes from a Great Skua west at around 4:00 this afternoon. During one of the dry windows in the afternoon, Stanpit received some attention, where a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, the Spotted Redshank, 3 Knot, a Sanderling and 11 Bar-tailed Godwit were the pick of the bunch, but also 25+ Black-tailed Godwit, around 15 Ringed Plover and up to 50 Dunlin. The Brent Goose have increased to 9 birds and Wheatear were on Crouch Hill.


October 5th

The prospect of a north-easterly wind was somewhat tarnished by the rain that persisted for most of the day. However, a couple of damp hours were managed on Hengistbury during the morning. A Lapland Bunting, a first-winter male, was briefly decked by the Barn, but unfortunately chose a busy thoroughfare on which to settle, so quickly moved on. The first Black Redstart of the autumn was at the end of the head and a Firecrest was in the area of the Ironstone Quarry. At least 80 Chiffchaff were dotted about, while a Yellow Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail, 230 Meadow Pipit and 115 Swallow headed east. At sea, an Arctic Skua west was a bit of a bonus, but the only other interest came from 3 Sandwich Tern, an adult Mediterranean Gull and 25 or so Swallow, the latter actually feeding over The Run at lunchtime. Waders at Stanpit included the Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, a Knot, 22 Black-tailed Godwit, still some Bar-tailed Godwit but not counted, 35 Dunlin and 26 Ringed Plover. Elsewhere, there were a couple of Sanderling on the sandspit and 3 Snipe were seen to arrive over the HHC. The day's only Kingfisher record comes from Fisherman's Bank.


October 4th

The wind dropped away completely overnight and, by the looks of the early morning ground, it seemed there had been some rain during the small hours. Although there were eventually plenty of observers on Hengistbury, the returns were fairly poor - the best was easily an approachable juvenile, moulting to first-winter, Turtle Dove on the new Wick Fields gravel path, with a Ring Ouzel coming off the head the clear runner-up. There were few common migrants, but 4 Tree Pipit, a Willow Warbler, a Whitethroat and a Lesser Whitethroat are all well worth a mention on this date; meanwhile, at least 80 Chiffchaff were across Hengistbury and Wick, as were 7 Blackcap. One species that was very obvious and had certainly arrived in numbers was Song Thrush, as up to 50 were noted on or over Wick, while Dunnock also seemed to be more plentiful than normal on Hengistbury. Of the reports received so far, there was little attempt to census what overhead movement there was, but further news may be received; from casual efforts, however, 2 Redpoll and several Siskin make the records, as well as modest numbers of Swallow. The sandspit held around 100 uncounted, smallish waders, mostly Ringed Plover and Dunlin along with a handful of Turnstone mixed in; and a Sandwich Tern fished in The Run. Stanpit received sparse coverage, but 7 Brent Goose in the bight and a Greenshank in Parky Meade Rail are known to have been present. The remaining morsels of interest involve: a Peregrine over Double Dykes; Kingfisher frequenting the HHC, Wick Hams and Holloway's Dock; and a pair of Gadwall with the Coot flock on the river.

New just in from the top of Hengistbury, where most of the migration was going over very high indeed, from east to west. Numbers include: 56 Skylark, 36 Song Thrush, although some of these may have been the Wick birds already mentioned, 3 Tree Pipit 37 Siskin, 40 Chaffinch, 135 Goldfinch, 220 Linnet and 280 Meadow Pipit; while 5 Wheatear were decked and 6 Sandwich Tern lingered offshore.

Additional news: a Tawny Owl calling by the Wick Ferry could be heard from within the recording area.


October 3rd

A strong wind from the south-west and early drizzle meant the Beach Huts received their first visit of the autumn, with memories of this weekend last year being fondly talked about on the outward walk through the Wood - four species of skua, three species of shearwater - could it possibly happen again? By 10:00, the answer was a resounding no! However, the sudden appearance of a Sooty Shearwater in the company of 2 Balearic Shearwater, passing west and reasonably close-in, dramatically altered the pedigree of an otherwise dismal day-list. For example, the preceding 3-hours had produced just: 16 Common Scoter, some of these suspected to be the same birds circuiting, 3 Guillemot, a Razorbill, 2 auk sp., a Sandwich Tern, 7 Common Gull, including a bird in juvenile plumage, 3 Mediterranean Gull and 81 Swallow. As usual during the quieter seasons, waders do use the sandspit and a trip to the end this morning saw a Turnstone, 67 Ringed Plover and 23 Dunlin; then, in the afternoon, a Common Tern and 6 Brent Goose were logged from Mudeford Quay. Passerine-wise, as expected in blowy conditions, birds were tough to find, but a least 10 Chiffchaff were in the more sheltered spots at the end of the head. Direct wader news from Stanpit is expected later, but there have already been information services reports of Little Stint, 2 Curlew Sandpiper and a Spotted Redshank, as well as Little Gull there, all in the morning.

Additional news: a second watch from the Beach Huts in the afternoon produced a further Balearic Shearwater and a young Little Gull, along with 6 Sandwich Tern.

Additional Stanpit news: late in the afternoon, a Knot a Greenshank and 7 Bar-tailed Godwit were present, along with 27 Black-tailed Godwit, 18 Ringed Plover and 84 Dunlin. Also, a Kingfisher in Mother Siller's Channel.


October 2nd

A Pied Flycatcher at the end of the head, plus a Reed Warbler and a Yellow Wagtail were the best of the grounded migrants on Hengistbury this morning, along with 85 Chiffchaff and 25 Blackcap there, and singles of Yellow Wagtail and Wheatear at Stanpit. Throughout the day, 18 species of wader were recorded: the morning saw a Green Sandpiper up from Wick Hams, 9 Turnstone and 4 Sanderling on the sandspit, 10 Golden Plover north, in flocks of 7 and 3, and 4 Snipe arriving; while this afternoon, Stanpit held a Curlew Sandpiper, a Greenshank, the Spotted Redshank, 4 Knot, 2 Grey Plover, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, 17 Black-tailed Godwit, 47 Dunlin and 25 Ringed Plover; and, for completeness, Redshank, Lapwing, Curlew and Oystercatcher were also present. Also of interest inside the harbour, a Common Tern and 7 Brent Goose, with a Tufted Duck over, 2 Gadwall leaving and a Pintail. The visible migration over Hengistbury in reasonably clear skies and a light north wind comprised: a Crossbill, 19 Redpoll, 19 Siskin, 450 Linnet, 230 Goldfinch, 130 Chaffinch, 75 Greenfinch, 87 Reed Bunting, 5 Rook, 310 Swallow and 60 House Martin headed east; with 255 alba Wagtail, 510 Meadow Pipit, 14 Rock Pipit and 14 Skylark heading in the opposite direction. A Coal Tit in Wick Ditch was a notable record, a Kingfisher was by the HHC, 4 Little Grebe were nearby and 2 Raven passed over.

There was also a late information services report of 2 Little Gull off Mudeford Quay.


October 1st

In similar conditions to yesterday, the overhead counting was rather more casual. Instead, it was waders that received most of the focus. Early on, a couple of Green Sandpiper picked up from Wick Hams and headed towards Stanpit, but they returned and decked in the same spot after just 10-minutes; then around an hour later, 2 Golden Plover headed west over the top of the head. The information services reported 3 Curlew Sandpiper on Stanpit, but directly submitted records, all from Fisherman's Bank, include 2 Grey Plover, the Spotted Redshank, 36 Black-tailed Godwit, around 15 Ringed Plover and 90 or so Dunlin. Also in Stanpit Bight, 5 Brent Goose that looked as if they'd only just, as they continually took nips at each other. Back to Hengistbury, where a Merlin west was the most noteworthy, while other movers, all more or less east, numbered 249 Linnet, 30 Goldfinch, 15 Reed Bunting, 60 alba Wagtail and 113 Meadow Pipit. On the top of the head, there was a settled flock of 50 Linnet and 30 Goldfinch; a single Wheatear was on the Barn Field briefly, along with 50+ Meadow Pipit, and at least 15 Chiffchaff were scattered.

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