Sightings for August 2010


August 31st

A Marsh Harrier was seen over Wick Fields on a couple of occasions this morning, eventually heading high north-west. Most of the coverage again centred on Wick and the Barn Field, from where the migrant totals were: 63 Yellow Wagtail, 17 Whitethroat, 13 Wheatear, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Whinchat, 3 Tree Pipit and 1 Redstart. Both Green Sandpiper and Kingfisher were seen from the Wooden Bridge on Wick, also 6 Greenshank there and a Hobby overhead. An afternoon visit to Stanpit found the Ring-billed Gull still present, also a Black Tern and 3 Mediterranean Gull. Wader numbers were 182 Ringed Plover, 137 Dunlin, 7 Knot, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Turnstone, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Common Sandpiper. Finally, to emphasise the rapid onset of autumn, groups of 8 Wigeon and 6 Teal were around the harbour today.

Additional news: A dark phase Arctic Skua was harrassing gulls off the sandspit this afternoon, while on Wick up to 500 Swallow and 200 Sand Martin were gathering, presumably before crossing the channel; also 3 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Lesser Whitethroat there. On Stanpit this evening, 6 Curlew Sandpiper were present.


August 30th

On a fine sunny morning there were a few migrants to be found scattered across Hengistbury and Wick. The combined totals were 82 Yellow Wagtail, 56 Whitethroat, 28 Willow Warbler, 14 Blackcap, 8 Wheatear, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Tree Pipit, 3 Grey Wagtail, 2 Redstart and 1 Spotted Flycatcher, while the only Whinchat of the day was on Stanpit, where another 25 Yellow Wagtail and 6 Tree Pipit were logged. No counts of the more common waders were made, but Stanpit still held 6 juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, also 4 Green Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover. On Hengistbury, 2 Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper were by the Wooden Bridge on Wick, a Whimbrel was in Brewer's Creek, 9 Black-tailed Godwit flew upriver and another 2 Common Sandpiper left in a south-westerly direction. Finally, 2 Shoveler were in Parky Meade Rail.

Additional news: the Ring-billed Gull was again on Crouch Hill this afternoon.

Even more: an early evening visit to Stanpit found the Ring-billed Gull still present together with 3 each of Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull, plus 4 Knot, 1 Spotted Redshank and 1 Ruff. On Priory Marsh, 8 Greenshank and a Kingfisher were seen.


August 29th

Possibly due to the overcast and cool conditions it was much quieter today, with just a scattering of common migrants on the Hengistbury side of the harbour. On Stanpit, however, waders were good value with 6 juvenile Curlew Sandpiper in the bight, also 8 Knot, 5 Whimbrel, 4 Sanderling, 4 Greenshank, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Common Sandpiper and a Bar-tailed Godwit, while 9 Snipe toured the area and counts of 105 Ringed Plover and 75 Dunlin were made. Another 5 Sanderling with 2 Turnstone were on the beach at Hengistbury, while by the Wooden Bridge were 2 Greenshank and singles of Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper; also 2 Kingfisher there. A Great Skua was lingering off the Beach Huts and 5 Common Scoter moved west. The migrant numbers from Wick and Hengistbury were 27 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Tree Pipit, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and, on the beach, 5 Wheatear; also a few Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and phylloscs. To round up, there were 2 Hobby today and 14 Canada Geese visited the harbour. Finally thanks to all those who attended the Stanpit wader walk this morning.

Late news: The first-summer Ring-billed Gull was present again on Stanpit this evening together with 5 Mediterranean Gull.


August 28th

A wonderfully clear morning that certainly put birds on the move, but mostly before the breeze picked up at around 9:00ish. The main event was a Purple Heron, first seen from the Wooden Bridge on Wick, passing over Priory Marsh and then heading slowly north over Christchurch town. This was around 7:00, by which time it was already clear there were plenty of birds around. In fact, a total of 4-hours was spent on the bridge and resulted in totals of: a Crossbill, 102 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail, 7 early moving alba Wagtail, 21 Tree Pipit, 16 Spotted Flycatcher, 85 Willow Warbler, 5 Wheatear, a Whinchat, a Spotted Redshank, 6 Turnstone, a Knot, 7 Ringed Plover, 44 Snipe, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, a Tufted Duck, 3 Shoveler, 44 Teal, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 15 Rook and 2 Jackdaw - all these moving generally west or north-west; while 280 Sand Martin headed directly south. Meanwhile, 2 Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, 6 Greenshank, a juvenile Shelduck and 2 Kingfisher were more settled about that area. Another good spot was the new, wooden cattle pens adjacent to the Barn, where 5 Spotted Flycatcher were hanging around and feeding voraciously; also up to 4 Redstart and 21 Wheatear in that section of Hengistbury. Between the two sites, there were a further 8 Spotted Flycatcher and 11 Yellow Wagtail, bringing the day's tally to a cracking 29 and 112 birds respectively, as well as 40 Whitethroat and 20 Blackcap. To round up for the Bournemouth side, 2 Hobby, a Peregrine and a further 7 Teal were noted. At Stanpit, the year's first Curlew Sandpiper, a juvenile, was present for most of the day in the bight, with a Spotted Redshank, 3 Knot, a Common Sandpiper, 6 Greenshank, the Bar-tailed Godwit, at least one Whimbrel and 9 Black-tailed Godwit distributed between there and Fisherman's Bank. The afternoon wind was coming from the north-west and small numbers of Swallow were heading into it over much of the area. There may be later news to follow from the Stanpit.

Additional news: the Ring-billed Gull was at Stanpit around 5:45 tonight, when the grounded Spotted Redshank count increased to two, a juvenile and an adult; also at least 10 Mediterranean Gull, a Common Gull, in excess of 10 Whimbrel and 40 Lapwing. Earlier, a hunting Peregrine had forced around 50 resting Sandwich Tern into the air.

Even more: later in the evening, a young Spoonbill circled the harbour and then pushed off west, while a flock of 17 Whimbrel moved in the same direction at sea. Also, a couple of Swift over Stanpit, 10 Wheatear on Crouch Hill, plus estimates of Ringed Plover and Dunlin at 50+ and 95 respectively.


August 27th

It's Stanpit with all the news today, with Hengistbury at least not being visited. A total of 5 Ruff were reckoned, 3 on Priory Marsh and then 2 seen to arrive on to the greater part of the marsh; a Wood Sandpiper pitched in to East Marsh, but was characteristically never seen again; and a Little Ringed Plover over flew the area. The Ringed Plover count came to a quite incredible 210, which is more than notable for Christchurch, while others totalled: 11 Greenshank, 9 Common Sandpiper, 8 Whimbrel, 6 Sanderling, 2 Knot, the adult Bar-tailed Godwit, a Snipe, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, around 60 Dunlin and 93 Redshank. The only winter duck on site were 9 Teal, and the passerine interest came from just a Redstart and 9 Yellow Wagtail.

Additional news: there were 14 Knot at Stanpit in the evening, when 65 Canada Goose came in to roost. Slightly earlier, on Wick, there was an adult male Redstart, 3 Yellow Wagtail, a Lesser Whitethroat and a steady trickle of all three hirundines to the north-west.


August 26th

The Ring-billed Gull showed up again today, just after 4:00 this afternoon and was still present until 5:30 at least. According to one observer, who has seen it on a number of occasions now, it has a habit of appearing in Stanpit Bight a couple of hours into the ebb tide, when the mud is first starting to appear. Around the same time, there were also a couple of Ruff on South Marsh and up to 10 Mediterranean Gull; while, much earlier in the day, a flock of 4 juvenile Little Ringed Plover had circuited Central Marsh. A juvenile Arctic Tern was inside the harbour for a brief period and, in the early storming south-westerly, at least 137 Common Tern moved west off Mudeford Quay during an hour's watch, then at lunchtime around 60 Sandwich Tern were noted from Fisherman's Bank. The day's wader records come from Stanpit, the sandspit and to a lesser degree Wick Fields, and aggregate: 7 Sanderling, 4 Knot, 7 Common Sandpiper, 12 Turnstone, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Knot, 11 Whimbrel, 4+ Greenshank, but again calls were ever-present, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 81 Ringed Plover and 49 Dunlin. The only passerine news comes courtesy of 4 Wheatear at Stanpit and a calling Yellow Wagtail on South Marsh late in the day, when 20 Shelduck, in groups of 11 and 9, headed high inland. Finally, the Orange email server seems to be down, so apologies if you have sent in a report but it hasn't appeared in this post.


August 25th

Those who spent the day in the Christchurch will realise it's inevitable that all the day's news comes from before the late morning, when a south-easterly wind brought in continual and, at times, quite torrential rain. Before all that, however, the passerine situation on Wick and the western section of Hengistbury was well worth getting out of bed for and included: a Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Redstart, 5 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 25 Whitethroat, 21 Blackcap, 33 Sedge Warbler, 22 Willow Warbler, 20 Chiffchaff and 15 Wheatear. Meanwhile, by contemporary standards, an impressive total of 72 Yellow Wagtail was logged - 42 of these leaving a reedbed roost halfway along Wick Fields. The pick of the waders were 3 Avocet, none of which lingered and 2 of which came from high inland, while the support comprised: 5 Sanderling, 2 Knot, a Turnstone, 2 Common Sandpiper, 90 Ringed Plover and 80 Dunlin. A party of 4 Rook over Wick was something of a surprise; as well as a Raven heard, over 50 Gannet offshore, 2 Kingfisher, a Peregrine, 10 Shoveler and 3 Gadwall from that side of the area. Please check back to yesterday for some half-decent additions to the post.


August 24th

Throughout the day, the wind gathered strength and with it came a few light showers. There is no news from Hengistbury or Wick, so it's straight to Stanpit with most of the reports from lunchtime onwards. An Arctic Tern was in Stanpit Bight this evening, along with up to 15 Common Tern and 30 Sandwich Tern, while a flock of 15 Common Tern had earlier passed straight on through. There were also a decent number of Mediterranean Gull, perhaps as many as 15, with a similar total being applied to the Greenshank. Another good count came from Ringed Plover, 103 altogether on Blackberry Point, where there were also a couple of Bar-tailed Godwit and a Turnstone. Elsewhere around Stanpit, the 2 juvenile Knot were still off Fisherman's Bank and 8 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper, up to 80 Dunlin and a Teal were in the bight. On Crouch Hill, the Wheatear peaked at 8 and a rather disorientated Great Spotted Woodpecker spent some time on the ground there, after coming in over the harbour.

Additional news: a flock of 10 Arctic Tern, all adults, came into the harbour over The Run at 2:30, but soon pushed off west. Earlier, three other birds, two of them juveniles, also moved through after briefly settling on South Marsh. Also, 4 Knot, a Whinchat and 7 Canada Goose at Stanpit, with 31 Common Tern travelling west in the evening.


August 23rd

The torrential overnight rain and strong wind may have been the reason why the year's second Roseate Tern chose to rest up on East Marsh for some time this morning, before relocating to a buoy beyond Blackberry Point, where it remained for a further 20-minutes or so. More obviously brought in by the conditions, however, was a Great Skua that came in from the west and was last seen disappearing over the Wood! Surprisingly, there was a reasonable selection of passerines, particularly at Stanpit, where: 3 Whinchat were with the Wheatear on Crouch Hill; 2 Redstart, possibly the same birds as yesterday, were around the Golf Course; and 14 Yellow Wagtail were seemingly settled. At Hengistbury, a further 3 Yellow Wagtail and 5 Tree Pipit were logged, while combined totals for both sites included: 11 Wheatear, 22 Whitethroat and 10 Blackcap. Meanwhile, for the stronger flying species, movement into the westerly wind was evident, as 120 Swallow and 96 Common Tern passed over the area. A flock of 6 Eider was a good record the best for the sea, which could otherwise produce just 2 Common Scoter. On Priory Marsh, a Green Sandpiper was still present, along with at least 11 Greenshank, but the overall total for these is perhaps as high as 17 birds. Also about in good numbers were at least 82 Ringed Plover, with lesser counts involving: 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Knot, 3 Turnstone, 2 Sanderling, 9 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 40 Dunlin. To conclude, the miscellany comprised: 63 Sandwich Tern inside the harbour, a Treecreeper by RIBS Marine, 2 Raven over, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Teal and a Shoveler.


August 22nd

The wind died away overnight, but the dampness persisted. Early on, a Pied Flycatcher was in the North Scrubs, Stanpit, and 3 Redstart were around the golf course there; while combined totals for the Long Field and Wick came to 45 Whitethroat, 22 Blackcap, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Garden Warbler, 20 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler and small numbers of Willow Warbler, with a Tree Pipit over. A Green Sandpiper and 8 Greenshank were by the Wooden Bridge, with at least 3 more 'shanks at Stanpit, where there was also 2 Knot, 2 Snipe, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 26 Ringed Plover, 70 Dunlin and 23 Sandwich Tern.

Additional news: a further 4 Greenshank and 6 Black-tailed Godwit headed north-west from Stanpit, while 2 Tree Pipit and a Yellow Wagtail went over, and 3 Lesser Whitethroat were in the bushes.

Additional news: flocks of 8 and 4 Yellow Wagtail went over Stanpit and Whitepits respectively.


August 21st

In a strengthening south-westerly wind, the top of the head was shrouded in low cloud for almost the entire morning. Nevertheless, a 3+ hour seawatch was undertaken and was not without its moments, although they were less frequent than would have been liked. A Balearic Shearwater and a pale, juvenile Arctic Skua, both west, were the highlights; with the other interest coming from a juvenile Kittiwake, 3 Fulmar, 9 Common Scoter, a flock of 3 Whimbrel, 3 Sanderling and 2 Ringed Plover. But apart from a Wheatear by the Coastguards, that's it for Hengistbury. Not surprisingly, there was little activity at Stanpit, other than a Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Knot, 3 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Ringed Plover, a couple of Mediterranean Gull of this year, a Shelduck and a a flock of 36 Sandwich Tern.

Omission: an adult Turnstone was seen from Mudeford Quay.


August 20th

In a fairly strong south-westerly wind and complete cloud cover, most of the day's overhead interest came courtesy of the Bournemouth airshow. The harbour is directly beneath the approach to Hurn, so those on Stanpit this afternoon were treated to some reasonably spectacular fly-pasts. Anyhow, back to the birds and a brief morning seawatch, which saw an Arctic Skua and one other small skua, a Fulmar and 7 Common Scoter move past Hengistbury. There was little else to report from the head, however, just 2 Raven and a Hobby in fact. From Stanpit, the best Greenshank figure is 8, but with calls constantly echoing around the marsh there were almost certainly more hidden out there. In addition, the first 2 juvenile Knot of the year were on site, while another count came in with 3 birds, so possibly making 5; also 6 Sanderling, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpiper, 47 Ringed Plover, 9 Black-tailed Godwit and 59 Dunlin. The best-of-the-rest includes: 4 Wheatear on Crouch Hill, a juvenile Shelduck from Fisherman's Bank and a Teal in Stanpit Bight.

Additional news: a Turnstone was on the sandspit by the ferry jetty.


August 19th

It was much, much quieter this morning, but that's no real surprise if you subscribe to the every-other-day theory. In fact, by local standards, the best birds were probably a Treecreeper in the Wood and 2 Raven over Hengistbury; while the more expected comprised: a Redstart, 4 Garden Warbler, 8 Blackcap, 30 Whitethroat, 40 Willow Warbler, a Wheatear, a Grey Wagtail and 3 Tree Pipit, all spread across over Wick and the western section of the head. No real attempt was made with the 'acro' warblers, but casual observations suggested there were more Reed Warbler around today, with the Sedge Warbler certainly dropping off. Also on the move were 22 Common Tern and 18 Black-tailed Godwit, but a Great Spotted Woodpecker appeared more sedentary. The recent Greenshank glut continues - 11 being the total for Stanpit - along with: 2 Knot, a Sanderling, a Turnstone, 6 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper, a Black-tailed Godwit, 25 Ringed Plover and 72 Dunlin.


August 18th

After a reasonably settled night passerines were back on the agenda this morning, with the birds concentrated in a few pockets around Wick Fields and the Long Field, and the larger totals comprising: 420 Willow Warbler, 118 Whitethroat, 70 Sedge Warbler and 28 Blackcap. Less plentiful, but of more variety, were: a Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Whinchat, 5 Garden Warbler, 12 Lesser Whitethroat and 36 Wheatear; with a further Redstart and 10 Wheatear on the Stanpit side of the area. However, a Nightjar accidentally flushed from the Barn Field was the star bird, while 11 Tree Pipit and 10 Yellow Wagtail, including a flock of seven, moved overhead. On the other side of the harbour, Priory Marsh had a brief purple-patch in the morning, when a Wood Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpiper and 11 Greenshank were all feeding on the pools, as well as 2 Snipe and 13 Teal; all bearing testament to how much difference a bit of water makes to that area. Meanwhile, another Green Sandpiper went over Wick and a few more Greenshank encounters brought the day-total to 17 birds. Other waders were once more well represented, with a Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 4 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, around 60 Ringed Plover and 58 Dunlin all knocking around Stanpit. To wrap up, there were also 11 Shoveler, a Kingfisher and 2 Hobby.


August 17th

The early part of the day, which saw the wind go to the south-west, was punctuated with showers that had all but passed through by the early afternoon. The juvenile Black Tern, which has probably been here since Sunday, was at Stanpit on-and-off until just after lunch, but it wasn't seen after that. Related interest, however, came from a juvenile Kittiwake that pitched onto South Marsh briefly, around 6 Mediterranean Gull of mixed ages and 3 Common Gull. Late in the day, a total of 11 Greenshank and 2 Green Sandpiper came up from Priory Marsh, while three additional sandpipers had been over Hengistbury in the morning. The other choice waders were not so numerous, but were varied, and included: a further 5 Greenshank, a Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Turnstone, the same Grey Plover as yesterday, 2 Sanderling, 6 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel, 52 Ringed Plover and 70 or so Dunlin. The two young Shelduck were still on Stanpit and 3 Yellow Wagtail went over Hengistbury.


August 16th

In the continuing northerly wind, there was a small arrival of Sedge Warbler overnight - although not counted, there were birds in places other than reedbeds, which themselves contained lots of calls. The pick of the migrants, however, were: a Wood Warbler in the sycamores by Stanpit golf course this afternoon and a Pied Flycatcher by the Ironstone Quarry on Hengistbury this morning. Tree Pipit were also very obvious over Wick, with 14 birds counted, as well as at least 3 Yellow Wagtail. Meanwhile, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warbler, 40 Whitethroat, 12 Blackcap and modest numbers of Willow Warbler were dotted around the fields. The rest of the day's news comes from Stanpit, where there was a Green Sandpiper with 3 Greenshank on Priory Marsh, while a further 5 of the latter were in the Stanpit Bight/Creek area, along with 6 Common Sandpiper, 5 Knot, an adult and juvenile Bar-tailed Godwit, a quite stunning Grey Plover, 12 Whimbrel, the juvenile Black-tailed Godwit that has been around for a few days, 8 Ringed Plover and 54 Dunlin. There were also good counts of 110 Redshank and 38 Curlew. Quite unusually for Christchurch, there were three plumages of Common Gull to be seen - singles of juvenile, first-winter and adult - as well as an adult Yellow-legged Gull and 2 Mediterranean Gull. A party of 6 Tufted Duck passed west, with 11 Teal, 2 Shoveler and now 2 juvenile Shelduck settled inside the harbour. Also resting were 50 or so Sandwich Tern, but a Hobby was more active overhead.

Additional news: a Black Tern spent some time at Stanpit this evening, as did a Sanderling.


August 15th

Despite it being reasonably clear at dawn, a stiff northerly breeze soon brought dense cloud over the area; which was probably responsible for lowering a decent selection of raptors to altitudes more conducive to seeing them. A couple of Marsh Harrier went through - the first, considered to be an immature male, came in off the sea at around 7:15, passed low over the Wick reeds and then gained height to move on west; while the second, again off the water and possibly a juvenile, appeared a couple of hours later and actually spent 15-minutes or so on East Marsh, but again eventually went westward. In between these, a coasting Honey Buzzard passed west to east over Hengistbury, before leaving high over Mudeford. Additionally, a Hobby was again over Wick and a tatty adult Buzzard strayed from the Avon Valley. The wader miscellany was headed by a couple of Green Sandpiper over Hengistbury, but also a Ruff, an absolute minimum of 7 Greenshank, 5 Common Sandpiper, 2 Turnstone, 5 Knot, 8 Whimbrel, 5+ Snipe, 6 Ringed Plover, a juvenile Black-tailed Godwit and 28 Dunlin, mostly at Stanpit. The wind hampered the viewing of passerines, but there were enough 'hweets' and the occasional burst of song to suggest more than a few Willow Warbler were on Wick, as well as visuals of Redstart and 2 Lesser Whitethroat. Travelling duck were conspicuous: for example, over 50 Teal and 7 Shoveler. Meanwhile, 3 Swift, a Yellow Wagtail and 11 Tree Pipit also moved through. To round up, over 40 Common Tern were feeding inside the harbour, a Kingfisher was on Wick, the juvenile Shelduck continues to linger at Stanpit and a single Common Scoter was at sea. Please also check back to yesterday for an ibis update.

Omission: a juvenile Little Gull went by at sea.


August 14th

A light northerly breeze brought cloud and rain to the harbour for most of the morning. Nevertheless, thanks to a few breaks, plus the shelter of various trees and the Coastguards, some field activity was possible. One of the more intriguing sites were two flocks of Whimbrel - comprising 16 and then 17 birds - from the west and coming into the harbour over Hengistbury. A spectacle more often associated with April or May. Around the Parky Meade Rail/Priory Marsh area, there was a Spotted Redshank, 9 Snipe, 2 Greenshank, 10 Black-tailed Godwit and up to 3 Teal, while a Knot, a further 3 Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpiper and up to 10 Ringed Plover were elsewhere on Stanpit. The conditions kept the passerines mainly inside the bushes, but a Pied Flycatcher, a Redstart, 2 Lesser Whitethroat and 60 or so Willow Warbler were on Wick, and a couple of Tree Pipit passed over the Barn Field. As expected the sea was uneventful, just a pair of Tufted Duck, 2 Common Sandpiper and 17 Common Scoter west, as well as over 50 Common Tern feeding about the sandspit and a few Gannet milling around further offshore. Raptors hunted with varying degrees of success: a Peregrine went over the HHC already with prey, then it or another hunted over the sea; an adult Hobby expertly caught a young Swallow over Wick, despite the warning calls of the nearby adults; but a young Sparrowhawk never really got to grips with the many Starling around Double Dykes.

Additional news: the Glossy Ibis returned for a brief while around 13:00. However, it soon moved on to Keyhaven, where it was first seen at 16:30 and remained overnight before leaving to the north-west in the morning. What a courteous bird this was - after debuting at Christchurch, it was then kind enough to make a tour of our neighbours' sites and work itself onto their year-lists :-)

Omission: a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull went upriver.


August 13th

The Glossy Ibis, after roosting in the Nursery overnight, turned up in Parky Meade Rail this morning, where it remained until around 9:30. It was not seen since and has now reportedly been seen in the Poole Harbour area. Close by to Parky Meade, a Ruff and Green Sandpiper were on Priory Marsh, while 4 Teal were accompanied by a Garganey as they flew off towards Wick and a Osprey passed high overhead. The Ruff was still there this afternoon, but little else of interest save for a further 8 Teal. The aggregate wader numbers for the whole of Stanpit were relatively poor, despite a number of visits and observers, and include: 4 Greenshank, 11 Whimbrel, 6 Common Sandpiper and 40 Dunlin. In terms of passerines, both sides of the harbour had reduced numbers from the previous days, around 100 Willow Warbler were at the end of Hengistbury, with an additional 50 on Wick; a Redstart, a Garden Warbler and 2 Lesser Whitethroat were around Stanpit golf course; but just 5 Wheatear were turned in overall. Meanwhile, a 2 Swift passed through, Hobby were seen of four occasions and at least 3 Mediterranean Gull make it on to the list.

Additional news: a Golden Plover and Spotted Redshank were on Priory Marsh in the evening, 11 Wheatear and a Garden Warbler had been on Hengistbury in the morning, and the juvenile Shelduck that has been around for the best part of a fortnight now was on North Marsh.


August 12th

Apologies for the late posting today, but the discovery of a Glossy Ibis by Alan Hayden in Mother Siller's Channel at 6:15 this evening caused a whole load of excitement. This is the third record for CHOG, but certainly the most accessible, and the bird could well roost with the herons in the Nursery overnight. Previous occurrences involve a single fly-over in 1972 and then a flock of three birds heading west at sea after appearing from inland just last year. Back to the early morning and there were still good numbers of Willow Warbler around the Wick/Hengistbury area, at least 250 being the estimate and some of them singing, as well as 60+ Whitethroat, 18 Blackcap, 5 Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Redstart. Sedge Warbler, however, although not counted, were clearly well down on the previous few days. Overhead, there were 7 Tree Pipit, a Yellow Wagtail, 3 Swift, 85 Sand Martin, 21 Swallow and 162 Common Tern moving, most of the latter at sea rather than through the harbour. Also at sea: 3 Eider east and around 30 aimless Gannet. Travelling waders noted from Hengistbury and the sandspit included: 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Knot, a Sanderling, 3 Turnstone and 149 Dunlin; while 4 Greenshank, 10 Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpiper, 12 Ringed Plover, 12 Black-tailed Godwit and 60 Dunlin were settled inside the harbour. Finally, at least 5 Mediterranean Gull were about and 2 Kingfisher were downstream of the Wooden Bridge on Wick.

Ibis update: the bird was seen to go to roost in the Nursery at 20:05

Later news: a total of 8 Common Sandpiper were in Barn Bight.

Additional news: a party of 8 Shelduck passed through the harbour late in the afternoon.


August 11th

Between 6:00 and 8:00 this morning, the Wick Fields were jumping with birds, with the obvious concentration being between the Wooden Bridge and the Driving Range, where there was actually a Little Owl sat on a fence at 5:30. The following totals encompass an area from the bridge to the Long Field on Hengistbury - 600+ Willow Warbler, 220 Sedge Warbler, 170 Whitethroat, 7 Garden Warbler and 4 Lesser Whitethroat. Additionally, 3 Grasshopper Warbler, two on Long Field and one by the HHC, and 2 Pied Flycatcher, one on Wick and one in the Nursery, were about; as well as 8 Wheatear, four of them on Stanpit. At least 14 Tree Pipit, seven of them decked briefly on Wick, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 320 Sand Martin, 120 Swallow, 6 Shoveler and 96 Common Tern moved over, while a juvenile Little Gull came into the harbour via The Run and an unseasonable Brent Goose went east at sea. Waders seen coming and going from Hengistbury included: a Ruff, 2 Knot, 6 Sanderling, 3 Common Sandpiper, 26 Black-tailed Godwit, 112 Dunlin and 29 Ringed Plover; but at Stanpit, 12 Whimbrel, a Greenshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 72 Dunlin and 16 Ringed Plover were more settled, along with 5 Mediterranean Gull. Hobby were seen on four occasions throughout the day, plus singles of Peregrine, Gadwall and Kingfisher, and this evening around 40 Canada Goose came to presumably spend the night in Stanpit Creek, as is their want at this time of year.


August 10th

According to the more experienced, the old adage says it's never good twice in succession; so on that basis the constant rain perhaps saved people from wasting their time looking for passerines today. In fact, the only news comes from Mudeford Quay, where possibly as many as 50 Common Tern were feeding close offshore, at least 3 Mediterranean Gull were present and an adult Common Gull rested on the sandbar, as did 2 Ringed Plover briefly. So, to some sagely comment for tomorrow - the conditions last night means there could be a hold up of birds within travelling distance of Christchurch and it's the alternate day to Monday.


August 9th

It's starting to become very clear that many warbler species have had a cracking breeding season. This morning across Wick and the western section of Hengistbury, in addition to a good number of birds ringed, 400 Willow Warbler, 350 Sedge Warbler and 250 Whitethroat were estimated, as well as more exact numbers of: 1 Wood Warbler, 3 Redstart, 17 Garden Warbler, 11 Lesser Whitethroat and 11 Wheatear, six of these actually on Stanpit. The Whitethroat figure, in particular, is unprecedented for the autumn and smashes the previous best day-totals of 200+ on dates in May 1993 and 2002. It's also suspected that the Sedge Warbler total may be a new record for the area and this evening the reeds around Stanpit Creek were still jumping with birds not included in the day's tally. As always, please check the Ringing section of the website for details of their experiences this morning. Terns started to get going for the first time in earnest, with the year's first Black Tern, a moulting adult, heading west over the Barn Field, along with 179 Common Tern that either took the same route or one just offshore. Meanwhile, a Little Tern was seen to come into the harbour. Some of the Common Tern stopped to feed over the sea and attracted the attention of an Arctic Skua, while 5 Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper coasted west, with 4 Knot and 2 Grey Plover heading the opposite way. To complete the travelling birds: 2 Tree Pipit, 3 Yellow Wagtail, the autumn's first Grey Wagtail and a Swift passed over Hengistbury. Things were a little more modest, in terms of numbers, at Stanpit, where a Common Sandpiper, 14 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 50 or so Dunlin were around Stanpit Bight, as were 2 juvenile Mediterranean Gull; and on the other side of the river a Green Sandpiper was by the Wooden Bridge on Wick. Finally, a Redshank had a lucky escape this morning after being caught by a Peregrine, when at least 50 of its colleagues gave chase and forced the falcon to release its prey!

Some further Stanpit news of birds probably not mentioned previously, which included a Hobby, 2 Knot, a Greenshank, 12 Ringed Plover and 3 Mediterranean Gull.


August 8th

Other than a Redstart seen briefly by the HHC early on, passerines in the field seemed quite sparse on Hengistbury. However, an impressive haul of 85 Sedge Warbler for the ringers suggests those birds that were around preferred the obscurity of the reeds. At Stanpit, however, there were 5 Wheatear that frequented the fenced-off area on Crouch Hill for most of the day. Waders around Stanpit included: a nicely plumaged adult Knot that had first been seen yesterday, a Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, in excess of 10 Whimbrel, an adult and juvenile Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Ringed Plover and around 75 Dunlin. Also about the marsh, at least 5 Mediterranean Gull on East Marsh and 3 Teal in Parky Meade Rail. Otherwise, it's just a Great Spotted Woodpecker at Hengistbury to mention.

Additional news: just before 7:00 tonight, the harbour erupted in a frenzy of large gull, the telltale sign of an approaching large raptor. Sure enough, an Osprey appeared over Crouch Hill, promptly caught a mullet off Blackberry Point and disappeared with it to the north-east. Photos may appear tomorrow.


August 7th

A reasonable turn out of Saturday regulars gazed at the sea for 3.5-hours this morning, when it was perhaps a case of quality rather than quantity. A single Balearic Shearwater moved west into Poole Bay, while at least 2 Great Skua were loafing around, occasionally indulging themselves with acts of aggression towards the large gulls. Also logged, were an Eider east, plus juveniles of Kittiwake and Mediterranean Gull, 41 Common Tern, a Fulmar, 60 Dunlin and 6 Common Scoter, all west, and 50 or so aimless Gannet. Peregrine were seen a few times with probably two birds involved and small numbers of Willow Warbler were dotted around Hengistbury and Wick, where up to 30 Goldfinch were taking advantage of the many teasels there. For the second day in succession, plans to catch the rising tide at Stanpit were thwarted by afternoon rain.

News just in from the single-handed and dedicated continuation of the seawatch. Great Skua were seen on a further two occasions, flying east and west, while certain movers were 25 more Common Tern west. An additional 11 Common Scoter - 8 west and 3 east - were also recorded and 3 Swallow came in-off the sea.

Additional news: an adult Common Gull was inside the harbour.


August 6th

The forecast predicted early rain, drying out by 1:00 this afternoon. In the event, we got a dry morning with the rain starting at just about 12:59, meaning a visit to Stanpit Bight during optimal tide conditions was a real non-starter. Nevertheless, earlier, a Spotted Redshank had been seen overflying and 11 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Ringed Plover and 19 Dunlin were logged from Fisherman's Bank. Also moving over Stanpit were 36 Common Tern and 26 Sandwich Tern, all at quite some height. There is little to report from the other side of the harbour, other than a Tree Pipit plus a few Willow Warbler about the Wick Fields and 4 Common Scoter off Whitepits. A couple of juvenile Yellow-legged Gull were together at Stanpit in the morning and a single bird was in The Run during the late afternoon, when there was an immaculately plumaged, juvenile Kittwake on the water just a few feet from the crabliners, and an adult Bar-tailed Godwit arrived over the quay heading for the marsh.

News just in from Stanpit: a Grey Plover and Greenshank were heard from Fisherman's Bank, and 3 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill.

Additional news: there were actually 4 juvenile Kittiwake in total from Mudeford Quay and an adult Common Gull.


August 5th

After a relatively clear and still night, the predicted focus on the sea never really got going, thanks to an impressive fall of Willow Warbler onto Hengistbury - over 370 birds being recorded, most of them passing off into Wick Fields. The ringers also caught more than a few and please check that part of the website for details of another good day for them. In addition, Sedge Warbler were plentiful, 115 being the out-of-hand total, as well as 88 Whitethroat, 12 Blackcap, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Pied Flycatcher and a Redstart. Wheatear are now starting to become more obvious, with 16 on the head, peaking at 11 on the Barn Field, as well as 7 on Crouch Hill, Stanpit, while overhead 3 Tree Pipit and a Yellow Wagtail passed through. Offshore, an adult Common Gull and 27 Common Tern moved west; 3 Shoveler and 2 Tufted Duck circuited the harbour; and a Peregrine once again sought out prey. The wader figures are so far a little disappointing, with just 40 Dunlin, 7 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel and 3 Black-tailed Godwit to show for the best part of a day's work.


August 4th

After a windy night, there is very little to report and nearly all from Hengistbury. A Redstart was on the Batters by the Lily Ponds, a Garden Warbler was by the HHC and a Wheatear was on the grass by the Hungry Hiker. Additionally, there were around 15 Willow Warbler and a Sedge Warbler. Over on Stanpit, despite a good 90-minutes searching, there were even fewer of the former and, amazingly, absolutely none of the latter. With shearwater numbers now building up to the west, the sea will inevitably get a look tomorrow.


August 3rd

The day saw some reasonable coverage, which produced a nice variety of records. At Stanpit, there were singles of Spotted Redshank, Avocet and Green Sandpiper, as well as 10 Whimbrel, 5 Greenshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, 2 Ringed Plover and 113 Dunlin. A Tree Pipit went over the Wick Fields, a Garden Warbler was on the Stanpit golf course bank, the first 2 Wheatear of the autumn, both adults, were on Crouch Hill in the afternoon and Willow Warbler were lightly scattered about most parts of the area. The gull interest came from a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull wheeling around Stanpit Creek at lunchtime, plus 5 Mediterranean Gull, 3 adults, a second-summer and a juvenile, on the marsh; but terns were disappointing with just 8 Common Tern and 10 Sandwich Tern to note. Wildfowl interest was varied, a Teal being the best and 10 Canada Goose the worst, while an adult Peregrine was made for an impressive site as it hunted over the harbour.


August 2nd

Another relatively quiet day, although a juvenile Golden Plover on the mud in Parky Meade Rail with Lapwing was something of a surprise. Also a Little Ringed Plover in the company of 2 Ringed Plover over there, as well as 7 Water Rail on show at low tide. The best of the passerines were 3 Turtle Dove, two over Stanpit and one over Wick, and a couple of Garden Warbler in Smithy's Field, with support coming from 22 Willow Warbler and 40 Sedge Warbler. Whimbrel have been around in good and consistent numbers lately, but 25 today is a really good figure for the date, while 3 Greenshank, a Turnstone, 3 Sanderling, 11 Common Sandpiper, 8 Black-tailed Godwit and 106 Dunlin were also about the marsh. Birds on the move, included: an Avocet, 34 Common Tern and 16 Swift, all west, and a Buzzard appearing to come in-off the sea from very high. A Hobby went over Wick with prey, and a Peregrine and Kingfisher were noted at Stanpit, where it's getting to that time of year when Canada Goose come on to the scene - nine birds from Fisherman's Bank this morning, for example.


August 1st

The first of the month when it should all start to kick-off in earnest, but it seems we will have to wait a few days longer. The Wick Fields held some isolated pockets of Willow Warbler this morning, but no estimate of numbers was made, while a couple of Redstart and a Garden Warbler were also present and the ringing team had a reasonable haul of Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler in the adjacent reeds. From the HHC slipway, a couple of Green Sandpiper and 5 Common Sandpiper were logged, and a Fulmar was watched moving over the length of the head. There is little else to report, however, other than a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull in The Run this afternoon.

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