Sightings for November 2010


November 30th

The highlight of a fairly low-key morning was undoubtedly a Pink-footed Goose that first flew upriver, but then circled Wick Fields a couple of times before seeming to heading off west, only to return a couple of minutes later, when it may have come down onto Stanpit. All of this was around 7:30. Also seen from Wick, 2 Goosander heading north, 6 Redwing, a Fieldfare and a Brambling.

Additional news: 2 or 3 Tawny Owl were calling about Two Riversmeet in the evening.


November 29th

Pride of place today goes to a male Long-tailed Duck, passing to the west close to the shore; also going west were 150 Common Gull, 53 Wigeon and 9 Pintail, with 3 Red-throated Diver, 2 Purple Sandpiper and 3 redhead Goosander moving in the opposite direction, the latter pausing for a few circuits of the harbour en-route. Waders were also on the move, 33 Golden Plover (in a single flock) and 138 Lapwing all heading south. Despite the date, finches continued to head east, 120 Goldfinch, 58 Linnet, 31 Siskin, 50 Chaffinch, 6 Brambling and 3 Redpoll counted today, and Song Thrush numbers continue to increase on the head. A drake Goldeneye in the Harbour was the first of this winter period, Wick held 3 Fieldfare around dawn and a Shoveler headed upriver. A Magpie roost has also built up along the riverside willows in recent weeks, with 37 noted leaving towards Wick Village at first light today. The regular lunchtime visit to Fisherman's Bank provided counts of 10 Black-tailed and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 17 Grey Plover, 20 Dunlin, 5 Ringed Plover and 3 Avocet, but with many birds resting on Central Marsh these numbers are undoubtedly on the low side.

Additional news: a Grey Seal popped its head up off the Beach Huts.


November 28th

The focus of the WeBS count revealed there is currently a real variety of waders and wildfowl in the harbour. For example, 16 species of the former were recorded, a figure more synonymous with mid-September. The best of these were 3 Avocet that arrived overnight and spent the day in Stanpit Creek, the Spotted Redshank in the same area, a Purple Sandpiper and 8 Turnstone on the sandspit, a Golden Plover over and 4 Knot in Stanpit Bight. The more routine, but in perhaps higher than expected numbers, came to 20 Grey Plover, 17 Bar-tailed Godwit, 106 Black-tailed Godwit, 62 of these from the Noddy Train Terminus, and 320 Dunlin. Conversely, the cold has seen off most of the Lapwing, with only 98 remaining on-site, while the figure of 18 Snipe shows just how difficult it is to record these and their smaller cousins unless something puts them airborne; also seemingly down were Ringed Plover at just 21. To complete the set, Redshank, Curlew and Oystercatcher were present. Ducks and geese were likewise well represented, the choicest being a Pochard, a Tufted Duck, a Pintail and 6 Gadwall, but counts of 543 Wigeon, 296 Teal and 113 Brent Goose are reasonable for the area; as is a total of 17 Little Grebe, with other interest coming from a Mediterranean Gull, 2 Kingfisher and a Great Crested Grebe. Meanwhile, the only 'dry' record for the day concerns a single Redpoll over the car park at Stanpit. Finally, a mention of the temperature, it was thankfully a little warmer than yesterday mainly due to a significantly reduced wind chill.


November 27th

Although snow didn't fall in the recording area overnight, the hills of Purbeck looked as if they had received something more than a dusting. In an absolutely bitter northerly wind, the only sensible option was to shelter in the lee of the Coastguards building and pick up what little was moving. Actually, the first few minutes of that exercise were quite eventful, as a Lapland Bunting moved over west and a Little Gull headed east at sea. After that, however, things slowed dramatically with the following 2-hours producing just: 2 Red-throated Diver, 12 Common Scoter, a Razorbill and 3 Great Crested Grebe; but the excitement levels did rise briefly when a 'V' of 20 Golden Plover passed high over to the east. Earlier, at least 10 Fieldfare and 2 Redwing were on Wick, where there were also 4 Goldcrest.

Additional news: a Heron came in-off the sea being mobbed by gulls and a Peregrine was over the harbour.


November 26th

More of the same weather-wise, i.e. heavy frost and little wind, with it seemingly set to continue for over a week. The best for the day were: a Woodcock flushed from the riverside path on Wick; at least 4, but quite possibly 6, Water Pipit on Priory Marsh; the Spotted Redshank plus a good local count of 18 Grey Plover, a Knot and a Buzzard from Fisherman's Bank; and a Dartford Warbler on Crouch Hill. Meanwhile, the more routine comprised: 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, up to 50 Black-tailed Godwit; around 250 Dunlin, 60 or so Ringed Plover and 82 Brent Goose, 14 of them youngsters, at Stanpit: 4 Fieldfare, 8 Siskin and a Grey Wagtail at Wick; with Kingfisher and Water Rail being turned in from multiple locations. Just before dusk, the pre-roost gathering of gulls inside the harbour held an adult Mediterranean Gull, at least 35 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 5 Common Gull amongst the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Black-headed Gull and Herring Gull.


November 25th

Another cold morning saw little activity at Hengistbury, with most of the news instead coming from Stanpit. Fisherman's Bank turned in some good totals, including a doubling of the Spotted Redshank to two, as well as 9 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 16 Black-tailed Godwit, a healthy 260 Dunlin, 37 Ringed Plover, 4 Shelduck and a lone Canada Goose. Elsewhere, 2 Jack Snipe were on Priory Marsh, at least one Bearded Tit was in the adjacent Great Spires reeds and 3 Great Crested Grebe were on the sea.


November 24th

Just back from a 10-day holiday, which was carefully planned to coincide with the end of the migration season, but looking back at the posts I've missed it seems I didn't quite get it right this year! After some early promise this morning, which saw 3500 Woodpigeon move west, cloud descended and things slowed significantly. Nevertheless, more Lapland Bunting were recorded over Hengistbury, 3 today, as well as a single Snow Bunting; while 140 Goldfinch, 80 Chaffinch, 70 Linnet, 45 Siskin, 32 Redpoll and a Brambling all moved east, and 5 Fieldfare and 3 Redwing headed off north-west. With little wind, the sea was calm and allowed 3 Red-throated Diver, a Great Northern Diver, 12 Great Crested Grebe and a Razorbill to be picked out on the water. At Stanpit, a Golden Plover passed over high to the north, with the settled birds made up of: the Spotted Redshank, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Knot, 9 Grey Plover, 49 Snipe, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 24 Ringed Plover, 45 Dunlin and around 70 Brent Goose.


November 23rd

There were just 2100 Woodpigeon logged moving west today. With clear skies and night frosts forecast for the next week or so it will be interesting to see whether the movement continues. The only other early morning report comes from Wick where 20 Redwing, a Fieldfare and a Chiffchaff were noted, also a couple of Tufted Duck overhead. A little later, 3 Great Crested Grebe were on the sea just off the sandspit and 5 Little Grebe were in Barn Bight, with another in Brewer's Creek; also 2 Kingfisher were about.


November 22nd

A cold clear period just after dawn saw 17000 Woodpigeon and 350 Stock Dove move west. The movement ceased abruptly, however, after about 45-minutes, as a bank of cloud enveloped the harbour. The finches, which weren't similarly discouraged, were still on the move until the mid-morning, the numbers being: 360 Goldfinch, 320 Chaffinch, 130 Linnet, 83 Siskin, 33 Redpoll and 31 Brambling all east, while 9 Fieldfare went north, and another 5 Fieldfare and 28 Redwing were logged on Wick. A Woodcock behind the Nursery was the first since last winter, while a Bullfinch in Wick Ditch was also the first for some time. Staying with Hengistbury, the sea was watched from both Double Dykes, where 2 Red-throated Diver, 4 Common Scoter and 4 Great Crested Grebe were on the water, and from the Beach Huts, where a Black-throated Diver, 7 Red-throated Diver, 9 Common Scoter, 4 Razorbill and 2 Guillemot moved west. There was also a single Purple Sandpiper on the groynes. On Stanpit, 4 Water Pipit and 2 Jack Snipe were present; also a good count of 1400 Lapwing, plus 90 Dunlin, 15 Ringed Plover, 3 Grey Plover and 2 Canada Geese. To round up, there were 2 Peregrine again today and a Golden Plover headed north high over the harbour.


November 21st

The pick of today's birds was a Short-eared Owl, which came in high over Whitepits and headed north. That apart, it was relatively quiet, however. A two hour sea watch this morning was fairly uneventful with just 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Razorbill and 2 Common Scoter west, plus 2 Red-breasted Merganser and 24 Common Gull east. A Peregrine was also seen over the sea with another one over Stanpit. On Wick, a Kingfisher was by the Wooden Bridge, while a Redpoll and 5 Redwing passed overhead. On Stanpit, the Knot was still present and 8 Grey Plover were noted. Finally, the first-winter Little Gull remains off Mudeford Quay.


November 20th

Firstly, thanks to Shaun Robson for his excellent illustrated talk on Kazahkstan last night and thanks also to all who attended.

After yesterday it came as no surprise to the Saturday regulars that it was somewhat quieter today. On a cloudy morning Stanpit was the place to be as both Snow Bunting and Lapland Bunting passed overhead and 2 Water Pipit were on Priory Marsh. Movement over Hengistbury was limited to just 5 Brambling, 2 Siskin and a Grey Wagtail, while 5 Redwing and a Fieldfare were on Wick Fields. With quite a strong north-easterly wind, most effort was directed at the sea which yielded 5 Red-throated Diver and 1 Black-throated Diver east, also 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Guillemot and 1 Common Scoter, plus 10 auks too far out to identify. Another Great Crested Grebe moved west and a Razorbill was on the sea; also seen were a drake Pintail in Barn Bight a male Tufted Duck over the harbour. The first-winter Little Gull was again off Mudeford Quay today.


November 19th

After the foul weather of the last couple of days, it was inevitable that in today's relatively benign conditions, birds would once again be on the move. The highlights were undoubtedly 6 Lapland Bunting, including one group of 5 birds, a single flock of 23 Crossbill and a Yellowhammer, all moving over Hengistbury to the east; also 870 Chaffinch, 770 Goldfinch, 360 Linnet, 116 Redpoll, 85 Siskin, 46 Reed Bunting and 38 Brambling. The Woodpigeon, of which there were only 1800 this morning, generally headed west, while the thrushes - 36 Redwing, 5 Fieldfare and 3 Mistle Thrush - moved north. A Black Redstart was by the Coastguards, 2 Firecrest were in the Wood and 2 Kingfisher were around the harbour. Many of yesterday's birds had left Stanpit, although the Spotted Redshank and a Knot were still there, plus 186 Dunlin, 57 Brent Geese, 52 Ringed Plover, 7 Grey Plover, a lone female Tufted Duck and similar numbers of Black-tailed Godwit and Bar-tailed Godwit; also 12 Curlew on the Salt Hurns. At sea, 3 Velvet Scoter moved east, while in the opposite direction went 5 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Mediterranean Gull, 67 Common Gull and 6 Common Scoter. The first-winter Little Gull was again off Mudeford Quay this afternoon.


November 18th

The frequency of the showers today discouraged any field activity on Hengistbur, so all reports received so far are from Stanpit and Mudeford Quay. When the worst of the rain had passed a late morning visit to Stanpit was rewarded with the sight of 320 Snipe and 5 Jack Snipe in the air over East Marsh. The Snipe count is the highest daily total for more than 25 years. Amongst the 600 Lapwing on South Marsh were 2 Golden Plover, while the Spotted Redshank was opposite Fisherman' Bank and also present were: 3 Knot, 2 Sanderling, a Greenshank, a Green Sandpiper, 140 Dunlin, 35 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Ringed Plover, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit and 12 Grey Plover. Teal numbers were up with 140 on the marsh, while 8 Pintail were in Stanpit Bight and 12 Tufted Duck circled the harbour before coming down in Barn Bight; also 13 Greylag Goose and 2 Canada Goose present. Later, a first-winter Little Gull was feeding over The Run and a Red-throated Diver was on the sea towards Avon Beach. An unusual sight today was of a group of 7 Great Crested Grebe, which swam 200 yards into the harbour diving feverishly for about 15-minutes before they swam out again. Finally, 2 Water Pipit were on Priory Marsh


November 17th

A total washout today with just one report from Mudeford Quay, at lunchtime, where just 17 Dunlin and 13 Ringed Plover were on the harbour shore.


November 16th

After another heavy frost, there was a reasonable westerly movement of Woodpigeon this morning - 10350 birds were logged up to 7:45, when heavy mist rolled in to the north and west of the harbour and brought things to a halt. There was also a hint of finch and pipit movement, with 40 Meadow Pipit, 25 Chaffinch and 7 Brambling east, while earlier 8 Redwing and 5 Fieldfare had left Wick Fields to the north. Waders around the harbour today included: the Spotted Redshank, 85 Dunlin, 25 Ringed Plover, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Turnstone and a Grey Plover. Finally, a Pochard flew upriver, a Tufted Duck circled the harbour and the Wick Hams Kingfisher was present.


November 15th

This morning's clear sky following last night's frost signalled the resumption of the westerly migration of Woodpigeon, although not in huge numbers; just 7500 today, together with 33 Stock Dove and 5000 Starling. Finches were also on the move, the highlight being the year's first Hawfinch, a single bird in a flock of Chaffinch; numbers all east were 650 Chaffinch, 280 Goldfinch, 160 Linnet, 63 Brambling, 51 Siskin and 46 Redpoll, also a flock of a dozen Reed Bunting arrived by the Coastguards. There were 3 Firecrest today, one on The Batters, one at the eastern end of the head and one in the Wood, also the Treecreeper, 8 Chiffchaff and 5 Goldcrest. A Spotted Redshank came in off the sea and landed in Barn Bight, while 2 Red-breasted Merganser headed west. On Stanpit this afternoon, there were: 114 Brent and 2 Canada Geese, plus a single Shelduck, 50 Dunlin, 43 Ringed Plover, 37 Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Snipe, 8 Grey Plover, 7 Common Gull, an Avocet, a Knot and the Spotted Redshank.


November 14th

A Firecrest on Wick Fields, not far from the HHC, was the best of the birds this morning. Earlier, a large flock of around 800 Wood Pigeon heading west suggested that a big movement might be underway, but nothing developed. Over Wick, just 7 Redpoll, 14 Siskin and 50 Chaffinch were on the move, while grounded birds included 5 Redwing, 2 Grey Wagtail and a lone Fieldfare. Looking at Stanpit from Hengistbury, a single Grey Plover was off South Marsh, together with a couple of Ringed Plover and 40 Dunlin. Barn Bight held 4 Little Grebe and a Kingfisher, while 16 Brent Geese arrived over the Barn Field.


November 13th

At last the weather settled down today with the wind easing and no rain! Unfortunately, it was also quiet on the birding front with very little to show for two-to-three hours of effort this morning. Wick Fields held just a few winter thrushes - 9 Redwing and 3 Fieldfare - while a few Siskin and Redpoll moved overhead, together with 3 Brambling. The Treecreeper was again in the Wood, where 10 Goldcrest and 4 Chiffchaff were also logged. From the Beach Huts, there was a female Common Scoter settled on the sea and 2 Purple Sandpiper on the groynes. A Red-throated Diver moved east, while 3 Red-breasted Merganser entered the harbour over The Run; and another Red-breasted Merganser and a Great Crested Grebe headed west. Also seen today were 35 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway's Dock and 2 Kingfisher.

Late news: Stanpit/Priory Marsh today: Merlin, Water Pipit, 2 Jack Snipe, 4 Grey Wagtail and 2 Dartford Warbler. Check back to Thursday for an update.


November 12th

Although it was much, much drier today, the wind seemed to have gathered a little more pace, so it is something of a pleasant surprise to get a Merlin, a male by the Wooden Bridge on Wick, into the day's post, as well as 150 each of Linnet and Goldfinch over the Beach Huts during a pretty futile seawatch. However, before reciting that disappointment, some of the other stuff: a Firecrest was on the Batters and up to 8 Chiffchaff were at the end of the head, while a Brambling and 2 Redwing were calling in the Nursery, and a further two of the thrushes were on Wick. Despite a good 2-hours attention, the sea produced just 4 Common Scoter, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Kittiwake, a Razorbill, a diver sp. and 30+ Shag.

Additional news: early in the day, Fisherman's Bank came up with - the Spotted Redshank, a good count of 12 Grey Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, around 55 Black-tailed Godwit, 25 Ringed Plover, up to 180 Dunlin. 300 Lapwing and 85 Brent Goose.


November 11th

A howling south-westerly with plenty of rain again made Mudeford Quay the only option for the early part of the day, when a Little Gull, 14 Red-breasted Merganser, a Razorbill, 2 Turnstone, 12 Ringed Plover and 2 Gadwall all passed by west. Later, as things dried up, Stanpit was visited on a very high tide that had pushed 4 Jack Snipe into more visible locations than normal; additionally, there was an apparent increase in Bar-tailed Godwit to 12 birds, likewise Knot to 3 in total, 4 Grey Plover, the Spotted Redshank and 45 Black-tailed Godwit.

Late news: 61 Turnstone looking towards Highcliffe from Mudeford Quay.


November 10th

Clear overnight skies gave rise to a fantastic Woodpigeon spectacle this morning, as 40400 birds passed through. The first 20000 or so were the 'real-deal' - in that they took the classic approach over Highcliffe, before swarming in their hundreds, sometimes thousands, directly above the waters of the harbour and then re-orientated themselves to again head west, faithfully following the shoreline towards Bournemouth. Interestingly, the remaining birds behaved slightly differently and in a way that has not being noted before. These flocks seemed to be coming in-off the sea and heading on a route that was slightly further to the north. Presumably, they may have been birds that started their journey at dawn further east and had been blown some way offshore by the northerly wind. Perhaps more exceptional in terms of numbers, however, were Chaffinch, as 1400 were counted heading inland, as did 64 Brambling, a Yellowhammer and 560 Starling. The smaller finches moved differently though, eastward, and were made up of: 455 Goldfinch, 175 Linnet, 82 Redpoll and 31 Siskin. There was also something of a raptor presence, with a Red Kite and 3 Buzzard seen to arrive from the south under the close attention of gulls, while a female Hen Harrier headed west at sea. Also offshore, an adult Little Gull and a Great Northern Diver, likewise west. To finish at Hengistbury, 4 Bearded Tit were in the reeds by the HHC. The details from Stanpit come courtesy of a couple of visits to Fisherman's Bank, where the Spotted Redshank, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 32 Black-tailed Godwit, 43 Ringed Plover, 96 Dunlin, 2 Shelduck, 2 Gadwall, 54 Brent Goose and 2 Peregrine were logged.


November 9th

Well, if you thought yesterday's early weather was on the harsh side, this morning's offering took it to another level. A strong northerly lashed down rain right through until the early afternoon, when the wind-chill seemed to notch up a gear; but with the blow now coming from the north-east, tomorrow is already being talked up. Back to today, however, with the best being a Jack Snipe that was flushed from the side of the path at Wick, just north of the Wooden Bridge early on. Around the same time, a much drier experience was being had at Mudeford Quay from the comfort of vehicles, but produced just a Red-breasted Merganser, a Red-throated Diver, 2 Common Scoter on the water, an adult Mediterranean Gull and a Razorbill. By dusk, the precipitation had completely passed and Fisherman's Bank came up with: the Spotted Redshank, the Knot, a Grey Plover, 19 Black-tailed Godwit, 93 Dunlin, a Buzzard, a pair of Shoveler and 30 Canada Goose.


November 8th

Some quite awful overnight rain and a south-easterly gale made for some welcome lie-ins, but when things cleared and stilled it was obvious there had been quite an arrival of thrushes on to Hengistbury. In all, 110 Redwing, 100 of them in a 5-minute spell, and 60 Fieldfare were seen on the traditional north-west heading. The best bird, however, was a Corn Bunting over the end of the head and westward. It's sobering to think that in the '60s there was actually a regular roost of a couple of hundred birds on Warren Hill, but nowadays several years can pass between records. Meanwhile, another Lapland Bunting was on site, seeming to come up from the flooding Salt Hurns, as well as 3 Brambling over. In addition to a lively seawatch, 3 Goosander, two of them drakes, circled the harbour; while offshore, the best were 3 Velvet Scoter, but also up to 50 Common Scoter, a Great Northern Diver, 3 Red-throated Diver, 2 Pochard, a Tufted Duck, 23 Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Pintail, a Shelduck, a Great Crested Grebe, 5 Sanderling, 49 Dunlin and 2 Razorbill, as well as 25 Skylark over the water. Purple Sandpiper appear to be back on the scene for the winter, with a settled bird on the sandspit groyne S9 and a further 3 moving past there; but on the flip-side, a Swallow over Mudeford Quay must have wished it were already much further progressed toward the equator. Priory Marsh again hosted Water Pipit, a total of 4 birds, and with sawbills clearly on the move a single Red-breasted Merganser feeding in Stanpit Bight was perhaps not as much of a surprise as it might have been. Also around Stanpit, a Jack Snipe, the Spotted Redshank, an Avocet and 75 Black-tailed Godwit, the latter representing quite an increase, with other interest across the recording area coming from a couple of Grey Wagtail and a large, female Peregrine.


November 7th

In a chilly northerly breeze and partially cloudy skies, which sometimes sent down rain, there was far more to be seen today; including a decent westerly movement of Woodpigeon, 30900 birds in all, but judging by some of the counts to the west of Christchurch, many thousands of birds must have headed towards the coast on a much different route. Also, for the enthusiasts, 300 Stock Dove were mixed in with their larger cousins. There were plenty of other highlights, however, and in no particular order: a Richard's Pipit was seen to come down in the Salt Hurns from the end of the head; at least 3 Lapland Bunting passed over, 2 west, a single bird east and 2 'probables' towards Stanpit from the Batters; a male Snow Bunting possibly came down somewhere on the sandspit; amongst the waders at Stanpit, there were the Curlew Sandpiper, the Spotted Redshank, the Knot, an Avocet and 2 Golden Plover, as well as 2 Water Pipit on Priory Marsh; the Bobolink Field on Wick produced 2 Short-eared Owl and a Merlin came in-off the sea; singles of Jack Snipe were seen on Stanpit and Hengistbury; and a skein of 10 Egyptian Goose and 2 Goosander headed upriver. Meanwhile, the bread-and-butter visible migration consisted of: 180 Chaffinch, 120 Goldfinch, 89 Linnet, 41 Brambling, 23 Siskin, 9 Redpoll and 130 Skylark, mainly east; 11 Redwing, 8 Fieldfare, 22 Song Thrush, 56 Starling and 70 Lapwing, north-west; and 2 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Common Scoter west at sea. Also at sea, a Red-throated Diver was on the water just off the Beach Huts, while an unidentified diver actually passed over the centre of the harbour. Now it's down to the real detail, which we'll be glad of over the next few months, and nearly all from Stanpit: 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Grey Plover, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Snipe, 190 Dunlin, around 50 Ringed Plover, an adult Mediterranean Gull, a Shelduck, 3 Gadwall, 131 Brent Goose, a Peregrine, a Buzzard and 3 Kingfisher.


November 6th

As the wait for the pigeons continues, just 560 Woodpigeon and 32 Stock Dove west today, there was another steady finch movement over Hengistbury. Curiously, despite the presence of cloud, the birds were all rather high and included: 420 Goldfinch, 220 Chaffinch, 135 Linnet, 23 Siskin, 18 Redpoll and 15 Brambling, mostly east, as well as a Yellowhammer. Earlier, 6 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing and a Mistle Thrush had passed over Wick, were there was also an above average gathering of 4 Grey Wagtail by the HHC, at least 5 Swallow and a Blackcap. Meanwhile, another late migrant was a Sandwich Tern seen departing the area over the Barn Field. Despite it being the weekend, field coverage was sparse, so the only other snippets involve 7 Snipe and 2 Kingfisher around Wick Hams, a Treecreeper in the Wood and a Raven over the Barn Field.

Additional news: a Barred Warbler was sunning itself on low bushes in Solent Meads car park during the afternoon and a Bearded Tit was seen from the Wooden Bridge.


November 5th

Although the conditions were near identical to yesterday, the sea was a completely different story. In fact, after 30-minutes at the Natterjack Pond, 4 Herring Gull and the onset of rain, efforts were largely abandoned; although a Common Scoter did head east pass Whitepits. Meanwhile, the only other news from the 'south-of-the-river' involves a Firecrest on Wick Fields. Fortunately, to pad out the post, there is some input from Stanpit, where the Spotted Redshank was still off Fisherman's Bank, and 4 Grey Plover, uncounted Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Snipe, 50+ Ringed Plover and 110+ Dunlin were in the bight area. Also there, a female Shoveler and a 103 Brent Goose, plus a Kingfisher and a Water Rail in Mother Siller's Channel.


November 4th

A south-westerly blow, which touched force 7 at times, meant that most of the morning's activity came from the Beach Huts, where a Little Auk passed by west in the company of 4 larger auks; also 2 Little Gull, 33 Kittiwake, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 40 Common Gull, 21 Gannet, a Red-breasted Merganser, 12 Common Scoter, 2 Razorbill and a Guillemot, all in the same direction. Incredibly, Linnet were attempting to move, with around 160 seen coming in barely above the waves from the Isle of Wight. Also, a couple of Brambling and a Firecrest in the Wood. On the other side of the area, the Spotted Redshank remains faithful to Fisherman's Bank, where 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 31 Ringed Plover, 70 Dunlin and around 120 Brent Goose were also noted.


November 3rd

Another relatively quiet day did conjure up some snippets of interest, not least: 3 Water Pipit on the newly-scaped Priory Marsh; 9 Little Gull, in flocks of 6 and 3, coming from the east; a Short-eared Owl that passed over southwards just before 11:00; a Crossbill over Wick; and 5 Firecrest on Hengistbury, four of them by the Lily Pond, amongst up to 20 Goldcrest. Other than singles of Red-throated Diver and Red-breasted Merganser west at sea, plus a Treecreeper in the Wood, the rest is down to moving passerines and comprises: 1900 Woodpigeon, 41 Skylark, 3 Redwing, 165 Goldfinch, 135 Chaffinch, 91 Linnet, 12 Siskin, 11 Redpoll, 4 Brambling and 80 Meadow Pipit.


November 2nd

The south-west wind was a lot stronger than the forecast indicated and, not surprisingly, this stifled the finch migration. Most of the expected species were recorded, however, but mainly as individuals settled in and around the Wood. Conversely, Woodpigeon did give it a go, with 3250 passing over Highcliffe at barely treetop level, making them more than a little tricky to pick out from Hengistbury; also 12 Jackdaw west. Over Wick, a Merlin, Golden Plover and Grey Wagtail all went by, while 7 Swallow and 5 Redwing were also logged. Amongst 18 Goldcrest in the Wood, one of them ringed, there was a Firecrest by the Nursery, as well as the regular, ringed Treecreeper. To wrap up, the first Peregrine record in around 3-weeks came courtesy of a bird over the centre of the harbour early in the day and a Common Scoter was on the sea.


November 1st

In clear coastal skies and a light northerly, there was an above average movement of thrushes from off Hengistbury and over Wick Fields early on. While the numbers may be paltry in comparison to other sites, they're not bad for Christchurch and were made up of: 9 Fieldfare, 110 Redwing, a Ring Ouzel, 70 Song Thrush and 100 Blackbird, as well as 280 Starling. The numbers have been mostly rounded due to some approximations, in an effort to minimise observer duplication. The first 45-minutes of daylight hinted towards a Woodpigeon event, but as the wind rolled cloud down the Avon Valley this petered out at around 2000 birds, all west. Later, when the cloud hit the coast, the smaller passerines became more obvious and the totals for dawn until 11:00, from Hengistbury and Wick, came to: 3 Crossbill, 31 Brambling, 37 Redpoll, 82 Siskin, 240 Linnet, 520 Goldfinch and, coincidentally, 520 Chaffinch; along with 45 Reed Bunting, 119 Skylark, 56 alba Wagtail, 86 Meadow Pipit and 2 Rook, all eastward. On the head, there seemed to be little decked, although a dog bounding through the heather did put up 3 Short-eared Owl that would really have benefited from some rest; but Wick fared slightly better with 16 Goldcrest, a couple of Chiffchaff and plenty of grounded pigeons. The only other obvious movers for the day were 12 Swallow around the area and 2 Red-breasted Merganser west at sea. Moving now to birds that are perhaps settling in for the winter: a Water Pipit was by the Rusty Boat on Stanpit; 4 Bearded Tit were in the reeds on the Wick side of the river; and who knows about the young Curlew Sandpiper that was again on South Marsh. Meanwhile, the Spotted Redshank, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Grey Plover, 23 Black-tailed Godwit, 45 Ringed Plover and 80 Dunlin were at Stanpit, and 3 Kingfisher were noted from there and Wick, particularly around the Wooden Bridge. Dartford Warbler again get a mention, with birds in uncharacteristic places - 2 on Crouch Hill and 1 in the Bobolink Field, for example. Finally, it was promised to put the WeBS count details on tonight's post, but as it's already over-running, a good count of 591 Wigeon is probably all we've got space for.

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