Sightings for October 2010


October 31st

For the date, there was an incredible variety of waders to be seen around the harbour today, including a surprise Little Stint, a late Greenshank, the Curlew Sandpiper, the Spotted Redshank, the Knot, 6 Grey Plover and 2 Golden Plover, as well as a Turnstone, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, 62 Black-tailed Godwit, possibly as many as 100 Ringed Plover and 122 Dunlin, with most of the details being thanks to the second WeBS count of the winter. A couple of Goosander that circuited the area, before seeming to head upriver, were also a bonus, as were at least 3 Little Gull and 16 Red-breasted Merganser west at sea, along with 2 Kittiwake, 2 Common Scoter and 3 Gannet. In quite atypical conditions, a direct easterly and cloud, there was a clear Woodpigeon movement, with over 5600 birds moving west over the Avon Valley. In fact, when some showers grounded the birds, the woods north of Burton were stacked full. Also on the move, all into the wind, were: a Yellowhammer, a good count of 770 Linnet, 185 Goldfinch, 83 Chaffinch, 22 Siskin, 10 Brambling, a Redpoll, 33 Reed Bunting, 63 Skylark, 10 Starling, 46 alba Wagtail and 170 Meadow Pipit. Meanwhile, a further 22 Redpoll were settled at the end of the head, where there was also a Firecrest, with 2 Wheatear by the Coastguards and 25 Song Thrush, 35 Goldcrest and 6 Chiffchaff in the Wood. The remaining interest, from what was really quite a good day, included: 7 Swallow feeding over Priory Marsh with 2 Mistle Thrush passing over there; possibly up to 4 Kingfisher and 2 Grey Wagtail about the area; and a Pintail, 2 Canada Goose and 112 Brent Goose at Stanpit. For those interested, the final WeBS numbers will be posted tomorrow.

Omission: a couple of Short-eared Owl were seen from Wick - one leaving high to the south-west, the other possibly remaining on-site after some attention from local magpies.


October 30th

A pretty quiet day overall - nevertheless, it was punctuated with some moments of interest. A first-winter Little Gull approached high from the east, but appeared to head off back again; the season's first Red-throated Diver passed west past Mudeford Quay late in the day; a Firecrest was by the Nursery; a Brambling was decked on Wick for a short while; and the Curlew Sandpiper was again showing well on South Marsh, just in front of the last gorse clump. For some time early on, despite the relatively strong westerly wind, it was looking good for Woodpigeon migration, but a series of showers soon put paid to this. As it was, at least 600 birds moved west far inland; while directly overhead, a flock of 45 Starling came in-off and 320 Goldfinch, 210 Linnet, 85 Chaffinch, 40 Siskin, 8 Redpoll, a Bullfinch, 46 Meadow Pipit, 38 alba Wagtail, 6 Swallow, 2 Shelduck, a Shoveler and 10 Common Scoter were also logged. In terms of direction, it was a little mixed, but the finches were largely eastward bound with the rest tending to the west. A couple of reports suggest there may well have been a Blackbird arrival, but a 6 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff and a Treecreeper in the Wood is the only other point of note.

Additional news: a Great Northern Diver went past Hengistbury, while a good count of 68 Ringed Plover came from Stanpit.


October 29th

The best for the day were 2 Lapland Bunting on South Marsh, Stanpit, this morning, before they upped and then came down somewhere on East Marsh; also a Merlin over there. Earlier, a strong southerly blow discouraged most from venturing onto Hengistbury, but the one or two that did managed a late Wheatear on the Barn Field. In the conditions, the sea was always worth a look, but neither the Double Dykes nor Mudeford Quay could produce the goods, so the rest of the post comes from Stanpit. The Curlew Sandpiper was seen around South Marsh throughout the day, while the Spotted Redshank, 6 Grey Plover, a Knot, 17 Bar-tailed Godwit and 32 Black-tailed Godwit were also present. An adult Mediterranean Gull was present briefly, the 102-strong Brent Goose gaggle contained 12 young birds and a couple of Swallow were feeding around the golf course. Finally, the ditch clearance project on Priory Marsh looks as if it is nearing completion. Thanks to Christchurch Borough Council and Natural England for driving this initiative - it's been a long time since Mute Swan could be seen swimming on ditches in that part of the harbour!


October 28th

An improvement in the weather saw migration pick up again this morning with good numbers of finches on the move. There was also time for a spot of seawatching, which in a strengthening south-westerly produced 3 Little Gull, a Great Skua, a late Sandwich Tern and 14 Common Scoter; all these birds moving into the wind. The numbers were 530 Goldfinch, 225 Chaffinch, 210 Linnet, 86 Siskin, 66 Meadow Pipit, 53 alba Wagtail, 46 Redpoll, 15 Brambling, 14 Skylark, 5 Swallow and 2 Rook. On the ground there were 3 Firecrest and 30 Goldcrest, plus both Treecreeper and Bullfinch. The Spotted Redshank was in its usual spot opposite Fisherman's Bank, while around Stanpit were 120 Dunlin, 24 Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Grey Plover. Finally, a Kingfisher was on Wick Hams with another on Fisherman's Bank.


October 27th

After the rain cleared, a mid-morning visit to Stanpit found a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper feeding in the channels on South Marsh at high tide, also present was a single Knot. The high tide roost held 80 Dunlin, 57 Ringed Plover, 22 Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit and 5 Grey Plover. Clearly some migration was underway, as up to 45 Meadow Pipit were around Crouch Hill, while 8 Swallow moved overhead. The wintering Brent Goose flock now numbers 114. Finally, off Mudeford Quay both Guillemot and Common Scoter were on the sea.


October 26th

No reports received so far today, but check back to yesterday for some late news.


October 25th

Another cold and frosty morning heralded the start of the annual westerly movement of Wood Pigeon with 7000 birds logged, also 400 Jackdaw, 220 Chaffinch, 160 Stock Dove and 8 Brambling. Most of the pigeons were moving just north of the harbour before heading out over Southbourne towards Poole. Swallow continue to trickle through with another 8 east, also 175 Goldfinch and 5 Redpoll in the same direction, while small numbers of Siskin and Reed Bunting were grounded around the HHC and the Barn Field. Thrushes were also in short supply with just 5 Mistle Thrush and 3 Redwing north over Stanpit. From the Stanpit golf course both Merlin and Golden Plover were seen. Dartford Warbler again featured strongly today, with at least 8 individuals around Hengistbury. Finally, 2 Grey Wagtail and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were around the area.

Additional news: late afternoon from the HHC boardwalk 4 Bearded Tit and a Kingfisher were seen, also 20 Swallow landed in the reedbed.


October 24th

A light northerly wind made it feel quite cold this morning. However, after yesterday's lull, birds were again on the move in the crisp and clear conditions. Highlights included 4 Tree Sparrow, 2 Yellowhammer and a late Yellow Wagtail all east, also a Ring Ouzel north. Now the numbers: Goldfinch and Chaffinch were the most numerous with 520 and 360 respectively, also 135 Linnet, 102 Siskin, 70 Redpoll, 56 Brambling and 26 Reed Bunting east, while heading west were 155 Meadow Pipit, 130 Jackdaw, 74 alba Wagtail, 38 Skylark, 4 Swallow and 2 Rook; finally, to the north went 28 Song Thrush and 2 Fieldfare. From the HHC boardwalk 2 Bearded Tit were seen, while 4 Brambling were in the adjacent willows. Elsewhere, singles of both Whinchat and Wheatear were on top of the head, and the wooded areas held a Firecrest, 2 Treecreeper, 10 Goldcrest, 3 Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaff. At sea, a single Velvet Scoter passed by east and 55 Common Gull moved west. To round up, a Merlin hunted over Wick, 4 Pochard circled the harbour, a Kingfisher was on Wick Hams and 3 Raven were seen.


October 23rd

A quiet day in the harbour saw very little activity, with the highlight being a Great Northern Diver on the sea off the Beach Huts; also just 1 Common Scoter off there, while a first-winter Mediterranean Gull left the harbour over Double Dykes. Probably due to a combination of the overnight rain and a brisk north-westerly wind, migration was almost at a standstill with just 55 Goldfinch, 30 Siskin, 15 alba Wagtail, 4 Redpoll and 1 Rook noted. A Grey Wagtail over Wick was likely to be a local bird. A late afternoon visit to Fisherman's Bank found the Spotted Redshank still present, plus 80 Dunlin, 19 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Knot.


October 22nd

It was a degree or two warmer this morning in a light south-westerly wind. A Water Pipit on Priory Marsh was the first of the 'winter-period', while a Woodlark passed west over Stanpit and Bearded Tit were again heard in the reeds adjacent to the HHC. On Hengistbury, the big news was of 3 Treecreeper - the ringed bird around the Nursery and two unringed individuals at the end of the head - possibly a site record! From the Coastguards, looking north of the area, westerly heading Jackdaw could again be seen in varying flock sizes, the total coming to 175 birds; also a couple of Rook that took a route directly over the harbour. The rest of the movement was fairly modest, with the finches going east, but the others in a converse direction, and comprised: 195 Goldfinch, 125 Chaffinch, 76 Linnet, 15 Siskin, 3 Brambling, 2 Redpoll, 85 Meadow Pipit and 62 alba Wagtail. Meanwhile, up to 30 Swallow were milling around, most of them over the northern end of the Wick Fields. The bushes on Hengistbury were once more fairly quiet, but did hold a Firecrest, 12 Goldcrest and 2 Chiffchaff, with remaining interest coming from an unidentified diver east, a drake Pintail inside the harbour and the regular Kingfisher about Wick Hams.


October 21st

The entire recording area was coated in frost after a night that saw temperatures drop towards zero, likewise the wind force. As the sun rose, there was some early thrush promise as 8 Fieldfare, 10 Song Thrush and 5 Blackbird came off Hengistbury north-west, but this soon petered out. Other than a flock of 7 Brambling, the sound of a Redpoll or more, a 'flock' of 2 high-flying Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Grey Wagtail, the rest of the overhead movement for the morning is best described as negligible and deserves no further keystrokes. On the deck, things were also fairly quiet, with just a Blackcap, 12 Goldcrest and 4 Chiffchaff being logged. However, right now, Hengistbury is proving very popular with Dartford Warbler, not least the top of the head just west of the Ironstone Quarry, where birds are particularly showy. A total of 11 was returned from that side of the harbour, while another was on Crouch Hill, Stanpit. On the marsh, the waders continue to thin out, with just 5 Bar-tailed Godwit on-site, along with 25 Black-tailed Godwit and 50 or so Dunlin, but no sign of any other species outside of Redshank, Curlew and Oystercatcher. Back on Hengistbury, the Treecreeper was in the Wood, a Kingfisher circuited Holloway's Dock and a minimum of 70 Brent Goose could be seen around the Flats. Finally, the ringers caught 2 Bearded Tit, out of at least 9 present, and no doubt that section of the website will carry more details.

Omission: a Great Northern Diver passed east at sea.


October 20th

Some very clear overnight skies and a light frost made for a pretty slow start to the morning, but things did pick up as time wore on and the breeze strengthened. The season's best total of Redpoll so far was logged, 49 in all, including some birds decked at the end of the head that carried a Tree Sparrow with them. Also on the head: a Bullfinch, 7 Ring Ouzel that all pushed off north-west, 43 Song Thrush and 3 Redwing; while 24 Goldcrest and 8 Chiffchaff were more settled. The rest of the movement, 178 Jackdaw and a Grey Plover excepted, was generally to the east and comprised: 385 Goldfinch, 220 Chaffinch, 135 Linnet, 73 Siskin, 3 Brambling, 19 Reed Bunting, 36 Skylark, 160 Meadow Pipit and145 alba Wagtail. Meanwhile, a Pochard and 4 Golden Plover were incoming, a Razorbill was on the sea and Raven croaked in the Nursery. In the afternoon, the Spotted Redshank remained faithful to Fisherman's Bank, where 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 26 Black-tailed Godwit and 110 Dunlin were also present, and a late Reed Warbler and Jack Snipe were on Priory Marsh.

Additional news: Bearded Tit were heard pinging from the Wooden Bridge.


October 19th

After not being seen for a few days, the Spotted Redshank was again off Fisherman's Bank, where there were also 25 Black-tailed Godwit and 16 juvenile Brent Goose among the total of 95. On Hengistbury, a shift in the wind to the west pretty much stifled any overhead movement, with just 2 Redpoll, 18 Siskin, 30 Linnet, 10 Goldfinch, 21 alba Wagtail, 3 Swallow and a Grey Plover logged in an hour; and all but 7 of the Linnet and 5 of the Goldfinch moving west.


October 18th

After a well-watched weekend, there was relatively little field activity during a largely cloudy, windless and on occasions damp morning, when early on a Fieldfare and Brambling went over the Barn Field. From the top of the head, a fairly casual visible migration watch picked up 250 Linnet, 80 Goldfinch, 12 alba Wagtail and 5 Siskin over a 45-minute spell prior to 9:00. All these moved east, while a further 45 Linnet, 30 Goldfinch and 16 alba Wagtail went the opposite way. The bushes received more attention, but gave up less than 10 each of Goldcrest and Chiffchaff. A quick look from Fisherman's Bank at lunchtime suggested regular numbers of Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit, along with an overflying Grey Plover. On a quiet day, it's perhaps a good time to answer a question that sometimes gets asked - that is, what is an alba Wagtail? The familiar Pied Wagtail ( motacilla alba yarrellii in Latin) that breeds in Britain is actually a sub-species of White Wagtail ( motacilla alba alba ), which breeds across mainland Europe and Iceland but passes through Britain on migration. Because the wagtails are being logged as flyover birds, it is pretty much impossible to see if they are Pied or White; consequently, the term alba is used to encompass both races. In reality, however, the number of White Wagtail actually moving over Hengistbury will be only a tiny percentage of the overall figures. Please also check back to Saturday for some novelty wildfowl news and to Sunday for the visible migration numbers.

Additional news: a party of 3 Velvet Scoter and a young Sandwich Tern went past the Long Groyne, a Common Sandpiper was again off Fisherman's Bank, a Turnstone was on the sandspit and there are now 9 Little Grebe in the harbour.


October 17th

A real drop in the temperature and a light northerly wind made for some isolated patches of frost about the area this morning. Overnight, there had been a clear arrival of Firecrest with 4 birds spread along the Batters, but there were few other obvious new arrivers. Once again, however, Bearded Tit were recorded, as a flock of 13, an identical number to yesterday, came out of the HHC reeds and appeared to head off high to the south. Otherwise, the best overhead was a Woodlark east and an incoming Golden Plover, while an assortment of flyby wildfowl included 3 Shoveler, a Tufted Duck, a Pochard, a Gadwall and 2 Pintail. Common Sandpiper have not been logged for a couple of weeks at least, so one briefly along Fisherman's Bank, where there was also a Grey Wagtail, was something of a surprise. Apologies, but for the second night running we're a bit behind on the visible-migration number details, but they will follow tomorrow.

Migration update: 410 Goldfinch, 330 Chaffinch, 160 Linnet, 146 Siskin, 73 Greenfinch,12 Brambling, 6 Redpoll, 170 alba Wagtail, 150 Meadow Pipit, 96 Skylark, 430 Swallow and 54 House Martin moved east; an impressive 570 Jackdaw, 9 Song Thrush and 3 Redwing headed the opposite way; while 65 Goldcrest and 60 Chiffchaff were grounded.


October 16th

A more detailed report will appear tomorrow, but the highlights for the day included: the season's first three Fieldfare, along with 9 Redwing, over Wick; 2 Short-eared Owl, one settled on Wick for a short time, the other high-in from the south; 2 Golden Plover arriving; a westerly movement of Jackdaw; 4 Redpoll and 2 Brambling over Hengistbury; 2 Tufted Duck, one of which was with the Wigeon off Blackberry Point; a Ring Ouzel over the Batters; and a Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Ruff, a Knot and up to 10 Bar-tailed Godwit at Stanpit. Additionally, it was felt there had been a small arrival of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest, while the overhead migration started well but quite quickly petered out, although some of the numbers may ultimately prove to be reasonable.

Omission: a party of 13 Bearded Tit came out of the HHC reeds and seemingly headed to Stanpit.

Update: as promised the fuller details for the day. Visible migration numbers, from dawn to midday, all east, comprised: 860 Goldfinch, 410 Linnet, 390 Chaffinch, 96 Siskin, 8 Brambling, 4 Redpoll, 26 Reed Bunting, 111 Skylark, a Grey Wagtail, 310 alba Wagtail, 270 Meadow Pipit, 430 Swallow and 14 House Martin. Meanwhile, 206 Jackdaw, 32 Common Gull, 14 Redwing and 14 Song Thrush headed west. The Goldcrest count for Hengistbury came in at 46 birds, along with 29 Chiffchaff and a couple of Wheatear. The remaining miscellany for the day, which saw 95 species recorded, included: a Treecreeper and 2 Coal Tit on the head; a Grey Wagtail on Fisherman's Bank; 10 Bar-tailed Godwit and 15 Black-tailed Godwit at Stanpit; 4 Turnstone on the sandspit; a single Common Scoter past and a Razorbill fishing by the Long Groyne; and 2 Little Grebe in Barn Bight.

Additional news: a party of 3 Egyptian Goose toured over Stanpit around 7:45.


October 15th

After a deathly quiet start - for example, the only finch recorded prior to 8:30 was a Brambling over Wick - things did pick up a little, which seemed to be due to the cloud lifting slightly and the wind gathering a modicum of strength from the north. Today, Linnet headed the numbers, 610 of them, while Goldfinch trailed significantly behind at just 120. In fact, Chaffinch scored higher with 140 birds, along with: 26 Siskin, 5 Reed Bunting, 260 Meadow Pipit, 95 alba Wagtail, 11 Skylark, 180 Swallow and 63 House Martin, all east, with 5 Song Thrush west and a Ring Ouzel likewise. The bushes were largely quiet, holding around 20 each of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest at the eastern end of the head, a Wheatear was on the cliff top and a couple of Razorbill were close-in a tad east of the Long Groyne. A full day in the field tomorrow, followed by refreshments, means there may be no report posted until Sunday. However, any decent news will be put out one way or another.


October 14th

The highlight of the morning's visible migration was undoubtedly a Twite, the first for several years, which passed low-and-loud over the top of Hengistbury. Other excitement came from the fourth juvenile Hen Harrier in two days that travelled east at sea, while Merlin came in-off. In light cloud and a north-westerly wind that veered slightly, in addition to a Yellowhammer, 9 Brambling and latish singles of Tree Pipit and flava Wagtail, there were a reasonable number of commoner species on the move, all to the east, and comprising: 910 Linnet, 820 Goldfinch, 360 Chaffinch, 173 Siskin, 111 Greenfinch, 3 Redpoll, 41 Reed Bunting, 16 Skylark, a Yellow Wagtail, 185 alba Wagtail, 520 Meadow Pipit, 550 Swallow and 105 House Martin. At sea, the best were 6 Eider east, as well as 4 Common Gull and 5 Mediterranean Gull west, 13 Common Scoter east and 29 Brent Goose, two-thirds of those also east. Finally for the moving birds, 3 Redwing headed north-west towards Wick. Continuing on the recent Treecreeper theme, there were actually two on Hengistbury this morning, the normal bird around the Nursery along with one at the end of the head; but other than 2 Ring Ouzel around Wick, true grounded migrants were sparse with just 30 each of Goldcrest and Chiffchaff, 5 Wheatear and 3 Grey Wagtail about the area. As seems customary, the Stanpit Bight area finishes off the post, where there were: a Golden Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 3 Knot, the Spotted Redshank, 2 Sanderling, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 29 Black-tailed Godwit, 61 Ringed Plover, 153 Dunlin, including one still in complete breeding plumage, a Mediterranean Gull, a Sandwich Tern and 81 Brent Goose. Hopefully, by now, all members will have received their copy of the Report, so it seems an ideal opportunity to congratulate the editor, Leo Pyke, on another outstanding edition.


October 13th

The longed-for cloud descended overnight, but didn't really have the desired effect in terms of mass finch movement. However, there was consolation enough in the shape of three Hen Harrier, all ringtail birds of the year, that passed east over or past Hengistbury at various times throughout the morning. Of interest, the first bird, most probably a male, was actually seen to be carrying a satellite transmitter. Earlier, about a kilometre out to sea, a Short-eared Owl endured a 20-minute mobbing from large gulls before it eventually found refuge on the head. Redwing numbers picked up a little, as 19 were seen leaving north-west; also 4 Ring Ouzel around Warren Hill and a Mistle Thrush over the Nursery. Inside the harbour, yesterday's Razorbill fell foul to a gang of Carrion Crow that finished the unfortunate off on the exposed mud in Stanpit Bight, while the Spotted Redshank, 2 Knot, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 43 Black-tailed Godwit, 48 Ringed Plover, 108 Dunlin and 81 Brent Goose were also in that general area. At sea, the best were 3 Eider, but also 7 Pintail, a Golden Plover and 19 Common Scoter, all west, along with 2 arriving Tufted Duck. Meanwhile, the numbers over, all to the east, came from: 840 Linnet, 500 Goldfinch, 318 Siskin, 175 Chaffinch, 8 Brambling, 27 Reed Bunting, a Grey Wagtail, 235 alba Wagtail, 490 Meadow Pipit, 515 Swallow and 148 House Martin. Additionally, the ringers caught a Redpoll. To wrap up, 20 Chiffchaff, a few Goldcrest and a Coal Tit were spread around, and a Peregrine moved through.


October 12th

Clear conditions during the night and then throughout the day made the overhead numbers somewhat modest this morning, with birds seeming to be moving on a broader and higher front. So, other than 2 Merlin and 2 Sparrowhawk east, plus 13 Mediterranean Gull west, those details will finish off the post. At Stanpit, by the Civic Offices, the presence of a Treecreeper resulted in the unlikely scenario of there being two within the recording area, while a Razorbill fishing in the shallow waters of Stanpit Bight was equally remarkable. Also on the marsh: around 5 Bearded Tit in the Great Spires; an Avocet, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Ruff, 3 Knot, 16 Black-tailed Godwit, 25 Ringed Plover, a Mediterranean Gull, a young Shelduck and a Raven over. Additional wader interest came from the sandspit, which hosted 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, as well as returning a good count of 118 Brent Goose. There were few passerine migrants on-site; for example, just 4 Wheatear, 10 Chiffchaff and 2 Blackcap. To conclude, the easterly heading travellers comprised: 470 Linnet, 335 Goldfinch, 90 Siskin, 81 Chaffinch, 24 Greenfinch, 3 Brambling, a Redpoll, 19 Swallow, 17 House Martin, 10 Skylark, 132 Meadow Pipit, a Tree Pipit, 80 alba Wagtail, 16 Reed Bunting and 4 Snipe.


October 11th

It was another reasonable day for overhead migration, although the figures are probably a result of the count period duration, dawn to midday, rather than an early, concentrated movement. In fact, many of the commoner finches were coming through in fairly uniform flock sizes of ten. For the first time this autumn, Goldfinch outnumbered Linnet, 1450 to 950 respectively, with other routine totals coming in at: 620 alba Wagtail, 300 Meadow Pipit, 500 Swallow, 300 House Martin, 200 Siskin, 25 Chaffinch, 8 Brambling, 6 Redpoll, 48 Skylark, 10 Reed Bunting, a Pintail, 20 Wigeon and 13 Brent Goose, all east. Meanwhile, and again in the same direction, some quality came from a flock of 7 Woodlark over the Ironstone Quarry, plus a single bird later, a Marsh Harrier over the Ironstone Quarry and a Short-eared Owl over Purewell Village. Conversely, 2 Redwing headed north-west off the head. On the deck, the year's second Yellow-browed Warbler showed on-and-off by the HHC during the morning, while a further Marsh Harrier spent most of the day in or above the Wick reeds and a Firecrest was behind the Nursery, as was a Treecreeper, this possibly unringed. At Stanpit, the same combination of 7 Ruff was still present, as were: the Spotted Redshank, 2 Knot, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Grey Plover, 10+ Black-tailed Godwit and a minimum of 179 Dunlin; also around 50 Brent Goose on East Marsh this evening and 5 Mediterranean Gull in the pre-roost gathering. However, rather frustratingly, after being 100%-consistent for the last few weeks, the ibis appeared to have done a bunk, just ahead of the BBC cameras! Finally, thanks must go to the sharp-eyed website visitor who noticed that two of the regulars weren't actually vis-migging yesterday, instead they were appearing to rehearse a rendition of Village People's YMCA!

Additional news: up to 6 Ring Ouzel were across Hengistbury and Wick.


October 10th

In similar conditions to yesterday, other than a clearing of the cloud by around 10:00, there was another spectacular visible-migration to be seen from the top of Hengistbury. Again, Linnet were the most numerous with 2900 logged, but also 1200 alba Wagtail, 1150 Goldfinch, these well up on yesterday, 240 Chaffinch, 220 Siskin, 18 Brambling, and 9 Redpoll. The rest of the numbers will follow later, but firstly some of the highlights: a total of 15 Ring Ouzel passed over the Batters in a 10-minute spell around 9:30; an incredible figure of 27 Bearded Tit, in groups of 15 and 12, descended into the HHC reedbed; a Lapland Bunting and a Tree Sparrow were seen from the end of the head; at least 3 Yellowhammer and 2 Woodlark moved through; a Merlin passed north over Wick Fields; and a Marsh Harrier went over Mudeford Village early in the afternoon. Now the rest of the numbers, as per most of the previous all east: a Sand Martin, 450 Swallow, 37 House Martin, singles of Grey Wagtail and Yellow Wagtail, 56 Skylark, 375 Meadow Pipit, 10 Reed Bunting and 6 Song Thrush. Meanwhile: the season's first 5 Redwing headed north-west over Wick; 24 Common Gull and 4 Sandwich Tern travelled west; a Shoveler and 8 Snipe arrived; and 36 Brent Goose and 2 Common Scoter went in a mixture of ways at sea. On the deck, between the Long Field and Wick, 3 Whinchat, 2 Wheatear, a further Ring Ouzel, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Reed Warbler and 9 Chiffchaff were notched up, while Stanpit again hosted the Glossy Ibis, 7 Ruff, 4 ruffs and 3 reeves, and a Curlew Sandpiper. Finally, and a bit of a long-shot, but if anyone found an iPod on Hengistbury today, please contact the website.


October 9th

Despite a reasonably strong easterly wind, it was a day when at least two CHOG visible migration records were broken, namely alba Wagtail and Linnet at 1670 and 4750 respectively, while 475 Siskin is possibly also a new maximum for the area. All these were recorded moving into the wind from 7:00 to around 2:00, with the main concentrations prior to 10:00. In addition, and all moving in the same direction, were: 5 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail, 630 Meadow Pipit and 2 Tree Pipit, which are all pretty notable for the date, as well as: 860 Swallow, 620 House Martin, 180 Chaffinch, 135 Goldfinch, 10 Redpoll, 2 Brambling, 44 Song Thrush and 43 Starling. There was also something out of the ordinary at sea, where 28 Balearic Shearwater moved east, the largest flock comprising 11 birds, along with 32 Common Gull, 3 Mediterranean Gull and 6 Brent Goose west, while a further 35 geese went east, as did single Knot and Grey Plover, but up to 50 Common Scoter were rather more varied in their travels. With all the stuff flying past, little attention were given to the bushes, although four Ring Ouzel, three of them on the higher parts of Hengistbury, were around. Most of Stanpit disappeared under water for the morning, so news is sparse from there. However, 4 Ruff were again on North Marsh, at least 2 Golden Plover overflew, a first-winter Mediterranean Gull was on the Recreation Ground early on, a Pintail arrived and up to 10 Sandwich Tern were lingering around the harbour.

Omission: a Black-necked Grebe, barely annual in the harbour, went east in the company of 3 Brent Goose.

Evening update: a Wryneck was again seen east of the Ironstone Quarry. On Stanpit, there were in fact 5 Ruff, as well as: the Glossy Ibis, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, the Spotted Redshank, a settled Golden Plover, a Grey Plover, 2 Sanderling, over 20 Bar-tailed Godwit, 100 or so Teal and 2 Mediterranean Gull. Meanwhile, the in-harbour Brent Goose peaked at 49, including 5 juveniles, a Wheatear was on Crouch Hill, a Peregrine hunted the marsh and a Razorbill was on the sea. Just before dusk, incredibly, each time the top of the head was scanned, flocks of Linnet and alba Wagtail could be seen moving at what seemed to be the same rate as earlier in the afternoon.


October 8th

Various overnight reports of a huge cloud of birds picked up by radar over the southern part of the North Sea raised the hopes for this morning, but as it was, in a reasonably strong easterly, the overhead numbers were a little on the disappointing side. However, there was another Wryneck sighting, this time around 200m east of the Ironstone Quarry, as well as 3 Ring Ouzel on Hengistbury, two on top of the head by the Coastguards and another over the Salt Hurns, plus a Firecrest in the Wood. On Stanpit, the Glossy Ibis was still around and a juvenile Marsh Harrier toured for up to an hour this afternoon. Also of interest on the marsh, up to 6 Ruff, five of them on North Marsh late in the day, an Avocet, the Spotted Redshank, a Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, at least 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Sanderling, a Grey Plover, a Snipe, 40 Black-tailed Godwit, 100 Dunlin, an estimated 30 Ringed Plover and 19 Brent Goose, although some of the latter soon moved on. A quick look at the sea saw 7 Common Scoter and 22 Sandwich Tern east, but little else over the water. A couple of each of Peregrine and Raven were over Hengistbury, where there was a single Wheatear and eastbound aerial numbers of: 290 Meadow Pipit, 240 alba Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail, 210 Linnet, 180 Goldfinch, 170 Greenfinch, 75 Chaffinch, 59 Siskin, 3 Redpoll, 530 Swallow, 36 House Martin, 23 Skylark and 32 Reed Bunting; while 9 Common Gull and 4 Mediterranean Gull headed down-channel. To conclude, the Ring-billed Gull seems to be still around, having been seen on the HHC mudbar two evenings ago.


October 7th

On a fine clear morning with light south-easterlies the pace of migration picked up somewhat today. Before the numbers, the highlights, with pride of place going to the first Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn. The bird was seen briefly in the company of 2 Dartford Warbler by the Natterjack Toad pond. Meanwhile, the Glossy Ibis remains on Central Marsh by the Iron Boat. Overhead, all birds moved east, with the exception of the gulls and corvids, which travelled in the opposite direction. Totals were 1400 Swallow, 1350 Goldfinch, 1180 Linnet, 900 House Martin, 620 Chaffinch, 520 alba Wagtail, 510 Meadow Pipit, 270 Siskin, 230 Greenfinch, 115 Reed Bunting, 11 Skylark, 6 Brambling, 3 Redpoll and a late Sand Martin; while the westerly movers were 27 Jackdaw, 14 Rook, 25 Mediterranean Gull, 22 Common Gull and 17 Song Thrush. A count of 63 Goldcrest was the best of the autumn so far, while a Ring Ouzel was on the Batters and a couple of dozen Chiffchaff were scattered around; but only 3 Wheater were seen today. Waders on the move included 18 Golden Plover, a couple of single birds then groups of 7 and 9. On another very high tide a Ruff was on East Marsh and also present were 20 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Grey Plover, the Spotted Redshank and 2 Brent Geese.


October 6th

It was more of the same today, with a belt of overnight rain putting a dampener on things. A Ring Ouzel in Smithy's Field was the pick of the grounded migrants on Stanpit, but also there were 31 Chiffchaff and 15 Goldcrest, while another 21 Chiffchaff were on Hengistbury. Overhead birds were moving mainly west, the combined totals for both sides of the harbour being: 909 Swallow, 470 House Martin, 195 Goldfinch, 153 Meadow Pipit, 87 Jackdaw, 83 alba Wagtail, 65 Chaffinch, 57 Rook, 40 Linnet, 9 Siskin and 5 Grey Wagtail. An exceptionally high tide saw most of Stanpit under water, which meant that normally secretive birds were pushed off their usual haunts, hence 2 Jack Snipe and 54 Snipe were seen; also 3 Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper, plus a further 3 Snipe on Wick Hams. Elsewhere, the Glossy Ibis and Spotted Redshank were still present, together with 32 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Sanderling, 2 Grey Plover and a single Curlew Sandpiper.


October 5th

A much quieter morning, possibly due to the damp start, when overhead migration had more or less petered out by 9:00. The numbers were 157 Goldfinch, 129 Meadow Pipit, 105 Swallow, 100+ House Martin, the latter mainly over Wick, 80 Siskin, 66 Linnet, 25 alba Wagtail, 15 Skylark, 7 Reed Bunting and 3 Jackdaw, all moving east. The bushes also held far fewer birds with 30 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, a Whinchat in the Bobolink Field and just 2 Wheatear; another 2 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill and a Yellow Wagtail was on Priory Marsh.. A group of 3 plover which came over The Run and headed south-west over Double Dykes comprised 2 Grey Plover and 1 Golden Plover. Another 2 Grey Plover were on Stanpit, together with 80 Ringed Plover, 27 Snipe, 26 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Sanderling, 2 Knot, 1 Avocet and the Spotted Redshank; also 18 Sandwich Tern and singles of Shelduck and Brent Goose. Finally, the Glossy Ibis was still by the Rusty Boat.


October 4th

With light winds and some cloud cover migration was back in full swing this morning. The first Woodlark of the autumn and 2 Lapland Bunting were the pick of the overhead birds, while on the ground another Wryneck was seen near the Gully. It's been an excellent year for this species. A Ring Ouzel was again in the Bobolink Field and a Firecrest was on the Batters; also scattered around the area were 125 Chiffchaff, 44 Blackcap, 27 Goldcrest, 15 Wheatear and singles of Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher and Reed Warbler. The 'vis-mig' totals were 1700 Swallow, 1100 Goldfinch, 1000 House Martin, 800 Linnet, 630 alba Wagtail, 520 Meadow Pipit, 370 Chaffinch, 176 Siskin, 63 Reed Bunting, 32 Rook, 31 Skylark, 25 Redpoll, 14 Brambling, 7 Song Thrush, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail, 1 Tree Pipit and 1 Mistle Thrush. On the Stanpit side of the harbour, the Glossy Ibis was still present by the Rusty Boat and waders today included 2 Ruff, which left the harbour, while also airborne were 21 Ringed Plover and 12 Snipe. Elsewhere around the marsh, there were 21 Black-tailed Godwit, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 1 Grey Plover and the Spotted Redshank, with the Dunlin and Ringed Plover numbers similar to yesterday. A Kingfisher, 8 Sandwich Tern and a Mediterranean Gull were opposite Fisherman's Bank, while 7 Canada Geese and 2 Brent Geese were in Stanpit Bight. Finally, 5 Great Spotted Woodpecker headed north over Hengistbury this morning.


October 3rd

The morning was dominated by a southerly blow and total rain, but a shift in the wind to the west dried things out shortly after lunch. What was presumably the same Great Skua that had been at Mudeford Quay on Friday was seen frequently around the area throughout the day. During the morning, the bird was off the Beach Huts mixing with gulls around M160, the only lobster boat out, but then headed into the harbour, where it spent most of the afternoon at Stanpit, as well as being noted over Hengistbury. Whilst on the marsh, the 'brute-of-the-sea' seemed rather irritated by the local crows as they snuck up and took nips at its tail, but was rather less perplexed by the mobbing it received from a single Lapwing! Somewhat disappointingly, given the conditions, the only other interest at sea came from juveniles of Black Tern, one east and one west, with the rest made up of 15 Common Tern, 19 Sandwich Tern, 3 Common Scoter and Gannet, all west. Skua aside, the best record of the day was actually a Tree Sparrow on the deck at Whitepits briefly, where there were also 4 Wheatear, with 8 more of these at Stanpit on Crouch Hill. Not surprisingly, however, there were few other passerines noted on site. The advantage of there being an unfamiliar bird around Stanpit Bight meant the waders were all huddled together, thereby presenting an ideal opportunity to count them more accurately, particularly the more numerous. For example, totals of 234 Dunlin and 122 Ringed Plover are much higher than the previous few days and suggest these are perhaps often underestimated. Also around: 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Ruff, the Spotted Redshank, 5 Grey Plover, 4 Sanderling, 13 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 2 Greenshank, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit and 20 Black-tailed Godwit; as well as juveniles of Kittiwake and Shelduck in the harbour, plus the Glossy Ibis by the Rusty Boat.

Additional news: a juvenile Arctic Tern and 2 Brent Goose were at sea, while 15 Goldcrest in the Wood is probably the highest total for well over a year and hopefully sets the scene for a better autumn for these. Also around 20 Chiffchaff and 10 Blackcap on Hengistbury.


October 2nd

A much more pleasant day that heralded the first reasonable finch passage of the autumn: in addition to a male Brambling, 6 Redpoll and 39 Siskin, a total of 850 Linnet, 430 Goldfinch and 60 Chaffinch moved east. Also on the move, 250 Meadow Pipit, 46 alba Wagtail, 690 Swallow, 25 House Martin, a Sand Martin, 31 Starling and 10 Reed Bunting, while 7 Grey Heron went the other way. However, the supposedly keen-eyed 'vis-miggers', even with the benefit of a couple of hundred feet elevation, managed to miss a Gannet that came from inland, traversed the harbour south-east and was reunited with the sea over the Beach Huts. That particular record was down to the ringers! More settled on Hengistbury and Wick, were 50 each of Chiffchaff and Blackcap, 6 Goldcrest, 15 Wheatear, plus 7 at Stanpit, and a Mistle Thrush, along with a Nuthatch that was heard from the northern extremity of the fields. Around 11:30, an Osprey appeared over the harbour and spent 10-minutes hanging around before pushing off west. Another good record for the day was of a juvenile Black Tern seen from Stanpit, where the Glossy Ibis was present and singles of Ruff and Curlew Sandpiper were on North and South Marshes respectively. Other waders on site included: 2 Common Sandpiper in Brewer's Creek, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Sanderling, a Whimbrel, 30 Black-tailed Godwit, 90 Ringed Plover and 140 Dunlin. Meanwhile, 180 Wigeon, a Pintail, 5 Gadwall and 25 Teal were in a crowded Stanpit Bight, and 4 Little Grebe were in Barn Bight. A brief look at the sea produced 25 Sandwich Tern west and a Razorbill east, with remaining interest coming from a further 6 Sandwich Tern and a Common Tern inside the harbour, 2 Raven, a Peregrine and several Jackdaw in unexpected places.


October 1st

A day that was dominated by a southerly gale and constant, driving rain. Consequently, other than 3 Brent Goose east past Double Dykes, all the reports come from Mudeford Quay, which was not without merit. At 5:00 tonight, a presumably exhausted Great Skua was sitting on the harbour shore to the right of the approach road, where more normally the gulls wait for the fish-and-chip leftovers! Earlier in the day, a Little Stint was logged from the car park adjacent to The Run, as were 2 Little Gull, a juvenile Kittiwake, 5 Common Tern, 3 Guillemot and 2 Turnstone. Finally, the Annual Report was received from the printers today and willl be mailed out early next week.

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