Sightings for October 2011


October 31st

The Yellow-browed Warbler was seen this morning by the Nursery, but despite much searching there was no sign of the Pallas's Warbler. On Stanpit, the Glossy Ibis was again opposite the Visitor's Centre. Migrants were hard to come by with virtually nothing moving overhead other than 3 Swallow, while settled were a couple of Wheatear, a Firecrest, a Chiffchaff, a Treecreeper and around 15 Goldcrest. Earlier, just after dawn, 2 Goosander and 6 Pochard left the harbour, while 29 Greylag Geese were on the river. A seawatch from the Beach Huts during morning saw both a Great Skua and an adult Little Gull pass by. However things were a little bit livelier this afternoon from Mudeford Quay with a Pomarine Skua and 2 Great Skua east, also 4 Kittiwake and 2 Mediterranean Gull west. Waders today on Stanpit included 27 Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Ringed Plover, 16 Dunlin, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Grey Plover and a Spotted Redshank.


October 30th


A distant shot of the Glossy Ibis yesterday with Black-tailed Godwit - John Harding

Singles of both Pallas's Warbler and Yellow-browed Warbler were on Hengistbury today. First seen in the Wood by the Double Bends, the birds proved very elusive until relocated by the Lily Pond just after lunch and then later behind the Nursery. On Wick this morning, a Wryneck was seen all too briefly in the Bobolink Field. From Mudeford Quay, an Arctic Skua and 6 Kittiwake moved past, while this afternoon there was also a good late record of a Black Tern over The Run. There is very little else to report, just a Spotted Redshank in Holloway's Dock, a couple of Raven over Hengistbury and a Grey Wagtail by the Wooden Bridge.

Evening update: also around Hengistbury today were 40 Goldcrest, 2 Firecrest and a Treecreeper, while a further 2 Arctic Skua and 2 Sanderling were seen from the Beach Huts.


October 29th


High tide at Stanpit - Dave Cooke

Early morning at Hengistbury - Jean Southworth

The Glossy Ibis was opposite the Stanpit Visitor's Centre this morning, but for the first time since the 18th there was no sign of the Red-breasted Goose. Early in the day most of the birding effort was concentrated on Hengistbury, where the best of the travelling birds were 6 Woodlark, a Yellowhammer and 2 ring-tailed Hen Harrier, the latter moved east past the Beach Huts before heading inland over Barton. At first light a Tawny Owl was calling from the direction of Wick, while 9 Little Gull left the harbour to the south-west. The first Woodpigeon movement was noted today with 270 birds west and other totals were: 1500 Linnet, 1250 Goldfinch, 215 Chaffinch, 175 Skylark, 145 Redpoll, 115 Meadow Pipit, 110 Greenfinch, 95 Starling, 72 Siskin, 22 Swallow, 20 Song Thrush, 15 Redwing, 12 Fieldfare, 5 Bullfinch and 2 Brambling. Settled birds were just a Firecrest on Hengistbury and a Wheatear on Crouch Hill. On Stanpit, the waders included singles of Little Stint, Spotted Redshank and Sanderling, plus 29 Ringed Plover, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Grey Plover; also the 2 Sandwich Tern were still present.

Late news: A Black Redstart was around the Hiker cafe this morning at 9:30.


October 28th


Another shot of the Red-breasted Goose - Jimmy Main

Grey Plover - Jimmy Main

On a fine and clear morning with just a light northerly breeze, there was something of an owl-fest at Hengistbury with a Long-eared Owl and up to 7 Short-eared Owl seen. The Long-eared Owl, the first record since 2006, came up from the eastern Batters before it circled, gained height and then headed out to sea. A Short-eared Owl was seen over Whitepits, four were quartering east of the Ironstone Quarrym while two more were seen coming in off the sea. On the other side of the harbourm the Red-breasted Goose was still present and a Glossy Ibis made a welcome return to Priory Marsh, where it was seen just after lunch. Back to this morning at Hengistbury, where the eastern end of the head was clearly the place to be as, in addition to the owls, 2 Twite moved over as well as two parties of Bearded Tit, the latter totalling 19 birds. Other migration numbers were: 1080 Chaffinch, 730 Goldfinch, 610 Linnet, 325 Meadow Pipit, 290 alba Wagtail, 255 Siskin, 225 Redpoll, another half a dozen of these were settled in the Wood, 172 Reed Bunting, 163 Skylark, 86 Brambling, 70 Song Thrush, 46 Redwing, 17 Bullfinch, 10 Swallow and 2 Fieldfare; with the exception of the thrushes all birds moved east. Waders on Stanpit today included 2 Spotted Redshank, a Little Stint, a Greenshank, a Whimbrel, a Golden Plover, 3 Grey Plover and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit; also there were 4 Mediterranean Gull and 21 Canada Geese. At sea, 69 Brent Geese moved west, also 7 Grey Plover and 2 Spotted Redshank about Hengistbury. Finally, a Peregrine made a visit this afternoon and 3 Kingfisher were seen throughout the day.


October 27th

On a thoroughly wet day, birding was restricted to Mudeford Quay, Fisherman's Bank and then a brief sortie on Stanpit once the rain eased. From the quay, 3 Velvet Scoter and 6 Common Scoter were seen, as well as 3 Grey Plover passing by east. On Stanpitm the Red-breasted Goose was still present together with a Little Stint, a Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, a Whimbrel, 70 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Grey Plover; also 2 Sandwich Tern.


October 26th

Early morning birding was out of the question today as a series of very heavy, squally showers moved over. Later, however, as the weather improved there was plenty to see in particular from the Coastguards. The pick was probably a Snow Bunting, but also 2 Ring Ouzel and a Goshawk. The latter, the second record in the last week, was circling the harbour with 2 Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk, while 2 Merlin moved west. The temporary lull in the weather also produced some passerine movement with 625 Linnet, 320 Goldfinch, 210 Chaffinch, 140 Meadow Pipit, 135 Siskin, 3 Brambling, 2 Swallow and a Bullfinch. Earlier, the sea was watched from Mudeford Quay, but it was somewhat disappointing with just a Great Skua, 6 Kittiwake, 3 Common Scoter, 3 Shelduck and 2 Razorbill all moving west; while from the Coastguards a Pomarine Skua and 5 Guillemot were seen, also a Green Sandpiper arrived. The only report from Stanpit is of the Red-breasted Goose by the Information Centre, no longer with the Brent Goose but now associating with Wigeon; also a Greenshank there.

Update: from Stanpit this evening, 90 Dunlin, 21 Ringed Plover, 15 Turnstone, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Spotted Redshank.


October 25th


Little Stint - Jimmy Main

Redshank from Fisherman's Bank - Barrie Taylor

Another very high tide on Stanpit this morning didn't deter a Woodlark from settling by the Iron Boatm where the Water Pipit was also on view. Elsewhere, the Red-breasted Goose was with the Brent Goose gaggle and 2 Canada Goose on East Marsh; and at least sixteen species of wader were present, including: a Little Stint, a Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Knot and a Greenshank, plus 36 Dunlin, 26 Ringed Plover, 19 Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Grey Plover. On Hengistbury just a single Firecrest was seen today, together with 21 Goldcrest, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap and a Grey Wagtail. Overhead migration just didn't happen with only 7 Swallow, a Redwing and small numbers of Redpoll, Siskin, Goldfinch, alba Wagtail and Meadow Pipt moving through. Of interest, Dartford Warbler have been more conspicuous of late, for instance at least four birds were around today. Finally, 2 Kingfisher were seen, 7 Shelduck headed south-west over the Barn Field and a Great Grested Grebe moved west at sea.


October 24th


Firecrest in the wood today - Darren Hughes

On another day of strong south-easterlies, there was again a modest amount of overhead movement. Linnet and Siskin were the most numerous, with totals of 355 and 260 respectively, but also 115 Goldfinch, 114 alba Wagtail, 40 Meadow Pipit, 36 Redpoll, 6 Swallow, 3 Bullfinch, 2 Redwing and a Yellowhammer. There were 2 each of Firecrest and Treecreeper in the Wood at Hengistbury, plus a few Chiffchaff and Goldcrest. The adult Little Gull was off Mudeford Quay this morning and a Red-throated Diver passed by the Beach Huts, where around 60 Gannet were lingering offshore. A Little Stint seen arriving over Mudeford Quay was later found on Stanpit, where the Red-breasted Goose remains amongst the Brent Geese. The Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Spotted Redshank were also still on Stanpit, together with 28 Dunlin, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Turnstone, 6 Grey Plover, 5 Ringed Plover and 3 Mediterranean Gull, 2 adults and a second-winter bird. On Wick Fields were 2 Bullfinch and a Wheatear, and by the Wooden Bridge there were 2 Kingfisher, 15 Snipe and a Grey Wagtail.


October 23rd


Green Woodpecker - Darren Hughes

On a blustery autumn day, the year's first Sooty Shearwater moved west past Hengistbury this morning; also an Arctic Skua and 7 Kittiwake past. There was a significant movement of Gannet with 600 birds logged, all east into the wind. A Little Gull moved east off Mudeford Quay with a Great Northern Diver and a Red-breasted Merganser west, plus singles of Razorbill and Guillemot on the sea; also 11 Common Scoter. Despite the strength of the wind, there were reasonable numbers of birds overhead - the totals being: 570 Linnet, 430 Goldfinch, 210 Siskin, 130 alba Wagtail, 58 Chaffinch, 55 Redpoll, 30 Swallow, 2 Brambling and 2 Redwing. A lone Wheatear was on Crouch Hill, while Wick held a few Chiffchaff and Blackcap, as well as a couple of Goldcrest. Elsewhere, the monthly WeBS count found the Red-breasted Goose still present amongst 207 Brent Goose on South Marsh and othe totals included: 323 Wigeon, 268 Coot, 52 Dunlin, 45 Ringed Plover, 22 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Turnstone, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Grey Plover, 4 Kingfisher, 2 Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank and a Curlew Sandpiper. The only raptor of note was a Merlin hunting over Wick Fields this morning.


October 22nd


The Red-breasted Goose getting yet more stick from the Brents - Alan Crockard

First-winter Common Gull - Jimmy Main

A similarly aged Mediterranean Gull - Jimmy Main

...and yesterday's Whitethroat - Darren Hughes

For a number of reasons, it was a day of relatively sparse coverage by the regular reporters; so this, coupled with an uncomfortable south-south-easterly wind that failed to produce any goods, makes for a short post tonight. A Slavonian Grebe, always a premium bird here, spent the morning at least off Mudeford Quay, where a few Bottle-nosed Dolphin were seen on occasion. At Hengistbury, no real attempt was made with the overhead stuff, but 2 Yellowhammer and 4 Bullfinch were logged, as was a flock of 26 Jackdaw that came over low from Wick. It was hoped the onshore wind may push seabirds closer to land - a theory that was soon in tatters as just 9 Common Scoter, a Mediterranean Gull and 2 Gannet were seen over a 30-minute spell from the Natterjack Pond. The only news from Stanpit is that the Red-breasted Goose was present.


October 21st


One of the mixed Carrion/Hooded Crow dynasty on Hengistbury - Joe Murphy

...and a Jay having some issues with its own reflection at the Stanpit Visitor's Centre
- Alan Hayden

It was slightly warmer and stiller this morning, although a south-westerly breeze gained some strength as the morning wore on. The best of the easterly movement over Hengistbury were 6 Tree Sparrow, 28 Crossbill and a Bullfinch, but these were accompanied by: 86 Meadow Pipit, 75 alba Wagtail, 21 Skylark, 30+ Swallow, 345 Goldfinch, 220 Linnet, 190 Chaffinch, 145 Greenfinch, 111 Siskin, 73 Redpoll, 4 Brambling and 21 Reed Bunting, all in the period up to 11:00. Meanwhile, late individuals of Yellow Wagtail and Whitethroat were on Solent Meads golf course and by the HHC respectively, 2 Wheatear were on Stanpit and a couple of Redwing were around Hengistbury. The marsh also again hosted the Red-breasted Goose, a Merlin passed over and 4 Shoveler, presumably new-in, slept the day away in Stanpit Bight. At sea, a couple of Red-breasted Merganser moved west, as did an Avocet, a Purple Sandpiper and 5 Turnstone, but waders more settled about the area included: a Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, 9 Grey Plover, 4 Turnstone, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Ringed Plover and 75 Dunlin. The only other wild bird worth a mention is a single adult Mediterranean Gull in Stanpit Bight, these now reverting to type as a fairly good bird for Christchurch. Finally, it turns out that the mystery parrot is actually blue variety of Ring-necked Parakeet, a form that is bred intentionally by cage-birders. Thanks for the multiple responses and we're hoping to get as much feedback the next time a query about a wild-bird is posed :-)


October 20th


Red-breasted Goose - Jimmy Main

This, and I'm sorry but I haven't had time to look up what it is,
was at Christchurch Quay last night and is presumably what has been
seen around Wick on and off for the last couple of weeks - Photo by Jimmy Main

It was the coldest day of the season so far, actually one below zero on the fringes of the area and made to feel slightly worse by a northerly breeze that swung from east to west, plus some cloud that hindered the warming of the sun. However, by lunchtime, the skies were clear and the wind had dropped a notch or two, which encouraged raptors to take to the air. Around 1.00, there was kettle of seven thermalling birds directly over Stanpit that included 6 Buzzard and a Goshawk, but all then drifted north towards the Avon Valley. Earlier, while it was still only half-light, a Merlin was perched by the Barn Field. At Stanpit, in addition to the Red-breasted Goose that remains, there was a Water Pipit on Central Marsh just south of Parky Meade Rail. Talking of geese, at times the Brent Goose split into distinctly separate gaggles and one of 68 contained 25 young birds, which is quite a ratio. Also about the marsh: a Curlew Sandpiper, a Whimbrel, a Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, 7 Grey Plover, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, 17 Black-tailed Godwit, 44 Ringed Plover and 49 Dunlin, 4 Wheatear and a Dartford Warbler on Crouch Hill, an adult Mediterranean Gull, 5 Common Gull and 2 Kingfisher.


October 19th


Little Egret while waiting for the geese to become visible - Chris Chapleo

One of the several Dartford Warbler that are conspicuous about the area right now
- Alan Hayden

...and Peregrine with - Lapwing Alan Hayden

The species that has eluded Christchurch Harbour for nearly 55-years finally put in an appearance this morning, when a Rose-coloured Starling was seen at the end of Hengistbury for 20-seconds or so, before being scared off by 4 Magpie. This is probably the 'commonest rare-bird' never to have been previously recorded and came less than 24-hours after yesterday's first, the Red-Breasted Goose, which roosted overnight and was present all day until at least dusk. In clear skies and light westerly wind, another good number of birds passed over the area, including: a Woodlark, 23 Crossbill, 3 Bullfinch, with a further three of these settled at Stanpit, and a Yellowhammer; as well as 93 Skylark, 290 Meadow Pipit, 125 alba Wagtail, 630 Goldfinch, 625 Chaffinch, 335 Siskin, 255 Linnet 165 Redpoll and 14 Brambling. The majority of the movement was to the west, but as the morning wore on then it all got a little more mixed. Earlier, however, 11 Redwing headed inland, a latish Yellow Wagtail was on Crouch Hill and 4 Wheatear were across the site. At sea, a Merlin moved past, while a juvenile Arctic Tern and 3 Sandwich Tern were just offshore, the latter moving into the harbour during the afternoon. Single Spotted Redshank were turned in from Holloway's Dock and Stanpit, where there was also a Greenshank, 2 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and 7 Black-tailed, with a Ruff having passed over there during the morning. A Little Owl perched on the Hungry Hiker in the dark, up to 5 Raven passed over the head and a Kingfisher was at Stanpit.


October 18th


Red-breasted Goose - a young bird and the first for Christchurch Harbour - Alan Hayden

...and with a similarly aged Brent Goose - Alan Hayden

After a dismal morning at Hengistbury and elsewhere, it was all set for a fairly dour website post. However, things changed drastically at 5:00 tonight when CHOG's first ever Red-breasted Goose was found on South Marsh, Stanpit, among an increased number of Brent Goose. The bird, hatched this year in Siberia, has tagged along with 'brents' rather than keeping with its own and heading for the western coast of the Black Sea, which is the species' normal wintering ground. Also on Stanpit, a Whimbrel, it's been a couple of weeks since one of those was last recorded, 6 Grey Plover, a Turnstone, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Black-tailed Godwit, 39 Ringed Plover and 65 Dunlin, as well as a single Pintail with the amassed Wigeon and increased 191 Brent Goose that contained 28 juveniles. As hinted earlier, the morning was a disappointment after overnight rain and a westerly wind - the best being a Ring Ouzel over Hengistbury, where the commoner migrants were all present, but in very small numbers, likewise Wick, although a single Wheatear was at Stanpit. The only other record worth a mention is of 4 Raven over Wick.

Omission: a Spotted Redshank and a Greenshank were off Fisherman's Bank.


October 17th


Wren - Jimmy Main

Fox - Jimmy Main

The conditions changed incredibly rapidly during the first hour of daylight. The dawn was still, clear and saw a thin layer of very cold mist sitting just above the Barn Field. However, as soon as one climbed above it to the Natterjack Pond the temperature rose considerably, but then, in a matter of minutes, a rather brisk south-westerly wind picked up. Nevertheless, there was some movement over, including a Woodlark, a Grey Wagtail, 21 Brambling, a Crossbill, a Bullfinch and a Marsh Harrier, all east, as were: 71 Swallow, 19 Skylark, 125 alba Wagtail, 145 Meadow Pipit, 730 Goldfinch, 560 Linnet, 330 Greenfinch, 190 Siskin, 85 Chaffinch and 63 Redpoll. Meanwhile, 35 Jackdaw, these all unusually directly over Hengistbury, and 28 Common Gull headed west. At Stanpit, the first Water Pipit of the 'winter' was on Priory Marsh, while 4 Ring Ouzel were seen on the other side of the harbour, where a Little Owl was calling frequently by the Wooden Bridge on Wick early on and a Mistle Thrush was about the fields there. The only Stanpit wader report is from mid-morning, when a Greenshank, 3 Grey Plover, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 35 Ringed Plover and 70 or so Dunlin were visible from Fisherman's Bank. Around the same time, a Red-throated Diver, 2 Kittiwake, a Razorbill and an auk sp. moved by at sea.

Additional news: a single Glossy Ibis was at Stanpit.


October 16th


Grey Plover - Alan Hayden

Greenshank - Alan Hayden

Turning into The Broadway this morning, the car issued an ice warning as the temperature sat at a chilly 3C. However, the associated clear skies and almost non-existent wind meant that overhead passage was somewhat stifled, other than a 10-minute Crossbill frenzy that is. Sometime around 7:30, the radios crackled with an announcement of 18 south over Wick; then a couple of minutes later birds were heard high over the Coastguards and a swirling flock of 40-50 was picked out slowly heading high west; those, with further parties of 4 west, 15 west and 14 east mean a day-total nudging 100 was very quickly chalked-up. To put this into perspective, other than Goldfinch, Crossbill outnumbered all other migrant finches that were logged up until 10:45. The overall numbers are so modest that it's not worth clogging this post, but a Woodlark, Grey Wagtail and 60 Jackdaw, all west, and 4 Sparrowhawk east are certainly worth a mention, as is a Short-eared Owl over the Barn Field and towards the end of the head when it was still largely dark. The best of the thrushes was a Ring Ouzel settled in the Bobolink Field late in the morning, with a few Blackbird and Song Thrush having moved off Hengistbury much earlier. Wader variety persisted at Stanpit, where the Little Stint, now 3 Curlew Sandpiper, a Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, 6 Grey Plover, 2 Knot, several Bar-tailed Godwit, over 20 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Ringed Plover and 30 or so Dunlin remain on-site. To wrap-up an overall decent weekend: 2 Firecrest, 20 Goldcrest and a few each of Blackcap and Chiffchaff were about Hengistbury, where Robin numbers were considered to have increased; the Nuthatch and 4 Coal Tit were in the Wood; 6 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill; a couple of young Raven patrolled the area; and an adult and first-winter Mediterranean Gull, 138 Brent Goose and a Pintail were in Stanpit Bight late in the afternoon.

Omission: 4 Bearded Tit were in the HHC reedbed.


October 15th


Migrating Goldfinch with accompanying Linnet - Alan Hayden

Three Pintail arriving with a Wigeon and a Mallard - Alan Hayden

...and the inaugural Christchurch Harbour bird boat - Alan Hayden

Although the wind wasn't directly from the east, there was another good showing of finches with Goldfinch being by far the most dominant as 2350 moved over or past Hengistbury; while with them went: 530 Siskin, these still moving after most of the other species had given up, 390 Greenfinch, 340 Linnet, 205 Chaffinch and 78 Redpoll, as well as 36 Skylark, 148 Swallow, 36 House Martin, 285 alba Wagtail, a Tree Pipit, 180 Meadow Pipit and 11 Reed Bunting. Meanwhile, heading the opposite way, were: 125 Jackdaw, 63 Common Gull, 4 Mediterranean Gull and 27 Brent Goose. Slightly later in the morning, a flock of 6 Bearded Tit went north-west over the HHC, as did 23 Blackbird, 15 Song Thrush, a Redwing and a Fieldfare, but most of the thrushes were just after dawn. Wildfowl continue to trickle through, as 7 Pintail arrived - three with a Wigeon and a Mallard, then a further four with another Mallard - and a drake Pochard toured but then pushed-off to the east. At Stanpit, the 2 Glossy Ibis were around for most of the day, but do now seem to temporarily decamp somewhere to the north of the area. It was also confirmed there are 2 Spotted Redshank, along with 2 Curlew Sandpiper, a Little Stint, a Greenshank, 5 Grey Plover, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 or so Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Ringed Plover, around 30 Dunlin and up to 5 Mediterranean Gull. In addition to some of the stuff already mentioned, the RSPB boat tour around the harbour enjoyed close-up views of 4 Turnstone and 2 Sandwich Tern resting on mooring buoys, a juvenile Common Tern and 2 Raven.


October 14th


Rook migrating over Hengistbury - Chris Chapleo

Spotted Redshank in Holloway's Dock - Chris Chapleo

Tufted Duck in Mother Siller's Channel - Alan Hayden

...and a real record shot of a Garganey - Alan Hayden

As yearned for, the wind went to the east and the finches headed into it in their thousands. Most numerous were Goldfinch, with 3400 logged up to 11:00, but also 1200 Siskin, 870 Chaffinch, 710 Linnet, 530 Greenfinch, a remarkable 410 Redpoll, 14 Crossbill and a Brambling; as well as 3 Rook, 92 Skylark, 365 Swallow, 22 House Martin, 920 alba Wagtail, 310 Meadow Pipit and 220 Reed Bunting, the latter setting a new site record. Not surprisingly, given the number of passerines about the area and the recent run of records, singles of Merlin were noted on both sides of the harbour. Meanwhile, a Marsh Harrier also moved into the wind, but a Red-throated Diver, 26 Mediterranean Gull, 41 Common Gull, 131 Brent Goose, 33 Wigeon, two of these among a skein of 20 'brents', and 3 Common Scoter travelled with it at sea. There was also interest from settled birds, namely: 3 Ring Ouzel, a Fieldfare and 6 Redwing on Wick; small groups of Redpoll decked in bushes between the Beach Huts; 3 Firecrest on the Batters; two each of Bullfinch and Wheatear on Hengistbury; 14 Blackcap dotted around and a Rock Pipit on the saltmarsh at Stanpit. Not to be outdone in terms of interest rather than quantity, Stanpit managed a late Garganey around the bight for most of the afternoon, plus a Little Stint, a Curlew Sandpiper, the Spotted Redshank, with that or another in Holloway's Dock, 5 Grey Plover, 2 Knot, a Sanderling, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 9 Black-tailed Godwit. Also there, 103 Brent Goose with fourteen of them being birds of the year, over 250 Wigeon, 3 Pintail, 2 Tufted Duck and a Shoveler. It seems the Glossy Ibis may be down to two birds, which were seen a various times and points throughout the day.


October 13th


A 'ready-to-go' Bearded Tit - Alan Crockard

Pretty much as forecast, the wind had dropped to a very light north-easterly this morning and then to almost nothing by lunchtime. Unfortunately, this meant the overnight mist lingered for much longer than would have been ideal. Nevertheless, there were more than a few moments of interest, not least from Bearded Tit that were clearly on the move. A flock of 7 birds passed high east over Coastguards, while a further group of 9 headed north-west over the HHC, where there were four more individuals lingering restlessly in the reeds this afternoon. Also notable were: 3 Merlin, a male and female hunting around Hengistbury, plus a bird west at sea; 2 Short-eared Owl, one at Stanpit and the other west at sea; a Woodlark north over Fisherman's Bank at lunch, when 20+ Skylark also moved through during a 30-minute spell; and a few Crossbill that were heard but could not be seen about the Nursery area. Meanwhile, the bread-and-butter came from 44 more Skylark, these north or west, with the remainder all east-bound and comprising: 47 Swallow, 220 Meadow Pipit, 200 alba Wagtail, a late Grey Wagtail, 530 Goldfinch, 360 Linnet, 290 Siskin, 120 Redpoll, 105 Chaffinch, a Bullfinch and 29 Reed Bunting. There was also the first hint of a thrush arrival, as a single Redwing was settled at the end of the head for an hour or so, 6 Song Thrush headed inland and there were Blackbird scattered about the place. Another species clearly on the influx was Golden Plover, which are never obvious here. During the morning, a single bird was at Stanpit; then this afternoon a flock of 13 inspected Stanpit Bight but didn't like the look of it and promptly left, pulling another five birds with them from somewhere as they headed off towards the Avon Valley. Wildfowl were also more obvious with the shift in the wind, as 61 Brent Goose travelled by and over 80 were settled in the harbour, where the Wigeon looked to have topped the 200 mark, while 4 Shelduck, 2 Pintail and a Tufted Duck moved through. A very vocal Spotted Redshank had the hallmark of a 'new-in' bird and was later confirmed to make it two of these for the day, with other waders at Stanpit coming to: a Curlew Sandpiper, a Ruff, 3 Grey Plover, 4 Knot, a Greenshank, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 16 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Ringed Plover and 52 Dunlin. On the deck, Dartford Warbler were quite conspicuous - but that may have been due to the settled conditions - however, Long-tailed Tit were certainly more than of late and 5 Wheatear, 24 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap and 32 Goldcrest were dotted about. The Nuthatch was in the Wood, a couple of Sandwich Tern lingered off the sandspit and 6 Mediterranean Gull were logged, as were a Peregrine and 2 Kingfisher. Right at the end of the day, there was still migration underway: for example, a flock of 5 Grey Heron went over high to the west, another 22 Brent Goose came through the harbour, and small groups of Swallow and Skylark were being logged. If you have made it this far, my apologies for the length of the post but it was difficult to know what to leave out!


October 12th

The wind dropped overnight and the calmer conditions gave rise to far more movement over and past Hengistbury, where, until 11:00, 136 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 137 Skylark, 725 Meadow Pipit, 375 alba Wagtail, 1800 Linnet, 1400 Goldfinch, 930 Siskin, 620 Chaffinch, 210 Redpoll, 5 Bullfinch and 57 Reed Bunting were estimated moving west along the coast and south-west over Poole Bay. There was also a fair bit of interest inside the harbour, including a Red-throated Diver settled in Stanpit Bight until the late morning, when it was seen to leave, as well as a Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Golden Plover, a Grey Plover, a Greenshank, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 63 Dunlin. The Spotted Redshank was also around and spent some time in Holloway's Dock before returning to its more customary surroundings of Fisherman's Bank. Meanwhile, a drake Tufted Duck was in Stanpit Bight and the Brent Goose crept up to 59. Migrant passerines were represented by 12 Chiffchaff and a Wheatear on Hengistbury, but a Dartford Warbler at Stanpit was slightly out of context so may have been a shorter distance wanderer. Although it was scoured for most of the morning, the sea off the Coastguards could muster just a Red-throated Diver, 5 Common Scoter, 8 Brent Goose and an unidentified auk, all travelling west. Finally, the 3 Glossy Ibis were on Priory Marsh, the Nuthatch was in the Wood, 3 Raven overflew and, this evening, there was a notable murder of 157 Carrion Crow on South Marsh.


October 11th


Dartford Warbler - Jimmy Main

There was almost no change in the weather today, save for some light drizzle during the early part of the morning. However, there was slightly more interest on the sea, which was watched from three points - Mudeford Quay, the sandspit and the Coastguards - between 7:00 and 9:30. The former site saw 2 juvenile Pomarine Skua, 3 pale Arctic Skua and a Red-throated Diver pass west, while the other two spots came up with a couple of dark, juvenile Arctic Skua moving close past in tandem, plus what was presumably one the aforementioned pale birds, a shearwater sp. and 3 Common Scoter. At lunchtime, a Merlin moved west off the quay, while much earlier a female bird had spent 30-minutes or so hunting all around Hengistbury, where the Nuthatch was again in the Wood. Despite the on-going wind, there was a some overhead activity, all west other than 300 of the 490 Linnet, the remainder being accompanied by: 20 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 135 Meadow Pipit, 44 alba Wagtail, 94 Goldfinch, 10 Siskin, 3 Chaffinch and a Reed Bunting. At Stanpit, there were 15 Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 35 or so Dunlin, but the only other wader interest involved a minimum of 12 Turnstone on the sandspit. Two young Raven again frequented Hengistbury, 49 Brent Goose were settled in the harbour and the information services report the 3 Glossy Ibis are favouring Priory Marsh.


October 10th


Migrant Hawker - which are still on the wing about the area - Jimmy Main

Snipe - Alan Hayden

An overall disappointing day, other than perhaps 3 Bullfinch during a quiet migration watch at Hengistbury, which also saw: 49 Swallow, 70 House Martin, 125 Meadow Pipit, 75 alba Wagtail, 225 Linnet, 110 Goldfinch, 85 Siskin, 72 Chaffinch, 7 Redpoll and 26 Reed Bunting; nearly all into the strong westerly wind. The first scan of the sea produced a westward bound Red-throated Diver, but that was something of a false dawn as just 21 Brent Goose, 12 Common Scoter and a Razorbill were logged thereafter. In fact, apart from the 3 Glossy Ibis that are still at Stanpit, the best record for the site was a Nuthatch in the Wood, which also held 5 Coal Tit and 30 Goldcrest, while 3 Raven moved over.

Additional news: a Crossbill flew over Smithy's Field and landed in the golf course conifers, and a Grey Wagtail and a Kingfisher were by the Purewell Stream.


October 9th


Bar-tailed Godwit - Jimmy Main
One of the waders with a long enough bill to be able to penetrate the algae plague,
which is still smothering Stanpit Bight, and get to the mud beneath


Reed Bunting on Priory Marsh - Jimmy Main

Somehow, the sea ended up getting more than average attention both morning and afternoon, and actually came up with some bits-and-pieces of interest. A Great Skua seemed to be lingering amongst the Gannet for most of the day, while an Arctic Skua passed west; a Black-throated Diver, still in breeding plumage settled on the water, and a Great Northern Diver and 2 Red-throated Diver headed down-channel; as did 2 Eider, 3 Kittiwake, 2 Common Tern, 5 Sandwich Tern, 20 Brent Goose, 3 Razorbill, a Mediterranean Gull and a Pintail. There was also a good deal of interest to be had at Stanpit, not least from singles of Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper, but also the Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, a Grey Plover, plus two of these east, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 44 Dunlin. Also settled, a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull, a Mediterranean Gull, 4 Sandwich Tern and 2 Wheatear. Right from the start of the day and the lack of Meadow Pipit calling in the gloaming, it was clear that overhead movement was going to be limited, with the period to 10:30 producing just: 730 House Martin and 69 Swallow, the first time this season the former has outnumbered the latter, as well as 70 Meadow Pipit, 53 alba Wagtail, 208 Linnet, 110 Goldfinch, 34 Siskin, 7 Redpoll, 5 Chaffinch and 4 Reed Bunting - all of these west into the light wind, likewise a purposeful Kestrel that headed out over Poole Bay. The Brent Goose are rising steadily, 40 being the maximum today, and a Greylag Goose was also at Stanpit; a couple of Common Scoter passed east off Hengistbury, two young Raven descended into the Nursery and the 3 juvenile Glossy Ibis remain faithful to Priory and Central Marshes.

Additional news: a Merlin was over Stanpit.


October 8th


Pied Wagtail - Jimmy Main

...and I've had my arm twisted to put up some more Glossy Ibis shots - Alan Hayden
Actually, there is something of a reason for showing more images - and that's the crabs that the birds are eating. Over the last couple of days all three have gravitated to the area by the Rusty Boat, where last year's confiding individual spent most of its time. It seems there is a rich supply of ibis-food buried in the soft turf of the saltmarsh around that spot.

The wind had reduced even further overnight and cloudy skies made for good light in terms of picking out passing birds, particularly at sea where a Red-necked Grebe, 43 Brent Goose, 15 Common Scoter, 4 Razorbill, an unidentified auk and 3 Common Tern passed the Coastguards, mostly west; and 2 Common Tern and a further Sandwich Tern were in the harbour. Crossbill moved over in reasonable numbers, with flocks of 12 and 7 west over Hengistbury, but the best was a group of 17 north-west over Stanpit. Also moving to the west and into the breeze over the Coastguards, were: 235 Swallow, 60 House Martin, 970 Meadow Pipit, 210 alba Wagtail, 2 Brambling, 1530 Linnet, 440 Siskin, 420 Goldfinch, 230 Chaffinch, 36 Redpoll and 26 Reed Bunting. A couple of Merlin were definitely travelling with the passerines, while several Sparrowhawk that seemed to be drifting high west were also suspected to be migrants. After a quiet few days, there were certainly more waders about: a Golden Plover and 12 Bar-tailed Godwit arrived; earlier, an additional 17 Bar-tailed Godwit had pushed off west; 9 Grey Plover seemed to go east; the Spotted Redshank, 2 Knot, 2 Sanderling, around 40 Dunlin and 11 Black-tailed Godwit were inside the harbour; and 8 Turnstone were seen from Mudeford Quay. There were also a few comments that gulls were perhaps on the move, as small numbers of the commoner species, as well as Common Gull, were called out from time-to-time. Conversely, as the ringers will testify, grounded birds are becoming thin on the ground - just nine scattered Wheatear, a Yellow Wagtail on Crouch Hill and up to 20 Chiffchaff in the North Scrubs being worthy of a mention. Finally, the 3 Glossy Ibis performed well for the weekend and a juvenile Peregrine hunted around Stanpit, where there was a Tufted Duck.


October 7th


Glossy Ibis - Jimmy Main


Lapwing - Jimmy Main

...and a Common Tern off Mudeford Quay yesterday - Darren Hughes

The westerly wind had calmed a little overnight and made the business of 'vis-migging' a touch easier this morning, with the pick being 17 Crossbill over Hengistbury. The overall movement can be best described as south-west and comprised: 1400 Linnet, 395 Siskin, 370 Goldfinch, 325 Chaffinch, 36 Redpoll, 43 Reed Bunting, 520 Meadow Pipit, 310 alba Wagtail, 175 Swallow and 3(!) House Martin. Also of interest, 3 Sparrowhawk seemingly on their travels, while flocks of 21 Mediterranean Gull and 6 Common Gull respectively came from the west into the harbour. All the Glossy Ibis were again on Priory Marsh, but one spent some time in the 'traditional' spot by the Rusty Boat. Elsewhere on Stanpit, the Spotted Redshank, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Ringed Plover, 42 Dunlin and 22 Brent Goose were present. To conclude, a Peregrine and 2 Raven passed over Hengistbury, where there were 3 Wheatear, along with 3 Common Scoter and 40+ Gannet offshore.

Omission: a Nuthatch was by the House-on-Stilts, Wick.


October 6th


Another selection of Glossy Ibis images - Chris Dresh

Yellow Wagtail Alan Hayden

...and the best part of a heavy shower at Stanpit that drenched the photographer
- Alan Hayden

As the strong westerly wind continued, overhead movement at Hengistbury was hard to pick up, if it was at all present. A try from around the Coastguards was hopeless due to overriding wind noise, while lower down only extremely modest numbers of Meadow Pipit, alba Wagtail, Siskin, Redpoll, Linnet, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Swallow and House Martin were seeming to move through. However, there were a few minutes of interest, when a Woodlark circuited the Barn Field three times before heading off towards Wick Fields. Also, 3 Raven over Hengistbury with a further two over Wick, as well as a Peregrine over each site. At Stanpit: the 3 Glossy Ibis were all present-and-correct on Priory Marsh; the Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, 59 Dunlin, a Mediterranean Gull and 3 Sandwich Tern were around Stanpit Bight; the Brent Goose numbered at least 33, including the first juveniles of the winter; and 3 Yellow Wagtail and 10 Wheatear were among the 50 or so Meadow Pipit and 10 alba Wagtail that were seeing out the conditions as they fed on Crouch Hill. At lunchtime, a juvenile Arctic Tern came through The Run, a couple of Common Tern were a little further offshore and 7 Common Scoter passed distantly west.


October 5th


Wheatear on Stanpit recently - Chris Dresh

Despite the stiff westerly breeze, birds were certainly on the move this morning - the highlight being a Lapland Bunting which moved east over the head. The most numerous were Meadow Pipit and Linnet with counts of 2700 and 1350 respectively, also 410 alba Wagtail, 250 Siskin, 220 Swallow, 170 Goldfinch, 135 Chaffinch, 31 Redpoll, 2 Tree Pipit and 1 Yellow Wagtail. On the ground, however, there was very little, just 2 Firecrest and a Redstart on the Batters and 4 Wheatear and 2 Yellow Wagtail on Crouch Hill. The 3 Glossy Ibis remained faithful to Priory Marsh for most of the day. The sea was watched for brief spells from Mudeford Quay and also from the Beach Huts, the highlight being a group of around 8 Bottle-nosed Dolphins moving slowly west past both. The combined figures in terms of birdswere 3 Balearic Shearwater and 2 Manx Shearwater, an Arctic Skua, an Arctic Tern, 7 Razorbill and 18 Common Tern; also a Merlin came in off the sea. After an absence of a couple of days, the Spotted Redshank was again opposite Fisherman's Bank, while elsewhere around the marsh were 32 Dunlin, 26 Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Greenshank, 3 Ringed Plover and 23 Brent Goose.


October 4th


Glossy Ibis over Priory Marsh today - Chris Dresh

Raven on Crouch Hill this morning - Jean Southworth

The 3 Glossy Ibis were present all day, mainly on Priory Marsh, but there was no sign of the Wryneck at Hengistbury. Migrants were a bit thin on the ground, although 2 Whinchat on the Barn Field is a good record for the date; also 20 Chiffchaff and 7 Wheatear, with another 6 Wheatear on Crouch Hill and a Yellow Wagtail there. Overhead movement was also poor with just 37 Siskin and a Yellow Wagtail noted. Waders on Stanpit were 45 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Greenshank. To round up, a Marsh Harrier was seen over Wick Fields at 7:15 this morning, 4 Mediterranean Gull moved west and 3 Raven were seen.


October 3rd


Water Rail Sunrise - Chris Chapleo

Black-tailed Godwit - Alan Crockard

According to the forecasters, this was the last day of the surprise heat-wave and, judging by this evening's south-westerly breeze and cloud, they look to be right. At least one Wryneck was on the Barn Field again today, but there could well have been two, while the 3 Glossy Ibis were faithful to Priory Marsh. Please note, if you are planning to come and see the ibises, the only public right-of-way on Priory Marsh is the boardwalk and the rough path that continues from the end of that to the riverbank. All other areas are effectively out-of-bounds. The reason this is mentioned is due to a visiting photographer who was 'all-over-the-place' in the early afternoon. That said, it is hoped the birds continue to show well for all future visitors. Also on 'Priory', a Jack Snipe in the company of 12 Common Snipe. Other bits-and-pieces around the area included: 3 Crossbill, two of them bright males, settled in the Nursery for 5-minutes or so this morning; a Firecrest and a Mistle Thrush also on Hengistbury; and a Hobby hunting over Stanpit Bight. Meanwhile, independent observations from the Batters and Wick suggest an influx of Song Thrush, with up to 40 birds heard 'tsipping' in the bushes, some of them tussling with Blackbirds. The overhead movement was quiet and sometimes aimless, although 'generally-south' could sum it up. The details are: 2 Yellow Wagtail, 280 alba Wagtail, some of these seemed to be northbound however, 360 Meadow Pipit, 300 Goldfinch, 270 Linnet, 230 Siskin, 215 Chaffinch, 38 Redpoll, a further 7 Crossbill, 52 Reed Bunting, 560 Swallow and 130 House Martin. Finally, 4 Common Tern headed west through the harbour, there were isolated, but small pockets of Chiffchaff and 3 Wheatear were on Hengistbury.


October 2nd


Glossy Ibis on Priory Marsh - Alan Hayden

...and Yellow Wagtail on Crouch Hill - Alan Hayden

The 3 Glossy Ibis were present on Priory Marsh for most of the day, but sometimes splitting into a two and a one, with the couple moving to Wick for a short time while the other preferred Stanpit Bight on occasions. Over on Hengistbury, there was just one Wryneck seen on the Barn Field this morning. The weather has been constant for a few days now, so most of what was going to move during this period probably already has; consequently, there were relatively few birds overhead this morning. Those that were recorded, however, totalled: 87 alba Wagtail, 86 Meadow Pipit, a Tree Pipit, 143 Linnet, 97 Goldfinch, 19 Siskin, 17 Redpoll, a Chaffinch, 5 House Sparrow, a Reed Bunting and 15 Swallow, all east, with 45 Skylark, including a flock 35, northbound. A couple of Reed Warbler and a Sedge Warbler were by the Wooden Bridge; a Whitethroat, 15 Blackcap, 25 Chiffchaff and a Wheatear were on Hengistbury; and at least 4 Yellow Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail and 4 Wheatear were on Stanpit. Incoming wildfowl continue to increase; for example, there are now 126 Wigeon, 20 Brent Goose and over 20 Teal settled inside the harbour, where the waders came to: the Spotted Redshank, a Whimbrel, 4-5 Greenshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Ringed Plover and 28 Dunlin; as well as a Sandwich Tern. Finally, a Common Gull and 6 Mediterranean Gull were logged, and a Raven moved over to the west. Please check back to yesterday for some additional interest.


October 1st


Rock Pipit on Hengistbury - Chris Chapleo

...and yesterday's Marsh Harrier , presumably a juvenile, over Priory Marsh - Jimmy Main

During the hottest October day on record, the two quality species on-site both increased in numbers - as the Glossy Ibis on Priory Marsh was joined by a further two birds mid-morning and there were 2 Wryneck on the Barn Field, something which had been suspected yesterday but could not be proven. The conditions were once again ripe for an easterly passage of birds, with totals being returned of: 660 alba Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail, a Yellow Wagtail, 520 Meadow Pipit, a Crossbill, 820 Goldfinch, 670 Linnet, 530 Siskin, 160 Greenfinch, 145 Chaffinch, 92 Redpoll and 103 Reed Bunting; as well as 6 Jackdaw and 3 Rook. Swallow and House Martin, meanwhile, took a higher, more southerly route, and came to 2000 and 500 respectively, while an obvious migrant Kestrel was on the same course. In terms of actively moving birds, the only others were a drake Tufted Duck and a Brent Goose, both west. Settled passerines are becoming sparser, but there were Goldcrest dotted about Hengistbury, also 10 Wheatear and at least 2 Yellow Wagtail were hanging around the area. Otherwise, it's just a Greenshank, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 17 Brent Goose, a Mediterranean Gull and 2 Raven at Stanpit that are worth a mention.

Additional news: a Firecrest was ringed by the HHC .

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