Sightings for January 2012


January 31st

Snow Bunting - Joe Murphy -
The shot below illustrating just how cryptic the plumage
can be against the species' preferred winter habitat.

A bone-chilling, damp atmosphere dominated the day and discouraged all but the boldest from venturing out. At the end of the sandspit, around the Black House, the Snow Bunting was seen on a couple of occasions, but little else there save for a handful of Turnstone. Single Avocet and Spotted Redshank were off Fisherman's Bank, while only 16 Grey Plover could be located as well as 15 Ringed Plover, 235 Dunlin, 20 Pintail and a Kingfisher.


January 30th

A thoroughly damp and dismal day with a bitter easterly wind saw to it that coverage could best be termed as limited. Nevertheless, Stanpit produced the 2 Spotted Redshank, together off Fisherman's Bank on the early low tide, as well as 2 Avocet, 37 Grey Plover, 21 Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Pintail and a 'Scandinavian' argentatus Herring Gull. Slightly later, over an hour or so, Mudeford Quay could muster up just a single Gannet and around 8 Turnstone.



January 29th

A couple of images of Curlew - Joe Murphy (top) & Alan Hayden

On an almost windless, overcast day, all the news come from Stanpit where the 2 Spotted Redshank were together, which is something of a rare event, off Fisherman's Bank early this morning. Other waders counted around the marsh included: 29 Grey Plover, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, around 20 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Turnstone, 49 Ringed Plover and an estimated 250 Dunlin; while the Pintail crept up to 25 bird and Kingfisher were seen on a couple of occasions.


January 28th

The Coward's Marsh Hen Harrier - Jimmy Main
Although this bird is outside of the normal CHOG recording area, it seems to be faithful to the same couple of fields pretty much throughout the day, something that is reasonably unusual for the species. The best viewing is from the entrance to Coward's Marsh.
For more images, please click here



The regular, over-wintering Sandwich Tern - Joe Murphy

Despite it being the weekend coverage was perhaps a little less than normal, although the early morning at Stanpit suggested there wasn't much to see anyhow. The best from there was: 5 Linnet over Priory Marsh, which is pretty decent for the area during the winter, 18 Bar-tailed Godwit in Stanpit Bight, where the Pintail crept up to 21 birds, and 2-3 Kingfisher. The only report from elsewhere concerns a Sandwich Tern from Hengistbury. To conclude this rather short post, a thank you to Chris Chapleo and Mark Andrews for their talk on Morocco last night, which was particularly well attended.


January 27th

The early part of the day enjoyed clear blue skies and a reasonably comfortable north-west wind, although by mid-afternoon there were some showers and hail. The Glossy Ibis was on Priory Marsh for a short time this morning, but couldn't be relocated after 10:00 or so, nor during the afternoon. Also on or about Priory, a Water Pipit, 2 Ruff, a Grey Wagtail, a Chiffchaff and 75 Black-tailed Godwit. A couple of Bearded Tit were again in the reeds by the HHC and close by the Goldeneye, the 2 drake Tufted Duck and a Kingfisher were around Wick Hams. From Mudeford Quay, a Black-throated Diver was seen to pass westward, while the ringed Treecreeper was in the North Scrubs and a total of 3 Raven were logged, two over Hengistbury and one over Stanpit.


January 26th

Pintail (top) and Teal at Stanpit - Jimmy Main-

Most of the sandspit's current attractions were present and correct again today, although numbers were down a little. The Snow Bunting ranged from the ferry jetty to the Black House and the best count of Purple Sandpiper from groyne S9 was 10, with 23 Ringed Plover and 13 Turnstone in the same general area. Meanwhile, the Sandwich Tern was preferring Barn Bight and 2 Razorbill passed west at sea. The only other reports of note involve a Spotted Redshank and 35 Black-tailed Godwit from Fisherman's Bank.


January 25th

Razorbill - Joe Murphy

On a reasonably settled day, despite quite some searching, yesterday's ibis could not be re-found so had presumably pushed-off unseen quite quickly. However, there was a Water Pipit by the Rusty Boat and the year's first Grey Wagtail record came from close to RIBS Marine. Meanwhile, the Snow Bunting was again in the area of the Black House, 19 Purple Sandpiper were on groyne S9, a Sandwich Tern was feeding inside the harbour just off the sandspit and a Red-throated Diver flew out to sea through The Run, where a Razorbill was still present. At Stanpit, the Grey Plover today came to 51 birds, as well as 11 Bar-tailed Godwit and 64 Black-tailed Godwit, the latter on Priory Marsh. Also, 76 Ringed Plover in the area, with concurrent counts being received from Stanpit Bight and the sandspit, from where a decent total of 21 Turnstone was also to be had. The female Goldeneye remains in Barn Bight and a Tufted Duck was at Stanpit with the 19 Pintail and 3 Great Crested Grebe. Singles of adult Mediterranean Gull were returned from Priory Marsh and Stanpit Bight, a couple of Raven passed over and a Kingfisher was on Wick Hams.


January 24th

After a complete washout of a morning, there was a real surprise during the afternoon when a Glossy Ibis appeared over South Marsh, Stanpit. The bird then circuited the harbour a few times before seeming to come down on Priory Marsh, but unfortunately it couldn't be relocated. This of course raises the inevitable question as to whether it was last year's long-staying individual, which was ultimately recorded on December 6th. Slightly earlier, the Snow Bunting had been seen on the sandspit from Mudeford Quay and 19 Purple Sandpiper were on the seaward side at the northern end of the spit. Also, a single Razorbill in The Run, 2 Great Crested Grebe on the sea and a further bird inside the harbour. From Fisherman's Bank, a Spotted Redshank was in Stanpit Creek, while 37 Grey Plover, 279 Dunlin and 19 Pintail were counted elsewhere on the marsh, and a drake Tufted Duck went over Barn Bight.


January 23rd

Goldeneye - Alan Hayden
A little bit of help would be appreciated on this bird. The assumption is that due to the
yellow on the bill the bird is a female, as opposed to a young male. However, we weren't
aware that females went through display motions. Any feedback would be welcome here
Also, to clear up some previous confusion, there was a certain drake in the harbour on 10th.



After a relatively disappointing weekend in terms of coverage, today saw a lot more activity. The Snow Bunting again preferred the northern end of the sandspit, where it was visible from Mudeford Quay at lunchtime, and ventured to groyne S13 during the afternoon. Also in that area, 19 Purple Sandpiper and 11 Turnstone, with 2 adult Mediterranean Gull and the 3 Razorbill in The Run. Stanpit held up to 6 Water Pipit - three by the Rusty Boat, one or two on Priory Marsh and one by the Visitor's Centre - as well as 2 Ruff that were first on Priory Marsh but ended up on East Marsh, a Spotted Redshank, a cracking total of 52 Grey Plover, 3 Knot and 15+ Bar-tailed Godwit. Bearded Tit were in Great Spires, where three birds were seen skimming the tops of the phragmites, and the HHC reedbed, where birds were heard on two occasions. The Goldeneye was again off Rushy Piece, the Pintail stayed at 19 birds and 2 Shelduck plus 5 Great Crested Grebe were inside the harbour, with five of the latter on the sea off the sandspit. To round off a decent day, a party of 3 Bullfinch were by Stanpit golf course, a Peregrine hunted over Stanpit late in the morning and a Cetti's Warbler was in fine voice by the Barn Field.


January 22nd

Turnstone - Jimmy Main
Great Black-backed Gull - Alan Hayden

The only sighting of the Snow Bunting today was on the tip of the sandspit, where the bird may have been visible from Mudeford Quay; also a first-winter Little Gull seen inside the harbour in that area. This morning, the 2 drake Tufted Duck were again in Barn Bight, as was the female-type Goldeneye, while the Wood held Raven, Grey Heron, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker that all clearly felt spring was in the air. At least 90-minutes was put in looking at sea, but that produced just 5 Razorbill, a Guillemot and a Great Crested Grebe west. Late news in from Stanpit, where a Spotted Redshank, 39 Grey Plover and 19 Pintail were around Stanpit Bight.


January 21st

Oiled Guillemot on the Long Groyne yesterday - Jimmy Main
Unfortunately, birds such as these always tend to hop back into the water upon close approach, so can rarely be picked up and taken into care


Snow Bunting - Jimmy Main

A westerly wind blasted throughout of the day and hampered most attempts at birding, as did excuses ranging from decorating to last-minute tax return filing. Nevertheless, the Snow Bunting was relocated, this time back in the Long Groyne area for the morning, while the brownhead Goldeneye and 2 drake Tufted Duck were in Barn Bight. A couple of Raven, presumably a pair, was the source of complete pandemonium amongst the Grey Heron in the Nursery. With both species nearing their breeding season, the herons were clearly offended by the presence of the large corvids. The trees towards the end of the head held just four finches, but these did include 2 Redpoll and a Siskin, as well as a Goldfinch. Meanwhile, a Chiffchaff was in Wick Ditch and the 3 Redwing were still on Hengistbury. During the morning, a Red-throated Diver and a Razorbill passed west at sea, and just before dusk an adult Yellow-legged Gull was seen inside the harbour from the Mudeford Quay slip. Please check back to yesterday for some additional news.


January 20th

It's getting to the time of year when the Herring Gull affirm their pairing - Alan Hayden
...although some are not quite ready and still carry the
head streaking of non-breeding plumage - Alan Hayden

With conditions similar to the previous 24-hours, but minus the rain, the Snow Bunting spent most of the day at the end of the sandspit. Around 10:00, it was extremely confiding around the Black House, then in the mid-afternoon it was right at the tip and could be watched from Mudeford Quay. Earlier, the Great Northern Diver had again been showing well from the quay and a Black-throated Diver was also logged from there. A walk along the main beach on Hengistbury to the Beach Huts produced 7 Red-throated Diver in 90-minutes, as well as a Little Gull, a Mediterranean Gull, 3 Kittiwake, 57 Common Gull, 2 Gannet, 9 Razorbill, 2 Guillemot and 16 auk sp. A little later, an oiled Guillemot was out of the water on the Long Groyne. Until today, I was somehow under the impression that the in-harbour Goldeneye was a drake, but I have now been corrected told that it's actually a female-type bird, which was again present throughout. I hasten to add I haven't seen it! Also inside the harbour, a decent count of 7 Great Crested Grebe, but the only wader news for the day is 11 Turnstone and 20 Ringed Plover about the sandspit. A 'flock' of 3 Linnet at Stanpit is notable for the winter, particularly one this mild, and 2 Razorbill were in The Run.

Additional news: a Jack Snipe came up out of Central Marsh, Stanpit, while 3 Bearded Tit were seen in the HHC reeds, 3 Redwing and 2 Goldcrest were in the Wood, and 14 Little Grebe were on the river.


January 19th

Bar-tailed Godwit - Alan Hayden
...and Black-tailed Godwit - Joe Murphy

Overnight saw a return to incredibly mild temperatures and intermittent, heavy rain showers. All three divers were seen from Mudeford Quay this morning - a Great Northern Diver was close-in on the water and a single Black-throated Diver passed west, as did a total of 6 Red-throated Diver. A further three of these passed by the southern end of the sandspit, while groyne S9 held the winter's best Purple Sandpiper number - a respectable 26 birds. To wrap up those parts of the area, a first-winter Mediterranean Gull and several Kittiwake moved west at sea, 3 Great Crested Grebe and 2 Razorbill were again seen from Mudeford Quay, and 46 Ringed Plover were on the sandspit. The best elsewhere was the Marsh Harrier hunting Wick Hams just prior to 10:00 before heading towards Stanpit, where the Spotted Redshank was off Fisherman's Bank and of 9 Rock Pipit by the Visitor's Centre three were considered good for littoralis . Also in that area, a Chiffchaff and a Kingfisher, with counts of 27 Grey Plover and 165 Dunlin turned in from Stanpit Bight. On Hengistbury, singles of Redwing and Treecreeper were in the Wood.


January 18th

   
Spotted Redshank - Joe Murphy (top) & Jimmy Main
...and Redshank - Alan Hayden

It was much warmer today, albeit perhaps slightly breezier from the south-west, but heavy drizzle did spoil most of the morning. However, in addition to a Spotted Redshank in Stanpit Creek, there were some decent wader counts; namely, 22 Purple Sandpiper on the tip of the sandspit from Mudeford Quay and 44 Grey Plover around Stanpit Bight. The latter site also turned in a Knot, 7 Turnstone, 17 Bar-tailed Godwit, in excess of 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 57 Ringed Plover, 15 Pintail and 129 Brent Goose. An adult Mediterranean Gull went by Mudeford Quay at lunchtime and the 3 Razorbill had earlier been in The Run; a Peregrine and a Kingfisher were seen from Fisherman's Bank; and a male Stonechat on Crouch Hill was the first record of that species in that particular area for some time.


January 17th

Grey Plover - Alan Hayden
Rock Pipit on Hengistbury - David Williams

After another cold night, there was slightly less interest today but it was still worth getting out there, particularly as the wind dropped so removing that element of chill. The Marsh Harrier was seen for the second time this year around mid-morning, so we are still privileged to have the first ever over-wintering bird remain on-site. On the sandspit, the Snow Bunting was seen at both extremes, while a couple of Purple Sandpiper were on a groyne towards the southern end and a Razorbill was just off the Black House. The day saw a marked influx of Little Grebe, no doubt encouraged into the harbour by iced water further inland, with 21 birds in all, including a 'flotilla' of fifteen by Wick Hams. Elsewhere, singles of Chiffchaff were by the HHC and in Wick Ditch, the Goldeneye was off Rushy Piece, a party of 3 Gadwall were seen to arrive and a couple of Goldcrest were in an otherwise quiet Wood. At Stanpit, 27 Grey Plover, 11 Turnstone, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 50 Ringed Plover, 210 Dunlin and 16 Pintail were logged.

Additional news: a female Bearded Tit was seen in the HHC reeds and 3 Red-throated Diver passed east at sea.


January 16th

Snow Bunting at the end of the sandspit - Joe Murphy

It is often mooted that the reedbeds around Wick must harbour Bittern throughout the winter, but it takes the cold to make it even a remote possibility to see one; so a bird flying downriver and pitching in to the HHC reeds shortly after last night's frost adds a little more weight to that school of thought. It was actually a day of reasonable quality, not least the Snow Bunting that had moved to the area around the Black House, where despite being rather skittish did invest some time in beating up the local House Sparrow and even ventured across The Run to Mudeford Quay on one occasion; also a couple of Black-necked Grebe on the sea off the Double Dykes before drifting east and being seen later beyond the Long Groyne, plus a Black-throated Diver east offshore. Bearded Tit were firstly heard in the HHC reeds when it was pretty much still dark, but by mid-morning five birds could be seen in there from across the river at Stanpit, where singles of Water Pipit were reported from the Rusty Boat and the Visitor's Centre. A Spotted Redshank was in Holloway's Dock during the morning and that or the other was off Fisherman's Bank mid-afternoon, when 28 Grey Plover and 32 Ringed Plover were counted. Treecreeper are always worth a mention for the area, particularly a ringed individual in the North Scrubs, Stanpit, and there was a further bird in the Nursery on Hengistbury, while a Chiffchaff was by the HHC. Moving back to the sea and 2 Razorbill and a Guillemot east, plus 6 Great Crested Grebe settled off Whitepits. Finally, only one Razorbill could be seen inside the harbour and just to reinforce yesterday's comment about WeBS counts 'frustrations' the Pintail number today was fourteen.


January 15th

Sandwich Tern - Joe Murphy

In terms of the weather, it was similar to yesterday but probably a little more uncomfortable as the wind had stepped up a gear and shifted slightly to the south-east. The Snow Bunting was seen extremely briefly by the ferry jetty on the sandspit, before it was chased off by a gull and headed towards the Black House. Also in that area, the Sandwich Tern, but just one Purple Sandpiper could be found during the morning, when the Goldeneye was again off Rushy Piece. On Wick, a Bullfinch, a Mistle Thrush and 2 Chiffchaff were present, while the best of the waders at Stanpit was a single Avocet off Fisherman's Bank. A total of 85 Brent Goose passed east at sea and some reports from other Dorset sites suggest these were part of a definite up-channel movement of geese today. Today was also the WeBS count, which threw up a few of its usual anomalies; for example, the previously mentioned Purple Sandpiper figure compared with twenty-four just a few days ago and just 2 Pintail when seventeen have been around for over a week! Anyhow, other numbers for all areas of the harbour included: 34 Grey Plover, 14 Turnstone, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, 70 Black-tailed Godwit, 39 Ringed Plover, 253 Dunlin, 169 Redshank, 128 Brent Goose, 41 Canada Goose that had roosted overnight but soon left, 626 Wigeon, 127 Teal and 381 Coot.

Additional news: the Spotted Redshank was at Stanpit, as was an adult Mediterranean Gull and a Raven.


January 14th

Skylark - Joe Murphy
...and another shot of one of the 3 Razorbill, which entertained for most of today in the lower reaches of the harbour just south of the Black House - Graham West

An easterly breeze made it far colder than the previous couple of days, but it was possible to find shelter in the lee of the wind. The best at Stanpit was a Jack Snipe up from beneath the golf course embankment and a Water Pipit on Priory Marsh, while Hengistbury chipped in with 7 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit and the Goldeneye off Rushy Piece. An early afternoon seawatch from the end of the head saw 9 Red-throated Diver and 3 Kittiwake pass west, as well as a few lingering Gannet. Earlier, there were as many as 5 Chiffchaff on Wick, plus a Mistle Thrush there; with other news coming from the 3 Razorbill and 2 Great Crested Grebe inside the harbour, a count of 31 Grey Plover at Stanpit and singles of Kingfisher seen by the HHC and around Parky Meade Rail.


January 13th

Razorbill - Alan Hayden & David Williams (centre)
There are currently up to 3 Razorbill settled and feeding quite happily in The Run
and giving excellent views from Mudeford Quay


For the first time this year there was hint of frost about the place, which made for another pleasant and clear day. There has been something of an influx of Iceland Gull along the south coast during the last 10-days, so an immature bird that came out of the harbour through The Run at around 9:00 this morning was not as much of a surprise as it might otherwise have been. Slightly earlier, a couple of large raptors had arrived in-off the sea over Hengistbury, but were only seen from Mudeford Quay from where they were thought most likely to be marsh harriers. Also around the quay, a Sandwich Tern fishing inside the harbour, a Mediterranean Gull on the grass and the 3 Razorbill again in The Run. At Stanpit, a Water Pipit was by the Visitor's Centre and 2 Avocet were just off South Marsh; also there 35 Grey Plover, 24 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, plus a similar number on Wick Meadows, 140 Dunlin, 17 Pintail, 3 Shelduck and 2 Great Crested Grebe.


January 12th

Green Woodpecker - Joe Murphy
Redshank - Alan Hayden

The wind picked up slightly so making it feel a little chillier today, but nevertheless it was again pretty mild for the time of year. A Sandwich Tern was again inside the harbour, seen from Fisherman's Bank, while a Goldeneye could also be picked out from there in the main channel and a Chiffchaff was in Wick Ditch. A Spotted Redshank was again in Stanpit Creek, from where 8 Grey Plover, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 19 Ringed Plover, 11 Shelduck and 17 Pintail, six of them drakes, could also be seen. At lunchtime, there were 3 very confiding Razorbill fishing in The Run, with a Red-throated Diver, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and a Great Crested Grebe passing by further offshore. To wrap up, Kingfisher were logged at Wick Hams and Fisherman's Bank, and a largish feeding flock of gulls is again forming in the western part of Christchurch Bay.


January 11th

Stonechat - Jimmy Main

It was an absolutely cracking day with clear blue skies and little wind throughout. These conditions no doubt contributed to a good record of a male Hen Harrier high over Stanpit mid-morning, where a Sandwich Tern was also more than notable and a Water Pipit was by the Visitor's Centre. Also around the marsh, a Goldeneye, a species that is relatively sparse along the south coast during this mild winter, 22 Grey Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, plus four more of these in the uncharacteristic location of Wick Meadows, 17 Pintail and 16 Shelduck. In the North Scrubs, a couple of Redpoll have been there since the weekend and a Treecreeper was again present. On the other side of the harbour, 12 Purple Sandpiper were on groyne S10 along the sandspit, while a Chiffchaff was in Wick Ditch and a Kingfisher was about the nearby hams. Finally, a couple of looks at the sea produced a Red-throated Diver, 3 Razorbill and 2 Great Crested Grebe.


January 10th

A rather different presentation of Purple Sandpiper - Joe Murphy
Spotted Redshank - Alan Hayden

On another extraordinarily mild day the extremities of Hengistbury were visited for the first time in a while, where the Snow Bunting was found to still be present around the Long Groyne before being disturbed and retreating back into the adjacent dune restoration area. On the sandspit, there were 24 Purple Sandpiper all on a rock groyne close to the café and 15 Turnstone were spread along the inner shore. A couple of reports from Stanpit came up with: one of the Spotted Redshank, a Knot, 35 Grey Plover, 19 Bar-tailed Godwit and 285 Dunlin; as well as 14 Pintail and 4 Shelduck.


January 9th

Dartford Warbler - Joe Murphy

With the exception of the photograph, all the news comes from Stanpit today where a walk out to Stanpit Bight provided most of the numbers, although Fisherman's Bank also contributed. The best were a Ruff and 3 Avocet, but there was a fine total of 42 Grey Plover along with 20 Bar-tailed Godwit, 75 Black-tailed Godwit, 58 Ringed Plover and 250 or so Dunlin. Also, a pair of Shoveler, the first of these for a while, and a slight increase in the Pintail to 18 birds.

Additional news: the Marsh Harrier was at Stanpit.


January 8th

Some of the commoner waders about the harbour
Oystercatcher - Joe Murphy and the Dunlin flock - Jimmy Main

Another quiet day in terms of field activity means the only news is of 10 Bar-tailed Godwit and around half a dozen Turnstone inside the harbour from Mudeford Quay late this afternoon.


January 7th

More images of the Snow Bunting from a couple of days ago - Jimmy Main

Our apologies for the lack of update yesterday, but it was one of those rare days when all the 'posters' were unavailable. However, there was actually little news other than a decent selection of waders at Stanpit, where the 2 Spotted Redshank, 4 Avocet, 8 Knot, 22 Grey Plover and 10 Bar-tailed Godwit were present, while 19 Black-tailed Godwit were on Wick Meadows. Also on Wick, a Chiffchaff by the HHC and a Kingfisher by the Wooden Bridge. The only other interest was 10 or so Pintail at Stanpit.

Omission: a couple of Redpoll were in the North Scrubs at Stanpit.


January 6th

Snow Bunting - Chris Chapleo
The Treecreeper in the Wood on Hengistbury - Chris Chapleo

A reasonably settled and pleasant day again saw the Snow Bunting on Hengistbury, where it seems to prefer the area at the base of the cliffs just east of the Long Groyne, but can also range the length of the sandspit. At Stanpit, a single Water Pipit was on Priory Marsh and 2 Siskin overflew there, while 3 Avocet and a Knot were in Stanpit Bight, and a Spotted Redshank, 22 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Kingfisher were off Fisherman's Bank. A fine total of 3 Treecreeper were on-site today - one in the Wood, along with a Coal Tit, one by the Civic Offices and one at Monkswell Green. Our apologies, but due to various commitments that spill into the evening the website may not be updated tomorrow.


January 5th

Adult Peregrine over Stanpit early afternoon - Alan Hayden
Drake - Teal Jimmy Main
...and Avocet from Fisherman's Bank - Alan Hayden

Yesterday's wind increased in speed and resultant discomfort, so significantly lowering the tolerance levels of the few who attempted to get out today. At Fisherman's Bank at lunchtime, where the bright sunlight further hampered the viewing, there were: an Avocet, 2 Spotted Redshank and 170 or so Dunlin, but little else could be picked out. A little later, a Peregrine caused a fair degree of havoc over the marsh; while earlier a couple of Red-breasted Merganser had passed by Mudeford Quay.


January 4th

Dunlin at Stanpit today - Alan Hayden


Reed Bunting by Holloway's Dock - Joe Murphy
Note how this is another ringed bird that has been randomly photographed. If only the details could be more accurately read from photos, then the recovery rate could increase significantly


Other than a rather cold westerly breeze, it was pleasant enough to tempt at least four of the regulars out into the field today. On Monday afternoon, it was reported that all the Grey Plover appeared to have deserted Stanpit, so the 24 birds there today could conceivably be different individuals to those from earlier in the season. Certainly new-in, however, was an Avocet, plus several Golden Plover and more Black-tailed Godwit to give increased totals of 9 and 73 respectively. Meanwhile, 2 Spotted Redshank, a Knot and 8 Bar-tailed Godwit were also on-site. Continuing the wader theme, 10 Purple Sandpiper were seen twice - once on the sandspit itself by groyne S9 and once from Mudeford Quay - making it impossible to state the true figure, but 20 were definitely counted yesterday. The best elsewhere was 2 Water Pipit on Priory Marsh, with support coming from: 2 Red-throated Diver west past the quay this afternoon; 8 Redwing that may currently be settled on Hengistbury; and a Redpoll, a Peregrine, 6 Pintail, 2 Shelduck and a Kingfisher at Stanpit.


January 3rd

At the height of the blow, looking east from the site of the former Point House Cafe
- Alan Hayden

During the early hours of the morning, quite a westerly wind gathered strength and continued until just before lunch when it abruptly blew itself out - the finale resulting in gusts of around 100km/h at the airport, so presumably a little stronger within the harbour. Needless to say, this and the accompanying rain, which at times was nothing short of torrential, limited birding to the spots accessible by car. From Mudeford Quay, the Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit peaked at 20 birds, while Turnstone were frequently crossing The Run and 8 Kittiwake passed west just offshore. The only Stanpit information concerns a Spotted Redshank seen from the Argyle Road slip.


January 2nd

Female Bearded Tit - Joe Murphy

The overnight temperature was far more in keeping with the date and the clear skies this morning couldn't have been more of a contrast to yesterday. Although the Stanpit waders weren't counted in detail, they did include a Spotted Redshank, 5 Golden Plover and 3 Ruff, the latter seen leaving westward. Also about the marsh, a male Peregrine, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 14 Pintail and up to 5 Shelduck, these now increasing in numbers again. On Hengistbury, there were 5 Bearded Tit in the HHC reeds and a Chiffchaff was close by in Wick Ditch, while a Pochard was seen a couple of times in flight.

Additional news: a count of 14 Common Gull was made at Stanpit during the morning.


January 1st

From 11:00 onwards, the day was a complete washout meaning any form of birding activity was more or less impossible. Prior to that, however, the Snow Bunting was again bagged on the sandspit, where the bird lurked amongst the Beach Huts in the area of the café. The sea was watched from both Hengistbury and Mudeford Quay, with the combined efforts being: 2 Red-throated Diver, a Kittiwake, 3 Shelduck and 20 Gannet west, plus 6 Common Scoter, four east and two west. There was also a post-dawn arrival of 10 Curlew into the harbour from the east over Mudeford Quay in 'flocks' of 2, 2, 1, 4 and 1, as well as 25 or so Turnstone moving low over The Run from Avon Beach. Elsewhere, a couple of Raven passed over Whitepits, while a Coal Tit and 6 Redwing were in the Wood.

Additional news: a Spotted Redshank and Kingfisher were off Fisherman's Bank.

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