Sightings for September 2012


September 30th

Tree Pipit yesterday - Joe Murphy
Bottlenose Dolphin - Sarah-Jane Buckle
This morning's bird-boat took an out-of-harbour excursion
to catch up with these animals off Hengistbury


A day of constant cloud cover and a surprisingly strong south-westerly wind saw lots of numbers of birds - but, before those details, the more notable records. A couple of Woodlark headed west over Hengistbury, as did 5 Brambling; for the third day in succession, a Marsh Harrier hunted the entire area during the early morning; the first 2 Redwing of the winter moved north over Wick, where there was a Green Sandpiper; an Arctic Tern and 8 Mediterranean Gull travelled west past Hengistbury; 3 Bearded Tit were in the HHC reeds; and at Stanpit, a Jack Snipe, a Ruff and a Spotted Redshank were the best of the WeBS count. The first hour or so of daylight produced most of the numbers, with 29 Yellow Wagtail, 180 alba Wagtail, 3 Tree Pipit, 650 Meadow Pipit, 12 Song Thrush, 3 Skylark, 1300 Swallow, 630 Linnet, 210 Goldfinch, 125 Siskin, 108 Chaffinch and 6 Redpoll passing over Wick and Hengistbury. In addition to at least 120 Goldcrest on the head, most of the conifers between The Nelson and Mudeford Quay held birds, while a Nuthatch was very vocal in the grounds of the Christchurch Harbour Hotel. Also settled about the area, were up to 20 Chiffchaff, 2 Whinchat on the Long Field and a Wheatear by the Black House. Thanks to the aforementioned census, there is more than some fine detail from across the area, including: a Knot, a Grey Plover, 2 Greenshank, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, 17 Black-tailed Godwit, 36 Snipe, 7 Ringed Plover and 31 Dunlin; those in addition to 4 Brent Goose, 2 Gadwall, 200 Wigeon, 21 Teal, a noteworthy 42 Little Egret, 266 Mute Swan and a Kingfisher. For those that have made it this far, we're almost there - the sea coming up with 2 Common Tern, 5 Sandwich Tern, 32 Common Scoter, 8 Guillemot and 4 Razorbill, all west.


September 29th

A largish pipit that was flushed from the Bobolink Field mid-morning was seen in flight several times thereafter and heard to call on two occasions, all of which led to the identification of a Blyth's Pipit. The terrain in that field is torturous - the grass being 2-3 feet high all over - and seeing the bird on the deck is nigh on impossible. After last being seen around 12:30, when it appeared to head into the adjacent field, the bird was searched for all afternoon but couldn't be relocated. It is appreciated that September is an early date for the species, but multiple observers are happy with the record and it will be submitted to the BBRC. An information services report of a Wryneck in the same area this afternoon is presumably a by-product of the number of birders on site. Earlier, another harbour rarity, a Marsh Tit, had been seen at the northern extreme of Wick. At end of Hengistbury, a Firecrest was amongst thirty or so Chiffchaff, but 4 Wheatear on Stanpit were the only other grounded passerines of note. There was a reasonable wader selection at Stanpit, headed by a Little Stint, a Green Sandpiper and a Spotted Redshank from Fisherman's Bank early in the day, plus two settled Golden Plover in the afternoon, with other numbers coming from two each of Knot, Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit, as many as 19 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Snipe and 21 Dunlin. Most of the overhead passage was early on and to the west, totalling: 2 Brambling, 8 Redpoll, 45 Chaffinch, 110 Siskin, 160 Linnet, 220 Goldfinch, 530 Swallow, 225 House Martin, 8 Sand Martin, 870 Meadow Pipit, 2 Grey Wagtail, 27 Yellow Wagtail and 290 alba Wagtail. The only other bird news involves a Kingfisher along Fisherman's Bank, but there were 3 Bottlenose Dolphin off Clarendon Rocks for at least an hour this morning.

Additional news: a Tree Pipit was in the Bobolink Field during the afternoon and a direct report was received of the Wryneck there.


September 28th

Grey Phalarope - juvenile moulting to first-winter -
on the sandspit this morning - Paul Wilkins
...and a pair of Wigeon - the drake just leaving eclipse plumage - at Stanpit - Alan Crockard

A series of unexpected showers punctuated the morning, during which a north-westerly breeze developed into a south-westerly wind. Just after 9:00, a young Grey Phalarope was flitting around the sandspit, about 100m south of the Black House, before heading off into the harbour, where it was searched for in vain this afternoon. Meanwhile, a Marsh Harrier was present over Central Marsh after having previously visited the harbour earlier in the day - with a further sighting outside of the area, at Coward's Marsh, in the interim period. From dawn until around 8:30, the overhead migration at Hengistbury, mostly west, comprised: a Tree Pipit, 930 Meadow Pipit, 5 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail, 290 alba Wagtail, 1100 Swallow, 1(!) House Martin, 112 Linnet and 95 Goldfinch - those in addition to 3 Ruff, 4 Knot and 11 Pintail that skirted the head. Further out to sea, once the wind had picked up, 16 Balearic Shearwater, plus eleven further 'probables', moved down-channel; as did 17 Common Tern, 146 Sandwich Tern, 145 Gannet and 3 Brent Goose, while an Arctic Skua headed into The Solent. Much later in the day, a Red-throated Diver passed Mudeford Quay and 7 Sand Martin went south over Stanpit. Also at Stanpit, the modest selection of waders included: 3 Grey Plover, a Knot, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit and 15 Dunlin, along with 3 Brent Goose inside the harbour and a lone Wheatear on Crouch Hill. For the record keepers, a Nuthatch was again in the Wood.


September 27th

A marked improvement in the conditions, i.e. not a drop of rain, made for quite a lively morning at Hengistbury. The first Brambling of the season passed overhead, as did 125 Chaffinch, 160 Linnet, 135 Siskin, 12 Tree Pipit, including a flock of eight in-off the sea, 960 Meadow Pipit, the largest group numbering 100 birds, 5 Grey Wagtail, 19 Yellow Wagtail, 310 alba Wagtail, 2200 Swallow and 530 House Martin. Although the initial movement was to the east, after a while the bulk of the numbers headed into the north-west wind. Raptors were also on the move, namely: a Marsh Harrier west at sea, a couple of Merlin that went directly south and 5 Sparrowhawk to the north, three of these travelling in a party. Also incoming were 8 Golden Plover, while 16 Avocet, fifteen plus one, 6 Grey Plover, 37 Ringed Plover, a Red-throated Diver, 5 Pintail and 8 Shelduck headed west. In addition to a few Reed Warbler and a Sedge Warbler in the HHC reeds, where there was again a couple of Bearded Tit, a Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whinchat and 4 Wheatear were on the Barn Field. To finish up at Hengistbury, a Nuthatch, 6 Raven and 7 Brent Goose were also logged. On Stanpit there were another 5 Wheatear and 1 Whinchat while a lone Brent Goose and a female Shoveler were in Stanpit Bight. Waders today were 42 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover and 1 Knot. Finally off Mudeford Quay this afternoon there was a Mediterranean Gull and a Grey Seal while inside the harbour up to 80 Sandwich Tern were present.


September 26th

On another day when the weather was dominated by heavy showers there was a good mix of birds around, although only the Stanpit side of the harbour received any coverage. The highlight was this autumn's second Ortolan Bunting, which moved off the golf course towards Priory Marsh. Shortly afterwards, a Marsh Harrier flushed everything off Priory, including a Jack Snipe, but the Ortolan wasn't seen again. Around the top end of North Scrubs there were 60 Chiffchaff, 50 Goldcrest, 40 Blackcap, 5 Reed Warbler, 2 Firecrest, a Sedge Warbler and a Redstart, while overhead were 5 Yellow Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail and 2 Raven. Waders today, only from Fisherman's Bank given the extremely high tide, were the Spotted Redshank, 9 Knot, 22 Dunlin, 12 Black-tailed Godwit with another 20 north, 6 Ringed Plover, 4 Snipe, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank. The sea was watched from Mudeford Quay for a couple of hours this morning but apart from 2 Arctic Skua harrassing the Sandwich Tern and Common Tern it was fairly quiet. Good numbers of Sandwich Tern are still using the harbour with sixty-eight present today.


September 25th

Magpie - Joe Murphy

There was a significant improvement in the weather today with plenty of sunshine but it was preceded by some fairly heavy showers, which gave those out in the field a thorough soaking! The highlight this morning was a Lapland Bunting that called briefly as it moved over the Barn. Other than that, there was very little to report with just 80 Swallow moving into the wind and on the ground 65 Chiffchaff, a couple of Blackcap and a Sedge Warbler. The Nuthatch was again in the Wood, while the only waders of note were 2 Greenshank over Wick Hams.


September 24th

Another morning of torrential rain and strong winds meant that the sea received most of the coverage today. One harbour stalwart spent three-and-a-half hours in the shelter of the beach huts at Hengistbury and was rewarded with a mega-seawatch, certainly by CHOG standards. Prior to that, the bird of the day, a Stone Curlew, circled the Barn Field a couple of times before heading off west. In fact most of the birds at sea were moving west, the only exceptions being 935 Gannet, probably a harbour record for this species, and 4 Brent Geese which moved east. It's difficult to pick out highlights but there was an adult Pomarine Skua, 3 Great Skua and 4 Arctic Skua with another of these, a dark phase bird, seen inside the harbour from Fisherman's Bank, also off the beach huts were a Curlew Sandpiper, a Black Tern, a Little Tern, 7 Arctic Tern and 4 Little Gull, plus 248 Sandwich Tern, 112 Common Tern, 78 Wigeon, 41 Knot, 18 Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Sanderling, 5 Pintail, 4 Razorbill, 3 Kittiwake, 2 Guillemot and 1 Fulmar. Another 30 Sandwich Tern were inside the harbour, where the Spotted Redshank was present together with one each of Ruff and Green Sandpiper, 11 Dunlin, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit. During the deluge, an estimated 350 House Martin were milling around over Hengistbury..


September 23rd

The forecast was spot-on - rain all day, save for an hour in the afternoon, and a fierce south-easterly; consequently, nearly all the news comes from the dry of the cars on Mudeford Quay. The first effort, between 7:00 to just after 9:00 produced a Roseate Tern, a Black Tern, 3 Arctic Tern, the winter's first Brent Goose, 2 Eider, 2 Kittiwake, and up to 6 Mediterranean Gull; while from noon to 3:00, a further 2 Black Tern and a group of 6 Little Tern were mixed in with decent numbers of Sandwich Tern and Common Tern heading into the wind, a scene that inevitably attracted 2 Arctic Skua that spent around an hour operating in tandem. Other birds seen during the afternoon included: around 45 Knot, the largest flock in excess of twenty, 5 Grey Plover on the move together, a further Brent Goose and 3 Kittiwake, 28 Common Scoter, 8 Wigeon at sea plus a bunch in excess of sixty that came in-off, 5 Teal and an unidentified auk. Incredibly, given the conditions, Swallow were travelling - the morning saw an exodus into the wind, but later on several hundred headed low over the water with the gust behind them. As mentioned earlier, there was a dry spell and that time in the North Scrubs hinted towards a good Sylvia warbler presence; namely, 4 Garden Warbler, 10+ Blackcap and 3 Whitethroat.


September 22nd

Common Buzzard over the top of the head - Chris Chapleo
Bottlenose Dolphin forcing fish inshore off Double Dykes - Chris Chapleo

During the early part of the day, the wind was still coming from the north-west, which gave rise to an impressive House Martin movement that was effectively in-off the sea. A total of 13500 passed through prior to 10:00, with 500 Swallow and 60 Sand Martin accompanying them. Meanwhile, 680 Meadow Pipit, 68 alba Wagtail, 14 Yellow Wagtail, including six from roost in the HHC reeds, a Grey Wagtail, a Sparrowhawk and a Common Buzzard went mainly west. Also, a few Siskin, but there were fifty or so more about Wick during the afternoon, when the wind had veered through north and hit a south-east direction, so reversing the direction of travel of the low flying Swallow over Stanpit Marsh. The morning also produced some other moments of interest, with a Grasshopper Warbler on Wick, a Redstart on the Batters and a Whinchat on the Barn Field, but very few of the commoner migrants. Once more, there was something of a Nuthatch bonanza, as the second bird of the week was in Wick Ditch and two were still in the Wood, where around 20 Goldcrest and 4 Coal Tit also remain. A total of five Mediterranean Gull moved west, but none at all are settling in the area, while Common Gull are equally sparse. Common Tern are now also a species to remark upon - five just off the Coastguards this morning - along with 5 Common Scoter east and a flock of seven, very distant incoming waders that caused some controversy, but after some heavy Photoshop zooming are now thought to have been Ruff. Finally, 3 Greenshank and a Water Rail were in Brewers's Creek on the low water.

Additional news: a Little Stint was at Stanpit in the morning.


September 21st

Reed Bunting on Wick - Joe Murphy

The settled conditions of the last few days are testing the resolve of even the most ardent migration watchers, but with an element of east in wind that is forecast to increase over the weekend then things can surely only get better? Having said that, if one made the trip to the top of the head; the experience of many Swallow and House Martin feeding just a few feet above the ground in almost windless conditions could be enjoyed. In all, it's reckoned that 1500 House Martin and 1100 Swallow drifted slowly by. Otherwise though, it was thin-pickings with a Mistle Thrush heading towards the Nursery being perhaps the best, but also 9 Yellow Wagtail and 3 Grey Wagtail being over Wick and Hengistbury. The first 2 Redpoll and four migrant Reed Bunting of the autumn were seen, and 7 Siskin went over Wick, while forty-six more were lingering in the Wood, where a Firecrest and Nuthatch were also recorded. The remaining interest came from: a couple each of Redstart and Reed Warbler on the Batters; a Merlin and a Hobby in-off; a Green Sandpiper and 5 Snipe; 6 Tufted Duck that toured the harbour; and 18 Common Scoter east at sea.


September 20th

For a short time prior to 10:45 this morning the skies over Stanpit were filled with hirundines, which numbered thousands and were predominantly House Martin. A Wood Sandpiper in the company of some Snipe also flew around briefly, while a further 16 Snipe were seen on Priory Marsh; in addition, a Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, 5 Knot, 3 Sanderling, a Bar-tailed Godwit, around 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Ringed Plover and 34 Dunlin were about the marsh. Some wildfowl interest was provided by 4 Egyptian Goose on Blackberry Point, 20 Greylag Goose on the HHC bar, 7 Pintail west and 2 settled, plus a lingering Shoveler. To conclude, a couple of Raven again passed over the area.


September 19th

Nuthatch in the Wood - Joe Murphy
Sanderling on the sandspit - Andy Wragg
Bottlenose Dolphin off the sandspit - Andy Wragg

The events of the day were a Woodlark over the Batters during the morning and Nuthatch that alighted onto a treetop in Wick Ditch, took in its new surroundings and then headed towards Double Dykes; meanwhile, the incumbent two of the latter were still in the Wood. There was brief flurry of chat activity on the Barn Field, when over 50 Stonechat, a clear influx, 4 Whinchat and 5 Wheatear were present, but this lasted barely minutes before the area was once again mostly deserted. Otherwise, the only grounded passerines were 2 Redstart, a Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Willow Warbler and a token number of Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Whitethroat, but 3 Raven did pass over the area. Also airborne, but perhaps not in the anticipated numbers given those around last night, were hirundines - an estimated 3000 House Martin, 2300 Swallow and 210 Sand Martin west - as well as 1350 Meadow Pipit, 6 Tree Pipit, 36 Yellow Wagtail, at least 3 Grey Wagtail and, as a hint of the finch movement yet to come, 63 Siskin, 110 Linnet and 65 Goldfinch. Obviously travelling waders included: a flock of 5 Green Sandpiper in over the Beach Huts; 30 Knot, in flocks of twelve and eighteen; a Curlew Sandpiper in with the larger group of Knot; and 23 Snipe; all west. Inside the harbour, a Knot, a Common Sandpiper, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 23 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Ringed Plover and 25 Dunlin were the day's peak figures. There were no bird records from the sea, but Bottlenose Dolphin, up to seven animals - two of them calves, were variously reported from close off the sandspit, where they had also been yesterday. Some early feedback on yesterday's colour-ringed Black-headed Gull confirms it was ringed as a breeding bird in Poland during June 2010.


September 18th

Turnstone on the sandspit recently - Joe Murphy

Other than a Little Gull off Mudeford Quay this morning, there were no obviously new birds in the area. The best elsewhere was a Grasshopper Warbler in the No Dogs Field on Wick, along with general totals of 40 Chiffchaff, 17 Blackcap, 8 Whitethroat, 6 Wheatear and a settled Tree Pipit, that in the Barn Field. A light aerial passage prior to 10:00 comprised 110 Meadow Pipit, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 600 Swallow and 150 House Martin, all west; but late this afternoon there were hundreds, if not thousands, of hirundines, predominantly Swallow, drifting slowly north-west over Stanpit village. Onto the waders, which remain largely unchanged, and included: the Spotted Redshank, a Curlew Sandpiper, a Knot, a Greenshank, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 45 Dunlin, nearly all from Stanpit. Finally, a Hobby was over Wick early on, while colour-ringed Sandwich Tern and Black-headed Gull were at Stanpit, for which details are being sought.


September 17th

Reed Warbler - Alan Crockard

It was another day of routine fare, with just a Spotted Flycatcher, a Grasshopper Warbler and 3 Wheatear turned in from Hengistbury, while a Sedge Warbler, a Reed Warbler, 33 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler, a Garden Warbler and 10 Whitethroat were logged about Wick. Meanwhile, the overhead numbers were made up of: 560 Meadow Pipit, 9 Tree Pipit, 41 Yellow Wagtail, 12 Grey Wagtail, 1300 Swallow, 620 House Martin, 170 Sand Martin and 41 Siskin, all west into the light wind. A Green Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover passed over the head, with other wader reports coming from: what is presumed to be 'the' Spotted Redshank now frequenting Fisherman's Bank for its seventh winter, along with a Common Sandpiper there; 2 Greenshank and a Turnstone in Barn Bight; and 40 Dunlin seen to arrive. The only other snippet of interest was a Hobby over Hengistbury.


September 16th

On an overall quiet day, the high spring tide pushed a Temminck's Stint off Central Marsh in the company of 5 Snipe - the bird was then watched and heard circling Crouch Hill before seeming to head off north. Otherwise, the only waders of interest were: a Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Knot, 3 Greenshank, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, a few Turnstone on the sandspit and a handful of Dunlin inside the harbour. There was no real attempt to census the Meadow Pipit passage, but at least 145 moved west in a one-hour spell early on, when a Tree Pipit, a Grey Wagtail, 8 Yellow Wagtail and 20 or so alba Wagtail were also logged. Of the grounded migrants, Coal Tit were perhaps the most notable, with at least five about Hengistbury - including one flitting through low brambles on the Long Field. Meanwhile, the totals from across the whole area were: a Whinchat, 3 Wheatear, 14 Blackcap, 5 Whitethroat and 29 Chiffchaff. A rather optimistic attempt was made at a seawatch, which 'produced' 9 Common Scoter, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 12 Common Tern and a Common Gull. Additionally, around 40 Sandwich Tern and 10 Common Tern were feeding on Britt shoals inside the harbour.


September 15th

An almost windless early morning and clear skies brought on a steady westerly passage of Meadow Pipit, with most of the 870 that were counted until 10:30 moving in flocks of no more that five birds. Also, 16 Tree Pipit, 42 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail, 50 Siskin, 1100 Swallow, around 250 House Martin and several Sand Martin logged on their travels, as well as a Song Thrush coming in high on the normal autumn 'thrush-route' to the north-west. The pick of the decked birds was a Firecrest on the Batters, but Wick held the lion's share of the numbers, with combined totals from those sites coming in at: 150 phylloscopus warblers, the vast majority of them Chiffchaff, 30 Blackcap, 20 Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat and a Spotted Flycatcher. Meanwhile, chats were incredibly sparse with just a Whinchat and 3 Wheatear seen throughout the day. For the date, waders numbers are really quite poor - the figures from inside the harbour were headed by a Spotted Redshank and a Curlew Sandpiper, but otherwise it was just a Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Common Sandpiper, 3 Turnstone, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 20 Dunlin of interest there; while 5 Turnstone, 3 Knot and 11 Black-tailed Godwit were turned in from Hengistbury, as well as Grey Plover, Greenshank and Ringed Plover being heard. Not much seemed to be happening at sea, although Mudeford Quay produced singles of Arctic Tern and Little Tern, and 3 adult Common Gull passed west. To finish on the birds, at least 2 Bearded Tit were in the HHC reeds. The day was also conducive to apparently migrating Red Admirals, as two gatherings were seen feeding up on Hengistbury, along with a few relatively high-flying individuals.


September 14th

In a strong south-westerly the sea was watched from Mudeford Quay for a couple of hours this morning until 9:00. A couple of Spoonbill, 3 Arctic Tern and a Little Gull were the pick, also 55 Common Tern, 11 Common Scoter, a Mediterranean Gull and a Hobby, with all birds moving west. A little later another Arctic Tern was off the Beach Huts. Hobby were seen over the HHC and fromthe Wooden Bridge on Wick. The Wood on Hengistbury seemed to be full of Goldcrest, but these weren't counted although at least 2 Firecrest and the Nuthatch were present. Just one Whinchat was on the Long Field and a Redstart was on Wick, while also noted were 8 Blackcap, 8 Whitethroat, 6 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Tree Pipit.


September 13th

Willow Warbler - Joe Murphy

After a cold and clear night there were fewer birds around today, although still plenty to see. The Wood on Hengistbury held 2 Firecrest and the Nuthatch was still in the Nursery. The most numerous grounded migrant was Chiffchaff with a count of 118, while only 9 Willow Warbler were present, almost a complete reversal in just a few days. The other numbers from Hengistbury were 43 Whitethroat, 27 Wheatear, 17 Sedge Warbler, 8 Blackcap, 3 Redstart and one each of Spotted Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat and Whinchat. Stanpit chipped in with 15 Wheatear, 8 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Whinchat, 3 Spotted Flycatcher and a Garden Warbler. Up to 1000 House Martin were above the head at one stage before they moved off west; also heading in that direction were 800 Swallow, 170 Meadow Pipit, 63 Siskin, 46 Yellow Wagtail, 7 Grey Wagtail and 7 Tree Pipit. The only wader news is of a Curlew Sandpiper on Stanpit, 3 Sanderling on the Long Groyne and 2 Greenshank in Barn Bight, while 5 Knot moved east. Finally, a Raven and 4 Rook were seen and 2 Coal Tit were still in the Wood.


September 12th

In a light westerly breeze migration picked up this morning with good numbers of common migrants on Hengistbury. The highlights included the first Woodlark of the autumn, two high-flying Nuthatch, with another of these in the Wood, 2 Firecrest, a Turtle Dove and 2 Grasshopper Warbler. Meanwhile, an Osprey caught a mullet in the harbour around 10:20. Now the numbers starting with 91 Wheatear, 72 of which were on the West Field mid-morning and a further 15 birds were on Stanpit, 160 Chiffchaff, 71 Blackcap, 70 Goldcrest, 48 Whitethroat, 33 Willow Warbler, an impressive count of 16 Coal Tit, 10 Whinchat, plus 2 more on Stanpit, 9 Redstart and a Spotted Flycatcher. Overhead, there were 320 Meadow Pipit, the first significant movement of the autumn, 43 Yellow Wagtail, plus a single flock of 16 over Crouch Hill, 31Tree Pipit, 16 Siskin and 14 Grey Wagtail. An Arctic Tern and 12 Common Tern moved west at sea, also 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Gadwall, 2 Knot, a Pintail and a Shoveler, while 3 Ruff left the harbour heading due south. The Wigeon count on Stanpit has reached 48, but there were very few waders with just 10 Knot, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Spotted Redshank. To round up, Bearded Tit were again in the HHC reedbed, 2 Tufted Duck and a Gadwall were in Barn Bight, 2 Raven were over Wick and a Hobby was seen.


September 11th

Wheatear - Clinton Whale

The trend of the last few days continued with few common migrants around, just 28 Blackcap, 24 Chiffchaff, 7 Wheatear, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail and 2 Lesser Whitethroat on the Hengistbury side, with another 8 Wheatear and a single Yellow Wagtail on Stanpit. A Curlew Sandpiper was the pick of the waders on Stanpit, where the Spotted Redshank was still present plus 32 Black-tailed Godwit, 24 Dunlin, 14 Ringed Plover, 12 Sanderling, a Common Sandpiper, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Knot and a Greenshank; also 3 Snipe on Wick floods, 7 Turnstone off Mudeford Quay and another Greenshank in Barn Bight. Good numbers of Sandwich Tern are still using the harbour with 64 roosting on Stanpit and another eleven feeding offshore. Of interest, Great Black-backed Gull numbers are building up with 73 on Stanpit this afternoon.


September 10th

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull - Joe Murphy

A complete change in the weather today as a gusting south-westerly wind brought some light rain, hence the Beach Huts was clearly the best option. In a two-and-a-half hour watch with most birds moving into the wind the highlights were singles of Roseate Tern, Arctic Tern and Arctic Skua, also 58 Sandwich Tern, 32 Common Tern, 31 Black-tailed Godwit, 23 Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Sanderling, 3 Common Scoter, 2 Knot, a Mediterranean Gull and a Fulmar, while 67 Gannet moved east. The 2 Garganey were still on Stanpit, where waders present included 16 Black-tailed Godwit, a Spotted Redshank, a Knot, a Whimbrel and a Greenshank; another Greenshank was in Barn Bight, 3 Snipe were on the Wick floods and 2 Turnstone were on the sandspit. Despite the unfavourable conditions 550 Swallow moved through, also 25 Yellow Wagtail, 6 Grey Wagtail and 2 Tree Pipit. Finally, a female-type Marsh Harrier was over the Salt Hurns, 2 Raven were seen and a Kingfisher was on Wick, but there were only 2 Wheatear today.


September 9th

Cetti's Warbler trapped and ringed at the Members' Day - Lorne Bissell

Although there was a good variety of birds around for the Members Day, it just seemed like hard work finding them! Inevitably, the best turned up after most had either left or were relocating to Stanpit, when 2 Spoonbill, an adult and a juvenile, flew over the HHC heading west. Those who did attend the Stanpit walk were rewarded with a couple of Garganey in Stanpit Bight and a Curlew Sandpiper off the tip of South Marsh; earlier, another Garganey had flown upriver. Back to Hengistbury, where migrants were hard to come by, with just 9 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail, a Tree Pipit and a Siskin overhead, and on the ground just singles of Lesser Whitethroat, Wheatear and Spotted Flycatcher, plus small numbers of phylloscs , Whitethroat, Blackcap and Sedge Warbler; and on Stanpit a Wheatear was on Crouch Hill and 2 Yellow Wagtail flew over. Wildfowl today included 67 Canada Geese, 8 Pintail over, with a further bird in Barn Bight, 3 Tufted Duck, 2 Shelduck and 2 Gadwall. Also in Barn Bight were 2 Greenshank and 2 Common Sandpiper, while Stanpit held 10 Sanderling, 2 Knot and a Turnstone. A late Little Tern was feeding in Stanpit Bight and 52 Sandwich Tern with just 3 Common Tern were roosting on the mud. A Nuthatch was calling from the Nursery and 2 Kingfisher were noted on Hengistbury.


September 8th

Sand Martin - Joe Murphy

A much quieter day all round with just a scattering of common migrants on Hengistbury and 2 Spotted Flycatcher in Ashtree Meadows on the Stanpit side. A Garganey flew round the harbour mid-morning before heading off south-west and a Goosander came downriver before moving back north. Amongst the waders at Stanpit, 2 Curlew Sandpiper and a Little Stint were the pick, but also 80 Ringed Plover, 16 Sanderling and a Grey Plover, while 2 Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper were in Barn Bight. The numbers from Hengistbury, for what they are worth, were c25 phylloscs , 20 Whitethroat, 13 Blackcap, 2 Wheatear and 2 Grey Wagtail. Both Pintail and Gadwall were noted today, also a juvenile Mediterranean Gull passed over Hengistbury and 2 Buzzard were high to the north.


September 7th

Water Rail in Parky Meade Rail - Alan Crockard

Despite the settled fine weather there was more evidence today of the changing seasons with the first Firecrest of the autumn on Hengistbury; also 6 Siskin over there and 14 grounded Goldcrest. A Crossbill headed west over the Batters, while also on the move were 106 Yellow Wagtail, 73 of which left the HHC reedbed roost at dawn, 24 Tree Pipit, 8 Grey Wagtail and a Yellowhammer. The totals for the common summer migrants were 31 Willow Warbler, 30 Blackcap, 28 Chiffchaff, 23 Whitethroat, 6 Redstart, 5 Lesser Whitethroat and just one each of Wheatear and Spotted Flycatcher. Singles of Little Ringed Plover, Golden Plover and Turnstone left the harbour, while wader counts from Stanpit were 79 Dunlin, 44 Ringed Plover, 9 Sanderling and one each of Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and Grey Plover. A couple of Garganey which arrived with a small flock of Teal circled the harbour and left. To summarise, 3 Kingfisher were on the Hengistbury side, a Common Sandpiper was in Barn Bight, Stanpit held 43 Sandwich Tern and on a more mundane note recent counts have shown that the number of Redshank using the harbour at present is c160.


September 6th

As the fine weather continued common migrants were once again plentiful this morning and for the first time this autumn a serious attempt was made to estimate the hirundine numbers. In just an hour-and-a-half 9000 Swallow and 3600 House Martin moved through. The first noticeable movement of Meadow Pipit and Goldcrest also occurred with 85 and 20 respectively. Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher and Black Redstart were probably the pick of the rest, with the numbers being 150 Willow Warbler, 120 Chiffchaff, 65 Blackcap, 58 Yellow Wagtail, 50 Sedge Warbler, 45 Whitethroat, 11 Tree Pipit, 9 Wheatear, 9 Spotted Flycatcher, 8 Grey Wagtail, 5 Redstart, 4 Whinchat, 4 Garden Warbler and a late Cuckoo. At sea there was a small westerly movement of Common Tern with 54 birds logged, also 5 Mediterranean Gull and 12 Black-tailed Godwit moving in the same direction. A Little Stint and 6 Sanderling arrived, while 5 Spotted Redshank left the harbour. The only other wader reports are from Hengistbury with 4 Greenshank, a Knot in Holloway's Dock, a Spotted Redshank and a Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight, where 3 Gadwall were also present.


September 5th

Oystercatcher on the harbour edge - Clinton Whale

On another exceptionally fine day the undoubted highlight was an Ortolan Bunting, which alighted only briefly in the hedge by the HHC at 6:30 before then moving off over Wick. The supporting cast included a fly-over Garganey and the first Merlin of the autumn, a juvenile, seen harrassing Sand Martin by the Ironstone Quarry. Across Hengistbury and Wick, apart from a count of 73 Yellow Wagtail, common migrants were present in only modest numbers with 25 Whitethroat, 23 Chiffchaff, 18 Willow Warbler, 16 Wheatear, 9 Tree Pipit, 8 Blackcap, 8 Spotted Flycatcher, 7 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 2 Grey Wagtail and a Lesser Whitethroat. On Stanpit a Garden Warbler was in the North Scrubs and a further 8 Wheatear and 6 Whinchat were present. Wildfowl on the move today were 41 Teal, 9 Greylag Geese, 5 Gadwall and 3 Shoveler, while 15 Teal were settled in Barn Bight. There were still 2 Knot on Stanpit, as a further seven birds passed over Hengistbury;also on the move were 2 Green Sandpiper with a third bird flushed by a dog from Barn Bight. Other waders included a Curlew Sandpiper on Stanpit plus harbour totals of 48 Dunlin, 28 Ringed Plover, 7 Sanderling, 2 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, a Grey Plover and a Common Sandpiper. Finally, 2 Coal Tit were in the Wood, 2 Bearded Tit were in the HHC reeds and a Hobby and 4 Rook were seen.


September 4th

One of today's Whinchat on the Barn Field - Jean Southworth

Although it was much quieter today there was still a good mix of birds around the harbour. A Wood Sandpiper, together with a Green Sandpiper, was in Parky Meade Rail this morning, but not thereafter. Grounded migrants at Hengistbury included another Grasshopper Warbler plus 4 Whinchat, 4 Spotted Flycatcher and 3 Redstart; also 55 Willow Warbler, 40 Whitethroat, 10 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcap, 2 Reed Warbler and one each of Garden Warbler and Wheatear, while just 5 Tree Pipit and 5 Yellow Wagtail moved over. On Stanpit wader numbers were 50 Ringed Plover, 40 Dunlin, 9 Greenshank, 8 Sanderling, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Turnstone, 2 Whimbrel, a Knot and a Bar-tailed Godwit, as well as 6 Shoveler there. To round up, 2 Coal Tit were on Hengistbury, 9 Snipe headed north over Wick and 2 Hobby were seen.


September 3rd

Kestrel with prey - Joe Murphy

After something of a lull over the last couple of days migration picked up again this morning with good numbers of common migrants on Hengistbury and Wick. First the day's highlights: shortly after 8:00 a Honey Buzzard circled Wick Fields before heading off towards the river and then north; then at 11:20, either that or a second bird was over Stanpit for a few minutes before it drifted off east; in the afternoon a Spoonbill spent an hour or so feeding off South Marsh before flying off west; and both Roseate Tern and Arctic Tern were present. Today's totals from across the area were 230 Willow Warbler, 110 Chiffchaff, 106 Whitethroat, 86 Blackcap, 57 Wheatear, 44 Yellow Wagtail, 10 Redstart, 9 Tree Pipit, 8 Sedge Warbler, 7 Garden Warbler, 7 Whinchat, 6 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Reed Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat and a Grasshopper Warbler. Wader numbers at Stanpit showed little change with 59 Ringed Plover, 52 Dunlin, 7 Sanderling, 2 Knot, 2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, a Whimbrel and a Grey Plover, while moving over Hengistbury were 9 Snipe, a Green Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover. An estimated 350 Common Tern were offshore and 7 Common Scoter passed the Beach Huts; also a Guillemot on the sea. The Wigeon count was 32, while a minimum of 39 Little Egret were present in the harbour. To round up, the 2 Common Gull were still on East Marsh, Bearded Tit were heard from the HHC reedbed, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull was on South Marsh and a Raven passed over.


September 2nd

On another cloudy day and in just a light breeze there was very little evidence of migration, with just 4 Wheatear and a few phylloscs across the whole area. Stanpit, which received most of the attention, held 2 Spotted Redshank plus 2 Knot and 2 Greenshank; also 63 Ringed Plover, 37 Bar-tailed Godwit, with another seven of these west, 35 Dunlin, 7 Sanderling, 5 Common Sandpiper, 3 Grey Plover, 2 Snipe and a Whimbrel. The Wigeon and Teal counts have risen to 18 and 15 respectively, while 3 Pintail and a drake Tufted Duck passed over. The juvenile Peregrine made another unsuccessful sortie over Stanpit, where a Hobby was also seen and 4 Raven moved west. To round up, a couple of Common Gull were on Stanpit and Grey Wagtail were on Mudeford Quay and over the HHC.


September 1st

10:00am update - a fuller report may appear later this evening.
Full cloud cover and a north-westerly breeze saw an almost unprecedented movement of wildfowl for the date. This comprised: 29 Pintail, 14 Shoveler, 64 Wigeon, 71 Teal, 24 Shelduck and 14 Gadwall, all west. Flocks were often varied and included the following combinations - 7 Wigeon + 8 Avocet! 8 Pintail + 4 Shoveler, 7 Pintail + 3 Gadwall, 6 Pintail + 3 Teal and 4 Pintail + 9 Wigeon. As hinted in the previous sentence, there were also moving waders to be seen; not least a Spotted Redshank that was first off Fisherman's Bank before leaving west and 2 Little Stint in the company of 10 Knot that did the same thing. Also seen on the move were: a further seven Knot, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, a Turnstone, 14 Snipe, 44 Ringed Plover and 37 Common Tern. A feeding flock of terns of the sandspit briefly attracted the attention of a passing Arctic Skua, but there was little else turned in from the sea. Passerines were sparse - the best being a couple of Yellowhammer west off Wick - as well as a Redstart, a Whinchat, several Wheatear, 6 Tree Pipit, 6 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Grey Wagtail. To finish this early post, a pair of Swallow is still raising young in a nest on the HHC.

Evening update - in combination with watching the Bournemouth airshow, the birding continued until 3:00 this afternoon. After previously suggesting the sea was quiet, there were 5 Arctic Skua, 2 Balearic Shearwater, including a bird as close in as 50m, 285 Sandwich Tern and at least 500 Common Tern, plus 7 Common Scoter and a Guillemot, milling around offshore. In addition, a female Marsh Harrier came in-off the water, a Golden Plover and 9 Turnstone passed by, as did a Swift and 2 Mediterranean Gull. Finally, a Green Sandpiper and 3 Common Sandpiper were inside the harbour, and to replace the previous totals there were 22 Wheatear, 7 Whinchat and 83 Wigeon.

Archives
Return to the Sightings Archive Index

View the full archive of photographs, which now contains over 250 species.

Here is the full archive of features that have previously appeared on the CHOG website.