Sightings for October 2015

October 31st

Partial cloud and a reasonable north-easterly wind stirred the Goldfinch into action this morning, when 2100 were counted moving east over Hengistbury. Actually, the higher parts of the head weren’t gotten to until an hour after first light, so a fair number of birds were almost certainly missed. Moving with the ‘goldies’ were: 460 Chaffinch, 430 Linnet, 98 Siskin, 33 Redpoll, 25 Brambling, 68 Reed Bunting, 56 Meadow Pipit, 35 alba Wagtail, 46 Skylark and a Swallow. Another event of the morning was the presence of a 78-strong flock of Coot settled on the sea just off the Long Groyne, with an associating drake Common Scoter. The Marsh Harrier was seen on a couple of occasions - heading off east just after dawn and making a circuit of Stanpit during the afternoon - while the Water Pipit was again on the marsh, along with 6 Rock Pipit. Meanwhile, another thorough inspection of the bushes from Wick to the Wood saw pretty much the same selection as yesterday. To finish off the month, up to 4 Sandwich Tern were around as well as a first-winter Mediterranean Gull. 

October 30th

Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper
The first Purple Sandpiper flock of the winter - 8 birds - was on the sandspit this morning
– Clinton Whale

After a very wet start, things dried up late in the morning but the south-easterly wind persisted all day. With it, however, were a few snippets of interest, including: a couple of Woodlark over Stanpit; a Velvet Scoter west at sea; a Firecrest in the Wood; and the first eight Purple Sandpiper of the winter on groyne S9, as well as 5 Sanderling on the sandspit. There were small gatherings of Goldcrest and tits across Hengistbury and Wick but nothing more interesting, despite a lot of looking. Numbers-wise, the Goldcrest were reckoned at around seventy, plus 12 Chiffchaff and a couple of Blackcap. The best of the waders on a very-flooded Stanpit were the Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank and c80 Black-tailed Godwit, along with 7 Shoveler, 3 Tufted Duck and 4 Rock Pipit there. Meanwhile, the sea also produced 3 Red-breasted Merganser west and a total of 11 Common Scoter. 

October 29th

Other than a Mediterranean Gull and 3 Brent Goose from Mudeford Quay this morning, there is little other bird news from a rain-marred day. This afternoon, Hengistbury was scoured for small leaf warblers, but came up with just an optimistically-singing Chiffchaff and 14 Siskin. 

October 28th

It was a real mixed-bag of weather this morning; from a windless dawn a subsequent light southerly brought thick cloud, then fog, but ultimately clear skies. The picks were a Short-eared Owl in-off the sea, a drake Goosander that toured after coming in from the north and a couple of Yellowhammer moving east. On the deck, 2 Firecrest were with over 100 Goldcrest on Hengistbury. The sea again showed signs of improvement, with a Red-throated Diver, 2 Eider and 2 Tufted Duck east, 2 Red-breasted Merganser west and 9 Common Scoter. Overhead, incoming thrush totals were topped by 60+ Blackbird, but also 42 Song Thrush, 8 Redwing and 2 Fieldfare. Meanwhile, there was a hint of the Woodpigeon spectacle that will hopefully come - 330 birds west - with other travellers totalling: 10 Redpoll, 78 Linnet, 140 Chaffinch, 170 Goldfinch, 25 Reed Bunting, 13 Swallow and a nice count of 103 Skylark. Remaining news for the day involves 3 Snipe on Wick Hams and the same number of Black-tailed Godwit on the Salt Hurns. 

October 27th

Curlew
Curlew – Alan Crockard

A relatively high tide pushed a Bittern into view on Central Marsh, Stanpit, this morning. Actually, as we approach Thursday’s spring cycle, the next three days have an even higher prediction for the first high-water; so the bird may well show again. Close by, the Water Pipit was once more by the Rusty Boat. The North Scrubs held an almost unprecedented 4 Mistle Thrush, as well as a Ring Ouzel, a Firecrest, around 30 Goldcrest and the pale Buzzard that has taken a liking to the area. Over on the other side of the water, the western portion of Hengistbury held 10 Chiffchaff and a further 12 Goldcrest. The state of the tide also meant a Jack Snipe came into view on Central Marsh, along with 33 Snipe; while the wader roost on East Marsh contained the  Spotted Redshank, along with a Knot, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 55 Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Dunlin and a fine count of 190 Redshank. Further interest came from 6 Pintail, 3 Shoveler and 6 Gadwall on the marsh, 4 Water Rail calling from the Wick Hams area and a Peregrine over. All of this was before the late morning, when rain set in for the rest of the daylight hours. 

October 26th

Chiffchaff
Chiffchaff – Alan Hayden

The overnight south-easterly wind brought a major arrival of Goldcrest to Hengistbury, with 300 birds being the estimate. In addition, a Yellow-browed Warbler was vocal along the Batters, mostly behind the Wood, and there was a total of 3 Firecrest. Elsewhere, the first Black Redstart of the autumn was by the HHC and a further 45 Goldcrest were on Wick, along with a handful of Chiffchaff. The strong breeze encouraged Linnet, 1150 in all, to move into it, as well as: 420 Goldfinch, 75 Siskin, 70 Chaffinch, 8 Redpoll, 3 Brambling, 15 alba Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail and 2 Swallow; while 3 Fieldfare headed north-west. There was slightly more life in the sea than of late, where 3 Sandwich Tern, 5 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 17 Common Scoter, a Guillemot, 7 unidentified auks and 12 Gannet.

October 25th

The day’s best bird came before it was properly light, when a Yellow-browed Warbler was heard calling from the slope in the south-west corner of the Long Field. Also early on, a Water Pipit was by the Rusty Boat on Stanpit. Clear skies and very little wind seemed to discourage birds from moving, although 5 Fieldfare and a Great Spotted Woodpecker north, plus 11 Redpoll, 8 Siskin, 45 Linnet, 135 Goldfinch, 20 alba Wagtail, 10 Meadow Pipit and a Swallow, those all east, were logged from dawn to around 9:00. The monthly WeBS count was hard going in the high tide, when harbour-wide totals were pretty unspectacular; for example, just 45 Black-tailed Godwit, 17 Turnstone, 7 Snipe, 28 Ringed Plover and 14 Dunlin from the waders. Meanwhile, waterfowl weighed in with, a single Shoveler, only 34 Teal, 376 Wigeon and 145 Brent Goose, the latter seeming to have no young in the gathering at all. To round up, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest barely made double figures, Kingfisher were seen in four locations, a Peregrine was over the Batters and 3 Raven passed over Coastguards. 

October 24th

Hengistbury in the Sun
Hengistbury Head in the last few minutes of British-Summer-Time sun – Clinton Whale

A southerly breeze that strengthened throughout the night prompted some early looks at the sea. Between 7:10 and 8:00, Black-headed Gull streamed through the Run from their overnight roost off Steamer Point in Christchurch Bay at a rate of 150 per minute, so giving rise to an estimated total of 7500 birds; with them, three first-winter Mediterranean Gull. Meanwhile, the Beach Huts mustered just a very light passage of Gannet to the west, 2 Sandwich Tern and 6 Common Scoter. A little later, the Marsh Harrier was inadvertently flushed from the side of a footpath at Stanpit taking its prey with it, which upon inspection of the remaining feathers was reckoned to be a Water Rail. Meanwhile, a Water Pipit was on Priory Marsh. The wind direction saw a few migrants heading south over the sandspit, but ultimately west, including: a Brambling, 2 Redpoll, 15 Siskin, 170 Linnet, 230 Goldfinch, 21 alba Wagtail and 2 Swallow. 

October 23rd

The highlights of a largely windless, hence insect-ridden morning were: a Firecrest at the end of the head; the 2 Spoonbill on the tip of South Marsh; and a Tawny Owl calling in the Wood during the early gloaming. Given the lack of moving air, it was a slight surprise that Goldfinch and Linnet were moving in reasonable numbers - 670 and 380 respectively eastward - along with: a Brambling, 8 Chaffinch, 10 Redpoll, 24 Siskin, 16 Reed Bunting, 2 Grey Wagtail, 24 alba Wagtail, 39 Meadow Pipit and 11 Swallow; while a couple of Fieldfare, a Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, and 17 Skylark headed north-west. Departing warblers are now thinning out, just 3 Blackcap on the site today as well as 25 Chiffchaff; plus a single Wheatear on the Barn Field. On the contrary, a couple of Shelduck were seen to arrive.

October 22nd

Starling
Starling at Stanpit – Alan Crockard

Short-eared Owl are becoming a daily event - today’s seen around lunchtime, low over the Ironstone Quarry before settling in the bracken just north of Coastguards. Other birds of prey included: the Marsh Harrier over Wick Hams and then to Stanpit at 8:40; a Merlin chasing a wagtail over the harbour; 2 Peregrine, one hunting far out at sea; 3 Sparrowhawk in the North Scrubs; and a well-above-average number of Kestrel across the entire area - perhaps as many as seven. A Water Pipit on Priory Marsh was the pick of the birds on the ground, with 6 Rock Pipit on Central Marsh and a further four on Mudeford Quay probably from Scandinavian and local origins respectively; while a single Wheatear was on the tip of the sandspit. At Stanpit, the 2 Spoonbill were present throughout, as was the Spotted Redshank. Jackdaw are fast becoming a permanent fixture in the area - counts of fourteen north and twenty-eight on the head being returned - with other pieces of local interest coming from 2 Red-breasted Merganser having roosted in Barn Bight overnight and 2 Grey Wagtail on Wick meadows. Although the wind was westerly biased there was some overhead movement, namely: a Mistle Thrush north-west and 63 alba Wagtail, 28 Meadow Pipit, 7 Redpoll, 23 Siskin, 120 Linnet, 300 Goldfinch and 5 Swallow east. In addition, the sea came up with 3 Common Scoter into the Solent, 7 Brent Goose into Poole Bay and at least six lingering Sandwich Tern.  

October 21st

There was rain in the air for the greater part of the day, meaning Mudeford Quay received the most attention. Around lunchtime, a Short-eared Owl was being mobbed by gulls off there, one of which was a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull. Earlier, however, the first 2.5 hours of daylight produced not a single bird of note. This afternoon, Wick Fields held a very modest number of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest. Of mammal interest, the in-harbour Grey Seal this morning followed a crew from Christchurch Rowing Club upriver almost as far as Clay Pool! 

October 20th

Redshank
Redshank – Clinton Whale

There were 2 Short-eared Owl this morning - the first was over the Batters being mobbed by crows, before heading out to sea, u-turning, grazing the end of the head and then moving up the Solent; the second, at 11:30, was trailed through the harbour by gulls as it left high to the north. At Stanpit, the 2 Spoonbill were present all day, as was the Spotted Redshank and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit. The wind at dawn was from the north-west, but as the morning progressed went slightly to the east, which inspired a modicum of visible migration: 2 Fieldfare, 34 Redwing, 6 Song Thrush and 30 Skylark headed north; while 45 alba Wagtail, 77 Meadow Pipit, 4 Brambling, 13 Redpoll, 26 Chaffinch, 37 Siskin, 190 Goldfinch, 330 Linnnet, 2 House Martin and 64 Swallow travelled east. One of the most remarkable sights of the day, however, was 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker which rose off Hengistbury together, to a great height and then bounded north. There seems to have been a clear-out of settled migrants; for example, just a handful of Goldcrest in the Wood, but there were 35 Chiffchaff on site, nearly all on Wick, plus a couple of Blackcap. Meanwhile, three latish Sandwich Tern were off the Long Groyne, a Treecreeper was in the Wood, 4 Raven passed over and a Kingfisher was on the Ironstone Quarry. Back to Stanpit, where 4 Egyptian Goose graced the marsh during the morning, along with 3 Shelduck and 5 Jay, the latter all in the North Scrubs.

October 19th

Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail
Adult Pied Wagtail (upper) and a bird fledged this year – Alan Crockard

The afternoon saw a decent selection of birds at Stanpit, headed by 2 Spoonbill and a unseasonable Green Sandpiper - the latter normally a bird of the early-to-late summer. Also about the marsh, 2 Greenshank, the Spotted Redshank, a Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 29 Black-tailed Godwit. Earlier in the day, a Fieldfare had been on Wick meadows, while the adjacent fields held 31 Chiffchaff and 3 Redpoll. Meanwhile, a Peregrine passed over there and 20 Black-tailed Godwit, presumably some of the Stanpit birds, were in Holloway’s Dock. 

October 18th

An all-too-brief Great Grey Shrike, seen on Barn Field this morning by two lucky observers, was today's stand-out highlight; it represented CHOG's third record of the species, with the last one being in 2004. Further icing was added by a Siberian Chiffchaff on the banks of Stanpit Golf Course (also a Blackcap there), a Ring Ouzel in Stanpit Scrubs and two first-winter Yellow-legged Gulls at Mudeford Quay. The now-regular Marsh Harrier was seen from both Stanpit and Wick, with the latter site also hosting 8 Chiffchaff, 2 Grey Wagtail and 4 Redwing, and on Hengistbury were 2 Fieldfare, 2 Redpoll and a Brambling. Meanwhile, a thorough count of the East Marsh waders came to - 13 Curlew, 26 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Dunlin, 129 Common Redshank and singles of Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank and Snipe (with another elsewhere on the Marsh).

Late-arriving 'vis-mig' totals have been added to yesterday's post.

October 17th

A Richard's Pipit, the first for the year, was on Stanpit this morning; it flew from the path between the Bailey Bridge and the river onto Central Marsh, but was not relocated. Also on Stanpit was a (the?) Marsh Harrier, plus 4 Rock Pipit. Hengistbury boasted a Ring Ouzel in Long Field, close to the Nursery, and 2 Brambling on West Batters, with 27 Chiffchaff scattered between there and the far end of Wick.

The following vismig totals, mostly east, arrived after the above had been posted - Redpoll 9, Swallow 260, House Martin 40, Siskin 18, Pied Wagtail 23 and Crossbill 2.

Please check back to yesterday for some quality extra sightings.

October 16th

The early morning highlight was a Marsh Harrier, an immature female, hunting low over Wick Hams before departing to the north. Otherwise there was fairly routine late autumn fare, with 200 Swallow heading south, a couple of Redwing in the opposite direction, and 28 Chiffchaff plus 11 Goldcrest around Wick and Hengistbury, with 15 Black-tailed Godwit remaining in Holloway's Dock. Fisherman's Bank was also visited this morning, producing counts of 16 Black-tailed Godwit, 18 Curlew, 49 Dunlin, a Knot, 34 Ringed Plover, 149 Brent Geese and the usual Spotted Redshank, also a Kingfisher.

Additional news: single Jack Snipe and Marsh Harrier, plus 3 Rock Pipit, were noted on the Marsh, with a tardy Spotted Flycatcher and the very pale Buzzard in North Scrubs. A visit to Mudeford Quay failed in a bid to relocate yesterday's star gull, but did produce a ringtail Hen Harrier east at 09:50, never an easy bird to connect with in the Harbour.

October 15th

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale

A Caspian Gull in plumage described as juvenile/first-winter was seen on the exposed bar off Mudeford Quay this afternoon, before flying into the harbour. This individual represents the first-ever CHOG record and will hopefully been seen again in the coming days. Earlier in the day, there were 20 Blackbird in hawthorn in the North Scrubs, as well as a Ring Ouzel, a Firecrest, 4 Redpoll and 20 Siskin, plus a few Chiffchaff and Blackcap. The pale Buzzard was also in the scrubs, where it's becoming a bit of a feature, as were 5 Kestrel all perched together! To finish with the birds at Stanpit, there were 4 Rock Pipit on Central Marsh. The pick from Hengistbury and Wick were 2 Firecrest in the Wood, 8 Redwing over the field and singles of Brambling over Whitepits and the Batters. There were also 35 Chiffchaff about, as well as modest numbers Redpoll and a Coal Tit in the Wood. Meanwhile, 15 Black-tailed Godwit were in Holloway’s Dock. Of real mammal interest, a Grey Seal was in the river just upstream from the HHC. Finally, thanks to Keith Betton for last night's talk, which I understand was of top quality.

October 14th

Uncharacteristically for the area, there was a large presence of thrushes this morning, when 530 Redwing, 85 Song Thrush and 2 Ring Ouzel headed north-west off Hengistbury just after dawn. Around the same time, a Bittern was seen in flight over Wick Hams. Elsewhere, a Yellow-browed Warbler, along with 12 Chiffchaff, was briefly in the thicket on the northern edge of the Salt Hurns, while that site held a Jack Snipe and a Ruff. The best of the overhead movers were a Merlin, a Woodlark and 2 Brambling, but otherwise it was relatively quiet, with most of the numbers coming in the first hour of daylight and including: 150 alba Wagtail, 220 Meadow Pipit, 78 Siskin, 89 Redpoll, 220 Chaffinch, 290 Linnet and 330 Goldfinch.

Update: 11 Goldcrest were on Hengistbury, along with a Coal Tit, a Kingfisher was in Wick Hams and 10 Black-tailed Godwit were in Holloway's Dock. The only report of Swallow for the day involves four over Mudeford Quay.

October 13th

Teal
Teal
Drake and duck Teal – Clinton Whale

The morning saw what is possibly a site-record count - 3 Treecreeper in the Wood, but there could actually have been at least one more, as well as a couple of Firecrest. Also, the first Brambling of the season, that coming in from high to the east along with 4 Redwing. A minimum of 40 Chiffchaff were spread across Wick and Hengistbury, but just a single Blackcap was returned. A Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Greenshank were at Stanpit, while a Knot and 11 Black-tailed Godwit were in Holloway’s Dock, where a Kingfisher was also seen. 

October 12th

Robin
Robin – Alan Crockard

On a clear day throughout, there were a few late individuals around. A Reed Warbler was on Priory Marsh and a Whitethroat was at the end of the head, while a Common Sandpiper was seen flying across Barn Bight and a Whimbrel was at Stanpit. Conversely, some early winter visitors - a Purple Sandpiper on Hengistbury and 10 Rock Pipit, two of them of definite Scandinavian origin, on the salt marsh at Stanpit - were logged. A total of 5 Ring Ouzel were about - three heading north-east and two pitching onto Warren Hill - while singles of Tree Pipit, Bullfinch and Woodlark headed east into the light breeze. Also eastbound, but in flocks, were: 190 Meadow Pipit, 520 alba Wagtail, 96 Redpoll, 120 Greenfinch, 290 Siskin, 420 Chaffinch, including a group of 100 birds, 900 Goldfinch, 1400 Linnet, 36 Reed Bunting, 140 House Martin, 175 Swallow and 73 Starling. Meanwhile, the incoming species came to 34 Song Thrush, 17 Blackbird and 39 Skylark. In addition to the previously mentioned waders, an Avocet travelled west, a Knot and a Greenshank were at Stanpit, and 23 Black-tailed Godwit were in Holloway’s Dock. At sea, 14 Mediterranean Gull, 125 Common Gull and 36 Brent Goose moved down-channel. The best of the duck was a Pochard, but also a Pintail, 4 Shoveler and a good count of 406 Wigeon inside the harbour, as well as 158 Brent Goose. Settled passerines across Wick and Hengistbury included 3 Wheatear, 13 Blackcap, 66 Chiffchaff and at least 60 Goldcrest. To finish the post, the Treecreeper was again in the Wood and the day’s Raven totalled four.

Tides October 13th: H01:10 | L05:00 | H10:10 | H13:40 | L17:25 | H22:20

October 11th

Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting – Alan Crockard
Sanderling
Sanderling – Clinton Whale
Dunlin
Dunlin – Clinton Whale

The wind moved to the north overnight and brought with it some low cloud that didn’t really clear until lunchtime, but when it did so the afternoon was a very pleasant autumnal experience. During the morning, a Lapland Bunting headed east over Hengistbury and the Marsh Harrier was seen from Wick. Later on, what was presumably the harrier flushed some birds from Priory Marsh, including a Bittern that flew low from the west side to just under the golf course bank. Other notables for the day were: a Whinchat on top of the head, a Golden Plover and a Bar-tailed Godwit west, the first Redwing of the autumn north, a Sanderling on the sandspit and a Shelduck east. The visible-migration over Hengistbury wasn’t covered until mid-morning, when things have normally eased; however, some numbers were still returned - 180 alba Wagtail, 420 Meadow Pipit, 51 Redpoll, 105 Siskin, 110 Chaffinch, 210 Goldfinch, 820 Linnet, 35 Reed Bunting, 36 Skylark, 130 Starling, 200 House Martin and 240 Swallow moved east, while 7 Song Thrush headed north-west. Earlier, over 150 alba Wagtail travelled along the sandspit and were counted from Mudeford Quay as they passed east. At least 22 Snipe were around the area, as were 9 Chiffchaff and 5 Raven.

October 10th

Pheasant
Can two hen Pheasant be referred to as a brace? – Clinton Whale
Slow Worm
Slow Worm on Hengistbury recently – Colin Pelton

The feeling during the week from the regulars is we’re getting the numbers but not the variety, and that was again the case this morning in a fresh easterly wind. Firstly, however, the interest: a Woodlark u-turned at the end of the head and was then seen over the HHC, where 6 Bearded Tit were trapped and ringed in the adjacent reed bed; a Merlin came in off the sea and headed north, as did a very high-flying Great Spotted Woodpecker; and the cream-crowned Marsh Harrier was hunting at Stanpit morning and afternoon. Just after first light, every bush and tree from the east end of the Wood to the tip of the head was alive with calling Goldcrest, likewise the Batters a little later. It’s almost impossible to gauge how many birds were involved, but high hundreds if not over a thousand can’t be ruled out. Meanwhile, in terms of quantity, Chiffchaff were the poor relation - the best count being forty clustered near the Wooden Bridge, Wick, late in the day, with twenty-six being returned earlier from elsewhere; also up to 20 Blackcap reckoned. The pick of the waders at Stanpit was an Avocet, but also 2 Greenshank, 2 Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 55 Black-tailed Godwit and 27 Snipe. Finally, the overhead movers: 2 Grey Wagtail, 220 alba Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit, 210 Meadow Pipit, 68 Redpoll, 170 Greenfinch, 280 Chaffinch, 680 Siskin, 1500 Linnet, 1700 Goldfinch, 28 Reed Bunting, 215 Swallow and 850 House Martin, east; 5 Skylark and 4 Song Thrush, north-west; and 29 Brent Goose, west. 

Additional news: the in-harbour Brent Goose increased to ninety-two, but contained not a single juvenile.

October 9th

On a fine morning, a Marsh Harrier was seen hunting the Wick area from 7:30 for almost an hour; then what was presumably the same bird was trying its luck over East Marsh, Stanpit, around 30 minutes later. There was another good showing of Goldcrest, again coming off the head, 150 being the total for this post, as well as 80 Chiffchaff and 25 Blackcap across Hengistbury and Wick. Before the numbers, the other notable event, which involved a flock of Bearded Tit heard, but not seen, over the eastern end of the head. Today’s totals, all to the east, come to: 320 Meadow Pipit, 3 Grey Wagtail, 200 alba Wagtail, 32 Redpoll, 115 Greenfinch, the first time they’ve featured this autumn, 180 Siskin, 210 Linnet, 220 Chaffinch, it’s notable they exceed the previous on this date, 530 Goldfinch, 26 Reed Bunting, 16 Skylark, 350 House Martin and 370 Swallow. In addition, a Mistle Thrush headed north-west, 9 Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull travelled west at sea, and a Grey Plover arrived. 

Omission: a Wheatear was on Whitepits for its second day.

October 8th

Today’s best was a Bittern, the first of the year, seen in flight over Priory Marsh at just before one-thirty. Meanwhile, another reed bed specialist, Bearded Tit, were seen as a three on the Wick side and a four on the Stanpit side. The most notable of the morning’s overhead movers were 7 Sparrowhawk to the north, along with 10 Song Thrush, while westbound were: 4 Tree Pipit, 415 Meadow Pipit, 2 Grey Wagtail, 210 alba Wagtail, 69 Redpoll, 80 Siskin, 280 Chaffinch, 480 Goldfinch, 760 Linnet, 80 Reed Bunting, 53 Skylark, 300 Swallow and 400 House Martin. There was a decent return of Goldcrest - 145 birds - mostly seen coming off the head early on, with a Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Wheatear, 16 Chiffchaff and 3 Blackcap also on the deck. To round up, a Pintail and 4 Shoveler were in Stanpit Bight. 

October 7th

Today's improvement in the weather saw overhead migration pick up once again, with birds heading mainly south-west. Linnet was easily the most numerous with 1400 logged; also 390 Goldfinch, 370 Meadow Pipit, 300 House Martin, 230 Swallow, 160 alba Wagtail, 95 Chaffinch, 86 Redpoll, 80 Siskin, 2 Grey Wagtail and a Tree Pipit. Otherwise, migrants were literally thin on the ground with just 26 Chiffchaff, 15 Goldcrest and 3 Blackcap across Hengistbury and a recently arrived Water Pipit on Priory Marsh. A Marsh Harrier passed over the harbour and the pale Buzzard was again in the North Scrubs. Roosting on the Mudeford Sandspit at high tide were 46 Dunlin, 28 Ringed Plover and 16 Turnstone, while 2 Golden Plover were seen over Stanpit.

Additional news: a Little Stint was at Stanpit, where 3 Yellow Wagtail roosted in the Great Spires along with up to 50 alba Wagtail; and there were 7 Gadwall about the marsh.

October 6th

On another morning of heavy rain, a two-hour vigil from Mudeford Quay produced nothing more than 5 Gannet west and a Great Crested Grebe on the sea, plus, of course, the ever present Raven; also a juvenile Shag that has spent most of the last week roosting on the sandspit. Across Hengistbury and Wick there were 23 Chiffchaff, 13 Blackcap and 12 Goldcrest, also 2 Tree Pipit overhead. As the weather improved towards lunch time, the Spotted Redshank was seen from Fisherman's Bank, together with 57 Black-tailed Godwit, 42 Dunlin, 16 Ringed Plover and a single Turnstone, while the Brent Goose flock was 59 and 8 Gadwall were present.

October 5th

For some, the morning was spent cowering in the scant shelter of the southernmost beach hut - the only possible sanctuary in a south-easterly wind - and, with the rain starting before dawn and lasting until dusk and beyond, it was a rather damp affair. Even worse, was the complete lack of bird interest - a distant blur of a skua species, 7 Sandwich Tern and a few Gannet being the best of a very bad job. Of interest a few kilometers north of the area, thousands of Swallow were feeding up over fields around Bockhampton and Winkton.

October 4th

Kestrel
One of several Kestrel currently using the area – Clinton Whale
Little Egret
Little Egret – Ali Germain

Nearly all of the day’s quality birds were from the eastern tip of Hengistbury, where a Little Bunting briefly landed before being set on by a Meadow Pipit and heading off along the sandspit. Also there, a Yellow-browed Warbler amongst six continental Coal Tit and a Merlin over. There were visible-migration counts made from three spots throughout the morning, but at different times, with the aggregate totals coming to: 2 Tree Pipit, 675 Meadow Pipit, a Grey Wagtail, 145 alba Wagtail, 25 Redpoll, 33 Chaffinch, 84 Siskin, 135 Linnet, 265 Goldfinch, 300 House Martin and 1000 Swallow, all east; as well as 65 Skylark and 2 Song Thrush north. There were some latish acrocephalus warblers on Priory Marsh, namely a Reed Warbler and 2 Sedge Warbler; while a Firecrest was behind the Nursery, a Yellow Wagtail, a Wheatear, up to 50 Meadow Pipit and 20 Pied Wagtail were on Crouch Hill, a further 4 ‘yellow wags’ were on Hengistbury and 90 Chiffchaff, 35 Blackcap and 60 Goldcrest were spread across Wick and the head. There were just a few waders inside the harbour - the best being 2 Greenshank, a Golden Plover heard overhead, twenty or so Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 7 Dunlin. To round up the birds, a Shoveler was in Stanpit Bight, 4 Raven passed over the marsh and a Kingfisher was in Mother Siller’s Channel. Finally, thanks to all who attended this morning's walk and a welcome to our three new members.

October 3rd

For the first 30 minutes this morning, it looked and sounded as if it would be a great day for overhead movement, but low cloud soon put paid to that notion. As it was, a Yellow Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail, 320 alba Wagtail, a Tree Pipit, 200 Meadow Pipit, 18 Redpoll, 95 Siskin, 220 Goldfinch and 250 Swallow were logged, but nearly all prior to 8:00. The end of the head held at least 15 Coal Tit, all of which were continental birds of the race ater and looking very distinct in, at times, good light. In addition, grounded birds across Wick and Hengistbury came to: 2 Whitethroat, 65 Blackcap, 120 Chiffchaff and 50 Goldcrest. A Marsh Harrier was again seen at dawn, this time hunting Wick Hams before seeming to push off to the east, and what was possibly the same bird was about Wick during the afternoon. Earlier, a Mistle Thrush, always a good bird for the area, flew over the fields towards the head, while 2 Shoveler and 4 Gadwall were logged. Please: check back to yesterday for some additonal news; and don't forget the Stanpit walk tomorrow.

October 2nd

Linnet
Linnet – Alan Crockard
Goldfinch
Goldfinch – Alan Crockard
Brent Goose
...and some of fifty or so Brent Goose at Stanpit – Clinton Whale

Today’s overhead movement was a shadow of yesterday and, although no formal counts were made, if we take Redpoll as an indicator - there were six, which is less than 10% of the previous couple of day’s - it would seem reasonable to apply that factor to the other expected species; i.e. Goldfinch, Linnet, Siskin, Meadow Pipit, alba Wagtail, Swallow and House Martin. In addition, 4 Yellow Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail and 15 Rook moved eastward. Now to the less expected: a Jack Snipe was accidentally flushed from Priory Marsh this afternoon and a Marsh Harrier rose from the area at dawn and headed purposefully towards the Solent. In the bushes, there was a reasonable presence of the commoner warblers across the area - the aggregate estimates being 60 Chiffchaff and 50 Blackcap - as well as a single Whitethroat, 3 Wheatear and a Yellow Wagtail that fed on the mown grass by the Hiker Cafe. At Stanpit, the Spotted Redshank was again present and 2 Greenshank were on Priory Marsh, with 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Ringed Plover and 49 Dunlin inside the harbour and a further twenty-eight and eight respectively of the latter two on the sandspit. At least one but possibly two Treecreeper were in the Wood, 3 Mediterranean Gull were offshore, 3 Raven headed inland and a Kingfisher was on the Salt Hurns.

October 1st

Dartford Warbler
Dartford Warbler – Alan Crockard
Woodpigeon
Woodpigeon – Alan Crockard

With the conditions - light cloud and a moderate north-easterly - continuing, so does the overhead movement of birds. This morning, between 07:00 and 09:15, a total of 3 Grey Wagtail, 640 alba Wagtail, 4 Tree Pipit, 1200 Meadow Pipit, 48 Chaffinch, 73 Redpoll, 630 Linnet, 710 Siskin, 1500 Goldfinch, 26 Reed Bunting, 1200 House Martin, 1600 Swallow and 12 Rook, always a bird to be savoured on migration, passed east over Hengistbury. Meanwhile, four species of falcon were logged - in addition to the near-resident Kestrel, a Merlin was seen from the head, a Hobby went over Fisherman’s Bank and a Peregine was logged from the Batters. Wildfowl were also conspicuous, not least those on the move, which included 410 Wigeon, 23 Shoveler, 17 Pintail, 58 Teal, a Tufted Duck, 10 Common Scoter and 19 Brent Goose. Inside the harbour, birds were seeming to trickle in all day, with the final tally being 376 Wigeon and 53 Brent Goose, but also 9 Pintail, 7 Shoveler and 26 Teal. Decked birds are now becoming literally thin on the ground, the best today being a Firecrest on the head, 4 Wheatear, and a Whinchat, a Reed Warbler and 24 Chiffchaff on Wick. Getting to the waders, which are favouring Stanpit Bight despite some recent bouts of inordinate disturbance courtesy of paddle-boarders, the Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, 3 Knot, a Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 52 Dunlin represent the peak counts for the day. To round up, a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull and a Razorbill were off the head, at least a dozen Coal Tit were in the Wood, 3 Kingfisher were around and over 100 Goldfinch were feeding up on Wick in the late afternoon. Please check back to yesterday for some additional news.

Additional news: a Short-eared Owl was about Hengistbury in the evening.

Sightings for earlier months can be found in our Sightings Archive.
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