Sightings for March 2016

March 31st

Marsh Harrier and Raven
Marsh Harrier (left) and Raven against the evening sky – Clinton Whale

The settled and pleasant weather this morning seemed to work against an influx of birds; save for a Little Ringed Plover low over Central Marsh, Stanpit, a Golden Plover over there, one or two Willow Warbler on Hengistbury, thirty or so scattered Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap and a high-flying, northbound Marsh Harrier. As is expected at this time of year, there were plenty of coasting Mediterranean Gull - seventy-six in total - but strangely heading west as opposed to the more-expected, up-channel direction; also a couple of hundred Black-headed Gull involved in the same activity. Meanwhile, the interesting pair of Bullfinch were again on Wick -  breeding has never been formally recorded in the area - and 3 Firecrest were in the Wood. This evening, the regular Marsh Harrier was about Wick with an attendant Raven. The harrier was also seen yesterday but omitted from a fairly-rushed post. Finally, the first quarter of 2016 is almost behind us - if you haven’t yet renewed your membership a few clicks of the mouse and a rummage for a payment card is all it needs :-)

March 30th

A further drop in the wind and clear morning skies means there is a lot more to be said for today. The Hengistbury Wheatear total came to 107, with notable gatherings on the Barn Field and nineteen on one groyne at the end of the head, where there was also a Black Redstart. Early on, a Ring Ouzel, a male Yellowhammer, a Redwing, 3 Blackcap, 7 Willow Warbler and 85 Chiffchaff moved off the head towards Wick, which hosted a pair of Bullfinch. Airborne migrants logged at the eastern tip of Hengistbury included: 43 Mediterranean Gull, a Woodlark, 19 Rook, 270 Meadow Pipit, 14 Siskin, 34 Linnet, a Swallow and 6 Sand Martin, those additional to the same number of prospecting birds; while the Wood held 6 Firecrest. A further Firecrest was in the North Scrubs, Stanpit, along with a couple of Chiffchaff, and a single Wheatear was on Crouch Hill. The Brent Goose gaggle was counted at just 64 birds, so suggesting most have started on their way to Siberia, and a couple of Pintail passed over.

Additional news: the following from Hengistbury and Wick can be added to the above - 2 Swallow, around 20 Sand Martin, 15 Chiffchaff and 2 Wheatear.

March 29th

Cetti's Warbler
Cetti's Warbler - normally an elusive and skulking species! – Jean Southworth

Other than an exceptional day for Meadow Pipit over a week ago and a recent influx of Firecrest - five in the Wood this morning - the volume of birds arriving is almost negligible. Today saw a maximum of 6 Wheatear on the Barn Field, as well as: a Blackcap on Wick, 9 Chiffchaff and 5 Sand Martin, but the latter may well be already incumbent. Of 76 Black-tailed Godwit on site, seventy-one of them were at Stanpit where 6 Shelduck were also present.

March 28th

Fallen Tree at Stanpit
Fallen Tree at Stanpit
Overnight, Storm Katie claimed six of the White Poplar at Stanpit Marsh – Robin Harley

Storm Katie was a ferocious as forecast, perhaps even more so, with gusts in excess of 100mph recorded at the Needles; so possibly approaching the same on parts of Hengistbury Head. Stanpit suffered the worst of the damage, however, as the photos above portray. Bird-wise though, it was a real non-event. The best at sea came from Mudeford Quay, where a Common Tern, always a decent record in March, headed east at 7:40 and a female Merlin was watched coming in off. At the Beach Huts, it was dire; a 2-hour watch produced the following: multiple Herring Gull and Great Black-backed Gull, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Mediterranean Gull, a Common Gull, 2 Shag, 3 Sandwich Tern, a Gannet, a Peregrine and two unidentified duck! Elsewhere, a Firecrest was again in the Wood and a Redwing passed over Wick, where there were 3 Chiffchaff.

March 27th

Stonechat Dunnock
Stonechat (top) and Dunnock - their sometimes similar-sounding song
can be heard all around the Barn Field at the moment – Alan Crockard

The wind, as expected, picked up overnight and meant that Mudeford Quay received a bit of attention this morning. Off there, a couple of Sandwich Tern were lingering and represent probably the first migrant birds of 2016, on what is a relatively late date. Also logged, 6 Kittiwake, 2 Shoveler and 2 Gannet heading west, and 2 Common Scoter east; a further two of the latter were seen moving in the opposite direction from the Beach Huts. Meanwhile, 20 Purple Sandpiper and 10 Turnstone flew across the Run. On Hengistbury, a Firecrest was still in the Wood and 22 Black-tailed Godwit were in Holloway’s Dock. To round up, at Stanpit, the Spotted Redshank, now with darkening wings, was seen from Fisherman’s Bank, as were 2 Black-tailed Godwit and exactly 145 Redshank. 

Tides March 28th: H00:55 | H03:45 | L07:55 | H13:15 | H16:40 | L20:10

March 26th

Black-tailed Godwit
This Black-tailed Godwit has been a regular around Christchurch Harbour
since December 2014,  a few days after it was ringed on Brownsea Island – Clinton Whale

The forecast was largely right, but the wind and rain perhaps wasn’t as severe as expected. The conditions did, however, force a couple of Little Gull to pass by Mudeford Quay this morning, as well as ten or so Fulmar throughout the day. In spite of the cloud and wind, some smaller birds seemed to have arrived overnight; namely a Black Redstart on Wick Fields, a clear influx of Firecrest, ten birds estimated towards the eastern end of Hengistbury, and 3 Wheatear. Meanwhile, around 60 Meadow Pipit checked-in over Mudeford Quay, including 2 flocks exceeding 20 birds. Also seen from the quay: a second-summer Mediterranean Gull, a Common Scoter and a lone Ringed Plover. Of mammal interest, a Common Seal was briefly seen off the end of the sandspit. 

March 25th

Raven under close attention from a Carrion Crow – Alan Crockard
Skylark – Jean Southworth

Stanpit was by far and away the best place to be this morning, the pick from there being: the year’s first Willow Warbler, that on Crouch Hill with a Wheatear, 2 Avocet, a Greenshank and the Marsh Harrier. The whole day saw blue skies with a wind that backed from north to south-west throughout. Early on, at least 25 Redwing piled off Hengistbury onto Wick Fields, while the next few hours saw forty-five and twenty-two eastbound Mediterranean Gull counted from Hengistbury and Stanpit respectively - some duplication is inevitable but a day-total approaching sixty should be reasonable. Other passage was almost non-existent; just a couple of Sand Martin, a flock of four corvids - 2 Rook and 2 Jackdaw, a further Rook and a Grey Plover, all picked up coming in from far out at sea. Meanwhile, a single Black-tailed Godwit was tagging around with 7 Oystercatcher. The Wheatear count for Hengistbury may have reached five, where the Firecrest was again seemingly serenading a Goldcrest in the Nursery and 2 Coal Tit were in the Wood. The only other stuff worth a mention is 45 Black-tailed Godwit, a Pintail, 2 Shoveler and 6 Chiffchaff, all at Stanpit; as well as 3 Sand Martin already excavating the cliff face at Hengistbury, it’s actually quite early for breeding birds to be on site. 

March 24th

Meadow Pipit
There was a good scattering of Meadow Pipit about Hengistbury today – Clinton Whale
..and there is a realisation that Greenfinch numbers around the area have
recently plummeted - perhaps the scourge of trichomonosis has reached us? – Alan Crockard

One of the more-noted events of the morning was a seeming influx of Stonechat - up to twenty new birds being reckoned, including four males by the HHC early on and a scattering of white- or whitish-rumped individuals. In fact, it was a bit of a ‘chat’ day, with a Black Redstart by the Natterjack Pond and a total of 17 Wheatear across Hengistbury as a whole providing further interest. In contrast to 8 Chiffchaff and 6 Goldcrest, all probable incomers, the Firecrest in the Nursery is now breaking into song; while 40 Meadow Pipit and 46 Linnet passed over northwards. Further along the head, however, ‘mipits’ were described as being ‘everywhere’. A Great Northern Diver east and a Fulmar were the best at sea; but also 15 Mediterranean Gull and 59 Common Gull moving up channel, and 14 Great Crested Grebe sitting on the water. Meanwhile, the groyne-S9 congregation of Purple Sandpiper was just 8 birds.

March 23rd

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale

They say one Swallow doesn’t make a summer, but it’s still an event to see the first of the year and that happened at Stanpit this morning, along with 7 Sand Martin; while a further 4 martins were on Hengistbury. Also over the marsh, seventy or so Meadow Pipit, but a Water Pipit and 3 White Wagtail were settled on Priory Marsh. Keeping with spring, there were 13 Wheatear on the Barn Field and 9 Chiffchaff on Wick, plus half a dozen on Stanpit as well as 6-7 Goldcrest there; and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit have now appeared with the Black-tailed Godwit flock. As a reminder of winter, the Firecrest remains in the Nursery and 5 Redwing were on Wick. Text

March 22nd

Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale
Dartford Warbler
Dartford Warbler - as always, photographed from a public path – Jean Southworth
Wren – Jean Southworth

Apologies for the late posting, the report was all done and dusted early yesterday evening but a memory lapse prevented it being uploaded.

After a cloudy start, blue skies soon appeared but this still-slow spring failed to burst into life. That said, there were 8 Wheatear on Hengistbury, most of them on the Barn Field, as well as a Sand Martin, two apparently-new Chiffchaff and now 16 Linnet. Meanwhile, a Firecrest in the Nursery and a further ‘chiff’ on Wick may be legacy birds from the winter. Who knows, however, the story of a Water Rail found freshly dead at Solent Beach car park, well away from any suitable habitat. Purple Sandpiper feature again - a total of 23 birds on groyne S9 - while the Black-tailed Godwit peaked at nineteen in Holloway’s Dock. Other bits of interest came from: 9 Great Crested Grebe on the sea off Whitepits; 2 Shoveler inside the harbour; and a Buzzard over Barn Bight this afternoon. It’s not certain whether Grey Wagtail have bred within the confines of the recording area, but a pair does seem to be holding territory close to RIBS Marine. 

March 21st

It was a far more pleasant day - blue skies for much of it and little wind. The pick were a Red Kite passing high to the east, a couple of Avocet in Holloway’s Dock and 3 Wheatear on the Barn Field. Otherwise, however, it was largely quiet. Barely 100 Meadow Pipit headed north over Stanpit, but a Blackcap and 6 Chiffchaff were by the Civic Offices; while 36 Black-tailed Godwit and 9 Shoveler were inside the harbour. On the beach, a Raven danced around a sea-angler for a short time before helping itself to his bait!

March 20th

Shelduck – Alan Crockard
Wigeon – Clinton Whale

In near-identical weather to the previous couple of days - leaden skies and an easterly breeze - save for a male Wheatear on the Barn Field and a 2-3 Chiffchaff on Grimmery Bank, there were no other hints of the impending calendar spring. The Marsh Harrier was first seen at 07:00, when it moved north across Wick Hams, and then for up to an hour from around 2:30 as it hunted the northern portion of the Wick reeds. There were 3 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit on Central Marsh, including an individual showing all the classic spring features, while a Peregrine sat for some time on the saltmarsh adjoining Stanpit Bight. Just after midday, sixty or so Black-tailed Godwit passed over to the south-east, while a single Ringed Plover and 9 Shelduck were counted. Of mammal interest, a couple of Harbour Porpoise were reported off Hengistbury.

March 19th

Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier hunting at Wick yesterday – Alan Crockard
Linnet – Clinton Whale

The weather conditions appeared quite similar to yesterday, but in stark contrast over two hours at Hengistbury produced not a single bird in off the sea. The best by far was a Woodlark over the Batters and 2 Greenshank, a real scarcity in March, in a non-defined location. Meanwhile, a Wheatear was briefly on the Barn Field and a Sandwich Tern passed over there. At sea, a flock of 7 Eider headed into the Solent, the first Gannet for quite some time was logged and 3 Mediterranean Gull lingered. The only other news concerns 31 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock.

March 18th

Male Wheatear, photographed on the cliff edge literally seconds
after arriving from across the Channel – Nick Whitehouse
Wheatear & Stonechat, or another, on the Barn Field fence with a ringed Stonechat – Clinton Whale
These two Fox were watched interacting on Wick yesterday afternoon – Alan Crockard

Despite a cold easterly breeze and heavily overcast skies, there was a significant arrival of birds today. Between 7:00 and 10:30, visible migration over Stanpit included: a male Lapland Bunting, 5500 Meadow Pipit, these peaking at around 100 per minute for the 15 minutes after 9:30, 135 alba Wagtail, 2 Redpoll, 5 Siskin, 12 Linnet, 23 Chaffinch, 9 Redwing, 7 Skylark and two accompanying Merlin. Meanwhile, the year’s first 2 Sand Martin fed over the river, a Short-eared Owl passed high to the east and a Firecrest, plus 14 Chiffchaff, were in the gorse on Crouch Hill. Things were still happening around lunchtime, however, when a male Crossbill headed north-west over Hengistbury and a party of 3 Wheatear was watched coming in off the sea and making landfall by the Natterjack Pond. Gulls were also on the move - the morning saw 20 Mediterranean Gull and a similar number of Common Gull travel east, while a further 5 ‘meds’ were settled in the harbour this afternoon. Moving to waders, an Avocet headed east through Stanpit, where the Spotted Redshank was present, and 40 Black-tailed Godwit as well as 10 Ringed Plover were also returned. The Marsh Harrier caused some fuss during the morning, when 2 Firecrest were seen in the Wood, and the drake Red-breasted Merganser, the drake Tufted Duck, 5 Shoveler and 241 Brent Goose provide the wildfowl interest. Finishing off, and it’s mammals - an Otter was seen from the Wooden Bridge at Wick just after 7:00.

March 17th

Chiffchaff – Alan Hayden
Collared Dove
Collared Dove – Clinton Whale

It was a few days later than might have been expected, but this morning the first bird of the season to have travelled from south of the Sahara was in the area - a male Wheatear at the end of the head. The fine start saw a fair bit of overhead movement, not least a Woodlark and 6 Redwing above the HHC early on, but also: 112 Meadow Pipit, 23 alba Wagtail, 18 Linnet, a flock of 27 Jackdaw, 19 Rook and a Snipe; all northbound. Meanwhile, on the deck, there were 3 Chiffchaff at Stanpit and 7 Linnet settling into the Barn Field. Other than up to 6 Cetti’s Warbler in song on Wick, however, the remainder of the post has a more wintery feel to it, including: the Spotted Redshank and 25 Black-tailed Godwit, a Red-breasted Merganser west and a pair of Gadwall in Barn Bight. To wrap up, there were 4 species of goose encountered - in addition to 228 wild Brent Goose, there were singles of Egyptian Goose and Greylag Goose, plus three of the dreaded Canada Goose. 

March 16th

Dunlin – Clinton Whale
...and Dunnock – Alan Hayden

Although it was another fine morning, there was little bird excitement to match the weather. In fact, the only sign of avian spring was a flock of 10 Linnet on the Barn Field. Meanwhile and rather strangely, in terms of direction that is, a total of sixteen Mediterranean Gull and 3 Red-breasted Merganser passed west through the harbour. At Stanpit, the Knot was still present, along with 30 Black-tailed Godwit, while the wildfowl tally across the area came to: 2 Pintail, 7 Shoveler, 3 Gadwall, 5 Shelduck and 204 Brent Goose.

Additional news: a couple of alba Wagtail and twenty or so Meadow Pipit were seen arriving this morning.

March 15th

Dartford Warbler
Dartford Warbler, very active around Hengistbury in this fine weather – Jean Southworth
Firecrest Cetti's Warbler
The Firecrest (top) still present and
a Cetti's Warbler showing unusually well – Alan Hayden

The weather was even better today as the north-easterly wind was much lighter, but other than 25 Meadow Pipit north and just 8 Linnet east there was little evidence of movement. The 2 Firecrest were still in the Nursery and singles of Redwing, Fieldfare and Chiffchaff were logged. Waders included the Knot and 34 Dunlin on the marsh and 27 Black-tailed Godwit in Barn Bight. The drake Red-breasted Merganser was in the harbour, together with a pair of Pintail and 10 Shelduck. On Stanpit the Brent Goose flock was counted as 161, while another twenty-five moved east past the head. Check back to Sunday, the 13th, for some mammal news.

March 14th

Dartford Warbler
A recent shot of a Dartford Warbler – Alan Hayden
Ringed Plover Black-Tailed Godwit
Ringed Plover on the sandspit and Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway's Dock today – Clinton Whale

On a gloriously sunny day the harbour was covered until well after lunch, but the first sub-Saharan migrant is still eluding us! However, 3 Firecrest and a Treecreeper in the Wood at Hengistbury were well worth the effort. On Wick there was a Grey Wagtail on the water meadows, two singing Chiffchaff and 13 Redwing, while 7 Linnet were on the cliff at Whitepits. The only wader news is of 9 Ringed Plover on the inner sandspit and 41 Black-tailed Godwit, these split between Barn Bight and Holloway's Dock. Two pairs of Gadwall were still present, in Barn Bight and Parky Meade Rail, also a couple of Greylag Goose with the Brent Goose. To round up a Great Crested Grebe was again on the river, 5 Raven headed south over Crouch Hill and 2 Mediterranean Gull were noted.

March 13th

Firecrest Jay
Firecrest above and Jay below on Hengistbury today – Alan Hayden
Rock Pipit
Rock Pipit – Clinton Whale

There were still patches of lingering fog around the harbour this morning and this, coupled with a stiff northerly breeze, made it feel quite cold. Later, once the sun had burned off the mist, we enjoyed a glorious spring day. The best news of the day is of a first-winter Iceland Gull that arrived in the harbour c5:15pm with a group of large gulls; it then circled several times before gaining height and heading off west. Back to this morning, when the Firecrest was seen behind the Nursery and 3 Chiffchaff were on Wick Fields. Other than a light passage of Meadow Pipit, no more than fifty, say, migration has yet to kick off however! Waders on Stanpit included both the Spotted Redshank and the Knot, plus 30 Black-tailed Godwit, 27 Dunlin, 7 Ringed Plover and 5 Snipe; also 11 Turnstone entered the harbour over the Run. The drake Red-breasted Merganser was seen from Stanpit, while Gadwall were present on both sides of the harbour. Finally, a total of 4 Mediterranean Gull was logged today.

Late news: a Grey Seal was watched making its way downstream this morning.

March 12th

Marsh Harrier Mediterranean Gull
Two of this morning's birds Marsh Harrier above and Mediterranean Gull below
Alan Hayden

Dense fog blanketed the harbour this morning, hence a couple of hours of effort yielded just a couple of pairs of Mediterranean Gull and a few Meadow Pipit overhead. Later, after the fog had lifted, in excess of 50 Meadow Pipit moved north, while another Mediterranean Gull was seen and a Sandwich Tern left the harbour over the Barn Field. The Marsh Harrier hunted over Wick Hams before heading off up the valley. A couple of Snipe circled Wick Hams, where the female Gadwall was amongst the Wigeon. On Stanpit this afternoon 9 Shelduck and 7 Shoveler were present, while another 5 Mediterranean Gull were logged. It's noticeable that Reed Bunting have become very conspicuous in the last few days, with at least four singing males between the HHC and the Nursery.

March 11th

Drake Red-breasted Merganser in Barn Bight today – Jean Southworth
Reed Bunting
Female Reed Bunting on Wick – Alan Crockard.

A very pleasant morning produced a few more birds, but other than a hint of Meadow Pipit movement we are still waiting for the first true passerine migrants. Two Chiffchaff on Wick Fields and one on Stanpit were assumed to be wintering birds. A Knot on Stanpit, however, was clearly a recent arrival. The Marsh Harrier was hunting over Wick water meadows and then Stanpit this afternoon before heading high north; also a Peregrine west over there. The drake Red-breasted Merganser was in Barn Bight, also a pair of Gadwall, while on Stanpit 252 Brent Geese were present together with the Greylag Goose, 9 Shelduck and a pair of Shoveler. To round up, there were 11 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway's Dock, 3 Great Crested Grebe on the river, 3 Mediterranean Gull overhead and 6 Common Gull in the pre-roost. Please check back to yesterday for late news.

10th March

On Stanpit this morning there was a single 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit by the Rusty Boat, plus 3 Redwing in the North Scrubs. Later this afternoon, the drake Red-breasted Merganser was inside the harbour off Mudeford Green. Thanks to Rob Sawyer who gave a very entertaining talk after last night's AGM.

Late news: a female Bearded Tit was in the Wick reed bed this morning.

March 9th

On a day of foul weather the only report received so far was from Mudeford Quay, where there was a Great Crested Grebe offshore and 8 Purple Sandpiper moved onto the sandspit.

March 8th

Kestrel on Dorothy Baker's, the saviour of Stanpit Marsh, bench – Clinton Whale
Rock Pipit
Rock Pipit – Clinton Whale

There was an element of winter meets spring today as a Fieldfare and 4 Redwing were on Wick, while 6 Meadow Pipit arrived in-off the sea. In addition, already-settled birds were in song, as were the resident British Rock Pipit and several Stonechat. Of interest, the white-rumped Stonechat that bred at Whitepits last season seems to be back on territory. At the other end of Hengistbury, the limping Avocet flitted between the Salt Hurns and Holloway’s Dock, where a count of 32 Black-tailed Godwit was returned. Meanwhile, other waders on-site, counted from Fisherman’s Bank, included: 2 Grey Plover, 21 Ringed Plover and 59 Dunlin. Wildfowl and grebes finish the day’s news with a pair of Pintail and 2 Shelduck at Stanpit, and a couple of Great Crested Grebe on the sea. Please check back to yesterday for an omission that is quite notable of late. Finally, regular visitors to Stanpit may have noticed the scrub clearance on Speller's Point. Our appreciation to the Bournemouth & West Hants Wildfowlers for leading the work on this.

March 7th

This Avocet, a limping bird, was again in Holloway's Dock today – Clinton Whale

Egyptian Goose is now fairly commonplace in the Avon Valley as far north as Ringwood, so a skein of four west over Warren Hill, Hengistbury, this morning was not totally unexpected. Opinions vary, however, about how welcome this species is to the area. In addition to the Avocet described above, the Spotted Redshank was at Stanpit, while a Bar-tailed Godwit was in the rather strange location of Wick meadows; also 28 Ringed Plover on the sandspit and a total of 49 Black-tailed Godwit about. A Chiffchaff in song along the Wick riverside path, plus a further bird on Grimmery Bank, may be indicative of the first birds of the spring. Other news involves a Peregrine stooping on the waders in Holloway’s Dock and 2 Coal Tit in the Wood. 

Omission: 3 Kittiwake passed west off Hengistbury.

March 6th

Skylark – Clinton Whale

On a fine, early-spring morning, Stanpit reverberated to the songs of the commoner resident species, including Skylark, Cetti’s Warbler and Reed Bunting. Meanwhile, today saw the last WeBS count of the passing winter, but before the wetland bird details a couple of snippets of interest: the Marsh Harrier was seen heading over Central Marsh towards Priory Marsh; while a Chiffchaff was along the riverside path on Wick. The pick of the waders were at least one Avocet - singles being seen on South Marsh and in Holloway’s Dock - and the Spotted Redshank; along with 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 26 Ringed Plover and 53 Dunlin on site. Other counts for the day came from: 234 Brent Goose, 676 Wigeon, 180 Teal and 19 Coot; as well as 2 Great Crested Grebe. Finally, an update, albeit it a little gruesome, on the Grey Heron breeding at Hengistbury. Of two nests, one now probably contains infertile eggs but yesterday the other hatched two of its five eggs. Today, however, an adult bird came to that nest and ate the two chicks plus the remaining eggs!

March 5th

A bitterly cold north-westerly wind made for some pretty uncomfortable birding this morning. Stanpit witnessed an early-spring influx of pipits and wagtails, with a Water Pipit, at least 45 Meadow Pipit and over 20 Pied Wagtail on Priory Marsh; while a ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit on Crouch Hill has probably been around all winter. Also a Dartford Warbler on the hill - not a common species on Stanpit. A desperate seawatch from the Beach Huts was enlivened by a sub-adult Marsh Harrier travelling east out of the Solent, but otherwise just ones and twos of Brent Goose totalling 12 birds. Of finch interest, a Siskin passed over Wick and 4 Linnet moved along the sandspit. Meanwhile, the Treecreeper was in the Wood, 19 Black-tailed Godwit were in Holloway’s Dock and the day-count for Raven came to four. 

March 4th

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Of 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker by the Pod on Stanpit,
one was drumming today – Clinton Whale

There is more to report upon today, the best being: the Black Redstart again at the eastern end of Hengistbury, on the cliffs around the Gully; a Firecrest in holly along the northern edge of the Wood; and a Bullfinch heard on Wick. A trip around Stanpit produced 67 Black-tailed Godwit plus around thirty each of Ringed Plover and Dunlin, as well as 5 Pintail, 210 Brent Goose and 2 Shelduck. There were a further 9 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloways Dock, a male Peregrine was over Wick in the afternoon and a single Raven was logged.

Additional news: a Slavonian Grebe was off Mudeford Quay late in the afternoon.

March 3rd

Oystercatcher – Clinton Whale
Black-tailed Godwit
Three of five Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway's Dock
Note how the left-hand bird is starting its moult into breeding plumage – Clinton Whale

Essentially, the only news for today is portrayed above.

March 2nd

Redshank – Clinton Whale

A stiff westerly wind that was uncharacteristically bracing for such a direction brought with it 5 minutes of quite spectacular hail this morning. Either side of that, however, there were pieces of interest to be had. A female-type Black Redstart was on the cliffs at the end of the head, while at least 2 Sandwich Tern headed west off there. At Stanpit, the pick was an Avocet, but also the Marsh Harrier in the morning, with the same bird being seen much later in the day from Wick. There have recently been a couple of observations that it’s quite a slight individual, so is now reckoned to be a first-winter male. Meanwhile, other late-in-the-day interest from Wick came from a Bullfinch and 2 Redwing. To round things up, 3 Gadwall and 2 Shelduck were on the marsh, a couple of Coal Tit were in the Wood and Peregrine was seen on two occasions. 

March 1st

Black-tailed Godwit
Contrasting plumages of Black-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale
Pair of Teal – Chris Chapleo

There is little news for today, although a total of 22 Purple Sandpiper on sandspit groyne S9 should not be taken too lightly. Meanwhile, 6 Black-tailed Godwit were in Holloway’s Dock. Of breeding bird interest, there are now known to be two pairs of Grey Heron on eggs in the Nursery. 

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