Sightings for the current month

February 25th

A nice comparison of pale–bellied and dark-bellied Brent Goose - Alan Hayden
Lesser Black–backed Gull - Alan Cherry

Other than a slight, northerly wind and a touch of early drizzle, it was a Spring-like day; but perhaps a little quiet on bird news. The Glossy Ibis was at Stanpit, where there were also 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, a couple of Redwing and a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker. Over on the other side of the area, there were 2 Firecrest and a Bullfinch in the Wood; while 3 Great Crested Grebe and around 150 Wigeon were on the sea. To finish, a single Peregrine was on the Priory and there was the strange sight of Buzzard, plus attendant corvids, on the ground by the HHC slip. 

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Tides February 26th: H02:00 | L05:45 | H10:30 | H14:05 | L18:00 | H22:55

February 24th

A pale-Bellied Brent Goose, which was first seen on Sunday, was with 224 dark-bellied Brent Goose at Stanpit today; where, of 14 Rock Pipit, once was a nailed-on ‘Scandinavian’ – the bird showing signs of pink on the its breast. Also about the marsh: a Grey Plover, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Dunlin, 18 Pintail and a single Mediterranean Gull. Of at least 2 Chiffchaff on Wick, one was in song, while a pair of Bullfinch were by the Viewing Platform. Also currently in voice, is a Firecrest in the Wood, where 3 Redpoll were logged. The sea saw something of an eastbound gull movement – over 16 Mediterranean Gull and 65 Common Gull – as well as 5 Red-throated Diver, a Razorbill, 3 Common Scoter, 5 Pintail and a Great Crested Grebe. Meanwhile, the were a further three ‘great-crests’ inside the harbour, a Grey Wagtail passed over Hengistbury and a Peregrine hunted this afternoon. 

February 23rd

Mediterranean Gull at Mudeford Quay – Jackie Smith
Some of the Bar–tailed Godwit at Stanpit - Clinton Whale
...and the Glossy Ibis this morning – Jackie Smith

A Cattle Egret and the Glossy Ibis emerged from the roost this morning, while the latter, after spending the day at Stanpit, headed back that way at 17:36 tonight. The sea saw quite a mixture of birds, including: a Fulmar; 3 Kittiwake and 14 Wigeon east; and 2 Red-throated Diver, 14 Mediterranean Gull and 12 Common Gull west. The best at Stanpit was a flock of 10 Bar-tailed Godwit; a male Bullfinch was on Wick; a single Peregrine was on the Priory; and two finely attired Great Crested Grebe were in Barn Bight. 

February 22nd

Dunlin, one already showing some breeding plumage – Clinton Whale
Marsh Harrier – Peter Boardman
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale
House Sparrow – Paul Boult

The day’s highlights were: a Water Pipit and the Glossy Ibis at Stanpit; a final total of 12 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit; the adult male Marsh Harrier hunting Wick Hams; and at least 20 Mediterranean Gull, some vocal, including an eastbound flock of twelve. Moving around the three areas of the site: the sea off Hengistbury saw a Great Northern Diver, a Great Crested Grebe, a Peregrine, a Curlew and 2 Common Gull passing, plus around 350 Wigeon on it; Stanpit yielded 4 Grey Plover, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 60 Dunlin, 6 Pintail, a pair of Gadwall and 238 Brent Goose; while Wick returned 5 Bullfinch, a Chiffchaff and a Redwing. To finish, the warmer weather encouraged 2 Skylark into some delightful song. 

February 21st

Goldcrest – Alan Crockard
Sheldrake (rear) and Shelduck – Clinton Whale

The Mudeford Quay Black Redstart made a welcome return today, being seen at 12:10 by the  RNLI slip, while 6 Purple Sandpiper were at the northern end of the Run. Earlier, the Glossy Ibis was returned from North Marsh, with others at Stanpit including: 4 Grey Plover, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 27 Pintail, 3 Shoveler and 3 Shelduck. Elsewhere, a few Siskin were on Hengistbury and two pairs of Bullfinch were on Wick. To round-up, sounds of Spring came from a Meadow Pipit in full song, with some display to boot, and around half a dozen vocal, adult Mediterranean Gull – some of these now getting some nice head feathering. 

February 20th

Glossy Ibis – Mike Gibbons
Male Sparrowhawk – John Fletcher

The Glossy Ibis left its roost at dawn, when a Brambling and Grey Wagtail also went over Hengistbury, and then spent the day at Stanpit. The best at sea was an adult Little Gull east, along with a couple each of Kittiwake and Red-throated Diver doing the same, while a Sandwich Tern lingered. From Fisherman’s Bank, 4 Grey Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit and six of the currently, uncharacteristically scarce Black-tailed Godwit were counted, along with 4 Mediterranean Gull, a good tally of 33 Pintail and 275 Brent Goose. 

February 19th

It’s another day that is light on news, although a female Merlin over the Barn Field and then east this afternoon, when 20 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit, was a nice record. The only other report, however, is of 200+ Brent Goose at Stanpit. 

February 18th

Purple Sandpiper – Alan Cherry
A good candidate for 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit – Jackie Smith

The only reports for today are of the Glossy Ibis at Stanpit and 8 Purple Sandpiper about Mudeford Quay. 

February 17th

All the day’s news comes from Mudeford Quay, where 24 Purple Sandpiper were seen traversing the Run, a Sandwich Tern was offshore and a calling Mediterranean Gull was a welcome sound – the latter almost exclusively mute outside of the Spring and Summer months. 

February 16th

Sinenis–race, ('Continental') Cormorant, in breeding plumage - Peter Boardman

The Glossy Ibis had not been reported since midway into the recent cold snap and we were starting to fear the worst, so it was great to hear it was at Stanpit all day. Also around the marsh, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover, 44 Dunlin, 22 Pintail – a good number here – and a fine count of 238 Brent Goose, fifteen of them second-calendar-year birds. The on-going, warmer weather got Cetti’s Warbler to clear their throats, while a couple of Redshank were looking interested in each other on Wick Farm Meadows – who knows what might happen in the improved habitat there – that work being part-funded by CHOG and the Dorset Bird Club. To round up, a Grey Wagtail went over Mudeford Quay and a Kingfisher was watched from the Viewing Platform on Wick.

February 15th

Pintail – Jackie Smith
Redwing – Jackie Smith

The temperatures took another, very welcome, notch up the scale again today; when, at dawn, a single Cattle Egret left the roost. Later, at least 3 Bullfinch were on Wick – a pair that showed exceptionally well along Roebury Lane and into the No Dogs Field, plus a singing bird by the Wooden Bridge. Elsewhere, a Redwing and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit were at Stanpit, while 3 Sandwich Tern lingered off Mudeford Quay. 

February 14th

A Merlin hunting Riversmeet Meadow at the start of the morning’s WeBS count is the highlight of the post, when the local male Peregrine was also about the marsh. Meanwhile, the picks of the census were: 4 Grey Plover, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, 48 Ringed Plover and 62 Dunlin; as well as 5 Shoveler, 22 Pintail, 144 Teal and 803 Wigeon; but, after a good showing earlier in the week, just 41 Brent Goose . 

February 13th

Redshank – George Garland
Dunlin – George Garland

The highlight from what is hoped to be the last of the cold days was a ‘small group’ of Sanderling – a rare bird here outside of the two passage periods – with Ringed Plover, late this afternoon, off the lawn at Mudeford Quay. Earlier, a Firecrest and 2 Redwing had been in the Wood, while a Sandwich Tern, 3 Great Northern Diver, a couple of Razorbill and an eastbound skein of 22 Brent Goose were logged at sea. Elsewhere two pairs of Shoveler were on Central Marsh and the male Peregrine, with an unfortunate Snipe, was on the Priory. 

February 12th

Kestrel and the Rusty Boat – Scott Usher
Goldcrest – Jackie Smith

Not unsurprisingly, from the few reports received – 14 Bar-tailed Godwit on the Flats and the pair of Peregrine on the Priory – it seems the cold is getting to many of the field observers. 

February 11th

Ringed Plover
This colour–ringed and flagged, Ringed Plover, was at Mudeford yesterday. Some quick research by the photographer reveals it was ringed in Telemark, Norway, in August 2018,  and has been subsequently seen in Denmark in 2018 and 2020 – Derek Hopkins  

The only news from another bitter day is of the Black Redstart at the Mudeford RNLI station and the pair of Peregrine on the Priory. 

February 10th

Black Redstart – Mark Taylor (upper), Alan Hayden (middle) & Jackie Smith
Redwing in the North Scrubs – Ray Scott

The female-type Black Redstart was again around and under the RNLI slip on Mudeford Quay all day; while, earlier, a Cattle Egret left the roost at dawn and the adult male Marsh Harrier patrolled Wick Hams. Winter thrushes are always good birds in the area, so a single Fieldfare and 3 Redwing in the North Scrubs early on was nice; with 4 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit – these have been really sparse this winter and 46 Ringed Plover also on the marsh; plus increased numbers of Pintail and Brent Goose – twenty-eight and around 250 respectively. At sea, 3 Great Northern Diver, 9 Red-throated Diver, 3 Great Crested Grebe, a Tufted Duck, 4 Pintail and an adult Mediterranean Gull were logged, mostly eastbound; with Wigeon from who knows where again sat on the water. Finally, a couple of Bullfinch were on Wick. 

February 9th

Despite the Baltic-like conditions, a few hardy souls ventured out. A Jack Snipe was in the boggy area just north of the Gully on Hengistbury, where for the second day running there were 8 Wigeon in the strange location of the Ironstone Quarry. The Black Redstart was present until lunch time, at least, by the RNLI slip on Mudeford Quay; where there was also a Ringed Plover plus 4 Purple Sandpiper – the latter at the east end of the Run. Meanwhile, Wick contributed the customary male Marsh Harrier, as well as a single Bullfinch. 

February 8th

A ringed Ringed Plover – Ray Scott
Meadow Pipit – Ray Scott

As expected, it was a bitterly cold day; but a female-type Black Redstart under the RNLI slip at Mudeford Quay this afternoon was a nice surprise - also a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull from the quay. The chill saw Lapwing seeming to move – a flock of twenty-eight headed directly out to sea over Coastguards, while around fifty circled Stanpit without appearing to settle. Sticking with the marsh, the decked birds there included: a Ringed Plover, at least twelve drake Pintail and around 150 Brent Goose. Finishing at Wick, a pair of Bullfinch was again present. 

February 7th

Otter, recently photographed from a boat in the harbour – Jimmy Main
Rock Pipit on the saltmarsh at Stanpit – Jackie Smith

A bitterly cold north wind set the pattern for the coming few days, but there was a total of 3 Marsh Harrier logged. Two adult males were around Wick Hams this morning, while a cream-crowned bird arrived across Christchurch Bay and over Mudeford Quay. Wick also saw a Firecrest on the Central Path and two pairs of Bullfinch. The in-harbour Pintail numbered eighteen, counted from Fisherman’s Bank, where 4 Grey Plover and 6 Bar-tailed Godwit were also logged. 

February 6th

The Glossy Ibis was at Stanpit today, along with 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Grey Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, 13 Dunlin, 3 Snipe and around a dozen Pintail; as well as the male Marsh Harrier, a Redwing in the North Scrubs and a Mediterranean Gull in Stanpit Bight. A single Purple Sandpiper was seen from Mudeford Quay, where there was also a Grey Wagtail, while a pair of Bullfinch was on Wick. A Peregrine once more surveyed from the Priory and a Tawny Owl called by the Driving Range at 5:00 this morning. 

February 5th

A Black-throated Diver and 17 Red-throated Diver were seen passing at sea this morning, where a quick count of Shag came to thirty-four birds. Meanwhile, a flock of 26 Cormorant fished as a team inside the harbour, with a single Great Crested Grebe also logged. Elsewhere, a female Bullfinch was on Wick, a Kingfisher was about Holloway’s Dock and a Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed in the Wood. 

February 4th

Probably due to the amount of rain this morning, there are few reports. An adult Mediterranean Gull and 11 Pintail were at Stanpit; 8 Red-throated Diver, a Fulmar and a Common Scoter were seen at sea; a pair of Bullfinch were on Wick; and a Great Crested Grebe was inside the harbour.

February 3rd

Ringed Plover – Peter Boardman

There were again 20 Purple Sandpiper on the Sandspit, along with at least one Ringed Plover. The only other news, however, is of 2 Great Crested Grebe and a Kingfisher in and around Barn Bight. 

February 2nd

Some of the 20 Purple Sandpiper today – Peter Boardman
Great Crested Grebe in breeding plumage – Peter Boardman

There were some good counts from Stanpit today, comprising: 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Pintail, 168 Brent Goose and 14 Common Gull. Meanwhile, another excellent return was of 20 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit. Offshore, there were fewer birds than yesterday, but the following were all noted: Red-throated Diver, Common Scoter, Fulmar, Guillemot, Razorbill, Kittiwake and Mediterranean Gull. Of mammal interest, early on, an Otter was on the Hengistbury inner shore. 

February 1st

Sparrowhawk – Jimmy Main
Dartford Warbler, adjacent to a public path – Alan Crockard

On a calm day, when the long-distance-travelling rollers were clearly visible, there were again thousands of birds at sea. The following is a list that provides an estimate of numeric priority: Razorbill, Kittiwake, Gannet, Common Gull, Red-throated Diver, Wigeon, Shag, Mediterranean, Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Black-throated Dover and Great Northern Diver. Meanwhile, the male Marsh Harrier was about the Wick reeds and 5 Bullfinch were around the fields. To finish, the Grey Heron are now busy home-making in the Nursery and a Magpie was also seen carrying a twig.  

January 31st

In terms of weather, an award-contender for one of the dampest, coldest ever perhaps? Nevertheless, there is a bit to report. Winter Blackcap within the recording area are quite a rarity, so one on Wick today is a nice record. Equally rare in the season now, but no only a decade or so, are Goldeneye; so a couple of female-type birds passing at sea are equally notable. Otherwise, it’s just the male Marsh Harrier over Wick Meadows, 10 Snipe on the Salt Hurns and big numbers of auks in Christchurch Bay to report upon.

January 30th

The Marsh Harrier and the Glossy Ibis, as well as an adult Mediterranean Gull, were at Stanpit today; while a Firecrest was on Wick. From Mudeford Quay, 4 Purple Sandpiper could be seen across the Run and an Egyptian Goose arrived over there. 

January 29th

Razorbill streaming west – Chris Chapleo

There is little to report, other than seemingly good numbers of Razorbill again moving west off Hengistbury, where singles of Peregrine and Great Crested Grebe were logged. 

January 28th

Drake Pintail and a pair of Wigeon – Jackie Smith

It was estimated that low thousands of Razorbill and several hundred Kittiwake were off Hengistbury this morning, plus 3 Sandwich Tern and 150 or so Gannet. A few described the scans they made as the most birds they’d ever seen using these waters. It was reckoned there were fewer Red-throated Diver today, however. The Glossy Ibis kept up its developing routine of Wick Hams and then Stanpit, where 6 Shoveler and 7 Pintail were present.  Four Bullfinch were along the central path on Wick and a Great Crested Grebe was inside the harbour, while Kingfisher were returned from the Long Field and the Noddy Train Terminus.

January 27th

Looking out to sea over the last few day has suggested there are a good number of Red-throated Diver around; not least a flock of twenty-nine that was seen passing Hengistbury this morning. Also, off the head for a while – 3 Sandwich Tern. The pick elsewhere was a pair of Goosander at Stanpit, where 6 Shoveler, 13 Pintail and 156 Brent Goose, those including thirteen young birds, plus 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, were present. Moving back across to Hengistbury, a couple of Firecrest and 12 Siskin were in the Wood, while the Glossy Ibis spent until 09:15 on Wick Hams before de-bunking to Stanpit. In addition, the male Marsh Harrier was about the hams, a male Bullfinch was by the HHC and a Kingfisher was adjacent to Barn Bight. 

January 26th

Turnstone – Peter Boardman

The Glossy Ibis was again at Stanpit, while a Great Crested Grebe was on the sea at the end of the head, a Peregrine headed over the sandspit and a Kingfisher was by the Viewing Platform. 

January 25th

Glossy Ibis in active moult. Look at the older, worn (frayed) feathers contrasting with newly grown, glossier ones – David Cuddon
Adult male Marsh Harrier – Jackie Smith (upper) & Peter Boardman

In addition to a Black-throated Diver, a few looks out to sea saw multiple Red-throated Diver passing by. Meanwhile, a Cattle Egret was on the Salt Hurns, the Glossy Ibis was at Stanpit, a couple of adult Marsh Harrier of each sex hunted the area and a Peregrine was again on the Priory. It was nice to get some numbers from Stanpit, which comprised: 5 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover, 101 Dunlin and 2 Turnstone; plus 6 Pintail and 147 Brent Goose. To finish, a couple of Shoveler were in Barn Bight. 

January 24th

Grey Plover – Tina Scott
Fox, three off – Peter Boardman

Other than the photographed Grey Plover at Stanpit, the only news is of 3 Bullfinch – a male and two females – on Wick, plus a Kingfisher around Wick Hams. 

January 23rd

Glossy Ibis – Peter Boardman
Kingfisher – Peter Boardman

Despite the frosty start, there were signs of birds thinking about the coming season. Most notable was a Mistle Thrush in song on Wick; while a Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed in the North Scrubs. The Glossy Ibis again started on Wick Hams, but ended up close to the Rusty Boat, and the male Marsh Harrier did pretty much the same. The only other birds news is of a Peregrine once more on the Priory; but of mammal interest, a seal, presumably the regular grey, was seen in Clay Pool. 

January 22nd

Grey Seal
Grey Seal – Adrian Simmonds
Little Egret – Peter Boardman

There were a couple of Firecrest seen today – one near the HHC and one on the Double Bends; while the Glossy Ibis spent until 11:15 on Wick Hams before moving over to Stanpit, where it was seen from the North Scrubs. Otherwise, it’s just 3 Common Scoter at sea and the same number of Kingfisher to report – those from the Viewing Platform, Wick Hams and the Stunted Oaks. Of mammal interest, a Grey Seal was way inside the harbour this morning.

January 21st

Kingfisher – Roger Tidball

The only news from a day that wasn’t as wet as anticipated is of 6 Pintail – four drakes and two ducks – at Stanpit; where the photographed Kingfisher was also seen. 

January 20th

Some casual looks at the sea throughout a wet-and-windy day saw a steady stream of Gannet heading west, with a few Kittiwake, Fulmar, Common Scoter, Guillemot and Mediterranean Gull mixed in. 

January 19th

Blue Tit – Alan Crockard

A single Cattle Egret came out of the roost at dawn; while a little later a Fulmar and Pintail were at sea, plus an uncounted number of passing Red-throated Diver. Otherwise, it’s just 2 Siskin in the Wood and a Kingfisher at Holloway’s Dock to mention. 

January 18th

There is quite a bit to report on today. Firstly, a drake Eider and (the?) Black-throated Diver were seen when looking out to sea. Meanwhile, inside the harbour, the Marsh Harrier and Glossy Ibis were again present, along with 2 Grey Plover, 4 Pintail and 147 Brent Goose. Rounding up, a Peregrine was at sea, 5 Siskin were in the Wood, a Chiffchaff was on Grimmery Point, a drake Tufted Duck was by the Christchurch Harbour Hotel and at least 3 Kingfisher were around. 

January 17th

On a lovely, sunny day, other than the regular male Marsh Harrier and a Peregrine, all the records fit neatly with the monthly WeBS count. Of course, the Glossy Ibis was around, along with a Grey Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Dunlin. Meanwhile, the pick of the wildfowl was: a pair of Tufted Duck, a Shoveler, 3 Pintail, 130 Teal, 832 Wigeon and 102 Brent Goose. Finishing off, a Kingfisher was in Barn Bight. 

January 16th

Barnacle Goose – Jackie Smith (upper) & Peter Boardman
Glossy Ibis – Mark Taylor

After a very wet and windy start, the day transitioned into something rather nice. Just before 11:00, a skein of 27 Barnacle Goose headed south-west over the harbour, seen from Mudeford Quay; then, around 13:30, a gaggle numbering twenty-six was on Central Marsh, Stanpit. The only other news, however, is of the Glossy Ibis in Stanpit Scrubs. 

January 15th

The totals of birds passing at sea this morning come to: 4 Red-throated Diver, 6 Common Scoter and 6 Guillemot, all west, plus 3 ‘guillies’ east; as well a two lingering Mediterranean Gull and two settled Great Crested Grebe. Elsewhere, perching raptors included the males of Marsh Harrier and Peregrine on Wick and the Priory respectively; with a Chiffchaff on Wick and a Grey Wagtail at RIBS Marine making the rest of the bird news. Of mammal interest, a seal spp. was in the Run this afternoon. 

Tides January 16th: H00:55 | H04:35 | L08:05 | H13:15 | H16:45 | L20:30

January 14th

The only news for the day is of a Peregrine on the Priory this afternoon. 

January 13th

The Glossy Ibis and male Marsh Harrier did their normal stuff today, while 5 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit and a Red-throated Diver passed offshore. Otherwise, for birds, it’s just 2 Pintail, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 77 Brent Goose at Stanpit, plus a Bullfinch on Wick, to mention. Of mammal interest, however, there was a single Bottlenose Dolphin seen from the end of the head in the early afternoon and a Stoat by the southern end of Roebury Lane in the morning. 

January 12th

Stonechat – Mark Taylor

It’s a little light on news today. The mirror-calm sea off Hengistbury held 14 Great Crested Grebe, while 3 Red-throated Diver passed east. The head is rarely good for wintering Chiffchaff, so one on the Batters was nice, with 3 Siskin close by. Elsewhere, it’s just the Glossy Ibis at Stanpit to mention. 

January 11th

A scan of the sea at 11:00 saw 2 Red-throated Diver pass east off Hengistbury, where an adult male Marsh Harrier hunted after being seen at Hengistbury. Earlier, along with 6 Cattle Egret, the Glossy Ibis was watched leaving the roost, then spent time on Wick Hams and Stanpit. The best from elsewhere was 8 Purple Sandpiper at Mudeford Quay; with 78 Brent Goose on the marsh, plus Kingfisher there, around Barn Bight and in Holloway’s Dock. 

January 10th

The male Marsh Harrier was again around Wick Hams, while 15 Lapwing on Wick Fields were probably birds displaced here by the cold. Finishing in that area, a Bullfinch was close to Solent Meads. The only other report from elsewhere on the south side of the river concerns 8 Redwing in-off-the-sea. Meanwhile, Stanpit hosted: 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 128 Dunlin, 20 Pintail and 56 Brent Goose, thirteen of them young birds.

January 9th

Sandwich Tern in winter is always a good record, so a couple off Mudeford Quay this morning was nice. Also at the quay, after a dozen yesterday, there were 15 Purple Sandpiper. After being largely deserted for the previous post, the waters off Whitepits held some seabirds again – a couple of Kittiwake, 8 Razorbill and 12 Gannet – but not at all approaching the previous numbers. The last decade or so has seen Pochard become a premium bird for the site – one in Barn Bight this morning being very welcome – along with the male Marsh Harrier frequenting the adjacent Wick Hams, a couple of Little Grebe and a Kingfisher. A flock of 16 Redwing were around the northern edge of Holloway’s Dock, while a Chiffchaff was along Roebury Lane. 

January 8th

Herring Gull – Alan Crockard

A brief look at the sea this afternoon revealed the recent seabird frenzy has gone – presumably, the food source having moved on. Earlier, 3 Common Scoter had passed west, while one was settled. The older, adult male Marsh Harrier was again about Wick Hams, with nearby Roebury Lane hosting a Chiffchaff. Otherwise, it’s just a Firecrest and a Treecreeper in the Wood to remark upon. 

January 7th

It was a cold, damp day – during which the temperature barely rose above zero and the mist never really cleared. A sandpiper flushed by HHC this morning, due to probability is assumed to have been a Common Sandpiper; although the rarer, spotted option couldn’t be ruled out on the views afforded. Something to look out for! Also from the morning, a Treecreeper and 3 Redwing in the Wood. This afternoon, there were two each of Grey Plover and Ringed Plover at Stanpit, as well as 20 Dunlin; while a further twenty of the latter plover were on the sandspit, by the ferry jetty, as was a Kingfisher. 

January 6th

Gannet – Roger Tidball

Some quick glances out to sea today produced a total of 4 Red-throated Diver, a Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Kittiwake, up to 90 Razorbill and 40 or so Gannet. Elsewhere, the Glossy Ibis was at Stanpit and, of mammal interest, a Grey Seal was in the Run. 

January 5th

Oystercatcher – Jackie Smith
Meadow Pipit – Alan Crockard

There is little to report from, courtesy of a cruel, north-easterly wind, a bitterly cold day. A male Marsh Harrier was over Wick Hams this morning, when a large flock of Gannet and gulls was still feasting off Hengistbury.  

January 4th

The large number of seabirds currently using both the bays around Hengistbury prompted us to enquire of the local, commercial fishermen as to what may be happening out there. It turns out there are large, inshore shoals of Bass and Whiting, which are consuming Anchovies. Today’s returns include over 200 Gannet feeding off Whitepits; with at least 5 Red-throated Diver, over 45 Kittiwake, around 35 Razorbill and a Guillemot logged from the area’s coastline as a whole. The last few days have also seen sizeable bunches of Wigeon on and over the sea, but that can’t be a feeding attraction, can it? Moving a few hundred metres north, the Glossy Ibis was present at Stanpit all day, going to roost at 16:23, while a male Marsh Harrier was about and a Peregrine again resided on the Priory. In addition, from Fisherman’s Bank, 4 Grey Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit and two pairs of Pintail were counted. 

January 3rd

The most unusual record for the day is of a Water Pipit showing well on the Mudeford Quay lawn at some point during the morning. This is reckoned to be probably the first of that species ever recorded at the quay. The sea once again provided interest – a couple of Red-throated Diver close off the former Point House Café perhaps the best; while the Beach Huts contributed: 2 Red-throated Diver and 31 auks east, 35 Common Scoter, 2 Kittiwake, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 6 Common Gull and a Great Crested Grebe. Fisherman’s Bank produced a nice wader selection, including: 7 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Black-tailed Godwit and 24 Ringed Plover; with other interest there provided by 8 Pintail, 5 Shoveler, 22 Common Gull and 3 Great Crested Grebe. After its excursion to the Avon Valley yesterday, the Glossy Ibis stayed local today, with a male Marsh Harrier, a Redpoll, 5 Siskin and 3 Chiffchaff returned from across the site. Although it was far from warm, a pair of Redshank were getting amorous on North Marsh this morning. 

January 2nd

Chiffchaff – Mark Taylor
Kingfisher and Grey Heron – George Garland

The sea, from the Gulley and the Beach Huts, produced another reasonable show of birds this morning, including: a Great Skua and a Black-throated Diver east, a settled Great Northern Diver with 8 Common Scoter and 8 Red-throated Diver west; as well as another good number of Razorbill – there were thirty-five settled, plus all the identified birds amongst 220 auks, along with at least 14 Kittiwake. A male Marsh Harrier was around the area for much of the day, as was the Glossy Ibis – that roosting at 16:20, a couple of Purple Sandpiper were midway along the sandspit and a total of 3 Chiffchaff were about. A pair of Peregrine were again on the Priory and Kingfisher were seen on Wick, by the Rusty Boat and on Grimmery Marsh. 

January 1st

Yellow–legged Gull - Alan Hayden
Tufted Duck – Jackie Smith
...and Kingfisher in the frost – Jackie Smith

Due to the current restrictions, the harbour received some above-average attention for the first day of the year; which produced some nice records and is something we should perhaps consider for next time round. The biggest surprise came at close-of-play, when a Barn Owl appeared by the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre and drifted over towards Wick Hams, plus at least one Woodcock seen around the same time. This area has been quite frequently visited at this time over the last couple of weeks, so perhaps these encounters are the results of the recent, cold couple of days. Also, a Tawny Owl was seen by the Driving Range – two-owl days don’t occur often here. The frost certainly affected the behaviour of the Glossy Ibis and Cattle Egret: the former, after spending the first couple of hours at Stanpit, departed the area to the north; while seven of the latter fed briefly on South Marsh before doing the same. Mr G and five of the egrets came back to roost at 16:25 and 16:45 respectively, however. The sea also played its part, not least at the western extreme of the area, i.e. the site of the former Point House Café. From there, looking into Bournemouth Bay, there was a locally exceptional raft of 50 Razorbill along with 13 Great Crested Grebe, plus a Sandwich Tern and 25 Common Scoter east. At the other end, a Red-throated Diver 3 Great Crested Grebe were settled off Mudeford Quay, with at least eight more ‘red-throats’ heading towards the Solent; as well a Great Northern Diver and 3 Brent Goose moving east past Hengistbury. Finishing up: a small, so presumably female adult Yellow-legged Gull was in the inner harbour by the Mudeford Quay lawn, as was a drake Tufted Duck; Marsh Harrier were seen at Wick Hams and Priory Marsh; and Kingfisher were again by the Rusty Boat. 

December 31st

Almost adult, male Marsh Harrier – Penhill Man
Kestrel – Roger Tidball
Kingfisher – Roger Tidball

As a couple of the photos above capture well, the early part of the day was subject to a deep, cold mist; but later on the sun put in a welcome appearance. Nevertheless, the Glossy Ibis remains fit and well – being seen around Stanpit all day, where a couple of Kingfisher showed well on the perches along the cleared ditch close to the Rusty Boat. The male Marsh Harrier around today was not the regular, well-into-adulthood bird; while 2 Firecrest – a male and female – were in the Wood, along with a Treecreeper; and 4 Kittiwake passed west at sea. A further Kingfisher was in the also-favoured spot of the fence posts adjacent to Wick Hams. 

December 30th

Great Crested Grebe – Peter Boardman
Kingfisher – Alan Crockard

A roost survey this evening saw the Glossy Ibis, 8 Cattle Egret and 21 Little Egret come home to. The ‘cattles’ comprised of one with three ‘littles’ and then seven with nine of the latter. The later siege presumably being the Harpway Lane, Winkton, regulars coming in from a few miles north of the recording area. Earlier, a male Marsh Harrier had been hunting Wick Hams, while a Chiffchaff was in the Nursery. Elsewhere, a Great Crested Grebe passed west off the end of the head, with Kingfisher seen by the Long Field, around the Ironstone Quarry and by the Rusty Boat. 

December 29th

Rock Pipit – Peter Boardman

Although there was talk of a good number of seabirds off Hengistbury, the only definite report is of 4 Red-throated Diver west. Meanwhile, a couple of Marsh Harrier, both males, were logged around the Wick Hams area. The Glossy Ibis was again at Stanpit, where good counts of Dunlin and Brent Goose – 232 and 108, including nine juveniles, were returned respectively. Elsewhere, a Mistle Thrush and 2 Chiffchaff were on Wick; and the usual Great Crested Grebe was in Barn Bight, with a Kingfisher on the adjacent fence posts. 

December 28th

Sparrowhawk – Trevor Wilkinson

Despite the damp, cold and associated drizzle, there was a fair bit of field activity today. A female-type and a male Marsh Harrier hunted Wick Hams either side of midday respectively, while an adult Yellow-legged Gull was in the harbour just of its namesake’s hotel this evening and a couple of Purple Sandpiper were about the Mudeford Quay area. At Stanpit, as well as 8 Pintail – five of them drakes, there were: 9 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Ringed Plover and c120 Dunlin, plus 4 Common Gull. A Kingfisher was around the Lifeboat Station on the quay; where, of mammal interest, a Grey Seal was seen at 11:45. 

December 27th

Glossy Ibis going to roost – Jackie Smith
Kestrel and Crow – Alan Crockard
Goldcrest – Mark Taylor

There was again a good presence of seabirds. An aggregate of sixty-five minutes from Mudeford Quay produced: 2 diver spp., a Common Scoter, 7 Kittiwake, 72 Gannet and up to ten auks. Meanwhile, a Great Skua and a remarkable 100 Common Gull were returned from Hengistbury. Also on the head, the Siskin flock is now reckoned to be around twenty, with a one or two Redpoll also. Close by, a Chiffchaff was on Wick and a Bullfinch was by the viewing platform. At the end of the day, the Glossy Ibis went to roost at 16:20 from Stanpit, when 9 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and around 30 Dunlin were also about the marsh. 

December 26th

There were masses of birds at sea visible from the area today. Although no prolonged observations were made, the following sample counts were returned. In fifteen minutes from Hengistbury, 19 Kittiwake, 65 Gannet, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 7 Common Gull, and 80+ auks were logged; while a half-hour at Mudeford Quay saw a Common Scoter, 3 Kittiwake, 90 Gannet and 120 auks, mainly Guillemot. All movement was to the west. A further comment spoke of several thousand birds around 2km offshore and, this evening, around 100 Gannet were fishing close-in, just to the west of the former Point House Café site. Otherwise, there was a Chiffchaff on Wick, while the best at Stanpit were 8 Pintail, 2 Shelduck and a Kingfisher. 

December 25th

A very Happy Christmas to all our website visitors. Early on, a Firecrest was active around the Double Bends in the Wood and a couple of Bullfinch were along Roebury Lane. The Glossy Ibis was a Stanpit throughout the day and a Great Crested Grebe was with 3 Little Grebe in Barn Bight. 

December 24th

Jupiter and Saturn this evening over Wick – Alan Crockard

Thin pickings again today, with the only direct reports being of: a Marsh Harrier high over Stanpit in the morning; the Glossy Ibis going to roost at a fraction after 16:00; and a Chiffchaff along Roebury Lane. There is also a second-hand return of a ringtail Hen Harrier at Stanpit in the afternoon. 

December 23rd

Despite some reasonably fine weather, the only news for the day is of the Glossy Ibis; which spent until 10:15 on Wick Hams, before moving over to Stanpit. 

December 22nd

Knot – Ian Wigley
Redwing – Jackie Smith

It was a little better weather today, but still no sign of any planets! This morning, at Stanpit, the Glossy Ibis was still present, as were 2 Knot, 6 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and 12 Black-tailed Godwit. Also on the marsh, a Redwing in the North Scrubs. Meanwhile, over on Hengistbury, there was a Firecrest and 4 Siskin in the Wood, plus a couple of Razorbill settled off the Beach Huts. Rounding up, a total of 3 Great Crested Grebe was inside the harbour. 

December 21st

It was predicted, as there was a significant astronomical event tonight, the skies would be obscured; as indeed they were for the entire day. Only another 800 years to wait then! There are, however, some bird records to report. Early on, a Red-necked Grebe drifted west off the Beach Huts, from where a subsequent 60-minute watch yielded: a Great Northern Diver, 6 Red-throated Diver, a drake Red-breasted Merganser, 8 Guillemot and 92 Gannet, west; plus a Fulmar, always a good bird for December, and 3 Brent Goose, east. Additionally, there were 7 Siskin in the Wood and the information services reported the Glossy Ibis to be at Stanpit. 

December 20th

A Marsh Harrier passed over Stanpit this morning, when a Chiffchaff was enjoying the sun by the Purewell Stream. Later in the day, at least 3 Purple were on the sandspit – two of them on groyne S12 – and a couple of Red-throated Diver were close-in on the sea off the former Point House Café site. 

December 19th

Portugese Man–of -War on the beach at Hengistbury - Greg Lambe

Strangely, the only bird news for the day is of the Glossy Ibis leaving from and returning to roost. The jellyfish was pretty good though!

December 18th

Barnacle Geese – Scott Usher
Kingfisher – Rod Jenkins

A skein of 11 Barnacle Goose circuited the area a few times this afternoon, before becoming a gaggle on East Marsh. These birds were particularly skittish and not at all fond of humans, not least distant water-sporters, who, it must be stressed, were in legitimate areas. The point is made to suggest the geese were of wild origin. Also on East Marsh, a drake Tufted Duck. Around the same time, a one-hour seawatch from the Beach Huts produced: a Great Northern Diver settled; 14 Kittiwake, 130 Guillemot, 9 Common Scoter and 8 Wigeon, all west; and around 80 Gannet, most lingering but some drifting west. Finally, some probably sad news about Lagertha. The last signal from her was at 23:00 on the 7th, but with just a 700m accuracy to it. The transmitter has a small battery that relies on solar power for re-charging and it is reckoned there has been enough sunlight since that date to keep it going. As such, the evidence is now pointing to her having succumbed and, yesterday, Natural England spent eight hours on site in difficult areas to try and find evidence of her, but without success. To put this in context, the natural mortality rate of harriers and, in fact, most birds of prey in their first year is 70-80% - so a sad, but perhaps not unexpected outcome. 

December 17th

Stonechat – Mark Taylor
Oystercatcher – Roger Tidball

It was a fairly low-key day – the best being the male Marsh Harrier hunting Wick Hams this morning, 4 Red-throated Diver west and one east past the end of the head, plus the Knot on South Marsh in the afternoon. In addition, a couple of Common Scoter, a Guillemot, a Shag and a Great Crested Grebe were at sea, with a further of the latter in Barn Bight. The Glossy Ibis remains at Stanpit and 2 Kingfisher hunted together from the bridge over the channel feeding Holloway’s Dock. 

December 16th

The male Marsh Harrier continues to slightly confuse. After seeming to favour the harbour to roost, this evening he headed high to the south-east around 30 minutes before dusk. Earlier in the day, he’d been watched from Fisherman’s Bank plucking a wader, presumably a snipe, from the reeds. Otherwise, it’s light on news; although 13 Pintail at Stanpit, eight of them drakes is a good local number, and a minimum of 3000 Black-headed Gull pre-roosted inside the harbour. 

December 15th

There was again another good presence of Gannet off Hengistbury this morning – an estimate of 150 birds being made – as well as a Red-throated Diver west. Meanwhile, around 60 Snipe were on the Salt Hurns, 8 Siskin were opposite Holloway’s Dock and a Great Crested Grebe was in Barn Bight. This evening, the Glossy Ibis went to roost at just after 16:15. 

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