Sightings for the current month

April 19th

Jay – Jackie Smith
Brent Goose – Ray Scott
Whimbrel – Ian Wigley

Another warm and clear day saw the first Reed Warbler of the year, by the Wooden Bridge on Wick, as well as a Yellow Wagtail over Crouch Hill, 7 Willow Warbler, a Whitethroat and 11 Wheatear across the recording area. At Stanpit, the Brent Goose from yesterday was still present, as was a Greenshank, 5 Whimbrel, around 300 Black-tailed Godwit and 20 Dunlin. Mediterranean Gull calls were almost ever-present, with a number of 30+ ventured during the morning, but almost certainly far more. In addition, a Buzzard passed over and plenty of Sandwich Tern were about. 

Warblers on Wick
- Saturday May 5th
Meet at 6:30am at Solent Meads car park. Please email Nick Whitehouse for more details.

CHOG Socials
We are pleased to introduce CHOG socials, a regular meet-up on the first Tuesday of each month at the Ship in Distress, Stanpit, from 7.30pm. This is an open invitation for any CHOG members who would like to come along. These meet-ups are in addition to our indoor talks and outdoors walks and are an informal evening to meet and talk with like-minded people. Our first one is on Tuesday 1st May. Our CHOG volunteers Ray and Tina Scott will be there to welcome you along.

Tides April 20th: H00:25 | H04:05 | L07:50 | H13:00 | H16:40 | L20:15

April 18th

Red–breasted Merganser inside the harbour - Clinton Whale
Sand Martin – Clinton Whale

It was a beautiful day from the outset, with a south-easterly wind gathering pace as the day went on. A Red-breasted Merganser, first seen early on from Mudeford Quay, spent some time inside the harbour off the Hengistbury shore, as did singles of Brent Goose and Wigeon. On the land, there was a small arrival of Whitethroat – three on Wick and one on Stanpit – as well as 4 Willow Warbler, 7 Wheatear and a Redwing. The pick of the waders at Stanpit was 3 Greenshank, but also 10 Dunlin, while at least 7 Whimbrel were around the area. The Spoonbill remains, around 20 Mediterranean Gull were about, a Bullfinch was on Wick and 4 Greylag Goose circuited. 

Tides April 19th: H03:10 | L07:05 | H12:00 | H15:40 | L19:25

April 17th

Turnstone – Clinton Whale

In a chilly southerly wind and almost complete cloud cover, a good scour of Hengistbury produced not a single new-in bird. Wick did hold 3 Willow Warbler, however; while Stanpit fared slightly better with a Yellow Wagtail over and White Wagtail on a path. In addition to a Ruff on the marsh, a flock of 23 Whimbrel arrived from the west, but the only other waders of note were 6 Dunlin. Mediterranean Gull just about exceeded 15 for the day, and the Spoonbill was seen in Holloway’s Dock and at Stanpit. 

April 16th

The male Marsh Harrier that has become frequent in the harbour – Dale Vile
Redstart in the bright morning sun – Jackie Smith
Wheatear – Clinton Whale

It was a fine morning, with mostly blue skies. In addition to an influx of Wheatear – perhaps as many as twenty on Hengistbury – there was an obliging male Redstart on the Long Field, six or so Willow Warbler and five unidentified phylloscs. There were again Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit, around 20 birds, as well as 6 Whimbrel, a couple of Ringed Plover and 10 Turnstone. A light Mediterranean Gull passage nudged just past thirty and a Firecrest sang in the Wood. Late this afternoon, a Great Skua  headed west off Mudeford Quay. Please check back to yesterday for some additional news.

April 15th

Dunlin acquiring some breeding plumage – Clinton Whale
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale
Meadow Pipit on Priory Marsh – Scott Usher

Before the rain set in, there were a few migrants to be seen across Hengistbury and Wick, including a Whitethroat along Roebury Lane, 2 Wheatear on the sandspit, 15 Willow Warbler, 20 Chiffchaff, although some of these may have been residents, and ditto 6 Blackcap. Meanwhile, a further Wheatear was at Stanpit. Staying on that side of the area, the first breeding-plumaged Dunlin of the year, sixteen of them, were on groyne S9, as were 15 Purple Sandpiper, while 15 Turnstone were also about the spit. Although the sea was quiet, a Fulmar does make the post – that over Barn Bight! Over at Stanpit, there were initially around 400 Black-tailed Godwit, but some soon left, as well as 11 Grey Plover moving west, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 11 Dunlin. The Spoonbill was on South Marsh, a male Bullfinch was close to the Wooden Bridge and the day’s Mediterranean Gull total exceeds 50 birds.

Additional news: an Osprey passed west over Solent Meads at 15:50 and 7 Whimbrel plus an additional Wheatear were at Stanpit.

April 14th

Long–tailed Tit with nest material – Alan Crockard
Gadwall – Ian Wigley
Reed Bunting – Tina Scott

The area was shrouded in a thick fog until at least mid-afternoon. A feature, however, was the arrival of a number of flocks of Meadow Pipit and Linnet over Hengistbury – giving it a feel of what it should have been like three weeks ago – perhaps 250 and 20 of each respectively. Also giving a bit of a throw-back feel was that obvious, migrant Chiffchaff – five birds – outnumbered Willow Warbler, which pitched in at just three! The conditions also stifled the Mediterranean Gull passage, with just a couple of calls heard all morning. There was a little more interest from the waders – a cracking Bar-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock was the first passage bird of the season and a flock of 5 Whimbrel dropped into Stanpit for five minutes this afternoon – where there was an impressive gathering of 400 Black-tailed Godwit, nearly all of them in vary degrees of breeding attire, and 2 Grey Plover. At least 20 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit; the male Marsh Harrier again hunted Wick Hams; the Spoonbill was at Stanpit; and 2 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 12 Teal and a similar number of Wigeon were around the harbour. 

April 13th

Thick cloud cover overnight and throughout the day made it an overall dismal affair. That said, it was the best day of the year so far for Swallow – a heady 20 counted over Hengistbury – but other than a cameo by the season’s first Whitethroat, a flyover Fieldfare and 4 Willow Warbler, Hengistbury and Wick were largely devoid of migrant passerines. In fact, counting westbound Mediterranean Gull became a good way to pass this time – a total of 44 prior to 9:15. For the second time in three days, a Fulmar seemed to inspect the Barn Field; a male Marsh Harrier hunted Wick Hams; a pair of Gadwall flew upriver; and a Red-legged Partridge on Hengistbury complemented one at Stanpit that was missed from yesterday's post. 

April 12th

Cetti's Warbler – never an easy species to photograph - Tina Scott
Stoat – Mike Gibbons

From the reports received throughout the day, it appears to have been very quiet. Marsh Harrier were seen morning and afternoon, the later bird being a female-type. Migrant-wise, it’s just singles of Wheatear, Willow Warbler and House Martin to mention, while lingering or passing waders included 3 Grey Plover and 21 Black-tailed Godwit at Stanpit. Also on the marsh, the Spoonbill, a pair of Tufted Duck in Parky Meade Rail and a couple of Gadwall. 

April 11th

Female Blackcap – Paul Turton

Pre-dawn rain gave way to early blue skies and it was the best day of the spring so far. Migrant totals across Hengistbury and Wick came to: 3 Redstart, all males – two in the No Dogs Field and one on the Barn Field – 4 Wheatear, 15 Willow Warbler, 25 Chiffchaff, 25 Blackcap and 6 Swallow. Birds of the day, however, were no doubt 3 Pochard which came in-off over the top of the head and north – this is a species undergoing a marked decline in the south of the UK, so it’s always good to see locally. Raptor interest peaked with a Red Kite west along the coast early in the afternoon, but Marsh Harrier were seen on two distinct occasions. Contrasting spring and winter: a Firecrest was in Song in the Wood and at least 10 Sand Martin are now around the cliffs; while around 20 Wigeon, 14 Teal and 5 Snipe remain on site. The air was full of Mediterranean Gull calls and it’s reckoned just over 100 passed through, mostly east, during the morning. Finishing off the post: a female Bullfinch was at the end of the head, a Gadwall was in Barn Bight; and 2 Grey Plover, 122 Black-tailed Godwit and 18 Dunlin were at Stanpit.

Additional news: an Osprey passed over, northbound, at 15:50.

April 10th

At last, there are some Sand Martin prospecting the cliffs – Clinton Whale

There was a glimmer of hope that the spring migration might just be about to get started, when a male Redstart was on the Long Field this morning. That said, only 2 Willow Warbler were returned from Hengistbury and Wick! Meanwhile, with Chiffchaff and Blackcap now being in song across those areas, it’s getting difficult to distinguish residents from travellers. Bullfinch, were on Wick and in the Nursery; the Spoonbill was in Barn Bight; and 16 Mediterranean Gull passed west. 

April 9th

Blackcap in the afternoon rain by the Purewell Stream – Jackie Smith

It was another shocker in terms of rain, with barely a dry 30 minutes all day! Reports from Hengistbury involve: 2 Wheatear on the Long Groyne; a Fulmar off the end of the head; a Whimbrel; and 9 Sandwich Tern – six east and three lingering. Meanwhile, the pocket of Blackcap remained around the Purewell Stream, Stanpit, where at least 10 birds were present, the Spoonbill was on South Marsh and several Mediterranean Gull passed over.

April 8th

Great Spotted Woodpecker – Jackie Smith
Sandwich Tern – Scott Usher

Other than the first couple of hours of daylight, there was constant drizzle during what was an almost windless day. This morning, there was a 'noticeable influx' of Blackcap and phylloscopus warblers around the Purewell Stream at the northern end of the North Scrubs. This afternoon, all the phylloscs had moved on, but 21 Blackcap were present. Hirundines were a little more numerous than they have been so far – seven returns of Sand Martin and two of Swallow – but they’re still well below expectation; while a further 7 Blackcap were on Hengistbury, a Willow Warbler was on Wick and a Redwing was logged at Stanpit. The offshore Sandwich Tern presence seemed higher, perhaps 12 birds, and five were inside the harbour, with Mediterranean Gull reckoned at 15 or so. Kingfisher haven’t been recorded since the cold snaps, so one in Parky Meade Rail this afternoon was a real surprise, not least for the date. Finishing off, a male Marsh Harrier visited and the Spoonbill was at Stanpit, as were 3 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit. 

April 7th

Starting with the more out-of-the-ordinary records for the day: a Marsh Tit was on Stanpit golf course; a Black-necked Grebe was seen from Mudeford Quay; and a large, white-winged gull was also seen from there. More expected, but perhaps a few days late, were the year’s first Whimbrel – a couple of birds which frequented Stanpit Bight for most of the morning, at least. Also at Stanpit, a White Wagtail on Crouch Hill and a Swallow that sung loudly as it headed north over Central Marsh; elsewhere, however, save for a Willow Warbler on Wick, a Marsh Harrier in-off the sea and north, and up to 30 Mediterranean Gull passing over, most of them north-west, there was scant evidence of moving birds. As happens at this time of year, in the period between winter residents leaving and passage birds arriving, there were barely any small waders inside the harbour; but the Spotted Redshank does remain and is starting to darken. About the sandspit, there were plenty of Purple Sandpiper – a flock of around 30 seen flying across the Run, as well as 3 Sanderling in that spot. Meanwhile, the Spoonbill remains and a female Bullfinch was seen carrying nest material on Wick. 

April 6th

Kestrel – Clinton Whale
Spoonbill – Roger Tidball

After a night of south-easterly wind that continued throughout the day, the sea was watched for most of the morning. From dawn to around 9:15, from the Beach Huts, a total of 98 Common Scoter, a diver species, 5 Common Tern, 17 Sandwich Tern, 2 Tufted Duck and 6 Brent Goose headed towards the Solent; while a Red-throated Diver moved in the opposite direction. Then a watch from 9:30 at Mudeford Quay produced: a lingering, first-winter Caspian Gull, a Little Gull, an Arctic Skua, 2 Common Tern and 5 Swallow; the latter in-off. Once again, migrants were sparse – in addition to the previously-mentioned hirundines, a couple of Sand Martin were over Wick; while 8 Chiffchaff on Hengistbury were possibly new-in. The regular Spoonbill was at Stanpit, but a bird west over Two Riversmeet could have been another; 2 Firecrest were in the Wood; and 16 Turnstone were on the sandspit.

Additional new: late in the afternoon, a Marsh Harrier was seen to leave high to the west.

April 5th

A selection of the area's breeding birds – Skylark & Dartford Warbler – Alan Hayden and Reed Bunting & Chiffchaff – Alan Crockard

There was a remarkable record of a flock of 15 Little Gull, of varying ages, moving east over Stanpit this morning; while up to 40 Mediterranean Gull did the same thing. Despite the improvement in the weather, other than the season’s first House Martin, it was quiet on the migrant front. Around 15 Chiffchaff were in the North Scrubs, Stanpit, but on the other side there were only half a dozen, 4 Blackcap, a single Wheatear and 3 Swallow. Other snippets of interest came from: a Buzzard over the Long Field; 2 Firecrest in the Wood; a Sandwich Tern west over Barn Field; and around 80 Black-tailed Godwit at Stanpit. 

April 4th

Oystercatcher – Alan Crockard
Spoonbill – Ray Scott

After a night of southerly winds, the sea was given a bash this morning – although news of birds approaching Hurst Narrows only goes to highlight what hard work it can be at Christchurch for spring passage. In the two hours prior to 9:10, from Mudeford Quay, a Great Skua, a single dark-phase Arctic Skua and 5 Eider – three drakes and two ducks – headed towards the Solent; while the next hour or so from the Beach Huts added a first-winter Little Gull west, 2 Common Scoter, 7 Sandwich Tern and 4 Gannet. In addition, a first-winter Sandwich Tern, which presumably never went too far south, was loitering around the area; as it has been for the last week or so. The first 2 Swallow of the year, which are on an incredibly late date, passed over Wick Hams and 3 Firecrest were in the Wood. The pick of the wader news involves 12 Purple Sandpiper on the tip of the sandspit this morning, along with 45 Black-tailed Godwit at Stanpit, where the young Spoonbill remains. 

April 3rd

Sanderling – Clinton Whale
Purple Sandpiper – perhaps starting to take on a hue – Clinton Whale
Conversely, this Dunlin is showing no signs of breeding plumage – Clinton Whale

The event of the day was on groyne S7, where 21 Purple Sandpiper, 5 Sanderling, 28 Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin were all together this afternoon. Otherwise, it was hard work: an hour at Mudeford Quay in the morning showers produced just an adult Kittiwake west, 2 Brent Goose east and a Peregrine; then, this afternoon, the best at Stanpit were a White Wagtail and a female Wheatear on Crouch Hill, plus the Spotted Redshank on North Marsh. 

April 2nd

Black–tailed Godwit – Scott Usher (upper) & Clinton Whale
There were a few pipits and Skylark on Crouch Hill this afternoon – Clinton Whale
...and a couple of Black Swan were in the area this morning – Alan Crockard

Although it rained pretty much continually from 18:00 last night to 10:00 this morning, there were newly-arrived birds at Stanpit early on; mainly around the golf course. These included a male Black Redstart on the roof of Two Riversmeet leisure centre, 2 Firecrest, 5 Willow Warbler, 25 Chiffchaff and 20 Goldcrest. At the same time, on Wick, there were 7 Chiffchaff. A visit to Stanpit golf course later in the day produced a single Willow Warbler and around half-a-dozen Chiffchaff. A Merlin was also returned from Stanpit, where a male Wheatear on Crouch Hill was likely the bird from yesterday. Other reports involve a singing Blackcap on Wick and a Red-legged Partridge in the No Dogs Field.

Additional news: an Osprey passed north over the harbour at around 18:30.

April 1st

Spotted Redshank – Clinton Whale
Spoonbill – Clinton Whale

Despite other sites getting incoming birds, it’s still pretty tough going here. As an example, March produced just 3 bird-days for hirundines! Today saw a token 2 Wheatear across the site and some singing Chiffchaff, but they could well be setting up territories rather than moving through. A singing Blackcap on Stanpit was certainly new-in, however. So it was down to the winter regulars – namely the Spotted Redshank and the Spoonbill at Stanpit – to provide the highlights for this post; as well as a Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, c150 Black-tailed Godwit, 24 Ringed Plover and c75 Dunlin there. A Mistle Thrush south over Wick is a noteworthy record, with other bits and pieces including 2 Gadwall, 33 Brent Goose and a Common Gull. Finishing off with some plastic – 3 Egyptian Goose and 5 Greylag Goose headed south and west respectively.

Additional news: the year's first Common Tern was off Mudeford Quay this morning.

March 31st

Linnet – Tina Scott
Wheatear – Ray Scott

There were more showers this morning, then a very high tide made many parts of Stanpit, at least, inaccessible. A total of 220 Black-tailed Godwit there also had a few Bar-tailed Godwit tagging along, while a Wheatear and a Rock Pipit were on Crouch Hill, and 35 Brent Goose were around Stanpit Bight. Elsewhere, 22 Purple Sandpiper were on the groynes at Hengistbury Head, a Bullfinch was on Wick, a Great Crested Grebe was offshore from the Barn Field and several Chiffchaff, plus a half-hearted Blackcap, were in song. 

March 30th

Every daylight hour so far has experienced constant rain. There is one report, however, from Priory Marsh, where a lone Bar-tailed Godwit was amongst 100 or so Black-tailed Godwit. 

March 29th

After a very wet day, there is no news to report. 

March 28th

Twenty–six of today's 28 Purple Sandpiper - Clinton Whale
Kestrel – Alan Crockard

A largely wet day, with the only news being of 28 Purple Sandpiper about the sandspit and 26 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway's Dock. 

March 27th

Marsh Harrier – Tina Scott

Despite some heavy rain during the small hours, birds had clearly arrived; including the year’s first Willow Warbler which was around the Old Depot at Stanpit. By the season’s standards so far, Chiffchaff were plentiful: around 30 on Hengistbury, a couple on Wick and 5 on Stanpit being the return; as well as a Firecrest by the Viewing Platform and a Wheatear on the head. For a while, there were 3 Spoonbill in Mother Siller’s Channel – what was presumed to be the regular bird and an apparent pair – and a male Marsh Harrier was seen a couple of times around the marsh. The wader tally was again healthy, headed by 2 Spotted Redshank and an Avocet, but also 8 Grey Plover, 81 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Ringed Plover and 42 Turnstone. In addition, 3 Gadwall and 50 Brent Goose were inside the harbour; a pair of Bullfinch were on Wick; and 2 Mediterranean Gull went west. 

March 26th

There was more happening today, after a clear night that saw a hint of frost. Wheatear on the Barn Field peaked at five, plus a further on the sandspit, while 11 Chiffchaff were across Hengistbury and Wick. The 18 Purple Sandpiper were on groyne S6 and Bullfinch were recorded at the end of the head, a pair, and along Roebury Lane, a singleton. 

March 25th

Some of the good number of Purple Sandpiper currently around the sandspit
– Clinton Whale

A grey day that didn’t really see the sun until the late afternoon and then only briefly. Nevertheless, Chiffchaff snuck in and were singing on Wick – a total of four birds this morning and the best presence of the season so far – while a ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit plus a few Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail were on Crouch Hill. Stanpit Bight and Creek are still in prime condition for waders after the winter die-back of the algae scourge, with today’s counts being: 2 Spotted Redshank, 1+5 Avocet – the five later moving to Holloway’s Dock, 11 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, around 110 Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Ringed Plover and an estimated 100 Dunlin. In addition, there were 18 Purple Sandpiper on groyne S10. The remaining miscellany comes courtesy of: a pair of Bullfinch on Wick; at least 6 Mediterranean Gull and 4 Common Gull inside the harbour; 6 Pintail, a Shoveler and a minimum of 60 Brent Goose. 

March 24th

Chiffchaff – Robert Gray

A couple of Black-throated Diver east at sea were the birds of the day, but 2 Sanderling and 15 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit were also noteworthy, although there had been 28 of the latter yesterday; also from there 25 or so Common Scoter. From Fisherman’s Bank, a Little Ringed Plover and 2 Spotted Redshank were logged, while other waders about Stanpit included: the Avocet, 12 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 210 Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Ringed Plover, 50 Dunlin and 14 Turnstone. The further 5 Avocet were again Holloway’s Dock, along with 60 Black-tailed Godwit. Passerines were once more few and far between: a male Wheatear was on Crouch Hill, as were a couple of Chiffchaff and 4 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit; a steady trickle of Meadow Pipit headed north over Stanpit; a Redwing was in the Wood; and 23 Blackbird, nearly all males, were in the North Scrubs. To round up: what may be the year’s first record of Bearded Tit came from Priory Marsh; the Spoonbill was present and correct; a Firecrest was in the Wood; and 3 Pintail, 43 Brent Goose and a Great Crested Grebe were at Stanpit. 

March 23rd

Some of the 200 or so Black–tailed Godwit are starting to colour-up nicely - Ray Scott

Although the archives haven’t been checked to confirm, it does feel as if there should be more incoming migrants for the date. For example, just one Wheatear, a male on the Barn Field, and 2 Chiffchaff could be dug out this morning, while overhead passage was non-existent and there were no cliff-dwelling martins to be seen. There were, however, two newly-arrived, pristine-looking Sandwich Tern resting at Stanpit. Also there, around 10 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, c200 Black-tailed Godwit and the lone Avocet, plus of course the Spoonbill and Spotted Redshank. Meanwhile, the 5 Avocet remain in Holloway’s Dock and were, at times, a little quarrelsome. After a week or so of relatively decent numbers, travelling Mediterranean Gull have dropped off – just four east today. 

March 22nd

On a fairly quiet day, most of the interest was at Stanpit, where: a Siberian Chiffchaff was showing well and vocal in the silver birches in the North Scrubs; a White Wagtail was near the Rusty Boat; and 2 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit were on Crouch Hill. Meanwhile, a lone Wheatear was on the Barn Field and a Firecrest was in the Wood. The Spoonbill was again at Stanpit, as was the Avocet and 120 Brent Goose, and around 70 Black-tailed Godwit moved west over Hengistbury. 

March 21st

A fairly extreme example of sinensis, 'Continental' Cormorant – Simon Coupe

Dawn broke to a mild frost and clear skies, but few birds. A couple of Firecrest on Wick suggested there had been some arrival, however, but a Chiffchaff on Grimmery Bank may have been the same for the last few days. Otherwise, in terms of passerines, it’s just 3 Redwing to mention. The regulars – the Spoonbill, the Spotted Redshank and the Marsh Harrier – were all noted at Stanpit; plus a single Avocet there, with a further five in Holloway’s Dock. Finishing on a bit of a high, there was a total of 26 Purple Sandpiper on groyne S6!

March 20th

Spoonbill – Clinton Whale

A Red Kite passed through the area west to east this morning, being seen from both Stanpit and Hengistbury as it did so. Meanwhile, the Spoonbill was on Stanpit and the 8 Avocet, plus a singleton, were still around. In addition, 2 Grey Plover, an estimated 250 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Ringed Plover and 60 Dunlin were on the marsh; along with 11 Pintail, 121 Brent Goose and a Great Crested Grebe. Migrant passerines around the area included 12 Pied Wagtail and 45 Meadow Pipit on Crouch Hill, and 15 Redwing in the Wood.

March 19th

Some of the 8 Avocet in Holloway's Dock – Clinton Whale

Another 25mm or so of snow fell overnight, meaning there were still many displaced birds on site. A Jack Snipe was seen from the path by Parky Meade Rail, 45 Golden Plover moved from Wick to Stanpit and ten left east over the sandspit, 8 Avocet were in Holloway’s Dock, a drake Pochard moved east at sea and around 200 Meadow Pipit were estimated at Stanpit, while 18 Fieldfare and 13 Redwing were across the area. A male Marsh Harrier hunted around Priory Marsh this morning and an unidentified harrier passed over Ashtree Meadows just after lunch. The waders around Stanpit Bight included: the Spotted Redshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, c200 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Ringed Plover, 54 Dunlin and 2 Turnstone; as well as 3 Pintail there and 3 Mediterranean Gull over. A total of 3 Bullfinch was on Wick and a single Chiffchaff was logged at Stanpit. 

Additional news: a Little Gull was off Mudeford Quay, as was a single intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull and 8 Mediterranean Gull.

March 18th

Skylark on the Barn Field – Clinton Whale
Grey Heron at Stanpit – Tina Scott
Herring Gull over a snowy Run – Tina Scott
...and a snow–covered Hengistbury Head - Clinton Whale

Early on, near-blizzard conditions meant there was very little to be seen or indeed that could be seen! As the falling snow eased, however, it became clear that birds were moving. The most numerous being Meadow Pipit, with a 10-minute sample count at 9:30 coming up with 300 travelling east low across the waves off Mudeford Quay. In addition, a flock of 30 Golden Plover headed west high above Stanpit and 18 went the opposite way over Whitepits. Meanwhile, the high tide flooded the saltmarshes and as it ebbed revealed large areas of freshly-thawed grass and mud, which attracted literally hundreds Meadow Pipit to Stanpit, as well as a flyover Yellowhammer, good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing, and around 10 Golden Plover. Over on the Hengistbury side, at least 45 and 90 of Fieldfare and Redwing respectively were logged from Whitepits and large groups of Meadow Pipit were reported from the cliff tops. Back to Stanpit, with the remaining news coming from: a Marsh Harrier, a Peregrine, the Spotted Redshank, c200 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 100 or so Dunlin.

Additional news. There were 6 Avocet around Holloway’s Dock this afternoon. At Mudeford Quay, a late-afternoon gathering a large gulls comprised: an adult Yellow-legged Gull, an adult argentatus Herring Gull, 2 intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull and at least 650 Herring Gull, as well as 10 Mediterranean Gull and 22 Common Gull.

March 17th

One of two Firecrest in the Wood late yesterday – Chris Chapleo
It's thought there might be a couple of singing Treecreeper on Hengistbury – Robert Gray

In extremely cold and unpleasant conditions, brought on by a north-easterly wind and near-sleet, there was little evidence of movement this morning; save for: a steady trickle of Common Gull and a Grey Plover east at sea; 3 Common Scoter west; a couple of Woodpigeon grazing the wave tops as they appeared to arrive in-off; a Fieldfare high west over the Long Field; and a feeding Chiffchaff near Holloway’s Dock. 

March 16th

Wheatear – David Faulkner
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale
Meadow Pipit – Clinton Whale

There were 2 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit on Crouch Hill throughout the day – one with striking blue-grey upperparts and a sepia base tone to the breast – as well as a male Wheatear early on. Nearby, the Spoonbill ranged between Central and East Marshes, while 4 Grey Plover and a Bar-tailed Godwit were present in Stanpit Bight, as were similar numbers to yesterday of Black-tailed Godwit and Brent Goose. Mediterranean Gull were conspicuous throughout, mainly vocally, with an estimate of perhaps twenty individuals involved; all but two of them adults. On Wick, a Chiffchaff was along the riverside path and, on Hengistbury, a Treecreeper was in the Wood. Finally, the Long Groyne held 3 Purple Sandpiper this afternoon. 

March 15th

Rock Pipit – Robert Gray

There were 2 Wheatear – a male and a female – on Crouch Hill this morning, along with the White Wagtail and 5 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit. Meanwhile, in the Wood on Hengistbury, a Firecrest, 2 Redpoll, a Bullfinch and a Treecreeper were present. Moving back across the river, the Spoonbill was on the marsh, as were 150 Black-tailed Godwit, 24 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Shovler and 83 Brent Goose; while a couple of Great Crested Grebe were off Grimmery Bank. 

March 14th

The recent White Wagtail – Tina Scott
Chaffinch – Alan Crockard
Long–tailed Tit – Robert Gray

A Wheatear was on the Barn Field this morning, but singles of Bullfinch and Chiffchaff on Wick are the only other news. 

March 13th

The White Wagtail was still on Crouch Hill this morning, together with a Water Pipit and 3 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit; while on Hengistbury a further 2 Sand Martin were seen. Otherwise, 3 Firecrest were in the Wood, two of these in the Nursery where a pair of Bullfinch was present; also a Redwing on Wick. A drake Red-breasted Merganser did a circuit of the harbour before heading out to sea over the Barn Field. Offshore, there was a Great Crested Grebe on the sea and 9 Mediterranean Gull moved east. The single Avocet remains on Stanpit, where a couple of Pintail were logged. 

Additional news: in the evening at Mudeford Quay, a total of 350 Brent Goose headed east in three distinct skeins, while 9 Gadwall arrived.

March 12th

Rock Pipit
Rock Pipit
The pinkest of the littoralis ('Scandinavian') Rock Pipit on Crouch Hill today – Leo Pyke(upper) & Nick Whitehouse
White Wagtail, also on Crouch Hill – Nick Whitehouse

The pipit and wagtail interest on Crouch Hill continued today, with 4 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit and the cracking White Wagtail present amongst 21 Pied Wagtail and lesser numbers of Meadow Pipit. Evidence of arriving birds came from a Sandwich Tern in fresh breeding plumage east off the Barn Field and a small number of Chiffchaff in bushes on Grimmery Point, plus a single on Wick. The waders at Stanpit included: the Spotted Redshank, an Avocet, 4 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, c200 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, c140 Dunlin and 5 Dunlin; while the best of the wildfowl was 10 Pintail, 4 Shoveler, 114 Brent Goose and 2 Greylag Goose. At least 3 Mediterranean Gull passed east, a party of 4 Great Crested Grebe in Stanpit Bight made for a strange sight; a Peregrine hunted over the Long Field; and 4 Bullfinch were spread across the area. 

March 11th

Chiffchaff, presumed to be recently arrived – Tina Scott
Avocet – Ray Scott
Tufted Duck – Tina Scott

The first, trans-Saharan migrants of the year made it to the area today, with singles of Wheatear and Sand Martin seen at Hengistbury; the former on the Barn Field and the latter around the cliffs. There were also a couple of Chiffchaff in places they haven’t been during the winter, so suggesting they’d checked-in overnight. Although incoming, airborne migrants weren’t counted, there was enough of a pipit and wagtail presence on Crouch Hill to suggest a decent flow of birds had taken place. The selection peaked mid-afternoon, when a Water Pipit, 4 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit – three of those classic, pink-flushed birds – a pristine male White Wagtail, 15 Meadow Pipit and 15 Pied Wagtail were present. Meanwhile, 18 Mediterranean Gull passed over and 6 Common Scoter headed east at sea. After the appearance of an adult bird yesterday, there was just one Spoonbill – the regular young bird – as well as a male Marsh Harrier hunting Central Marsh late in the day. The good wader numbers at Stanpit were headed by the Spotted Redshank and an Avocet, with a Grey Plover, 339 Black-tailed Godwit and 144 Dunlin providing the figures. Also plentiful after some quite dismal winter counts are Brent Goose – return of 117 – plus 3 Tufted Duck, 4 Shoveler and 7 Shelduck. A Peregrine again visited the area. 

March 10th

On a drizzly morning, there was some evidence of birds moving. At the end of the head, there were 3 Firecrest, while the two in the Wood were joined by another and 12 Goldcrest were logged; a couple of Little Gull passed the head, as did 18 Common Gull – those east; and up to 15 Pied Wagtail were on Crouch Hill, presumably recent arrivees, along with a couple of ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit. Otherwise, it was fairly routine fare: the Avocet was again in Holloway’s Dock, a Redpoll was on Hengistbury, the Treecreeper was in the Wood and 3 Bullfinch were on Wick. Wrapping up, 23 Common Scoter were at sea, as was a Great Crested Grebe, and a pair of Shoveler were on Wick. 

March 9th

Before the rain set in at lunchtime, quite a few reports were received. The Spoonbill was again at Stanpit, as were 11 Grey Plover, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 257 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Ringed Plover and 173 Dunlin, plus 13 Pintail, 3 Shoveler and 7 Shelduck. On Hengistbury, an Avocet was in Holloway’s Dock, while a couple of Firecrest were again in the Wood. Other than a high-flying Lesser Black-backed Gull, however, there was no evidence of incoming migration. At least one Bullfinch was along a Roebury Lane and a Peregrine was logged. 

March 8th

Surprisingly, there are only two reports from a reasonable day weather-wise. These are 5 Mediterranean Gull east and 3 Bullfinch, all experienced from Wick. 

March 7th

Firecrest – Robert Gray
Spoonbill – Mike Lyons (upper) & Tina Scott

A drake Garganey was again on site – today seen in Parky Meade Rail. Meanwhile, the Spoonbill spent the morning on Wick Hams, but by the afternoon was showing down to almost point-blank range at Stanpit; mostly on Central Marsh. Also on the marsh, the Spotted Redshank; with a single Avocet being on the other side of the area in Holloway’s Dock. In the Wood, the pair of Firecrest is still present, as were 4 Redwing, while 11 Mediterranean Gull headed east and a further half a dozen lingered. The only other reports involve a Peregrine over and a dead Golden Plover on Grimmery Bank. 

March 6th

Jay – Roger Tidball

It was another mild day that saw the Spoonbill frequent Wick Hams, while a pair of Firecrest and a Treecreeper was in the Wood, 4 Mediterranean Gull headed east and 5 Bullfinch, 3 Redwing and 3 Shoveler were on Wick. Across the river, the waders at Stanpit included: a Spotted Redshank, 2 Avocet, a Knot, a Grey Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, at least 90 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 108 Dunlin; with the wildfowl notables being 2 Gadwall, 4 Pintail, 10 Shoveler, 5 Shelduck and 150 Brent Goose. In addition, there were four settled Mediterranean Gull on South Marsh, a littoralis Rock Pipit and 2 Great Crested Grebe in Stanpit Creek. 

March 5th

Drake Garganey – Mike Gibbons
Green Woodpecker – Ray Scott

Despite the early date, because of the recent spate of records either side of us, a couple of Garganey at Stanpit weren’t really the surprise they should have been. The information services reported two, but the details from direct returns are a duck off Fisherman’s Bank and the drake on floods along the east side of Stanpit Scrubs. The young Spoonbill was first on Wick Hams, then Stanpit, while a couple of Avocet were in Holloway’s Dock and a further was at Stanpit. Also on the marsh, a Knot, 19 Grey Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 220 Black-tailed Godwit, 22 Pintail and 4 Gadwall, the latter in Parky Meade Rail. The expected Mediterranean Gull passage is picking up – twelve adults east this morning – a pair of Firecrest and a Treecreeper were in the Wood, and a couple of Bullfinch were on Wick.  

March 4th

Shoveler – Ray Scott
Grey Wagtail – Ray Scott
This Dunnock, in full song, seemed to have quickly forgotten about Friday – Robert Gray

Other than some of the species on site, there was no indication of the chaos of the last few days; as the sun shone and the temperatures remained well above freezing. Around 7:40, a Bittern was seen from the Wooden Bridge as it made a low pass across the adjacent reedbed; then at lunchtime, a first-winter Little Gull was hawking around Central Marsh. There were 2 Spoonbill logged, but one, an adult, was sadly found dead by the Rusty Boat, with the regular younger bird seemingly still fit and healthy. Further reminders of the recent cold came from: 3 Woodlark briefly on Stanpit golf course, 5 Golden Plover – three on the Barn Field and two on Crouch Hill – at least 80 Redwing around the area and 30 Fieldfare. A surge of Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit to 28 and 13 respectively, plus 4 Avocet – those initially in Holloway’s Dock, but then at Stanpit – were also no doubt related to weather past. It was WeBS day, so full counts were made and featured: 18 Black-tailed Godwit, 81 Ringed Plover, 130 Dunlin, 8 Pintail, 14 Shoveler, 103 Teal, 532 Wigeon, 53 Brent Goose and 4 Mediterranean Gull; the latter now starting to vocalise for the spring. A Grey Wagtail at Stanpit is also worthy of a mention. 

March 3rd

Redwing – Ray Scott
Bar–tailed Godwit – Ray Scott
...and a very flooded Stanpit this morning – Ray Scott

The thaw started overnight and by dawn there were enough soft areas to host hundreds of winter thrushes. A combined total of 350 Redwing and Fieldfare was estimated for Stanpit, with the former making up around 85% of that number. There was even a Mistle Thrush mixed in with the birds on North Marsh, which played out the memorable sight of a Fieldfare cheek by jowl with a Spotted Redshank! Another notable record was 9 Woodlark – a flock of six briefly about Stanpit golf course and three which were attracted to the old bonfire sites on the Recreation Ground – the first on-the-deck records since similar conditions in 2010. The previously-mentioned golf course also held 4 Golden Plover, while at least 8 Linnet were knocking around the ‘rec’. Of course, there is a harsh reality to all these birds being displaced from their normal habitats and freshly-dead corpses of Dartford Warbler and Lapwing were a stark reminder of that. Likewise, this afternoon, when the temperature reached five above, there were still waders frantically probing the salt marshes adjacent to footpaths – areas they wouldn’t normally frequent and an action presumably prompted by the need to make up vital calories lost over the famine of the last two days. Such species included: perhaps 2 Spotted Redshank, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Knot, Grey Plover, a few Ringed Plover and up to 50 Dunlin. Finishing off, there were 10 Pintail and 14 Shoveler on site.

Additional news: a Little Gull was off Mudeford Quay this afternoon.

March 2nd

Fieldfare around Clay Pool – Alan Crockard
Redwing – Mike Lyons
Batters NorthScrubs
North Scrubs, Stanpit – Robert Gray (lower) & Clinton Whale

After more overnight snow, there were plenty of winter thrushes and displaced Lapwing around the area, as well as Water Rail and even a couple of Jack Snipe at Stanpit becoming less shy than normal. In terms of thrushes, as well as those settled, a mixture of 2-300 Fieldfare and Redwing moved west over Hengistbury during a 90-minute period this morning, along with a Golden Plover and around 100 Lapwing. Meanwhile, a flock of 6 Shoveler made the most of the open water by the Wooden Bridge, the Marsh Harrier hunted Central Marsh and the Spoonbill was at Stanpit. Other reports received talk of plenty Meadow Pipit, particularly at Stanpit, and some birds, as well as birders, struggling to stay upright on the ice. 

March 1st

There was a certain predictability about this morning's cold weather movement given the near-Arctic conditions.  Past Hengistbury around 500 Lapwing and 40 Golden Plover were logged heading west. Fieldfare were also on the move with a count of 39 plus a couple more on the beach. Earlier, a Cattle Egret was on Wick Hams where 4 Shoveler were present; also a party of 14 Little Egret flew upriver. In the willows between Double Dykes and the visitor centre, there were 2 Woodcock, while at the eastern end of the head 2 Jack Snipe were feeding on the Natterjack pond. To round up from that side of the harbour, 2 Fulmar moved west and 3 Bullfinch were seen. From Mudeford Quay between 9:30 & 11:00 there was a different mix of species: travelling west were 55 Lapwing, 60 Teal, 7 Grey Plover, 4 Pintail and 2 Red-breasted Merganser, while heading east were 15 Common Gull, 2 Mediterranean Gull and 2 Sandwich Tern. The only report from a frozen Stanpit was of 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Dunlin.

February 28th

On another bitterly cold day, the only news so far is of a Bittern that flew south through the harbour just after 8:00 and the Stilt Sandpiper off Fisherman's Bank.

February 27th

Ringed Plover – Clinton Whale
Teal – Colin Raymond
...and snow clouds massing over the Priory – Colin Raymond

There were some exceptional records today, presumably related to the cold weather; namely, 2 Black-necked Grebe in Parky Meade Rail and 2 Sanderling on the path near the Bailey Bridge. Meanwhile, also related to the conditions, a Cetti’s Warbler was feeding out in the open on Wick. Actually, with the wind dropping somewhat overnight, it felt nowhere near as cold as it might, despite the odd snow flurry. As such, the other news comprises: a Marsh Harrier heading high to the north over Stanpit, plus a Grey Plover and 16 Ringed Plover – twelve of those on the sandspit shore. 

February 26th

Stilt Sandpiper – Alan Hayden

The Stilt Sandpiper spent the morning and lunchtime on either North Marsh or off Fisherman’s Bank, but by late afternoon it had moved out of the area to Coward’s Marsh. The only other news from a truly Baltic day was 4 Linnet near the Double Dyke, plus a Common Gull and Kingfisher in Stanpit Creek. 

February 25th

Turnstone – Ray Scott

The biting wind continues and looks set to do so for the next few days. Today, the Stilt Sandpiper spent some time on Priory Marsh with 4 Black-tailed Godwit, but with only one more of the latter returned it seems there may have been something of a departure. The Spoonbill was seen at Stanpit and at very short distance in Barn Bight, while the drake Goldeneye remains on station off the same-named point and the Spotted Redshank was off Fisherman’s Bank. Also from the bank, a Knot, a Ringed Plover, around 180 Dunlin, a Mediterranean Gull and a Peregrine. Finishing up, a Firecrest was in the Nursery and, despite the near-Arctic conditions, at least one Cetti’s Warbler was in song. 

February 24th

Spotted Redshank – Leo Pyke
Rock Pipit – Roger Tidball

Fisherman’s Bank provided some vital solace from the fierce easterly wind, with the Stilt Sandpiper, the Spoonbill, 70 Black-tailed Godwit and 140 Dunlin being seen from there. The information services also reported the Spotted Redshank. At Hengistbury, a Firecrest was in the Nursery; while a total a 5 Bullfinch were logged on Wick – three of them by the Viewing Platform

February 23rd

Greenfinch – Clinton Whale
Tonight's waxing crescent moon from Stanpit – Clinton Whale

A bitterly cold day, thanks to a not-insignificant easterly breeze, saw little in terms of direct reports – just 2 Bullfinch on Wick and 123 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock, in fact. The information services, however, did report the Stilt Sandpiper, the Spoonbill and the Spotted Redshank at Stanpit. 

February 22nd

Brent Goose – Clinton Whale
Black–tailed Godwit - Alan Hayden
Lesser Black–backed Gull - Ray Scott

As per yesterday, the Stilt Sandpiper was off Fisherman’s Bank where it was alongside the Spotted Redshank, which later moved onto the main part of the marsh. The Spoonbill also remains, as do 320 Black-tailed Godwit, a healthy figure of 190 Dunlin, 6 Pintail, 5 Shoveler, 5 Brent Goose and 5 Shelduck. Across the water, a Firecrest was by the HHC – that’s two successive days of birds in unexpected places, so it seems they’re on the move – 3 Bullfinch were on Wick and 6 Redpoll were on Hengistbury. At sea, a Red-throated Diver and couple of Common Scoter were logged from Mudeford Quay; while a skein of 4 Egyptian Goose headed north over Wick. Finally, there is a report of a ‘probable’ glossy ibis near Strides boatyard on Fisherman’s Bank that is worth checking-out. 

February 21st

Water Rail – Paul Turton
Dartford Warbler – Simon Coupe
Grey Heron – Roger Tidball

The now-again regular Marsh Harrier – the third-calendar-year male – was around Wick Hams at 7:25 this morning, while the Spoonbill was nearby before moving over to Stanpit. Also at Stanpit, a Firecrest on Crouch Hill, from wherethe drake Goldeneye could be seen. Another good Black-tailed Godwit count returned 350 birds, with the Spotted Redshank, 130 Dunlin, 14 Pintail and a Peregrine also present. 

February 20th

There is plenty of Skylark song about the area right now – Clinton Whale
Little Egret – Alan Crockard

The Stilt Sandpiper was again off Fisherman’s Bank, as were 67 Black-tailed Godwit and 150 Dunlin; and a further 29 godwit were in Holloway’s Dock. Elsewhere, a Firecrest was by the Double Bends, a Treecreeper was at the eastern end of the Wood and 10 Common Scoter were settled off the end of the head. 

February 19th

Peregrine on the Priory tower – Clinton Whale

The day started with drizzle and although it did stop the sun made no appearance whatsoever. After an absence of a couple of weeks, the last few days have seen Marsh Harrier records make a welcome return – one quartering Wick Hams around 1:30 today. Other regulars included the Spoonbill at Stanpit and a Firecrest in the Wood, while the recently-arrived, drake Goldeneye was again off Goldeneye Point. Rounding up, around 40 Black-tailed Godwit were on the Hengistbury side of the area and a Kingfisher was about Barn Bight. 

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