Sightings for the current month

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. 

All reports on this website are in accordance with current, government-permitted exercise.

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Tuesday 26th January
Bird Identification Workshop - Nick Whitehouse
An on-line workshop aimed at helping beginners or those wishing to refresh their birding skills. Nick will take the group through a simple, step-by-step system for identifying birds and the workshop will assume no prior knowledge.  Whilst this on-line workshop is stand alone, we intend to repeat it - linked to a field study session. This will likely be at Stanpit Marsh when things return to the new-normal and we can put the theory into practice on some of our local bird species.

To register, please email:

Will resume as soon as Coronavirus restrictions allow.

Tides January 22nd: L01:50 | H07:10 | H10:25 | L14:25 | H19:40 | H23:05

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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