Sightings for the current month

May 10th

Sanderling
Sanderling in breeding plumage – Clinton Whale
Whimbrel
Whimbrel – Mark Taylor
SmallCopper
Small Copper – Clinton Whale

Another day, another seawatch, and this time the skua action came from a Great Skua east, along with a Kittiwake and a Red-throated Diver in the same direction. A further Red-throated Diver and a Great Northern Diver headed the opposite way, as did 4 Manx Shearwater – one in the morning and three in the afternoon. Staying with the sea: this evening, a feeding-flock of gulls and Sandwich Tern off the Long Groyne also held an Arctic Tern and 2 Common Tern; with 2 Razorbill, 15 Guillemot and uncounted Gannet also being offshore. The only wader and migrant passerine news is of a Whimbrel, 4 Sanderling and 2 Garden Warbler – the formers on the sandspit and the latter in the Wood. To finish, the day saw the first Painted Lady and Small Copper butterflies on the wing. 

Sad News
It is with sadness that we have to report the passing of long-time CHOG member Dave Masser. For many, many years, Dave was active in the field and held the second-highest harbour list. Until a few years ago, he was also instrumental in the distribution of the annual report to members. Our thoughts are with his family.

We have also recently learned of the passing of Beryl Clafton, the wife of CHOG’s founder, Frank. Although Frank wrote the first Attempted Ornithological Survey of Christchurch Harbour in 1956, Beryl was very much one of the then team and she and Frank used to go ringing at Hengistbury before work.  They were also both involved with establishing a seasonal migration monitoring station at Portland Bill in the early 1950s.  They left the Christchurch area in 1961, when Frank became warden at Bardsey Island Bird Observatory, and then moved to Portland in 1963 when he was appointed warden of the Bird Observatory there, with Beryl taking on the domestic arrangements at the observatory as it started to take in guests. After Frank passed away, Beryl remained living on Portland and continued to visit PBO almost daily until shortly before her death. 

May 9th

Jay
Jay – George Garland
Natterjack
Natterjack, photographed from a public path, held this pose for over an hour – Clinton Whale

The sea was watched again this morning and reward came from the Beach Huts, when 2 Pomarine Skua were seen heading east at 07:30. Reports from Barton-on-Sea a little later suggested they had double-backed before reaching the Solent area, however. Also east, an Arctic Skua, a Little Tern and 10 Common Tern. Meanwhile, an early Storm Petrel headed west, as did a second-calendar-year Little Gull and a Manx Shearwater; a Guillemot was settled near the Long Groyne, 82 Sandwich Tern were offshore; and an Arctic Tern went through the harbour. Wader-wise, there were around 20 Sanderling on the sandspit, along with 5 Ringed Plover, and least 15 Whimbrel across the site; while the only migrant passerine returns are made up of single Garden Warbler and Sedge Warbler in the Nursery, plus 3 Wheatear – two in the fenced area of the sandspit and a female on Crouch Hill.

May 8th

As forecast, the dawn broke with heavy rain and a south-easterly wind that soon veered to the south. Not surprisingly, the sea was the only option and the morning watches from the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay aggregated: a minimum of 12 Manx Shearwater, 19 Fulmar, 3 Great Northern Diver – two in breeding plumage – two west and one east, a Red-throated Diver through the harbour and west, 52 Common Scoter, around 55 Sandwich Tern, at least 75 Gannet – many of them sub-adult birds, a Razorbill and 7 Guillemot. Meanwhile, a female Marsh Harrier arrived over the water, as did 15 Swift, 20 Swallow and 16 House Martin. After 10:00, however, things quietened down; although forty-five minutes at the quay in the mid-afternoon did yield a further 6 Manx Shearwater and a Guillemot. Waders are difficult to put a number on, as the conditions made them very mobile, but 120 Dunlin at Stanpit confirmed there had been an arrival. In addition, the site-wide estimates come to: 2 Grey Plover, 12 Sanderling, a Ringed Plover, 15 Whimbrel and 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, the latter passing to the west. The only other news involves 6 Gadwall at Stanpit.

May 7th

There was a reasonable selection of migrants on the southern side of the harbour today with totals of 19 Wheatear, 13 Willow Warbler, 5 Garden Warbler, 4 Whinchat, 4 Redstart, 4 Swift, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Yellow Wagtail and singles of Cuckoo, Spotted Flycatcher and Lesser Whitethroat.  A Grey Plover arrived over the Barn Field, a Purple Sandpiper was on the sandspit and 7 Whimbrel were logged, while 20 Common Scoter were on the sea off the Beach Huts. At the entrance to Holloway's Dock this afternoon 71 Sandwich Tern were present.

May 6th

Cetti'sWarbler
Cetti's Warbler – Jackie Smith
SedgeWarbler
Sedge Warbler – Alan Crockard

Early morning on Priory Marsh suggested an arrival of Sedge Warbler, with at least eight birds where there had previously been none – it is expected most will move on though. On the other side of the river, Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat sang – in the Nursery and on Wick respectively – while Whinchat were in the Bobolink and No Dogs Fields, 5 Wheatear were on the Barn Field and 3 Willow Warbler were dotted about. The only wader news comes also comes from that side - 5 Whimbrel and 38 Dunlin; with a couple of Mediterranean Gull passing east, likewise 9 Common Scoter and 2 Shelduck. Back to Stanpit, where the apparent family party of Brent Goose is still present, and an additional Wheatear.

May 5th

SandwichTern
Sandwich Tern in the rain – Derek Hopkins
Whitethroat
Whitethroat – Derek Hopkins
Whimbrel
Whimbrel – Malcolm Royal

Thankfully, the wind subsided significantly and the early part of the day was actually quite nice. Around late morning, however, heavy showers and even some thunder set in. A Lesser Whitethroat on the Barn Field, where there were 4 Wheatear, and 3 Willow Warbler were all new birds, as were 6 Swift and 5 Swallow seen arriving. Otherwise, it’s just 19 Whimbrel, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, around 30 Dunlin and 8 Gadwall to report upon.  

May 4th

Sanderling
Sanderling – Clinton Whale
Dunlin
Dunlin – Clinton Whale
RingedPlover
Ringed Plover – Clinton Whale
Linnet
Linnet – Roger Tidball

With the south-westerly near-gale continuing until late in the afternoon, the sea was given a go early on. The best was 2 Manx Shearwater west, but also a Great Northern Diver, 3 Little Tern, 6 Common Tern and a steady stream of Gannet. Meanwhile, a Hobby was seen to arrive and then spent some time hunting around the sandspit. The only wader news for the day also comes from the spit and involves: 10 Sanderling, 9 Whimbrel, 4 Ringed Plover and 77 Dunlin. To finish this short post, the only passerine news is of a single Wheatear on the Barn Field. 

May 3rd

ReedBunting
Reed Bunting – Clinton Whale
Greenshank
Greenshank – Scott Usher
GreatBlackbackedGull
Great Black–backed Gull - Alan Crockard

With the south-westerly gale picking up throughout the day, the sea was given three hours of attention this morning and came up with this list. An Arctic Skua, 6 Eider, 3 Little Tern, 2 Common Tern, 35 Common Scoter and a Whimbrel, all to the east; 2 Razorbill, a Guillemot, 3 Fulmar and around 40 Gannet; and a trickle of incoming hirundines, mostly Swallow but a few Sand Martin as well. The seam period saw a Purple Sandpiper go past, which was later seen settled with another from Mudeford Quay, 5 Sanderling and a Common Sandpiper. At Stanpit, the best of the waders was a Greenshank, but also 15 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit – one of those the long-staying, colour-ringed bird – and 12 Dunlin; along with a couple of Common Tern settled and 2 Mediterranean Gull over. The only passerines of note were a Yellow Wagtail over and 11 Wheatear. Finally, there is now a chick in our barn owl box, which can be viewed from the right-hand side of this page. 

May 2nd

ReedWarbler
Reed Warbler are now well–in and singing from most reedbeds - Clinton Whale

A male Serin flew east over Crouch Hill this morning, when more-settled birds, all on Hengistbury or Wick included: a Garden Warbler, a Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 12 Wheatear and 5 Willow Warbler. Meanwhile, northbound fly-overs were represented by a Tree Pipit and 2 Yellow Wagtail. Inside the harbour, there was a Greenshank, as well as 2 Whimbrel and 25 Dunlin. To finish: 16 Mediterranean Gull passed east; a Buzzard was, once again, loitering about the Nursery; and 4 Gadwall were about. 

May 1st

The first day of May saw some good passerine variety – the best a Wood Warbler in the Nursery, along with a Spotted Flycatcher there, plus: a Garden Warbler on Roebury Lane, a couple each of Redstart and Lesser Whitethroat – one on the Long Field and one in the Stunted Oaks and two on Wick respectively, a Whinchat at Whitepits, 8 Wheatear and around 20 Willow Warbler. Meanwhile, Swallow were commented on as streaming through, but the only number put forward was sixty. From Fisherman’s Bank, on a very low tide, the wader returns came to: a Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 65 Dunlin; with a Grey Plover, 2 Whimbrel and a further 10 Dunlin elsewhere. A quiet sea mustered just a Red-throated Diver and 12 Common Scoter east; while, inside the harbour, the four-strong Brent Goose family remains, along with 4 Gadwall.

April 30th

BrentGoose
This family party, which is a strange record for nearly May, of Brent Goose has been around for a couple of days – Derek Hopkins
MediterraneanGullMediterraneanGull
Despite nowadays being commonplace, Mediterranean Gull will always be special for birders of a certain age. By far, the UK's smartest–looking breeding gull – Clinton Whale

The first Cuckoo of the year toured the area today, when birds presumably leaving these shores included an over-flying Pochard and, late this evening, a Spoonbill in Stanpit Creek. Back to newly arrived birds - 2 Hobby and a Spotted Flycatcher overhead at Stanpit, a Lesser Whitethroat by the Wooden Bridge, 6 Willow Warbler and 7 Wheatear. Waders are currently thin on the ground, but hopefully the numbers are still to come - there were, however, 4 Greenshank, a Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and around 50 Dunlin. To round-up, at least 35 and 60 of Mediterranean Gull and Black-headed Gull respectively travelled east, the 4 Brent Goose remained for their second day and 3 Gadwall are still about. 

April 29th

On a fine and clear morning migrants were few although there was a small influx of Lesser Whitethroat with one by the HHC and another four or five elsewhere on Wick. Otherwise site-wide totals were 21 Swift, 16 Yellow Wagtail, including a grounded bird on Wick, 7 Swallow, 6 Wheatear, 5 Willow Warbler and singles of  Whinchat, Redstart, Tree Pipit and Garden Warbler.  The easterly movement of Mediterranean Gull continued with 100+ today.  On Stanpit the Glossy Ibis was on Central Marsh and 4 Brent Geese remain plus the regular 5 Gadwall, 12 Dunlin, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and an overflying Spotted Redshank.  To round up 5 Whimbrel were on the Salt Hurns, a late Redwing and 2 Bullfinch were on Wick and a Buzzard drifted south over the harbour.

April 28th

Wheatear
This bird caught the eye and a few, including some very informed opinion a way away from here, think it's a very good candidate for leucorhoa 'Greenland', or somewhere on the way to there, Wheatear – Nick Whitehouse
YellowWagtail
Yellow Wagtail – Jackie Smith
SandwichTern
Sandwich Tern – Clinton Whale

Despite a north-easterly wind picking up again, there was a smattering of interest this morning; not least, the best Swallow showing of the season – around 75 in an hour at Hengistbury. After yesterday’s male, a female Pied Flycatcher was in the Stunted Oaks, while 4 Yellow Wagtail overflew the head and two were feeding beneath the ponies at Stanpit, a Lesser Whitethroat was on Wick, 10 Wheatear, including the north-western-looking bird photographed, were on the Barn Field and a new-in Sedge Warbler was in the North Scrubs. Otherwise, the only news is of 3 Sanderling from Mudeford Quay this evening. 

April 27th

CettisWarbler
Cetti's Warbler – Clinton Whale

The feature of the morning was, without a doubt, eastbound Mediterranean Gull – the final figure reckoned to be 275. The day-total would be far higher, however, as the afternoon wasn’t watched, but a 15-minute look from Solent Meads around 6:30 saw a further 20 birds. Also purposefully moving in the same direction, an estimated 60 Black-headed Gull. Another highlight came from Great White Egret – after arriving, two settled on Speller’s Point before heading off south-east, while a single bird over in the same direction around an hour later made it three. The best of the passerines were: a male Pied Flycatcher that lingered in the Stunted Oaks for most of the day; a resplendent, male Redstart in the No Dogs Field; and an over-flying Yellow Wagtail. Meanwhile, around 30 Blackcap across Hengistbury and Wick suggested some newly arrived birds, with up to 20 Willow Warbler and at least 10 Wheatear certainly incomers. Wader news is sparse, but around 10 Whimbrel, plus 2 Curlew, were about, and the only wildfowl report is of the Brent Goose. The day finished with an optimistic seawatch that produced just a Red-throated Diver and a flock of 15 Grey Plover east, as well as a Common Tern west. On the walk to the Gulley, singles of Jack Snipe and Snipe were encountered. 

April 26th

Kestrel
Kestrel and Common Lizard – Matthew Barfield
Skylark
Skylark – Clinton Whale

The conditions were nowhere near as harsh as yesterday, but there was still little to be seen. A female Yellow Wagtail was on South Marsh this evening, while the Barn Field Wheatear peaked at twelve – all second-calendar-year males or females – with another at Stanpit, but just 6 Willow Warbler across the area. Overhead, a minimum of 5 Swift came in and at least 32 Mediterranean Gull headed east. The best at Stanpit, by far, was a Little Gull and 4 Little Tern; but also a Greenshank, a Grey Plover in near-complete breeding plumage, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit and 10 Whimbrel, with further of the latter elsewhere bringing the day-total to around fifteen. Presumed late-staying winter waders, but of course they could be passing, were 3 Curlew and 7 Redshank – a couple of those acting territorially on Wick Hams. To finish, a female-type Marsh Harrier headed north-east early on and the wildfowl, of widely varying levels of interest, included: the Brent Goose, 3 Shoveler, 3 Wigeon – two drakes and a duck, 6 Gadwall, 22 Shelduck, the tame Tufted Duck, 2 Egyptian Goose and 2 Black Swan. 

April 25th

Peregrine
Peregrine – Matthew Barfield
BartailedGodwit
..and a tired–looking Bar–tailed Godwit taking a break by the Black House from it's marathon trek from west Africa to the Arctic - Clinton Whale

The quite awful easterly wind continued, again making it difficult in the field. Nevertheless, a few passerines were about, including: a Yellow Wagtail on Priory Marsh; a couple of female Redstart – Barn Field and Bobolink Field; and around 10 Wheatear. There were two more Swift today, along with a House Martin and what accounted for little more than a trickle of Swallow. Meanwhile, the Spotted Redshank was again off Fisherman’s Bank, as was a Greenshank, with around 30 Whimbrel,  11 Bar-tailed Godwit and 30 Black-tailed Godwit scattered around the place, and 20 or so Mediterranean Gull seeming rather aimless. Finally, it was good to resume our outdoor events again this morning - thank you to all whom attended!

April 24th

Gannet
Gannet – Matthew Barfield
BrentGoose
Three eastbound Brent Goose – Matthew Barfield
Whinchat
Whinchat – Clinton Whale
GreyPlover
Grey Plover – Scott Usher

Although the sea was given some attention in the morning, it was until an evening effort that there was any real reward; when a pale-phase Arctic Skua came in from the west, attempted to beat-up a Herring Gull, but soon continued on its way. Also during that period, a Great White Egret headed out towards the Isle of Wight over Christchurch Bay. The earlier session had produced a Red-throated Diver, around 15 Common Scoter, a Fulmar and 4 Brent Goose; while 3 Arctic Tern headed inland over the area. Incoming passerines were sparse, for example just 2 Willow Warbler, but a Spotted Flycatcher in the Wood, a Ring Ouzel on the Double Dykes, a Whinchat on Priory Marsh, a Tree Pipit over Wick and a Yellow Wagtail in-off all put in brief appearances. Meanwhile, the year’s first Swift came through as did the current trickle of Swallow – there are lots more of these to come, surely. The only news from Stanpit is of 2 Greenshank and a Grey Plover, with the rest of the area returning over 4 Whimbrel and 4 Sanderling. To finish, it seems the Glossy Ibis is still with us and at least one Peregrine was about the area. 

April 23rd

Whinchat
Whinchat – Leo Pyke
Greenshank
Greenshank – Scott Usher
SpottedRedshank
Spotted Redshank – Scott Usher
Whimbrel
Whimbrel – Clinton Whale

Whinchat put in their first appearance this morning – two birds, one by the Hiker café and one on Wick – as did Lesser Whitethroat, a single bird on Roebury Lane. Meanwhile, female Redstart were on the Long Field and Bobolink Field, with half-a-dozen Willow Warbler, a new-in Whitethroat at Stanpit and around 15 Wheatear also returned. Waders seen from Fisherman’s Bank included: the same Spotted Redshank as yesterday, a Ruff, a Greenshank, 24 Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Dunlin; with 4 Grey Plover in Stanpit Bight and a site-wide total of 12 Whimbrel. In the easterly wind, the sea was quiet but nevertheless did produce a westbound Black-throated Diver, as well as 10 Mediterranean Gull. The only Fulmar, however, was inside the harbour, over Barn Bight; while at least 6 Gadwall were about. 

April 22nd

SpottedRedshank
Spotted Redshank – Leo Pyke
SandwichTern
Sandwich Tern – Alan Crockard

It may seem strange, but the biggest news of the day concerns Green Woodpecker. Once commonplace all around the area, they have not been recorded for a couple of years at least – so one at Hengistbury this morning was a nice return. On the converse, we may have said goodbye to the Glossy Ibis, at that was seen to head high to the west around the same time. Since the presumed demise of the wintering Spotted Redshank, after around sixteen seasons, a bird in partial breeding plumage in Stanpit Creek was good to see, along with a Ruff, 3 Grey Plover, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, 55 Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin; while the site-wide total for Whimbrel was 35 birds, fifteen of them passing at sea. Also over the water, an Arctic Skua, 4 Fulmar, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Common Gull, all east, plus a second-calendar-year Little Gull that came in from the Solent. Meanwhile, a Yellow-legged Gull, also a 2cy, was harrying Sandwich Tern over the river. Onto passing raptors, which involved a Hobby drifting west over Wick and 2 Red Kite over Stanpit village. A Whinchat on Wick Hams was the first for the year, with other travelling passerines including a female Redstart on the Long Field, around 15 Willow Warbler, 9 Wheatear and a Redpoll. To wrap it up: the Brent Goose, 2 Wigeon and 4 Gadwall remain; 3 Bullfinch were on Wick; and 10 Mediterranean Gull were logged. 

April 21st

Jay
Jay – Matthew Barfield
Shelduck
Shelduck – Paul Turton
Comma
Comma – Joy Aubin
Mullet
...and a dense shoal of mullet under the Bailey Bridge – Clinton Whale

Despite it being overall very quiet, there were snippets of interest this morning. For a short while, the Stunted Oaks hosted three female Redstart, but these were almost immediately replaced by two male birds. Also brief in their stay were a Ring Ouzel and a Tree Pipit, although a Grasshopper Warbler on the Long Field was around slightly longer. Otherwise, it’s just a White Wagtail on North Marsh, 3 Yellow Wagtail, at least 10 Wheatear and two newly arrived Sedge Warbler to mention. Stanpit held a good wader selection, headed by a Curlew Sandpiper in almost complete breeding plumage, as well as: a fly-over Little Ringed Plover, a Ruff, a Common Sandpiper, a Greenshank, 4 Grey Plover, 8 Whimbrel, 18 Bar-tailed Godwit, a reduction of Black-tailed Godwit to sixty-five and around 20 Dunlin. Terns have been sparse so far, so a single Little Tern and 2 Common Tern on the marsh were nice, where 2 Shoveler, 4 Wigeon, a Gadwall and the Brent Goose were present; with 6 Shelduck passing east at sea. 

April 20th

RingOuzel
Ring Ouzel – Leo Pyke
YellowWagtail
Yellow Wagtail – David Faulkner
Whimbrel
Whimbrel – Clinton Whale
RockPipit
...and one of the lingering–on–the-saltmarsh Rock Pipit - Ray Scott

It was a glorious day of sunshine that saw a Ring Ouzel in the Bobolink Field, a Wood Warbler in the Stunted Oaks, a couple each of Garden Warbler and Yellow Wagtail, and around 45 Willow Warbler across Hengistbury and Wick. Meanwhile, Wheatear numbers were really difficult to gauge – a peak of twenty-two on the Barn Field this morning soon dropped to ten, but by this evening had risen to thirteen; but with other birds dotted around, and I know the record-keepers like a number, let’s say fifty for the day. To finish on the passerines, it was reckoned there were a lot more Whitethroat around today, while a Bullfinch sang on Wick. Also incoming, a House Martin over; with the only other news involving up to 5 Whimbrel and still a 50-strong flock of Linnet at Stanpit, where four Rock Pipit still linger. 

April 19th

PurpleSandpiper
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale
Turnstone
Turnstone – Gary Foyle
PiedWagtail
Pied Wagtail – Mark Taylor
Greenfinch
Greenfinch – Gary Foyle

The biggest surprise of a morning seawatch was a Green Sandpiper in-off over the Gully; with eighteen settled Common Scoter, around 20 Mediterranean Gull, mainly west, and a single Curlew east being the only other records of note from that particular activity. Meanwhile, three Yellow Wagtail which over-flew Hengistbury may have been those settled on South Marsh this evening, along with a White Wagtail there. Other passerines this morning included: a Sedge Warbler in song along Roebury Lane; around 30 Willow Warbler; and an increase to around thirteen, singing Whitethroat. As is often the case, the peak Wheatear count on the Barn Field came late in the day, when five were present. Before moving to the waders at Stanpit, there were 15 Purple Sandpiper and 24 Turnstone on the sandspit. Now the marsh: this evening, there were at least 2 Grey Plover, 7 Whimbrel and 10 Bar-tailed Godwit – some of these dropping from out of the clear, blue sky after a day of travelling – as well as a Dunlin and around the same number of Black-tailed Godwit as yesterday. Around the same time, a further 9 Whimbrel passed at sea, along with 4 Brent Goose, 2 Common gull and 2 Shelduck. To finish: the lone Brent Goose was again inside the harbour; a Buzzard was low around Hengistbury; and a pair of Bullfinch were on Wick. 

April 18th

Pheasant
Pheasant – Clinton Whale

At Stanpit, on a glorious afternoon of sunshine, there were more suggestions of the to-the-Arctic wader passage getting underway. A flock of 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Whimbrel and a Grey Plover that dropped suddenly out of the sky was a real treat, and joined thirteen of the godwits and six of the plover already using the area. In addition, the Dunlin crept up to 15 birds, the Ruff was present and the lingering Black-tailed Godwit numbered 145. The Wigeon are now down to only two – both drakes – while the Brent Goose also remains and there were 3 Gadwall about. Earlier, the passerines were again passing us by, or more likely over, in the settled conditions – just 30 Willow Warbler, a Yellow Wagtail and 2 Wheatear returned from across the site.

Omission: a Great White Egret was at Stanpit in the morning.

April 17th

Although it was largely quiet this morning, there were 3 Redstart on Hengistbury, as well as around 30 Willow Warbler and 8 Wheatear. Meanwhile five each of Reed Warbler and Whitethroat now seem to have set-up territories about the place, all to be expected; but a Dartford Warbler in the Bobolink Field less so. Waders at Stanpit included: a Little Ringed Plover, a Greenshank, the Ruff, 6 Grey Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and 13 Dunlin; while a Snipe was on the Salt Hurns. Also still about, the Brent Goose and 3 Gadwall; with calls of Mediterranean Gull an almost constant feature of the soundscape, but eight being the only attempt to put a number on them. 

April 16th

Ruff
Ruff in Holloway's Dock – Clinton Whale
ReedWarbler
Reed Warbler on Priory Marsh – Alan Crockard
Blackcap
Blackcap – Clinton Whale
Turnstone
... and a Turnstone acquiring some breeding plumage – Clinton Whale

All of a sudden, there are Reed Warbler seemingly on territory. After being none yesterday, there were perhaps six singing away today in the Stanpit reedbeds. Otherwise, it was fairly quiet for passerines, although the cattle on the Old Pitch and Putt Course did briefly pull-in a Yellow Wagtail and a White Wagtail, with other settled birds including around half a dozen each of Willow Warbler and Wheatear; while a Tree Pipit and 45 Linnet passed over. Mid-April traditionally sees the start of the wader passage – up to twelve Bar-tailed Godwit, most in breeding plumage and 4 Grey Plover, plus 5 Dunlin and 23 Turnstone also starting to look good – suggesting it may be just starting. Meanwhile the Ruff was still about, as were 2 Purple Sandpiper and 162 Black-tailed Godwit. Unsurprisingly in the wind conditions, the sea was again a desert – just a Common Scoter, a second-calendar-year Common Gull and a Shag to mention. The day-total for Mediterranean Gull is around twenty-five, but all rather aimless in their intent; the Glossy Ibis performed well at Stanpit; the lone Brent Goose was present; 4 Gadwall were in Barn Bight; a pair of Bullfinch were along Roebury Lane and a Buzzard passed over there. 

April 15th

There were far fewer migrant passerines around today – for example, just 4 Willow Warbler – along with a male Redstart, that in the Bobolink Field, and 2 Wheatear; plus overflying Yellow Wagtail and Linnet numbering two and around sixty respectively. Despite this, at least 5 Whitethroat have suddenly appeared on territory – an increase from yesterday’s one. A Ruff at Stanpit this afternoon was the best of the waders, but the passing Whimbrel numbers are gathering pace with thirteen being the day-total, and the lingering Purple Sandpiper numbered four. In addition, over 150 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Dunlin were on site. The sea was again very quiet – the best a Great Northern Diver and 12 Common Scoter east. A return of just 2 Mediterranean Gull makes one wonder if the passage went through early this year and a pair of Bullfinch were on Roebury Lane. 

April 14th

Redstart
Male Redstart – Leo Pyke
Jay
Jay – Roger Tidball

It was another warmish morning and, once more, there was a decent Willow Warbler presence – perhaps 50 birds across Wick and Hengistbury. Also 3 Redstart – in the Bobolink and No Dogs Fields – plus the biggest Whitethroat total for the Spring, six, a Yellow Wagtail settled at Stanpit and 7 Wheatear. Meanwhile, two or three Siskin moved over. Sea-watching was again hard work – 30 Mediterranean Gull, a Common Gull, a Great Crested Grebe and a Whimbrel to show for the effort. The morning saw a Common Sandpiper on the Ironstone Quarry, while the afternoon, ebbing tide at Stanpit produced; a Ruff, a Grey Plover, a Whimbrel, 160 Black-tailed Godwit and 8 Dunlin. Also around Stanpit Bight, a Common Tern, a Common Gull, 8 Mediterranean Gull, the lone Brent Goose and 9 Shelduck; with the Glossy Ibis about the marsh all day. It is suspected that, as well as now being a regular rooster in the Nursery, Rook are now a breeder – a theory embellished by eight circling over there this morning – and a Bullfinch, another secretive resident, was heard on Wick. 

April 13th

Black-tailed Godwit
Black–tailed Godwit – Paul Dore
SongThrush
The breeding Song Thrush already have mouths to feed – Clinton Whale
SandwichTern
Sandwich Tern – Paul Dore

There was a significant fall of Willow Warbler into the area today, with an estimate of at least 100 birds being probably very conservative. In addition, there were 3 Redstart, all in the Bobolink Field – two males and a female – a minimum of 30 Wheatear, two new-in Whitethroat, an overflying Siskin, five incoming Meadow Pipit and 10 Swallow. At Stanpit, the Glossy Ibis was again present and, late in the afternoon, there were 11 Avocet. The only other wader report, however, is of 48 Black-tailed Godwit in Barn Bight. Meanwhile, a Firecrest in the Wood was the first record for nearly two weeks; the Mediterranean Gull total was just thirteen; and 6 Gadwall were in Barn Bight. 

April 12th

RingedPlover
Ringed Plover on the sandspit – Clinton Whale

The better of the incoming migrants were again early and brief – a couple of Yellow Wagtail on the Old Pitch and Putt Course and 2 Tree Pipit over. In addition, around 20 Meadow Pipit came in-off, while a female Redstart was in the North Paddock, a Reed Warbler was along Roebury Lane, around 20 Willow Warbler were across the southern areas and site-wide Wheatear totalled ten. The best passerine for the day, however, was a Nuthatch on Wick – always a good bird in these parts. At Stanpit, a Ruff and around 90 Black-tailed Godwit were present, along with 3 Brent Goose – the single bird and a presumed pair – and the Glossy Ibis. Elsewhere, 16 Purple Sandpiper and 2 Ringed Plover were on the sandspit groyne, with a couple of morning sea-watches grossing: 2 Red-throated Diver, 4 Common Scoter, 2 Great Crested Grebe and a Whimbrel, east; a couple each of Red-breasted Merganser and Common Gull west; and a dozen milling Gannet. Mediterranean Gull were sparse today – just 6 birds mentioned in dispatches. 

April 11th

WhitethroatWhitethroat
Whitethroat – Leo Pyke
PurpleSandpiper
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale
Linnet
Linnet – Clinton Whale

It was a real mixed-bag of weather today – sleet, snow, sun and a wind that seemed to continually shift direction. Early on, there were brief appearances by 2 Garganey, a Pied Flycatcher and a Redstart. Later though, just a Whitethroat, 6 Willow Warbler and 7 Wheatear were the sum of incoming birds; while 18 Purple Sandpiper remain on the sandspit and an adult male Marsh Harrier again hunted at Stanpit. To round off this quite short post: at least 30 Mediterranean Gull seemed rather aimless, instead of making the expected easterly dash; a Common Tern and 10 Common Scoter did so at sea, however; 2 Gadwall were in Barn Bight; and a female Bullfinch was on Wick. 

April 10th

It was a return to chilly conditions today, as the wind swung to the north-west and the sun never really burnt through. A Hobby coming in over the Solent Meads area was probably the pick of the day, but also a Red Kite over Wick and 2 Redstart there. The Willow Warbler count barely got to ten, however, while there were just singles of Wheatear and Whitethroat, plus a couple of House Martin. At various times during the morning, Holloway’s Dock held a Ruff and 157 Black-tailed Godwit; with at least 50 Mediterranean Gull passing over and 4 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit. At sea, a Whimbrel travelled east, as did a Great Crested Grebe and all but nine of 22 Common Scoter. To finish: the 3 Gadwall were again in Barn Bight; there seems to be breeding intent from Sparrowhawk and Kestrel on Hengistbury; and Peregrine were seen on a couple of occasions. 

April 9th

SandMartin
Sand Martin – Alan Crockard
Wheatear
One of the 20 Wheatear enjoying the sanctuary on the sandspit – Clinton Whale

The weather was far more amenable today and with it came the busiest day of the season so far. Wheatear were well represented – a minimum of 50 birds – the biggest gatherings being twenty in the fenced area at the end of the sandspit and twelve on the Barn Field. The former number is particularly gratifying for the investment put in by CHOG, the Dorset Bird Club and BCP Council – it’s a wonderful piece of habitat of which wildlife can now take advantage of undisturbed. Meanwhile, there was also a good return of at least 60 Willow Warbler, plus three each of Redstart and Whitethroat. A Short-eared Owl moved over, but the timings of the communications suggest there may have been two, as did 80 Linnet and around 50 Mediterranean Gull; all to the east. To finish on the southern side: a Bearded Tit are something of an enigma around the area, so one calling by the Wooden Bridge this morning adds to the mystique of this secretive species; 18 Purple Sandpiper rested on groyne S9; 12 Common Scoter headed east at sea; and 4 Gadwall were logged. Moving over to Stanpit, an adult male Marsh Harrier left with prey this afternoon, when the Glossy Ibis was active around Central Marsh. A lone Brent Goose remains on the marsh, as do around 20 Wigeon; with the wader highlights being 2 Ruff, a Bar-tailed Godwit and twenty-five or so Black-tailed Godwit. 

April 8th

Peregrine
Male Peregrine – Paul Turton
MediterraneanGull
Mediterranean Gull – Peter Boardman
DartfordWarbler
Dartford Warbler – Clinton Whale
EgyptianGoose
Egyptian Goose – Peter Boardman

It was a little warmer again today, but still not that comfortable. Nevertheless, an Osprey circuited the harbour at just after 9:30 and then headed north; while a Pied Flycatcher had earlier been in the Bobolink Field, 3 Wheatear were on the Barn Field and a few Willow Warbler were dotted about. A Ruff in Holloway’s Dock and 2 Grey Plover, one already in breeding plumage, were at Stanpit; with 3 Ringed Plover on the sandspit and around 90 Black-tailed Godwit about the area. The day’s Mediterranean Gull tally probably tops sixty; a Peregrine was on the Priory; and the Glossy Ibis remains. 

April 7th

YellowWagtail
Yellow Wagtail in the early frost – Kevin Scragg
ShortearedOwl
Short–eared Owl - Chris Chapleo
Wheatear
Male Wheatear – Peter Boardman

It was still rather uncomfortable outside again today, but a Short-eared Owl that settled in the Barn Field at 8:50 this morning, before being seen off to the east by crows, warmed things up a little. The pick of the passerines was a Black Redstart seen coming in-off the sea from Mudeford Quay and a fine Yellow Wagtail at Stanpit early on; but also at least 20 Willow Warbler, 7 Wheatear – four of the latter on Crouch Hill – and a couple of Swallow. To round up: a Purple Sandpiper was logged at the quay, while 19 Black-tailed Godwit were in Holloway’s Dock; around 50 Mediterranean Gull passed through; and, to continue last night’s postulation, 2 Mistle Thrush were on the Barn Field. 

April 6th

WillowWarbler
Willow Warbler, showing all the feature, including the long wings – Matthew Barfield
Chiffchaff
Chiffchaff, showing the shorter wings – Alan Crockard
WillowWarbler
...and another of Willow Warbler – Alan Crockard
Stonechat
Stonechat – Peter Boardman

If anything, the wind was even colder today – even bringing the odd snow shower late in the day. Not surprisingly, reports and birds were few and far between – although a Whitethroat in the Bobolink Field, 3 Wheatear and up to 5 Willow Warbler were seemingly new-in. At Stanpit, there were: a Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 115 Black-tailed Godwit, as well as a drake Gadwall; with the site-wide, day-total for Mediterranean Gull being 11 birds. Of breeding interest, it seems Rook are at-it in the Nursery and there is a suspicion Mistle Thrush may be up to something, somewhere.

April 5th

Pied Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher - Matthew Barfield
Wheatear
First-summer male Wheatear - Matthew Barfield

The dreaded northerly didn’t actually kick-in until around 9:00 this morning, so a small number of birds did make a Channel-crossing overnight. The best being a Pied Flycatcher, which was actually only found in the late afternoon, in the Bobolink Field. In addition, Willow Warbler across the area came to around 15 birds and a tristis-looking Chiffchaff was in said field. The diurnal migrants continued to trickle in even after the wind had started; with the peak Wheatear count being fifteen, out of a day-total of twenty or so, on the Barn Field late on. Additionally, a Marsh Harrier, a Buzzard, 68 Meadow Pipit and an alba Wagtail were all watched battling in-off. Meanwhile, on an easterly tack were: a Red-throated Diver – showing signs of breeding plumage, a Common Scoter, 20 Mediterranean Gull and 15 Sandwich Tern; all from the Beach Huts, where singles of Purple Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper and Sanderling were also logged. Elsewhere, the Glossy Ibis and over 100 Black-tailed Godwit were at Stanpit, a Grey Wagtail was on the meadows at Wick and at least one Peregrine hung around the Priory.

April 4th

SandMartin
Sand Martin preparing their burrows – Clinton Whale
Blacktailed
Black–tailed Godwit after being spooked by a Sparrowhawk – Peter Boardman
Robin
...and a Robin by the HHC, where it was ringed, when a few months old, in September 2016 – Clinton Whale

Pretty much the only bird at sea this morning was a Stone Curlew that headed east past the end of the head, before crossing Christchurch Bay and seeming to head inland over Highcliffe Castle. Meanwhile, the only other evidence of migration came from a Siskin over the Wood and a site-wide total of 6 Willow Warbler. The early wind, a light breeze actually, came from the north; but by lunchtime it was quite a brisk and surprisingly cold south-westerly. By then, there were at least 130 Black-tailed Godwit on Stanpit, along with a Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin and the Glossy Ibis. Eastbound Mediterranean Gull trickled over throughout and the drake Tufted Duck was again on Hengistbury. 

April 3rd

Ruff
Ruff – Scott Usher
Shelduck
Sheldrake – Clinton Whale
Rabbit
...and a home–making Rabbit - Clinton Whale

If anything, the north-easterly wind was even colder than yesterday and, again, almost completely stifled migration. The only definite, new-in birds were 4 Willow Warbler and a couple of Swallow. At Stanpit, the 2 Ruff were joined by a Whimbrel, with a Grey Plover, 145 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Dunlin also there. The sea was also more or less a waste of time – a Great Northern Diver west being the only return. Meanwhile, the traditional, Spring build-up of Shelduck continues – nineteen today – and 11 Mediterranean Gull were logged. To finish, we are pleased to be able to announce the resumption of Outdoor Meetings – please see below. 

April 2nd

Goldfinch
Goldfinch – Clinton Whale
Chiffchaff
Chiffchaff – Peter Boardman
MediterraneanGull
... and second–calendar-year Mediterranean Gull - Jackie Smith

An Osprey and a Marsh Harrier passed high over the harbour early on; but, save for a female Wheatear on the Barn Field, there was little, if any, evidence of other newly arrived birds. I guess that’s not a surprise given the bitterness of the north-easterly wind, however. Wader-wise, there was an increase in the Black-tailed Godwit to nearly 200 – with 2 Ruff joining them. Meanwhile, a flock of 5 Knot passed through and a Sanderling was seen from Mudeford Quay. The best from an almost deserted sea was a Great Northern Diver and 4 Common Scoter; while, across the entire area, calls of Mediterranean Gull were a constant backdrop to the soundscape. 

April 1st

ShovelerShoveler
Drake Shoveler – Jackie Smith
RedKite
Red Kite – Leo Pyke
MediterraneanGull
...and adult Mediterranean Gull, the not–often–seen, black edges to the outer primary feather on each wing showing well - Peter Boardman

Starting with raptors, a Red Kite was over the Nursery this morning, while a high-flying, northbound, cream-crowned Marsh Harrier was escorted through harbour airspace by a Sparrowhawk this afternoon. Also about, a Peregrine and at least two pairs of Kestrel. Firsts-for-the-year came courtesy of a Whitethroat on Wick and a Common Tern at Stanpit, where the Glossy Ibis, a Little Ringed Plover, an Avocet, 2 Knot and a Sanderling were also present – all those before lunch only. Elsewhere, 24 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit, adjacent to the Beach House, and the day’s highest Black-tailed Godwit count – 128 birds – came from Barn Bight. The pick from Wick, which is now alive with song of Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Cetti’s Warbler, was a Yellowhammer and a Bullfinch; with occasional bursts from Willow Warbler across the area. At least 10 Mediterranean Gull were about and, to finish, the sea, which produced: a Fulmar, 5 Common Scoter, 18 Gannet and a Grey Plover.

March 31st

Blackcap
Blackcap – Alan Crockard
Magpie
Magpie – Roger Tidball
GreyHeron
Grey Heron – Roger Tidball

The forecast, wall-to-wall sunshine never happened and it was actually quite dull throughout. Nevertheless, the year’s first Yellow Wagtail passed over Hengistbury and a couple of Willow Warbler were about, while 2 Mistle Thrush again headed east. To bring a piece of unseasonable news, a Grey Phalarope headed east at sea off the Beach Huts, with other birds seen from there including: a couple of Great Northern Diver on the water; a Red-throated Diver west; 5 Shelduck east, along with a small number of Mediterranean Gull and Sandwich Tern; and a Common Sandpiper and 2 Purple Sandpiper on the groynes. Inside the harbour, the Glossy Ibis was again at Stanpit, as were: a Knot, a Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 129 Black-tailed Godwit, 22 Brent Goose and 13 Shelduck. 

March 30th

Jay
Jay – Clinton Whale
Geese
Canada and Greylag Goose – Peter Boardman
SongThrush
Song Thrush were belting out their song today – Clinton Whale
Peacock
...and a few Peacock butterfly were out – Clinton Whale

There were a few new birds for the year today – a Common Sandpiper on Grimmery Bank, a calling Whimbrel and a drake Garganey that passed through quickly to the north. Meanwhile, a couple of Little Ringed Plover also travelled inland, as did a few Swallow;  a White Wagtail plus a female Wheatear were around South Marsh and at least 30 Meadow Pipit fed-up on the Barn Field. Echoes of winter came from a Fieldfare near the HHC in the morning, when 3 Brambling passed over Stanpit and couple of Mistle headed east over Hengistbury. Otherwise, the sound of Blackcap and Chiffchaff gathers pace, and around 20 Sand Martin are now in residence. A Kittiwake flying through the harbour was quite unexpected, but the same can’t be said of the Glossy Ibis at Stanpit; where a Knot, 2 Grey Plover, 90 Black-tailed Godwit and 22 Brent Goose were also present. A female Bullfinch and 8 Mediterranean Gull were returned from Wick – and a further two of the latter, both third-calendar-year birds were at Stanpit. 

March 29th

Wheatear
Male Wheatear – Clinton Whale
Greenfinch
Greenfinch – still holding their own here, despite a national decline – Mark Taylor
Peregrine
Peregrine – a bird on the up – Peter Boardman
ReedBunting
..,and male Reed Bunting – Clinton Whale

There was a small arrival of Willow Warbler and Blackcap today – at least three and sixteen respectively – along with a minimum site-total of 30 Wheatear, plus a trickle of incoming Swallow, Sand Martin and Meadow Pipit. To finish with the passerines, a Nuthatch was in a garden adjoining Ashtree Meadow. Close by, at Stanpit, the Glossy Ibis remained; also there, a pair of pale-bellied Brent Goose amongst the dwindling regulation birds, 90 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 9 Dunlin. Wrapping up, the sea contributed a Red-throated Diver, 2 Common Scoter, 2 Shoveler and 7 Mediterranean Gull. 

March 28th

Wheatear
Wheatear – Clinton Whale
ReedBunting
Reed Bunting – Mark Taylor
Gadwall
Gadwall – Clinton Whale
SandwichTern
Sandwich Tern – Clinton Whale

Ahead of the very Spring-like weather of the next few days, the season’s second Swallow was seen at Stanpit, while Sand Martin, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Sandwich Tern continue to steadily increment. Meanwhile, at least 12 Wheatear made landfall today and lingered. A look at the sea during the morning produced: 2 Red-throated Diver, 3 Kittiwake, 2 Fulmar, 14 Common Gull, 4 Mediterranean Gull and 28 Gannet. To finish things off, a single Grey Plover, 62 Black-tailed Godwit and a pair of Gadwall were at Stanpit, and a Great Crested Grebe was in Barn Bight. 

March 27th

Snipe
Snipe – Adrian Simmonds
SandwichTern
Sandwich Tern amongst Black–tailed Godwit - Clinton Whale

Despite some reasonable weather, there is little to report today. The Wheatear total was around 5 birds, while at least 3 Blackcap are now in song. Likewise, many of the 15 Chiffchaff on Wick now seem to be on territory, meaning assessing migrant numbers is getting difficult; as is the case for Sand Martin. The only other news is of a trickle of Mediterranean Gull to the east, including a flock of eleven. 

March 26th

Fulmar
Fulmar
Fulmar
– Leo Pyke
BlacktailedGodwit
This colour–ringed Black–tailed Godwit has been around for a couple of weeks now. He was ringed as an adult at Farlington Marshes in September 2010 and has since been seen on multiple occasions in the south of England; as well as twice – during 2013 and 2015 - on his breeding grounds in Iceland - Clinton Whale

In a cold westerly wind, the sea was reasonably lively this morning. A Great Northern Diver was on the water before moving to the west, as did 4 Kittiwake, 7 Fulmar, 77 Gannet, a Red-breasted Merganser and 5 Common Scoter. Meanwhile, a Red-throated Diver and a further 5 Common Scoter headed in the opposite direction. During the afternoon, an adult male Marsh Harrier passed through to the north and a Mistle Thrush circuited the Bobolink Field. Up to ten each of Sandwich Tern and Mediterranean Gull were about the area, while at least 5 Wheatear and 8 Chiffchaff were on site. To round up, the Stanpit wader and wildfowl highlights – 75 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, a Dunlin and 52 Brent Goose. 

March 25th

BlackRedstart
Black Redstart on the Barn Field this morning – Jean Southworth
SandwichTernSandwichTern
Sandwich Tern – Peter Boardman (upper) & David Faulkner

A Summer is not yet made, but there was an incoming Swallow across Barn Bight this morning, when a Black Redstart was on the Barn Field. The day’s best count of Wheatear came in the last two hours of daylight, however, when 12 birds, all males, were on Hengistbury. Earlier, a couple had also been at Stanpit. Otherwise, there were up to 5 Sandwich Tern about and 5 Common Scoter at sea, plus a Blackcap and a Coal Tit in the Wood. 

March 24th

RockPipit
Rock Pipit – Mark Taylor
BlacktailedGodwit
Black–tailed Godwit - Alan Hayden
Linnet
...and female Linnet – Clinton Whale

The first singing Blackcap of the season were in voice today – two birds in the Wood – while a Wheatear was on the Barn Field, around 25 Chiffchaff were across Hengistbury and Wick, and at least 110 Meadow Pipit arrived; as did 2 Sparrowhawk, or had perhaps been hunting over the water? Sandwich Tern were at their most numerous so far – a minimum of five around, with other birds at sea including: a lingering Black-throated Diver, a Fulmar, 4 Common Scoter, a Razorbill and 6 Mediterranean Gull. Meanwhile, the only wader reports are of 25 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit and 30 Black-tailed Godwit in Barn Bight. To finish, the last-mentioned site also held 3 Gadwall and the same number of Sand Martin were feeding around the Salt Hurns. 

March 23rd

WhitetailedEagle
A quite incredible photograph!
WhitetailedEagleWhitetailedEagle
Raptors with a skyscraper backdrop – a Batumi-like image :-)
WhitetailedEagle
White–tailed Eagle - Chris Chapleo

Whilst it’s appreciated they are not genuinely wild birds, the spectacle of 2 White-tailed Eagle skimming Hengistbury for around ten minutes this morning cannot be matched. The birds – thought to be G274, a male, and G318, a female, and both of 2019 release – then headed out towards the Isle of Wight. Almost as notable, however, was a total of 17 Shoveler at Stanpit, which also hosted: 3 Gadwall, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 134 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Dunlin and up to 10 Mediterranean Gull. The best of the sea birds was a second-calendar-year Little Gull off the Beach Huts, while two adult Sandwich Tern were patrolling inside the harbour. Turning to passerines, a migrant Firecrest was in Stanpit Scrubs; a couple of Redwing and 4 Bullfinch were on Wick; and 2 Wheatear – a male and a female – were on the Barn Field. To finish, around 7 Sand Martin and now about the area and the Glossy Ibis remains at Stanpit. 

March 22nd

BlacktailedGodwit
Black–tailed Godwit - Clinton Whale
Peregrine
Male Peregrine – Paul Turton
GlossyIbis
Glossy Ibis – Clinton Whale
Linnet
..and Linnet – George Garland

It was another day of sunshine and little wind; which produced a Sedge Warbler on Priory Marsh and a Red Kite above during the morning, plus an arriving Little Ringed Plover over Crouch Hill late in the afternoon.  Meanwhile, the Glossy Ibis performed well again around the Pod, with other birds on the marsh totalling: 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 102 Black-tailed Godwit, a pair of Shoveler and 82 Brent Goose. There is little to report from Hengistbury – just a couple of Wheatear and 3 Sand Martin, in fact. To finish, the adult male Peregrine was again frequenting the Priory tower. 

March 21st

WhitetailedEagleWhitetailedEagleWhitetailedEagleWhitetailedEagle
White–tailed Eagle, one showing size comparison with Carrion Crow – Peter Boardman (upper two) & Paul Dore

Just after 10:35 this morning, phones began to ping with messages of a White-tailed Eagle a few miles north-east of the area but seemingly on a course towards it. Sure enough, around ten minutes later, a scan from Crouch Hill picked up the bird, thought to be G393 – a male of 2019 release on the Isle of Wight –  which then soared high above the area for at least five minutes, before being lost to view in the cloud. Meanwhile, the Glossy Ibis cowered beneath and a Nuthatch was by the Viewing Platform on Wick, with a White Wagtail and 7 Chiffchaff also about the fields. Earlier, a couple of Marsh Harrier had passed over, while a Sandwich Tern and two drake Tufted Ducks were at sea – the latter settled on the water. Inside the harbour, at least three each of Shoveler and Gadwall were around, along with a Bar-tailed Godwit and around 20 Black-tailed Godwit. To finish, a Wheatear was on the West Field, 3 Firecrest were in the Wood and, of breeding interest, there is now a Meadow Pipit on territory on Central Marsh and Linnet returned to the Crouch Hill area a few days ago. 

March 20th

Wheatear
Wheatear – Adrian Simmonds

A Sand Martin was prospecting the cliffs at Hengistbury this morning, when a Wheatear was a present, as well as three singing Chiffchaff in traditional territories and a Siskin moved to the east. A late-afternoon visit to Stanpit, meanwhile, produced: 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 32 Black-tailed Godwit, but just 2 Dunlin; a Sandwich Tern on the HHC mudbar, so possibly the first true migrant bird of this species; 3 Gadwall, 7 Shelduck and 163 Brent Goose; and a Buzzard. 

March 19th

BlacktailedGodwit
Black–tailed Godwit, fast acquiring breeding plumage – Clinton Whale
PurpleSandpiperPurpleSandpiper
Purple Sandpiper – Peter Boardman

A Spoonbill passed west over Hengistbury this morning, while a Merlin went east at sea and 20 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit. Also offshore, a Red-throated Diver, 6 Common Scoter, a Gannet and 5 Mediterranean Gull; as well as around 120 Meadow Pipit arriving. Over at Stanpit, the Glossy Ibis was present, along with 19 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Dunlin and 12 Mediterranean Gull. Now Wick, which came up with: a male Bullfinch and 6 Chiffchaff; a further 5 Mediterranean Gull; and a low-flying Buzzard. To finish: 5 Gadwall were in Barn Bight; a Great Crested Grebe was off Mudeford Quay; at least 2 Peregrine were about; and the identity-challenged, drake Tufted Duck was again with the Mallard on Hengistbury. 

March 18th

MediterraneanGullMediterraneanGull
Eastbound Mediterranean Gull – Alan Crockard

The most unexpected record of the day was a Woodcock circling above the Wooden Bridge at 07:50, while being harassed by a Crow! Earlier, a Black Redstart had been by the Double Dykes and 3 Siskin passed through. Another Meadow Pipit arrival ensued – around 575 coming in over Hengistbury – as well as 15 alba Wagtail. Meanwhile, at least 40 Chiffchaff were settled, while a Redwing was again in the North Scrubs and around a dozen Mediterranean Gull travelled east. The sea came up with a Great Northern Diver, west; 9 Common Scoter, east; and 2 Shoveler, in-off; with the remaining news being of a pair of Gadwall in Barn Bight and a Buzzard over Riversmeet Meadow. 

March 17th

LongtailedTit
Nest–building Long-tailed Tit - Alexa Perreira
Avocet
Avocet – Adrian Simmonds
Goldcrest
Goldcrest looking down onto Stanpit car park – Jackie Smith

Over the last several days, there have been a few, unexpected Yellowhammer records; so one singing on Hengistbury this morning only adds to the intrigue. Meanwhile, the first Willow Warbler of the Spring was with us – a bird singing in Ashtree Meadows – as Meadow Pipit arrived in numbers; an estimated 3500 passed over Stanpit between 8:00 and 12:30, with the busiest period being the last 90 minutes when 2500 came through. Also overhead, 86 alba Wagtail, a Woodlark and a couple of Siskin. Wheatear have yet to get going – just another single, at Whitepits, for the post – while Chiffchaff numbered around twenty and a couple of Redwing were in the Wood. In addition to at least 18 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit, 3 Avocet, which arrived in Stanpit Bight early on, stayed until dusk, with other waders totalling: 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 56 Black-tailed Godwit and 22 Dunlin. To finish: a Red Kite soared to the north of the area; a pair of Bullfinch were by the Viewing Platform; a Shoveler, 4 Gadwall and the Tufted Duck were returned; and 13 Mediterranean Gull were logged.

Stop press: news just in of a Bittern heard calling as it circled above the Wooden Bridge at just after 7:00 this evening. 

March 16th

Stonechat
This Stonechat, showing a lot of white, was seen to come in–off-the-sea at Whitepits - Clinton Whale
Teal
Teal – Peter Boardman
TuftedDuck
Tufted Duck – Peter Boardman
PurpleSandpiper
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale

A Ring Ouzel was seen heading north over the end of the head this morning, with other news from Hengistbury comprising: a Merlin west; 2 Sand Martin, 2 Yellowhammer and a Brambling over; a Firecrest and at least 15 Chiffchaff settled; a Sandwich Tern and Fulmar at sea; and 25 Purple Sandpiper towards the tip of the sandspit. Elsewhere, a couple of Great Crested Grebe were in Barn Bight, a Peregrine was again on the Priory,  a Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Black-tailed Godwit were at Stanpit, and the tame, drake Tufted Duck was about. 

March 15th

SongThrush
Song Thrush – Clinton Whale
GreatCrestedGrebe
Great Crested Grebe – Peter Boardman
GlossyIbis
Glossy Ibis – Clinton Whale

An early-for-the-season Arctic Skua headed east past Hengistbury this morning, as did 2 Great Northern Diver, 14 Common Scoter, a Great Crested Grebe and 25 Mediterranean Gull, including a flock of fourteen. Meanwhile, 3 Red-breasted Merganser and a further 5 Common Scoter moved west, and a Red-throated Diver lingered. The more notable passerines were a Wheatear by the HHC briefly, two littoralis Rock Pipit candidates on the Salt Hurns, a total of just under 20 Meadow Pipit arriving and at least seven, settled Chiffchaff. A Jack Snipe on the Salt Hurns and 15 Purple Sandpiper from Mudeford Quay were the best of a disappointing wader showing - the rest being just 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 5 Dunlin. It almost goes without saying the Glossy Ibis was around; 4 Great Crested Grebe were in Barn Bight; a pair of Gadwall overflew to the north; a male Peregrine hunted; a Buzzard made a low pass through the area; and a Cetti's Warbler and Song Thrush were in good voice. 

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