Sightings for September 2007
This morning's easterly wind produced a real mix of birds today including the first Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn, the bird was near the Ironstone Quarry on Hengistbury. Other highlights were 5 Firecrest and 2 Ring Ouzel on Hengistbury, another Ring Ouzel in North Scrubs and an Osprey fishing over the harbour mid-morning. Passerine migration picked up again after yesterday's lull with all birds moving directly into the wind; counts were 5000 Swallow, 3000 Meadow Pipit, 470 House Martin, 410 Linnet, 320 Siskin, 162 alba Wagtail, 43 Chaffinch, 35 Redpoll, 3 Rook, 1 Tree Pipit and 1 Brambling, also a Lesser Whitethroat was reported from Wick Fields. An Avocet was in Barn Bight and a Ruff, seen arriving on Wick Hams, was on Stanpit later in the day, also on Stanpit were 5 Curlew Sandpiper, a Little Stint, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Grey Plover, 8 Knot, 5 Greenshank and 4 Spotted Redshank. A couple of Brent Geese were grazing on East Marsh while this morning 5 Tufted Duck and 3 Pochard flew upriver. The sea produced very little, just a Little Gull and 15 Common Scoter heading west and 2 Common Tern offshore. Finally a Raven was over Stanpit this afternoon and the regular Peregrine visited the harbour a couple of times today.
What seemed like a disappointing morning (but doesn't Saturday often feel like that?), was actually packed with variety. A shift in the wind to the north and some low cloud put paid to any large overhead movement, save for several thousand hirundine, which comprised mainly House Martin, although Swallow dominated early on. Also, at least 3 late Sand Martin knocking about. There were a couple of "bills" inside the harbour: firstly, a Spoonbill seen in flight from Stanpit could then be picked up from Hengistbury as it fed by Blackberry Point; but more unusually, and a first for all present, was a Razorbill actually sat on the water mid-harbour! Earlier, a Woodlark had been over Stanpit, while other interest came from 2 Red-throated Diver east at sea, a Ring Ouzel and 2 Redstart on the Batters, 4 Rook over Hengistbury and a Pochard in Barn Bight, which later left over the breakfasters at the Hungry Hiker. Finch passage was light, but 16 Redpoll are well worth a mention, along with 62 Siskin, the same number of Linnet, 17 Chaffinch and a single Goldfinch. All these moved east, as did 120 Meadow Pipit, 18 Reed Bunting and 1 Grey Wagtail. At sea, an Arctic Tern moved west, 5 Common Scoter headed the opposite way and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull lingered, despite being hounded by a couple of Herring Gull. Holloway's Dock continues to hold waders, possibly as a result of the high spring tides. Today saw a single Curlew Sandpiper, a Whimbrel, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank; along with 26 Turnstone on the sandspit and 8 Black-tailed Godwit on Wick Hams. Meanwhile, 3 Grey Plover passed by east. Remaining bits and pieces are made up of single Hobby, Peregrine and Brent Goose over Hengistbury; 50 Chiffchaff, 30 Blackcap, 16 Song Thrush, a Reed Warbler and a Sedge Warbler settled on the head; and a Kingfisher in the vicinity of Barn Bight. I'm now off for another two week business trip and am already dreading that text from Ian S. Mobile .
Additional news: a late afternoon visit to Stanpit yielded an excellent record of 3 Spotted Redshank, 4 Knot, 3 Grey Plover, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, a paltry few Dunlin and 2 Shoveler.
Thanks to Ian and Mark for covering over the last week or so. Anyhow, it's straight back into the fire, compliments of the north-easterly wind; but before the numbers, the highlights. There was a Little Stint on Stanpit in the morning, when a Woodlark passed over the end of the Hengistbury, as did 2 Brambling and 2 Crossbill. A Ring Ouzel was on the Batters, the rising spring tide pushed a Jack Snipe off Wick Hams and a couple of Spotted Flycatcher were about the head, as was a latish Whitethroat. Perhaps slightly early though, were 8 Purple Sandpiper east past the Beach Huts, also a single Golden Plover heading north. A medium finch passage, comprising 317 Siskin, 260 Linnet, 100 Goldfinch and 8 Redpoll, attracted 3 migrant Sparrowhawk, seen to arrive in off the sea; while other moving passerines included 185 Meadow Pipit, a Tree Pipit, 6700 House Martin and 1800 Swallow. The direction of travel being generally west. Birds on the deck numbered a roving group of over 55 Chiffchaff and a noticeable, but unquantified, influx of Song Thrush and Chaffinch. The conditions were also notable for wildfowl numbers. By the afternoon, there were just under 250 Wigeon on Stanpit, with 179 passing west earlier in the day. Also seen on the move were: 5 Tufted Duck, 1 Pochard, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Shoveler, 2 Pintail, 2 Gadwall, 49 Teal, 16 Brent Goose and 16 Shelduck; also 2 Great-crested Grebe and 5 Eider, the latter heading into The Solent. Other birds at sea were made up of 19 Sandwich Tern, 2 Common Tern, 3 Razorbill and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull. A Raven was over the harbour and a Spotted Redshank could also be heard. Between them, a couple of high tide visits to Stanpit produced: 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Knot, 12 Dunlin and a Greenshank, along with 4 Shoveler and Limpy, the Yellow-legged Gull.
Although a slight change in wind direction to north north-east made it feel bitterly cold this morning, birds were still moving in numbers. The hint of east in the wind however produced a greater variety than yesterday, inevitably with good numbers of wildfowl. First the highlights: a Great Skua and 3 Arctic Skua moved west, while 2 Little Stint moved east, also heading in a westerly direction were 1 adult and up to 5 juvenile Arctic Tern. The numbers of tern, 146 Sandwich and 8 Common Tern also logged, obviously brought in the skua. A large female Marsh Harrier came in off the sea and headed north then. a little later, a juvenile male was seen over Barn Bight before it headed off high to the west; a Hobby also made a pass over the harbour. Wildfowl numbers, mainly west, were 428 Wigeon, 78 Teal, 50 Shelduck, 27 Pintail, 25 Shoveler, 6 Common Scoter and 6 Gadwall; another 9 Gadwall, plus 7 Teal and 3 Pochard headed up river. A Golden Plover arrived, 11 Avocet flew straight through west, while 4 Sanderling and a Knot went east. Hirundines today were 2200 House Martin, 520 Swallow and 31 Sand Martin, all heading directly into the wind, as were 430 Meadow Pipit, 360 Linnet, 110 alba Wagtail, 110 Goldfinch, 100 Siskin, 4 Grey Wagtail, 2 Yellow Wagtail and 1 Redpoll. A total of 115 Chiffchaff were grounded, a Ring Ouzel was on top of the Head and there were singles of Sedge and Reed Warbler. There were 4 Raven today, 2 in the Nursery and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Brewer's Creek held 1 Greenshank and Wick Hams 4 Black-tailed Godwit.
The strong northerly wind produced excellent migration conditions today, with hirundines, pipits, wagtails and finches all moving in good numbers. The hirundines and wagtails appeared to be heading due west, while the pipits and finches were coming in off the sea and heading north. House Martin were particularly numerous with 14000 birds, the first wave just before 7:30am featured up to 4000 in a single loose flock. The first Brambling of the autumn made it into the logbook, while other counts were 1700 Meadow Pipit, 1500 Swallow, 145 alba Wagtail, 110 Linnet, 102 Siskin, 60 Goldfinch, 42 Reed Bunting, 31 Sand Martin, 12 Redpoll, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail and 1 Tree Pipit. There were a few grounded migrants scattered around the head, with 140 Chiffchaff, 25 Blackcap, 25 Goldcrest, 4 Wheatear, 2 Whitethroat and singles of Sedge Warbler and Redstart. Predictably, Merlin put in appearance today, with 3 birds, two soon after dawn and the third one harrassing the migrating pipit flocks a little later. A Golden Plover flew directly out to sea, while 6 Pintail moved west; also seen were Peregrine, Raven and Great-spotted Woodpecker. The Mudeford Sandspit held 87 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstone and 1 Sanderling while the 8 Black-tailed Godwit remain on Wick Hams. Waders on Stanpit this afternoon were 36 Dunlin, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Greenshank. Finally, 2 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill.
On a fine and clear morning hirundines were streaming south, with 3750 Swallow, 2000 House Martin and 15 Sand Martin logged; also 390 Meadow Pipit, 19 Siskin and 1 Grey Wagtail. On the ground were 75 Chiffchaff and just 1 Wheatear. Today's highlight, however, was the presence of 3 Black Tern feeding off the Long Groyne. Also offshore, were 4 Common Tern and around 50 Sandwich Tern, while 2 Red-thoated Diver moved east. To round off the morning, a Peregrine was over Hengistbury, while both Mistle Thrush and Great Spotted Woodpecker were noted; also 8 Black-tailed and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit on Wick Hams, along with a Whimbrel on the Barn Field. At Stanpit on the ebbing tide just after lunch, there were 250 Dunlin, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Knot and the Spotted Redshank, while 22 Turnstone entered the harbour through The Run.
Once again this morning the inclement conditions failed to produce the goods! The sea was watched from both Mudeford Quay and the Beach Huts, with just a juvenile Arctic Tern, seen from both vantage points, worth a mention. Around 50 Gannet were noted slowly moving west, together with 8 Sandwich Tern. An adult Mediterranean Gull was on Mudeford Quay and a Common Sandpiper was also seen there. On Hengistbury, a couple of dozen Chiffchaff, a Blackcap and 2 Yellow Wagtail were the only migrants. The high tide wader roost on Mudeford Sandspit held 202 Dunlin, 29 Ringed Plover, 16 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 2 Sanderling and 1 Curlew Sandpiper.
In this morning's blustery conditions created by a strengthening south-westerly wind, significant numbers of hirundines and pipits were on the move. Counts included 2400 Swallow, 650 Meadow Pipit, 350 House Martin and 10 Sand Martin, also 30 Linnet, 12 Reed Bunting, 3 Yellow Wagtail and 3 Tree Pipit. Surprisingly, however, the sea produced very little, just singles of Manx Shearwater and Razorbill west, and 3 Common Scoter east. On the high tide at Stanpit, 4 Curlew Sandpiper were noted, together with 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank and 1 Common Sandpiper; 22 Sandwich Tern were also present. A Wheatear was on Crouch Hill and 6 Chiffchaff were in the golf course bank, while Raven, Kingfisher and an adult Mediterranean Gull were also seen. Finally, 2 Great Crested Grebe were on the river.
A sea fret lasting until mid-morning, with no wind whatsoever, put paid to anything of consequence at sea, with 6 Common Scoter, 5 Gannet, single Arctic Tern (a juvenile), Razorbill and Brent Goose being the "reward" for a couple of hours effort. Around Hengistbury, 3 Sanderling were on the beach, 2 Mediterranean Gull (both adults), a Rook and 2 Jackdaw passed over, and 25 Black-tailed Godwit and a handful of Snipe were on Wick Hams. Overhead there were a couple of sizeable flocks of hirundines, mostly House Martin, with maybe 700 in total, and around 150 Swallow. Other birds on the move were 25 Siskin, 12 Grey Wagtail, 20 Reed Bunting and 100 Meadow Pipit. Grounded birds were surprisingly numerous, with 220 Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff, 10 Goldcrest, single Pied Flycatcher and Whitethroat plus 32 Wheatear, and a disorientated Great Spotted Woodpecker flying around in the fog at the end of the Head. Later in the day Stanpit was visited a couple of times, with combined totals of 240+ Dunlin, 9 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Knot, 6 Black-tailed and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, the regular Spotted Redshank, 10 Ringed Plover, a Whimbrel, 60+ Redshank, 92 Wigeon, 4 Teal and 11 Wheatear. A count of 61 Carrion Crow gathering to bathe and preen on Blackberry was notable, with a Nuthatch in North Scrubs being the pick of the bunch. Finally, the irregular brace of Red-legged Partridge were on the Driving Range at Wick this evening.
Another strong blow this morning, but no reports from the sea as yet - hopefully the conditions will last another day to give the "skeleton crew" a chance to rectify matters! The cloud base lifted first thing and Swallow took advantage to move in small numbers, with 250 in 45 minutes all heading into the wind. A Hobby was also hunting over Wick Fields. The only other report came from Stanpit via the information services - 5 Curlew Sandpiper and a Spotted Redshank sound reasonable, but the report of 12 Black-throated Diver is surely a mistake (unless anyone knows better?). Late update - it would appear that the Diver record actually referred to Bar-tailed Godwit!
A belated report from yesterday involved a Grey Phalarope on Stanpit for 10 minutes between 11:10 and 11:20 when it flew East; also present were 2 Spotted Redshank, 3 Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Little Stint.
As expected in the conditions, the stiff south-westerly with occasional light showers made seawatching the best option today, but the result was perhaps a little disappointing, with just a single Manx Shearwater (on the sea then west), an Arctic Skua and 12 Gannet also west, and 6 Arctic Tern accompanying "plenty" of Sandwich and Common Tern. Holloway's Dock held a Whimbrel, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Greenshank, and there were 2 Wheatear on the Golf Course, with small numbers of Meadow Pipit and a couple of Siskin battling against the strong headwind.
The shift of the wind to a south-westerly prompted some seawatching over two periods, 8:00 to 11:00, then 1:30 to 3:00. Best was a Sooty Shearwater west past Hengistbury around 2:00, but the earlier period had produced a Little Gull picking along the strandline. The other highlights involved 2 Eider west, as well as the autumn's first 2 Brent Goose heading in the same direction. Also first for the season was a Red-throated Diver east, along with 2 Common Scoter; while 2 Arctic Skua, 150 Sandwich Tern, 32 Common Tern, 9 Arctic Tern and 75 Gannet were counted moving down the channel. The 2 Bar-tailed Godwit lingered in Holloway's Dock, as did 2 Greenshank, with another about Stanpit; and 3 Turnstone, 2 Knot and a Sanderling were seen during the seawatches. Around 600 Swallow were recorded over Hengistbury, as were 5 Yellow Wagtail, with 35 Chiffchaff and 3 Wheatear settled. The only Stanpit report was relayed via the information services and involves: 8 Curlew Sandpiper, a Little Stint, a Spotted Redshank and 27 Knot in the morning. The next few days sees many of the locals scattered about places such as Falsterbo and Cornwall, so any reports will be gratefully received.
There was more than a chill in the air this morning. In fact, it was a woolly hat and gloves job in the brisk north-easterly, which seemed to push birds westwards. Between 7:15 and 9:00, a total of 9 Siskin, 300 Meadow Pipit and 600 House Martin were counted over the Barn and Long Fields. During the same period, a Merlin was also noted, while earlier, a Green Sandpiper headed towards the sea over Wick Fields having come from direction of The Priory. Other birds were sparse, just 7 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail and 4 Wheatear to tally up, along with 10-15 Chiffchaff, but 4 Sedge Warbler and 1 Reed Warbler were caught in the HHC reeds. A couple of Shoveler in Barn Bight were new arrivers, also 2 Common Sandpiper there. Further waders on Hengistbury, taking the locations in west to east order, were: 3 Black-tailed Godwit on the HHC sandbar; 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank and a Whimbrel in Holloway's Dock; with 112 Dunlin and 11 Ringed Plover on the sandspit. This evening, the information services report 6 Curlew Sandpiper from Stanpit.
Hengistbury was well covered this morning and produced a nice mix of birds. The best were a Ring Ouzel on the top of the head and a Firecrest in the Wood, but 2 each of Pied Flycatcher and Spotted Flycatcher at the end of the head were also good. In fact, the top of Hengistbury also hosted a couple of Redstart, 2 Wheatear and a Whinchat, while more scattered were 67 Chiffchaff, 38 Goldcrest, 37 Blackcap and 6 Whitethroat. The morning skies held 7 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Grey Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and 350 Meadow Pipit, as well as 2000 Swallow and 300 Sand Martin, but very few House Martin. By lunchtime, however, things had changed as an estimated 2000 House Martin were feeding over the harbour. In addition to 2 adult Mediterranean Gull, 2 Tufted Duck and the now customary 2 Raven; Hengistbury also saw 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 6 Dunlin and 4 Black-tailed in Barn Bight, 2 Whimbrel and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit in Holloway's Dock, 6 Grey Plover past and 4 Turnstone on the Long Groyne. In the afternoon, there were 5 Curlew Sandpiper on Stanpit, although one of the pager services reported 9; also 9 Knot and the Spotted Redshank on the marsh, and a Wheatear on Crouch Hill. To round off, there was a Great-spotted Woodpecker on Hengistbury.
Without doing the 13 Curlew Sandpiper at Stanpit a disservice, Wick Fields was the place to be today. This morning, a Ring Ouzel was in the hedge bordering the North Paddock; but the best came this evening, with a Wryneck in the Bobolink Field. Also a few common migrants, such as 3 Whitethroat and 2 Blackcap in the fields, but there are no further reports from Hengistbury proper. The morning tide at Stanpit attracted many watchers and, in addition to the previously mentioned waders, there were 4 Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 225 Dunlin and 15 Ringed Plover. Terns are disappearing fast - for example, Stanpit Bight held just 7 Sandwich Tern and 3 Common Tern. The North Scrubs hosted 2 Spotted Flycatcher, high up in the wind break trees, also a Garden Warbler; while Yellow Wagtail were frequently heard about the marsh, but rarely seen. Finally, a Peregrine stopped in for its Sunday lunch, just after midday.
Additional news: a Pied Flycatcher was at the end of the head. Also, 8 Yellow Wagtail amongst the seaweed, plus 25 Ringed Plover, 4 Sanderling and 5 Turnstone on the sandspit.
Hengistbury was disappointingly quiet for a Saturday; although the first Ring Ouzel of the autumn, a male, over the top of the head towards the Batters, was something of a highlight; as was a Firecrest on the lower Batters. Earlier, the season's first Redpoll had been heard over the HHC. Other than that, it is two terns that make the headlines. An adult Roseate Tern was watched fishing in the harbour in the morning; then, in the afternoon, a Black Tern spent a short time around the Long Groyne. Also a Common Scoter, 6 Pintail and 50 Wigeon moving west at sea. Over to Stanpit, where Curlew Sandpiper are still present in numbers. The maximum count for the day, between the two high waters, was 7, along with 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Greenshank and 2 Spotted Redshank. Prior to this, the information services had reported 6(!) of the latter, also a Little Stint. Other wader counts in the harbour involve around 150 Dunlin, 40+ Ringed Plover, 12 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Common Sandpiper, with a further Greenshank and 2 Common Sandpiper by Brewer's Creek. A trio of Raven spent a great deal of time in or over the Nursery and a group of 5 headed straight over, while 2 Buzzard flew over Stanpit. Over Hengistbury, 160 Meadow Pipit, 15 Yellow Wagtail, 8 Grey Wagtail and 2 Tree Pipit passed through, with 2 Garden Warbler, 7 Wheatear, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and1 Whinchat on the deck. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull flew west, as did 9 Common Gull, and 5 Gadwall plus a single Shoveler were recorded. This afternoon, despite the crowds on the sandspit, there was a single juvenile Sanderling and 8 Turnstone, along with a few Dunlin and Ringed Plover.
Additional news: around 6:30, while most of the regulars were propping up the bar of The Oak, the Wickman's dogwalk produced an Osprey above the Salt Hurns and a Green Sandpiper over the fields.
More: the DBC website carries a report of 18 Curlew Sandpiper on Stanpit.
This morning saw a minor influx of migrants, some of which could have well have been of Scandinavian origin, providing some hope for tomorrow. At least 7, but possibly 9, Pied Flycatcher were on Hengistbury, with the main concentration being 3 on the Lower Batters, also 2 Spotted Flycatcher in the area and 4 Siskin over. A total of 5 Firecrest were recorded, a party of 4 by the Ironstone Quarry showing very well indeed, while there were also 54 Goldcrest scattered about. Wheatear were more plentiful than of late, with 19 recorded today; also 55 Chiffchaff, 15 Blackcap, 7 Whitethroat and 6 Sedge Warbler. Meadow Pipit continue to threaten to come through in numbers, today seeing 160 moving into the north-westerly breeze, as were 11 Tree Pipit, 11 Grey Wagtail and 3 Yellow Wagtail. Duck interest came from a Pochard, 3 Pintail and 3 Shelduck; a Peregrine hunted Stanpit and one of two passing Raven appeared to be carrying a Frog! There are no detailed wader reports from Stanpit, but Hengistbury can contribute: the Spotted Redshank on the HHC bar, 16 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Knot, 3 Common Sandpiper, 3 Snipe and a Greenshank; with an afternoon trip to the sandspit providing 49 Ringed Plover, 31 Dunlin, 5 Turnstone and a Sanderling. There are still many Jay about, 15 for example, also a Great-spotted Woodpecker on Hengistbury. As the terns are dwindling, the winter gulls trickle in - 3 Common Gull noted today. Finally, the information services relay Purple Sandpiper, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank from Stanpit.
Additional news: the good run of Spotted Redshank continues, with 3 birds in Mother Siller's Channel this evening, also 2 Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Knot on Stanpit.
In a light southerly wind, there was another impressive spread of waders at Stanpit. Numerically, Dunlin headed the cast with over 350 present, but the main interest came from 2 Little Stint, 8 Curlew Sandpiper, a Ruff, the Spotted Redshank and 2 Avocet, the latter going straight through. The B-listers then comprised: 31 Knot, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper and 1 Turnstone, along with 39 Ringed Plover and a good, local count of 136 Redshank. The peace was shattered briefly as couple of Buzzard arrived in off the sea and caused something of a scene, but a single Raven passed without incident. The North Scrubs were also relatively lively with a Spotted Flycatcher, a Lesser Whitethroat, 20 Chiffchaff, 11 Blackcap and 3 Whitethroat within, while 3 Yellow Wagtail and a Tree Pipit moved over. Hengistbury saw fewer migrants, just 12 Reed Bunting in migrant-type places and 3 Whitethroat, but there was a Spotted Flycatcher on Wick and a Grey Wagtail over. Around 3500 House Martin and 250 Swallow were estimated, 2 Raven were again in the Nursery and a Great-spotted Woodpecker circled the head before moving on west. At least Black-tailed Godwit were on the south side of the harbour, as were 4 Snipe, a Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper, with a single Kingfisher by the HHC. This is a relatively early post meaning there is likely to an update later tonight.
Late evening update: other than the Little Stint photograph, the only modification to the post is of 7 newly arrived Shelduck in Stanpit Bight, along with a Shoveler.
Something of a raptor bonanza this morning, with Merlin, a female-type Marsh Harrier and a Hobby being seen during a 5-minute spell on Hengistbury; also an adult male Peregrine taking a wader off Blackberry Point late this afternoon. With Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and no doubt Buzzard all being recorded, that's 7 species for the day. Best bird, however, was a Tree Sparrow, the first of the year, over the Barn Field and towards Wick; also a Turtle Dove up from the corner of the Barn Field. A Little Stint spent the afternoon on Stanpit, where, over the course of three visits - morning, noon and late afternoon - there were 4 Curlew Sandpiper, a single Avocet, 2 Spotted Redshank, 18 Knot, 3 Greenshank, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, a breeding-plumaged Grey Plover and 1 Whimbrel, along with 300 Dunlin and 60 Ringed Plover. Earlier in the day, a further Avocet headed west, as did 50 Common Tern and 2 juvenile Common Gull. A party of 3 Tufted Duck seen from Hengistbury were later settled in Stanpit Bight, accompanying 2 Pintail and 55 Wigeon, with 23 Teal passing through. There were far more House Martin today, perhaps 8000, but a certain minimum of 5000, gathering over the head, with much smaller numbers of Swallow. Also over the area were: 22 Yellow Wagtail, 9 Grey Wagtail, 8 Tree Pipit, 135 Meadow Pipit and a single Raven; while moving past the HHC and into Wick Ditch, were 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 60 Chiffchaff, 21 Blackcap, 11 Whitethroat, 7 Willow Warbler and 2 Reed Warbler.
There was actually a good case for needing gloves during the first hour of daylight, as a chilly northerly wind took effect before the sun had chance to warm it up. There was another House Martin spectacle over Hengistbury for the first few hours of the morning, with around 1000 feeding birds being estimated, sometimes forming insect like swirls over Barn Bight. By the early afternoon though, all had departed. The waders were covered during all tidal conditions throughout the day. On the early morning flood, 3 Avocet arrived, then left west, but shortly later returned to rest on Blackberry Point. There were also 2 Spotted Redshank in Mother Siller's Channel, a juvenile bird accompanying the familiar adult. The youngster quickly moved on, but the adult remains, no doubt for the winter. In Stanpit Bight, there were 4 Curlew Sandpiper, 11 Knot, 3 Greenshank, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Common Sandpiper. From Stanpit, a flock of 50 Dunlin entering the harbour over the Barn Field held a single Curlew Sandpiper, but a later flock of 10 contained nothing special. Over lunch, the sandspit was visited and the undisturbed week-day roost contained 4 Curlew Sandpiper, at least 5 Sanderling, 5 Turnstone, 250 Dunlin and 35 or so Ringed Plover. Similar numbers of the latter two were in Stanpit Bight during the afternoon ebb, but many more Knot were seen during that time. A total of 26 headed east, including a flock of 22, while 8 were settled, meaning a day total that approaches 40. There were a minimum of 6 Curlew Sandpiper, also a Whimbrel and the 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, but most of the Black-tailed Godwit had left. Also, a Common Gull, 2 Shoveler, 2 Shelduck and a Pintail about Stanpit at various times of the day. Other than 2 Raven that sat in the Nursery for a short time, passerines are barely worth a mention, but for completeness 15 Wheatear, 19 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Grey Wagtail and 4 Blackcap were recorded.
Additional news: singles of Grey Plover were over Hengistbury and Wick in the morning and evening respectively.
Passerine-wise, thanks to the continuing westerly wind, it was even quieter than yesterday. Best were a couple of Redstart, one on the Barn Field and the other on Wick, also 3 Wheatear, 2 of them on the sometimes neglected Whitepits, a Whinchat by Double Dykes, and 9 Blackcap and 8 Whitethroat spread about. The flyovers comprised: 110 Meadow Pipit, 7 Grey Wagtail, 7 Tree Pipit, along with 31 Common Tern west and 8 Raven east, a group of 6, then 2 more that actually settled for a while, dwarfing the resident Carrion Crow; also still a dozen Jay on the head. House Martin were again over the area, but greatly reduced, with just over 1000 being the estimate for the day. The Avocet was seen from Hengistbury in the morning, but was absent at Stanpit in the afternoon. However, other waders were still plentiful and headed by a minimum of 6 Curlew Sandpiper, the Spotted Redshank, 7 Knot, 4 Greenshank, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Common Sandpiper, also 200 Dunlin and 100 Ringed Plover. Earlier, 6 Snipe and a further Common Sandpiper had been in Brewer's Creek with a small, reed-skulking Dunlin that required some close attention. The second Little Grebe brood is not as successful as the first quartet, with the later duo now being a solo.
The recent star left during the night, which had started with zero cloud cover. One bird that did hang around was the Avocet, present all day, as was the adult Spotted Redshank. There was a good turnover of Knot through Stanpit, groups of 30 and 12 were seen arriving, while up to 20 were settled this afternoon, with 50 perhaps being the best estimate at a day total. Approximation is also needed for the hirundines that were swarming over the area in waves, then moving on west, during the morning. The sky was constantly full of birds, as numerous as insects, with 95% being House Martin, the rest Swallow and Sand Martin. After consultation between the main observers, a day figure of 20000 is not an exaggeration. Returning to the Stanpit Bight waders and the peak counts for each. Curlew Sandpiper 4, Sanderling 10, Bar-tailed Godwit 8, Black-tailed Godwit 10, Common Sandpiper 5, Greenshank 4, Turnstone 4, Whimbrel 3, with Dunlin and Ringed Plover in excess of 300 and 100 respectively. Holloway's Dock played a bit part, hosting 4 Greenshank and 3 Whimbrel; and Wick Hams contributed a Snipe. Despite all this, by local standards, the bird of the day has to go to a Nuthatch in a tit flock around the Stanpit golf course pines! Again, overhead migration was slow, with just 36 Common Tern west, 5 Yellow Wagtail and a Tree Pipit to note; although 4 Grey Heron in off and north was of more interest. Settled migrants on Hengistbury and Wick comprised, 15 each of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, up to 20 Blackcap and 2 Wheatear. Stanpit was little better, but did muster 4 Yellow Wagtail and a Wheatear about Crouch Hill. Singles of Yellow-legged Gull were in Holloway's Dock and Stanpit Bight; raptors to the north of the area included a Hobby, 7 Buzzard and 5 Sparrowhawk; the Great-crested Grebe remains in the harbour; 37 Wigeon and an adult Shelduck were on Stanpit; and Kingfisher were in Mother Siller's Channel and by the HHC. Of butterfly interest, 6 Clouded Yellow were in the Barn Field this afternoon.
Additionals news: by dusk, the Curlew Sandpiper on Stanpit had built up to 12 birds, all pushed close the the Log by the rising tide; while, earlier, a Turnstone passed the sandspit.
Despite a jet-ski charging into Stanpit Bight last night and flushing the Wilson's Phalarope, the bird was again around all day, mostly off South Marsh. An Avocet spent the entire day in the harbour and at least 3 Spotted Redshank were about this morning, but this afternoon it was just the faithful, adult bird. Other Stanpit waders included 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 26 Knot, including 22 that were seen to arrive together, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Turnstone, 1 Whimbrel and 3 Greenshank. Also, around 120 Dunlin and 50 Ringed Plover, while 72 more of these were on the sandspit, along with 7 Sanderling and 6 Turnstone. A Ruff was with 9 Bar-tailed Godwit in Holloway's Dock and a further of the godwit passed west at sea. Meanwhile, Snipe continue to deceive - migrants or winter residents? A total of 12 were over the area today. The best of the terns from the sandspit was a juvenile Roseate Tern that lingered for a short time, also 2 Arctic Tern and 148 Common Tern, 3 Mediterranean Gull and 65 Gannet. Overhead passage was moderate; for example 1000 Swallow and 500 House Martin in three hours, also a couple of Spotted Flycatcher in off at the end of Hengistbury, with 16 Yellow Wagtail, 18 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit and 3 Grey Wagtail elsewhere. Decked birds were even sparser, just 5 Wheatear, 2 Whinchat, around a dozen scattered Blackcap and slightly more Chiffchaff on Hengistbury/Wick; and 3 Yellow Wagtail following animals on Crouch Hill. A Peregrine toured Hengistbury and Kingfisher were by Mother Siller's Channel, Stanpit, with another trapped and ringed by the HHC. Finally, hopes were raised for an albatross record, as the proprietor of a local animal rescue was seen walking onto Blackberry Point with a large box marked RSPCA and clearly containing a bird for release. Sadly, the contents were just a Cormorant!
The Wilson's Phalarope was relocated at 7:15 and spent until around 4:00 just off South Marsh. However, it then disappeared for a while, but was relocated in the lagoon on Blackberry Point. Despite the distance, the views were still pretty good in the afternoon sun. Another first for the year, an Ortolan Bunting, went over the HHC and was thought to have come down in Wick Fields, but despite some searching was not re-found. Interestingly, there is a second-hand report of the Red-backed Shrike in the Bobolink Field this morning. A local highlight on Stanpit this evening, was the arrival of 3 juvenile Spotted Redshank to join the ever-present adult. The Stanpit waders continue to impress in terms of number and variety. In order of abundance, there were: 250 Dunlin, 50 Ringed Plover, 5 Curlew Sandpiper, 5 Knot, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Turnstone, 1 Whimbrel and a superbly plumaged Grey Plover. In addition, a Green Sandpiper passed over Hengistbury. Last week, it was decided not to mention Snipe any longer as they were too numerous, however, their current absence suggests that glut was actually made up of migrants. A small passage of 50 Common Tern over the harbour in the morning also pulled in a Black Tern, while at least 1 Arctic Tern went through this afternoon. Overnight, there was a noticeable influx of three particular species, with over 35 Stonechat on the Long Field, 15 Water Rail surrounding Brewer's Creek and Reed Bunting popping up in a few unexpected spots. Hirundines were again filling the sky. The morning saw 7000 over Hengistbury, being mainly Swallow. This thinned out until the early evening when hundreds arrived at Stanpit, with many stopping to break their thirst in Mother Siller's Channel and off Fisherman's Bank. Back to the morning, when the first Meadow Pipit movement of the autumn was noted, as up to 70 birds moved east, but otherwise it was largely quiet. The remaining numbers are: 54 Yellow Wagtail, 9 Tree Pipit, 14 Wheatear, 10 Whitethroat, 1 Whinchat and 12 Blackcap. At least 40 Wigeon are now in the area, with 4 Shoveler, 2 Pintail and 46 Teal also recorded. It's never certain about the migrant status of Jay, but there were an exceptional 14 on Hengistbury before lunch, also a Hobby over and a Great-crested Grebe in the harbour. Finally, the Little Egret that was ringed last Saturday was incredibly approachable alongside the path out to Crouch Hill.
Not since May 2005 and a certain tern, has there been cause to use the bold font to signify an undisputed harbour first. However, a juvenile Wilson's Phalarope changed things this afternoon. The bird, which brings the harbour total to 321 species, was found just after 2:00 feeding on Speller's Point. Fortuitously, as today is a neap tide cycle, there was a constant exposure of mud throughout the afternoon, meaning even high water didn't move the bird on. At 6:30, it was still present, being photographed from South Marsh. Even without this highlight, Stanpit would have been well worth a visit. After two autumns of sea lettuce invading Stanpit Bight and discouraging the small waders, this season's uncluttered mud attracted at least 5 Curlew Sandpiper, including one adult, and a Little Stint, mixed in with around 250 Dunlin and over 40 Ringed Plover. Just like the old days! Also around Stanpit Bight, 12 Knot, 5 Common Sandpiper, 4 Greenshank, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Sanderling and the Spotted Redshank. A Little Tern and 2 juvenile Mediterranean Gull put in cameo appearances, but 20 Wigeon, 4 Teal and a Shoveler were more settled. Best from the earlier part of the day on Hengistbury was the first Merlin of the autumn, also 15 Tree Pipit, 14 Yellow Wagtail and 7 Grey Wagtail moving over, a party of 7 Turnstone passing by and 3 Ruff seen to pitch into Stanpit. Passerines were relatively few, numbering 17 Whitethroat, 14 Sedge Warbler, 12 Chiffchaff, 2 Lesser Whitethroat and a Garden Warbler. A Great-crested Grebe was in the harbour and Kingfisher were noted on both sides of it.
Phalarope update: the evening high water pushed it onto East Marsh, where it could well roost.
The Red-backed Shrike was still on the Bobolink Field on Wick this morning, but there were no further reports. If it is still there and you see it, please do keep us updated. The major migration feature of the day was hirundines, with up to 2000 over Hengistbury this morning being a mixture of Sand Martin and Swallow. Their behaviour was that of flocking, seemingly waiting for the opportune moment to move on. Not surprisingly, a Hobby was also attracted to the area. By the evening, the scenario was quite different as a steady, broad-front of exclusively Swallow moved west over the entirety of Stanpit. The same was going on over Hengistbury and Wick, but there was an element of Sand Martin over those sites. During the morning, the main area of coverage was again from the Wick driving range to as far east as the Batters, where the phyllosc mix is now changing in favour of Chiffchaff - 39 of those today compared with just 4 Willow Warbler. Best of the others was probably a Redstart, 6 Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Garden Warbler, also 81 Whitethroat, 58 Blackcap, 36 Sedge Warbler, 6 Reed Warbler 5 Wheatear and 4 Whinchat. One shy of 30 Yellow Wagtail passed over, as did 11 Grey Wagtail and 4 Tree Pipit, with a further of these settled on Wick. A fair number of duck were logged from Hengistbury, including 52 Wigeon, 26 Teal, 6 Shoveler, 4 Pintail and 3 Gadwall; while waders recorded from there, most of them moving through, comprised 55 Black-tailed Godwit, a Golden Plover, 4 Grey Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 7 Knot, with a Spotted Redshank being heard. Stanpit was visited in the early and late afternoon and the higher of the counts are: 100+ Dunlin, 17 Black-tailed Godwit, 13 Ringed Plover, 8 Knot, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel and a Greenshank. The Kingfisher of the day were at Wick Hams and Fisherman's Bank.
Some good additional news from Stanpit involves 4 Curlew Sandpiper off South Marsh this evening; when there were also 13 Knot, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, around 30 Dunlin, 21 Ringed Plover, 3 Greenshank, a Sanderling and a Turnstone.
Thanks to the Shrikeman of Wick, most present-day regulars increased their harbour life-lists this morning, courtesy of a young Red-backed Shrike that eventually showed well for the entire day in the Bobolink Field on Wick. This is the first CHOG record for well over 10 years and many who ticked it have seen perhaps 3 woodchats in that time. Of note, at least 2 of the first-arriving regulars were sporting absolutely no optics, strongly suggesting they should have been elsewhere at the time! There were actually quite a few common migrants on Wick; with the shrike, which was surprisingly feeding on berries, often being mobbed by a Lesser Whitethroat and a Blackcap. Final totals, spread from the Wick driving range to the Barn Field, were made up of: a Spotted Flycatcher, a Whinchat, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Blackcap, 9 Wheatear, 8 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler and 25+ Whitethroat. A group of 5 Grey Heron passed over very high to the west, while Wick Hams held the customary, of late, 4 Snipe and 2 Greenshank. A truncated morning visit to Stanpit saw the Spotted Redshank and 2 further Greenshank.
Coverage of the area was not so comprehensive today, hence the shorter than usual set of records. Stanpit probably provided the best, with a Curlew Sandpiper off South Marsh, also the Spotted Redshank and 7 Sanderling from there. The harbour continues to hold 200 or so small waders, the bulk of them Dunlin, but also at least a dozen Ringed Plover mixed in. The other reasonable wader spot at the moment is Wick Hams and the adjacent Barn Bight, where there were 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Snipe, 2 Common Sandpiper and a Greenshank. There were a total of 21 Wheatear on Hengistbury and from the timing of the reports, it seems that many arrived later in the morning. The same is certainly true of 3 Whinchat on the Barn Field at lunchtime, which had been absent earlier. A Great-spotted Woodpecker was by the HHC and there was a reasonable gathering of terns of the Long Groyne, but only Common Tern and Sandwich Tern could be picked out of it.
Additional Stanpit news: there had obviously been another Knot arrival, as 14 birds were present this evening, along with the Spotted Redshank, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper, around 120 Dunlin and 10 or so Ringed Plover. There were also over 10 Wheatear and up to 10 Yellow Wagtail.
At last, the autumn Osprey famine was broken, as a bird spent a short while over the harbour around 9:15 this morning, before moving on towards the Poole Harbour flock. This was an unexpected bonus for the early arrivers of the 9:30 walk. During the subsequent 2 hours, gazing across Stanpit Bight and beyond, some nice bits and pieces were logged. The Spotted Redshank seems very settled indeed, but the same couldn't be said of 9 Arctic Tern that passed through very quickly to the west. Unfortunately, the walk leaders failed to pick these out! Among the 100+ Dunlin, were a few Ringed Plover along with 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Turnstone. Earlier, 3 Pintail had passed over, while 3 Shelduck, an adult and 2 juveniles, stopped briefly, but then pushed on. Eventually, the Yellow Wagtail that were calling on East Marsh showed themselves and a total of 10 birds were recorded. Around the periphery of the recording area, 7 Sparrowhawk were on the wing, as was a single Hobby. A later visit to Stanpit saw a further Hobby over the village and the Spotted Redshank roosting on East Marsh. Over lunch, a brief trip to Hengistbury resulted in 2 Common Sandpiper, a Whimbrel and a Black-tailed Godwit on Wick Hams; and 8 Willow Warbler and 4 Whitethroat close by.
Again, the westerly breeze made for a quiet day, so the surprise capture of a Little Egret in a reedbed mist net intended for Sedge Warbler was a welcome piece of theatre. This was CHOG's first capture of the species and was made more interesting as the bird was a fresh juvenile that carried some features common to the infamous Stanpit egret of 1998. For a fuller account and more photographs, please click here . Just after 6:00, a good number of Yellow Wagtail, around 80 or more, lifted out of the HHC roost in two similarly sized groups. After that, it was largely downhill in terms of migrant passerines and conversation, which tended towards the banal. For example, did that Coot flying downriver at a height of 40 feet really break the harbour's altitude record for the species?! Then, the farce was completed, as 117 Canada Goose arrived at 9:35 and settled off South Marsh! More seriously, flyovers from Hengistbury included: 4 Tree Pipit, 2
Grey Wagtail, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, a total of 40 Snipe, including a wisp of 13 watched coming in from the east, and 2 Shoveler. A party of 12 Knot were recorded from both sides of the harbour, but they chose not to settle and continued on westward. At least 5 Common Sandpiper were in Barn Bight, while migrant passerines on Wick, the Barn Field and the Batters comprised just 6 Blackcap, 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Wheatear, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whinchat and 1 Reed Warbler, plus 3 trapped Sedge Warbler. Finally from Hengistbury, a couple of Kingfisher and a Great-crested Grebe were about the river. The Stanpit side of the harbour was thoroughly surveyed on the rising tide, with all the wader areas - Stanpit Bight, Fisherman's Bank, Blackberry Point and the Flats - being checked out. The total score was: 196 Dunlin, 73 Ringed Plover, the Spotted Redshank off Fisherman's Bank, 3 Sanderling on the Flats, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Turnstone, which then left over the Barn. Off Mudeford Quay, there were various terns, the best being 3 Little Tern, and a Kingfisher was by Fisherman's Bank. Further Stanpit visits are planned, so an update may follow. Please check back to yesterday for some additions.
Later news from Stanpit. Firstly, the best; which involved all of the Canada Goose being seen to leave between 5:00 and 5:30. With over 100 of these spending most of the day at Stanpit, the first day of the inland wildfowl shooting season has a lot to answer for! As soon as the water gave way to just a few square metres of mud, the Dunlin were back, 120 or so of them, along with 3 Ringed Plover and a Turnstone. The Spotted Redshank sat out the high tide on East Marsh, as did a Greenshank. Around 10 Black-tailed Godwit were noted and at least a dozen Yellow Wagtail were settled in the same area .