Sightings for the April 2013

April 30th

Whitethroat – Jimmy Main (top) & Peter Clarke

There wasn’t much in the way of early field activity on Hengistbury this morning, which is slightly disconcerting as the ringer reported around 40 Willow Warbler foraging in Wick Ditch, so suggesting there had perhaps been a relatively significant arrival of birds. As it was, 5 Wheatear and Cuckoo were logged, along with 3 Yellow Wagtail at Stanpit. The only wader counts are of 11 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 80+ Dunlin, but 3 Mediterranean Gull did pass over and there was a notable count of 52 Shelduck at Stanpit. 

April 29th

Linnet – Ali Germain
Mallard – Clinton Whale

It was another very quiet day, which was interspersed with a couple of moments of interest. At 9:00 this morning, an Osprey passed high to the north over Stanpit and, late in the afternoon, a gaggle of 25 pale-bellied Brent Goose was off Mudeford Quay for a period. Otherwise, the best were 2 Hobby, 6 Yellow Wagtail, a Tree Pipit and a Garden Warbler over or on Stanpit, plus a Whinchat and 4 Wheatear on Hengistbury. Wader reports were spares, but do include a Common Sandpiper, 15 Whimbrel, a latish Snipe, 18 Turnstone, some of those coming along nicely in terms of breeding plumage, and 80 or so Dunlin. The drake Wigeon was again about and there are still two pairs of Gadwall, as well as a spare drake, in the harbour.

April 28th

Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier – Jimmy Main
Cetti's Warbler
Cetti's Warbler – Paul Craven

Whinchat – Jimmy Main

It was another quiet day on the migrant front, but there was still enough interest for the members' day with best being a couple of Marsh Harrier about the area. One was seen a few times over the Wick reedbeds before it made a circuit of Stanpit, while a further bird that sported a rather mangled tail headed through to the east. In terms of passerine migrants, a settled Whichat performed well by the Barred Warbler Bush, but Wheatear were sparse with just three being reported all day. Meanwhile, up to 20 Mediterranean Gull passed over, nearly all to the west, 3 Yellow Wagtail overflew Wick and a White Wagtail was at Stanpit. There is little else to report from Stanpit though, save for 15 or so Whimbrel, a Common Sandpiper and 80 Dunlin. For those who attended the members' day and saw the Cetti's Warbler that was caught, the bird was actually a re-trap having being initially ringed in the same spot almost exactly two years ago on April 24th 2011.

April 27th

Dartford Warbler
Dartford Warbler – Chris Chapleo
Stonechat – Chris Chapleo

It’s rarely good for two days in succession, so a quiet morning was no real surprise. This was made all the harder to bear by a cutting northerly wind that picked up an hour or so after first light. Commoner migrants were around in small numbers, the pick being 4 Whinchat and 17 Wheatear on Hengistbury, but it’s also worth noting that Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler are now building in numbers around the area. The waders at Stanpit were checked during both low tide periods, with the peak counts being: the 2 Spotted Redshank, one in almost complete breeding attire and the other slightly further behind, 30+ Whimbrel, now just a single Curlew, 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover and 141 Dunlin. Meanwhile, the drake Wigeon is still on-site. Other than 5 Swift and a Peregrine over, the remaining news comes courtesy of seabirds; namely, a Red-throated Diver west, 4 Little Tern, 11 Mediterranean Gull and a Common Gull. 

April 26th

Wood Warbler
Wood Warbler
Wood Warbler – Darren Hughes

Some heavy overnight rain ceased just prior to dawn, at which time it was relatively quiet; however, after a couple of hours of daylight there were a lot of grounded birds about the area. These were mainly chats, with Wheatear being by far the most numerous. At times, birds were carpeting the Barn Field and Warren Hill East, but with them being fairly mobile and moving on quickly, accurate counting was difficult and the ventured tally of 120 individuals is likely to be very much on the conservative side. In addition, at least 8 and 5 of Whinchat and Redstart respectively were logged, as well as 5 Yellow Wagtail, a White Wagtail, a Tree Pipit, singles of Redpoll and Siskin, 4 Swift and 185 Swallow. The pick of the warblers was a Wood Warbler that performed well for a period in the Nursery, but also 86 Willow Warbler, 45 Blackcap and 43 Whitethroat. There was also a good variety of waders to be had: a Little Ringed Plover left Stanpit to the north in the company of 40 Ringed Plover and the 2 Spotted Reshank were still on the marsh, as well as 8 Common Sandpiper, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Whimbrel, 21 Black-tailed Godwit and 120 Dunlin. To complement these numbers, 4 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit and 18 Whimbrel plus 42 Black-tailed Godwit were seen on the move from Hengistbury. To close this post, the second Hobby of the season circuited low over Crouch Hill, at least 25 Mediterranean Gull moved over and 3 Little Tern were on-site, along with up to 30 Sandwich Tern, the latter now seemingly well established and having been logged as 80 birds inside the harbour a couple of days ago. 

April 25th

A heavy mist shrouded most of the area throughout the day, so reports are few and far between. In fact, the best involve a Turtle Dove by Stanpit golf course and 3 Yellow Wagtail settled on Wick. Meanwhile, for the date, there was an excellent count of 25 Purple Sandpiper from Mudeford Quay, as well as a Grey Seal there. Despite the poor visibility, it was possible to ascertain there was an arrival of Swift and Swallow.

April 24th

Common Crane
Common Crane – Jean Southworth
Purple Sandpiper
One of the recent, lingering Purple Sandpiper – Jimmy Main

The morning was again dominated by a major event, as a Common Crane moved west over the area around 8:30. Once more, we must thank the watchers at Hurst for a tip-off that meant a small reception party was on Mudeford Quay to see the bird approach and enter ‘harbour airspace’ over The Run, before circuiting above Stanpit and making its way steadily west. Earlier, a short while after dawn, a particularly showy Wood Warbler had entertained at the northern extremity of the area, adjacent to the House-on-Stilts, with a male Redstart, 2 Cuckoo and a Wheatear also there and suggesting some real promise after a misty night. However, on that side of the river things went suddenly dead - for example, a single Dunnock being the sum total from over 90-minutes of unfurled nets at the HHC. An hour or so later though, the northern part of Stanpit seemed to come alive, as a male Pied Flycatcher was seen briefly by the golf course, a total of 33 Yellow Wagtail, including flocks of fifteen and nine, were on or around Central Marsh and 18 Tree Pipit overflew. Meanwhile, of intrigue, a male Yellowhammer headed towards Hengistbury where a female is thought to be hanging-out. Also seen from that session at Stanpit was a movement of hirundines and Swift, including ten of the latter plus 165 Swallow, 36 House Martin and perhaps 100 or so travelling Sand Martin. In addition, a further 4 Swift were seen over St Catherine’s School in the afternoon. Continuing with the marsh, a mid-morning wader movement was also witnessed, including a fly-through Little Stint mixed in with 116 Dunlin, but also a Golden Plover, a Greenshank, 56 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper and 26 Ringed Plover. To round up, a couple of Red-throated Diver moved west past Mudeford Quay, singles of Brent Goose and Wigeon remain, a pair of Teal was in Brewer’s Creek and Gadwall were seen as a couple in Barn Bight and 2 drakes and a duck in Parky Meade Rail.

Additional news: a Red-legged Partridge was at Stanpit in the evening.

April 23rd

Male Chaffinch – Chris Chapleo

Other than a major highlight, it was another desperate day for incoming migrants - once more, hirundines were virtually non-existent. So, first-things-first: a Corncrake was heard adjacent to the visitor’s centre on Stanpit around 7:30 this morning before then being seen during a brief flight over to East Marsh, in which relocation attempts would have been futile. That aside, a couple of Whinchat, a Cuckoo, a Lesser Whitethroat and 8 Wheatear were perhaps the only other new passerines on-site. A single, lingering Purple Sandpiper was on the sandspit groynes, as were 2 Common Sandpiper and 12 Turnstone; while by the late afternoon, in excess of 40 Whimbrel were at Stanpit, along with a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 25 or so Dunlin. A lone Wigeon was in Barn Bight, where it was accompanied by a pair of Gadwall.

Additional news: an apparent pair of Marsh Harrier were high over Wick late morning and up to 3 Snipe were vocal at Stanpit at dusk, when a couple of Common Sandpiper were also present there.

April 22nd

It's been a good spring for Redstart in the area,
including two birds ringed today, both of them females – Jean Southworth
Dartford Warbler
A rather different view of a Dartford Warbler,
along with Christchurch Priory – Steve Davies

Another fine morning produced a good selection of birds: amongst them a Wood Warbler on the Batters and four scattered Lesser Whitethroat. In addition, at least 7 Redstart, all female birds, were across Hengistbury and Wick, as were 6 Whinchat, 12+ Wheatear, some of those actually on Stanpit, 32 Whitethroat, 3 Reed Warbler and 108 Willow Warbler. Meanwhile, a White Wagtail was on Stanpit, 2 Yellow Wagtail and a Tree Pipit went over Hengistbury, and a Yellowhammer on the head was considered to be bird lingering for a couple of weeks now. After the traditional mid-April lull, wader interest is now picking up with 22+ Whimbrel, a Greenshank, a Grey Plover, a Common Sandpiper, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Snipe and 67 Dunlin all transient birds at Stanpit, plus the loitering 2 Spotted Redshank there. As the spring comes to life, there were just 4 Brent Goose on the marsh this afternoon.

April 21st

Grass Snake
The fine weather of the weekend has seen some reptiles emerge,
including this Grass Snake as well as a few Adder  – Brian Heppenstall

Although there were once again relatively few birds around, there was a decent selection of minor quality - not least, a Black Redstart on Whitepits and a Nightingale on Wick. In addition, Hengistbury and Wick came up with: a Grasshopper Warbler that reeled all too briefly by the Driving Range, at least 2 Cuckoo, up to 5 Redstart, a Whinchat, over 20 Wheatear and a flyover Redpoll. Meanwhile, the year’s first Hobby came in over the north end of Stanpit, where another debutante for the season, a Garden Warbler, sang. In terms of commoner migrants, Willow Warbler were again pitifully low in numbers, but Whitethroat and Reed Warbler do seem to have picked up a little. However, for the second day in succession, incoming hirundines were for the almost completely absent - a pair of Swallow are prospecting the HHC and there are good numbers of Sand Martin on the cliff, but passing birds throughout the morning came to no more than single figures of the former!Around 14 Mediterranean Gull travelled over the area and 2 Fulmar gave it a very close look, including a bird over the centre of the Wick Fields, while a lone Raven moved through. At Stanpit, there was a Greenshank, 9 Whimbrel, a very smart looking Spotted Redshank and 12 Black-tailed Godwit.

April 20th

Turnstone – Clinton Whale
Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail – Clinton Whale

Despite promising looking and feeling conditions - overnight cloud, clearing at dawn and a light easterly breeze - the morning flattered to deceive. There was one highlight, however, as a male 'Blue-headed' Wagtail, in the company of a female of unknown race, foraged under the cattle in the No Dogs Field on Wick for half-an-hour or so before they both moved on unseen. The first Cuckoo of the spring was heard very early on about the northern end of Wick and Stanpit, while 4 Bearded Tit, three males and a female, were seen from the Wooden Bridge. Otherwise, it’s just a single Whinchat on Hengistbury, around 6 Wheatear spread across the area, 3 Sedge Warbler and paltry numbers of Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Whitethroat to remark upon in terms of migrant passerines. Mediterranean Gull were heard throughout the morning, the estimate being around 40 birds, and a Fulmar moved east over a very quiet sea. At Stanpit, just one Spotted Redshank was turned in, along with 7 Whimbrel, 2 Grey Plover, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Turnstone and 35 Dunlin. Meanwhile, the Brent Goose have dropped to just three birds, but the Shelduck have increased to twenty-two. A couple of local events involved a Nuthatch, which after being first seen on Wick overflew the nets by the HHC and headed towards the Wood, plus rising suspicions that Rook are once again attempting to breed within the recording area. 

April 19th

This morning the sea was watched from the Beach Huts for four and a half hours from 6:00 onwards, but despite the effort very little was seen; just a Red-throated Diver, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and 28 Common Scoter east, plus another nine on the sea, and 5 Little Tern west. A Common Sandpiper and 4 Purple Sandpiper were on the groynes, while later in the day a further 10 Common Sandpiper were at Stanpit, mainly on the river, also the 2 Spotted Redshank were opposite Fisherman's Bank. Migrants were scarce again with 28 Willow Warbler, 20 Whitethroat, 17 Wheatear, 6 Blackcap, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Redstart, 2 Reed Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, 2 Grasshopper Warbler and a Tree Pipit. Other movement involved the arrival of 75 Goldfinch at Hengistbury and 17 Whimbrel east, also 17 Mediterranean Gull and 4 Greylag Geese through the harbour. Both Peregrine and Buzzard were soaring over the Priory this afternoon. Finally, the Red-necked Grebe is off Mudeford Quay this evening.
Check back to yesterday for some late news.

April 18th

A drake Garganey viewable from Fisherman's Bank was feeding quietly in Stanpit Creek this morning; it's  been a good year for this species, with half-a-dozen birds already, particularly when compared against last year when there were no spring records. A few migrants turned up despite the strong winds; the totals were 30 Willow Warbler, 30 Swallow, 15 House Martin, 10 Blackcap, 5 Wheatear, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, a Reed Warbler and a Tree Pipit. With good numbers of skua recorded from various points west over the last couple of days, the sea has been given some attention but produced very little. This afternoon, however, a couple of skua moved into The Solent past Mudeford Quay, but unfortunately their ID could not be clinched. Earlier, 14 Common Tern and 4 Little Tern were off the quay and a Fulmar moved west, also 7 Common Scoter, 4 east and 3 west, and 2 first-summer Mediterranean Gull, while 13 Whimbrel and 2 Little Egret arrived. The 2 Spotted Redshank were still present in the harbour together with 55 Dunlin, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Turnstone. The only other report is of a female Merlin at Stanpit this morning.

Omission: a Marsh Harrier was present on Stanpit around lunchtime.

April 17th

A male Little Bunting first seen over the Nursery heading west was then perched by Double Dykes about half-an-hour later, around 10:00, before the bird continued on towards Wick. However, it wasn't seen again. That apart, most of the action was at the eastern end of the head, where a Woodlark came in-off the sea and a Yellowhammer passed overhead. On the ground, over the whole area, were 32 Blackcap, 26 Willow Warbler, 21 Wheatear, these mainly on the sandspit, 7 Whitethroat, 2 Black Redstart, 2 Common Redstart, 2 Sedge Warbler, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, a Firecrest and a Reed Warbler; also 9 Swallow through. Whimbrel passage definitely picked up today with up to seventy birds arriving, although double-counting can't be discounted, with 26 birds seen from Mudeford Quay and the remainder from Hengistbury. Other waders this morning were 32 Black-tailed Godwit in two small flocks heading north, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Grey Plover while 4 Purple Sandpiper were on the groynes. The sea was again very quiet with just 17 Common Scoter, 3 Mediterranean Gull, 2 adults and a first-summer bird and a Common Tern.

April 16th

Blackcap – Alan Sutton
Meadow Pipit
...and a pair of Meadow Pipit going about their business – Hugh Goldsmith

The in-harbour Red-throated Diver was seen again today - this time, on the river at Stanpit around lunchtime - with the other notables for the post being the Nightingale in song this morning on Wick Fields, close to the junction on the central path, and a good total of 16 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit. The majority of the day’s Wheatear, 25 birds, were also on the sandspit, with just seven others turned in from elsewhere. Once more, Wick hosted the best of the spring migrants, with 2 Redstart, a Yellow Wagtail over the Wooden Bridge, a Sedge Warbler and all-bar-one of the seven reported Whitethroat, plus a few Willow Warbler and Blackcap. In addition, there was steady incoming of Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin throughout, although the latter are now established on the Hengistbury cliffs making it difficult to accurately assess new birds. There were few waders at Stanpit, a Sanderling being the best, but also a lone Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Ringed Plover. To wrap up, the sea was given attention from the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay and came up with: 2 Red-throated Diver, 11 Whimbrel, a Fulmar, 4 Common Tern, 3 Common Scoter and 2 Shelduck, nearly all eastbound. Sadly, another cetacean was washed up on the Hengistbury shore, with both corpses now undergoing investigation; but on a brighter note, despite the late spring, it has been reported that Mallard young were seen on thirtieth of last month.

Ommission: 6 pale-bellied Brent Goose were on Stanpit this afternoon.

April 15th

Firecrest on Hengistbury – Alan Sutton
Greenfinch – Clinton Whale

There were few grounded migrants to be had this morning, with the northern section of Wick Fields seemingly holding most of them - the totals from there and Hengistbury being: 2 Grasshopper Warbler, one of them actually being seen in the Bobolink Field; a Nightingale, which was both seen and heard, along the central path on Wick; plus 4 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, a single Wheatear, 6 Whitethroat, 25 Willow Warbler, 42 Chiffchaff and ten or so Blackcap. In addition, a Ring Ouzel came off the head and moved along the sandspit, the year’s first Swift went over Wick, a Firecrest and a Redwing were in the Wood, and 2 Yellow Wagtail and a Reed Warbler were about Priory Marsh. Meanwhile, overhead, there was a small incoming of pipits and hirundines, the totals being 175 Meadow Pipit, 175 Sand Martin, 80 Swallow and 5 House Martin. Of the waders, a Green Sandpiper was perhaps the best, but the first 2 Greenshank of the year were also at Stanpit, along with 7 Whimbrel, 2 Spotted Redshank, a Grey Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit and 22 Black-tailed Godwit. At sea, a couple of Little Gull headed east, as did a Little Tern, a Fulmar, 37 Brent Goose, 18 Common Scoter, 49 Common Gull and a Common Tern, with further three of the latter inside the harbour during the afternoon. Finally, please check back to yesterday for some late news and, of mammal 'interest', a porpoise, species to be confirmed, was washed up on the beach at Hengistbury.

April 14th

A Nightingale was singing on-and-off on Hengistbury this morning; although the bird was in deep cover about 100m past the Barn it was seen occasionally. It was also easily the best morning of the spring for hirundines with 340 Swallow, 200 Sand Martin and 30 House Martin moving through. There was a Ring Ouzel in the Bobolink Field on Wick, while across the area were 30 Blackcap, 28 Willow Warbler, 24 Wheatear, 4 Redstart, 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Yellow Wagtail and a Firecrest.  Around mid-morning a group of 7 Pale-bellied Brent Geese alighted on the mud off South Marsh for a few minutes before continuing their journey east. The only wader news today is of 7 Whimbrel on the sandspit and 34 Black-tailed Godwit on Priory Marsh. The Red-throated Diver was on the river before leaving the harbour to the east, while other snippets included a Peregrine seen from Mudeford Quay, 12 Mediterranean Gull and 3 Greylag Geese east, singles of Gadwall and Tufted Duck in the harbour and a Redwing still on Stanpit.

Additional news: a Reed Warbler was singing on Priory Marsh.

April 13th

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit on Wick Fields – Clinton Whale

There were plenty of optimists out in the field this morning before the rain set in but highlights were few. An immature Little Gull flew upriver and the Red-throated Diver was still inside the harbour. A Brambling settled briefly on Wick, while 4 Yellow Wagtail and 3 Yellowhammer passed overhead. Migrant totals across the area were 43 Wheatear, 18 Swallow, 17 Willow Warbler, 10 Goldcrest, 9 Blackcap and 2 Firecrest. The sea was watched for most of the morning with very little to show, just a Red-throated Diver, 7 Common Scoter and 2 Shoveler west, a Whimbrel and 12 Sandwich Tern east, a Great Crested Grebe on the water and a Peregrine off the cliffs. A couple of Avocet arrived in the harbour from the west, while on Stanpit there were 33 Black-tailed Godwit, 28 Dunlin, 61 Brent Geese, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and the 2 Spotted Redshank, also 8 Purple Sandpiper on the groynes and 15 Sandwich Tern on the HHC mudbar.

April 12th

One of yesterday's Garganey in Mother Siller's Channel  – Alan Hayden
Red-Throated Diver
Another shot of the Red-throated Diver this morning – Alan Hayden

The Red-throated Diver was still on the river this morning, but yesterday's Garganey seemed to have moved on. The trickle of migrants continued with singles of Redstart and Whitethroat on Stanpit and a House Martin over the river; also 35 Swallow, 27 Sand Martin, 24 Willow Warbler, 23 Chiffchaff, 10 Wheatear and 6 Blackcap. There was little or no overhead movement with just 14 Linnet, 9 Goldfinch and a Whimbrel arriving over Mudeford Quay, also 10 Mediterranean Gull and 4 Sandwich Tern east. A Razorbill was on the sea off the quay, while both Great Crested Grebe and Common Scoter were on the water off the Beach Huts. The 2 Spotted Redshank were in situ on East Marsh, while elsewhere on Stanpit 31 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Shoveler were counted.

April 11th

Red-Throated Diver
Red-throated Diver in Parky Meade Rail today – Darren Hughes
A recent shot of a Jay – David Williams

After not being reported for a few days, the Red-necked Grebe was back in the harbour this morning. There was also a Red-throated Diver in Parky Meade Rail for most of the day. Meanwhile, another five species made it onto the harbour year list. These were Common Sandpiper with three birds on Stanpit, this increased to six later in the day, and then just one each of Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and House Martin, all on Hengistbury.  Migrant totals from both sides of the harbour were 78 Goldcrest, easily the best day of the spring for this species, 37 Willow Warbler, 36 Blackcap, 35 Chiffchaff, 16 Wheatear, 10 Swallow, 5 Firecrest, a Tree Pipit and a Redstart, also an influx of Stonechat with 11 birds on Hengistbury considered to be new-in.  Both Brambling and Yellowhammer moved over Hengistbury, also 6 Siskin. Mediterranean Gull were on the move again with 47 logged, also 22 Sandwich Tern and what were presumably yesterday's 3 Whimbrel left Stanpit in an easterly direction soon after dawn. Further evidence of movement was provided by the presence of 6 Avocet on Stanpit and around lunchtime a group of 4 Garganey landed on Central Marsh. Counts from Stanpit today included 122 Brent Geese, 60 Dunlin, 31 Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Ringed Plover, 5 Sanderling, 5 Grey Plover, 5 Sandwich Tern, 4 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 2 Mediterranean Gull, the Spotted Redshank and a Whimbrel; other wader news is of a Little Ringed Plover over Hengistbury and 9 Purple Sandpiper on the groynes.

April 10th

Despite the harbour being shrouded in mist there were a few more migrants around today. The highlight was clearly the sight of 2 Serin perched on the gorse on Crouch Hill, albeit briefly, before they flew off towards the HHC. On Hengistbury, there were 9 Firecrest, seven of these in one spot towards the eastern end of the Wood, 3 Black Redstart, a Yellowhammer and the first Yellow Wagtail of the year; other totals were 19 Willow Warbler, 18 Chiffchaff, 15 Sand Martin, 12 Goldcrest, 6 Blackcap, 5 Wheatear and 2 Swallow. The only hint of overhead movement was of 275 Woodpigeon north-east and 59 Mediterranean Gull east. On Stanpit, 3 Whimbrel were on East Marsh and a Little Ringed Plover was on South Marsh, also 16 Grey Plover, another nine of these left the harbour just after dawn, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Snipe and 2 Sanderling. There were singles of Redwing on either side of the harbour and 2 Siskin over Hengistbury plus littoralis Rock Pipit and 'White' Wagtail on Crouch Hill. To round up, 6 Shoveler and 3 Tufted Duck were in the area.

April 9th

Today's heavy rain showers appeared to have put paid to any early morning activity on Hengistbury, hence the only reports received were from Mudeford Quay and Stanpit. The first Common Tern of the year moved past the quay this morning, also 10 Sandwich Tern, 70 Brent Geese, 5 Turnstone, 2 Purple Sandpiper and a Sanderling, all these birds east. On Stanpit, a Black Redstart on Crouch Hill and a Swallow were the only migrants reported. Waders present included 2 Spotted Redshank, plus singles of Jack Snipe and Ruff, also 45 Dunlin, 22 Grey Plover, 18 Ringed Plover, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Sanderling and 2 Snipe. Two each of Shoveler and Gadwall were in the harbour, as well as 8 Sandwich Tern.

April 8th

Despite a forecast to the contrary it still felt very cold this morning in a stiff easterly breeze. The first Redstart of the year was the pick of the few migrants present on Hengistbury; also 5 Willow Warbler, 2 Firecrest, 1 Tree Pipit and a dozen Chiffchaff, while 6 Brambling and 1 Fieldfare passed overhead. Meanwhile, Stanpit held just a single Wheatear. The sea was watched from various points between Double Dykes and the Beach Huts for up to three hours. With all birds moving east the highlights were 5 Velvet Scoter and a Garganey; and the numbers were 363 Brent Geese, 81 Common Scoter, 12 Sandwich Tern, 5 Gadwall, 4 Red-throated Diver, also one of these on the sea and another in the harbour off the Black House, 3 Pintail, 3 Sanderling, 2 Grey Plover, 2 Shoveler, a Great Northern Diver, a Fulmar and a  Kittiwake.  On Stanpit just a single Spotted Redshank and 6 Turnstone were reported, while the Brent Geese numbered 72 and 2 Greylag Geese were around. Please check back to yesterday for some late news.

April 7th

Rock Pipit
Rock Pipit on Stanpit today – Clinton Whale

After quite a sharp overnight frost conditions were fine and dry with very little wind. Unfortunately, the clear night put paid to any chance of a "fall"! Just 3 Wheatear were on site plus 2 Willow Warbler, a Blackcap and half a dozen Chiffchaff. The easterly passage of Mediterranean Gull continued today with another 109 birds, also an Arctic Skua, 2 Black-throated Diver and 1 Red-throated Diver. There were still 2 Redwing in the Bobolink Field and the wintering Black Redstart was at the eastern end of Hengistbury, while singles of Fieldfare and Brambling passed overhead. Later, a Firecrest was in the bank by the Two Riversmeet footpath. Only 76 Brent Geese were on Stanpit today, possibly a sign that some birds have moved north.

Additional news: On Hengistbury, a total of 4 Firecrest were present and a male Black Redstart was in the Gully, while 8 Red-breasted Merganser moved east, also a Little Ringed Plover circled the harbour.

April 6th

A fine sunny morning with only a light wind made it feel quite warm today, but grounded migrants were still few and far between. Consequently, today's report is mainly about birds on the move, the best of which was probably a Spoonbill that moved west past the Coastguards quite early, while later in the morning a Marsh Harrier headed east at sea. Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull featured strongly with totals of 114 and 217 respectively, also singles of Little Gull and Eider plus a group of 35 Pintail, all these birds moved east. Inside the harbour the Red-necked Grebe was in its usual spot, also 6 Gadwall and 4 Shoveler. A total of 15 Wheatear were on Hengistbury with another six on Stanpit, but otherwise just a single Blackcap and a couple of Willow Warbler were noted. Other bits and pieces included the Redwing in North Scrubs, 4 Purple Sandpiper on the groynes and 2 Raven over the Coastguards.

April 5th

Teal – Alan Sutton
Female Blackcap – Alan Sutton

And still it goes on - the day’s best being a Yellowhammer over the Batters, 3 Firecrest in the Wood and 3 Golden Plover arriving, those in addition to a grand total of 5 Wheatear across the area. On the upside, the Red-necked Grebe, which is still very obliging inside the harbour from Mudeford Quay, is looking far more spritely and seems to have managed to preen most of the oil off itself. At Stanpit, 2 Spotted Redshank remain, as well as 16 Grey Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit and 37 Ringed Plover.

April 4th

Cormorant – Ali Germain
Red-necked Grebe
Red-necked Grebe – Chris Dresh
Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit – Ali Germain

The ‘spring’ progressed with light snow showers for much of the day! Some time soon, however, there must be a break in the weather and a subsequent unleashing of birds from mainland Europe, with all the talk being that the weekend looks ripe for this. Nevertheless, the year-list incremented courtesy of a couple of Tree Sparrow that were briefly settled in brambles around Stanpit golf course. Meanwhile, a Water Pipit was on South Marsh, the Red-necked Grebe remained inside the harbour, a Little Ringed Plover went over and a Marsh Harrier was about Stanpit. Around 25 Chiffchaff were spread across the area and a Blackcap even burst into song, but soon gave up; while to further underline the cold conditions, of the half-dozen Wheatear on-site some were attempting to feed with waders on the harbour shoreline. A Greylag Goose that came in-off the sea with two Brent Goose was an interesting event and 2 Tufted Duck were in Barn Bight. Otherwise, the only other obvious migrants were 2 Siskin, 6 latish Snipe and a Spotted Redshank - the latter joining the wintering incumbent, as well as 18 Grey Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, a single Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Turnstone and 121 Dunlin.

April 3rd

Chiffchaff on Wick today – Chris Chapleo

The Red-necked Grebe was still inside the harbour viewable from the slipway on Mudeford Quay, also from the quay were 8 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit just across The Run. The Firecrest and a Coal Tit were in the wood but migrants were hard to come by with just 7 Wheatear, 1 Blackcap and a few Chiffchaff.  Overhead movement was also disappointing with just 138 Woodpigeon and 2 Siskin.  A group of 5 adult Mediterranean Gull moved over the HHC from the west while a further eight birds were logged from Mudeford Quay.  At sea 78 Common Gull moved east, also 1 Red-throated Diver and 1 Sandwich Tern past the beach huts.  The only wader news today is of 2 Avocet arriving over Hengistbury and of the 2 Spotted Redshank on Stanpit.

April 2nd

Water Rail
Water Rail – Clinton Whale
This bird was photographed from the Wooden Bridge on Wick, where,
during the low tide periods, sightings of Water Rail are almost assured.
Stonechat – Alan Hayden

Although the sun shone throughout the day, it was still very cold in the wind. As a consequence, the only reports concern the Red-necked Grebe inside the harbour until lunchtime at least and 4 Wheatear on Hengistbury.

April 1st

Red-necked Grebe
Another portrait of the Red-necked Grebe,
which was again easily viewable from Mudeford Quay – Ali Germain
Brent Goose Brent Goose
Despite the date, there are still plenty of Brent Goose still using the area – Alan Hayden
...likewise, Wigeon – Alan Hayden

It was a day more befitting of early January, as a biting easterly blast and infrequent sunshine made field activity a real struggle. However, on the upside, it was definitely the best day of the Easter period for migration. This morning, between 7:30 and 10:30, at least 1400 Meadow Pipit made it across The Channel, as did 16 alba Wagtail, a Brambling, 32 Linnet, a single Golden Plover, 200 or so Woodpigeon, these in two flocks of roughly a hundred each, and 13 Wheatear. In addition, a Merlin dashed across the Long Field, no doubt following the pipits as they headed north. Meanwhile, there was some wildfowl movement at sea: of 350 Brent Goose that passed the Coastguards, around a hundred headed into The Solent, including one gaggle of thirty with an accompanying Shelduck, while the others looped into the harbour over the sandspit; a flock of 16 duck was split evenly between Tufted Duck, Shoveler and Pintail; a further eight ‘tufties’ and 2 Gadwall passed, as did 37 Common Scoter; and, although not strictly fowl, 5 Red-throated Diver moved by. The conditions once more saw Chiffchaff feeding away from bushes, but a Firecrest in The Wood was having a better time of it. As indicated by one of the day’s photos, the Red-necked Grebe had returned to the harbour and was not looking in too bad a shape from Mudeford Quay, where 2 Sanderling were also logged. Other waders about the area involved: 3 Purple Sandpiper on Hengistbury and the Spotted Redshank, 7 Turnstone, 150 Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Dunlin and 40 Ringed Plover at Stanpit. To round up, three separate Peregrine visited the area and Raven came to 6 birds, a singleton and an unkindness of five. 

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