Sightings for January 2013

January 31st

brent goose
Brent Goose – Alan Crockard

The weather was much the same as yesterday, but the wind did gradually veer to the north throughout the day. For the first time this winter, there were 2 Spotted Redshank in Stanpit Creek. If memory serves correctly, the last two years have seen what is presumably the regular bird joined by another at around this time. Also from Fisherman’s Bank, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Shelduck, a Greylag Goose and 19 Canada Goose, but the high water levels once again prevented meaningful counting of anything smaller. Earlier on, Mudeford Quay was quiet - the best being a Sandwich Tern offshore, along with a couple of Common Scoter and an incoming Black-tailed Godwit.

January 30th

It was a lot drier today, but still quite breezy. At Stanpit, a Bittern was watched flying down river before it descended into the reeds just north of the HHC. Also on the marsh, the Spotted Redshank, the Knot, 34 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and 206 Brent Goose. The other side of the area produced a nice selection, in the form of: the female-type Black Redstart on the cliffs close to the Gully; a Firecrest in the northern edge of the Wood; and 13 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit. Meanwhile, a Kittiwake passed west and 4 Common Scoter were on the sea.

January 29th

purple sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper – taken in a few days ago, when conditions were
significantly better – Alan Sutton

Conditions were nothing less than awful all day - thanks to a driving south-westerly wind and showers. Despite this, the sea was remarkably quiet, but did offer a Sandwich Tern that patrolled the sandspit for much of the morning. Otherwise, it was just one Red-throated Diver and 2 Common Scoter, all west, as well as eight more scoter settled. The northern end of the spit came up with a fine total of 23 Purple Sandpiper this morning, while a Firecrest was in the Wood. Later in the day, the Spotted Redshank, the Knot, 23 Grey Plover and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit were at Stanpit, where the pre-roost gathering of Black-headed Gull was estimated at 2000 birds. Little else could be seen from Fisherman’s Bank, however, as the water pouring in from the Avon and Stour meant that even a low spring tide yielded no mud. To wrap up, the Tufted Duck and a Kingfisher were around Barn Bight.

January 28th

Buzzard by Priory Marsh – Mike Crockard
goldeneye goldeneye    goldeneye
Goldeneye – Alan Hayden
Note the difference in wing pattern, which we believe to be first-winter (left)
and adult female (right)

There was not so much interest around today, although a count of 29 Grey Plover on a largely flooded Stanpit was a decent total. Elsewhere, there were 2 Goldeneye off Rushy Piece and 'several' Purple Sandpiper dodging waves on the end of the sandspit, as well as a Red-throated Diver, 5 Gannet and 3 Common Scoter east at sea, with a further three of the latter settled. Otherwise, it's just a Kingfisher by Whitethroat Corner that warrants a mention.

Additional news: a Water Pipit was on Priory Marsh and a Firecrest was in Ashtree Meadows, while 12 Pochard and 9 Greylag Goose overflew Stanpit.

January 27th

glaucous gullglaucous gull
Glaucous Gull – Alan Hayden
Young, white-winged gulls are notoriously difficult to age, but we're venturing a second-winter on this one. This on the basis of the overall quite pale plumage with apparent contrast between mantle (paler) and wing coverts; plus, if you squint hard enough, a seemingly pale iris. Any comments or other suggestions are very welcome, however. In fact, the Forum would be an ideal way to start any discussion.
rock pipit
Rock Pipit – Alan Sutton

There is not a lot of quantity to pad out this post, but quality goes some way in making up for that. Around 9:15, we received a tip-off from Hurst about a Glaucous Gull heading our way, but it wasn’t until just before 3:00 this afternoon that it was pinned-down from Fisherman’s Bank. Initially on the exposed mud in Stanpit Creek, the bird soon moved to between Blackberry Point and South Marsh, where it remained until dusk. Earlier, a Slavonian Grebe was seen in flight from Mudeford Quay before settling on the water, while a Black-throated Diver and a Red-throated Diver moved west past there. Meanwhile, a Green Sandpiper, a locally rare bird in winter, was on Wick and the Spotted Redshank was at Stanpit.

January 26th

Lapwing – Peter Clarke
Bar-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit – Lorne Bissell

It was fairly mild all day with little wind, meaning birds could be fairly easily picked out on the sea. A Red-necked Grebe drifted east past the Coastguards, while 4 Common Scoter and 2 Red-throated Diver were also on the water, a further four of the latter passed by and an evacuation of dabbling duck from the Avon Valley, which included 36 Pintail and 3 Shoveler, settled offshore for the morning. Reminders of the recent cold spell were dotted about the area, such as 25+ Linnet west over Hengistbury, plus a Mistle Thrush, 15 Fieldfare and 4 Redwing. On the converse, however, today's fine conditions saw a pair of Sparrowhawk busy in display over the Wood. Late in the morning, a Marsh Harrier moved upriver and the 3 female-type Goldeneye plus the suspect drake Tufted Duck were inside the harbour. Stanpit was visited on a couple of occasions, turning in the Spotted Redshank, a Knot, 28 Grey Plover and 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, as well as a Mediterranean Gull. To round up, a Bullfinch was again logged on Wick, the Nuthatch was in the Wood and a Kingfisher frequented Wick Hams.

January 25th

Most areas were visited today, with the Black Redstart at the southern end of the Beach Huts and 5 Purple Sandpiper on groyne S9 being the highlights from Hengistbury, while a Golden Plover and Knot were on Stanpit, and a Bullfinch was around Wick. In addition, up to 10 Red-throated Diver passed by, most of those seen from Mudeford Quay, the Nuthatch was in the Wood, 8 Pintail were at Stanpit and a Kingfisher was just north of the Wooden Bridge.

January 24th

A Coot in an unusual setting, on the sea off Whitepits this morning – Alan Hayden
Fieldfare near the Golf Centre – Alan Hayden

A Spoonbill, the first of the year, passed east over the harbour c2pm and possibly landed but there was no further news.  Only one Woodlark was by the Solent Meads cafe/club house today, also far fewer winter thrushes than of late with just 25 Fieldfare and 12 Redwing around Wick.  On Stanpit wader numbers were similar to yesterday's with the Spotted Redshank, 360 Dunlin, 34 Ringed Plover and 6 Bar-tailed Godwit. From the quay just 1 Red-throated Diver moved west.

Late news: there were actually 4 Woodlark seen mid morning by the Solent Meads cafe/club house, also 2 Raven moved east over Hengistbury and 4 Grey Plover were on East Marsh today.

January 23rd

Grey Plover
Grey Plover – Alan Hayden

On a morning dominated by a strong easterly wind field activity was a huge improvement on yesterday.  The 8 Woodlark were still by the Solent Meads cafe/clubhouse this morning; also around there were 60 Fieldfare, 40 Redwing and a good local count of 15 Song Thrush.  A Yellowhammer was on the Barn Field, the Firecrest was in the wood and the Black Redstart was by the beach huts while a couple of Siskin and a Redpoll moved overhead.  The sea was watched from both Mudeford Quay and the beach huts but the results were disappointing with just a Little Gull off the quay and 2 Black-throated Diver past the head plus a total of 8 Red-throated Diver logged from both sites; another 2 Red-throated Diver passed the quay this afternoon.  These birds all moved east as did 9 Gannet, 3 Knot, 2 Sanderling and a Golden Plover.  On Stanpit the Green Sandpiper was in the North Scrubs and the Spotted Redshank was still present.  The Dunlin flock has now increased to 430 birds, also 36 Ringed Plover, 26 Grey Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Knot while 25 Purple Sandpiper were on the Mudeford Sandspit.  The number of Goldeneye in the harbour has increased to nine and 6 Pintail were around.  A Water Pipit was on Priory Marsh this morning while both Marsh Harrier and Buzzard were seen from Wick.

January 22nd

On a very wet day no reports have been received so far.

January 21st

Golden Plover
Some of today's Golden Plover – Alan Hayden
Three Goldeneye in the harbour – Alan Hayden
Woodlark – Chris Chapleo

As the wind had eased overnight it didn't feel quite as cold this morning.  The 8 Woodlark were still by the Solent Meads club house/cafe for most of the day, also in the general area were 19 Skylark with another 82 of these on the Stanpit Recreation Ground.  Winter thrushes were again present in reasonable numbers with many grounded birds but also many moving east, the totals being 1380 Fieldfare and 647 Redwing.  The only other passerine news is of a Firecrest and 5 Goldcrest in the wood, a Chiffchaff by the Purewell Stream and Mistle Thrush on both sides of the harbour.  Golden Plover today included 13 on Stanpit and a flock of 34 that circled the harbour before landing on Crouch Hill while another 130 birds headed south; also heading south were 217 Lapwing, 26 Dunlin, 6 Knot and 4 Ruff.  A Green Sandpiper was flushed from the Purewell Stream and 4 Jack Snipe were on South Marsh, also the Spotted Redshank was in its usual spot; other wader totals from Stanpit were 328 Dunlin, 37 Ringed Plover, 21 Grey Plover, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Knot and a Sanderling while 18 Dunlin were in Holloway's Dock and 2 Grey Plover and 1 Ringed Plover were on the sandspit. To round up the 3 Goldeneye were off Rushy Piece, 6 Common Scoter were on the sea and both Raven and Buzzard were logged today.
Of interest one of the Woodlark at Solent Meads is sporting colour rings of yellow /red on its left leg and pale blue / BTO on its right leg. We have established that the bird was ringed as a nestling at a site in Surrey on the 11th April 2012.

January 20th

Woodlark – Alan Hayden
Woodlark – Alan Hayden

It wasn't quite a repeat of yesterday but there were still plenty of birds around today.  First the highlights; a Waxwing flew west over Stanpit at 4pm this afternoon while some three hours earlier a Bittern was seen, also on Stanpit.  The bird, which was flushed from the small pond by Grimmery Bank, landed in Central Marsh.  The Woodlark, only eight today, were present all morning on Wick usually just behind the cafe/club house at Solent Meads. Once again winter thrushes seemed to be everywhere and with birds moving overhead it's difficult to gauge the numbers with any accuracy.  Grounded across the area were 400 Fieldfare and 150 Redwing while heading east the harbour totals were 4000 Fieldfare and 1600 Redwing.  It was a similar story with Skylark with 110 east and another 30 on the ground on Hengistbury and 200 on Stanpit.  Meanwhile flocks of Lapwing and Golden Plover headed south-west, the numbers being 1060 and 346 respectively although one small flock of 21 Golden Plover headed out east over The Run.  Waders today included a Green Sandpiper, which circled the Barn Field before heading towards Wick where it appeared to land; also a Jack Snipe on Priory Marsh, the Spotted Redshank on East Marsh and around Stanpit Bight were 18 Golden Plover, 12 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Knot. The harbour shore by the Salt Hurns held 10 Turnstone, 2 Grey Plover and 2 Ringed Plover. The 3 female Goldeneye were off Rushy Piece while 9 Pintail and a Pochard were inside the harbour. From the beach huts 4 Common Scoter were on the sea and two each of Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe went east. Other bits and pieces included 2 adult Mediterranean Gull over Solent Meads, a Bullfinch on Wick, a Mistle Thrush on Stanpit, 18 Linnet on Hengistbury and a Coal Tit in the woods.

Omission from yesterday: a Brambling moved over Hengistbury in a flock of around 10 Chaffinch.

January 19th

Fieldfare – Alan Crockard
...and Redwing at Stanpit this morning – Alan Crockard

Despite a persistent northerly wind making it feel bitterly cold the harbour was watched from 8am until around 2pm today.  Just after first light there were hundreds of winter thrushes on Whitepits and the Solent Meads golf course, probably around 2000 birds split 80:20 Fieldfare to Redwing.  On Stanpit there was a similar story with 1700 birds, two thirds of which were Fieldfare and the remainder Redwing.  As the morning progressed the thrushes moved in large numbers with 13200 Fieldfare, 6700 Redwing, 180 Song Thrush and 26 Mistle Thrush moving east over Hengistbury.  There was quite a bit of quality during the morning with 3 Corn Bunting, 1 Yellowhammer and a total of 35 Woodlark over Hengistbury, the latter included a flock of 22 birds, also a single bird on Stanpit.  Skylark also featured strongly with 2868 logged over the whole area. Yesterday's flock of 150 Golden Plover was still present while another 170 birds were on Priory Marsh.  The Hengistbury birds moved between Whitepits and the Barn Field then back again as they were constantly disturbed by dogs. Another 344 Golden Plover moved high to the east in small flocks although there may be an element of double-counting here. Other movers included 200 Lapwing, 120 Linnet and 9 Knot all east and 12 Shoveler south-west. The quality wasn't confined to the overhead movers as both Red-necked Grebe and Long-tailed Duck were on the sea, the former off the Long Groyne before it drifted out of view and the latter off the beach huts before it headed west. The sea also produced 63 Pintail, 18 Common Scoter, 9 Red-throated Diver, 8 Gannet, 7 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Red-breasted Merganser and 3 Guillemot east, also 100 Common Gull and 2 Mediterranean Gull west. The Marsh Harrier was over Central Marsh this morning and a Peregrine put in an appearance on Stanpit while a Buzzard on Wick Hams was chased off by the local corvids. Finally there were 3 female Goldeneye off Rushy Piece and 8 Gadwall over the harbour, also 11 Turnstone on the groynes and 2 Chiffchaff were present.

Late afternoon update: Groups of 6 and 3 Woodlark were feeding on the ground between the back of the school and the gate to the Driving Range on Wick.

January 18th

Hengistbury in the Snow
The Barn Bight shore in the snow – Clinton Whale

There was indeed snow, starting some time after 3:00 this morning and carrying on for the larger part of the day. Unfortunately, a blasting easterly wind made for difficult birding, but there were some isolated nooks of shelter on Mudeford Quay, which was attended for most of the daylight hours. Before the numbers from there, however, there were some notable decked flocks of birds during the afternoon, such as: around 180 Fieldfare that were spread across East and Central Marshes, Stanpit; and 150 Golden Plover on Whitepits, those along with a Grey Plover and 30 Lapwing. Now the quay, which was interesting in varying ways throughout the day, and even if you don’t normally read the whole post it’s worth sticking with it tonight. During the morning, it was mostly about gulls – eight species in fact – the best being 3 adult Little Gull, but also 31 Mediterranean Gull, a number that was unimaginable yesterday, as well as up to 150 Common Gull and 3 Kittiwake, all west. In addition, a Fulmar, a Great Crested Grebe, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, a Red-throated Diver, 2 diver sp., 3 Pochard and 11 Knot passed by. After a couple of hours’ lunch and thermal restoration, it was back out there and almost immediately made worthwhile with a Great Skua that entered the harbour through The Run. By this time, however, Skylark were on the move and over a 2-hour period totalled 820 birds in flocks averaging forty or so, nearly all east. In addition, 60 Knot headed in the same direction, 170 Lapwing and 12 Golden Plover came in-off and a further 100 Common Gull, 4 Mediterranean Gull and 5 Kittwake went west. Meanwhile, up to 8 Purple Sandpiper were on the end of the sandspit.

Additional news: a Merlin was seen close to the Visitor’s Centre at Stanpit.

January 17th

Black-tailed Godwit
Some of the 3500 Black-tailed Godwit that are feeding during the day just north of the railway line, adjacent to the Royalty Fishery. Currently, there is a spectacular northbound roost flight over the Avon Causeway just prior to dusk – Chris Chapleo

A cold and damp day, apparently ahead of an onslaught of snow, saw a variety of winter interest. In addition to a Black Redstart by the Coastguards on Hengistbury, there was a Firecrest, a Chiffchaff and a Scandinavian Rock Pipit on Stanpit. Inside the harbour, a Goosander and brown-head Goldeneye were present, as were the Spotted Redshank, a Golden Plover, 25 Grey Plover and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. A Buzzard sat on fence posts around Priory Marsh made for a strange sight early on, with 2 Water Rail and a Kingfisher also there, as well as 2 Raven over Hengistbury

January 16th

On a fine but frosty morning there was just a hint of cold weather movement of wildfowl with 170 Wigeon, 6 Gadwall, 1 Pintail and 1 Red-breasted Merganser all east past the beach huts plus 3 Eider west; also off there were 5 Red-throated Diver and 1 Great Northern Diver while 3 Golden Plover passed overhead to the west. A Goldeneye was in the harbour, also an adult Mediterranean Gull. Waders today included the Spotted Redshank from Fisherman's Bank and on Stanpit 318 Dunlin, 52 Ringed Plover, 31 Grey Plover, 2 Snipe, 1 Golden Plover and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, also 9 Gadwall there. To round up a Firecrest and a Coal Tit were in the wood, a Water Pipit was by the rusty boat on Stanpit and the female Marsh Harrier was around.
Check back to yesterday for a couple of items of late news.

January 15th

Kingfisher – Alan Crockard

A nice, settled day produced a few morsels of interest, with the Black Redstart by the cliff edge near the Beach Huts, a Siskin over Long Field and a Greylag Goose arriving from the Poole direction then heading north. Single Kingfishers were reported from Wick and Hengistbury, and a Chiffchaff also on Wick, with a Raven over the Nursery, whilst a couple of visits to Fisherman’s Bank garnered 20 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, at least 60 Ringed Plover and the regular Spotted Redshank.

Late news: The female type Marsh Harrier was over Stanpit this afternoon and a third Kingfisher was seen off Fisherman's Bank.

January 14th

There was a little more interest today, particularly from the sea, which saw the year’s second record of Long-tailed Duck. The bird was seen from the Beach Huts, before appearing to come down in Christchurch Bay, so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that one is lingering in the area, a la last winter. Also at sea, up to 2 Great Northern Diver, a Red-throated Diver, 5 Shoveler and 4 Pintail west, 6 Common Scoter settled and a count of 42 Shag. Meanwhile, inside the harbour, there was further wildfowl interest in the form of a Goldeneye and 6 Pochard – it seemingly only takes a brief drop in temperature to start these moving – as well as 7 Shoveler, 3 drakes and 4 ducks, and a Pintail. Passerine interest came from 2 Brambling leaving the Nursery at dawn, also a Firecrest there and 2 Chiffchaff at Stanpit. In terms of waders, the marsh held a newly-arrived Knot and 26 Grey Plover, most of those also arrivees, the Spotted Redshank and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit. Finally, Wick was quiet and the observer was reduced to counting Pheasant – seven of those, in fact – but also 7 Water Rail.

January 13th

Brent Goose
Brent Goose - Clinton Whale

Although the temperature did fall significantly overnight, it didn’t quite reach the expected freezing point; however, a bitter north-easterly wind certainly made up for that. Some very high water levels around Stanpit seriously hampered the WeBS counters and most numbers were well below average. Nevertheless, the sandspit produced 9 Purple Sandpiper on groynes near the cafe, while a Golden Plover overflew the area and headed south-west, and a Jack Snipe, the Spotted Redshank, 2 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Turnstone, 2 Ringed Plover and 107 Dunlin were around Stanpit. Also on the marsh, single drakes of Pintail and Gadwall, 3 Shoveler and eventually 182 Brent Goose.  The sea was quiet, but did manage a Velvet Scoter, a Red-throated Diver and a Red-breasted Merganser, but the only pieces of note come from a Grey Wagtail and Siskin over Wick, a Peregrine on a couple of occasions and up to 3 Kingfisher.

January 12th

The rain returned with a vengeance during yesterday evening and never really gave up during the course of today. An early watch from Mudeford Quay suggested some movement on-the-go, as 5 Red-throated Diver, a Red-breasted Merganser and 15 Shelduck headed west, while a Mediterranean Gull and 55 Brent Goose went east. This afternoon, in a brief respite from the water, a Chiffchaff and a good littoralis Rock Pipit candidate were at Stanpit.

January 11th

Rock Pipit
Rock Pipit – Clinton Whale
...and Curlew, both at Stanpit – Alan Hayden

After a clear night, there were blue skies throughout the day, which was largely quiet in terms of field activity but did produce: a Goosander at Stanpit, as well as a Water Pipit and a Grey Wagtail by the Rusty Boat, and 3 Chiffchaff close by. From the Hengistbury rangers, there is a report of a confiding Kingfisher, for its third day now, somewhere close to the Barn and attracting quite a bit of attention.

January 10th

Blue sky hasn’t been seen for a good few days now, but at least the rain held off until after dark. On Hengistbury, the Black Redstart was on the cliffs, just to the west of the Gully; but on a mirror-calm sea just 6 Razorbill and 2 Great Crested Grebe could be picked out, while 2 Common Scoter headed west. The best from Stanpit was the Spotted Redshank on east Marsh.

January 9th

The highlight for the day came right at the end, when a Glossy Ibis was seen from Fisherman’s Bank at around 4:50 tonight. Stepping down from that, the next most noteworthy record, locally speaking that is, was a Mediterranean Gull at Stanpit over lunch. Since the pigs have been removed from the fields in the Lower Avon Valley, this species is again considered ‘decent’ around Christchurch. Also around the marsh, the Spotted Redshank, 5 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Ringed Plover and something in the order of 240 Dunlin. Meanwhile, a Chiffchaff was present, in addition to a good winter return of 4 Stonechat. Once more, the sea was quiet – just 3 Common Scoter and a Razorbill – a Kingfisher was by Wick Hams and a couple of Raven were about the Nursery. The pick of the wildfowl were 2 Pintail, but also the drake Tufted Duck and 162 Brent Goose.

January 8th

There is no need to comment too much about the weather, except to say it was the same as the last couple of days. On Hengistbury, the Black Redstart again put in an appearance - this time on the cliff at the end of the head, while 2 Firecrest were in the Wood and a female Bullfinch was on the edge of the No Dogs Field, Wick. Elsewhere on the Hengistbury side, groyne S9 hosted 8 Purple Sandpiper, with 57 Ringed Plover and 10 Turnstone also on the sandspit. The was watched for an hour or so from both the Coastguards and Mudeford Quay, but the sum total came to a Red-throated Diver, a Great Crested Grebe, a Gannet and 3 auks! Otherwise, it's just 4 Raven west to remark upon.

January 7th

Little Grebe
Little Grebe – Alan Hayden

It was another damp and grey day, but there is slightly more to report. A Yellow-legged Gull and 4 Red-throated Diver, three east and one settled, were turned in from the sandspit, as were a Kittiwake west and 3 Common Scoter. At Stanpit, the Spotted Redshank, 16 Grey Plover and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit were present, along with the day’s peak numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plover, around 230 and 60 respectively, plus a drake Pintail and a pair of Shoveler. At dusk, several Pheasant were seen going to roost in their natural reedbed habitat on Wick, and when it was almost completely dark a male Peregrine was after the panicking Lapwing over there. What is now the seemingly daily report of Raven involves a single bird over and a Kingfisher was in Wick Hams.

January 6th

Hengistbury in Mist
Hengistbury, looking from Stanpit, in the early morning mist - Clinton Whale
Ringed Plover
Some of the Ringed Plover on the sandspit - Clinton Whale

Rather frustratingly for the first day of the new-look site, there is almost nothing to report. In fact, the most interesting is some additional news appended to yesterday’s post, while today could muster just 2 Pintail and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit at Stanpit, plus at least 50 Ringed Plover on the sandspit. The new-look website contains a number of new features, in particular an interactive map to all locations in the harbour –something we are often asked about – and we are indebted to Joe Gillespie for the many hours he has put into this project.

January 5th

Male Stonechat Female Stonechat
Male and female Stonechat - Alan Hayden (top) & Jennie Franklin

Low cloud with resultant drizzle kept the overnight temperature as high a 9C - that coupled with very little wind made it a reasonably pleasant day, save for the slight precipitation. Goldeneye have been scarce this winter, so a drake in Barn Bight briefly was a nice surprise this morning, when the drake Tufted Duck was in the same area and typically consorting with Mallard. The late afternoon at Stanpit produced a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull on South Marsh, while a female-type Marsh Harrier was about Priory Marsh just after lunch with what was presumably the same bird turned in from Wick a couple of hours later. Also on the marsh, the Spotted Redshank, 9 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, a lone Black-tailed Godwit and a nice count of 38 Snipe. An early session on the sea from the Beach Huts was fairly quiet, but did produce a Black-throated Diver, 6 Red-throated Diver, a Great-crested Grebe, at least 4 Common Scoter and a loose flock of 35 Shag attracted to a shoal of fish that also brought a gang of 5 Razorbill to just off the groynes. To round up, a Redwing was in the Wood at first light, a Chiffchaff was on Wick in the afternoon and for those who fancy their exotic wildfowl an Australian Shelduck was at Stanpit all day.

Additional news: a Tawny Owl was heard in the eastern end of the Wood just before 5:00 this evening, while 19 Ringed Plover had been on the sandspit and 10 Turnstone were roosting on the mooring buoys inside the harbour.

January 4th

Black Redstart Black Redstart
Black Redstart on groynes by the Beach House this morning - Chris Chapleo

On another mild day, there wasn't too much going on in terms of field activity. However, on Hengistbury, the Black Redstart was in its seemingly favoured spot close to the Beach House cafe, while 24 Turnstone were lingering about there. From Mudeford Quay, 2 Red-throated Diver and a couple of unidentified divers were seen, as well as six of the winter-resident Common Scoter. Meanwhile, Stanpit came up with 18 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 57 Ringed Plover.

January 3rd

Blue Tit Alan Hayden Goldcrest and Coal Tit , all in the Wood on Hengistbury - Alan Hayden
The latter used to warrant daily mentions, but they now
seem to be commonplace in that part of the recording area

Oystercatcher on the sandpsit - Clinton Whale

Mudeford Quay was watched from just after first light for a couple of hours and came up with a Long-tailed Duck passing east and all three divers - singles of Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver and Red-throated Diver also went east, while a further 'great-northern' was on the sea and 2 'red-throats' headed west. Also, 5 Great Crested Grebe offshore along with total of 7 Shag, those mentioned purely because they're not often counted, and a Peregrine that coasted in from the Highcliffe area. The Stanpit waders were headed by the Spotted Redshank, the Avocet and a Golden Plover, as well as 16 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, around 60 Ringed Plover and 220 Dunlin. Meanwhile, 183 Brent Goose were counted, as were 19 Shelduck, and a pair of Stonechat that seem to be lingering around the Visitor's Centre are probably worth a mention for the time of year. Over on Wick, a Bullfinch was again turned in and a drake Tufted Duck made it a century for the year-list.

January 2nd

Purple Sandpiper - Alan Hayden
Kestrel - Alan Crockard
Little Egret - Jennie Franklin

There was a rumour going round yesterday that there may be no more rain until the weekend; however, by late morning we were being subjected to plenty of drizzle. Nevertheless, there was once more plenty of variety about the area. On Hengistbury, a Firecrest and the Nuthatch were again in the Wood, while the Black Redstart showed itself to still be present around the Beach House Cafe on the sandspit, where 9 Purple Sandpiper were on the groynes before leaving across The Run. A pair of Egyptian Goose left the harbour to the north early on and a Jack Snipe came up with a few Snipe from Priory Marsh; also at Stanpit, the Spotted Redshank and Avocet, a Golden Plover over and 17 Grey Plover. The best on the sea came at lunchtime, when a drake Goosander appeared from the east before settling off Mudeford Quay - earlier, a Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and an adult Mediterranean Gull passed west and a couple of Great Crested Grebe along with 10 Common Scoter were on the water. The pick of the rest was undoubtedly a female Bullfinch in Wick Ditch, but also a Chiffchaff and Grey Wagtail around the Stanpit golf course plus Raven heard and Kingfisher seen at Hengistbury. Please check back to yesterday's post for an after-dark update.

Additional news: a female-type Marsh Harrier was hunting over Stanpit.

January 1st

Glossy Ibis - Alan Hayden
and rising to a few hundred feet with Lapwing - Alan Hayden
The second Marsh Harrier of the day - Alan Hayden
...and some of the more extreme measures taken to beat the tide at Stanpit - Alan Hayden

A change of year and a change of weather - no rain and pretty much clear blue skies throughout, which were further brightened by a Glossy Ibis, presumably the Ringwood bird that went AWOL today, about Stanpit from midday onwards. This is now the fourth calendar-year in succession the species has been seen the harbour - a series of records that succeeds the only previous one from August 1972 - and illustrates perfectly a national status change. Marsh Harrier were seen on two occasions; firstly, one leaving the Wick area early on that was considered to be an adult female, then a younger bird, possibly a male, that was actually soaring with the ibis at one point. Also before lunch, a Buzzard over the airspace, a Firecrest and the Nuthatch seen in the Wood, while Bearded Tit and Chiffchaff were heard by the Wooden Bridge. All the regular, premium waders were present-and-correct, those being: the Spotted Redshank, the Avocet, a Ruff, that almost falling prey to a Peregrine, all at Stanpit, and a maximum of 14 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit. In addition, the more expected peaked at 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 20+ Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Ringed Plover and 90 Dunlin. With what wind there was being offshore, the sea was not surprisingly quiet - just 5 Red-throated Diver, 10 Common Scoter, seven settled and three west, a second-winter Mediterranean Gull that left via The Run, and a few auks being the best from there. Meanwhile, other miscellany from across the day included a Pintail, 3 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall and a Kingfisher at Stanpit, a Raven over Hengistbury and a melanistic Black-headed Gull on Solent Meads golf course that initially hinted at something far more interesting.

Additional news: two or maybe three Tawny Owl were heard around Wick village from the recording area last night.

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