Sightings for the current month

December 15th

Kingfisher from the viewing platform on Wick – Paul Turton

A cold day gave up little of significance, save for the Spoonbill which was seen on North Marsh. It does at last seem we may have a bird that is lingering around the area. Otherwise the news is: a Red-throated Diver and a Red-breasted Merganser west past Hengistbury, along with a Sandwich Tern, 33 Common Scoter and six auks off there. Meanwhile, 120 Dunlin, 6 Pintail and 4 Shoveler were inside the harbour at Stanpit.

Just in time for Christmas, the next In Focus optics sale is on 17th December between 10:00 and 4:00 at the Pod, Stanpit Marsh.

Tides December 16th: L02:45 | H07:45 | H10:55 | L15:10 | H20:00 | H23:20

December 14th

Little Egret
Little Egret – Jimmy Main

Once again, all the news comes from Mudeford Quay; where, just before a 11:00, an Arctic Skua lingered before moving off west, a Black-throated Diver and 2 Red-throated Diver were at sea, and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull was on the inner harbour shore.

December 13th

Sparrowhawk Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk – Jimmy Main

The only news from a damp day is of 2 Sandwich Tern at Mudeford Quay.

December 12th

Jay – Clinton Whale

After a relatively heavy, for the location that is, overnight frost, there was some evidence of cold-weather movement, when a flock of 7 Goosander left the harbour to the west just after first light. Also around that time, a couple of Redwing over and 4 Bullfinch settled in the No Dogs Field. The icy conditions brought Snipe close to the paths on Stanpit, while a Grey Wagtail and 4 Turnstone were on Mudeford Quay.

December 11th

Dunlin seeing out the high tide on the sandspit – Clinton Whale

On a bitterly cold morning, brought about by a northerly wind and accompanying sleet, expectations of birds displaced from snow-covered areas of the country proved nothing more than fanciful. A 2-hour seawatch from Mudeford Quay producing just: a Red-throated Diver, a Sandwich Tern, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 21 Common Scoter, 2 Pintail, 3 Knot, 3 Ringed Plover and 125 Dunlin.

December 10th

Spoonbill – Roger Tidball
Grey Heron
Grey Heron – Jimmy Main
Mudeford QuayMudeford Quay – Clinton Whale

As forecast, the morning was blighted with strong, westerly wind and frequent showers. From Mudeford Quay, a Black-throated Diver was seen heading into the Solent, a Great Northern Diver moved in the opposite direction and a redhead Goosander fished in the Run before flying into the harbour.

The swallow that was on Hengistbury Head yesterday had moved to Avon Beach today, just outside of the recording area, where it seemed to be somehow picking insects from the air.

December 9th

Redwing – Jimmy Main

The biggest surprise of a frosty morning was a Swallow on Hengistbury! The bird was first seen over the Barn Field around 10:00 and then spent time hawking for precious insects around the eastern end of the head. Meanwhile, Black-throated Diver continue to be recorded – two west and one east – as well as 21 Red-throated Diver, those all west. In addition, 35 Common Scoter, 67 Brent Goose, 5 Great Crested Grebe and 9 Wigeon were settled on a calm sea. The Spoonbill was reported from Holloway’s Dock and seen in Stanpit Creek, where a local, winter rarity, a Greenshank, was also present. Other birds inside the harbour included: the Spotted Redshank, 12 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 16 Black-tailed Godwit, 34 Ringed Plover, 116 Dunlin, 15 Pintail and 6 Shelduck; while 3 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit. The Marsh Harrier again makes the post, as do 2 Chiffchaff at Stanpit, a Grey Wagtail at Mudeford Quay and a Kingfisher in Holloway’s Dock.

December 8th

There certainly seems to a Black-throated Diver lingering around the area, with this morning producing one west very close inshore off Double Dykes. A first-winter Spoonbill touched down briefly in Barn Bight before being spooked by the regular, male Marsh Harrier and then heading off towards Fisherman’s Bank. A redhead Goosander was also in Barn Bight; while from the sandspit, a Sandwich Tern, 24 Common Scoter and 4 Shag were returned. Elsewhere, a couple of Bullfinch were on Wick.

December 7th

The day started to wind and driving rain. So much so that poor visibility hampered any meaningful seawatching from Mudeford Quay, although a Black-throated Diver flew into the harbour over the Run. The only other news comes from the information services and involves a Spoonbill at Stanpit. 

December 6th

Drake Shoveler – Clinton Whale

There was just one diver logged today – a Black-throated Diver west past Mudeford Quay this morning, when a Great Crested Grebe and 25 Common Scoter were also present. Interest on Wick continues, with a Firecrest, a Chiffchaff and 2 Bullfinch, while the male Marsh Harrier again seen on at least two occasions. 

December 5th

This male Peregrine, as seen in a photo last week, carries a ring 'Black 62'. As such, we now know it was ringed as a chick, along with his two sisters, in May 2015 on Chichester Cathedral. Since then he has been seen on Hayling Island in August 2015, at Hurst Spit during October of the same year and then at Durlston in April 2016 – Jimmy Main

There were more divers this morning. A Black-throated Diver was seen from Hengistbury heading east over the harbour and a Great Northern Diver moved into the Solent past Mudeford Quay. Earlier, a ‘great-northern’ had passed west over the Barn Field and one travelled east with a Red-throated Diver, with a further of the latter going in the same direction as a singleton. The Purple Sandpiper count from the sandspit came to 8 birds and, once more, there were 4 Bullfinch on Wick. Meanwhile, 16 Redwing were in the Wood and the male Marsh Harrier hunting Wick Hams at 8:45 may have been the bird seen from the quay arriving from the east. Finishing off, at least 15 Common Scoter were settled in the usual spot.  

December 4th

Great Northern Diver
Great Northern Diver off the sandspit – Clinton Whale
Common Scoter
...and the Common Scoter flock – Clinton Whale

Another largely windless day produced a good haul of divers. This morning, a Black-throated Diver and 16 Red-throated Diver moved west past Mudeford Quay, while a further of the latter was on the water. This afternoon, a couple of Great Northern Diver were settled off the sandspit, with a Black-throated Diver seen heading into the Solent and 2 Red-throated Diver west. Also at sea during the morning: 4 Sandwich Tern, a Shag, seven auks, 6 Gannet, 9 Great Crested Grebe, 23 Common Scoter, 3 Teal, two adult Mediterranean Gull and 10 Common Gull. Meanwhile, a maximum of 5 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit. Over on Wick, at least one Firecrest was present, as well as 4 Bullfinch, an over-flying Fieldfare and 3 Chiffchaff, with a further of those on the quay. At Stanpit, on the afternoon ebb tide, the counts included: 12 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 37 Ringed Plover and 103 Dunlin, along with 9 Pintail and at least one Shoveler. Moving back to earlier, the Marsh Harrier again hunted Wick Hams and a couple of Kingfisher made the post.  

December 3rd

Drake Wigeon in today's sunshine – Clinton Whale
Sunset from Mudeford
Sunset from Mudeford Quay – Clinton Whale
Moon over Stanpit
...and the supermoon from Stanpit – Clinton Whale

After some colder days, this morning’s temperature was several degrees above freezing. Wick was particularly productive, hosting: a Firecrest in the No Dogs Field, a Brambling, 3 Chiffchaff and 3 Bullfinch; the latter all in the Bobolink Field. Meanwhile, an hour at Mudeford Quay yielded: 6 Red-throated Diver – four west and two east, 3 Great Crested Grebe west and a total of 40 Common Scoter – five west, 15 east and 20 settled. 

December 2nd

One of the Bullfinch which are being regularly seen on Wick – Jimmy Main

Late in the morning, from Hengistbury, the following were seen moving west at sea: a Red-necked Grebe, a Great Northern Diver, 32 Red-throated Diver, a Red-breasted Merganser, 12 Pintail, 17 Teal and 54 Wigeon. Earlier, from Mudeford Quay, just 3 Red-throated Diver were logged, but a couple of female-type Eider, the 30 or so Common Scoter, as many as 20 Great Crested Grebe and a Gadwall were settled on the water in Christchurch Bay, which also hosted a couple  of Sandwich Tern. Inside the harbour, there was evidence of an arrival of birds, presumably pushed south by falling temperatures further north, including: 32 Pintail, 12 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall and 75 Teal, as well as 16 Grey Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 55 Black-tailed Godwit, 45 Ringed Plover and 180 Dunlin. Elsewhere, 3 Firecrest, 2 Chiffchaff, a Bullfinch, 4 Fieldfare and 3 Redwing were on Wick, a Mistle Thrush was on the Long Field, a further Firecrest was in the Wood and the male Marsh Harrier frequented Wick Hams.

December 1st

Coal Tit
Coal Tit - not a straightforward bird in the recording area – Jimmy Main
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker by the Pod at Stanpit – Robert Gray

Despite a clear night, there was little frost – presumably as a result of a northerly breeze drying the air. A couple of Velvet Scoter moved west past Hengistbury this morning, while a Black-throated Diver and 5 Red-throated Diver headed into the Solent; also on their way west were 15 Grey Plover. Other than a Marsh Harrier arriving and 23 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock, the remaining news involves winter passerines; of which 5 Brambling, a Fieldfare and 8 Redwing make the post.

November 30th

Rock Pipit
Presumed littoralis (Scandinavian) Rock Pipit at Stanpit – Nick Whitehouse

At sea today, from Hengistbury, a couple of Great Northern Diver, 3 Red-throated Diver, 6 Pintail and a Tufted Duck headed west; while a Brambling, 2 Fieldfare and 10 Redwing moved inland from the head itself. On the deck, there were 4 Chiffchaff on the Stanpit golf course embankment and a further Wick. Also settled, but around Stanpit Bight were: 9 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 40+ Ringed Plover and 60 Dunlin, as well as 6 Pintail, 6 Shoveler, 3 Tufted Duck, a Shelduck and 38 Brent Goose. Finishing up, a female-type Marsh Harrier was around Wick Hams, along with a Kingfisher.

Omission: a Spoonbill was opposite Fisherman's Bank at 9:30 and the final Pintail count was ten. There was also reckoned to be a clear influx of Teal.

November 29th

On a sunny but bitter cold day there were a few bits and pieces, a Hawfinch south over Roebury Lane being the pick. The Marsh Harrier was hunting over Central Marsh and Wick Hams while both Peregrine and Buzzard were seen from Stanpit. On the marsh five Pintail, all drakes, were present plus 4 Shoveler and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit. A late morning visit to Stanpit found at least eight, presumed 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit on site. To round up, a Kingfisher was on Wick Hams, 12 Redwing headed north over Wick Fields and 2 Chiffchaff were about.

Additional news: at Stanpit, the Spoonbill was present, as were 2 Bearded Tit, and a total of 55 Redwing headed north; while a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull was inside the harbour, seen from Mudeford Quay.

November 28th

Peregrine – Robert Gray
Grey Seal
Grey Seal in the Run today – Robert Gray

Despite the recent frosts, there are still some Chiffchaff hanging around – two at both Mudeford Quay and Wick today – while a Firecrest was at the eastern end of the Wood. Also, a couple each of Bullfinch and Redpoll on Wick. A couple of hours looking at the sea from Mudeford Quay came up with: a Sandwich Tern, a Great Crested Grebe, 28 Common Scoter and 18 Brent Goose; with the remaining news coming from a Mediterranean Gull arriving over the sandspit, the Marsh Harrier and 2 Kingfisher on Wick Hams. 

November 27th

Green Woodpecker, Jay & Stonechat
Green Woodpecker, Jay and Stonechat – Roger Tidball

After a wet and windy morning, save for 2 Purple Sandpiper on the groynes and 10 Black-tailed Godwits in Holloway’s Dock, all the news comes from the sea. From the Beach Huts, a redhead Red-breasted Merganser, a Mediterranean Gull and 16 Common Gull were seen passing west, while 10 Gannet and 35 Common Scoter lingered. Around the same time, Mudeford Quay mustered just a single Great Crested Grebe. 

November 26th

Kingfisher – Chris Chapleo

A clear, crisp morning meant near-perfect conditions for the well-attended members’ walk to the sandspit. There, a single Purple Sandpiper was obliging on a groyne at the southern end, while a Great Crested Grebe and the 30 Common Scoter were offshore, and a diver passed east. The bright sun encouraged a bit of Stock Dove song in the Wood, where a Treecreeper was heard, but little else, save for one or two Goldcrest, could be dug out. Nearby, a Greenshank was heard around the Holloway’s Dock. Meanwhile, a couple of Pintail ended up in Barn Bight, 4 Bullfinch and a Peregrine were logged from Wick and of 3 Kingfisher one spent time on the groyne beacons, as photographed, before the cormorants and gulls took over. 

November 25th

Turnstone – Clinton Whale

On a frosty morning, there was a good presence of Marsh Harrier around the area. The regular male was seen with an accompanying female-type bird on a number of occasions and once with two of the latter. Meanwhile, a Spoonbill was again on the tip of South Marsh. A good selection of waders was headed with the Spotted Redshank, a Ruff and an unseasonable Green Sandpiper, and complemented with a Knot, 14 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Black-tailed Godwit, 43 Ringed Plover and 85 Dunlin. In-harbour wildfowl included 6 Pintail, 5 Shoveler, 92 Brent Goose and 2 Shelduck, with the 30 Common Scoter again on the sea off Hengistbury. The pick of the passerines is nine flyover Fieldfare, along with 2 Chiffchaff and 3 Bullfinch on Wick. A couple of adult Mediterranean Gull were at Stanpit, as were 2 Common Gull, and a Peregrine patrolled. 

November 24th

Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale
A Spoonbill was again at Stanpit, at the tip of South Marsh. Over on Hengistbury, there was just one Purple Sandpiper seen today – on a groyne adjacent to the Long Groyne – with other waders, all logged from Fisherman’s Bank, coming to: 12 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Ringed Plover and 20 Dunlin. The sea came up with a Red-throated Diver and a peak of 5 Sandwich Tern, as well as a skua heading into the Solent, the 30-strong Common Scoter flock, a settled Guillemot and 3 Great Crested Grebe. The rest is bits and pieces, including: the male Marsh Harrier; a very vocal Chiffchaff on Mudeford Quay; a Brambling in the Nursery, 7 Goldcrest and a Kingfisher on Wick; a Peregrine over; and 3 Pintail plus 3 Shoveler inside the harbour. 

November 23rd

Despite a continued, overnight blow, the sea was a little quieter this morning. The news comes from the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay, with the aggregates being: a Black-throated Diver west, a Great Northern Fover on the sea, 7 Kittiwake and 2 Guillemot west, 6 Razorbill settled and the 30 Common Scoter. A Greenshank, along with half a dozen Black-tailed Godwit, was in Holloway’s Dock and the Marsh Harrier was hunting Wick Hams at 09:30.

November 22nd

Strong southerly winds had obviously pushed divers into Christchurch Bay – one of each species in fact. A Black-throated Diver and a Red-throated Diver were both seen from Mudeford Quay, making short flights after picking up from the choppy sea, while a Great Northern Diver lifted off and headed west past the Beach Huts. There was a good presence of Kittiwake – a total of 48 returned from the quay – as well as 4 Mediterranean Gull, 25 or so Common Scoter, 3 Razorbill and a few Gannet. A couple of Purple Sandpiper were on the groynes and 6 Black-tailed Godwit were in Holloway’s Dock.  

November 21st

Dunlin & Ringed Plover
Dunlin & Ringed Plover on the sandspit – Clinton Whale

An early session at Mudeford Quay produced around 6 Mediterranean Gull and singles of Guillemot and Razorbill west, plus 30 Common Scoter settled on the water. Later, a Black-throated Diver and 3 Red-throated Diver headed east, while at least 50 Mediterranean Gull, 5 Kittiwake and 60 Common Gull were in a large, offshore feeding flock, and a further Razorbill headed west. The sandspit held 53 Ringed Plover and 13 Dunlin, as well as the regular Kingfisher – today fishing from groynes as all the beacons were taken. Meanwhile, a Greenshank was again in Holloway’s Dock, 3 Bullfinch and Chiffchaff were on Wick, where there was another Kingfisher seen from the viewing platform. 

November 20th

Spoonbill in Holloway's Dock – Clinton Whale
Greenshank & Redshank
...and a nice comparison of Greenshank and Redshank
in the same location – Clinton Whale

There was a Spoonbill in Hollway’s Dock this morning, along with a Greenshank, while a nice selection of waders was on the sandspit, mostly around groyne S9 and included: 9 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Sanderling, 65 Ringed Plover and 55 Dunlin. Later, inside the harbour at Stanpit, totals of 6 Grey Plover, presumably a further Greenshank, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 15 Black-tailed Godwit were returned, along with an estimate of 200 Lapwing plus 2 Pintail. A 1.5-hour seawatch from Mudeford Quay saw a sharp increase of Gannet – to around 50 birds – with a Red-throated Diver and an unidentified diver east, an auk west, over 40 Common Scoter – 20 settled and the remainder mainly west – and 37 Cormorant in variously-sized flocks also west. In addition, a party of 6 Sandwich Tern were seen entering the harbour through the Run. The Marsh Harrier was logged on both sides of the area and a Kingfisher was in Holloway’s Dock.

Tides November 21st: H01:40 | L05:20 | H10:30 | H13:40 | L17:45 | H23:00

November 19th

In the morning darkness, there were frequent calls of Redwing over the western portion of Hengistbury, but it would be folly to try and put a number on the amount of birds. The Nursery roost today held nothing out the ordinary, just the expected Little Egret, corvids, pigeons and doves. Wick fared better for passerines, with a Firecrest along Roebury Lane, by the soil dump, a Fieldfare and 4 Bullfinch; a further of the latter was heard at the eastern end of the head. The best from the WeBS count was 2 Greenshank, one of those on the Salt Hurns, 2 Purple Sandpiper on the Long Groyne, a Golden Plover on East Marsh and a Jack Snipe seen from Fisherman’s Bank. In addition, 29 Black-tailed Godwit, 53 Dunlin and 46 Dunlin were logged across the site; all of the plovers on the seashore of the sandspit. Meanwhile, the wildfowl weighed in with 6 Pintail, 3 Shoveler, 45 Teal, 551 Wigeon and 146 Brent Goose, including now two juveniles. The Marsh Harrier was seen on a few occasions, but mainly around Wick Hams, a Peregrine was over Stanpit and perhaps as many a 6 Kingfisher were about the area. In fact, one of these has developed a habit of fishing along the seaward side of the sandspit, using the beacons as perches if they are not already taken by gulls or cormorants.

Sightings for earlier months can be found in our Sightings Archive.