Sightings for the current month

March 19th

Some of the 8 Avocet in Holloway's Dock – Clinton Whale

Another 25mm or so of snow fell overnight, meaning there were still many displaced birds on site. A Jack Snipe was seen from the path by Parky Meade Rail, 45 Golden Plover moved from Wick to Stanpit and ten left east over the sandspit, 8 Avocet were in Holloway’s Dock, a drake Pochard moved east at sea and around 200 Meadow Pipit were estimated at Stanpit, while 18 Fieldfare and 13 Redwing were across the area. A male Marsh Harrier hunted around Priory Marsh this morning and an unidentified harrier passed over Ashtree Meadows just after lunch. The waders around Stanpit Bight included: the Spotted Redshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, c200 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Ringed Plover, 54 Dunlin and 2 Turnstone; as well as 3 Pintail there and 3 Mediterranean Gull over. A total of 3 Bullfinch was on Wick and a single Chiffchaff was logged at Stanpit.  

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Tides March 20th: H01:55 | L05:45 | H10:35 | H14:10 | L18:00 | H23:00

March 18th

Skylark on the Barn Field – Clinton Whale
Grey Heron at Stanpit – Tina Scott
Herring Gull over a snowy Run – Tina Scott
...and a snow–covered Hengistbury Head - Clinton Whale

Early on, near-blizzard conditions meant there was very little to be seen or indeed that could be seen! As the falling snow eased, however, it became clear that birds were moving. The most numerous being Meadow Pipit, with a 10-minute sample count at 9:30 coming up with 300 travelling east low across the waves off Mudeford Quay. In addition, a flock of 30 Golden Plover headed west high above Stanpit and 18 went the opposite way over Whitepits. Meanwhile, the high tide flooded the saltmarshes and as it ebbed revealed large areas of freshly-thawed grass and mud, which attracted literally hundreds Meadow Pipit to Stanpit, as well as a flyover Yellowhammer, good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing, and around 10 Golden Plover. Over on the Hengistbury side, at least 45 and 90 of Fieldfare and Redwing respectively were logged from Whitepits and large groups of Meadow Pipit were reported from the cliff tops. Back to Stanpit, with the remaining news coming from: a Marsh Harrier, a Peregrine, the Spotted Redshank, c200 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 100 or so Dunlin.

Additional news. There were 6 Avocet around Holloway’s Dock this afternoon. At Mudeford Quay, a late-afternoon gathering a large gulls comprised: an adult Yellow-legged Gull, an adult argentatus Herring Gull, 2 intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull and at least 650 Herring Gull, as well as 10 Mediterranean Gull and 22 Common Gull.

March 17th

One of two Firecrest in the Wood late yesterday – Chris Chapleo
It's thought there might be a couple of singing Treecreeper on Hengistbury – Robert Gray

In extremely cold and unpleasant conditions, brought on by a north-easterly wind and near-sleet, there was little evidence of movement this morning; save for: a steady trickle of Common Gull and a Grey Plover east at sea; 3 Common Scoter west; a couple of Woodpigeon grazing the wave tops as they appeared to arrive in-off; a Fieldfare high west over the Long Field; and a feeding Chiffchaff near Holloway’s Dock. 

March 16th

Wheatear – David Faulkner
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale
Meadow Pipit – Clinton Whale

There were 2 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit on Crouch Hill throughout the day – one with striking blue-grey upperparts and a sepia base tone to the breast – as well as a male Wheatear early on. Nearby, the Spoonbill ranged between Central and East Marshes, while 4 Grey Plover and a Bar-tailed Godwit were present in Stanpit Bight, as were similar numbers to yesterday of Black-tailed Godwit and Brent Goose. Mediterranean Gull were conspicuous throughout, mainly vocally, with an estimate of perhaps twenty individuals involved; all but two of them adults. On Wick, a Chiffchaff was along the riverside path and, on Hengistbury, a Treecreeper was in the Wood. Finally, the Long Groyne held 3 Purple Sandpiper this afternoon. 

March 15th

Rock Pipit – Robert Gray

There were 2 Wheatear – a male and a female – on Crouch Hill this morning, along with the White Wagtail and 5 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit. Meanwhile, in the Wood on Hengistbury, a Firecrest, 2 Redpoll, a Bullfinch and a Treecreeper were present. Moving back across the river, the Spoonbill was on the marsh, as were 150 Black-tailed Godwit, 24 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Shovler and 83 Brent Goose; while a couple of Great Crested Grebe were off Grimmery Bank. 

March 14th

The recent White Wagtail – Tina Scott
Chaffinch – Alan Crockard
Long–tailed Tit – Robert Gray

A Wheatear was on the Barn Field this morning, but singles of Bullfinch and Chiffchaff on Wick are the only other news. 

March 13th

The White Wagtail was still on Crouch Hill this morning, together with a Water Pipit and 3 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit; while on Hengistbury a further 2 Sand Martin were seen. Otherwise, 3 Firecrest were in the Wood, two of these in the Nursery where a pair of Bullfinch was present; also a Redwing on Wick. A drake Red-breasted Merganser did a circuit of the harbour before heading out to sea over the Barn Field. Offshore, there was a Great Crested Grebe on the sea and 9 Mediterranean Gull moved east. The single Avocet remains on Stanpit, where a couple of Pintail were logged. 

Additional news: in the evening at Mudeford Quay, a total of 350 Brent Goose headed east in three distinct skeins, while 9 Gadwall arrived.

March 12th

Rock Pipit
Rock Pipit
The pinkest of the littoralis ('Scandinavian') Rock Pipit on Crouch Hill today – Leo Pyke(upper) & Nick Whitehouse
White Wagtail, also on Crouch Hill – Nick Whitehouse

The pipit and wagtail interest on Crouch Hill continued today, with 4 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit and the cracking White Wagtail present amongst 21 Pied Wagtail and lesser numbers of Meadow Pipit. Evidence of arriving birds came from a Sandwich Tern in fresh breeding plumage east off the Barn Field and a small number of Chiffchaff in bushes on Grimmery Point, plus a single on Wick. The waders at Stanpit included: the Spotted Redshank, an Avocet, 4 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, c200 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, c140 Dunlin and 5 Dunlin; while the best of the wildfowl was 10 Pintail, 4 Shoveler, 114 Brent Goose and 2 Greylag Goose. At least 3 Mediterranean Gull passed east, a party of 4 Great Crested Grebe in Stanpit Bight made for a strange sight; a Peregrine hunted over the Long Field; and 4 Bullfinch were spread across the area. 

March 11th

Chiffchaff, presumed to be recently arrived – Tina Scott
Avocet – Ray Scott
Tufted Duck – Tina Scott

The first, trans-Saharan migrants of the year made it to the area today, with singles of Wheatear and Sand Martin seen at Hengistbury; the former on the Barn Field and the latter around the cliffs. There were also a couple of Chiffchaff in places they haven’t been during the winter, so suggesting they’d checked-in overnight. Although incoming, airborne migrants weren’t counted, there was enough of a pipit and wagtail presence on Crouch Hill to suggest a decent flow of birds had taken place. The selection peaked mid-afternoon, when a Water Pipit, 4 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit – three of those classic, pink-flushed birds – a pristine male White Wagtail, 15 Meadow Pipit and 15 Pied Wagtail were present. Meanwhile, 18 Mediterranean Gull passed over and 6 Common Scoter headed east at sea. After the appearance of an adult bird yesterday, there was just one Spoonbill – the regular young bird – as well as a male Marsh Harrier hunting Central Marsh late in the day. The good wader numbers at Stanpit were headed by the Spotted Redshank and an Avocet, with a Grey Plover, 339 Black-tailed Godwit and 144 Dunlin providing the figures. Also plentiful after some quite dismal winter counts are Brent Goose – return of 117 – plus 3 Tufted Duck, 4 Shoveler and 7 Shelduck. A Peregrine again visited the area. 

March 10th

On a drizzly morning, there was some evidence of birds moving. At the end of the head, there were 3 Firecrest, while the two in the Wood were joined by another and 12 Goldcrest were logged; a couple of Little Gull passed the head, as did 18 Common Gull – those east; and up to 15 Pied Wagtail were on Crouch Hill, presumably recent arrivees, along with a couple of ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit. Otherwise, it was fairly routine fare: the Avocet was again in Holloway’s Dock, a Redpoll was on Hengistbury, the Treecreeper was in the Wood and 3 Bullfinch were on Wick. Wrapping up, 23 Common Scoter were at sea, as was a Great Crested Grebe, and a pair of Shoveler were on Wick. 

March 9th

Before the rain set in at lunchtime, quite a few reports were received. The Spoonbill was again at Stanpit, as were 11 Grey Plover, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 257 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Ringed Plover and 173 Dunlin, plus 13 Pintail, 3 Shoveler and 7 Shelduck. On Hengistbury, an Avocet was in Holloway’s Dock, while a couple of Firecrest were again in the Wood. Other than a high-flying Lesser Black-backed Gull, however, there was no evidence of incoming migration. At least one Bullfinch was along a Roebury Lane and a Peregrine was logged. 

March 8th

Surprisingly, there are only two reports from a reasonable day weather-wise. These are 5 Mediterranean Gull east and 3 Bullfinch, all experienced from Wick. 

March 7th

Firecrest – Robert Gray
Spoonbill – Mike Lyons (upper) & Tina Scott

A drake Garganey was again on site – today seen in Parky Meade Rail. Meanwhile, the Spoonbill spent the morning on Wick Hams, but by the afternoon was showing down to almost point-blank range at Stanpit; mostly on Central Marsh. Also on the marsh, the Spotted Redshank; with a single Avocet being on the other side of the area in Holloway’s Dock. In the Wood, the pair of Firecrest is still present, as were 4 Redwing, while 11 Mediterranean Gull headed east and a further half a dozen lingered. The only other reports involve a Peregrine over and a dead Golden Plover on Grimmery Bank. 

March 6th

Jay – Roger Tidball

It was another mild day that saw the Spoonbill frequent Wick Hams, while a pair of Firecrest and a Treecreeper was in the Wood, 4 Mediterranean Gull headed east and 5 Bullfinch, 3 Redwing and 3 Shoveler were on Wick. Across the river, the waders at Stanpit included: a Spotted Redshank, 2 Avocet, a Knot, a Grey Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, at least 90 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 108 Dunlin; with the wildfowl notables being 2 Gadwall, 4 Pintail, 10 Shoveler, 5 Shelduck and 150 Brent Goose. In addition, there were four settled Mediterranean Gull on South Marsh, a littoralis Rock Pipit and 2 Great Crested Grebe in Stanpit Creek. 

March 5th

Drake Garganey – Mike Gibbons
Green Woodpecker – Ray Scott

Despite the early date, because of the recent spate of records either side of us, a couple of Garganey at Stanpit weren’t really the surprise they should have been. The information services reported two, but the details from direct returns are a duck off Fisherman’s Bank and the drake on floods along the east side of Stanpit Scrubs. The young Spoonbill was first on Wick Hams, then Stanpit, while a couple of Avocet were in Holloway’s Dock and a further was at Stanpit. Also on the marsh, a Knot, 19 Grey Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 220 Black-tailed Godwit, 22 Pintail and 4 Gadwall, the latter in Parky Meade Rail. The expected Mediterranean Gull passage is picking up – twelve adults east this morning – a pair of Firecrest and a Treecreeper were in the Wood, and a couple of Bullfinch were on Wick.  

March 4th

Shoveler – Ray Scott
Grey Wagtail – Ray Scott
This Dunnock, in full song, seemed to have quickly forgotten about Friday – Robert Gray

Other than some of the species on site, there was no indication of the chaos of the last few days; as the sun shone and the temperatures remained well above freezing. Around 7:40, a Bittern was seen from the Wooden Bridge as it made a low pass across the adjacent reedbed; then at lunchtime, a first-winter Little Gull was hawking around Central Marsh. There were 2 Spoonbill logged, but one, an adult, was sadly found dead by the Rusty Boat, with the regular younger bird seemingly still fit and healthy. Further reminders of the recent cold came from: 3 Woodlark briefly on Stanpit golf course, 5 Golden Plover – three on the Barn Field and two on Crouch Hill – at least 80 Redwing around the area and 30 Fieldfare. A surge of Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit to 28 and 13 respectively, plus 4 Avocet – those initially in Holloway’s Dock, but then at Stanpit – were also no doubt related to weather past. It was WeBS day, so full counts were made and featured: 18 Black-tailed Godwit, 81 Ringed Plover, 130 Dunlin, 8 Pintail, 14 Shoveler, 103 Teal, 532 Wigeon, 53 Brent Goose and 4 Mediterranean Gull; the latter now starting to vocalise for the spring. A Grey Wagtail at Stanpit is also worthy of a mention. 

March 3rd

Redwing – Ray Scott
Bar–tailed Godwit – Ray Scott
...and a very flooded Stanpit this morning – Ray Scott

The thaw started overnight and by dawn there were enough soft areas to host hundreds of winter thrushes. A combined total of 350 Redwing and Fieldfare was estimated for Stanpit, with the former making up around 85% of that number. There was even a Mistle Thrush mixed in with the birds on North Marsh, which played out the memorable sight of a Fieldfare cheek by jowl with a Spotted Redshank! Another notable record was 9 Woodlark – a flock of six briefly about Stanpit golf course and three which were attracted to the old bonfire sites on the Recreation Ground – the first on-the-deck records since similar conditions in 2010. The previously-mentioned golf course also held 4 Golden Plover, while at least 8 Linnet were knocking around the ‘rec’. Of course, there is a harsh reality to all these birds being displaced from their normal habitats and freshly-dead corpses of Dartford Warbler and Lapwing were a stark reminder of that. Likewise, this afternoon, when the temperature reached five above, there were still waders frantically probing the salt marshes adjacent to footpaths – areas they wouldn’t normally frequent and an action presumably prompted by the need to make up vital calories lost over the famine of the last two days. Such species included: perhaps 2 Spotted Redshank, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Knot, Grey Plover, a few Ringed Plover and up to 50 Dunlin. Finishing off, there were 10 Pintail and 14 Shoveler on site.

Additional news: a Little Gull was off Mudeford Quay this afternoon.

March 2nd

Fieldfare around Clay Pool – Alan Crockard
Redwing – Mike Lyons
Batters NorthScrubs
North Scrubs, Stanpit – Robert Gray (lower) & Clinton Whale

After more overnight snow, there were plenty of winter thrushes and displaced Lapwing around the area, as well as Water Rail and even a couple of Jack Snipe at Stanpit becoming less shy than normal. In terms of thrushes, as well as those settled, a mixture of 2-300 Fieldfare and Redwing moved west over Hengistbury during a 90-minute period this morning, along with a Golden Plover and around 100 Lapwing. Meanwhile, a flock of 6 Shoveler made the most of the open water by the Wooden Bridge, the Marsh Harrier hunted Central Marsh and the Spoonbill was at Stanpit. Other reports received talk of plenty Meadow Pipit, particularly at Stanpit, and some birds, as well as birders, struggling to stay upright on the ice. 

March 1st

There was a certain predictability about this morning's cold weather movement given the near-Arctic conditions.  Past Hengistbury around 500 Lapwing and 40 Golden Plover were logged heading west. Fieldfare were also on the move with a count of 39 plus a couple more on the beach. Earlier, a Cattle Egret was on Wick Hams where 4 Shoveler were present; also a party of 14 Little Egret flew upriver. In the willows between Double Dykes and the visitor centre, there were 2 Woodcock, while at the eastern end of the head 2 Jack Snipe were feeding on the Natterjack pond. To round up from that side of the harbour, 2 Fulmar moved west and 3 Bullfinch were seen. From Mudeford Quay between 9:30 & 11:00 there was a different mix of species: travelling west were 55 Lapwing, 60 Teal, 7 Grey Plover, 4 Pintail and 2 Red-breasted Merganser, while heading east were 15 Common Gull, 2 Mediterranean Gull and 2 Sandwich Tern. The only report from a frozen Stanpit was of 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Dunlin.

February 28th

On another bitterly cold day, the only news so far is of a Bittern that flew south through the harbour just after 8:00 and the Stilt Sandpiper off Fisherman's Bank.

February 27th

Ringed Plover – Clinton Whale
Teal – Colin Raymond
...and snow clouds massing over the Priory – Colin Raymond

There were some exceptional records today, presumably related to the cold weather; namely, 2 Black-necked Grebe in Parky Meade Rail and 2 Sanderling on the path near the Bailey Bridge. Meanwhile, also related to the conditions, a Cetti’s Warbler was feeding out in the open on Wick. Actually, with the wind dropping somewhat overnight, it felt nowhere near as cold as it might, despite the odd snow flurry. As such, the other news comprises: a Marsh Harrier heading high to the north over Stanpit, plus a Grey Plover and 16 Ringed Plover – twelve of those on the sandspit shore. 

February 26th

Stilt Sandpiper – Alan Hayden

The Stilt Sandpiper spent the morning and lunchtime on either North Marsh or off Fisherman’s Bank, but by late afternoon it had moved out of the area to Coward’s Marsh. The only other news from a truly Baltic day was 4 Linnet near the Double Dyke, plus a Common Gull and Kingfisher in Stanpit Creek. 

February 25th

Turnstone – Ray Scott

The biting wind continues and looks set to do so for the next few days. Today, the Stilt Sandpiper spent some time on Priory Marsh with 4 Black-tailed Godwit, but with only one more of the latter returned it seems there may have been something of a departure. The Spoonbill was seen at Stanpit and at very short distance in Barn Bight, while the drake Goldeneye remains on station off the same-named point and the Spotted Redshank was off Fisherman’s Bank. Also from the bank, a Knot, a Ringed Plover, around 180 Dunlin, a Mediterranean Gull and a Peregrine. Finishing up, a Firecrest was in the Nursery and, despite the near-Arctic conditions, at least one Cetti’s Warbler was in song. 

February 24th

Spotted Redshank – Leo Pyke
Rock Pipit – Roger Tidball

Fisherman’s Bank provided some vital solace from the fierce easterly wind, with the Stilt Sandpiper, the Spoonbill, 70 Black-tailed Godwit and 140 Dunlin being seen from there. The information services also reported the Spotted Redshank. At Hengistbury, a Firecrest was in the Nursery; while a total a 5 Bullfinch were logged on Wick – three of them by the Viewing Platform

February 23rd

Greenfinch – Clinton Whale
Tonight's waxing crescent moon from Stanpit – Clinton Whale

A bitterly cold day, thanks to a not-insignificant easterly breeze, saw little in terms of direct reports – just 2 Bullfinch on Wick and 123 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock, in fact. The information services, however, did report the Stilt Sandpiper, the Spoonbill and the Spotted Redshank at Stanpit. 

February 22nd

Brent Goose – Clinton Whale
Black–tailed Godwit - Alan Hayden
Lesser Black–backed Gull - Ray Scott

As per yesterday, the Stilt Sandpiper was off Fisherman’s Bank where it was alongside the Spotted Redshank, which later moved onto the main part of the marsh. The Spoonbill also remains, as do 320 Black-tailed Godwit, a healthy figure of 190 Dunlin, 6 Pintail, 5 Shoveler, 5 Brent Goose and 5 Shelduck. Across the water, a Firecrest was by the HHC – that’s two successive days of birds in unexpected places, so it seems they’re on the move – 3 Bullfinch were on Wick and 6 Redpoll were on Hengistbury. At sea, a Red-throated Diver and couple of Common Scoter were logged from Mudeford Quay; while a skein of 4 Egyptian Goose headed north over Wick. Finally, there is a report of a ‘probable’ glossy ibis near Strides boatyard on Fisherman’s Bank that is worth checking-out. 

February 21st

Water Rail – Paul Turton
Dartford Warbler – Simon Coupe
Grey Heron – Roger Tidball

The now-again regular Marsh Harrier – the third-calendar-year male – was around Wick Hams at 7:25 this morning, while the Spoonbill was nearby before moving over to Stanpit. Also at Stanpit, a Firecrest on Crouch Hill, from wherethe drake Goldeneye could be seen. Another good Black-tailed Godwit count returned 350 birds, with the Spotted Redshank, 130 Dunlin, 14 Pintail and a Peregrine also present. 

February 20th

There is plenty of Skylark song about the area right now – Clinton Whale
Little Egret – Alan Crockard

The Stilt Sandpiper was again off Fisherman’s Bank, as were 67 Black-tailed Godwit and 150 Dunlin; and a further 29 godwit were in Holloway’s Dock. Elsewhere, a Firecrest was by the Double Bends, a Treecreeper was at the eastern end of the Wood and 10 Common Scoter were settled off the end of the head. 

February 19th

Peregrine on the Priory tower – Clinton Whale

The day started with drizzle and although it did stop the sun made no appearance whatsoever. After an absence of a couple of weeks, the last few days have seen Marsh Harrier records make a welcome return – one quartering Wick Hams around 1:30 today. Other regulars included the Spoonbill at Stanpit and a Firecrest in the Wood, while the recently-arrived, drake Goldeneye was again off Goldeneye Point. Rounding up, around 40 Black-tailed Godwit were on the Hengistbury side of the area and a Kingfisher was about Barn Bight. 

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