Trip reports

Hengistbury Head

Hengistbury Head
Chris Robinson

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

11 Local Group members met in the rather expensive Hengistbury Head car park on a dull and damp morning, hoping that some passage migrants might be visible in the wooded areas or on the sea. A gull roost in the car park held only black-headed gulls. After walking past Hikers' Café in the direction of the Barn (visitors' centre) a couple of meadow pipits flew over, as did small numbers of goldfinch and greenfinch. A robin was singing in a tree close to the Barn, and still singing when we returned nearly 3 hours later. A number of house sparrows were active around the building and in the gorse bushes.

The field past the Barn held mostly woodpigeons, while crows flew around the tree tops. Looking over Christchurch Harbour there was a large flock of swans, a group of around 10 Brent geese , a large group of cormorants and a number of wigeon in various locations around the harbour. On the near shore little egret and grey heron were active.

In the wooded area the sound of "crests" was evident, some calls sounding like firecrests, but only goldcrests were actually seen. A single chiffchaff was actively foraging in a holly tree and on the marshes there were little egret, wigeon and redshank. The raucous sound of jays could be heard and we encountered several when we followed a path towards the top of the Head. A female grey wagtail was very confiding allowing close views.

In the gorse bushes on the higher ground there were a number of stonechat. Looking over the sea, a ground of about 14 common scoters flew past heading east parallel to the shore. Shortly, after two kestrel flew past fast and low. A large group of Bournemouth University students were ahead on the path we had planned to take, so we returned on the path the other side of the quarry pol and had good close views of a male stonechat followed by two secretive Dartford warblers.

Linnets and other finches flew past in small groups. There were few birds n the shore around the beach hut area. On the open field before getting back to the Barn, greenfinch and linnet perched on top of the gorse and a green woodpecker was spotted. All in all a pleasant walk in dull conditions.

Species list:
Mute Swan, Brent Goose, Wigeon, Mallard, Common Scoter, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Lapwing, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Jay, Carrion Crow, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chiffchaff, Wren, Starling, Blackbird, Robin, Stonechat, House Sparrow, Grey Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Stoat, Grey Squirrel