Trip reports

Stanpit Marsh

Stanpit Marsh
Tony Bates

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

15 people journeyed into Dorset on a bright but chilly morning to see what birds we could find on Stanpit Marsh on the edge of Christchurch Harbour.

Along the path between the car park and the visitor centre there were flocks of house sparrows, starlings and goldfinches moving between the hedge and the salt marsh, will a group of 10-15 crows occupied a park tree on the edge of the recreation group. A female blackcap was spotted working her way along the hedge and a number of blackbirds were feasting on bright yellow berries alongside the visitor centre. Black-tailed godwits were feeding on the rough grass on the salt marsh and were joined by a couple of bar-tailed godwits. A group of little egret were roosting on the marsh and a few mallard dabbled around in the pools. On the sea, the large group of duck were almost exclusively wigeon, with a few Brent geese. Groups of redshank were huddled on sand-bards along with other waders, few dunlin and godwit and duck, including a couple of shoveler. The light was difficult from our vantage point and we were hassled by a group of ponies that kept nudging us while we were trying to views birds through our scopes.

Moving to a less equine congested area there were pied wagtails and meadow pipits on the short grass. From the new view point we had better views of the duck, waders and Brent geese, most of which appeared to be adults. A single wheatear was spotted on our way back to the main path, but then we found our way blocked by the incoming tide and had to revise our route.

We found few small birds in the wooded area but a male stonechat was conspicuous on the reads by the rusty boat. A sparrowhawk slowly cruised overhead giving us excellent views: the only raptor we saw. A pleasant walk and 44 species seen


Species list: Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk, Coot, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon, Kingfisher, Magpie, Jay, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Blackcap, Wren, Starling, Blackbird, Robin, Stonechat, Wheatear, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting