As the weather wasn't too bad on Sunday I headed to Hengistbury Head with my wife and daughter.
It's a great opportunity for the patchwork challenge as a walk from the visitor centre to the ferry is a mile and a half, which easily covers the 3km rule of the challenge. It also allows you to cover a wide variety of environments, far more than at Longham. Despite this, the day was something of a bust as the weather was so windy, with hardly any small birds around.
Things started off well with a large group of 30 odd Wigeon feeding in harbour by the visitor centre. Black-Headed Gulls were also abundant, although I didn't see anything rare among them. Maybe next time... I looked for Little Egrets and Water Rails but the tide was in and the heavy rain meant everything was quite flooded. They'll be plenty of other opportunities. Oh and I saw a Coot.
A lot of Redshank were about, but they were quite far out.
I did look at the spit which is opposite Stanpit but the only bird I could identify with any certainty was a Cormorant. I'm sure there were some interesting gulls out there too, but my binoculars just weren't up to the task.
Moving into the woods I heard a lot of chatter, but my lousy knowledge of bird song meant the only bird I could identify was a Great Tit. I did spy a Blue Tit and some Starlings, but it was otherwise uneventful.
Lots of BBGs were about.
Scanning the next set of ponds produced a few more ducks, notably Wigeon (which were everywhere) Mallard and quite a few Teal. I saw a male Pheasant skulking around in the grass behind them and there were also about 5 Redshank feeding, but no other waders appeared.
Upon reaching the beach I spied Pied Wagtail, Carrion Crow, Cormorants, Black Headed Gulls and a Rock Pipit, the first I've seen on the head. I still haven't seen the Purple Sandpipers, but I'll catch them one day.
A pretty lousy shot of a Rock Pipit.
The walk back wasn't too eventful, although I did catch Magpies, Little Grebes, a Grey Heron and a couple of Herring Gulls. Not the best of starts, but it's quite hard to bird when you have an impatient wife (who did kindly keep note of everything I saw) and a scooter-riding daughter.
Not the greatest start with 17 birds, but that just leaves me more to find.
Black Headed Gull