Sightings for June 2005


June 30th

There was very little in the way of new birds this morning. The first summer Little Gull was still in Parky Mead and the Common Sandpiper in Mother Siller's Channel. However the summering Brent Goose reappeared on South Marsh at high tide. The 29 Black-tailed Godwit were in Mother Siller's Channel as the tide fell but later had moved on to their regular haunt, the HHC mudbar. Finally a Hobby was over Central Marsh harrassing the local Starling flock.


June 29th

A seafret rolled in over the Harbour around 9am turning what had been a warm sunny morning into a fairly chilly one. Prior to that a Hobby over the Barn Field was terrorising the Sand Martin colony. Returning Common Sandpiper are on the increase with 3 in Barn Bight and 1 in Mother Siller's Channel. The HHC sandbar held its usual complement of 29 Black-tailed Godwit whilst another 12 were in Barn Bight and the first summer Little Gull was again feeding in Parky Mead around mid-morning. A seawatch produced 10 Common Scoter, 6 Eider and an adult Mediterranean Gull with all the birds moving east.


June 28th

Fortunately the forecast rain didn't arrive until late afternoon so we enjoyed another fine morning in the Harbour. The first summer Little Gull could be seen feeding over Parky Mead and the Common Sandpiper was in Mother Siller's Channel. A Little Tern and 2 Common Tern were on Blackberry Point. On the HHC sandbar the Black-tailed Godwit flock numbered 33 and 2 Dunlin were present. A Little Ringed Plover flew in calling from the west and appeared to land in Mother Siller's Channel then presumably the same bird was high over Wick this afternoon. Around the same time a Hobby was hawking for insects, also over Wick, just ahead of the storm.


June 27th

The north-easterly wind had eased somewhat today so the strong sunshine made it feel much warmer than yesterday. This morning the first summer Little Gull was resting on the mud on Parky Mead whilst 39 Black-tailed Godwit were feeding on the HHC sandbar. Around mid-morning a Peregrine came in over the Head and circled Stanpit before heading off in a north-easterly direction. In the Nursery on Hengistbury there was a Mistle Thursh and a family of Green Woodpecker. An evening visit to Stanpit produced 3 adult Mediterranean Gull, one on East Marsh and 2 off Blackberry Point, plus a Common Sandpiper in Stanpit Bight and a Tufted Duck on East Marsh.


June 26th

Another fine day, but made a little chilly on the open marsh by a north-easterly wind. More evidence of post-breeding dispersal of elsewhere common species; best record was a Treecreeper in Smithy's Field, but a Great-spotted Woodpecker over Central Marsh is also worthy of note. Best migrant was a Turtle Dove over Wick Fields, where Lesser Whitethroat are still singing. On the low tide around Stanpit Bight, a fly through Little Tern was the only interest, and on the HHC sandbar there were 52 Black-tailed Godwit.


June 25th

The passing of the longest day earlier in the week wasn't lost on a drake Teal on the mud off South Marsh this morning. Of course, they are abundant in winter, but June records are at a premium. Further wildfowl interest came courtesy of a duck Gadwall in Parky Meade Rail this afternoon. Also on the way back after a presumably failed breeding attempt much further north, was a Green Sandpiper, which flew up from Parky Meade Rail and circled the harbour, before returning to the original spot. This was on the morning's rising tide. To give a further autumnal feel to the day, a male Bullfinch was in Smithy's Field; this ties in nicely with above average numbers currently being noted across the county. The first-summer Little Gull was off South Marsh and an adult Mediterranean Gull was first seen on the water off Blackberry Point, before heading north upriver. After a lapse yesterday, the Black-tailed Godwit registered a heady 77 birds, also 60 Lapwing, 11 Curlew, 4 Dunlin and a heard only Ringed Plover. A very healthy total of 430 Sand Martin were counted over the western end of Hengistbury. This figure suggests a hugely successful fledgling rate when one considers the relatively small colonies on the cliffs. Other interest for the day comes from single Little Tern and Common Tern feeding off Fisherman's Bank, the Brent Goose on Blackberry Point and a Coal Tit in Stanpit car park. The large brood of Shelduck is still at 14, however, the younger hatch of 5 is now down to 4.


June 24th

Some spectacular lightning shows during the evening yesterday, around 3:00 am this morning and twelve hours later this afternoon. The first-summer Little Gull that is spending the season on Coward's Marsh ventured downstream into the harbour and was seen off South Marsh this morning, before settling on the water off Blackberry Point. On the HHC sandbar, there were just 33 Black-tailed Godwit, but 2 Dunlin were new arrivers. At Wick, by the House on Stilts, a Mistle Thrush is consistently being seen. Is it breeding on site? The only other exhibition on Wick Fields was an ordinary member of the CHOG committee brandishing a butterfly net and blanket, as he tried to recapture his wife's Budgerigar. Please call 07974 098280 if you see him - the bird that is.


June 23rd

Very little change today, but 2 Little Tern around Blackberry Point and Fisherman's Bank did serve to break the monotony. Black-tailed Godwit are still rising steadily, a minimum of 58 counted today, and Curlew numbered 12. At least, 18 Grey Heron were across the recording area, including a few fresh looking juveniles; suggesting second broods have just left the nest. Little Egret were meanwhile recorded as 25 birds.


June 22nd

No change in the weather, but rain is forecast just in time for the weekend. This morning saw a first-summer Mediterranean Gull over Hengistbury, also a Hobby. From the top of the head, a high figure of 414 moulting Mute Swan were counted. The Brent Goose was also seen, while Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew were present, but not counted. Finally, a general report from our Wick correspondent, who is now on regular, late evening canine duties. At least 2 male Lesser Whitethroat are still holding territory and Little Owl are being frequently encountered on the fields, as are Mistle Thrush.


June 21st

Another scorcher, which saw the first 2 juvenile Black-headed Gull on the marsh. These have presumably just left one of the colonies a few miles either side of us. A slightly higher figure of 49 Black-tailed Godwit were recorded on Stanpit this morning and, by the late afternoon, Curlew had increased to 8 birds. Also creeping up in numbers are Lapwing with at least 95 today. A Dunlin was heard, the Brent Goose remains and 2 Cuckoo were around Crouch Hill.


June 20th

The heatwave continued, in spite of a slightly cloudier start. Best bird by far was a Red Kite seen over Stanpit Village this afternoon at 4:00, as it drifted north. The only other reports come from Fisherman's Bank a couple of hours later, where a Hobby gained height, inconspicuously glided over the harbour and then plunged into one of the Sand Martin colonies on Hengistbury. Whereas, the main bulk of these were in a feeding swarm of around 150 birds over the Barn Field, later drifting over Wick Fields. On East Marsh, there were 2 Curlew and a tight group of 38 Redshank were feeding off there. The new Shelduck brood of 5 was again seen.


June 19th

More blue skies and extremely warm air temperatures, cooled slightly by an easterly breeze. Despite being at the nadir of its birding year, Stanpit still provides some scraps of interest. A Little Tern over Stanpit Bight this morning is certainly noteworthy for the month, as is the summering Brent Goose; and the information services also report a Mediterranean Gull from there. A four hour sunbathing session this afternoon at the Long Groyne produced a really good record of Roseate Tern, watched for an hour or so feeding with around 50 Common Tern and 40 Sandwich Tern. A moulting Raven over the harbour was the first sighting of this species for a few weeks. The same can't be said of Swift, as they continue to move, a total of 235, including groups as large as 40, were logged east over Hengistbury in the afternoon sun. While the migrant warblers are well down this season, the more local breeders, such as Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tit and Greenfinch, seem to be faring well; and fresh song indicates second brooding is approaching. One migrant that does seem to faring better is Sand Martin: around 150 birds, mainly juveniles, were over the Barn Field and many burrows have 4 small faces peering out. This year, there are 3 colonies being occupied along the Hengistbury cliffs. A brief evening scan from Fisherman's Bank revealed a new Shelduck brood of 5 very small ducklings. However, one absentee is Mute Swan, there are many immature birds around, but no breeders. Finally, of general interest, above average numbers of Stag Beetle have been seen over the head and the Christchurch area.

Late news: a Kingfisher was seen by Tutton's Well, Stanpit.


June 18th

It's the time of year when some of the regulars temporarily hang up their bins and knuckle down to those household tasks that have been neglected all spring. Consequently, there was a much reduced turn out this morning. There were, however, some surprising June records. These were headed by a Snipe over the Barn Field on Hengistbury, but a Grey Wagtail on Wick Fields and an eclipsing drake Shoveler in Stanpit Bight were also unexpected. Over Hengistbury, there were 3 different Mediterranean Gull, 2 first-summer birds and 1 of an unreported age. Off the head, there were at least 40 Common Tern and Swift were again moving. On Stanpit, there were 30 Black-tailed Godwit and at least 30 Little Egret are spread across the recording area, but there are probably significantly more. Check back to yesterday for some late news.


June 17th

The quietest day of the month so far. Just 12 Black-tailed Godwit around Stanpit Bight and a single Cuckoo on Crouch Hill to report. With the forecast warm and still conditions, insect repellant is recommended for those early at Hengistbury tomorrow!

Late news: Nightjar started churring at 9:15 on Hengistbury this evening, but the main activity was half an hour later, when 2 males and 1 female were seen. The paired male was particularly perturbed about the presence of another and was quick to engage in some aerial altercations. A Greenshank was also heard from Hengistbury.


June 16th

The wind had veered slightly more to the south by this morning, but viewing from the Beach Huts was still compromised. It was hard work with a choppy sea that sometimes appeared completely devoid of Birds. Only records are 17 Gannet west and 5 east, 2 Fulmar west and 1 east, and 4 Common Tern west and 1 east. There were also 8 Black-tailed Godwit in Barn Bight. Stanpit did receive some attention and produced a total of 18 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Curlew and a pair of Cuckoo.


June 15th

The sea was watched today, but the expected south-west wind was actually south-east, meaning there was little shelter from the heavy rain. Nevertheless, a commendable 2.5 hours, from 07:30, were clocked up. These produced a total of 39 Manx Shearwater - 11 distantly east, including a flock of 9 birds, and 28 west, very close in. There is the possibility of duplication, but good numbers off Branksome suggest otherwise. Also seen flying both ways were: 15 Kittiwake, 10 east and 5 west, and 11 Fulmar, 7 east and 4 west. A group of 8 Common Tern headed west, as did most of the 65 Sandwich Tern recorded; while 59 Gannet all went in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, a couple of Whimbrel moving west have definitely left it late for high latitude breeding success. Other records include 3 Common Scoter and 4 Guillemot, also 11 Swift east over the Nursery mid-morning.


June 14th

Clear skies gave way to cloud, while the wind came from the north-west. Casual, early observations, from the front bedroom suggested another Swift arrival. Over 30 being seen over the old Council Depot in the time it takes to press a shirt. Stanpit held a refreshing variety of waders. Around its Bight, there were 1 Turnstone, 1 Knot, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Dunlin and 3 Ringed Plover. The Black-tailed Godwit on the HHC sandbar today totalled 31 birds and there was a Curlew on East Marsh. The Little Egret were counted and numbered around 17 individuals. Looking towards the Barn, a Fulmar could be seen over Double Dykes and Gannet were very close offshore. Unfortunately, no one made it to the sea.


June 13th

A typical June day, in terms of both the weather and the birds. The clear skies and westerly breeze making for a pleasant morning. All reports are from Stanpit, where a Little Grebe on the river may be one of the birds from Hengistbury. Just 13 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Curlew could be found, but 26 Lapwing is a slight increase. A Cuckoo is still touring the area.

A couple of late snippets. In the morning, 17 Swift arrived low and headed north over Wick Fields. This evening, a Mistle Thrush was on the Driving Range, as was a Cuckoo.


June 12th

Some benevolent tide times meant an early start wasn't required for Stanpit. Mercifully, this allowed me to miss the 26 strong Canada Goose contingent that pushed off just after 9:00. I fear our time has come and we are about to experience far too many of these! An hour of skywatching from Priory Marsh produced 4 Hobby and 1 Peregrine, together over the Lower Avon Valley. Another seasonally good, but small, wader selection included 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 late Whimbrel, 2 Knot and 3 Dunlin on the HHC sandbar, which also held 25 Black-tailed Godwit. Presumably the same Kingfisher and Mistle Thrush as yesterday were on Wick Fields, and a Gadwall was seen, I guess, in Barn Bight. The Brent Goose was around Stanpit Bight, along with a single Dunlin.


June 11th

In clear conditions, the easterly breeze continued until late morning but then swung south. Greenshank and Grey Plover were heard from Hengistbury, given the date these are not mundane records. Neither was a Hobby seen coming in off and a Great-crested Grebe east at sea. The afternoon at Wick also produced a good June sighting, as a Kingfisher was seen near the wooden bridge; also a Mistle Thrush in the same area. This year sees an early return of Curlew, 3 arrived over the Common and a while later 2 left; meanwhile, Swift continue to move, around 75 were seen moving north over the recording area before breakfast. Inside the harbour, the regulars remain: about 20 Black-tailed Godwit are still on Stanpit, along with the Brent Goose and a thankfully reduced total of 2 Canada Goose. Lastly, a breeding bird update, the Little Grebe on Hengistbury have reared 1 chick, the Swallow in the Barn are feeding young and there are still 14 Shelduck. Oystercatcher are also making their annual, but almost certainly doomed, due to disturbance, attempts. Today, the disruption was led by at least 3 canoeists in Stanpit Bight, despite the recently placed information buoys - they're the big yellow ones!

Late news: in addition to the above, a Whimbrel was on Stanpit in the evening.


June 10th

The wind had swung to the east and the early cloud disappeared as the day progressed. More new waders on Stanpit today with 2 Greenshank present in Parky Meade Rail, then Blackberry Point, before leaving high east from East Marsh late this afternoon. Also in overnight was a breeding plumaged Grey Plover that was still around this afternoon and a Ringed Plover was heard. The Black-tailed Godwit today numbered 20; and Redshank and Lapwing are returning, around 20 or so of each were noted. The Brent Goose is still getting around, it was seen this morning in Barn Bight and this afternoon on Stanpit. More breeding success, a brood of 4 Water Rail, barely 2-3 days old, were on Priory Marsh. This is the second family seen there this season. Rather interestingly, a Garden Warbler could be heard singing on Wick Fields. This is either a late migrant or a potential breeder. A 2 hour survey around Priory Marsh confirmed there are very few Reed Warbler and even fewer Sedge Warbler; Whitethroat around the entire marsh are also down. On a brighter note, there are still 14 young Shelduck. Finally, Nightjar were seen on Hengistbury on Monday and Thursday, please check back for details.


June 9th

In identical conditions to yesterday, it was the same old routine. This morning, the Brent Goose was in Barn Bight and there were 19 Black-tailed Godwit on the HHC sandbar. In the late afternoon, there were some new waders on Stanpit, but these were just 2 Curlew on East Marsh and 1 Ringed Plover on Blackberry Point. There was a good heron presence off Fisherman's Bank, with sieges of Little Egret and Grey Heron numbering 10 and 11 respectively. A further 15 or so Little Egret were spread across the harbour. The numbers will now build to their peak over the next two months, before dropping off again. Meanwhile, the Brent Goose had moved to East Marsh and the Shelduck brood was again counted as 14. This evening, on Hengistbury, a Nightjar was was seen well, but did not chur, 150 metres east of the Ironstone Quarry at 21:30.

Late news: around 25 Sanderling were on the beach at the end of the head at 3:00 in the afternoon.


June 8th

The weather was as one could expect in this month - lots of blue sky and a light south-westerly breeze. From Hengistbury, a Great-northern Diver in breeding plumage was seen heading west, also a good total of 64 Common Scoter east. A first-summer Mediterranean Gull is also a good midsummer record, as is the Brent Goose, today in Barn Bight, along with 2 Gadwall. Are they perhaps breeding again? A sprinkling of moving waders included 11 Sanderling on the Sandspit, and 4 Ringed Plover and 1 Whimbrel passing by. A small Swift passage, comprising 70 birds, was noted to the east and recent fledges on the head include Stonechat, Meadow Pipit and Rock Pipit. Stanpit was quiet, although the Black-tailed Godwit rose to 23 birds. There are also still 2 Cuckoo around, but this year, not many Reed Warbler for them to exploit.


June 7th

The first completely dry day for several, but not much to excite. Stanpit continues to hold a few lingering waders: today, the summering Black-tailed Godwit numbered 17, the same as yesterday; also 1 Sanderling, 9 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover and 3 Lapwing; while 2 Whimbrel overhead were leaving it late to pass through. The large Shelduck family still has a complement of 14 ducklings and there were a couple of c100 strong Starling flocks, each having a juvenile content of around 75%. These will provide for the locally breeding Sparrowhawk. Other indications of nearby breeding came with a group of 7 Magpie, several Chaffinch, and singles of Jackdaw and Goldfinch.


June 6th

There is only an information services report of the Spotted Sandpiper at 9:00 this morning, otherwise, a posting more typical of the period. However, a lone Brent Goose on East Marsh was a bit of a surprise and looked remarkably like the individual that was present the day after that tern. Perhaps it shadows rarities? On the subject of geese, this will be the last mention of the now resident 9 Canada Goose, unless numbers change dramatically. Some slight wader interest was provided by 2 Sanderling, 17 Black-tailed Godwit, these will be first-summer birds that don't make the trip to Iceland, and 6 Dunlin. There were also 8 Sanderling on the beach at Whitepits Rough. A Cuckoo was again seen traversing the open water and heading towards the Nursery.

Evening addendum from Wick: a Kestrel was seen, rather gruesomely, consuming a still live Brown Rat and a recently fledged Pied Wagtail was being attended by one parent. Also, a Nightjar was churring on Hengistbury.


June 5th

Yesterday's comment about June is well and truly retracted, as just before 9:00 this morning Ian Southworth found a spotted Spotted Sandpiper on South Marsh. Shaking off the jet lag as I ran from my bed, the bird was then watched for ten or so minutes in Mother Siller's Channel, before disappearing around Spellers Point, not to be seen for the next two and a half hours. Fortunately, it was relocated on East Marsh, where it spent most of the day with views possible from both Crouch Hill and Fisherman's Bank. This is CHOG's third record, the previous being in 1976 and 1984, but only Dorset's fourth, so attracted quite a crowd. The support was provided by a single Bar-tailed Godwit arriving from the north, 8 Dunlin and 7 Black-tailed Godwit. A Peregrine was over the marsh early in the afternoon and a pair of Cuckoo could be seen throughout the morning. Amazingly, after almost 2 weeks, the original fifteen-strong Shelduck brood has lost just one individual. At least 9 Canada Goose spent the day in the area.


June 4th

As June sets in, the variety wanes. The sea was watched from before 5:00 this morning, but by 7:00, even some of the most enthusiastic had given up. In total, prior to 9:30, just 5 Manx Shearwater and 1 Arctic Skua were recorded heading west, also 2 Common Scoter and 1 Fulmar east, and 33 Gannet in a mixture of directions. A Spotted Flycatcher in the Wood was a late arriver, even for this species; and other vestigial migration came courtesy of 36 Sanderling west with a further 11 settled on the beach. Things are also pretty quiet on Stanpit, where the morning's highlight was a Hobby preying on a Blue Tit in the North Scrubs. Other than that, just an alarming total of 30 Canada Goose, in three skeins, west to east and 10 or so early returning Lapwing.


June 3rd

The only hint of migration today was a Turtle Dove which headed north over Priory Marsh soon after dawn. No waders were present on Stanpit at high tide this morning but after this afternoon's heavy showers there were 64 Dunlin, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank; also in the harbour were four each of Little and Common Tern. On South Marsh this evening were 4 Canada Geese and a Bar-headed Goose! Eventually 2 of the Canada Geese and the Bar-headed Goose flew off east over Mudeford. Finally, also this evening, there were 3 Cuckoo around Crouch Hill.


June 2nd

On another cool and gloomy day there was very little to report. On the beach at Hengistbury were 13 Sanderling, 3 Turnstone and just 1 Dunlin. The 32 Black-tailed Godwit were feeding on the edge of Stanpit Bight; also seen on Stanpit were 20 Dunlin, 3 Sanderling and 2 Ringed Plover. A female Cuckoo was on Crouch Hill and 24 Swift moved west overhead.

The first report of Nightjar has been received from Hengistbury this evening - a bird was 'churring' from either side of the Ironstone Quarry from 21.30 to 21.45pm.


June 1st

Although the sky was overcast making it feel unseasonally cool the forecast rain didn't materialise until mid morning. Soon after dawn a Quail was heard calling at the top end of Stanpit; it was in the recently fenced field north of the playing field adjacent to the houses. This is an exellent record of a species that is locally rare and does not occur annually. Off South Marsh waders numbered 32 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Curlew and 1 Greenshank whilst 18 Dunlin and 7 Ringed Plover touched down briefly before continuing their journey north. A half-hour sea watch from Mudeford Quay this evening produced a steady streanm of Gannet moving west, probably in excess of 30, plus a Fulmar over the car park.

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