Sightings for July 2007
The ringers were out this morning and caught a Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Reed Warbler, 3 Sedge Warbler and 2 Willow Warbler, amongst some other, more resident species. There were also small numbers of Willow Warbler and Sedge Warbler noted in the field. Wheatear are now heading back south, a total of 4 today - 3 on Wick Hams and 1 on the Barn Field; also on the move were 4 Grey Heron and 4 Common Tern west, while 3 Jay high over Double Dykes may also have been in the migrant category. The flat, calm sea could muster just 15 Common Scoter, a Whimbrel was on Wick Hams, and 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Common Sandpiper were seen from the HHC slip. An early evening scan from Fishermans's Bank resulted in 64 Dunlin, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, a Black-tailed Godwit and, after a few day's absence, the Wigeon. There may be further news from Stanpit tonight.
As promised, from Stanpit: 71 Dunlin, 6 Common Sandpiper, 3 Turnstone, a Greenshank, 3 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel and 3 Black-tailed Godwit. Also, 31 Curlew, 29 Sandwich Tern, a lone Common Tern and a Wheatear.
A really mixed bag of interest today, making it hard to know where to start. At sea, there were 2 Balearic Shearwater seen from the south-east corner of the Barn Field, also a party of 4 Arctic Tern heading east from there, along with 14 Mediterranean Gull west, comprising of 3 individual juveniles and a flock of 11 of mixed ages. Other westerly travellers included 73 Cormorant, 85 Sandwich Tern and 31 Common Tern, while over 50 Gannet were feeding offshore. A party of 3 Crossbill came up out of the Nursery; and singles of Whinchat and Grasshopper Warbler were in the vicinity of the HHC, as were 37 Willow Warbler and 11 migrant Sedge Warbler. A total of 440 Swift passed over west during the morning and a lone Tufted Duck also went through the recording area. The best of the morning waders was a Green Sandpiper heard and seen over the HHC, and 8 Common Sandpiper were in Brewer's Creek and Barn Bight. As the day wore on, the improved weather saw raptors on the wing to the north of the area, including 9 Buzzard, a Hobby and a Peregrine. Finally, a late afternoon trip to Fisherman's Bank produced a Greenshank, 4 Whimbrel and exactly 50 Dunlin, also 35 Sandwich Tern. Please check back to yesterday for some additional news.
Additional news: a Wheatear was on Hengistbury in the morning.
The forecast of all-day, torrential rain encouraged a few lie-ins this morning. However, as it turned out, the predictions were wildly inaccurate and more time could have been spent in the field early on. Off Hengistbury, a total of 6 Balearic Shearwater were seen, 3 lingering birds and 3 moving west, also a trio of Common Scoter. Little else to mention from there, other than a group of 3 high-flying Grey Heron, presumed to be migrants, west; and a Great-spotted Woodpecker. Over on Stanpit in the afternoon, Dunlin continued to dominate the migrant waders - today's count being 60+ individuals. Other interest came from 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel and 1 Black-tailed Godwit. A further 6 Black-tailed Godwit arrived, but, almost as soon as they descended, lifted off again and pushed on east. There were also 40 resting Sandwich Tern, while 32 Swift passed high overhead westward.
Additional news: a later visit to Stanpit was a little more rewarding, with a couple of Greenshank seen to arrive, also 3 Whimbrel and 4 Black-tailed Godwit. It was interesting to see that most of the earlier Dunlin appeared to have moved on, just 14 counted, while a party of 19 Curlew also lifted off and went east. There were more Swift around, 100+ estimated over Hengistbury; and 3 Common Tern and 21 Sandwich Tern were inside the harbour.
Although the wind direction remained the same, the force had lessened somewhat overnight. Nevertheless, there were still Balearic Shearwater to be seen from Hengistbury. Up to 12 birds were noted, both in flight and settled on the water, with the favoured viewing being from the southern edge of the Barn Field. Little else at sea, save for the now expected crowd of Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Gannet and 2 Common Scoter. The better terns were inside the harbour, as a couple of Arctic Tern arrived from the north and pitched onto Stanpit. There was an incredible selection of passerine migrants, if the date is taken into consideration. Numbers were topped by 65 Willow Warbler, most of these piling off the head and along Wick Ditch; but the variety was in the area around the Barn, with singles of Wood Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Whinchat and Garden Warbler all being recorded. Waders were also on the move and included: a Green Sandpiper heard on Stanpit; a Greenshank and Whimbrel in Holloway's Dock; a further 2 Whimbrel and 2 Sanderling on the beach; 4 Common Sandpiper fluttering across the harbour; 5 Black-tailed Godwit west; and 2 Ringed Plover arriving over the Barn Field with 28 Dunlin leaving across there. Also considered to be migrants were 2 groups of Cormorant, totalling 28 birds in all, heading west, while 3 Shelduck were seen to come in from that direction. To finish on Hengistbury, there were 3 Green Woodpecker and a single Great-spotted Woodpecker. The afternoon receding tide at Stanpit was somewhat disappointing in terms of waders, just 50 or so Dunlin, but these did include 2 juveniles, and a Whimbrel. Limpy, the Yellow-legged Gull, was present, as were 60+ Sandwich Tern and 9 Common Tern.
Additional news: 7 adult Sanderling were feeding by the Long Groyne.
A night of south-westerly wind pushed at least 7 Balearic Shearwater close to Hengistbury this morning. Firstly, a group of 7 birds, after lingering off Double Dykes, pushed off east. Around 30 minutes later, groups of 3, 2 and 2 were seen either again lingering or heading west further into Poole Bay. Also at sea, around 50 Common Tern and 11 Common Scoter, along with a constant presence of Gannet and Sandwich Tern. A couple of Raven were over Hengistbury, while single Peregrine and Hobby were over Stanpit. On the morning high at Stanpit, there were 5 Common Sandpiper and 1 Greenshank; however, on the ebb tide early this afternoon, there was just 1 of the former and the latter had also left. Also after lunch, 30 Dunlin, 3 Whimbrel and a Black-tailed Godwit.
Additional news: at Stanpit tonight, between 6:00 and 7:00, there were 45 Dunlin, as well as what was presumably the morning's Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel and a lone Black-tailed Godwit. Also, lots of midges!
With a strong south-westerly and the threat of heavy rain, the sea was again the best option this morning. In just over an hour Sandwich Tern and Gannet were seen moving west in reasonable numbers, 95 and 85 respectively, but there wasn't too much else, just 24 Common Scoter, 2 Whimbrel and 2 Common Tern. On Stanpit there were 3 Common Sandpiper on South Marsh. A late afternoon visit to Stanpit found all the birds on East Marsh sheltering from the strengthening wind. Present were 43 Dunlin, 16 Curlew, 2 Common Sandpiper and 2 Whimbrel.
A very close Balearic Shearwater heading into the south-westerly breeze was the highlight of this morning's seawatch; while moving in the same direction were 45 Gannet, 37 Sandwich Tern, 6 Common Scoter, 2 adult Mediterranean Gull and a Great Skua. A Nightjar inadvertently flushed from Warren Hill this morning was as much a surprise for the finder as it was for the bird. A count of 15 Willow Warbler on Hengistbury provided further evidence that return passerine migration is slowly getting underway. On Stanpit just 42 Dunlin, 3 Sanderling and 2 Whimbrel were reported.
On a fine morning it's disappointing to report that only Stanpit received coverage. On the falling tide there were 28 Dunlin, 6 Whimbrel, 2 Sanderling, a summer-plumaged Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Common Sandpiper.
Early evening update from Stanpit: wader numbers had clearly increased throughout the day, with 50+ Dunlin, 16 Common Sandpiper, 4 Whimbrel, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Greenshank present; also there were more than 25 Sandwich Tern and the solitary Wigeon.
Late news: the first Wheatear of the 'autumn' was on Hengistbury this afternoon on the shingle shore of the harbour just west of Holloway's Dock.
On a thoroughly depressing wet day, the only report received so far is from Stanpit where the meagre reward for a drenching was a count of 200 Swift moving east.
On another fine morning, the early risers were again pestered by biting insects, but were rewarded with the first Wood Sandpiper of the year over Stanpit. However, with the exception of a significant movement of 350 Swift, there was very little else to report, just an adult Mediterranean Gull heading into the harbour over the Long Field and 9 Common Scoter east. Barn Bight held 7 Common Sandpiper, while around a dozen Dunlin and 3 Whimbrel were on Stanpit.
Early evening update from Stanpit: 2 Mediterranean Gull, adult and first-year birds; also 25 Dunlin, 7 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Common Sandpiper and the drake Wigeon.
On a fine and still morning, the biting insects made for uncomfortable birding conditions. It was also fairly quiet. A flock of 16 Shoveler circled the harbour before heading back up river, while 12 arriving Gadwall pitched in on the river. At sea, a few Gannet were feeding in the bay off Double Dykes, a Common Gull went west and 23 Common Scoter, 9 east and 14 west, were seen. Barn Bight held 6 Common Sandpiper, 3 Kingfisher were behind the HHC and 2 Mediterranean Gull, 1 adult and a first-year bird flew into Stanpit. There were also 4 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 juveniles by the HHC and 2 adults east. On Stanpit after lunch, a male Crossbill was overhead and there was a Treecreeper in Smithy's Field. Dunlin numbered just 16, also 2 Sanderling, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Turnstone, 1 Greenshank and a single Gadwall.
Check yesterday's posting for additional news.
In spite of the early morning deluge, the Wick Man was up and about and bagged a male Crossbill low west over the fields. When conditions had dried up, around late morning, a visit to Fisherman's Bank saw 75 Dunlin in Stanpit Bight, 5 Common Sandpiper off East Marsh and a Greenshank on it. Also singles of Turnstone and Ringed Plover, and 4 Whimbrel. By the afternoon, the Dunlin had reduced to 38, but most of the other waders were still present, as was the drake Wigeon. Juvenile large gulls, are now appearing in the harbour, presumably from local flat-roof colonies, while a Yellow-legged Gull probably originated from the other side of the channel, but possibly closer. Finally, a Redshank fell victim to a juvenile Peregrine that was remarkably adept given its inexperience.
Additional news: during a brief dry spell this afternoon a Hobby came off Wick fields and flew low over the school. An evening soaking at Stanpit was relatively worth it, with the best being a group of 4 adult Sanderling and a Mediterranean Gull of the same age. Also notable, was the first returning Teal and a completely albino Mallard. Limpy, the Yellow-legged Gull, was back and 8 Black-tailed Godwit made a brief appearance before pushing on.
As the month progresses, waders are becoming more and more conspicuous. The best today were 3 Little Ringed Plover seen in flight from the top of the head. Also from that viewpoint: a Greenshank about the harbour and 2 Whimbrel, 18 Dunlin and 10 Ringed Plover west. Barn Bight held 17 Common Sandpiper, while 3 more were along the river with a further 2 in Mother Siller's Channel. Numbers in Stanpit Bight were topped by 42 Dunlin, 6 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Whimbrel. Some other early signs of autumn came from single Bullfinch and Siskin east over Hengistbury, a couple of Willow Warbler on the deck and, between 6:30 and 8:30, a total of 430 Swift west. A Buzzard and 2 Tufted Duck toured the airspace before returning north, from whence they came, 26 Little Egret were counted and the Wigeon remains on Stanpit.
Despite quite a stiff south-westerly breeze this morning, the sea was again disappointing with just 45 Sandwich Tern, including 1 juvenile., 20 Common Tern and 5 Whimbrel heading west, while 40 Gannet went east. Common Sandpiper counts today were 11 in Barn Bight, 5 on the river bank opposite Stanpit and 4 in Mother Siller's Channel. On Stanpit, there were 29 Dunlin, 22 Curlew, 4 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank and 1 Ringed Plover; also the drake Wigeon in Stanpit Bight.
Just a few hours of south-westerly blow was enough to again push some Storm Petrel into range of Hengistbury, with 1, but possibly 2, being seen from the Beach Huts this morning. Other than these, however, the sea was a little disappointing, producing just 30 Common Scoter, all but 2 west, 19 Gannet east, and 8 Common Tern and a Curlew west. The exposed HHC bar held a Greenshank, while Barn Bight hosted 3 Common Sandpiper and a respectable 39 Redshank. In Holloway's Dock, there were 3 Whimbrel with another on Wick Hams; and, looking over to Stanpit, a group of 4 Dunlin were on Blackberry Point. Completing the morning's reports, 11 Swift headed generally west. A late afternoon excursion saw 16 Common Tern and 2 Common Scoter west, along with a Whimbrel settled on the beach. Continuing their recent "invasion", a couple of Great-spotted Woodpecker were in the Wood.
Additional news: in Stanpit Bight this evening, at low tide, a Greenshank and 3 Whimbrel were still present, along with a single Common Sandpiper and 2 Turnstone.
A party of 4 Crossbill that headed west over Hengistbury and then Wick Fields this morning were a welcome addition to the group's faltering year-list. At least 1 Little Ringed Plover was about the area, seen twice in flight from Hengistbury and on Blackberry Point from Stanpit. However, it is possible the aerial encounters relate to 2 individuals, as they were spread over 3 hours. A party of 3 Raven went east over the head, while singles of Peregrine and Hobby were also recorded. There was a total of 5 Great-spotted Woodpecker today - a single bird calling in the North Scrubs and 4 by the HHC, where a Mistle Thrush was also noted. Cormorant are not always considered as visible migration candidates; but several groups of high-flying birds, totalling 48 in all, to the west, may well fit the bill. Also in that direction, 14 Curlew, 5 Whimbrel and 5 Black-tailed Godwit. Again, Stanpit held a nice migrant wader selection, including: 15 Dunlin, 5 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank and a Turnstone; while birds of probable more local origin were counted as 54 Lapwing, 23 Redshank and 12 Curlew. There are currently plenty of young birds to be seen: amongst them, at least 5 Skylark on the Barn Field, a Water Rail in Parky Meade Rail and up to 10 Sand Martin settling on the deck by Grimmery Point. To round things up, the drake Wigeon that has an awful lot of white in the wings is still residing on Stanpit.
Omission: Barn Bight held 10 Common Sandpiper on the morning low tide.
A Spoonbill put in a cameo performance on East Marsh around 11:00. The bird was seen to arrive, but, as quickly as it settled, was flushed by a canoeist and departed high to the east. There was obviously a very attractive shoal of fish in Poole Bay mid-morning, attracting not just 250 Sandwich Tern and 40 Common Tern, but also a school of dolphins, presumably Bottle-nosed. Also tempted to the feast were 1, possibly 2, Balearic Shearwater and 3 Arctic Skua, 2 dark and 1 pale. Other sea records totalled 75 Gannet east and 7 Common Scoter west. Whilst all this was happening, there was also plenty of Sandwich Tern inside the harbour - over 100 were around Stanpit Bight, as were 9 Common Tern; also a moulting adult Mediterranean Gull there. Late in afternoon, a group of 3 juvenile gulls circling the harbour caught the eye and turned out to be a party of Yellow-legged Gull; which, after a period of indecision, eventually decided not to descend, choosing instead to head northwards inland. Overnight, Stanpit saw something of an wader arrival, with 4 Greenshank, 5 Whimbrel, 24 Dunlin, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Common Sandpiper and 2 Ringed Plover being counted in the morning. By the evening, however, most had left; for example, just 11 Dunlin and 1 Greenshank, but a Turnstone had checked in; while on Hengistbury, a further 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel and 1 Black-tailed Godwit were also logged. During the course of the day, there was a constant trickle of Swift over Hengistbury, perhaps totalling 100 birds, along with 15 Swallow. Over the last week, the urbanisation bordering the recording area has seen the emergence of family parties of both these species; likewise, Sand Martin are now flocking onto fences by the Ironstone Quarry. To complete a reasonable, mid-July day, the Wigeon was on Stanpit and the hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crow was on Hengistbury with 3 young. Of herpetological interest, most pools on Hengistbury are currently holding good numbers of Natterjack tadpoles.
Additional news: there was a good count of 48 Little Egret from Stanpit tonight - also 2 Common Sandpiper.
A stiff south-westerly blow saw a marked passage of Common Tern, which attracted at least 4, but possibly 6, Arctic Skua to Hengistbury waters. Around 8:15, a gang of 3 dark birds flew menacingly into The Solent, picking at a few large gulls as they did so. Then, around an hour later, an easterly moving family party of Mediterranean Gull, 2 adults and 1 juvenile, were intercepted by another trio of pirates, but this time a pale bird was involved in the melee. In all, over 200 Common Tern travelled east, while there was a constant offshore presence of Sandwich Tern, including the year's first 3 juveniles. There were also numbers of Sandwich Tern inside the harbour, over 50 moved out westwards in a single flock this morning, but there were a further 60 loafing this afternoon on South Marsh, where Limpy, the Yellow-legged Gull, was sleeping and an adult Mediterranean Gull overflew. Other snippets from the sea comprise: 6 Common Scoter, 2 Kittiwake, a Fulmar, 2 Curlew and an unidentified shearwater. A Raven passed east over the sandspit and over 50 Swift were recorded from Hengistbury. At least 9 Common Sandpiper were seen from the HHC slip just after dawn, also a Kingfisher from that spot. The first Goldcrest since the spring were on the head, a total of 3 birds, including a "crestless" juvenile around the pool by the first Beach Huts; and further woodland representation came from 4 wandering Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 north along the sandspit, 1 with the 'crests and 1 over Wick Hams. The Wigeon was again on East Marsh, along with 5 Dunlin and 3 Whimbrel in Stanpit Bight.
Additional news: at least 200 Gannet, of widely varying ages, moved east and a party of 20 Shelduck, nearly all juveniles, circuited the harbour, but eventually carried on west.
Quite a few bits and pieces to talk about this evening. Firstly, the morning's activity at sea, where, in poor visibility, single Roseate Tern and Balearic Shearwater were just about picked out. Also, an adult Yellow-legged Gull in off and into the harbour, plus 7 Common Scoter moving east. A Hobby perched on the cliff top was, no doubt, waiting to pick-off young and unsuspecting Sand Martin; which are already seeming to disperse. In fact, a casual survey during the week suggested just 20 or so occupied burrows. To complete the scene at Hengistbury, 2 Common Sandpiper were on Wick Hams flood and a breeding-plumaged Black-tailed Godwit was in Holloway's Dock. Late this afternoon, there were, by local standards, plenty of terns on Stanpit - with 51 Sandwich Tern and 13 Common Tern counted. Waders throughout the day on the marsh, included a Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Dunlin; also the drake Wigeon still present. Of other natural interest, a Golden-ringed Dragonfly and Marbled White butterfly were on the head.
Despite the dispersal of the tern flock and only a few Sandwich Tern remaining there were still 4 Arctic Skua in the bay off Double Dykes this morning. Their aerial displays were spectacular as they attacked the unfortunate terns. The only other reports were of 4 Common Scoter moving west and a Whimbrel in Holloway's Dock. This afternoon Limpy, the Yellow-legged Gull, was on East Marsh, seen from Fisherman's Bank; also there were 20 Sandwich Tern, 7 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Common Sandpiper and the drake Wigeon.
There were still good numbers of terns around the harbour this morning. The undoubted highlight was the presence of 5 Roseate Tern in the high tide roost on Stanpit; also there were more than 70 Sandwich and 15 Common Tern. Another 100 or so tern, mainly Sandwich Tern, but also a few Common Tern, were feeding in the bay off Double Dykes. This inevitably attracted the attention of 3 Arctic Skua, 1 pale and 2 dark phase, which were watched for a couple of hours harrassing the tern flock. A shearwater heading west was too distant to be positively identified; 17 Common Scoter moved west with another 5 east. Stanpit produced a good selection of waders with 3 Greenshank, 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Whimbrel and a Green Sandpiper, plus 14 Common Sandpiper and 28 Curlew, while 9 Black-tailed Godwit flew west. The drake Wigeon was present and also a female Shoveler. In Smithy's Field at the north end of Stanpit, were a Turtle Dove and a Nuthatch. Finally, 2 Peregrine and a Hobby were recorded over Stanpit this morning.
With one or two showers around and the wind from the west, the sea didn't look too promising this morning; but an hour's seawatch from the cliff produced a couple of good birds. A steady westerly movement of both Sandwich Tern and Common Tern, 55 and 35 respectively, attracted the attention of a couple of skuas. The first, a Great Skua, settled on the sea once or twice before moving off, and the second, a dark phase Pomarine Skua, lingered for longer whilst harrassing the terns. Heading east, were another 5 Common Tern and 2 Common Scoter, while a single Common Scoter and 7 Curlew went west. The first Cuckoo for a few days was on the Barn Field, a Coal Tit was in Double Dykes, while 18 Swift and a Yellow Wagtail were overhead. Just one Common Sandpiper, in Wick Hams, was reported today, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and a single Greenshank were on East Marsh, and the Wigeon was in Stanpit Bight.
There was a reasonable movement of Swift this morning, with around 125 birds, initially heading in no particular direction in still conditions; however, once the westerly breeze picked up, the birds moved purposefully into the wind. The Green Sandpiper was heard over Stanpit, while 16 Curlew, 10 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Greenshank moved west. Barn Bight held 11 Common Sandpiper and there was another one opposite Fisherman's Bank, the latter with 3 Whimbrel and another 3 Greenshank. Finally, 7 Common Scoter moved east off Double Dykes.
On a fine sunny morning, both sides of the harbour were covered, but there was precious little reward for the effort. The best bird was probably a Green Sandpiper over Wick; also a second-summer Mediterranean Gull over there. There were 4 Common Sandpiper today, one in Barn Bight and 3 in Mother Siller's Channel. The Greenshank was still in Stanpit Bight, also a Whimbrel and 23 Curlew counted. A brief seawatch from Double Dykes produced just 15 Common Scoter on the sea, together with 5 Gannet and 4 Common Scoter west. A Kingfisher was in Parky Meade and 6 Swift were noted over Stanpit.
The sea was much calmer this morning and, as a consequence, there were far fewer Storm Petrel. However, what was lacking in quantity was made up for in quality, as 3 birds were lingering very close in. In fact, they had a particular affinity to the wake of a slow moving lobster boat that was working the pots around the Long Groyne. Little else over the water though, just a few Gannet, 10-15 feeding Common Tern and 2 Common Scoter. Black-tailed Godwit are starting to reappear, with 18 west and 9 settled in the harbour; also, a total of 23 Curlew journeying west, a Bar-tailed Godwit in the same direction at sea, 2 Dunlin arriving and 4 Common Sandpiper around Barn Bight still. Considering it is only early July, there have been relatively high numbers of both terns and waders over the last few days, perhaps suggesting a larger than normal degree of breeding failure, both locally and further north, due to the recent, prolonged wet weather. An adult Mediterranean Gull and a Hobby went over the HHC, while single Swift and House Martin were over Hengistbury. There was evidence of Great-spotted Woodpecker dispersal, as birds were behind the HHC, on Wick and by the Beach Huts; and what was presumably the latter, was later flying around the cliff-top. Also a family of Green Woodpecker, made up of 3 juveniles, about the western part of the head and some newly formed flocks of Greenfinch. By the late afternoon, Storm Petrel were seemingly absent, but an Arctic Skua was seen moving west.
Of butterfly interest, 6-8 Purple Hairstreak were in the canopy by the Double Bends.
The position of the afternoon sun gave fantastic views of at least 8 lingering Storm Petrel; but earlier, a maximum of 10 had been certainly counted as they pattered on the relatively calm water. After a reasonable day yesterday, terns were almost completely absent, just 6 Little Tern, 5 Common Tern and a small number of the ever-present Sandwich Tern to remark upon; while other marine records involve 27 Gannet and 2 Common Scoter west. Common Sandpiper were again numerous - as 4 were being watched in Barn Bight, a further 10 flew upriver in the company of a Curlew. On Stanpit, there were 2 Black-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank on East Marsh, before it was hideously disturbed by a kite-surfer, and the Wigeon was again present. Finally, thanks to the Christchurch Borough Council warden for efficiently dealing with the kite-surfer issue.
Additional news: Storm Petrel were still off Hengistbury in the evening and, on the dropping tide, 4 Common Sandpiper returned to Barn Bight.
Last night, some of the local weather forecasts were issuing severe warnings for the morning, but they failed to materialise. Nevertheless, the sea put in another good show. Terns were numerous and were headlined by a Roseate Tern that performed excellently in front of the Beach Huts for around an hour; also 110 Common Tern and 7 Little Tern moving west past there; and 4 more of the latter from Mudeford Quay in the afternoon. Late in the morning, a flock of 15 Manx Shearwater headed west, while the Storm Petrel estimate is 15-20, with a maximum of 9 in one scan. Also over the water, 5 Curlew west, along with 22 Common Scoter, 14 east and 8 west. Mediterranean Gull have been relatively sparse of late, consequently, 2 adults over Whitepits were the month's first record. As the waders slowly return, Common Sandpiper arrived en masse - a heady 7 birds were around Barn Bight; and it is open to conjecture whether 5 on the sandspit groynes were some of the same birds, or not. Other interest came from 2 Grey Plover seen arriving and 7-10 Black-tailed Godwit over Stanpit; where the Wigeon was again noted and a Hobby was over Argyll Road. By late afternoon, there were some sizeable gusts and the sea looks to be tomorrow's focal point.
Additional news: there were 3 Common Sandpiper by Mother Siller's Channel in the evening.
The wind swung to a more westerly direction and kept a few Storm Petrel in the area. At least 4 were seen from Mudeford Quay, 6 from the Beach Huts and 4 from the Gully. With the elevated position of the latter site, it was possible to see that the birds viewable from there were keeping in a fairly strict 700m zone. Also from that spot, an Arctic Skua and 20 Common Tern, while 15 of these were logged from Mudeford Quay. Little Tern were quite conspicuous - 6 from the quay and 3 off the Beach Huts. Also increased today were Curlew, with 18 counted on Stanpit and two seen arriving from the east. Wader interest on the marsh is slowly picking up - along with a Greenshank in Stanpit Bight, there was a Common Sandpiper in Mother Siller's Channel, while 2 adult Black-tailed Godwit were off Fisherman's Bank, but for 5 minutes only. Further interest came from a July Wigeon in the harbour and a Yellow-legged Gull on East Marsh, which was not the regular individual.
A Spotted Redshank, in almost complete breeding-plumage, was being enjoyed from Fisherman's Bank this morning; before disturbed by an angler walking out onto East Marsh. Traditionally, this species is one of the first waders to pass through the UK on the long, return journey from Arctic breeding grounds. A single Greenshank was also moved on, but the origin of that bird may have been from further south; whereas the 55 Lapwing, 26 Redshank and 8 Curlew had almost certainly come from areas much closer. Birders were spotted heading towards the Beach Huts, so there may be some later reports from the sea.
Additional news: the information services confirmed 2 Storm Petrel from the Beach Huts at midday.
Around 3 hours seawatching, until 10:15, in conditions quite similar to yesterday, produced an estimated 25 Storm Petrel either moving west or hanging around. Again, views of the lingering birds can only be described as crippling. Best of the rest was a flock of 9 Bar-tailed Godwit bearing west, along with 42 Common Tern, 27 Gannet, 7 Common Scoter and 2 Guillemot, while a further Guillemot went in the opposite direction.
News just in: at least 10 Storm Petrel still off the Beach Huts this evening, as well as 7 Common Scoter west.
Additional early morning news: A single Bar-tailed Godwit was resting on the beach, before departing west, and 3 Swift were seen arriving.
Despite the south-south-westerly wind continuing, there were no albatrosses off Hengistbury! Instead, Storm Petrel continued to entertain, but before today's estimates, let's take the other highlights. The sea was watched in a series of shifts, from 7:00 through to 3:00, and produced a total of 6 Balearic Shearwater, all west, at 8:15, 9:00, 11:00ish and early in the afternoon. Around midday, a pale Arctic Skua charged into The Solent, briefly hesitating as it pondered the merits of assaulting a Herring Gull, then continued eastwards. Later, a couple more suddenly appeared directly over the Beach Huts and inspected the harbour before heading west. Terns were far fewer today, in fact, less than 5 Common Tern, but there were c30 Common Scoter on the water, which then lifted-off into Poole Bay, also 5 Fulmar and 2 Kittiwake in that direction. Throughout the watches, 33 Swift were seen coming in from the east, often being in the same scope view as the petrels. Finally, the seemingly ever-present Storm Petrel. The early morning estimate comprised of 30+ individuals, even allowing for repetition; with the maximum this afternoon being 15 in a single scan, but the total submitted was similar to the earlier reckoning. Currently, it's difficult to imagine where else such close and consistent views of Storm Petrel can be literally guaranteed. It's no exaggeration to say you can simply lift your bins and, "There they are," while sometimes being so close that it's almost possible to see the tubes on their noses