Sightings for August 2009
In fine conditions this afternoon, which contrasted sharply with the cloud and wind of the morning, Stanpit again held a good selection of late-summer waders. A Spotted Redshank and 2 Ruff were perhaps the best, but also 9 Knot, at least 6 Greenshank, 3 Sanderling, a Turnstone, 4 Whimbrel and 18 Black-tailed Godwit. Of 273 small waders counted, the split was reckoned to be 60:40 Dunlin to Ringed Plover. Loafing Sandwich Tern inside the harbour numbered around 40, with 4 Common Tern mixed in, as well as the 3 Wigeon and a single Teal. Finally for Stanpit, a Lesser Whitethroat was in Stanpit Scrubs and 3 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill. The morning weather meant that, other than a 2 Redstart, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Grey Wagtail, 2 Yellow Wagtail and modest numbers of the commoner sylvia warblers, migrants were pretty much non-existent on Hengistbury and Wick. Consequently, the sea was given a bash and produced an all-dark Arctic Skua hassling the few offshore Sandwich Tern, plus 16 Common Scoter and 7 Fulmar west. There was little else to note on the head, save for 2 Raven and a Kingfisher, but please check back to yesterday for some additional news.
News has also been received of an apparent Red-crested Pochard at Stanpit for the last two mornings. However, a hybrid has not been completely ruled out and the bird seems to make a bee-line to Christchurch Quay around feeding time.
Additional news: a couple of Yellow Wagtail were on the sandspit and an Arctic Tern passed over the Barn Field.
The early morning saw the best of the weather, as the wind soon gathered pace bringing low cloud and drizzle with it. Having said that, the wader walk was spared the worst of the rain and managed fourteen of the sixteen species on offer this afternoon, but not necessarily in the following numbers, which represent the day's peaks. An Avocet, a Ruff, 12 Greenshank, 11 Knot, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Turnstone, a Common Sandpiper, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 82 Dunlin, 67 Ringed Plover and 24 Curlew, while Lapwing, Redshank and Oystercatcher were not counted. Also present, but not seen by the group, were a juvenile Little Ringed Plover and a Sanderling, while the information services earlier carried a report of a Spotted Redshank. Another species courtesy of the pager was Arctic Tern, with two being reported in the same post as the Spotted Redshank. In addition to waders, there was a fair selection of wildfowl inside the harbour: namely, a Tufted Duck, a Gadwall, 4 Shoveler, 5 Teal and 3 Wigeon; with the sea contributing 2 Common Scoter westward. An adult Common Gull was in Stanpit Bight on the low tide, when there was also a juvenile Mediterranean Gull in Mother Siller's Channel. Meanwhile, 83 Sandwich Tern and 2 Common Tern roosted, but 17 of the latter had passed through earlier in the day. To round up, 3 Raven and 2 Fulmar passed over in the morning and the only passerine reports involve 5 Wheatear - 3 on Hengistbury and 2 on Stanpit.
Additional news: 4 Grey Wagtail went over the HHC, a Kingfisher was along the the river there, a Peregrine was over the harbour and a party of 15 Meadow Pipit headed purposefully north.
Additional news: one of the regulars will be frequenting the sandspit this week, so we can expect news from what is normally a pretty unwatched part of the area. Today saw 3 Arctic Skua passing at sea, as well as 26 Whimbrel west. Also, a young Kittiwake resting on the beach, along with 3 Yellow Wagtail feeding in the seaweed, a first-winter Mediterranean Gull and 35 Ringed Plover. Early in the morning, around 120 Canada Goose, with a single Greylag Goose, left the harbour and headed towards Highcliffe.
On a settled morning there was a good selection of common migrants around Hengistbury, with Wheatear in particular taking advantage of the fine weather as over 100 birds were logged. Other numbers included: 30 Willow Warbler, 30+ Yellow Wagtail, 20 Whitethroat, 9 Tree Pipit, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Whinchat, 4 Grey Wagtail, 3 Garden Warbler, 3 Blackcap, a couple each of Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler, but just 1 Redstart. The first Spotted Redshank of the 'autumn' was on Stanpit together with singles of Wood Sandpiper and Ruff; also 8 Knot and 4 Whimbrel, while 2 Common Sandpiper were on the river and 3 Snipe were airborne over the HHC. No counts of the regularly occurring waders have been received, although Greenshank was heard and at high tide c200 small waders were on Blackberry Point. Pre-dawn, a Tawny Owl was heard from Priory Marsh and later both Hobby and Peregrine made sorties into the harbour. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull headed south west over the HHC, while a little later an adult and another juvenile were on the HHC mudbar, also 3 Mediterranean Gull moved west past the cliffs. A single Fulmar passed by and 2 Common Tern were seen. Finally, 3 Wigeon and 2 Gadwall remain in the harbour, plus 5 Canada Geese on the tip of South Marsh.
Big-Foot Day update. There were two home locations - Sopley and Purewell - and the two participants met a 5.00 at the Stoney Lane roundabout to the apparent interest of a few motorists and the local constabulary. However, with the formalities cleared, it was over Tuckton Bridge and onto Wick Fields, where passerines were particularly abundant, before meeting up with some of the Saturday regulars who had made it to the HHC by more conventional means. After collecting a telescope and food that had been secreted on site the previous evening, it was up to the top of the head to scan in all directions. While the harbour put in an average variety of waders, the sea was desperate, just Fulmar and Common Tern to add to the total. So, it was back through Wick to Bargates and down to the Avon just south of Knapp Mill. From there, Coward's Marsh was given a good inspection and then Town Common. At this point, the parties separated and headed homeward via the Avon Causeway and Christchurch respectively. The Sopley route produced 96 species, with the Purewell circuit scoring nine more. Although not accurately measured, it's reckoned that in excess of 10-miles were covered by each individual.
In the face of a very strong south-westerly wind a seawatch was attempted, but produced just a single Arctic Skua, 15 Sandwich Tern and 5 Common Tern west, as well as a Fulmar and 9 Gannet east. There is still a good congregation of Greenshank to be seen from Fisherman's Bank, the highest count today reaching 10 birds; also 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Whimbrel, around 80 Ringed Plover and 60 or so Dunlin between there and Mother Siller's Channel. The only passerine news received is of 3 Wheatear - two by Crouch Hill and the other by Stanpit Scrubs. Just before six tonight, a female-type Marsh Harrier that was over Coward's Marsh had likely been previously over harbour airspace. Tomorrow sees two of the regulars attempting a pedestrian big-day around the harbour and other sites in Christchurch. The rules are simple, record as many species as possible without the aid of transport from and to your home; so don't be alarmed if you encounter a couple of shady characters meeting at the Stoney Lane roundabout around 5:00ish.
Additional news. There was a fair bit of interest at Stanpit in the evening, not least an Arctic Tern with 2 Common Tern and around 30 Sandwich Tern. The wader variety included 3 Knot, 3 Sanderling and a Turnstone, while a Peregrine made a couple of overhead circuits.
A couple of large birds over the harbour were the highlights of a reasonable day. Firstly, an Osprey wreaked the traditional havoc as it passed over Stanpit and then circled the Coastguards; and secondly, a Spoonbill passed high over eastwards. Yellow Wagtail numbers picked up to 31 flyovers, as well as 5 Grey Wagtail, 6 Tree Pipit and 230 Sand Martin south; while the bushes on Hengistbury held 115 Whitethroat, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 18 Willow Warbler, 12 Sedge Warbler and 3 Redstart, one of these a cracking male. A Green Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover were the best of the morning waders from the head, but also 63 Ringed Plover and 26 Whimbrel logged there. Then, at lunchtime, a scan from Argyle Road saw 8 Greenshank and 11 Black-tailed Godwit, as well as over 60 Sandwich Tern roosting off South Marsh. Gull interest came from a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and an adult Common Gull, with duck chipping in three each of Wigeon, Shoveler and Teal. Another couple of Raven were present early on, but 3 Rook slightly later were more of a surprise.
The wind and rain really whipped up overnight, making seawatching the only possible option this morning. However, despite the blow, other than a very close adult Pomarine Skua and a more distant Great Skua, it was all a bit of a non-event. In fact, only 9 Fulmar, 90+ Sandwich Tern and 45 or so Gannet, all of these west, made it into the notebooks. At dawn, a couple of Raven were over the HHC, while the contribution from Fisherman's Bank involved 3 Greenshank, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel and 4 Black-tailed Godwit.
In the continuing south-westerly wind, it was tough going on Hengistbury this morning, where waders featured more than passerines. Numbers seen from there about the harbour included: a Green Sandpiper, a Grey Plover, 4 Greenshank, 9 Whimbrel, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Snipe, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 46 Ringed Plover and 82 Dunlin. Around 5 Wigeon are now in the area, along with 2 drake Gadwall, and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull passed through. Finally, 12 Yellow Wagtail and a Wheatear were logged moving over.
Despite seemingly ideal conditions migration was slow again today, although a Wood Warbler in the Nursery was a good late-summer record. Other numbers were 20 Willow Warbler, 15 Sedge Warbler, 14 Blackcap, 2 Redstart, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Garden Warbler and overhead singles of Hobby and Swift. Both Wood Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper were on Wick Hams this morning, while 4 Knot arrived on Stanpit. Other wader counts were: 143 Dunlin, 45 Ringed Plover, another 102 left the harbour south, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 1 Sanderling and 1 Grey Plover. A flock of 16 Greylag Goose came in from the east and headed up the Avon Valley, while the presence of 9 Teal, 2 Gadwall, 2 Wigeon, 1 Shoveler and 1 Tufted Duck were a real sign that autumn is approaching fast! Finally, 80 Common Tern moved west at sea.
Additional news: 3 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill.
Stanpit was the place to be this morning with a good selection of waders including Wood Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Knot and Grey Plover. Counts of the more common species will be updated later. There was also a good passage of terns west through the harbour - the highlight being a flock of 9 Arctic Tern, also a single bird and 130 Common Tern. Priory Marsh held both Garganey and Green Sandpiper. On Hengistbury there was a real mixed bag with just a scattering of common migrants including 4 Yellow Wagtail overhead, 5 House Martin south, a single Swift and a Garden Warbler on the Long Field, but just 3 Willow Warbler noted. To round up, another 2 Raven were seen today, moving towards Wick, 2 Teal headed north and a count of 9 Black-tailed Godwit included 3 north. Also on the Hengistbury side were 5 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper and a Whimbrel.
Evening update: First this morning's numbers from Stanpit - 270 Dunlin, 210 Ringed Plover, 33 Knot, 18 Greenshank, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Snipe, 7 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel and 3 Grey Plover. Migrant passerines included 65 Sedge Warbler and 3 Redstart, the latter in Smithy's field while 23 Yellow Wagtail, 7 Tree Pipit and a Grey Wagtail moved overhead. Other bits and pieces included a Hobby, 3 Mediterranean Gull, 5 Teal and 3 Gadwall. This afternoon 150 Common Tern were feeding off the beach at Hengistbury while there was a pre-migration gathering of c2000 hirundines over the Barn Field and Warren Hill.
Please check back to yesterday for additional news.
This morning around Hengistbury, a flock of 184 Canada Geese left noisily with 3 Greylag Goose, while 5 Raven flew west. Flyovers around the HHC included: 3 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Grey Wagtail. A couple of Wheatear were on the Barn Field and another was on Solent Meads Golf Course. On the Long Field, there were 3 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Reed Bunting, 5 Willow Warbler and a Hobby. In the afternoon, Stanpit held 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Ringed Plover, 60 Dunlin and 2 Sanderling. Over Wick there were 100 hirundines, mostly Swallow and a late Swift was seen flying out to sea from Whitepits. Other CHOGers have spent the weekend in the Bay of Biscay, at Rutland and at The Oval. I wonder who had the best time!
Additional news: the Little Stint was still present opposite Fisherman's Bank this morning, also 2 Curlew Sandpiper. A Garganey flew south through the harbour, while 3 Gadwall headed upriver and a further bird was in Wick Hams. Other bits and pieces included a Hobby over Hengistbury, a Treecreeper (ringed) was in the Nursery, another 7 Raven were seen and up to 9 Greenshank were around.
The persistent south-westerly wind is making things pretty dull - oh, for a bit of east! The best were 2 Turtle Dove with Collared Dove in Ashtree Meadow this morning; but the rest included just 3 Tree Pipit and a Yellow Wagtail over the entire area, 6 Wheatear on Crouch Hill, and a scant presence of acrocephalus warblers and Whitethroat. Waders fared slightly better, with both a Curlew Sandpiper and a Little Stint from Fisherman's Bank, the latter also being heard from Crouch Hill; while Priory Marsh held an impressive 12 Greenshank along with 7 Snipe. Also noted, 23 Dunlin, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, the Bar-tailed Godwit, a Common Sandpiper, these seem to be thinning out now, and 2 Ringed Plover. A couple of Gadwall and a Teal were about, a single Common Gull was on the HHC bar and over 115 Canada Goose had spent the night in the harbour.
Additional news: a couple of Spoonbill flew over Fisherman's Bank in the evening and a Marsh Tit was by the Wooden Bridge in the morning.
Almost as soon as it got light, heavy cloud descended and darkened the skies for the next couple of hours, something which also whipped up a strong south-westerly breeze. Needless to say, birds were reasonably few and far between. Wildfowl actually provided the most interest, with 6 Shoveler, 5 Gadwall and 5 Teal seen from the HHC slip, as well as a Kingfisher lingering around there. The increase in the wind prompted a look at the sea, but in just over an hour a distant Arctic Skua and a single Common Scoter were the only returns. An evening visit to Stanpit provided wader totals of: 4 Whimbrel, 3 Greenshank, 2 Sanderling, a Turnstone, a Common Sandpiper and 52 Ringed Plover, while 6 Black-tailed Godwit had been around in the morning. Also at Stanpit tonight, 4 Wheatear and 2 Yellow Wagtail.
On an absolutely glorious morning, it was a pleasure to be on Hengistbury, the slight exception being a few, early biting insects. Around 8:45, it soon became clear why the two 'juvenile gulls' wheeling around over the Barn Field didn't look quite right at first glance - that's because they were in fact Great Skua! Anyone around Barn Field would have been treated to views normally associated with Shetland, as the birds circled low before heading over the Coastguards and Warren Hill into The Solent. A short while later, a Wood Sandpiper had a good look at Wick Hams, but didn't settle and headed back off west. Most of the day's observations actually came from a standing spot close to the HHC and included: 3 Little Tern and 111 Common Tern west through the harbour; 2 Mediterranean Gull, an adult Common Gull and 4 Gadwall; 16 Whimbrel, of which 15 were in a single flock, 4 Grey Plover and 3 Redshank west; while 2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper and 12 Black-tailed Godwit were inside the harbour. In addition, Wick Fields and the Long Field were also visited - and between those sites passerines numbered: 95 Whitethroat, 10+ Blackcap, 5 Wheatear, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Garden Warbler, 2 Tree Pipit and a Whinchat, as well as a few Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler. Meanwhile, overhead, at least 19 Swift moved through, along with 120 Sand Martin, 70 Swallow and 50 or so House Martin. Of dragonfly interest, a Ruddy Darter, a rarity for the area, was in the Nursery this afternoon.
A Melodious Warbler was seen by the Wooden Bridge on Wick this morning and 2 Tree Pipit were in the Bobolink Field, but while little else was seen in the field the ringers had another good day. A late afternoon trip to Stanpit Bight saw 5 Whimbrel, a Turnstone, a Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Ringed Plover and 60 Dunlin. There is a further visit ongoing, so more news may follow.
Additional news: a couple each of Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail were at Stanpit, as well as a Bar-tailed Godwit and 6 Common Sandpiper.
Hengistbury saw a scattering of migrants this morning: including 7 Yellow Wagtail, 6 of them in the long grass of the Barn Field; 9 Wheatear, most of these on the adjacent cliff edge; 61 Whitethroat, 45 Sedge Warbler and 35 Willow Warbler in the vegetation; and 5 Tree Pipit over, as well as a single Swift and a few Swallow. A Green Sandpiper was heard from the HHC, while the first Wigeon on the 'winter' was inside the harbour, along with a Gadwall and a Kingfisher. Late in the afternoon, the waders off Fisherman's Bank numbered 6 Greenshank, 55 Ringed Plover and 98 Dunlin. Off interest just outside of the recording area, a female Goshawk passed over central Christchurch in the middle of the afternoon.
Early morning cloud seemed to keep what passerine migrants there were in the depths of the bushes, with just a handful of Willow Warbler, Whitethroat and Blackcap around Stanpit to remark upon. Overhead, at least 4 Yellow Wagtail passed over the marsh, as did a Hobby, 2 Common Buzzard and small numbers of Swallow. A Dartford Warbler in the area of Crouch Hill is a nice record and hopefully suggests a good breeding season from the reduced local populations. Close by, an apparent pair of Raven descended onto South Marsh and then spent 30-minutes or so engaging in mutual preening. Waders in the harbour were counted at 14 Black-tailed Godwit and a Snipe, and estimated at 30 each of Ringed Plover and Dunlin, while Common Sandpiper could be heard. To complete a reasonably quiet day, a Coal Tit was in Stanpit car park and at least 30 Canada Goose roosted overnight, with 8 returning briefly mid-morning.
It was fairly slim pickings for the Saturday crowd, as unforecast cloud cover and a south-westerly breeze meant the threat of rain never really abated. A brace of Hobby moved together from over Stanpit golf course towards Stanpit and Mudeford, while a male Peregrine had earlier picked its breakfast over East Marsh. As the tide revealed the HHC bar, a group of 17 Black-tailed Godwit, most of them newly arrived juveniles, moved in, as did a lone Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Mediterranean Gull, an adult and a juvenile. At least 5 Greenshank, 38 Ringed Plover, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel and 40 Dunlin remain in the harbour, but 50 overnight roosting Canada Goose left just after it got properly light. Singles of Shoveler and Teal were about Stanpit, a couple of Wheatear were up by the Coastguards and 3 Fulmar were just off there, at times being harried by young Herring Gull.
Additional news: in the late afternoon, 4 Sanderling and 140 Dunlin were at Stanpit, as was a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, while 2 Peregrine hunted the area.
Another still, but today clear morning, saw around 25 Willow Warbler and 35 Whitethroat across the western section of Hengistbury, as well as a Whinchat and 2 Wheatear on the Barn Field. There were a further 5 Wheatear on South Marsh, Stanpit, along with a Garden Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat in the elderberry bush on the golf course embankment. Overhead, 2 Tree Pipit passed over the marsh, as did a Yellow Wagtail, with a further of those over Wick Fields and a single Swift over the HHC. Wader-wise, a Green Sandpiper was heard over Wick/Hengistbury and 31 Ringed Plover, 70 Dunlin, 5 Common Sandpiper, 4 Snipe, 4 Greenshank and 4 Black-tailed Godwit were about Stanpit. Also inside the harbour, at least 6 Common Tern and modest numbers of Sandwich Tern. Around 80 Canada Goose looked to have roosted in Stanpit Bight, leaving the area around 7:00, but then 100 or so came back in at 9:00, with 63 certainly overstaying their welcome into the early afternoon. Later in the day, a Common Gull was at Mudeford Quay, while earlier a single Teal had been in Parky Meade Rail.
Additional news: a group of 3 Grey Heron appeared from the north and headed directly out to sea over the Coastguards.
For a short while this morning, after some heavy pre-dawn rain and as the tide fell, Stanpit held a whole host of waders. Unfortunately, by the evening, the majority had moved on. In the early period, a couple of adult Curlew Sandpiper were with 130 or so Dunlin, while a flock of 4 Ruff appeared from the north and pitched in somewhere on the marsh. A total of 8 Greenshank beats the season's previous high, with other numbers including: a single Avocet, 10 Turnstone, 9 Common Sandpiper, a Sanderling, 5 Whimbrel, 2 Snipe, 11 Black-tailed Godwit and 46 Ringed Plover. At least one of the Curlew Sandpiper lingered into the afternoon, when it was seen on East Marsh from Argyll Road. There was also a brief period before lunch when up to 100 Common Tern were resting on the exposed mud in Stanpit Bight, as well as 230+ Sandwich Tern. In the North Scrubs, 2 Redstart were present and130 Sedge Warbler dotted about the Parky Meade Rail area. Meanwhile, 4 Tree Pipit, a Yellow Wagtail, 20 Swift, a Shoveler and a Peregrine were all noted airborne.
A couple of Spoonbill, perhaps those reported in Poole Harbour yesterday, appeared from that direction over Hengistbury and then pitched in on Blackberry Point. They didn't hang around long, however, and seemed to push off back west as the tide moved in. Another species more associated with the adjacent harbour is Avocet, and 4 over the head this morning could well have been on their way east. After a quiet day yesterday, passerines were back on the scene, with Hengistbury counts including: 3 Redstart, 2 of these in the Barn Field, 4 Garden Warbler, a Wheatear, 112 Whitethroat, 34 Willow Warbler and 8 Blackcap; while Stanpit hosted 5 Wheatear and 2 Whinchat. Overhead, twos of Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit were heard, and 20 Swift, a Hobby and a Peregrine were seen. A group of 5 Little Tern through the harbour was a nice record, with the more expected comprising 36 Common Tern and 78 Sandwich Tern, as well as 4 juvenile Mediterranean Gull. Wader numbers seemed to peak in the morning, when 26 Black-tailed Godwit on the HHC bar contributed to a total of 49; but also 57 Dunlin, 6 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel and 8 Ringed Plover about Stanpit. Then, at lunchtime, 7 Greenshank were roosting opposite Fisherman's Bank. After a single juvenile was seen at the weekend, a family of Dartford Warbler that contained 4 youngsters was seen in the area around the Natterjack Pond on Hengistbury.
Additional news: a colour-ringed Sanderling was off South Marsh.
Although Hengistbury wasn't checked out this morning, some very quiet visits to Stanpit suggest that not much in the way of migrant passerines would have been missed. Instead, it's down to the waders to beef up this post. The Greenshank off Fisherman's Bank have now reached 5 birds, but the rest of the peak numbers come from counts around Stanpit Bight. Of 6 Black-tailed Godwit, one was the first juvenile of the year; also a Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Common Sandpiper, 7 Whimbrel, 6 Ringed Plover and about 40 Dunlin. Meanwhile, on the exposed sand in The Run, 3 Sanderling and a further 2 Ringed Plover were present early on in the day. Tonight saw at least 42 Common Tern at Stanpit, most passing through west but some did pitch in to rest, as well as a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and 2 Mediterranean Gull of the same age. Also at Stanpit late on, 6 Wheatear on Crouch Hill, while earlier a Kingfisher had been seen from Argyle Road and the 'Polish' Mute Swan family had been the seaward side of Mudeford Quay.
Once more the conditions seemed not to have encouraged a large movement of common migrants, so a Wood Warbler in Ashtree Meadows was something of a bonus, as were 4 Garden Warbler trapped and ringed at the HHC. In terms of passerines, the only other numbers involve a Lesser Whitethroat and 10 Willow Warbler, all on Hengistbury. The pick of the waders was a Green Sandpiper from the HHC early on, while throughout the day Fisherman's Bank provided 4 Greenshank, 6 Whimbrel, 30 or so Dunlin and a single Black-tailed Godwit; with 3 more of the latter and a Common Sandpiper from the HHC in the morning. To round off the post, a couple of Swift moved over Hengistbury and a lone Teal was in Barn Bight.
Additional news: a Hobby, possibly a first-summer bird, was over Stanpit in the morning.
There were certainly far fewer migrant passerines around this morning, however, Yellow Wagtail were recorded for the first time during the return passage with at least 2 birds heard over Stanpit. Also a Whinchat and 3 Wheatear about the enclosure on Crouch Hill. Elsewhere, it was just modest numbers of common migrants - for example, 35 Whitethroat, 30 Willow Warbler, 3 Garden Warbler and a scattering of Blackcap on Hengistbury, with fewer of the same on Stanpit, plus a relatively small presence of Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler. Incidentally, the sylvia warblers seem to find elderberries irresistible, so it is often worth checking those bushes, as they will inevitably hold a concentration of birds. The customary, early morning Hobby passed over the Rusty Boat at 7:30, while 4 Teal and a Gadwall were hanging around in Parky Meade Rail. Migrant gulls and terns seemed slightly down on yesterday, although an adult Common Gull was on South Marsh, where Mediterranean Gull peaked at 5 juveniles and 12 Common Tern were seen passing through westward. Peak wader numbers for the day, all inside the harbour, comprise: 7 Turnstone, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, up to 10 Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank, a Snipe and 40 or so Dunlin. Finally, the Treecreeper again showed itself in the Wood and 2 Coal Tit were in the HHC grounds.
Additional news: 2 Garden Warbler were in the North Scrubs.
While the nets around the HHC were again producing plenty of Sedge Warbler, it was Willow Warbler, some of them even half-heartedly singing, that were most obvious to the field observers; a total of 54 was reached on Hengistbury as far as the Long Field and a further 40 or so on Stanpit. Singles of both Pied Flycatcher and Spotted Flycatcher were on the golf course embankment at Stanpit, as well as 3 Lesser Whitethroat and an estimated 75 Sedge Warbler in that general area. Back on Hengistbury, an elderberry bush in the Long Field held 3-4 Garden Warbler, as well as a couple of Blackcap, and 3 Wheatear and 2 Grasshopper Warbler were seen between the Barn Field and the HHC. Overhead, a Hobby passed through, as did 4 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Gull and 15 Common Tern. After their recent decline due to the low temperatures early in the year, it was good to see a juvenile Dartford Warbler on the Long Field, likewise a Kingfisher in the Wick Hams area. A couple of Teal were on the river early on and the only wader news concerns a moulting adult Grey Plover, a Common Sandpiper and 4 Black-tailed Godwit from Hengistbury. However, a late afternoon trip to Stanpit is planned, so it is likely more details will appear between 8:00 and 9:00 tonight.
Evening update: Mediterranean Gull were a feature at Stanpit between 4:00 and 6:00 this afternoon, when 2 adults, both in full winter plumage, were present, as well as 6 juveniles in varying stages of moult. Common Tern were also around in reasonable numbers, with 18 adults resting up off South Marsh, while 30+ Sandwich Tern were doing much the same. Of the waders, the only true new birds appeared to be singles of Bar-tailed Godwit and Turnstone, along with the more expected 41 Dunlin, 7 Whimbrel and 5 Black-tailed Godwit. Other bits and pieces involve a Wheatear on Crouch Hill, a Teal in Stanpit Bight plus news of 5 Greenshank and 50 Canada Goose in the morning.
Sedge Warbler were particularly conspicuous in most reedbeds around Stanpit this morning, when the estimate exceeded 75 birds. Also good numbers of other warblers in the North Scrubs and on the golf course bank comprising: 5 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 45 Whitethroat, 25 Blackcap and 20+ Willow Warbler. Meanwhile, Tree Pipit passed over Central Marsh and Wick Fields; and a single Whinchat, along with 3 Wheatear, was on Crouch Hill. Other than 2, but possibly 4, Shoveler around Stanpit Bight, the rest of the day's news comes courtesy of waders. A party of 9 Common Sandpiper flew up river past Parky Meade Rail and appeared to head towards the pools adjacent to Smuggler's Ditch on Wick, while a further 2 birds were off Fisherman's Bank at lunchtime. Over a couple of counts, Dunlin peaked at 64, with other interest coming from 4 Greenshank, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Snipe, 10 Whimbrel and 2 Ringed Plover, although more were heard. It is not believed that Mute Swan bred in the recording area this year, the second season in succession; however, a family party has appeared on the river along Stanpit in the last week. Where they have been previously is not certain, but of more interest is that of the seven cygnets, five are what's known as 'Polish' type, that is they have whitish plumage and pinkish bills, as opposed to the grey feathering and black bills of their two 'normal' siblings.
Additional news: a Hobby was over Stanpit in the evening.
Overnight rain that lasted just past dawn saw some slightly later starts than normal. A Pied Flycatcher in the North Scrubs mid-morning was the best of the passerine migrants, although there was a Lesser Whitethroat by the Barn and small numbers of Willow Warbler and Blackcap scattered about elsewhere. On Stanpit, a drake Pintail and 7 Teal were present briefly; while waders counts peaked at 3 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 6 Ringed Plover, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, plus 5 over south-west, 14 Whimbrel, a Snipe and 72 Dunlin. Early signs of Common Tern passage came from 11 south-west over the HHC, but 4 were more settled inside the harbour, where there was a juvenile Mediterranean Gull on East Marsh and a patrolling Peregrine. Finally, at least 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker were knocking about on Hengistbury.
Omission: 6 Wheatear were in the area in the morning - 3 on Crouch Hill and 3 at Whitepits close to the Point House Cafe.
A Dotterel, the first of the year, flew high south-west over Stanpit around 7:00 this morning; also on Stanpit a Wood Sandpiper, 5 Green Sandpiper and an Avocet. Other wader numbers, the high counts from various visits, were 174 Lapwing, 84 Dunlin, 73 Oystercatcher, 16 Whimbrel, 12 Ringed Plover, 11 Curlew, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Common Sandpiper, 6 Sanderling, 2 Greenshank and a Turnstone. Apart from Sedge Warbler, with 150+ around Priory Marsh, passerine migration was slow. The highlight was a Grasshopper Warbler, also on Priory Marsh, while North Scrubs held a Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Garden Warbler and a Tree Pipit moved overhead. On Hengistbury, a single Wheatear was on the Barn Field, a Blackcap was on the Long Field and c30 Whitethroat were logged, also a Hobby headed south over Wick Fields. On Stanpit this evening, 40 Sandwich Tern and 2 Common Tern were resting in the Bight.
On a damp and dismal day, the only reports received so far are of a Wheatear on the Barn Field this morning and a little later from Fisherman's Bank, where there were 46 Dunlin, 3 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel and a Common Sandpiper.
A late report of a lunchtime visit to Stanpit produced similar numbers of Dunlin plus 28 Curlew, 12 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Common Sandpiper and 2 Ringed Plover.
Despite early morning and late afternoon vigils, there was no further sign of the Spotted Crake today. However, Stanpit was still the place to be this morning. A female Marsh Harrier passed over the marsh at 6:30, while 16 Green Sandpiper, in small flocks of 7, 5 and 4 birds were scattered around. An adult Little Stint was present and a Little Ringed Plover was overhead; other wader counts were 14 Whimbrel, 8 Common Sandpiper, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Ringed Plover and 2 Greenshank. A party of 8 Tufted Duck flew upriver, while 4 Shoveler and a single Teal were also noted. On the opposite side of the harbour, pickings were indeed slim with just a Common Sandpiper on the HHC slipway, a Whimbrel over Wick Hams and 12 Common Tern moving through south-west. A juvenile Little Grebe was on Parky Mead this afternoon and a Green Sandpiper was calling over Central Marsh.
Check back to yesterday for late news.
Back in 2002, this website boasted of Parky Meade Rail as being perhaps, 'one of the best sites in the country for Spotted Crake.' However, after that now infamous quote, there were absolutely no further records! Until today that is, when a bird was watched for around 30-seconds from the small concrete bridge that leads on to Priory Marsh. It is certainly worth looking for tomorrow, but one does need to be there close to the published low water time, else there will be little or no exposed mud. Sedge Warbler migration is definitely in full swing, with over 100 being trapped and ringed around the HHC this morning. In fact, the story goes that so many birds were caught the nets had to packed up early as the supply of rings on site was almost completely exhausted. Other passerine migrants on Hengistbury, mainly on the Long Field, were 3 Garden Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Wheatear, a further 20 Sedge Warbler and over 40 Willow Warbler. Meanwhile, around 70 Swift passed over and 106 Cormorant moved high west, including a flock of 38. Also airborne over the head were singles of Peregrine and Hobby, as well as 3 Gadwall. The dropping tide at Stanpit this afternoon was something of a disappointment, producing just: 12 Whimbrel, a Greenshank, a Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Common Sandpiper, 4 Ringed Plover, 40-50 Dunlin and 50+ Sandwich Tern. It's also interesting to note that Curlew were down to 4 individuals, thereby suggesting many of the recent birds have been true migrants.
Late news: 3 summer-plumaged Turnstone were on the tip of South Marsh early evening.
It wasn't quite as bad as Edgbaston, in that some early play was possible before the drizzle really set in - this from the shelter offered by the buildings of the HHC. From there, a Wood Sandpiper was heard on one occasion, possibly over Wick Hams, but was unfortunately not seen. However, waders that were seen in flight included: 10 Snipe, 4 Common Sandpiper, a flock of 10 Bar-tailed Godwit west over the Barn Field, likewise 18 Dunlin, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and a Whimbrel; while a/some Ringed Plover could be heard. An adult Common Gull in heavy moult represented the latter part of the year's first record and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull was also logged; along with 86 Swift in a mixture of directions, 2 Common Tern fishing the river and a touring Great Crested Grebe. Mid-morning, a brief excursion to the Wood notched up singles of Treecreeper and Marsh Tit. A late afternoon trip to Fisherman's Bank added 2 Greenshank to the day-list, plus 9 Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper and 28 Dunlin. The forecast for tomorrow is apparently a little better.