Sightings for June 2009


June 30th

Stanpit held a reasonable variety of waders this afternoon, including 4 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel, a Greenshank and a Bar-tailed Godwit, as well as 14 Curlew and 12 Redshank. On Hengistbury, just one Marsh Tit was located today, also a couple of Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth.


June 29th

A party of 3 Ruff were off Fisherman's Bank for a short time at lunch, but they soon headed over towards the marsh proper. Also a Greenshank feeding in Stanpit Creek and 4 Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight. In a fresh south-easterly wind, there was something of a movement of seabirds and hirundines into the breeze. Additional to 2 Mediterranean Gull over the HHC, one of which was the year's first juvenile for the site, a further 12 first- and second-summer birds moved at sea; where 2 Manx Shearwater, an Arctic Skua, 62 Common Tern, 47 Sandwich Tern, 3 Kittiwake, 70 Gannet, 29 Common Scoter and 2 Fulmar were also logged. Also moving over the water were 56 Swift and 150 Sand Martin, with at least 250 of the latter now on the wing around the breeding colonies on the Hengistbury cliffs. The 2 Marsh Tit put on a brief show by the Nursery, as did a Coal Tit and 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, while singles of Peregrine and Great Crested Grebe wrap up the day's interest for the head. It does indeed seem that yesterday's Grey Heron is from a scheme based around the Severn Vale and we hope to get further details soon.


June 28th

The Garganey was again on Priory Marsh being seen in both the morning and the afternoon, when it was in the company of 3 equally drab Shoveler. The regular Little Gull was also on show after lunch on East Marsh, while singles of adult Mediterranean Gull, Greenshank, Whimbrel and Ringed Plover, as well as 3 Black-tailed Godwit, were around Stanpit Bight at various times of the day. A Hobby was over Stanpit in the morning and there was a Dartford Warbler, presumably a dispersing juvenile, on Crouch Hill. Off Blackberry Point, 2 Common Tern lingered, with the remaining statistics coming from 63 Lapwing 17 Curlew and 6 Redshank. One of the several young Grey Heron inside the harbour was sporting a pair of yellow wing tags, each carrying the code IA . Some initial research indicates the bird may originate from a scheme being run at the Cotswold Water Park, but confirmation and further details are being sought.

Update: the 2 Marsh Tit were again in the Wood on Hengistbury, where the Little Gull had spent the morning on the HHC bar. Also, a Common Sandpiper and a Grey Wagtail in Barn Bight.

Additional news: a Common Sandpiper and second-summer Mediterranean Gull were roosting on East Marsh in the evening.


June 27th

By far the biggest surprise of the day was the revelation there are actually 2 Marsh Tit in the Wood. Even before they were seen together by the Nursery, calls from locations quite disparate to each other had aroused suspicions. On Priory Marsh, a rather undistinguished Garganey was again present and seemed to be a juvenile bird, as opposed to an adult female. The first-summer Little Gull was again on the HHC bar on the morning low tide and a Common Sandpiper was between there and Barn Bight. Swift trickled over north until at least 10:00, with 100 or so estimated, but little else on the move other than 6 Common Scoter from the end of the head. Remaining interest for the day comes from: a Coal Tit in the Wood, 4 Common Tern at sea and one in Barn Bight, a single Black-tailed Godwit in the harbour and 5 Shoveler on Priory Marsh. Please check back to yesterday for some evening news.


June 26th

An intense overnight electrical storm saw rain continuing to at least the mid-morning. As a result, there is little to report, other than an adult Mediterranean Gull over Stanpit in the afternoon, when there was also a Common Tern off Mudeford Quay.

Additional news: a couple of Ruff were on Stanpit Bight in the evening and, at dusk, 2 young Tawny Owl were heard and seen by the Nursery, a Common Sandpiper was in Barn Bight and 18 Curlew lifted off and left to the west.


June 25th

A party of 4 Garganey on Priory Marsh in the morning certainly livened up the month, as did an additional report from the 18th of a Marsh Tit on Hengistbury, a species that has tremendous local value. A couple of Little Tern were fishing off Mudeford Quay early on, while 8 Curlew, 8 Shelduck, around 30 Lapwing and 4 Redshank were off Fisherman's Bank. Yesterday, the Ironstone Quarry took disturbance to a new level of incredibility, when a person was seen taking a swim in it. Perhaps the signs that ask that dogs are kept out of the water need to specify humans as well! Despite this, at least one Little Grebe chick was reported.

Additional news: a first-summer Little Gull was on the HHC bar this morning.


June 24th

With the exception of an adult Mediterranean Gull over Solent Meads this morning, the day's only news comes from Fisherman's Bank, where a Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Curlew, 7 Redshank and 7 Shelduck were logged. There will be another reminder closer to the time, but this year's Swan-upping will be taking place on 26th July.

Additional news: a Hobby was over Wick Fields in the morning.


June 23rd

A walk round Stanpit this morning was pleasant enough with both Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler still in song, plus a count of 11 Shelduck. Earlier, from the Argyle Road slip, a Bar-tailed Godwit could be seen close to Blackberry Point; while at lunchtime a couple of Dunlin were in Stanpit Creek. In fact, one of these birds looked to all intents and purposes to be in juvenile plumage, but it is early and the observer is willing to stand corrected. That's it for the area's birds, but of reptilian interest is the reported abundance of Natterjack tadpoles on Stanpit.

Additional news: a pair of Shoveler were in Stanpit Bight in the evening.


June 22nd

Stanpit managed to muster a single Ringed Plover this morning, as well as 8 Curlew, just over 20 Redshank and 15 Swift north. A pair of Green Woodpecker has successfully fledged 3 young somewhere close to the North Scrubs, but sadly there are still no 'shelducklings' and the remaining adults numbered just 3 today.

Additional news: the late afternoon and evening saw slightly more interest at Stanpit, where 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Whimbrel were present, while the Shelduck count increased to 6.


June 21st

The lack of reports today perhaps reflects the disperal of most of the regulars, who once more ventured to a mixture of inland sites across Dorset and Hampshire.


June 20th

On another laid back Saturday, the first-summer Little Gull could be seen off South Marsh from Hengistbury. Stanpit also briefly held 5 Black-tailed Godwit, but they soon moved off westward, while 2 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin were certainly more settled. Other wader snippets involve: 9 Curlew that passed over the area on a definite westerly bearing, a big jump in Redshank numbers to 22 and a Lapwing estimate of just over 50 birds. What seems to be a pair of Common Tern are lingering in the harbour and a further 4 were also noted, but they appeared to carry on through. From the HHC, a Kingfisher rushed downriver, a Peregrine caused mayhem around Stanpit and up to 50 Swift were recorded west over The Priory. Meanwhile, on the Ironstone Quarry, the Little Grebe have 2 well-grown chicks.


June 19th

The quietest day of the month with only the Little Gull on the tip of South Marsh providing a spark of interest. While other breeding species are doing well, despite the presence of obvious Shelduck pairs in the area, no ducklings have yet been seen. If this is a blank season, it will probably be the first in living memory.


June 18th

Firstly, please check back to 16th for some additional, evening news from Hengistbury. This morning, from Argyll Road, a Knot could be seen in Stanpit Bight, as could a sub-adult Yellow-legged Gull. Slightly later, a couple of Dunlin were logged and 91 Lapwing, 2 Curlew and 6 Redshank were counted. This season, Wick Field is being formally surveyed for breeding birds and early indications suggest the following pairs: 19 Whitethroat, 7 Chiffchaff, 4 Song Thrush, 4 Blackcap, 4 Cetti's Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Long-tailed Tit and 1 Skylark. Also currently present on the fields are 3 fledgling Stonechat, but they were not raised there.

Additional news: a Marsh Tit, which is a bird of immense local value, was on Hengistbury.


June 17th

Another very pleasant day weather-wise, although by this evening the westerly wind had brought on some quite persistent drizzle. At 5:15 this morning, between 5 and 10 Bottle-nosed Dolphin were watched from Mudeford Quay and slightly later the Little Gull was seen in Holloway's Dock. However, the strangest site of the day must surely go to a Kingfisher dashing along Roebury Lane towards St Katharine's school! In view of the number of recent records, one wonders just how close a pair may be breeding to the area? Inside the harbour, there were just 2 Curlew, around 50 Lapwing and 15 Shelduck; while, at sea, a further 3 Curlew moved west, 20 Common Scoter went back and forth, a Fulmar passed by, 4 Common Tern fished aimlessly and 25+ Gannet were off Double Dykes. To finish up, the photographer has confirmed there are indeed 4 Kestrel chicks on The Priory.

Additional news: an evening trip around Stanpit turned up 4 Knot, but all were seen to leave, as well as 2 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover.


June 16th

The best was a (the?) first-summer Little Gull on the HHC bar this morning, but a party of 6 Dunlin in Stanpit Bight were also good value for the date. Meanwhile, the more locally breeding waders continue to build in numbers with 137 Lapwing, 10 Redshank and 4 Curlew present, as well as the lingering Whimbrel. Another juvenile Black-headed Gull was logged from Fisherman's Bank and a Peregrine hunting pigeons by The Priory was presumably the slender male that has been around for a while. Today's Echo ran the story of the Mudeford dolphins; but, remember, you heard it here first!

Additional news: a Nightjar was churring and on the wing from 21:45 to 22:30 at least last night, by the Ironstone Quarry. However, perhaps of greater local interest, was one, but maybe two, juvenile looking Tawny Owl in the Wood.


June 15th

A Turtle Dove at 5:00 this evening in the Wick horse paddock certainly broke the June monotony; as did a Treecreeper by Two Riversmeet earlier in the day. With the recent run of fine weather, local breeding birds seem to be faring well. For example, at least 7 fledgling Reed Bunting were out on Priory Marsh on what is an early date; likewise, the appearance of the season's first juvenile Black-headed Gull at Mudeford Quay this lunchtime. Meanwhile, a pair of Jay have raised at least 2 young in the vicinity of RIBS Marine. In terms of movement, a total of 37 Swift west was the most notable, but singles of Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit were off Fisherman's Bank. To complete the day, 60+ Lapwing and 4 Curlew were at Stanpit.

Additional news: one of the Mudeford lobster crews has been seeing up to 30 Bottlenose Dolphin off Hengistbury at various times over the weekend. Today, the pod was around 200m off the Long Groyne just after first light at 4:30.


June 14th

With what currently seems to be the breeding season Sunday norm, some of the stalwarts treated themselves to the delights of the early morning in the New Forest. Consequently, excepting the Goldfinch family pictured above at Stanpit, there is nothing to report.


June 13th

The lazy-approach-to-birding team spent four hours lounging by the HHC from 6:30 this morning, when they actually managed a nice list of birds for the date. A party of 4 Little Tern appeared to go upriver, while at least 5 Common Tern passed overhead. A noticeable westerly passage of small flocks of Curlew, the largest being 7, took place with the overall total being 17 birds, as well as a single Bar-tailed Godwit. There was another record of Kingfisher for the month, which is intriguing, and a pair of Tufted Duck circled the area. A Hobby appeared purposefully from the north and headed directly for the Sand Martin colonies and a slim male Peregrine soared around The Priory for a few minutes. Fulmar popped up in strange places on a couple of occasions - once over Blackberry Point and then over Clay Pool - and 5 Mediterranean Gull, a single adult, an adult pair and two second-summer individuals, were logged. To complete the records: at least 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker and a juvenile Green Woodpecker were in Wick Fields; 2 Redshank, 84 Lapwing and a minimum of 1500 Black-headed Gull were in the harbour; and a skein of 11 Canada Goose headed off into the Avon Valley. Finally, thanks to those of you who fedback on the comment about Thursday's Hairy Dragonfly being perhaps the first for the area. As it turns out, the late Cecil Pepin had previously recorded a few in the '70s and '80s, the last being in 1982.

Additional news: late in the afternoon, the calls of Whimbrel were heard constantly around Stanpit, but none could be seen; also a single Common Tern and 31 Oystercatcher.


June 12th

A couple of Mediterranean Gull passed east over the HHC in the morning, while 7 Canada Goose toured and then settled along Fisherman's Bank. On Wick, a Coal Tit was a nice record for the month and a Curlew returned westwards at sea. Mudeford Quay saw a group of 8 Common Tern resting briefly in The Run and 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker about there. Otherwise, it's just 31 Lapwing and 32 Shelduck to note.


June 11th

Moths and odonata are of the most interest around the harbour right now, at least for those who understand them that is, and a record of Hairy Dragonfly by the HHC this morning could well be a harbour first. Ornithologically, a Common Tern and Whimbrel off Fisherman's Bank were perhaps the day's highlights, with 25 Little Egret on East Marsh, 26 Shelduck and a Curlew providing some kind of support.


June 10th

No doubt related to yesterday's additional news, at least 900 Black-headed Gull were counted inside the harbour from the HHC slip this morning. Most of the birds appeared to be adults, so possibly indicating a significant colony disruption nearby? A 90-minute seawatch saw 22 Common Scoter, all but 3 of them east, 13 Gannet and Common Tern off Double Dykes, while 3 more(?) of the tern were off Fisherman's Bank this afternoon. Earlier from that spot, a Curlew was present and 20 Shelduck had been counted. Certainly the most interesting news for today came from a waterborne security control, whose members were fortunate enough to encounter 3 Otter on the stern of a boat at 11:35 last night on the Stour between Wick Ferry and Tuckton Bridge.

Additional news: this evening 15+ Lapwing, a Redshank and a Sandwich Tern were off Fisherman's Bank.

More news: a Hobby was hawking insects over the Barn Field at 6:30 this evening, while a Cuckoo was on Crouch Hill and the Mute Swan were counted at 125.


June 9th

A Whimbrel was in the harbour early this morning, while a Curlew pushed off before it got too late. In a north-westerly breeze, there was a steady easterly passage of Gannet seen from the Double Dykes - a total of 52 between 8:00 and 9:00 - as well a 6 Common Scoter and 2 Guillemot.

Additional news: a Spotted Flycatcher was in the Nursery late in the afternoon; and for at least half an hour just prior to dusk, Black-headed Gull were exiting via The Run at the rate of 40-50 a minute, carrying 16 Mediterranean Gull amongst them.


June 8th

A Common Tern about Mother Siller's Channel and then off across Central Marsh raised hopes that the tern island may have been about to take on residents. Unfortunately, 3 incumbent Cormorant probably discouraged any such move! A Great Crested Grebe on the river provided the only other record of any note, so it's down to 24 Oystercatcher, 4 Lapwing, 14 Shelduck and 2 Sandwich Tern to pad out this post.

Additional news: this evening, a Curlew was in Stanpit Bight and a Greenshank was heard around Fisherman's Bank.


June 7th

Many of the regulars went further afield today in an attempt to catch up with breeding birds across Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset, so there is very little to report. In fact, a Curlew at Stanpit this afternoon is as good as it gets!

Additional news: the DBC website carries a photo of the Little Gull in Holloway's Dock for the day.


June 6th

A strong and rather cold easterly wind saw a huddle of seawatchers attempting to find some shelter in the Gulley, from where a Pomarine Skua slowly east into The Solent was the undoubted highlight. Also from there, all into the wind, were 5 Sanderling, 4 Common Scoter and 2 Swift, while at least 5 Fulmar and several Gannet were rather aimless in their movements. The same could not be said of an overhead Herring Gull though, leaving one observer desperately searching around for a handkerchief to try and clear his clothing and optics. On the return walk, the Little Gull was again in Holloway's Dock and the Wood was teeming with families of recently fledged tits.

Omission: 3 Common Tern went over the Long Groyne.

Additional news: a Hobby took a Sand Martin over Wick Fields in the evening and transported it northwards over Two Riversmeet, suggesting there may be a nest close by.


June 5th

As is suggested by the recent run of photographs, which are very welcome nonetheless, interesting birds are becoming fewer by the day. Having said that, a Nuthatch in the Wood is a locally significant record and the young Little Gull remains in Holloway's Dock. Otherwise, the best from Fisherman's Bank was a breeding-plumaged Grey Plover, as well as a Sandwich Tern, 21 Lapwing and 24 Shelduck. Hopefully, there will be some ducklings of the latter on view very shortly.


June 4th

Despite the forecasters assuring us the fine weather would break a couple of days ago, still it continues. The Little Gull was again faithful to Holloway's Dock, but little else of note on Hengistbury. Meanwhile, Stanpit continues to host a few interesting waders, such as: a Greenshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Grey Plover; along with 40+ Lapwing and 3 Redshank. A male Peregrine swooped over the marsh from Stanpit village, a Grey Wagtail was about Fisherman's Bank and a Cuckoo was heard.


June 3rd

On another fine day, a first-summer Little Gull was in Holloway's Dock this morning. Actually, this bird was first recorded in exactly the same spot yesterday. Also late news received of Monday's egret reported in Poole Harbour around 25-minutes after it left Christchurch. Other than a Little Tern over the HHC this afternoon, most of the day's interest again comes from migrant waders, including: a flock of 32 Black-tailed Godwit that were hurried off eastward by a canoe in Stanpit Bight, a Greenshank heard from Hengistbury, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Grey Plover, 2 Sanderling and 4 Ringed Plover. A group of 5 Common Tern also passed over the head, as did 2 second-summer Mediterranean Gull and a pair of Canada Goose, while a Mistle Thrush was again about the area. This afternoon, fledgling Great Spotted Woodpecker were close to the Nursery and more Mediterranean Gull were over Wick Fields. Finally, one of the Wick Fields fox cubs was discovered in a very disorientated and distressed state this evening. Thanks to Mike Meeks Animal Rescue for coming out and taking it into care.

Additional news from Stanpit this evening, where there were 3 adult Mediterranean Gull, 2 Gadwall and a Common Tern, while 21 Canada Goose and 2 Greylag Goose came from the valley and settled on the river by the HHC.


June 2nd

Firstly, please check back to yesterday for a significant piece of extra news. Back to the now, however, and it was down to late waders to provide the interest in what was another glorious day. Stanpit, and Fisherman's Bank in particular, received four visits and totalled: a Turnstone, an adult Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel, 7 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin; as well as 23 Lapwing, 4 Redshank and 23 Shelduck.

Additional news: a first-summer Little Gull was in Holloway's Dock and the Cuckoo was again around Wick Fields.


June 1st

Without doubt, the record of the day has to go to a Kingfisher behind the HHC this morning. Although these are relatively common from September to March, sightings during this time of the year are something of a premium. The sea was also surprisingly productive, giving up 2 Arctic Skua, both of which seemed to linger for a while, 78 Common Scoter, 16 Gannet, 5 Whimbrel and 3 Common Tern. A Greenshank was also noted on Hengistbury, where 71 Swift and 6 House Martin moved into the easterly breeze, a total of 9 Mediterranean Gull were logged and a Cuckoo was heard on Wick. Despite the current period of high pressure forcing more water out of the harbour than is normal for the published height of low tide, Stanpit Bight is still pretty dull. Between them, morning and lunchtime visits could muster just: 3 Redshank, 2 Lapwing, a Curlew, 31 Shelduck and 2 Common Tern.

Additional news: at 20:20 this evening, a Great White Egret flew low over Solent Meads car park and continued on west.

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