Sightings for June 2016
The biggest surprise of the day, if not the month, was a juvenile Wheatear on groynes at the end of the head this morning. Unless we're walking around with our eyes closed, a suggestion which has occasionally been made of some of us in the past, it certainly wasn't raised here; but we do wonder where? The first Green Sandpiper of their mid-to-late summer passage headed west through the area, as did 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Curlew; while twenty-three more godwit settled for some time on Holloway's Dock. A count of 32 Sandwich Tern offshore was the best for a few weeks.
The strong, south-westerly wind that whipped up last night continued throughout the day, bringing plenty of rain with it. Not surprisingly, the sea, from Mudeford Quay, was given the attention and produced a Storm Petrel at 4:30 this afternoon and a Great Skua west during the morning. Also logged, all west, were: 18 Common Scoter, 2 Fulmar, a Common Tern, 25 Gannet, a Whimbrel and 3 Curlew; while a further ten of the latter headed into the harbour. Three Raven, an adult and two juveniles, visited on a couple of occasions.
Juvenile Robin – Clinton Whale
Only 2 Whimbrel and 3 Little Tern make the post tonight; those from Fisherman's Bank this morning.
Juvenile Grey Heron in the Wood on Hengistbury – Clinton Whale
A returning Greenshank was logged from Hengistbury today, while Stanpit held 2 Whimbrel, 14 Curlew and a Redshank. Also inside the harbour, 15 Shelduck - four of them the rapidly-growing ducklings - an adult Mediterranean Gull, a juvenile Black-headed Gull and a Great Crested Grebe. A comment at the weekend about the seemingly large number of Mallard in the area prompted a count that came to 211 birds - most of the drakes now well into their post-breeding eclipse. Sand Martin were also totted up - 150 of them about the head - and 12 Gannet were offshore.
Three recently-fledged Swallow on the Wooden Bridge – Clinton Whale
...and a nearby wild-flower meadow
that is proving very attractive for butterflies and bees – Clinton
Other than a couple of Sandwich Tern inside the harbour, there is no news for today.
Great Crested Grebe – Jimmy Main
Raven – Clinton Whale
Breeding-bird attractions to the general north of Christchurch are currently getting the attention of the Saturday-morning crew, meaning there is little to report for today. A first-summer Hobby, presumably the bird that seems resident at Coward’s Marsh, made an excursion to Hengistbury this morning, while a Great Crested Grebe was in the harbour and up to 5 Mediterranean Gull passed over.
Whitethroat – Clinton Whale
As we edge towards the end of the month, interest is starting to pick up. A Roseate Tern, in the company of 4 Common Tern, passed through Stanpit this morning, when a Little Ringed Plover was also briefly present. Meanwhile, a Willow Warbler was in song on Hengistbury - the species doesn’t breed here, so whether ithat bird was coming or going is anyone’s guess. Also on that side of the area, a Hobby over Wick water meadows, 2 Mediterranean Gull and the 5 Raven. Moving back to the marsh, the Whimbrel doubled to two and a single Black-tailed Godwit was settled; as were a female-looking Shoveler, 8 Redshank and 14 Curlew, while a further eighteen of the latter moved west. The first juvenile Black-headed Gull, presumably from one of the nearby colonies, was on site today.
Humidity and the ever-present threat of rain gave rise to just the single Whimbrel in Stanpit Bight and a Shoveler about the area.
Curlew – Clinton Whale
After a damp start, some fieldwork was possible and the results for the day's post mainly concern recent fledglings or the effects of post-breeding dispersal. Starting with the former, a Coal Tit was behind the Nursery, a couple of Tawny Owl called to each other and a young Kestrel noisily pursued one of its parents around Stanpit. Then to the latter, with a Grey Wagtail over the marsh and Kingfisher being seen on both sides of the harbour. Waders presumed to be on the return included: a Common Sandpiper on East Marsh, 3 Dunlin, a Whimbrel and 9 Curlew; while 2 Mediterranean Gull passed through.
Cream-spot Tiger moth – Clinton Whale
On another low-key day, the only bird news involves the five-strong Raven family on Hengistbury.
Heavy rain put paid to the morning's efforts, so the only news comes from later in the day at Stanpit. A Whimbrel was in Stanpit Bight, along with 4 Curlew, and a Peregrine passed through.
Reed Bunting singing on Stanpit this morning – Clinton Whale
A Hobby moved over the harbour this morning; first seen from Fisherman's Bank it headed over the HHC then south over the wood. Of more local interest the Raven family of five birds was again on Crouch Hill and over the Barn Field while on Stanpit the Shelduck family still has four surviving young.
With very little change on the birding front the opportunity was taken to count the Mute Swan as the numbers using the harbour tend to increase in early summer and peak in July. Out of a harbour total of 265 an estimated 200 were congregated around Blackberry Point this morning. Otherwise there were 27 Lapwing, 5 Curlew and 2 Redshank, all these on Stanpit.
Oystercatcher on Stanpit today – Clinton Whale
The Kingfisher was seen again today from the wooden bridge on Wick; also 7 Swift over there plus 3 Mediterranean Gull west. On Stanpit there were 19 Lapwing and just 2 Curlew.
Newly-emerged Broad-bodied Chaser – Barrie Taylor
There was a touch of mid-summer interest this morning when a Great White Egret was briefly in Stanpit Creek; but the only other news involves a first-summer Mediterranean Gull off Mudeford Quay much later in the day.
A Kingfisher was around the harbour this morning, an early returning bird possibly? There were 12 Lapwing on Stanpit plus 3 Redshank and 2 Curlew, also a couple of Lapwing on Wick Hams. The Raven family was seen on both sides of the harbour.
Skylark - Clinton Whale
Other than a group of 4 Curlew west past Mudeford Quay there is nothing to report.
Linnet at Hengistbury today – Clinton Whale
The only news for today is of the family of Raven which was on Crouch Hill this morning and by the Coastguards this evening. However there is a late report from Saturday, the 11th, of 2 Avocet feeding in Holloway's Dock for most of the afternoon.
Black-headed Gull – Chris Dresh
Small Heath – Clinton Whale
There is some news to write about today, all from Stanpit, where the best of the waders were 4 Whimbrel, but also 8 Curlew and 12 Lapwing. In addition, a pair of adult Mediterranean Gull arrived and settled on East Marsh.
Last night's trip to Burton Common afforded absolutely stunning, point-blank views of multiple Nightjar and Woodcock; plus a bonus Hobby. This morning's trip to the New Forest for raptors was a little thwarted by the weather, although Hawfinch, Crossbill, Woodlark and Tree Pipit were all seen, while a Wood Warbler was listened to for over half an hour. Thanks to Malcolm Barrett for organising both events.
Cetti's Warbler – Alan Cherry
The only news from another warm day involves four adult Mediterranean Gull west over Wick and a Red-legged Partridge on the Barn Field.
Looking at the intensity and extent of the black on this male Golden Plover,
it's surely, albeit a little late, on its way north – Roger Howell
Presumably an accompanying female – Roger Howell
...and the 'pair' together – Roger Howell
A seeming pair of 'northern' Golden Plover - both birds in breeding plumage, but one just that bit smarter than the other, and the certain male sporting an awful lot of black - were at Stanpit throughout the day; initially on Crouch Hill, but then on South Marsh. When the news broke, given the date, it wasn't unreasonable to hope they may have been one of the 'lesser golden plover' species; but on close inspection they turned out to be regulation. Still an excellent record, however. Meanwhile, more expected waders included a single Dunlin, a Redshank, 3 Curlew and 13 Lapwing. Also on the marsh, a Mediterranean Gull, as well as a quintet of Common Tern that flew through the harbour and appeared to head off inland. On the other side of the river, there were 2 Cuckoo - one in the Wood and one by the Wick meadows - while 10 Swift passed over the Long Field. A scruffy looking pair of Gadwall were at Stanpit, where the Mute Swan pair now has just one cygnet. Sticking with young swans, of the seven at Mudeford three of them are of the 'Polish' morph, i.e. white rather than the ugly-duckling grey. Please check back to yesterday for some evening news.
Tonight we have a series of recently-fledged birds
- starting with this very young Meadow
Pipit – Clinton Whale
Rock Pipit – Clinton Whale
Stonechat – Clinton Whale
...and Sand Martin – Clinton Whale
Dartford Warbler - images captured from a public path – Alan Crockard
Cuckoo at Whitepits today – Tony Adamcik
More fine weather saw the odd, late migrant around the area today; for example, a Yellow Wagtail over Stanpit, while Cuckoo reports were turned in from three distinct sites - Whitepits, Wick and the Nursery - so more than one bird could well have been involved. Sticking with this theme, over 30 Common Scoter, 2 Shoveler and 5 Common Tern making their way past Mudeford Quay presumably also fit the bill. The waders were a bit mixed up, however: a Knot, a Whimbrel and 2 Ringed Plover at Stanpit were all assumed to be wending north; but 2 Curlew, 4 Redshank and 7 Lapwing on the marsh are most likely to have given up and be heading back south-west; likewise 6 Mediterranean Gull. Grey Heron were conspicuous - a siege of nine headed in from the north and of twelve at Stanpit most were reckoned to be juveniles. Over recent years, Little Grebe have shown a penchant for turning up late on the Ironstone Quarry, one there today, where a few recently-fledged Sand Martin were on fence-wire being fed by their attentive parents. The 5 Raven were once more at Stanpit, which also hosted 22 Shelduck.
Swallow close to the HHC today – Clinton Whale
Fox – Chris Dresh
Four-spotted Chaser on Hengistbury – Clinton Whale
It’s not often the term flaming June holds true, but today it was - temperatures nudging as high as 25C during the afternoon. Willow Warbler no longer breed in the area, so a singing bird along the Wick riverside path was something of a surprise this morning, presumably a late-arriving migrant. Over on Stanpit, a couple of Mediterranean Gull overflew and the five-strong Raven family on Crouch Hill is getting ever tamer. Meanwhile, it was confirmed the Shelduck family still has 3 ducklings.
at Wick – Chris Dresh
It could be shaping up to be a good year for these. For example,
eight songsters were between Grimmery Bank and the Rusty Boat this
Blue Damselfly at the Ironstone Quarry – Clinton Whale
The Turtle Dove was seen on and off throughout the day, in the spot described in the previous post. Otherwise, there isn’t too much to mention, but the following make the cut: 5 Swift over, 3 Redshank on East Marsh, the 5 Raven on Crouch Hill and half-a-dozen Canada Goose that toured. Meanwhile breeding news from Hengistbury included a female Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding her raucous young through a hole in a sycamore and a recently-fledged Stonechat family close to the Ironstone Quarry.
The Turtle Dove discovered late yesterday remained in the same area until early afternoon at least - that's between the Wick horse paddock and the northern end of the driving range. At sea, a Roseate Tern and 3 Common Tern were off the Beach Huts, while 9 Common Scoter and two unidentified auks passed west. A Cuckoo on the Batters was quite possibly a newly-arrived bird, but a Spotted Flycatcher in the Wood certainly was. Meanwhile, around 70 Swift came in and four adult Mediterranean Gull headed east over the Long Field. The only wader news is of 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, presumed to be first-summer birds, in Holloway’s Dock.
Pied Wagtail – Clinton Whale
There was a small presence of Mediterranean Gull today - a couple on Wick driving range and five passing over - while 3 Swift were over the Barn Field. Once again, an adult Tawny Owl was showing itself.
Additional news: a Turtle Dove was found in the horse paddock on Wick during the evening.