Sightings for July 2011
The wind moved to the south-east overnight, which seemed to quieten things down in terms of moving birds. In fact, other than a Wood Sandpiper and a Ruff at Stanpit early on, it was left to the late afternoon to come up with some interest, when a juvenile Black Tern and an adult Curlew Sandpiper were both seen briefly at Stanpit. The tern was picked up as it flew down the river, before it skirted the southern harbour shore and crossed The Run, but was then lost to view in the moorings off Mudeford Quay. Meanwhile, the Curlew Sandpiper was in flight across Stanpit Bight and seemed to come down on the blind side of Blackberry Point. The other waders at Stanpit, throughout the day, came to: 5 Greenshank, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Common Sandpiper, 11 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Dunlin; while 2 Yellow-legged Gull, a juvenile and one thought to be a second calendar-year bird, were present, as well as up to 20 Mediterranean Gull, with once again something like 30% being juveniles; and a single Wheatear was on Crouch Hill. The young Peregrine again visited, again came nowhere near success and again was seen off by large gulls. At Hengistbury, there was a presence of Whitethroat, Blackcap and Sedge Warbler, but no estimates were made, 33 Common Tern travelled west, a couple of Raven went over Coastguards, 2 juvenile Kittiwake passed west at sea and at least 2 Kingfisher were about.
Sand Martin and Kestrel - Alan Crockard Thursday evening saw a large gathering of Sand Martin around Hengistbury, with at least 1000 birds involved. Presumably they were making their leaving preparations, as the following day numbers were greatly reduced. Meanwhile, the local, opportunistic Kestrel sat on the cliff and made several attempts to pick birds off, but found them all a little quick.
During a morning dominated by drizzle and a north-easterly breeze, there were once again good numbers of waders about the area, with counts made up of birds settled at Stanpit as well as those passing over the HHC, where they were seen mainly to arrive. Therefore, in an effort to avoid duplication, the higher from the respective sites are taken as the day's maxima. Stanpit saw a total of 28 Common Sandpiper, plus a Green Sandpiper, which was probably the same individual seen from the Wooden Bridge on Wick, a Knot, a Sanderling, 7 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Black-tailed Godwit and 36 Dunlin. Meanwhile, from the HHC, a Golden Plover, a Grey Plover, 32 Ringed Plover, 13 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, 4 Turnstone and a Snipe were logged. The Hengistbury side also saw a movement of Common Tern, as 102 in varying flock sizes, the biggest being 27, moved west; while 2 Arctic Tern and 4 Little Tern were at Stanpit. Also over Hengistbury, a juvenile Kittiwake, 4 Shoveler, a Teal, 150 feeding Swift and a Peregrine, plus several Gannet that grazed the cliffs as they soared into the wind. The Wick Fields held a few passerines, namely 4 Garden Warbler and 25 Willow Warbler, a Kingfisher sat in a bush along Wick Ditch for around 10-minutes and 6 Mediterranean Gull were recorded.
Stanpit update: a Pied Flycatcher was in the North Scrubs this morning; while, this afternoon, singles of Ruff and Wood Sandpiper took it to an impressive 20 species of wader recorded for the day. The Ruff, actually a reeve and different to yesterday's bird, was seen in Stanpit Bight and Parky Meade Rail, with the Wood Sandpiper settling briefly around South Marsh before appearing to leave high north. Also at Stanpit, an adult Yellow-legged Gull, over 25 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Hobby, 2 Wheatear and 2 Canada Goose. Finally, back to Hengistbury, where a further Wheatear, another Green Sandpiper and a Great Crested Grebe were logged.
There were 18 species of wader recorded in the area today, which for July is more than notable. Having said that, there wasn't anything that required field notes to be submitted. The best was a Wood Sandpiper that settled on South Marsh before heading over to the Wick area. Also: a juvenile Ruff at Stanpit this afternoon; 3 Green Sandpiper, two over Stanpit and one over Hengistbury/Wick; a couple of flighty Avocet that were seen from just about everywhere; 2 Golden Plover seen to arrive over the Long Field; a Knot low over the Wick Fields; 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, one through west and one settled in Stanpit Bight; a Grey Plover in full breeding-plumage; and 6 Greenshank, 9 Common Sandpiper, 7 Whimbrel, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 48 Dunlin at Stanpit; as well as largely uncounted Oystercatcher, Redshank, Curlew and Lapwing. Just after 7:00 this morning, a Marsh Harrier passed low west over Stanpit Bight, before appearing to move up the Stour; also a Hobby over Wick both sides of lunch and the clumsy juvenile Peregrine trying its best all over the harbour. Some wildfowl interest was provided by an unseasonable Pochard and a Tufted Duck resting in Mother Siller's Channel for a few hours this afternoon, plus 6 Teal, an adult Great Crested Grebe and 2 Canada Goose elsewhere, and 25 of the latter over Stanpit village. Passerines were fairly sparse, although there was a flurry of 45 or so Willow Warbler by the HHC mid-morning, as well as a Redstart on the Batters and 2 Wheatear on Crouch Hill. Mediterranean Gull made something of a return to Stanpit mid-afternoon, when at least 31 birds, ten of them juveniles, were present; these in addition to a third-summer Yellow-legged Gull and an adult Common Gull. To conclude, 6 Raven passed over during the course of the day.
Additional news: a Tree Pipit went over Wick Fields.
A Pied Flycatcher in the bushes by RIBS Marine was probably the pick of the migrants this morning; also a Grasshopper Warbler and 4 Garden Warbler there, a Yellow Wagtail on Central Marsh, 2 Wheatear on Crouch Hill and a Nuthatch in Ashtree Meadows. On the opposite side of the harbour, only Whitethroat, with 22 counted, were around in any numbers. Back to Stanpit, where there was a reasonable selection of waders, albeit in small numbers, with 41 Dunlin, 5 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel, 4 Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and one each of Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Grey Plover and Turnstone. Only 2 Mediterranean Gull were noted today, both on East Marsh, while a Green Sandpiper was on Wick Fields.
Additional news: at least 1000 Sand Martin were swarming around Hengistbury in the evening, when the local male Kestrel was attempting to hunt them.
Juvenile Dunnock on Wick Fields - Lorne Bissell
Mediterranean Gull numbers were well down on yesterday, with just 14 birds on Stanpit this morning; also around the marsh were 57 Sandwich Tern, 19 Dunlin, 5 Common Sandpiper, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Whimbrel, plus singles of Green Sandpiper and Greenshank. Whitethroat was easily the most numerous migrant today, with a harbour total of 64, while 9 Garden Warbler, 7 on Stanpit and 2 on Wick, was locally significant given the time of year. Stanpit also held 4 Wheatear, a Redstart and a Tree Pipit, the latter in North Scrubs and a Yellow Wagtail moved overhead. Finally, a juvenile Great Crested Grebe on the river is clearly indicative of local breeding.
There had been a little bit of disappointment over the final tally of the organised Mediterranean Gull on Sunday, as a few more were anticipated to be in the area. However, all of this was blown away this morning, when 178 were counted at Stanpit. This comprised 125 on South Marsh and 53 on East Marsh, with 42 of the total being juveniles. As always, because of the vegetation that can obscure birds almost completely, the total is suspected to be an absolute minimum figure. This factor is equally frustrating in terms of being able to see colour-rings, which previous years' experience suggests must be out there. Also around Stanpit: a Common Gull, 2 Greenshank, 5 Common Sandpiper, 6 Whimbrel, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 25 Dunlin, as well as a decent count of 52 Sandwich Tern. On the other side of the harbour, there was the expected lull after yesterday's warbler bonanza, with 'just' 21 Willow Warbler west of the Batters and onto Wick, as well as a Tree Pipit and Peregrine over.
Some very early mist resulted in quite a fall of migrant warblers on Hengistbury this morning, with most of the numbers coming from birds making the traditional flight across the 'gap' by the HHC, between Hengistbury and Wick. In addition to a Grasshopper Warbler and 10 Garden Warbler, of which a couple were actually on Wick and Stanpit, there were: 275 Willow Warbler, 220 Whitethroat and 180 Sedge Warbler; while a couple of Redstart were on the head itself and 4 Tree Pipit and a Yellow Wagtail moved over. Interestingly, not all the Sedge Warbler are yet moving, as there is still a family adjacent to the Wooden Bridge, where there were 2 Green Sandpiper today. Sand Martin numbers remain impressive, with up to 1000 on site, including large flocks of juveniles - the most accommodating being a gathering that likes to sit on the deck in the main Hengistbury car park, allowing close approach in the car and certainly a photographer's dream. Meanwhile, another throng is regularly perched in the reeds at Wick Hams. As usual, a Hobby was attracted and around lunchtime a juvenile Peregrine made some clumsy attempts to hunt at Stanpit, before the large gulls turned on it and forcibly removed it from the area. Also at Stanpit at that time, 2 Greenshank, 6 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Dunlin and a handful of Mediterranean Gull. To conclude, other than a Kingfisher by the HHC that actually sat on the top of a mist net for a few seconds, it's down to wildfowl; with the best being an Eider on the water off Double Dykes plus a Tufted Duck and 4 Gadwall.
Fox on Wick Fields this morning - Shaun Montgomery
The word from Wick was that there were a few more Willow Warbler around today, with a figure of 18 returned from the fields, along with 6 Blackcap; while singles of Wheatear were on the Barn Field and Crouch Hill. A Little Ringed Plover overflew Hengistbury and headed towards Stanpit, where, early on, there were 3 Green Sandpiper recorded, including birds settled on East and Central Marshes; then, throughout the day, other wader totals came to: 9 Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel, a Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and a Ringed Plover. Around 5:00 tonight, there was a marked presence of Swift and Sand Martin over the area, with estimates coming to 400 and 1000+ respectively, plus the inevitable attendant Hobby, three in fact, and a Peregrine. The loosely organised Mediterranean Gull count came to 61 birds at Stanpit; but a further 70 were outside of the recording area, as far up the valley as Avon village, 42 of them in Dorset on Coward's Marsh. Finally, during the morning, at least 2 Raven were seen from Hengistbury.
Omission: 2 adult Common Gull were at Stanpit.
Black-tailed Godwit - Jimmy Main
In general, there were fewer passerine migrants around than yesterday, but arguably more variety and interest. A Turtle Dove circled Wick Hams before appearing to come down in the Barn Field and a party of 14 Crossbill headed north-west over Wick; while the first returning Wheatear, a female, was at Hengistbury, where a Yellow Wagtail was logged, with a further of these settled in the meadows by the Wooden Bridge. Additionally, a Garden Warbler was in Wick Ditch and ones-and-twos of Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler and Blackcap were scattered around locations more appropriate for migrants than locals. Moving to waders, and an Avocet that was seen from both Stanpit and Hengistbury as it inspected the area; also a Little Ringed Plover over Wick was presumably the same as one that settled in Barn Bight a little later; and a Green Sandpiper was noted a couple of times over East Marsh. There were also 13 Common Sandpiper, - 7 in Barn Bight and 5 at Stanpit, with time and tide suggesting all were different - 2 Greenshank, 6 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, a couple of Snipe and 10 Dunlin. Overhead, at least 60 Swift moved north-east, but of the 300 or so Sand Martin still on site it's hard to say which are travellers. Throughout the morning, Peregrine were seen on a number of occasions and it was thought that perhaps three individuals were involved; also airborne, a Hobby and a couple of Raven. Before the 'med gull' update the final bits-and-pieces, which involve: 6 Common Tern, including 2 juveniles, at sea; 2 Kingfisher, a Tufted Duck and a Shoveler from Hengistbury; plus 50 Canada Goose that arrived in Stanpit Bight mid-afternoon. This morning, a count of 51 Mediterranean Gull was made at Stanpit, but in excess of 70 were present around 4:00 in the afternoon. Actually, there are unprecedented numbers of Mediterranean Gull in all likely spots of the Lower Avon Valley, ranging from the harbour to the pig-fields at Sopley, and a co-ordinated count is planned for tomorrow.
Juvenile Mediterranean Gull at Stanpit last night - Jimmy Main
...likewise, adult Common Gull - Jimmy Main
The ringers had their first proper outing of the 'autumn' and caught around 50 birds, including a Garden Warbler; please see that section of the website for more details. Meanwhile, in the field, other migrant warblers comprised 23 Willow Warbler, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, 15 Whitethroat and 6 Blackcap, while a relatively early Tree Pipit and 2 Yellow Wagtail passed over. At sea, a certainly unseasonable Brent Goose was seen traversing a feeding flock of 150 Gannet and 70 Sandwich Tern, while during the morning 42 Common passed west and, this afternoon, a very tight line of Shelduck headed purposefully in the same direction over Hengistbury. Waders were once more varied and included: a Little Ringed Plover southbound; a Green Sandpiper that was initially on Wick, but relocated to the East Marsh area of Stanpit for most of the day; 7 Greenshank, 5 west and up to three inside the harbour; 9 Whimbrel spread about; 4 Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight; and 2 splendid Knot, a Sanderling, a Turnstone, a further Common Sandpiper, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Ringed Plover and 24 Dunlin, one of these the first juvenile of the year, around Stanpit Bight. Elsewhere, singles of Peregrine and Hobby passed over, the drake Tufted Duck and 3 Gadwall were settled, and a couple of Kingfisher were seen by the Wooden Bridge on Wick. Mediterranean Gull were definitely numerous, but no meaningful counts have been turned in.
Additional news: in contrast to the closing statement above, a figure of 66 Mediterranean Gull was put in from Stanpit.
There was quite a bit to be seen and heard throughout the day, including the begging call of Tawny Owl heard in the Wood, Hengistbury, during an overnight stay. Working clockwise around the area from there, a gathering of 100+ Swallow on the ground in the main car park suggested the start of some movement, while 3 Green Sandpiper picked up from Wick and headed west. Also, a Hobby and a male Peregrine seen over the fields. At Stanpit, a couple of breeding-plumage Knot were a notable new arrival, with a Turnstone, 6 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 29 Dunlin providing additional wader interest. In the North Scrubs, a Garden Warbler was the best, but also at least 3 Willow Warbler and 2 Blackcap in there. From Mudeford Quay, a Roseate Tern was seen to pass eastward, but 25 Common Tern and over 30 Sandwich Tern lingered. Also from that spot, 5 Sanderling and 2 further Common Sandpiper. Now the Mediterranean Gull counts: this morning, 33 went west past the quay and 32 was the best figure from Stanpit; but this afternoon a site-record 84 were counted on East and South Marshes from Fisherman's Bank.
Additional news: the Mediterranean Gull were counted again an hour or so later, but with just binoculars and just those on South Marsh. That total was in excess 80 birds, but included around 30 juveniles. The previous 84 included birds on East Marsh and did not have that number of juveniles. It therefore seems reasonable to assume up to 100 could have been in the harbour. Also, the first returning Common Gull, an adult, was noted.
Some of the 70 or so Sand Martin hanging around the Coastguards this morning - Alan Crockard
There was a sprinkle of passerine migrants on Hengistbury this morning, as a Grasshopper Warbler was by the HHC, a Redstart was in the Wood and 4 Willow Warbler were spread about. Also from the head, a wader selection included: a Green Sandpiper, a Turnstone, 3 Whimbrel, 7 Common Sandpiper, 15 Black-tailed Godwit and 6 Ringed Plover; while a Sanderling was off Mudeford Quay. A total of 210 Swift passed over the west and a couple of Peregrine were logged, as well as 2 Tufted Duck. Finally, in excess of 10 Mediterranean Gull were noted from the head and the quay, but Stanpit was not looked at.
Additional news: a Little Ringed Plover was at Stanpit.
The wind died away significantly overnight, which made things a lot more comfortable but seemed to result in slightly fewer birds. The best was a couple of Crossbill west over Wick early on, where there are currently any number of Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet and Reed Bunting attracted to the fields. At Stanpit, the waders came to: 2 Snipe, a Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel, the colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit and 15 Dunlin. Meanwhile, a Teal was off Fisherman's Bank, from where the returning Coot were religiously counted at 52! The morning saw just 6 Mediterranean Gull, but some casual observations at lunch suggested numbers were building as the day went on.
Conditions were almost identical to yesterday, that is a strong south-westerly wind and frequent, sometimes heavy showers - and the sea was just as quiet. The only exceptions being a Manx Shearwater and 2 Great Crested Grebe from Mudeford Quay, plus 2 Common Scoter and a decent Gannet presence from the Gully. The best inside the harbour was an adult Arctic Tern late morning, plus a Little Ringed Plover supported by 2 Greenshank, 5 Whimbrel, 8 Common Sandpiper, a Black-tailed Godwit and 36 Dunlin. A Teal was also about and the drake Tufted Duck was seen from Mudeford Quay.
Omission: a Sanderling was also logged from Mudeford Quay.
The sea was watched in two consecutive shifts this morning and, given the conditions, was woefully disappointing; not least during the first period from 7:15 to 10:15, when three, almost imaginary shearwaters were way too distant to chance an ID; also a wader sp. and 3 Common Tern east. During the next 2-hours, however, a couple of Balearic Shearwater were seen, one of them being chased by a Great Skua. Gannet were omni-present and heading in all directions - a figure of 200 has been suggested - while the only other interest came from a Common Sandpiper on the Long Groyne, before it was swamped by the tide, and 5 Dunlin west.
Juvenile Stonechat - Alan Crockard
It wasn't until the mid-afternoon that the persistent rain gave way to blue skies, but the strong south-westerly carried on regardless and is forecast to do so some more. Just one hardy regular made it to the Beach Huts this morning, while those who are somewhat softer hunkered in the cars on Mudeford Quay, which was largely a waste of time. The Beach Huts outpost fared very slightly better, however, turning in a Balearic Shearwater, a Common Scoter, 2 Common Tern and around 35 Gannet, as well as a couple of Whimbrel on the beach. Later, Stanpit was given a go and produced 7 Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpiper, a Black-tailed Godwit and 39 Dunlin. The harbour was less attractive to Mediterranean Gull today, despite there being a good presence in the Avon Valley, with less than 15 being present during the afternoon. Just in case it's of use to anyone reading this who has lost a pet, there was a parrot on Mudeford Quay this morning - a green one with a yellow head and red visible in the wings when it flew (I'm not good on parrots) - last seen heading into the conifers adjacent to the car park.
Sedge Warbler - Darren Hughes
Although no real attempt was made to count them, it was clear that returning Sedge Warber were in most reedbeds across the area this morning
The best for the day was 3 Green Sandpiper from the HHC this morning, with one of these presumably being a bird seen slightly later by the Wooden Bridge on Wick, where the Treecreeper remained along Roebury Lane. Also moving over the HHC, a Grey Wagtail, 14 Common Tern, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover, 5 Shoveler, a Teal, a Gadwall and 45 Swift. At sea, a 45-minute watch saw up to 100 Common Scoter moving around Poole Bay, while 50+ Gannet were sat on the water and occasionally rising up to feed. This afternoon, as the tide ebbed, Mediterranean Gull of all possible plumages were scattered across the harbour. The distribution and movement made them difficult to count exactly, so an estimate of at least 50 was made, but both observers agreed this was likely to be way, way too conservative. The settled waders around Stanpit included 7 Common Sandpiper, 7 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, one of these a colour-ringed bird that was last seen on 14th April, meaning it can't have spent too long in Iceland, and 25 Dunlin. Finally, singles of Hobby and Peregrine visited to hunt and 38 Little Egret were logged from Fisherman's Bank.
Kestrel - Chris Dresh
It's all from Stanpit today, where in addition to a reasonable wader selection there were 3 Little Tern. Wader-wise, the joint figures from Fisherman's Bank and from the marsh itself, and in the best effort to avoid any duplication, are reckoned to be: 6 Common Sandpiper, 7 Greenshank, 5 Whimbrel, a Snipe, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 9 Black-tailed Godwit. The Mediterranean Gull were only counted in the morning, coming to just 5 birds.
Additional news: 38 Curlew and 19 Black-tailed Godwit left south over The Haven public house in the evening.
Hengistbury saw a few returning passerine migrants this morning, including a Turtle Dove that sat motionless in a tree by the HHC for 30-minutes before it was kicked out by a local Magpie, as well as a Redstart, a Cuckoo and a Grey Wagtail. In Barn Bight, the moulting Goosander was keeping itself to itself, while 10 Tufted Duck, 3 Gadwall and 16 Teal moved through to the west. Also on the move were waders, including: 2 Golden Plover and 2 Knot east, 9 Curlew west, a Little Ringed Plover that was heard only and 2 Greenshank, a Snipe, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Ringed Plover and 19 Dunlin that were all a little indecisive in where they were heading. Swift, however, were intent on heading into the light north-easterly wind and these, or the many Sand Martin in the area, attracted a single Hobby. Birds more settled and gravitating to Stanpit were 7 Common Sandpiper, a Turnstone, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Dunlin, 2 Common Tern and 7 Teal. Early on, Mediterranean Gull were sparse, but by lunchtime a minimum of 22 were inside the harbour. To conclude, a feeding flock of 70 Gannet and over 100 Sandwich Tern off Double Dykes unfortunately failed to attract anything more interesting and 4 Raven passed over.
Additional news: by 5:00, the Mediterranean Gull had risen to 32.
First-summer Hobby - Jimmy Main
The morning and afternoon low tides at Stanpit saw a reasonable selection of waders, the best being 2 juvenile Little Ringed Plover on the early visit; while peak counts of the more expected from both sorties came to: 2 Greenshank, 4 Whimbrel, 6 Common Sandpiper, 10 Black-tailed Godwit and 10 Dunlin. A Hobby passed east during the morning and male Peregrine hunted for a period around 4:30 tonight. There was also a clear influx of Mediterranean Gull into the area, the best count being 46 birds from Fisherman's Bank.
Additional news: 3 Teal were at Stanpit this evening.
Linnet - Jimmy Main
There was a fair bit of westward movement over and through the harbour this morning, including: 5 Siskin, an adult Yellow-legged Gull, 175 Swift, 320 Sand Martin, with up to another 500 of these lingering, 2 Little Tern, 46 Common Tern, a Whimbrel, 3 Greenshank and 16 Curlew. Additionally, a couple of Crossbill headed in the opposite direction, as did some further travelling waders, such as: 58 Black-tailed Godwit, most of these having come from inland, 17 Ringed Plover and 25 Dunlin; while those more settled across the harbour comprised: 13 Common Sandpiper, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, 15 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Dunlin. Meanwhile, wildfowl interest was provided by a redhead Goosander in Barn Bight, a Teal at Stanpit, plus 3 Gadwall and a Tufted Duck from Hengistbury. To wrap up, the remainder of the news comes from: a family party of 3 Bullfinch at Wick, something that is of real local interest; a day total of 26 Mediterranean Gull; and around 80 Sandwich Tern and 4 Common Tern resting at Stanpit this evening.
Reed Warbler - Jimmy Main
Other than 3 Greenshank west over Wick this morning and a Kingfisher by the Wooden Bridge there, all reports come from Stanpit, where an impressive flock of 12 Common Sandpiper briefly visited Mother Siller's Channel during the afternoon. Other waders about the marsh included: a settled Greenshank, a Grey Plover in breeding plumage, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Dunlin. Among the commoner gulls, there were 10 Mediterranean Gull, all adults apart from single first- and second-summers, as well as 3 Common Tern. Meanwhile, the Shelduck and Mute Swan young remain at three and one respectively.
Omission: a Peregine with prey overflew Stanpit.
The season's first juvenile Sandwich Tern
fast learning its fishing technique - Jimmy Main. Although, like Black-headed Gull and Mediterranean Gull, this species doesn't breed at Christchurch, juvenile birds from nearby colonies always arrive very soon after they have fledged
On the basis that the wind had been blowing not insignificantly from the south-west for at least 48-hours, it didn't seem unreasonable to have expectations for the sea today. However, it was quite the opposite! In over 3-hours this morning from the Gully, just 22 Common Tern, 12 Sandwich Tern, 7 Curlew and 2 Razorbill, all heading west, were the only notebook entries. There are no reports from Stanpit, so the best-of-the-rest from the Hengistbury side involves: a Treecreeper in Wick Ditch, a Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight, a Coal Tit in the Wood, where they may well have bred, and a single Mediterranean Gull over.
Skylark - Darren Hughes
The day was dominated by a strong south-westerly wind, which brought morning showers but a finer afternoon. An early seawatch from the end of Hengistbury produced singles of Arctic Skua and Manx Shearwater, both west, as well as 11 aimless Common Tern, 2 Common Scoter, 3 Fulmar, around 35 Gannet, 2 Razorbill and 15 Guillemot, with all those unspecified also west. Meanwhile, the first 6 southbound Turnstone could be seen on the sandspit from Mudeford Quay. An afternoon visit to Fisherman's Bank registered a few waders inside the harbour, namely: a Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel, a Ringed Plover and 6 Black-tailed Godwit. Also from there, an adult Mediterranean Gull and counts of sub-four-year-old, large gulls coming to 468 Herring Gull, 15 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 9 Greater Black-backed Gull.
It was more of the same today with some very heavy showers hence the only reports so far are from the sea. An Arctic Skua was on the sea off Mudeford Quay briefly before it moved off west around 7am while a little later a Balearic Shearwater lingered off the beach huts. Otherwise there were just 70 Gannet east and 17 Common Scoter west.
A couple of recently fledged Stonechat on the Barn Field fence - Darren Hughes
On a day of heavy showers only Stanpit received any attention this morning. A Marsh Harrier north and Hobby east were probably the pick today although 2 Treecreeper, one in the North Scrubs and one in Ashtree Meadows, were also worthy of note. Other than that 5 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper were present together with the regular mix of Lapwing, Curlew and Redshank.
Evening update: from Fisherman's Bank there were 9 Mediterranean Gull, all adults, also 2 Greenshank.
Juvenile Mediterranean Gull - Jimmy Main
Most of the day's reports come from Stanpit during the morning, when it was still dry. A Little Ringed Plover was again on-site, but today it was a juvenile, along with 2 Common Sandpiper and 4 Whimbrel. Also there, a Little Tern, 2 Common Tern and a Shoveler; while Mediterranean Gull numbered at least four birds, three adults and a juvenile, and the 3 Shelduck duckling are now reaching adult proportions.
A small passage of Common Tern through the harbour this morning, 32 birds in all, attracted a couple of skua to take the same route at around 7:50. While a pale-phase Arctic Skua inside the harbour was a great record in itself, the bird trailing 20-metres behind was even better - and was an adult Long-tailed Skua! There were also moving passerines to be seen on Hengistbury, the best being 2 young Grasshopper Warbler attempting to reel by the HHC, plus a male Redstart and a Garden Warbler on the Barn Field. Meanwhile, a Willow Warbler was on the slopes of the Batters, as were reasonable numbers of Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and Blackcap. At Stanpit, an adult Little Ringed Plover was around Mother Siller's Channel both morning and afternoon, with 2 Greenshank and 2 Whimbrel also present in that general area. A family of Coal Tit, an adult with four young, were in the car park conifers, and a Kingfisher and 10 Mediterranean Gull were about the marsh.
Whitethroat - Jimmy Main
Small Copper - Chris Chapleo
Today saw more evidence of dispersal from southern counties breeding sites, as 4 Little Ringed Plover were present during the morning - three, two adults and a juvenile were in Parky Meade Rail, while a further adult was seen a few times about South Marsh - as well as 4 Mediterranean Gull, two of them juveniles, and 2 Common Tern. Meanwhile, returnees from further a field included 6 Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, a Common Sandpiper and 6 Dunlin. Of interest, we now have details of the colour-ringed Greenshank from the first of the month - it was ringed on 4th April this year in the Goulven Bay, Brittany, France, which is apparently a wintering area for the species. Little Egret are very obvious right now, with several recently fledged juveniles from the Nursery accompanying their parents around the area - the maximum count for the day coming to 32 birds. Also for the records, the first juvenile Black-headed Gull appeared during the course of the week just past.
Drake Goosander in eclipse - Chris Chapleo
...and Purple Hairstreak in the Wood on Hengistbury - Chris Chapleo
A glorious day saw some post-breeding dispersal of birds from nearby sites into the recording area. A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker flew over Priory Marsh and seemed to pitch into the conifers on the golf course, while a calling Treecreeper was at RIBS Marine. Meanwhile, on the river there, a couple of young Goosander were present and an eclipse drake drifted through the harbour towards Holloway's Dock. Also presumed to fit into the previously described category were most of the several hundred Sand Martin in local airspace, a Snipe by the north-east pool on Priory Marsh and a Teal, 2 Shoveler and 7 Gadwall around the area in general. The recently, habitual Osprey chose 7:20 to arrive, when it very quickly caught its breakfast and headed back off to the north; and the early morning also saw a small passage of Common Tern, as up to 30 moved west over Stanpit, while 4 Common Sandpiper, a Greenshank, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin were more settled about the marsh. Mediterranean Gull were also reasonably obvious, with at least ten passing over, and a Grey Wagtail was in Parky Meade Rail.
There was a bit of a surprise on Hengistbury this morning, when a Black Redstart was seen on the Barn Field - all too briefly though, as it flew off towards the Lower Batters and wasn't seen again. The Osprey put in its regular appearance at 8:30 successfully taking a mullet and heading back north. On Stanpit, there was a colour-ringed Greenshank, together with 52 Lapwing, 19 Curlew, 8 Redshank and 3 Whimbrel, also 5 Common Tern, 3 Mediterranean Gull and a good count of 23 Little Egret.