Sightings for July 2013

July 31st

During this morning’s misty rain, there were a couple of Green Sandpiper on Priory Marsh, while a Little Ringed Plover and an Arctic Tern were elsewhere on Stanpit. The year’s first juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was also on the marsh, but there may actually have been two, as well as 9 Mediterranean Gull. Bearded Tit were once more heard, with 3 birds being the estimate, and 4 Common Sandpiper, 14 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit and up to 40 Dunlin were on-site. 

July 30th

The morning was a write-off as heavy rain and a southerly wind broke reminded us of the vagaries of the British summer. This afternoon at Stanpit, however, there were 4 Common Sandpiper, a Sanderling, 6 Whimbrel, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and 22 Dunlin. Then, during the evening, a Green Sandpiper came up off Priory Marsh.

July 29th

In a brisk south-westerly, the sea was given a good deal of attention this morning, but as the sum total of reports is zero it can only be assumed the whole affair was a dead loss. Late in the afternoon, however, there were around 25 Gannet feeding off Mudeford Quay. 

July 28th

Lapwing in Parky Meade Rail – Alan Crockard

There was very little to be seen today, with the best being 4 Crossbill over Whitepits late in the morning, when a passing tern was being sought. Otherwise, just 2 Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper and a single Dunlin can make the post.

July 27th

Sedge Warbler
Sedge Warbler – Alan Crockard

The morning was expected to be over by 10:00 as we were all informed the rain would have well and truly set in by then. However, the hour came and went with the sun still shining and jackets being shed. In fact, it wasn’t until late in the afternoon that the first drops of moisture were felt. All that said, it was a quiet affair - the best being an unseasonable Goldeneye that landed on the river just off Wick Hams. Elsewhere, the Bearded Tit family was again on show at Stanpit, while in-harbour wader totals came to: a Greenshank, several Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper, a Turnstone, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover, 6 Snipe and 43 Dunlin. Signs of actual movement of birds came from 8 Common Tern through and west, an arriving Teal and a Reed Warbler well away from reeds, although a resident breeder continues to sing on Central Marsh, as does an incessantly displaying Meadow Pipit. A party of 6 Canada Goose that left Stanpit Creek may signal the start of the traditional late-summer roost and a male Peregrine was seen hunting over Wick on a couple of occasions. To wrap up, only a handful of Mediterranean Gull were logged, but there were up to 10 juvenile birds seeming to be on the move westward. 

July 26th

Bearded Tit Bearded Tit
Juvenile Bearded Tit – Jean Southworth

The big news for the day comes from late in the afternoon, when there was a harbour record count of Mediterranean Gull. In the time before the observer had to leave, 320 birds came in from the Avon Valley and were still doing so, meaning the final figure would be something higher. Much earlier, a Wood Sandpiper was again recorded, this time high over Stanpit, while a Green Sandpiper was on Wick and 4 Common Sandpiper were by Parky Meade Rail. Of 21 Dunlin on-site, a lone bird flew around in the company of an adult Curlew Sandpiper, with other waders coming to a Sanderling, 17 Whimbrel, a Snipe and good count of 37 Curlew. At least 6 Bearded Tit were again at Stanpit, as were singles of Hobby and Peregrine this evening. Finally, the only passerine migrant was a Spotted Flycatcher in the North Scrubs and a few Sedge Warbler around Priory Marsh.

July 25th

A Wood Sandpiper that was first heard around 6:45 by Parky Meade Rail ended up on South Marsh, with other waders in those areas coming to: 6 Common Sandpiper, 4 Whimbrel, plus a further five on Hengistbury, 2 Sanderling, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Dunlin. Other than a Yellow Wagtail over the HHC, there were seemingly no other migrants on site. However, local interest came courtesy of 2 juvenile Water Rail and a similarly aged Little Grebe around Parky Meade Rail, some Bearded Tit about Stanpit and a fine count of 62 Little Egret. The sea turned up 46 Common Scoter and the afternoon saw at least 100 Mediterranean Gull, two of them juveniles, inside the harbour.

Additional news: 3 Green Sandpiper were on the Wick side this morning, along with a Common Sandpiper.

July 24th

Mediterranean Gull featured strongly once again, firstly with 35 off Mudeford Quay this morning and then after lunch 107 birds were around Stanpit.  Earlier the first Wood Sandpiper of the year was heard from the Wick side of the harbour.  Staying with the wader theme the variety improved slightly today with singles of Knot, Grey Plover, Common Sandpiper, Greenshank and Turnstone at Stanpit, also around the harbour were 25 Dunlin, 9 Whimbrel, 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Sanderling and 2 Black-tailed Godwit, another seven of these moved high to the west.  The only reported passerine migrant was a Grasshopper Warbler on Priory Marsh.  To round up the Bearded Tit family was still present around Parky Meade Rail, 22 Common Tern were off the quay this morning and 2 adult Common Gull were in the pre-roost on Stanpit this afternoon.

July 23rd

Other than the briefest of showers soon after dawn the forecast overnight rain failed to materialise.  It was however much cooler and hence much more pleasant.  An early morning look from Mudeford Quay found a flock of around 40 Common Tern feeding offshore while a little later on Stanpit a Peregrine with kill alighted on East Marsh but the persistent attention of the gulls forced it to move off north fairly quickly.  The summer build up of Little Egret numbers is well under way with a count of 43 from Fisherman's Bank today, clearly an underestimate with much of the harbour not visible from there.  There was again a dearth of small waders around the harbour with just 3 Common Sandpiper on Stanpit, also a single Black-tailed Godwit and two each of Greenshank and Whimbrel were present. 

July 22nd

Gatekeeper – Clinton Whale

For the first time in some weeks, the area was subject to rain - this during the early hours of darkness. However, well before dawn the high pressure had returned and temperatures once more easily exceeded the 20C mark. All the news comes from Stanpit, which hosted a Little Ringed Plover, 6 Common Sandpiper, 11 Whimbrel, seven of those leaving west, 2 Turnstone and 2 Ringed Plover. There was again a movement of Swift and Sand Martin numbering 160 and 60 respectively into the easterly wind, while a few Common Tern made the westerly cut through the harbour. In the reedbeds, there were suggestions of returning Sedge Warbler and 6 Bearded Tit were logged. Elsewhere, 3 Teal and a Tufted Duck were present. 

July 21st

Comma – Clinton Whale

Stanpit was checked out from Fisherman’s Bank for a couple of hours this morning, but could only come up with a Green Sandpiper over, 2 Greenshank, one or two Whimbrel, a Turnstone, a Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Dunlin. There were also 4 Shoveler and half-a-dozen Mediterranean Gull hanging around Stanpit Bight, with above average counts of 13 Grey Heron and 22+ Curlew on East Marsh. This afternoon, the beach at Hengistbury produced 2 Great Skua, 50 Common Tern and 80 Common Scoter, all east. Among the many butterflies currently on the wing, a Marbled White, something of a local scarcity, was seen on Hengistbury.

July 20th

The strong sunlight was cooled by a brisk easterly wind, which made things a lot more comfortable than they might otherwise have been. A 3-hour lounge on Crouch Hill, Stanpit, this morning saw thirteen species of waders, the best being a couple of juvenile Little Ringed Plover that flew in and landed in one of the sandy ‘bunkers’, but also: a Greenshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, 2 Turnstone, 3 Sanderling, 3 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 6 Dunlin; along with the Redshank, Curlew, Oystercatcher and Lapwing. Meanwhile, a steady passage of Swift - 320+ birds - headed into the wind, as did 100 or so Sand Martin, plus a few Swallow and House Martin. Meanwhile, at sea, Common Tern and Common Scoter were doing the same thing, with 65 and 64 counted respectively, the latter including a flock of 48 birds. The early part of the day saw just a handful of Mediterranean Gull, but by the afternoon around sixty were present, one of them a juvenile. To wrap up, a male Peregrine was seen on a couple of occasions and two each of Shoveler and Gadwall were about.

In addition to the 60 ‘Meds’ in the recording area, a further 600+ were present around the Avon Causeway and the adjacent pig fields.

Omission: an adult Common Gull was at Stanpit.

July 19th

Common Blue Damselfly
Common Blue Damselfly – Chris Chapleo
One of two Fox that were minding their own business on Wick Fields last night,
until a dog was deliberately unleashed to run them off – Clinton Whale

It was another hot one, but there were some moments of local interest. Singles of Green Sandpiper and Crossbill overflew Wick, and lone Wigeon and Teal were at Stanpit. An easterly breeze saw Swift on the move, around 100 estimated in an hour or so, while 5 Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel, 16 Dunlin and 7 Common Tern were settled about the area. 

Omission: individuals of Peregrine and Raven were also recorded.

July 18th

Essex Skipper
Essex Skipper, showing the diagnostic dark tips on the underside of the antennae
– Chris Chapleo
Small Skipper
...and Small Skipper – Chris Chapleo

The day’s highlight came very first thing, when a Stone Curlew came up from the horse paddock on Wick and headed up the Stour. Although the bird couldn’t be re-located, a regular who was walking to the harbour from Southbourne had the bonus of it flying over as he walked down Cranleigh Road, from where it seemed to head back towards the recording area. There was a good variety, but something of a turnover, of waders at Stanpit throughout the day, with the morning seeing the best of the numbers. Peak counts came to: a Knot in breeding-plumage, 8 Sanderling likewise, 2 Greenshank, 6 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Dunlin, including the year’s first juvenile, and a similarly aged Ringed Plover. Meanwhile, the maximum Mediterranean Gull figure was forty-eight. These fair conditions have been kind to those with an interest in lepidoptera and odonata, and many thanks to Chris Chapleo for the following update.

Butterfly and Odonata Update 18th July 2013
The recent hot weather has led to a large emergence of a number of species of butterfly. Small Skippers are abundant in the grassland areas, with smaller numbers of Large Skippers. Among these a few Essex Skippers are present, although they are very easily overlooked and this makes it difficult to estimate numbers. Purple Hairstreaks have also emerged in good numbers around the oaks, and there are a few Commas and Red Admirals.
Dragonflies are much in evidence; there are now a few Four-spotted Chasers near the Lilly Pond and Nursery Ponds area and similar numbers of Black-tailed Skimmers. Emperors have also emerged in small numbers. A recent sighting of Scarce Chaser was a good record but perhaps the most interesting records are of larger species; Golden Ringed Dragonfly are not common in the Harbour so two  records on Wick are notable, as are  2-3 Brown Hawkers in the Nursery. Of smaller species, there has also been a huge emergence of Common Blue Damselflies, and somewhat fewer Small Red Damselflies.

July 17th

There was some minor passerine interest at Stanpit this morning, when a Lesser Whitethroat, a species that hasn’t bred in that area this year, was on the fringe of Priory Marsh and 3 Yellow Wagtail passed over. Also airborne, around 250 millling Swift, while at least 4 Bearded Tit were again noted. There was an increase in Greenshank to 5, but possibly 6, birds, as well as 3 Whimbrel, 6 Black-tailed Godwit and 15 Dunlin. The best Mediterranean Gull count was in the order of 95 birds, with 3 juveniles reported to be present. 

July 16th

The first juvenile Mediterranean Gull of the year was amongst today’s count of 127 birds, some of them colour-ringed, this morning; when a Snipe, 2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Whimbrel, 6 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Dunlin were also at Stanpit. Later in the day, a couple of Bar-tailed Godwit had joined the aforementioned.

July 15th

There's no need to detail the weather, as it was just the same as it has been for over a week now and seems set to continue. Meanwhile, it was a day of decent terns: firstly, a Roseate Tern was on the exposed mud in The Run early on; then a flock of three, calling Arctic Tern headed over Priory Marsh from inland. Also around that part of Stanpit, an adult Whinchat in the reeds and a juvenile Redstart. The Mediterranean Gull total nudged 200 birds - including 112 from Fisherman’s Bank and a flock of 70 heading inland - also up to 3 Common Gull about the area. Wader-wise, a couple of Little Ringed Plover circuited Stanpit, while 3 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Ringed Plover, a Black-tailed Godwit and 15 Dunlin were more settled. Finally, at least 6 Bearded Tit were reckoned to be around the marsh. 

July 14th

The Mediterranean Gull numbers peaked in the early morning, when a total of 122 birds was turned in from Fisherman's Bank. Around the same time, there was a unexpected count of 53 Dunlin, which represents a significant number for the date. Also from the bank, a Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper and 7 Whimbrel. 

July 13th

There was a fine count of 66 Mediterranean Gull at Stanpit this morning - sixty-two in Stanpit Bight area and the remainder on the HHC mudbar - but given the current Avon Valley situation this was perhaps not too much of a surprise. On what was the hottest day of the year so far, the marsh also produced 3 Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel and a party of four juvenile Bearded Tit.

July 12th

Grey Heron
Grey Heron at Stanpit – Clinton Whale

The continued run of high pressure continues, so making it very hot to be out in the field. All the news is from Stanpit, where a Little Ringed Plover was the best, but also 3 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel and 7 Dunlin. A couple of Shoveler were on-site and the resident drake Tufted Duck makes the post if only to fill a bit of space.

July 11th

The first cloud cover for a few days made it feel quite cool this morning but once the sun broke through the temperature quickly rose.  Apart from 2 Little Tern off the quay the only news was from Stanpit where an Avocet was an obvious new arrival, also 10 Dunlin, 3 Common Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank and 2 Whimbrel.
Of interest just to the north of the harbour there were 470 Mediterranean Gull at Sopley pig fields today.

July 10th

There was bit of aerial variety today, as a Hobby headed east over Stanpit and a juvenile Grey Wagtail passed south above Wick. In addition, 3 Whimbrel moved north, while a further nine were settled, along with 3 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 9 Black-tailed Godwit and 8 Dunlin.

July 9th

Common Darter
A teneral, male Common Darter – Clinton Whale

On another blisteringly hot day, there were again Bearded Tit, 4 birds, seen on the Hengistbury side of the area. Meanwhile, as well as 2 Little Tern, Stanpit hosted 3 Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Teal. 

July 8th

It was an early morning of wildfowl, the best being a Garganey in with a flying flock of 4 Teal, but also a Wigeon, 7 Tufted Duck, 14 Shoveler, a final tally of 11 Teal and 6 Gadwall. In addition, a family of Shelduck numbering six young arrived in the area and kept their distance from the incumbents. There were also signs of passerine movement, including a Yellow Wagtail over Priory Marsh, as well as a male Yellowhammer on the Batters and 4 Crossbill over Hengistbury. Meanwhile, around 185 Swift headed into the north-easterly wind. At Stanpit, along with a Green Sandpiper on Priory Marsh, there had been a clear influx of Greenshank - 6 birds in all - plus a single Black-tailed Godwit and 16 Curlew moving west. At sea, a distant Arctic Skua harried the Sandwich Tern and 74 Common Scoter were logged. Finally, at least 24 Mediterranean Gull were about Mudeford Quay this afternoon; while just a few kilometers north of the area, around Sopley, an unprecedented total of 380 was achieved during the morning.

July 7th

Other than a Yellowhammer that was briefly settled by the HHC early on, the rest of the day’s news comes from Stanpit. A mini-selection of waders was headed by a Green Sandpiper, but also 3 Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, a Whimbrel, 25 Curlew, a Ringed Plover and a Dunlin. Meanwhile, 7 Mediterranean Gull were about during the morning. 

July 6th

It was the first real scorcher of the season, which saw much of the regular Saturday congregation head for the chalk downland on the Hants/Dorset border to sample the combined attractions of birds, butterflies and orchids. Consequently, the day's only report, albeit it a decent one, is of a family of Bearded Tit - 2 adults and 3 young - on the Hengistbury side of the area.

July 5th

Sandwich Tern
Sandwich Tern off Mudeford Quay – Alan Crockard
...and the Shelduck family from The Jetty restaurant – Alan Crockard

A Crossbill east over Wick was a first-for-the-year, while the only other news involves at least two very elusive Bearded Tit on Stanpit.

July 4th

There was a modicum of mid-summer interest at sea, as a Great Northern Diver passed by to the east, while 27 Common Scoter headed mainly west. Elsewhere, however, pickings were thin - for example, at Stanpit the highlight was a Dunlin! But there were also 2 Little Tern there, as well a further three of those from Mudeford Quay. On Hengistbury, 3 Whimbrel were encountered - one in Holloway's Dock and two leaving over the Barn Field.

July 3rd

Stock Dove
Stock Dove – Alan Hayden
...and Woodpigeon – Alan Hayden

A quiet day could produce only 3 Little Tern and a Whimbrel from Mudeford Quay, plus a Common Sandpiper along Fisherman's Bank. 

July 2nd

Reed Warbler
Reed Warbler – Alan Crockard
Mediterranean Gull
Second-summer Mediterranean Gull – Alan Hayden

Weather-wise, the day started reasonably well but by lunchtime it had succumbed to drizzle. A Hobby at Stanpit was probably the pick, but a flock of 3 Great Crested Grebe that were initially on the water by Wick Hams before circling the harbour and heading off north were also of interest. There were fewer waders about, although a couple of Common Sandpiper and a Whimbrel were at Stanpit; with the best-of-the rest being made up of 4 Mediterranean Gull and a Common Tern. 

July 1st

The Swallow family that was raised in the HHC – Clinton Whale

There’s a lot more to write about today, not least a Red Kite that passed over Stanpit to the west at around 9:15. The morning also witnessed some post-breeding dispersal of normally sedentary woodland species: firstly, a Nuthatch was in the gorse on Crouch Hill, with that or another being seen in the Wood on Hengistbury; and secondly 2 Treecreeper were in Monkswell Green. Meanwhile, a Willow Warbler was in the No Dogs Field on Wick. At Stanpit, there were 4 Common Sandpiper, a Greenshank, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Ringed Plover, while a further Common Sandpiper was logged at Mudeford Quay and a Greenshank was in Barn Bight, and 2 Whimbrel passed west at sea. The quay also produced 2 Little Tern and a few Mediterranean Gull were inside the harbour.

Additional news: this evening, Stanpit held a Bar-tailed Godwit, at least 17 Mediterranean Gull and 2 Common Tern.

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