Sightings for June 2015
Emperor Dragonfly – Hugh Goldsmith
On a scorching day, when the temperature hit the high twenties, there were more southbound waders about the area. The best was a Wood Sandpiper on East Marsh, but also 9 Common Sandpiper in Mother Siller’s Channel, while 2 Greenshank, 8 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Ringed Plover were spread around Stanpit. Meanwhile, a Hobby passed over and three adult Mediterranean Gull, an adult Common Tern and a juvenile Black-headed Gull were noted. The Cuckoo put in another appearance, the 2 Little Grebe were on the Ironstone Quarry and a couple of Raven were logged.
The rarest specimen on site today, in Stanpit Creek for a short time, was a first-summer Common Tern. Only a few birds of this age make the journey north from the southern hemisphere, the vast majority staying put until their third calendar-year when they are sufficiently mature to breed. Over the last few days, there has been some Crossbill movement noted over Holland, as well as sites along the south coast of the UK, so a couple of birds over Wick this morning were not altogether a surprise. On a fine, clear day with little wind, there was a hint of return wader passage, namely: a Little Ringed Plover heard a few times over Crouch Hill, 3 Common Sandpiper along the river and a Whimbrel from Fisherman’s Bank, while the Redshank increased to thirty-one. On the converse, one bird that seemingly didn’t attempt to head north, the female Wigeon, remains and was joined by 5 Gadwall and 8 Shelduck. The Cuckoo was again at Stanpit, single Bearded Tit were seen in two distinct locations and the gang of four Raven sat menacingly on posts at the tip of the sandspit.
Today's best was a Golden Plover at Stanpit, where the Wigeon remains, along with a Mediterranean Gull and 14 Redshank.
What was looking to be another mundane June morning was enlivened significantly at 8:50, when a Honey Buzzard was spotted from Fisherman’s Bank. The bird, a female, was first picked up over the HHC before drifting over Stanpit golf course, eventually gaining height over the marsh, and moving off eastward; all of this over the course of at least 5 minutes. This is only the second June record for the species, the first being just last year. Beforehand, the best had been the female Wigeon in Stanpit Creek and a couple of early-returning Kingfisher - one along the river and one on Fisherman’s Bank. At total of 4 Whimbrel were logged - three north-west and one arriving - and the Common Tern again fished Stanpit Creek, where 11 Redshank were counted. A little later, a party of 4 Raven, three of them young birds, settled on South Marsh and then located to Hengistbury. Of butterfly interest, a Marbled White was on Wick Fields.
Recently-fledged Whitethroat on Wick – Alan Crockard
Lapwing at Stanpit – Clinton Whale
The morning saw a small movement of ‘curlybills’, when 2 Whimbrel and at least 9 Curlew headed west over Hengistbury. A Lesser Whitethroat in song by the HHC was either a newly-arrived bird or an indication of an incumbent pair second-brooding; meanwhile, a Cuckoo lingers on-site, today on Grimmery Point. A species that certainly doesn’t breed in the area, however, is Nuthatch, but does so close by; so explaining two birds seen heading from Stanpit golf course towards Wick. Elsewhere, there were around 40 Lapwing and 3 Mediterranean Gull at Stanpit, a further three of the latter were seen going east and a Common Tern again fished Stanpit Creek, taking its catch off towards the area of the Christchurch Harbour Hotel.
Additional news: while the Starling were coming into roost, until 21:30 at least, a female Mandarin was in the company of a drake Mallard on the river
In preparation for the winter, when Bearded Tit change their diet from insects to seeds, a number of grit trays have been prepared. The birds eat grit to aid them in digesting the seeds. Thanks to CHOG member Colin Raymond for producing the trays and to Bournemouth Borough Council for siting them – Hugh Goldsmith
The Starling were again watched coming out of roost, starting around 4:30 and the last birds leaving around 20 minutes later - last night, they had been turning in until at least 22:00 - all of this observed and no doubt committed to memory by a patient Sparrowhawk that will soon have young to feed, if not already. Back to today and a Green Sandpiper west over Hengistbury - a traditional indication of the start of the autumn passage. Also from the head, all west, 2 Little Tern, 4 Common Scoter, a Shoveler and 7 Curlew. A further sign of movement came from a Siskin over Fisherman’s Bank, while a still pristinely-plumaged, adult Mediterranean Gull was in Stanpit Creek and an equally spectacular Bar-tailed Godwit was in Stanpit Bight.
Additional news: all from Hengistbury in the evening, when: an adult Kittiwake and a Curlew headed west; a Gadwall and 2 Mediterranean Gull came from that direction; 12 Gannet fished; 2 Little Grebe were on the Ironstone Quarry; and 2 Nightjar were churring at 22:40.
Over the last couple of days, we've been sent a number of photos, and please excuse my ignorance, of creatures that I'm informed are quite rare; either nationally or locally.
Sand Dart Moth - nationally rare – Hugh Goldsmith
Chrysis viridula - one of the ruby-tailed wasps – Chris Dresh
Emerald Damselfly - not often seen in the area, but possibly over-looked – Chris Chapleo
- only previously formally recorded at Hengistbury in 1974
– Hugh Goldsmith
The most impressive avian record of the day was an estimated 2-3000 Starling erupting from a reedbed roost just north of the HHC at 5:00 this morning. That said, 4 Spoonbill east over Wick a couple of hours later come a very close second; while a Hobby headed in the same direction over there and a Dartford Warbler was again in the suspected breeding spot. Otherwise, it's just 3 Mediterranean Gull, around 6 Common Tern, a Peregrine, 15 Curlew and 12 Redshank to remark upon.
Additional news: a pair of Nightjar were active at dusk on
One of yesterday’s Brent Goose remained at Stanpit, where a Common Sandpiper was present and 4 Black-tailed Godwit were seen to head west. Also about the marsh, the year’s first juvenile Black-headed Gull, presumably from one of the nearby colonies, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 12 Curlew and 35 Little Egret. To reflect the lack of overall interest, a rare count of Great Black-backed was made and came to 65 birds.
The day after mid-summer and the highlight came from a genuine winter species, i.e. 2 Brent Goose on Blackberry Point this morning. These birds should be a few thousand miles north-east of here by now, on their Siberian breeding grounds. Meanwhile, after a few blank days, the Beach Huts filed a return - the best being 5 Little Tern east; but also 4 Common Tern and 2 Curlew west, plus 5 Gannet fishing aimlessly. Elsewhere, there were 2-3 Common Tern just off the Run.
Collared Dove – Clinton Whale
The day's only news concerns a first-summer Mediterranean Gull over Mudeford Quay, but please check back to yesterday for some later additions.
Greenfinch – Alan Crockard
Goldfinch – Clinton Whale
A few of the regulars visited the Wiltshire chalkland today, while one went as far as Bardsey Island! As a consequence, the only reports concern a Cuckoo and a Kingfisher around Wick Hams; the latter being a pretty decent record for the month of June.
Additional news: a Little Grebe has been on the Ironstone Quarry for at least the last two days, while the Wigeon remains at Stanpit. Also logged at Stanpit during the day: 5 Bearded Tit, an adult and four juveniles; an in-harbour count of 48 Little Egret; a recently fledged Stonechat on Crouch Hill; 7 Curlew and 13 Shelduck.
Wren – Alan Crockard
Although it looks as it this meadow is a whisker outside of the recording area, congratulations are due to Bournemouth Borough Council for the planting – Clinton Whale
A definite westerly passage of Mediterranean Gull through the harbour this morning - at least 25 birds - was accompanied by a Roseate Tern and a Common Gull. On Stanpit, a Turtle Dove in the North Scrubs was a highlight, while 7 Curlew were dotted about the area. A siege of 8 Grey Heron that left the Nursery contained at least four birds of the year.
The morning at Fisherman's Bank produced a female-type Wigeon and 2 Tufted Duck, as well as a Whimbrel and 4 Curlew. Meanwhile, a Common Tern and four adult Mediterranean Gull were also seen. On Hengistbury, successful breeding of Great Spotted Woodpecker was confirmed.
Little Egret – Mark Murfin
Velvet Ant – Chris Dresh
All the day's news comes from the Bank, Fisherman's that is, where a Wigeon, 3 Common Tern, 12 Shelduck, 30+ Lapwing and 3 Curlew were the best on offer.
Peacock butterfly caterpillars – Clinton Whale
Another quiet day, which came up with the Cuckoo again on Wick, along with a juvenile Dartford Warbler close to where an adult was seen in the early part of the season - although that may be entirely coincidental. Meanwhile, the Mute Swan herd is building in numbers for the mid-summer moult - 260 reckoned from Hengistbury this morning.
A fairly low-key day saw: 4 adult Mediterranean Gull pass over Fisherman’s Bank; a Great Crested Grebe in Barn Bight; a Cuckoo on Wick; a juvenile Lesser Whitethroat also on Wick, so confirming breeding there; a Bearded Tit and the tame Tufted Duck. Meanwhile, ‘threes’ of Common Tern were logged feeding off Mudeford Quay and moving west over the Barn Field.
Juvenile male Bearded Tit – Alan Crockard
...and a rather worn looking Long-tailed
Tit with one of its much cuter-looking offspring
– Alan Crockard
The only report for today is of a Cuckoo again singing on Wick. Last night's Outdoor Meeting at Burton Common hosted 18 members, who enjoyed perched Nightjar, roding Woodcock and singing Firecrest. Thanks to Malcolm Barrett for organising the event.
After a night of steady south-westerly wind, the sea was watched from 6:30 to 10:30 - the pick being a couple of sub-adult Pomarine Skua, seen just before 10:00 from Mudeford Quay, coming into Christchurch Bay from the west before heading south again towards the Needles. Earlier, an adult, dark-phase Arctic Skua passed close westbound and was logged from both the quay and the Beach Huts. Also from the quay, 2 Little Tern fishing, 2 Curlew west, 12 Common Scoter east, a Fulmar, 3 Swift inbound and up to 30 Gannet. Meanwhile, a distant, fishing tern was strongly suspected to be a roseate, but remained frustratingly just too far out to be clinched. Before an exodus to the New Forest for a decent-looking wheatear, a brief visit to Stanpit came up with a single Dunlin and a Cuckoo.
Newly-fledged Reed Bunting
were conspicuous around Stanpit this morning.
This adult female looks as if she has had a particularly rough
time raising her brood
– Alan Crockard
This juvenile Dartford
Warbler was one of four adjacent to a path on Hengsitbury
– Clinton Whale
There was a real suggestion of newly-arrived birds this morning - 5 House Martin came in-off the sea and 2 Reed Warbler were in song, well away from reeds, on the Batters. A Cuckoo on top of the head was a further suspect, while that or another was seen at Stanpit; also a Hobby over the area and 2 Common Sandpiper on Fisherman’s Bank. Of additional intrigue, but presumably birds on their way back, was a high count of 50 Lapwing as well as 28 Coot, the latter apparently the largest June number for almost 10 years. Meanwhile, a single Shoveler, 4 Tufted Duck and 8 Gadwall over Stanpit, totals of 22 Common Tern and 10 Mediterranean Gull, and 12 Common Scoter from Mudeford Quay, are open to debate in terms of their intent. The 2 Bar-tailed Godwit remained at Stanpit, where the Redshank increased to eight, and a Green Woodpecker was seen in the strange location of Fisherman’s Bank. To finish off, 2 Raven, 3 Egyptian Goose and 12 Canada Goose were logged.
By local standards, the bird of the day was a Nuthatch in Ashtree Meadows; although, by rights, the award should really go to a Roseate Tern that flew east through the harbour in the company of a few Sandwich Tern. The best of the waders was a Little Ringed Plover around Priory Marsh, but there were also 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Redshank and 3 Lapwing viewable from Fisherman’s Bank. The last week or so has seen the Shelduck numbers plummet, today just 9 birds on-site; conversely, however, Mallard have soared, the maximum estimate being around 150. Meanwhile, a party of 3 Tufted Duck, two of them drakes, passed over.
Another quiet day was livened up around mid-morning, when a Red Kite drifted south over the harbour. That apart, there was just a single Whimbrel and, in the Wood at Hengistbury, a family party of Coal Tit made up of an adult and three or four young birds.
A late morning visit to Stanpit found a lone Black-tailed Godwit plus 18 Lapwing, 4 Gadwall, and a first-summer Common Gull, also 14 Shelduck from Fisherman's Bank. There were also 46 Little Egret around the marsh, a noteworthy count for June. The only report from the opposite side of the harbour was of 3 Mediterranean Gull west over Wick.
A group of 19 Lapwing in Parky Meade Rail this morning was slightly unexpected for the time of year; also a Curlew on the marsh that should be further north by now. Otherwise, the miscellany included a Cuckoo calling from Stanpit, 12 Swift over the North Scrubs, one of the regular Raven heading towards the quay, 16 Canada Geese upriver and 2 Mediterranean Gull, the latter also over Stanpit.
With most of the regulars taking advantage of the glorious weather and heading to the New Forest, there is nothing to report today. Tantalisingly, however, this morning a short-toed eagle was reported from just a couple of miles outside the area to the west of Bournemouth Airport.
Male Stonechat at Whitepits today - Clinton Whale
A Roseate Tern lingered off Mudeford Quay for a few minutes this morning, but wasn't seen thereafter. On Stanpit, a drake Shoveler was a bit of a surprise but the male Tufted Duck was more expected; also 2 Redshank present. A party of 3 Whimbrel arrived over the Barn Field and two more moved past the quay, while half a dozen Dunlin were on the sandspit. To round up, a couple of Mediterranean Gull passed over Hengistbury to the east and 45 Common Scoter moved off the quay, also east. Finally, there was further proof of the harbour breeding success of Bearded Tit, when a female and two juveniles were logged on Hengistbury today.
Up to five Bearded Tit, including two males, were around Stanpit this morning, also a Cuckoo on Speller's Point and a pair of Tufted Duck off there. Later, a couple of adult Mediterranean Gull were offshore from Hengistbury.
First-summer Little Gull,
alongside a Black-headed Gull
of the same age in the lower image – Alan Hayden
Manx Shearwater like to keep their distance from Hengistbury – Alan Hayden
Fulmar – Alan Hayden
Gannet – Alan Hayden
The weather certainly matched expectations - gusts of wind nudging the 70kmh mark throughout the day - as did the birds. The highlight was 2 Red-necked Phalarope seen to land on the sea at 10:45 just beyond the Run, where they spent a few minutes before lifting up and heading north over Mudeford Quay - next stop Blashford Lakes, around 15km up the Avon Valley from here. Arctic Tern were also a bonus: a flock of five, including a first-summer bird, moved north along the sandspit early on; while a group of three headed in the opposite direction during the afternoon. More anticipated were Storm Petrel, with birds being seen from the Beach Huts throughout the day and on occasions approaching as close as 30m, but never more than two at any one time. Great Skua chipped in with at least four birds - two were sat on the water in the morning and a couple of minutes after they were found what were almost certainly a further two passed west; additional individuals then headed into the wind later on. Meanwhile, a Great Northern Diver was settled, if that’s the right word given the chop, in Christchurch Bay, a total of 6 Manx Shearwater, all west, was returned and a first-summer Little Gull was seen coming through the Run, then on Holloway’s Dock and eventually off to the west. To complete the seabird numbers, all westbound, there were: 3 Kittiwake, 2 Little Tern, 25 Common Tern, 20 Fulmar, a Guillemot and 51 Gannet. To round up, the day-total for Sanderling came to 44, along with 3 Dunlin, 3 Swift were seen coming in-off and the drake Tufted Duck was in Barn Bight.
Well that’s it then, another spring over and what a poor affair it was - two or three moments excepted. Other than a brief, heavy shower around 9:00 the morning’s weather was fair, but by late afternoon the expected wind and rain was setting in for the night. Stanpit held a variety of waders, including: a Knot, they have been really sparse this season, 5 Sanderling, 2 Grey Plover, a Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Dunlin. This afternoon, from Mudeford Quay, the warm-up acts ahead of tomorrow’s eagerly-anticipated main event were: a pale-phase Arctic Skua seen coming up off the sea on a couple of occasions, 4 Manx Shearwater west and up to fifteen non-adult Gannet of varying ages heading out of Christchurch Bay.