Sightings for the current month.
The extremely, unpleasant northerly wind continued unabated and gathered strength throughout the day with gusts of up to 50km/h being experienced this evening. The best from of all of this were 2 Arctic Skua, both pale-phase birds, which harried the Sandwich Tern off Mudeford Quay for a few minutes this morning. Otherwise, however, we can must just a Cuckoo on Wick, a couple of Whimbrel over there and the two adult Great Crested Grebe that have been on the sea between the sandspit and Avon Beach for a few days now.
Tides May 25th: H00:40 | L04:55 | H09:30 | H13:25 | L17:20 | H22:05
A blasting northerly wind made it nothing short of uncomfortable to be in the field today. From the shelter of the car on Mudeford Quay, a Little Stint could be seen on rocks on the sandspit in the company of a dozen or so Turnstone, while a Roseate Tern, 2 Little Tern, 73 Common Tern and a Fulmar passed west. Hengistbury was quiet, producing just singles of Spotted Flycatcher and Whinchat, and Stanpit was perhaps even harder work with just one Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Dunlin on show there. If you checked the site early last night, you may not have seen the link to a recent sound recording of a Natterjack on Hengistbury - it’s certainly worth a listen, if you haven’t done so already.
Additional news: an evening visit to Stanpit increased the Stanpit wader figure to: a Common Sandpiper, a Grey Plover, a Whimbrel, 15 Black-tailed Godwit and 12 Dunlin.
Tides May 24th: H00:10 | L04:15 | H08:50 | H12:40 | L16:35 | H21:25
This quail, photographed a couple of days ago on the Old Depot
presumably escaped from a local aviary, is reckoned to be a Northern Bobwhite Quail,
normally a resident in North America – Martin Miller-Williams
The only report from Hengistbury concerns a Spotted Flycatcher
at the eastern end of the Long Field, but a piece of news detailed
at the end of the post suggests there is perhaps still some
excitement to be had this spring. At Stanpit, there was again a
decent variety of waders, comprising: a Greenshank, 6 Sanderling,
2 Grey Plover, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 15
Whimbrel, 3 Curlew, 11 Dunlin and 3 Redshank; while a couple of
Little Tern were also about the marsh, as well as 2 Tufted Duck,
the Wigeon and a settled, vocal Cuckoo.
A few hundred meters outside the recording area, a Woodchat Shrike has been in gardens on the southern side of The Broadway throughout the day.
Natterjack are currently very vocal around Hengistbury Head
during the hours of darkness. Recording
by Chris Chapleo.
A first-summer Little Gull was the highlight of the day when it was seen from Fisherman’s Bank at around 7:00 this morning, while 3 Little Tern and 4 Common Tern were in the harbour at various times afterwards. Over on Wick, a settled Tree Pipit in the Bobolink Field was a nice surprise for the date and the Cuckoo was once again heard in song close to the river. At Stanpit, the wader miscellany was made up of: a Greenshank, 2 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, at least 20 Whimbrel, that being the flock size that left north-east in the early evening, 2 Sanderling, 3 Turnstone, 3 Ringed Plover, 40 Dunlin and a single Lapwing. Elsewhere, a couple of Great Crested Grebe were off Mudeford Quay for their second day, after being omitted in error from last night’s post, and a pair of Gadwall were on the river.
Just as we were electing to believe that most of the wader interest had passed through, the second Curlew Sandpiper of the spring dropped in at Stanpit today, which also hosted 6 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Greenshank, 4 Whimbrel, 8 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover and 30 Turnstone; while a further 44 of the latter were on the Long Groyne, along with 2 Sanderling. Also turned in from Stanpit were a Yellow Wagtail, a Cuckoo and 4 Little Tern, with Hengistbury contributing a Wheatear and 2 Mediterranean Gull.
Omission: a Hobby passed north over Wick.
Lapwing on Stanpit – Clinton Whale
It was a still, cloudy morning that was somewhat dominated by the biting insects, but there was nevertheless enough coverage to work out there wasn’t a lot about. The best was probably a drake Pochard that was seen from Fisherman’s Bank, which also produced a Greenshank, a Sanderling, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Whimbrel, a Grey Plover, 2 Curlew and 3 Dunlin. Elsewhere on the marsh, 15 Turnstone were seen to move through, while a Lapwing and the Wigeon were settled. An excursion into the reeds on the western side of the river suggested there were plenty of Reed Warbler on-site, but some of those have only just arrived; however, the Sedge Warbler presence is still significantly below average. At Stanpit, the broods of Mute Swan and Shelduck - both remaining at seven and twelve respectively - are faithful to the northern end of Stanpit Creek.
What would seem to be the tail-end of the spring wader passage
turned up a nice mixture of birds today - not least a Little Stint
at Stanpit for a short time this morning, before it left in the
company of 3 Ringed Plover. Also around Stanpit Bight throughout
the day: a Greenshank, 2 Grey Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Sanderling, a
further 6 Ringed Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 25 Dunlin. A
Turtle Dover and couple of Spotted Flycatcher headed north-west
from Hengistbury, where singles of Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler
and Wheatear were logged, while around 100 Swift and Hobby paused
to feed over the Wick Fields. A quiet sea did turn up a
Black-throated Diver to the west, at least 2 Common Tern were
about the area, a pair of Mediterranean Gull passed through and
the drake Wigeon was on East Marsh.
Female Stonechat busy gathering food – Clinton Whale
In a very light southerly breeze and good light, the sea was little busier this morning than of late. All three divers - Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver and Red-throated Diver - were represented as singletons moving east, while a couple of Arctic Tern left the harbour through The Run, 100+ Common Tern headed west, 6 Little Tern lingered and 67 Common Scoter went into The Solent. On Hengistbury, in addition to a seeming influx of Blackcap and Reed Warbler, perhaps ten or so more of each above those already established, there were 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Wheatear and 2 Spotted Flycatcher - one in the Wood and one over. Also airborne were 85 Swift, 70 House Martin and in excess of 200 Swallow, all seen to arrive. Travelling waders past the head included 29 Sanderling, 7 Grey Plover and 36 Dunlin; with 10 Bar-tailed Godwit northbound over Wick Fields and 14 Sanderling, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Curlew, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 30 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Ringed Plover settled at Stanpit. Some late spring wildfowl interest came from 6 Shoveler that rested in the harbour for much of the day, plus 4 Gadwall, the familiar Tufted Duck and 65 Mallard.
Skylark – Clinton Whale
The sea wasn’t really looked at today, but the year’s first
Pomarine Skua was recorded when a bird came through the harbour.
After passing over Crouch Hill, it started to pick a fight with
some Herring Gull over the sandspit before moving on through. Also
seen at Stanpit, a first-summer Little Gull, 40+ Common Tern
travelling west and 4 Mediterranean Gull; as well as 75 Swift, 55
House Martin and 220 Swallow counted over a 30-minute period. The
most obvious passerine migrant for the day was Spotted Flycatcher
- as five were on Wick prior to 7:00 and the same number was
recorded on the opposite side of the river, around Stanpit golf
course. Meanwhile, out of a single figure ringing tally, a Willow
Warbler was the best and a Cuckoo sang on Wick. The waders at
Stanpit were headed by a decent total of 48 Sanderling,
along with a Grey Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 18 Black-tailed Godwit, 12
Ringed Plover, 80 Dunlin and 2 Curlew, plus masses of biting
After a wild night of rain and south-westerly wind, if not gale, the sea was tested from the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay. Singles of Black Tern and Arctic Tern were seen heading west from the former and latter sites respectively, as well as 28 Little Tern, plus 15 lingerers, and 68 Common Tern. The pick of the day, however, was a Storm Petrel seen from the huts but almost missed as it mingled in with a passage of low-flying Swift that numbered 320 over the course of the morning. In addition, a Hobby, 38 House Martin and 110 Swallow came in, while 118 Common Scoter moved east at sea along with a couple of Guillemot and 67 Gannet in the opposite direction. Out-of-the-blue, the Barn Field hosted 29 Wheatear and a Whinchat for a brief period mid-morning, with a total of 530 Dunlin, including a flock of 300 birds, seen heading north over that area; plus 9 Ringed Plover arriving and 7 Bar-tailed Godwit east. Inside the harbour, there were few settled waders - a lunchtime count producing just 9 Whimbrel and 2 Curlew, for example; but there were nine resting Little Tern, 2 Gadwall and a Peregrine over, with the day’s remaining interest involving a first-summer Mediterranean Gull about The Run.
With the promise of some lively weather both Mudeford Quay and the Beach Huts received coverage this morning. It was all a little bit tame however with the best being a first summer Little Gull initially seen off the quay and then off South Marsh later. There was also an Arctic Tern plus 45 Little Tern, 20 Common Tern, 4 Guillemot and 1 Fulmar while up to 80 Common Scoter were logged; a further 3 Little Tern were inside the harbour. Passerine migration amounted to just 15 Swift and 12 Swallow in off the sea, also a Spotted Flycatcher in the wood at Hengistbury. Stanpit held a few more waders this morning with 231 Dunlin, 33 Sanderling, 21 Whimbrel and 6 Ringed Plover but only 2 Curlew remained. A drake Teal was on Grimmery and 3 Tufted Duck flew up river but just one pair of Gadwall was reported today.
After yesterday’s poor wader showing, it was much better today. ‘The’ Spotted Redshank departed a couple of weeks ago, so one in Parky Meade Rail this morning was definitely a passing bird; also a Greenshank there, along with a Common Sandpiper, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 14 Whimbrel around the marsh. Knot have been very hard to come by this spring, but one was seen on Hengistbury today, with peak numbers of other migrant waders around the area coming to: 9 Curlew, a notable figure for the date, 94 Sanderling, including a flock of 43 birds, 78 Turnstone, 2 Grey Plover and 63 Dunlin. At the end of the head, a Garden Warbler and 2 Sedge Warbler were in song, while a Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 63 Swift, around 75 Swallow and 4 House Martin passed over, and 7 Wheatear were logged. At sea, Little Tern were slightly outnumbered by Common Tern - 17 and 25 respectively - but a further six of the former were inside the harbour, where a couple of pairs of Gadwall were present.
Sparrowhawk on Wick – Jimmy Main
Goldfinch – Alan Hayden
We are aware there has been an underlying negative theme to the website for the last couple of weeks, but it does feel as if the spring is petering out without really getting started - although hatches of 12 Shelduck and 7 Mute Swan on Stanpit yesterday were indications that it’s perhaps not all that bad. There is a school of thought that says an overnight low tide pulls in passing waders, but that didn’t hold true this morning, even on a spring cycle. The best at Stanpit were 12 Whimbrel, 3 Sanderling, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 westward Black-tailed Godwit, 9(!) Dunlin, 2 Lapwing and a Curlew; while 20 Turnstone, all in breeding-plumage, alighted briefly on the sandspit. A modicum of interest was in the Wood on Hengistbury, as 3 Garden Warbler fed around one tree, but apart from 3 Wheatear and a couple of arriving Hobby that was pretty much it. Again, Little Tern, eleven of them, enlivened a quiet sea that otherwise held little more than a few Gannet, a first-summer Mediterranean Gull and 2 Gadwall were inside the harbour and a remarkable flock of 13 Jay were seen over the North Scrubs.
Spotted Flycatcher – Leo Pyke
...and the Teal that has been lingering in the Nursery – Hugh Goldsmith
A low key morning was slightly enlivened by up to 3 Spotted Flycatcher along the northern edge of the Wood on Hengistbury, as well as an incoming of Swift, Swallow and to a lesser degree House Martin, plus around 5 Wheatear settled on the head. Once more, the sea was fairly uneventful and for the second day in succession Little Tern seemed to be the most numerous of that family - fifteen being today’s figure from the Beach Huts, along with 3 Common Tern. There were, however, a lot of Common Scoter about - an estimate of over 100 birds, including flocks of fifty and thirty, almost certainly on the low side - but the only other interest from the huts involved a Fulmar, 10 Sanderling, 3 Whimbrel and 2 Shelduck past.
There are two pairs of Swallow
breeding around the Wick Fields
– Jimmy Main (top) & Alan Hayden
...as well as some Pheasant – Clinton Whale
It was more of the same today, i.e. hopeful gazing across, at times, a birdless sea from both Mudeford Quay and the Beach Huts. The quay probably scored best with 30+ Little Tern, including a flock of 14, all west, while Hengistbury came up with 28 Gannet, 3 Common Tern, 14 Common Scoter, 32 Swift and 56 Swallow. All of this was during the first few hours of daylight, when there was a coming-and-going of Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Godwit, Turnstone, Sanderling and Dunlin in-and-out of the harbour. Later in the day, Stanpit was checked out and the peak numbers of settled birds came to: 42 Whimbrel, 8 Turnstone all in stunning plumage, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover, 33 Dunlin, a Curlew and a Lapwing. Also present, the lone Wigeon and 2 Gadwall.
Whimbrel – Alan Hayden
Collared Dove - actually
not a straightforward bird
to catch up with in the area – Jimmy Main
In a continuation of the southerly wind, which gathered strength as the day progressed, there was a little more to be seen at sea but still less than might be expected. The morning’s highlights were a couple of Manx Shearwater seen from the Beach Huts and an eastbound Arctic Skua close past there, which was also picked up from Mudeford Quay, as well as an Arctic Tern heading into the harbour and 2 Great Northern Diver past. During the afternoon a Black Tern headed east off the quay and Great Skua were seen on two occasions - one east and one west, but almost certainly different birds. Backing all this up were: a Hobby and at least 40 Swift in-off, 23 Common Tern west, 4 Little Tern, 16 Fulmar, 38 Gannet, a Common Gull and a Mediterranean Gull. To wrap up, a Wood Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher were with 11 Willow Warbler in the Wood, six or so Wheatear were on site and a Sanderling, a Turnstone and several Whimbrel were at Stanpit. Please check back to the 7th for some additional news.
Sandwich Tern – Alan Hayden
A Hercules making a very low pass over Stanpit – Alan Hayden
After some heavy, overnight rain and during a southerly wind that whipped up overnight, it was all eyes to the sea this morning. However, it was something of a disappointment for date/conditions combination, with singles of Great Skua, Black-throated Diver and Great Northern Diver being the best of combined watches from Mudeford Quay and the Beach Huts. To complement those, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Common Gull, 38 Common Scoter, 63 Guillemot, 5 Razorbill, 7 Fulmar, 78 Gannet, 6 Shelduck, 4 Mute Swan and 21 Whimbrel moved by, mainly east, while 2 Little Tern, 14 Common Tern and 15 Sandwich Tern lingered. In addition to the travelling Whimbrel, 19 birds were inside the harbour, along with a Sanderling, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 116 Dunlin. Despite the weather, there were some snippets of passerine interest, not least a Bullfinch at the end of the head, but also a Tree Pipit over Holloway’s Dock plus a Whinchat and a Wheatear on the tip of the sandspit, where a pair of Oystercatcher are looking very interested in each other. Meanwhile, in the Nursery, a drake Teal is settled on the pools.
Reed Warbler – Alan Hayden
Green Woodpecker – Clinton Whale
Whinchat – Alan Hayden
Yesterday’s comment about the end of the expected summer migrant list had neglected to consider Curlew Sandpiper, of which there was an individual in partial breeding-plumage at Stanpit from lunchtime onwards. Over the course of the day, the maximum numbers for the other wader species came to: 2 Greenshank, 20+ Whimbrel, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Black-tailed Godwit, those north without stopping, 5 Ringed Plover and 120 or so Dunlin. Mediterranean Gull were well represented with 30 birds moving over, including a flock of ten, while another significant local event was a flock of 20 Jackdaw feeding East Marsh this evening. The morning saw a scattering of common migrants, but only 2 Whinchat and 12 Wheatear could be confirmed as new birds, and a Cuckoo again sang on Wick.
Additional news: a Spoonbill was at Stanpit for a short time in
Grey Heron – Clinton Whale
A heavy mist enveloped the area for most of the morning, so making gazing out to sea an impossibility. However, a Spotted Flycatcher on the Batters closed the book on the expected summer migrants for the year, with other new arrivees including: a Grasshopper Warbler on Wick, a Garden Warbler in the Wood and around 10 Wheatear. Meanwhile, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Cuckoo continue to sing in the centre of Wick Fields. For the waders, in addition to a Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight, there were 2 Grey Plover, 2 Greenshank, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Sanderling, 15 Ringed Plover and around 210 Dunlin at Stanpit. Also, a Little Tern there, plus a high count of 54 Shelduck.
A sunny, warm day was never going to produce any mass arrival of migrants, but in the event there was plenty to see, mostly birds passing over or at sea. Wheatear dominated the passerine arrivals, with a minimum of 50 birds scattered over the head, and a steady trickle of Swallows throughout the morning were accompanied by a few House Martin and Swift, as well as single Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit. A couple of hours’ seawatching from the base of the Head revealed a reasonable passage of terns, with 77 Common Tern, 6 Little Tern and a single Roseate Tern heading east. Other birds at sea included 23 Common Scoter, 4 Red-throated Diver and a Great Northern Diver, a couple of Fulmar and a flock of 40 Bar-tailed Godwit, all east; and 21 Whimbrel included birds passing through the harbour, some lingering, as well as coastal passage. An unseasonable Brent Goose of the regular, dark-bellied form arrived from the west, a young male Peregrine appeared to arrive but may have been hunting migrants over the sea, and 8 Sanderling were on the beach, with 6 Mediterranean Gulls noted and 7 Greylag Goose travelling downriver. Of non-avian interest, a pod of 8 Bottle-nosed Dolphin worked their way slowly west, accompanied by a small group of gulls, useful in pin-pointing the cetaceans’ position.
Natterjack – Hugh Goldsmith
Please note, Natterjack can only be photographed, as this one
under license from Natural England.
Whitethroat in the throes of nest building – Alan Hayden
Late yesterday, the conditions changed when a south-westerly breeze whipped up, which was still present throughout most of today. As a result, the sea was given some attention from around 6:30 to 10:30 and produced four separate Hobby, the first at 6:45, in-off and north. In addition, a couple of Swift and a trickle of Swallow also made land. In terms of seabirds, it was mainly about re-orientating channel residents, rather than true passage birds such as skuas and terns. The following may seem rather mundane, but in the context of recent weeks the totals are noteworthy. In all, a Black-throated Diver, a Red-throated Diver, an unidentified diver, 50+ Gannet, 12 Fulmar, 2 Razorbill, 30+ Guillemot and 41 Common Scoter were logged, mostly from the Gully. Other than a good return of 14 Little Tern, mainly heading west, the only notable event for the genus was 2 Common Tern heading slowly in the same direction. Some passerine interest came courtesy of: a Whinchat in the Bobolink Field, up to 10 Wheatear across Hengistbury and Wick, a Yellow Wagtail and a Redpoll over, 2 Cuckoo vocal on Wick, a Raven over there and a Mistle Thrush in the Horse Paddock. Although there are no reports from Stanpit, singles of Greenshank and Grey Plover were heard heading in over the HHC.
Swallow – Alan Hayden
Willow Warbler – Alan Hayden
Although there was little change in the weather - another morning of light wind and cloudless sky - there was perhaps more about than might have been imagined. In addition to around 40 Willow Warbler on the western parts of Hengistbury, there were also newly arrived singles of Cuckoo, Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat, a Whinchat and 2 Wheatear, and at least 6 Yellow Wagtail passed overhead. Throughout the morning there was a hint of wader movement, with 19 Whimbrel, 2 Turnstone and 10 Black-tailed Godwit seen to arrive; while a Common Gull travelling with the 20 or so Mediterranean Gull that were logged was a little out-of-the-ordinary for the date.
Omission: a couple of Common Sandpiper were on Stanpit, as was an additional Wheatear.
Stanpit during the morning provides the only news for the day, with a Grey Plover, 5 Whimbrel and 89 Dunlin being the wader totals. Also, 2 Yellow Wagtail about the marsh, along with 3 Mediterranean Gull, 35 Sandwich Tern and a Greylag Goose.
Late news, mainly from Stanpit in the evening: where a Greenshank, a Spotted Redshank, a Grey Plover, 8 Whimbrel, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and around 120 Dunlin were present. Also about the area throughout the days, singles of Wigeon and Teal, plus a pair of Gadwall.
Jay – Jimmy Main
Even the staunchest of regulars are finding it difficult to keep going at the moment, with birds still few-and-far-between. Although there is some time to go, common migrant breeders on in the Wood, such as Chiffchaff and Blackcap, are present in far less than average numbers. Elsewhere on Hengistbury, the only arriving passerines were a Siskin, 4 Yellow Wagtail and a lone Wheatear, while the drake Wigeon was again in Barn Bight and a Teal was in the uncharacteristic location of the Ironstone Quarry. At Stanpit, the 2 Spotted Redshank remain, and assuming that one is the regular bird it has pushed back its recognised departure by a week; also 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 14 Whimbrel, 3 Curlew and 98 Dunlin. The previous fortnight last year had seen something of a skua fest on the sea, but that seems like a distant memory now - just an adult Little Gull to brighten a one-hour watch, as well as 4 Common Tern, 12 Common Scoter and 9 Gannet.
Bird Boat Trips to The Needles
Combine the exhilaration of a fast RIB trip and the chance to
encounter locally difficult to see species such as Guillemot,
Fulmar and Shag on otherwise inaccessible 100m cliffs. First boat
runs on May 12th.
Full Details »