Sightings for the current month
Grey Heron – Alan Hayden
We haven’t mentioned the weather for few days, but for the records I guess it should be stated that the warm and settled conditions continue. Terns are starting to become more conspicuous, with 41 Common Tern resting on South Marsh this morning and 55 Sandwich Tern on East Marsh this afternoon, along with 3 Mediterranean Gull. The main focus of the day was waders, which were headed by a Green Sandpiper on Wick Meadows and a Little Ringed Plover on Grimmery Bank, but both soon took flight. Otherwise, Stanpit held: 2 Sanderling, 8 Common Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank, the splendid Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Snipe and 121 Dunlin - the latter figure exactly the same as yesterday, so suggesting little or no movement in the last 24-hours. On the other side of the harbour, passerines were logged at 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 45 Willow Warbler and 15 Sedge Warbler, while a Wheatear and a juvenile Stonechat were on Crouch Hill, Stanpit. To finish up on the birds seen from inside the recording area, a couple of Bearded Tit were about, as well as 2 Kingfisher, a Gadwall, 6 Water Rail and 25 Moorhen. Just outside the zone, although almost certainly visible from within, a Red Kite attempted to head out to sea but was hassled by gulls and decided to coast westward instead. Of butterfly interest, a Clouded Yellow moved over East Marsh.
If you would like some dates for your diary, the winter Indoor Meeting programme is now taking shape.
Tides July 30th: H02:50 | L06:45 | H12:10 | H15:20 | L19:15
It’s difficult to know where to start today, but why not passerines? After yesterday, when over 100 birds were ringed, it was a surprise to get a second good day in succession; but the western end of Hengistbury and Wick produced: 115 Willow Warbler, a Wood Warbler, a Whinchat, 2 Redstart, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Yellow Wagtail and 9 Wheatear. The remaining sections of the head were, however, by-and-large deserted. Next to waders and a fine species tally of sixteen from across all areas, which included: a Wood Sandpiper up from Central Marsh and north, a Green Sandpiper, 2 Grey Plover and a Knot that seemed to arrive over the HHC, 5 Greenshank, 10 Common Sandpiper, 17 Sanderling on the sandspit, 7 Turnstone, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, four or so Ringed Plover and 131 Dunlin. In addition to an adult Roseate Tern that lingered off the Beach Huts, 98 Common Tern moved west, as did 42 Mediterranean Gull, around half of them juvenile birds, and 230 Sandwich Tern were estimated to be using the site. Meanwhile, 160 Swift moved over to the west and a further sixteen and five of Common Tern and Mediterranean Gull respectively were inside the harbour along with a juvenile Common Gull. The Parky Meade Rail area came up with a count of 12 Bearded Tit and a Tufted Duck in eclipse plumage, presumably the tame bird, was again seen.
Tides July 29th: H02:20 | L06:10 | H11:30 | H14:50 | L18:35 | H23:40
Bar-tailed Godwit in full breeding-plumage – Alan Crockard
Lapwing – Alan Hayden
An crake-watch that started at dawn, in order to catch the best of the tide, turned up 19 Water Rail in Parky Meade Rail, four of them chicks, and a good count of 25 Moorhen. Around Stanpit Bight, both the flood and ebb tides were watched and between them produced a wader tally of: a Little Ringed Plover, that actually on Crouch Hill after first being seen over the Barn Field, an Avocet, 6 Sanderling, 5 Greenshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, 16 Whimbrel, 2 Turnstone, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Ringed Plover and 101 Dunlin. The Little Gull was in the harbour during the morning, while an adult Common Gull was again in The Run, and around a dozen Mediterranean Gull came-and-went throughout the day. Meanwhile, 8 Common Tern passed through and Sandwich Tern numbers are starting to build. There were fewer Willow Warbler than yesterday, around twenty being estimated across the site, but the reedbeds were once more busy with migrant Sedge Warbler. That said, there is still occasional song from resident birds and even more from the incumbent Reed Warbler, at least five males heard giving it a go. Also in the reeds, a couple of juvenile Bearded Tit seen across the river from Grimmery Point. A Tufted Duck toured the area early on and, later in the day, an adult Peregrine made a pass over East Marsh that caused a fair degree of panic.
These Bearded Tit
siblings started as a quartet,
but the remaining three are going strong – Alan Crockard
Little Egret – Alan Hayden
The overnight northerly wind dropped a decent number of commoner passerines into the area; for example, 52 Willow Warbler and 70+ Sedge Warbler were estimated to move past the HHC in a couple of hours. Also: a couple of Whinchat moved through and a Wheatear was by the Natterjack Pond; while a much shorter distance traveller was a Treecreeper in the company of a tit flock in the riverside willows. At least 6 Green Sandpiper were logged - one in Stanpit Creek, one on Wick Meadows and the rest over the HHC - as well as 5 adult Knot, 10 Common Sandpiper, 5 Greenshank, 6 Whimbrel, 7 newly-arrived, adult Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Snipe, 2 Ringed Plover and 78 Dunlin; most of these at Stanpit. The best-of-the-rest was the Little Gull on South Marsh in the morning, but also: an adult Common Gull off Mudeford Quay early on; around 10 Mediterranean Gull throughout the day; 8 Common Tern through; 3 Raven, the quay bird and two others; 20 Common Scoter at sea; the photographed Bearded Tit; a Dartford Warbler on Crouch Hill; and singles of Pochard and Shoveler. A local butterfly highlight was a Marbled White by the Natterjack Pond.
Shoveler (above) and Teal at Stanpit – Alan Hayden
...and Painted Lady on the top of Hengistbury – Clinton Whale
There were a few Swift on the move this morning - a total of 310 birds counted westward over Hengistbury - as well as Common Tern and Mediterranean Gull coming through the harbour; the former logged at thirty-one and the latter at forty-three, but thirty of those were juveniles so adding weight to the on-going suspicions that it's been a bumper season somewhere to the east of us. Also passing over were a Tree Pipit and possibly a Hobby, although that may well have been on a hunting foray from elsewhere. With the tides still unfavourable for early morning wader counting, the best were a Little Ringed Plover over Hengistbury and a juvenile Ringed Plover, 5 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper and a few Dunlin from Fisherman's Bank. To complete the post, a flock of 17 Shoveler circuited and Bearded Tit could be heard in the HHC reedbed.
Greenshank – Alan Hayden
Reed Warbler – Alan Crockard
Sedge Warbler – Alan Crockard
In a north-easterly breeze, there a little bit of movement at sea into the airflow. This included 8 Eider, 24 Mediterranean Gull, twenty-two of them juvenile birds, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, 78 Common Scoter and at least 40 Gannet. Meanwhile, a total of 94 Cormorant travelled high and purposefully in the opposite direction. A Little Ringed Plover, a Sanderling, 2 Turnstone and 2 Common Sandpiper were logged from Hengistbury, with a further 2 ‘common-sands’ inside the harbour along with 4 Whimbrel and a Dunlin. Back to the head and a few migrant passerines, namely 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Wheatear and 6 Willow Warbler, while a decent few days of ringing have produced 41 Reed Warbler and 21 Sedge Warbler, as well as a juvenile Dartford Warbler - a species less than expected in a reedbed net! The remaining miscellany for the day comes courtesy of: the season’s first juvenile Common Tern, trailing one of its parents around the area, 14 Shoveler, 5 Teal and a Kingfisher. Yesterday, there was much commotion around a rather gruesome event in the Hengistbury Sand Martin colony, when an Adder leant over the edge of the cliff and plucked a youngster from the burrow, which was then swallowed over a 5-minute period.
Avocet at Stanpit last night – Alan Hayden
...likewise, these adult Black-tailed Godwit – Alan Hayden
The moment of another gloriously warm day came at 10:20 this morning, when a dark, adult female Honey Buzzard soared over Two Riversmeet. Other than that, it’s mainly about waders, with: a Little Ringed Plover, 2 Green Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Snipe and Ringed Plover being turned in from Stanpit. After yesterday’s Common Gull record, there was an even less frequently seen plumage example seen in the area today - a juvenile at Stanpit over lunch - as well as 3 Mediterranean Gull. Passerine interest was modest to say the least, just a single Yellow Wagtail amongst the marsh ponies.
There were fifteen species of wader recorded inside the harbour this morning - the following list in notional order of interest: a Wood Sandpiper over Fisherman’s Bank, a Little Ringed Plover over Crouch Hill, 2 Avocet around all day, a Knot likewise, 5 Common Sandpiper, 4 Greenshank, 9 Whimbrel, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Snipe, a Ringed Plover, 20 Dunlin and then uncounted Redshank, Curlew, Lapwing and Oystercatcher. In addition, a couple of Whimbrel passed by westward at sea. The best of the gulls, for the date that is, was a first-summer Common Gull, as well as a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, but just one Mediterranean Gull, an adult. The water meadows on Wick hosted singles of Grey Wagtail and Yellow Wagtail, while 3 Shoveler were at Stanpit.
The first Mullet-hawk, i.e. Osprey, of the year was recorded today, when a bird passed high to the south-west over the north of the area. There were also further signs of returning passerines - 3 Whinchat, an adult and two juveniles, were on Priory Marsh, 3 Willow Warbler and a Garden Warbler were in Smithy’s Field, and ignoring those birds still singing around 35 Sedge Warbler fed up in the reeds. In addition, around a hundred each of Swift, Swallow and House Martin travelled west, ditto an unkindness of 7 Raven, while the Mudeford Quay resident was rifling through last night’s trash early on. After a few days of not being seen, the Glossy Ibis was in Stanpit Bight for some time this morning, when a Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Snipe and 4 Shoveler were also logged. The remaining news involves at least 9 Bearded Tit at Stanpit.
Great Green Bush-cricket - very popular with the local Kestrels – Chris Dresh
Another scorching day saw the first returning Wheatear of the ‘autumn’, a female-type bird that spent most of the day on Crouch Hill; also an adult Yellow Wagtail around there in the morning, before heading over towards Wick Hams. Although the wader selection was down on yesterday, there was still a modicum of interest - not least from an adult Curlew Sandpiper with the Dunlin and a 2 Little Ringed Plover over Crouch Hill - but also: 17 Common Sandpiper, thirteen of those on the sandspit, 3 Greenshank, 6 Whimbrel and 63 Dunlin. A juvenile Sandwich Tern in Stanpit Bight was the first of the year, while the Little Gull, 7 Mediterranean Gull, five of them juveniles, and 3 Common Tern were also inside the harbour. The end of the sandspit again hosted Raven, but it does now seem to be just a single bird.
Mudeford Quay at around 1:30 this morning – Chris Dresh
Firstly, a piece of news from yesterday on a bird that was understandably treated with some caution. Late in the morning, a warbler song full of mimicry was heard for around 15-minutes from the hedge that runs from Stanpit car park alongside the sea scouts building. Although suspicions were deep as to the species involved, it wasn’t until some recordings had been circulated that a Marsh Warbler was confirmed. The bird was listened for yesterday evening and from first light this morning, but it does seem to have gone. Back to today and an incredible wader-fest. This was initially headed by 10 Curlew Sandpiper, all adults and all still in full breeding-plumage, amongst the Dunlin on Stanpit; but these were then somewhat eclipsed by an early afternoon build-up of Greenshank to thirty-nine birds on Blackberry Point, from where they left on the flooding tide. Meanwhile, the ‘curlew-sands’ remained and there was a further, single Greenshank, so making a neat forty for the day. In addition, 4 Sanderling, 7 Whimbrel, 11 Common Sandpiper, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Turnstone, a Snipe, a Ringed Plover and 58 Dunlin were on-site. The best of the terns were 2 Little Tern at Stanpit, as well as 18 Common Tern logged, while the Little Gull and 3 Mediterranean Gull were present. To round up, East Marsh hosted 47 Little Egret and a Fulmar was noted at sea.
Mediterranean Gull – Alan Hayden
Common Sandpiper – Alan Hayden
As the humidity builds ahead of the thunder storms that are forecast for this coming weekend, it was altogether quieter around the area today. Singles of Kingfisher were seen in Parky Meade Rail and Stanpit Creek, while at least 8 Bearded Tit were spread across Stanpit and over 40 young-looking Sedge Warbler were in the Great Spires reeds. Waders were probably slightly down on yesterday - 8 Common Sandpiper, 5 Greenshank and a Snipe being the only ones of note - but there were 3 Tufted Duck and 2 Shoveler around. Mediterranean Gull were thin on the ground early on, but a late afternoon ant hatch saw 20+ taking advantage directly over Two Riversmeet. However, with the swarm and its accompanying gulls right around the periphery of the harbour there were surely far more out there.
Additional news: 19 Mediterranean Gull were pre-roosting in the
harbour this evening.
There were just 3 Mediterranean Gull logged today; but one, in second-summer plumage, was carrying a colour ring. A little subsequent searching on the web confirms the bird was ringed in 2012 as a chick in the nest in Lithuania - so, as suspected, some of the birds currently passing through the area are of East European origin. In terms of species interest, a flock of 4 Crossbill that overflew Stanpit this morning is the pick of the news; but also a Hobby, the first since the incoming birds of the spring, over the marsh. A decent list of waders is headed by a Little Ringed Plover and then: 2 Common Sandpiper, 5 Greenshank, 8 Whimbrel, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Dunlin and 2 Snipe. To wrap up, the Little Gull was seen first thing and a couple of Common Tern were around slightly later.
Curlew – Clinton Whale
The early morning routine saw the Glossy Ibis and Little Gull on the mud at Stanpit - the latter, despite its obvious size disadvantage, trying to pirate food from the Black-headed Gull. Otherwise, it's just a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, a Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, 6 Whimbrel and 4 Black-tailed Godwit to remark upon.
Sandwich Tern – Clinton Whale
Although the sunshine made it blisteringly hot, a brisk westerly wind tempered the actual heat. It’s not often that game birds lead the post, but Quail records are obviously an exception - one was flushed from Priory Marsh this morning and then circled that area before descending into the morass of vegetation on the golf course embankment. Also of interest was a Garganey that ended up with 5 Shoveler and 3 Teal on Priory Marsh, after first being seen around Stanpit Bight, where a Pochard was probably an even better record for the date. In addition, the customary post-dawn sightings of Glossy Ibis and Little Gull make the post, while an adult Cuckoo perched in trees on the Wick side of the river is perhaps a little late to still be in the country. Talking of leaving, and Swift will certainly be thinking about that - for example, around 130 birds heading west over a 60-minute period in the morning - as well as a Little Ringed Plover over the marsh, the Avon Valley gravel pits now seeing their birds moving away. The rest of the waders for the day included an estimated 18 Common Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank, 6 Whimbrel, 9 Black-tailed Godwit and 7 Dunlin. After a false dawn on Saturday, Mediterranean Gull have become almost absent - just one logged today.
Additional news: 3 Snipe were at Stanpit.
Peacock – Clinton Whale
...and a couple of dubious looking Canada
Goose, or is that genuine head moult?
Not surprisingly, details on eclipse or moult plumages of this
species is rather scant
– Clinton Whale
Additional news: a Peregrine and 2 Common Tern were at Stanpit.
The end of this month last year saw an unprecedented build-up of
Mediterranean Gull, over 300 individuals, so today’s peak count -
thirty-seven around Stanpit Bight on the afternoon low tide -
could be the start of a similar event. The birds were all adults,
save for singles of each of the other three distinguishable
plumages, with one carrying a green ring which we believe
precludes it from being of British origin. The morning produced 2
Little Ringed Plover - an adult and a juvenile - frequenting the
shingle on Grimmery Bank, while other wader counts throughout the
day came to: 5 Greenshank, 5 Common Sandpiper, 6 Whimbrel, 2 Grey
Plover and 2 Black-tailed Godwit, plus an increase of Lapwing to
around fifty. Early on, the Little Gull was present, the Glossy
Ibis left to the north after spending some time feeding off South
Marsh, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was on the HHC bar before
settling for a period on Crouch Hill and a small flurry of Swift
passed over the area. After being heard in Central Marsh, a party
of 5 Bearded Tit took to the air and circled at some height over
the river to eventually come down in Wick Hams. Meanwhile, Stanpit
was alive to the song of acrocephalus
warblers from nearly every suitable location for nearly all of the
morning. To complete the post, 4 Common Tern were inside the
harbour and singles of Peregrine were seen on two occasions.
Adult Great Black-backed Gull – Clinton Whale
...and recently fledged Black-headed Gull – Clinton Whale
With the tidal cycle now producing mud at first light, the Glossy Ibis is back on the agenda - being seen today at Stanpit just after 5:30. Meanwhile, wader interest continues to improve with the best from a couple of visits, morning and afternoon, being a Green Sandpiper, 5 Common Sandpiper, 4 Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, 38 Dunlin and 39 Redshank. A Cuckoo at Stanpit was a good record and there are now ten singing Sedge Warbler across the marsh; the latter, somewhat surprisingly, seeming to have picked up in numbers in the last week or so. Returning wildfowl again featured, with 2 Shoveler and 4 Teal, but 4 Shelduck were perhaps on the way to their traditional moulting grounds in Friesland. To round up: 4 Mediterranean Gull were logged; a Peregrine was plucking prey on Stanpit; around 40 Swift were making good use of an ant hatch; and at least 12 Water Rail were reckoned to be calling.
Omissions: at least one Bearded Tit was on the Wick side of the river and 2 Dartford Warbler, presumably dispersing juveniles, were on Speller's Point.
Although we haven't yet got to what is normally the warmest month of the year and the fine weather rolls on, there was the the first sign of winter this morning when 9 Wigeon, all in female-type plumage, were at Stanpit. The wader selection is likely to only get better from now-on-in and a Little Ringed Plover on tip of South Marsh was an indication of that; while also around Stanpit Bight were a Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpiper, a Ringed Plover and 22 Dunlin. In addition to the Little Gull and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, the larid interest was enhanced by a couple of Yellow-legged Gull on the sea off Double Dykes. To round up, Raven were again vocal in the Wood on Hengistbury, despite the heavy-duty, summer-season rubbish receptacles on Mudeford Quay now depriving them of an an easy breakfast.
With the settled, warm weather still very much dominating, all the day's bird news comes from inside the harbour and includes: the Little Gull, a Greenshank, a Whimbrel, a single Black-tailed Godwit and 8 Dunlin; as well as an adult Mediterranean Gull and 4 Teal. Incredibly, given how busy it is on the sandspit, the Grey Seal is still around for what is at least its fifth day.
In what is now considered almost a standard occurrence, the Glossy Ibis headed north over Stanpit towards the valley this morning, today at 8:30. Also, the first-summer Little Gull around Stanpit Bight, as well as 2 adult Mediterranean Gull and 5 Common Tern. Common Sandpiper were down on yesterday, five being the figure for this post, but there were 2 Greenshank and 5 Black-tailed Godwit seen from the Argyle Road slip; as well as 3 Teal and 3 Gadwall.
There was a clear influx of Common Sandpiper about the area, with a flock of 22 birds on the end of the sandspit, viewable from Mudeford Quay, the largest gathering; but there were a further nine inside the harbour and a singleton at the southern end of the spit. Meanwhile, other waders included 4 Turnstone by the Beach Huts and a Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, which only lingered briefly before continuing east, and 5 Dunlin at Stanpit. At the northern end of Stanpit, a Yellow Wagtail overflew Priory Marsh, a Treecreeper was in Purewell Meadows and a minimum of 6 Bearded Tit were present. Single Glossy Ibis were seen heading towards the valley on two occasions separated by 15-minutes, but it seems probable that just one bird was involved. To round up, the Little Gull was again present, as were 3 Mediterranean Gull and a Common Tern; while of mammal interest a Grey Seal was seen from the quay.
Small Skipper – Olly Frampton
On another reasonably settled day, a redhead Goosander was on the HHC slip early on and the first-summer Little Gull was around Stanpit Bight. Meanwhile, the state of tide at dawn, which means there is no exposed mud inside the harbour, is presumably the reason for a couple of blank ‘ibis-days’. From Fisherman’s Bank, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull could be seen on East Marsh, while waders from there included a Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Snipe and 5 Dunlin; with 2 Teal being the only other birds of note for the day.
Those seawatching from the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay had their alert levels raised at 7:30 this morning when news of an albatross, firstly past Portland and then from a boat south of Swanage, broke. Rather inevitably, however, a blank was drawn. Prior to all of this, a young Spoonbill was seen heading west from the quay, as were 3 Great Crested Grebe with a further bird on the water. Meanwhile, both sites logged a down-channel Whimbrel and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, the first of the season, was on the sandspit. The only other point of bird interest, other than a constant presence of Gannet and that now containing a few juveniles, was a light, westerly passage of Great Black-backed Gull.
Additional news: of mammal interest, a Grey Seal was just off the sandspit.
Fox cub – Clinton Whale
Today's news comes courtesy of the Glossy Ibis, the Little Gull and a single Black-tailed Godwit at Stanpit, plus thirty or so Gannet east off Mudeford Quay.
Herring Gull – Dave Cooke
Just after dawn, the Red-throated Diver was found floating in the water off Fisherman’s Bank, where it had sadly passed away overnight. The corpse was subsequently recovered and then rather respectfully laid to rest under the exposed, intertidal mud. The rest of the news also comes from the bank and involves a half-decent selection of waders; namely, 2 Common Sandpiper, a Greenshank, a Grey Plover that arrived and promptly left with two ‘smalls’, 2 Whimbrel and 4 Black-tailed Godwit. In addition, the Glossy Ibis and the first-summer Little Gull were logged, as well as a single Common Tern.
Stonechat – Olly Frampton
The Glossy Ibis and Red-throated Diver were at Stanpit this morning, as were at least 2 Mediterranean Gull and 31 Little Egret. At sea, a flock of 7 Shoveler moved east past Mudeford Quay.
Additional news: 6 Common Sandpiper were at Stanpit, 3 Gadwall and 2 Tufted Duck circuited the area, and 120 Sand Martin passed through to the west.
Red-throated Diver in Stanpit Creek, Fisherman's Bank – Alan Hayden
The Red-throated Diver was again off Fisherman’s Bank this morning, when it was at times ridiculously close to the shore. The bird’s behaviour and a hint of staining on the breast suggest it is perhaps not in the best of health. That said, it has been fishing actively in the deeper waters of the harbour, so will hopefully make a recovery. The Glossy Ibis, which was seen going to roost at around 8:00 last night, stayed in the area until just after 8:30 this morning, when 2 Greenshank, a Black-tailed Godwit and a Common Tern were also at Stanpit. Great Spotted Woodpecker have raised two young in the North Scrubs and with birds still being seen on Hengistbury it's likely that breeding has taken place there as well. Meanwhile, there is still a reasonable gathering of Collared Dove at the north end of Wick Fields - eight being logged today.
Ringing demonstrations, guided walks and more...Further details will be announced closer to the date.
The Birds of Christchurch Harbour 2013Another excellent production containing:
- Over 110 pages
- 8 plates of colour photos
- Review of the birding year
- 215 species systematic list
- Breeding bird surveys
- Butterfly report
- Mammal, reptile and amphibian summary