Sightings for the current month
Brent Goose on the Long Groyne – Clinton Whale
...and a slightly different view of a Sanderling – Colin Raymond
It was a rather overcast and cold morning, the temperature courtesy of an easterly windchill. A Brent Goose that was initially seen sitting on the sea off the Beach Huts was later photographed on the Long Groyne. This is presumably an unfortunate, sickly individual as by now it should be a significant part of the way to Siberia. Other passing birds included: a Hobby over Wick, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, one in the Wood and one off the head, and 3 Swift. Meanwhile, the Cuckoo was again conspicuous on Wick, from where it made a few excursions to Stanpit.
Tides May 26th: H00:45 | H04:10 | L07:50 | H12:45 | H16:25 | L20:25
Tawny Owl – Colin Raymond
A Cuckoo was heard singing on Wick again today, so it does seem there may be a breeding attempt going on. Meanwhile, a Spotted Flycatcher was also on the fields and five late Mediterranean Gull, all adults, headed east. Elsewhere, there were 10 Sanderling on the sandspit, 6 Whimbrel at Stanpit plus a further bird on the Salt Hurns, 8 Shelduck inside the harbour and an adult Tawny Owl.
Additional news: almost three hours of looking at the sea from Hengistbury produced 10 Common Scoter and a dozen Gannet, plus a single Swift and 8 Swallow; while at Stanpit the Dunlin peaked at four.
Tides May 25th: H00:05 | H03:20 | L07:10 | H12:25 | H16:10 | L19:35
Linnet – Clinton Whale
Poplar Hawk-moth – Chris Dresh
As we approach June, the birding doldrums are already setting in. Other than 45 Sanderling on the sandspit and a couple of Dunlin at Stanpit, there were no travelling birds to report upon. That said, a Cuckoo on Wick may well contradict the previous statement, as it’s not thought birds are attempting to breed in the area; although a recent influx of Reed Warbler may alter things. An adult and juvenile Tawny Owl were again seen, while 10 Shelduck were inside the harbour.
Birds at these latitudes, such as this very young Stonechat,
are already fledging – Clinton Whale
...while these Sanderling
still have many hundreds of miles to travel
before even finding a nest site – Clinton Whale
Firstly, thank you to all who attended the CHOG-led activities in the weekend’s Christchurch Harbour BioBlitz, which was subject to some wide variety in weather; to say the least! This morning’s menace was insects, as almost no wind made the irritation at times almost intolerable. Bearing this in mind, more than 2 Spotted Flycatcher on site would have been a benefit, but that’s the way it was. Otherwise, the only passing birds were 36 Sanderling on the sandspit, 2 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin. Meanwhile, a Peregrine headed over Wick. Until several years’ ago Shelduck were expected breeders, but in recent times they have become a lot more erratic in their habits. Therefore, a brood of five in Mother Siller’s Channel this morning was a very welcome sight.
It rained pretty much from dawn to dusk, so seriously hampering today’s Christchurch Harbour BioBlitz activities. Just checking the forecast, however, and it’s all looking very good for the early events tomorrow. The majority of the day’s news comes from a 2-hour Hengistbury seawatch that started around 10:30, with the best being: a very close Arctic Skua heading into the Solent, an incoming Hobby and twenty-one likewise Swift, plus 5 House Martin; but also 5 Guillemot, a Razorbill, seven unidentified auks, a Common Scoter and 5 Fulmar. Earlier, a couple more Fulmar, 11 Common Scoter and 18 Gannet were logged. There were also waders about the sandspit, including 35 Sanderling and 4 Whimbrel, as well as two each of Ringed Plover and Dunlin; while 3 Spotted Flycatcher were elsewhere on Hengistbury. Inside the harbour, a Curlew west, well worthy of mention for the date, a Whimbrel and a Ringed Plover were the only migrant waders. To finish up, a Common Tern fished in the Run, a pair of Gadwall were in Barn Bight and a Raven was on Mudeford Quay.
Because their final destination is so far north,
Sanderling are traditionally one of the last wader
species to pass through in spring.
The bird on the left is in particularly fine breeding plumage –
...and one of the Tawny Owl owlets is coming on well – Clinton Whale
The best, all logged from Hengistbury, of a half-decent day was: a Spoonbill leaving to the west; and first-class examples of Great Northern Diver and Red-throated Diver in breeding plumage, as well as 3 Manx Shearwater, moving past offshore. Also over the water, 2 Fulmar and 10 Common Scoter. Waders are just about still on their travels, including forty or so Sanderling and a Whimbrel, all seen along the sandspit. A late Yellow Wagtail checked in, but 3 Spotted Flycatcher were a little less behind their times. To round up, an adult and two young Tawny Owl were again conspicuous.
Grey Heron – Clinton Whale
A reasonably strong north-westerly wind saw a good numbers of raptors either over or about the area. From Stanpit, an incoming Hobby, three westbound Red Kite and a Marsh Harrier were the best; but a few of the following may also have been on some kind of travels - 2 Peregrine, 6 Sparrowhawk and a minimum of 9 Buzzard. Also logged airborne: a couple of Yellow Wagtail, 75 Swift, 11 House Martin and 105 Swallow; while a Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Whimbrel were settled.
Reed Bunting – Jimmy Main
Common Lizard – Clinton Whale
Early rain meant news only trickled in from late morning onwards, when a Turtle Dove was briefly in a tree on Wick Fields before appearing to perhaps come down in the Bobolink Field. Meanwhile, a pair of Bullfinch were in rowan blossom by Holloway’s Dock; this after birds have been seen on 3 occasions on Wick in the last week or so. Otherwise, 2 Whimbrel leaving west and the Red-legged Partridge on the Barn Field were the only other pieces of note.
Additional news: a couple of Arctic Skua were seen from Mudeford Quay in the late afternoon.
One of two Reed Warbler on Roebury Lane today – Colin Raymond
Cetti's Warbler – Jimmy Main
...and the unmistakeable form of a Nightjar
way after dusk yesterday on Hengistbury – Steve Davis
There were a couple of Reed Warbler away from reeds today, so presumably new-in birds, as was certainly a Lesser Whitethroat on the Batters. Meanwhile a couple of Swift passed over and a Mistle Thrush, assumed to be the result of post-breeding dispersal from outside of the area, flew from the Long Field to the Nursery.
Another quiet day in terms of news, although in addition to a reckoned influx of Reed Warbler and Blackcap at Stanpit, there were three adult Grey Plover, 9 Ringed Plover and 19 Dunlin; while 4 Knot and 23 Black-tailed Godwit headed east. Also, a pair of Gadwall still in the area.
Additional news: a couple of Nightjar, both thought to be males,
were on Hengistbury.
In the context of Christchurch Harbour, Moorhen
are quite skulking birds and
not-at-all easy to photograph well – Jimmy Main
Green Hairstreak – Clinton Whale
Another quiet day with the best being a Spotted Flycatcher on
the Long Field, a Lesser Whitethroat in song by the HHC and the
appearance of an adult Tawny Owl. Meanwhile, a couple of Swift and
15 Swallow checked in, 2 Whimbrel passed east and 2 Mediterranean
Gull headed west. On Stanpit this afternoon, the only migrant
waders were 2 Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin.
Goosander in the Lower
Avon Valley recently – Jimmy Main
We're normally quite anal about only posting in-recording-area
shots, but this is such a decent breeding record, not to mention
image, from an area CHOG semi-formally records
that an executive decision was made to grant an exception.
Unfortunately, latest reports suggest the four are now just one.
Reed Warbler – Jimmy Main
Cormorant heading north from Stanpit to roost – Diarmuid Murphy
There was no sign of any owls today, but the area in question did turn up a Spotted Flycatcher this morning, while a Cuckoo flew from scrub on Grimmery Point. Otherwise, however, it was very thin pickings. The sea saw 10 Common Scoter and 4 Mediterranean Gull east, plus a couple of auks and a handful of Gannet. Stanpit held 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Whimbrel and 2 Dunlin, the sandspit attracted single figures of Sanderling and Dunlin, and a single Swift overflew.
Additional news: a breeding-plumaged Purple Sandpiper passed by
the Beach Huts.
Please do check the Outdoor Meetings page for some revised timings for the ringing demonstration on Sunday 22nd.
Recently-fledged Tawny Owl – Clinton Whale
...and a Whimbrel feeding along the surfline – Clinton Whale
A north-westerly is just about a disappointing as it can get in terms of wind direction, but there is a surprising amount to report upon. Early on, a flock of waders over the HHC comprised a Wood Sandpiper, 6 Ringed Plover and 3 Redshank. A little later, offshore from the Beach Huts, a Roseate Tern was logged, as well as 5 Little Tern, 77 Common Tern and 88 Sandwich Tern. Those who follow the site in detail will realise that auks have been a real premium for most of the year so far, meaning a Guillemot on the sea and a Razorbill east really are worth writing about. Finishing with the water, a Fulmar was logged and 65 Gannet were reckoned. Meanwhile, the wind did see some birds moving into it; for example, a Yellow Wagtail, 32 Swift and 230 Swallow. Waders on the sandspit included 12 Sanderling, a Whimbrel, 11 Ringed Plover and 52 Dunlin, while there is now thought to be four territorial Reed Warbler on Wick.
It was an overall fine day, although a short period of thunder and some impressive fork lightning happened late in the afternoon. There is only news of three species, but two of them are well above average - a Honey Buzzard in off the sea this morning, while a Short-eared Owl passed east. In addition, fifty or so House Martin passed north.
On this date, it wouldn't be unreasonable to muse these Wheatear may be on their way to cross the Atlantic, perhaps even ending up in Canada – Clinton Whale
In fact, the same could be ventured about these Sanderling – Clinton Whale
Constant rain made things difficult until the late morning, when the cloud started to clear; but any attempts at late afternoon birding beyond a range of 50m were thwarted by a rolling sea fret! A couple of Wheatear on the sandspit this afternoon, by date alone, must be good candidates for leucorhoa birds - on their way to breed in either Iceland, Greenland or even eastern Canada. Other than a couple of Spotted Flycatcher around Stanpit golf course, 18 Common Tern east and a drake Shoveler on East Marsh, the rest of the wild-bird news comes from waders, starting with Redshank. The count from Stanpit today was five, so suggesting most yesterday’s twenty-six were migrants bound for elsewhere. In addition on the marsh, there were 2 Avocet, 5 Common Sandpiper, 7 Sanderling, 6 Whimbrel, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 50 Ringed Plover over and fifteen settled, and a peak of 150 Dunlin; while 5 Sanderling and 4 Dunlin were on the sandspit. Rounding up, a Greylag Goose and 4 Canada Goose were present.
This fine-looking Bar-tailed Godwit was on the sandspit today – Clinton Whale
There was little wind all day and almost constant drizzle in the air, but this didn’t stop now-resident warblers from their song. A mid-morning count on Wick and as far on to Hengistbury as the Visitors’ Centre produced: up to 12 Cetti’s Warbler, 11 Whitethroat, 7 Chiffchaff, 5 Reed Warbler, 3 Blackcap and a Sedge Warbler; all very vocal. Meanwhile, an Arctic Tern was resting with 34 Common Tern on the tip of South Marsh, as viewed from Fisherman’s Bank from where 3 Sanderling, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Ringed Plover, 30 Dunlin and a massive, for the date, figure of 26 Redshank were also seen. In addition, the sandspit hosted 14 Sanderling, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Turnstone.
This Tawny Owl was discovered today – Clinton Whale
Little Egret in Holloway's Dock – Emma Pounds
...and one of the white-rumped Stonechat on Hengistbury – Roger Howell
It was bright enough early on, but rain then set in and with a later drop in the easterly wind it all became rather humid. Starting for a change with the waders at Stanpit, with peak numbers from three returns coming to: 3 Grey Plover, two of them in plumage, 4 Whimbrel, 18 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Turnstone, 5 Ringed Plover, 15 Dunlin and six lingering Redshank. Also from the marsh, a single Common Tern and 8 Shelduck, as well as some real junk - a Greylag Goose and 2 Canada Goose. The sea, despite 150 minutes of attention this morning, couldn’t come up with much more than: a Little Tern, 31 Common Tern, 26 Sandwich Tern, 8 Mediterranean Gull, 5 Common Scoter, 3 Whimbrel and, saving the best to last, a flock of around 30 Bar-tailed Godwit, all east. Also seen about the sandspit, at least 15 Sanderling. As one of the photos suggests, it seems that Tawny Owl are again breeding on site; while in common with recent observations from across Christchurch and into the New Forest, Blackcap may finally have arrived in numbers - for example, as many as fifteen in song on Hengistbury today.
The same Kestrel - at home and out on the hunt – Clinton Whale
Chaffinch in full song – Clinton Whale
It was a warm day that started near to windless, but finished with a brisk south-easterly. The morning saw a Kentish Plover from Fisherman’s Bank, but the bird then flew towards Blackberry Point and couldn’t be re-located on searches morning and afternoon; also an unidentified stint seen during the earlier period. Other waders logged, mainly during the afternoon, included: 6 Sanderling, a Whimbrel, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Turnstone, 2 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin. The sea was only really given a good look early on, when around 30 Common Tern were feeding off Mudeford Quay and 12 Brent Goose moved east, while singles of unclaimed auk and diver were seen from the Coastguards. The only passerines of note were a female Whinchat on the Barn Field briefly and a Yellow Wagtail over Wick, from where the Marsh Harrier was seen on a couple of occasions. Please check back to the last two posts for some pieces of additional news.
Yesterday's Black-winged Stilt in Barn Bight – Andrew Allport
...and contrasting plumages of Black-tailed Godwit – Emma Pounds
It was never going to match yesterday, but some steady fair makes for a nice set of birds. A 4-hour seawatch from Hengistbury produced 114 Common Tern, a Little Tern, a Guillemot, 4 Common Scoter, a Fulmar, 5 Gannet, 26 Sanderling, 5 Whimbrel and 4 Dunlin. The head also came up with a Spotted Flycatcher in the Nursery and 2 Garden Warbler, plus 55 Swift and a Knot over. The remaining interest comes from Stanpit, where a couple of Grey Plover, one in fine-looking plumage, at least 12 Whimbrel, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Dunlin and two latish Redshank were in or around Stanpit Bight. Meanwhile, a Lapwing was on Priory Marsh, 9 Shelduck on East Marsh will hopefully produce something between them and a pair of Greylag Goose overflew.
Additional news: a Spoonbill flew east past Mudeford Quay and a Peregrine was seen at Hengistbury.
On a house-keeping note, the annual report should right now be
popping through members' letterboxes. If you don't receive yours
in a few days' time, please do contact us.
What a day - possibly one of the best, with respect to rarities and scarcities, in the history of the group! Around 8:30, a raptor was picked up out to sea being mobbed by gulls. It was then watched for a few minutes as it headed towards Hengistbury, eventually becoming clear it was a ringtail bird and strongly reckoned to be a Pallid Harrier by the two observers on the cliff top by the Ironstone Quarry as it passed close by them. Earlier, a couple of Black-winged Stilt were first located in Barn Bight, but after spending a few minutes on Wick Hams they departed high to the north. Also earlier, a male Kentish Plover flew close past the base of the Gully after joining 2 Grey Plover that had been moved on by dogs. Presumably, the ‘KP’ had also been settled on the beach, but just west of the Long Groyne. Despite a search of the sandspit, however, where the two larger birds were relocated, it couldn’t be re-found. Backing all this up were: an Iceland Gull west into Poole Bay; a flock of 9 Black Tern that headed inland; an incoming Osprey; a Short-eared Owl; a Marsh Harrier east at sea, as well as the regular bird in the Wick reeds; and 2 Roseate Tern and 5 Arctic Tern from Mudeford Quay tonight. The intended focus for the day had been the sea, in particular for skuas; although none were seen, the following were: three each of arriving Hobby and Kestrel, a Great Northern Diver in breeding plumage west, a Red-throated Diver east, a Red-breasted Merganser, 63 Common Scoter, 18 Mediterranean Gull, 80 Common Tern, 9 Fulmar and 5 Shelduck. In addition to those mentioned already, waders for the day included a Purple Sandpiper on the Long Groyne; plus from across the site: a Common Sandpiper, a further 3 Grey Plover, 8 Sanderling, 7 Whimbrel, 21 Bar-tailed Godwit, those at Stanpit at lunchtime, 17 Black-tailed Godwit, a Turnstone, a Ringed Plover and 73 Dunlin. After all of this, passerines seem to take a bit of a back-seat role, but there were 4 Yellow Wagtail, a Redstart and a Wheatear, along with a singing Lesser Whitethroat by the HHC.
Additional news: a third-calendar-year Yellow-legged Gull was
around the Barn Bight area.
A couple of very smart-looking Dunlin – Roger Howell
...while we've included this shot, which previously aired in January, as reminder of the spectacular plumage change between the seasons – Clinton Whale
Greenfinch – Clinton Whale
The wind held true to the south-east and, as a consequence, the sea is starting to build in interest. A 2.5-hour session from the Gully this morning saw: 17 Manx Shearwater, all in one flock, come in from the west and then head back that way; an Arctic Skua escorting an eastbound tern passage that comprised 2 Roseate Tern, 105 Common Tern and 62 Sandwich Tern; 7 Eider, 7 Brent Goose and 23 Common Scoter all east; 2 Kittiwake, 3 Common Gull and a few loitering Gannet. There was also decent wader variety, not least a Curlew Sandpiper over the HHC in a flock of Dunlin; but also seen airborne from that spot: a Grey Plover, 2 Knot, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Black-tailed Godwit and a total of 63 Dunlin. Meanwhile, at least 20 Sanderling were using the sandspit. Passerines were more than sparse, singles of Spotted Flycatcher and Wheatear were logged.
One of yesterday's Purple
Sandpiper, in breeding plumage
- an attire not often seen on the south coast – Roger Howell
Common Sandpiper – Clinton Whale
Black Swan adding an antipodean flavour to Stanpit – Geoff Norquoy
...and adding further novelty value, the Red-legged Partridge, no doubt a release from a nearby shooting estate, on the Barn Field – Roger Howell
It was another fine day, although not particularly full of
birds; that said, the wind has gone to the south-east and is
forecast to continue so right through the weekend, meaning a
degree of anticipation is mounting. A Turtle Dove on Ashtree
Meadows this morning completes the set of expected spring
migrants, while a Lesser Whitethroat now seems to be on a
traditional territory by the HHC. Otherwise, however, for
passerines it’s just a singing Cuckoo, 2 Yellow Wagtail, a
non-reed-bed Reed Warbler and 6 Wheatear from across the entire
area. Terns are currently conspicuous, including 2 Roseate Tern
through the Run and into the harbour this afternoon and an
estimated seventy-five loitering Sandwich Tern, as well as up to
20 Common Tern. A couple of Common Sandpiper were turned in, plus
35 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, this thought to be a lingering
bird, and 21 Dunlin, a poor day for those. Finishing off, the
Red-legged Partridge was posing on the Barn Field.
Wheatear (upper) and Dunlin,
all presumably heading to more tundra-like landscapes – Clinton
...while this Herring Gull is probably making do with nearby factory roofs – Emma Pounds
The morning saw another sprinkle, albeit varied, of incoming migrants. The area around the Nursery was perhaps the most productive, with a Pied Flycatcher, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, a Garden Warbler and an out-of-habitat Sedge Warbler being present. Nearby, there were a couple of Redstart, 2 Whinchat and 4 Wheatear, as well as a Cuckoo heading over Wick just before lunch. Only a couple of Willow Warbler were returned, while separating incumbent Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Whitethroat from passing birds is becoming more-and-more difficult. The pick of the waders was definitely 2 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit, where a Common Sandpiper, 2 Sanderling, 3 Turnstone, these now looking stunning, and 50 Dunlin were also logged. Meanwhile, inside the harbour, there were 8 Whimbrel, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Black-tailed Godwit and 150 Dunlin. Throughout the day, there were terns lingering in Christchurch Bay, including 14 Little Tern; but this evening a steady westerly movement from Mudeford Quay was made up of: a Roseate Tern, 3 Arctic Tern, 15 Little Tern, 55 Common Tern and 20 Sandwich Tern. Also at sea, 5 Common Scoter and six arriving Shelduck. Finally, Mediterranean Gull: after a few days of being completely unrecorded, a total of twenty-six passed east over the quay early this morning.
Arctic-bound Bar-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale
Treecreeper – Alan Hayden
Despite a strong south-westerly wind and frequent drizzle, there was a good bit to be see today. The best at sea were: 2 Arctic Skua which spent a short time harrying terns in Christchurch Bay before heading into the Solent; and then 5 Arctic Tern and 10 Manx Shearwater moving west off Mudeford Quay late this afternoon, when a Merlin was seen to arrive. More from offshore later, but now mention of waders which were also on the move. From around 6:30 until lunch, the following were noted on, over or about the sandspit: 6 Sanderling, a Grey Plover, 50 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 310 Dunlin and a Turnstone; while a single Ringed Plover was on the spit later and 2 Greenshank were in Holloway’s Dock. The best period for passerines was an hour around lunchtime, when 3 Wood Warbler and 2 Spotted Flycatcher were on Hengistbury, with other numbers during that time from the head and Wick coming to 5 Garden Warbler, 25 Blackcap, 40+ Willow Warbler and 9 Wheatear. A couple of hours later, it was a different story although a female Pied Flycatcher behind the Nursery was some consolation. Earlier, a Yellow Wagtail, around 6 Willow Warbler and 2 Wheatear came in off the sea. Other birds seen arriving included a Hobby and 3 House Martin, while a further two of the former were logged at the Salt Hurns and Stanpit village respectively, as well numbers of Swift and Swallow all day, the latter most strongly from mid-morning onwards. As promised, back to the numbers at sea during the morning, which totalled: 2 Kittiwake and a Razorbill east, 17 Little Tern, fourteen of them lingering, 20 Common Tern, plus seven more later on, 9 Fulmar, 25 Gannet and a Shag. To round up, a Peregrine hunted over Coastguards, 2 Raven were noted and a Treecreeper was heard in the Wood. Of mammal interest, a Grey Seal was off Mudeford Quay.
Jay - Chrish Dresh
Whimbrel - Chrish Dresh
Sedge Warbler - Alan Crockard
Standing still wasn't an option this morning, as swarms of biting insects made their presence felt on a windless Hengistbury. There was a reasonable selection of migrants, with totals from both sides of the harbour being: 37 Willow Warbler, 10 Wheatear, 4 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 2 Cuckoo, a few Blackcap and singles of Yellow Wagtail, Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler. Swallow and House Martin were also on the move with at least twenty of the latter noted. A group of 10 Arctic Tern passed high over Stanpit moving north, while 6 Mediterranean Gull were logged and 4 Red-breasted Merganser circuited the harbour. The number of Dunlin on Stanpit had increased to 350, while also around the harbour were 19 Whimbrel, 12 Black-tailed Godwit and a single Bar-tailed Godwit.