Sightings for the current month
Raven on Crouch Hill – Alan Hayden
...and a nice view of the underwing of Black-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale
Just prior to 7:00 this morning, an Osprey passed west at sea, while a Green Sandpiper and 4 Greenshank left the area to the south-west. Today’s concentration of passerine migrants was at the eastern end of the Long Field, but the numbers for the post contain birds from elsewhere on the Hengistbury side of the recording area. Firstly the more interesting, namely: a Grasshopper Warbler on the Barn Field, a Pied Flycatcher and 2 Spotted Flycatcher on the Long Field, 2 Redstart and 2 Whinchat; but also: a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warbler, 85 Willow Warbler and 6 Wheatear; while 12 Tree Pipit, 15 Yellow Wagtail, a Swift and a flock of 200 Sand Martin moved overhead, generally southbound. Meanwhile, a further 2 Wheatear were on Stanpit. Waders seem to keep getting fewer - for example just 3 Dunlin on-site - however, the Knot was still present, as were 6 Greenshank, but two of those were seen to check-out, 3 Whimbrel and 8 Ringed Plover. A dopping of 11 Shelduck that arrived was a notable record for the date; a Kingfisher was around Wick Hams; and the recently fledged Sparrowhawk were again conspicuous over the harbour.
Tides August 21st: L02:05 | H07:05 | H09:50 | L14:25 | H19:40 | H22:30
There were few migrants around today, but a Redstart and a Wheatear were turned in from the Barn Field. At Stanpit, the Little Gull was again present, as was the first juvenile Knot of the autumn passage, plus 2 Greenshank, a Whimbrel, 51 Dunlin and a locally, notable count of 138 Redshank. Meanwhile, 40 Common Tern and 210 Sandwich Tern rested-up inside the harbour.
Tides August 20th: L01:00 | H06:45 | H08:25 | L13:30 | H18:40 | H20:55
Turnstone, still in a good degree of breeding plumage – Clinton Whale
There were a good number of common migrants around today, but it would seem they were almost entirely confined to a 90-minute spell at the southern end of the Wick Fields. The totals for the morning coming to: 95 Whitethroat, 85 Willow Warbler, 30 Sedge Warbler, 9 Blackcap, 4 Garden Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, a Redstart, 6 Whinchat and a Wheatear; as well as 3 Swift, 17 Tree Pipit, 19 Yellow Wagtail and a Grey Wagtail. A juvenile Marsh Harrier was seen to head out of the Avon Valley and attempt to hunt Central Marsh, but the local crows had other ideas and the bewildered raptor was promptly ushered off towards the Isle of Wight. Offshore, there were still plenty of Gannet and terns, the latter estimated as 100 or so fishing Sandwich Tern, while a further 157 birds rested in Holloway’s Dock. At this point it’s worth mentioning that location, part of a SSSI, seems to have been totally transformed by the addition of a largely, dog-proof fence. Wader news is scant, but there was a Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight, plus 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 18 Ringed Plover seen elsewhere about the head. To finish off, singles of Tufted Duck, Kingfisher and Mediterranean Gull were logged, as well as a couple of Raven.
Common Tern passage was a feature of the morning – Alan Hayden
...while the Little Gull was inside the harbour – Alan Hayden
There was a strong, offshore passage of terns into the west-south-westerly wind right through the morning, with counts of 530 Common Tern and 250 Sandwich Tern being made. Meanwhile, an Arctic Tern was inside the harbour and a further 200 Sandwich Tern were estimated to be hanging around the area. Common Tern were not sticking about, however, as an afternoon visit to Stanpit produced only four birds, but the Little Gull had earlier been present. Other than the obvious numbers of terns, the sea produced little else: namely, a Little Tern, 3 juvenile Kittiwake, 2 Fulmar, a steady but distant stream of Gannet, 7 Common Scoter, a Curlew and a Mediterranean Gull, nearly all to the west. Waders were again a little sparse, but a Common Sandpiper, 2 Sanderling and 5 Turnstone were on the sandspit, while a short visit to Stanpit added a Whimbrel, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin to the day’s list. To complete the picture, a Hobby, a Peregrine, 2 Swift and a Raven were all seen over the area. Please check back to yesterday for some additional news.
Wheatear on Crouch Hill – Clinton Whale
After a reasonably still start, the wind picked up pace and by mid-afternoon had developed into quite a brisk westerly. Early on, there were birds around but in reduced numbers to yesterday. For example: around fifty-five each of Willow Warbler and Whitethroat were between Wick and the Wood, as well as 2 Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 8 Wheatear, plus a few at Stanpit, and a handful of presumed migrant Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler. Meanwhile, 7 Tree Pipit, 6 Yellow Wagtail, 25 Swift and 23 Common Tern moved over. Also travelling were waders, with a Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshank, 21 Ringed Plover and 4 Snipe seen to either arrive or depart. Those more settled, however, included a further 5 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, a Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover and 35 Dunlin all at Stanpit, where around 40 Common Tern were also laying-up. To finish with the birds: 9 Teal were about the area, as were a couple of Peregrine; the last couple of days have seen Common Buzzard in the airspace - three yesterday and two today; singles of Kingfisher were by the Wooden Bridge and in Barn Bight respectively; and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull left to the west. Of butterfly interest, a Clouded Yellow was on the Long Field.
Additional news: a Marsh Harrier spent half-an-hour quartering Stanpit in the afternoon.
Presumably as a result of the westerly wind veering to the north, it was actually rather decent this morning. Most numerous were Willow Warbler, with just over 100 estimated on Wick and the western portion of Hengistbury, while the latter area also hosted around 90 Whitethroat and a Redstart; but most of the day’s 14 Wheatear were on the top of the head, although Stanpit did hold five of them. It was also good for Tree Pipit, a total of nineteen was logged, including 8 birds around the Long Field; also 4 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Swift moving over. Further interest came from: a drake Garganey amongst a flock of 20 Teal that came up from Priory Marsh and circuited for at least 5-minutes before pushing off into the Avon Valley; a Golden Plover tagging along with five westbound Curlew; and a couple of Green Sandpiper over the HHC. Meanwhile, more routine waders at Stanpit included: 3 Greenshank, 4 Whimbrel, a Common Sandpiper, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Ringed Plover and 18 Dunlin; while the Sandwich Tern gathering inside the harbour was reckoned to comprise 160 birds, along with 25 or so Common Tern. Other notable events came courtesy of: an adult Common Gull over Wick, at least 5 Mediterranean Gull in the area, a couple of Kingfisher by the Wooden Bridge and a Greylag Goose over the river.
Additional news: a very early, returning Jack Snipe was at
Stanpit in the evening.
Whimbrel in Stanpit Bight – Alan Hayden
There was a little bit of everything today, which saw the continuation of the westerly airflow and, at times, quite heavy showers. Starting with the passerines, there were an estimated 30 Willow Warbler around Hengistbury, as well as a Lesser Whitethroat, while a Spotted Flycatcher was in Ashtree Meadows and a Wheatear was on Crouch Hill. Locally speaking, however, the best for the day was a Nuthatch, also in Ashtree Meadows over which two Buzzard soared in harbour airspace late this afternoon. Moving to waders and all the news is from Stanpit, where: 4 Common Sandpiper, the juvenile Black-tailed Godwit plus seventeen west, 7 Whimbrel, 2 Snipe, 15 Ringed Plover and 40 Dunlin were logged throughout the day. Also inside the harbour, a Little Tern, which is the first of those for some time, the Little Gull, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 12 Common Tern and 84 Sandwich Tern. A half-hour look to the sea produced further terns, i.e. 31 Common Tern and 12 Sandwich Tern west, plus twenty of the latter fishing aimlessly. Finally, the recently discovered Collared Dove hotspot on Wick peaked with 33 birds and a Peregrine made a stoop over the HHC mudbar during the low tide period.
Little Gull at Stanpit
- in transition from first-summer to second-winter plumage – Alan
Some of the 60+ Canada Goose on the marsh this morning – Alan Crockard
After a quiet few days, passerine migrants were back in the area in reasonable kinds of numbers. In addition to a Pied Flycatcher coming off the head and a Cuckoo going onto it, both seen from the HHC, there were at least 75 Willow Warbler from Wick to the Wood, as well as 2 Garden Warbler and 12 Whitethroat. Meanwhile, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and 2 Swift headed over various parts of the area. Once again, Sandwich Tern featured in quantity - around three hundred, including birds at sea, being the estimate for the post - one gathering of sixty or so on the harbour shore hosting an adult Arctic Tern. The Little Gull was at Stanpit in the morning, as were 2 Greenshank, 10 Ringed Plover and 60 Dunlin. Other waders, all logged from Hengistbury, came to 9 Sanderling on the sandspit and 14 Black-tailed Godwit west, plus 42 Ringed Plover and 31 Dunlin ‘coming-and-going’. Finally, a total of 66 Canada Goose were at Stanpit early in the day.
In view of the plight of hen harriers, some might call this the inglorious twelfth! The best of a low-key day was a first-summer Little Gull, possibly the regular bird, in Stanpit Bight this evening. Otherwise, a Swift and a Tree Pipit over Wick during the morning are the pick-of-the-post. The last few days have suggested that small numbers of Ringed Plover are starting to move through - today saw seven about the sandspit and five over Wick. Meanwhile, a couple of Common Sandpiper remained from yesterday on the spit, while a couple of Whimbrel, the young Black-tailed Godwit and around 40 Dunlin were at Stanpit. A 2-hour look at the sea this morning mustered just 35 Common Tern west and 5 Common Scoter east. A further 4 Common Tern passed through the harbour and a Raven was about the Beach Huts.
Additional news: in addition to the already mentioned juvenile bird, 6 Black-tailed Godwit left to the east, while the Whimbrel tally increased to 4 birds. Over on Wick, a Garden Warbler was present.
There was a clear influx of Sandwich Tern today - above are some of the 74 birds that were resting in the uncharacteristic location of Holloway's Dock – Leo Pyke
Although it was much drier today, the westerly wind continued unabated - however, seabirds were once more at a premium. A couple of watches from Mudeford Quay and the Beach Huts produced just 3 Common Tern and 90 Sandwich Tern west, plus fifteen or so lingering Gannet. There were actually more Sandwich Tern loafing about the area - 127 on South Marsh and 74 in Holloway’s Dock - totalling just over 200 birds, but only one Common Tern was with them. Waders at Stanpit included: a Greenshank, the singles of Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and an estimated 50 Dunlin; while the sandspit produced 16 Sanderling, 11 Ringed Plover and 5 Dunlin, and a further 5 Whimbrel were on the Salt Hurns. To round up, the only reported passerine migrant was a Wheatear on Crouch Hill and a decent count of 28 Mediterranean Gull came from Mudeford Quay late in the afternoon.
Sandwich Tern – Alan Hayden
The weather hit pretty much as forecast at around 5:00 this morning, when the rain really set in. Also as predicted, the wind veered from east to south-west as the morning wore on. For the five-and-a-half hours after 6:15, the sea was watched from both Mudeford Quay and the sandspit, but in spite of the promising looking conditions the overall list of birds was rather disappointing. Actually, for the first hour or so, no genuine seabirds were logged, but then Gannet started to appear and the overall tally came to: a Great Skua, 6 Kittiwake, three of them superb-looking juveniles, 10 Fulmar, 11 Common Tern, a Common Gull, 2 juvenile Mediterranean Gull, 14 Common Scoter, a Whimbrel, a steady trickle of Sandwich Tern and, after the worst of the rain had passed, 19 Sand Martin; all of these west. Although the Gannet weren’t counted, at least three third calendar-year birds were noted - an age that is far from common in Hengistbury waters. In the afternoon, a further 90-minute session took place in the Gully, but that only mustered a Fulmar and 2 Swift west, plus a Common Scoter and 30 Gannet heading into the Solent. Other than the previously mentioned Whimbrel, the only wader news comes from Hengistbury where a further three were in Holloway’s Dock and 25 Sanderling, 5 Ringed Plover and 7 Dunlin were on the sandspit.
Tides August 11th: H00:40 | L05:05 | H09:55 | H13:30 | L17:25 | H22:05
This juvenile Black-tailed
Godwit, which currently has a liking for Crouch Hill,
arrived in the area on Thursday after fledging in Iceland this
summer – Alan Hayden
Reed Warbler this morning – Alan Crockard
After the last couple of days, it was something of a disappointment for those regulars still bound by the ties of rigid employment. The best was undoubtedly a juvenile Cuckoo in the Wick Hams area this morning, where a Yellow Wagtail also overflew. Meanwhile, a couple of Lesser Whitethroat were on Wick and around 20 Willow Warbler were spread between there and the Batters. The reeds today held more moderate amounts of Sedge Warbler, while Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff were around in small numbers, but these may have been local birds as opposed to passing migrants. Despite a promising feel to a south-westerly breeze, the sea could deliver just 5 Gannet in a 45-minute spell. This afternoon at Stanpit, the wader presence was a little less than expected, with only the Bar-tailed Godwit, the photo-featured Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Whimbrel and 90 Dunlin to mention. Of 53 Sandwich Tern, two were juveniles and a similarly aged Common Tern arrived to rest with them. To round up, a couple of Raven were in the Nursery and an adult Peregrine caught a Dunlin at Stanpit.
Water Rail – Alan Crockard
Juvenile Common Gull -
a plumage not often seen in the area - on Stanpit last night
– Alan Hayden
This Southern Red Bishop,
a popularly kept cage bird of African origin,
has been photographed in gardens adjacent to the recording area
for a few weeks now.
Today, however, it was on the Barn Field.
The moment of a well-reported day came at 6:45 this morning, when a Great White Egret flew south over the Ironstone Quarry in the company of 4 Grey Heron. Given its relatively low height, then it's quite possible the siege had actually roosted in the Nursery over night. Before moving on, so many texts and emails have been received for this post, that missing something is a distinct possibility - so please accept any apologies in advance. Continuing with the morning and the passerines: across the Hengistbury and Wick area, there was a Pied Flycatcher on the Batters, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Reed Warbler well away from reeds, an estimated 2-300 Sedge Warbler, but definitely not as many as yesterday, a Yellow Wagtail over, 5 Wheatear, 3 Garden Warbler, 25 Whitethroat and 65 Willow Warbler; while the North Scrubs, Stanpit, held a further Pied Flycatcher and 8 Garden Warbler, and 2 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill. Also during the morning, all but three of the recorded twenty-two southbound Swift and a Hobby. The waders in and around Stanpit Bight included: a Common Sandpiper, 2 beautifully-plumaged Turnstone, 6 Whimbrel, the Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Snipe and 70 Dunlin - there are now many more juvenile birds of the latter now starting to appear. Meanwhile, a Greenshank and a single Whimbrel were in Holloway’s Dock. To finish up on birds: of the 72 Sandwich Tern resting in the harbour, only one was a youngster; 2 Raven spent a brief time on East Marsh; and 28 Collared Dove were at the northern end of the Wick Fields. Of other interest, a Hedgehog corpse is in the North Scrubs, which is quite notable for the area, and singles of Clouded Yellow and Small Copper butterflies were on Hengistbury. With hurricane Bertha now making her way across the Atlantic, after having no doubt picked up flocks of migrating North American waders, who knows what to expect in the next few days. The optimism lives on.....
It was one of the most frenzied mornings in living memory for Sedge Warbler in the reeds adjacent to the HHC, with literally hundreds of birds being present. Also around that area, a Garden Warbler, 40+ Whitethroat and at least 10 Willow Warbler, plus 2 Tree Pipit over. Meanwhile, a total of 22 Swift moved west over Priory Marsh - a decent count on a relatively late date for this species. A Green Sandpier also went over the HHC, while a Little Ringed Plover, the Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel and 6 Black-tailed Godwit were inside the harbour, and a further 2 Whimbrel were on the sandspit. Other bits-and-pieces for the day, include: a female-type Wigeon at Stanpit, 2 Bearded Tit around Parky Meade Rail, a Raven on the spit and 3 Mediterranean Gull.
Additional news: a couple of Nightjar and a Wheatear were on Hengistbury, while a juvenile Common Gull, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and around 50 Dunlin were at Stanpit. Also, 10 Rook were seen to head to roost with the Carrion Crow.
For around 90-minutes this morning it was lively around the HHC, but after that it was little more than average. Early on there, the pick of the passerine migrants were: a Turtle Dove, a Grasshopper Warbler, a Redstart, 2 Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Garden Warbler; but also a surge of 100 Willow Warbler and an estimated 250 Sedge Warbler in the adjacent reeds, as well as 4 Tree Pipit and 3 Yellow Wagtail over. Meanwhile, other quality came from 3 Wood Sandpiper, a singleton and a couple, leaving the area to the west and 2 Spoonbill moving through eastward. The only other wader news comes from 24 Sanderling on the sandspit, while 2 Mediterranean Gull were also on the spit, a Kingfisher was on the Ironstone Quarry and a Great Crested Grebe was on the sea.
The weather was slightly less pleasant than of late, with some heavy rain showers around lunchtime and a wind that hung either side of south throughout the day. Whilst the eastern part of the head was very quiet for migrants - just a Garden Warbler, 6 Willow Warbler and 2 Sedge Warbler - Wick fared slightly better and turned in a Redstart, 3 Garden Warbler and 2 Lesser Whitethroat. Meanwhile, at least 3 Swift passed over the area. Also clearly on the move are Sanderling, with eighteen on the sandspit and eleven on the Long Groyne, the latter with singles of Turnstone and Ringed Plover. The best inside the harbour was a Curlew Sandpiper, but also a Knot, 6 Whimbrel, the Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Turnstone and 142 Dunlin. A couple of Raven are back in the quay area and now picking fights with the gulls - at one point a Herring Gull was grabbed by the wing and dragged across the beach, but when a Great Black-backed Gull got involved the tables turned a little.
Dawn broke to no wind and a mirror calm sea that held very few birds other than the expected terns and large gulls, the latter in perhaps inflated numbers due to the exceptional number of juvenile birds now on the wing. Before finishing with gulls, the Little Gull was at Stanpit and a couple of Mediterranean Gull, an adult and a bird-of-the-year, were logged. With respect to the latter, it would seem that last year’s influx may have been a genuine blip, rather than a developing trend. Waders were recorded from all the main sites, namely: a Green Sandpiper, 9 Knot and 5 Snipe over the HHC; 3 Greenshank and 2 Whimbrel in Holloway’s Dock; 6 Sanderling on the end of the sandspit; and a further Sanderling, 2 Greenshank, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpiper, the Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover, 3 Turnstone and 148 Dunlin at Stanpit. Early on, when Yellow Wagtail passed over the uncharacteristic locations of Mudeford Quay and Fisherman’s Bank, it was thought a decent day-total might result, but five was all it got to. Otherwise, there were plenty of Sedge Warbler in the reeds, as well as a Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler and 15 Willow Warbler around the HHC. The remaining interest comes from 8 Pintail that left the area and 3 Raven over. Of butterfly interest, a couple of Clouded Yellow were on the sandspit.
One of 27 Sanderling on the sandspit yesterday evening – Chris Roughley
It was Stanpit that produced most of the news for this post and nearly all of it from the early morning. A small influx a dabbling duck comprised two juvenile Garganey, 2 Shoveler and 8 Teal, while the regular, first-summer Little Gull was again present. A varied list of waders included: a Green Sandpiper, 6 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 9 Whimbrel, the Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Ringed Plover and 150 or so Dunlin, as well as a count of 74 Oystercatcher roosting on South Marsh. To finish on the marsh, half-a-dozen Common Tern rested with the Sandwich Tern. At Hengistbury, a Balearic Shearwater was the only record from a quiet sea and a Yellow Wagtail passed over the HHC. Other than those, however, there just were unremarkable numbers of the expected, migrant warblers. The water was equally tiresome from Mudeford Quay, where 2 Raven were seen, but a seal was off there.
Stop press: the above had already been scripted when news came in of an Osprey over Stanpit at 15:25, but seen off north by gulls.
This Bar-tailed Godwit,
still in breeding-plumage,
has been around for almost a week now – Alan Hayden
Whimbrel – Alan Hayden
This shot also illustrates the green algae that is
currently taking hold in the harbour and which is thought to be
brought on by a combination of warm weather and agricultural
run-off. If it gets much worse, we shouldn't expect a good autumn
for smaller waders, as they simply can't get their shorter bills
through the growth to reach the mud.
Curlew, note the head
pattern and longer, paler-based bill
when compared with the above – Alan Hayden
After a good week, it was a Saturday that hardly set the pulses racing. Overnight, a brisk southerly wind took hold, bringing with it cloud and morning drizzle. A 3-hour seawatch from Coastguards could muster just 12 Whimbrel, 3 Knot, 3 Turnstone and a handful of Gannet. The Whimbrel record is worth a second mention, however, in that it was a single flock - while it is relatively commonplace to see migrating groups in the spring, it is much less so in the autumn. The only news from Stanpit is of the Little Gull off Fisherman’s Bank, as well as the Bar-tailed Godwit and a couple of Whimbrel. Elsewhere, a Common Sandpiper was in Barn Bight, a Lesser Whitethroat and 23 Willow Warbler were on Wick, and a couple of Raven headed off towards Bournemouth.
There was the most cloud for quite some time this morning, when birds were much sparser than of late. The exception perhaps being Sedge Warbler, which had a brief run in the nets early on. In Ashtree Meadows, a Bullfinch was a nice record, while a Redstart and 3 Garden Warbler were in the North Scrubs, and 20 Willow Warbler were across the two aforementioned sites. On the other side of the river, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 20 Whitethroat and 15 Willow Warbler were between Wick and the Long Field. The only report from Stanpit comes from the afternoon high tide period, when 5 Whimbrel, the breeding-plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit, a Common Sandpiper and 30 or so Dunlin could just about be picked out roosting in the long grass on East Marsh. In a brisk south-westerly breeze, there was mention of perhaps going to look at the sea, but no details have been received so it is presumed to have been an uneventful affair.
Ringing demonstrations, guided walks and more...Full details are now fixed.
CHOG Committee page >> Chairman, Chris Chapleo, receiving a donation from the Captain's Club Hotel for the placement of bat boxes around Wick.
The Birds of Christchurch Harbour 2013Another excellent production containing:
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- Review of the birding year
- 215 species systematic list
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- Butterfly report
- Mammal, reptile and amphibian summary