Sightings for the current month

June 12th

On a warm day, there were 2 Cuckoo on Wick – one of them in song. Also singing was a Lesser Whitethroat along Roebury Lane, while a male Bullfinch was near Solent Meads car park. 

OUTDOOR MEETING – Sunday JUNE 13th (previously incorrectly listed as July)
The New Forest
Further details and registration….

June 11th

Kestrel – David Faulkner
Green Hairstreak – David Faulkner

The only news today is of the Garden Warbler still in song around the Nursery; while some Green Hairstreak butterfly were on the wing. 

June 10th

Shelduck in the afternoon sea fret – Jackie Smith
... and Common Scoter off Hengistbury a couple of days ago – Alan Crockard

After not being reported for a couple of days, the Garden Warbler was again trying his best around the Nursery this morning; while, close by, a Cuckoo was in the Stunted Oaks. The only other news is of the first, post-breeding Lapwing to return – four at Stanpit during the afternoon. 

June 9th

There are no reports today.

June 8th

Whitethroat – Mark Taylor
Speckled Wood – Clinton Whale

The only bird news is of a Reed Warbler singing along Roebury Lane, so presumably a transient male. Observations of other wildlife, all from Hengistbury, include: increased activity from Adder and Common Lizard; more Four Spotted Chaser dragonfly around the Ironstone Quarry; but still very few butterflies on the wing. 

June 7th

Kestrel – Clinton Whale
A recently fledged House Sparrow with it's Dad – Gary Foyle
Red Admiral – Cinton Whale

A couple of Avocet at Stanpit this afternoon were something of a surprise, while a Cuckoo sang on Wick all day. Otherwise, it’s just a pair of Bullfinch, also on Wick, to mention. 

June 6th

Male Kestrel leaving the box, where there are at least two young – Roger Tidball
Stock Dove – the present incumbents of the tawny owl box - Clinton Whale
Adult and recently fledged Great Spotted Woodpecker – Clinton Whale
...and Four Spotted Chaser – after a cold Spring, odonata have been thin on the ground, so it's nice these have emerged from the Ironstone Quarry - Clinton Whale

Other than the photographs, there is no news for the day. 

June 5th

It’s always good when Shelduck breed in the area – a brood of eight was seen today in Stanpit Bight, while two unaccompanied ducklings were in Stanpit Creek. The traditional Mute Swan herd is starting to gather – 232 inside the harbour – with the only other bird news coming from a Bullfinch on Wick. Of butterfly interest, an Orange Tip was also on Wick

June 4th

Skylark – Clinton Whale
Small Heath – Clinton Whale

The only news from a fine day of weather is of 14 Sanderling heading east past Hengistbury. 

June 3rd

It's that time of year when there is unfortunately nothing to report. 

June 2nd

Late this afternoon, there seemed to have been an arrival of Reed Warbler – as three birds sang in locations well away from reeds; two in Roebury Lane and one in the Barred Warbler Bush. Earlier, a Cattle Egret, that heading north, a Marsh Harrier, a Common Tern and 2 Gadwall were at Stanpit, while the Garden Warbler was again on Hengistbury. A total of twenty-six, westbound Mediterranean Gull over Wick were presumably failed breeders from nearby areas already heading back to their winter quarters, but of breeding success in the area a couple of juvenile Sparrowhawk were on Wick.

June 1st

Sand Martin have recently fledged on Hengistbury – Clinton Whale

There are, unfortunately, no reports for today. 

May 31st

Bar–tailed Godwit - Clinton Whale
Great Spotted Woodpecker – Clinton Whale

There was a real surprise of a Ring Ouzel feeding on the Long Field this afternoon, where nearby the Garden Warbler was again in song. Also late in the season was a female Wheatear on Wick. Otherwise, it’s just a Curlew Sandpiper, an Avocet and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit at Stanpit to report upon. Of breeding interest, it looks as if a pair of Oystercatcher now have a nest in the specifically fenced area at the northern tip of the sandspit. 

May 30th

Reed Bunting – Clinton Whale
Garden Warbler – Leo Pyke
Gadwall – Clinton Whale

The only migrant bird news received for the day is of the Garden Warbler still hopeful in the Nursery, while all the regular breeders are now going about their business. Of butterfly interest, Common Blue and Green Hairstreak were both on-the-wing at Stanpit. 

May 29th

Garden Warbler – Matthew Barfield
Bullfinch – Matthew Barfield

The best for the day were two, separate Great White Egret which overflew the harbour early on. Meanwhile, the Garden Warbler remains in the Nursery and the 3 Gadwall continue to be present. To finish, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Black-tailed Godwit were at Stanpit, and a male Bullfinch was on Hengistbury. 

May 28th

The best for the day came late this afternoon, when a Bonxie, aka Great Skua, headed east past the Gulley; which also saw 2 Common Tern, 2 Fulmar, 22 Gannet and 5 Sanderling. Much earlier, the sea also produced a 65-strong, westbound flock of Common Scoter, a Fulmar, a Whimbrel and a further 4 Sanderling. Meanwhile, a Bar-tailed Godwit was at Stanpit; singles of Black-tailed Godwit were logged from Holloway’s Dock and Central Marsh; a couple of Common Tern and 3 Mediterranean Gull passed over the marsh; the Garden Warbler continues its ever-frantic pursuit of a mate; and a pair of Gadwall were again on site. 

May 27th

Blackcap – Mark Taylor
Jay – Joy Aubin

A fine day of weather saw a smattering of late, incoming migrants – so answering yesterday’s Willow Warbler question – six of them today. In addition, a Wood Warbler was on the northern edge of the Salt Hurns, as were 2 Redstart, presumably females, and a Garden Warbler complemented the regular bird. More typical for the date, however, were a Turtle Dove north and half-a-dozen Spotted Flycatcher. Meanwhile, 2 Grey Wagtail, one of them on the edge of the Wood, were not at all expected. At sea, a Great Skua and 3 Eider were logged; up to 13 Mediterranean Gull were about the area; and a female Bullfinch was on Wick. The warmer conditions also saw a few Orange Tip butterfly around Stanpit. 

May 26th

Collared Dove – Derek Hopkins

As we move towards June, the interest starts to peter-out. That said, 3 Willow Warbler were nice today – hopefully late-arrivers, as opposed to early-leavers – as was a Spotted Flycatcher in the Stunted Oaks and the Garden Warbler. To round-up, this short post: at least 16 Mediterranean Gull were logged; a couple of Bullfinch were on Wick; 3 Gadwall were at Stanpit; and, of breeding interest, a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker was on Hengistbury. 

May 25th

At least six, adult Mediterranean Gull passed west this morning – suggesting some failed breeding attempts to our east – but other than a Fulmar and a couple of Razorbill there was little more interest from the sea. A total of 5 Spotted Flycatcher was returned from Wick and Hengistbury, where the Garden Warbler remains; with the remaining news coming from a Peregrine and a pair of Gadwall at Stanpit, plus a Coal Tit in the Wood. 

May 24th

The first Mute Swan cygnet of the season was seen today – Clinton Whale

It was a definite case of quality over quantity on the sea this morning. A Pomarine Skua headed east at 08:00 and thirty-five minutes later a Storm Petrel moved steadily west without lingering. Also: a Manx Shearwater, a circuiting Great Northern Diver, 22 Common Scoter east and 6 Fulmar. Meanwhile, a Spotted Flycatcher was in the Wood and the Garden Warbler remains. To finish, the only wader news for the day is of a Sanderling on the sandspit and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit at Stanpit. 

May 23rd

Sanderling in just-about–as-good-as-it-gets, breeding plumage - Mark Taylor
The Garden Warbler, a very difficult species to photograph in the area – Mark Taylor

Given the absolutely appalling conditions and the exposed location of the Gulley, it’s not quite clear how a two-hour seawatch was achieved this evening; but a commendable effort it was and not from one of soft-southern origin! The tally was headed by: a Storm Petrel battling into Poole Bay, a couple of dark Arctic Skua east, and 52 Manx Shearwater, plus 18 Kittiwake, west; as well as: 18 Fulmar, 30 Gannet and eight auks. An hour’s longer effort this morning was by far the poor relation and mustered just: a Great Northern Diver, 3 Manx Shearwater, 2 Common Tern, 7 Fulmar and 24 Gannet, all west. Meanwhile, at least 4 Sanderling were about the sandspit and the Garden Warbler is still singing hopefully in the north-west corner of the Nursery. 

May 22nd

Adult and two recently fledged Starling – Mark Taylor

Despite a vast improvement in the weather, there is little to report on today. At sea, a total of 60 Common Scoter appeared to be lingering and 5 Sanderling passed west. Meanwhile, migrant waders at Stanpit, where the Oystercatcher pair is still sitting, comprised 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel and 32 Dunlin. To finish this rather short post, a Spotted Flycatcher was by the Wooden Bridge, the Garden Warbler was again in the Nursery and a male Bullfinch was feeding on the ground at Stanpit Scrubs. 

May 21st

The familiar, male Peregrine was back on the Priory today and conveniently gave away his identity – Clinton Whale

It was a day completely dominated by gale-force, south-westerly wind. Before the limited sea reports, a Great White Egret was in Barn Bight this morning, when 3 Whimbrel, 20 Sanderling and 12 Dunlin were about the sandspit. Numbers over the water, over a 5-hour spell starting at 6:00, came to: 7 Manx Shearwater, 16 Fulmar, 24 Common Scoter, 7 Common Tern and 5 Gannet.

May 20th

Other than the Garden Warbler that continues to sing in the Nursery, all the news comes from the sea throughout a day of mainly southerly, strong wind. Three hours from 7:15 produced a Great Northern Diver west, 37 Common Scoter, a Shag, 3 Razorbill, 2 Guillemot, 5 Fulmar, 35 Gannet and 45 Sandwich Tern, as well as 4 House Martin and 26 Swift arriving. Later watches started to turn-up Manx Shearwater – a total of thirty-six being reached, as well as 3 Common Tern and additional numbers of Fulmar and Guillemot, in both cases six. 

May 19th

Great Spotted Woodpecker – Clinton Whale

A Whiskered Tern, presumably the bird that has been up the Stour at Longham for the last week or so, spent around three minutes off Mudeford Quay this morning, with Sandwich Tern, before being lost to view heading towards the Needles. The last we had in the area, was way back in 1988. There was a minor influx of Spotted Flycatcher – six on Wick and one in the Stunted Oaks, as well as a Willow Warbler, 4 Wheatear about and the regular Garden Warbler. Meanwhile, there are now 2 Cuckoo lingering around Wick, where 2 Bullfinch were also present. Inside the harbour, a second-calendar-year Little Gull was again around, along with: 14 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover and 115 Dunlin. Sticking with waders, a Common Sandpiper was on the sandspit, as were nine Sanderling, with a further 6 Whimbrel passing by. Throughout the morning, Swift trickled in, when 12 Common Scoter were on the sea and around 30 Sandwich Tern lingered. 

May 18th

Goldfinch – Mark Taylor
Whimbrel and a Grey Plover – Bob Groves

A Red Kite passed east over the harbour this morning, when the Garden Warbler was again in the Nursery. Later, a couple of Spotted Flycatcher were in the Stunted Oaks. So far this season, the wader passage has been largely uneventful and it’s now getting quite late – so a Grey Plover, 14 Whimbrel, a Ringed Plover, worth checking these for race now, and 2 Dunlin, all Stanpit, were something to look at. To finish, a further 2 Whimbrel were on the Barn Field and 3 Common Scoter passed west at sea. 

May 17th

At least 3 Whitethroat have recently taken–up residence at Stanpit - Derek Hopkins
Sanderling – Clinton Whale
Green Hairstreak, now on the wing – Clinton Whale
...and it has been possible to zoom–in on the ring and determine this Oystercatcher was ringed as a nestling in June 2016 on the Isle of Wight - Scott Usher

A reasonable day of weather saw an Osprey pass west over the harbour at just after 8:30, with a Great White Egret heading the other way. Otherwise, quality is sparse: at least 2 Spotted Flycatcher were by the Wooden Bridge on Wick, 2 Wheatear were on the Barn Field and the Garden Warbler continues its lonely existence in the Nursery; a couple of Whimbrel were also on the previously mentioned field and 18 Sanderling were on the sandspit; and the sea produced 10 Common Scoter – nine east and one settled – plus 9 Swift in-off. 

May 16th

Red–breasted Merganser - Scott Usher
... and it looks as if there may be another Oystercatcher breeding–attempt going on
- Derek Hopkins

For a short while this morning, there was some seabird action – a Pomarine Skua cut the corner of the head and passed east, while a pale-phase Arctic Skua took a more conventional route over the water. Additionally, a Great Northern Diver and a further, unidentified diver headed west, as did 7 Kittiwake,; while 22 Common Scoter were settled and a total of 53 Sandwich Tern was put in. Meanwhile, at least 19 Sanderling, a couple of Turnstone and a second-calendar-year Mediterranean Gull lingered about the sandspit. Passerine-wise, a Grasshopper Warbler was briefly in the Bobolink Field, the Garden Warbler is still going for it in the Nursery and a Cuckoo was again on Wick. To finish, the drake Red-breasted Merganser is around for its third day. 

May 15th

Sparrowhawk – Roger Howell
Cuckoo – Jeremy McClements
Little Gull
...and one of the Little Gull from yesterday, showing just how diminutive they are
– Alan Hayden

After a largely wet and breezy day, other than a Cuckoo on Wick, all the news is from the Beach Huts. Another Red-breasted Merganser was recorded today, this time west at sea, along with a couple of Fulmar. A Common Gull and 21 Common Scoter passed east; while 30 Sandwich Tern and 25 Gannet lingered, as did a very distant feeding-flock of around 120 terns. Birds closer to view included: 9 Sanderling, a Grey Plover and a Whimbrel, plus four arriving Swallow. 

May 14th

Red–breasted Merganser - Ann Parramore

The most unexpected record of the day, in terms of date that is, was undoubtedly a drake Red-breasted Merganser inside the harbour early this morning; but that accolade is closely followed by a Nuthatch at Stanpit. In recent years, Little Gull seem to have become few and far between – so two second-calendar-year birds around Stanpit Bight for most of the day were very welcome. Also around there, a selection of waders, most of them brief, that included: a Little Stint, an Avocet, 11 Grey Plover 2 Greenshank, 2 Bar-tailed godwit, 3 Whimbrel and 9 Dunlin; while a late Redshank was in Holloway’s Dock. Over on Hengistbury, a Garden Warbler continued to sing in the Wood, which is intriguing, as did a Firecrest – a sound that has not been heard in that spot for some time – a Spotted Flycatcher was by the HHC and a Willow Warbler was logged; and at least one Yellow Wagtail was at Stanpit. Offshore, a Little Tern, 3 Common Tern and around 30 Sandwich Tern lingered, with over forty of the latter resting inside the harbour late on. To finish, a Mediterranean Gull was heard and 6 Swift passed over. 

May 13th

A morning seawatch saw, by contemporary standards, a decent movement of terns to the east – namely: an Arctic Tern, 2 Little Tern, 73 Common Tern and 325 Sandwich Tern; while, late in the day, a Black Tern passed by. Also at sea, 9 Manx Shearwater, a Fulmar, a Grey Plover, 3 Sanderling, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Turnstone, 4 Swift and 10 Swallow. Early on, a Turtle Dove and a Hobby passed over Wick, when a couple of Garden Warbler sang in the Nursery and 3 Wheatear were about. To finish, a Peregrine patrolled and 2 Gadwall were on the River. 

May 12th

Lesser Whitethroat – Alan Cherry
Bullfinch – Alan Cherry
Great Spotted Woodpecker – Alan Cherry

All the day’s news comes from Hengistbury, where: a Great Northern Diver passed west and 12 Common Scoter were offshore; 6 Sanderling were about the sandspit and 3 Whimbrel were on the Barn Field; a Garden Warbler was somewhere, 2 Spotted Flycatcher were in the Wood and a Wheatear was on the Barn Field; while a Yellow Wagtail passed over. 

May 11th

Linnet – Clinton Whale

The day saw some late-in-the-season passerine interest, when a Pied Flycatcher of unreported gender, but presumably on this date a female, was in the Stunted Oaks; while 3 Lesser Whitethroat on Wick suggested an arrival of those. There were also a couple of Wheatear on the Barn Field. A quiet sea saw just 3 Common Scoter, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Whimbrel all head east; with 2 Black-tailed Godwit settling into Holloway’s Dock.

May 10th

Sanderling in breeding plumage – Clinton Whale
Whimbrel – Mark Taylor
Small Copper – Clinton Whale

Another day, another seawatch, and this time the skua action came from a Great Skua east, along with a Kittiwake and a Red-throated Diver in the same direction. A further Red-throated Diver and a Great Northern Diver headed the opposite way, as did 4 Manx Shearwater – one in the morning and three in the afternoon. Staying with the sea: this evening, a feeding-flock of gulls and Sandwich Tern off the Long Groyne also held an Arctic Tern and 2 Common Tern; with 2 Razorbill, 15 Guillemot and uncounted Gannet also being offshore. The only wader and migrant passerine news is of a Whimbrel, 4 Sanderling and 2 Garden Warbler – the formers on the sandspit and the latter in the Wood. To finish, the day saw the first Painted Lady and Small Copper butterflies on the wing. 

May 9th

Jay – George Garland
Natterjack, photographed from a public path, held this pose for over an hour – Clinton Whale

The sea was watched again this morning and reward came from the Beach Huts, when 2 Pomarine Skua were seen heading east at 07:30. Reports from Barton-on-Sea a little later suggested they had double-backed before reaching the Solent area, however. Also east, an Arctic Skua, a Little Tern and 10 Common Tern. Meanwhile, an early Storm Petrel headed west, as did a second-calendar-year Little Gull and a Manx Shearwater; a Guillemot was settled near the Long Groyne, 82 Sandwich Tern were offshore; and an Arctic Tern went through the harbour. Wader-wise, there were around 20 Sanderling on the sandspit, along with 5 Ringed Plover, and least 15 Whimbrel across the site; while the only migrant passerine returns are made up of single Garden Warbler and Sedge Warbler in the Nursery, plus 3 Wheatear – two in the fenced area of the sandspit and a female on Crouch Hill.

May 8th

As forecast, the dawn broke with heavy rain and a south-easterly wind that soon veered to the south. Not surprisingly, the sea was the only option and the morning watches from the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay aggregated: a minimum of 12 Manx Shearwater, 19 Fulmar, 3 Great Northern Diver – two in breeding plumage – two west and one east, a Red-throated Diver through the harbour and west, 52 Common Scoter, around 55 Sandwich Tern, at least 75 Gannet – many of them sub-adult birds, a Razorbill and 7 Guillemot. Meanwhile, a female Marsh Harrier arrived over the water, as did 15 Swift, 20 Swallow and 16 House Martin. After 10:00, however, things quietened down; although forty-five minutes at the quay in the mid-afternoon did yield a further 6 Manx Shearwater and a Guillemot. Waders are difficult to put a number on, as the conditions made them very mobile, but 120 Dunlin at Stanpit confirmed there had been an arrival. In addition, the site-wide estimates come to: 2 Grey Plover, 12 Sanderling, a Ringed Plover, 15 Whimbrel and 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, the latter passing to the west. The only other news involves 6 Gadwall at Stanpit.

May 7th

There was a reasonable selection of migrants on the southern side of the harbour today with totals of 19 Wheatear, 13 Willow Warbler, 5 Garden Warbler, 4 Whinchat, 4 Redstart, 4 Swift, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Yellow Wagtail and singles of Cuckoo, Spotted Flycatcher and Lesser Whitethroat.  A Grey Plover arrived over the Barn Field, a Purple Sandpiper was on the sandspit and 7 Whimbrel were logged, while 20 Common Scoter were on the sea off the Beach Huts. At the entrance to Holloway's Dock this afternoon 71 Sandwich Tern were present.

May 6th

Cetti's Warbler – Jackie Smith
Sedge Warbler – Alan Crockard

Early morning on Priory Marsh suggested an arrival of Sedge Warbler, with at least eight birds where there had previously been none – it is expected most will move on though. On the other side of the river, Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat sang – in the Nursery and on Wick respectively – while Whinchat were in the Bobolink and No Dogs Fields, 5 Wheatear were on the Barn Field and 3 Willow Warbler were dotted about. The only wader news comes also comes from that side - 5 Whimbrel and 38 Dunlin; with a couple of Mediterranean Gull passing east, likewise 9 Common Scoter and 2 Shelduck. Back to Stanpit, where the apparent family party of Brent Goose is still present, and an additional Wheatear.

May 5th

Sandwich Tern in the rain – Derek Hopkins
Whitethroat – Derek Hopkins
Whimbrel – Malcolm Royal

Thankfully, the wind subsided significantly and the early part of the day was actually quite nice. Around late morning, however, heavy showers and even some thunder set in. A Lesser Whitethroat on the Barn Field, where there were 4 Wheatear, and 3 Willow Warbler were all new birds, as were 6 Swift and 5 Swallow seen arriving. Otherwise, it’s just 19 Whimbrel, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, around 30 Dunlin and 8 Gadwall to report upon.  

May 4th

Sanderling – Clinton Whale
Dunlin – Clinton Whale
Ringed Plover – Clinton Whale
Linnet – Roger Tidball

With the south-westerly near-gale continuing until late in the afternoon, the sea was given a go early on. The best was 2 Manx Shearwater west, but also a Great Northern Diver, 3 Little Tern, 6 Common Tern and a steady stream of Gannet. Meanwhile, a Hobby was seen to arrive and then spent some time hunting around the sandspit. The only wader news for the day also comes from the spit and involves: 10 Sanderling, 9 Whimbrel, 4 Ringed Plover and 77 Dunlin. To finish this short post, the only passerine news is of a single Wheatear on the Barn Field. 

May 3rd

Reed Bunting – Clinton Whale
Greenshank – Scott Usher
Great Black–backed Gull - Alan Crockard

With the south-westerly gale picking up throughout the day, the sea was given three hours of attention this morning and came up with this list. An Arctic Skua, 6 Eider, 3 Little Tern, 2 Common Tern, 35 Common Scoter and a Whimbrel, all to the east; 2 Razorbill, a Guillemot, 3 Fulmar and around 40 Gannet; and a trickle of incoming hirundines, mostly Swallow but a few Sand Martin as well. The seam period saw a Purple Sandpiper go past, which was later seen settled with another from Mudeford Quay, 5 Sanderling and a Common Sandpiper. At Stanpit, the best of the waders was a Greenshank, but also 15 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit – one of those the long-staying, colour-ringed bird – and 12 Dunlin; along with a couple of Common Tern settled and 2 Mediterranean Gull over. The only passerines of note were a Yellow Wagtail over and 11 Wheatear. Finally, there is now a chick in our barn owl box, which can be viewed from the right-hand side of this page. 

May 2nd

Reed Warbler are now well–in and singing from most reedbeds - Clinton Whale

A male Serin flew east over Crouch Hill this morning, when more-settled birds, all on Hengistbury or Wick included: a Garden Warbler, a Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 12 Wheatear and 5 Willow Warbler. Meanwhile, northbound fly-overs were represented by a Tree Pipit and 2 Yellow Wagtail. Inside the harbour, there was a Greenshank, as well as 2 Whimbrel and 25 Dunlin. To finish: 16 Mediterranean Gull passed east; a Buzzard was, once again, loitering about the Nursery; and 4 Gadwall were about. 

May 1st

The first day of May saw some good passerine variety – the best a Wood Warbler in the Nursery, along with a Spotted Flycatcher there, plus: a Garden Warbler on Roebury Lane, a couple each of Redstart and Lesser Whitethroat – one on the Long Field and one in the Stunted Oaks and two on Wick respectively, a Whinchat at Whitepits, 8 Wheatear and around 20 Willow Warbler. Meanwhile, Swallow were commented on as streaming through, but the only number put forward was sixty. From Fisherman’s Bank, on a very low tide, the wader returns came to: a Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 65 Dunlin; with a Grey Plover, 2 Whimbrel and a further 10 Dunlin elsewhere. A quiet sea mustered just a Red-throated Diver and 12 Common Scoter east; while, inside the harbour, the four-strong Brent Goose family remains, along with 4 Gadwall.

April 30th

This family party, which is a strange record for nearly May, of Brent Goose has been around for a couple of days – Derek Hopkins
Despite nowadays being commonplace, Mediterranean Gull will always be special for birders of a certain age. By far, the UK's smartest–looking breeding gull – Clinton Whale

The first Cuckoo of the year toured the area today, when birds presumably leaving these shores included an over-flying Pochard and, late this evening, a Spoonbill in Stanpit Creek. Back to newly arrived birds - 2 Hobby and a Spotted Flycatcher overhead at Stanpit, a Lesser Whitethroat by the Wooden Bridge, 6 Willow Warbler and 7 Wheatear. Waders are currently thin on the ground, but hopefully the numbers are still to come - there were, however, 4 Greenshank, a Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and around 50 Dunlin. To round-up, at least 35 and 60 of Mediterranean Gull and Black-headed Gull respectively travelled east, the 4 Brent Goose remained for their second day and 3 Gadwall are still about. 

April 29th

On a fine and clear morning migrants were few although there was a small influx of Lesser Whitethroat with one by the HHC and another four or five elsewhere on Wick. Otherwise site-wide totals were 21 Swift, 16 Yellow Wagtail, including a grounded bird on Wick, 7 Swallow, 6 Wheatear, 5 Willow Warbler and singles of  Whinchat, Redstart, Tree Pipit and Garden Warbler.  The easterly movement of Mediterranean Gull continued with 100+ today.  On Stanpit the Glossy Ibis was on Central Marsh and 4 Brent Geese remain plus the regular 5 Gadwall, 12 Dunlin, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and an overflying Spotted Redshank.  To round up 5 Whimbrel were on the Salt Hurns, a late Redwing and 2 Bullfinch were on Wick and a Buzzard drifted south over the harbour.

April 28th

This bird caught the eye and a few, including some very informed opinion a way away from here, think it's a very good candidate for leucorhoa 'Greenland', or somewhere on the way to there, Wheatear – Nick Whitehouse
Yellow Wagtail – Jackie Smith
Sandwich Tern – Clinton Whale

Despite a north-easterly wind picking up again, there was a smattering of interest this morning; not least, the best Swallow showing of the season – around 75 in an hour at Hengistbury. After yesterday’s male, a female Pied Flycatcher was in the Stunted Oaks, while 4 Yellow Wagtail overflew the head and two were feeding beneath the ponies at Stanpit, a Lesser Whitethroat was on Wick, 10 Wheatear, including the north-western-looking bird photographed, were on the Barn Field and a new-in Sedge Warbler was in the North Scrubs. Otherwise, the only news is of 3 Sanderling from Mudeford Quay this evening. 

April 27th

Cetti's Warbler – Clinton Whale

The feature of the morning was, without a doubt, eastbound Mediterranean Gull – the final figure reckoned to be 275. The day-total would be far higher, however, as the afternoon wasn’t watched, but a 15-minute look from Solent Meads around 6:30 saw a further 20 birds. Also purposefully moving in the same direction, an estimated 60 Black-headed Gull. Another highlight came from Great White Egret – after arriving, two settled on Speller’s Point before heading off south-east, while a single bird over in the same direction around an hour later made it three. The best of the passerines were: a male Pied Flycatcher that lingered in the Stunted Oaks for most of the day; a resplendent, male Redstart in the No Dogs Field; and an over-flying Yellow Wagtail. Meanwhile, around 30 Blackcap across Hengistbury and Wick suggested some newly arrived birds, with up to 20 Willow Warbler and at least 10 Wheatear certainly incomers. Wader news is sparse, but around 10 Whimbrel, plus 2 Curlew, were about, and the only wildfowl report is of the Brent Goose. The day finished with an optimistic seawatch that produced just a Red-throated Diver and a flock of 15 Grey Plover east, as well as a Common Tern west. On the walk to the Gulley, singles of Jack Snipe and Snipe were encountered. 

April 26th

Kestrel and Common Lizard – Matthew Barfield
Skylark – Clinton Whale

The conditions were nowhere near as harsh as yesterday, but there was still little to be seen. A female Yellow Wagtail was on South Marsh this evening, while the Barn Field Wheatear peaked at twelve – all second-calendar-year males or females – with another at Stanpit, but just 6 Willow Warbler across the area. Overhead, a minimum of 5 Swift came in and at least 32 Mediterranean Gull headed east. The best at Stanpit, by far, was a Little Gull and 4 Little Tern; but also a Greenshank, a Grey Plover in near-complete breeding plumage, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit and 10 Whimbrel, with further of the latter elsewhere bringing the day-total to around fifteen. Presumed late-staying winter waders, but of course they could be passing, were 3 Curlew and 7 Redshank – a couple of those acting territorially on Wick Hams. To finish, a female-type Marsh Harrier headed north-east early on and the wildfowl, of widely varying levels of interest, included: the Brent Goose, 3 Shoveler, 3 Wigeon – two drakes and a duck, 6 Gadwall, 22 Shelduck, the tame Tufted Duck, 2 Egyptian Goose and 2 Black Swan. 

April 25th

Peregrine – Matthew Barfield
..and a tired–looking Bar–tailed Godwit taking a break by the Black House from it's marathon trek from west Africa to the Arctic - Clinton Whale

The quite awful easterly wind continued, again making it difficult in the field. Nevertheless, a few passerines were about, including: a Yellow Wagtail on Priory Marsh; a couple of female Redstart – Barn Field and Bobolink Field; and around 10 Wheatear. There were two more Swift today, along with a House Martin and what accounted for little more than a trickle of Swallow. Meanwhile, the Spotted Redshank was again off Fisherman’s Bank, as was a Greenshank, with around 30 Whimbrel,  11 Bar-tailed Godwit and 30 Black-tailed Godwit scattered around the place, and 20 or so Mediterranean Gull seeming rather aimless. Finally, it was good to resume our outdoor events again this morning - thank you to all whom attended!

April 24th

Gannet – Matthew Barfield
Three eastbound Brent Goose – Matthew Barfield
Whinchat – Clinton Whale
Grey Plover – Scott Usher

Although the sea was given some attention in the morning, it was until an evening effort that there was any real reward; when a pale-phase Arctic Skua came in from the west, attempted to beat-up a Herring Gull, but soon continued on its way. Also during that period, a Great White Egret headed out towards the Isle of Wight over Christchurch Bay. The earlier session had produced a Red-throated Diver, around 15 Common Scoter, a Fulmar and 4 Brent Goose; while 3 Arctic Tern headed inland over the area. Incoming passerines were sparse, for example just 2 Willow Warbler, but a Spotted Flycatcher in the Wood, a Ring Ouzel on the Double Dykes, a Whinchat on Priory Marsh, a Tree Pipit over Wick and a Yellow Wagtail in-off all put in brief appearances. Meanwhile, the year’s first Swift came through as did the current trickle of Swallow – there are lots more of these to come, surely. The only news from Stanpit is of 2 Greenshank and a Grey Plover, with the rest of the area returning over 4 Whimbrel and 4 Sanderling. To finish, it seems the Glossy Ibis is still with us and at least one Peregrine was about the area. 

April 23rd

Whinchat – Leo Pyke
Greenshank – Scott Usher
Spotted Redshank – Scott Usher
Whimbrel – Clinton Whale

Whinchat put in their first appearance this morning – two birds, one by the Hiker café and one on Wick – as did Lesser Whitethroat, a single bird on Roebury Lane. Meanwhile, female Redstart were on the Long Field and Bobolink Field, with half-a-dozen Willow Warbler, a new-in Whitethroat at Stanpit and around 15 Wheatear also returned. Waders seen from Fisherman’s Bank included: the same Spotted Redshank as yesterday, a Ruff, a Greenshank, 24 Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Dunlin; with 4 Grey Plover in Stanpit Bight and a site-wide total of 12 Whimbrel. In the easterly wind, the sea was quiet but nevertheless did produce a westbound Black-throated Diver, as well as 10 Mediterranean Gull. The only Fulmar, however, was inside the harbour, over Barn Bight; while at least 6 Gadwall were about. 

April 22nd

Spotted Redshank – Leo Pyke
Sandwich Tern – Alan Crockard

It may seem strange, but the biggest news of the day concerns Green Woodpecker. Once commonplace all around the area, they have not been recorded for a couple of years at least – so one at Hengistbury this morning was a nice return. On the converse, we may have said goodbye to the Glossy Ibis, at that was seen to head high to the west around the same time. Since the presumed demise of the wintering Spotted Redshank, after around sixteen seasons, a bird in partial breeding plumage in Stanpit Creek was good to see, along with a Ruff, 3 Grey Plover, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, 55 Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin; while the site-wide total for Whimbrel was 35 birds, fifteen of them passing at sea. Also over the water, an Arctic Skua, 4 Fulmar, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Common Gull, all east, plus a second-calendar-year Little Gull that came in from the Solent. Meanwhile, a Yellow-legged Gull, also a 2cy, was harrying Sandwich Tern over the river. Onto passing raptors, which involved a Hobby drifting west over Wick and 2 Red Kite over Stanpit village. A Whinchat on Wick Hams was the first for the year, with other travelling passerines including a female Redstart on the Long Field, around 15 Willow Warbler, 9 Wheatear and a Redpoll. To wrap it up: the Brent Goose, 2 Wigeon and 4 Gadwall remain; 3 Bullfinch were on Wick; and 10 Mediterranean Gull were logged. 

April 21st

Jay – Matthew Barfield
Shelduck – Paul Turton
Comma – Joy Aubin
...and a dense shoal of mullet under the Bailey Bridge – Clinton Whale

Despite it being overall very quiet, there were snippets of interest this morning. For a short while, the Stunted Oaks hosted three female Redstart, but these were almost immediately replaced by two male birds. Also brief in their stay were a Ring Ouzel and a Tree Pipit, although a Grasshopper Warbler on the Long Field was around slightly longer. Otherwise, it’s just a White Wagtail on North Marsh, 3 Yellow Wagtail, at least 10 Wheatear and two newly arrived Sedge Warbler to mention. Stanpit held a good wader selection, headed by a Curlew Sandpiper in almost complete breeding plumage, as well as: a fly-over Little Ringed Plover, a Ruff, a Common Sandpiper, a Greenshank, 4 Grey Plover, 8 Whimbrel, 18 Bar-tailed Godwit, a reduction of Black-tailed Godwit to sixty-five and around 20 Dunlin. Terns have been sparse so far, so a single Little Tern and 2 Common Tern on the marsh were nice, where 2 Shoveler, 4 Wigeon, a Gadwall and the Brent Goose were present; with 6 Shelduck passing east at sea. 

April 20th

Ring Ouzel – Leo Pyke
Yellow Wagtail – David Faulkner
Whimbrel – Clinton Whale
...and one of the lingering–on–the-saltmarsh Rock Pipit - Ray Scott

It was a glorious day of sunshine that saw a Ring Ouzel in the Bobolink Field, a Wood Warbler in the Stunted Oaks, a couple each of Garden Warbler and Yellow Wagtail, and around 45 Willow Warbler across Hengistbury and Wick. Meanwhile, Wheatear numbers were really difficult to gauge – a peak of twenty-two on the Barn Field this morning soon dropped to ten, but by this evening had risen to thirteen; but with other birds dotted around, and I know the record-keepers like a number, let’s say fifty for the day. To finish on the passerines, it was reckoned there were a lot more Whitethroat around today, while a Bullfinch sang on Wick. Also incoming, a House Martin over; with the only other news involving up to 5 Whimbrel and still a 50-strong flock of Linnet at Stanpit, where four Rock Pipit still linger. 

April 19th

Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale
Turnstone – Gary Foyle
Pied Wagtail – Mark Taylor
Greenfinch – Gary Foyle

The biggest surprise of a morning seawatch was a Green Sandpiper in-off over the Gully; with eighteen settled Common Scoter, around 20 Mediterranean Gull, mainly west, and a single Curlew east being the only other records of note from that particular activity. Meanwhile, three Yellow Wagtail which over-flew Hengistbury may have been those settled on South Marsh this evening, along with a White Wagtail there. Other passerines this morning included: a Sedge Warbler in song along Roebury Lane; around 30 Willow Warbler; and an increase to around thirteen, singing Whitethroat. As is often the case, the peak Wheatear count on the Barn Field came late in the day, when five were present. Before moving to the waders at Stanpit, there were 15 Purple Sandpiper and 24 Turnstone on the sandspit. Now the marsh: this evening, there were at least 2 Grey Plover, 7 Whimbrel and 10 Bar-tailed Godwit – some of these dropping from out of the clear, blue sky after a day of travelling – as well as a Dunlin and around the same number of Black-tailed Godwit as yesterday. Around the same time, a further 9 Whimbrel passed at sea, along with 4 Brent Goose, 2 Common gull and 2 Shelduck. To finish: the lone Brent Goose was again inside the harbour; a Buzzard was low around Hengistbury; and a pair of Bullfinch were on Wick. 

April 18th

Pheasant – Clinton Whale

At Stanpit, on a glorious afternoon of sunshine, there were more suggestions of the to-the-Arctic wader passage getting underway. A flock of 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Whimbrel and a Grey Plover that dropped suddenly out of the sky was a real treat, and joined thirteen of the godwits and six of the plover already using the area. In addition, the Dunlin crept up to 15 birds, the Ruff was present and the lingering Black-tailed Godwit numbered 145. The Wigeon are now down to only two – both drakes – while the Brent Goose also remains and there were 3 Gadwall about. Earlier, the passerines were again passing us by, or more likely over, in the settled conditions – just 30 Willow Warbler, a Yellow Wagtail and 2 Wheatear returned from across the site.

Omission: a Great White Egret was at Stanpit in the morning.

April 17th

Although it was largely quiet this morning, there were 3 Redstart on Hengistbury, as well as around 30 Willow Warbler and 8 Wheatear. Meanwhile five each of Reed Warbler and Whitethroat now seem to have set-up territories about the place, all to be expected; but a Dartford Warbler in the Bobolink Field less so. Waders at Stanpit included: a Little Ringed Plover, a Greenshank, the Ruff, 6 Grey Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and 13 Dunlin; while a Snipe was on the Salt Hurns. Also still about, the Brent Goose and 3 Gadwall; with calls of Mediterranean Gull an almost constant feature of the soundscape, but eight being the only attempt to put a number on them. 

April 16th

Ruff in Holloway's Dock – Clinton Whale
Reed Warbler on Priory Marsh – Alan Crockard
Blackcap – Clinton Whale
... and a Turnstone acquiring some breeding plumage – Clinton Whale

All of a sudden, there are Reed Warbler seemingly on territory. After being none yesterday, there were perhaps six singing away today in the Stanpit reedbeds. Otherwise, it was fairly quiet for passerines, although the cattle on the Old Pitch and Putt Course did briefly pull-in a Yellow Wagtail and a White Wagtail, with other settled birds including around half a dozen each of Willow Warbler and Wheatear; while a Tree Pipit and 45 Linnet passed over. Mid-April traditionally sees the start of the wader passage – up to twelve Bar-tailed Godwit, most in breeding plumage and 4 Grey Plover, plus 5 Dunlin and 23 Turnstone also starting to look good – suggesting it may be just starting. Meanwhile the Ruff was still about, as were 2 Purple Sandpiper and 162 Black-tailed Godwit. Unsurprisingly in the wind conditions, the sea was again a desert – just a Common Scoter, a second-calendar-year Common Gull and a Shag to mention. The day-total for Mediterranean Gull is around twenty-five, but all rather aimless in their intent; the Glossy Ibis performed well at Stanpit; the lone Brent Goose was present; 4 Gadwall were in Barn Bight; a pair of Bullfinch were along Roebury Lane and a Buzzard passed over there. 

April 15th

There were far fewer migrant passerines around today – for example, just 4 Willow Warbler – along with a male Redstart, that in the Bobolink Field, and 2 Wheatear; plus overflying Yellow Wagtail and Linnet numbering two and around sixty respectively. Despite this, at least 5 Whitethroat have suddenly appeared on territory – an increase from yesterday’s one. A Ruff at Stanpit this afternoon was the best of the waders, but the passing Whimbrel numbers are gathering pace with thirteen being the day-total, and the lingering Purple Sandpiper numbered four. In addition, over 150 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Dunlin were on site. The sea was again very quiet – the best a Great Northern Diver and 12 Common Scoter east. A return of just 2 Mediterranean Gull makes one wonder if the passage went through early this year and a pair of Bullfinch were on Roebury Lane. 

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