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Sightings for Month: May 2022

May 31st

Rock Pipit – Peter Boardman

Large Red Damselfly at the Lily Pond – Peter Boardman

…and Fox in Holloway’s Dock – Peter Boardman

A Roseate Tern put in a brief appearance at Stanpit this morning, as did two second-calendar-year Little Gull. Equally transient through the marsh were: an Avocet, a Knot, 30 Back-tailed Godwit and 30 Dunlin. Meanwhile, a Cattle Egret headed south over Wick Fields. As is now the norm, both the Cuckoo and the Lesser Whitethroat were in song around the fields

May 30th

To quote a recent BBC weather forecast, ‘it’s still disappointingly cold for the time of year;’ today thanks to a brisk, westerly breeze. Nonetheless, there were some fly-over surprises: firstly, a couple of Glossy Ibis passed north at 07:40; then, late in the afternoon, two parties of calling Mediterranean Gull – four and two – headed very purposely east, which is strange for the date, when it would be more likely to encounter birds returning from the breeding areas rather than travelling to them. The tail-end of the wader passage saw 3 Grey Plover and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit taking a break from their journey to the Arctic; while a Curlew and 8 Lapwing have probably tried-but-failed more locally. Meanwhile, the Cuckoo sang throughout from the reeds on the western side of the River.

May 29th

Once again, all the news comes from Wick – where, today, a Hobby soared over high – with the Cuckoo and Lesser Whitethroat being as per yesterday.

May 28th

The day’s only news comes from Wick, where the Cuckoo was about and the Lesser Whitethroat continues to sing on the Driving Range.

May 27th

Hairy Dragonfly – Peter Boardman

Other than the regular Cuckoo, the only news for the day is of a female-type Golden Oriole that came up from the Riversmeet Meadow embankment and headed towards the Priory.

May 26th

Despite the fact that June is almost upon us, it would seem a few birds are still tricking in – the traditional Whitethroat territory adjacent to the Pod being occupied for the first time this season today. Meanwhile, the Cuckoo continues to entertain; but the only other interest came from 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Lapwing around Stanpit Bight.

May 25th

Reed Warbler – Peter Boardman

The sea was given a watch this morning, when: a Great Northern Diver passed west and a Fulmar, 2 Common Tern, 50 Sandwich Tern and 45 Gannet were offshore; while a mixed wader flock of 15 Sanderling, a Dunlin and a Turnstone passed. Other waders included: a Common Sandpiper on the sandspit, a Whimbrel in-off over Mudeford Quay that was later seen at Stanpit and a lone Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock. To finish with the birds, at least 3 Mediterranean Gull were about, as was the Cuckoo, and the Brent Goose remained. Of mammal interest, a Grey Seal was in the Run.

May 24th

Lapwing and Mute Swan – Susie Dalby

The Cuckoo was all over the place throughout the day, but Stanpit probably gives the best chance of encountering him. Also on the marsh, unseasonable singles of Brent Goose and Curlew; while, more expectedly, the Lesser Whitethroat continues to sing around the Driving Range. Of breeding interest, a brood of Water Rail was recently camera-trapped and there is one, but possibly two, female Oystercatcher currently sitting on on the marsh.

May 23rd

Whitethroat – Ian Julian

Fox and cubs – Ian Julian

The incoming migration season is starting to peter-out, although a Turtle Dove did head north over the area today and 12 Dunlin were at Stanpit. What is presumed to be the same Cuckoo was seen on Wick Meadows and Grimmery Bank, while a Lesser Whitethroat was at the non-tee end of the Driving Range.

May 22nd

The only reports received on another quiet day are of a Knot opposite Fisherman’s Bank, the Lesser Whitethroat still at the Solent Meads driving range, and a Spotted Flycatcher by Wick Wooden Bridge.

May 21st

On a quiet morning at Stanpit, 3 Gadwall, three adult Mediterranean Gull and two each of Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin were recorded, along with a Wheatear on Crouch Hill. At Hengistbury, the CHOG Outdoor Meeting group saw a pair of Dartford Warbler feeding three young at the edge of Long Field, and an adult Fox with three cubs on Barn Field. Earlier, three first-summer Mediterranean Gull went over, heading north-east. From Fisherman’s Bank, a Curlew, 13 Shelduck and 5 Egyptian Geese were logged; while from Mudeford Quay, 2 Little Tern, 45 Sandwich Tern and 6 Common Tern were noted inside the Harbour. Elsewhere, 2 Lesser Whitethroat were reported – one from the golf driving range at Wick and another beside the Visitor Centre at Stanpit.

May 20th

One of two male Common Blue butterflies along the track beside Hengistbury Head Centre – Peter Boardman

On a blustery and initially wet day, the only non-lepidopteran news is of a Cuckoo late evening that flew towards Wick and a Weasel near the Visitor Centre at Hengistbury.

May 19th

Painted Lady at Wick Water Meadows – Peter Boardman

An early Small Heath beside the Long Field at Hengistbury – Peter Boardman

A Wood Sandpiper flew over the Harbour early this morning. Also returned from Hengistbury: 15 Egyptian Geese in the Harbour, 24 Dunlin, 4 Sanderling, a late Purple Sandpiper on the Sandspit groynes, a Little Gull on the sea, 26 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Willow Warbler and 2 Spotted Flycatcher. While from Stanpit on this morning’s rising tide there were 20 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Ringed Plover and 6 Dunlin logged, along with 2 Wheatear on Crouch Hill.

May 18th

Lesser Whitethroat at Wick – Peter Boardman

Whitethroat at Hengistbury – Mark Taylor

Wheatear at Stanpit – Leo Pyke

It was quite a cloudy start to the day, with increasing sunny spells as the morning went on, and a fairly stiff southerly breeze. Cloud increased again during the afternoon. At Stanpit, the first local Little Stint of the year was in a flock of small waders that circuited the harbour but probably did not land, and 2 Avocet headed east. Other waders coming and going through the Harbour included 4 Ringed Plover, 6 Grey Plover, 59 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Sanderling, 89 Dunlin, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Curlew and singles of Greenshank and Turnstone. Meanwhile, a total of 96 Mediterranean Gull flew east – all adults, which should be on their breeding grounds. Two Little Tern were briefly off the tip of South Marsh, 2 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill and 2 Hobby were logged. The only news from Hengistbury was of a Red-throated Diver and an immature Kittiwake off the Beach Huts, while a distant unidentified diver was on the sea off Mudeford Quay.

May 17th

A section of the gull flock off Hengistbury – Leo Pyke

Green Hairstreak at Hengistbury – Peter Boardman

Grass Snake at Quarry Pond, Hengistbury – Jackie Smith

The day was mainly bright and quite sunny, until showers arrived early evening, with a light south-easterly breeze. An Arctic Skua seen from Mudeford Quay harassing a couple of gulls was the sea highlight of the morning and caused havoc in the mixed feeding flock off Hengistbury. There were an estimated 1,500 birds today – mainly Herring Gull with about 15% Black-headed Gull. Also from the headland, a Little Gull, 150 Sandwich Tern and 75 Common Tern were noted in the feeding flock, while an eastbound Fulmar avoided the crowd. Going in the same direction was a Red-throated Diver and two of the 3 Great Northern Diver seen today, while 30 Common Scoter flew west. At Stanpit, there was a good selection of waders passing through the Harbour, generally to the east, including 7 Whimbrel, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 42 Black-tailed Godwit, singles of Knot and Grey Plover, 14 Ringed Plover, 62 Dunlin and 2 Sanderling, with another eight of the latter on Mudeford Sandspit. Mediterranean Gull moving overhead totalled 33, while the northerly movement of Swallow and House Martin was just 55 and nine respectively. Migrant arrivals were limited to singles of Spotted Flycatcher and Yellow Wagtail at Stanpit, 2 Wheatear on Crouch Hill, at least one, possibly two, Whinchat at Hengistbury, and a Cuckoo that flew from Wick towards Stanpit. Finally, a Red Kite was seen from Stanpit, and 3 Buzzard were soaring just north of the area.

May 16th

The morning was warm and humid after overnight thunderstorms. Though the threat of rain remained, the overcast conditions eventually cleared a little to give some brighter spells. With the light south-westerly wind, the sea was watched again from both Hengistbury and Mudeford Quay. The unseasonal feeding flock of gulls and terns was still off Hengistbury, with today’s mix including 350 Sandwich Tern and 75 Common Tern. The flock also attracted 2 Little Gull and a Kittiwake, while a Little Tern put in a brief appearance at Mudeford Quay. A total of 38 Common Scoter was noted, all but nine heading east, together with a late Brent Goose flying into the Harbour and two unidentified Auk moving east. Waders included 6 Sanderling west, 3 Turnstone on the Sandspit groynes and 17 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock, while a further three arrived over Mudeford Quay, where 5 Dunlin and 2 Ringed Plover were also logged.

May 15th

Skylark – Peter Boardman

Persistent showers during much of the morning probably resulted in lower observer coverage of the area today but, before the rain really set in, a visit to Stanpit produced the Harbour’s second Wood Warbler of the spring in Ashtree Meadow. Also seen there were a Willow Warbler and 2 Spotted Flycatcher, with a further two of the latter in North Scrubs, as well as 4 Wheatear on Crouch Hill and 2 Yellow Wagtail over the Marsh. A few waders headed east through the Harbour, including 17 Sanderling, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Whimbrel. Meanwhile, sea watches from Hengistbury and Mudeford Quay proved disappointing in view of the easterly wind. The mixed feeding flock of gulls and terns off Hengistbury contained at least 150 Sandwich Tern and 25 Common Tern, with 15-20 Gannet also lingering offshore; 3 Fulmar flew west and 39 Common Scoter moved mainly in the opposite direction. Waders were represented by 25 Dunlin and 5 Sanderling, which moved along the Sandspit, while a lone Whimbrel headed east. This evening, 2 Grey Plover were on the HHC mudbar, one of which was in summer plumage, as was the single Knot in the same location. On the inner Harbour shore, viewed from the Quay, were another 2 Knot, 5 Sanderling, 45 Dunlin and 8 Ringed Plover.

May 14th

It looks like there is another Oystercatcher breeding attempt underway – Scott Usher

 

…and on the same theme, the Peregrine are still busy around the Priory – Roger Tidball

The only news from a quiet day is of a Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Willow Warbler in the Stunted Oaks, plus 3 Wheatear on the Barn Field.

May 13th

Spotted Flycatcher – Leo Pyke

Dunlin – Peter Boardman

Female Orange-tip butterfly – Peter Boardman

There was a definite arrival of Spotted Flycatcher overnight – somewhere between 11 and 20 being across Hengistbury and Wick – with, as is often the case, the Stunted Oaks being the place to be. Also, a female Whinchat in the fenced area on the Sandspit and 9 Wheatear spread about. Meanwhile, overhead, 6 House Martin, 15 Swallow, 3 Swift and 2 Siskin passed through. A couple of Little Tern were nice to see – one at Stanpit, the other from the Beach Huts – with other bits and pieces at sea coming from: a breeding-plumaged Great Northern Diver, 4 Common Scoter west and 18 Gannet. Now the site-wide wader estimate: 6 Sanderling, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a minimum of 127 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover and at least 60 Dunlin. The rest comes from a pair of Firecrest in the Wood and a greatly reduced number of 5 Gadwall at Stanpit.

May 12th

Sedge Warbler – Peter Boardman

Four Spotted Flycatcher were seen this morning – three on Wick and one on the Batters – plus a couple of Wheatear on Solent Meads golf course. Meanwhile, 4 House Martin, always a nice bird to seen in the recording area in Spring, and 7 Swift passed over. Othewise, it’s just 100 Black-tailed Godwit and 6 Dunlin in Holloway’s Dock to report upon.

May 11th

Goldfinch – Clinton Whale

The day started well with a Pomarine Skua from Mudeford Quay at just after 7:00, with the second-calendar-year Little Gull also seen from there. Slightly later, from the Beach Huts, the following were logged: 2 Red-throated Diver east, 2 Kittiwake and 7 Common Scoter east, a second-calendar-year Mediterranean Gull, 3 Fulmar, 25 Gannet, 6 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill, 12 auk spp., 3 Swift and 8 Swallow. Meanwhile, although the feeding-flock seems to be diminishing, it still attracted 35 Common Tern and 45 Sandwich Tern. A couple of Spotted Flycatcher were in the Wood, with at least 9 Wheatear on the Hengistbury side of the area. The pick of the waders was 19 Sanderling along the Beach, plus one inside the harbour, as were a lone Ringed Plover, 38 Dunlin and a Turnstone. The rest of the news for the family comes from the ever-improving Holloway’s Dock that today hosted: a Greenshank, a Whimbrel and 104 Black-tailed Godwit. To conclude, the Wigeon was again at Stanpit.

May 10th

In a brisk south-westerly, a couple of Wood Sandpiper came-in over Mudeford Quay during the morning, when the sea off Hengistbury produced: 2 Manx Shearwater east, second-calendar-years of Little Gull and Kittiwake, around 100 Common Tern in the feeding flock, a Great Northern Diver west, 63 Common Scoter up-channel, 2 Fulmar, 3 Guillemot, a Razorbill and thirteen unidentified auks; as well as 32 Sanderling west and nine inbound Swift. Later on, an Arctic Tern was seen from Mudeford Quay. The tail-end of the passerine migration offered a Grasshopper Warbler in the Nursery, along with singles of Spotted Flycatcher and Willow Warbler in the Stunted Oaks. Holloway’s Dock peaked at 128 Black-tailed Godwit, plus 2 Whimbrel and 35 Dunlin; with a couple of Bar-tailed Godwit at Stanpit, where a Brent Goose was present.

May 9th

Once every fifteen years or so, there is the dream alignment of early-May, south-easterly wind, but more crucially, a source of Pomarine Skua – a fine total twenty-four, including two of the scarcer and much-sought-after, dark-phase birds – seen from Hengistbury this morning. The show started at 07:50, when two came through, then continued at around 08:15 with the two dark birds in a flock of eight; then further un-timed records of 7, 4, 1 and 2 – the watch finishing at 10:50. That wasn’t all, however, as 2 Arctic Skua plus singles of Roseate Tern and Arctic Tern also headed towards the Solent; while around 175 Common Tern lingered in the feeding-flock. On a normal day, the remaining list would have been considered reasonable for the area – a non-adult Little Gull, a Great Northern Diver, a Fulmar, 13 Common Scoter, 2 Guillemot, a Razorbill and 5 Brent Goose, mostly east, as well as ten, arriving Swift. Now the rest of the news. A Sanderling, a Grey Plover, a Whimbrel, 27 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Ringed Plover and 11 Dunlin were across the harbour, and a couple of in-flight Spotted Flycatcher passed over Hengistbury.

May 8th

Early on, about Hengistbury, there was an unseasonable Golden Plover, 2 Little Ringed Plover and 3 Grey Plover, plus a Spotted Flycatcher. Offshore, in the feeding flock, Common Tern significantly outnumbered Sandwich Tern – 100:20, which is nowadays notable – with other birds over the water including: a Common Gull west; 4 Shelduck east; 4 Mediterranean Gull, two in either direction; and a Common Sandpiper. Meanwhile, a Garden Warbler sang somewhere on the head, as did a Willow Warbler on the Batters; with 2 Swift incoming. Inside the harbour, there was a breeding-plumaged Grey Plover – is there a smarter wader? – with some Bar-tailed Godwit on South Marsh, a drake Wigeon and 18 Gadwall. To finish with the birds, a Water Rail was showing well from the Viewing Platform. Finally, thanks to those who made an early start this morning and came along to either the CHOG Warbler Workshop on Wick or the BCP-CHOG guided walk around Hengistbury.

May 7th

The only news received for the day is of a second-calendar-year Little Gull again inside the harbour – resting on the Flats during the morning low – and 8 Wheatear, four each on the Barn Field and Crouch Hill.

May 6th

Adult Little Gull, alongside a Black-headed Gull, showing just how diminutive it is – Adrian Simmons

The female Peregrine – Paul Turton

…and Skylark at dawn – Susie Dalby

In addition to the photographed, adult Little Gull on the HHC mudbar, there was a second-calendar-year bird present there. Otherwise, there is little to report: a total of 6 Wheatear were on the Hengistbury side of the area; while 2 Whimbrel, 5 Ringed Plover and Dunlin passed east, a further 6 Ringed Plover were inside the harbour and a Great Crested Grebe was on the sea.

May 5th

A perhaps, mid-Atlantic Wheatear – Jackie Smith

Great Spotted Woodpecker – Roger Tidball

Dunlin in full breeding attire – Clinton Whale

…and Brent Goose – Jackie Smith

On a warm and sunny day, a nailed-on leucorhoa Wheatear was one of five birds on the Long Field this morning, with the photographed individual on Stanpit making a day-total of six. Late in the day, an equally late Purple Sandpiper was seen from Mudeford Quay, as well as 3 Sanderling, a Common Sandpiper and 4 Dunlin. Earlier, 3 Ringed Plover had also been on the sandspit. Holloway’s Dock, meanwhile, now securely fenced, continues to hold waders, including: 3 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 97 Black-tailed Godwit – an additional 24 ‘barwits’ circuited the area and a Whimbrel was at Stanpit. Offshore, a Red-throated Diver heard west, while around 20 Common Tern were in the feeding-flock and 11 Common Scoter were logged. Back to the land and four, tardy Willow Warbler were around; a Bullfinch was in the interesting location of the Stunted Oaks and a Firecrest was nearby; the Garden Warbler is still hopeful in the Nursery – likewise, the Stanpit Lesser Whitethroat, although there is a rumour of a second bird now there; and, to finish, an unexpected Brent Goose was on East Marsh.

May 4th

Bottlenose Dolphin – Peter Boardman

Green-veined White – Peter Boardman

Other than Wheatear, which numbered as many twenty-five, migrant passerines were largely sparse; although, there was a nice bit of variety. A Cuckoo was about the Salt Hurns; a male Yellow Wagtail briefly settled on Crouch Hill, with a further coming in-off; a male Whinchat was on the Barn Field; a male Redstart was on the Batters; four, transient Lesser Whitethroat were about; Willow Warbler were logged at five birds; and 5 Siskin head south along the sandspit. Meanwhile, the incumbent Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler remain, and a Firecrest was in the Wood. Early on, a Spoonbill headed east over Wick, while an Avocet was at Stanpit, along with a Knot, 45 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Whimbrel and a single Dunlin. Elsewhere, a Sanderling was at Whitepits, 2 Common Sandpiper were on the sandspit, Holloway’s Dock held 86 Black-tailed Godwit, plus a further 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, and 2 Curlew were in Barn Bight. To round-up: at least 40 Common Tern were seen offshore; a couple of Mediterranean Gull and 2 Common Scoter passed east; the drake Wigeon was with 13 Gadwall; 3 Bullfinch were on Wick, including two by the Viewing Platform; and 2 Peregrine patrolled over the Wood. Of mammal interest, a pod of Bottlenose Dolphin were off the sandspit mid-morning.

May 3rd

Greenfinch – Clinton Whale

A still day saw, by contemporary standards, a reasonable presence of Common Tern. Seventeen joined the offshore feeding flock, while up to nine rested on buoys inside the harbour. Once again, there was a reasonable number of Bar-tailed Godwit about – a minimum of forty-eight birds – as well as 58 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper, a passing-at-sea Sanderling, 3 Ringed Plover, 14 Dunlin and 2 Curlew – the latter always a good record in May. In-transit passerines were few – actually, just a Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Willow Warbler and a Wheatear on Hengistbury – the Crouch Hill Lesser Whitethroat remains, however. To finish, a drake Wigeon in Stanpit Bight was something of a surprise.

May 2nd

Three Sanderling with a Ringed Plover – Peter Boardman

Wheatear – Chris Chapleo

Again, starting with the offshore gull flock, which this morning attracted cameos of Black Tern and 2 Kittiwake, as well as a longer-staying, second-calendar-year Little Gull. Another decent record is of 2 Garden Warbler singing in the Nursery – presumably the incumbent and a passing bird; with other best-bit passerines coming from a Whinchat on Central Marsh, the Crouch Hill Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Wheatear. Turning to the waders, a Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, a Grey Plover, a good total of 60 Bar-tailed Godwit and 12 Dunlin were at Stanpit, with 3 Sanderling and a Ringed Plover on the sandspit, and a Whimbrel in Holloway’s Dock. The only other news concerns a Peregrine, probably from the Priory, over Wick.

May 1st

Lesser Whitethroat were again around, including the singing bird on Crouch Hill that has been there a week now – Matthew Barfield (upper) & Chris Chapleo

Jay – Leo Pyke

The large, offshore feeding-flock of gulls briefly hosted a Little Gull this morning, as well as 7 Common Tern and around 30 Sandwich Tern. Meanwhile, the Lesser Whitethroat continues to hold territory on Crouch Hill; with transient migrants including a further Lesser Whitethroat and a Spotted Flycatcher on Wick, and just over 30 Swallow. Wader-wise, there is little to report, save for: 2 Common Sandpiper on the Long Groyne; a Greenshank and several Whimbrel at Stanpit; and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 38 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock. To round-up, a female Marsh Harrier passed through to the north.

Publications

We have a number of publications available including the current edition of Birds of Christchurch Harbour

Also, back issues from previous years and other goodies.

Publications

We have a number of publications available including the current edition of Birds of Christchurch Harbour

Also, back issues from previous years and other goodies.