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Sightings for Month: August 2022

August 14th

Common Darter – Peter Boardman

It was today confirmed that 6 Cattle Egret are roosting in the area and then spending the day in the Avon Valley; likewise, a Glossy Ibis. Two of yesterday’s Wood Sandpiper remained on Priory Marsh, while other waders included: 2 Green Sandpiper over, a Little Ringed Plover, an Avocet, 12 Common Sandpiper 3 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin and an in-harbour Turnstone. Transient passerines across the site were reckoned at: a Grasshopper Warbler on Riversmeet Meadow embankment, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, a Whinchat on Crouch Hill, 8 Wheatear, a Whitethroat and 15 Willow Warbler; plus singles of Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail and Grey Wagtail over. Rounding up: a couple of Wigeon passed through, with 22 Teal settled; 130 Sandwich Tern and 6 Common Tern were around Stanpit Bight; and Kingfisher were seen in Brewer’s Creek and Mother Siller’s Channel.


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August 13th

Glossy Ibis – Scott Usher

Two Cattle Egret and a Little Egret (right) – Scott Usher

Emperor Dragonfly – Peter Boardman

Kingfisher on the Bailey Bridge – two there this morning – Scott Usher

An easterly breeze kept the field temperatures certainly bearable, and there was a good bit of variety to be had. A Garganey was around the waters adjacent to South Marsh for a while; 3 Wood Sandpiper were seen very well on Priory Marsh this afternoon; and a Glossy Ibis and at least 5 Cattle Egret were about the area early on. Juvenile Mediterranean Gull have been passing east in numbers for the last day or two, but there are no actual figures to yet publish – also an adult lingering. Meanwhile, a Little Tern went over Crouch Hill and 5 Common Tern passed through to the west. Sedge Warbler were described as many, with other passerines, all at Stanpit, being reported as: a Whinchat, 3 Wheatear and a Willow Warbler. To wrap up: the only waders logged were 3 Whimbrel, 8 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Dunlin; up to 10 Water Rail were on show in Parky Meade Rail, when the tide was at its lowest; and 2 Kingfisher were zipping around the Bailey Bridge – currently the best spot on the site to catch-up with one.

August 12th

Juvenile Whinchat – Alan Crockard

What could hopefully become again ‘the’ Glossy Ibis was seen at Stanpit early in the morning, with a Wood Sandpiper over South Marsh. Crouch Hill hosted an impressive 6 Whinchat, as well as 2 Wheatear – a further three of the latter, plus a Spotted Flycatcher, being on Hengistbury and 8 Willow Warbler on Wick – along with 2 Yellow Wagtail over Central Marsh this evening. Also over the marsh, a couple of Little Tern, while a Black Tern was seen offshore from Double Dykes. Wader returns were low – 4 Whimbrel and 8 Dunlin, for example – and Kingfisher were seen both sides of the area. To finish, news just in of a Green Sandpiper briefly on North Marsh.

August 11th

Early in the morning, a Glossy Ibis and an Osprey passed over to the north; while, later, a Spotted Redshank dropped into South Marsh. There was some good passerine variety, if not quantity, including: a Pied Flycatcher, 2 Whinchat, 3 Wheatear, a Garden Warbler, 8 Yellow Wagtail and 15 Willow Warbler, all from Stanpit; with a French-ringed Sedge Warbler at Wick, from where 15 Swallow were the only hirundine return. The Stanpit Creek Little Tern were back numbering four – an adult and three juveniles, and two birds were later seen off Mudeford Quay; also six juvenile Mediterranean Gull about the place. Finishing, a couple of Common Sandpiper and 16 Dunlin were on the marsh.

August 10th

As the temperature continued to edge up, there was again a Little Tern presence in Stanpit Creek – today, an adult and two juveniles. The on-site waders included: a Little Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper, up to 10 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 19 Dunlin; while the only passerine news is of 9 Yellow Wagtail about the marsh – six over and three landing with the ponies on Central Marsh. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was around South Marsh late in the afternoon, with at least 20 Mediterranean Gull – all but three being juveniles – were logged earlier. To finish, a Buzzard was once again in the airspace and the Sandwich Tern estimate was fifty.

August 9th

Spotted Flycatcher on Hengistbury – Ray Scott

One of the hundred or so Sandwich Tern currently using the area – Alan Crockard

As we move towards some more exceptionally hot weather, it’s nice there is still water on Priory Marsh and the impending spring tides should hopefully add a bit more – two or three Red-eyed Damselfly on there this afternoon. Earlier, the migrant passerines were headed by a Spotted Flycatcher, a Garden Warbler and 3 Tree Pipit, those over; plus up to 20 Willow Warbler and 15 Blackcap. The best of the waders was an over-flying Green Sandpiper, with support coming from 5 Common Sandpiper, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit seen to arrive, a Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover and 34 Dunlin. To wrap up: an adult and two juvenile Mediterranean Gulls were logged; 3 Kingfisher were seen at the same time; and, for the second day on the run, 2 Buzzard were overhead.

August 8th

A Glossy Ibis flew north over the area in the early morning, while a Cattle Egret was on East Marsh at the start and end of the day. A Little Tern family – an adult and three juveniles – frequented Stanpit Creek throughout and a Roseate Tern passed west; with 2 Common Tern and over a hundred Sandwich Tern resting inside the harbour. Also on the mud, up to 10 Whimbrel, 6 Ringed Plover, 34 Dunlin and a Turnstone. Of the few passerines noted, a Wood Warbler was in Ashtree Meadow, a Lesser Whitethroat was by the HHC and around 10 Willow Warbler were on Wick.

Counts of Terns around Christchurch Harbour

As the harbour is part of the Solent Special Protection Area (SPA), which was primarily created for the benefit of Little, Common and Sandwich Terns, we are looking to closely monitor their numbers in the area over the autumn migration period. As such, any counts with locations and timings would be very welcome indeed.

August 7th

Around 17:00 tonight, a load of gulls and terns came up from East Marsh and headed purposefully to the north – perhaps sensing an ant-hatch – in the flock were a single Black Tern and 5 Little Tern. Around fifteen minutes later, 2 Little Tern – an adult and a juvenile – fished for a while in Stanpit Creek. Earlier in the day, an Avocet and 3 Greenshank, along with 6 Ringed Plover and 19 Dunlin, were around Stanpit Bight; where 8 Shoveler were also seen. Migrant passerines were fewer than yesterday – just modest numbers of the commoner species; around 10 Swallow passed through; and a couple of Kingfisher were about.

August 6th

Whinchat – Alan Crockard

Sedge Warbler – Scott Usher

All three egrets were logged today – in addition to the expected ‘little’, a Cattle Egret and 2 Great White Egret headed north. Meanwhile, 2 Black Tern were amongst 93 Common Tern and around 30 Mediterranean Gull, all but two of those juveniles, which passed west through the harbour. There were also outbound passerines around Stanpit – including a Whinchat, 300 Sedge Warbler and 30 Willow Warbler. Moving to waders, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 13 Dunlin 20 Ringed Plover and 5 Snipe were also about the marsh; and, to finish, a couple of Kingfisher was reckoned, as well as 7 Teal.

August 5th

Juvenile Ringed Plover – Alan Crockard

Small Red-eyed Damselfly on the pond in the garden of the HHVC – Jackie Smith

Painted Lady – Peter Boardman

…and the barge currently undertaking works off the Long Groyne – Peter Boardman

Again, there were over a hundred Sandwich Tern settled inside the harbour on the early morning low, with ‘dozens’ being stated as commuting to and from Mudeford Quay as the waters flooded. On Wick, there was the surprise of a Nuthatch in the No Dogs Field, while 3 Wheatear were around the quay – with a further on Priory Marsh – and 10 Willow Warbler were about the area. Waders at Stanpit continue to be sparse – the day’s best being 2 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 7 Dunlin. To finish: a couple of Mediterrean Gull were logged – one of them a juvenile moulting to first-winter plumage; adult and juvenile Peregrine were vocal high above the marsh; and various ant-hatches attracted Swift, Swallow and gulls.

August 4th

Clouded Yellow – Peter Boardman

Oak Eggar moth over Stanpit Bight – Jackie Smith

As the recent, westerly themed winds dropped, there were a lot of terns lingering around the area today – the best count being of 104 Sandwich Tern on the Flats, as well as 30 Common Tern either side of Mudeford Quay. Wader-wise, a Common Sandpiper preferred the scrape on the northern edge of Crouch Hill, while a Wood Sandpiper passed over Crouch Hill and a Little Ringed Plover, 6 Whimbrel and 2 Ringed Plover were also returned from Stanpit. Moving to passerines: 2 Grasshopper Warbler, a Garden Warbler, a Tree Pipit and a Wheatear were about the marsh, with 7 Willow Warbler on Wick. To finish, a Yellow-legged Gull of unspecified age was on Branders Bank and at least 15 Swift passed over.

August 3rd

Sleeping Black-headed Gull, adult and juvenile Sandwich Tern – Jackie Smith

A Roseate Tern cruised slowly west off Mudeford Quay at around 8:00 this morning, while an evening visit to Stanpit saw a Great White Egret head north. Otherwise, it was fairly quiet – a Common Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin and a Common Tern inside the harbour, with 2 Willow Warbler by the Wooden Bridge on Wick – being the only remaining interest.

August 2nd

Around 11:30 this morning, at least 60 Common Tern appeared at Stanpit before drifting off to the west. Meanwhile, an Avocet, an adult Grey Plover, a Common Sandpiper, 7 Whimbrel, 8 Dunlin and a Teal were also on the mud; with a Wheatear on Crouch Hill. In the late afternoon, one of the adult Peregrine, over the sandspit, twice attempted to pass a Turnstone to one of the juveniles; but each time the fortunate wader got away.

August 1st

Redshank – Alan Crockard

An early look from Mudeford Quay saw 23 Common Tern, 4 Sanderling and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit on the exposed sandbar, while a Wheatear was on the sandspit fence and 3 Gadwall landed on the sea. Later, Stanpit produced: 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Dunlin, at least 8 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover and a breeding-plumaged, fly-over Turnstone; as well as a flock of around 50 Linnet on South Marsh. The day-return of Mediterranean Gull was of four birds and, of butterfly interest, Clouded Yellow are now starting to be seen.


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.


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.