To make a change, the sea was looked at this morning – from both Double Dykes and the Beach Huts – with the aggregate totals coming to: an Arctic Skua, a Little Tern, 52 Common Tern, 60 Sandwich Tern, a datewise-nice record of Common Gull, 12 Mediterranean Gull, a Fulmar, 13 Common Scoter and 32 Gannet, either lingering or eastbound. Meanwhile, travelling waders over the water came to 38 Sanderling, 36 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin and 3 Turnstone. Additionally, in or about the harbour, there were at least 10 Sanderling, 3 Grey Plover, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, 5 Redshank and 4 Turnstone; plus, three resting Common Tern and 5 Gadwall. The male Cuckoo was again about and the Buzzard was, as ever, on Wick.
The cloudless skies and north-easterly breeze continue, and seem set to do so for another ten days at least. This morning, a couple of Black Tern were seen heading north, from Riversmeet Meadow, while the Garden Warbler was in the Nursery and the Buzzard remained on Wick. Throughout the day, the singing Cuckoo was both sides of the river, but seeming to favour the North Scrubs. Waders on the afternoon low at Stanpit included: 2 Grey Plover, a Dunlin and 6 Redshank; along with 4 Shoveler loafing in the bight – an adult pair and two 2cy drakes.
The only bird news is of the Garden Warbler again in the North Scrubs, the Cuckoo ranging, and the Buzzard on Wick. Moving to odonata and it seems demoiselles may be edging into the area. During the last couple of weeks, more-than-average numbers of Banded Demoiselle have been recorded at Stanpit, while the photographed Beautiful Demoiselle is now our third record – the first in 2018 and two this season.
A Hooded Crow was on Blackberry Point this morning – it’s been many years since the last record and the resulting hybridisation with Carrion Crow gave rise to several generations of ‘showing-characteristics-of’ birds. Meanwhile, Garden Warbler in the North Scrubs was also a nice find for the date. The day-list of waders includes: 3 Grey Plover, 2 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, up to 30 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin, all at Stanpit; where 3 Shoveler were present and a Peregrine could be seen on the Priory.
Breeding-plumaged Grey Plover were again on show at Stanpit – four of a total of five looking very smart indeed. Meanwhile, other waders included six each of Sanderling and Ringed Plover in or around the fenced area on the sandspit, plus 2 Sanderling, 12 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin and a Redshank inside the harbour. Shoveler again put on a show – at one time, eight were in Stanpit Bight of which four were seen to leave – with a drake Gadwall also there and a pair of Shelduck with just one remaining duckling, from an initially observed seven, in Stanpit Creek. To finish, the Cuckoo on Buzzard were on Wick, as was a Willow Warbler.
A Corn Bunting put in a typically cameo performance early this morning – a brief burst of song by the HHC and then a disappearance towards Wick. Meanwhile, late-arriving, migrant passerines included: 3 Spotted Flycatcher, plus singles of Whinchat, Yellow Wagtail and Willow Warbler, all on Hengistbury; where the Garden Warbler remains. The day saw a nice passage of high-north-bound waders stopping about the area, namely: 7 Grey Plover, 17 Sanderling, 3 Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 36 Ringed Plover and 18 Dunlin – many of them in breeding plumage, so a real treat. Also, a couple of Little Ringed Plover over the head and inland. Five Shoveler for the date were a bit of a surprise – three drakes in Stanpit Bight all day and two ducks elsewhere. Also a little noteworthy were 2 Mediterranean Gull over Wick, where the Buzzard was again present, while it or another was over Hengistbury around 11:00.
Other than a Spoonbill east over, seen from Hengistbury, all the day’s news comes from Stanpit, where there was again a nice selection of waders. The best perhaps a Greenshank and 2 Whimbrel, but supported by 12 Black-tailed Godwit to the west, 15 Ringed Plover and 8 Turnstone. Meanwhile, a Cattle Egret, 15 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Yellow Wagtail and 3 Wheatear headed generally north.
This morning, a Curlew Sandpiper flew around briefly at Stanpit, without appearing to stop; while 8 Sanderling, 3 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin were across the Flats and Blackberry Point. Otherwise, it’s just a Spotted Flycatcher on Wick, a Lesser Whitethroat by the HHC and the Garden Warbler in the Nursery to mention.
A few more Spotted Flycatcher moved through today – eleven over Wick, while one was settled in the Stunted Oaks. Also, a travelling Reed Warbler at the end of the head and the incumbent Garden Warbler in the Nursery. The tail end of what has been a quite poor wader passage produced some variety, however – nearly all from Stanpit – namely: a Little Stint, 2 Avocet, 3 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin and 3 Turnstone. To finish, the miscellany included: the Cuckoo again vocal; the resident Buzzard on Wick; a pair of Gadwall at Stanpit, along with the Brent Goose there; the pair of Peregrine around the Priory; an in-harbour count of 44 Sandwich Tern; a Fulmar just offshore; and two fledges of Stonechat on Hengistbury.
There was a significant arrival of Spotted Flycatcher this morning – at least ninety-five – the vast majority of them seen crossing the river from Wick towards the Priory; although some were settled on Wick Fields, around the Nursery and in the North Scrubs – the latter site also hosting a female Redstart, while there were 4 Willow Warbler on Wick. Incoming Swift were, likewise, conspicuous, 224 counted at Stanpit, along with 3 Hobby. Meanwhile, 10 Shelduck arrived and settled. Waders were few and far between, but did include, all around Stanpit Bight: a Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Ringed and a Lapwing; with the Brent Goose and 6 Mediterranean Gull also around that spot. To finish, the Cuckoo continues to sing about the place and, after seeing a significant status change in Jackdaw over the last decade, is it going the same way with Rook? At least two feeding on the exposed mud in Stanpit Bight.
A Black Kite passed north-west over Stanpit this morning, but there are no further details. Meanwhile, 5 Red Kite also went by and the Buzzard was again settled on Wick. This evening, a Common Sandpiper was a nice surprise at Stanpit, where there was also a couple of Dunlin.
With mostly clear skies overnight and much of the morning, combined with a fresh north-easterly wind, it was a relatively quiet day from a birding perspective. At Stanpit, the only new passerines reported were 2 Spotted Flycatcher, while three each of House Martin and Swift headed inland. A flock of 4 Whimbrel lingered on the marsh for a couple of hours, and singles of Grey Plover, Curlew, Greenshank and Redshank were also present, as was the Brent Goose. Two Red Kite were soaring distantly to the north. The only news from Hengistbury is of the Garden Warbler still in the Nursery.
The weather was on the change today. After a sunny start, the cloud increased during the morning and there were several, very localised, thundery showers during the afternoon. A Great White Egret flew upriver over Stanpit, and a Marsh Harrier was hunting over Wick reeds. There were very few waders around the marsh, but a flock of 7 Grey Plover landed for a while on the mud, with a further bird leaving the harbour to the east. Otherwise, 2 Greenshank lingered on the tip of South Marsh and a lone Dunlin headed west. There was a brief arrival of Swift, but the movement petered out almost as soon as it started and only amassed some 33 birds heading into the light north-easterly breeze. Summing up, 4 Egyptian Geese were about the Marsh, two of which left to the north, 6 Shelduck flew west out to sea, a Cuckoo was heard on Wick and a Peregrine was seen north of the harbour.
It was a little warmer today, with a light north-easterly breeze; early cloud soon cleared to give a sunny morning, before it gradually increased towards lunchtime. Passerine migrants at/over Stanpit included 3 Yellow Wagtail, a Tree Pipit and 2 Spotted Flycatcher – one in North Scrubs and the other in Ashtree Meadow, with a Wheatear on Crouch Hill and a Cuckoo noted later in the morning. Waders about the marsh were 2 Curlew, 6 Grey Plover, 8 Whimbrel, six of which left to the east, and the first Spotted Redshank of the year flew over but was not seen to land. Meanwhile, new wildfowl were represented by singles of Pochard, Shoveler and Teal, in addition to the long-staying Brent Goose. At least 35 Swallow arrived, as well as a few House Martin.
It was another sunny day, with variable amounts of cloud and a light northerly wind. Initially, it seemed to be quiet bird-wise, but the list of species accumulated by late morning was fairly reasonable. Again, most records were from Stanpit, where the highlights were an Arctic Tern flying north over the Recreation Ground and an Osprey that headed east over the harbour harried by gulls and corvids. It was another reasonable day for arriving Swift, with a total of 52 logged, together with 24 Swallow and a flock of 6 House Martin. Settled waders included a Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel and 3 Dunlin, whilst 2 Grey Plover in full summer plumage landed only briefly at Stanpit before heading over to Holloway’s Dock and then leaving to the east, as did 2 Black-tailed Godwit. Also present were 3 Tufted Duck, 3 Sanderling and a Ringed Plover, together with 3 Common Tern and a dozen Sandwich Tern. Two Spotted Flycatcher were seen – one in Ashtree Meadow at Stanpit, and the other around the stunted oaks at Hengistbury. Last, but by no means least, was the rare sighting of a Muntjac deer at Hengistbury just before dawn
There was plenty of sunshine today, with a cool, predominantly northerly wind that gradually increased in strength up to mid-morning, before weakening a little for the afternoon. Most of the news focused on Stanpit, where a Grasshopper Warbler was heard in Ashtree Meadow and 2 Yellow Wagtail were seen early on. It was the best day of the spring so far for Swift arriving over the Harbour, with a fairly modest total of 36 heading north, and an accompanying Hobby doing likewise. At least 5 Red Kite were seen in two groups, all but one drifting west. Very few waders were present, with just 8 Dunlin and 3 Whimbrel seen, while probable singles of Ringed Plover and Redshank were heard only. Eleven Sandwich Tern on the exposed mud were joined by a flock 43 flying in from the direction of the beach huts, presumably having been out at sea with the feeding gull flock that was again off the head. Finally, a Red-throated Diver went past Hengistbury offshore, and the Brent Goose was associating with six of its Canadian cousins on Stanpit.
It was another fine day, but with varying amounts of cloud;the moderate northerly breeze made for a chilly start to the early morning. Most of today’s news comes from Hengistbury, where a small arrival included a Turtle Dove which flew north towards Wick – the harbour’s first record of the spring of this nationally-declining species. There was also another Nightingale, this one near the HHC, singles of Whinchat and Spotted Flycatcher and 10 newly-arrived Blackcap on Barn and Long Fields. The flock of gulls was still off the Head but was not counted. Given the conditions, the sea was unsurprisingly quiet with just a few Sandwich Tern, a Common Scoter and several Razorbill, Guillemot and Gannet passing the Head. Finally, five Egyptian Geese flew over the harbour, the Brent Goose was still at Stanpit, and a Garden Warbler was at Wick
The weather was quite mixed today, with early morning mist eventually clearing into a lovely sunny morning, and the light north-westerly breeze was just enough to keep the midges at bay. However, a sea fret rolled in for a while during the afternoon; it lifted enough to not interfere with the afternoon CHOG walk, but it remained hazy. Starting at Stanpit, the first Wood Sandpiper of the year flew over, as did 2 Garganey and a Yellow Wagtail. Settled on the marsh during the day were 12 Whimbrel, 2 Grey Plover and a Dunlin, while 13 Bar-tailed Godwit appeared to arrive from the east and land on South Marsh. Also present were 2 Cuckoo on Speller’s Point, as well as the Brent Goose, 10 Sandwich Tern and one of the Priory Peregrine Falcon, which landed briefly on a mudbar. On the other side of the harbour, the gull flock off Hengistbury was somewhat reduced and only about 45 Sandwich Tern were logged, while 4 Sanderling flew east. The Garden Warbler and a pair of Bullfinch were around the wood.
It was quite a cloudy start to the day, but it gradually cleared to give a lovely sunny afternoon. The wind was again from the north-east, but didn’t prevent a few migrants at Stanpit, including 10 Blackcap, 6 Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler, a Garden Warbler and a Yellow Wagtail, all of which were in addition to birds already on territory there. The Brent Goose was still present, and a Red Kite was seen over Riversmeet Meadow. Waders were very thin on the ground, with just 3 Grey Plover and one each of Little Ringed Plover, Curlew, Dunlin and Redshank. At least 100 Sandwich Tern were inside the harbour, with a further 75 in the mixed feeding flock off Hengistbury, which seemed to have doubled to around 600 birds, but was still mainly comprised of Herring Gull. The flock did briefly attract a dark phase Arctic Skua that, after harrying several Sandwich Terns, headed off high to the south. An Eider flew east, as did 5 Common Tern, while a few Gannet fished aimlessly. Finally, there was a Spotted Flycatcher in the wood, a Wheatear on the Sandspit, the Garden Warbler still around the Nursery, and the first fledgling Stonechat were seen this afternoon.
It was a bright but fairly cloudy day, which remained dry apart from a light shower in the afternoon. The north-easterly breeze gradually increased as the day wore on. A Cattle Egret that flew from Hengistbury towards Stanpit was the first sighting of this species in the harbour for two weeks. The mixed feeding flock was still present off the headland and comprised some 300 gulls, mainly Herring, a total of 52 Sandwich Tern, with a further 81 inside the harbour, 8 Common Tern east and the occasional Gannet. A Great Northern Diver and 7 Common Scoter also headed east, while 7 Swift, 19 Swallow and a flock of 7 House Martin came in-off the sea, as did a single Wheatear. A Willow Warbler was in the Nursery, together with the ‘usual’ Garden Warbler, and the Cuckoo was still at Wick. There was a slightly better variety of waders at Stanpit than of late, including 14 Whimbrel, a Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Dunlin, while the lone Brent Goose was still present, together with a further Common Tern.
A dark-phase Arctic Skua spent a couple of hours in Christchurch Bay this morning, hassling the congregation of gulls and terns, before powering-off east. Meanwhile, the aforementioned gathering included: a 2cy Kittiwake, 12 Common Tern, 40 Sandwich Tern and around 250 Herring Gull. During the afternoon, a Yellow Wagtail overflew Stanpit and a Reed Warbler was new-in by the sea-scout hut; also, the Cuckoo again heard in song from the marsh, while the Garden Warbler remains in the Nursery. Save for a Sanderling at sea, the only waders in the area were Oystercatcher. To finish, some mammal news, involving a Weasel interacting with crows on Hengistbury.
On a day of mixed weather, singles of Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler were singing in non-breeding locations on Wick, so suggesting passing birds. Also about the fields, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Bullfinch. Stanpit, meanwhile, could muster just a single Whimbrel and 3 Dunlin – it really has, so far, been a poor spring wader passage – as well as 7 Shelduck.
It is with great sadness that we have to report on the passing of Jimmy Main. Jimmy was a real outdoors man and spent hours in and around the harbour, having a selection of secluded, self-constructed hides, from where he got some fantastic photos. A favourite being this Woodcock – still the only one ever photographed in the area.
Raptors were Jimmy’s passion, however, and he had lengthy vigils in the Avon Valley, where he took these fine images of Hobby and Hen Harrier. He will be sadly missed by those who knew him. In his memory, the formerly, colloquially named, ‘Jimmy’s Point’, has been added to the Interactive Map.
Despite a reasonable day of weather, there is little to report. Both the Garden Warbler and the Cuckoo continue to sing in their favoured spots of the Nursery and Wick Fields respectively. This afternoon, after a heavy sea fret had rolled in, a flock of 20 Dunlin plummeted into Stanpit; while the site hosted at least 4 Whimbrel and the Brent Goose.
Most of the news from a pretty damp day comes from the sea, where: a Little Tern, 4 Common Tern, a Red-throated Diver, at least 30 Common Scoter, 6 Whimbrel and 6 Shelduck were logged. Elsewhere, the Garden Warbler continued to sing in the Nursery and a Whimbrel was in Holloway’s Dock. Of mammal interest, a Grey Seal was lingering in the Run during the morning.
The only reports for the day is of two unseasonable individuals at Stanpit – a Brent Goose and a Curlew.
With rain dominating much of the day, the sea was the best option for the few whom ventured out. From the Beach Huts, the best was a breeding-plumaged Great Northern Diver east, but also 8 Common Scoter west, 2 Fulmar and fifty-five eastbound Gannet. Meanwhile, Mudeford Quay added a fly-by of 6 Eider and a 2cy Kittiwake. Later on, as it dried a little, a trip to Stanpit produced: a Yellow Wagtail over Crouch Hill; the Cuckoo singing over on Wick; and a Whimbrel.
For the third season in succession, a Garden Warbler is frequenting the Nursery and does make one wonder if breeding has been taking place? Likewise, a Cuckoo again around Wick Fields; where a Lesser Whitethroat was also logged. Naturally, the tern flock feeding off the south side of the area received a good deal of attention and, while not producing yesterday’s hoped-for, Transatlantic individual, did produce 11 Common Tern plus around 70 Sandwich Tern. The target was, however, in the mid-afternoon, seen heading back towards its Poole Harbour ‘home’, from a little west of the recording area, off East Cliff, so may have a developed a routine. Meanwhile, the waters off the Beach Huts produced: a Red-throated Diver, 2 Common Scoter and 2 Whimbrel, east; 2 Razorbill, 2 Ringed Plover and a Great Crested Grebe, west; and a patrolling Peregrine. To finish, a Red Kite passed south in the morning; and the only waders at Stanpit, during a favourable afternoon tide, were a Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin and the expected Oystercatcher – nothing more!
A fairly slow start to the day was considerably enlivened when the CHOG Chairman found a Forster’s Tern feeding in a mixed flock of terns off Double Dykes at Hengistbury. This is the first-ever record for the Group and is presumed to be the same bird as has been lingering around Poole Harbour for the last week or so. It showed very well for nearly an hour, which enabled a further three lucky observers to catch up with it before it appeared to fly off to the east at 09:55. However, it was reported back on Brownsea Island some three hours later, so it may well be worth checking any tern flocks off Hengistbury tomorrow. Weather-wise, it was a mixture of sunshine and variable cloud cover, with the occasional light shower. A Pomarine Skua headed into the moderate easterly/south-easterly wind, as did 2 Arctic Skuas later in the day. The mixed flock of terns lingered off Hengistbury between Double Dykes and the Long Groyne for most of the day and, at its height, held up to 110 Sandwich Tern and 14 Common Tern. Otherwise, the sea produced 12 Brent Goose, 11 Common Scoter, 55 Gannet, 1 Fulmar, a Razorbill, 4 Grey Plover, 9 Sanderling, 3 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin, all mostly east. Further sightings from Hengistbury included 3 Wheatear on Barn Field, 5 Willow Warbler, together with 7 Swift and about 20 Swallow arriving. At Stanpit, another 60 Sandwich Tern were roosting, with 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Grey Plover, 2 Knot and 4 Whimbrel were noted, together with a further Whimbrel arriving over the HHC. Finally, the Cuckoo was reported on both sides of the harbour.
It was a bright, pleasant day with some hazy high cloud, though the light easterly wind was quite cool. Today’s headliner is undoubtedly a Hoopoe, initially found on the edge of the Wood at Hengistbury before flying off towards Wick, where it was seen again heading towards Christchurch. This is the first record for several years. Also at Hengistbury, an Arctic Tern went west into the harbour over the beach huts, and a total of 113 Sandwich Tern were logged, including a feeding flock of 55 off the Long Groyne. A Hobby flew north over the beach huts, as did 2 Swift and 28 Swallow. Apart from a lone Wheatear, there seemed to be few newly arrived passerines. Wader totals from around the head were 9 Sanderling, 5 Dunlin and 3 Whimbrel. Finally, a Cuckoo is still on Wick, as was the regular Buzzard.
Overall, it was a mild and sunny day, though cloud increased for a while around late morning, before clearing later to give a lovely afternoon. The light wind was again rather variable in direction but was generally from the east, which produced a reasonable fall of passerine migrants at Hengistbury. The pick of these was an excellent count of 25 Garden Warbler, which is the best day count of this species for 20 years. Other arrivals, excluding birds already on territory, were 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 30 Blackcap, 5 Whinchat including 1 at Wick, 25 Whitethroat, 45 Willow Warbler and 2 Spotted Flycatcher – one on Wick this morning and a second individual at Hengistbury this afternoon. At least 40 Wheatear were on site, half of these seen arriving on the Sandspit groynes. Two Yellow Wagtail flew over, as did 75 Swallow and 6 Swift, while a Cuckoo was seen or heard on both sides of the harbour and a Hobby headed north over Wick. The sea received some attention and produced 142 Sandwich Tern – 87 moving east and 55 fishing aimlessly, as well as 5 Common Tern, a Red-throated Diver, 3 Gannet, 15 Common Scoter and a Whimbrel all heading east. Stanpit was relatively quiet, with 3 Whimbrel and singles of Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin in the Bight reported.
After a cloudy start, it gradually brightened into a pleasant, sunny day. The light breeze was variable in direction, but predominantly from the west, so migrants were few and far between. At Hengistbury, two of the 3 Lesser Whitethroat recorded were new arrivals, the third being the bird around the HHC which seems to be on territory. Also new-in were a Garden Warbler singing in the Nursery, 6 Willow Warbler in the Wood and 5 Wheatear on the Barn and Long Fields. A Cuckoo at Wick was probably the same individual as yesterday, and there was also a pair of Bullfinch along the central path, together with the now-resident Buzzard around the No Dogs Field, while 3 Mediterranean Gull and 2 Shelduck flew over. Four Whimbrel were in Holloway’s Dock at Hengistbury, but there was no sign of yesterday’s feeding flock of gulls and terns offshore, with just a dozen or so Sandwich Terns lingering and the occasional Gannet flying east.