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Sightings for Month: July 2023

July 31st

A total of 11 Arctic Skua was logged from the Beach Huts this morning – at one point, there were six together, harrying the offshore gathering of 200+ Sandwich Tern, a Little Tern and 2 Common Tern. Also from the huts, singles of Balearic Shearwater and Manx Shearwater; while a juvenile Gannet was with a handful of adult birds – seen from the Barn Field. Later in the day, there were two 1cy Yellow-legged Gull on the HHC mudbar, when 7 Whimbrel left the area on the flooding tide; with other wader notables being one each of westbound Ringed Plover and Black-tailed Godwit, plus 5 Turnstone. Passerine interest came from a Pied Flycatcher by Holloway’s Dock and a Goldcrest by the HHC; a Hobby went over and Sparrowhawk breeding was confirmed on Wick; a couple of Tufted Duck arrived; and an approachable, juvenile Mediterranean Gull was around Mudeford Quay for the day.

Plover news: all three chicks are still present and correct.

July 30th

Black-tailed Godwit – Alan Crockard

It’s another quiet day in terms of news, but hardly surprising given the blasting westerly and frequent drizzle. This evening, when it was confirmed all 3 Ringed Plover chicks are still doing well, a couple of Greenshank and 6 Dunlin were at Stanpit, while 5 Turnstone were about the area and 2 Black-tailed Godwit had earlier passed through. Around the same time, an Arctic Tern appeared to enter the harbour – seen from Mudeford Quay.

July 29th

Little Grebe – Mark Taylor

Common Emerald, male (upper) and female – Peter Boardman

Southern Hawker – Peter Boardman

Rather surprisingly, the only news is of a juvenile Peregrine over Wick and 56 Sandwich Tern in Holloway’s Dock.

July 28th

Meadow Pipit – Dave Miller

The male Ringed Plover keeping a watchful eye on his three young, which are now starting to flap their wings and attempt take-off – Alan Crockard

Late in the morning, there was an easterly pulse of Swift – at least fifty-five with a couple of accompanying Swallow. Also 50 Sand Martin logged on Hengistbury, but with birds still in residence it’s not certain these were all on the move. Otherwise, its just 3 Whimbrel and a Dunlin to mention; plus 130 Sandwich Tern in Holloway’s Dock; while, unfortunately, it seems the Little Grebe on the Ironstone Quarry are now down to one young from an original four.

July 27th

There isn’t too much to write about this evening: six each of Sanderling and Turnstone were on the sandspit, while a Common Sandpiper was at Stanpit; up to 10 Common Scoter were offshore; at least a dozen Willow Warbler were on Hengistbury; and 77 Sandwich Tern rested in Holloway’s Dock.

All three Ringed Plover chicks are good.

July 26th

Wall Brown – just one of a few butterfly species, which are being increasingly recorded, perhaps benefiting from wildlife-sympathetic mowing regimes in and around the area – Chris Chapleo

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull – Chris Chapleo

Starting with the waders, which included: 2 Avocet, a Knot, 2 Greenshank, 9 Whimbrel, 4 Common Sandpiper, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 18 Dunlin – mostly settled, a few westbound though, and most around Stanpit Bight. Also westbound, 34 Mediterranean Gull, although one or two more lingered, and 235 Sand Martin. Meanwhile, a Grasshopper Warbler was near the Rusty Boat and 2 Willow Warbler were on Hengistbury, plus one by the Pod at Stanpit. A good total of 12 Little Tern was, at one point, inside the harbour, while a Common Tern rested in Holloway’s Dock. To finish, singles of Shoveler and Kingfisher were logged.

Ringed Plover update: all three are still doing well.

July 25th

Little Grebe – Katharine Hunt

Reed Bunting – Dave Miller

…and despite not breeding here and now beyond their best plumage, adult Sandwich Tern continue to exchange fish – Alan Crockard

On a decent day of weather, although the westerly wind was a little on the cold side, the picks were: a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull at Stanpit, the pair of Common Scoter still inside the harbour; and a Great White Egret. The waders were headed by a Green Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover, but also 4 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Dunlin and a Snipe. A Red Kite was again logged, north of the area, as was a Marsh Harrier; while three juvenile Mediterranean Gull and 7 Shoveler make the post. Of butterfly interest, a Wall Brown was at Stanpit.

July 24th

It was a good day for raptors – just before 9:00, an Osprey with fish headed inland, seen from Wick; Marsh Harrier and Red Kite were logged at Stanpit; and a party of four Peregrine, presumably the Priory family, was on the wing. Also notable, was a Spoonbill at Stanpit. Meanwhile, travelling birds, logged from either the marsh or Hengistbury, included: 9 Swift, 2 House Martin, 4 Swallow and up to 50 Sand Martin; 2 Yellow Wagtail; 10 Mediterranean Gull and a Common Tern; and a Curlew. At least 7 Common Sandpiper were around the site, with 7 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Dunlin being in Stanpit Bight. To finish, Coot are starting to return and the plovers are all still good.

July 23rd

Although the weather was majorly improved, there is little to write about. The Common Scoter pair remained inside the harbour, 4 Common Tern were noted – two at Stanpit and two offshore – and all three plover chicks were present and correct.

July 22nd

As forecast, the weather this afternoon was quite awful – a continual series of south-westerly squalls. Beforehand, however, the pair of Common Scoter was again inside the harbour; while, at sea, from Mudeford Quay, there was a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and a trickle of Common Tern and gulls – the latter including a handful of Mediterranean Gull and seemingly, travelling Herring Gull. In contrast, an hour in the afternoon mustered just one each of ‘med gull’ and Common Tern. Meanwhile, it’s great to report all three Ringed Plover chicks remain safe and well.

July 21st

A record shot of the surprise of the day – Common Scoter – Scott Usher

Golden-ringed Dragonfly – Peter Boardman

Silver-studded Blue – as with the above dragonfly, always considered rare in the area – Peter Boardman

…and one of the three Ringed Plover chicks – David Faulkner

A pair of Common Scoter made for a real surprise in Stanpit Bight this afternoon – it’s a struggle to remember the last time the species occurred inside the harbour. The first Wheatear of the return passage was on Hengistbury, while fifty or so Sedge Warbler were around and a Garden Warbler was in the North Scrubs. Continuing the southbound theme: a Shoveler, 5 Teal, 2 Gadwall, a juvenile Common Gull, 32 Mediterranean Gull – twenty-one of them juveniles – and 3 Whimbrel passed through. Meanwhile, a Curlew Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, a further 3 Whimbrel, 8 Dunlin – two of those the first juveniles of the season – and a Ringed Plover were settled; plus, increasing numbers of Curlew and Redshank. Rounding up on the birds: a 3cy Yellow-legged Gull was around, as were a minimum of 3 Little Tern and Common Tern, and a Great White Egret was again recorded. Moving to other wildlife, a Clouded Yellow was in the Old Council Depot and dolphins were offshore during the morning.

July 20th

The Ironstone Quarry Little Grebe have just hatched four chicks – Barrie Taylor

Brown Argus are being seen on Stanpit, this one in the North Scrubs – Jackie Smith

Mediterranean Gull in Holloway’s Dock – Alan Crockard

…and more wonderful improvisation from beach hut owners – the three chicks now in their fifteenth day, perhaps only nine to go before flight

The only reports from a fine day of weather involve: 6 Whimbrel and 3 Dunlin at Stanpit, plus a Peregrine there; 8 Common Tern off Mudeford Quay late in the afternoon; and an uncounted presence of Mediterranean Gull – both those and Black-headed Gull seeming to have a higher-than-normal proportion of juveniles in the mix than might be expected.

July 19th

Jersey Tiger Moth – Peter Boardman

Egg-laying Emperor Dragonfly – Peter Boardman

The first Willow Warbler of the return passage were seen today – three in total – as well as 2 House Martin, a non-estimated number of Swift and a Yellow Wagtail over. Terns were again plentiful: a family of Little Tern fed their two offspring at sea; 25 Common Tern passed through; around 200 Sandwich Tern were inside the harbour, while 140 passed west offshore; and 2 Arctic Tern were logged. Mediterranean Gull were reckoned at fifty-five or so – around half of them juveniles – and over 300 Black-headed Gull drifted west. Presumed local, post-breeding activity saw a juvenile Marsh Harrier hunting Priory Marsh, two Peregrine over Wick and a briefly stopping dobbing of 27 Shelduck, of which seventeen were juveniles. Moving to waders, a Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel, 11 Black-tailed Godwit and 11 Dunlin were at Stanpit – from where a Hobby was watched hunting Swift; while 12 Common Scoter lingered off Hengistbury. To finish, all 3 Ringed Plover chicks remain well and a Wall Brown butterfly was seen at Stanpit.

July 18th

The last week has seen more butterflies take to the wing, including Painted Lady – Jackie Smith

Small Copper – Peter Boardman

…and female Gatekeeper – Peter Boardman

The morning saw a significant Sand Martin presence/movement around Hengistbury – way more than the still-resident breeding birds. A total of 750 is reckoned – 2-300 of those lingering, the rest heading east. Also, 5 Swift and 30 Swallow moved with them. Gulls and terns – notably, 67 Mediterranean Gull and 68 Common Tern – travelled in the opposite direction, with a handful of each lingering. Sticking with birds in the air, an Osprey and a Great White Egret went east, while a Yellow Wagtail passed. The growing wader selection at Stanpit involved: a Curlew Sandpiper, a Green Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel, 9 Common Sandpiper, 5 Black-tailed Godwit – plus nine over, 5 Ringed Plover and 6 Dunlin. A couple of Little Tern were around Stanpit Bight; at least twenty, southbound Sedge Warbler fed around Parky Meade Rail; and Kingfisher returned.

July 17th

Brown Argus. Certainly the first record for Hengistbury, but possibly for the recording area as a whole – Peter Boardman

Adult Sanderling – Alan Crockard

Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull – right-hand bird – Matthew Barfield

…and one of the still-safe, three Ringed Plover chicks – Alan Crockard

In addition to the photographed Sanderling in the fenced area of the sandspit, there was a Turnstone – both being seen off by the Ringed Plover parents. Meanwhile, a juvenile Little Ringed Plover spent some time on Crouch Hill, with 16 Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin being around Stanpit Bight. Also on the marsh: during the morning, 4 Little Tern, 16 Common Tern and at least 80 Mediterranean Gull – fifty-seven of them juveniles; while, this evening, there was a similarly aged Yellow-legged Gull. In the late afternoon, a dark Arctic Skua visited the feeding flock that can be seen distantly from Mudeford Quay.

July 16th

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull – Scott Usher

Small Heath – Peter Boardman

Common Tern, juvenile (left) and adult – Scott Usher

Ringlet – Peter Boardman

Although the wind reduced, it was still there to be felt – on the upside, however, precipitation was 0% and sunshine prevailed. Stanpit hosted: 2 Whimbrel among over 20 Curlew, 9 Black-tailed Godwit and six Mediterranean Gull; plus nine, passing Common Tern. In another testament to the effectiveness of fencing, Holloway’s Dock provided a refuge for 4 Little Tern – an adult and three juveniles – and possibly the first record of that species in that spot! Justification indeed for the harbour to have been included in the Solent Special Protection Area. To finish, the more-local, breeding updates. A juvenile Peregrine visited Stanpit and, although distant, was thought to be bearing a blue ring; so potentially a Priory bird dispersing. Meanwhile, all three Ringed Plover chicks are still present and thanks go to the band of volunteers, most of them beach hut owners, who gave their time to look after the birds on a day when many more visitors than normal were expected at the tip of the sandspit.

July 15th

A newly emerged Southern Hawker – the green on the left wing is hemolymph, the equivalent of blood in an insect, and leftover from the exuvia process. As understood, it will cause no problem – Barrie Taylor

It was a quite awful day of weather, a very strong wind, which veered around south, making field conditions more than difficult. Out at sea, a Storm Petrel was briefly seen, being harried by Mediterranean Gull, along with 18 Little Tern, 4 Kittiwake, 8 Gannet and 7 Common Scoter. Further out though, there was a 300-strong flock of terns that couldn’t be unravelled and the westerly passing Mediterranean Gull were unquantified. Meanwhile, a Whimbrel and 6 Common Sandpiper were in Holloway’s Dock. Finishing up, at least one juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was about Mudeford Quay this afternoon.

July 14th

The almost constant rain and low cloud forced a significant number of Swift to move over today – a minimum of a thousand reckoned. Mediterranean Gull also passed, all west, at least fifty birds being the estimate; while, offshore, an Arctic Skua, 2 Little Tern and 18 Common Tern were logged from Mudeford Quay. At Stanpit, a Common Sandpiper and 4 Black-tailed Godwit were present and the Peregrine family remain around the Priory – this afternoon, in addition to being seen from the marsh, both juveniles were begging atop gargoyles on the north face of the tower. Of butterfly interest, Silver-studded Blue has twice recently been recorded on Hengistbury – this following our first two records around the same time last year.

Ringed Plover update: all three still good.

July 13th

Other than Mudeford Quay, which produced 11 Common Scoter, 2 Little Tern and around 10 Common Tern, all the news for the day come from Stanpit, where a Great White Egret and 17 Mediterranean Gull, including two juveniles, were logged. There were also Little Tern and Common Tern encounters, but they could well be duplicates from the quay. Meanwhile, Common Sandpiper totalled eight and Black-tailed Godwit ten, plus a single Dunlin. A Yellow Wagtail was heard on a couple of occasions, a Peregrine was about and the Mute Swan were counted at 320.

Ringed Plover update: contrary to last night’s over-bold statement, all three chicks remain safe.

July 12th

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull – Leo Pyke

Juvenile Common Tern – Leo Pyke

Little Grebe in fine plumage – Ray Scott

At least one juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was around today – reports from both Mudeford Quay and Stanpit. Also, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull on the sandspit and a couple of Common Tern in Holloway’s Dock. The sea was looked at from the Beach Huts, but was a complete non-event; although the quay did muster an Arctic Tern, amongst a further 6 Common Tern. Meanwhile, 3 Little Tern were inside the harbour. The recent presence of Common Sandpiper continued – nine at Stanpit and at least four on the sandspit – with other wader interest across the area represented by 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Dunlin. Rounding up: a Little Grebe was on the Ironstone Quarry; 9 Gadwall were on the marsh; and 26 Swift and 135 Sand Martin were counted from Stanpit.

Ringed Plover update: it’s now confirmed there are just two chicks remaining, but the parents appear far more watchful.

July 11th

An Arctic Skua headed west past Mudeford Quay at 7:45 this morning, when the first juvenile Common Tern and Sandwich Tern arrived on-site – one amongst a total of twelve of the former and four from over one hundred of the latter. Meanwhile, 4 Little Tern were offshore and 2 Mediterranean Gull passed through. The waders at Stanpit were headed by: 7 Common Sandpiper and a Whimbrel; with the remaining news being of a singing Garden Warbler around 150m of where it might be expected and the confirmation of two Ringed Plover chicks – there wasn’t comprehensive cover, however, so there could still be a full complement.

July 10th

A couple of fledgling Wren – Dave Miller

Blackcap – Dave Miller

Other than pleasing plover news from the sandspit, all the returns for today are from Stanpit. Late in the afternoon, when a Greenshank was present, a Spoonbill passed over to the west. Earlier, however, from Fisherman’s Bank, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Common Tern and 9 Mediterranean Gull were logged; along with 33 Sandwich Tern and at least 10 Lapwing.

July 9th

Emerald Damselfly – Jackie Smith

Dartford Warbler, taken from a public path – Roger Edwards

With the three Ringed Plover chicks remaining safe for what is now their fourth day – still twenty to go before flight – CHOG would like to thank the growing band of beach hut owners who are improvising in their efforts to ensure the well-being of the birds. The main threat will be unleashed dogs and we’d also like to thank those dog owners who are taking real care when in the area.

The picks at Stanpit throughout the day were: a juvenile Little Ringed Plover, a Greenshank and at least 20 Black-tailed Godwit. Meanwhile, there was a good tern presence inside the harbour, made up of 3 Little Tern, 6 Common Tern and around 80 Sandwich Tern. A Wigeon westbound, likewise 20 Gadwall, were something of a surprise, with a Barnacle Goose, a Great White Egret and a Red Kite all being logged from the marsh.

July 8th

Apologies for the Ringed Plover overload – but it is big news here – Alan Crockard

Purple Hairstreak – Jackie Smith

Other than to report all three plover chicks remain safe, no other news was received for today.

July 7th

Three Ringed Plover chicks were confirmed today and, this evening, all were still safe – Robin Harley

Purple Hairstreak are now on the wing at Hengistbury – Rod Jenkins

Emperor Dragonfly – Ray Scott

…and some of the 100+ Sand Martin swarming on the top of Hengistbury – Ray Scott

Other than the details in the photo captions, the only other news is of a Common Sandpiper on the sandspit this evening.

July 6th

All three Ringed Plover eggs hatched today – on what we reckon was day twenty-eight – although only two chicks have been seen at the same time. As a reminder, this is the first breeding attempt since 1984 and is taking place in the CHOG-funded, fenced area on the northern tip of the Mudeford sandspit. Thanks to all our members – your subscriptions allowed this to happen! Thanks also to BCP Council and Mudeford Sandbank Beach Hut Association for their support and passion in looking after the welfare of the birds – Roger Edwards

Of course, the big news is the Ringed Plover hatch, but there is still other stuff to write about. There was a strange record of a Barnacle Goose inside the harbour, just off Goldeneye Point, plus a Ring-necked Parakeet over South Marsh, Stanpit. Meanwhile, a Green Sandpiper passed through and a four-strong family of Little Tern were about the marsh – perhaps the same adult pair bringing their offspring here for the third successive year? To finish: early on, a Great White Egret was again in Stanpit Creek; 5 Black-tailed Godwit arrived; at least 5 Mediterranean Gull were around; a Common Tern and 12 Common Scoter headed west at sea; and the Shelduck young now number nine.

July 5th

Recently fledged Pied Wagtail – Alan Crockard

Dunlin – Alan Crockard

Firstly, a a couple of breeding-bird updates. There was the surprise of eleven, fairly well-grown shelducklings at Stanpit this morning – along with at least 22 Shelduck – how have they eluded previous observations? Meanwhile, the Ringed Plover pair and eggs are still on the sandspit, but, per most information, hatching should have happened a couple of days ago. Great White Egret continue to feature – two for a period at Stanpit – one sporting a red ring on the left leg with white legend, but distance prevented further details being noted. To finish, 4 Little Tern were off Mudeford Quay and two Dunlin were by the Noddy Train Terminus.

July 4th

Before the afternoon rain set in, there was a reasonable amount of interest. A Great White Egret passed over to the north, while Stanpit returned: a vocal Little Ringed Plover, 2 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, a Black-tailed Godwit and 25 Redshank; as well as 5 Mediterranean Gull and 8 Common Tern. Six House Martin over the marsh were something of a surprise, for the date, and the Little Egret peaked at twenty-six.

July 3rd

The wind picked up apace today and by late afternoon it was quite unpleasant. Earlier, a Little Ringed Plover, a Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper and 15 Redshank, plus two adult Mediterranean Gull, had been inside the harbour; while at least one Peregrine was around the Priory.

July 2nd

Comma – Jackie Smith

On a blustery day from the west, this afternoon, a couple of Manx Shearwater were carried with the wind towards the Solent. Much earlier, at 6:00, a Great White Egret was again visible from Fisherman’s Bank, as were a Common Sandpiper, a Ringed Plover and 2 Common Tern. Also inside the harbour, a minimum of a dozen Curlew. On the sandspit, there was a further Common Sandpiper, plus a Turnstone, in the fenced area; where the Ringed Plover are sitting for at least their twenty-fifth day – one more than may be expected – but there were a few signs of something perhaps about to happen.

July 1st

Sand Martin starting their second brood – Scott Usher

All the news from a windy day comes from Stanpit, where the pick of the waders was: 3 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Ringed Plover and 9 Curlew; while a Great White Egret was off Fisherman’s Bank. Also from the marsh: 3 Mediterranean Gill, 5 Swift and 24 Sandwich Tern.


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