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Sightings for Month: May 2024

May 22nd

Dartford Warbler – as always, we only publish opportunistic photos taken from well-trodden, public paths – Alan Crockard

The morning’s seawatch produced a surprise – both in terms of conditions and a slightly early date – record of a Storm Petrel; initially west, but then dropping onto the water and not seen again. Also from the Beach Huts: 2 Common Tern, twenty-four eastbound Common Scoter, a Fulmar, 3 Razorbill and 2 Guillemot. Earlier, the White-tailed Eagle was about until 7:00; when, in the resultant flush of birds, a pair of Garganey was noted. Meanwhile, a Spotted Flycatcher was along Roebury Lane and a late-arriving Willow Warbler was in song at the end Hengistbury; with incumbent songsters including a Garden Warbler on the Long Field and a Cuckoo near the HHC. To finish, 7 Swift and around 120 Swallow were seen incoming.

May 21st

Reed Warbler – Dave Miller

The fenced area on the sandspit has an unexpected breeder – Meadow Pipit – Robin Harley

Firstly, continuing the fenced-area theme mentioned in the photo caption, the Ringed Plover clutch hatched today, but with mixed results. A recent look at the nest revealed the adults must have jettisoned an egg, meaning only three, of an expected four, chicks were out and about. Nature then took its rightful course and a Kestrel preyed on one. Now to the picks of the day – a strange sight of seven adult Kittiwake passing east through the harbour and a Nuthatch coming off Hengistbury and along Wick. Meanwhile, taking the same route were 4 Spotted Flycatcher, with a further in the North Scrubs. Also incoming were: a Hobby, 7 House Martin, 9 Swift and 25 Swallow; while 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and a couple of Sanderling paused on their journey north-east. Rounding up: a Red Kite headed west; 4 Cattle Egret were logged; and 3 Cuckoo were again around – two males and the hepatic female.

May 20th

Green Hairstreak butterfly – Peter Boardman

The hide on Hengistbury offers good views of birds – Great Spotted Woodpecker – Clinton Whale

Birds being seen to arrive make up most of today’s offerings, and included: 7 Spotted Flycatcher along the riverside route on Wick, a Yellow Wagtail, 11 House Martin, 63 Swallow and 44 Swift. In addition, a Reed Warbler was in the blooming Cow Parsley on South Marsh. Meanwhile, the dispersal of non-breeding Red Kite to the south-west tip of the country is largely passing the area by – despite around twenty being logged just 2-3 kilometres north, just two were noted from Stanpit; but a couple of Buzzard passed over Hengistbury. Back to the recent Garden Warbler theme and one singing in the Nursery, likewise one of the day’s 2 Cuckoo; while, to finish, a pristine Grey Plover was around, before vocally leaving for his Arctic destination, and 4 Mediterranean Gull passed through.

May 19th

Female Orange Tip butterfly – Peter Boardman

Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly- Peter Boardman

Green-veined White butterfly – Peter Boardman

Spotted Flycatcher arrived in some numbers today – relatively speaking to decades past, that is – a total of fourteen making a customary flight along the Wick side of the river, including a flock of nine. Also incoming overhead, a Tree Pipt, 11 Swift and 64 Swallow, plus a couple each of settled Yellow Wagtail and Wheatear. The only passage waders were a Grey Plover, a Whimbrel and couple of Dunlin; while a Cuckoo sang on Wick and the White-tailed Eagle was seen leaving the area at 08:15.

May 18th

Downy Emerald – Ian Whittaker

Puss Moth – Robin Harley

Female Brimstone – Peter Boardman

Poplar Hawkmoth – Robin Harley

There was a small arrival of birds overnight – at least three Cuckoo about the site, two males in addition to the hepatic female; as well as singles of Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler singing from non-breeding habitat, plus 4 Yellow Wagtail and a handful each of Swift and Swallow. Meanwhile, 2 Garden Warbler were again in the Long Field area. The remaining news comes from: a 1cy Kittiwake in the offshore flock; and 3 Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel and 16 Sanderling moving through the area.

May 17th

There were at least three, but possibly five, Garden Warbler, on Hengistbury today. Something that seems well more than expected – Alan Crockard

Some time during the morning, a Honey Buzzard headed north over the area – with other airborne moments coming from singles of Spoonbill, to the east, Hobby, Red Kite and Yellow Wagtail. Meanwhile, a Bearded Tit was heard from somewhere in the Wick reeds.

May 16th

There was a sight record of Bee-eater this morning – as two fed with Sand Martin low over the Coastguards for a couple of minutes, before drifting off to the east. Also, a Cattle Egret west over the head and, in the mid-afternoon, 3 Red Kite over Stanpit. The sea again produced some interest – the pick being an adult Little Gull in the feeding flock, a Manx Shearwater west and a Great Northern Diver east; as well as 12 Common Scoter and 5 Shelduck, all east. Until 09:00, the harbour was awash with hundreds of Herring Gull, but then around 50% of them picked up and headed out to sea, with 3 Mediterranean Gull – a 1cy and two 2cy birds – mixed in. Around the same time, a flock of 16 Whimbrel arrived and, intriguingly, 2 Garden Warbler were again by the Long Field.

May 15th

There was a clear influx of Painted Lady across the area today – Clinton Whale

There was some skua action off Hengistbury this morning – a Pomarine Skua paused briefly to hassle a Herring Gull, while 2 Arctic Skua, one pale and one dark, hung around for a little longer. Also at sea, singles of Manx Shearwater and Black-throated Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver and a Common Scoter. Meanwhile, a Garden Warbler was again along the southern edge of the Long Field.

May 14th

The wind has been from the spring-time-fabled, south-east for a good while now, but it’s starting to look as if most of hoped-for skuas may have made it east of here already. Despite some decent attention, this morning, the sea yielded just a single, pale-morph Arctic Skua, 9 Manx Shearwater and 5 Common Scoter. North-bound waders about the place were a paltry: 2 Purple Sandpiper, a Knot and 7 Turnstone; while 2 Garden Warbler were on the Long Field.

May 13th

Although perhaps not as good as hoped in a mid-May south easterly, the sea was still pretty good this morning. The offshore feeding flock of gulls, which also contained up to 30 Common Tern and around 95 Sandwich Tern, attracted two, pale-morph Arctic Skua, while two more just powered on through; also in the mix, a couple of 2cy Little Gull. The presence of Manx Shearwater was a slightly unexpected, but very welcome – at least fourteen noted throughout the day, some available from Mudeford Quay. Otherwise, the only other news is of a single Whimbrel at Stanpit.

May 12th

Sand Martin – Alan Crockard

Chiffchaff – Alan Crockard

The only reports from a gloriously, warm day are of a Cuckoo in the North Scrubs, early on, and 4 Cattle Egret on East Marsh, during the afternoon.

May 11th

Another very, good-looking candidate for ‘Greenland’ Wheatear (although, the date suggests it’s a certainty) – Scott Usher

Over the last 10-15 years, Jackdaw has changed status from occasional to daily, in quite some numbers – Tina Scott

Other than the White-tailed Eagle about from 06:30 for an hour and the photographed Wheatear on Crouch Hill, all the news is from the sea. A trio of Eider – a drake and two ducks passed west – with a Shoveler, 20 Common Scoter, 14 Common Tern, a Sanderling and a Dunlin heading in the more-expected-for-the-season, opposite direction.

May 10th

The only news from the southern part of the area is that the Ringed Plover pair is still safely incubating – so, all being well, chicks are expected by this time next week. Over at Stanpit, there were 2 Yellow Wagtail around the ponies, but relatively little else: the northbound waders comprised just 16 Whimbrel and 8 Dunlin, while singles of Curlew and Redshank confused things a bit; also a drake Wigeon still around.

May 9th

There was a reasonable selection of migrant passerines about Stanpit this morning, including: a briefly reeling Grasshopper Warbler, 6 Garden Warbler, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and 3 Yellow Wagtail over, while a couple of Willow Warbler were returned from Wick. Waders continue to be sparse – a Grey Plover, 4 Sanderling, 2 Purple Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, a Whimbrel, 7 Ringed Plover and 13 Dunlin, across the entire area, is pretty poor for the date. A quiet sea gave up just: a Kittiwake, 8 Mediterranean Gull, 7 Common Tern, 21 Common Scoter and 2 Shelduck; and, to finish, a Little Grebe was singing on the Ironstone Quarry, 2 Red Kite headed west and a male Cuckoo was around.

May 8th

One of at least 5 Bottlenose Dolphin in Christchurch Bay this morning – Alan Crockard

A Bee-eater was heard four times over the HHVC late in the morning, but no further encounters resulted. Meanwhile, a Whinchat and 4 Wheatear were on the Barn Field, a couple of Spotted Flycatcher were about and the hepatic Cuckoo was also seen from Hengistbury. The offshore feeding flock of gulls and terns included 50 Kittiwake, 17 Mediterranean Gull and 2 Common Gull; with travelling birds over the sea represented by: a Sanderling, 2 Whimbrel and 7 Shelduck, all east, plus a diver west. Otherwise, there were 2 Purple Sandpiper near the Long Groyne.

May 7th

The day saw a marked arrival of birds, not least Spotted Flycatcher – a total of nine across the area, with a concentration of five in the trusty Stunted Oaks; also, a Pied Flycatcher seen coming in-off the sea! Arriving hirundines were a welcome sight – the Swallow noted being around 140, with 6 House Martin and a significant gathering of a hundred or so Sand Martin at Stanpit, late in the afternoon – plus 15 Swift. Also over, 2 Yellow Wagtail, although one may have lingered with the ponies. A couple of Whinchat were about – in the fenced area of the sandspit and Whitepits – along with 20 Wheatear, a Garden Warbler and 25 Willow Warbler. Meanwhile, there seemed to be a late pulse of Mediterranean Gull, at least twenty-seven to the east; while 3 Red Kite and 2 Buzzard drifted slowly in the opposite direction. Waders, however, are still light on the ground, the day’s totals from across the area being, just: a Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin! To round up: 3 Little Tern and 10 Common Tern were about; a pair of Wigeon were at Stanpit; and a Stonechat fledge was by the Natterjack Pond.

May 6th

The best of the day comes from flyovers – Little Ringed Plover and a Hobby at Stanpit, likewise one of 2 Yellow Wagtail, the other from the Broadway; plus 3 Swift and 7 Swallow. Meanwhile, the marsh hosted its first Whitethroat, by the Pod, so hopefully setting up a territory – there are several already on Hengistbury and Wick, however. To finish, 5 Willow Warbler were logged from the southern part of the area and a Bullfinch was by the Wooden Bridge.

May 5th

There are two stand-outs for the day. One, a Pomarine Skua east past Hengistbury at 15:30; and, two, a Barn Owl from Wick Hams towards Wick Fields at 05:15 – records of those, outside of cold spells, are a real premium. Other highlights included: 2 Cuckoo at Stanpit – one a hepatic female, so possibly the same as last year; two pairs of Eider settled off the Long Groyne and then into the Solent, being seen from Hurst; 3 Avocet in Stanpit Bight; and 2 Garden Warbler around Parky Meade Rail. Moving back to the sea and a Great Northern diver west, singles of Red-throated Diver in either direction, 7 Common Scoter east – but it now looks as if the winter flock may have moved on, 35 Common Tern being the best estimate from a difficult-to-count situation, ‘plenty’ of Sandwich Tern for the same reason and over 300 Herring Gull in the ever-varying feeding flock. Meanwhile, a Fulmar passed over the harbour itself. Inline with yesterday’s comments, birds seen to arrive came to just a Yellow Wagtail, 3 Swift and 2 Swallow, with 5 Whimbrel and a Turnstone being the only northbound wader returns.

May 4th

A Greenland-bound-looking Wheatear – Paul Dore

All the news for the day comes from Stanpit, but there isn’t much. In fact, most of the talk was about how relatively few of some birds – Swallow and waders being prime examples – have come through, and of how ventures into the New Forest have suggested less-than-average numbers of species such as Blackcap and Chiffchaff on territory. Anyhow, back to what actually happened: 2 Yellow Wagtail passed over, 3 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit were in Stanpit Bight.

May 3rd

Whimbrel – Mark Taylor

The Ringed Plover attempt on the sandspit is still going well. A thanks to BCP, ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend, for bolstering the fence and some additional, CHOG-funded signs are now in place. If you’re not a member, please do consider joining us and helping us continue our drive for local nature conservation. The easiest way to do so is online…

A few Wheatear passed through today – early on, there were four on the Barn Field, which soon moved away; but were replaced by five in the afternoon, which all looked really good candidates for being on their way to the north-west Altantic islands. Also, 2 Whinchat in the same area, plus one on Crouch Hill, and three travelling Willow Warbler were on Wick. Meanwhile, the singing ‘willow’ is still in place and at least 3 Lesser Whitethroat appear to be holding territory; likewise, a Cuckoo. There seems to be very few small waders passing through, despite the date – just 3 Sanderling, 2 Ringed Plover and 9 Dunlin across the site, although 8 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit was a nice record. The larger of their kind were: at least 15 Whimbrel – ten of those together around Stanpit Bight – and 3 Black-tailed Godwit. To finish, the offshore feeding flock was a little less, but did contain over 90 Common Tern – and the White-tailed Eagle was around for a while in the morning.

May 2nd

There was a good selection of birds seen from Fisherman’s Bank during the morning, including, in order of local interest: an adult Little Gull, 2 Little Tern, a Cattle Egret, 5 Tufted Duck – three drakes and two ducks – a Great Crested Grebe, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel and 27 Dunlin. Around the same time, a Cattle Egret was also returned from Wick and, later, 2 Grey Plover and a Greenshank spent some time at Stanpit. The sea experienced a reasonable easterly passage, made up of: 3 Arctic Tern, 180 Common Tern, a Red-throated Diver, 200 Gannet, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Whimbrel and 2 Grey Plover; as well as fifty or so settled Common Scoter. To finish, a Cuckoo sang from the Wick reeds and a Yellow Wagtail briefly landed on the sandspit.

May 1st

Seventeen Natterjack were seen last night – Robin Harley

Over the last couple of days, there has been some mention of the offshore gathering of gulls and terns – and, this afternoon, an effort was made to quantify it. The estimate was 670 gulls – the majority being Herring Gull of all ages, with the remainder made up of 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 6 Great Black-backed Gull and around 60 Black-headed Gull. Tern-wise, there were 10 Common Tern and 60 Sandwich Tern. Earlier at sea, there had also been 6 Little Tern, plus singles of Black-throated Diver and Red-throated Diver. Even earlier, two groups of five ducks each had passed over the harbour – one comprising 3 Scaup and 2 Garganey, the other singles of Shoveler and Gadwall with 3 Tufted Duck. It does seem the wader passage is yet to get going – the only sightings today being a Purple Sandpiper, 3 Sanderling and 9 Dunlin on the sandspit, as well as 10 Whimbrel about the place. To finish, it was nice to have a singing Cuckoo around; while a Garden Warbler was on Wick, a couple of different Lesser Whitethroat were logged and 3 Willow Warbler were on Hengistbury.

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