Sightings for July 2004

31st July

A very warm day which contained a real miscellany of birds. The most significant discovery was a family of Little Grebe on the Ironstone Quarry, this constitutes the first Hengistbury breeding for the species since records began. Single birds have been seen on the Quarry infrequently during the season, but only close to dusk, this just goes to show how secretive and silent breeding pairs can be, especially when there is no territory competition. As a final say on the matter, the Quarry was dammed in 1976, so it's only taken 28 years to produce a success! Now the rest of the day, starting with passerines. A dawn start to the sound of an all night rave produced very little, although a Little Owl was seen by Solent Meads golf course. It wasn't until slightly later that birds became evident, and were recorded as: 140+ Willow Warbler, 65 Sedge Warbler, 12 Blackcap, 4 Garden Warbler, 3 Wheatear and 1 Lesser Whitethroat; most of these were seen moving into Wick Ditch from the head. Waders seen from or over Hengistbury this morning were: 1 Green Sandpiper, 5 Turnstone and 1 Whimbrel west; 1 juvenile Little Ringed Plover east; 3 Snipe circling the area; 1 Grey Plover arriving; and 8 Common Sandpiper over on Stanpit. Other south side of the harbour interest came in the shape of 60 Common Tern west, 3 Teal, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Red-legged Partridge flushed on the top of the head, 1 Hobby north and 1 Cuckoo south. This afternoon on Stanpit, the Ruff was briefly joined by a Reeve and a moulting adult Curlew Sandpiper was still present, along with 2 Whimbrel and 2 Greenshank. Dunlin were dispersed, distant and difficult to count, but there were probably more than yesterday. As the evening wore on, a distant shank was given a patient grilling and turned out to be the hoped for Spotted Redshank.

July 30th

An uncharacteristically early start for an enthused local didn't pay dividends until later in the morning, when a Marsh Tit was seen and heard in the Wood on Hengistbury. This is believed to be only the second record in over 10 years. Some quality was around earlier, however, with a Grasshopper Warbler at the west of Wick Fields. This area certainly held warblers today, other counts being 50 Willow Warbler, 6 Garden Warbler and 4 Lesser Whitethroat. Off Fisherman's Bank this morning, there were 4 Greenshank and 2 Common Sandpiper. The early evening rising tide encouraged at least 8 birders out and recorded: 300+ Dunlin, including the colour-ringed bird, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, different to yesterday, the Ruff and 1, but all too brief, pristinely plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit. Also, 3 Wheatear around Crouch Hill.

29th July

No early morning start today, instead Priory Marsh - it's that crake time of year - received some mid-morning attention. There were plenty of migrant Sedge Warbler around that area and 2 Hobby were seen overhead. A 1 hour count of Swift and Sand Martin totalled 270 and 120 respectively, heading south-east into the wind. 7 Whimbrel and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit were seen to leave the harbour to the west. On Stanpit in the afternoon, there was a Wheatear on Crouch Hill and 2 Greenshank, presumably in Stanpit Bight. Later in the day, a wader count produced 350+ Dunlin, 7 Ringed Plover, 6 Sanderling, 3 Turnstone, 2 adult Curlew Sandpiper, photos to follow, 2 Common Sandpiper and the day wouldn't be complete without the Ruff. All these were then terrorised by a visiting Peregrine. Around 2000 Starling are roosting in the area, on Tuesday they were swirling above Priory Reeds, while, tonight, the murmuration was gathering just south of Crouch Hill. One of today's Dunlin was colour-ringed, the combination being: left leg from top, red, yellow, white; right leg, metal ring. Hengistbury finally chipped in with a Green Sandpiper flying around the top of the head this evening.

July 28th

Activities commenced at 4:45 and it was definitely a case of the early birder catching the early birds; the best being a Melodious Warbler heard and seen briefly in the Wick Field adjacent to the HHC. There was actually a feast of birds in that field and the next, the morning's total, in local quality order: 1 Wood Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Redstart, 6 Garden Warbler, 12+ Lesser Whitethroat, 80+ Whitethroat, 50+ Sedge Warbler and 6 Blackcap. As the tide rose, waders left the area heading west. The first 2 Curlew Sandpiper of the year, both adults, headed the exodus, along with: 2 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Green Sandpiper, 11 Ringed Plover, 7 Turnstone, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Sanderling. A female Garganey also departed west, as did 6 Shoveler. Please note, by 7:00, all the excitement was over! The cloud that amassed during the night was no doubt responsible for the amount of birds seen. Common Gull are gradually become more regular, 3 seen this morning. This afternoon, the Stanpit vigil produced another adult Curlew Sandpiper for the day, this one settled in Stanpit Bight; also 350 Dunlin, 7 Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Sanderling and, needing no introduction, the Ruff. Oystercatcher are rarely counted, but today 72 were recorded.

July 27th

The original account has been lost, but referring to notebooks shows: 12 sedge Warbler, 6 Willow Warbler and 2 Reed Warbler on Wick; and from Stanpit 316 Dunlin, 8 Ringed Plover, 4 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Ruff.

July 26th

Some more passerine migration was underway today with the year's first southern-bound Wheatear on Stanpit's South Marsh this morning, while over on Hengistbury, a Cuckoo was over the Barn Field. Also on Hengistbury were 8 Sanderling and a Turnstone by the Beach Huts, and a few Gannet and Common Tern passed by. The meticulous Stanpit wader count totalled 350 Dunlin, 13 Ringed Plover, a marked increase, 2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Sanderling, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and, not surprisingly, the Ruff, still showing lots of breeding feathers. A Hobby passed north over the Stanpit car park at some stage this morning.

July 25th

A reasonably settled day with a westerly wind that gradually picked up throughout. Stanpit received constant attention from the morning's low tide, right up to the early afternoon high water. Despite the enthusiasm, nothing really new turned up. The ever-present Ruff is still around and counted birds include: 270 Dunlin, 4 Greenshank at various points around the marsh but briefly together in Mother Siller's, 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Whimbrel. After yesterday's first bird of summer, another adult Common Gull was seen, today in Parky Meade Rail; while a juvenile Mediterranean Gull was the first of such age for the year. Returning passerines were only evident as 4 Willow Warbler on Wick and another in the North Scrubs. All day Swift have been over the northern part of the recording area, most seemingly heading west into the wind.

July 24th

Early morning proved the best time to be out today when a Wood Sandpiper headed west over the HHC just after dawn, only the second record this year; also moving west in the first couple of hours were 38 Dunlin, 6 Green Sandpiper, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Turnstone and 1 Snipe. A Grasshopper Warbler was by the boardwalk behind the HHC, again soon after first light. Further evidence of return passerine migration was provided by 50/60 Sedge Warbler, a few Reed Warbler and 6 Willow Warbler all moving through Wick. There were also 2 Reed Warbler in the North Scrubs at Stanpit. Swift moving east were estimated at around 200 and 3 House Martin were over the Beach Huts. At sea 31 Common Tern, 1 Arctic Tern, 2 Common Scoter and 1 Common Gull moved east with a single Fulmar moving west. Wildfowl today included 9 female/juvenile/eclipse male Shoveler which circled the Harbour a couple of times before pitching into Barn Bight, also seen were 7 Tufted Duck and 3 Pochard. By afternoon there were 16 Shoveler in Parky Mead Rail. On Stanpit this morning Dunlin numbered 230, also 4 Ringed Plover, 3 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel and the long staying Ruff. The harbour count of Common Sandpiper was 14. The same venue in the evening produced 6 Common Sandpiper, 5 Ringed Plover, including 2 juveniles, and a similiarly aged Peregrine attempting to catch them.

July 23rd

Despite the glorious weather, not a very inspiring lead in to the weekend, but here goes. Stanpit this morning was visited and held 285 Dunlin, 4 Greenshank group-feeding in Mother Siller's Channel, or Ma S's as I saw it delightfully referred to recently, 2 Whimbrel and a lone Common Sandpiper. This afternoon, while the tide was high, a tightly packed roost of 25 Little Egret and 6 Grey Heron on East Marsh made an impressive sight. Looking ahead, the last two Saturdays have produced the goods on the sea…

An early evening visit to Stanpit by a Peregrine saw the birds scattering in all directions.

July 22nd

Some rain at dawn postponed the first Stanpit birding until around 7:00, however, the conditions seem to have tempted more Dunlin into the area, over 400 were in the harbour this morning. Also new in were 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 13 Common Sandpiper, 4 Turnstone and 4 Ringed Plover. The more familiar faces contained the Ruff, 3 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel and 1 Sanderling. There was a notable passage of 40 Common Tern west through the area, also 1 juvenile in the harbour along with 80 Sandwich Tern. The first Snipe of the "winter" appeared, the feeling being reinforced by the presence of a single Teal. Over in Barn Bight, a further 3 Common Sandpiper were noted and 3 Whimbrel went west past Hengistbury. Throughout the day, there was a steady movement of Swift, mainly to the south.

July 21st

We seem to have hit a bit of a lull. Only Stanpit was reported today and what was seen is becoming routine, except perhaps for a Peregrine coming down into Central Marsh this morning. Otherwise, just the Ruff, 150 Dunlin, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank and 45 Sandwich Tern make up the numbers. More Water Rail seen on the low tide, today 3 birds on the muddy fringes.

July 20th

Again only Stanpit records and again it's the usual suspects. The Ruff was present all day, as were 2 Common Sandpiper. Dunlin levelled at 220 birds, but Greenshank increased to 3, with 2 Whimbrel being the only other true passage wader of note. Black-tailed Godwit were difficult to total as small numbers were fairly mobile, but between 5 and 9 birds is the day's estimate. The other maybe winterers, Lapwing and Curlew, weighed in with 100+ and 8 respectively, the former already regularly commuting to and from the fields east of Burton. A Peregrine was seen over Stanpit early morning; while Parky Meade on a low tide confirmed its Water Rail pedigree with 3 seen today, they are almost guaranteed when the water's down, also a Kingfisher.

July 19th

So far the only wire comes from Fisherman's Bank, where this morning the Dunlin had increased to 220 birds. There were also 2 Whimbrel and 1 adult Black-tailed Godwit. As expected in mid-July, just about all the waders seen in the last couple of weeks are adult birds returning southwards, after, unfortunately, failing to fledge young. We should start to see the juveniles coming shortly. A Great-spotted Woodpecker was heard, from the Argyll Road slipway, in the pines surrounding the Mudeford cricket pitch. Subsequent reports include an adult Mediterranean Gull on Stanpit in the evening, while there were 2 Greenshank in Mother Siller's Channel. Slightly earlier, 7 Black-tailed Godwit headed west over the marsh and 4 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel and the Ruff were feeding on ebbing tide. Tern numbered 30+ Sandwich and 4 Common.

July 18th

A mixed day, with an hour or so of windless drizzle early morning before the wind picked up to a brisk westerly. Counting the Dunlin around Stanpit this morning was difficult as they were flighty and tended to conceal themselves in non-viewable channels. Other waders included 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 of which arrived and headed north up the valley, the Ruff, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank, 1 Sanderling and just 1 Common Sandpiper. Wildfowl showed up in the form of a drake Tufted Duck south through the harbour and a female-type Teal around East Marsh. A Peregrine was over Hengsitbury mid-afternoon and Holloway's Dock contained single Whimbrel and Common Tern. Later in the day, the Stanpit Dunlin were nailed and broke the double century, 203 being the exact figure. Still present from this morning were Ruff, Whimbrel and Greenshank; but dead on 6:00pm, 15 of the 18 Curlew in Stanpit Bight started calling and in a few seconds lifted off and headed high south-east.

July 17th

A rather surprising day. A light southerly breeze does not normally signal a good seawatch, but today was different. Equally extraordinary was the general easterly movement of the seabirds, which included: a Pomarine Skua almost overhead the Beach Huts after apparently coasting the head, a Great Skua heading towards The Needles, 80 Common Tern, 40 Sandwich Tern, 4 Kittiwake, 1 Little Tern, 1 Fulmar, a drake Tufted Duck and over 100 Gannet of mixed ages. Only bird of note to the west was a single Arctic Tern. Flocks of Common Scoter were seen on several occasions, the general feeling being there are two groups of around 30 and 20 settled in the area. Seabird interest resumed in the late afternoon as 2 Roseate Tern, seen from Stanpit, passed west through the harbour. Also this morning, some wader interest on the sandspit, with a group of 5 arriving waders containing 3 species, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Turnstone and 3 Sanderling, a further 2 Turnstone and a Common Sandpiper were also seen. Waders counted in the harbour, mainly during the morning from Stanpit, consisted of the usual bunch, although the Dunlin are still increasing, 175 the present figure; also 14 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel, 2 Turnstone, 2 Knot, 2 Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and the Ruff. Evidence of return passerine migration was noted, with a Garden Warbler by the HHC this morning and 2 Yellow Wagtail, one along the sandspit and one in Central Marsh. Tomorrow sees the annual Swan upping. That's the rounding up the currently flightless Mute Swan in order to record and weigh them. There may not be as many waders come tomorrow afternoon! Finally, it slipped by unnoticed, but the website was two years old on Thursday. Since the launch in 2002, daily visitors have steadily risen, peaking at an average of 101 during April this year. Thanks to all those who contribute information and help in maintaining the site.

July 16th

A stiff south-westerly wind blew for much of the day which could bode well for the sea tomorrow. No reports from that area today, but the early morning rising tide accounted for 115 Dunlin, 5 Common Sandpiper, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank, the Ruff, 1 Sanderling and 1 Black-tailed Godwit in Stanpit Bight; also a single Little Tern with 32 Sandwich Tern. Slightly later in the day, a small flock of 8 Dunlin were seen on North Marsh, presumably pushed "inland" by the high water. Small mixed flocks of Linnet and Chaffinch, most probably family groups, were around the Rusty Boat.

July 15th

More apologies to Tony, yesterday's headline wader wasn't actually the first for the year, there was, in fact, a February record. Back to today and seawatching took centre stage with 2 Great Skua west past the Beach Huts, along with 1 Fulmar, 26 Common Tern and around 60 Gannet. A couple of Whimbrel spent the morning's high tide in Holloway's Dock. Later in the day, waders were counted from Fisherman's Bank at 108 Dunlin, 4 Common Sandpiper, the Ruff and 1 Sanderling, while over 200 Lapwing were flushed by a marauding Peregrine. By this evening, another 40 or so Dunlin had checked in, including the first juvenile, also a Whimbrel.

July 14th

After yesterday's watching lull, both sides of the harbour received good coverage today. A 5:00am start at Stanpit paid dividends for the devoted observer with a summer-plumaged Spotted Redshank. This was in Stanpit Bight, which, throughout the morning, hosted a veritable selection of passage waders. These included: 3 Little Ringed Plover, heard approaching from the north, settling off South Marsh, before being flushed; also 16 Common Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Sanderling, 1 Turnstone, 1 Ringed Plover, as well as the now familiar Ruff. Dunlin are still increasing with 140 today, but Sandwich Tern were lower at 35. Non-wader migrants of note were a Turtle Dove seen over Priory Marsh heading towards Wick, and an estimated 220 Swift moved west overhead. From Hengistbury, the sea contributed an Arctic Skua passing west off the Beach Huts this morning, also moving west during a 2 hour watch were a total of 54 Common Scoter, in 2 groups of 34 and 20. Of other interest were 26 Gannet and 12 Common Scoter.

July 13th

A quiet day in terms of observer coverage. The Ruff was seen at Stanpit both morning and afternoon, also in the earlier period were 109 Dunlin and 2 Whimbrel. Common Sandpiper totalled 11, this comprised 9 around Blackberry Point and 2 off Fisherman's Bank. Barn Bight wasn't reported, so there were probably more in the area. A belated report of 19 has been subsequently received.

July 12th

In conditions similar to yesterday, Hengistbury was briefly visited early this morning and produced just a Kingfisher in Barn Bight. Stanpit, however, was given more attention and provided a reasonable selection of waders: the breeding attired Ruff was seen on several occasions throughout the day, along with single Greenshank, Whimbrel and Black-tailed Godwit. Dunlin were down to just 28 birds, but, conversely, Sandwich Tern numbers rose to a good count of 65 birds, juveniles now starting to be obvious, also 2 Common Tern in the harbour. The Common Sandpiper estimate is 11 birds, 6 around Stanpit and 5 in Barn Bight, while Lapwing are still increasing, with 165 counted today. I promised not to mention the Shelduck again, however, the 5+1 creche has been joined by 4 more mature young, presumably the Barn Bight orphans.

July 11th

During a day interrupted by showers only a few reports have been received, all, so far, from Stanpit. This morning the marsh held 1 Ruff, 50 Dunlin, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel and 2 Ringed Plover; while a Kingfisher was seen around Priory Marsh. A further visit this afternoon added a further 20 Dunlin, 6 Common Sandpiper, 1 breeding-plumaged Knot and 1 Greenshank. All Shelduck remain, given the size of the birds it now seems unlikely any more will be lost, so if you hear no more assume the best. A juvenile Peregrine twice made passes across Stanpit in the late afternoon.

July 10th

After a completely windless dawn, a westerly breeze gathered during the subsequent couple of hours. Good numbers of Tern were attracted to an area just beyond the Long Groyne and among the feeding Sandwich and Common was a single Black Tern, watched intermittently for over an hour. Also during that time, at least one each of adult Mediterranean Gull and Kittiwake were seen. It was then a case of one good tern deserves another, as an adult Roseate Tern was seen off Double Dykes, then Whitepits, as it made its way slowly west. Also seen at sea were a total of 13 Common Scoter, 7 west and 6 east. The grazed, damp area around Barn Bight is becoming a magnet for freshwater waders; early morning a Green Sandpiper dived in but could not be re-found and, later in the morning, a juvenile Little Ringed Plover was watched for a short time. Other interest from Hengistbury was a Yellowhammer heard from the HHC and a Cuckoo over the reedbed there. Stanpit this afternoon was not as good as hoped, although the Dunlin numbers are still increasing, 75 being today's total. Other waders included 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Greenshank, the latter was the second of the day as one was seen to leave during the morning. Common Sandpiper are widespread with at least 11 birds noted, Barn Bight again hosting the bulk of these; while, this afternoon, a Green Sandpiper was on Priory Marsh. Green Woodpecker are very conspicuous right now, including a descent of 4 around the Nursery area on Hengistbury. Finally, a steady passage of Swift to the west continued throughout the day. Some late news, a juvenile Peregrine was over Hengistbury in the morning.

July 9th

Again it's Stanpit that provides most of the day's interest. This morning, a Green Sandpiper was initially on South Marsh before moving over to East Marsh, and the Ruff was feeding around Blackberry Point; also present were 2 Common Sandpiper and a Greenshank. Dunlin number built up during the day with around 50 present mid-afternoon, also a couple of Black-tailed Godwit and a fast maturing Shelduck brood still comprising 5+1. Common Sandpiper are numerous right now and Barn Bight seems to be the place, 6 birds were there this morning. Also plentiful, in relative terms, are Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 were over the HHC this morning and one was in the conifers bordering the approach road to Mudeford Quay. To conclude, our regular Wick evening sentinel turned in an adult Mediterranean Gull over the fields tonight.

July 8th

The rain eased up in the small hours, but returned with a vengeance just after 6:00 this morning. Consequently, Stanpit wasn't visited until almost lunchtime, but the trip was worth the wait as a Wood Sandpiper made it onto the year list. The bird was flushed by a walker from a small pool at the tip of South Marsh, settling on the mud in Stanpit Bight before returning to the original spot. Prior to that, a brave soul made it to the Beach Huts and, in the only available shelter, recorded: 55 Sandwich Tern, 45 Gannet, 12 Common Tern, 5 Common Scoter, 4 Dunlin, 2 Arctic Tern and 1 Common Sandpiper all going east; while a Ringed Plover arrived from the west a Fulmar passed by on the same bearing and 3 Little Tern were lingering of Mudeford Quay. Late morning, as the rain abated, there was a notable Swift and Sand Martin movement over the area, an hour's count produced 1000 and 350 birds respectively. Stanpit held waders throughout the day: first mention must go to the summer-plumaged Ruff that I overlooked for Tuesday's report, sorry Tony! Also seen were 39 Dunlin, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper and 1 Turnstone, meanwhile, Barn Bight played host to 7 Common Sandpiper.

July 7th

The predicted wind from the east was with us this morning and picked up to quite some strength throughout the day, meanwhile the westerly approaching low pressure brought the rain by mid-afternoon. By all accounts the hatches need to be firmly battened for at least the next 24 hours. Naturally, the sea was given some attention and turned up a nice adult Roseate Tern moving west, close inshore to the Beach Huts. Most other movers were going into the wind, including 400 Gannet, 15 Common Scoter, 11 Common Tern and 7 Dunlin. Overhead and also into the wind went 570 Swift and 1 Hobby this morning, while around 150 Sand Martin hugged the waves as they made their way onwards; a drake Tufted Duck circling at sea may have been the week's earlier individual. Finally from Hengistbury, a Great-spotted Woodpecker was in the Wood and 5 Common Sandpiper were in Barn Bight. A couple of visits to Stanpit recorded 4 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, all around Stanpit Bight and Mother Siller's Channel. There are also still 6 Shelduck young in that area. Yesterday's evening visit to Hengistbury was successful, check back for details. Two separate reports have just been received of a group of 100 Swift passing over the western part of Hengistbury, in quite appalling conditions, around 7:45 this evening.

July 6th

An almost cloudless and relatively calm day, ahead of tomorrow's predicted winds. Again, birds of interest are putting in appearances; today's best was a Green Sandpiper, locally rare, which came up off Stanpit and headed north over Two Riversmeet at around midday. Also notable was a Little Ringed Plover in Barn Bight, with 6 Common Sandpiper also being seen there. A Hobby was over the northern part of the area around lunchtime and, early morning, 3 Black-tailed Godwit went north up the valley. There was another good wader gathering on Stanpit with 4 Greenshank, 4 Dunlin, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Ringed Plover. Meanwhile, off Hengistbury, a second-summer Mediterranean Gull was around the Long Groyne. Avon Valley Buzzard have left the nest, 6 could be seen from Stanpit golf course and at least 2 female Teal in Parky Meade Rail are worthy of an early July mention. Kingfisher are back in the area, this morning birds were seen fishing on the Avon as it joins Clay Pool and over Wick reedbed. The next two months are the best time to see these birds in the harbour, Parky Meade Rail and Mother Siller's Channel being traditional "hotspots". Some atypical evening excursions were made around both sides of the harbour. On Hengistbury, a single Nightjar appeared at 10pm and a male churred emphatically shortly afterwards, there were also 5 Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight. A Greenshank heard from the head was seen on Stanpit, along with a Green Sandpiper, possibly the day's earlier bird. Omitted from the original posting were a summer-plumaged Ruff in Barn Bight and a Little Owl calling around Two Riversmeet at 10:00 this evening.

July 5th

Stanpit again provided the interest, as it's obvious the wader return is now well underway. This morning, 42 Black-tailed Godwit passed west through the harbour; while, on the ground were 6 Common Sandpiper, 5 Dunlin, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Greenshank. Duck are also trickling back with female Teal and Gadwall seen today. Locally bred Kestrel and Water Rail are emerging with high counts of 7 and 11 of each species respectively. From Hengistbury, the Great-northern Diver was again on the sea, along with 14 Common Scoter and a Guillemot. An evening visit to Stanpit saw 3 Black-tailed Godwit on the HHC sandbar, which were tempted up by an arriving flock of 8 and all headed north.

July 4th

After another night of rain, yesterday's wind had lightened considerably and a 90 minute loiter by Crouch Hill was relatively pleasant. A Hobby passed low over in a northerly direction and a drake Tufted Duck came up out of Stanpit Bight and headed the same way. A couple of Little Tern were on the exposed mud, as were 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 adult and 2 first-summer; but as the tide rose, 3 headed north and 3 went west. A party of 7 Dunlin put in a brief appearance from the east before going, from whence they came, ahead of the rising water. The Shelduck family is now 5 young, plus the adopted elder sibling. At lunchtime, the Great-northern Diver was on a calm sea off the Point House Café. After a few hours of constant drizzle, Stanpit was again watched, with the North Scrubs providing the most surprises: a party of 40 or so Long-tailed Tit were accompanied by a Treecreeper, while a Spotted Flycatcher was an unexpected early migrant. A Little Ringed Plover inspected Priory Marsh before deciding it was too wet to be attractive and a Bearded Tit was heard calling across on the Wick side of the river. Another Hobby was seen, this time with prey over East Marsh, and a Peregrine soared high overhead. The Tufted Duck from this morning had settled in Parky Meade Rail; and there were 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 on East Marsh and 1 in Mother Siller's Channel.

July 3rd

As the south-west wind continued, the Beach Huts were well used this morning. In what was probably an above average 3 hours, the following were recorded and are recounted chronologically. First highlight was a tight group of 6 Little Tern moving west, a Great-crested Grebe soon went in the same direction and slightly later a pair of Common Scoter passed close east. However, the best of the morning came with 2 Balearic Shearwater going east. More Common Scoter came past, this time a string of 14 west; next were 4 distant Shearwater sp., again going east and, finally, a single Curlew went west. In between this, a couple of Fulmar were also seen; and, from further along the head, an Arctic Skua was seen going west. During the seawatch, a party of 2 adult and 4 juvenile Common Sandpiper arrived in front of the Beach Huts, before moving towards the Long Groyne. Such an early presence of young birds suggests breeding has taken place not too far away.

July 2nd

After some overnight rain the wind strengthened from the west. Despite this, seawatching was poor with only 200 Gannet and 4 Manx Shearwater seen from the Beach Huts this morning; while the Great-northern Diver was again off Double Dykes, along with a Guillemot. The woodland theme continued with a Treecreeper in the Wood, appearing to a different bird to last Saturday. Single Common Sandpiper were in Barn Bight this morning and Stanpit Bight this afternoon. Also at Stanpit today were 9 Little Tern and 3 Black-tailed Godwit.

July 1st

The turn of the year and this week's account is starting to resemble that of a visit to the New Forest; as today a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker was in the company of 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker in the North Scrubs. Waders moved through the harbour, but few lingered; 3 Black-tailed Gowit and 1 Greenshank went west, and 2 Ringed Plover were heard overhead. Litte Egret were counted at 63 birds, including several family parties. From Hengistbury, the Great-northern Diver was again off Double Dykes.

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