Sightings for May 2005
On another very pleasant spring day a Serin flew west over Crouch Hill towards Wick soon after lunch. This morning an immature Little Gull was on the mudbar behind the HHC; also present were 29 Black-tailed Godwit. Earlier a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over the Centre and 2 Mistle Thrush were on Wick Fields. There are still at least 2 Lesser Whitethroat on territory at the far end of Wick not far from the wooden bridge.
Late news: a Tawny Owl was heard calling at Stanpit around 10pm.
A fairly uneventful day in the harbour although up to 4 Bearded Tit on Central Marsh this morning possibly indicate local breeding. Waders were again in short supply on Stanpit with a total of 26 Black-tailed Godwit, 18 on the HHC mudbar, 7 in Parky Mead and 1 on Central Marsh; 5 Dunlin were just off South Marsh and 17 Ringed Plover flew high over the harbour heading north. Another high flier was a Peregrine heading south shortly after 9am and a distant Hobby was seen over Mudeford. Finally 3 Gadwall (2 drakes) were present on the edge of Stanpit Bight this morning.
Late news : the information services reported both adult and immature Mediterranean Gull, and 2 Hobby from Stanpit in the afternoon.
Most of the regulars forsook the harbour this morning for an excursion to the raptor delights of the New Forest, so no reports are available for the early part of the day. Until lunchtime, it was almost windless, but a light westerly did pick up later. This afternoon, there was a Greenshank on Stanpit, along with 28 Black-tailed Godwit and 7 Dunlin. It's hard to imagine there were over 500 just a couple of weeks ago. Priory Marsh held some breeding bird interest: a White Wagtail is seemingly paired with a Pied Wagtail and a brood of 4 Water Rail chicks were seen. There are now 3 Shelduck families of 15, 7 and 2 around Stanpit Bight.
Late news: a Treecreeper was seen in the trees by the Civic Centre.
In the small hours, the wind really picked up from a south south-west direction. This, coupled with cloudy skies, probably scuppered the plans of many Bank Holiday visitors to the area. The sea was watched from early on, but it wasn't until 9:30 that 5 Manx Shearwater appeared to make three and half-hour watch worthwhile. Prior to this, the best had been a breeding plumaged Great-northern Diver west, 53 Common Scoter, all east in 4 similarly sized flocks, 2 Sanderling, 17 Fulmar and 2 Kittiwake. Also recorded were 75 Swift, 58 Sandwich Tern, 3 Common Tern, 2 each of Razorbill and Guillemot, as well as 7 auk sp.; while, on the horizon, there was a constant presence of Gannet, with all ages represented. A pair of Canada Goose made a low pass over the Beach Huts and were later joined in the harbour by another. Let's hope this current incursion is short lived. More welcome were a couple of first-summer Little Gull, presumably the recent Coward's Marsh birds, off Goldeneye Point and a Great-crested Grebe in Barn Bight. The only waders that could be seen on Stanpit were 8 Dunlin.
Standing on South Marsh this morning was a thoroughly pleasant experience, despite the relatively poor show of birds. The immature Little Gull was present for a short while, as was a Mediterranean Gull of the same age that departed upriver. Waders have been erratic for the last week and today saw a low, with just 3 Dunlin, 18 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Whimbrel being recorded. A small passage of House Martin and Swift is the only other migratory point of interest. Shelduck continue their status as a breeding species; the year's first brood took to the water yesterday and numbered 15, a number that was intact this morning.
The only report received so far today is from Stanpit. The immature Little Gull was still on the mud just off South Marsh but waders were few and far between. Just 10 Dunlin, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Sanderling and an unseasonal Curlew were noted.
After my comment a couple of days ago about the lack of waders today was just the opposite with plenty to see, particularly on Stanpit. The highlight on a murky misty morning was a male Kentish Plover which stayed all too briefly. The bird was just off East Marsh but had left the harbour before 9am. Most birds were moving on very quickly as the tide rose. Up to 500 Dunlin were logged but by high tide only a handful were left; also counted were 38 Sanderling, 27 Ringed Plover, 20 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Turnstone, 7 Whimbrel, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Grey Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover and 1 Little Stint. An immature Little Gull was resting on the mud just off South Marsh whilst 3 Little Tern were in the harbour. On the beach at Hengistbury were another 45 Sanderling and 20 Dunlin.
On another morning of strong winds and showery rain the highlights of an hour's seawatch between 8 & 9am were 21 Manx Shearwater heading west; also moving in the same direction were 45 Gannet, 37 Common Scoter, 7 Kittiwake, 6 Fulmar and 4 Guillemot. At lunchtime off Mudeford Quay another 5 Manx Shearwater were seen together with 5 Little Tern and 2 Fulmar.
On a fine spring day in the harbour there was very little to report. A Hobby over Wick and a Cuckoo calling from there, plus the Lesser Whitethroat on territory in North Scrubs were the only sightings of note. Apart from 3 dozen Oystercatcher the marsh was devoid of waders!
In much more settled conditions this morning there was very little evidence of passerine migration apart from another Turtle Dove, which headed north over the harbour, and a couple of Swift. The sea was also quiet with just 25 Gannet and 2 Fulmar whilst 13 Sanderling were on the beach. On Stanpit 15 Dunlin, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and the summer plumaged Golden Plover were roosting on East Marsh at high tide. Corvids featured again today with 2 Rook over the Barn Field and the Jackdaw, referred to a few days ago, were around Crouch Hill and now number ten; both species are uncommon in the recording area.
Another morning of heavy squally showers and another soaking for the half a dozen hardy (or is that foolhardy?) souls who ventured to the Beach Huts. Just after dawn when it was fine and dry the woodland held 2 Spotted Flycatcher, a Turtle Dove headed north and a late Wheatear was on the groynes. There was also an immature Mediterranean Gull and a Greenshank within the harbour. Once the rain came however, seawatching was again the only option. Highlights were another 15 Manx Shearwater and 1 Great Skua heading west whilst an Arctic Skua headed east; also moving east were 2 Red-throated and 1 Great Northern Diver. Gannet were always on the horizon with 170 being logged in the four hour vigil; the birds were moving west together with 42 Common Scoter, 41 Sanderling, 17 Fulmar and 1 Great Crested Grebe. In the opposite direction were 73 Common Tern and 9 Kittiwake whilst around 40 Sandwich Tern lingered off the Head.
Today's seawatchers started at 6am and stayed until 10am. Conditions eased by mid-session but prior to that the blustery wind, which was still more south than south-westerly, was blowing the rain into the Beach Huts once again. Totals logged were (all west):- 230 Gannet, 70 Sandwich Tern, 43 Common Scoter, 32 Fulmar, 24 Manx Shearwater, 20 Guillemot, 17 Kittiwake, 6 Razorbill, 6 Little Tern, 3 Storm Petrel (the first for the year) and of great local value, a Puffin, which was the first record since May 2002, which in turn was the first for ten years! 10 unidentified auks were also seen. Moving east were 18 Common Tern and a single Arctic Skua. Small flocks of Sanderling, 57 in all, also moved west. Finally there was a strong movement of hirundines and Swift, with 250 Swift, 200 Swallow and 80 House Martin which came in off the sea and headed north.
A thoroughly unpleasant seawatch this morning, by all accounts, with the wind from the south and blowing the rain into the Beach Huts, making viewing difficult. Between 8am and 9:15am 82 Sandwich Tern, 17 Gannet, 3 Common Tern, 3 Kittiwake, 3 Guillemot, 1 Fulmar and 1 Common Scoter were logged, all going west; also 3 Swift appeared above the Beach Huts but appeared to come from inland. This afternoon a brief walk along Fisherman's Bank produced 275 Dunlin and 11 Black-tailed Godwit, and the lone Brent Goose was out on Blackberry. Of local interest, Jackdaw (traditionally an unreliable visitor to the area) are currently present in numbers, with at least six birds frequenting both Stanpit and Wick Fields. Finally, as a late postscript, a Wheatear was on the beach this evening by the Double Dykes.
Stanpit was well covered today, with several reports, despite a chilly south-westerly wind increasing as the day wore on. This morning, the wader tally was 56 Dunlin, 1 Bar-tailed and 25 Black-tailed Godwit, a Little Ringed Plover flying over and the injured Golden Plover still present (remaining throughout the day). A Hobby was also seen, and there was a good passage of hirundines for this late date, with 250 Swallow and 100 House Martin passing through. 4 Gadwall and 2 Shoveler were in Stanpit Bight, 4 Buzzard were noted, and there was a Spotted Flycatcher in North Scrubs, with another in the woods at Hengistbury this morning. By lunchtime, Dunlin numbers had increased to over 300, with one Little Stint and 2 Whimbrel also reported. The resident Cuckoo was also heard. The rising tide in the afternoon held 170 Dunlin, 5 Ringed Plover and a Bar-tailed Godwit; 2 Canada Geese flew on to East Marsh, and a late Brent Goose was on the mud by Blackberry, having seemingly flown in from upriver. Finally, an evening walk around Hengistbury produced a selection of singing resident birds, as well as a Fulmar patrolling the beach off the Double Dykes. Apologies for the late posting of tonight's report!
A late afternoon trip to Stanpit showed that wader numbers were well down on recent days, with just 60 Dunlin and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, but there was still a Little Stint present, always a good spring bird. The lame Golden Plover was also noted again today, having lurked unseen since Saturday, and there were 10 Black-tailed Godwit seen. The same birds were still present early evening when Laurie Chappell, not content with last week's glory, struck gold again with a near-adult Purple Heron flying east at 18:40. Frustratingly, what was almost certainly an adult Night Heron was also seen briefly, flying north over the Playing Fields towards Purewell.
Today's records were mainly of a wader theme, as would be expected at this time of year. An adult Little Stint accompanied 265 Dunlin on Stanpit this afternoon, with a supporting cast of 3 Sanderling, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Grey Plover. Also present was a first-winter Little Gull, 18 Common Tern, and the resident Cuckoo. A further 35 Sanderling in various plumages were seen on Mudeford Sandbar, together with a Whimbrel.
The recent strong winds abated today, and the easterly wind had a touch more south in it; the sunshine also made the day far more pleasant than of late. Early morning at Hengistbury produced a good variety of birds. At sea were 200 Common Tern, with the majority sat on the sea in several flocks (most unusual), a Little Gull went east, as did 11 Kittiwake, and an immature male Marsh Harrier left to the south-west. Numbers of Yellow Wagtail have been low this spring, and so 5 today were notable; 160 Swift also arrived. On the land, 3 Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Garden Warbler were logged, but the lack of cloud cover meant that any passage was unlikely to be grounded. Later in the morning, 5 Avocet were seen to fly into Holloways Dock, calling, and then depart almost immediately. Interestingly, 5 Avocet were also seen on Brownsea today - the same birds, perhaps? This afternoon, the rising tide on Stanpit produced excellent numbers of waders. 850 Dunlin, 240 Ringed Plover, 37 Black- and 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 53 Sanderling, 14 Grey Plover and 5 Turnstone were also accompanied by 3 Little Stint and a Curlew Sandpiper. The large number of birds attracted the attentions of a male Peregrine, which ultimately led to the departure (safely!) of all the waders. Interest was not confined to the mud; overhead passage included a female Honey Buzzard skirting the edge of the harbour heading north-east, 2 Common Buzzard following a similar path, a first-summer Iceland Gull circling Blackberry and heading east, 8 Mediterranean Gull east (with a further bird in the harbour - all 9 were first-summer birds) and 9 Black Tern east in a tight flock.
As a postscript to yesterday's Hen Harrier sighting, the bird was indeed sighted from Hurst at 09.28. Any flight speed calculations will have to take account of the stiff headwind!
An easterly wind calmed by mid-morning and, as it did so, the rain set in for the day. What are the chances of a grey harrier on this date being a Hen Harrier? Well, that's what happened on Hengistbury this morning. A full adult male was seen heading eastwards, several hundred yards offshore, at 9:00am. I wonder if it was seen further along the coast? Prior to that, 3 Hobby had been seen, 1 low over the HHC, 1 arriving in off by the Beach Huts and 1 east; also a Peregrine seen over the head. Despite being watched for over 3 hours, the sea produced very few marine birds of interest; although, a Spotted Flycatcher was seen skipping the waves. Other than that, around 100 Gannet, 60 Common Tern, a handful of Little Tern and 1 Razorbill were all that made it into notebooks. It's really difficult to accurately assess wader numbers, due to the constant movement and changeover of birds. To give a feel, here are some of the observations for today. Just after dawn, a mixed flock of 25 Whimbrel and 20 Bar-tailed Godwit arrived over the Barn Field. Slightly later, at sea, 21 Sanderling, 5 Whimbrel and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit were seen heading east. This afternoon, settled on Stanpit, there were 41 Bar-tailed Godwit, 51 Black-tailed Godwit, 27 Whimbrel, 6 Knot, 1 Turnstone and around 300 Dunlin. Also 8 Grey Plover, but a further 17 passed over north-east. An hour or so later, 15 Whimbrel were high over Mudeford Quay. However, the best two birds were a Little Stint this morning and a Little Ringed Plover this afternoon, both on Stanpit. The casualty list now includes a Brent Goose on Blackberry Point and the Golden Plover on South Marsh. Continuing the unseasonal theme, a pair of Tufted Duck toured the harbour at lunchtime. Around 6:00 this evening, a 10 minute scan from Mudeford Quay produced a loose flock of 50 Common Tern east.
In a strong easterly the seawatch commenced at 5:45 this morning, but wasn't perhaps as good as hoped. Early on, 6 Manx Shearwater were probably the highlight, also 1 Little Gull east. At least 200 tern were offshore, estimated at 120+ Sandwich Tern and 60+ Common Tern. Also seen were 50 Gannet, 11 Common Scoter and 10 Sanderling east, and a Common Sandpiper was on the groynes. A Peregrine was hunting over the cliffs and 70 Swift moved overhead. One particular flock of 40 birds also contained a Little Ringed Plover! This morning, 17 Whimbrel moved north, 2 east and 14 arrived in the harbour; this afternoon there were just 7 on Stanpit. Also changing in numbers throughout the day were Black-tailed Godwit, there were 38 in Barn Bight this morning and 70 on East Marsh this afternoon. Stanpit also held a few hundred Dunlin, 20 or so Ringed Plover, 12 Grey Plover, some absolutely stunning in breeding plumage, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Knot and 2 Sanderling. A first-summer Little Gull spent at least an hour on or over East Marsh and a similarly aged Mediterranean Gull was also seen there. At least 3 Cuckoo were around the marsh and 2 Lesser Whitethroat were seen around the Barn Field on Hengistbury. Something of a Gadwall influx today, a maximum of 5 birds together off South Marsh. Waders were still moving in the late afternoon, a flock of 15 Bar-tailed Godwit arrived and almost touched down on Mudeford Quay, before circling the area and continuing east. A group of 5 Eider were seen moving past the quay.
A three hour spell on Stanpit this morning produced some good local records. A female Marsh Harrier approached from the south, before following Hengistbury and moving east. Also seen to arrive were a pair of Garganey that spent a short time on the water and then moved off northwards. Continuing their good spring, another Turtle Dove was seen, this time a single bird overhead. Also flying through were 2 Black Tern east. Lots more waders today, it's really interesting to compare the daily variety and totals and to get a feel for how much of a turnover there is. Best today were 4 Spotted Redshank with one in almost complete breeding plumage. A noteworthy total is 170 Ringed Plover in the harbour with other counts comprising: 1 Greenshank, 19 Grey Plover, 7 Knot, 23 Turnstone, 6 Sanderling, 9 Whimbrel, 1 Curlew, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, over 450 Dunlin and 53 Black-tailed Godwit, with a further 25 in Holloway's Dock. The Golden Plover was again recorded, today on Central Marsh. A reasonable hirundine passage contained 150 House Martin, 120 Swallow and 170 Swift during the count period, also 3 Yellow Wagtail overhead and a Garden Warbler in Stanpit Scrubs. Terns numbers were very much down today, just 9 Little Tern in the harbour, and 10 Sandwich Tern and 3 Common Tern off Hengistbury. This afternoon, there were 3 Whimbrel in Holloway's Dock. Last minute news: this evening, there was a Hobby over Priory Marsh, and Canada Goose and Cuckoo were heard on Wick Fields. The waders numbers on Stanpit are greatly reduced, where the Golden Plover was forced off East Marsh by crows and headed over towards Wick. Some late skua news also received for yesterday.
Late news from Stanpit: a Roseate Tern was roosting on the tip of East Marsh at midday, a Lesser Whitethroat was in Stanpit Scrubs and a female Redstart was in the North Scrubs. Also, from Hengistbury, this evening there was a Spotted Flycatcher in the Wood; while a Brent Goose was off the Sandspit, and 2 Sanderling and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit were on it. At sea, 30 Gannet, 12 Common Tern and 2 Swift all went east.
Mudeford Quay was attended from 4:30 this morning but, unfortunately, to no avail for those who journeyed here. However, there are still an incredibly high and uncharacteristic number of terns in the area. For example, over 100 Sandwich Tern were inside the harbour late morning, along with 1 Roseate Tern and 18 Little Tern. Earlier, many had been feeding off the Sandspit, with around 20 each of Common Tern and Sandwich Tern resting on Clarendon Rocks, also 5 Little Tern and 2 Arctic Tern there. By far the most bizarre sight of the day was a Brent Goose swimming in The Run, which also held a Little Gull for a short while. Waders continue to move, 11 Sanderling were on Clarendon Rocks with a further 7 seen heading east. There were also 5 Turnstone and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit on the Sandspit. Inside the harbour, there were 2 Greenshank, 5 Grey Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Curlew, a very good record for mid-May, 5 Whimbrel, 2 Knot, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, 186 Dunlin, 13 Ringed Plover and 15 Black-tailed Godwit. Still only very small numbers of Common Sandpiper though, just a single bird today. This is a poor spring for them. Meanwhile, the injured Golden Plover was again on Stanpit and 2 Raven were overhead. Both Lesser Whitethroat and Cuckoo continue to be vocal in Wick Fields.
Late news: a pale phase Pomarine Skua was watched for four minutes from Mudeford Quay at 5:30 this evening. The bird circled over Christchurch Bay, to Hengistbury and then south out beyond the Isle of Wight.
Just got back in from Mudeford Quay after an evening of frustration, anxiety and finally success. Today saw CHOG's 320th new bird, in the form of an Elegant Tern . Someone please correct me, but I think there have been less than 5 British records of this west coast American species. The bird was found by Laurie Chappell around 4:00pm on Stanpit, where it was resting with Sandwich Tern. Initially presumed to be Lesser Crested Tern, as the bird flew the white rump became apparent and the identification changed. A blank period of 2 hours then followed as birders gathered on Mudeford Quay, the area where the bird was seen heading. Around 6:45, it reappeared and then lingered offshore fishing, even perching on buoys, until around 8:15, when it coasted around Hengistbury Head towards the Double Dykes. It could still be around. All in all, it was an eventful four hours for many locals, perhaps topped by the sight of two harbour regulars actually running away from the bird so it could be seen from within the recording area. The mobile phone companies certainly made some money tonight. If anyone has any photographs or video grabs, please send them in to the site. Before all this, the dreaded "unfortunately no reports have been received" line was a real possibility. However, it's amazing what a couple of hours of intensive tern searching can produce. Off Hengistbury, 1 Arctic Skua was seen and 3 Purple Sandpiper were on the groynes. Inside the harbour, there was a Roseate Tern and another was seen from Mudeford Quay. Around 15 Whimbrel were noted, along with 20 Black-tailed Godwit and 6 Bar-tailed Godwit. The pair of Canada Goose were still inside the harbour; and House Martin and Cuckoo were seen on Wick.
Late news: an Osprey flew very high over the harbour at about 1:00pm and there were 6 Sanderling on Hengistbury this morning. On Stanpit, there was a Common Sandpiper by the Girder Bridge.
The wind eased off even more today, but it was still uncomfortable if one was in it for too long. A two hour vigil on Stanpit's South Marsh betrayed a good wader passage. Although most birds were recorded as moving north, this is probably just a quirk of the coastline and the general direction would have ultimately been north-east. The tally reads an impressive 530 Dunlin, 63 Ringed Plover, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Sanderling, 9 Whimbrel, after the last few days perhaps more could have been expected, 9 Grey Plover, 7 Turnstone, 2 Golden Plover, 2 Knot and, by no means least, 1 Little Ringed Plover. Equally impressive was a total of 470 Swift north. In addition to the moving waders, there were 6 resting Whimbrel. There was also some passerine migrant interest, comprising 3 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat and 1 Cuckoo; while, a single Hobby and 6 Yellow Wagtail were recorded overhead. A total of 27 Little Tern moved west through the harbour. This afternoon, a lone Purple Sandpiper was below the Point House Café.
More of the same wind today, although it did become stiller overnight but picked up with the daylight. After yesterday's exertions, there was a complete lack of early morning coverage, so who knows what could have happened. First activity was at Stanpit mid-morning, where, as is always the, a species sought after yesterday was present, Common Sandpiper being the culprit. Today there were birds on South Marsh and Priory Marsh; where there was also a Wheatear, the lingering pair of Canada Goose and a Hobby soaring over the Golf Course, before buzzing the North Scrubs. As the tide ebbed during the mid-afternoon, Stanpit was again watched. Not too much change from yesterday, but Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwit had increased to 140 and 9 birds respectively, and 3 Grey Plover were also new in. The 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 attaining breeding plumage, were still present, as were single Ringed Plover and Turnstone, and around 10 Whimbrel. There was also a high count of 17 Little Tern in Stanpit Bight. Although not seen today, it seems the injured Golden Plover may be the same bird that was initially seen, in a very poor state of health, at Barton-on-Sea on 10th April. So it does appear to be on the mend. At this point in the season, it is interesting to take stock of the potential breeding situation in the area. Worryingly, Sedge and Reed Warbler, the latter in particular, seem to be woefully down; but, after a late start, Whitethroat now appear to be well entrenched. The pair of Canada Goose may make a first for the harbour and Pheasant are, as predicted earlier, likely to make a foxes life easy. On Wick yesterday, there were 3 Mallard broods of 15, 16 and 8, all very close to each other, and a fledgling Song Thrush was seen. The most significant interest surrounds Redshank and Lapwing on Priory Marsh. Due to the assistance of Christchurch Borough Council and the local grazier, there will be no livestock on the area until late June. This is the first time for many years that such a scenario has occurred and both these wetland breeders are currently showing a definite interest. There are also good numbers of Sanwich Tern and several pairs have are indulging in courtship, and more - I'm not quite where they could nest though.
Late News: the information services report a Spoonbill east over Stanpit at 08:20 this morning.
A hard bird race hampered by an irritating, brisk north-westerly wind. A total of 84 man-hours in the field, resulted in just 100 species across the 3 teams. Migrants were almost non-existent, for example, just 1 Wheatear being seen all day. The final results saw the teams finish on 91, 86 and 83 respectively. An early start for some - 3:30am on Stanpit Golf Course, several species bagged, but none that weren't seen later! By 4:30am, all players were out and starting to bump into each other on Wick Fields. The highlights there were: a Little Owl actually seen in the half-light; a Mistle Thrush singing somewhere in Wick Village; a Garden Warbler also sang, as did 5 Lesser Whitethroat; a late Snipe was heard and a second-calendar year Mediterranean Gull overflew. Also early on, a Greenshank was heard from the HHC. It was now a case of the teams taking their preferred positions on the top of the head, factoring in shelter from the wind, and combinations of sea and harbour panoramas. In spite of the offshore wind, there was a good passage of terns to the west, containing 1 Roseate Tern and at least 4 Arctic Tern. Other notables offshore were a minimum of 4 Manx Shearwater, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Diver sp., a Merlin and a non-breeding Great-crested Grebe. By afternoon, Wick Fields again became the theatre of operations as northward scans produced Raven, Buzzard and House Martin; and the only Willow Warbler of the day continued to hold territory. The best came slightly later while all teams were on Stanpit, from where a female Marsh Harrier was watched over the Wick side of the river. Almost immedately afterwards, a Peregrine was seen soaring way over Burton. The marsh itself was disappointing in terms of waders, however, the injured Golden Plover was still around. Otherwise, it was just 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Sanderling and 4 Ringed Plover that made contributions. All teams struggled to add species during the last hour and 6:00pm saw the final round-up in The Rising Sun, from where 22 of the 36 Whimbrel previously on Stanpit could be seen heading north over the garden. Lastly, thanks to all participants, whatever their role, who again made for an enjoyable day, despite the conditions.
Only reports so far today come from a brief afternoon scan off Fisherman's Bank, but it's just a couple each of Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit that merit mention. However, there is more information expected from a morning visit. Please check again tonight. As a consequence of tomorrow's competition and subsequent socialising, there is likely to be only be a limited, late posting. Normal service will resume Sunday.
Post Script: the expected morning reports didn't materialise, the only additions are 9 Common Scoter past Hengistbury this evening and a territorial Cuckoo on Wick for the bird racers.
Firstly, check back to yesterday for a late report of possible significance. Today, the wind continued from the north-west and an early morning trip to Stanpit produced a nice selection of migrants. Given the relatively late date, a male Ring Ouzel on Crouch Hill was a real surprise. Even more surprising for this species was the complete lack of shyness. The bird sat on fence posts and almost sang, before heading high towards Hengsitbury. There was more wader interest, headed by an adult Little Stint with the 57 Dunlin and supported by 2 Avocet that flew through the harbour. The Golden Plover is still on East Marsh and 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Sanderling and 1 Common Sandpiper were counted. A female Pied Flycatcher and a Spotted Flycatcher were in the North Scrubs, as were 2 Garden Warbler, and a Cuckoo was also seen. A couple of late date records are Common Gull and a female Shoveler, the latter on South Marsh. A Hengistbury seawatch kept the day ticking along, the best being 3 Pomarine Skua east, along with 9 Common Scoter, 2 Gannet and 1 Guillemot. Only other record from there is a flyover Yellow Wagtail.
A north-westerly wind actually made Stanpit quite cold this morning; however, heavy grey cloud made the viewing light excellent. There was something of a wader passage through the harbour, as the high morning tides discouraged birds from settling. At least 33 Grey Plover, 21 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Dunlin and 3 Ringed Plover passed through eastwards. The highlight though, was a group of 8 birds that comprised 6 Knot and 2 adult Curlew Sandpiper, again heading east. There were also settled waders, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 73 Dunlin and 2 Black-tailed Godwit being the count. The latter have certainly cleared out over the last week or so. Another Turtle Dove was recorded heading north, making it a really good year for this nationally declining species. Also overhead were 1 Hobby, 2 Yellow Wagtail and 29 Swift, while grounded migrants included 1 Whinchat, 1 Cuckoo and 2 Wheatear. The Brent Goose was again present. Moving ahead to the late afternoon and birds were still travelling, a Hobby came in off very low at Hengistbury and 13 Black-tailed Godwit could be seen departing to the north-west. There were also 2 Whimbrel in Barn Bight and 4 Little Tern off the Sandspit. Finally, of interest, Limpy, the Yellow-legged Gull, was seen at Pennington on May 1st.
Late News: a small gull seen off the Beach Huts this evening, but not well, is thought by the cautious observer to have been a probable Ross' Gull. Although not a certain claim, it has been documented just in case something more definite transpires.
A 2 hour morning seawatch from the Beach Huts produced 1 Pomarine Skua, 1 Black-throated Diver amd 24 Eider, all east into The Solent. Also 3 Manx Shearwater, 50+ Common Scoter, 18 Gannet, 6 Fulmar and 3 auk sp. There were a couple of Wheatear on the Barn Field, 3 Swift west and 10 Whimbrel moving.This evening, on Stanpit, the Brent Goose was again present, along with a pair of Shoveler, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Whimbrel. A couple of Wheatear were also recorded and a Cuckoo could be heard over on Wick.
A windless dawn with almost unbearable insects at Hengistbury. Fortunately, a light breeze picked up from the east, veering south-west as the day wore on. All six species of the commoner British terns were recorded today. As well as the expected Sandwich, Little and Common, a couple of Roseate Tern were feeding off the Long Groyne for a while this morning and, this afternoon, a group of 7 birds overflying Stanpit eastwards comprised 6 Arctic Tern and 1 Black Tern. All in all, it was a day full of interest. A Short-eared Owl was hassled by gulls over Hengistbury while making its way slowly westwards. Going in the opposite direction and far more purposefully was a drake Garganey, seen at sea from the top of the head. A total of 3 Little Gull were recorded, 2 heading north over Stanpit and a first-summer off the Long Groyne with the tern gathering. Also noted at sea, were 1 Great-northern Diver, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 diver sp. west, and 1 Eider, 1 Kittiwake and 2 Fulmar west. A Red-throated Diver heading east actually overflew the Barn Field and the Nursery. Moving waders from or over Hengistbury included 62 Whimbrel with one flock of 35 birds, 36 Grey Plover with one flock of 20 birds and 3 Knot. On the groynes, 6 Turnstone were settled, as were 3 Wheatear around the head. Only airborne migrants of note were 4 Tree Pipit and 2 Jackdaw. Finally, from the south of the area, there was a Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight. This afternoon, Stanpit was well watched and, despite the disturbance, held a good number of birds. Bar-tailed Godwit and Sanderling were particularly well represented, with 15 and 17 of each respectively. More Whimbrel were noted, 24 birds were seen to arrive and, earlier, 7 had already left. The sick looking Golden Plover is still hopping around East Marsh and the presumably also infirm Brent Goose was off South Marsh. A couple of second calendar year Mediterranean Gull were interesting - both had first-winter type wing plumage, but one sported an adult-type black hood, while the other had just the smudge behind the eye. The Dunlin were counted at 182, and there were 10 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Ringed Plover. Now the Bank Holiday is over, Stanpit can return to being a Nature Reserve. It was particularly disappointing to see several small sailing craft from the Fisherman's Bank area ignoring the wildlife buoys around Stanpit Bight.
The day showed early promising, but descending fog truncated things somewhat. On Hengistbury, the best of the pick were 2 Arctic Tern that flew through the harbour and a Spotted Flycatcher in the Nursery. Overhead, just 1 each of Tree Pipit and Yellow Wagtail were noted, while, on the ground, there were 9 Garden Warbler and around 25 Willow Warbler. A group of 17 Eider, including 7 drakes, at sea must surely be the same birds as Friday, also seen 14 Little Tern, 7 Fulmar and 1 adult non-breeding plumage Kittiwake. Also just offshore was a Peregrine, seen from Double Dykes. Wick was also covered and produced possibly the same falcon, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Jackdaw and 2 Canada Goose. A Golden Plover resting on East Marsh, Stanpit, was the bird of the afternoon, but the late Brent Goose was also still present. There's a bird race next week. Yesterday's Dunlin seem to have cleared out, only 60 counted today. Other totals included 22 Whimbrel, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Sanderling and 1 Common Sandpiper. There were 6 Little Tern fishing in Stanpit Bight and a Cuckoo was in the North Scrubs. Only other interest is 9 Turnstone on the Sandspit this morning. Finally, the Stanpit walk was very well attended - a record 25 people, who contributed £50 to CHOG. Thanks to Chris Chapleo for leading.