Sightings for July 2009

July 31st

In a light easterly breeze, Stanpit witnessed an excellent wader presence this morning that included singles of Little Ringed Plover and Wood Sandpiper over Priory Marsh, as well as 5 or more Green Sandpiper calling about there. Then, off South Marsh, a small flock of Dunlin heading west carried a moulting, adult Curlew Sandpiper with them. In all, 136 Dunlin left west, as did 15 Turnstone and 9 Ringed Plover, while at least 20 Common Sandpiper were dotted around the Stanpit Bight area. Other quality came from an adult Arctic Tern, over Priory Marsh but then back north, and 2 Garganey that may have remained in the harbour all day, most recently on Priory Marsh according to the information services. Before completing the numbers at Stanpit, let's move over to Hengistbury, where a Redstart was on the Batters, a Garden Warbler was logged and the ringers were kept very busy. Migrant Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler, 30 and 9 respectively, were also fairly conspicuous. Overhead, Swift were moving en masse, with 380 counted this morning and between 2-300 over Wick in the late afternoon. As promised, back to Stanpit and counts of: 3 Greenshank, 16 Whimbrel, 47 settled Dunlin, 5 Ringed Plover, a Snipe, a Black-tailed Godwit and 135 Redshank. To conclude the waders, a group of 9 Sanderling were on the beach by Double Dykes. Of the more regular terns, a party of 5 Little Tern passing through was the best, but also 23 Common Tern and 49 Sandwich Tern. The remaining interest for the day involves a Hobby, a Peregrine, 5 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall, 2 Grey Wagtail and 2 Kingfisher.

July 30th

The first southbound Wheatear of the year, perhaps helped on its way by the north-westerly breeze, was on Solent Meads golf course this morning. Meanwhile, the ever-increasing ringing activity meant that, for the first time in my memory, two sites were worked from dawn - the HHC and the Nursery - with the latter producing a juvenile Treecreeper. While I'm not totally au fait with the harbour-ringing list, there can't have been too many (if any?) of those trapped previously on site.This evening on Stanpit, a flock of 18 Common Sandpiper were looking to roost in the vicinity of the log, but others birds on the marsh brings the day-total to a fairly impressive 25. Complementary wader numbers from there and Fisherman's Bank throughout the day include: 3 Greenshank, 13 Whimbrel and 21 Dunlin; as well as 3 Turnstone on the sandspit. To conclude, an hour's seawatch from the Beach Huts yielded just 6 Common Scoter and 5 Common Tern, all westward.

July 29th

With the south-westerly wind picking up again, the sea produced some half-decent records this morning. In a 45-minute spell, when it looked as if the heavens would open, a flurry of Gannet into Poole Bay brought 3 Balearic Shearwater and 2 Manx Shearwater with them. As it happened, conditions actually stayed relatively dry and subsequently allowed an adult Roseate Tern to be watched fishing off Double Dykes for around 5-minutes, as well as giving close views of an Arctic Skua and a juvenile Kittiwake. Other marine totals for the day involve: 230 Gannet, 86 Sandwich Tern, 26 Common Tern, 4 Fulmar, 2 auk sp. and a Common Scoter. Earlier, the HHC briefly hosted a small number of migrant passerines, most notably a Redstart, but also 2 Lesser Whitethroat and 4 Willow Warbler. Across the harbour, between Mother Siller's Channel and Fisherman's Bank, 14 Whimbrel, 8 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, a Bar-tailed Godwit and an adult Mediterranean Gull were logged, along with 45 Oystercatcher and 27 Curlew.

July 28th

So far nearly all news comes from Fisherman's Bank, but Stanpit Bight is being grilled this evening so an update may follow. This morning, around 7.30, it was something of a shock to find a gaggle of wildfowl littering Stanpit Creek, namely 14 Canada Goose and a single Greylag Goose. Slightly more aesthetically pleasing though were 9 Whimbrel, a Common Sandpiper and a Dunlin, while by lunchtime 3 adult Turnstone and a further 6 Dunlin had put in an appearance, then at 5:00 tonight a couple of Greenshank were present. Elsewhere, a single Snipe came up off Priory Marsh, a Common Sandpiper was by the HHC and the sea returned nothing.

Additional news: this evening, a Fulmar was over Stanpit golf course, before heading back out to sea over the HHC. Also, 3 Greenshank, 5+ Common Sandpiper, a Black-tailed Godwit and 11 Dunlin on Stanpit.

July 27th

Overnight rain that ran into the early morning meant Hengistbury was given a miss early on, but Stanpit received some later attention instead. Not unexpectedly given the numbers around the country at the moment, Crossbill made it into the day's log with a party of seven over the marsh towards the Nursery, while also recorded airborne were a Golden Plover and 5 Snipe. Common Sandpiper were again around in reasonable numbers, 16 in fact, as well as 18 Whimbrel, 6 Greenshank, 16 Dunlin and 32 Curlew. Also worth a mention are 6 Shoveler and a Great Crested Grebe.

July 26th

The ringing demonstration for the Environmental Day saw another good haul of birds; not least Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler, indicating these are starting to move about for the autumn already. Fuller details will follow in the Ringing section of the site. A Little Ringed Plover arrived in the harbour over the HHC and 3 Snipe headed south over the same spot, while 4 Greenshank were off Speller's Point and 2 Common Sandpiper were at the southern end of Smuggler's Ditch. Other waders included a couple of Turnstone leaving south-west over Wick Hams, but 12 Dunlin and 2 Ringed Plover seemed more settled. To finish, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull headed towards Barn Bight, a Grey Wagtail passed over the HHC and Kingfisher was about there along the river for a short time.

Additional news: in the morning, Stanpit held 12 Common Sandpiper and 16 Whimbrel, along with 14 Dunlin, 21 Curlew and 36 Sandwich Tern. In Smithy's Field, there was a Nuthatch mixed in with a reasonably sized tit flock.

July 25th

Migrant waders again presented the most interest. A couple of Golden Plover, at least one of them still in smart plumage, overflew the area - one to the south-west and the other seemingly north. The Common Sandpiper max'ed at 15 birds, including 7 perched on a dead tree just north of the HHC. Other counts from Stanpit and the HHC, with care taken to avoid duplication, comprise: 12 Whimbrel, 3-5 Greenshank, 25 Dunlin and 14 Black-tailed Godwit. The first returning Teal, a couple in female-type plumage, were on the river, as was a Little Grebe, while a Willow Warbler and Coal Tit were in the HHC grounds. There was little to be seen at sea, except for 2 arriving Ringed Plover and the expected terns.

July 24th

The sea was grilled for nearly three hours this morning and, while the seabirds were disappointing, there was definite interest provided by westward heading waders that skimmed the waves. In fact, it was the flock combinations that were most intriguing. For example: 2 Dunlin, a Sanderling and a Turnstone; 4 Dunlin and a Turnstone; but best of all, 4 Turnstone, a Sanderling and a Snipe! Also logged, a Whimbrel, 4 more Dunlin and a further Turnstone. Equally fascinating was a group of 4 Black-tailed Godwit that contained a bird with an obviously drooping leg. This party headed off south-east, but then distantly veered west and were assumed to have headed off down-channel. However, they then appeared over Stanpit in the late afternoon. The best-of-the-rest at sea came from a freshly plumaged, very smart looking juvenile Kittiwake; also 4 Common Scoter, 11 Common Tern, a Guillemot and 21 Sandwich Tern. Meanwhile, in the Wood on Hengistbury, at least one but most likely 2 Marsh Tit were again present. A spring tide made Stanpit difficult to bird for most of the day, but on the late afternoon ebb there were 4 Greenshank, c10 Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpiper and 2 juvenile Mediterranean Gull.

Additional news: a Mistle Thrush was on Wick in the morning and 8 Black-tailed Godwit departed south-west over there.

July 23rd

This morning saw a reasonable selection of interesting waders about Stanpit, including a Green Sandpiper flitting between Priory and Central Marshes, and a Little Ringed Plover over South Marsh. In support, the first returning Snipe was also on Priory Marsh, where there were 2 Greenshank, while a possible further 3 birds were in Mother Siller's Channel and Stanpit Creek. Later in the day, a Knot was in Stanpit Bight and the Whimbrel were counted at 11, although we're told the information services reported 21! Finally for the waders, there were 3 Common Sandpiper and 3 Black-tailed Godwit around the bight, and Curlew weighed in with a total of 31. Migrant warblers were also in slight evidence, with 2 Lesser Whitethroat by Stanpit golf course and up to 25 Sedge Warbler in bushes along Grimmery Bank. Raven have not been recorded for several weeks, so 3 scruffy looking adults on Crouch Hill were something of a surprise; and to finish on Stanpit, 42 Sandwich Tern were roosting and a Peregrine cruised overhead. Over on Hengistbury, the sea continues to attract attention, but today's tally consisted of just 4 Common Scoter, 110 Gannet and 18 Sandwich Tern.

Omission: a Fulmar overflew Priory Marsh in the morning.

July 22nd

There was a fair bit of westerly movement over the sea this morning, into a stiff south-westerly; however, a lone pale-phase Arctic Skua decided to buck the trend and head into The Solent past the Beach Huts. Most of the numbers actually come from a spot below the Coastguards and comprised: a Balearic Shearwater, 2 Arctic Tern, 37 Common Tern, 9 Fulmar, a Whimbrel, 3 Curlew, 7 Shelduck and 275 Gannet, as well as 76 Sandwich Tern, although some of the latter may have not come from further than Poole Harbour. The best on Stanpit was certainly a Green Sandpiper on East Marsh, where there were also 4 Whimbrel.

July 21st

There was a noticeable presence of phylloscs around the HHC this morning, with the majority of the 12+ being Willow Warbler. Also a Great Spotted Woodpecker in that area. The sea was scanned from the edge of the Barn Field for around an hour and provided totals of: 42 Gannet moving slowly east, a single Fulmar in the same direction, 3 Common Scoter, a Great Crested Grebe on the water and 3 Whimbrel south-west. Earlier, a Greenshank was heard from close to Barn Bight; while, in the afternoon, Fisherman's Bank saw 15 Dunlin, 8 or so Whimbrel and 16 Curlew, as well as 41 Sandwich Tern roosting on East Marsh.

July 20th

The first real migrant oriented ringing session of the season grossed an astonishing 80+ birds, including a Willow Warbler - a species that does not breed in the area - so proving the return passage is underway. Fuller details of the morning's haul will be posted on the Ringing section of the site later this evening, I'm sure. In much calmer conditions than yesterday, also on the move were 4 Little Tern west over the harbour, as well as 4 and 2 newly arrived Knot and Black-tailed Godwit respectively. Juvenile Yellow-legged were recorded for the first time this year - 2 over the HHC and one over Fisherman's Bank - while 2 Mediterranean Gull moved east at sea. There was little else of interest over the water though, other than up to 16 Common Scoter, 14 Common Tern, in excess of 40 Sandwich Tern and 100+ Gannet. Finally, throughout the day, Stanpit Creek held a Greenshank, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper and 23 Dunlin.

July 19th

Of the two bays - Christchurch and Poole - that Hengistbury separates, it was the latter that seemed to attract Balearic Shearwater today. This in a south-westerly force 6, gusting to 7. Two watches took place: from beneath the Coastguards between 11.30 to 1:00 and then from the Gully for a further two-and-a-half hours. The first saw between 4 to 7 birds seeming to linger, while the second produced at least 10 birds appearing to move west. Of course, all of this is open to interpretation, but a day-total as high as 15 would not seem unreasonable. Also, a party of 6 Manx Shearwater moving past the head around midday. There was little else at sea, however, but 3 Sanderling below the Gully could well have been the same individuals as yesterday. Stanpit held a Greenshank off Fisherman's Bank and 3 Dunlin.

Additional news: 2 Whimbrel were in Holloway's Dock during the afternoon.

July 18th

The Gully was the regulars' chosen spot for a seawatch this morning, but the best part of three hours up to 10:30 saw just: 6 Common Scoter, 3 Sanderling, 4 Whimbrel west; a few lingering Common Tern; and a 2 auk sp. east. Earlier, a couple of Grey Wagtail had overflown the HHC and a Common Sandpiper was in Barn Bight. No news from Stanpit, where the tide was high for most of the morning.

July 17th

Again it was a skua that topped the bill - this time, a sub-adult Pomarine Skua seen off the Double Dykes between 8:00 and 9:00 this morning. Otherwise though, there's little else to report; save for 14 Dunlin, 3 Whimbrel and a Bar-tailed Godwit off Fisherman's Bank, a Common Sandpiper by the HHC and 4 Common Tern over Mudeford Quay. The sea looked promising this afternoon and, in light of the number of shearwaters seen from Milford, perhaps an effort should have been made to get to the Beach Huts.

July 16th

The event of the day was undoubtedly a couple of dark-phase Arctic Skua that passed south-west over Wick Fields just after 8:00 this morning. From the course they were taking, it may be fair to assume they had taken an overland route and followed the valley southwards. At Stanpit a Grey Plover was a certain new arrival, while at least some of the 3 Greenshank, 8 Common Sandpiper, 9 Whimbrel, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Dunlin and 4 Black-tailed Godwit have probably been around for a few days already. Also on Stanpit, a few Common Tern, including the individual photgraphed earlier in the week again off Fisherman's Bank. This afternoon, a seawatch from Whitepits could muster just 2 adult Mediterranean Gull and 4 Common Scoter, so was abandoned after a half-hearted 40-minutes. Then, just on 6:00, the forecast rain front arrived from the west, with small parties of Swift running ahead of it.

Additional news: the evening roost of Curlew on East Marsh numbered 41, while an adult Mediterranean Gull was on the Recreation Ground.

July 15th

With reports in from most of the regular sources, it seems there was a reasonable selection of waders on offer throughout the day. This morning a Ruff was off Fisherman's Bank and a Greenshank was present at lunchtime, while Dunlin and Whimbrel there peaked at 4 each. Not to be outdone, Hengistbury chipped in with a Turnstone and 7 Black-tailed Godwit west, as well as 3 Common Sandpiper. Also from that side of the recording area: a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, 130 Gannet, 16 Common Tern, including a juvenile, and 3 Fulmar - all west past the Beach Huts; plus a Hobby over the HHC and a Marsh Tit in the Wood. To complete the day's news, an adult Mediterranean Gull was over Fisherman's Bank. Following on from yesterday's observation of Kestrel preying on Sand Martin, it seems the bird has actually spent the last few days practising its technique from a cliff top perch. Also from yesterday, a second-hand report of a Badger corpse on the beach by the Double Dykes.

Additional news: in the evening, Stanpit held 2 Greenshank, 9 Whimbrel and 4 Common Sandpiper.

July 14th

Little change in the weather saw little change in the birds - the exception being a marked increase in Curlew to 35+ roosting on East Marsh late this afternoon. A group of 3 Black-tailed Godwit that were off Fisherman's Bank could be worth a grilling with respect to race, if they remain into tomorrow that is. Unfortunately, there wasn't time to give them a full once-over this lunchtime. Meanwhile, the only other Stanpit interest came from singles of Common Sandpiper and Common Tern. A walk through the Old Depot Site provided further evidence of House Sparrow recovery in the area, with flocks of young birds very obvious indeed; while over on Hengistbury fledgling Reed Warbler were also on full show. Finally , the Swan-upping organisers have just informed us that this year's round up, scheduled for 26th, has been cancelled. The reason being non-availability of sufficient rings.

Additional news: although it may be no consolation for the 'uppers', there was a count of 274 Mute Swan in the harbour this afternoon, as well as an instance of a male Kestrel taking a Sand Martin!

More: a Greenshank was in Barn Bight this morning.

Omission: a Kingfisher was in Stanpit Creek.

July 13th

The wind dropped away overnight, but there was still some light rain around at dawn. All in all, it was pretty average stuff with a group of 11 young Shoveler west and a single Tufted Duck giving perhaps the most interest. Inside the harbour, there was a healthy count of 7 Common Sandpiper, as well as 8 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Dunlin and 16 Curlew; while a Fulmar and 2 Common Scoter were logged at sea. In the Wood, a Marsh Tit remains and a Peregrine passed overhead.

July 12th

This is the third time this post has been started, thanks to the distractions of England's heroic tail-end stand that has made concentration somewhat difficult! Anyhow, now it's all over, back to normality. Yesterday's wind whipped up and came in from the south-west, allowing 3 Manx Shearwater and an Arctic Skua to be seen from Hengistbury early this afternoon. Also, the season's first juvenile Sandwich Tern off the head. Earlier, the Little Gull had been on the HHC bar and a Marsh Tit was again in the Wood. At least 10 Dunlin moved by at sea, while 2 more rested up inside the harbour, where 5 Whimbrel, a Common Tern and 2 Shelduck were also present.

July 11th

Almost constant drizzle made for a pretty damp day, with the wind blowing from the south throughout. These conditions inspired a walk to the Beach Huts, where interest was provided by an Arctic Tern feeding just offshore with up to 7 Common Tern and 30-40 Sandwich Tern. Also, a party of four breeding-plumaged Sanderling, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Curlew and 2 Fulmar, all west; while a group of 4 Mediterranean Gull, an adult and three younger birds, all seeming to be juveniles, arrived certainly from the east. Earlier, the HHC bar held the first-summer Little Gull and a lone Dunlin, with 2 Great-crested Grebe and a single Black-tailed Godwit passing over there. Shelduck have been sparse over the last fortnight, so a dopping of 9 leaving west over the HHC is well worth a mention, as were a pair in Holloway's Dock. Although the Wood seemed largely quiet, at least 1 Marsh Tit was recorded, but little else of note other than some very strange sounds emanating from the young Little Egret. On the Stanpit side of the harbour, the best was a Greenshank off Fisherman's Bank in the afternoon, along with 2 Whimbrel and 3 Dunlin. On a more general note, it's becoming obvious that House Sparrow are making quite a recovery in the recording area. A good example is on the sandspit, where birds have clearly bred around even the southernmost huts and don't seem shy in coming forward for any scraps that might go begging.

July 10th

With wind still coming in from just north of west, it is a long-shot to expect too much excitement. This morning, an adult Yellow-legged Gull was loafing on East Marsh, and late this afternoon a juvenile Mediterranean Gull was in a similar spot. Earlier, an adult and a further juvenile had been over Wick Fields, from where Ringed Plover were heard in flight. Barn Bight again held 2 Common Sandpiper, while Stanpit hosted 6 Dunlin and 4 Whimbrel. A minimum of 3 Common Tern were inside the harbour, with a couple more fishing off The Run. Finally, a Kingfisher was about the Hengistbury side of the area.

July 9th

All the day's news comes from Stanpit, where there were 8 Whimbrel, 5 Common Sandpiper, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and 13 Dunlin spread from Mother Siller's Channel to Fisherman's Bank. Also, a Shoveler at the latter site, while East Marsh hosted half a dozen resting Sandwich Tern and Common Tern. As it's still relatively quiet, we'll keep monitoring the Curlew, which today totalled 24. Of ringing interest, Tuesday's suggestion that the photographed 'great-spot' had passed through the Nursery CES was incorrect, as none have been caught there in the lifespan of the species. Unfortunately, not even the best efforts of Photoshop can shed any light on the ring number.

July 8th

With the wind still blowing in an offshore direction, there was little to be seen at sea other than 6 Common Scoter and 6 Common Tern. There were, however, slightly more waders around, including: 4 Common Sandpiper, 2 in Barn Bight and 2 along the river; 6 Whimbrel, 4 settled and 2 west; 3 Dunlin on the harbour shore and 4 Black-tailed Godwit scattered about. For completeness, the day's Curlew count came in at 14.

Additional news: 2 dark Arctic Skua and 3 Fulmar went west past the Beach Huts in the late morning, while 7 Black-tailed Godwit and a Peregrine were about Stanpit in the evening.

July 7th

The wind had adjusted even further north overnight, making the seawatch something of a disappointment in comparison to yesterday. The best was actually a couple of Common Sandpiper that were hanging around on the groynes, while 28 Gannet and 12 Sandwich Tern were offshore. Inside the harbour, the Whimbrel had increased to 5 birds and the Curlew remained steady at 12.

July 6th

A strong southerly wind veering through to west by mid-afternoon produced plenty of interest on the sea, as well as encouraging 3 Roseate Tern to take refuge on East Marsh for a short time late in the morning. Earlier, a Balearic Shearwater, 27 Manx Shearwater, 2 Arctic Skua, 3 Fulmar and 37 Gannet had all moved west past the end of the head, while 3 Common Tern were off Mudeford Quay. The sheltered, northern fringe of the Wood held a Treecreeper, as well as a Marsh Tit, and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull was settled on Solent Meads golf course. As the tide fell this afternoon, a Common Sandpiper and a Greenshank were off Fisherman's Bank, along with 12 Curlew and the regular 2 Whimbrel.

July 5th

With no news from Hengistbury, it's just a few slim-pickings from Stanpit, where 2 Whimbrel were with 20-25 Curlew.

July 4th

With the exception of a Roseate Tern from the end of Argyle Road this afternoon, it was a relatively quiet day. A 3-hour spell behind the HHC produced just: a single Common Sandpiper heard; a total of 9 Curlew purposefully west; an adult Mediterranean Gull and 5 Common Tern likewise; 2 Dunlin and a Kingfisher; and the spells in between covering a wide-ranging topic of conversation!

July 3rd

Two things were notable about Stanpit this afternoon; firstly, how the draw of a Wimbledon semi-final kept the place almost deserted; and secondly, two low fly-pasts by the Red Arrows on their approach to Hurn. Meanwhile, 2 Whimbrel amongst up to 20 Curlew provided the only feathered interest.

July 2nd

On a gloriously warm day, Stanpit hosted 2 Common Sandpiper, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Whimbrel and 13 Curlew. A couple of grotty-type Shoveler were flying around Parky Meade Rail, while singles of Mediterranean Gull and Grey Wagtail were over Central Marsh.

Additional news: the Stanpit Shoveler count rose to 4 birds.

July 1st

With the turn of the month and the recent selection of waders, it should be all on the way up from now on - although this morning did keep things slightly in check. For example, the more interesting wader variety was confined to 3 Common Sandpiper and 2 Whimbrel, while the routine included 12 Curlew. A couple of eclipsing Shoveler were on Priory Marsh, as was a Grey Wagtail and a Sedge Warbler that has a fine repertoire of small plover calls. Also around Stanpit, at least 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker. The only news from Hengistbury confirmed at least 1 Marsh Tit in the Wood, along with a Coal Tit.

Additional news: the early morning ringing session in the Nursery saw a Nightjar over there at 4:30.

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