Sightings for June 2012

June 30th

Great Black-backed Gull - Jimmy Main
...and continuing the theme of quality birds from just outside of the area
- Hobby Jimmy Main - please click here for larger images

With the wind persisting throughout the night, it was a few hands to the Beach Huts once more, but for what turned out to be a disappointing couple of hours. In fact, the best was probably a Hobby that was seen over the Barn Field on the outward walk. Meanwhile, the water produced just 4 Common Tern, a Fulmar and possibly as many as 33 Common Scoter - this the aggregate of four differing flock sizes. More travelling waders were logged, including a Sanderling east, as well as 3 Whimbrel, 8 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Curlew, all eastbound. There were also a few adult Great Crested Grebe around, which hasn't been the case of late - one was in Barn Bight, two were off Mudeford Quay before pushing off west, likewise a further single bird.

June 29th

A selection of successful hunters
Sandwich Tern Jimmy Main and Stonechat & Little Egret - Joe Murphy

With yet another south-westerly whipping up through the night, the sea received a good look this morning. Combined efforts from the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay came to: a Balearic Shearwater, 25 Manx Shearwater, a Great Skua, 16 Fulmar, 3 Razorbill, 9 unidentified auks and 13 Common Scoter, most of these west, while over 100 Gannet were more-or-less lingering. Moving waders again included returning Curlew - eleven in all - but 4 Sanderling past Hengistbury could well have been struggling to get to the Arctic in time. More settled birds included a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull on the Wick driving range, with 15 or so Swift feeding over there, although a few more were heading into the wind at sea, and a Black-tailed Godwit among the small number of short distance migrant waders at Stanpit.

June 28th

An hour's seawatch from Mudeford Quay this morning between 7:45 and 8:45 suggested there was a significant movement of Gannet east into The Solent, with 159 logged; also 14 Swift and 8 Common Tern. Stanpit, viewed from Fisherman's Bank, held 2 Mediterranean Gull, 17 Lapwing, 7 Curlew, 4 Redshank and a Black-tailed Godwit, together with 8 Sandwich Tern and 2 Common Tern. An evening update from Stanpit increased the Curlew count to nine and there was also a Whimbrel present.

Check back to yesterday for a Nightjar update.

June 27th

Whitethroat - Joe Murphy
Stonechat - Joe Murphy
...and Carrion Crow - Joe Murphy
A selection of very recently fledged birds, with even the Crow managing to look cute!

All the news today comes from Fisherman's Bank, where the pick of the waders was a Greenshank and a Black-tailed Godwit, along with 6 Curlew, 11 Redshank and 21 Lapwing. A single Mediterranean Gull and 4 Common Tern were seen at varying times, but the complete Shelduck family was present throughout. In fact, given the size of the ducklings, then no further news on this page can be assumed as good news.

Late news: on Hengistbury this evening at least 2 Nightjar were churring, while 3 birds were seen including a pair together. Earlier, 4 Little Tern were off the Beach Huts.

June 26th

Little Tern at Hengistbury - Jimmy Main
Serin on the Long Field - Joe Murphy
Unfortunately, both these shots from yesterday arrived last night way after my bedtime,
so news of the Serin didn't break until early this morning.
Despite being looked for, it couldn't be relocated.

With the Inbox being checked early this morning and finding a photo of a nowadays less than annual finch from yesterday therein, the Long Field was given a good look by some of the weekday regulars this morning, but to no avail. However, the best for the day, in terms of the date that is - 2 Common Sandpiper - were close by in Barn Bight, while save for Oystercatcher the only other waders on site were 7 Curlew, 8 Redshank and 18 Lapwing. Also decent for the day were a couple of Mistle Thrush that headed south over Wick, with 5 Common Tern, 3 Mediterranean Gull and 15 Black-tailed Godwit, the latter west, also over the fields. A further 2 Common Tern were resting in Stanpit Creek at lunchtime.

June 25th

Juvenile Green Woodpecker with attendant parent - Joe Gillespie
Common Blue - Jimmy Main

There were blue skies for much of the day, but this didn't perk things up in terms of birds. During the afternoon, a couple of Little Tern were off Hengistbury, while a pair of adult Mediterranean Gull had earlier passed over Stanpit. Also around the marsh, 9 Curlew, 6 Redshank, 14 Lapwing and the 14 Shelduck young that are fast approaching full size.

Additional news: a Serin was photographed on the Long Field at Hengistbury, while 4 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, a Peregrine and a Cuckoo were at Stanpit in the evening.

June 24th

Firecrest in the south-west of the New Forest - Chris Dresh
In recent years it's become something of a tradition to feature top-notch photos from other sites that CHOG regulars visit during the quieter seasons for the harbour - so a series of images of Firecrest, plus a couple of Spotted Flycatcher, can be seen by clicking here

Another day, another seawatch - this time for an unspecified period in the morning, when there was still rain in the air. Again, there are isolated bits of local quality to be had if one puts the hours in; namely, a Balearic Shearwater passing by Hengistbury, which also turned in 2 Little Tern, 10 Common Tern, a Curlew, 2 unidentified auks, a Fulmar and around 60 Gannet. Elsewhere, the only news concerns singles of Hobby, so possibly the same individual, hunting over Wick and Stanpit at varying times before lunch. Finally, apologies for the lack of update yesterday, but it seems the service provider may have had some technical issues.

June 23rd

Some of the regulars took a brief look at Hengistbury this morning and quickly decided the New Forest looked a far more interesting option. However, one individual did put in over 2-hours at the Beach Huts and came up with a group of 3 Arctic Skua east, 2 Razorbill and over 40 Gannet, while earlier a Fulmar and 4 Curlew also moved west. The end of the head, where there are no reeds and no breeding spots for the species, held a singing Reed Warbler, so presumably this must have been a very, very late incoming bird; and Grey Wagtail seem to have fledged in one of the river valleys, as at least one bird was on/over the Hengistbury and Wick area this morning.

June 22nd

Sandwich Tern - David Williams

The gusting wind was just a little shy of due west for most of the day, so perhaps a few degrees out for prime mid-summer seawatching. Nonetheless, an hour or so at Mudeford Quay early on merited 2 Balearic Shearwater, 2 Manx Shearwater, 6 Fulmar, 5 Common Tern and 2 Mediterranean Gull, as well as a steady presence of Gannet offshore. Hopefully, these are birds that regularly commute to and from Guernsey and may at a later date encourage an albatross along with them! From elsewhere around the area, the only news was that a Cuckoo remains on Wick.

June 21st

Although the day broke to some relatively clear skies after a series of overnight deluges, by as early as 6:30 a thick mist had reduced visibility to a bare minimum. Consequently, the only news is from Fisherman's Bank, where the Shelduck all remain, a Redshank and 5 Curlew were settled, and a further two of the latter passed over south-west.

June 20th

The morning at Stanpit saw a westward drift of Mediterranean Gull, of varying one-year+ ages, totalling 47 birds in 2-hours; along with 2 Little Tern and 18 Common Tern. Meanwhile, a Whimbrel, a Curlew, a Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 6 Redshank and 17 Lapwing were settled, and a Hobby passed over. Much later in the day, from Fisherman's Bank, it could be seen that the Curlew and Redshank had risen to nine and ten respectively.

June 19th

Rock Pipit - Joe Murphy
...and the other Great Crested Grebe from yesterday - Joe Murphy
This is a juvenile and presumably accompanied one of its parents
into the harbour from the contributing rivers.

The weather is eventually tending towards summer, but the forecast suggests it may be a little short-lived. All the day's reports come from Fisherman's Bank, which played host to a varying wader selection. A Grey Plover, 2 Dunlin, a Curlew, 4 Redshank and 16 Lapwing were noted this morning, but most of these weren't on show at lunch, although a party of four quite stunning Black-tailed Godwit had checked-in by then. Also from the bank, the still intact family of 2+14 Shelduck and the leucistic juvenile Starling.

June 18th

Great Crested - Grebe Joe Murphy

An altogether more pleasant day, which enjoyed blue skies almost throughout. As the spring turns to summer, Mediterranean Gull are again increasing in numbers, with at least 20 birds around the area today, including a flock of seventeen that came in from the valley. Whether they will reach the dizzy heights of last year though is open to debate, as changes in the Avon Valley pig feeding techniques have dramatically reduced the number of parasitic gulls around those fields. There was also a reasonable selection of waders about the site, including 17 Curlew and 6 Whimbrel west, 9 Sanderling, 4 Ringed Plover, 6 Dunlin, 2 Redshank and a further Curlew settled, and 20 or so Lapwing that came in from the north late in the afternoon. Raven have been a little scarce of late, so one north over Wick was a welcome event; while a Hobby also passed over there, Cuckoo sang on both sides of the area, 2 Great Crested Grebe were in the harbour, 13 Common Scoter were logged off Mudeford Quay and the peak count of resting Sandwich Tern from Fisherman's Bank was thirty-five.

June 17th

Singing Wren - Joe Murphy

Yesterday's blast eased significantly, but it was still more than a little breezy from the south-west. A watch from the Beach Huts early on was more than worth it, with singles of Balearic Shearwater, Storm Petrel and Arctic Skua all being logged, as well 15 Common Scoter and 3 Fulmar, all of these ultimately west. Elsewhere, it was quiet other than the oddity of a Great Crested Grebe in the harbour, while 2 Cuckoo remain on site - one either side of the river - and a Redshank plus 2 Lapwing were at Stanpit.

Omission: a drake Teal was on Priory Marsh.

June 16th

Oystercatcher - Joe Murphy

A strong south-westerly that gusted towards 40mph during the afternoon saw to it that the sea received a good deal of attention, but it really failed to live up to expectation. Although not watched past mid-morning, until then it only produced a few very distant Manx Shearwater, 2 Arctic Skua and 2 Little Tern. More Curlew were seen moving westward - six into the harbour over Mudeford Quay, two at sea and one over Solent Meads golf course. The best bird of the day was a Yellowhammer by the HHC early on.

June 15th

It must be June if we're resorting to photographs of parrots!
This Australian Galah is one of two that have been seen around the Barn on Hengistbury
for the last couple of days. This one actually managed to fly headlong into a window,
but was picked up by the rangers and is now on the way to recovery at a local vets.

Actually, in slight contrast to the photo caption, there was some genuine interest at Hengistbury today, but mainly from the sea courtesy of a reasonably strong onshore wind. The first Balearic Shearwater of the year passed close by, while 9 Manx Shearwater, 21 Fulmar, 19 Little Tern, 38 Common Tern, 250 Gannet, 4 Common Scoter, a Guillemot and 2 unidentified auks were also logged. There was also evidence of a down-channel Curlew passage, as 11 travelled west and a further bird rested on Solent Meads driving range. To wrap up with some more novelty, in addition to the leucistic juvenile Starling that is still around the area, there is another youngster that is sporting a pure white tail.

June 14th

For the most part of the morning it was fairly still, but by lunchtime a stiff south-easterly had picked up that brought rain with it from around 5:00 onwards. Before all that, however, Stanpit produced some bits of interest - not least: a Firecrest on the golf course embankment; a Red Kite that skirted the northern fringe before heading back up the Avon Valley; a Nuthatch in the North Scrubs; and 8 Gadwall and a Shoveler. Between them, the marsh and Mudeford Quay produced 16 Mediterranean Gull, while 2 Little Tern and 25 Common Scoter were logged from the latter site and 2 Common Tern were on the other side of the water in Holloway's Dock. Moving to the few waders on site, just singles of Greenshank and Curlew made three species including the omni-present Oystercatcher flock. Elsewhere, a pair of adult Bearded Tit were seen feeding three young, Goldcrest sang in Stanpit car park and in the lone conifer on the old depot site, and a Cuckoo continues to be very vocal on Wick. Finally, the boardwalk across Priory Marsh is playing host to a seemingly high number of ladybirds, which actually make it quite difficult to get along without treading on any. Presumably, there are an awful lot of aphids in the area to support these, so meaning the next couple of months could see bumper numbers of Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler stopping off on migration.

June 13th

Greenfinch - Joe Murphy

There was a further improvement in the weather, which even resulted in blue skies and some sunshine by the late afternoon. Earlier though, when it was still a little damp, 14 Mediterranean Gull, of a mixture of plumages, and 11 Common Tern moved west through the harbour, an adult Yellow-legged Gull pitched in on South Marsh and a pair of Teal were about Priory Marsh. At lunchtime, a late, migrant Garden Warbler was in full song in Stanpit Scrubs, while around 10 Common Tern and up to 30 Gannet lingered off Mudeford Quay. Later in the day, 3 Dunlin, a Redshank and a Curlew were the only waders seen from Fisherman's Bank, but one of the residents there spoke of seeing three very small Shelduck duckling a few days ago, so hopefully they may have got through the foul run of weather, which the older fourteen certainly have. To finish up on the breeding interest, at least 4 Bearded Tit were again seen, some carrying food, and there now seems to be an incredible density of Reed Bunting in song in the larger reedbeds.

June 12th

Meadow Pipit - Joe Murphy

It is getting progressively drier, but in gradual steps, although the wind has certainly eased off. The day saw a small influx of waders at Stanpit, with 2 Grey Plover, 3 Whimbrel and 6 Curlew this morning and, late this afternoon, Fisherman's Bank turned in 2 Greenshank and 4 Dunlin. Mudeford Quay seems to be going through a bit of a quiet spell, save for a reasonable presence of Common Tern, the maximum being fifteen or so at lunchtime, and 3 Common Scoter lingering in the bay. Meanwhile, other interest about the area came from the first returning Teal, 3 Bearded Tit and up to 11 Mediterranean Gull, these now starting to pick up in numbers.

June 11th

On a day of varying wind and yet more showers, most of the news comes from Mudeford Quay, where an Osprey was watched coming in-off the sea at around 7:45 before passing over the harbour to the north-west. Also from the quay in the morning, an Arctic Skua west at 9:25 and then an hour later a Pomarine Skua in a flock 5 skuas - the other four not being separated between 'arctic' or 'pom' - headed in the opposite direction; as well as 2 Mediterranean Gull, up to 30 Sanderling that were commuting between the sandspit and the exposed bar in The Run, 4 Common Tern and around 30 Gannet offshore. At Stanpit, a couple of Dunlin were settled in Stanpit Bight and a further 9 Sanderling passed over northbound.

June 10th

Little Egret in Holloway's Dock - Joe Murphy
...and Adder on Wick Fields recently - Jimmy Main

The wind abated almost completely overnight, but the day was somewhat blighted by almost constant drizzle. As such, the recent spate of weather has seen largish parties of Swift moving around in an effort to find food, in what are not ideal conditions for insects, including a flock of around 70 birds drifting south over Hengistbury this morning. The only other news for the day concerns 3 Cuckoo on Wick.

June 9th

House Martin over the beach - an unusual sight on Hengistbury in June - Joe Murphy

Although the south-westerly blast dropped a little during the night, it was still enough to bring more Storm Petrel into the area, but how to summarise the numbers? From watches at the Gully and the Beach Huts, it was reckoned that perhaps up to 15 birds were feeding around the lobster pots off the end of the head; but Mudeford Quay also experienced 'lots' of sightings, which must have been additional, with sixteen birds being the only definite figure from there. At least from Hengistbury, views were constant and many close enough to allow even the under-wing bar to be seen. This whole scenario attracted a desperate trio of Hants year-listers to their western extreme of Chewton Bunny, from where they scoured Dorset waters in hope of a distant speck - they eventually managed to succeed! 'Stormies' aside, however, it was all relatively quiet, with just 3 Little Tern, at least 10 Common Tern, 11 Sanderling and 5 Dunlin, all from Hengistbury, worth a mention; although the photographed House Martin, which was low over the beach, is a really decent record for the month and location.

June 8th

A walk across the top of Hengistbury just after lunch was rather lively as the tail wind gusted to speeds approaching 70km/h - a quite incredible figure for the month of June. This, in combination with a spring tide, low pressure and the recent swelling of the Avon and Stour saw Stanpit once more completely submerged for portions of the day, meaning the nesting Skylark and Meadow Pipit have now almost certainly, sadly, failed. On the bright side, however, the Shelduck seem to be coming through it. For once, the predictions came true and Storm Petrel could be encountered off Hengistbury throughout the day, although perhaps in lesser numbers than may have been expected. Having said that, the minimum of three watched from the Gully this afternoon gave prolonged views in really good light - one of them finding a piece of fish almost as large as itself and proceeding to perch and feast on it for up to 5-minutes. Also from that spot an Arctic Skua, while a Great Skua had been seen from the Beach Huts earlier in the day and a couple of Manx Shearwater passed Mudeford Quay. The first few hours of the morning witnessed a decent number of commoner seabirds struggling west into the wind, including 236 Gannet, 19 Fulmar, 3 Kittiwake, 11 Little Tern, 103 Common Tern, 97 Sandwich Tern, a Mediterranean Gull and 4 Common Scoter; along with 223 Swift and a handful of Swallow, the latter actually seeming to be coming in-off. Finally, the sandspit area produced a Yellow-legged Gull and up to 50 Sanderling, a Treecreeper was on the Batters and a Great Crested Grebe was in Barn Bight.

Stop press: with the seawatch continuing into the evening, there are now 6 Storm Petrel lingering off Hengistbury.

June 7th

Over the course of the day, the wind varied from south to south-east and then to south-west by the late afternoon, when the speed was nudging 40km/h. Not to mention the almost incessant rain! All of this meant that Mudeford Quay was given a level of attention, but it could muster just 33 Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, half-a-dozen Common Tern and 2 Fulmar, as well as many offshore Gannet, of which there was a more noticeable presence of non-adult birds than of late. The only news from Stanpit, which was under water for much of the day, is of the intact Shelduck family this morning. With the wind forecast to carry on as so, there are shortening odds on 'Stormies' for tomorrow....

June 6th

Male Linnet - Joe Murphy
Lapwing - Joe Murphy

Although the conditions were far from great, in comparison to yesterday it was much, much drier; but unfortunately the forecast has the next two days down as pretty nothing less than a write-off. There were three fledged Bearded Tit young in the area this morning and all the Shelduck remain intact - meanwhile, the Oystercatcher have left their scrape, but it's not yet known why. Otherwise though, it's just a first-summer Little Gull on East Marsh and 6 Dunlin from Fisherman's Bank that get a mention.

June 5th

Early on, a south-easterly breeze prompted a brief seawatch from Mudeford Quay, where 6 Little Tern, 5 Common Tern, 2 Kittiwake west and 2 Fulmar east were logged. A further effort this evening could add only a first-summer Mediterranean Gull, however. The only other report comes from Stanpit, which turned in the Knot, a Greenshank, 4 Ringed Plover, the complete family of Shelduck and a Cuckoo. Please check back to yesterday for some interesting mammal news.

Additional news: an Arctic Tern was off Mudeford Quay in the afternoon.

June 4th

Dartford Warbler - Joe Murphy
Rabbit - Alan Hayden

A cold day - the temperatures only around 10C and a northerly wind - combined with various off-site excursions into the New Forest means there is, unfortunately, no significant bird news for the harbour.

Additional news: a Grey Seal was just offshore from the Double Dykes today.

June 3rd

Song Thrush - Joe Murphy
Collared Dove - Alan Hayden

A stiff wind that traversed from north to south-west throughout the day made conditions fairly unpleasant for birding, but nonetheless there were some snippets from both sides of the river. It is reckoned there could be as many as 5 Cuckoo in the area right now - three were together in the North Scrubs this morning, including a bird with no tail, while one could be heard on Wick, so making it a certain four, but the 'fifth' could involve a bird seen almost concurrently on Stanpit golf course. Elsewhere, a Hobby passed south over Wick Ditch, a Little Tern and 2 Common Tern were around Stanpit Bight, as was the Knot and 3 Mediterranean Gull, with a further of those over Wick. Of some of the local breeders, 2 Bearded Tit were again seen, the Shelduck still remarkably have fourteen, all of which are almost the size of a black-headed gull, and yesterday the Oystercatcher was still sitting on East Marsh and benefiting from the poor holiday weather. Actually, doubts were being raised about what they are actually sitting on, but Google reliably informs that the incubation period is 24-27 days, so hopefully any day now then!

June 2nd

Reed Warbler - Joe Murphy (top) & Darren Hughes
...and Reed Bunting - Joe Murphy

As can be expected during the month of June, there is very little to write about for the day. In fact, the most 'interest' came from gulls, with a first-summer Common Gull on South Marsh and an adult Mediterranean Gull, but in non-breeding plumage, over Stanpit Bight. On Wick, at least one, but quite possibly two, late Willow Warbler was/were in song, as was a Cuckoo there as well as on Stanpit, where there were two males on occasion. Meanwhile, a few Swallow arrived, singles of Hobby and Peregrine both passed over Stanpit, a grotty looking Knot was settled on the marsh and at least 7 Lapwing were thereabouts. Finally, a word of caution, ticks (unfortunately not the sort we all seem to crave) appear to be particularly prevalent in the longer grass around the area this year.

June 1st

Singing Sedge Warbler - Joe Murphy (top) & Alan Crockard
Bar-tailed Godwit - Alan Hayden
...and the leucistic Starling that is masquerding as a 'rosy' - Darren Hughes

The new month started with a few late waders at Stanpit, comprising: 18 Sanderling, a Greenshank, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel and 5 Lapwing. Ringed Plover and Dunlin were also present, but in varying numbers throughout the day - the evening producing higher counts of 22 and 19 respectively. Meanwhile, the Oystercatcher are still sitting on East Marsh, but with the long weekend ahead they would be well advised to bring those eggs on - the forecast of poor weather may work in their favour, however

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