Sightings for May 2014

May 31st

Reed Bunting
Male Reed Bunting – Alan Crockard

Sound recording of Nightjar on Hengistbury a couple of days ago – Steve Davies

It was a largely uneventful morning save for a female Black Redstart that appeared briefly by the Coastguards. Also, singles of Siskin seen from there on three occasions but each could easily relate to the same individual. Meanwhile, the only other obvious migrant was a Willow Warbler by the Wooden Bridge on Wick. Overhead, an unseasonable Common Gull, a first-summer bird, moved west and at least 7 Mediterranean Gull passed through. A pair of Shoveler spent some time in the harbour, as did a couple of Gadwall and 5 Lapwing, and up to 3 Bearded Tit were seen. 

May 30th

Bearded Tit
Bearded Tit
Recently fledged, male Bearded Tit on high-ISO in the very early light – Alan Crockard
Some of up to twenty-six Sanderling on the sandspit today – Clinton Whale
Reed Warbler
...and a singing Reed Warbler – Alan Crockard

Marsh Tit, a species not know for it's travelling capabilities, don’t breed any closer to Christchurch than the New Forest; but every few years, particularly in late spring or early summer, birds show up in strange places - today, in the afternoon, that was in the low gorse and brambles on Speller’s Point. Much earlier, a series of showers dropped birds onto Hengistbury, including: a Turtle Dove, 6 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Willow Warbler and an overhead Yellow Wagtail; as well as 75 Swift, 35 Swallow and 23 House Martin that moved into the north-easterly wind. The conditions also saw a nice selection of waders pass over the head, although none could be found at Stanpit later. The numbers were: a Little Stint in a flock of 16 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank, a Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Sanderling, a Whimbrel, a Curlew, 3 Ringed Plover, a total of 20 Dunlin and 3 Redshank; while 26 Sanderling were feeding along the sandspit. We don’t normally like to mention species in a negative sense, but as we approach the end of the spring it seems almost unbelievable that Knot has not yet been recorded by the group during 2014! Also on the move today were Mediterranean Gull, two adults and an accompanying first-summer purposefully east, while sixteen birds of mixed ages headed slowly in the opposite direction. The sea is barely worth a mention, with just 21 Common Scoter, 2 Fulmar and 40 Gannet logged. On the cliffs, the Sand Martin chicks are close to fledging, but despite constant alarm calls from the adult birds some are falling prey to Carrion Crow that have become adept at hovering adjacent to the burrows. On a happier note, please check back to yesterday for some additional news.  

May 29th

There were some moments of interest this morning when the two drake Garganey that were on Coward’s Marsh yesterday paid a visit to Stanpit - firstly being seen with a gang of eclipsing, drake Mallard in Stanpit Creek and then in flight heading towards Barn Bight. Also out-of-the-ordinary were a couple of late, flyover Yellow Wagtail, plus a feeding gathering of 100+ Swift and twenty or so House Martin. The remnants of the season’s wader passage, namely a few each of Sanderling, Turnstone, Ringed Plover and Dunlin, were around Stanpit Bight, as were 2 Curlew and a Redshank. 

Additional news: a pair of Nightjar were around the Ironstone Quarry at 21:40 tonight.

May 28th

It was another quiet day, in terms of both field activity and resultant birds. Migrant waders at Stanpit came to a Grey Plover, 2 Whimbrel and 2 Dunlin, while Bearded Tit were encountered in a number of locations. It could actually be a record year for 'beardies' in the area, with up to five breeding pairs reckoned.

May 27th

Skylark – Clinton Whale

There is little to report for today. A walk around Hengistbury and a count of Sand Martin burrows came to forty-five, while 19 Sanderling, 2 Whimbrel and 3 Canada Goose were inside the harbour. On Wick, a Sedge Warbler was singing from a hitherto unoccupied spot, so was presumably a newly arrived individual. 

May 26th

Canada Goose
A pair of Canada Goose have been hanging around
on East Marsh for over a week now – Clinton Whale

It was a still day that failed to move on the drizzle once it had set in just before lunch. The period from 5:30 to 6:30 this morning saw an obvious arrival of Swift, as 200 birds were estimated passing over the HHC, likewise a couple of Spotted Flycatcher. Slightly later, there were further moments of migrant interest, not least 2 Grey Wagtail that coasted east along the Hengistbury cliffs; but also a Cuckoo on the Long Field, a couple of adult Mediterranean Gull that passed east through the harbour, 2 Grey Plover, also east, and a sub-adult Grey Heron arriving from far out to the south. The only other interest came from 4 Gadwall, which appeared to head downriver from the valley. 

May 25th

There was no rain today, but the wind continued from the south-west and brought with it a at least a couple of Storm Petrel - birds were seen from the huts at 07:40 and 08:35, then lingering from the Gully until 10:45. Also over the water, 2 Arctic Skua, both west, 2 Fulmar, 9 Gannet and a Whimbrel, again mainly down-channel, plus a Peregrine. Save for a female Wheatear on the Barn Field and more breeding Bearded Tit recorded in the Wick reeds, that’s it for the south side of the area. This afternoon, Stanpit was quiet, although a female Goosander resting on Blackberry Point was a little bizarre. Otherwise, it’s just 17 Sanderling, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Whimbrel, all in Stanpit Bight, to remark upon. A note for members, the 2013 Annual Report is now back from the printers and in the process of being distributed.

May 24th

Pheasant in the damp – Chris Dresh

The first three hours of daylight saw masses of rain hit the area and the wind switch from a light northerly to quite a brisk southerly. Again, seawatching was the only real option and was well looked after from Mudeford Quay and the Beach Huts until late morning. The pick were 2 Arctic Skua west past the huts and a flock of 17 Kittiwake likewise past the quay, as well as a feeding congregation of 50 Common Tern that circuited as far as Avon Beach. Also logged during the period, all west, were: 4 Little Tern, 8 Fulmar, an unidentifiable diver and 15+ Gannet. Meanwhile, 25 Common Scoter were settled and ten further birds headed into The Solent. A few waders were resting on the end of the sandspit; namely, a Whimbrel, a Turnstone, 3 Sanderling, 3 Ringed Plover and 5 Dunlin. To finish off, an update on the 2 Glossy Ibis that are again frequenting Coward’s Marsh, as well as making the odd excursion into the harbour. One of the birds is carrying a colour-ring and this has proven it to be an individual hatched last year in the Doñana National Park, Spain - so a non-breeding youngster that has chosen to spend its first summer touring the UK. 

May 23rd

In this morning's atrocious conditions, sea watching from the car on Mudeford Quay was the only option. In fact the sea was watched on and off for most of the day from there. The highlights were 2 Storm Petrel, the first was just off the quay over The Run around 8:00, while the second bird was beyond the sandspit in the early afternoon. A Black Tern also moved west and 4 Arctic Skua went east. The day's total of 28 Fulmar was locally significant; also logged were 33 Common Tern, 5 Gannet and 2 Little Tern, all west and 8 Common Scoter east. Another 40 Common Scoter were settled on the sea just off the sandspit, where a single Whimbrel and 6 Sanderling briefly alighted.

May 22nd

Another day with very little reported! From Fisherman's Bank this morning a group of small waders comprised 22 Sanderling, 9 Turnstone and 3 Dunlin; also present were 9 Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Whimbrel. A Fulmar and 8 Common Tern moved past Mudeford Quay, where the 2 Raven were in the car park gorging themselves on last night's leftovers!

Please check back to yesterday for some late news.

May 21st

The only reports today are from Stanpit. A flock of 55 Dunlin didn't hang around as they moved on soon after 8:oo this morning; similarly 2 Sanderling, 2 Greenshank and a Grey Plover. Thereafter, there were just 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Whimbrel, 3 Curlew and a Redshank; also 2 Common Tern on Blackberry.

Late news - A little after 8:00 this evening, 2 Glossy Ibis flew into the heron roost at Hengistbury. The birds were on view for around 20 minutes.

May 20th

The change in the weather failed to liven things up today. In fact, there were even fewer waders on Stanpit with just 8 Whimbrel, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and the single Redshank present. The sea, which was watched from Mudeford Quay, yielded just 23 Gannet, 9 Common Tern, 8 Common Scoter, 2 Fulmar and 2 Razorbill, all east.

May 19th

Raven on the cliff edge at Hengistbury – Leo Pyke

According to the forecasters this evening will see the end of this spell of fine weather.  Hopefully, the changeable weather to come will bring in a few more birds. Today was very quiet with just 16 Bar-tailed Godwit on Stanpit, plus 5 Whimbrel, 5 Ringed Plover, two of which left high to the east, 3 Sanderling and the single Redshank. The only other report is of the Raven on the cliff top at Hengistbury.

May 18th

Including Oystercatcher the harbour held eleven species of wader today, but not in any great numbers. The pick of the bunch was a Ruff that was on Stanpit this afternoon, as well as 11 Whimbrel, 9 Turnstone, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 2 Curlew, a Greenshank, a Redshank and a Dunlin. The only other news is of 3 Swift over Crouch Hill this morning.

May 17th

On another fine morning, with very little wind, birding was always going to be slow.  However migrants continued to trickle in with 21 Swift, c25 Swallow and 2 Spotted Flycatcher logged at Hengistbury. From the Coastguards, easterly bound waders were 3 each of Sanderling and Turnstone, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Grey Plover; also a Razorbill past there, while from Mudeford Quay there were 20 Common Scoter west, plus six on the sea, 4 Shelduck east, 2 Gannet, 2 Little Tern and three adult Mediterranean Gull; another two of these were over Wick. Earlier, the 2 Raven were on the quay and 6 Sanderling plus a Turnstone were on the exposed mudbar at low tide. Inside the harbour, a Greenshank was heard and 8 Whimbrel and 5 Bar-tailed Godwit were present. To round up, 2 Bearded Tit were in the Wick reedbed, a Cuckoo was calling on Wick and 2 Tufted Duck flew upriver.

May 16th

Pied Wagtail Skylark
Pied Wagtail (above) – Leo Pyke & Skylark – Jean Southworth

A Roseate Tern was off Mudeford Quay for a short time this morning; also two pairs of Eider were settled on the sea and 35 Common Scoter were logged, while a Fulmar moved east past the Beach Huts. On Hengistbury, a Spotted Flycatcher on the lower Batters was the only migrant reported today. The Tawny Owl was in its usual spot and 2 Raven were over the Nursery. On Stanpit later, there were 15 Whimbrel, 8 Sanderling, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Little Tern and 3 Shoveler.

May 15th

Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis on the harbour shore at 5:00 this morning – Ann Parramore
Whitethroat in song on Hengistbury this morning – Chris Dresh

Despite conditions being similar to yesterday, there was no obvious overhead passage today. The Barn Field held 3 Wheatear and 2 Whinchat, while elsewhere there were 2 Spotted Flycatcher and the Tawny Owl was again present. The only other news is of 3 Great Northern Diver and 4 Shoveler past Mudeford Quay, and a pair of Gadwall in Barn Bight.

Late news - the 2 Glossy Ibis paid a brief visit to the harbour this morning, as depicted in the above photo. The birds flew off towards the Priory shortly afterwards and were later relocated at Coward's Marsh. These two birds had been at Coward's Marsh for a week before making a two day visit to Titchfield Haven in Hampshire.

May 14th

Black Redstart
Yesterday evening's Black Redstart – Alan Hayden
Tawny Owl
A recent shot of the Tawny Owl on Hengistbury – Alan Hayden

In fine conditions, with just a light breeze, there was a major movement of birds this morning for a couple of hours between 5:30 and 7:45. Most of these birds moved low over Double Dykes. Oddly, there were virtually no grounded migrants. The highlights were a Golden Oriole over the HHC and the first Turtle Dove of the year.  Meanwhile, a Mealy Redpoll was something of a surprise given the date; the bird perched briefly by Double Dykes before moving on. Now the numbers! An unprecedented count of 210 Spotted Flycatcher, which must be a harbour record; also 120 Willow Warbler, 90 Whitethroat, 55 Blackcap, 15 Garden Warbler, 14 Redstart, 11 Yellow Wagtail, 7 Sedge Warbler, 6 Tree Pipit, 5 Reed Warbler, 4 Whinchat, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Pied Flycatcher, a Hobby, a Wood Warbler and a Grasshopper Warbler. The only grounded migrants were 4 Wheatear and 3 Whinchat, plus a further 2 Spotted Flycatcher. Around Stanpit there were 4 Avocet and 14 Whimbrel, while the drake Tufted Duck was on Grimmery Pond. Finally, a Cuckoo was heard from Wick and the Tawny Owl was seen again today.

May 13th

Grass Snake
Grass Snake & Adder – Chris Chapleo

Firstly, a Tawny Owl update: in addition to an adult being seen in daylight today, two well-grown chicks were watched late last night. Back to today, however, and some of the highlights: a male Honey Buzzard arrived over Mudeford Quay at 3:50 this afternoon and lingered for 10-minutes before drifting east, also a Black Tern east off there around the sound time; earlier a first-summer Little Gull was on the Avon close to RIBS Marine and a Whinchat was in song on Priory Marsh; and 4 Spotted Flycatcher were across Wick, where Blackcap and Chiffchaff are now busy feeding young. Other than what’s been mentioned already, the sea also came up with 12 Little Tern and 20 Common Tern fishing off the sandspit; while a Bearded Tit with a metal ring was on Stanpit, the pair of Gadwall were again on Priory Marsh and a Raven was eating chips from a newspaper on Mudeford Quay. 

News just in: a Black Redstart was by the Barn at 7:30 this evening.

May 12th

Jay – Alan Hayden

On a day of limited interest, other than the confirmed breeding of Tawny Owl in the area - one chick having been seen recently - it was duck that provided the most interest; namely a drake Garganey in the company of a Tufted Duck on the river and a pair of Gadwall on Priory Marsh that makes one wonder if they too may be producing offspring. There were also a couple of decent passerine records potentially relating to breeding. In the Wood, 2 Willow Warbler were again singing, this species has not bred in the area for around 10-years; and, after yesterday’s record at Stanpit, a Cuckoo was heard on Wick. Meanwhile, the only obvious new migrant was a Reed Warbler singing very close to the Wood. Elsewhere, 14 Little Tern were feeding off the sandspit, a Common Tern headed west, 16 Common Scoter were settled on the sea, 16 Swallow came in-off and 22 Whimbrel, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Black-tailed Godwit were at Stanpit.

May 11th

Turnstone – Alan Hayden
Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover – Alan Hayden
Dunlin – Alan Hayden

In the continuing westerly wind, there was a reasonable presence of northbound waders about the sandspit this morning, many of them in really nice plumage. Although difficult to accurately count due to their mobility, the estimates come to: 58 Sanderling, 13 Whimbrel, 17 Turnstone, 23 Ringed Plover and 13 Dunlin. A singing Cuckoo on Stanpit, around the recreation ground at 7:30, was a nice record, while 2 Spotted Flycatcher were in the Wood, where a couple of Willow Warbler may have been holding territory. The sea was a little uneventful, but did produce 3 Manx Shearwater and 18 Common Scoter, sixteen settled and two west. The very early morning at Stanpit saw a Barnacle Goose with a few Canada Goose on East Marsh, and a Great Crested Grebe was again in the harbour. 

May 10th

It is reckoned that Blackcap are breeding in well-above-average numbers
on Hengistbury this year – Alan Hayden

Some absolutely foul weather during the morning - rain and a strong south-westerly wind - meant seawatching from the Beach Huts or Mudeford Quay was the only real option. A couple of Arctic Tern were in The Run early on, but they then lingered off Avon Beach, while a Storm Petrel was seen on two occasions from the Huts. A little later, from the more exposed cliff top by the Natterjack Pond, a Pomarine Skua was seen to head east; then 20-minutes later, it or another cruised past very close-in to the west. Of the more routine stuff, there were 18 Common Tern, 8 Kittiwake, 12 Fulmar, and 23 Gannet, all west, 22 Common Scoter that were settled and 7 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill and five unidentified auks that were a little more random. Seabirds weren’t the only entertainment over the water, however, as 127 Swift, 170 Swallow and 2 Wheatear were seen to arrive, as well as 18 Whimbrel, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Great Crested Grebe. Despite the conditions, there was a hint of a passerine arrival, including at least 10 Spotted Flycatcher in the Wood and 6 Willow Warbler. Meanwhile, waders seen about the sandspit came to: a Black-tailed Godwit that headed rapidly west out at sea, 30 Sanderling, 2 Turnstone, 6 Whimbrel and 8 Dunlin, one of them seemingly an alpina race bird that kept company with some Sanderling. Finally, a pair of Raven were again recorded. 

May 9th

Pied Flycatcher
Female Pied Flycatcher – Alan Hayden
Spotted Flycatcher
and Spotted Flycatcher, both in the Wood – Alan Hayden
Some of the Sanderling that were about the sandspit – Clinton Whale

There was a mini arrival of flycatchers into the Wood today, namely a female Pied Flycatcher and 6 Spotted Flycatcher, while other migrant passerines were represented by a Whinchat and 2 Wheatear, all on the Barn Field, plus 3 Yellow Wagtail over. Meanwhile, a Spoonbill headed west over Hengistbury and the Tawny Owl was seen well. Rewards at sea were limited, but did include: a Manx Shearwater, an unidentified skua, a Great Northern Diver, 12 Little Tern, 47 Common Tern, 32 Common Scoter, 9 Fulmar, 7 Gannet, 3 Razorbill and 7 Guillemot, mostly east; although the diver was heading down-channel. In addition, 3 Hobby, 130 Swift, 200+, Swallow and over 40 House Martin came in-off, with 63 Sanderling seen to head east. Throughout the day, the sandspit attracted some stopping waders, the totals being 15 Sanderling, 2 Whimbrel, 7 Ringed Plover and 5 Dunlin. 

May 8th

Most of the day was subject to a blasting south-westerly and heavy rain; however, birds were seen. After a quiet start, a steady, westerly tern passage spanning an hour or so was noted, mainly from Mudeford Quay and with many of the birds seeming to head into the harbour. The final tally was: a single Black Tern, 4 Arctic Tern, 6 Little Tern, 56 Sandwich Tern and 112 Common Tern, including one flock of around 50 birds. In addition, 25 Common Scoter, 3 Fulmar and 12 Gannet were at sea, while 30 Swift and 10 House Martin were seen to arrive. A good count of 28 Sanderling with seven accompanying Turnstone was returned from the southern end of the sandspit, where a Common Sandpiper was at the opposite extreme; and at Stanpit, from Fisherman’s Bank, a Grey Plover in breeding plumage, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Whimbrel and 70+ Dunlin were logged. The only passerine news for the day is of 2 Spotted Flycatcher keeping out of the wind in the Wood on Hengistbury. Finally, an unseasonable Great Crested Grebe was in Barn Bight and 4 Canada Goose littered Holloway’s Dock. Please check back to yesterday’s post for some additional news. 

May 7th

The wind continued from the south-west, meaning the sea was again quiet. However, a total of 14 Little Tern were fishing aimlessly off Mudeford Quay, from where a Great Northern Diver was seen to pass west and a trickle of incoming Swift and Swallow was noted. There was also a watch undertaken from the Beach Huts, but the only news so far from there involves an Arctic Skua, presumably east.

Additional news: there was a Little Gull at Stanpit, seen from Hengistbury, as well as an arriving Hobby, 73 Swift, 800+ Swallow, 157 House Martin and 120 Sand Martin over a two hour period from 8:30. Meanwhile, birds seen at sea or passing over the head included: 23 Gannet, 10 Common Scoter, a Golden Plover, a Common Sandpiper, 88 Sanderling, 7 Whimbrel, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit and 115 Dunlin, all heading generally east. In addition, 5 Yellow Wagtail passed over and 2 Garden Warbler were settled, as was a lone Wheatear.

Lower Avon Valley news: a kilometre or so north of the CHOG recording area, a couple of Glossy Ibis are into their second day on Coward’s Marsh. 

May 6th

As the wind swung round to the south-west, it was a different picture on the sea today with little seen until late afternoon, when 2 Roseate Tern headed west past Mudeford Quay. Earlier, there had been a good selection of waders at Stanpit, including: 2 Greenshank, 6 Sanderling, 15 Whimbrel, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin and 2 Redshank; while a further 12 Whimbrel headed west at sea. The best-of-the-rest over the water, mainly from Mudeford Quay, came to: a Little Tern, 5 Common Tern, 3 Fulmar and 9 Gannet, all rather aimless, a Mediterranean Gull and 9 Common Scoter east, plus a couple of unidentified auks. Wheatear are still arriving - the best counts being fourteen on the Barn Field and six on the sandspit - as well as 13 Swallow, but the only clear, passing warbler was a single Willow Warbler on Wick. To round up, the pair of Raven, which are now looking pretty tatty, were again around Mudeford Quay. 

May 5th

Shelduck – Clinton Whale
Adder – Hugh Goldsmith

There was some initial pessimism at dawn as last night’s south-easterly wind appeared to have diminished. However, as the temperature rose the breeze soon picked up again and produced a morning total of 16 Pomarine Skua passing Hengistbury and Mudeford Quay. For the records, the flock make-up was two, three, three, two, five and one, with the quintet even settling on the water for a few minutes. In addition, 5 Arctic Skua, a Great Skua and a pair of Garganey also travelled eastward; as did 103 Common Scoter, 24 Common Tern, 9 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 24 Sanderling, a Turnstone, 6 Fulmar, 5 Guillemot and 3 auk sp. Meanwhile, 8 Swift and a small number of Swallow were seen arriving. All of this was in the period until 11:30, when an Iceland Gull was inside the harbour on Blackberry Point and the Tawny Owl was again seen on Hengistbury. A further 3-hour watch from Mudeford Quay late in the afternoon and into the evening added six more Pomarine Skua, all in one flock, plus: 72 Common Tern, a Fulmar, 5 Common Scoter, 2 Shelduck, 33 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Whimbrel, 6 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover, all east. Also seen were a Peregrine heading out towards the island and a Raven on the sandspit. Of reptile interest on Hengistbury, 6 Adder and 7 Grass Snake were recorded in one particular area this morning; while in terms of amphibians, Natterjack can currently be heard in song after dark.

May 4th

Ducklings, with a hint of farmyard influence, on Wick – Clinton Whale

Once again, it’s possible breeding interest that heads the post. This morning, a Tawny Owl was seen on Hengistbury sitting in the entrance of a nesting box, which wasn’t previously realised to be occupied. One species that doesn’t seem to be breeding in the area this season, however, is Cuckoo, but one was on the Barn Field this morning, along with 3 Wheatear; while a further of those was on Priory Marsh, as well a male Whinchat there. The wader dearth continues with the following Stanpit totals coming from the morning, but with some later in the day increases: 2 Sanderling, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit rising to fourteen, 24 Whimbrel rising to forty, 2 Redshank, 2 Curlew and, just to ensure no wader went uncounted, 20 Oystercatcher. The day’s wildfowl interest was both genuine and less-than-welcome - 4 Brent Goose east over Wick and the lingering, oddly plumaged Wigeon at Stanpit in the first category; and 4 Canada Goose and 6 Greylag Goose loosely settled on East Marsh firmly in the latter. 

Additional news: there was an adult Little Gull and 73 Sandwich Tern off Mudeford Quay early this morning.

More news: the Tawny Owl was heard on Hengistbury at 21:00 and a Common Sandpiper called in Barn Bight.

May 3rd

A northerly breeze and clear, overnight skies, which produced the slightest of icing on cars in the Lower Avon Valley, generated very little to write about. In fact, it’s probably an opportune time to talk about some of the breeding birds. Currently, from the HHC gate, it’s possible to hear seven species of warbler in song - Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Cetti’s Warbler - as well as the occasional ‘pings’ of Bearded Tit, while a pair of Swallow are now nesting in the HHC building. On the cliff tops, Rock Pipit can be seen gathering food for young, a Stonechat by the Natterjack ponds frequently sings a near identical song to Chiffchaff and a juvenile Peregrine overflew the area. What there were in migrants comprised: a Yellow Wagtail, 6 Wheatear, a handful of Willow Warbler and 4 Swift, plus a few arriving Swallow and a single Linnet in-off. After the isolated event of 400 Dunlin earlier in the week, the wader presence is again a disappointment - just ten of those today at Stanpit with 19 Whimbrel. The remaining ‘interest’ comes from a pair of Gadwall, a Greylag Goose and 6 Canada Goose. 

May 2nd

One of six Wheatear on groyne S5 today – Clinton Whale

At first glance it gave the impression of being a fairly uneventful day, but when one looks in a bit more detail it was actually quite good. For example: the Long Groyne held a collection of waders that included a late Purple Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper and 5 Turnstone; a Little Gull traversed the harbour in the company of a Little Tern; and 2 Arctic Skua, one east and one west, passed by Hengistbury. Also over the sea, a Black-throated Diver, a Red-throated Diver, 15 Gannet and 46 Sandwich Tern, all east; while a Guillemot was fishing just offshore. A small number of passerines were spread across Hengistbury and the sandspit, including: a Spotted Flycatcher leaving the Double Dykes, a Whinchat on the Barn Field, 13 Wheatear and a scatter of Willow Warbler, plus singles of Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit over. On the subject of aerial migrants, for the date it would be reasonable to expect more Swift - just four being notched up throughout the day. Moving back to waders, 2 Grey Plover, 4 Sanderling, 15 Whimbrel and 51 Dunlin were logged from Hengistbury, but it was reported as being quiet inside the harbour. To round up, a Grey Wagtail was on Wick meadows and 6 Greylag Goose were in Barn Bight. 

Over the last couple of days, Joe Gillespie has migrated the website to a new host, in order to improve the overall service. In addition, the rolling selection of photos at the top of this page has been changed to give a refreshed look. Our thanks once more to Joe for his time on this. Additionally, if you have any scenic photos of the area in an appropriate aspect ratio, we would love to receive them for possible future inclusion.

May 1st

There was a good presence of waders this morning, not least a Little Stint on the HHC mudbar early on, while 170 Dunlin, 15 Ringed Plover, 10 Sanderling, 8 Whimbrel, 7 Curlew and singles of Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit and Bar-tailed Godwit were either coming or going over Hengistbury. Also around was smattering of passerines, including: a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warbler, 50+ Blackcap, 6 Willow Warbler, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 120 Swallow and several Swift incoming. In addition to 17 Common Tern seen from Mudeford Quay at lunchtime, an adult Kittiwake had been logged beforehand from the head. 

Evening update: there were up to 400 Dunlin at Stanpit in the morning.

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