Sightings for July 2017

July 31st

Sedge Warbler Sedge Warbler
Sedge Warbler – Alan Crockard

The wind shifted to the south and lessened, so looking for passerines was a little more feasible this morning; at least until the breeze strengthened. From 6:00 to 7:30, a total of 14 Willow Warbler and 15 Whitethroat were west of the Wood on Hengistbury, while a couple of juvenile Firecrest were in it and a Dartford Warbler briefly sang. The pick of the customary Mudeford Quay seawatch was a juvenile Kittiwake, but also a party of two adult and 14 young Shelduck that arrived from the east. In addition, 10 Common Scoter, a Great Crested Grebe, 4 Mediterranean Gull, 4 Common Tern and 35 Sandwich Tern were logged, as well as a Common Sandpiper and 3 Turnstone. The in-harbour waders, meanwhile, came to: a further 3 Common Sandpiper, 4 Whimbrel, 5 Ringed Plover, 21 Dunlin and 2 Turnstone; plus 4 Common Tern with them around Stanpit Bight. Finally, the juvenile Little Grebe on the Ironstone Quarry is developing well. 

July 30th

Stonechat – Clinton Whale

On the south coast it’s difficult to get enthused by north-west winds and the pessimism didn’t go without foundation. During a hopeful seawatch from Mudeford Quay, which was perhaps more focussed on looking for marine mammals, there was actually something of a high-point when a group of 6 Shag, a species seemingly in decline in Christchurch Bay and not at all usual in summer, was picked out offshore; with them a female-type Common Scoter. Otherwise, however, it was just 2 Mediterranean Gull and modest numbers of the two expected terns. Inside the harbour, there was a better tern count – 73 Sandwich Tern and a couple of Common Tern – while the Spoonbill was present on the tip of South Marsh. Wader-wise, between Stanpit and the sandspit, the totals came to: a Greenshank, 8 Common Sandpiper, 8 Whimbrel, 3 Sanderling, 2 Ringed Plover, 14 Dunlin – four of them juveniles – and 3 Turnstone. To make up the numbers, 129 Canada Goose and 49 Cormorant were logged.

July 29th

Spoonbill Spoonbill
Spoonbill in Holloway's Dock – Leo Pyke

The Spoonbill remains on site – being initially seen at Stanpit, then later in Holloway’s Dock before it was spooked by a helicopter. Waders were logged from Mudeford Quay, Stanpit and Barn Bight, with the maxima being: a Greenshank, 5 Common Sandpiper, 8 Whimbrel, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Ringed Plover, 15 Dunlin, several of those juvenile birds, and 3 Turnstone. A total of 50 Sandwich Tern was reckoned – split 50:50 between resting birds in Holloway’s Dock and offshore feeders – plus a dozen or so Common Tern and 4 Mediterranean Gull. A modicum of wildfowl interest came from a Shoveler that teamed-up with a Mallard in The Run and 100 or so Canada Goose in Stanpit Creek. For the second day in succession, a pod of around 10 Bottlenose Dolphin was seen early on from the quay and, today, later in the morning from Hengistbury.

July 28th

Mute Swan
The remaining four cygnets of the Mudeford 'Polish' Mute Swan family
are now quite well grown – Clinton Whale

Rain and a south-westerly wind meant the shelter of Mudeford Quay was sought by most of the day’s field visitors. From there, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was seen passing west, as were 16 Common Tern, while 3 Mediterranean Gull and 21 Common Scoter were also logged. A flock of five arriving waders comprised a Sanderling plus 4 Turnstone and a skein of 12 Canada Goose headed into the Solent. Elsewhere, the Spoonbill was again in Stanpit Creek at low tide and a Lesser Whitethroat was on the Long Field.

July 27th

Water Rail Water Rail
Adult and juvenile Water Rail – Alan Crockard

Most of day’s news comes from Hengistbury and includes: a Grasshopper Warbler, a close-in Arctic Tern, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, a Grey Plover and a Shoveler. Meanwhile, a couple of Kingfisher were around Parky Meade Rail, Stanpit, where a Sparrowhawk was seen to breakfast on a Reed Warbler.

July 26th

Sanderling – Clinton Whale
Turnstone – Clinton Whale
Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover – Clinton Whale

A day of almost constant rain which was blown along by a south-westerly breeze. Waders about the sandspit were the most notable event and included: 5 Knot, 12 Sanderling, a Whimbrel, 3 Ringed Plover and 6 Turnstone. Meanwhile, 23 Teal, 31 Common Scoter, 22 Common Tern and 27 Sandwich Tern moved generally west offshore. Finally from the part of the area, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was on the tip of the sandspit for some time. At Stanpit, a Yellow Wagtail passed over, a Garden Warbler was settled and 20 Sedge Warbler were estimated.

July 25th

Sandwich Tern
There were plenty of Sandwich Tern inside the harbour this morning – Clinton Whale
Natterjack toadlets – Clinton Whale
Gatekeeper – Barrie Taylor

A Stone Curlew, still present at 20:30 on East Marsh, was first discovered just after 9:00 on Blackberry Point. The bird is colour-ringed, so we’ll post details as and when we get them. Also at Stanpit, the Spoonbill which seems to favour Stanpit Creek over low water, the first 2 Green Sandpiper of the autumn and a Little Ringed Plover, while a Hobby passed over. During the morning, a good count of 51 Sandwich Tern was made from Fisherman’s Bank, with 8 Common Tern and 2 Mediterranean Gull also inside the harbour and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull returned from Mudeford Quay. Moving back to waders, namely 12 Whimbrel, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Ringed Plover and 13 Dunlin being the maxima of the day’s counts. Early at Hengistbury, a ringing session produced 3 Willow Warbler and 15 Sedge Warbler. 

July 24th

Herring Gull
Herring Gull – Alan Crockard
Whimbrel – Clinton Whale
Adder – Gary Foyle

A northerly wind made for calm seas off Mudeford Quay this morning, from where the settled drake Common Scoter, around 30 Sandwich Tern and 5 Common Tern were feeding offshore. In addition, a further 37 scoter passed by and a drake Tufted Duck left the area towards the Solent. Meanwhile, at least 20 Swift, 10 Sand Martin and 3 Raven moved into the breeze. This afternoon, a Spoonbill was found at Stanpit around 3:00 and was still off Fisherman’s Bank a few hours later. Waders about the area throughout the day included: 3 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel and 17 Dunlin. Mediterranean Gull were absent early on, but five were in the harbour after lunch.

July 23rd

Little Grebe
There were 3 Little Grebe on the Ironstone Quarry this morning,
so suggesting another discreet but successful breeding attempt – Alan Crockard
Adult Sparrowhawk; note the ring – Gary Foyle
Speckled Wood
Speckled Wood – Clinton Whale
Common Lizard
Common Lizard – Gary Foyle

It was a windless start to the day, but an increasing westerly breeze eventually brought some rain with it. There was the merest of hints of return passerine migration; for example, a Willow Warbler and 3 Sedge Warbler trapped and ringed, and an out-of-place 'phyllosc' on Stanpit. In contrast though, both Reed Warbler and Blackcap are still in quite purposeful song. A male Marsh Harrier seen briefly as it descended into the Wick reeds looked likely to be the local bird, while a single Black-tailed Godwit and a Kingfisher were in Parky Meade Rail. That was pretty much it for inside the harbour, other than three or four Whimbrel in Stanpit Creek, but a Common Sandpiper and 3 Turnstone were about The Run. The sea was quiet, although the offshore flock of Sandwich Tern perhaps reached 30 birds, with just the settled Common Scoter and 6 Mediterranean Gull of any note. Of mammal interest, the Grey Seal was seen from Mudeford Quay again this morning, as has been the case for most of the week.

July 22nd

The wind lessened more than expected during the hours of darkness, meaning the sea wasn’t as lively as hoped for. There was a brief interlude of interest this morning, when a brace of adult Arctic Skua – pale and dark individuals – harried terns off Mudeford Quay before being seen heading west past the Gully. Otherwise, however, the combined totals from both sites came to: 6 Common Tern, 6 Mediterranean Gull, a Whimbrel, a Great Crested Grebe and fewer than 10 Gannet. In addition, a Common Scoter that was very close to The Run before lunch appeared to enter the harbour over the quay later in the day. Waders about the sandspit and the Salt Hurns included 6 Common Sandpiper, 5 Sanderling, 5 Whimbrel, a Turnstone and 2 Dunlin, while 14 Whimbrel and 2 Common Sandpiper were inside the harbour. Of breeding interest, at least two juvenile Firecrest on Hengistbury may confirm the strongly-held suspicion and a Treecreeper there also begs a question; a Reed Warbler was still in song in the afternoon wind and showers on Stanpit; and the adult Sparrowhawk continue to make regular feeding trips over the quay and along the sandspit.

July 21st

Peregrine on Christchurch Priory – Clinton Whale
Sanderling on the sandspit – Clinton Whale
A strong southerly wind that gained strength overnight brought two species of shearwater to Christchurch Bay  – a total of 3 Balearic Shearwater and 15 Manx Shearwater. Most of the former seen from Mudeford Quay just after 8:00, with Hengistbury returning most of the latter. In all, the quay was watched for over five hours from 5:45 and produced: 12 Kittiwake east and 18 Common Tern, a Mediterranean Gull, 2 Whimbrel, 38 Common Scoter and 48 Gannet, mainly west. An hour late in the afternoon, when the wind had shifted slightly to the east, added just a single Common Tern, 4 Mediterranean Gull, 7 Common Scoter and 3 Gannet. Meanwhile, 5 Sanderling were on the sandspit.

Omission: a Goosander moved west at sea.

July 20th

Juvenile (front) and adult Dunlin – Gary Foyle

A north-westerly wind made for a poor day. At Stanpit, there was a Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel and 17 Dunlin, while the only returns from Mudeford Quay were singles of Mediterranean Gull and Grey Heron west. 

July 19th

The pick of the birds from this morning's sea watch was a Great Skua that moved west off Mudeford Quay shortly after 7:00. Otherwise it was fairly standard fare with totals of 30 Sandwich Tern, 10 Common Tern, 6 Common Scoter and an adult Mediterranean Gull, all west, with another 21 Common Scoter east; also 11 Gannet offshore. Inside the harbour, 8 Mediterranean Gull were present. Waders today on Stanpit included 8 Dunlin and 5 Greenshank, plus singles of Ringed Plover and Turnstone on the sandspit. In the early afternoon, there was an adult Yellow-legged Gull on the sandbar off the quay, while a juvenile bird was present earlier. The first hint of passerine migration was provided by a male Whinchat on Crouch Hill this morning and a Yellow Wagtail overhead. The Peregrine was again on The Priory Tower.

Please check back to yesterday for late news.

18th July

With the wind more east than north this morning, there was a moderate movement of Common Tern and Gannet past Mudeford Quay with counts of 34 and 38 respectively, also 10 Dunlin, 9 Swift and 5 Common Scoter, all these east, while another 9 Common Scoter moved west. On Stanpit, there were 88 Redshank on site plus 15 Dunlin, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Whimbrel and the first Turnstone of the 'autumn'. The only report from Hengistbury was of a Common Sandpiper on the river.

Late news: a Roseate Tern moved east past Mudeford Quay.

July 17th

There was just enough of a breeze this morning to warrant a look at the sea. Hence, from Mudeford Quay, 17 Common Scoter were logged plus 20 Sandwich Tern and 7 Common Tern; also 45 Gannet lingering in the bay. From Fisherman's Bank, another 4 Sandwich and 2 Common Tern were off South Marsh, as the tide dropped. On East Marsh, in the high tide roos,t were fourteen, mainly adult, Mediterranean Gull but also two birds-of-the-year. There were 4 Whimbrel and a Black-tailed Godwit, the latter still in its summer finery, while the counts of Redshank and Curlew were 49 and 25 respectively. The Peregrine was on The Priory Tower once again and the unseasonable Brent Goose was on Stanpit.

July 16th

Whitethroat – Alan Crockard
Jay – Matthew Barfield

It was a close, grey day which could have done with a bit of thunder to clear the air. The only news comes from Wick and the western end of Hengistbury. A Goosander overflew Wick Fields and headed towards Stanpit, while a Whimbrel and 18 Redshank were in Barn Bight.

July 15th

Lesser Black-backed Gull
This adult Lesser Black-backed Gull spent quite some time this morning quartering, harrier-like, over Central Marsh – Alan Crockard
Whimbrel in the algae, taking its place
amongst the numerous gulls it attracts – Alan Crockard

A Bearded Tit that flew from Wick Hams to Stanpit is probably the best report of the day, although the Brent Goose from Thursday was relocated on South Marsh. Generally, however, there were very slim pickings in a north-westerly breeze, save for 5 Whimbrel, the Peregrine on The Priory and 2 Kingfisher about Parky Meade Rail. Meanwhile, a few birds are still in song – not least Reed Warbler by the Bailey Bridge and Whitethroat on Crouch Hill, with Reed Bunting trying to join in from Central Marsh.

July 14th

Brent Goose
This Brent Goose, which should really currently be in Siberia,
was on the sandspit yesterday – Gary Foyle

Firstly, please check back to yesterday for some additional news of mid-summer interest. This morning, however, was fairly routine – the on-site waders being highlighted with 3 Whimbrel, 12 Dunlin and a good count of 43 Redshank, all the latter in Barn Bight. There seemed to be a few more Common Tern about – around ten passing through the area – but the Mediterranean Gull count came to just three birds. A Grey Wagtail was heard a few times from Fisherman’s Bank, but couldn’t be picked out, while a couple of Peregrine, one of them the tower bird, jousted over there. Rounding up, a Kingfisher flew past the Wick viewing platform.

July 13th

The summer weather returned and brought a few waders with it, including 6 Whimbrel and 23 Dunlin at Stanpit, while a further four and five respectively passed west and east; as well as a couple of Ringed Plover on the marsh. The pair of Common Tern were again seeming to court off Argyle Road, a Mediterranean Gull moved west, the Peregrine was on the tower and a few Swift were about.

Additional news: a very unseasonable Brent Goose was on the inner side of the sandspit.

July 12th

This morning saw a good count of 12 Common Sandpiper together on the end of the sandspit, viewable from Mudeford Quay, as well as a Greenshank in Barn Bight and 5 Black-tailed Godwit north. Also airborne were a few Swift – perhaps 10 or so noted moving into the north-westerly breeze. Otherwise, however, it was relatively quiet with just 4 Mediterranean Gull, a Common Tern and Redshank, those moving east, seen from the quay.

Additional news: there were a further 10 Common Sandpiper off Fisherman's Bank and the Peregrine was on its gargoyle.

July 11th

The warm weather finally broke and drizzle, then heavier rain, dominated the day. From Mudeford Quay early on, a total of 18 Mediterranean Gull – 16 adults and two juveniles – headed west, while 2 Common Tern arrived, a dozen Sandwich moved west and Gannet, perhaps 40 birds, were present for around 10 minutes. Inside the harbour, there was a Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Dunlin and 64 Lapwing, plus a Buzzard that drifted west over East Marsh. Elsewhere, the male Bullfinch was again on Wick and the Peregrine was on The Priory tower.

July 10th

Kestrel - the juveniles are currently spending their time sat on the sandy slopes
at the western end of Hengistbury – Matthew Barfield
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker - juvenile just visible in the nest-hole – Jane Pearce

There was a flurry of large, white birds off Fisherman’s Bank this morning. Firstly, a flock of 6 Spoonbill arrived from the east, inspected the area without touching down and then carried on west over Southbourne. Shortly afterwards, a Cattle Egret, still with touches of breeding plumage, was picked out in the long grass on East Marsh amongst 20 or so Little Egret. The bird wasn’t seen after 10:00, however, despite being looked for. Meanwhile, waders on the marsh included: a Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel, three wonderfully-plumaged Black-tailed Godwit, presumably fresh-in from Iceland, and a Ringed Plover. A Common Tern fished in Stanpit Bight and a Peregrine has taken to one of the gargoyles on the south face of The Priory tower, which has been a favoured spot going back almost 20 years.

July 9th

Reed Warbler Reed Warbler
Reed Warbler – Steve Hogan

A combination of little wind, biting insects and stinking weed made Stanpit a less-than-pleasant early morning venue, when 4 Common Sandpiper, a Whimbrel and an adult Mediterranean Gull were the returns. Over on Hengistbury, at least one Peregrine was seen around the cliffs.

July 8th

On another warm morning, Mediterranean Gull were conspicuous – with at least 40 heading generally west through the area. Sticking with gulls, the first juvenile Herring Gull of the year was in the harbour, while the last week has seen some colour-ringed Black-headed Gull, including a ‘white’ adult and some ‘red’ juveniles, but all too distant to get to grips with. Waders were poor, although there were 2 Whimbrel in Stanpit Creek, where a Common Tern fished and a Peregrine passed over. 

July 7th

The first Greenshank of the ‘autumn’ was at Stanpit this morning, before it left high to the north. Also there, a Whimbrel and 9 Curlew, plus a selection of terns comprising: a Little Tern, a Common Tern and at least 10 Sandwich Tern. Meanwhile, six adult Mediterranean Gull were on East Marsh, along with 23 Little Egret.

July 6th

It was, at times, uncomfortably hot today with the temperatures hovering about the mid-20s. As such, there is little bird news – a Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight, a Lesser Whitethroat in song by the HHC and two juvenile Sedge Warbler by the HHC – but of mammal interest a Stoat was seen at Stanpit.

July 5th

Mediterranean Gull
Mediterranean Gull – Alan Crockard

The returning waders are trickling by, but as the behaviour of 3 Knot confirms the state of the harbour for them, due to the algae plague, is nothing short of hopeless. These birds came in from high, with a couple of Redshank, circuited a few times and then moved off west. A total of 4 Dunlin did manage to find a pocket of uncovered mud, however. Longer-billed species, such as Whimbrel, are able to cope and there was a single today, while 2 Black-tailed Godwit passed east. Around 4 Mediterranean Gull, including a juvenile were logged and around twelve similarly-aged Black-headed Gull were about. Over on Wick, a Lesser Whitethroat sang in the Bobolink Field. 

July 4th

Linnet – Clinton Whale

There was a total of 5 Common Sandpiper at Stanpit today, along with a couple of Whimbrel. Meanwhile, at least 7 Mediterranean Gull were logged.  

July 3rd

Now is the time of year when post-breeding flocks of Starling frequent the area
– Clinton Whale
Peaccock – Clinton Whale

It was another decent day in terms of weather and one that saw the first juvenile Mediterranean Gull of the year, in the company of an adult. There is little else to report, however, save for 50 Redshank, 20 Lapwing a 6 Curlew on Stanpit.  

July 2nd

Returning wader interest is spluttering into life, with a total of 3 Common Sandpiper at Stanpit and 9 Black-tailed Godwit north, as well as 15 Curlew and around forty each of Lapwing and Redshank on site. Otherwise, the best of a hot day were: 2 Mediterranean Gull west, a male Bullfinch by the HHC and a Peregrine over. 

July 1st

Sparrowhawk Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk – Gary Foyle
Even before these photos were received, it was clear there must be a nest of hungry
youngsters somewhere, as a male bird was seen making four prey-laden trips
in little over an hour over Mudeford Quay and along the sandspit.

There was a significant passage of Swift this morning, as a minimum of 500 moved from the Solent and generally to the north-west. This was in a 90-minute period, when a band of low cloud seemed to sit between Milford-on-sea and the Isle of Wight. As soon as that cleared, however, there were no further birds. Otherwise though, it was all rather dull – with just 2 Whimbrel east; 5 Curlew, 5 Mediterranean Gull and 4 Common Tern west; and single, arriving Little Egret and Grey Heron logged from Mudeford Quay. Inside the harbour, the Whimbrel and a further 10 Curlew were present, as was a single Dunlin, and the pair of Common Tern were again off Fisherman’s Bank. On Crouch Hill a recently-fledged Stonechat family comprising three youngsters was present, but slightly worse new regarding the mixed-Polish brood of Mute Swan – the three white cygnets remain, but there is now just one conventional grey individual.

Sightings for earlier months can be found in our Sightings Archive.
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