Sightings for May 2017

May 31st

Tawny Owl
Tawny Owlet – Paul Turton
Kestrel Kestrel
Kestrel – Mike Lyons (upper) & Clinton Whale

The only news for the day is of a Little Grebe on the Ironstone Quarry.

May 30th

Kestrel Kestrel
Male Kestrel passing food to his mate, who then feeds their three chicks – Paul Turton

There is, unfortunately, no news for today; and it's not even June!

May 29th

The notable feature of the day was a westerly movement of Mediterranean Gull – a total of 30 birds passing through the harbour this morning. Meanwhile, 14 adult Dunlin were settled at Stanpit, at least one of them showing characteristics of the race arctica. Also a Grey Plover in non-breeding plumage, so possibly a first-summer bird, a Redshank and a Curlew there. Elsewhere, a Fulmar passed the Double Dykes and Tawny Owl were again seen.

May 28th

Tawny Owl
Tawny Owl – Clinton Whale Dartford WarblerDartford WarblerDartford Warbler – Steve Davies (upper) & Steve Birt

A total of 4 Mediterranean Gull, presumably some that have already given up on breeding in the Solent, were seen heading west over Hengistbury this morning, while a couple of Swift were also logged. Our next event is less than a week away, see below.

Additional news: a further 5 Mediterranean Gull were seen this evening, four adults and a second-calendar-year bird, as well as around 25 Sandwich Tern and 10 Gannet fishing aimlessly off the Gulley. Meanwhile, 11 Black-tailed Godwit briefly dropped-in before heading north and the Redshank pair are still in the locale of Wick Hams.

May 27th

After an early-hours thunder storm and heavy rain, grey cloud persisted for much of the day - a stiff south-westerly breeze even failing to move it on. The only birds news comes from Mudeford Quay, where a Fulmar, a Common Tern, 15 Sandwich Tern and 25 Gannet were logged; mainly west. This morning's walk in the New Forest saw a nice selection of woodland species, but the weather deterred the hoped-for, large raptors taking to the wing. 

May 26th

Mistle Thrush
Mistle Thrush – Clinton Whale
This species is a bit of an enigma in the recording area, so three juveniles on Wick Field this morning was nice. Where they were raised, however, is a bit of a mystery.
Common Blue
Common Blue – Clinton Whale

Other than the breeding interest mentioned above, the only bird news from a sunny day with an easterly breeze is of 2 Sanderling, a Guillemot, 14 Gannet and 2 Shelduck from Mudeford Quay.  Of butterfly interest, there were a couple of Clouded Yellow on Wick.

May 25th

The only news from a scorching day is of 4 Whimbrel - three leaving east and one remaining in the harbour - this morning.

May 24th

Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail – Clinton Whale

The only news for the day is of an adult Tawny Owl seen in the open on Hengistbury this morning.

May 23rd

Linnet – Clinton Whale

The early morning at Hengistbury saw a male Wheatear, plus a mixed flock of Sanderling and Dunlin that couldn’t be fully sorted out before it flew into the bright sunlight. Also, a Cuckoo on the Salt Hurns and a single Black-tailed Godwit in Barn Bight. On Wick, a Lesser Whitethroat was heard at the northern end of the central path. The best news by far from Stanpit concerns another year of Shelduck breeding – a brood of nine or ten seen from Fisherman’s Bank! Rounding up, a total of 36 Common Scoter was logged from Mudeford Quay.

May 22nd

Four Spotted Chaser
Emerging Four Spotted Chaser dragonfly – Chris Dresh

On a fine morning, the sea was given some attention from Mudeford Quay. The best was four, very distant Manx Shearwater into the Solent, but also a Fulmar, 20 Common Scoter and up to 50 Gannet, as well as 20 eastbound Sanderling. Meanwhile, a further Sanderling was inside the harbour, along with a Whimbrel and a Yellow-legged Gull. Over on the other side of the area, a Cuckoo was on the Batter and a Lesser Whitethroat was along Roebury Lane. This evening, an Arctic Tern was seen to enter the harbour through the Run.

May 21st

Peregrine at dawn on Hengistbury – Ann Parramore
This afternoon, the Kestrel were seen to bring in three rodents in an hour
- a sure sign they now have young  – Clinton Whale

It’s getting to the time of year when the birds that are in the New Forest are more appealing than scouring the harbour for birds that might be! Therefore, other than the photo captions, the only news for the day is of a Whimbrel in Holloway’s Dock during the morning and a Black-tailed Godwit off Fisherman’s Bank later on.

May 20th

With the bulk of the spring migration now behind us, other than 25 or so presumed-to-be-summering Black-tailed Godwit and a second-calendar-year Peregrine, all the day's news involves breeding updates. The male Bullfinch and a Lesser Whitethroat were on Wick, the young Great Spotted Woodpecker could be heard begging from inside their nest hole and plenty fledgling Starling are now on the wing. 

May 19th

Great Tit
Juvenile Great Tit – Clinton Whale

The only news for the day concerns: a  Great Northern Diver moving east; a couple of Spotted Flycatcher - one on Wick and one on Whitepits; and a Garden Warbler still singing on Wick.

May 18th

A relatively quiet day with most of the news coming from Stanpit, where there were 3 Spotted Flycatcher and Wheatear, while a Hobby headed through Wick. Waders from all round came to: 2 Knot, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Ringed Plover, a Dunlin and 2 Turnstone. From Mudeford Quay, several hundred large gulls, nearly all Herring Gull were again noted. 

May 17th

It was another rain-afflicted day, but there are some bits and pieces to report on. The Little Gull was again seen from the sandspit and Mudeford Quay, while a total of 25 Sanderling, 3 Whimbrel and 30 Dunlin and 67 Common Scoter were logged from both those sites. A total of 4 Little Tern were also lingering offshore, as were 8 Common Tern. Of the few migrant passerines around, there was a Wood Warbler and 5 Spotted Flycatcher in the Wood, plus singles of Wheatear on Stanpit and the sandspit. This afternoon, the in-harbour Dunlin came to around 50 birds and 10 Shelduck were counted. Of breeding interest, the Tawny Owl on Hengistbury now has two chicks, which can be viewed on camera in the visitors’ centre, and one of the Great Spotted Woodpecker pair also now has young.

May 16th

Little Gull
Little Gull – Clinton Whale
Turnstone – Clinton Whale

Grey skies and intermittent rain were present for much of the day, when a Hobby hunted over the North Scrubs early on, the Little Gull was seen both inside the harbour and at sea, and a second-calendar-year Yellow-legged Gull was at Mudeford Quay; where a flock of at least 275 Herring Gull fed just offshore. Waders were sparse – just a Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Whimbrel and a Curlew at Stanpit, plus 5 Turnstone on the sandspit. Meanwhile, a couple of Mediterranean Gull passed over, a pair of Gadwall remain on site and 18 Shelduck were counted.

May 15th

Rain was a feature for the entirety of the day, meaning there is little news. A Yellow Wagtail passed over Wick this afternoon, when the Little Gull was seen from Fisherman’s Bank. The morning at sea produced just 7 Guillemot and around 15 Gannet, while a Peregrine left the area with prey. 

May 14th

There was just a hint of migration this morning with a Redstart, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and 3 Garden Warbler on Wick plus singles of Hobby and Cuckoo heading north. The second calendar year Little Gull was off the sandspit, also 3 Whimbrel west past there and 30 Sanderling and 3 Turnstone around the groynes. A Peregrine was seen a couple of times from Hengistbury, the male Bullfinch was on Wick and a Greenshank was in Barn Bight. A report has just been received of a Curlew Sandpiper on Stanpit this afternoon; this species is recognised more as an autumn visitor to the harbour hence it is quite uncommon in spring.

May 13th

The wind moved a little further south overnight and contained the slightest of west, which increased as the day progressed. Although the sea was watched, the pick of the seabirds was inside the harbour – fishing in Barn Bight – in the form of a Roseate Tern. Meanwhile, offshore, the Little Gull again ranged the sandspit, as did a Common Gull, 15 or so Common Scoter moved by and around 10 Common Tern, a Fulmar, 4 Guillemot and a Razorbill were logged; with small numbers of Gannet being ever-present. A Hobby and 2 Yellow Wagtail overflew Stanpit, but there are no wader reports from there. Instead, a Greenshank was in Barn Bight and 4 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit and at least 6 Sanderling were seen from Mudeford Quay, where a Mediterranean Gull also passed by. Passerine-wise, there was a Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Lesser Whitethroat in the No Dogs Field on Wick, and two migrant Reed Warbler along Roebury Lane. The Wigeon and Brent Goose linger on, three pairs of Gadwall were at Stanpit and an in-harbour count of Mute Swan from Hengistbury returned a minimum of 178 birds.

May 12th

Sandwich Tern
Sandwich Tern do everything but actually nest in the harbour – Clinton Whale
Gadwall Gadwall
Drake and the pair of Gadwall – Clinton Whale

After a still night, the forecast wind from the south-east and the not-so-forecast drizzle soon picked up, but failed to deliver a skua-fest with it. In fact, there was just one – a dark-phase Arctic Skua – that was seen from Mudeford Quay around 10:00. Meanwhile, a second-calendar-year Little Gull spent most of the day either off the quay or the sandspit. The water was actually watched for five hours, starting at 5:30, but other than that already mentioned produced just: 2 Red-throated Diver, 2 Little Tern, 40 Common Tern, 53 Common Scoter, a Great Crested Grebe and a Common Gull. Equally sparse were waders – just singles of Knot, Grey Plover and Dunlin, as well as 4 Ringed Plover at Stanpit; a Greenshank on the Salt Hurns; and a day-total from all round of 5 Whimbrel. There was an isolated period of warbler song about the HHC, when a Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat were all heard. Otherwise, it’s just two Wheatear and three or four Willow Warbler to mention. Rounding up the birds, the Brent Goose was again in the harbour, as was the pair of Gadwall. Mammals, however, made the day, with at least 12 Bottlenose Dolphin in Christchurch Bay pretty much throughout. At one point, four of them passed slowly within 20m of the sandspit, throwing fish from their mouths as they did so!

May 11th

There was a scattering of migrant this morning – 2 Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher in the North Scrubs; and a Garden Warbler, a Wheatear and a Willow Warbler on Hengistbury – but little else in terms of passerines. Waders were also thin on the ground; for example, 6 Grey Plover and 6 Bar-tailed Godwit at Stanpit, plus a Common Sandpiper entering the harbour via the Run. A seawatch produced 10 Common Tern, a Great Crested Grebe in breeding plumage on the water and a second-calendar-year Common Gull. Meanwhile, a Brent Goose, the drake Wigeon and a drake Gadwall were inside the harbour. It was a great day for marine mammals. In the early morning, 6-8 Bottlenose Dolphin were seen from Mudeford Quay, but around lunchtime there were perhaps as many as 12 animals in the pod. In addition, a Grey Seal was in the Run.

May 10th

The fine weather continued today and it felt considerably warmer as the north-easterly wind eased. Up to 80 Swallow moved through the harbour, also 29 Swift and 5 House Martin while 5 Willow Warbler and 4 Wheatear were on Hengistbury. Wick still holds 2 Lesser Whitethroat on territory; one of these birds, or a recent arrival, was trapped and ringed this morning. Waders today, the majority on Stanpit, included 11 Black-tailed Godwit in Barn Bight and one north, 9 Dunlin, 7 Grey Plover, 7 Whimbrel, 4 Sanderling, 3 Ringed Plover and a Greenshank. To complete the post a pair of Bullfinch was on Wick, a pair of Gadwall was on Stanpit, a Buzzard flew low across Double Dykes towards the head and a Peregrine paid a brief visit.

May 9th

Dunlin – Clinton Whale

The only news for today involves: a Garden Warbler on Wick and a Yellow Wagtail over Stanpit, plus the drake Wigeon and 11 Black-tailed Godwit in Barn Bight.

Additional news: this evening at Stanpit, there was a Cuckoo on Crouch Hill, as well as 4 Greenshank, 3 Grey Plover, 3 Whimbrel, a Curlew and 8 Dunlin.

May 8th

Wood Warbler
Wood Warbler – Alan Hayden
Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher – Alan Hayden
Redstart – Alan Hayden
Green Hairstreak
Green Hairstreak – Clinton Whale

Despite a cold, easterly wind, there were plenty of quality spring migrants around, including the year’s first Cuckoo that after being harried by a Crow on South Marsh pushed off to Hengistbury. It’s been a great year for Wood Warbler – at least four to date – with another around the Nursery today, where there or nearby were 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 6 Redstart and 10 Willow Warbler; while on around the Barn Field were 3 Whinchat and 8 Wheatear. In addition, the North Scrubs on Stanpit hosted 3 Spotted Flycatcher and a Redstart, with a Yellow Wagtail north over Crouch Hill. Late this afternoon, a Great Skua headed east off Mudeford Quay, a Hobby came in-off there and a pair of Tufted Duck were settled on the sea. After yesterday’s bonanza, only 6 Mediterranean Gull were logged moving east.

May 7th

Tawny Owl
Tawny Owl – Clinton Whale
Peacock – Sue Marshall
A Great White Egret passed east over the area around 10:00 this morning and earlier, about 8:00, a Short-eared Owl also moved through. There were 4 Spotted Flycatcher logged – three in the Wood and one on Wick – plus a single Wheatear, 12 Willow Warbler and a new-in Reed Warbler singing from the Double Dykes. The only wader news involves a Common Sandpiper in Barn Bight, 2 Greenshank off Fisherman’s Bank and 15 Black-tailed Godwit; while a drake Wigeon, a Brent Goose and a Teal were on-site, 5 Shelduck passed high east and a single Greylag Goose overflew Wick. Birds moving overhead at Stanpit between 8:00 and 11:00 were returned as: 355 eastbound Mediterranean Gull, 15 Yellow Wagtail, 225 Swift, 1200 Swallow and 170 House Martin. In stark contrast, a not-dissimilar period at Hengistbury produced: 158 Mediterranean Gull, 15 Swift, 30 Swallow and 5 House Martin.

Additional news: there were 4 Grey Plover at Stanpit.

May 6th

Recently-fledged Stonechat and its mother – Clinton Whale

In the continuing north-easterly wind, the sea was watched from 6:30 to almost 12:00; from both the Gully and Mudeford Quay. While there was plenty to look at, other than an eventual flock of 26 Manx Shearwater into the Solent, it was definitely a case of variety over quality and quantity. In addition to the shearwaters, moving east were: 2 Little Tern, 2 Common Tern, 20 Mediterranean Gull, a Little Ringed Plover, a Grey Plover, 9 Whimbrel, a Curlew, 2 Sanderling, a Turnstone, a Dunlin, adult pairs of Eider and Pintail, a trio of Red-breasted Merganser – two drakes and a duck, 8 Common Scoter, a Shelduck, 4 Greylag Goose and 4 Little Egret. Meanwhile, 2 Red-throated Diver and two unidentified divers headed west; a Yellow Wagtail, 4 Willow Warbler, a Hobby, 8 Swift, 5 House Martin and around 100 Swallow came in off the sea; and two young Common Gull, 4 Fulmar, 20 Guillemot and 25 Gannet loitered. A further Fulmar was actually over the harbour itself, as was a Buzzard, while a total of 3 Peregrine hunted for incoming migrants. The best of the news from Stanpit was a Marsh Harrier on East Marsh, but also 4 Sanderling, 11 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Black-tailed Godwit and a Lapwing inside the harbour. After breeding in the area for the first-time last year, Treecreeper have since been absent – so one heard this morning in the Wood is locally notable. Also, a Firecrest in song there. 

Additional news: around 6:30 this evening, a flock of 27 Manx Shearwater headed east off the Gully. More: a further seven 'Manx' went the same way, as did 4 Mediterranean Gull.

May 5th

Whimbrel in Holloway's Dock today – Clinton Whale

A 3-hour vigil on Crouch Hill this morning witnessed a major movement of 530 Swift so, with another 125 returned from other vantage points, a minimum of 600 birds is probably a reasonable estimate; also 3 Yellow Wagtail were noted. On the ground migrants were few with just 4 Wheatear, two newly-arrived Reed Warbler, 2 Willow Warbler and a Garden Warbler, also the 2 Lesser Whitethroat were still singing on Wick. Settled waders included 22 Sanderling on the sandspit, 13 Black-tailed Godwit in Barn Bight, 40 Dunlin, 22 Grey Plover, 6 Whimbrel, 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Knot, 2 Turnstone and a Greenshank. The sea was watched from both Hengistbury and Mudeford Quay with totals of 53 Gannet, 12 Sanderling, 10 Whimbrel, 5 Grey Plover, 3 Turnstone, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Common Tern and a single Dunlin, all east. Heading west were 4 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Whimbrel, a Fulmar and a Red-breasted Merganser. A Peregrine with prey was also seen offshore. Finally, 6 Little Tern were inside the harbour and a male Bullfinch was on Wick.

May 4th

Newly born foal on The Marsh today - Steve Hogan

The first big movement of Swift occurred today with 55 logged past the Gully and 135 over Crouch Hill, so allowing for some duplication well over 150 birds must have been involved; also overhead were 5 Yellow Wagtail, a Tree Pipit and a Hobby, all over Stanpit. The first Spotted Flycatcher of the year, two birds, were in the North Scrubs, also 4 Lesser Whitethroat, two on Stanpit and two on Wick, and a single Wheatear on Hengistbury. Waders were also on the move both through Stanpit and past the Gully. On Stanpit the birds pitched in, but then quickly moved on; these were 11 Grey Plover, 56 Dunlin and 73 Bar-tailed Godwit, while more settled were 46 Dunlin, 23 Bar-tailed Godwit, 13 Grey Plover, 12 Whimbrel and 2 Turnstone. A further 30 Dunlin passed the Gully, plus 6 Whimbrel, 3 Grey Plover, 2 Sanderling and a Turnstone. To wrap up the seawatch, there were 25 Sandwich Tern, 13 Common Gull, 9 Gannet, 3 Guillemot, 2 Mediterranean Gull and a Fulmar. All birds were moving east. A Marsh Harrier was seen again this morning, quartering Stanpit before heading north. Check back to yesterday for some late news.

May 3rd

black-tailed godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit on the sandspit today – Clinton Whale

The first Roseate Tern of the year, three birds in fact, were off Double Dykes around 7:00 this morning. A Whinchat by the Coastguards was the pick of the grounded migrants, which on Hengistbury numbered just 17 Willow Warbler, 12 Blackcap, 6 Wheatear and a Lesser Whitethroat, the latter singing by the Ironstone Quarry; also the Sedge Warbler was still singing in Roebury Lane, while on Stanpit there were 2 Lesser Whitethroat and a Garden Warbler. Totals of 27 House Martin and 7 Swift were also logged. From Stanpit this morning, a male Marsh Harrier was watched quartering Priory and Wick reed beds, before it gained height and headed northwards. A skua seen from Mudeford Quay was too distant to identify with certainty. Combined totals from the quay, the Beach Huts and the Gully were 56 Gannet, 9 Common Tern, 8 Shelduck, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Guillemot and a Razorbill all east, while c20 Sandwich Tern and 5 Mediterranean Gull were lingering. An afternoon visit to Stanpit found the first Little Stint of the year, plus 120 Dunlin, 12 Grey Plover and 4 Sanderling; another 5 Sanderling and a Bar-tailed Godwit were on the sandspit.

Late news: a Bonaparte's Gull was photographed at Hengistbury this morning, along the inner shore. This is the third record of this species in the harbour, the last one being more than thirty years ago. By comparing photographs, it has been identified as the bird that has been at Longham Lakes for the last few days. In fact it returned to Longham later in the day.

May 2nd

In conditions that on the face of it didn't favour sea watching there was another Pomarine Skua this morning. Seen from the Gully the bird was on the sea for a short time before it moved off east, then fifteen minutes later it or another one headed west. There were also 3 Arctic Skua: two of which passed through the harbour to the west about 8:00, with the third bird off Double Dykes much later. The sea was also watched from Mudeford Quay but, the skuas apart, the returns from the three points were negligible; the combined totals, all east, were 46 Common Scoter, 18 Mediterranean Gull with another seven west, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Gannet and 2 Greylag Geese. Migrants were few but of real quality with a Turtle Dove, a Wood Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 Garden Warbler, a Yellow Wagtail and, on Stanpit, singles of Lesser Whitethroat and Wheatear. There were 12 Turnstone on Mudeford Quay, while waders inside the harbour were 96 Dunlin, 34 Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Whimbrel, a Common Sandpiper and a Sanderling. The miscellany included 9 Sandwich Tern lingering off the quay, a Brent Goose on Stanpit, a pair of Gadwall, the drake Wigeon and 4 Common Gull.

May 1st

Breeding species now on territory at Hengistbury...
rock pipit
Rock Pipit – Clinton Whale
Stonechat – Nick Whitehouse
Linnet – Sue Marshall

A complete contrast to yesterday with little or no wind, although the forecasters said otherwise! The sea was watched from the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay with not much to show for the effort, just seven each of Common Tern and Sandwich Tern, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Whimbrel, all east; plus a few Gannet offshore. Waders inside the harbour were 64 Dunlin, 32 Whimbrel, 22 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper; also 7 Shelduck and 4 Gadwall. The passage of Mediterranean Gull picked up again today with 54 logged, most of these east. The only migrants of note were a female Pied Flycatcher by the HHC soon after dawn and a Lesser Whitethroat in the North Scrubs.

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