Sightings for May 2020

April 30th

The best from a day that was dominated by a strong, south-westerly wind and frequent showers were 2 Common Tern, a Mediterranean Gull and 6 Common Scoter. The only wader news involves a single Whimbrel. 

April 29th

A Great White Egret flew over the area this morning, when 30 Common Scoter passed east at sea. A selection of warblers on Hengistbury included: a Grasshopper Warbler, a Wood Warbler, 3 Garden Warbler and at least 20 Willow Warbler; as well a Whinchat and 4 Wheatear, plus 5 Tree Pipit over. Meanwhile, a total of 45 Blackcap made up of resident and transient birds was logged. Also on the move were Mediterranean Gull, around fifteen towards the Solent, while a Bullfinch was on Wick. 

April 28th

Reed Bunting Alan Crockard

It was a day of little wind, but much drizzle; although things were a little drier by the end of it. A lunchtime walk around Hengistbury saw 2 Fulmar pass west and a Whimbrel, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 8 Dunlin in Holloways Dock, and heard a Cuckoo. Late in the afternoon, there were around 100 hirundines feeding above Parky Meade Rail the majority being Sand Martin, but also c10 House Martin and 5 Swallow; along with a Swift. Meanwhile, at least 10 Bar-tailed Godwit and 6 Whimbrel were around Stanpit Bight. 

April 27th

This female Pied Flycatcher was present yesterday afternoon David Faulkner
Sandwich Tern Jackie Smith
...and the pair of Gadwall Jackie Smith

The Cuckoo could be heard throughout the day from most parts of the area, with the suspected source of the noise being Wick Hams; while a Tree Pipit decked on Wick early on, where a Lesser Whitethroat sang. This afternoon, at Stanpit, around 10 Whimbrel and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit were present, along with the trio of Brent Goose and the pair of Wigeon. 

April 26th

Reed Warbler enjoying the midday sun Alan Crockard
...and a Fox soaking up the morning sun Jackie Smith

A Wood Warbler was vocal on Hengistbury this morning, while a Cuckoo, a Whinchat and three female Wheatear were at Stanpit in the afternoon, and the site-wide total for Willow Warbler was three. Also on the marsh, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit and 5 Whimbrel; plus the 3 Brent Goose. 

April 25th

Sedge Warbler Alan Crockard
Given the date for this male Wheatear to be making landfall here, one suspects it may be heading towards some kind of Atlantic crossing Ray Scott

The easterly winds persist and arent bringing anything particularly spectacular with them. Early on, a Cuckoo was very vocal on Wick, where a Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warbler and a Bullfinch were also returned. Meanwhile, Stanpit hosted: a couple of new-in Whitethroat; around 6 Black-tailed Godwit; 8 Dunlin; and the sounds, but not seen, of Grey Plover, Whimbrel and Ringed Plover. This evening, at least 6 Wheatear were about the place, as well as the 3 Brent Goose and the two pairs of Gadwall. 

April 24th

It was a fairly low-key day, with just a single Wheatear and 2 Willow Warbler on Hengistbury this morning; although a pair of Bullfinch on the Long Field was a bit of a surprise. Over at Stanpit, the early waders included: 4 Whimbrel, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 14 Dunlin. By the afternoon, however, the smalls seemed to have moved on; but a mixed flock of 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 8 Whimbrel arrived from on-high, begging the question of just how far away to the south-west they had started their flight. For the second day in succession, there were 3 Brent Goose on the marsh. 

April 23rd

Fox Alan Crockard
Natterjack, viewed from a public path  Alan Crockard

It was the warmest day of the year so far, as the wind moved to almost south-west and then dropped completely by the evening. Early in the day, 38 Mediterranean Gull headed east over Wick, where there was a single Willow Warbler and 2 Bullfinch. Later, at Stanpit, a Common Sandpiper was the best of the limited waders, which also included: a single Curlew that all of a sudden left vociferously high to the west, around 10 Whimbrel and 6 Black-tailed Godwit. A total of 3 Brent Goose was a bit of a surprise and the Gadwall increased from the expected-two to four. 

April 22nd

The clear, blue skies continue to dominate, but the slight easing of the recent, easterly breeze made things feel a lot warmer. Early on, at least 200 Mediterranean Gull passed east over Stanpit; 3 Yellow Wagtail and a Peregrine also went over the marsh. Settled passerine numbers were low with just six each of Wheatear and Willow Warbler being clear migrants; while a Lesser Whitethroat on Wick is now probably on territory. A total of 26 Whimbrel was returned from Stanpit, with a further seven travelling east, along with: a Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 41 Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 5 Dunlin. To finish up, 3 Swift were logged and the Brent Goose remains. 

April 21st

Sandwich Tern Alan Crockard

The only news for the day of a Swift and 2 Swallow over Wick, plus a female Bullfinch there. 

April 20th

Bartailed Godwit - Ray Scott
Bar and Black-tailed Godwits - Jackie Smith

On another glorious day of weather, the only passerine migrant of note was a female Pied Flycatcher on Wick this morning, when around 35 Mediterranean Gull headed west. The wader selection at Stanpit is again worth writing about and included: the 2 Ruff, a Knot, a Greenshank, at least 22 Whimbrel, 15 Dunlin and 30 Black-tailed Godwit. Meanwhile, the pairs of Wigeon and Gadwall remain.

April 19th

Blue Tit Jackie Smith

The morning saw a clear influx of Whitethroat, with seven males clustered around the HHC and a further two birds at Stanpit. The early part of the day also saw the most-varied selection of waders, when: a Common Sandpiper, a Grey Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Turnstone and 42 Dunlin were in Stanpit Bight. Later in the day, the additions were 3 Whimbrel and 40 or so Black-tailed Godwit. The familiar wildfowl were all still present and correct, namely the Brent Goose plus pairs of Wigeon and Gadwall, but there was also a drake Shoveler, a Great Crested Grebe and a pair of Teal. 

April 18th

Pied Flycatcher Chris Chapleo

There were some moments of real interest throughout the day. The morning contributed a Ring Ouzel, at least 3 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, a few Willow Warbler and up to 20 Blackcap; as well as a Firecrest. Later on, a total of 13 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Whinchat were settled. A couple of Swift also arrived, while Swallow and Sand Martin were pulsing through. All in all, with whats going on in the world, its hopefully lifting spirits to know the summer birds are arriving. As ever, there was the near-constant, vocal backdrop of Mediterranean Gull. 

April 17th

Yellow Wagtail Ray Scott
Blacktailed Godwit - Alan Crockard

The years first Lesser Whitethroat was singing today and at least 10 Yellow Wagtail were logged, including a flock of five that settled briefly. Also fleeting in their presence were: a Merlin, a Spoonbill and an Arctic Tern; while the five-plus Blackcap which were obvious in the North Scrubs suggested an arrival. Waders at Stanpit were again headed by the 2 Ruff, along with: 3 Grey Plover a couple of those gaining some nice feathers, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 57 Black-tailed Godwit and 9 Dunlin. In addition, the Brent Goose, the Wigeon pair, 7 Gadwall and a Common Gull were returned from the marsh; and the calls of overhead Mediterranean Gull were constant. 

April 16th

Rock Pipit Alan Crockard

There were a few more migrants around this morning, including 2 Grasshopper Warbler, a Whincaht and as many as 20 Willow Warbler and 3 Wheatear; with a couple of Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Whitethroat present in new locations. The wader interest at Stanpit was headed by a couple of Ruff, but also a Grey Plover, 10 Whimbrel, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 50 or so Black-tailed Godwit and 21 Dunlin. At least 40 Mediterranean Gull had passed east by 07:45, while the Brent Goose, the 2 Wigeon and the 2 Gadwall remain. To finish up, a Firecrest was again in song.

April 15th

Bar-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit Jackie Smith
Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier Jackie Smith

Early this morning, a couple of Great White Egret headed north over the harbour, while 35 Mediterranean Gull were logged at Stanpit. On Wick, the Whitethroat have risen to five and at least 2 Willow Warbler were also there, as well as 2 Bullfinch. The south-easterly winds gave rise a good wader selection at Stanpit, including: 4 Greenshank, the Spotted Redshank, 8 Whimbrel, 2 Grey Plover, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit and 72 Black-tailed Godwit; plus 3 Common Tern around Stanpit Bight. Three pairs of Shoveler were around most of the day, as were the pairs of Wigeon and Gadwall, and the lone Brent Goose. Just a single Wheatear was on Crouch Hill and a female-type Marsh Harrier struggled east into the breeze. 

April 14th

Sandwich Tern
Sandwich Tern David Faulkner
Sparrowhawk David Faulkner

A couple of Ruff were at Stanpit during the morning, when the resplendent Black-tailed Godwit flock was estimated at sixty. Later in the day, singles of Bar-tailed Godwit and Grey Plover were present, but looking a lot more drab. Also early on, a female Marsh Harrier was in the area, along with a Great Crested Grebe, twenty settled Sandwich Tern and 2 Common Gull. Over on Wick, a Willow Warbler was by the Wooden Bridge and two female Bullfinch were on the fields; while a Wheatear was on Crouch Hill. A party of 4 Shoveler in Stanpit Bight comprised three drakes and duck, with the now lone Brent Goose still lingering. The calls of Mediterranean Gull were near constant the only returned figure being of 24 birds, however.

Our first Virtual Meeting is being held on Wednesday, please see below for details.

April 13th

Sand Martin Alan Crockard

The best for the day is a Firecrest in song in a new location for the area, with other passerine interest coming from a Whitethroat, 4 Bullfinch and a Raven. Meanwhile the Mediterranean Gull presence continues with counts of 35 west, 28 and 25 being received, but it is extremely likely that significant duplication exists within those numbers. Sandwich Tern are now in 24 birds at Stanpit where the Spotted Redshank, 68 Black-tailed Godwit, a Brent Goose and 4 Common Gull were also logged. Finishing up with the wildfowl of more-than-dubious origin the highlight was a gaggle of 3 Swan Goose; with 3 Egyptian Goose migrating north over the area. 

Our first Virtual Meeting is being held on Wednesday, please see below for details.

April 12th

Whitethroat Alan Crockard
Dartford Warbler Alan Crockard

The high-pressure system rolls-on relief in these times but brings little in terms of grounded migrants intending to push further on. That said, at least three new Reed Warbler and two new Whitethroat were in song today, while 3 Willow Warbler were transiting Wick Fields. Early in the day, a Common Tern was over the fields and 55 Mediterranean Gull passed west. At Stanpit, around 40 Black-tailed Godwit and a Whimbrel lingered, as well as: a single Brent Goose and pairs of Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler.

April 11th

Mediterranean Gull Jackie Smith
... and a distinctive Jackdaw Jackie Smith

A couple of Whitethroat the first of the season were about this morning, as was a single Wheatear, 2 Willow Warbler and 3 Swallow; while perhaps 3 Sedge Warbler and 4 Reed Warbler were also in song. Mediterranean Gull again featured, but behaving very uncharacteristically. During the early part of the morning, at least 174 headed north-west towards the Stour, but by mid-morning they had started to trickle back. A Greenshank was on-site, along with an estimated 50 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Brent Goose and a pair of Teal. 

April 10th

Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting Ian Wigley
Mallard Ian Wigley

A total of 331 Mediterranean Gull was returned from Stanpit this morning, although there are no details about direction. Meanwhile, 89 headed over Wick, all west; and, during the afternoon, around 40 or so passed east over the harbour. Back to the morning, when a Yellow Wagtail and a Siskin were over Hengistbury; 2 Firecrest were singing on the head; a Cuckoo and 3 Wheatear were on Crouch Hill; and up to 10 Willow Warbler were dotted about. The more interesting of the waders were: a Greenshank, the Spotted Redshank, up to 40 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Dunlin; with the dwindling wildfowl headed by 3 Brent Goose plus single pairs of Teal, Wigeon and Gadwall. Finally, a House Martin travelled over the marsh in the afternoon.

April 9th

Cetti's Warbler Cetti's Warbler
Cetti's Warbler Alan Crockard

A gloriously warm day produced a couple of Little Ringed Plover heading over to the north, as well a two singing Reed Warbler the first of those for the season. Another debutante was a Cuckoo a male around Stanpit during the afternoon. Early in the day, two each of Yellow Wagtail and Wheatear were logged, as well as 4 Willow Warbler and in excess of 30 Mediterranean Gull. The passing of winter saw just 3 Brent Goose and 2 Wigeon on site, but quite which direction a drake Tufted Duck and a pair of Gadwall were taking was a little uncertain.

April 8th

It seemed fairly quiet around the area today, with the only reports coming from Wick; where a Sedge Warbler may already be on territory, 4 Willow Warbler were spread about, and 8 Mediterranean Gull and 2 Sandwich Tern passed over to the west. Please do look below to see about our Virtual Meetings.

April 7th

A not so Longtailed Tit Alan Crockard

The first Sedge Warbler of the spring was heard today from Wick Fields, while at least 6 Willow Warbler were present; as well as 8 Blackcap and a male Bullfinch. Meanwhile, a Buzzard passed over. The only other news is of 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Dunlin and 6 Mediterranean Gull; all turned in from Stanpit. 

April 6th

The Spotted Redshank starting to colour Jackie Smith
Wren Alan Crockard (upper) & Tina Scott

On a glorious day, there were a couple of pieces of overhead action. An Osprey passed north-east around 10:00 this morning and, a little earlier, a Spoonbill travelled west. At least 8 Willow Warbler were dotted about, as well as 2 Wheatear, while over 30 Mediterranean Gull were logged. To finish this short post, a single Bullfinch was on Roebury Lane. 

April 5th

A stunning shot of male Blackcap in song Tina Scott

A brisk south-easterly breeze brought an incredibly early Swift to the area east over Wick Fields where a Swallow was also seen; while 6 Sand Martin prospected the cliffs at the end of the head. The wind also meant terns were conspicuous, as the first Common Tern of the season fished the ditches of Central Marsh and over 30 Sandwich Tern passed east at sea this morning. Later in the day, a couple of Sandwich Tern arrived at Stanpit and promptly fell asleep it would be wonderful to know just how far they had travelled beforehand and to where they are headed. Another first for the year was a Whitethroat on Stanpit, but Blackcap and Chiffchaff are now in song all over the place. A total of 3 Whimbrel was on the marsh this evening, along with 5 Dunlin two of those in breeding plumage along with the Spotted Redshank and 3 Black-tailed Godwit. The winter wildfowl were down to 6 Brent Goose, 7 Wigeon and 2 Teal, but the incoming Shelduck were returned as a dozen. Two male Bullfinch were seen on Wick and at least 10 Mediterranean Gull were logged. 

April 4th

A pair of Stock Dove are very interested in a box intended for Tawny Owl Ray Scott

At least 4 Willow Warbler, two of them in song, were around today, along with 8 Blackcap and a single Wheatear. Sandwich Tern are starting to feature more regularly two were in the harbour yesterday and a couple were around Hengistbury today. The final news for today is a Bullfinch on Wick. Moving back again to yesterday, an Osprey that passed over Wick Fields late in the day was also spotted, outside of the recording area, from a bus in Christchurch High Street.

Finally, the Barn Owl we feature in our camera a few miles north of Christchurch last night produced their first egg, and the excitement is now also being followed by Chris Packhams Self-Isolating Bird Club which is well worth a look while stuck at home. 

April 3rd

Linnet Ian Wigley
Blacktailed Godwit Tina Scott

The most impressive sight and sound of the day was a tight flock of 47 Mediterranean Gull that passed east over the harbour around 5:00 this evening possibly the largest on-the-move gathering ever seen at Christchurch. In addition, at least twenty other birds were logged throughout the day. During the morning, at least 2 Willow Warbler were on the site, while 2 Redwing headed west over Wick, where a male Bullfinch was on Roebury Lane. The dwindling waders at Stanpit again included weary Curlew, plus the Spotted Redshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Dunlin. 

April 2nd

Avocet and Ringed Plover Jackie Smith

Record of the day is undoubtedly a flock of 18 Knot that arrived at Stanpit, but didnt settle and then continued east. Save for Curlew - some of which were sleeping during the low tide, as opposed to feeding, so also potentially travellers plus some lingering Redshank, the waders were thin; a couple  Avocet and a Ringed Plover, in fact. The pale-bellied Brent Goose and a pair of Gadwall were on site, while a drake Shoveler dropped in from ahigh. A return of 4 Sand Martin from Hengistbury may indicate breeders are back on territory, likewise one or two singing Firecrest and a Bullfinch. Its now getting difficult to distinguish between summer-resident Blackcap and Chiffchaff against those passing through, but there were seven and four respectively logged. Wheatear, however, are definitely transient at least six for the post as are Mediterranean Gull, a minimum of twenty moving over. 

April 1st

It was a day of decent north-bound flyovers with a Cattle Egret in breeding plumage, a Short-eared Owl and a Little Ringed Plover seen in the morning, while an Osprey passed over at 6:00 tonight. The only other news is of 3 Wheatear two on Hengistbury and one at Stanpit and a couple of new-in Blackcap. 

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