Sightings for May 2021

May 31st

Bartailed Godwit - Clinton Whale
Great Spotted Woodpecker Clinton Whale

There was a real surprise of a Ring Ouzel feeding on the Long Field this afternoon, where nearby the Garden Warbler was again in song. Also late in the season was a female Wheatear on Wick. Otherwise, its just a Curlew Sandpiper, an Avocet and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit at Stanpit to report upon. Of breeding interest, it looks as if a pair of Oystercatcher now have a nest in the specifically fenced area at the northern tip of the sandspit. 

May 30th

Reed Bunting Clinton Whale
Garden Warbler Leo Pyke
Gadwall Clinton Whale

The only migrant bird news received for the day is of the Garden Warbler still hopeful in the Nursery, while all the regular breeders are now going about their business. Of butterfly interest, Common Blue and Green Hairstreak were both on-the-wing at Stanpit. 

May 29th

Garden Warbler Matthew Barfield
Bullfinch Matthew Barfield

The best for the day were two, separate Great White Egret which overflew the harbour early on. Meanwhile, the Garden Warbler remains in the Nursery and the 3 Gadwall continue to be present. To finish, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Black-tailed Godwit were at Stanpit, and a male Bullfinch was on Hengistbury. 

May 28th

The best for the day came late this afternoon, when a Bonxie, aka Great Skua, headed east past the Gulley; which also saw 2 Common Tern, 2 Fulmar, 22 Gannet and 5 Sanderling. Much earlier, the sea also produced a 65-strong, westbound flock of Common Scoter, a Fulmar, a Whimbrel and a further 4 Sanderling. Meanwhile, a Bar-tailed Godwit was at Stanpit; singles of Black-tailed Godwit were logged from Holloways Dock and Central Marsh; a couple of Common Tern and 3 Mediterranean Gull passed over the marsh; the Garden Warbler continues its ever-frantic pursuit of a mate; and a pair of Gadwall were again on site. 

May 27th

Blackcap Mark Taylor
Jay Joy Aubin

A fine day of weather saw a smattering of late, incoming migrants so answering yesterdays Willow Warbler question six of them today. In addition, a Wood Warbler was on the northern edge of the Salt Hurns, as were 2 Redstart, presumably females, and a Garden Warbler complemented the regular bird. More typical for the date, however, were a Turtle Dove north and half-a-dozen Spotted Flycatcher. Meanwhile, 2 Grey Wagtail, one of them on the edge of the Wood, were not at all expected. At sea, a Great Skua and 3 Eider were logged; up to 13 Mediterranean Gull were about the area; and a female Bullfinch was on Wick. The warmer conditions also saw a few Orange Tip butterfly around Stanpit. 

May 26th

Collared Dove Derek Hopkins

As we move towards June, the interest starts to peter-out. That said, 3 Willow Warbler were nice today hopefully late-arrivers, as opposed to early-leavers as was a Spotted Flycatcher in the Stunted Oaks and the Garden Warbler. To round-up, this short post: at least 16 Mediterranean Gull were logged; a couple of Bullfinch were on Wick; 3 Gadwall were at Stanpit; and, of breeding interest, a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker was on Hengistbury. 

May 25th

At least six, adult Mediterranean Gull passed west this morning suggesting some failed breeding attempts to our east but other than a Fulmar and a couple of Razorbill there was little more interest from the sea. A total of 5 Spotted Flycatcher was returned from Wick and Hengistbury, where the Garden Warbler remains; with the remaining news coming from a Peregrine and a pair of Gadwall at Stanpit, plus a Coal Tit in the Wood. 

May 24th

The first Mute Swan cygnet of the season was seen today Clinton Whale

It was a definite case of quality over quantity on the sea this morning. A Pomarine Skua headed east at 08:00 and thirty-five minutes later a Storm Petrel moved steadily west without lingering. Also: a Manx Shearwater, a circuiting Great Northern Diver, 22 Common Scoter east and 6 Fulmar. Meanwhile, a Spotted Flycatcher was in the Wood and the Garden Warbler remains. To finish, the only wader news for the day is of a Sanderling on the sandspit and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit at Stanpit. 

May 23rd

Sanderling in just-aboutas-good-as-it-gets, breeding plumage - Mark Taylor
The Garden Warbler, a very difficult species to photograph in the area Mark Taylor

Given the absolutely appalling conditions and the exposed location of the Gulley, its not quite clear how a two-hour seawatch was achieved this evening; but a commendable effort it was and not from one of soft-southern origin! The tally was headed by: a Storm Petrel battling into Poole Bay, a couple of dark Arctic Skua east, and 52 Manx Shearwater, plus 18 Kittiwake, west; as well as: 18 Fulmar, 30 Gannet and eight auks. An hours longer effort this morning was by far the poor relation and mustered just: a Great Northern Diver, 3 Manx Shearwater, 2 Common Tern, 7 Fulmar and 24 Gannet, all west. Meanwhile, at least 4 Sanderling were about the sandspit and the Garden Warbler is still singing hopefully in the north-west corner of the Nursery. 

May 22nd

Adult and two recently fledged Starling Mark Taylor

Despite a vast improvement in the weather, there is little to report on today. At sea, a total of 60 Common Scoter appeared to be lingering and 5 Sanderling passed west. Meanwhile, migrant waders at Stanpit, where the Oystercatcher pair is still sitting, comprised 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel and 32 Dunlin. To finish this rather short post, a Spotted Flycatcher was by the Wooden Bridge, the Garden Warbler was again in the Nursery and a male Bullfinch was feeding on the ground at Stanpit Scrubs. 

May 21st

The familiar, male Peregrine was back on the Priory today and conveniently gave away his identity Clinton Whale

It was a day completely dominated by gale-force, south-westerly wind. Before the limited sea reports, a Great White Egret was in Barn Bight this morning, when 3 Whimbrel, 20 Sanderling and 12 Dunlin were about the sandspit. Numbers over the water, over a 5-hour spell starting at 6:00, came to: 7 Manx Shearwater, 16 Fulmar, 24 Common Scoter, 7 Common Tern and 5 Gannet.

May 20th

Other than the Garden Warbler that continues to sing in the Nursery, all the news comes from the sea throughout a day of mainly southerly, strong wind. Three hours from 7:15 produced a Great Northern Diver west, 37 Common Scoter, a Shag, 3 Razorbill, 2 Guillemot, 5 Fulmar, 35 Gannet and 45 Sandwich Tern, as well as 4 House Martin and 26 Swift arriving. Later watches started to turn-up Manx Shearwater a total of thirty-six being reached, as well as 3 Common Tern and additional numbers of Fulmar and Guillemot, in both cases six. 

May 19th

Great Spotted Woodpecker Clinton Whale

A Whiskered Tern, presumably the bird that has been up the Stour at Longham for the last week or so, spent around three minutes off Mudeford Quay this morning, with Sandwich Tern, before being lost to view heading towards the Needles. The last we had in the area, was way back in 1988. There was a minor influx of Spotted Flycatcher six on Wick and one in the Stunted Oaks, as well as a Willow Warbler, 4 Wheatear about and the regular Garden Warbler. Meanwhile, there are now 2 Cuckoo lingering around Wick, where 2 Bullfinch were also present. Inside the harbour, a second-calendar-year Little Gull was again around, along with: 14 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover and 115 Dunlin. Sticking with waders, a Common Sandpiper was on the sandspit, as were nine Sanderling, with a further 6 Whimbrel passing by. Throughout the morning, Swift trickled in, when 12 Common Scoter were on the sea and around 30 Sandwich Tern lingered. 

May 18th

Goldfinch Mark Taylor
Whimbrel and a Grey Plover Bob Groves

A Red Kite passed east over the harbour this morning, when the Garden Warbler was again in the Nursery. Later, a couple of Spotted Flycatcher were in the Stunted Oaks. So far this season, the wader passage has been largely uneventful and its now getting quite late so a Grey Plover, 14 Whimbrel, a Ringed Plover, worth checking these for race now, and 2 Dunlin, all Stanpit, were something to look at. To finish, a further 2 Whimbrel were on the Barn Field and 3 Common Scoter passed west at sea. 

May 17th

At least 3 Whitethroat have recently takenup residence at Stanpit - Derek Hopkins
Sanderling Clinton Whale
Green Hairstreak, now on the wing Clinton Whale
...and it has been possible to zoomin on the ring and determine this Oystercatcher was ringed as a nestling in June 2016 on the Isle of Wight - Scott Usher

A reasonable day of weather saw an Osprey pass west over the harbour at just after 8:30, with a Great White Egret heading the other way. Otherwise, quality is sparse: at least 2 Spotted Flycatcher were by the Wooden Bridge on Wick, 2 Wheatear were on the Barn Field and the Garden Warbler continues its lonely existence in the Nursery; a couple of Whimbrel were also on the previously mentioned field and 18 Sanderling were on the sandspit; and the sea produced 10 Common Scoter nine east and one settled plus 9 Swift in-off. 

May 16th

Redbreasted Merganser - Scott Usher
... and it looks as if there may be another Oystercatcher breedingattempt going on
- Derek Hopkins

For a short while this morning, there was some seabird action a Pomarine Skua cut the corner of the head and passed east, while a pale-phase Arctic Skua took a more conventional route over the water. Additionally, a Great Northern Diver and a further, unidentified diver headed west, as did 7 Kittiwake,; while 22 Common Scoter were settled and a total of 53 Sandwich Tern was put in. Meanwhile, at least 19 Sanderling, a couple of Turnstone and a second-calendar-year Mediterranean Gull lingered about the sandspit. Passerine-wise, a Grasshopper Warbler was briefly in the Bobolink Field, the Garden Warbler is still going for it in the Nursery and a Cuckoo was again on Wick. To finish, the drake Red-breasted Merganser is around for its third day. 

May 15th

Sparrowhawk Roger Howell
Cuckoo Jeremy McClements
Little Gull
...and one of the Little Gull from yesterday, showing just how diminutive they are
Alan Hayden

After a largely wet and breezy day, other than a Cuckoo on Wick, all the news is from the Beach Huts. Another Red-breasted Merganser was recorded today, this time west at sea, along with a couple of Fulmar. A Common Gull and 21 Common Scoter passed east; while 30 Sandwich Tern and 25 Gannet lingered, as did a very distant feeding-flock of around 120 terns. Birds closer to view included: 9 Sanderling, a Grey Plover and a Whimbrel, plus four arriving Swallow. 

May 14th

Redbreasted Merganser - Ann Parramore

The most unexpected record of the day, in terms of date that is, was undoubtedly a drake Red-breasted Merganser inside the harbour early this morning; but that accolade is closely followed by a Nuthatch at Stanpit. In recent years, Little Gull seem to have become few and far between so two second-calendar-year birds around Stanpit Bight for most of the day were very welcome. Also around there, a selection of waders, most of them brief, that included: a Little Stint, an Avocet, 11 Grey Plover 2 Greenshank, 2 Bar-tailed godwit, 3 Whimbrel and 9 Dunlin; while a late Redshank was in Holloways Dock. Over on Hengistbury, a Garden Warbler continued to sing in the Wood, which is intriguing, as did a Firecrest a sound that has not been heard in that spot for some time a Spotted Flycatcher was by the HHC and a Willow Warbler was logged; and at least one Yellow Wagtail was at Stanpit. Offshore, a Little Tern, 3 Common Tern and around 30 Sandwich Tern lingered, with over forty of the latter resting inside the harbour late on. To finish, a Mediterranean Gull was heard and 6 Swift passed over. 

May 13th

A morning seawatch saw, by contemporary standards, a decent movement of terns to the east namely: an Arctic Tern, 2 Little Tern, 73 Common Tern and 325 Sandwich Tern; while, late in the day, a Black Tern passed by. Also at sea, 9 Manx Shearwater, a Fulmar, a Grey Plover, 3 Sanderling, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Turnstone, 4 Swift and 10 Swallow. Early on, a Turtle Dove and a Hobby passed over Wick, when a couple of Garden Warbler sang in the Nursery and 3 Wheatear were about. To finish, a Peregrine patrolled and 2 Gadwall were on the River. 

May 12th

Lesser Whitethroat Alan Cherry
Bullfinch Alan Cherry
Great Spotted Woodpecker Alan Cherry

All the days news comes from Hengistbury, where: a Great Northern Diver passed west and 12 Common Scoter were offshore; 6 Sanderling were about the sandspit and 3 Whimbrel were on the Barn Field; a Garden Warbler was somewhere, 2 Spotted Flycatcher were in the Wood and a Wheatear was on the Barn Field; while a Yellow Wagtail passed over. 

May 11th

Linnet Clinton Whale

The day saw some late-in-the-season passerine interest, when a Pied Flycatcher of unreported gender, but presumably on this date a female, was in the Stunted Oaks; while 3 Lesser Whitethroat on Wick suggested an arrival of those. There were also a couple of Wheatear on the Barn Field. A quiet sea saw just 3 Common Scoter, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Whimbrel all head east; with 2 Black-tailed Godwit settling into Holloways Dock.

May 10th

Sanderling in breeding plumage Clinton Whale
Whimbrel Mark Taylor
Small Copper Clinton Whale

Another day, another seawatch, and this time the skua action came from a Great Skua east, along with a Kittiwake and a Red-throated Diver in the same direction. A further Red-throated Diver and a Great Northern Diver headed the opposite way, as did 4 Manx Shearwater one in the morning and three in the afternoon. Staying with the sea: this evening, a feeding-flock of gulls and Sandwich Tern off the Long Groyne also held an Arctic Tern and 2 Common Tern; with 2 Razorbill, 15 Guillemot and uncounted Gannet also being offshore. The only wader and migrant passerine news is of a Whimbrel, 4 Sanderling and 2 Garden Warbler the formers on the sandspit and the latter in the Wood. To finish, the day saw the first Painted Lady and Small Copper butterflies on the wing. 

May 9th

Jay George Garland
Natterjack, photographed from a public path, held this pose for over an hour Clinton Whale

The sea was watched again this morning and reward came from the Beach Huts, when 2 Pomarine Skua were seen heading east at 07:30. Reports from Barton-on-Sea a little later suggested they had double-backed before reaching the Solent area, however. Also east, an Arctic Skua, a Little Tern and 10 Common Tern. Meanwhile, an early Storm Petrel headed west, as did a second-calendar-year Little Gull and a Manx Shearwater; a Guillemot was settled near the Long Groyne, 82 Sandwich Tern were offshore; and an Arctic Tern went through the harbour. Wader-wise, there were around 20 Sanderling on the sandspit, along with 5 Ringed Plover, and least 15 Whimbrel across the site; while the only migrant passerine returns are made up of single Garden Warbler and Sedge Warbler in the Nursery, plus 3 Wheatear two in the fenced area of the sandspit and a female on Crouch Hill.

May 8th

As forecast, the dawn broke with heavy rain and a south-easterly wind that soon veered to the south. Not surprisingly, the sea was the only option and the morning watches from the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay aggregated: a minimum of 12 Manx Shearwater, 19 Fulmar, 3 Great Northern Diver two in breeding plumage two west and one east, a Red-throated Diver through the harbour and west, 52 Common Scoter, around 55 Sandwich Tern, at least 75 Gannet many of them sub-adult birds, a Razorbill and 7 Guillemot. Meanwhile, a female Marsh Harrier arrived over the water, as did 15 Swift, 20 Swallow and 16 House Martin. After 10:00, however, things quietened down; although forty-five minutes at the quay in the mid-afternoon did yield a further 6 Manx Shearwater and a Guillemot. Waders are difficult to put a number on, as the conditions made them very mobile, but 120 Dunlin at Stanpit confirmed there had been an arrival. In addition, the site-wide estimates come to: 2 Grey Plover, 12 Sanderling, a Ringed Plover, 15 Whimbrel and 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, the latter passing to the west. The only other news involves 6 Gadwall at Stanpit.

May 7th

There was a reasonable selection of migrants on the southern side of the harbour today with totals of 19 Wheatear, 13 Willow Warbler, 5 Garden Warbler, 4 Whinchat, 4 Redstart, 4 Swift, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Yellow Wagtail and singles of Cuckoo, Spotted Flycatcher and Lesser Whitethroat.  A Grey Plover arrived over the Barn Field, a Purple Sandpiper was on the sandspit and 7 Whimbrel were logged, while 20 Common Scoter were on the sea off the Beach Huts. At the entrance to Holloway's Dock this afternoon 71 Sandwich Tern were present.

May 6th

Cetti's Warbler Jackie Smith
Sedge Warbler Alan Crockard

Early morning on Priory Marsh suggested an arrival of Sedge Warbler, with at least eight birds where there had previously been none it is expected most will move on though. On the other side of the river, Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat sang in the Nursery and on Wick respectively while Whinchat were in the Bobolink and No Dogs Fields, 5 Wheatear were on the Barn Field and 3 Willow Warbler were dotted about. The only wader news comes also comes from that side - 5 Whimbrel and 38 Dunlin; with a couple of Mediterranean Gull passing east, likewise 9 Common Scoter and 2 Shelduck. Back to Stanpit, where the apparent family party of Brent Goose is still present, and an additional Wheatear.

May 5th

Sandwich Tern in the rain Derek Hopkins
Whitethroat Derek Hopkins
Whimbrel Malcolm Royal

Thankfully, the wind subsided significantly and the early part of the day was actually quite nice. Around late morning, however, heavy showers and even some thunder set in. A Lesser Whitethroat on the Barn Field, where there were 4 Wheatear, and 3 Willow Warbler were all new birds, as were 6 Swift and 5 Swallow seen arriving. Otherwise, its just 19 Whimbrel, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, around 30 Dunlin and 8 Gadwall to report upon.  

May 4th

Sanderling Clinton Whale
Dunlin Clinton Whale
Ringed Plover Clinton Whale
Linnet Roger Tidball

With the south-westerly near-gale continuing until late in the afternoon, the sea was given a go early on. The best was 2 Manx Shearwater west, but also a Great Northern Diver, 3 Little Tern, 6 Common Tern and a steady stream of Gannet. Meanwhile, a Hobby was seen to arrive and then spent some time hunting around the sandspit. The only wader news for the day also comes from the spit and involves: 10 Sanderling, 9 Whimbrel, 4 Ringed Plover and 77 Dunlin. To finish this short post, the only passerine news is of a single Wheatear on the Barn Field. 

May 3rd

Reed Bunting Clinton Whale
Greenshank Scott Usher
Great Blackbacked Gull - Alan Crockard

With the south-westerly gale picking up throughout the day, the sea was given three hours of attention this morning and came up with this list. An Arctic Skua, 6 Eider, 3 Little Tern, 2 Common Tern, 35 Common Scoter and a Whimbrel, all to the east; 2 Razorbill, a Guillemot, 3 Fulmar and around 40 Gannet; and a trickle of incoming hirundines, mostly Swallow but a few Sand Martin as well. The seam period saw a Purple Sandpiper go past, which was later seen settled with another from Mudeford Quay, 5 Sanderling and a Common Sandpiper. At Stanpit, the best of the waders was a Greenshank, but also 15 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit one of those the long-staying, colour-ringed bird and 12 Dunlin; along with a couple of Common Tern settled and 2 Mediterranean Gull over. The only passerines of note were a Yellow Wagtail over and 11 Wheatear. Finally, there is now a chick in our barn owl box, which can be viewed from the right-hand side of this page. 

May 2nd

Reed Warbler are now wellin and singing from most reedbeds - Clinton Whale

A male Serin flew east over Crouch Hill this morning, when more-settled birds, all on Hengistbury or Wick included: a Garden Warbler, a Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 12 Wheatear and 5 Willow Warbler. Meanwhile, northbound fly-overs were represented by a Tree Pipit and 2 Yellow Wagtail. Inside the harbour, there was a Greenshank, as well as 2 Whimbrel and 25 Dunlin. To finish: 16 Mediterranean Gull passed east; a Buzzard was, once again, loitering about the Nursery; and 4 Gadwall were about. 

May 1st

The first day of May saw some good passerine variety the best a Wood Warbler in the Nursery, along with a Spotted Flycatcher there, plus: a Garden Warbler on Roebury Lane, a couple each of Redstart and Lesser Whitethroat one on the Long Field and one in the Stunted Oaks and two on Wick respectively, a Whinchat at Whitepits, 8 Wheatear and around 20 Willow Warbler. Meanwhile, Swallow were commented on as streaming through, but the only number put forward was sixty. From Fishermans Bank, on a very low tide, the wader returns came to: a Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 65 Dunlin; with a Grey Plover, 2 Whimbrel and a further 10 Dunlin elsewhere. A quiet sea mustered just a Red-throated Diver and 12 Common Scoter east; while, inside the harbour, the four-strong Brent Goose family remains, along with 4 Gadwall.

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