The sea was given a watch this morning, when: a Great Northern Diver passed west and a Fulmar, 2 Common Tern, 50 Sandwich Tern and 45 Gannet were offshore; while a mixed wader flock of 15 Sanderling, a Dunlin and a Turnstone passed. Other waders included: a Common Sandpiper on the sandspit, a Whimbrel in-off over Mudeford Quay that was later seen at Stanpit and a lone Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock. To finish with the birds, at least 3 Mediterranean Gull were about, as was the Cuckoo, and the Brent Goose remained. Of mammal interest, a Grey Seal was in the Run.
The Cuckoo was all over the place throughout the day, but Stanpit probably gives the best chance of encountering him. Also on the marsh, unseasonable singles of Brent Goose and Curlew; while, more expectedly, the Lesser Whitethroat continues to sing around the Driving Range. Of breeding interest, a brood of Water Rail was recently camera-trapped and there is one, but possibly two, female Oystercatcher currently sitting on on the marsh.
The incoming migration season is starting to peter-out, although a Turtle Dove did head north over the area today and 12 Dunlin were at Stanpit. What is presumed to be the same Cuckoo was seen on Wick Meadows and Grimmery Bank, while a Lesser Whitethroat was at the non-tee end of the Driving Range.
The only news from a quiet day is of a Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Willow Warbler in the Stunted Oaks, plus 3 Wheatear on the Barn Field.
Four Spotted Flycatcher were seen this morning – three on Wick and one on the Batters – plus a couple of Wheatear on Solent Meads golf course. Meanwhile, 4 House Martin, always a nice bird to seen in the recording area in Spring, and 7 Swift passed over. Othewise, it’s just 100 Black-tailed Godwit and 6 Dunlin in Holloway’s Dock to report upon.
The day started well with a Pomarine Skua from Mudeford Quay at just after 7:00, with the second-calendar-year Little Gull also seen from there. Slightly later, from the Beach Huts, the following were logged: 2 Red-throated Diver east, 2 Kittiwake and 7 Common Scoter east, a second-calendar-year Mediterranean Gull, 3 Fulmar, 25 Gannet, 6 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill, 12 auk spp., 3 Swift and 8 Swallow. Meanwhile, although the feeding-flock seems to be diminishing, it still attracted 35 Common Tern and 45 Sandwich Tern. A couple of Spotted Flycatcher were in the Wood, with at least 9 Wheatear on the Hengistbury side of the area. The pick of the waders was 19 Sanderling along the Beach, plus one inside the harbour, as were a lone Ringed Plover, 38 Dunlin and a Turnstone. The rest of the news for the family comes from the ever-improving Holloway’s Dock that today hosted: a Greenshank, a Whimbrel and 104 Black-tailed Godwit. To conclude, the Wigeon was again at Stanpit.
In a brisk south-westerly, a couple of Wood Sandpiper came-in over Mudeford Quay during the morning, when the sea off Hengistbury produced: 2 Manx Shearwater east, second-calendar-years of Little Gull and Kittiwake, around 100 Common Tern in the feeding flock, a Great Northern Diver west, 63 Common Scoter up-channel, 2 Fulmar, 3 Guillemot, a Razorbill and thirteen unidentified auks; as well as 32 Sanderling west and nine inbound Swift. Later on, an Arctic Tern was seen from Mudeford Quay. The tail-end of the passerine migration offered a Grasshopper Warbler in the Nursery, along with singles of Spotted Flycatcher and Willow Warbler in the Stunted Oaks. Holloway’s Dock peaked at 128 Black-tailed Godwit, plus 2 Whimbrel and 35 Dunlin; with a couple of Bar-tailed Godwit at Stanpit, where a Brent Goose was present.
Once every fifteen years or so, there is the dream alignment of early-May, south-easterly wind, but more crucially, a source of Pomarine Skua – a fine total twenty-four, including two of the scarcer and much-sought-after, dark-phase birds – seen from Hengistbury this morning. The show started at 07:50, when two came through, then continued at around 08:15 with the two dark birds in a flock of eight; then further un-timed records of 7, 4, 1 and 2 – the watch finishing at 10:50. That wasn’t all, however, as 2 Arctic Skua plus singles of Roseate Tern and Arctic Tern also headed towards the Solent; while around 175 Common Tern lingered in the feeding-flock. On a normal day, the remaining list would have been considered reasonable for the area – a non-adult Little Gull, a Great Northern Diver, a Fulmar, 13 Common Scoter, 2 Guillemot, a Razorbill and 5 Brent Goose, mostly east, as well as ten, arriving Swift. Now the rest of the news. A Sanderling, a Grey Plover, a Whimbrel, 27 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Ringed Plover and 11 Dunlin were across the harbour, and a couple of in-flight Spotted Flycatcher passed over Hengistbury.
Early on, about Hengistbury, there was an unseasonable Golden Plover, 2 Little Ringed Plover and 3 Grey Plover, plus a Spotted Flycatcher. Offshore, in the feeding flock, Common Tern significantly outnumbered Sandwich Tern – 100:20, which is nowadays notable – with other birds over the water including: a Common Gull west; 4 Shelduck east; 4 Mediterranean Gull, two in either direction; and a Common Sandpiper. Meanwhile, a Garden Warbler sang somewhere on the head, as did a Willow Warbler on the Batters; with 2 Swift incoming. Inside the harbour, there was a breeding-plumaged Grey Plover – is there a smarter wader? – with some Bar-tailed Godwit on South Marsh, a drake Wigeon and 18 Gadwall. To finish with the birds, a Water Rail was showing well from the Viewing Platform. Finally, thanks to those who made an early start this morning and came along to either the CHOG Warbler Workshop on Wick or the BCP-CHOG guided walk around Hengistbury.
The only news received for the day is of a second-calendar-year Little Gull again inside the harbour – resting on the Flats during the morning low – and 8 Wheatear, four each on the Barn Field and Crouch Hill.
In addition to the photographed, adult Little Gull on the HHC mudbar, there was a second-calendar-year bird present there. Otherwise, there is little to report: a total of 6 Wheatear were on the Hengistbury side of the area; while 2 Whimbrel, 5 Ringed Plover and Dunlin passed east, a further 6 Ringed Plover were inside the harbour and a Great Crested Grebe was on the sea.
On a warm and sunny day, a nailed-on leucorhoa Wheatear was one of five birds on the Long Field this morning, with the photographed individual on Stanpit making a day-total of six. Late in the day, an equally late Purple Sandpiper was seen from Mudeford Quay, as well as 3 Sanderling, a Common Sandpiper and 4 Dunlin. Earlier, 3 Ringed Plover had also been on the sandspit. Holloway’s Dock, meanwhile, now securely fenced, continues to hold waders, including: 3 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 97 Black-tailed Godwit – an additional 24 ‘barwits’ circuited the area and a Whimbrel was at Stanpit. Offshore, a Red-throated Diver heard west, while around 20 Common Tern were in the feeding-flock and 11 Common Scoter were logged. Back to the land and four, tardy Willow Warbler were around; a Bullfinch was in the interesting location of the Stunted Oaks and a Firecrest was nearby; the Garden Warbler is still hopeful in the Nursery – likewise, the Stanpit Lesser Whitethroat, although there is a rumour of a second bird now there; and, to finish, an unexpected Brent Goose was on East Marsh.
Other than Wheatear, which numbered as many twenty-five, migrant passerines were largely sparse; although, there was a nice bit of variety. A Cuckoo was about the Salt Hurns; a male Yellow Wagtail briefly settled on Crouch Hill, with a further coming in-off; a male Whinchat was on the Barn Field; a male Redstart was on the Batters; four, transient Lesser Whitethroat were about; Willow Warbler were logged at five birds; and 5 Siskin head south along the sandspit. Meanwhile, the incumbent Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler remain, and a Firecrest was in the Wood. Early on, a Spoonbill headed east over Wick, while an Avocet was at Stanpit, along with a Knot, 45 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Whimbrel and a single Dunlin. Elsewhere, a Sanderling was at Whitepits, 2 Common Sandpiper were on the sandspit, Holloway’s Dock held 86 Black-tailed Godwit, plus a further 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, and 2 Curlew were in Barn Bight. To round-up: at least 40 Common Tern were seen offshore; a couple of Mediterranean Gull and 2 Common Scoter passed east; the drake Wigeon was with 13 Gadwall; 3 Bullfinch were on Wick, including two by the Viewing Platform; and 2 Peregrine patrolled over the Wood. Of mammal interest, a pod of Bottlenose Dolphin were off the sandspit mid-morning.
A still day saw, by contemporary standards, a reasonable presence of Common Tern. Seventeen joined the offshore feeding flock, while up to nine rested on buoys inside the harbour. Once again, there was a reasonable number of Bar-tailed Godwit about – a minimum of forty-eight birds – as well as 58 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper, a passing-at-sea Sanderling, 3 Ringed Plover, 14 Dunlin and 2 Curlew – the latter always a good record in May. In-transit passerines were few – actually, just a Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Willow Warbler and a Wheatear on Hengistbury – the Crouch Hill Lesser Whitethroat remains, however. To finish, a drake Wigeon in Stanpit Bight was something of a surprise.
Again, starting with the offshore gull flock, which this morning attracted cameos of Black Tern and 2 Kittiwake, as well as a longer-staying, second-calendar-year Little Gull. Another decent record is of 2 Garden Warbler singing in the Nursery – presumably the incumbent and a passing bird; with other best-bit passerines coming from a Whinchat on Central Marsh, the Crouch Hill Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Wheatear. Turning to the waders, a Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, a Grey Plover, a good total of 60 Bar-tailed Godwit and 12 Dunlin were at Stanpit, with 3 Sanderling and a Ringed Plover on the sandspit, and a Whimbrel in Holloway’s Dock. The only other news concerns a Peregrine, probably from the Priory, over Wick.
The large, offshore feeding-flock of gulls briefly hosted a Little Gull this morning, as well as 7 Common Tern and around 30 Sandwich Tern. Meanwhile, the Lesser Whitethroat continues to hold territory on Crouch Hill; with transient migrants including a further Lesser Whitethroat and a Spotted Flycatcher on Wick, and just over 30 Swallow. Wader-wise, there is little to report, save for: 2 Common Sandpiper on the Long Groyne; a Greenshank and several Whimbrel at Stanpit; and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 38 Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock. To round-up, a female Marsh Harrier passed through to the north.
There is not that much to report from a largely grey and settled day, but a Great White Egret west over the Barn Field was nice, as was an arriving Hobby along with 2 Yellow Wagtail. A Lesser Whitethroat was in the North Scrubs, while around 10 Willow Warbler and 4 Wheatear were about. A Greenshank in Barn Bight this afternoon was the best of the waders, but also one each of Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit, plus 12 Black-tailed Godwit. The Gadwall encroachment continues – a total of eighteen today perhaps being a record?
The wildlife highlight of the day came around 07:45 this morning, when a pod of at least 22 Bottlenose Dolphin made its way slowly towards the Solent. The pick of the birds, meanwhile, was two, brief Garganey with the twelve or so Gadwall and a couple of equally cameo Hobby. Also incoming, the first 2 Swift of the season over the Ironstone Quarry, as well as 18 Swallow. At sea, singles of Great Northern Diver and Red-throated Diver passed east, likewise: 16 Common Tern, a Common Gull, 4 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Sanderling, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Whimbrel, and a Curlew; while a Red-breasted Merganser and six ‘meds’ travelled west. The Curlew Sandpiper was again in Holloway’s Dock – today with just 2 Dunlin – but also a couple of settled Whimbrel and 33 Black-tailed Godwit. Although passerines were sparse, there was a female Pied Flycatcher on Solent Meads, as well as site totals of 9 Willow Warbler and 8 Wheatear. As is often the case, a Bullfinch was by the Viewing Platform on Wick.
Spring Curlew Sandpiper are always a nice surprise – one faithful to Holloway’s Dock today – where there were also 3 Dunlin, one of them colour-ringed and a Common Sandpiper. At least 2 Grey Plover were also using the harbour, as well as 15 Whimbrel, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit and 34 Black-tailed Godwit. A couple of male Redstart were seen on Hengistbury, while Willow Warbler were estimated around the fifty mark, up to 20 Wheatear were around, a couple of male birds on Crouch Hill showing Atlantic-type characteristics, the Lesser Whitethroat remained there and a further was in the North Scrubs. The sea was reasonably quiet, although 15 Common Scoter, 27 Gannet, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 4 Whimbrel and 2 Oystercatcher were seen to head east. Wrapping up, it was good to hear of a Green Woodpecker in the garden of the HHVC.
It was the best day of the season by quite some stretch, when the Hengistbury estimate for Willow Warbler came to 200. Also, however: a Wood Warbler and a Pied Flycatcher around the Stunted Oaks; up to 6 Redstart, five of them males, and all on the head; 4 Whinchat – two of them on Crouch Hill, where the Lesser Whitethroat remained; a Cuckoo in Ashtree Meadow; a Tree Pipit that landed in the Long Field; 5 Yellow Wagtail over; and a site-wide reckoning of 20 Wheatear. Meanwhile, the Garden Warbler continues to sing in the Nursery and a Firecrest was in the Wood. There were, again, no small migrant waders seen; but at least 25 Whimbrel were in and out for the day, as were at least 20 Bar-tailed Godwit and 40 Black-tailed Godwit. The day-total for Mediterranean Gull is eleven, with Gadwall totalling sixteen – two of those in the surprise location of the Ironstone Quarry.
Yesterday’s Grasshopper Warbler remained in-situ this morning, when it was again reeling. Also, in the same spot as originally being seen yesterday, on the eastern edge of Crouch Hill, was a Lesser Whitethroat, which showed reasonably well for this afternoon’s outdoor meeting. In addition, 2 Whinchat and 5 Tree Pipit, were on and over Hengistbury respectively, and a site-wide total of 11 Wheatear was reckoned. Waders at Stanpit included a Greenshank, 8 Whimbrel, around 25 Bar-tailed Godwit and 40 Black-tailed Godwit – a 30-strong flock of the latter dropping in from high with a tag-along ‘Barwit’. The best at sea were 3 Little Tern east, but also 11 Common Scoter, 5 Razorbill, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 7 Whimbrel in the same direction; with singles of Fulmar and Gannet heading west. To finish, around 15 Mediterranean Gull were logged.
Nearly all the day’s news comes from Stanpit, where, on Two Riversmeet Meadow, a Grasshopper Warbler reeled for around twenty minutes at just after 4:00 this afternoon. Other migrant passerines, however, were sparse – just a female Wheatear and 2 Willow Warbler. An over-flying Little Ringed Plover and a heard-on-a-few-occasions Greenshank were the scarcest of the waders; but a flock of thirty-two, adult Bar-tailed Godwit was definitely the most spectacular sight – with 6 Black-tailed Godwit mingling in. The number of Gadwall using the area took another jump today – a dozen birds on the choppy waters of Stanpit Bight, where a pair of Shoveler was also present. Meanwhile, a group of 8 Teal were in the more sheltered environ of Parky Meade Rail. The only news from elsewhere is from Wick Fields, where 5 Willow Warbler fed-up and a Buzzard passed over.
The sea was perhaps slightly livelier today, when a Great Skua passed east and 2 Red-throated Diver travelled west. Also eastbound, a Kittiwake, a Common Tern, 4 Common Scoter, 8 Whimbrel and a Shelduck. Meanwhile, a Guillemot and a further 7 Common Scoter lingered; with a Sparrowhawk, an alba Wagtail, a Yellow Wagtail and a Willow Warbler being seen coming in-off. Before all this, a female Pied Flycatcher was by the HHVC and 2 Garden Warbler were logged – one of them in song in the Nursery, so perhaps the bird from last year returning? – as well as 2 Wheatear and around 25 Willow Warbler. A pair of Pintail and a drake Shoveler inside the harbour, where they joined 4 Gadwall, were something of a surprise; with the final piece of news being of a Bullfinch at the eastern end of the No Dogs Field.
A male Ring Ouzel was in the North Scrubs, Stanpit, this morning; while a Whinchat, a Lesser Whitethroat and an in-off Cuckoo were seen at Hengistbury. Also, passing over the area – 2 Tree Pipit and 6 Yellow Wagtail. In general, however, settled passerines were sparse; for example, just 13 Willow Warbler returned from across the site as a whole. After a couple of days of a little variety, the more interesting wader news comes mainly from the godwits – two and seventy-eight respectively of Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit – but also a single Whimbrel. The day’s Gadwall count was three – two drakes and a duck – with the passing Mediterranean Gull nudging sixty. This evening, a Whitethroat was in constant song adjacent to the Two Riversmeet football pitches.
Today saw a little more activity in terms of arriving passerines – at least 40 Willow Warbler were reckoned across Wick and Hengistbury, as well as three each of Wheatear and Whitethroat making landfall around the Long Groyne. Meanwhile, singles of Tree Pipit and Yellow Wagtail came in-off; as did up to 50 Swallow. Also seen on the move, a Great White Egret and a Merlin to the west, plus a minimum of 35 Mediterranean Gull east. A Common Sandpiper, at least 5 Whimbrel and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit – one of those in breeding plumage – were the pick of the waders at Stanpit; with a Grey Plover and a Ringed Plover in Holloway’s Dock, and 30 Black-tailed Godwit and 11 Dunlin mobile around the area. In the north-easterly breeze, the sea wasn’t overly productive – although a Red-throated Diver did pass west – with other figures coming from: a Fulmar west; 5 Common Scoter, 6 Common Gull, 12 Gannet, 2 Whimbrel and 11 Turnstone east; and four milling Guillemot. In addition to 35 Sandwich Tern, a couple of Common Tern were inside the harbour, along with 5 Gadwall and the pair of Teal. To finish, a Bullfinch was again seen by the Viewing Platform.
A Cuckoo was along Grimmery Bank this morning, when a male White Wagtail was by the Pod, up to 20 Willow Warber were about and 9 Wheatear were logged – four of them in the fenced area on the sandspit. Also, a westbound Spoonbill and trickle of inbound Swallow. The wader highlights were a couple of Little Ringed Plover on Priory Marsh, as well as 3 Knot in Holloway’s Dock and 19 Whimbrel circuiting Christchurch Bay with six accompanying Curlew. Meanwhile, Stanpit hosted a further 4 Whimbrel, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 55 Black-tailed Godwit and a single, breeding-plumaged Dunlin. Perhaps as many as 75 Mediterranean Gull went over – but, as of late, in a mixture of directions; around 35 Sandwich Tern loafed in the harbour and twenty fished offshore; 4 Common Scoter passed; 3 Gadwall were in Barn Bight; a pair of Teal lingers at Stanpit and 2 Bullfinch were on Wick.
Record of the day goes to a very good candidate, seen at the end of the head, for a ‘Continental’ Coal Tit – the race ater. Otherwise, apart from two immature Spoonbill high to the east, it was again all rather quiet. Wick saw 10 Swallow, a singing Willow Warbler and a pair of Bullfinch, while 3 Wheatear were on Hengistbury. In addition to the photographed Dunlin, there was a Whimbrel, plus 68 Black-tailed Godwit, at Stanpit; while 33 Mediterranean Gull passed generally east.
Despite the south-east wind, there is little to report – although a total of 82 Mediterranean Gull, thirty-two of them east, including a flock of twenty-four, was quite nice. There was also a good count of in-harbour Sandwich Tern, at least forty birds. Otherwise, it’s just: an Avocet, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and the Glossy Ibis at Stanpit; a Wheatear on Hengistbury; and 2 Gadwall; to mention.
The fantastic weather is meaning birds are presumably passing straight on over us. That said, 2 Black Redstart briefly by the HHVC this morning were nice, but the only other obviously transient passerines were 3 Wheatear on the Barn Field and a dozen Willow Warbler spread about. Meanwhile, Stanpit hosted 4 Reed Warbler and a Sedge Warbler. A Ring-necked Parakeet seen over the Priory, from within the recording area, was a surprise; on the converse, but there are definitely no complaints, the Glossy Ibis was again on Priory Marsh. Singles of Avocet and Golden Plover were the best of the early-Spring wader nadir, but a Whimbrel, 9 Grey Plover and 84 Black-tailed Godwit could also be seen. To finish, 5 Rook passed west, which is a bit of an intrigue; as did around 30 Mediterranean Gull.
It was clear that more Whitethroat came in overnight – the minimum on site this morning being twenty-two birds. Also, a couple of Willow Warbler in song in the Stunted Oaks and the same figure of Wheatear on the Barn Field. Otherwise, it was a very low-key day, seemingly both in terms of birds and numbers of people attempting to find them. The remaining news being: 11 Cattle Egret on East Marsh for a while, early doors; 4 Gadwall in Brewer’s Creek; a male Bullfinch by the Viewing Platform on Wick; and 8 Mediterranean Gull announcing their departure over Mudeford Quay late in the afternoon.
An Osprey passed through Stanpit at just after 2:00 this afternoon; while the morning saw a Little Gull there – a species of fast-increasing scarcity to our area – as well as the season’s first Little Tern. Others making their annual debut were a Common Sandpiper and a Grasshopper Warbler; with 2 Yellow Wagtail, those on Crouch Hill, 2 Reed Warbler, a ‘few’ Sedge Warbler, 7 Willow Warbler and 20 Whimbrel also around; plus a Tree Pipit over. Meanwhile, the in-harbour Black-tailed Godwit flock fell to fifty-two birds, along with three, latish Lapwing, and 6 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit. To finish, over a two-hour period, around 45 Mediterranean Gull passed in a variety of directions and a dozen Sand Martin were prospecting the cliffs.