Bird News


May 2017


Red footed falcon by Gareth Rees 



May began much as April ended at Blashford, with the highlight being the continued presence of the 2cy Bonaparte’s Gull on Ibsley Water until the 11th. Also seen on Ibsley Water were Little Gull (4th-8th), Black Tern (1st, 5 on 7th) and Little Tern (2 on 4th), while over 100 Mediterranean Gulls were present on the 2nd. Ibsley also picked up some good wader passage, with at least 12 species being seen during the month. Highlights included Wood Sandpiper (20th), Turnstone (4th, 15th-16th, 20th), Bar-tailed Godwit (5th), Sanderling (14th, 17th) and Whimbrel (3 on 17th), with Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper also being seen in addition to the breeding species. The only other report of note from the Avon Valley was an Osprey at Bickton (1st).




Probably the top rarity of the month was the Black-winged Stilt at Pennington (9th-10th). Also reported from Keyhaven/Pennington were Cattle Egret (14th, 23rd), Great White Egret (7th-11th), and up to four Spoonbills (to 14th). Various passage waders were seen including Curlew Sandpiper (28th-29th), Little Stint (20th, 28th-20th), Wood Sandpiper (3 on 7th), Ruff (5th, 10th), Spotted Redshank (2 on 6th). An excellent variety of species were seen off Milford-on-Sea/Hurst beach during the month. Highlight was the Long-tailed Skua (11th), which was also seen at other sites along the coast, while Pomarine Skuas were seen on several dates (4 on 6th, 16 on 12th, 1 on 13th). Other notable seawatching reports included Roseate Tern (7th), Velvet Scoter (3 on 7th), Black-throated Diver (2 on 6th), Great Northern Diver (13th) and Manx Shearwater (39 on 6th). 




A fairly quiet month at Farlington. Waders included Curlew Sandpiper (4 on 2nd) and Ruff (21st-28th), with reported maxima of other species including 7 Greenshank (7th), 64 Bar-tailed Godwit (7th) and 50 Grey Plover (21st). A Short-eared Owl was seen (7th), and Bearded Tits were regularly reported. An Osprey was seen over Warblington (7th). On Hayling Island, the Long-tailed Skua was picked up at Sandy Point (11th), as well as Pomarine Skua (5 on 12th).




A Red-rumped Swallow at the Haven and then Posbrook Floods (3rd) was probably bird of the month for many local birders. Two of the other best birds of May were raptors in off the sea at Brownwich; firstly a Red-footed Falcon (6th), and then a ringtail harrier, which was either a Pallid or Montagu’s (7th). As with other coastal sites, there was some good sea passage seen off Hill Head/Brownwich, including the Long-tailed Skua (11th), Pomarine Skuas (4 on 3rd, 2 on 10th, 8 on 12th) and Roseate Tern (2nd). The over-wintering Little Gull continued to linger in the area (to 27th at least), however up to three birds were present towards the end of the month (22nd-27th). Other notable sightings included Hen Harrier (4th and 14th), Little Stint (8th) and Wood Sandpiper (9th-10th).




A Dark-eyed Junco in a garden in Petersfield (2nd) was the rarest species seen elsewhere during May. A Red-rumped Swallow at Twyford (23rd) was another good find, while the Cattle Egret at North Boarhunt from April stayed until the 4th. As the weather warmed up, various rarities and scarcities were reported overhead including two White Storks over Locks Heath (23rd), Black Kites over Leigh Park (24th), Yateley Common (26th) and Stoney Cross, NF (31st), Montagu’s Harrier over Heath Pond, Petersfield (20th) and Honey Buzzard over Funtley and Posbrook (both 21st). Two Arctic Skuas over Yateley Common (26th) were also very notable.


At Fishlake Meadows, a female Red-footed Falcon (13th) was an excellent record but unfortunately did not linger. Fishlake also continued to hold several Great White Egrets throughout (max. 5 on 1st), plus Osprey (5th) and Little Gull (13th). A Great White Egret was also seen at Testwood Lakes (1st-7th), where Wood Sandpiper (6th-7th), Little Stint (12th) and Little Gull ( 12th-17th) were also seen. A Ring Ouzel (2nd) was the most notable bird reported from Lower Test during the month. Alresford Pond saw a good flurry of spring passage at the beginning of the month with a Garganey (2nd-3rd), Marsh Harrier (3rd), Grey Plover (1st-3rd), Greenshank (1st-4th) and Yellow-legged Gull (4th) all reported, while Fleet Pond also produced some good records including Black Terns (7 on 1st, 4 on 7th), Arctic Tern (10th), Wood Sandpiper (6th), Greenshank (5th and 10th) and a pair of Pintail (7th). Other notable inland records during the month included a Garganey at Heath Pond, Petersfield (27th), while Quail were reported from Martin Down (24th), Farley Mount (25th) and Over Wallop (27th-28th).


At the coast, sea passage was picked up at a few sites away from those listed above. Highlights from Stokes Bay included Pomarine Skuas (3 on 5th, 1 on 12th), Black-throated Diver (2nd) and two Spoonbills (11th), while at Lepe a Roseate Tern (2nd) was noted.


Tom Jordan

June 2nd, 2017