Tuesday 13th September – Mudeford and Stanpit   Leave a comment

Christchurch Harbour mouth at Mudeford Quay

Avon Beach looking towards Highcliffe


A visit to Avon Beach to the east of Mudeford Quay proved most worthwhile as well the reported juvenile Sabine’s Gull, a second Sabine’s and a first winter Little Gull were present.

 Sabine’s Gulls breed in the High Arctic, those reaching Britain probably breed in Arctic Canada, they winter off Namibia in the Benguela Current and around the Cape of Good Hope. They are usually only seen in Dorset after strong westerly winds.

Juvenile Sabine’s have a grey head and mantle and although not as striking as the adult, are still one of the best looking gulls in the world.








The Little Gull lives up to its name and looks like a tern in flight. Many of the UK birds originate in western Russia and Finland and winter in the Irish Sea. Best sites for them in the UK are around Merseyside / Lancashire and the Humber estuary as they cross the Pennines to and from their breeding and wintering grounds.

Due to the position of the sun it was only possible to photograph these birds as they flew towards us. The obvious dark M on the upper wings can’t be seen but at least the dark cap and face pattern can.

First year Little Gull

First year Little Gull

Also present was an juvenile Arctic Tern. At this age it can be told from Common Tern by the fine dark trailing edge to the primaries. At all ages the primaries of Arctic Tern look translucent whereas in Common only the inner primaries look translucent.

Juvenile Arctic Tern


Juvenile Arctic tern


Arctic Terns travel from breeding grounds in the  Arctic to winter in the Antarctic and so enjoy more hours of daylight than another living creature. They are fierce defenders of their breeding terrritories as the two photos below show.

Arctic Tern and Norman MacClean, Ny Alesund, Spitsbergen June 2009Arctic Tern photographed with a wide angle lens. Ny Alesund, Spitsbergen, June 2009


Arctic Tern photographed with a wide angle lens. Ny Alesund, Spitsbergen, June 2009

I later headed onto Stanpit Marsh, one of the best birding localities in east Dorset. The tide was now at maximum and there wasn’t much to see except a few Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwits, Lapwing and a roost of 50+ Sandwich Terns.

Stanpit Marsh, ChristchurchStanpit Marsh, Christchurch


Stanpit Marsh, Christchurch


Sandwich Tern roost

And finally I went up to Blashford  where the highlight was a Hobby hunting over Ivy Lake. On my way I stopped to buy a new pair of walking boots at Barker’s in Southampton Road, Ringwood. If you need new boots then I highly recommend them, as they give a level of attention and service unheard of in High Street shops.

Barker's, Ringwood.

By the way: my run in with Currys / PC World over the instalation of digital TV boxes resulted in a £50 voucher. So it pays to complain.

Posted September 14, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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