Welcome to the website of the Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group
Slideshow Image 1 Slideshow Image 2 Slideshow Image 3 Slideshow Image 4 Slideshow Image 5 Slideshow Image 6 Slideshow Image 7 Slideshow Image 8 Slideshow Image 9 Slideshow Image 10 Slideshow Image 11Slideshow Image 12Slideshow Image 13Slideshow Image 14Slideshow Image 15Slideshow Image 16 Slideshow Image 17 Slideshow Image 18 Slideshow Image 19 Slideshow Image 20

Sightings for the current month

October 20th

Today saw plenty more migrating finches, including this Brambling – Alan Hayden

It was more of the same weather-wise today, but the birds took a more traditional direction of travel, i.e. into the wind. There is a very real danger this post could turn into a seemingly endless list of westbound numbers, so in an effort to avoid that we’ll start with the more interesting. A ringtail Hen Harrier came in-off the sea at 8:10; there were an extraordinary amount of Raven about the area - at one time fifteen circled the Priory and eleven were on top of the head, so making a local record of 26 birds; a Ring Ouzel was on the Batters, while 85 Song Thrush and 12 Redwing were logged very early on; and the best of the smaller movers were 7 Bullfinch, 7 Woodlark, 2 Yellowhammer and a Brambling. Although waders seem to have run their course in terms of moving birds, there was still a nice selection at Stanpit, including: the Spotted Redshank, 2 Sanderling, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 28 Black-tailed Godwit, a Turnstone, 7 Ringed Plover and 23 Dunlin. And now the numbers: 1800 Linnet, 780 Goldfinch, 630 Chaffinch, 67 Siskin, another good day for those, 10 Redpoll, 135 Reed Bunting, 415 Meadow Pipit, 330 alba Wagtail, 125 Skylark, 5 Swallow, 265 Jackdaw, 130 Starling, 470 Woodpigeon and 15 Stock Dove 

Tides October 21st: L00:05 | H02:40 | H07:05 | L12:45 | H16:50 | H20:10

October 19th

Goldfinch migrating over Hengistbury – Alan Hayden
Linnet doing likewise – Alan Hayden
Linnet & Goldfinch
Linnet and Goldfinch – Alan Hayden
Greenfinch also on its travels – Alan Hayden
...and Wheatear at Stanpit – Clinton Whale

Despite a south-westerly wind that gradually strengthened to around 30km/h by midday, there was movement over Hengistbury this morning. However, rather uncharacteristically, the direction of travel was with the wind rather than into it. In terms of numbers, it was the stronger-flying finches that dominated, with 1990 Linnet, 910 Goldfinch, 2 Redpoll and a Siskin being the estimate; but also 5 Reed Bunting, 31 alba Wagtail, 50 Meadow Pipit, 8 Skylark, 17 Swallow and 3 House Martin on the move. There was also a spread of late autumn specialties, namely: a well-marked Ring Ouzel on Wick; what sounded like a convincing description from some dog-walkers of a Short-eared Owl over Warren Hill; a Merlin over the water from Mudeford Quay; and a Firecrest in the Wood. Otherwise, however, passerine migrants came to no more than a Wheatear, 5 Redwing, 11 Goldcrest and 3 Chiffchaff. The sea was arguably more entertaining than yesterday, with the following list of birds from the morning seen mostly from Mudeford Quay: 3 Kittiwake, a Razorbill, an unidentified auk, 6 Red-breasted Merganser, 16 Common Scoter, 9 Gannet, a Grey Plover and 9 Ringed Plover. To wrap up the weekend, the Spotted Redshank was at Stanpit, singles of Great Crested Grebe were in Barn Bight and over the Barn Field, a Little Grebe was again on the Ironstone Quarry, 2 Kingfisher were seen and 3 Raven were messing around by the Coastguards. After news broke of the North American star at Blashford, the gulls were thoroughly checked out during the afternoon, but held no surprises. 

October 18th

Greenshank in Holloway's Dock – Chris Roughley
Wigeon in the same location – Clinton Whale
Clouded Yellow
Clouded Yellow – Chris Roughley

Today fell well short of the customary weekend expectation - although, a Yellow-browed Warbler moving through Stanpit car park with a tit flock does salvage the post. Otherwise, however, a Merlin incoming from Mudeford Quay and an Arctic Skua heading into the Solent from the Beach Huts were easily the best. Despite overnight rain and a stiff southerly wind, the sea was otherwise a disappointment, with just 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 20 Common Scoter, 2 Mediterranean Gull and 2 Sandwich Tern to show for quite a bit of effort. Meanwhile, the only other grounded migrants of note were a Firecrest in the Wood and 3 Redwing on Wick, where around 25 Meadow Pipit were holding-up this afternoon. Some overhead passage was attempted, mainly by Linnet - small numbers of these trickling through for most of the day. On the afternoon low tide, Holloway’s Dock hosted at least 2 Greenshank, while 10 Turnstone were on the sandspit and a Little Grebe was on the Ironstone Quarry. Finally, a couple of Clouded Yellow butterfly were noted on Hengistbury. 

October 17th

Migrating Linnet – Alan Hayden
Meadow Pipit & Linnet
Meadow Pipit & Linnet (bottom right) – Alan Hayden

As is the case at this time of year, the posts can be dominated by the list of visible migration numbers; which is no bad thing, but perhaps not everyone’s cup-of-tea. So, to mix it up a bit, we’ll start with the grounded stuff. A Black Redstart was on groynes at the southern end of the sandspit, as were 5 Wheatear, and 2 Firecrest were in the Wood; while a further 2 Wheatear were by the Coastguards, along with a couple of Raven, and a Tawny Owl was inadvertently flushed from bushes on the Batters. Over on Stanpit, the waders were represented by 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Turnstone, 4 Snipe, 8 Ringed Plover and 17 Dunlin. Although a Merlin was the pick of the overhead travellers, the biggest surprise was the Siskin count - 75 birds in what is being considered a very poor year for these. In addition, 2300 Goldfinch and 1200 Linnet were logged, the first date the balance has swung to ‘goldies’, as were 130 Chaffinch, 15 Redpoll, 30 Reed Bunting, 410 Meadow Pipit, 410 alba Wagtail, 21 Skylark, 370 Swallow and 48 House Martin. The sea was a non-event, other than 16 Mediterranean Gull and 19 Common Gull west. 

October 16th

Thrushes were again typically few-and-far-between, although 3 Ring Ouzel were about the area - one on the Long Field, one on the Batters then off towards the Wood and one on Crouch Hill - as well as a single Redwing over Hengistbury. Meanwhile, other high points for the day included: a flock of 24 Bearded Tit that plunged from high into the Wick Reeds; a Great Skua circling Hengistbury, being mobbed by crows; a Marsh Harrier that headed north through the area; and a Firecrest on the head. A movement into the south-westerly wind was monitored from both Hengistbury and Stanpit - the combined totals being: a Tree Pipit, 800 Meadow Pipit, 6 Woodlark, 135 Skylark, 90 Jackdaw, 750 Linnet, 200 Goldfinch, 150 Greenfinch, 120 Chaffinch, 9 Redpoll, 8 Siskin, 2 Brambling, 126 Reed Bunting and 1120 Swallow; while of 525 House Martin, the overwhelming majority were feeding over Wick water meadows. Also on the move to the west, 75 Black-tailed Godwit and 16 Sandwich Tern. In the bushes, across both sides of the harbour, other than the previously mentioned ‘crest, there were 80 Goldcrest, up to 50 Chiffchaff, a Blackcap and 2 Coal Tit, while 2 Wheatear were also logged. The only settled wader returns were 2 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Black-tailed Godwit. Of butterfly interest, 5 Clouded Yellow were on Stanpit. Finally, many thanks to Mike Read for a great talk at last night’s, well-attended meeting. 

Additional news: a Greenshank was also on-site.

October 15th

It was hardly the 550 that were logged yesterday at Dungeness, but 10 Ring Ouzel was a fine total for Hengistbury this morning; where a Yellow-browed Warbler was vocal for 10-minutes at the end of the head, a Wryneck was seen fleetingly at the eastern end of the Batters and a Spotted Flycatcher was by the Nursery. Meanwhile, Stanpit had its moments, not least a Hawfinch west over Crouch Hill, but also the second Hobby for the week and 5 Mistle Thrush through, as well as the first returning Water Pipit, a Sedge Warbler, 3 Wheatear, 25 Pied Wagtail and 2 Dartford Warbler, those all settled on the hill. Back on Hengistbury, a Firecrest was again present and, in addition to the ouzels, thrushes were represented by the season’s first Redwing, 8 birds, likewise a couple of Fieldfare and 53 Song Thrush. To finish with the grounded passerines, 150 Goldcrest, in excess of 50 Chiffchaff and a Wheatear were on the head. A strong, overhead passage into the varying east wind comprised: 1500 Meadow Pipit, a Tree Pipit, 520 alba Wagtail, 2200 Linnet, 670 Goldfinch, 310 Chaffinch, 17 Siskin, 4 Redpoll, 2 Brambling, 68 Reed Bunting, 130 House Martin and 43 Swallow; plus eighty-five incoming Starling; all until 11:00. The only wader reports are of 2 Avocet in Holloway’s Dock, one of them colour-ringed, and 3 Golden Plover. Just on first light, over 300 corvids and 43 Little Egret left the roost, then an hour or so later 2 Raven and a Kingfisher were around Mudeford Quay, while a Siskin, a Grey Wagtail and a scatter of Goldcrest and Chiffchaff were turned in from Stanpit. 

October 14th

In terms of the late date, a Spotted Flycatcher around the Double Bends in the Wood was probably the day's passerine highlight; although a stand-out rubicola ('Continental') Stonechat amongst twenty or so more conventional looking hibernan types could also make a very good case to be the star bird. Also, a Woodlark and a Siskin over Hengistbury, plus a steady stream of Swallow and House Martin through most parts of the area, while a Wheatear, a Blackcap, 23 Chiffchaff and 25 Goldcrest were settled. Waders turned in from Fisherman’s Bank included: the Spotted Redshank, a Sanderling, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 47 Black-tailed Godwit, a Snipe, 3 Ringed Plover and 29 Dunlin; with a Greenshank and two further Black-tailed Godwit in Holloway’s Dock; and another 5 Ringed Plover on the sandspit. Kingfisher were noted on two occasions - one of them a bird sat on rocks at the extreme of the sandspit.

Omission: a White Wagtail was on Wick Hams.

October 13th

The day was mostly ruined by rain, but in the brief periods of dry there were some moments of passerine interest. Early on, a Yellow-browed Warbler worked its way along the Stanpit golf course embankment in the company of a few Chiffchaff, while 2 Firecrest were seen on the Double Bends on a couple of occasions; also a Lesser Whitethroat by the Nursery and an estimated thirty each of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest across Hengistbury and Wick, but just a single Wheatear. Raptors were a feature of a morning seawatch, with an Osprey heading south-west and a single Merlin plus 5 Kestrel all seen coming in-off the sea. On a related note, 3 Peregrine - 2 adults and a juvenile - soared over the head and an approachable Common Buzzard was in the North Scrubs for its second day. The main highlight of the seawatch, however, was a Grey Phalarope on the water before leaving westward, with other waders at sea, but all eastbound, comprising: 3 Golden Plover, 7 Grey Plover, 5 Sanderling, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 31 Dunlin. Wildfowl were also moving past, including: 4 Eider, 15 Common Scoter, 86 Wigeon and 98 Brent Goose; as well as 4 Tufted Duck and 9 Teal east. Meanwhile, a Little Gull and 2 Sandwich Tern were logged. Slightly later, around 1:00, a 10-minute look-out from Mudeford Quay added a Great Skua east and 3 Egyptian Goose. Some passerines attempted to travel - for example, 120 Meadow Pipit, 55 Skylark and 56 Swallow - although by lunchtime several of the latter had taken to feeding at knee height between the cars on the quay. Please check back to yesterday for some additional news.

Additional news: a Hobby was over Stanpit.

October 12th

The best of the morning’s movement were: a couple of Scaup west at sea; a Lapland Bunting over the Salt Hurns; another 2 Woodlark over Hengistbury; five late-dated Tree Pipit, likewise a single Yellow Wagtail and 4 Mistle Thrush, all east over the harbour. Meanwhile, between 7:00 and 12:00 in a light northerly wind and mainly clear skies, the more routine selection comprised: 1100 Linnet, 850 Goldfinch, 320 Chaffinch, 23 Siskin, 53 Reed Bunting, 760 Meadow Pipit, 370 alba Wagtail, 92 Skylark, 270 Swallow and 55 House Martin, primarily east over Hengistbury; while a Golden Plover, 385 Jackdaw, 48 Rook, 12 Brent Goose, 4 Pintail, 9 Mediterranean Gull, 24 Common Gull and 63 Lesser Black-backed Gull moved west. At least 9 Wheatear were spread across the site, as well as 3 Whinchat, one on Wick and two on the head. However, last night saw an apparent clear-out of Chiffchaff, with less than ten being estimated to remain. The pick of the wader records was a Jack Snipe that was uncharacteristically showing itself on Priory Marsh this afternoon, but also the Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, a Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 33 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Ringed Plover, 37 Dunlin and 12 Snipe, mostly around Stanpit. It was also WeBS count day and from some of the wildfowl returns it’s clear that numbers have built up quite significantly in the last week or so; for example, 199 Brent Goose, 636 Wigeon and 185 Teal on-site. The remaining interest for the day involves three each of Raven, Kingfisher and Greylag Goose. Please check back to yesterday for some additional news.

Additional news: a Sedge Warbler was around the Bailey Bridge on Stanpit, while a Whinchat was on the Priory Marsh fence. A Common Buzzard was seen in or about the North Scrubs throughout the day and 30 Canada Goose were initially on Priory Marsh before moving off.

October 11th

During the first couple of hours of daylight, the wind moved rapidly from west to east: this, despite several bouts of thunder and lightning, made for a fairly decent but somewhat erratic, overhead passage. Before the numbers, however, the high-spots: larks were a little conspicuous by their absence, in fact 2 Woodlark were the first to make the notebook, but then 5 Skylark soon followed; a couple of adult male Sparrowhawk travelled together, even resting for a few minutes side-by-side in a conifer, and keeping with raptors singles of Kestrel and Buzzard were on the move; while a count of 155 Reed Bunting could well be a record for the group. Now the figures: from the end of the head, the following were logged between 7:30 and 10:45 - 780 Meadow Pipit, 300 alba Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail, a Brambling, 10 Siskin, 440 Chaffinch, 620 Goldfinch, 2600 Linnet, 650 Swallow, 310 House Martin, 53 Jackdaw, 60 Starling and 8 Song Thrush. Other than the latter two species, which were both incoming, movement was on a broad, southerly front meaning numbers could well be light as there was no pinch-point to funnel the birds. Also seen to arrive, 12 Snipe, a Turnstone and 5 Dunlin. On the deck, the season’s first Fieldfare was in the North Scrubs, a Firecrest was in the Nursery and latish individuals of Whitethroat and Whinchat were on the Long Field and Stanpit respectively. In addition, well over 60 Chiffchaff were spread across the area, while 18 Blackcap were on the southern side of the harbour. Priory Marsh hosted 3 Jack Snipe and 15 Snipe, with other waders on Stanpit including the Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 35 Black-tailed Godwit and 30 Dunlin. A locally impressive 350+ Teal and 150+ Mallard were on Priory Marsh; as well as 2 Pintail, 6 Shoveler and 4 Gadwall being around Stanpit. Other than 3 Sandwich Tern west, the sea was a write-off. Finally, and moving to mammals, a Hedgehog was by Stanpit Scrubs this afternoon - a quite notable record for the area. 

Additional news: a Reed Warbler was in the HHC reeds in the evening, along with a 200-strong Pied Wagtail roost that contained at least one White Wagtail. Earlier, a flock of 6 Jay had moved over Wick Fields.

October 10th

The wind had eased off a bit by this morning, when occasional showers interrupted the makings of some good overhead movement. From the southern-most beach hut, the following were all logged heading west: 1100 Linnet, 620 Goldfinch, 45 Chaffinch, a Siskin, it's been a really poor year for these so far, a Brambling, 21 Reed Bunting, 820 Meadow Pipit, 320 alba Wagtail, 5 Grey Wagtail and 260 Swallow. With this being the peak week for movement, for the smaller finches in particular, the less-than-perfect conditions have not resulted in the expected numbers and casual observations around greater Christchurch suggest flocks of waiting birds; for example, up to 60 Goldfinch were on Argyle Road this evening. Back to the morning and there were four moments of raised interest: a Merlin headed south out to sea; a Spoonbill went west over the sandspit; 2 Little Gull, an adult and a bird-of-the-year travelled at sea; and a Short-eared Owl arrived over the huts from the Solent. Also over the water, 27 Common Scoter and 15 Sandwich Tern. The general feeling is that wader numbers are currently very much on the low side - today's work coming up with just: the Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Snipe, a few Ringed Plover and 20 Dunlin. To round up, a Great Crested Grebe was in Parky Meade Rail and the ever expanding mix of corvids roosting in the Nursery topped 220 birds last night.

October 9th

If it hadn’t been for those petrels on Monday, then several individuals who should know better, myself included, would have invested their time over the last few days a little more wisely; instead of staring at a largely, bird-free sea for hours at a time! Despite favourable seeming conditions - an all-night, south-westerly blow and intermittent, heavy rain - it was nothing short of an anticlimax this morning, when the highlight was a Great Northern Diver directly over the quay at around 8:30. The rest of the morning produced just 2 Common Scoter and 3 Sandwich Tern, but an adult Arctic Tern came into the harbour via the Run just before dark this evening. The remaining news involves a Sanderling on the sandspit and small numbers of migrants battling into the wind over the Beach Huts - estimates being 75 Swallow and 25 Linnet.

October 8th

It was a day for seawatching - in fact, the huts were manned from a tad after first light until 3:30, from when a further stint was undertaken at Mudeford Quay, which had also been watched during the morning. The best were 4 Arctic Skua - a bird up off the water very early on, so had presumably roosted; a dark juvenile just after lunch that interacted with some Herring Gull before heading into Poole Bay; two juveniles, one dark and one light, lingering off Highcliffe mid-afternoon, and which were presumably the same two birds seen heading east from Mudeford Quay later in the day. In addition, a juvenile Arctic Tern was seen from the huts, while other notables from the two sites comprised: 3 Golden Plover, 12 Mediterranean Gull, all of these adult birds, a Fulmar, 2 Guillemot, 4 Common Scoter, 2 Sandwich Tern and at least 80 Brent Goose; the majority of the latter from the quay and not seen from the huts, so cutting across the harbour as they moved west. Again, despite the unfavourable conditions, birds moved overhead, all in a generally westerly direction and including an estimated 500 Linnet and 250 Swallow. On the deck, a Firecrest was by the Double Bends in the Wood and a Wheatear was on the sandspit. Just prior to sunrise, when the corvid roost in the Wood dispersed, Raven, Rook, Jackdaw and Carrion Crow were all involved, something which just a few years ago would have not been dreamt of - the last mentioned species being the only one expected. 

Additional news: a flock of 4 Common Sandpiper was in Barn Bight tonight - a good number for such a late date.

October 7th

Any overnight rain had cleared by dawn, which saw largely blue skies and a westerly breeze. A Firecrest was at Stanpit, on the embankment under the golf course, where 2 Brambling overflew to the west, and 3 White Wagtail were with 20 or so Pied Wagtail on Crouch Hill. Over on Hengistbury, an estimated 60 Chiffchaff and 4 Blackcap were spread across the head, along with 3 Wheatear at the eastern end. There was some token overhead movement into the wind, but seemingly on quite a broad front - the counts from the end of Hengistbury coming to: 6 Grey Wagtail, 70 alba Wagtail, 70 Meadow Pipit, 50 Linnet, 15 Goldfinch, 5 Chaffinch, 2 Siskin and 35 Swallow. Meanwhile, a flock of 12 Jackdaw headed in the opposite direction. After yesterday, the sea was watched with some anticipation, but in the event could muster just: a single, juvenile Arctic Tern, 5 Sandwich Tern, a Razorbill and 7 Brent Goose, all west. A Sanderling was on the sandspit, as were 6 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin, and the regular Whimbrel was on Wick Hams. Just two Kingfisher were seen today, one in the favoured spot on Wick Hams and one from the Pod on Stanpit, over which a pair of Peregrine were also logged. Of butterfly interest, several Red Admiral were on the wing along the sandspit. Finally, the Hengistbury ranger team have advised us that the Lily Pond clearance is taking slightly longer than anticipated, so the the Batters path will remain closed for another few days. 

October 6th

These few square feet probably represented the only location in the area that could be birded without the shelter of a car this morning – Alan Hayden
A rather tatty Fulmar directly overhead – Alan Hayden
Grey Seal
Grey Seal in the Run – Alan Hayden
...and the breaking seas beyond the Run – Alan Hayden

As expected, the wind and rain set in during the small hours of the morning. The direction of the blow - south-south-east - meant little shelter was available other than a few nooks and crannies on Mudeford Quay, which was watched continuously until just before 2:00. During that period, 3 Leach’s Petrels were seen battling into the wind, one of them actually inside the sandspit and looking to enter the harbour before it was seen off by gulls. Also from the quay: 3 juvenile Arctic Tern that did enter the harbour, an adult Little Gull, an unidentified skua, 2 juvenile Common Tern, 2 Sandwich Tern, 4 Kittiwake, 8 Fulmar, 5 Mediterranean Gull, a flock of 5 Avocet that appeared to be travelling at sea but was later at Stanpit, a Sanderling, a Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Ringed Plover, 8 Dunlin and just over 60 Brent Goose, including some young birds, all west. Then, slightly later, when the wind had abruptly dropped away, a Red-throated Diver passed east and a further Common Tern was seen from the quay, along with the first Purple Sandpiper for the winter. Sticking with waders, and as mentioned beforehand, there were 5 Avocet at Stanpit, along with a Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, 3 Knot, 2 Grey Plover, 20 Black-tailed Godwit and 17 Dunlin. Not surprisingly, there are few passerine reports, but these do include 5 Wheatear, four of them at the quay, ditto a Grey Wagtail, while 20 Chiffchaff and 6 Blackcap were turned in from Hengistbury. To round-up, Raven were about the quay for most of the day, a Kingfisher was at Stanpit, the Brent Goose stepped up to 65 birds there and, of mammal interest, a Grey Seal was in the Run. 

October 5th

Brent Goose
The Brent Goose in the harbour are now nudging the fifty mark, but today saw the first young birds. Of the individuals in this photo, two are adults and two are certainly juveniles (second and fourth from left), so this is presumably a family of six – Alan Crockard
A floating Turnstone roost – Colin Pelton

It was the coldest morning of the season so far - clear skies and a very light northerly wind being the contributing factors. The conditions did little to inspire overhead movement, however, with birds relatively few-and-far between and seemingly uncertain about what to do. Early counts over Hengistbury were modest and came to no more than 75 alba Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail, 100 Meadow Pipit, 110 Linnet, 45 Goldfinch, a couple of Siskin, 20 or so Swallow 2 Rook and 2 Jackdaw. Meanwhile, settled birds across the area included a Firecrest, 2 Whinchat, a Wheatear, a Yellow Wagtail and a Reed Warbler, plus token numbers of Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Wader interest continued with a Golden Plover on Solent Meads golf course early on and the lingering Whimbrel on Wick Hams; while at Stanpit, there were: a Spotted Redshank, 2 Ruff, a Knot, a Common Sandpiper, 11 Black-tailed Godwit and 25 Dunlin. Also at Stanpit, singles of Pintail and Tufted Duck, as well as 26 Teal around the bight. Just how many Kingfisher winter in the area is often a subject of debate and perhaps even more so after three were seen together on the Ironstone Quarry this morning. Nearby, the restoration of the Lily Pond is providing a ready supply of food for an opportunistic Grey Wagtail.

Additional news: in the early evening, 9 Grey Plover arrived at Stanpit.

October 4th

Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail at Stanpit – Alan Hayden
One of the area's now resident Raven on the sandspit – Ken Weston

With the day breaking to a southerly wind and the obvious threat of rain, the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay were the only areas to receive attention. A single Balearic Shearwater that was attempting to settle on the water, only to be hassled by gulls, was seen from both sites, but the rest of the news comes from the huts. A Little Stint and a Dunlin skirted the groynes, while a total of 80 Brent Goose, 8 Wigeon, 6 Common Scoter, a Guillemot, 2 Common Gull and a Mediterranean Gull were a little further out. Apart from a few of the duck, all movement was westbound. In addition, a single Wheatear and 20 Starling were seen coming in-off the sea.

Additional news: at Stanpit this afternoon, there were: a Golden Plover, a Spotted Redshank, 2 Ruff, 2 Greenshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 19 Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 7 Dunlin; as well as a Mediterranean Gull and a Peregrine. Details have also been received of a few passerines around the area, including a Yellow Wagtail and a Whinchat on Stanpit, plus a Reed Warbler at Hengistbury. Kingfisher were seen on a number of occasions from several locations.

October 3rd

Whinchat – Alan Hayden
Grey Heron
A Grey Heron that won't have gone hungry – Alan Hayden

There were again plenty of birds to see and for a change let’s start with waders. Early on, a Golden Plover and 2 Ruff were on Solent Meads golf course, but they had gone by the afternoon when a ‘Goldie’ was on Stanpit along with a total of 6 Ruff. Also on the marsh, a Spotted Redshank (could this be the regular bird now having returned?), 2 Curlew Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, a Grey Plover, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Black-tailed Godwit and a Snipe. The North Scrubs at Stanpit held some passerine interest, namely a Ring Ouzel and a Firecrest, and 12 Stonechat were on the adjacent Central Marsh. Meanwhile, on the other side of the harbour, there were: a grey and late Willow Warbler, so potentially of a more eastern origin than we normally experience, a Whinchat, 4 Wheatear, a Yellow Wagtail, 3 Grey Wagtail, 65 Chiffchaff, 8 Blackcap and 20 Goldcrest. The best of the morning’s overhead movement was a flock of 11 Bearded Tit high over the end of the head, as well as a couple of Merlin - one at the western end of Hengistbury and the other seen to come in-off the sea. A westward movement of corvids, gulls and wildfowl was logged, comprising: 36 Jay, 22 Rook, 47 Jackdaw, 5 Mediterranean Gull, 39 Common Gull, 4 Pintail, 43 Wigeon and 10 Brent Goose; while the smaller migrants, a single Siskin excepted, all travelled east and included: a Tree Pipit, 310 Meadow Pipit, 250 alba Wagtail, 135 Linnet and 420 Swallow. Finally, at least 2 Kingfisher were a Stanpit and a Razorbill passed east at sea. 

October 2nd

Great White Egret
Great White EgretGreat White Egret on Stanpit today – Alan Hayden

A Great White Egret was a good find on Stanpit this afternoon; the bird was on South Marsh at high tide.  Earlier, just after 7:00, a Lapland Bunting had moved over Hengistbury. Soon afterwards, a heavy mist enveloped the harbour making 'vis-migging' difficult, but on the plus side a reasonable fall of migrants occurred.  The Wood at Hengistbury held 4 Firecrest, while totals across the area were 233 Chiffchaff, 155 Goldcrest, 62 Blackcap, 4 Wheatear, 2 Whinchat, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, a Tree Pipit and a Spotted Flycatcher, the latter on Crouch Hill. There were also 2 Yellow Wagtail amongst the many Meadow Pipit on Solent Meads Golf Course, where two of the Ruff and a single Golden Plover were feeding, seemingly oblivious to the many golfers on the course! Overhead movers were 335 alba Wagtail, 330 Linnet, 210 Meadow Pipit, 155 Swallow, 85 Goldfinch, 77 Chaffinch, 16 Siskin, 7 Yellow Wagtail, 7 Grey Wagtail and a Tree Pipit. Another Golden Plover was seen from Fisherman's Bank, while a Spotted Redshank was in Barn Bight and other wader totals were 22 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Turnstone, 8 to 10 Greenshank, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper and a Curlew Sandpiper.  Kingfisher were on both sides of the harbour, the Tufted Duck was seen and the Brent Goose flock has crept up to 42.

October 1st

On another fine day, the best of the morning was a Black-necked Grebe on the sea off Mudeford Quay,-also there was a first-year Yellow-legged Gull, 4 Sandwich Tern and 35 Brent Geese. A Ring Ouzel was in the "Barred Warbler Bush" and a Grasshopper Warbler was flushed from Warren Hill; other grounded migrants were 83 Chiffchaff, 50 Goldcrest, 12 Blackcap, 10 Wheatear, seven of these were on Stanpit, 6 Whitethroat and a Whinchat. There was a noticeable westerly movement of corvids in the first hour or so with 34 Jackdaw, 31 Rook and 27 Jay logged. Swallow were the most numerous of the regular overhead travellers with a count of 560 birds, but also 280 alba Wagtail, 270 Meadow Pipit, 160 Linnet, 75 House Martin, 58 Chaffinch and 6 Grey Wagtail. The pick of the waders was a Little Stint on Stanpit, where 39 Dunlin, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Snipe, a Greenshank and a Ringed Plover were present. A very vocal Golden Plover circled Hengistbury, where the Whimbrel was on Wick Hams, a Common Sandpiper was on the Salt Hurns and a Bar-tailed Godwit and a dozen Black-tailed Godwit were in Barn Bight. To round up, 25 Sandwich Tern rested on Stanpit, a Pintail circled the harbour, a Kingfisher was off Fisherman's Bank and a Mistle Thrush was on the roof of the barn.

Now out

The Birds of Christchurch Harbour 2013

report cover 2013 Another excellent production containing:
  • Over 110 pages
  • 8 plates of colour photos
  • Review of the birding year
  • 215 species systematic list
  • Breeding bird surveys
  • Butterfly report
  • Mammal, reptile and amphibian summary
The report retails in local outlets for £7.00, but is free for members. To get your copy Join CHOG.
Harbour Map
harbourmapthumbnail Our new, interactive harbour map helps you to identify locations around the harbour and gives some useful pointers.
Harbour Slideshow
Snow Bunting 20 See the best of some recent rarities in our Harbour Slideshow.
Search CHOG
Search Facility
You can find text or photos from previous articles on the CHOG Website on our Search Page. Access it from anywhere on the site with the 'Search' menu item on the left.
CHOG Forum
CHOG members and friends can participate in our new forum. You can ask questions of our more knowledgeable members and share information and photos. Sign-up NOW!