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Welcome to the website of the Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group

CHOG Archives

View the full archive of photographs, which now contains over 250 species.

Here is the full archive of features that have previously appeared on the CHOG website.


Tide Times

Tide times at the mouth of Christchurch Harbour.
Wick end is about
half an hour later.

Harbour Map

Our interactive harbour map helps you to identify locations around the harbour and gives some useful pointers.

Harbour Slideshow

See the best of some recent rarities in our Harbour Slideshow

Social Media

Welcome to the website of the Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group

Recent daily sightings

Hengistbury Head Outdoors – Membership Launch

CHOG and Hengistbury Head Outdoor Education Centre have a long history together, right back to the original MTC opening in 1964.

A new charitable Community Benefit Society has now been created to work with BCP council to get the centre passed into community ownership and be run for its members, by its members to benefit the community and the aims of the society

HHO see growing the membership as a vital element as not only does it give you a voice (A vote) on how the society is run but also shows BCP council the level of support from the community to see the centre open again.

We hope you can take this opportunity to join the Hengistbury Head Outdoors Community Benefit Society and help bring the centre back to life, and the partnership with CHOG can continue into the future.

More on Hengistbury Head Outdoors and their progress and how to purchase your member share can be found here…

Membership Subscriptions for 2024

These are now due. We do hope you will continue with us and make a positive contribution to conservation in and around Christchurch Harbour, and its surrounding areas.

 The easiest way to re-join, or join for the first time, is online…

February 22nd

The morning was a complete wash-out – the afternoon only partially so. Nevertheless, Hengistbury contributed: a Firecrest in the Stunted Oaks; 9 Purple Sandpiper, 20 Ringed Plover and 10 Dunlin on the sandspit; and a nice record of a Little Grebe on the Ironstone Quarry. Meanwhile, there was a nice total of 35 Pintail at Stanpit, along with 48 Brent Goose. Earlier, around 300 Black-tailed Godwit visited from the Avon Valley.

February 21st

The only news for the day is from Mudeford Quay, which produced a Little Gull and 17 Purple Sandpiper.

February 20th

Great Spotted Woodpecker – Dave Miller

There was a definite influx of Chiffchaff and Blackcap this morning – three and two respectively in song, plus a female of the latter – all at Stanpit. Also seeming to be arriving are Firecrest – one on Wick – while a Bearded Tit around Parky Meade Rail could well be in the same category. Passing through, however, on their journey to beyond our shores were a Water Pipit and up to 21 Rock Pipit on the salt marsh. At sea, a Red-throated Diver, a Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Mediterranean Gull and 4 Common Gull moved west; with 12 Common Scoter settled. To finish, inside the harbour, there were: 10 Pintail, 5 Shoveler, 126 Brent Goose and a further five ‘meds’.

February 19th

Starting with mammals and a Grey Seal was close offshore from the Beach this morning; where, unfortunately, there was a washed-up Fulmar and a passing Red-throated Diver. Around the same time, the White-tailed Eagle visited from the valley, where it was later seen on a number of occasions, and a female Marsh Harrier was about. Meanwhile, at Stanpit, the picks were: a Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, two adult Mediterranean Gull, 7 Pintail, 96 Brent Goose, a Great Crested Grebe and another nice congregation of Meadow Pipit – around twenty-five – on Crouch Hill.

February 18th

There is little news for the day, but a couple of decent records. A Nuthatch was in the No Dogs Field on Wick and a Water Pipit was at Stanpit, between the Pod and Crouch Hill. Of amphibian interest, a Smooth Newt was in the flooded path adjacent to the Pod.

February 17th

The Priory Peregrine are now very short odds to make it three years in succession – Alan Crockard

The day started well, when, at first light, a Short-eared Owl went over Hengistbury; while 4 Brambling, 30 Chaffinch and at least six, but possibly more, Cattle Egret left the roost. Hints of spring were plentiful: a Firecrest in song in the Wood; Goldcrest, Skylark, Dunnock and Greenfinch, likewise at Stanpit; where around 20 Meadow Pipit and 10 Pied Wagtail on Crouch Hill were presumed incoming from mainland Europe; and of 3 Mediterranean Gull, one had a full hood. The best at sea was single Black-throated Diver, but also a couple of Red-throated Diver and thirty-seven, westbound Common Gull. Around Stanpit Bight, there was a decent number of waders – headed by 3 Avocet, as well as 6 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit and around 200 Dunlin; with wildfowl highlighted by 10 Pintail, 2 Gadwall, 98 Brent Goose and 3 Shelduck. Wick again produced Fieldfare, two today, as well as a Bullfinch along the central path; and a female Marsh Harrier was about.

February 16th

Purple Sandpiper – Peter Boardman

Grey Seal – Dave Miller

Dunlin and a Ringed Plover – Dave Miller

A pair of Stonechat, perhaps back on territory, in the No Dogs Field, Wick, is a nice start to a short post. In contrast, however, a reminder we’re still actually in winter came from 2 Fieldfare, a Redwing and 5 Purple Sandpiper about the area. Moving back to the coming spring though, 4 Mediterranean Gull passed over Stanpit.

February 15th

Male Chaffinch in song on Riversmeet Meadow – Alan Crockard

Goldcrest, in the same area – Alan Crockard

The sea hasn’t been looked at for a few days; so, it’s nice to mention singles of Great Northern Diver and Great Crested Grebe from an hour at the Beach Huts, this morning. Meanwhile, a vocal Mediterranean Gull went over Crouch Hill, and Wick produced a Fieldfare, a male Bullfinch by the Wooden Bridge and the seemingly, now-resident Buzzard.

February 14th

There is nothing to report from another damp day of weather.

February 13th

Cetti’s Warbler – Alan Crockard

The only news from a largely damp day is of 3 Mediterranean Gull over Wick, plus a Bullfinch along the central path there.

February 12th

Turnstone – George Garland

Bar-tailed Godwit – Alan Crockard

The photos are the day’s only news.

February 11th

Knot are scarce in winter here – this bird was seen arriving over Mudeford Quay, before joining the in-harbour Dunlin flock – Scott Usher

…which also hosted this one of 2 Purple Sandpiper – a real rarity on the saltmarsh – Scott Usher

The highlights of the WeBS count were a Knot and 4 Purple Sandpiper, but also: eleven each of Grey Plover and Ringed Plover, a good total of 290 Dunlin and 8 Black-tailed Godwit – the latter presumably not knowing that something approaching 10% of the world population of their race was around four miles to the north, on the floods of the Avon Valley. Back to the harbour, where the wildfowl included: 2 Pintail, 4 Shelduck, 42 Brent Goose, 108 Teal and 854 Wigeon; and, although a single Moorhen was logged, coot were again a no-show! To finish, the Marsh Harrier numbered at least three.

February 10th

There were more signs of spring today – a Chiffchaff in song by the Wooden Bridge, while a Mediterranean Gull settled on Crouch Hill. Offshore, from the Beach Huts, a Great Northern Diver, 7 Red-throated Diver, 15 Common Scoter, a further 3 Mediterranean Gull and 4 Common Gull passed by; with 24 Pintail, 5 Shoveler and 2 Great Crested Grebe also logged. The White-tailed Eagle was on South Marsh from at least 08:40 and left just under an hour later, when the saltmarsh was pretty much all covered by water.

February 9th

Little Gull – Scott Usher

A Firecrest in the No Dogs Field on Wick may be a hint they are on the return to their breeding areas; likewise, two calling Mediterranean Gull over Stanpit. Gull of the day, however, was an adult Little Gull that hawked Stanpit Creek and a flooded North Marsh. The rest of the news comes from: 16 Purple Sandpiper midway along the sandspit; a Fieldfare on Wick; a Marsh Harrier over the Wick reeds; and the White-tailed Eagle around the area early on.

February 8th

All the news for the day comes from Wick and involves: 2 Fieldfare in the North Paddock, a pair of Bullfinch on the central path, 3 Shelduck over and 3 Marsh Harrier.

February 7th

Meadow Pipit – Dave Miller

Again, it’s a day of slow news, although a Jack Snipe on Wick Water Meadows was a nice record.

February 6th

There is very little to report upon today – the best probably being a Red Kite over at 08:10 and 15 Purple Sandpiper seen from Mudeford. Meanwhile, a Bullfinch was on Wick and at least one Marsh Harrier was about.

February 5th

As has been noted in other places, Mediterranean Gull seem to be on the return – they are something of a rarity here in winter, so eight out to sea over Mudeford Quay this morning was of note. Also from the quay, 10 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit, while what was probably a further three were at the southern end of the spit. Combined seawatching totals come to: 3 Red-throated Diver, and minimums of 21 Common Scoter and 5 Great Crested Grebe respectively. To finish, at dawn, a Redpoll, 7 Cattle Egret and over 40 Little Egret left the roost.

February 4th

Purple Sandpiper – Adam Court

Ringed Plover – Adam Court

Winter thrushes are still trickling in – a Fieldfare and 8 Redwing this morning on Wick, where there was also a Grey Wagtail. Other than at least 3 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit, the White-tailed Eagle briefly visited at around 08:00.

February 3rd

A group of 14 Purple Sandpiper on groynes at the northern end of the sandspit, during the afternoon, was a nice record. Earlier, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 76 Dunlin, 9 Pintail, 52 Brent Goose and 3 Shelduck were counted at Stanpit. To finish a rather short post, the White-tailed Eagle, G818, was around Stanpit Bight from 08:30-10:30.

February 2nd

Water Rail – Dave Miller

It’s looking like the Peregrine are heading towards their third season on the Priory – Alan Crockard

…and a recent rarity – Coot – Dave Miller

A Glossy Ibis circuited the area late in the morning, with a Great White Egret having previously been seen heading inland. Meanwhile, spring was in the air on Wick – 6 Song Thrush singing there; plus a Grey Wagtail by the Wooden Bridge. At sea, 14 Red-throated Diver headed towards the Solent, and 47 Pintail, 26 Shoveler and a Mediterranean Gull went west; while 15 Common Scoter and 5 Razorbill were also logged; and 5 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit groynes. To finish, 2 Firecrest and 6 Redwing were returned from the Wood.

February 1st

The contemporarily, scare species of Pochard was a nice sight this morning – one circuiting and then heading inland. A White-tailed Eagle was seen, airborne well north of the area, but from within. The sea returned 21 Red-throated Diver, mostly east, and 3 Fulmar; 26 Cattle Egret left the roost; a Treecreeper was opposite Holloway’s Dock; and at least 3 Marsh Harrier used the area.

January 31st

Just after 08:00, the White-tailed Eagle put in a fairly brief appearance – settling on its preferred Blackberry Point for a few minutes, before heading back into the valley. Meanwhile, at sea, were noted: a remarkable 95 Shoveler(!) and 82 Pintail – what is this recent dabbling duck phenomena? Also: a Great Northern Diver, 23 Red-throated Diver – mostly east – 4 Razorbill, 20 auk spp., a Mediterranean Gull, 25 Common Scoter and 15 Gannet; with a single Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit groynes. The only other news is of a Cattle Egret out of roost, plus an adult male and a female Marsh Harrier.

January 30th

Unfortunately, it’s another day when no reports have been received.

January 29th

There is actually no news for today, so it’s a good time to give some details about the eagle that has been regularly visiting. She is known as G818 and is from the 2021 release. As she is now in her fourth calendar-year, she should be looking to establish a territory.

January 28th

White-tailed Eagle – Scott Usher

Showing the size against crows – Alan Crockard

…and fishing – Scott Usher

The White-tailed Eagle dominates today’s post – first seen at 08:15 over Stanpit, the bird caught a fish and settled on Blackberry Point to enjoy. A spring tide meant it had to shift, however, to another part of the area, from where it left just after 10:30. Staying with raptors, two each of Peregrine and Marsh Harrier were logged. Otherwise, there is mention of Red-throated Diver, Guillemot and Pintail seen from Hengistbury, but no further details.

January 27th

It was a strange morning in terms of Pintail. Around 265 were reckoned to have passed at sea – 155 east and 110 west. (Just a couple of miles east, however, at Barton, 453 were seen travelling east!) Again, there were locally high numbers of Red-throated Diver on the move – ninety-six being the final figure. (As another comparison, from dawn until 09:30, 350 Red-throated Diver were logged, westbound, from Selsey Bill!) To finish with the sea, also noted between 08:45 and 11:15 were: a Great Northern Diver, 40 auks, 32 Shoveler, 10 Teal, 14 Common Scoter and 8 Common Gull. Rounding-up on the birds, a White-tailed Eagle spent 3.5 hours inside the harbour, from 11:00, mostly settled on Blackberry Point, but seen fishing as well; and 16 Grey Plover were at Stanpit. Mammal-wise, a Grey Seal was offshore and a Stoat shot across the path by the Nursery.

January 26th

At least one Chiffchaff remains in winter residence on Grimmery Bank – Scott Usher

After a late report of 47 Pintail yesterday at Stanpit – something of a number for the recording area – twenty-nine remained this morning, along with: a single Grey Plover, 215 Dunlin, 157 Brent Goose and the photographed Chiffchaff. Meanwhile, a quiet sea contributed just 4 Red-throated Diver, a Fulmar and 2 Great Crested Grebe; although Mudeford Quay did turn in a decent auk total – ninety-nine – of which two were confirmed as Razorbill. To finish, a couple of Chiffchaff were in the Wood and at least 4 Marsh Harrier were about.

January 25th

Starting at dawn and out of the roost: 2 Cattle Egret, a Bullfinch and 3 Siskin. A little later, over on Stanpit, there were 8 Rock Pipit, most likely all of the race littoralis, and 85 Brent Goose. Meanwhile, at sea, there was a significant westbound passage of Red-throated Diver – 118 counted, including flocks of twelve and eleven – as well as: a Black-throated Diver, 8 Kittiwake, 35 auks, 14 Pintail and 29 Common Gull; with a Fulmar and 5 Great Crested Grebe also noted.

January 24th

The Hengistbury regulars noted quite a westbound passage of auks this morning – at least 240 being the reported estimates – as well as a Black-throated Diver and 19 Red-throated Diver, two of the latter settled. Also from the head, at sea: 24 Pintail – all west, 15 Common Scoter, a settled Great Crested Grebe, and fifteen each of Gannet and Common Gull. Otherwise, it’s a fine total of 315 Dunlin from Stanpit.

January 23rd

Grey Wagtail in yesterday’s evening light at Stanpit – Alan Crockard

It was a day of constant rain and strengthening wind – as a result, there is nothing to report upon.

January 22nd

At 08:05, a White-tailed Eagle flew north over the harbour and possibly landed on Priory Marsh. Otherwise: an Avocet was in Stanpit Creek; a Bullfinch was on Wick; and the best from a quiet sea was 2 Red-throated Diver, a further diver and twelve, settled Common Scoter.

January 21st

It was just about a week ago we thought the eagle activity may be over, but this morning proved otherwise. Around 10:00, a White-tailed Eagle arrived and sat on Blackberry Point for a while, before heading north over the Priory around fifteen minutes later.

January 20th

As the wind picked up a little from the south-west, albeit uncharacteristically cold, all the news comes from the sea. The Beach Huts witnessed 6 Red-throated diver, 22 auks, 15 Gannet, 6 Common Gull and 4 Great Crested Grebe; while Mudeford Quay added a ‘red-throat’ and an adult Mediterranean Gull.

January 19th

Avocet around Stanpit Bight – Scott Usher

Great Crested Grebe at sea – Dave Miller

Turnstone – Dave Miller

Stanpit is well and truly frozen, but the thaw looks likely to set in over the weekend. Such conditions mean Snipe are more conspicuous than usual – a count of forty-nine testimony to that – as well as an Avocet, 6 Grey Plover, 7 Pintail, 2 Shoveler, 80 Brent Goose and a wandering Buzzard. Hengistbury saw 5 Red-throated Diver pass towards the Solent, while 5 Cattle Egret went to roost this evening and Marsh Harrier went over Wick.

January 18th

Despite the cold, these Oystercatcher were looking ahead to spring – Alan Crockard

A greater-than-of-late number of Pintail and Shoveler – fourteen and nineteen respectively – in Stanpit Bight today, suggested something of a cold weather ‘influx’. Elsewhere, 2 Red-throated Diver and 4 Great Crested Grebe were seen from Mudeford Quay, and a single Marsh Harrier was returned from Wick. Switching to mammals, a Grey Seal again showed well in the Run.

January 17th

On a grey, cold day, there is news from the sea, where: 18 Red-throated Diver, two unidentified divers, 4 Razorbill, 32 auk spp., 43 Gannet and 15 Common Scoter were logged. Meanwhile, at Stanpit, the pick was: 6 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Pintail and 82 Brent Goose. Elsewhere, 4 Marsh Harrier were seen from Wick in the morning, likewise the Buzzard.

January 16th

Fox – Alan Crockard

The only bird news on a cold and icy day is 7 Great Crested Grebe from Mudeford Quay.

January 15th

Another morning, another White-tailed Eagle visit – today, around 07:50, but she didn’t settle and may have left high to the east. Otherwise, the pick was a Sandwich Tern off Mudeford Quay; with 28 Ringed Plover on the sandspit and 3 Great Crested Grebe offshore completing a short post.

January 14th

White-tailed Eagle, against the harbour, and a Great Black-backed Gull – Alan Crockard

For the fifth day in succession, the White-tailed Eagle spent the earlier part of the morning around the harbour, while a definite 8 Marsh Harrier – an adult male, two females, a 3cy male and four 2cy males – used the area. With raptors being recordable on WeBS counts, it was nice to add those to the results, which also included: a Grey Plover, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 61 Ringed Plover and 210 Dunlin; 7 Pintail, 75 Teal, 775 Wigeon, 138 Brent Goose and 5 Shelduck; plus 3 Common Gull; but, absolutely no coot! Meanwhile, at least one Chiffchaff remains on Grimmery Bank.

January 13th

The White-tailed Eagle was again about during the morning and briefly in the afternoon. There isn’t too much other news, however: 15 Cattle Egret went to roost; at least 6 Marsh Harrier used the area; 5 Purple Sandpiper, 3 Mediterranean Gull and 7 Great Crested Grebe were returned from Mudeford Quay; and the Common Scoter flock was visible on the calm waters from the end of Hengistbury.

January 12th

White-tailed Eagle – Scott Usher

Avocet – Dave Miller

The White-tailed Eagle spent much of the morning around the area, and greater Christchurch, for the second day in succession. Meanwhile, at sea: 11 Red-throated Diver, 20 Common Scoter, 19 Gannet, 95 auks and 25 Pintail were logged; with the single Purple Sandpiper again at the southern end of the sandspit; plus 2 Avocet at Stanpit. At least 8 Marsh Harrier used the area – an adult male, a 3cy male, a female and the rest seeming to be 2cy males – and, at dusk, 3 Cattle Egret and 70 Stock Dove headed to roost.

January 11th

White-tailed Eagle – David Faulkner

Red Kite – David Faulkner

Stanpit was well used by raptors this morning! From the various reports received, it would seem the White-tailed Eagle spent around an hour about the place – at one point searching for food over the River. In addition, a Red Kite was again logged, plus singles of Marsh Harrier, Peregrine and Buzzard. Other interest for the day came from: a Velvet Scoter at sea; 16 Cattle Egret leaving the roost; a Great White Egret on the marsh during the afternoon; a really decent tally of 66 Redwing from Hengistbury, plus a Firecrest there; and 2 Great Crested Grebe in Barn Bight.

January 10th

A Black Redstart took advantage of the Hengistbury cliffs, below the Coastguards, to shelter from the continuing, northerly wind; with the only other bird news being of an inland-bound Marsh Harrier over Stanpit. Mammal-wise, an Otter was seen on the Stour – slightly upstream from Clay Pool.

2022 Report

Birds of Christchurch Harbour 2022
Out now. Free for members.
Details of how to join.

Tide Times

Tide times at the mouth of Christchurch Harbour.
Wick end is about
half an hour later.

Harbour Map

Our interactive harbour map helps you to identify locations around the harbour and gives some useful pointers.

Harbour Slideshow

See the best of some recent rarities in our Harbour Slideshow

Social Media