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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

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Welcome to the website of the Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group

Recent daily sightings

Outdoor Meeting

Sunday 4th February 10:00-13:00
Birds of Poole Harbour Winter Safari Cruise
A three-hour boat trip embracing the safari experience, led by Birds of Poole Harbour staff, scouring the harbour for our hardy overwintering species from otherwise inaccessible areas such as the Wareham Channel and Frome Valley, as well as offering premier views behind the Brownsea Lagoon seawall. The exact route will be determined on the day, taking into account the state of the tide and latest sightings, to maximise the birding potential of the cruise.
Please book by contacting Richard before 20th December.
We have 20 places reserved for CHOG members until that date.
For more information…

Dorset Swift Communities – Funding Appeal

CHOG is a founder member of this organisation and will benefit from some of the funds raised. We have already been active during 2023 in our area – from east of Bournemouth pier to the Hampshire border – with plans for three Swift streets well progressed. If you would like to make a donation to provide funds for the construction and installation of Swift nest boxes, please follow this link…

CHOG Membership

If you join between now and the end of the year, you will also get 2024 Membership. The easiest way to join and make a positive contribution to local conservation is here…

December 9th

Female Marsh Harrier – Scott Usher

There is not much at all to mention – save from an adult Little Gull off Mudeford Quay for a while and at least one Marsh Harrier inside the harbour.

December 8th

It was nice to have a day with some sunshine and zero precipitation – that said, there isn’t too much to post. The fine-looking, male Black Redstart showed well throughout the day, around the calving pen adjacent to the HHVC. Meanwhile, the sea came up with 2 Red-throated Diver, one of them settled, 6 Common Scoter and an adult Kittiwake. Over on Stanpit, there were 8 Grey Plover, 360 Black-tailed Godwit, 60 Ringed Plover and 85 Dunlin, as well as a drake Pintail and 32 Brent Goose; and a single Purple Sandpiper was on the sandspit. This evening, 13 Cattle Egret and 21 Little Egret went to roost. At this rate, the more-recent colonisers may well start to outnumber the more established.

December 7th

The only news from a complete wash-out of a day is of a single Marsh Harrier, from Wick.

December 6th

Female Marsh Harrier – Alan Crockard

Not unexpectedly, but sadly all-too-brief, a Waxwing put in an appearance this morning – by Two Riversmeet leisure centre, before heading off towards Christchurch itself. Meanwhile, the male Black Redstart was again by the HHVC and, this afternoon, a Black-throated Diver and 2 Red-throated Diver showed well in the Run. The other good record for the day, particularly for the time of year, was a Green Sandpiper on Wick water meadows. A definite four, but possibly six, Marsh Harrier used the area; 2 Shoveler were inside the harbour; and 8 Common Scoter and 3 Great Crested Grebe were returned from the sea.

December 5th

Black Redstart – Dave Miller

Great Crested Grebe inside the harbour – Dave Miller

What was presumably last week’s Black Redstart – an adult male – was around the HHVC this morning; as was a Blackcap. Singles of Glossy Ibis and Great White Egret headed north, the former early on and the latter during the afternoon, and a Spoonbill passed east at sea. Also on or over the water: 5 Red-throated Diver, two settled, 50 Common Scoter lingering, 10 Pintail, a Shelduck, 5 Brent Goose, 2 Razorbill, 25 Gannet and 4 Great Crested Grebe; with a further grebe inside the harbour. To finish, the Marsh Harrier total was six birds and over 200 Dunlin were at Stanpit.

December 4th

Blackbird – David Faulkner

On another wetter-than-forecast day, there is not much to write about. A Red-throated Diver was settled on the relatively calm waters off the sandspit, as were 25 Common Scoter, while two passing Red-throated Diver from the Beach Huts are presumed to be the two unidentified divers seen from Mudeford Quay; while a Mediterranean Gull headed west. The quay also came up with a nice record, for any time of year in the area, of 2 Grey Wagtail on the BCP slipway. At Stanpit, there were probably 3 Marsh Harrier seen and, of mammal interest, a Grey Seal was in the channel through the harbour. To finish, Kingfisher were returned from Wick and by the Bailey Bridge.

December 3rd

Adult Common Gull – Scott Usher

Long-tailed Tit – David Faulkner

Bar-tailed Godwit – Scott Usher

Starting at dawn and the commute from overnight feeding in the Avon Valley contained the expected Wigeon and Snipe, but also a flock of 15 Pintail. An hour or so later, 2 Cattle Egret spent a short while feeding on the Recreation Ground – immediately adjacent to the Sea Scout Hut. Also, during the morning, at Stanpit: 3 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, two settled Pintail, 10 Shoveler, 70 Brent Goose and a Common Gull; with a 1cy Mediterranean Gull coming to roost later on. Also from the morning, the best at sea, from the Beach Huts was: a Great Northern Diver, 8 Red-throated Diver, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 45 Common Scoter, a Razorbill, another auk, singles of Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull, a couple of Teal mixed in with the scoter and 2 Gannet.

December 2nd

Although the forecast suggested an hour or so of ‘mist’, to clear by 10:00, it was thick fog throughout. A skein of around 40 Barnacle Goose headed east, very low, along the Beach at Hengistbury – presumably, disorientated by the conditions. Meanwhile, a single Avocet was in Holloway’s Dock and 4 Chiffchaff, plus the Buzzard, were on Wick. Late on, a flock of fifty or so Lapwing arrived from the north; while the day-total for Marsh Harrier was nine.

December 1st

Dartford Warbler – immediately adjacent to a public path – Dave Miller

Great White Egret – Peter Boardman

It was a bitterly cold day – the air temperature barely getting above 3C and a cruel, northerly breeze. Nonetheless, Firecrest and Chiffchaff were active – a single of the former in the Wood and three of the latter along Roebury Lane. The wildfowl highlight, and a definite sign of the conditions, was a flock of 5 Pochard – three of them drakes – seen to arrive. Meanwhile, a Great Northern Diver was settled off Mudeford Quay and an Eider was off the Beach Huts, with 27 Common Scoter and 7 Great Crested Grebe also offshore. Passing, however, were a Black-throated Diver, 8 Red-throated Diver, 3 Razorbill and 15 Brent Goose. To finish: a Great White Egret came in from the east and spent some time in Holloway’s Dock; a Peregrine was on the Priory and the Buzzard was again on Wick; and a Kingfisher was around Wick Hams.

November 30th

Yesterday’s Barn Bight Otter – Colin Wright

Other than a fine-looking, male Black Redstart in the garden of the HHVC, the vast majority of the post comes from the sea – all passing birds unless described differently. A Great Northern Diver quite close inshore, 8 Red-throated Diver, 13 Pintail, 15 Shoveler, 22 Wigeon, 20 Common Scoter settled, 7 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Guillemot, eight unidentified auks and 2 Mute Swan. The remainder of the news comes from: a Redwing at the end of the head; a Marsh Harrier and 4 Shoveler at Stanpit; and a dawn roost flight that rather strangely comprised just 2 Cattle Egret and no corvids!

November 29th

Glossy Ibis – Adrian Simmons

It’s good the winter may be potentially enlivened by the presence of a Glossy Ibis – one seen on Grimmery Bank this morning, before heading off in the direction of South Marsh. Also good to mention, and with increasing frequency, was an Otter in Barn Bight – an area to keep an eye on. Offshore, a Great Northern Diver was settled, likewise 11 Great Crested Grebe and 40 Common Scoter, and 6 Red-throated Diver passed by; with 80 Starling coming in-off. News from Stanpit involves: 8 Grey Plover, 27 Black-tailed Godwit, 80 Ringed Plover and 160 Dunlin; as well as a drake Shoveler and 74 Brent Goose. Rounding up: a Firecrest was again near the Wooden Bridge; as many as 4 Kingfisher were about; and the Buzzard was again on Wick

Redwing – Peter Boardman

On a cold, damp day, the main interest again came from waterfowl. A Great Northern Diver arrived over Hengistbury and appeared to land in the harbour; while 4 Red-throated Diver were logged offshore, one of them settled, as well as 11 Pintail, 4 Shovler, 14 Teal, 4 Brent Goose and 2 Shelduck. Meanwhile, the in-harbour Brent Goose count rose threefold to sixty-one birds! Also about, a Sandwich Tern and 3 Common Gull. The day-total for Dunlin was a reasonably healthy 112, with 2 Grey Plover, 34 Black-tailed Godwit and 50 Ringed Plover also around the area. The best from Wick was a Firecrest, 2 Fieldfare and the photographed Redwing; a Dartford Warbler was on Crouch Hill; and a male Marsh Harrier and the Buzzard were logged.

November 27th

There is very little to report today – just 15 Common Scoter offshore and 3 Marsh Harrier inside the harbour.

November 26th

Female Marsh Harrier – Scott Usher

The sea was given some attention this morning, from the Beach Huts, and did not disappoint. The best being a flock of 5 Velvet Scoter west – in all likelihood, the same group that had early been seen from Selsey Bill heading towards the Solent. Meanwhile, a Black-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver, 13 Red-throated Diver, 4 Goosander, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Great Crested Grebe and a lingering Egyptian Goose were also logged. Early on, 12 Cattle Egret and a female Marsh Harrier were about; and, later, a Swallow was feeding over the Barn and Long Fields.

November 25th

The day’s only news comes from the late afternoon at Stanpit, when 5 Marsh Harrier were around – two adult males, a 1cy male and two females – as well as ten, roost-bound Cattle Egret. Teal were more conspicuous than of late, so the cold conditions may have brought more in; and of 21 Brent Goose eight were 1cy birds.

November 24th

Common Buzzard – Dave Miller

An arboreal Moorhen – Tina Scott

Oystercatcher – Roger Tidball

…and Little Grebe – Dave Miller

A clear dawn saw some further, late-autumn movement, namely: 12,750 Woodpigeon; 2 Brambling, a Redpoll, 16 Siskin, 56 Chaffinch, 85 Goldfinch and 7 Linnet; and 13 Fieldfare, 31 Redwing and 9 Song Thrush. A few Chiffchaff are still about – four logged today – and a Firecrest was in the Wood. At sea, an adult Little Gull headed west, as did 3 Kittiwake and 4 Red-throated Diver. Also during the morning, 2 Marsh Harrier, 11 Cattle Egret and a Bullfinch. The cold northerly wind discouraged any later activity.

November 23rd

Great White Egret – Jackie Smith

It was a lot quieter today, in terms of reports received – the best was a settled Black-throated Diver off the sandspit, but also seen from Mudeford Quay. Meanwhile, a Sandwich Tern was also offshore and 2 Red-throated Diver, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, a Shelduck and a Teal passed. Otherwise, it’s just a Great White Egret at Stanpit to mention.

November 22nd

There was a late kick of migration this morning, when 11,750 Woodpigeon headed west over Hengistbury; where a Short-eared Owl, a Golden Plover, a Crossbill, 3 Brambling, 7 Fieldfare, 11 Redwing and 5 Reed Bunting – all typical November fayre – also passed. There was also some, perhaps, unexpected gull activity – 86 Mediterranean Gull and 72 Common Gull – offshore; while thirty-seven and twenty-two respectively were seen inside the harbour, from Mudeford Quay, along with an adult Little Gull and a Kittiwake. The waterfowl movement continues – mostly at sea and west: 3 Barnacle Goose, 49 Brent Goose, 3 Red-throated Diver, a Shoveler, 3 Gadwall and 66 Teal; with a redhead Goosander and 75 Common Scoter settled. In other news, a Firecrest was by the Wooden Bridge, the Buzzard was again in North Paddock, and 5 Grey Plover and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit were returned. Early on, 16 Cattle Egret came out of roost and 3 Marsh Harrier seemed to coast from the east – adding further speculation about commutes between the Avon Valley and the west Solent marshes.

November 21st

Again, as the migration season peters out, there isn’t too much to write about. At sea, 3 Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver and around 60 Gannet were logged. Inside the harbour, there were 9 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Pintail – all drakes – and a 1cy Yellow-legged Gull, that on the inner side of Mudeford Quay. Wick saw a couple of Fieldfare pass over to the north, while 18 Cattle Egret left the roost and a minimum of two, but likely a couple more, Marsh Harrier used the area.

November 20th

Marsh Harrier, Carrion Crow and Redshank – David Faulkner

It’s bits and pieces today really. At sea, a Red-throated Diver, a Kittiwake, 2 Mediterranean Gull, a Common Gull and 2 Shelduck passed, while 60 Common Scoter and around 30 Gannet lingered. Over Hengistbury, went a Redpoll and 4 Siskin, with 2 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit. At Stanpit, 4 Grey Plover and a pair of Pintail were logged, along with a male Marsh Harrier.

November 19th

Before listing the monthly WeBS numbers, the news from the sea; where a Little Auk passed west, close to the Beach Huts, as did 6 Shoveler, while around 30 Common Scoter loitered and a Peregrine was over the water. Close by, there were ‘several’ Purple Sandpiper along the sandspit. Now the highlights of the counts – waders: 9 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 479 Black-tailed Godwit, 27 Ringed Plover, an impressive 273 Dunlin and 153 Redshank – waterfowl: 2 Pintail, a Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 67 Teal, 856 Wigeon, 16 Brent Goose and 182 Coot. To finish, at least 4 Marsh Harrier used the area and a Kingfisher was by the Wooden Bridge. Of mammal interest, an Otter was seen at Stanpit.

Great Northern Diver over Stanpit – Scott Usher

A mix of adult and 1cy Kittiwake at sea – Leo Pyke

There was a good variety on the move over the sea this morning, including: 3 Great Northern Diver – the photographed bird taking a short cut over Stanpit – 2 Red-throated Diver, 68 Kittiwake, 6 Mediterranean Gull, 19 Common Gull, 5 Red-breasted Merganser, 18 Common Scoter, 7 Pintail, 3 Gadwall, and 4 Brent Goose; almost entirely west. In addition, a Red-throated Diver, 52 Common Scoter, 4 Sandwich Tern, a Great Crested Grebe and 12 Gannet were lingering. Meanwhile, Stanpit was likewise busy with birds – the Black-tailed Godwit estimated at something between 6-800, along with 13 Grey Plover, a Sanderling and a good count of 24 Snipe. Also about the marsh – a Great White Egret on Central Marsh, a slight increase of 23 Brent Goose and a Peregrine. Wrapping up, at least 2 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit.

November 17th

Following on from yesterday’s wildfowl arrival comment: three drake Pochard – a modern-day rarity in the area – spent all day in Stanpit Bight, where a drake Tufted Duck and 2 Great Crested Grebe were also present. Meanwhile, 16 Pintail passed west at sea, 14 Brent Goose did largely the same and a Teal was settled just offshore. More expected there were 23 Common Scoter, a Red-throated Diver towards the Solent, four westbound Mediterranean Gull and a couple of lingering Common Gull. The only other news is of 8 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit groynes.

November 16th

There was the impression of more waterfowl arriving today – a couple of redhead Goosander were seen, one coming in-off over Mudeford Quay and one seeming to linger around Stanpit. In addition, there were three rafts of Coot on the sea – twenty-two in total, made up of twelve, six and four. Meanwhile, a couple of Sandwich Tern were also offshore. Otherwise, it’s just 3 Marsh Harrier – an adult male and two female-types – and 2 Grey Plover, all inside the harbour, to mention.

November 15th

Otter – Dave Miller

Kestrel – Dave Miller

There was another Snow Bunting encounter today, when one flew towards the old Point House Café site, which is now a block of apartments – right at the south-west limit of the recording area. Meanwhile, a couple of Firecrest were by the Wooden Bridge and a similar number Chiffchaff were also on Wick. The sea held a Red-throated Diver and 12 Common Scoter, with a Great Crested Grebe inside the harbour. The early, clear skies saw 425 Woodpigeon pass west and, at the opposite end of the day, 7 Cattle Egret were seen going to roost. To finish, at least 2 Marsh Harrier were about – an adult male and one thought to be an adult female.

November 14th

A record shot of Black-necked Grebe – a real rarity for the area – Leo Pyke

Bird of the day was easily a Black-necked Grebe that drifted west past the Beach Huts this morning – while 2 Mediterranean Gill and a Great Crested Grebe flew that way, and 21 Common Scoter were settled. The sandspit held 6 Ringed Plover and a Sanderling, with in-harbour waders including: a Greenshank, 8 Grey Plover, 250 Black-tailed Godwit, 50 Ringed Plover and 70 Dunlin. The Buzzard mentioned yesterday was seen to leave it roost, likewise 14 Cattle Egret, and, to wrap up: an adult male Marsh Harrier was about; a drake Gadwall was on South Marsh; the Brent Goose number is still a concern, just eighteen again; and a Kingfisher was on East Marsh.

November 13th

Sanderling – Clinton Whale

After a heavy, overnight blow, the sea held some interest this morning – all from the Beach Huts. A Grey Phalarope thought about landing just offshore, but actually headed towards Mudeford Quay, while a Little Gull passed in the same direction. Also: 2 Great Northern Diver, a Sandwich Tern, 48 Kittiwake, two adult Mediterranean Gull, 4 Common Gull, 45 Gannet and 23 Common Scoter, the latter all settled. Along the sandspit, 8 Purple Sandpiper were on groyne S8 and 2 Sanderling were towards the tip. Moving to Stanpit, and when the Avon Valley floods the Black-tailed Godwit come – an estimated 500 on East Marsh this afternoon – suggesting the Poole area has seen a drop in numbers? In addition, a Greenshank and a Grey Plover were present. Over the last week, a Pied Wagtail roost has formed around Parky Meade Rail – this evening at least 120 birds, but today choosing just over the river in the Wick reeds. While that was being checked, a Buzzard came from the north and appeared to go to roost on Hengistbury, likewise a single Cattle Egret; with the day’s Kingfisher returns coming from the Wooden and Bailey Bridges.

November 12th

A rather miserable-looking Curlew, during one of today’s deluges – Clinton Whale

…and a view of the Bailey Bridge at high water – Clinton Whale

It’s probably no longer than a decade ago that Goldeneye was a winter resident in the harbour; but short-stopping, brought on by global warming, means they are now a premium bird for a year-list – a drake north through the harbour, early on this morning. From other sightings, it would seem it was a day of wildfowl movement – 88 Brent Goose west at sea, plus five arriving and three leaving, and 12 Pintail. Also over the water: a Great Skua, a Great Northern Diver and a Sandwich Tern, west; 2 Red-throated Diver and a Great Crested Grebe, east; and at least twenty, milling Common Scoter. At Stanpit, the Greenshank was again around, along with 4 Grey Plover and a Bar-tailed Godwit, with around 200 Black-tailed Godwit coming in at dusk. To finish, it would seem we are currently down to just a single Marsh Harrier, an adult male.

November 11th

Grey Heron – Henk Nieuwenhuis

Starting with the waders and a getting-late Greenshank at Stanpit, where the Grey Plover again increased – eleven today, and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, plus 14 Black-tailed Godwit, were present. Early on, 2 Barnacle Goose left the area, while unquantified Mediterranean Gull and Woodpigeon were reported as moving. The near-force-zero conditions allowed up to 50 Common Scoter to be picked up at sea, with 8 Brent Goose heading west and 4 Purple Sandpiper on the Long Groyne. Passerine-wise, there was the impression of a Blackbird arrival, but Chiffchaff came to less than ten, with singles of Firecrest by the Lily Pond and Solent Meads. Wrapping up: the male Marsh Harrier was about; a Pintail was at Stanpit, where a pair of Great Crested Grebe displayed; Kingfisher were seen on the marsh and in Holloway’s Dock; and, at dusk, a Short-eared Owl hunted the area.

November 10th

A Long-tailed Duck passed west off the Beach Huts this morning, while a watch from Mudeford Quay produced: 4 Kittiwake, a Red-throated Diver, a Razorbill, two unidentified auks and 24 Gannet, on the move, plus 12 Common Scoter settled. On Wick, the Yellow-browed Warbler is still present after a couple of blank days, but only now a single Chiffchaff there. Around Stanpit Bight, there were 6 Grey Plover, a bit of an influx, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 51 Black-tailed Godwit, 50 Ringed Plover, 40 Dunlin and a Turnstone; as well as 13 Brent Goose – which is a significantly low number for the date. To finish, a male Marsh Harrier was about the place.

November 9th

Purple Sandpiper – Peter Boardman

A fairly light day of news and in no particular order. A Wheatear was by the café on the sandspit; a Firecrest was in the Wood; and a Ring Ouzel was encountered at dawn. Also on the sandspit, 6 Purple Sandpiper, while a Red-throated Diver and 15 Common Scoter were at sea.

November 8th

All the news comes from Mudeford Quay and mostly gulls – 3 Little Gull, two adults and a 1cy, a Kittiwake, 4 Mediterranean Gull and a Common Gull – all west. In addition, a Great Northern Diver headed towards the Solent and a Purple Sandpiper was about.

November 7th

In modern-day terms, Twite on the south coast is a major rarity – so one briefly with Goldfinch around the Barn Field was noteworthy indeed. Perhaps not quite so rare is Hoopoe; the frustrating individual putting in its third cameo in as many weeks – this morning flying low over the No Dogs Field. Overhead, the early movement was relatively light in comparison to the last two posts – just the 4,500 Woodpigeon – but also a couple of Brambling and 150 Chaffinch. Meanwhile, the Wood held a minimum of 5 Firecrest. Seabird-wise, a Great Northern Diver headed down-channel, but over the harbour; while 2 Red-throated Diver passed the opposite way in more conventional fashion, at sea. The only wader news is of 2 Sanderling on the sandspit and the Marsh Harrier total is the same number, both males, an adult and a 2cy.

November 6th

Dunlin (left) and Ringed Plover – Peter Boardman

It was another Woodpigeon day – 32,500 west, along with 150 Stock Dove – all seen from Hengistbury. Also over the head: a Bullfinch, 4 Brambling, 25 Siskin, 370 Goldfinch, 120 Linnet, 255 Chaffinch, 145 Meadow Pipit, 21 Skylark, 21 Redwing and 6 Song Thrush. Meanwhile, the first Water Pipit of the winter was briefly on Wick Hams; but, in contrast, two late Wheatear were logged – one on Crouch Hill and one by the Noddy Train terminus – and 7 Chiffchaff were on Wick. A Grey Plover was again at Stanpit, as well as 48 Black-tailed Godwit; with the biggest wader total being a 75-strong, mixed flock of Ringed Plover and Dunlin on the sandspit. At dusk, 15 Cattle Egret and 31 Little Egret went in to roost, while an all-dark Marsh Harrier was around. Of more general interest, a few have remarked on the recent abundance of Long-tailed Tit, particularly around Wick, so it was nice to get a return of twenty-three from there; and a Kingfisher was by the Wooden Bridge.

November 5th

Wheatear – Scott Usher

Mediterranean Gull – Scott Usher

They are like clockwork – the first clear morning in November and Woodpigeon will be moving. A total of 16,500 west, counted from Hengistbury, which also totalled: 41 Stock Dove, a Woodlark, 27 Skylark, 12 Brambling, 19 Redpoll, 69 Siskin, 37 Chaffinch, 110 Meadow Pipit, 11 Redwing, a Swallow and 185 Lesser Black-backed Gull, almost entirely westbound. Incoming birds were headed by: a ringtail Hen Harrier, at least one Marsh Harrier and 5 Golden Plover north; 3 Spoonbill which took a look but carried on west; and a Curlew Sandpiper that seem to go down on to Stanpit. A female-type Merlin was also logged from the head, while the Yellow-browed Warbler remains on Wick and 2 Bearded Tit were by the Wooden Bridge. At Stanpit, a Wheatear was on Crouch Hill; with a Sandwich Tern, a Grey Plover and a drake Pintail were the pick of Stanpit Bight. To finish: a redhead Goosander was inside the harbour at dawn; including the already mentioned bird, the day-total for Marsh Harrier is four; Mediterranean Gull came to five; and a Kingfisher was about.

November 4th

Short-eared Owl – Leo Pyke

3cy Gannet – Scott Usher

This photograph of what looks to be a sub-adult skua is causing some discussion – any inputs to would be welcome – Jeremy Mayes

Despite the morning rain, it was a pretty good day all round. Quite remarkably, given it’s November, three species of tern were seen from Mudeford Quay – a Sandwich Tern and an Arctic Tern were perhaps expected, but 2 Common Tern were certainly not. Also at sea, the currently in-discussion skua by the Long Groyne, an adult Little Gull feeding off the Double Dykes, a diver spp., 5 Mediterranean Gull, a Gannet and 3 Brent Goose. This afternoon, the photographed Short-eared Owl was found roosting on Wick and a Snow Bunting with more white in the wing than the bird of the previous couple of days was by Coastguards – there are possibly, therefore, two individuals around.

November 3rd

The feature of the day was, without doubt, Bearded Tit – with sightings as follows: seven from Parky Meade Rail towards Wick; five just upriver from the HHC; a single in Wick Hams; and one by the Wooden Bridge, plus, anecdotally, ‘loads’ seen there by a visiting birder. Close by, the Yellow-browed Warbler is now in its sixth day on the junction of paths around 50m south of the Wooden Bridge – it can be very vocal, but please set expectations in terms of seeing it. Also on Wick, a Ring Ouzel that put in a couple of cameos about the Bobolink Field. Meanwhile, other passerines on site included: one, but possibly, 2 Wheatear at Stanpit; a Firecrest by Holloway’s Dock; and 2 Blackcap on Wick, along with thirty or so Chiffchaff. Despite the calmer waters, the sea produced another Leach’s Petrel, as well as: a ‘commic’ tern – for the date, presumably an Arctic, 2 Sandwich Tern, an unidentified diver, a Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Gull, 6 Avocet, 5 Grey Plover and 14 Brent Goose, all passing; with 12 Common Scoter and, bizarrely, 27 Coot settled on the swell. Also on the move, 2 Great White Egret – to the east, 7 Crossbill and 5 Brambling; but more settled were 5 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit – the seaward side of the Beach House café, in the company of 25 Ringed Plover and 20 Dunlin.

November 2nd

It goes without saying the sea was looked at for most of the day, but for the most part it was birdless. There were some moments of quality, however – 2 Leach’s Petrel and a petrel spp. seen from Mudeford Quay in the afternoon – with the best-of-the-rest from there and the Beach Huts being: an adult Little Gull, a Great Northern Diver, 3 diver spp., 8 Kittiwake, 10 Mediterranean Gull, a Sandwich Tern and 11 Common Scoter. To put the previous ‘birdless’ comment into context – just 3 Gannet were logged throughout! Interest on the land was headed by: a Snow Bunting seen flying over Long Field towards the Coastguards; one, but possibly two, Yellow-browed Warbler by the Wooden Bridge; and a couple of Firecrest. To finish, a Merlin was seen from Hengistbury, while 2 Marsh Harrier were inside the harbour.

November 1st

Leach’s Petrel – Leo Pyke

Juvenile Brent Goose – the first three of the winter were at Stanpit today – Clinton Whale

Even ahead of Storm Ciaran, there was interest at sea. From 08:00 to 11:00, the following were logged: 2 Leach’s Petrel – at least one of them lingering, 2 Little Gull – both 1cy birds, a Great Northern Diver, a Red-throated Diver, 7 Kittiwake, around 50 Gannet and 24 Common Scoter; all from the Beach Huts. With the overnight blow being forecast as SSE, there is a lot of uncertainty as to what might happen. A Snow Bunting was again seen – flying from the lawn around the Coastguard down toward the Long Groyne area; while a Yellow-browed Warber remained, close to the Wooden Bridge on Wick. Inside the harbour, a Sandwich Tern was in Stanpit Creek and the 2cy male Marsh Harrier was logged.

October 31st

A Yellow-browed Warbler performed a little better today – being seen and heard, on and off, at the junction in the paths around 50m south of the Wooden Bridge. Over Hengistbury, a couple of Merlin were probably the best, but also: a Brambling, 5 Redpoll, 7 Siskin, a Swallow and 6 Skylark. Meanwhile, at Stanpit, a late Wheatear was in the North Scrubs; with at least 20 Chiffchaff and 14 Goldcrest stopping off on the other side of the area. Just 2 Marsh Harrier were seen; a Bullfinch was on Wick; a Treecreeper was again in the Wood; and a Kingfisher was around Barn Bight.

October 30th

What was presumably the same Hoopoe as seen nine days ago put in another cameo this morning – seen in flight across the non-driving end of the Driving Range on Wick, before seeming to land somewhere in the village. Mention of Kingfisher is usually reserved until the end of the post, but no less than four on show together around a flooded Wick Hams promotes them to this position. Later in the day, 2 Yellow-browed Warbler were by the Wooden Bridge, but largely elusive, and at least 10 Chiffchaff were in the same general area. Another Red-breasted Merganser, this time an adult drake, was noted – moving south over the harbour; with passerine passers-by including: a Brambling, 7 Redpooll, 35 Siskin, 50 Goldfinch, a couple of Reed Bunting and a Swallow. In the Wood, there were 2 Firecrest, a Treecreeper and 2 Coal Tit; and, to finish, the 3 Marsh Harrier were about – now reckoned to be an adult of either sex and a 2cy male – at one point arriving in formation from high over Christchurch.

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