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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

Christchurch Priory – Peregrine Day

Saturday 29th June: 10:30am to 3:30pm

The Priory Peregrines are now in their third breeding season and the four chicks are out and about around the Priory. CHOG will be present with information and telescopes to offer close-up views of the birds – please come along and see us.

June 22nd

Overnight rain ceased well before dawn and early cloud soon gave way to a mainly sunny day, with a moderate westerly breeze. It was slim pickings again today, with just a Cuckoo singing at Wick, where a Curlew flew over west. Otherwise, at Stanpit, there was a single Bar-tailed Godwit and a Common Tern moved through.

June 21st

Male Kestrel – Alan Crockard

The only news for the day is of a Black-tailed Godwit, a Dunlin and 6 Lapwing, all at Stanpit.

June 20th

Four-spotted Chaser dragonfly – Peter Boardman

Lapwing – David Faulkner

In addition to the photographed Lapwing, there was also a Curlew about Stanpit. Some breeding updates: the remaining Ringed Plover chick is now almost able to fly, so hopes are high that will be a success; while, the Ironstone Quarry hosts three, days-old Little Grebe chicks.

June 19th

The only news is of an Arctic Skua west over the harbour during the morning.

June 18th

The incumbent Lesser Whitethroat made themselves conspicuous today – a male in song on Wick and two juveniles at Stanpit; where there were also 2 Shoveler, a Curlew and a Fox cub. To finish a short post, back to Wick, where there were 3 Bullfinch along the riverside path.

June 17th

A pair of Small Heath butterfly – Robin Harley

Despite the sun, the seemingly incessant wind is making it feel, temperature wise, far from mid-June. A couple of surprises this morning came from a Spotted Flycatcher in the North Scrubs and a Spoonbill over Hengistbury. Meanwhile, singles of Cuckoo and Lesser Whitethroat were returned from Stanpit.

June 16th

Herring Gull and Manx Shearwater – Scott Usher

Manx Shearwater – Scott Usher

Little Grebe – Alan Crockard

There was a much-reduced feeding-flock off the Long Groyne today, but it did include a settled Manx Shearwater, plus: 10 Common Tern, 32 Sandwich Tern, 2 Mediterranean Gull, a Fulmar and 10 Gannet.

June 15th

Between the sites of Mudeford Quay and the eastern end of Hengistbury, the sea came up with: a dark-morph Arctic Skua, a Balearic Shearwater, 11 Manx Shearwater, 9 Little Tern, the same number of Common Tern, around 60 Sandwich Tern, 4 Fulmar and 6 Common Scoter; all during the morning.

June 14th

It’s been several seasons since Swallow last bred in the recording area, so a report of a nesting pair in the Discovery Den education facility on Wick was nice to receive. As suggested yesterday, the offshore feeding flock was given a grilling and produced: at least 16 Little Tern – four of those actually from Mudeford Quay – 30 Common Tern, 50 Sandwich Tern, a Fulmar, 12 Gannet and an auk, amongst the hundreds of gulls. Meanwhile, a Hobby hunting over the Salt Hurns was a good bit of quality; with a Cattle Egret and three adult Dunlin completing the bird news. Moving to mammals, and it was interesting that a seal, species not determined, rested for a few hours on the beach that is currently fenced off around the Long Groyne.

June 13th

It’s great to be able to report Shelduck breed in the area for another year – four ducklings at Stanpit, this afternoon. Otherwise, the best was easily 3 Little Tern, which lingered off Mudeford Quay from much of the day; while a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Bullfinch and a juvenile Peregrine over, all from Wick, make up most of the rest of the post. There was, however, a significant feeding flock out from the Long Groyne – that, given the strength of the southerly wind, could well be worth checking in detail.

June 12th

A day of little news – just a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Curlew at Stanpit, where a clattering of adult and just-fledged Jackdaw descended onto the North Scrubs.

June 11th

Male Beautiful Demoiselle at Hengistbury – thought to be only the fifth record for the area.

…and male Banded Demoiselle, also at Hengistbury, where they are seldom seen. Both found by Paul Morrison. Photos – Peter Boardman

Juvenile Dartford Warbler – as ever, photo taken from a public path – Dave Miller

The only non-photo news for the day is of around 20 Swift north and Cuckoo, from Wick.

June 10th

The morning saw a significant arrival of Swift – 765 counted incoming over Stanpit! The majority between 08:30 and 11:00, but still small parties arriving when the observers left. Keeping with late arrivers, a Wheatear was on Crouch Hill, with singles of Grey Plover and Ringed Plover, plus 6 Dunlin, passing through. Presumably, on their way back, however, were 5 Lapwing and 3 Mediterranean Gull. To round up: all three egrets were logged – singles of Great White Egret and Cattle Egret, along with the regular ‘littles’; the Osprey visited early on and then again around 13:30, when, what we think is a young he, quickly caught a fish; and a Cuckoo is still around.

June 9th

Muntjac tracks – Anne Parramore

The male Peregrine, VA, having a think about things – Alan Crockard

In terms of breeding birds, it feels as if there may be times ahead – an Osprey visited twice, late morning and at the same point in the afternoon, while 2 Cattle Egret were on Wick. The other news involves a Cuckoo about Wick and three, incoming Swallow.

June 8th

Osprey – Scott Usher

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly, a recently added resident to the area – Barrie Taylor

Starting in time order – a Muntjac on the Salt Hurns, at 05:30. Then, news of a Wheatear and the two Ringed Plover chicks in the fenced area on the sandspit – now flapping their wings and attempting lift-off; a breeding-plumaged Cattle Egret about Wick; and, around 11:00, the Osprey leaving with brunch.

June 7th

Skylark – photo taken during formal survey work

It’s quite an in-between date to get both Whimbrel and Curlew in the same post, but singles of each achieved that this morning on Wick. Meanwhile, as late as the former in that comment, was a male Wheatear by the Coastguards. This evening, an Osprey that now seems reasonably settled in the Avon Valley visited to fish, with a 3cy Mediterranean Gull also being around. Catching up on the breeding Ringed Plover, the two chicks are still safe and sound.

June 6th

Wasp Beetle – Robin Harley

An or two Osprey were logged this morning – one drifting north at 07:40 and one leaving with a fish at just after 10:00. Also seen overhead, a northerly movement of around 75 Swift. Of breeding interest, a Cuckoo continues to sing about the area and there are three, or four, Grey Heron chicks still in a nest in the Nursery.

June 5th

Cream-spot Tiger moth – not often seen during daylight around the area – Peter Boardman

After thinking we were down to one Ringed Plover chick, it was nice to see there are still two – Roger Edwards

Other than news in the photo captions, it’s just two-to-three passing Ringed Plover to mention.

June 4th

All four Peregrine young – Adrian Simmons

Firstly, some nocturnal updates from Hengistbury, where it’s confirmed there are three Tawny Owlets out and about, plus two, possibly three, churring Nightjar. For today, however, the only news is of a Lesser Whitethroat showing itself on Crouch Hill.

June 3rd

Locally speaking – on a date typical of post-breeding dispersal – bird of the day was a Nuthatch in Stanpit Scrubs. Meanwhile, on what has been a really poor wader passage, numbers of 14 Ringed Plover and 22 Dunlin in Stanpit Bight were almost ‘significant’; with both Greenshank and Whimbrel again being heard there. To finish, a grey Cuckoo was about the marsh.

June 2nd

Tying in with yesterday’s willow warbler, there were some late-passing or -arriving birds logged today. Stanpit heard both Greenshank and Whimbrel, with two singing Whitethroat, outside of the territories, there being interesting, while a Wheatear was on the sandspit; where, unfortunately, it’s looking increasingly likely that only one Ringed Plover chick is present. There were also five, unexpected Mediterranean Gull – three adults and two 2cys.

June 1st

A worn-out-looking, adult Great Tit with two young – Alan Crockard

Four-spotted Chaser – Simon Coupe

Adult Little Grebe – Simon Coupe

Other than the photographed Little Grebe, on the Ironstone Quarry, the only other news for the day is of a Willow Warbler by the No Dogs Field.

May 31st

Ringed Plover. In the field, the bird on the left was significantly darker and discernibly smaller – a good candidate for tundrae race? – Jackie Smith

The news for today is almost entirely of Arctic-bound waders, timing their run for when conditions are right there. At least one of the two photographed Ringed Plover was reckoned to be, while a flock of 25 Sanderling inside the harbour is notable for the area.

May 30th

Starling at the HHVC – Jo Hudson-Lambe

Up to 20 Swift were about the area during the afternoon, with the only other report being a Cuckoo on Wick.

May 29th

After the discovery of this skylark nest, there was swift work by the BCP team – Terry Elborn (upper) & Robin Harley

The only news is of the two adult Ringed Plover and two chicks in the fenced area of the sandspit this evening.

May 28th

Newly laid Natterjack spawn – taken under license

Stag Beetle – Phil Wetherell

From a damp and windy day, the only bird news is of a Grey Plover at Stanpit. However, if you don’t normally watch Springwatch, it’s recommended to do so tonight – some segments of local interest.

May 27th

Common Blue – Clinton Whale

A parent Ringed Plover – David Faulkner

A likewise Meadow Pipit – David Faulkner

Fox – George Garland

Starting with dusk and at least 3 Nightjar on Hengisbury – two of them churring males. Earlier, a Wheatear had been in the fenced area at the tip of the sandspit, along with the breeding trio of Ringed Plover, Meadow Pipit and Rock Pipit, and a Cuckoo was searching for nests around Crouch Hill.

May 26th

Downy Emerald Dragonfly – Ian Whittaker

Sedge Warbler – Ian Wigley

Hairy Dragonfly – Ian Whittaker

…and Great Black-backed Gull, the world’s largest of the family – Alan Crockard

It’s just 2 Cuckoo, a Swift and a Dunlin, all from Stanpit, to mention on this post. But, as the photos demonstrate, summer wildlife is starting to emerge; with Hengistbury being particularly rich in odonata and lepidoptera.

May 25th

The parents of this newly hatched family of Mute Swan, seen by Mudeford Quay, ensured no other of the species came near the cygnets – Barrie Taylor

As the migration season draws to its end, local observers tend to shift their attention away from Christchurch and out into Hampshire. As such, the only news for the day is of a Greenshank at Stanpit and a Cattle Egret heading inland over there; while the Ringed Plover are looking well on the sandspit – it’s going to be a busy next couple of days there and the nearby beach hut residents are already doing a great job in ensuring the birds have the best possible chance of success. The temporary signage regarding dogs on leads is, seemingly, also having good effect.

May 24th

Skylark – Jackie Smith

Small Copper – Peter Boardman

…and one of the white-rumped Stonechat which occur here. Cross-channel genes? – Alan Crockard

It’s light on news today – a couple of late Whimbrel passed through, a Spotted Flycatcher was by the Wooden Bridge and a Cuckoo sang around Priory Marsh.

May 23rd

The Priory Peregrine chicks were ringed today – DR, DS and DT as males, and DV as a female. The adult pair seem to be going up a notch each year – two in 2022 and three last year. They must sense it’s a productive location – Paul Turton

Sticking with the photo-comment theme, and another brood of four. It’s not 100% certain as to what happened, but after thinking there were only two of three Ringed Plover at the northern tip of the sandspit, today four were seen! There may have originally been five, as it’s not crystal-clear as to what the Kestrel was eating a couple of days ago. Anyhow – fantastic news and let’s stay hopeful for another successful fledge. Again on the theme of breeding, a Bullfinch was seen carrying food on Wick – perhaps the nearest to confirmed breeding we’ve ever had.

May 22nd

Dartford Warbler – as always, we only publish opportunistic photos taken from well-trodden, public paths – Alan Crockard

The morning’s seawatch produced a surprise – both in terms of conditions and a slightly early date – record of a Storm Petrel; initially west, but then dropping onto the water and not seen again. Also from the Beach Huts: 2 Common Tern, twenty-four eastbound Common Scoter, a Fulmar, 3 Razorbill and 2 Guillemot. Earlier, the White-tailed Eagle was about until 7:00; when, in the resultant flush of birds, a pair of Garganey was noted. Meanwhile, a Spotted Flycatcher was along Roebury Lane and a late-arriving Willow Warbler was in song at the end Hengistbury; with incumbent songsters including a Garden Warbler on the Long Field and a Cuckoo near the HHC. To finish, 7 Swift and around 120 Swallow were seen incoming.

May 21st

Reed Warbler – Dave Miller

The fenced area on the sandspit has an unexpected breeder – Meadow Pipit – Robin Harley

Firstly, continuing the fenced-area theme mentioned in the photo caption, the Ringed Plover clutch hatched today, but with mixed results. A recent look at the nest revealed the adults must have jettisoned an egg, meaning only three, of an expected four, chicks were out and about. Nature then took its rightful course and a Kestrel preyed on one. Now to the picks of the day – a strange sight of seven adult Kittiwake passing east through the harbour and a Nuthatch coming off Hengistbury and along Wick. Meanwhile, taking the same route were 4 Spotted Flycatcher, with a further in the North Scrubs. Also incoming were: a Hobby, 7 House Martin, 9 Swift and 25 Swallow; while 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and a couple of Sanderling paused on their journey north-east. Rounding up: a Red Kite headed west; 4 Cattle Egret were logged; and 3 Cuckoo were again around – two males and the hepatic female.

May 20th

Green Hairstreak butterfly – Peter Boardman

The hide on Hengistbury offers good views of birds – Great Spotted Woodpecker – Clinton Whale

Birds being seen to arrive make up most of today’s offerings, and included: 7 Spotted Flycatcher along the riverside route on Wick, a Yellow Wagtail, 11 House Martin, 63 Swallow and 44 Swift. In addition, a Reed Warbler was in the blooming Cow Parsley on South Marsh. Meanwhile, the dispersal of non-breeding Red Kite to the south-west tip of the country is largely passing the area by – despite around twenty being logged just 2-3 kilometres north, just two were noted from Stanpit; but a couple of Buzzard passed over Hengistbury. Back to the recent Garden Warbler theme and one singing in the Nursery, likewise one of the day’s 2 Cuckoo; while, to finish, a pristine Grey Plover was around, before vocally leaving for his Arctic destination, and 4 Mediterranean Gull passed through.

May 19th

Female Orange Tip butterfly – Peter Boardman

Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly- Peter Boardman

Green-veined White butterfly – Peter Boardman

Spotted Flycatcher arrived in some numbers today – relatively speaking to decades past, that is – a total of fourteen making a customary flight along the Wick side of the river, including a flock of nine. Also incoming overhead, a Tree Pipt, 11 Swift and 64 Swallow, plus a couple each of settled Yellow Wagtail and Wheatear. The only passage waders were a Grey Plover, a Whimbrel and couple of Dunlin; while a Cuckoo sang on Wick and the White-tailed Eagle was seen leaving the area at 08:15.

May 18th

Downy Emerald – Ian Whittaker

Puss Moth – Robin Harley

Female Brimstone – Peter Boardman

Poplar Hawkmoth – Robin Harley

There was a small arrival of birds overnight – at least three Cuckoo about the site, two males in addition to the hepatic female; as well as singles of Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler singing from non-breeding habitat, plus 4 Yellow Wagtail and a handful each of Swift and Swallow. Meanwhile, 2 Garden Warbler were again in the Long Field area. The remaining news comes from: a 1cy Kittiwake in the offshore flock; and 3 Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel and 16 Sanderling moving through the area.

May 17th

There were at least three, but possibly five, Garden Warbler, on Hengistbury today. Something that seems well more than expected – Alan Crockard

Some time during the morning, a Honey Buzzard headed north over the area – with other airborne moments coming from singles of Spoonbill, to the east, Hobby, Red Kite and Yellow Wagtail. Meanwhile, a Bearded Tit was heard from somewhere in the Wick reeds.

May 16th

There was a sight record of Bee-eater this morning – as two fed with Sand Martin low over the Coastguards for a couple of minutes, before drifting off to the east. Also, a Cattle Egret west over the head and, in the mid-afternoon, 3 Red Kite over Stanpit. The sea again produced some interest – the pick being an adult Little Gull in the feeding flock, a Manx Shearwater west and a Great Northern Diver east; as well as 12 Common Scoter and 5 Shelduck, all east. Until 09:00, the harbour was awash with hundreds of Herring Gull, but then around 50% of them picked up and headed out to sea, with 3 Mediterranean Gull – a 1cy and two 2cy birds – mixed in. Around the same time, a flock of 16 Whimbrel arrived and, intriguingly, 2 Garden Warbler were again by the Long Field.

May 15th

There was a clear influx of Painted Lady across the area today – Clinton Whale

There was some skua action off Hengistbury this morning – a Pomarine Skua paused briefly to hassle a Herring Gull, while 2 Arctic Skua, one pale and one dark, hung around for a little longer. Also at sea, singles of Manx Shearwater and Black-throated Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver and a Common Scoter. Meanwhile, a Garden Warbler was again along the southern edge of the Long Field.

May 14th

The wind has been from the spring-time-fabled, south-east for a good while now, but it’s starting to look as if most of hoped-for skuas may have made it east of here already. Despite some decent attention, this morning, the sea yielded just a single, pale-morph Arctic Skua, 9 Manx Shearwater and 5 Common Scoter. North-bound waders about the place were a paltry: 2 Purple Sandpiper, a Knot and 7 Turnstone; while 2 Garden Warbler were on the Long Field.

May 13th

Although perhaps not as good as hoped in a mid-May south easterly, the sea was still pretty good this morning. The offshore feeding flock of gulls, which also contained up to 30 Common Tern and around 95 Sandwich Tern, attracted two, pale-morph Arctic Skua, while two more just powered on through; also in the mix, a couple of 2cy Little Gull. The presence of Manx Shearwater was a slightly unexpected, but very welcome – at least fourteen noted throughout the day, some available from Mudeford Quay. Otherwise, the only other news is of a single Whimbrel at Stanpit.

May 12th

Sand Martin – Alan Crockard

Chiffchaff – Alan Crockard

The only reports from a gloriously, warm day are of a Cuckoo in the North Scrubs, early on, and 4 Cattle Egret on East Marsh, during the afternoon.

May 11th

Another very, good-looking candidate for ‘Greenland’ Wheatear (although, the date suggests it’s a certainty) – Scott Usher

Over the last 10-15 years, Jackdaw has changed status from occasional to daily, in quite some numbers – Tina Scott

Other than the White-tailed Eagle about from 06:30 for an hour and the photographed Wheatear on Crouch Hill, all the news is from the sea. A trio of Eider – a drake and two ducks passed west – with a Shoveler, 20 Common Scoter, 14 Common Tern, a Sanderling and a Dunlin heading in the more-expected-for-the-season, opposite direction.

May 10th

The only news from the southern part of the area is that the Ringed Plover pair is still safely incubating – so, all being well, chicks are expected by this time next week. Over at Stanpit, there were 2 Yellow Wagtail around the ponies, but relatively little else: the northbound waders comprised just 16 Whimbrel and 8 Dunlin, while singles of Curlew and Redshank confused things a bit; also a drake Wigeon still around.

2023 Report

Birds of Christchurch Harbour 2023
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