Sightings for the current month

March 8th

One of a dozen or so Chiffchaff on Grimmery Bank – a favoured spot for newly arrived birds - Clinton Whale
Glossy Ibis – Clinton Whale

Chiffchaff continue to arrive – up to fifteen across the site today – with other passerine interest coming from a Firecrest and a Bullfinch in the Wood. The rest of the news comes from Stanpit, where the Glossy Ibis remains and the wader peaks were: 6 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 37 Black-tailed Godwit – one or two of those already looking very handsome – 3 Ringed Plover, 10 Dunlin and 9 Turnstone. Meanwhile, the wildfowl included 4 Shelduck and a 194 Brent Goose, and the gull highlights were at least 7 Mediterranean Gull and 5 Common Gull. 

VIRTUAL MEETING - Wednesday 10th March 2021
Return of the Peregrine - Keith Betton
Keith, Chairman and County Recorder of the Hampshire Ornithological Society, is a birdwatcher, writer and broadcaster, and has studied Peregrines for almost ten years. In a beautifully illustrated talk, he will explain how the world's fastest bird lives and thrives alongside us, and how for many years their very existence in the UK was on a knife-edge. To register, please email...

A reminder these are now due. The easiest way to re-join and help support the wildlife of Christchurch Harbour and neighbouring areas is online...

All reports on this website are the result of Government-permitted activities.

Tides March 9th: L03:25 | H08:25 | H12:00 | L15:50 | H20:50 |

March 7th

Redwing – Clinton Whale
Grey Plover
Grey Plover – Peter Boardman

The only news from a day of late-winter sunshine is of 3 Redwing at Stanpit, one of them in song – a seldom-heard pleasure in these parts – as well as the male Blackcap and a couple of Kestrel getting amorous there; as well as a single Grey Plover. Wick provides the rest of the post, namely: 4 Chiffchaff, a male Bullfinch and 6 Mediterranean Gull to the west.

March 6th

There was a definite influx of Chiffchaff and Mediterranean Gull today. A total of fifteen of the former were on Wick this morning; while later, as the light faded, at least thirty of the latter pre-roosted on East Marsh and a further 30+ went straight on through to the east. Otherwise, it’s just the Glossy Ibis going to roost at 15:45 and a couple of male Bullfinch at Wick to report upon.

March 5th

Rock Pipit at Stanpit – Alan Hayden
Skylark at Hengistbury – Clinton Whale
Bar–tailed Godwit - Alan Hayden

It was a little quieter today, although 2 Firecrest and 6 Redwing were in the Wood, while 4 Chiffchaff and a Bullfinch were on Wick. All of this was the morning, but later at Stanpit, the following were returned: the Glossy Ibis, a Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Dunlin, 6 Pintail, 2 Gadwall, 192 Brent Goose and 2 Shelduck. To finish, a drake Tufted Duck was on the Ironstone Quarry. 

Tides March 6th: L00:50 | H06:05 | H09:00 | L13:20 | H18:45 | H21:55

March 4th

Grey Seal in Clay Pool – Alan Crockard

There is quite a bit to sort through today, but let’s start with the Spring arrivals. The first Wheatear of the season made it, arriving over Mudeford Quay; a total of 6 Sand Martin was around Parky Meade Rail; the Chiffchaff number across the site totalled at least eleven; the Blackcap remained in the North Scrubs; and 34 Mediterranean Gull rested on the HHC mudbar and/or headed east. Yesterday’s Green Sandpiper put in another show – this time in flight at Stanpit, where more out-of-the-ordinary wader interest came from a minimum of 5 Golden Plover heading east, some of them mixed in with passing Grey Plover; while 53 Black-tailed Godwit, the biggest number for weeks, were logged. Meanwhile, another surprise – 8 Barnacle Goose – passed through eastbound. In addition to those already mentioned, the more notable passerines for the day were: 2 Firecrest were in the Wood; 5 Redwing in the North Scrubs; and 3 Bullfinch on Wick. Offshore, a Red-throated Diver and 7 Great Crested Grebe were the pick; with the only other mention for the post going to a Peregrine. 

March 3rd

Drake Shoveler – Jackie Smith
Collared Dove – Alan Crockard

Although it was nowhere near as sunny as yesterday, it felt more Spring-like as a Sand Martin at Stanpit this morning was a very welcome sight. Outside of the late-Summer to Autumn, Green Sandpiper are very unusual in the area; so one on Fisherman’s Bank briefly today was a real surprise. A total of 3 Chiffchaff on Wick suggested a small influx, while signs of Winter persisted with 3 Redwing at Stanpit. Also on the marsh, 3 Shoveler – two drakes and a duck – and a Kingfisher. Elsewhere, a Great Crested Grebe was off Mudeford Quay. 

March 2nd

Two Hengistbury breeding species:
Dartford Warbler
– Clinton Whale & Grey Heron - Roger Tidball

Although it was arguably even nicer weather today, there is still little to report. The best was a male Merlin briefly in Ashtree Meadows, while the Blackcap was again by the Purewell Stream and at least 2 Chiffchaff were across the site. The Glossy Ibis was seen on North and Central Marshes, with 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, around 20 Dunlin and 4 Pintail about Stanpit Bight. Over at Wick, a Siskin and 3 Mediterranean Gull passed through, the only Bullfinch return was a single female and a Kingfisher was seen from the Viewing Platform. 

March 1st

Moorhen – Jackie Smith
Great Crested Grebe – Jackie Smith

It was another 100%-sunshine day; but again a breeze, this time from the south-east, chilled things a little. A Blackcap by the Purewell Stream, Stanpit, was the first in that area since last Autumn, so possibly our first Spring arrival? Meanwhile, other bits and pieces around the marsh included: the Glossy Ibis; 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Dunlin; 2 Pintail and over 200 Brent Goose; 2 Mediterranean Gull and 5 Common Gull; and one or two nicely colouring-up Rock Pipit. A sea described as hazy was quiet – a Red-throated Diver, 2 Mediterranean Gull and a Peregrine being the best over the water – but 8 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit. Finishing on or around Wick, there was a total of 3 Bullfinch and a Great Crested Grebe was in Barn Bight. 

February 28th

Skylark on the Barn Field – Mark Taylor

The warmth of the sun was tempered a little by the northerly breeze, but it was overall a very nice experience to be outside. Bird news is a little light, however - just: a Firecrest, a Chiffchaff and a Mediterranean on Wick; a further Firecrest in the Wood; and a couple breeze-blown Buzzard soaring slightly too far south over Stanpit and attracting plenty of gull and corvid activity, as well as temporarily alarming the Brent Goose gathering. 

February 27th

One of 3 Bullfinch by the Viewing Platform, Wick, today – Alan Crockard

It was another glorious day, when 3 Avocet were seen heading east over the sandspit and 2 Great Northern Diver, 4 Red-throated Diver and a Great Crested Grebe were at sea; along with 10 Purple Sandpiper on the spit. Signs of Spring came from several vocal Mediterranean Gull and an over-flying Grey Wagtail, plus singing males of Chiffchaff and Cetti’s Warbler. Early on, a Golden Plover and a Marsh Harrier passed over the Barn Field, while at least 240 Brent Goose arrived from their Poole Harbour roost. 

February 26th

Unringed Peregrine – Alan Hayden
Glossy Ibis – Paul Boult
Cetti's Warbler – Alan Crockard

Other than a nice total of 27 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit, close to the Beach House, it was a low-key day. The remaining news being just: the Glossy Ibis at Stanpit, a Chiffchaff on Wick and a Peregrine on the Priory. 

February 25th

A nice comparison of pale–bellied and dark-bellied Brent Goose - Alan Hayden
Lesser Black–backed Gull - Alan Cherry

Other than a slight, northerly wind and a touch of early drizzle, it was a Spring-like day; but perhaps a little quiet on bird news. The Glossy Ibis was at Stanpit, where there were also 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, a couple of Redwing and a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker. Over on the other side of the area, there were 2 Firecrest and a Bullfinch in the Wood; while 3 Great Crested Grebe and around 150 Wigeon were on the sea. To finish, a single Peregrine was on the Priory and there was the strange sight of Buzzard, plus attendant corvids, on the ground by the HHC slip. 

February 24th

A pale-Bellied Brent Goose, which was first seen on Sunday, was with 224 dark-bellied Brent Goose at Stanpit today; where, of 14 Rock Pipit, once was a nailed-on ‘Scandinavian’ – the bird showing signs of pink on the its breast. Also about the marsh: a Grey Plover, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Dunlin, 18 Pintail and a single Mediterranean Gull. Of at least 2 Chiffchaff on Wick, one was in song, while a pair of Bullfinch were by the Viewing Platform. Also currently in voice, is a Firecrest in the Wood, where 3 Redpoll were logged. The sea saw something of an eastbound gull movement – over 16 Mediterranean Gull and 65 Common Gull – as well as 5 Red-throated Diver, a Razorbill, 3 Common Scoter, 5 Pintail and a Great Crested Grebe. Meanwhile, the were a further three ‘great-crests’ inside the harbour, a Grey Wagtail passed over Hengistbury and a Peregrine hunted this afternoon. 

February 23rd

Mediterranean Gull at Mudeford Quay – Jackie Smith
Some of the Bar–tailed Godwit at Stanpit - Clinton Whale
...and the Glossy Ibis this morning – Jackie Smith

A Cattle Egret and the Glossy Ibis emerged from the roost this morning, while the latter, after spending the day at Stanpit, headed back that way at 17:36 tonight. The sea saw quite a mixture of birds, including: a Fulmar; 3 Kittiwake and 14 Wigeon east; and 2 Red-throated Diver, 14 Mediterranean Gull and 12 Common Gull west. The best at Stanpit was a flock of 10 Bar-tailed Godwit; a male Bullfinch was on Wick; a single Peregrine was on the Priory; and two finely attired Great Crested Grebe were in Barn Bight. 

February 22nd

Dunlin, one already showing some breeding plumage – Clinton Whale
Marsh Harrier – Peter Boardman
Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale
House Sparrow – Paul Boult

The day’s highlights were: a Water Pipit and the Glossy Ibis at Stanpit; a final total of 12 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit; the adult male Marsh Harrier hunting Wick Hams; and at least 20 Mediterranean Gull, some vocal, including an eastbound flock of twelve. Moving around the three areas of the site: the sea off Hengistbury saw a Great Northern Diver, a Great Crested Grebe, a Peregrine, a Curlew and 2 Common Gull passing, plus around 350 Wigeon on it; Stanpit yielded 4 Grey Plover, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit, 60 Dunlin, 6 Pintail, a pair of Gadwall and 238 Brent Goose; while Wick returned 5 Bullfinch, a Chiffchaff and a Redwing. To finish, the warmer weather encouraged 2 Skylark into some delightful song. 

February 21st

Goldcrest – Alan Crockard
Sheldrake (rear) and Shelduck – Clinton Whale

The Mudeford Quay Black Redstart made a welcome return today, being seen at 12:10 by the  RNLI slip, while 6 Purple Sandpiper were at the northern end of the Run. Earlier, the Glossy Ibis was returned from North Marsh, with others at Stanpit including: 4 Grey Plover, 12 Bar-tailed Godwit, 27 Pintail, 3 Shoveler and 3 Shelduck. Elsewhere, a few Siskin were on Hengistbury and two pairs of Bullfinch were on Wick. To round-up, sounds of Spring came from a Meadow Pipit in full song, with some display to boot, and around half a dozen vocal, adult Mediterranean Gull – some of these now getting some nice head feathering. 

February 20th

Glossy Ibis – Mike Gibbons
Male Sparrowhawk – John Fletcher

The Glossy Ibis left its roost at dawn, when a Brambling and Grey Wagtail also went over Hengistbury, and then spent the day at Stanpit. The best at sea was an adult Little Gull east, along with a couple each of Kittiwake and Red-throated Diver doing the same, while a Sandwich Tern lingered. From Fisherman’s Bank, 4 Grey Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit and six of the currently, uncharacteristically scarce Black-tailed Godwit were counted, along with 4 Mediterranean Gull, a good tally of 33 Pintail and 275 Brent Goose. 

February 19th

It’s another day that is light on news, although a female Merlin over the Barn Field and then east this afternoon, when 20 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit, was a nice record. The only other report, however, is of 200+ Brent Goose at Stanpit. 

February 18th

Purple Sandpiper – Alan Cherry
A good candidate for 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit – Jackie Smith

The only reports for today are of the Glossy Ibis at Stanpit and 8 Purple Sandpiper about Mudeford Quay. 

February 17th

All the day’s news comes from Mudeford Quay, where 24 Purple Sandpiper were seen traversing the Run, a Sandwich Tern was offshore and a calling Mediterranean Gull was a welcome sound – the latter almost exclusively mute outside of the Spring and Summer months. 

February 16th

Sinenis–race, ('Continental') Cormorant, in breeding plumage - Peter Boardman

The Glossy Ibis had not been reported since midway into the recent cold snap and we were starting to fear the worst, so it was great to hear it was at Stanpit all day. Also around the marsh, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover, 44 Dunlin, 22 Pintail – a good number here – and a fine count of 238 Brent Goose, fifteen of them second-calendar-year birds. The on-going, warmer weather got Cetti’s Warbler to clear their throats, while a couple of Redshank were looking interested in each other on Wick Farm Meadows – who knows what might happen in the improved habitat there – that work being part-funded by CHOG and the Dorset Bird Club. To round up, a Grey Wagtail went over Mudeford Quay and a Kingfisher was watched from the Viewing Platform on Wick.

February 15th

Pintail – Jackie Smith
Redwing – Jackie Smith

The temperatures took another, very welcome, notch up the scale again today; when, at dawn, a single Cattle Egret left the roost. Later, at least 3 Bullfinch were on Wick – a pair that showed exceptionally well along Roebury Lane and into the No Dogs Field, plus a singing bird by the Wooden Bridge. Elsewhere, a Redwing and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit were at Stanpit, while 3 Sandwich Tern lingered off Mudeford Quay. 

Barn Owl Cam
The CHOG-sponsored Barn Owl camera, managed by Paul Turton and Jackie Smith, will be streaming until September.
View the live feed
Annual Report 2019
Birds of Christchurch Harbour 2019
report cover 2019Out now. Free for members.
Details of how to join.
Annual Reports USB

The Birds of
Christchurch Harbour
1956 to 2019

USB Stick

Over 60 years of
CHOG annual reports on
searchable USB

Out now
Only £15 + £1.25 P&P

Learn more here…


CHOG members have access to a growing online resource of informative and educational items.

Try CHOG Online here.

Harbour Map
harbourmapthumbnail Our interactive harbour map helps you to identify locations around the harbour and gives some useful pointers.
Harbour Slideshow
Isabelline Shrike See the best of some recent rarities in our Harbour Slideshow
Social Media
Join us on Social Media Twitter