Welcome to the website of the Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group
Annual Reports USB
2020 Annual Report
Barn Owl Cam
The CHOG-sponsored Barn Owl camera, managed by Paul Turton and Jackie Smith, streams live during the breeding season.
Welcome to the website of the Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group
Recent daily sightings
Saturday 18th December 2021
Festive Birding at Hengistbury Head.
More details and how to register…
The Red-necked Grebe that has been in Christchurch Bay for the last couple of days, this morning drifted close enough to Mudeford Quay to make it onto the area’s year list. Also seen at sea: 3 Kittiwake off Whitepits; a Red-throated Diver, 11 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill, thirty-three of either and 7 Gannet west; plus a settled Red-throated Diver, along with 6 Great Crested Grebe. Meanwhile, the Snow Bunting ranged along the Beach, ending up by groyne S9 at sunset. A reasonable showing of waders at Stanpit included: a Knot, 6 Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 28 Ringed Plover and 35 Dunlin; with the more-interesting wildfowl on the marsh represent by at least two drake Tufted Duck, a female Shoveler, three drake Pintail and 4 Gadwall. Elsewhere, a single Purple Sandpiper was on the sandspit and at least one Kingfisher was about.
The so-far, elusive Snow Bunting was, not before time, pinned down this morning – ranging along the Beach beneath the Coastguards. Meanwhile, at sea: a Red-throated Diver, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Common Scoter, 4 Brent Goose, 9 Razorbill, 8 Guillemot, sixteen of either, 9 Common Gull and 15 Gannet went west. In addition, 8 Razorbill were on the water, some looking as if unwell, along with four better-looking Great Crested Grebe. A Purple Sandpiper was around the end of the head, while the sandspit held 30 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin. To finish: a couple of Firecrest were in the Wood; 3 Chiffchaff and a Bullfinch were on Wick; the Marsh Harrier hunted Wick Hams; 3 Pintail were inside the harbour; and a Kingfisher hovered above Holloway’s Dock.
Most of the news comes from the end of the day, namely Stanpit at dusk, where: a Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 36 Black-tailed Godwit were in the bight; a female Tufted Duck was in the very strange location of the small pool along Grimmery Bank; and a Kingfisher was about. Earlier, one of the same was around Barn Bight, as was the Marsh Harrier.
After a windless first couple of hours, the north-westerly wind came back to remind us what cold is! There were 4 Bullfinch around this morning – three on Wick and one in the Wood – where 4 Goldcrest were also logged. Shelduck, which are traditionally scarce here at this time of year, put in an appearance – seven heading west and two inside the harbour. Meanwhile, 6 Razorbill and 8 Great Crested Grebe were settled on the hazy sea. Most of the wader news comes from Stanpit and includes: a Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Black-tailed Godwit and 32 Dunlin. Also on the marsh, a Pintail, while the site-wide Little Grebe total nudged up to five and a Kingfisher was about Parky Meade Rail.
The Beach seemed a good option this morning to try and escape the northerly onslaught of Storm Arwen. In doing so, a Snow Bunting was accidentally flushed from the base of the cliffs directly beneath the Coastguards. After a brief circuit, the bird appeared to come down on the cliff top itself, but a sleet shower discouraged too much hanging around to try and re-locate it. The only other news comes from Wick, where 3 Redwing were by the Viewing Platform and a Peregrine went over.
Between them, seawatches from the Beach Huts and Mudeford Quay produced: a Red-throated Diver, 25 Gannet and eleven unidentified auks west; a Guillemot east and 7 Razorbill – five west and two settled; 7 Common Gull and 2 Great Crested Grebe. Also from the quay, 14 Purple Sandpiper which crossed the Run. Meanwhile, the waders at Stanpit included: a Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 31 Ringed Plover, 24 Dunlin and 2 Snipe; with the male Marsh Harrier again hunting the area.
There is nothing really outstanding to report, other than a reasonable selection of birds about the area. A Purple Sandpiper, 30 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin were on the sandspit, while 2 Grey Plover were at Stanpit and at least 21 Black-tailed Godwit were around. The sea produced 6 Common Scoter, initially settled then east, a Guillemot east and 2 Razorbill on the water. A couple of Firecrest were in the Wood, a Redwing came in-off and a Chiffchaff was on Wick. To finish, the Marsh Harrier was seen from Hengistbury, 10 Pintail were inside the harbour and a Kingfisher was on East Marsh.
The wind dropped almost completely overnight. but a pervading, dull damp still made it feel cold. Groyne S9 on the sandspit held a Purple Sandpiper, 35 Ringed Plover and 5 Dunlin; while, offshore from there, a Red-throated Diver headed east, with 4 Razorbill and 3 Great Crested Grebe settled. The rest for this short post involves 2 Firecrest at the end of the head and the male Marsh Harrier around Wick.
The wind lessened a little from yesterday, making for a lovely, crisp day. A dark, Arctic Skua on the sea off Mudeford Quay was a real surprise, from where a flock of four, westbound Red-throated Diver and a dozen, settled Great Crested Grebe were seen. Perhaps more surprising, however, was a Red-breasted Merganser flying inland up the Stour – a species that is normally far more marine in its habits. The conditions saw a couple more incoming Marsh Harrier – two high birds over the sandspit – with 3 Purple Sandpiper on the groynes and a Guillemot west, plus 3 Teal and 10 Wigeon circuiting. Elsewhere, 3 Chiffchaff were in the North Scrubs and a Kingfisher was on Wick Hams.
The northerly wind and dropping temperature brought a good number of new, wetland birds to the area – the best being 6 Velvet Scoter on the sea before moving-off west. Also seen heading in that direction: 23 Brent Goose, 3 Wigeon and 6 Common Gull; while those noted arriving included: 2 Tufted Duck, 16 Shelduck, 11 Pintail, 3 Gadwall, a Snipe and 2 Lapwing; with a Red-throated Diver, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Brent Goose and 2 Mediterranean Gull travelling east. Additionally, inside the harbour, accompanying the 4 Pintail, 10 Gadwall and hundreds of Wigeon, all feeding, were a pair of sleeping Shoveler and many likewise Teal. There was another Snow Bunting encounter today – this time a bird heard several times over Mudeford Quay, but unfortunately not pinned down. Rounding up: three or four Redwing were newly arrived on Hengistbury; a couple of Grey Plover and the Marsh Harrier were at Stanpit; two female-type Common Scoter were on the sea; and, this evening, an absolute minimum of 480 Pied Wagtail roosted in a reedbed.
The forecast, northerly breeze came and certainly chilled the air this morning, when 5 Cattle Egret headed-out from roost and the male Marsh Harrier was seen from both sides of the River. Otherwise, it was relatively quiet – a Firecrest and 2 Bullfinch on Wick; 12 Redwing west; at least 3 Chiffchaff about; and 2 Guillemot – being the birds of note.
Highlight of an otherwise quiet morning at Hengistbury was a Snow Bunting, initially heard calling from the cliff below and then seen briefly flying over the far end of the Head towards the Salt Hurns. The overcast but calm conditions produced little at sea with just 13 Brent Goose, 3 Mediterranean Gull and a Common Gull heading east, as well as a Red-throated Diver, 3 Common Scoter and two each of Razorbill and Guillemot on the sea. A Chiffchaff was near the eastern Natterjack Toad pond and the usual male Marsh Harrier was again on Wick Hams. Meanwhile, the best of a reasonable selection of birds at Stanpit was a Water Pipit on South Marsh, with two littoralis-type Rock Pipit nearby. Waders included 3 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 22 Black-tailed Godwit, whilst the several hundred Wigeon were joined by 10 Gadwall and 4 Pintail. Finally, 8 Common Gull and a further Mediterranean Gull were inside the Harbour.
A Slavonian Grebe, along with 5 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Common Scoter and 4 Razorbill, was on the calm sea off Mudeford Quay during the morning. A check a couple of hours later saw that all but the ‘great crests’ had gone – those actually having increased to nine by then. Also on that visit, there were 15 Purple Sandpiper and 55 Brent Goose; the latter on the sea just off the tip of the sandspit – a habit they have recently taken to. The only other news is of an Avocet and the regular Marsh Harrier at Stanpit.
Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull continue to impress with their early winter numbers – fifty-seven and thirty-four respectively passing west at sea this morning; as did 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Brent Goose, a Razorbill and 4 Guillemot; while 2 Red-throated Diver headed east and at least 2 Common Scoter were settled. Meanwhile, 17 Purple Sandpiper and 12 Ringed Plover were on the sandspit; and, inside the harbour, there was an adult Yellow-legged Gull on a jetty adjacent to the Christchurch Harbour Hotel, 4 Grey Plover and a further 32 Brent Goose. In addition to the regular, adult male Marsh Harrier, a female-type bird went over high; with a Brambling, 9 Redpoll, a Siskin and 3 Grey Wagtail doing likewise. To conclude, a Firecrest and at least 2 Chiffchaff were in the Wood.
There was a good total of 16 Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit this morning, when the male Marsh Harrier was again hunting Wick Hams. Meanwhile, on the calm sea, a Red-throated Diver could be picked out, along with singles of Razorbill, Guillemot and Great Crested Grebe. Two each of Firecrest and Chiffchaff were settled on Hengistbury, with 5 Redwing passing over there. The best-of-the-rest involves a Kingfisher and 2 Little Grebe in Barn Bight, plus a couple of Water Rail from the Wooden Bridge.
The very settled conditions continue and, this morning, there was a Siberian Chiffchaff with 2 Chiffchaff in the bushes by the Argyle Road slip. Also from there, inside the harbour, there was a very impressive count of 65 Mediterranean Gull and 28 Common Gull, as well as a Kittiwake and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull. A Greenshank was something of a surprise amongst the waders, which also included: 5 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Black-tailed Godwit, 22 Ringed Plover and 55 Dunlin. Hengistbury again saw a modicum of overhead movement – the most notables being: 4 Fieldfare, a Redpoll and 5 Siskin. Meanwhile, a couple of Firecrest were in the Wood and a further 2 Chiffchaff were by the HHC. As suggested yesterday, Tufted Duck are arriving – a flock of six incoming over Hengistbury, then settled at Stanpit – where they joined the three incumbent Pintail. Finishing, the Marsh Harrier was again about Wick Hams, 3 Cattle Egret were on the marsh early on and a confirmed total of 3 Kingfisher was returned.
On another mild day with almost no wind, there had been a clear arrival of birds – most notably: a sudden increase to 11 Grey Plover at Stanpit; many more Blackbird on Hengistbury, including an unfortunate individual that couldn’t quite make landfall; a rise to 6 Firecrest on the head; and a sleepy, drake Tufted Duck in Stanpit Bight. Meanwhile, a couple of Scaup on the sea and then east made for a nice record, while 3 Red-breasted Merganser did the same and a dozen Common Scoter were logged. Red-throated Diver were again being seen – two west and four on the water – the latter with 2 Razorbill, 4 Guillemot and a Great Crested Grebe. Other than the already mentioned blackbirds, incoming thrushes included two each of Redwing and Mistle Thrush; while the tail-enders of the season’s finch passage comprised: 2 Redpoll, 30 Siskin, 35 Chaffinch, 32 Linnet and 48 Goldfinch; all east. To finish with the passerines, in the bushes, at least 4 Chiffchaff were around and two female Bullfinch were on Wick. Moving back to Stanpit, at least 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 16 Black-tailed Godwit and 40 Dunlin were present, along with 8 Common Gull and a sub-adult male Marsh Harrier.
Red-throated Diver seem to be moving back in for the winter – seven logged off the Beach Huts today – five of them being a flock on the water. Also at sea: 9 Razorbill, most of those settled; 4 Great Crested Grebe, all east; and four circuiting Teal. A total of 37 Snipe was seen to arrive – wisps of seventeen and twenty – the latter pitching-in to the damp area of Heather on the top of the head. Also on the watch, a couple of Swallow and a Peregrine out to sea; plus, on the way down, a Blackcap in the Wood. At dawn, a couple of Tawny Owl were vocal in the same area and 9 Cattle Egret left the roost. Wader-wise, 3 Grey Plover and 23 Dunlin were at Stanpit, with the sandspit contributing 22 Ringed Plover. Moving back to the marsh, there was an adult Mediterranean Gull, as well as 3 Pintail, a duck and two drakes.
There is little news for the day, when a male Marsh Harrier was about the area and 3 Chiffchaff were on Wick.
It was a blustery day of westerly wind, when a Sabine’s Gull was returned, with no detail, from Hengistbury. At Stanpit, on the morning high tide, there were: 2 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Black-tailed Godwit and 28 Dunlin; as well as singles of Pintail and Common Gull. Meanwhile, one of the regular Kestrel was in feisty spirits, seeing-off both a Peregrine and a Sparrowhawk as they dared approach too close.
Two Scaup, as well as a Great Northern Diver and a Red-throated Diver, were seen at sea today, while the sandspit hosted 4 Purple Sandpiper. A late Swallow contrasted with a grey-looking Chiffchaff, that on Wick, where around 75 Meadow Pipit flocked early on. Also first thing, a Cattle Egret and 26 Little Egret leaving the roost; with the male Marsh Harrier being seen throughout. Slightly later, a Firecrest was in the Wood and a Kingfisher was around Wick Hams.
A male Marsh Harrier was again around Wick, while the Purple Sandpiper on the sandspit increased to ten and a Red-breasted Merganser passed west off there. That’s the only news from another mild and settled day.
It was another mild and still day, when 3 Chiffchaff were in the North Scrubs, as was a lone Siskin; while a noteworthy flock of 80-100 Greenfinch was nearby alongside Parky Meade Rail. Around Stanpit Bight, there were: 4 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 26 Black-tailed Godwit, 42 Ringed Plover, 27 Dunlin and 3 Turnstone; as well as the 2 Pintail. A confirmed 3 Kingfisher were about the marsh.
After a coldish start, there were some nice late-Autumn birds to be had. A Ring Ouzel came out of the Batters and into the Nursery, while a Black Redstart and Golden Plover were seen from Fisherman’s Bank, and 2 Purple Sandpiper were on the sandspit. In addition, a Marsh Harrier hunted the Wick portion of the area this morning and a Razorbill was just off Whitepits this evening. Inside the harbour, at Stanpit, there were: 5 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Ringed Plover and 40 Dunlin; as well as 2 Pintail and 15 Common Gull. To finish, a couple of Kingfisher were around Wick Hams and a further record came from the Rusty Boat.
The best of the WeBS count was 4 Cattle Egret at Stanpit, but also: 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 21 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, 43 Dunlin and 168 Redshank; plus 2 Pintail, 3 Gadwall, a Shelduck, 68 Brent Goose, 68 Teal, 627 Wigeon, 250 Coot and 132 Mute Swan; and a single Kingfisher. Otherwise, it’s just a Marsh Harrier and a Peregrine to remark upon.
Ring Ouzel were seen on two occasions this morning – once on Crouch Hill and the other out of the Nursery at first light; when a Fieldfare and 27 Redwing did likewise. Meanwhile, 3 Cattle Egret also left their roost. Slightly later, a Short-eared Owl came in-off-the-sea, being harried by Herring Gull as it did so, and headed inland. Also seen over the water, a Red-breasted Merganser east, 2 Great Crested Grebe west and twenty, milling Common Scoter. To round up, the tomorrow-to-be-counted wetland birds at Stanpit included: 4 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, at least 35 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Pintail and 3 Shelduck.
The only direct reports are of a male Marsh Harrier north-east over Wick, where a Blackcap and 3 Chiffchaff were also about. Otherwise, the news from Hengistbury is of a Hawfinch, a Woodcock and 3 Brambling.
There were definitely some good birds seen at Hengistbury today. A Ring Ouzel was on the Batters above the Long Field, while shortly afterwards a male Hen Harrier was seen distantly over Highcliffe from the Beach Huts. Meanwhile, a Woodlark passed over and 2 Velvet Scoter were logged at sea. A Marsh Harrier was also about, as were 8 Redwing, a Blackcap and 6 Chiffchaff. To finish: early on, 20 Cattle Egret left the roost; and, after dark, Redwing could be heard over Two Riversmeet football pitches.
It was a classic pigeon dawn – clear skies, a light frost and just a hint of a breeze. Unfortunately, nothing is known about the prime watchpoint of Hengistbury, but from the much-disadvantaged location of Mudeford Quay, between 07:45 and 08:30, at least 8900 were logged heading west. This, however, is a clear under-total of what must have passed over greater Christchurch in the first two hours of daylight. Also from the quay, a Brambling east and the calls of Siskin, Skylark and Grey Wagtail. Two more of the latter were at Stanpit, where 5 Avocet spent the morning; while the afternoon saw 4 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 30 Ringed Plover and 45 Dunlin, as well as a pair of Pintail. There were some gull surprises in the Run mid-afternoon, when 48 Mediterranean Gull and 29 Common Gull were huddled on a small, shingle island. Both figures are quite exceptional counts for the month. To finish, a seal species was also in that patch of water.
It was a fantastic day of clear sky throughout and as close to Beaufort Force 0 as you can get – unfortunately, there was no smoke on show to check against. Although there was no watch going on, some casual records suggest Woodpigeon were perhaps on the move; but the next two days also look good for some numbers. Meanwhile, the Spoonbill was again at Stanpit – on South Marsh in the morning, when a female-type Marsh Harrier passed north – along with 2 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 22 Black-tailed Godwit, 27 Ringed Plover, 6 Dunlin, two drake Pintail and a Common Gull. Passerine-wise, a Brambling went over Hengistbury and 2 Chiffchaff, plus a Bullfinch, were in the North Scrubs. To finish, Kingfisher were seen on a number of occasions about a very inundated marsh.
November is the time for Woodpigeon migration and today the season kicked-off with 5500 west from Hengistbury, where 4 Bullfinch also headed in that direction and 12 Redwing moved inland. A male Marsh Harrier was logged from Wick, with a Spoonbill being seen on a couple of occasions about the area. Firecrest seemed to have arrived overnight – a single bird on Wick, where there was also 5 Chiffchaff, and five on the head. To finish, 25 Ringed Plover were on the sandspit, a further Bullfinch was settled, a Buzzard was over the Nursery and a Kingfisher was around Wick Hams.
The only news from a wet and stormy day is of a Spoonbill at Stanpit, where 28 Black-tailed and a Grey Wagtail were the only other returns from a largely inaccessible marsh.
Early this morning, a Spoonbill was on South Marsh for a brief period, with other, before-lunch notables at Stanpit coming from: 3 Knot, 2 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 45 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Ringed Plover, 22 Dunlin and a Sandwich Tern; as well as a male Blackcap associating with finch flock.
The blustery conditions continued and a seawatch from the Beach Huts, this morning, produced: 14 Kittiwake, 15 Common Scoter, 3 Guillemot, four unidentified auks and 37 Gannet. Nearby, a Greenshank was in Holloway’s Dock and 6 Black-tailed Godwit were on the Salt Hurns. Meanwhile, a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull was seen from Fisherman’s Bank, as were 2 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and 12 Dunlin. A later visit to Stanpit increased the site-wide, day-total for Black-tailed Godwit to twenty-one birds, with 2 Pintail, a Kingfisher and 6 Skylark, the latter all on South Marsh so certainly new-in, also being present.
A Jack Snipe and 6 Snipe were returned from Stanpit this morning, along with a Greenshank, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 12 Black-tailed Godwit. Also from the marsh, a Sandwich Tern, 4 Mediterranean Gull, a drake Pintail, and three, likely ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit. Over on Wick, early on, 7 Redwing and 2 Chiffchaff were logged; while, offshore, a couple of Little Gull and 35 Kittiwake headed west, and a Great Crested Grebe was in Barn Bight.
For the second day in succession and omitted from yesterday’s post, there was a Water Pipit and two likely littoralis Rock Pipit on South Marsh this morning; when a Little Gull was in the same area and Ring Ouzel was in the North Scrubs. Later in the day, around Stanpit Bight, there were 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Dunlin, 3 Pintail and an adult Mediterranean Gull, as well as a Kingfisher.
There is more to report upon today – all from a morning visit to Hengistbury. Overhead, a single Song Thrush went typically west; while 10 Siskin, 62 Linnet, 8 Pied Wagtail, 40 Meadow Pipit and 3 Swallow headed east. A Firecrest was in the Wood, 5 Chiffchaff were on Wick and 6 Goldcrest were spread between those two areas. Meanwhile, waders about the place included: 4 Dunlin, 14 Turnstone and 103 Lapwing; two each of Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull travelled west, as did 3 Shelduck; 22 Brent Goose were inside the harbour; a Peregrine was around; and 3 Shag were offshore.
Other than a Glossy Ibis over Wick towards Stanpit, early on, it’s another slow-news day. A Greenshank was on Stanpit, 4 Chiffchaff were on Wick and a Little Grebe was around Barn Bight.
It’s another day that is very light on news – all comes from Wick, early on, in fact. Three Cattle Egret headed north, while 6 Chiffchaff and a Blackcap were in the bushes.
A Merlin, high over the harbour and then north, was the best from a fairly quiet morning; which also saw 14 Chiffchaff and 3 Bullfinch on Wick, plus 4 Goldcrest in the Wood. Meanwhile, at Stanpit, there was a Mediterranean Gull, a Common Gull and a pair of Pintail. Otherwise, it just 6 Egyptian Goose, over-spilling from the hordes in the Avon Valley, to report upon.
The only news for the day comes from late-on at Stanpit, where a redhead Goosander, a Greenshank and Pintail were with uncounted Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit.
On a much nicer day of weather, there was a light movement over Hengistbury; which included: a Bullfinch, 10 Siskin, 3 Chaffinch, 220 Goldfinch, 108 Linnet, 10 alba Wagtail, 19 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark – generally east – as well as a Snipe and an out-to-sea Sparrowhawk, this morning; while the afternoon saw 10 Swallow passing through. At least 14 Chiffchaff were about Wick, along with 4 Blackcap and a resident Bullfinch – that on the riverside path. At Stanpit, there were 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 24 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover and 12 Dunlin, as well as a Pintail, 4 Shoveler and a pair of Gadwall. To finish, a Peregrine was enjoying the sun on the Priory during the morning.
On another blustery day, there is little to report. An adult Kittiwake passed Mudeford Quay, while a Sandwich Tern, a Swallow and up to fifty, battling Linnet were also noted. Otherwise, it’s just 2 Greenshank and 8 Bar-tailed Godwit at Stanpit to mention.
Annual Reports USB
Barn Owl Cam
The CHOG-sponsored Barn Owl camera, managed by Paul Turton and Jackie Smith, streams live during the breeding season.