Welcome to the website of the Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group
Barn Owl Cam
Annual Reports USB
Welcome to the website of the Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group
Recent daily sightings
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As the harbour is part of the Solent Special Protection Area (SPA), which was primarily created for the benefit of Little, Common and Sandwich Terns, we are looking to closely monitor their numbers in the area over the autumn migration period. As such, any counts with locations and timings would be very welcome indeed.
As from August 1st, we will be offering free membership to young people aged 16 to 25. This will allow free access to all our events, as well as a PDF copy of our annual report, The Birds of Christchurch Harbour.
Additionally, this free membership will extend to our partner in this initiative, the Dorset Bird Club, and all the benefits they offer; plus access to all BTO Youth Team events across Dorset.
We welcome all new members to this scheme.
It was today confirmed that 6 Cattle Egret are roosting in the area and then spending the day in the Avon Valley; likewise, a Glossy Ibis. Two of yesterday’s Wood Sandpiper remained on Priory Marsh, while other waders included: 2 Green Sandpiper over, a Little Ringed Plover, an Avocet, 12 Common Sandpiper 3 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin and an in-harbour Turnstone. Transient passerines across the site were reckoned at: a Grasshopper Warbler on Riversmeet Meadow embankment, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, a Whinchat on Crouch Hill, 8 Wheatear, a Whitethroat and 15 Willow Warbler; plus singles of Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail and Grey Wagtail over. Rounding up: a couple of Wigeon passed through, with 22 Teal settled; 130 Sandwich Tern and 6 Common Tern were around Stanpit Bight; and Kingfisher were seen in Brewer’s Creek and Mother Siller’s Channel.
An easterly breeze kept the field temperatures certainly bearable, and there was a good bit of variety to be had. A Garganey was around the waters adjacent to South Marsh for a while; 3 Wood Sandpiper were seen very well on Priory Marsh this afternoon; and a Glossy Ibis and at least 5 Cattle Egret were about the area early on. Juvenile Mediterranean Gull have been passing east in numbers for the last day or two, but there are no actual figures to yet publish – also an adult lingering. Meanwhile, a Little Tern went over Crouch Hill and 5 Common Tern passed through to the west. Sedge Warbler were described as many, with other passerines, all at Stanpit, being reported as: a Whinchat, 3 Wheatear and a Willow Warbler. To wrap up: the only waders logged were 3 Whimbrel, 8 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Dunlin; up to 10 Water Rail were on show in Parky Meade Rail, when the tide was at its lowest; and 2 Kingfisher were zipping around the Bailey Bridge – currently the best spot on the site to catch-up with one.
What could hopefully become again ‘the’ Glossy Ibis was seen at Stanpit early in the morning, with a Wood Sandpiper over South Marsh. Crouch Hill hosted an impressive 6 Whinchat, as well as 2 Wheatear – a further three of the latter, plus a Spotted Flycatcher, being on Hengistbury and 8 Willow Warbler on Wick – along with 2 Yellow Wagtail over Central Marsh this evening. Also over the marsh, a couple of Little Tern, while a Black Tern was seen offshore from Double Dykes. Wader returns were low – 4 Whimbrel and 8 Dunlin, for example – and Kingfisher were seen both sides of the area. To finish, news just in of a Green Sandpiper briefly on North Marsh.
Early in the morning, a Glossy Ibis and an Osprey passed over to the north; while, later, a Spotted Redshank dropped into South Marsh. There was some good passerine variety, if not quantity, including: a Pied Flycatcher, 2 Whinchat, 3 Wheatear, a Garden Warbler, 8 Yellow Wagtail and 15 Willow Warbler, all from Stanpit; with a French-ringed Sedge Warbler at Wick, from where 15 Swallow were the only hirundine return. The Stanpit Creek Little Tern were back numbering four – an adult and three juveniles, and two birds were later seen off Mudeford Quay; also six juvenile Mediterranean Gull about the place. Finishing, a couple of Common Sandpiper and 16 Dunlin were on the marsh.
As the temperature continued to edge up, there was again a Little Tern presence in Stanpit Creek – today, an adult and two juveniles. The on-site waders included: a Little Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper, up to 10 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 19 Dunlin; while the only passerine news is of 9 Yellow Wagtail about the marsh – six over and three landing with the ponies on Central Marsh. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was around South Marsh late in the afternoon, with at least 20 Mediterranean Gull – all but three being juveniles – were logged earlier. To finish, a Buzzard was once again in the airspace and the Sandwich Tern estimate was fifty.
As we move towards some more exceptionally hot weather, it’s nice there is still water on Priory Marsh and the impending spring tides should hopefully add a bit more – two or three Red-eyed Damselfly on there this afternoon. Earlier, the migrant passerines were headed by a Spotted Flycatcher, a Garden Warbler and 3 Tree Pipit, those over; plus up to 20 Willow Warbler and 15 Blackcap. The best of the waders was an over-flying Green Sandpiper, with support coming from 5 Common Sandpiper, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit seen to arrive, a Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover and 34 Dunlin. To wrap up: an adult and two juvenile Mediterranean Gulls were logged; 3 Kingfisher were seen at the same time; and, for the second day on the run, 2 Buzzard were overhead.
A Glossy Ibis flew north over the area in the early morning, while a Cattle Egret was on East Marsh at the start and end of the day. A Little Tern family – an adult and three juveniles – frequented Stanpit Creek throughout and a Roseate Tern passed west; with 2 Common Tern and over a hundred Sandwich Tern resting inside the harbour. Also on the mud, up to 10 Whimbrel, 6 Ringed Plover, 34 Dunlin and a Turnstone. Of the few passerines noted, a Wood Warbler was in Ashtree Meadow, a Lesser Whitethroat was by the HHC and around 10 Willow Warbler were on Wick.
Around 17:00 tonight, a load of gulls and terns came up from East Marsh and headed purposefully to the north – perhaps sensing an ant-hatch – in the flock were a single Black Tern and 5 Little Tern. Around fifteen minutes later, 2 Little Tern – an adult and a juvenile – fished for a while in Stanpit Creek. Earlier in the day, an Avocet and 3 Greenshank, along with 6 Ringed Plover and 19 Dunlin, were around Stanpit Bight; where 8 Shoveler were also seen. Migrant passerines were fewer than yesterday – just modest numbers of the commoner species; around 10 Swallow passed through; and a couple of Kingfisher were about.
All three egrets were logged today – in addition to the expected ‘little’, a Cattle Egret and 2 Great White Egret headed north. Meanwhile, 2 Black Tern were amongst 93 Common Tern and around 30 Mediterranean Gull, all but two of those juveniles, which passed west through the harbour. There were also outbound passerines around Stanpit – including a Whinchat, 300 Sedge Warbler and 30 Willow Warbler. Moving to waders, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 13 Dunlin 20 Ringed Plover and 5 Snipe were also about the marsh; and, to finish, a couple of Kingfisher was reckoned, as well as 7 Teal.
Again, there were over a hundred Sandwich Tern settled inside the harbour on the early morning low, with ‘dozens’ being stated as commuting to and from Mudeford Quay as the waters flooded. On Wick, there was the surprise of a Nuthatch in the No Dogs Field, while 3 Wheatear were around the quay – with a further on Priory Marsh – and 10 Willow Warbler were about the area. Waders at Stanpit continue to be sparse – the day’s best being 2 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 7 Dunlin. To finish: a couple of Mediterrean Gull were logged – one of them a juvenile moulting to first-winter plumage; adult and juvenile Peregrine were vocal high above the marsh; and various ant-hatches attracted Swift, Swallow and gulls.
As the recent, westerly themed winds dropped, there were a lot of terns lingering around the area today – the best count being of 104 Sandwich Tern on the Flats, as well as 30 Common Tern either side of Mudeford Quay. Wader-wise, a Common Sandpiper preferred the scrape on the northern edge of Crouch Hill, while a Wood Sandpiper passed over Crouch Hill and a Little Ringed Plover, 6 Whimbrel and 2 Ringed Plover were also returned from Stanpit. Moving to passerines: 2 Grasshopper Warbler, a Garden Warbler, a Tree Pipit and a Wheatear were about the marsh, with 7 Willow Warbler on Wick. To finish, a Yellow-legged Gull of unspecified age was on Branders Bank and at least 15 Swift passed over.
A Roseate Tern cruised slowly west off Mudeford Quay at around 8:00 this morning, while an evening visit to Stanpit saw a Great White Egret head north. Otherwise, it was fairly quiet – a Common Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin and a Common Tern inside the harbour, with 2 Willow Warbler by the Wooden Bridge on Wick – being the only remaining interest.
Around 11:30 this morning, at least 60 Common Tern appeared at Stanpit before drifting off to the west. Meanwhile, an Avocet, an adult Grey Plover, a Common Sandpiper, 7 Whimbrel, 8 Dunlin and a Teal were also on the mud; with a Wheatear on Crouch Hill. In the late afternoon, one of the adult Peregrine, over the sandspit, twice attempted to pass a Turnstone to one of the juveniles; but each time the fortunate wader got away.
An early look from Mudeford Quay saw 23 Common Tern, 4 Sanderling and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit on the exposed sandbar, while a Wheatear was on the sandspit fence and 3 Gadwall landed on the sea. Later, Stanpit produced: 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Dunlin, at least 8 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover and a breeding-plumaged, fly-over Turnstone; as well as a flock of around 50 Linnet on South Marsh. The day-return of Mediterranean Gull was of four birds and, of butterfly interest, Clouded Yellow are now starting to be seen.
The only news for the day is off 3 Whimbrel, 11 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Mediterranean Gull, all around Stanpit Bight.
Migrant Common Tern have become scarcer and scarcer over the last decade at least, so a flock of thirteen west through the harbour this morning was nice to see. Meanwhile, the settled waders at Stanpit included: a Green Sandpiper, 3 Common Sandpiper, an adult Knot, 14 Whimbrel, 5 Dunlin and 75 Redshank. Early on, there was hint of passerine migration with a Lesser Whitethroat, a Whitethroat, 12 Reed Warbler and 7 Sedge Warbler on or around the Riversmeet Meadow embankment.
Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull were a little behind schedule this year, but the now-expected, small numbers seem to be around – at least two, but probably three, at Stanpit throughout the day. Also on the marsh, the adult male Peregrine giving life-lessons to one of his offspring; as well as, 6 Common Tern, 14 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Whimbrel, 6 Ringed Plover and 10 Dunlin. The only news from the other side is of a Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher about the Lily Pond.
There were a couple of surprises for the day: the first, a couple of Red Kite over Stanpit; the second, a singing Garden Warbler by the Nursery – it’s really something of a mystery as to what may have been going on around there for last couple of seasons. Also around the marsh, there were a couple of Green Sandpiper, a Little Ringed Plover and an Avocet, as well as 5 Common Sandpiper, 8 Whimbrel and 12 Dunlin. Sandwich Tern were around in numbers, but the largest single return was 105; also a couple of Common Tern in Holloway’s Dock, up to 18 Mediterranean Gull about and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull in the Run. To finish: 13 Swift passed over; 2 Kingfisher were at Stanpit; and Swallow and martins were feeding over Two Riversmeet this evening.
The best for the day is 2 Little Ringed Plover at Stanpit, where there were also 5 Whimbrel, 2 Ringed Plover, six adult Dunlin and a good count of 93 Oystercatcher. Meanwhile, the three young Peregrine are still around the recording area and east Christchurch in general, a couple of Kingfisher were about and the Ironstone Quarry hosted two Little Grebe chicks.
The only news for the day is mention of ‘quite a few’ Swift, Swallow and martins feeding at Stanpit this afternoon.
A brisk south-westerly wind brought a Balearic Shearwater close to Hengistbury this morning, when a Yellow-legged Gull of unspecified age was off the Long Groyne. Later in the day, Stanpit came up with a Knot, a Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Whimbrel, along with at least 3 Mediterranean Gull.
The Priory Peregrine are still around the area – the adult male was over Stanpit with one of his offspring; while all three of them were seen together over Hengistbury. Also from Stanpit, a Lesser Whitethroat again on Crouch Hill, 3 Common Sandpiper in Mother Siller’s Channel, 4 Whimbrel and 5 Mediterranean Gull. Returning to the head, a further Whimbrel was in Holloway’s Dock, along with 16 Sandwich Tern.
Amongst the passing Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Blackcap, a couple of Grasshopper Warbler were recorded – one caught by the ringers and one with a family of Cetti’s Warbler at Stanpit. Meanwhile, the ringing team processed around sixty birds – essentially a 50:50 split of Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler. Otherwise, it’s mainly waders about the marsh to report upon, including: 5 Common Sandpiper, 9 Whimbrel, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and 6 Dunlin. In addition, 5 Mediterranean and around 10 Sandwich Tern were about, one of the latter a juvenile, while a Peregrine soared about the Priory.
The day’s news is entirely made up of waders. A Little Stint was seen at Hengistbury this morning, but couldn’t be re-located at Stanpit, where a breeding-plumaged Grey Plover, 3 Whimbrel, a couple of Black-tailed Godwit, a single Ringed Plover and 6 Dunlin were present.
All the news is from the morning at Wick, where Marsh Harrier passed north and Yellow Wagtail was settled on the water meadows.
All the news is from Stanpit, where the best was a redhead Goosander flying north early on. Also, however, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Wheatear on Crouch Hill, while the waders included a Common Sandpiper, 6 Whimbrel and 4 Black-tailed Godwit.
The temperature once again got into the low 30s, but the breeze was always at hand to make things more comfortable – and even a bit of rain and thunder in the afternoon. Wrap-up warm tonight, it could plunge as low as seventeen! Bird-wise, Stanpit provides the only news – the best being 2 Garden Warbler on the Riversmeet Meadow embankment and a Wheatear on Crouch Hill. Also, however, a couple of Common Sandpiper, at least 40 Mediterranean Gull and a Kingfisher.
Early on, before the heat kicked in, a Wood Sandpiper circuited Stanpit in the company of a Ringed Plover; while a further of the latter and 2 Little Ringed Plover were also about. Briefly touching on passerines, Whinchat were on Priory Marsh and by the Wooden Bridge – that bird a juvenile, with a Grey Wagtail also by the bridge. Back to waders and a Snipe came up from Priory, plus 7 Whimbrel, 26 Black-tailed Godwit, 27 Curlew and 28 Redshank around Stanpit Bight. The peak Mediterranean Gull was fifty-one, along with commentary of, ‘a few sub-adults and five juveniles.’ Of breeding interest, the Hengistbury Kestrel eggs hatched today – perhaps self-incubated over this last week!
The heatwave continued today, with an onshore breeze providing some relief. There was no sign of the Caspian Tern from early morning, so it is assumed to have left the area. The best bird this morning was a Glossy Ibis which flew north through the Harbour. There was a trickle of return migration at Stanpit with a Tree Pipit over, 3 Yellow Wagtail, two of which landed on Central Marsh, and 2 Willow Warbler in North Scrubs. An hour’s sample count of hirundines moving east produced 123 Sand Martin and 59 Swallow, with 73 Swift also heading in the same direction. Waders were represented by a Green Sandpiper on Priory Marsh, 4 whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper and 2 Snipe which flew over. Finally from that side of the harbour, a male Marsh Harrier flew over Crouch Hill. The only news from Hengistbury is of an adult and two juvenile Little Grebe on the Ironstone Quarry Pond.
The Caspian Tern continued its routine for the day. This morning it spent some time on the HHC mudbar, but preferred Stanpit Creek in the afternoon. Other news is light, however – although a couple of Cattle Egret passed high south and out to sea; while a Greenshank and a Kingfisher were logged at Wick.
The cloudless-sky temperatures were tempered a little by a refreshing breeze, which this evening saw Swift moving through the area – at least fifty birds. Meanwhile, the Caspian Tern resumed yesterday’s routine of resting at Stanpit, perhaps favouring Stanpit Creek, and fishing in the Avon Valley; also, a couple of Common Tern inside the harbour. The wader variety around the marsh was nice and included: 3 Little Ringed Plover, 4 Greenshank, 7 Common Sandpiper, 12 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Dunlin. To finish, the low tide in Parky Meade Rail produced 7 Water Rail – going there at the point of low over the next couple of months is a really good bet for catching up with these – and 3 Teal were around.
A very-welcome Caspian Tern spent the day commuting between Stanpit and the Avon Valley, and was last seen apparently roosting on the marsh at dusk. Over on Wick, 3 Cattle Egret were seen to head up the Stour during the morning, when 2 Spoonbill headed east over the area and around 30 Mediterranean Gull were on the marsh.
The only news for the day is of a Garden Warbler on Wick, plus 2 Swift and a Swallow stopping-off around the Ironstone Quarry.
As the temperature continues to gather pace, a Greenshank was in Holloway’s Dock this morning, while the site-wide total for Mediterranean Gull was in excess of twenty-one. Stanpit was quiet in terms of waders, but a Little Ringed Plover, a Common Sandpiper, a Whimbrel and 3 Black-tailed Godwit were logged. Also from the marsh, a juvenile Lesser Whitethroat ‘near Crouch Hill’ and 5 Crossbill, plus 3 Swift, over.
As it’s their peak time of year, let’s start with odonata – dragon- and damselflies – and a first for the harbour; namely, a Lesser Emperor Dragonfly, at the dam end of the Ironstone Quarry, with up to 6 Red-eyed Damselfly also there. Now the birds, the best perhaps being a Hobby over Wick and a settled Garden Warbler on the fields. The rest comes from Stanpit, where a juvenile Dartford Warbler was notable in the company of four same-aged Stonechat – neither of the species breed on the marsh. The onset of the algae looks like it won’t be a great next couple of months for waders – today, just 2 Whimbrel and an arriving-from-the-north Black-tailed Godwit for the log. To finish, a female-type Shoveler was in Stanpit Bight and the Mediterranean Gull tally was: thirty-one inland during the morning and twenty-five loafing in the afternoon.
There was clear evidence of the return Sedge Warbler migration getting underway, with up to a dozen birds around Mother Siller’s Channel this morning; when a Goshawk passed over Stanpit to the north and a Whinchat was present. Around midday, a Little Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel and 2 Black-tailed Godwit were logged; while later in the afternoon, the variety of Mediterranean Gull was at least twenty, including a Benelux-ringed adult.
It was another very warm day and, once again, Stanpit served up a nice selection of mid-summer waders. The best was 4 Little Ringed Plover – an adult, two juveniles and one unaged – settled for a while in Mother Siller’s Channel. In addition, 4 Common Sandpiper, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Ringed Plover, a Dunlin and 13 Curlew were about the place. Today’s Mediterranean Gull tally was 107 – seventy-two settled and thirty-five heading inland. To round up, 3 Peregrine and a Buzzard were logged; as well as a surprising party of nine, well-grown Shelduck youngsters.
On a day when 257 Swift, 11 Swallow and 7 House Martin headed-out south, a couple of returning Kingfisher were around Stanpit this afternoon. Mediterranean Gull were plentiful, including the first three juveniles for the year – sixty-nine moving inland early on and ten later settled in the harbour. Meanwhile, the waders were headed by: a fly-over Little Ringed Plover, a Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Dunlin. To finish, 7 Gadwall were around and the regular, drake Tufted Duck was joined by another.
During the morning, there was the quite incredible sight of a Bittern occasionally wandering around on the mud on the western side of the river, opposite Grimmery Bank. There has probably never been a July record in the area for the species. Also seen around Stanpit, a Common Sandpiper, a Whimbrel and a Black-tailed Godwit; as well as 5 Water Rail, one of them a juvenile.
Stanpit was a bit more-lively today, with the best being an adult Yellow-legged Gull, a Greenshank, 5 Common Sandpiper and 2 Whimbrel. The support, meanwhile, came from a surprise of two, very small Shelduck ducklings, a Wigeon, the Tufted Duck, 2 Mediterranean Gull and 19 Curlew. On the other side of the area, the Garden Warbler was still in song in the Nursery and 150 Swift passed to the south.
As the seemingly, constant south-westerly wind picked up again, all the news comes from Stanpit. During the morning, a Roseate Tern passed through west and a Great White Egret went over north; while the afternoon added just singles of Whimbrel and Dunlin.