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Outdoor Meeting Notice

Saturday 19th February 2022 09:00 – 12:00
Wareham Channel and Poole Harbour boat cruiseRun by Birds of Poole Harbour.
For more information regarding this trip please see the Outdoor Meetings page.

We have reserved 15 spaces on the boat for CHOG members. Please contact Richard Cordery before Tuesday 18th January to book your place on the boat trip. After that date, if spaces are still available they can booked yourself via the Birds of Poole Harbour website.

January 16th

Goldcrest – David Faulkner

The only news from yet another still day is of a male Marsh Harrier about Wick Hams and a female Bullfinch at Solent Meads.

January 15th

It was another windless day, but this time cloudy. The morning from Fisherman’s Bank saw a Golden Plover, 12 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 120 Black-tailed Godwit, 45 Ringed Plover and 120 or so Dunlin. Around the same time, the sea was being watched, but with the reports being second-hand they are a little light on detail. It is known a Red-necked Grebe passed east, however, with all three divers and ‘lots’ of Razorbill also being mentioned. At dawn, 13 Cattle Egret left the roost; while a lunchtime visit to Stanpit suggested small numbers of birds were arriving. For example, a flock of 4 Mallard appeared from high and then circuited for over thirty minutes, before deciding it was safe to join the hundreds of incumbent wildfowl. Also, a single Pintail, 3 Snipe and around 30 Lapwing descended from the skies. To finish, the male Marsh Harrier was around Wick Hams, as was a Kingfisher.

January 14th

A finely attired, adult Grey Heron, which are already into the breeding cycle – Mark Taylor

Lapwing – Roger Tidball

After a clear and frosty night, with ice forming on some of the fresh water in the area, Golden Plover were a feature – a flock of thirty-two south over Stanpit this morning, with four settled. Also over the marsh, a northbound Merlin. Meanwhile, around Stanpit Bight, there were: 8 Knot – those definitely new-in, 9 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 130 Black-tailed Godwit, 31 Ringed Plover and at least 180 Dunlin. A Firecrest was in Ashtree Meadow, while singles of Common Gull and Kingfisher were in or around Parky Meade Rail. To finish, this evening, 13 Cattle Egret were seen going to roost.

January 13th

Wigeon – Alan Crockard

The nice conditions don’t seem to be encouraging too much field activity. The only reports are of 6 Red-throated Diver passing west in a 15-minute spell this morning and over 50 Greenfinch, some of them in song, on Stanpit.

January 12th

Meadow Pipit – Alan Crockard

The only news from a fantastic day of sunshine and calm is of 12 Cattle Egret leaving roost this morning and a Red-throated Diver west at sea.

January 11th

Despite some excellent birding conditions for much of the day – good light and little wind – until a dense mist descended late on, it is very light on news. A male Marsh Harrier was at Stanpit this morning and Grey Plover could be heard during the late mirk from Fisherman’s Bank.

January 10th

Water Rail – Clinton Whale

Goldfinch – Clinton Whale

This morning’s roost flight included 14 Cattle Egret, 7 Little Egret and a Fieldfare, while a Tawny Owl was heard. Nearly all the Stanpit news comes from Fisherman’s Bank, from where a Water Pipit and two ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit were picked out, along with: 7 Grey Plover, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Ringed Plover and 150 Dunlin; plus 4 Shoveler and 2 Pintail. A couple of hours sea-watching, from the Beach Huts again produced a nice tally of Red-throated Diver – eleven – as well as: an unidentified diver, three loitering Sandwich Tern – always good to see in winter, a high-flying westbound Grey Heron, 4 Razorbill, 5 auk spp., 3 Common Gull, 6 Great Crested Grebe and at least 30 Gannet. To finish, a male Marsh Harrier was logged and a Firecrest was again adjacent to Holloway’s Dock.

January 9th

This morning’s roost flight of Cattle Egret comprised thirteen, although one more was present on their current out-of-the-area feeding ground. A multiple presence of Purple Sandpiper hasn’t occurred for a couple of weeks, so ten on a groyne adjacent to the Beach House café this afternoon made for a nice record. Before the inevitable turn to the sea, a Firecrest was at the eastern end of the Wood and a Bullfinch was heard close to the Nursery. Now the water: 2 Red-throated Diver, a further diver, 2 Razorbill, nine auks of indeterminate identity, 9 Common Gull – those west, 3 Brent Goose and fifteen or so Gannet.

January 8th

Common Scoter – Matthew Barfield

Brent Goose – Matthew Barfield

Mediterranean Gull – Matthew Barfield

Starting with the early gloaming, when 12 Cattle Egret headed out of the roost and left for the fields to the north. Between 08:00 and 10:30, the sea was covered from both Mudeford Quay and the Beach Huts and came up with: a Black-throated Diver that grazed the end of the head, a Red-throated Diver, an unidentified diver, a Fulmar – always a bonus in mid-winter, 5 Common Gull, 3 Mediterranean Gull – one of those entering the harbour, 7 Razorbill, 2 Guillemot, 2 Common Scoter, 6 Brent Goose and around 25 Gannet; nearly all west. Meanwhile, there was the bizarre sight of a Peregrine briefly attempting to pick-off one of the twenty or so offshore Shag. Moving to the afternoon and Stanpit, where 7 Grey Plover, 90 Black-tailed Godwit and 120 Dunlin were present, along with a female-type Marsh Harrier and a male Peregrine.

January 7th

Peregrine – David Faulkner

For the third day in succession, a Velvet Scoter was seen from the Beach Huts – coming from the east, then sitting on the water before leaving to the west. Also from the huts: a Black-throated Diver, a total of 8 Red-throated Diver, 2 Common Scoter, 13 Kittiwake, 25 Common Gull, 9 Razorbill and a Guillemot – an interesting mix in comparison to yesterday – 14 auk spp., 17 Gannet and 5 Great Crested Grebe. Otherwise, from elsewhere, it’s just a male Marsh Harrier and two drake Pintail to report upon.

January 6th

Male Kingfisher (upper) and female – note the red lipstick – Colin Somers (upper) & Clinton Whale

Adult, on left, and young Brent Goose – Clinton Whale

Although it was again cold early on, cloud and then heavy rain later warmed the temperatures. This morning, all three divers were recorded – singles of Black-throated Diver and Great Northern Diver, plus 16 Red-throated Diver, all east; with a further three of the latter passing the opposite way over the harbour itself. The best at sea, however, was a Velvet Scoter, also heading towards the Solent – as did 3 Red-breasted Merganser. Meanwhile, at least 800 auks were moving way out in the distance – the flocks close enough to get to grips with suggesting the majority were Guillemot. By local standards, there was a reasonable show of winter thrushes – 3 Fieldfare on Wick and 4 Redwing in the Wood – presumably the result of the overnight sub-zero conditions. Despite the afternoon precipitation, Stanpit was visited and produced: 7 Grey Plover, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 55 Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Ringed Plover and 105 Dunlin, as well as a Pintail and 59 Brent Goose including the two young birds. Earlier, 34 Ringed Plover had been counted on the sandspit. As is becoming the norm, 2 Marsh Harrier were about – described as male and immature – while a Kingfisher were at Wick Hams and on the marsh.

January 5th

The male Marsh Harrier, thought to be a third-calendar-year bird, that has been with us for a while – David Faulkner

Male Kestrel – Alan Crockard

After an overnight frost, there were fewer records received today. At sea, 4 Red-throated Diver passed east, with 5 Razorbill, 2 Guillemot, 4 auk spp. 12 Gannet and 10 Teal being logged. At Stanpit, a third-calendar-year Mediterranean Gull was the best, but also 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Shoveler, a Shelduck and around 60 Brent Goose, of which just two were young birds. Meanwhile, 26 Ringed Plover were on the sandspit. The only Marsh Harrier records are of a female-type early on and a female at dusk. Earlier, in the clear skies, a Buzzard passed over high to the north.

January 4th

Gannet from the Beach Huts – Leo Pyke

Rock Pipit on Stanpit – Clinton Whale

For much of the day, a cold north-westerly wind blew and was probably responsible for a flock of around 30 Golden Plover over Stanpit early on, when 2 Cattle Egret were on Wick Hams. The Marsh Harrier previously being referred to as ‘the adult male’ was well photographed today – although only back-of-camera shots are in circulation – and the tail pattern actually suggests a third-calendar-year bird instead. Meanwhile, a female-type was again about and, today, was reckoned to be a second-calendar-year male. Also inside the harbour, around Stanpit Bight, were: 3 Knot, 17 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and around 100 Black-tailed Godwit; plus 4 Pintail. The smaller waders ,however, chose to escape the flooded marsh and locate to the sandspit, where 30 Ringed Plover and 100 Dunlin were estimated. A two-hour seawatch from the Beach Huts came up with: 2 Red-throated Diver, a Common Scoter, 12 Wigeon, 4 Common Gull, 17 Gannet, 13 Razorbill, 6 Guillemot, 9 auk spp. and a Great Crested Grebe. To wrap things up, the North Scrubs hosted a Redwing, a Chiffchaff and a Bullfinch, while a Peregrine was again on the Priory.

January 3rd

Black-tailed Godwit – Clinton Whale

On another windy day, the sea was watched until 08:45 from Mudeford Quay and then from the Beach Huts until 11:00. The combined totals come to: a Velvet Scoter heading towards the Solent, a Common Scoter, 2 Great Northern Diver, 3 Red-throated Diver – one of those settled off the quay, 9 Kittiwake, 5 Common Gull, 62 Gannet – all west, 34 Guillemot, 14 Razorbill, 19 auk spp., 3 Brent Goose, 8 Wigeon – initially on the water and then west and, likewise, 6 Teal. A Golden Plover heard to arrive over Hengistbury was then seen at Stanpit, along with 17 Grey Plover – quite an increase – 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 108 Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Ringed Plover and 85 Dunlin; while a lone Purple Sandpiper was about the sandspit. Once again, the adult male and a female-type Marsh Harrier were around, with the miscellany coming from: 3 Shoveler and 2 Pintail in Stanpit Bight, a pair of Bullfinch by the Viewing Platform, and Kingfisher at the Wooden Bridge and Wick Hams.

January 2nd

Pied Wagtail looking for dry land on an inundated Stanpit – Clinton Whale

…and one of the many Blue Tit now enjoying the bird feeders by the hide – George Garland

A look at the sea this morning produced a reasonable count of Kittiwake – twenty-one birds – but more were reckoned to be further out. Also from the watch at the Beach Huts: 3 Red-throated Diver, 2 Mediterranean Gull – these scarce here at the moment – 13 Common Gull, 10 Razorbill, 6 Guillemot, 50-60 too-distant-to-identify auks and twenty-eight, inter-site-moving Brent Goose. The walk down yielded 2 Firecrest in the Wood, while Wick returned a single Bullfinch. As suggested by the photographs, accessing Stanpit early on was a challenge. Nevertheless, 11 Grey Plover, 52 Black-tailed Godwit and 24 Brent Goose were managed. Once again, both the adult male and a female-type Marsh Harrier were around.

January 1st

A well-brushed Fox – Clinton Whale

The mild temperature was tempered a little by a strong, south-westerly wind that lasted throughout. The best record, brought on by a relatively high tide displacing the birds, was a count of 76 Snipe on the Salt Hurns. Meanwhile, all three divers were logged – singles of Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver and Red-throated Diver, all west – as well as a diver spp., 22 Razorbill, 7 Guillemot, an auk spp. and 3 Brent Goose at sea. Passerine-wise, in addition to a couple of Firecrest in the Nursery, there were 3 Chiffchaff and a pair of Bullfinch on Wick. Moving to Stanpit, there were 9 Grey Plover, along with unquantified Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit; and, today, 12 Brent Goose. To finish, Kingfisher were seen by the Mudeford Quay slip and along Fisherman’s Bank.

December 31st

There is very little to report from the ultimate day of 2021, when temperatures exceeded 13C! The best were a Firecrest in the Wood and a Red-throated Diver east; but also a Razorbill on the sea and 2 Kingfisher at Wick Hams.

December 30th

One of twenty-two Turnstone on the sandspit today – Clinton Whale

Great Black-backed Gull – Clinton Whale

It was another very mild day, although the strong, south-westerly wind made it feel less so. In-harbour Mediterranean Gull have been something of a rarity recently, so one at Stanpit today was more than welcome. Also about the marsh: 9 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Ringed Plover, 55 Dunlin and 3 Pintail – two drakes and a duck; but just 4 Brent Goose! Meanwhile a further 23 Ringed Plover and 126 Dunlin were on the sandspit, as was a Purple Sandpiper on groyne S9. The sea produced, mainly west: 4 Red-throated Diver, 25 Kittiwake, 5 Common Gull, 2 Fulmar, 13 Razorbill, 7 Guillemot, 9 auk spp., a Pintail, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and 6 Common Gull; as well as at least thirty-five, lingering Gannet. The day’s Kingfisher news is of one by the Bailey Bridge.

December 29th

Purple Sandpiper – Clinton Whale

Lapwing – Clinton Whale

On a really mild day, which saw 7 Song Thrush doing as their name suggests on Wick, a Glossy Ibis was feeding well on a flooded North Marsh. Even more notable, however, was a Scandinavian Herring Gull seen at Mudeford Quay – the observer didn’t state ‘showing characteristics of’ – so a pure argentatus-race individual, a real rarity this far west, would probably constitute the first record for the group. Also from the quay, a first-calendar-year Yellow-legged Gull and 8 Common Scoter settled offshore. Meanwhile, a seawatch from the Beach Huts produced: a Black-throated Diver east, 8 Red-throated Diver, a clear movement of Pintail – forty-one in total, thirty of them west – 4 Kittiwake, 9 Guillemot, 8 Razorbill, 5 auk spp. and around 20 Gannet. To round up: a Redpoll over the HHC is a nice mid-winter record; a male and female-type Marsh Harrier were about, as was at least one Peregrine; a pair of Shoveler were on Stanpit; just one Purple Sandpiper was on the sandspit; and a Kingfisher was in Barn Bight.

December 28th

It’s another quiet day in terms of reports, but a male Merlin hunting Wick Water Meadows for a short time this morning was nice. Also on Wick, a female Bullfinch along Roebury Lane. At sea, there was a reasonable Gannet presence – twenty in ten-minutes past the Long Groyne, for example – and Kingfisher were seen on Wick and about the Salt Hurns.

December 27th

It was a day punctuated with heavy rain, but which saw some decent wader numbers returned from Stanpit; including 140 Lapwing – a good contemporary count, but sobering to compare with the regular 1500+ barely a couple of decades ago. Additionally, a couple of Grey Plover, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 75 Black-tailed Godwit, 52 Ringed Plover and 159 Dunlin were logged. Other than those, however, it’s just a pair of Shoveler and a Kingfisher, all on the marsh, to report upon.

December 26th

Common Gull – Scott Usher

Goosander – Scott Usher

…and a Song Thrush, which were in voice again today – Clinton Whale

I’ve not been local today, so I’m not sure what the weather has been like; but here is the day’s bird news. A couple of Chiffchaff were by the Viewing Platform on Wick this morning, while the redhead Goosander was again in Stanpit Bight. Also about the marsh, 32 Black-tailed Godwit, 180 Dunlin and a couple of Common Gull. Otherwise, it’s just the adult male Marsh Harrier and a Kingfisher, that by the Rusty Boat, to remark upon.

December 25th

Robin – Clinton Whale

This morning, the male and a female-type Marsh Harrier were on Wick, while a male Peregrine flew from the Priory and briefly landed on Crouch Hill. The only other news is of a Kingfisher by the Viewing Platform.

December 24th

Goosander – Clinton Whale

…and a brief glimpse of the sun today – Clinton Whale

A redhead Goosander was in Stanpit Bight this morning, as were 5 Grey Plover, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 41 Black-tailed Godwit and 72 Dunlin; plus a Tufted Duck and 3 Brent Goose. On the subject of the latter, we seem to have lost our winter flock that always exceeded 100 birds! The only other news, before the rain set it, is of two Marsh Harrier – the adult male and a female-type.

December 23rd

Most of the day’s records come from a mirky, morning seawatch – the best being singles of Sandwich Tern and Fulmar – but also: a Black-throated Diver, 5 Red-throated Diver, a Mediterranean Gull, 4 Common Gull, 4 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill and 3 Common Scoter. The male Marsh Harrier and a definite female were about, while a Firecrest was in the Wood and a Grey Plover, plus around 50 Black-tailed Godwit, were logged in the afternoon at Stanpit.

December 22nd

Some of 10 Ringed Plover on the sandspit this morning – Clinton Whale

After being on the Recreation Ground first thing, the Bean Goose moved over to Priory Marsh – with the last report from there coming in just before lunch. One piece of information not mentioned yesterday is that, if accepted by the Dorset Records Panel, this would be the 331st species for the recording area. Also around Stanpit, a Water Pipit and a redhead Goosander, as well as: an Avocet, a Grey Plover, 25 Black-tailed Godwit and 24 Ringed Plover. Again, the sea was watched from the Beach Huts and yielded: 5 Red-throated Diver, an unidentified diver, 2 Kittiwake, 3 Common Gull, 7 Razorbill, 6 Guillemot, 14 Brent Goose and 13 Gannet; generally east. Elsewhere: a couple of Firecrest were in the Wood; 14 Snipe were visible on the Salt Hurns; and the male plus a female-type Marsh Harrier were about.

December 21st

Bean Goose – David Faulkner

Bean Goose – Scott Usher

Bean Goose – Alan Hayden (upper) & Jackie Smith

Since formal recording began in Christchurch Harbour, with the formation of CHOG in 1956, there has never been a Bean Goose. So, one that spent some time this morning and into the afternoon in the strange location of Stanpit Recreation Ground, after first being on Riversmeet Meadow and then going to the saltmarsh by the Rusty Boat, was a very welcome sight for the harbour-listers. The primary designation of the recreation ground is for dog-walking and many thanks go to those owners who managed their pets in such a way to avoid the bird. You really do have our appreciation! Despite all this excitement, the only other news involves Marsh Harrier, which increased to three today – the regular male and two female-types – the latter hunting together over Central Marsh at one point.

December 20th

Some of the seventy or so Lapwing about the area today – Clinton Whale

Although the sea is currently getting a good degree of attention, let’s start with the other stuff for a change. It now seems almost certain there are two Marsh Harrier using the area – the adult male now being joined by a cream-crowned bird; a Firecrest was in the Nursery; 28 Black-tailed Godwit were at Stanpit; and a Bullfinch was on Wick. Now the news from the Beach Huts, with a Pochard west being the undoubted highlight; but also, in the same direction: 9 Red-throated Diver and a dopping of 10 Shelduck. Meanwhile, there was a clear, uncharacteristic – for the time of year – movement of birds to the east, including: a Black-throated Diver, a Great Northern Diver, a Tufted Duck, 2 Kittiwake, 9 Mediterranean Gull, 28 Common Gull, 3 Common Scoter, 8 Razorbill, 11 Guillemot, fifteen auk spp., a Great Crested Grebe, 6 Brent Goose and the best part of 18 Gannet. Of mammal interest, a pod of 6 Bottle-nosed Dolphin were seen from Mudeford Quay late in the morning.

December 19th

Yellowhammer – Leo Pyke

Jay – Clinton Whale

Yellowhammer are a very scarce, if not rare, bird to the area; so one today by the HHC was a really nice surprise. The usual encounters are during the autumn migration season – so one in December is even more notable. Perhaps the first in this month of modern times? Definitely a photo-first for the area, however. The sea quietened down a lot today, with just 2 Red-throated Diver being logged, for example. Also: a Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Common Scoter west; plus 6 Razorbill, 3 Guillemot and a single Common Gull. It was WeBS day and the best of the waders were: 11 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 24 Black-tailed Godwit, 27 Ringed Plover and 122 Dunlin. The pick of the wildfowl came from 14 Shoveler, a really good local count, and 2 Pintail, but also 745 Wigeon and 77 Teal. Notable absentees were Brent Goose and Coot – just one and thirteen respectively – very low numbers against the norm. Wrapping up, a female-type Marsh Harrier was seen at Wick Hams and at least 3 Kingfisher were about.


We have a number of publications available including the current edition of Birds of Christchurch Harbour

Also, back issues from previous years and other goodies.


We have a number of publications available including the current edition of Birds of Christchurch Harbour

Also, back issues from previous years and other goodies.