Christchurch Harbour Ornithological
Group, inevitably known as CHOG, is an independent
organisation, which is dedicated to the study and conservation of
birds and other wildlife in Christchurch Harbour. More about the
group's modern-day aims and objectives are available in this strategy
The late Frank Clafton’s “attempted Ornithological Survey” in 1956 inspired the formation of CHOG, and ever since the group has systematically recorded and studied the Harbour’s birds. Each year it publishes an annual report: “The Birds of Christchurch Harbour”. Over the years, the report has become more comprehensive and of a higher quality presentation. From humble beginnings on borrowed duplicators, the norm is now digital printing with several pages of colour photographs. CHOG records contribute to the Dorset Bird Report, and to many local and national recording projects.
The location of Christchurch Harbour on the south coast of England makes it an important site for migrating birds and CHOG is involved in the scientific study of migration through the small, but vital, Christchurch Harbour Ringing Station which, since 1956, has ringed almost 50,000 birds of 120 species. In more recent times, less emphasis has been placed on ringing and more on the field observation of migration, otherwise known as “visible migration.” Records are maintained almost daily and consequently the Harbour has become a nationally recognised migration hotspot, particularly in the autumn.
Since 2002, the Group has operated a website, www.chog.org.uk, which provides a daily account of bird and other wildlife sightings in the Harbour. The website also contains details of the main birding sites in the Harbour, photographs of recently seen birds and news items, such as the details of forthcoming meetings.
CHOG is also a conservation group. It advises on the management of Stanpit Marsh, through the Stanpit Marsh Advisory Panel and on Hengistbury Head via the Supporters’ Group, and has made significant contributions to the Management Plans of both those areas. CHOG also gets involved in planning issues affecting both the Harbour and wildlife interests elsewhere in the Christchurch and Bournemouth areas.
Every winter CHOG hold an excellent and varied programme of illustrated talks given by well-known local naturalists. Details of the current programme can be found on the Meetings page of this site.
Though CHOG relies heavily on the ornithologists and other specialists who maintain the scientific reputation of the group, most of its members belong simply because they care about wildlife and its survival around Christchurch Harbour. CHOG currently has almost 300 members and if you would like to join, please go to the Join CHOG page on this site.
In 2009, CHOG was registered as a charity with HMRC - Ref: XT14436.
CHOG Committee page >> Chairman, Chris Chapleo, receiving a donation from the Captain's Club Hotel for the placement of bat boxes around Wick.