Christchurch Harbour Ringing Station

Sightings for 2013

October 23-24

Juvenile female Goldcrest - Kevin Sayer

Last night we successfully caught 31 Pied Wagtails at the alba roost. There were probably well over 100 birds attracted to the roost, but we decided to limit our catch because of the increasing dusk.

This morning was quieter than our last visit but under mild conditions we managed a reasonable catch of 27 birds. Not too many migrants were coming thru' but we did manage to trap a number of the Goldfinches feeding in the "No Dogs" field. Totals were:- Chiffchaff 4,Blackcap 4,Dunnock 3,Robin 4,Blackbird 1,Long-tailed Tit 1,Wren 1,Goldcrest 1 (see above) and 8 Goldfinches.

Thanks to Brenda and Kathryn for their help both last night and this morning.

October 15th

Rainbow over HHC Reedbed - Kevin Sayer
Bearded Tits
Pair of Bearded Reedlings - Kevin Sayer
A fine Autumn day at the HHC resulted in an excellent catch of 43 birds including a pair of Bearded Reedlings. The night before an attempt was made at an alba roost but the heavy showers defeated us - nice rainbow though! There are still plenty of Chiffchaff coming through along with 1 or 2 Blackcap. It surprised us that we trapped so many birds despite the noise coming from the works on the HHC approach road. The totals were:- Chiffchaff 17,Blackcap 3,Wren 4,Blackbird 1,Song Thrush 1,Blue Tit 2,Robin 4,Cetti's Warbler 1,Bearded Reedling 2,Dunnock 1,Long-tailed Tit 5,Great Tit 1 and a single Greenfinch.

Thanks to Brenda for her help both this morning and last night.

October 9th

Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail - Kevin Sayer
Song ThrushSong Thrush - Kevin Sayer

A busy session at the HHC this morning in warm and wind-less conditions - it was hard to believe it was October! Several Chiffchaff were coming thru' along with a few Blackcap. In all we managed a total of 38 birds which is excellent considering we only had 4 nets in use and one of them was in the reedbed. The attempt at an alba roost last night resulted in just a single bird - they just weren't around. Our final totals were:- Chiffchaff 21,Blackcap 4,Pied Wagtail 1,Blackbird 1,Wren 3,Blue Tit 1,Song Thrush 1,Long-tailed Tit 1,Greenfinch 1,Dunnock 2,Robin 1 and a Cetti's Warbler.

Thanks to Elaine for her help last night and this morning.

September 15th

Chiffchaff - Kevin Sayer
Wick Sunset Wick Sunset - Kevin Sayer
We had another go at the Yellow Wagtail roost last night (Saturday) and successfully caught 30 birds. Again it was too dark for any photos - it was a shame as we caught a couple of magnificent looking adult males - the sunset was nice too!

This morning we were back, mainly in the Wick scrub, to target the migrating Blackcap and Chiffchaff. We did reasonably ok but things were certainly not spectacular. A bonus was trapping 2 juvenile Kingfishers in the HHC reedbed. The total of 56 birds included:- Yellow Wagtail 30,Reed Warbler 3,Sedge Warbler 5,Chiffchaff 8,Blackcap 2,Wren 1,Song Thrush 2,Robin 1,Dunnock 1,Kingfisher 2 and a single Reed Bunting.

Thanks to Elaine for her help both last night and this morning.

September 8th

Last night's Yellow Wagtail roost was un-successful due to the breezy conditions - they just don't like the wind! However, I did spot about 20 birds going into the reeds near to my nets. The next morning started dry but then conditions got really nasty. We could only manage 13 birds before a really big squall hit us and I had time to take down one net and furl the rest. The totals were:- Willow Warbler 1,Reed Warbler 4,Sedge Warbler 4,Blackcap 3 and a single juvenile female Cetti's Warbler. Thanks to Elaine and Jenny for their help in very trying conditions.

September 5th

Cetti Warbler
Cetti's Warbler - Kevin Sayer

We were met with clear skies this morning which soon turned into a very hot day. It was no surprise then that passerine migration had come to an almost stop with little moving in the scrub. The HHC Reedbed wasn't any better with signs that acro migration is coming to an end. We did manage a juvenile female Cetti's Warbler (sexed on wing length). Last night's roost did produce 37 Yellow Wagtails in still conditions. The final totals of 57 birds were:- Yellow Wagtail 37,Sedge Warbler 7,Reed Warbler 6 (including a control),Greenfinch 1,Blackcap 1,Reed Bunting 1,Robin 2,Blue Tit 1 and a single Cetti's Warbler.

Thanks to Elaine, Katharine and Jenny for their help.

September 4th

Garden Warbler
Garden Warbler - Kevin Sayer

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail - Kevin Sayer

Last night (Tuesday) we did another Yellow Wagtail roost at the HHC. Amongst the 13 birds caught was a single adult and this juvenile. On first examination of the photo I thought I might have a Blue-Headed variety but on checking my reference books only adult males get a blue head. We will continue to closely check all future Yellow Wagtails in the hope we might get a blue one!

The next morning we were greeted with a real pea-souper of a fog. This didn't clear until mid-morning which resulted in a smallish catch. However, we did manage our first Garden Warbler of the year. In the catch of 35 we caught the following:- Yellow Wagtail 13,Sedge Warbler 11,Reed Warbler 4,Garden Warbler 1,Blackcap 2,Wren 1,Greenfinch 1,Chiffchaff 1 and a single Dunnock.

Thanks to Elaine, Jenny and Katharine for their help.

September 1st

Pied Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher - Kevin Sayer

We had started the weekend with an attempt to catch some of the roosting Yellow Wagtails in the HHC Reedbed. The strong north-westerly breeze tried to thwart our attempts but just as it was starting to get dark the birds started descending into the reeds near our nets. After a while more birds moved into our net-ride and we ended up with a healthy catch of 14 - all juveniles. Our attempts to photograph these birds could not come upto the quality of this website due to the impending darkness. The next morning was considerably cooler (first day of Autumn according to Brenda) but we started off well with numbers of acro warblers being caught in the reedbed. However, the highlight of the morning was the capture of a 1st winter Pied Flycatcher (probably originating from our Welsh neighbours). This was my first ever trapping of an autumn Pied Fly so I was in new territory when it came to ageing it. Luckily, the Ringer's Bible (Svensson) came to our rescue and due to the markings on the central tertial allowed us to accurately age it. Another incident occurred when I was walking down the Fisherman's Path a grey squirrel jumped out from the reeds and landed on a nearby cattle gate. It proceeded to run along the top bar not knowing where to go - eventually it jumped off back into the reeds - not a conventional mammal in these parts! Our final totals were 83 birds as follows:- Yellow Wagtail 14,Sedge Warbler 31,Reed Warbler 16,Pied Flycatcher 1,Willow Warbler 5,Chiffchaff 1,Whitethroat 2,Blackcap 2,Wren 1,Greenfinch 3,Great Tit 2,Robin 4 and a single Reed Bunting.

Thanks to Brenda, Martin and Chris for their help last night and today.

August 21st

A cool and misty morning greeted us at the HHC this morning with not a breath of wind. We setup with 4 nets in the reedbed and a single in the nearby scrub. We managed a decent number of acro warblers but failed to trap any nunber of phylloscs. We had Mark Holloway with us doing some filming for the new Visitor Centre and I believe he was pleased with what we could show him. Final totals were:- Reed Warbler 11,Sedge Warbler 15,Reed Bunting 2,Blackcap 2,Whitethroat 5,Chiffchaff 1,Robin 1,Cetti's Warbler 1 and a single Blue Tit. Thanks to Brenda for her help this morning.

Aug 13th

Northern Wheatear - Kevin Sayer
With good conditions we managed a healthy catch of 52 birds which included a Northern Wheatear (see photo - apologies for poor quality, at least the bramble bush is in focus!). Despite the time of year when we expect to be trapping many Sedge & Reed Warblers the reedbed was relatively quiet. However, I did notice a lot of bird activity around the nearby scrub so switched my sound tapes over to Willow Warbler. This resulted in a good catch of these birds in the reedbed! The final totals were:- Sedge Warbler 17, Reed Warbler 7, Willow Warbler 17, Robin 3, Wheatear 1, Reed Bunting 3, Greenfinch 2 and 2 Whitethroats. Thanks to Elaine and Katie for their help today.

August 6th

With just 4 nets in the HHC Reedbed we manged to trap 61 birds consisting mostly of migrating acro warblers. There were signs of a small fall of Willow Warblers of which we caught a few but unfortunately we didn't have enough Ringers to put nets where they could be caught in larger numbers. However, a very respectable catch was made as follows:- Sedge Warbler 45, Reed Warbler 11 (inc. a control), Willow Warbler 4 and a single Whitethroat. Thanks to Elaine & Chris for their help today.

August 1st

Bearded Tit
Bearded Tit HHC – Kevin Sayer

Our first Autumn visit to Hengistbury resulted in an excellent catch of 68 birds consisting mostly of birds trapped in the reedbeds. Apart from the many acro warblers coming thru' there wasn't much else in terms of other migrants around. The bonus of an adult male Bearded Tit, albeit already ringed by us last year, was rewarding. During the morning I noticed a pair of Swallows flying around the HHC Buildings and after Steve had checked it out we soon found their nest. Five pullus swallows were duly ringed. The final totals consisted of Reed Warbler 19,Sedge Warbler 34,Wren 2,Bearded Tit 1,Swallow 5,Reed Bunting 1,Blackbird 1,Dunnock 1,Chiffchaff 1,Great Tit 1,Blackcap 1 and a Song Thrush. We also managed to catch a control Sedge Warbler. Thanks to Steve and Brenda for their help today.

April 28th

After having scraped the frost off my car windscreen before leaving home I wasn’t too hopeful for a bagful of summer migrants today at the HHC – and I was right. This Spring is turning into one of the poorest in recent memory and with today’s miserly haul of just 10 birds with 6 nets in use then summer can’t come quick enough. We had good interest from CHOG Members at the Ringing Demo with help from Ed, Carol and Martin. The highlight was a retrap Cetti’s Warbler which Ed tells me sets a new CHOG longevity record. It was ringed in April 2009 and has only been re-trapped once since then, April 2011 – so it must like April for some reason! Interestingly, its ring was as clean as if it had been fitted yesterday, which you wouldn't expect for a species that ferrets around in that habitat. Our previous longevity record for Cetti’s Warbler was 3yr 8m between Sep'86 and May'90. Final totals were Song Thrush 2, Whitethroat 1, Blackcap 2, Blackbird 3, Cetti’s Warbler 1 and a Dunnock

Ed withCetwa
Ed Brett holding a Cetti’s warbler – Kevin Sayer
Common Whitethroat – Martin Wood
sunrise over harbour
Sunrise over the harbour – Martin Wood

April 25th

The morning started badly with a heavy mist over the harbour and just myself to get the nets up. Visibility was less than 100m and all I could detect in the first hour or so were trilling Greenfinches all around me. I did manage to catch a couple but migrants were scarce. As the sun appeared briefly a few Reed Warblers started singing from the reed-bed but I couldn’t manage to trap any of them! In the end I managed just 9 birds as follows:- Whitethroat 2, Willow Warbler 1, Greenfinch 2, Song Thrush 1, Blackbird 1, Reed Bunting 1 and a Dunnock. On returning home I found out that one of the Greenfinches was originally ringed in April 2009 by Ed as an adult – it had not been re-trapped until today.

April 20th

Our first Spring Session at Hengistbury for 2013 resulted in a smallish catch of just 13 birds. We introduced a new extended net-ride which did ok but in fairness there wasn’t much around to catch. Our totals were Blackcap 2, Chiffchaff 3, Willow Warbler 1, Blackbird 3, Greenfinch 2, Robin 1 and a male Cetti’s Warbler. Thanks to Brenda, Jenny and Martin for their help.

Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler HHC April 2013 – Martin Wood
Cetti's Warbler
Cetti's Warbler HHC April 2013 – Martin Wood
Bi-ennial Reports

There are now reports for 2008-9, 2010-11 and 2012-13 freely available to download. These contain full details of all ringing activities undertaken by the group along with colour photos from these years. Click here to get your free copy.