Ringed plovers breed in Christchurch Harbour for the first time in nearly 40 years – letter to the editor

Photo courtesy of Alan Crockard

Dear Editor,

A pair of ringed plovers has raised two chicks in the fenced area at the tip of Mudeford Sandbank, on Christchurch Harbour, for the first time since 1984.

The fenced area was created in 2020 by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council and Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group (CHOG), after oystercatchers bred there in 2019. One of those chicks was taken by dog and the Bournemouth Echo ran a story about it, which went national.

The ringed plover nest was discovered in June and very quickly a cage was put over to protect the eggs from predators, while allowing the plovers in and out. Three eggs were laid and all three hatched and, until last week, all three chicks survived. One has since been lost, it’s not known how, but the remaining two are now capable of flight.

The birds have been protected by not just the fence, but the efforts of beach hut owners who have put up signs and provided information for visitors.

The Ringed Plover is a red-listed species, meaning its decline as a UK breeding bird has the highest level of concern, so this event is a major conservation success for the area. As Secretary of CHOG, I would like to send thanks to all parties and individuals who have contributed so positively.

David Taylor,

Secretary of the Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group