• Mediterranean Gulls, a new normal

    This year, more than any I've experienced here before, the sound of Mediterranean Gulls flying above the coast and towns of the Solent has been remarkable in its normality.  Quite an extraordinary turn of events for a species that a century ago was largely confined to the marshes surrounding the Black Sea during the breeding season.  Just within the boundaries of the Chichester and Langstone harbour special protection area…

    • 20 Dec 2018
  • Making a 'Tern Table': attempt one..

    Along with the day to day wardening tasks that are required to look after one of the south coasts largest seabirds colonies, each summer we like to trial one or two innovative solutions to some of the conservation issues being faced here.  This year, with the help of some amazing RSPB volunteers, we put together something I've been thinking about for a while now that I'm (perhaps optimistically) calling, a 'tern table…

    • 17 Dec 2018
  • Wave after wave of fledglings. Conservation success for the West Hayling Common Tern colony.

    Although only a minor part of the work we do here on the Langstone and Chichester Harbour RSPB reserves, the provision of nesting rafts for common terns at West Hayling is one of my favourite seabird conservation projects.  In a world where 70% of seabirds have been lost since just 1950 and widescale changes are urgently needed, it's a reminder that even small projects to provide nesting habitat can make a big impact on…

    • 14 Dec 2018
  • A productive 1st year for the Oysterbeds Tern Raft

    For the first time this year, in order to give our migratory common terns some much needed empty nesting space, we launched a tern raft onto the tidal Oysterbeds lagoon.  As noted in the mid-season blog, success in colonisation was rapid and great to see.  With the season complete, I'm happy to report that although it's not been plain sailing, the rest of the season progressed very well and resulted in what may…

    • 4 Oct 2017
  • A successful year for Langstone Harbour's Little Terns

    It's been a long summer for the seabirds and site team at the RSPB Langstone Harbour Reserve but I'm very happy to say that 2017 has been a great one.  In particular it's been a much needed successful year for our breeding little tern colony. A grand total of 27 chicks fledged and are now winging their way south with their parents to their wintering grounds on the west African coast.  It's certainly not been…

    • 24 Sep 2017
  • Photographic Competition 2017

    We were delighted to receive so many entries for the RSPB Langstone Harbour photographic competition.  It seems that the standard gets higher and higher each year, making it such a difficult task to chose the winners.  We are thrilled to see that so many people are out there actually enjoying the delights of the harbour, the scenery and of course the wildlife, and we hope that by running this competition we continue to…

    • 8 Sep 2017
  • How a little goes a long way.

    Well the breeding season is nearly over and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.  It has certainly had its ups and downs, with the weather presenting most of the problems.  Awful wind and rain that seemed never ending certainly dampened our enthusiasm to be out and about and of course a couple of storm surges took their toll on the gull colonies.  However for all of that the terns seem to have fared remarkably well.  I suppose…

    • 12 Aug 2017
  • Photographic Competition

    Yes, it's that time of the year again where we throw open the opportunity for you to enter our much anticipated photographic competition.  It's a great way to showcase the delights of Langstone harbour, and for those of you who enter, you could even have your name up in lights, you never know.  We are trying to find a suitable location to showcase the winning shots, but in the meantime our guaranteed prize for the…

    • 31 Jul 2017
  • Butterfly Bonanza

    Peace reigns over the Oyster beds as most of the gulls have left the breeding site and all that can be heard in the main now is the delightful chattering of the terns.  It's an opportunity to have a look at other areas of the reserve and with a large variety of flowers offering a rich source of nectar, the insects are the obvious place to start.  It's that time of the year again when Butterfly Conservation ask people…

    • 27 Jul 2017
  • A great 'tern around'

    Just a few words to let you know what an unmitigated success the tern raft has been at the Oyster Beds nature reserve, last year saw no common tern fledgelings at all, so with a current figure of 24 and counting I think we can safely say it worked!  It's been an interesting journey, not least in seeing such enthusiasm from both local people and visitors who enjoy a stroll along the footpaths around the lagoon.  As a…

    • 21 Jul 2017
  • How quickly they grow!

    Every species of tern that breeds in the harbour has produced chicks that have successfully flegded, it's such great news and we breathe a huge sigh of relief.  The raft at the oyster beds has been a great success, I watched as the first common tern chick took to the air for several wing beats before unceremoniously plunging into the water, and as if that wasn't bad enough being set upon by two grumpy black-headed…

    • 6 Jul 2017
  • Hope Floats: Chicks hatch on the West Hayling Tern Raft

    It's now just over two months since the tern nesting raft at the West Hayling Local Nature Reserve (or 'the Oysterbeds' as they're known locally) was launched.  Since then, as our migratory terns arrived back from western Africa, we have gradually been preparing it for them and watching the results.  In late April, the tarpaulin covering the raft was partially removed and both Common & Little Tern decoys…

    • 17 Jun 2017
  • Mixed Fortunes

    It’s been a week of mixed fortunes, yet again!

    Our annual nest count revealed that things were pretty stable in all departments, except the Sandwich Terns which were slightly less in number this year - but no drastic changes to report. Our thanks go to everyone who came along and helped us with this nerve wracking task, your professionalism ensured the day went without a hitch. 

    A very dry spring followed by…

    • 5 Jun 2017
  • Let battle commence

    Langstone Harbour offers an astounding wildlife spectacle all year round.

    Autumn and winter see's the arrival of thousands of wildfowl and wading birds attracted by it's food rich mud, but before we know it spring is upon us and the harbour takes on a very different persona as the flocks of geese, dunlins, godwit and sanderlings move off en masse to their summer grounds making way for the arrival of our next…

    • 22 May 2017
  • A raft at the Oysterbeds? Giving new nesting space to our breeding seabirds.

      Yesterday, with help from staff and volunteers at both the RSPB and the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust along with funding from the Hampshire Ornithological Society and EU Life, we started the process of having a seasonal tern nesting raft at the Oysterbeds within the West Hayling Local Nature reserve.  Although there's still some work to do, we're aiming to have it finished and ready to unveil by the time…
    • 8 Apr 2017
  • Wetland birds, a supermoon & super roosts

    It's been a couple of months since the seabird breeding season finished now and a large part of that time has been spent doing the inevitable (but absolutely essential) report writing, analysis and catching up on other work placed to one side for its duration.  Now up to date, we're already progressing on next years work whilst carrying out winter tasks.  With the 2017 seabird breeding season being prepared for…

    • 16 Nov 2016
  • The End of Season Oysterbeds Report 2016

    So, the sun finally decided to show itself just as the Langstone Harbour breeding seabird season 2016 draws to an end. There have been ups and downs, and plenty of new arrivals along the way.

    Here is a run down of how the Hayling Season has shaped up this year:

    Black-headed gulls

    If one species has done well at the Oysterbeds this season, it's the Black-headed gulls. If you visited between the months of May - July…

    • 21 Aug 2016
  • Discover the wild wonders of an old oyster farm...

    Today it is time for the end product of a lot of hard work and patience to be shifted out of our little Langstone Harbour office, and out onto the Oysterbeds reserve where it should be.

    On the office floor ready to roll.


    I am pleased to say that the Oysterbeds Discovery Trail has now been installed at the reserve and is ready for everybody to enjoy. Hooray!


    Tapping them in to the sun-baked earth was not easy…

    • 17 Aug 2016
  • Against all odds: the Langstone Sandwich Tern colony snatch success from the jaws of failure

    I'm very happy to report that the Langstone Harbour Sandwich Tern colony has had a moderately successful breeding season with at least 49 fledglings leaving the Harbour Islands.  122 pairs nested this year meaning that their productivity (a measure of how many fledglings were produced from each nesting pair) is 0.4.  Ideally, we'd like productivity to be over 0.75 but given the array of issues they've faced this year…

    • 31 Jul 2016
  • Fish surveys, fledglings and photography opportunities

    So the end of our Black-headed gulls time at the Oysterbeds is now drawing to a close, with once downy, fluffy chicks now grown into fully fledged and flying adults. This fluffball-to-fledgling process takes a mere 35 days – just think of all the additional time humans would have if it were that easy? But growing up out in the wild inevitably comes with it’s own challenges. First and foremost, predators appear in the…

    • 25 Jul 2016
  • Big Butterfly Count 2016

    It's half way through July and the time that Butterfly Conservation calls on all of us to take part in the Big Butterfly Count 2016. If you are a reader of this blog, I can tell you that there is no better time to visit the West Hayling Reserve or any of your local patches and take part in this survey to monitor the state of our butterfly populations - you could even do one in your garden!

    Marbled White Underw…

    • 19 Jul 2016
  • Mid season little tern update: New hope after a series of setbacks.

      The summer is flying by despite the lack of sun shine and the tern breeding season here in Langstone Harbour is already half way through.  It's been a tough one to be sure but there have been some silver linings and there is still the potential for a lot more.  Let me take you though the season so far.

      As regular readers of this blog will know, the little tern breeding season didn't start well at all (see previous…

    • 9 Jul 2016
  • A plastic globe – how one local beach clean can open up your eyes to a global problem

    The beach clean

    On Wednesday 29th June, the RSPB team for Langstone Harbour joined up with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) to tackle the beach alongside the Hayling Island Oysterbeds, in a bid to try and rid it of as much rubbish as possible.  This was no easy feat, as the beach is covered in tiny pieces of litter that are caught up in the seaweed after our last major bout of bad weather, the legacy that storm Katie…

    • 1 Jul 2016
  • Beds in bloom

    Lets face it - you’ve heard plenty from me about the seabirds on the reserve, so this time I thought I would mix it up a bit and introduce you to some my favourite wild flowers that you might see on a walk at the Oysterbeds.  Apt you might say, as it is British flower week (13th-19th June) after all!

    Firstly I want to talk about one of my (new) favourites that has been popping up all over the Oysterbeds – Woody…

    • 17 Jun 2016
  • Common Ground

    Now that the Black-headed gull chicks are well on their way to fledging, it is time for the Common terns to step up (or should that be fly down) and take their place on the Oysterbed islands, in preparation for the imminent arrival of their own eggs. Standing on one of the bunds on the reserve, these feisty little birds fly back and forth above my head, courting and bringing in fish for their partners who sit in wait…

    • 3 Jun 2016