• 1st attempt of 2016 fades for Langstone's Little Terns whilst the other seabirds sit it out.

    It's barely six weeks since the very first little tern arrived back in the Solent for 2016 but I'm afraid the prognosis (at least for the little terns) on the Langstone Harbour Islands is already bleak.  Numbers returning from Africa have mostly remained under 50% of last years counts with a mixture of other colonies around the UK also reporting smaller numbers returning and late arrivals.  The upshot of this is…

    • 3 Jun 2016
  • Beginning of the Baby Boom

    Recently, I took a trip to the Oysterbed reserve to put up some signage, informing visitors on the happenings (nesting, hatching etc.) of the Black-headed gulls for the next few weeks. After having chosen suitable areas for the signs and putting them in place, the site manager (Wez) and I decided to peruse over the islands with our binoculars and scopes to see what we could see.

    One of the temporary interpretation…

    • 25 May 2016
  • The Oysterbeds prepare for new life.

    It’s spring time, and a new lease of life is shining down with the sun on the Hayling Oysterbed reserve. Flowers are blooming in the earth, bringing with them a splash of colour among the green, and the air is filled with the somewhat ‘bubbly’ call of courting Common terns. Black-headed gulls wander around busily collecting materials to build their nest, ready to settle down and incubate their eggs. And all the while…

    • 12 May 2016
  • Little Terns: What are they (apart from brilliant), why are we worried & how can we help?

    This morning at 6.44am, a little tern arrived at one of the seabird roost sites in Langstone Harbour.  Now that they've began arriving back in the eastern Solent, let's take a closer look at them, the issues they face and how we can help (if you want to support us, why not get yourself a shiny new little tern pin badge here: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/RSPB-Pin-Badge-Little-Tern-EU-LIFE-Project-00880-/262370814725…

    • 16 Apr 2016
  • Starting in 3, 2, 1...

    After an epic two weeks of work, we're now fully recovered from Storm Katie and ready for the nesting terns to arrive, all we need are the rest of the birds...

    The signs are all back up...

    The habitat's in good shape (with a mix of sandy patches like above, large expanses of shingle, swathes of finer sand and a variety of vegetated areas)...

    The electric fencing is in place, waiting for me to take…

    • 16 Apr 2016
  • Launching "You, your canoe and the marine environment" in Langstone Harbour

    It's been a busy two weeks since Storm Katie hit on Easter Monday and undid a lot of our seasonal work, nevertheless, on Saturday April 9th, we took some time out to enjoy Langstone Harbour in all it's beauty along with some 30 Sea Kayakers and Canoeists from British Canoeing.  The reason for our harbour sojourn was to launch the joint RSPB/British Canoeing guide "You, your canoe and the marine environment". …

    • 14 Apr 2016
  • Katie presses the reset button

    Over the last month, we've been finishing up our tern habitat work and watching the Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls get re-acquainted with each other and start to build nests.  Everything has been on schedule (if not early) for the season ahead and as expected, sandwich terns have now started arriving and building in numbers within the two harbours.  

    https://youtu.be/0mpYp7VdwzE

    Above: A late March view inside…

    • 5 Apr 2016
  • Club Med' on the Solent

    March has arrived and along with the beginnings of the tourism season here, the calendar of activity for the Solents breeding seabirds has ratcheted up a notch.  The islands within the old Oysterbeds at the West Hayling Local Nature Reserve are growing more active by the day as hundreds of Mediterranean Gulls and Black-headed Gulls prospect for nesting sites.

    Above: March 3rd 2016 at the West Hayling Oysterbeds. Over…

    • 3 Mar 2016
  • Storm repairs and spring cleaning

    With February drawing to a close, the eastern Solent harbours are in a state of transition between their winter and summer residents.  Although large numbers of waders and geese can still be seen along the shoreline, salt marsh and harbour sides, it won't be much longer before they've all departed for their breeding grounds in the north.  Likewise, our local breeding birds are getting ready for the summer ahead…

    • 26 Feb 2016
  • Goose Barnacles & Geese on the shoreline

    Happy New Year!  2016 has started with a blowout as the North Atlantic winter bought another south westerly storm through the Solent.  Along with the usual debris that have crashed upon our shores in recent weeks, a number exotic visitors from further away have arrived and given us a peak into a world we don't often get to see up close.

    These alien looking creatures aren't from a new Sci-Fi film, they're actually…

    • 6 Jan 2016
  • 2015: seabirds, weather and revealing research.

    As the final hours tick away before 2015 passes into history, I wanted to take a quick tour through some of the things that have stood to me this year before we get stuck into 2016.

    Firstly, let's have a look through this years seabird breeding season.  As many of you will remember, we had several big storms push through the Solent at the peak of the nesting season this year, spelling disaster for eggs and chicks…

    • 31 Dec 2015
  • The Solent: A world wildlife hub

    You'd be forgiven for not noticing a change in the temperature so far this year, but it is in fact winter here in the Solent and our wintering assemblage of wildlife are here in force.  At low tide in the eastern Solent Harbours now,  great carpets of waders move through the rich mud in search of morsels to eat, whilst at high tide, the same species can be seen taking up roosting points on the highest areas of shingle…

    • 15 Dec 2015
  • The party's over

    Well another season is done and dusted.  If you regularly read our blog you will know that the little terns suffered heavy losses due to an unseasonal storm at the beginning of June, just days before we expected the first chicks to hatch.  Still we managed to get a few off this year - officially recording 4 little tern fledglings, which considering the challenges they faced being so few and so tiny is really quite incredible…

    • 25 Sep 2015
  • 100 New Homes for Wildlife

    We are delighted to announce the creation of 100 new homes for wildlife.  Thank's to the kind generosity of a local supporter we have purchased enough materials to make over 100 nest boxes.  The wood has been cut and is ready to be made into snuggy accommodation for the local birds.  Our office, usually packed to the gunwales (or is it gunnels?) anyway, is now a temporary home for quite a lot of timber, even a trip to…

    • 27 Aug 2015
  • But what about people?

    Anyone raising awareness or fundraising for animal and conservation charities will tell you that with predictable regularity, someone will always say "but what about people, aren't they more important than animals?".  Of course we all have different opinions and when parting with our hard earned cash to any deserving cause, we make personal choices.  This common question interests me though, because it suggests…

    • 22 Aug 2015
  • Speed Dating In Langstone Harbour

    You've got to hand it to the common terns, their persistence is unyielding when it comes to a determination to procreate - they are still at it!  Having suffered catastrophic losses thanks to the gulls, courting activity has resumed and hopefully this time one or two may just pull it off.  The gull chicks are well on the way to independence now, which bodes well for the survival of any new tern chicks, let's hope so…

    • 24 Jul 2015
  • RSPB Langstone Harbour Photography Competition

    We are so excited because we are running a photography competition, it's free to enter and we can't wait to see your photo's.  We have some give away's for the winners, but more importantly we hope to be able to display your work for the public to view and even create a calendar for 2016

    The categories are as follows:

    • The Landscape of Langstone Harbour
    • Wildlife portrait
    • Wildlife in action
    • Wildlife…
    • 10 Jul 2015
  • Always look on the bright side....

    My passion for nature has taken me all around the world to experience some of the greatest wildlife spectacles.  Over 30 years ago I saw the great tuskers in Kenya, before poaching took it's toll on the population.  I've seen the mountain gorillas in Uganda, looked for tigers in India, searched the Namib desert for the elusive desert elephants and witnessed the great wildebeest migration in the Serengeti.  All were…

    • 3 Jul 2015
  • Gone with the wind

    Today is the Climate Lobby in London, an event organised by the RSPB and The Climate Coalition, enabling ordinary people like you and me to voice their concerns about climate change to their local MP.  The challenges of rising sea temperatures and unseasonal weather are particularly pertinent to us here at Langstone Harbour right now.  Why?  Well if you weigh about 50g (the same as a mars bar) and nest just above the strandline…

    • 17 Jun 2015
  • If at first you don't succeed....

    Nature is an inspiration in many ways.  Some of the very oldest cave paintings are animals and it's not difficult to understand why the earliest homo sapiens were so moved by what they saw that they had to, in their language, write about it.  A few days ago, a storm surge devastated the gull colonies in Langstone harbour, a nest count revealed the true extent of the damage as being worse than initially thought with…

    • 12 May 2015
  • Storm Surge Catastrophe

    Our morale took a hit today as a high tide and strong winds wreaked havoc on the colony of black-headed gulls at the Oyster Beds, Hayling Island.  All but the very highest nests were washed away and we helplessly stood by and watched as determined parents attempted to stay put even as the water engulfed them.  The shore was littered with eggs and sadly a few chicks too and though the crows were exploiting this unexpected…

    • 5 May 2015
  • Little Tern - They're back!

    Sitting on the shoreline, virtually invisible to the naked eye are our first arrivals of the season.

    Circled in red, they are there, I promise!                                                                                                                

    6 little terns, very quiet, probably exhausted from their arduous journey, but hopefully here to stay and be the first of many to settle in Langstone harbour to breed.  After such a great season last year we are, it has…

    • 21 Apr 2015
  • From Russia, with a honk.

    As the clocks go back and we enter the last week of October, it's great to see that things are picking up in the solent harbours with thousands of birds arriving from their northern breeding grounds.  Amongst the current great flocks of waders and wildfowl are Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Red-breasted Mergansers, Little Grebes, Grey Plovers, Black-tailed Godwits and Greenshank to name a few!  As we continue into the winter…

    • 29 Oct 2014
  • Solent Little Tern success: New life, new hope.

      The little tern breeding season has finally finished in Langstone Harbour.  The island beaches that were once rich with the sound of seabirds have now fallen silent whilst small strands of horned poppies blow lonely in the wind.  After the riotous noise of June and early July, late summer here can sometimes feel like it's missing something..but not this year.  This year, there are newly fledged little terns gathered…

    • 29 Jul 2014
  • A big 'little tern' around

    It's now more than 20 days since those first little tern chicks hatched and our smiles grow bigger by the day.  Why?  Well in the region of thirty pairs attempted to nest and we can officially report that many of the parent birds have witnessed their progeny take that first perilous flight, with over 20 flegdlings so far.  The small window of opportunity to recharge the shingle that was washed away during the dreadful winter…

    • 11 Jul 2014