Low Tide Count - Langstone Harbour


Low tide counts (LTC) are part of Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS), organised by the BTO and are carried out in selected waterbodies on an approximately six yearly basis. Last winter we aimed to do a Low Tide Count of Langstone Harbour, but cancellation of boat use on selected count days due to safety concerns about the use of a relatively small vessel in the forecasted strong winds, plus a very serious steering problem with the boat and the unsuccessful attempts to view some sectors, led to serious gaps in the data. We therefore decided that it would be better to abandon the counts for the winter, rather than have people out counting in January and February for what would inevitably be an incomplete set of counts, incompatible with defining trends from previous LTCs. Being natural optimists, we hope to get the counts carried out this coming winter, when the weather will, of course, be much better….


Please let me know if you would like to help with this winter’s planned WeBS LTCs in Langstone Harbour. If you can help, even if it is on one date only, it would be very helpful if you would please indicate on which of the eight dates you would be available. Please reply to me ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). If you have a preferred site to count, please let me know.


The counts should be made sometime during the period from one hour before low tide to two hours after low tide. There are Primary and Alternative dates shown for each month, with the aim of counting on the Primary date shown in each month and the Alternative only used if the weather forecast for the first date is particularly poor. The weather forecast will be checked on the evening before the Primary count date, and a decision made on whether to do the count on the Primary date or delay it to the Alternative date. This decision will be relayed to counters allocated to both dates. Please note that because of the timing and height of tides, the November and December dates are on weekdays (Thursdays and Fridays). The January and February dates are on Saturdays and Sundays.


Primary Date

Low Tide Time


Thursday November 24th



Thursday December 8th



Saturday January 7th



Saturday February 18th




Alternative Date

Low Tide Time


Friday November 25th



Friday December 9th



Sunday January 8th



Sunday February 19th




Not all of the harbour’s mudflats can be seen from the shorelines; therefore, it will be necessary to use a boat to count those parts. Two people will be needed on each date, one to act as counter and another to act as recorder (the roles are interchangeable, of course). Importantly, the boat survey should ideally be made on the same date as the shoreline observations if at all possible. Boat users will, of course, be happy to be out for longer than the shore-based folks. The RSPB’s 16ft aluminium vessel “The Good Tern” will be available; skippered by Wez Smith, the RSPB’s Site Manager for Langstone and Chichester Harbours. If you would like to be considered for boat duty, please do say so.


The Langstone Harbour WeBS LTC Sectors are shown below:


Low tide count - Langstone Harbour



There are 12 sites to be counted from the harbour shorelines. One site will be counted by walking the mudflats off North Binness Island and Long Island and the boat crew. Each of the sites is part of a Sector, a whole Sector or a combination of Sectors/part Sectors.


Wherever possible, count sites will be assigned to correspond with people’s preferred choices.




Sectors and part sectors

Viewed from


Hilsea Creek, Shut Lake and Broom Channel N of Kendalls' Wharf 

BL038 and BL008

Paths near the Eastern Road Bridge


Mallard Sands

BL007, BL006, BL005 and BL004 (south)

Eastern Road shoreline path


Watersports Centre to mudflats off Milton Common and ponds

BL009, BL010 and BL041

Eastern Road Shoreline path & Milton Common


Milton Locks and Eastney Lake

BL011 and BL012

Milton Locks and Ferry road Eastney


Farlington Marshes


Farlington Marshes


Russell's Lake and mudflat S of Farlington Marshes

BL003, BL004 (north) and BL007

Farlington Marshes


South and north of North Binness Island and north of Long Island

BL028, BL031 and BL029 (north)

NE seawall at FM and Broadmarsh seawall path



BL043, BL030 and BL032

Broadmarsh seawall path


Southmoor and Langstone Sailing Club

BL029 (south), BL042 and BL037 (north)

Budds Farm & Southmoor seawall paths


Texaco Bay, Hayling Oysterbeds and Stoke Bay

BL037 (south) and BL024

Texaco Bay car park, Billy Trail and Oysterbeds paths


West Hayling Billy Trail

BL021, BL022 and BL020

Hayling Billy Trail


Kench and Sinah

BL013, BL014, BL015, BL016, BL017, BL018 and BL019

Ferry Road (Hayling), Sinah shoreline and Longshore Road


Between N Binness Island, Long Island and Round Nap Island

BL027 and BL039 (Someone has to walk out from FM)



Leaving from and returning to Hayling Ferry pontoon

Water facing sides of 20 sectors



John Shillitoe ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )


BTO Assistant Regional Representative


Hampshire Coastal WeBS Local Organiser