Poole Harbour sightings blog

A record of all interesting and notable sightings from around the harbour throughout the year.

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Archive for May, 2013

Quiet Bank Holiday weekend…

Posted on: May 26th, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It was a beautiful bank holiday in the end with the sun shining down on us for most of the time, but despite the good weather reports were few and far between.

Best was still 30 Black-tailed Godwit in Holes Bay, also there, 2 Common Tern, 2 Little Egret, 1 Sedge Warbler and numerous Shelduck. At Lytchett Bay a Whitethroat was still holding territory near the cottage on Slough Lane, also Swallow, House Martin and Pied Wagtail showed signs of breeding.  At Middlebere the male Pochard was still present along with a Ringed Plover and Sandwich Tern.  On Brownsea a pair of Yellow-legged Gull currently have one chick continuing the on-going success of this species at this site. 

Read about the latest ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ field trip here… http://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/poole-harbour-news


22nd, 23rd May 2013

Posted on: May 23rd, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With May almost coming to an end and the temperature still yet to go above 18 degrees, I’m quite looking forward to June beginning and for the summer to actually begin. Still some  nice birds about, mainly birds that are hanging on from the spring or winter at favoured sites…

May 22nd  – Lytchett Bay still had the 1st winter Little Gull out on the mud at low tide, also the Red-throated Diver was in the Turlin channel, 1 Whimbrel, 3 Lapwing and 1 Black-tailed Godwit. A Red Kite drifted low over the Bakers Arms roundabout. At Middlebere a male Pochard was a strange late May record, also there 2 Spoonbill. Just outside the Poole Harbour area a Woodchat Shrike with in Southborne, Bournemouth.

May 23rd – Only reports from today were from Lytchett Bay where a Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Lapwing, 1 Whimbrel, 2 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff and a Common Gull were located. Also a pair of Dartford Warbler were on Lytchett Heath, Lytchett Bay.  


20th, 21st May 2013

Posted on: May 21st, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A few days of settled weather meant birders were able to get out, hence the slight increase in reports from the last few days…

Monday 20th May first record was of a Turtle Dove sat in the middle of the Arne approach road, which was narrowly missed by one of the Arne wardens in his car. Up on Old Harry only a Spotted Flycatcher represented any migration while Skylark, Blackcap and Chiffchaff were all on territory.  In Brands Bay still a Whimbrel and 1 Dunlin.  At Lytchett Bay the highlights were a Greenshank, 3 Lapwing, a singing Lesser Whitethroat, the long staying Red-throated Diver and 10+ Singing Reed Warbler.  The long staying Osprey was again off Rockely Point, and 5 Jays were seen flying into the harbour at South Haven.  At Littlesea, Studland there was a Gadwall, 1 Dark-belled Brent Goose and a Yellow-legged Gull.

Tuesday 21st May was a bit quieter.  Best was a male Garganey at Hatch Pond this morning.  At Greenland’s Farm today still 2 Wheatear, a singing Woodlark, and a Hobby and at Middlebere today 2 Yellow-legged Gull and 1 Hobby, whilst this evening just 1 Wigeon and 1 Whimbrel. 

Sunday 19/05/2013

Posted on: May 20th, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Sunday 19th was a warm, muggy, still day with light drizzle on and off which felt perfect for a few migrants and perhaps a decent rarity, unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Sightings included…

At Swineham mostly breeding birds were recorded with a pair of Sedge Warbler being a pleasant surprise, also a pair of Kestrel, Mistle Thrush and calling Bearded Tit  several Reed Warbler and two broods of Gadwall ducklings. Also lots of Swift about and a handful Sandwich Tern feeding up the River Frome. On Brownsea a Roseate Tern was found amoung the 285+ Common Terns that came into roost and at Lytchett Bay the Little Gull returned, also there a Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Lapwing. A stunning summer plumage Grey Plover was at Arne from the Shipstal Hide along with a Turnstone and a Whimbrel. 2 Nightjar were seen and heard calling on Upton Heath.


RSPB Birdboat Purbeck Cruise

Posted on: May 19th, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Yesterday evening saw the first RSPB Birdboat of the 2013/14 season with the plan to take the eager crowd of birdwatchers and site seers on a cruise out through Poole Harbour and over towards the dramatic Jurassic Coast to look for sea birds and stunning scenery.

We often experience problems with weather on trips in that if it’s been too windy during the day then a swell forms out of the harbour meaning we can’t actually make it to our chosen destination, well that certainly WASN’T the case last night. A small and minor breeze gently whipped across the boat as we started to board at around 18:15, and flat calm waters laid our path before us. We headed out towards the harbour mouth passing Brownsea on the way, which allowed us to view the hustle and bustle of the Tern islands with Sandwich Tern and Common Tern both passing very close to the boat giving excellent views.

We made our way out of the harbour mouth and hooked right heading for Old Harry rocks where a few Guillemot were sat on the water, 4 Shag were sat on one of the marker bouys and several obliging Gannet flew fairly close by and even landed on the water showing off their daffodil yellow heads and dagger like beaks. As we passed Old Harry the faithful Peregrines were proudly sat upon their vigil, watching as we passed and the nesting Shag’s busily went about their business.

We were then treated to a brilliant but fairly brief acrobatic display from a pod of Bottle-nose Dolphins, which came within meters of the boat to see what we were up to giving jaw dropping views. If that wasn’t enough we then made our way around Durlston Head, heading for Dancing Ledge and the Puffin colony. Fulmar, noisy Kittiwake, Guillemot and the odd Razorbill all did really close flybys of the boat to take a gander at our motley crew. We then arrived at Dancing Ledge where we quickly found 2 Puffin sat on one of the ledges which seemed to be the icing on the cake of what was already a hugely successful trip, but that wasn’t the end…

After watching the Puffins for ten minutes or so we headed back, only to be treated to one of the most outrageous sunsets I’ve ever seen in Dorset and against one of our most famous backdrops too. And if that wasn’t enough, just as we were about to head in the Dolphins ‘re-found’ us producing the grand finale with jumps, flips and splashes right next to the boat for about 5 minutes providing some of the best photo opportunities of Dolphin I think Dorset’s ever offered.

I’d like to thank the Brownsea Island Ferries crew and Poole RSPB Local Group who put these trips on, as this will certainly be trip I will never forget.

There is another trip on June 15th 2013, so if this has whetted your appetite the why not book on. For more info follow this link…


13, 14, 15, 16 ,17/05/2013

Posted on: May 17th, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Strong south-westerlies for most of the week hampered any good birding but still some nice sightings.

Monday 13th only saw a few reports come in from Lytchett Bay where the Red-throated Diver was still present. Also there 391 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Whimbrel, 6 Dunlin and 1 Ringed Plover.

Tuesday 14th again had a Lytchett Bay focus where an Osprey and a ringtail Harrier sp were the highlights, also there 300+ Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Whimbrel, 2 Gadwall and lots of Swallow passing through.

Wednesday 15th saw 2 Spoonbill and 2 Avocet still on the Brownsea Lagoon where the Sandwich and Common Tern numbers continue to increase. Hobby numbers also continue to grow with plenty of sightings over Arne, Hartland and Sunnyside.

Thursday 16th was fine and still and some coverage from Swineham was most welcome where a singing Lesser Whitethroat was down at the point, 3 Sedge Warbler seemed settled, 5 Cetti’s Warbler, 7+ Reed Warbler and 7+ Hobby out over the Purbeck ridge.

Friday 17th was again calm and still which called for a Poole Harbour ringing session, read about todays session here.  Other sightings included 4 pairs of Dartford Warbler and a Woodlark at Arne, 2 Hobby along the Arne road and  still 2 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon.

Last few places left…

Posted on: May 14th, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Still a few places for the next ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ walk. Don’t be put off by the early start, this is the best time to experience the magic Morden Bog has to offer. To book on call 01202 641003



Posted on: May 13th, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The summer doldrums already seem to be upon us with very little news over the last few days. Strong south westerlies haven’t helped the cause too much. Still, enough sightings kept trickling through…

Highlights on Wednesday 8th included a sea watch at Branksome where 5 Gannet, 3 Fulmar and 5 Common Tern all passed. At Arne Dartford Warbler numbers seem stable with at least 4 pairs on Coombe Heath alone, also there summer plumage Dunlin, Grey Plover and Ringed Plover. Lesser Whitethroat was still singing at Lytchett Bay.

Thursday 9th saw a decent range of wader species at Lytchett Bay which included Knot, Turnstone, Bar-tailed godwit, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit and Greenshank. On Brownsea the Sandwich Terns are now fully settled with many bird now on eggs. Also the Nightjar is back at it’s favoured roosting spot in front of the Lake Hide. Despite their secret nature Golden Pheasants have also been reported more frequently than usual. At Fleets Corner there was a Garden Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Whitethroat present.

Friday 10th was very quiet. Lytchett Bay saw 2 summer plumage Grey Plover, 22 Dunlin, and 1 Hobby.

Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th could only muster a Marsh Harrier at Swineham, a few Whitethroat at Fleets Corner and 2 Hobby over Arne.


Posted on: May 8th, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Well, a cracking Bank Holiday was all we needed to keep us smiling…until today that is when we’re now looking like we’re going to get hit with gale force winds and torrential rain. It’s not all bad though. An early morning sea watch from one of the Poole/Bournemouth beaches could produce the odd Great or Arctic Skua, Black or Little Tern??

Best of all the Sandwich Terns are all ready back on eggs on the Brownsea Lagoon, so why not watch all the drama unfold live…. http://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/dwt-webcam

Also, don’t miss out on our next outing…don’t delay and book on now as places are limited. For more info visit our events page…


Highlights from the last few days….

Monday 6th was a glorious bank holiday, great for birds, but not so much for birders. Saying that, a Goshawk sighted over Lytchett Bay was a real highlight. Also at Lytchett Bay a Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Blackcap, the Red-throated Diver, 1st winter Little Gull, female Marsh Harrier, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 45 Whimbrel. At Middlebere on a rising tide there were 8 Grey Plover, 63 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and 9 Whimbrel. At Hatch Pond there was a Cuckoo, 1 Sedge Warbler, 7 Blackcap also Reed Warbler and 3 pairs of Great Crested Grebe present. Holes bay held a good selection of waders with 14 Curlew, 71 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Knot, 12 Ringed Plover and a Common Tern. A Nightjar was present on Lytchett Heath.

Tuesday 7th was again stunning. An Osprey flew over Coombe Heath, Arne, also there 3 Dartford Warbler, 1 Woodlark and 1 Tree Pipit. There was a Hobby over Bestwall. A Female Marsh Harrier at Swineham. An uneventful sea watch at Branksome produced a handful of Gannets and 35 Common Scoter. At Hatch Pond a Cuckoo again and a fine male Whinchat. On Canford Heath there where a few Dartford Warbler, 1 Hobby, Linnet and Stonechat. On Brownsea still 2 Spoonbill, 7 Avocet, 1 Golden Pheasant and 4 Dunlin. At Lytchett Bay the Red-throated Diver again, 12 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank and 150 Black-tailed Godwit

May Begins…

Posted on: May 5th, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Sorry for the lack of news recently, but I’m sure the decent weather makes up for that. As spring migration begins to slow down, we can now start focusing on the breeding birds that stay here for the summer. Some late news from April 30th saw Honey Buzzard fly right over the centre of Poole and a Savi’s Warbler was heard reeling on a private site during a Water Rail survey. Here are some highlights from the first five days of May…

May 1st started off nicely with Red-throated Diver, Red Kite and 8 Whimbrel at Lytchett Bay. At least 4 Hobbies were over Hartland Moor and the long staying ringtail Hen Harrier was seen along the moors. There were at least 2 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon. There was another Lesser-spotted Woodpecker out towards Holton Heath, and finally the Sandwich Terns started to use their breeding islands on the Lagoon Webcam.

May 2nd not much to report. Still at least 15 Avocet on the Brownsea Lagoon, 4 Greenshank,        3 Spotted Redshank and 1 Spoonbill.

May 3rd saw slightly more action where at Upton CP there was 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank and a Whimbrel. At Lytchett Bay the 1st winter Little Gull remained as did the Red-throated Diver, also there 2 Common Sandpiper and 11 Whimbrel. At Swineham there were 4 Common Sandpiper, 20 Whimbrel, 1 Marsh Harrier and 150 Black-tailed Godwit. At Hatch Pond there were 3 pairs of Great Crested Grebes.

May 4th was very unsettled to begin with then cleared to be a nice day. At Swineham there were 2 Scaup on the main GP, 1 Red-throated Diver on main GP, 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Common Sandpiper, 23 Swift, 2 Sedge Warbler, 5+ Cetti’s Warbler and 10+ Sandwich Terns. The Red-throated Diver and Little Gull were still at Lytchett Bay.

May 5th where glorious weather really took a hold, and the summer warmth started to shine through. Main focus was around Lytchett Bay where the Red-throated Diver were still out in the bay, a Greenland Wheatear was on the pols field, about 35 Whimbrel were dotted around the area, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and a Wood Warbler. In the Wareham Channel the gull colony is looking and sounding superb. Best viewed from Holton Lee.


Call 01202 641 003