Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Archive for November, 2013

Glossy and bright – posted 30/11/13

Posted on: November 30th, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

What a stunner of a day, the sun shone and the birds appeared. By far the best sighting of the day was of a Glossy Ibis spotted in the Middlebere Channel. Unfortunately there is no further information other than it was seen flying east towards the centre of the harbour. Glossy Ibis are a very rare bird to the harbour with only a handful of previous records. However, there seems to be an annual migratory increase across the country of this species with a handful of birds over-wintering, which could provide more local sightings.  The ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ field trip came up trumps with visits to Brands Bay, Bramble Bush Bay and Shell Bay. Sightings included the Surf Scoter, 3 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, 1 Eider, numerous Red-breasted Merganser, Great Crested Grebe, Lapwing, Pintail and a Marsh Harrier. In Holes Bay 9 Spoonbill were present this morning along with 2 Spotted Redshank and 150+ Avocet. Some late news from last night of 6 Jack Snipe being caught and ringed by the Stour Ringing Group at a site near Soldiers Road.

NOTICE – It was discovered yesterday that the wind farm developers ‘Navitus Bay’ were advertising ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ events on twitter completely unprompted by us. If anyone saw this, we wish to announce that we are in no way affiliated with Navitus and DO NOT support their current proposal.

Out on the water – posted 29/11/13

Posted on: November 29th, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The open bodies of water are well worth checking this time of year, as you never know what might be bobbing along in amongst the Mergansers and Cormorants. December is a classic time for species like Long-tailed Duck and Red-necked Grebe to arrive in the harbour, and depending on severity of the weather species like Smew sometimes get found in the odd bay. Scanning back and forth out towards the centre of the harbour off Baiter Park or Shipstal can produce good numbers of birds, likewise if scanning from South Haven and Redhorn Quay. Today from a School bird boat trip it was the open water species that stole the show. 4 Eider Duck were off Jerry’s point with a Black-throated and Great Northern Diver just meters away from them. Another Black-throated Diver was off Gold Point, Arne and a Scaup was out in central harbour. Goldeneye numbers seemed low with only about 10 birds seen, but Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe still pulled strong. The Surf Scoter is still off Redhorn, Brands Bay and 3 Black-necked Grebe there too. On Brownsea Lagoon the 26 Spoonbill were present and Shoveler, Avocet, Knot, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover and Dunlin were all present in good numbers. 4 Spoonbill were also present in Holes Bay. Finally an incredible 52 Black-necked Grebe were out in Studland Bay

Winter Raptors – posted 28/11/13

Posted on: November 28th, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The western and side of Poole Harbour is a real draw for over-wintering birds of prey. The lowland heathland and moor-like habitats provide excellent hunting and roosting grounds for a number of species. There are currently 5 different Marsh Harrier frequenting the mouth of the Wareham Channel, best viewed from the end of the footpath at Swineham, also two Hen Harrier (one male and one female) commuting between Sunnyside and Hartland Moor along with a Merlin at the latter site. This time of year can be great for Short-eared Owl, however from the numbers seen elsewhere in the UK, it doesn’t look like its going to be a bumper SEO winter, well worth looking out for if out around dawn or dusk. I’d like to be proved wrong. The current 27 over-wintering Spoonbill seem to have mixed taste of feeding areas. Whilst all 27 can be located on the sand spit at Arne on a high tide, they all disperse to various feeding zones across the harbour with Holes Bay, Lytchett Bay, the Frome/Piddle Mouth and Middlebere all seeing feeding birds on a low tide. Also in Holes Bay up to 20 Pintail and a handful of Shoveler from the stone bench at Upton CP.  Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye numbers continue to rise slowly, with two’s and three’s of each species now viewable off Baiter car park, and many more out in central harbour.

Dark and Grey isn’t that bad – posted 27/11/13

Posted on: November 27th, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Although yesterday was a stunning winter scene, darker grey sky’s are back and forecast for the foreseeable future. However, the discovery of a Great Grey Shrike out on Hartland Moor certainly brightens things up quite a lot. These are scarce, but almost annual winter visitors with one or two being discovered on the heathlands surrounding Poole Harbour each winter. They can be easily located (sometimes) by scanning the very tops of small pine trees and gorse bushes. A Peregrine flew over Holes Bay early yesterday morning with some prey. If you get the chance to visit Lytchett Bay on a low tide then I can highly recommend it, as it is filled with hundreds of waders and wildfowl including Avocet, Dunlin, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Teal, Wigeon, Shelduck and Brent Geese. There were only 4 Spoonbill in Holes Bay yesterday morning and another count of 7, possibly 10 Woodcock came out of their roost near Soldiers Road again last night. Off Knoll Beach, Studland there were 2 Slavonian Grebe, 23 Black-necked Grebe and 7 Common Scoter. The Surf Scoter remains in Brands Bay.

Follow this link for a Tranquil Scene at Lytchett Bay


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

Don’t miss the next ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ field trip around the inner and outer bays of the Studland Penninsular. There are plenty of birds on offer at the moment with all 3 species of Diver present at the moment, Black-necked and Slavonian Grebe, Eider and even the long staying Surf Scoter should be on the tick list.

For full details follow this link http://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/three-bay-bumble and to book on either…

Email us at – info@birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk

Tel – 01202 641003

Harbour Round Up – 25/11/13

Posted on: November 25th, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Here is a brief round up from around the harbour today. 8 Woodcock were counted coming out from their daytime roosts near Soldiers Road also a Jack Snipe and 2 Common Snipe. This is a great time of year to look for Woodcock flying out of woodlands onto open fields to feed, literally 10-20 minuets before total darkness. At Lytchett Bay a male Marsh Harrier flew through, 159 Avocet, 152 Dunlin, 192 Lapwing plus good numbers of Curlew, Shelduck, Teal, Wigeon, Redshank and Oystercatcher also 1 Redpoll and 300+ Wood Pigeon overhead. The Surf Scoter was still out in Brands Bay and Great Northern Diver were present near the harbour mouth and off Brownsea. Off Baiter 2 Goldeneye, 4 Red-breasted Merganser and 5 Great Crested Grebe.

Birds a plenty – posted 24/11/13

Posted on: November 24th, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today saw an RSPB birdboat leave Poole Quay at 10:30 this morning, with a top deck full of people hoping and waiting for a birding extravaganza. I’m pleased to say we weren’t disappointed as near perfect conditions provided us with a total of 52 species. We left the quay and headed for the Brownsea Lagoon where a host of volunteers set up base in the hides getting scopes onto the thousands of birds present. The lagoon Species list included Spoonbill, Avocet, Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Knot, Dunlin, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Little Egret and 3 Buzzards. The tour then led us around the harbour backwaters where we were treated to exquisite views of Great Northern and Black-throated Diver, Eider Duck, Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe. Goldeneye were present in good numbers too and the supporting cast of Brent Geese, Shelduck, Cormorant, Shag, Common Gull, Little Grebe and Lapwing made for an excellent days bird watching. At Shore Road a total of 43 Sanderling were feeding on the tide line along with 111 Bar-tailed Godwit. Only 7 Spoonbill in Holes Bay this morning but 25 there yesterday! Out over Swineham yesterday 5 Marsh Harrier were lingering together late afternoon and a male Hen Harrier dashed over Arne Moors. Numbers of various species seem to be increasing right across the harbour as Lytchett Bay saw an increase of 152 Avocet, 268 Dunlin, and 109 Shelduck. There were 6 Ringed-necked Parakeet at Studland and 11 Sanderling in Shell Bay. The Surf Scoter is still present in Brands Bay (although not seen from the Birdboat). Finally from Swineham a Jack Snipe at the point, 3 Spoonbill, 3 Marsh Harrier, 1 Tawny Owl, 4 Cetti’s Warbler, 5 Water Rail, 26 Siskin, 24 Pochard and 54 Gadwall.

Ringed Plover Return – posted 22/11/13

Posted on: November 22nd, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

You don’t necessarily have to travel to the back of beyond to experience good birds and good wildlife in Poole Harbour. Areas like Holes Bay and Baiter can be real hotspots during the cold winter months, often being able to park or walk just meters before you witness some excellent birds.  At Baiter this morning the winter flock of Ringed Plover were feeding along the low tide line with 23 in total along with 11 Turnstone and 2 Dunlin. These birds are often feeding just meters from the cycle path providing excellent views with the naked eye, and even better views with some binoculars. Ringed Plover are an uncommon winter visitor each winter with totals barely reaching over 100.

In Lytchett Bay 15 Spoonbill were feeding in the entrance channel, and there were excellent totals of the regular low tide species with just over 100 Curlew, 40 Avocet, 150+ Dunlin, 150+ Redshank, 190 Lapwing and 200+ each of Wigeon and Teal. Holes Bay hosted 7 Spoonbill yesterday afternoon along with 7 Avocet and 149 Dunlin and 27 Spoonbill this afternoon. 


Spoonbill – Lytchett Bay, Shaun Robson

The Surf Scoter is still out in Brands Bay, also there good numbers of Pintail, Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Curlew, Turnstone and Little Egret. At Shore road 13 Sanderling were feeding near the sea wall along with a few Bar-tailed Godwit. At Middlebere the ringtail Hen Harrier put in an appearance and a Kingfisher was dipping into the pool in front of the NT hide.

Click HERE for some film footage of a Turnstone on Baiter Beach this morning 

Brass Monkeys – posted 20/11/13

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

A cold northerly wind picked up last night and continued throughout the day making my fingers very very cold when trying to hold my binoculars. This could potentially be good for blowing a few oddities down this way such as Geese species like White-fronted, Barnacle or Pink Footed Goose. Likewise, Bewick’s and Whooper Swan should be popping up at various places around Dorset very soon, so no reason why they won’t appear in the harbour somewhere. The Frome Valley used to be a hotspot for Bewick’s Swan, but unfortunately they’re no longer regular winter visitors. However, it’s still well worth checking through the many Mute Swans that spend the winter in the valley, as there’s always a possibility either Bewick’s or Whooper Swan could appear.

Now back to birds that are actually here, a Great White Egret was spotted in the Middlebere Channel this morning and was subsequently seen out over Swineham and Arne Moors flying east. An RSPB/Birds of Poole Harbour’ school bird boat went out yesterday and had the Surf Scoter very close to the boat off Goathorn Quay. Also spotted were 20+ Spoonbill off Shipstal, Arne, a Scaup in central harbour, 1 Great Northern Diver near Brands Bay, 100+ Avocet on the Brownsea Lagoon and 150+ each of both Great Crested Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser dotted around the harbour. At Lytchett Bay a single Crossbill over, 1 male Hen Harrier, 121 Lapwing, 64 Shelduck, 52 Cormorant, 32 Snipe, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Kingfisher, 3 Rock Pipit and 2 Water Rail. At Middlebere both a male and female Hen Harrier this morning along with 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine, 295 Avocet, 600+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank, 3 Pintail and good numbers of Fieldfare, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Bullfinch, Chaffinch and Goldfinch along the lane. Sandwich Terns were feeding in Holes Bay and off Baiter. 

Back to the dark ages – posted 18/11/13

Posted on: November 18th, 2013 by Birds of Poole Harbour

‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ were kindly invited to come and speak at the New Networks for Nature’ (http://www.newnetworksfornature.org.uk/presenters.htm) event up in Stamford at the weekend to talk about the importance of social media and technology in promoting conservation and nature. It was a fantastic event full of fascinating debates, intellectual ideas and thought provoking concepts. If you get the chance to visit next year then you should really try and make the effort. However, as I stupidly forgot to book into a hotel room with internet and with very, very limited 3G coverage I felt like I was flung back to the dark ages as the internet had no part in my life for three days! Hence the lack of updates.

So, what’s been happening? Well, much of the same really. The Surf Scoter is still settled in Brands Bay often giving great views of Redhorn Quay, also in the area there still 3 Great Northern Diver, 4 Black-necked Grebe, a great count of 20+ Goldeneye, 80+ Red-breasted Merganser and 64 Great Crested Grebe. At Knoll Beach (14th Nov) 2 Swallow struggled into the cold northerly wind. There was still some ‘Pig Mig’ (a Wood Pigeon equivalent to Vis Mig) with flocks of 2000 over Lytchett Bay and 3000 over Evening Hill. There is currently both a male and female Hen Harrier using the Hartland/Middlebere area for hunting along with 2-3 Marsh Harrier, also in Middlebere 295 Avocet, 600 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Green Sandpiper. Out off Middle Beach 21 Black-necked Grebe and 4 Common Scoter and in Studland Bay 3 Great Northern Diver, 2 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Sanderling. From South Haven 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, 4 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Ringed Plover, 11 Sanderling, 1 Grey Wagtail, and 1 Chiffchaff

Don’t miss out on these up and coming events….

RSPB Birdboat Poole Harbour Tourwith Brownsea Landing – http://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/brownsea-landing-rspb-boat

Three Bay Bumble – A look around all the bays of the Studland Penninsular looking for Grebes, Sea Duck (including the Surf Scoter) Divers, Waders, Wildfowl – http://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/three-bay-bumble

 RSPB 20 year Anniversery Birdboat – A crusise around Poole Harbour and the Wareham Channel looking for Sea Ducks, Grebes, Diver, Waders and Raptors – http://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/wareham-channel-rspb-cruise

Monday Blue(sky’s) at Arne – A mid afternnon stroll around Arne (hopefully) in the soft, low mid-winter sun – http://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/monday-blue-skys-arne





Call 01202 641 003