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, 2014

Harbour Update – posted 19/05/14

Posted on: May 19th, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The harbour was somewhat under-watched yesterday and today despite the promising conditions although the re-appearance of the Great White Egret in the Frome Valley almost confirms that it’s (currently) over-summering in the harbour. Although being super elusive it was witnessed flying towards Arne at 20:25 last night as it headed into roost. Its probably doing this every evening so there’s a chance if you watch from Swineham or elsewhere with a good view of the Wareham Channel that you’ll pick it up flying down the channel. At Swineham there were 2 first summer Little Gulls, 1 Cuckoo, 11 Cetti’s Warbler, 1 Marsh Harrier, 4 Sedge Warbler and many Reed Warbler. On Brownsea the Nightjars provided a great view sat on the post in front of the Lake Hide. Also on the lagoon 1 Brent Goose, 3 Avocet, 5 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 3 Bar-tailed godwit, 257 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Wheatear. The male Marsh Harrier continues to feed both females quite happily suggesting everything is going smoothly with both nests at the moment. At Lytchett Bay there was 1 (possibly 2) Spotted Flycatcher, 140+ Black-tailed Godwit, including 2 colour ringed birds, 3 Lapwing and 1 Whimbrel.

Harbour Update – posted 17/05/14

Posted on: May 17th, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The weather over the last 48 hours seemed favorable for some new arrivals, perhaps something a bit different? South easterlies in mid May are always a good sign and today proved that theory correct. May is a great time for passage waders making their way north so its well worth checking muddy pools and scrapes for a stop over bird looking for a quick feed. At Lytchett Bay this week, the private fields to the north had already recorded 2 Knot, numerous Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel and Redshank so it looked as if some other waders were on the cards. Well yesterday 2 Ringed Plover arrived and this morning a Wood Sandpiper was discovered and then totally out of the blue whilst watching the latter Poole Harbours 4thTemminck’s Stint was found. Also present was 1 Greenshank, 2 Lapwing and 128 Black-tailed Godwit. At Swineham today 1 Cuckoo, 1 Greenshank, 17 Cetti’s Warbler, 8 Sedge Warbler, 21 Reed Warbler, 1 Marsh Harrier, 2 Swift and 2 Bearded Tit. A Red Kite and Peregrine drifted over Stoborough. 

Woodlark, Meadow Pipit and Great Spotted Woodpecker

Posted on: May 16th, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour

In the recording below you can hear three main species, Woodlark, Meadow Pipit and Great Spotted Woodpecker. The Woodpecker call is the short sharp ‘yip’ that appears on the sonagram as the singular, thick vertical line, reaching around 5kHz. The Meadow Pipit is the continuous ascending call that levels at 7kHz all the way through the recording, which is clear to see on the sonagram. You can also see that the pipit is evenly producing roughly 4 notes per second. Finally, the Woodlark song is the mournful, lower pitched descending sound that can be seen in the sonagram starting slowly at first but gaining pace towards the end of its song. This was recorded up on Slepe Heath (near Arne) this morning, 16/05/14.

Harbour Sightings – posted 15/05/14

Posted on: May 15th, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The large high-pressure system and open blue skies over Dorset this morning did little to help bring down any new arrivals. That said, what I assume is the same super elusive Great White Egret was seen flying up the Frome Valley again, this time over Ridge, but yet again was impossible to relocate anywhere in the surrounding area. This could potentially be the same bird that over-wintered in the harbour this year, and it seems to be choosing to roost somewhere on Arne at night and feeding in the Frome Valley during the day. At East Holme a female Whinchat was a minor consolation during the Egret relocation efforts, also a Cuckoo near the Wareham bypass. At Lytchett Bay Black-tailed Godwit numbers rose to 161 and 2 Redshank were also present. 

Common Snipe calling – Hartland

Posted on: May 15th, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour

As well as the drumming I uploaded earlier the same Common Snipe was also making this sound a few seconds before taking off to display…

Yellowhammer song – Corfe

Posted on: May 15th, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The recording below is of the typical Yellowhammer ‘Little bit of bread and no cheese’ song. Towards the end you can hear the Nightingale start up and right the way through the recording is the Chiffchaff asending contact call

Harbour Update – posted 14/05/14

Posted on: May 14th, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The harbour has been really active over the last few days both day and night. To begin with the first Nightjars were heard last night with 2 calling at Arne and another up on Hartland Moor. There was also a Snipe drumming up on Hartland too. At Corfe (Sugar Hill Lane) yesterday and this morning the Nightingale was again in full voice whilst 1 Cuckoo, 2 Spotted flycatcher, 4 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Yellowhammer and the first fledgling Blackcap were present. On Hartland Stud there are still two Wheatear hanging out with the Rabbits. At Lytchett Bay 2 Knot were out feeding on the fields which is a slightly odd record, also a late Snipe flushed, displaying Redshank, 50+ Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Whimbrel, 4 Lapwing and a Greenshank. At Middlebere yesterday 3 Spoonbill and a Cuckoo. There were 10 Whimbrel in the fields north of Upton CP and 2 Great Crested Grebe out in Holes Bay. There was also a moderate arrival of Swallow this morning as birds pushed through north on quite a broad front across the harbour. A newly arrived Sedge Warbler was singing up on Hartland Moor and a Peregrine was hunting over Arne moors, the latter surely breeding in the harbour somewhere? At Holton Lee Tree Pipit are back on territory. Finally some good news that the male Marsh Harrier seems to be a good provider to BOTH his females at the two different nest sites. He has been busy providing food to both females as they incubate the eggs, which are roughly half way through their incubation period. Keeping fingers crossed everything goes smoothly. 


Below is a recording of the Common Snipe drumming up on Hartland Moor last night

Blackcap young being fed

Posted on: May 13th, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour


These two young Blackcap look as if they had literally just fledged the nest this morning. Interestingly the male was the only adult feeding them, so the female had either gone off with another bloke, was on another clutch of eggs or had died!

Tree Pipit – Holton Lee – 13/05/14

Posted on: May 13th, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Here is another recording taken this morning this time at Holton Lee of a singing Tree Pipit. As a breeding bird in Poole Harbour, Tree Pipit are quite scarce, so it was a privilege to be able to listen to this bird singing away at Holton lee, although the dual carriage way and wind ruin the recording a bit!

Nightingale at Corfe this Morning

Posted on: May 13th, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour


To bring Poole Harbour birding a bit more to life, we’re going to start posting numerous sound recordings from around the harbour which we hope will act as an aid to helping you with bird identification. After all, how often do you hear a bird rather than see it? Rather like the Nightingale that features in this recording at Corfe this morning. It was belting out its beautiful song not 20m away, but could I see it? Also in the recording is a Common Whitethroat.


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