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 October, 2014

Harbour Update – posted 15/10/14

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

Not many sightings from today other than an Arctic Tern at Lytchett Bay, 42 Spoonbill at Arne and 2 Hen Harrier again out over Hartland.  To make up for a lack of sightings then here are a few sound recordings I’ve made from recent outings from around the harbour.

European Golden Plover

This recording was of two birds flying over Glebelands early yesterday morning having alighted from a recently ploughed field. 



This is an interesting recording as it’s of a call I’m quite un-familiar with. It’s of two Yellowhammer flying up the south side of Ballard having just crossed Swanage Bay, one of them omitting short rapid bursts of notes with a higher pitched  ‘p-lick’ every half a second or so.

Harbour Upgrade – posted 14/10/14

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

Today saw big movements of birds right across the country, from thousands off Goldcrests arriving at various coastal sites to a whopping 550 Ring Ouzel at Dungeness in one morning! Well, my dawn watch on top of Glebelands and Ballard managed just 1 Ring Ouzel, which was enough to satisfy me, along with 2 Golden Plover, 1 Merlin, along with flocks of Bullfinch (9, 2, 2, 4) Yellowhammer (2, 1, 2) Siskin (2) Skylark (2, 2, 1) as well as regular flocks of Meadow Pipit, Alba Wagtails, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Linnet all in regular loose flocks of 5-10 birds. At Arne the record Spoonbill flock of 47 were all hanging out on Shipstal point which is quite a sight if you can make it down there. Both Great White Egrets were out in Brands Bay for a short time, with one venturing over to Brownsea in the afternoon. Also on Brownsea 10 Spotted Redshank, 1 Turnstone, 1 Lapwing (scarce on Brownsea) 2 Spoonbill, 8 Greenshank, 20 Curlew, 20 Brent Geese and Goldcrest everywhere! In Middlebere a Red Kite drifted over early morning. 

Harbour Update – posted 13/10/14

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

Today saw the Poole Harbour Spoonbill flock total rise to 49 with 45 at Arne and 4 on Brownsea, will the big 50 be reached by the end of the week or we will start to see numbers drop off as birds move further south west? Interestingly we have had some information back about four of the six colour-ringed Spoonbill, with data showing that two were ringed in the Netherlands as chicks, one in 2013 and the other in 2006. The other two were ringed in Germany and Denmark but no further information was given. Also out in the harbour today was the winters first Goldeneye, which flew from Arne Bay towards central harbour, also 30+ Great Crested Grebe dotted about and 7 Sandwich Tern. On Baiter Beach 12 Ringed Plover and 11 Turnstone were feeding. Out on Hartland another Merlin was spotted and the now regular ringtail male Hen Harrier was active between Hartland Middlebere. There are also at least 5 different Marsh Harrier in the harbour at the moment. 

October is a great time of year for listening to birds as well as looking for them so below are a selection of recordings made recently up on Glebelands, near Ballard by local birder Nick Hopper, highlighting some of the sounds made by some of our less common migrants. 

Ring Ouzel – Flight Call – Glebelands 12/10/14


Ring Ouzel Call – Glebelands 21/09/14




Harbour Update – posted 12/10/14

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

Today saw a classic mid autumn arrival of Yellow-browed Warblers with no less than 3 dotted around various places. The first was located up on top of Ballard whilst a ‘vis-mig’ watch was being carried out, the second was later found by the restaurant next to the chain ferry at South Haven, and the third was found at Swineham by the entrance of the B&B. You would never believe that this bird was once a national rarity with only a handful of records across the whole country each autumn, but now Poole Harbour can rock up three in a day! The vis-mig’ watch up on Ballard also produced 5 Ring Ouzel, as well as small numbers of Linnet, Goldfinch, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Swallow and Chaffinch. Out in the Wareham Channel there were 3 different Marsh Harrier and a Peregrine.  Along the footpath leading from South Beach to Old Harry a decent sized Chiffchaff and Goldcrest flock were in a row of Sycamores, which I can’t believe didn’t have a Yellow-browed Warbler in it, but hey, you can’t find them all!

Harbour Update – posted 11/10/14

Posted on: October 12th, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Quite a bit of birding went on in the harbour today. Starting with Brownsea where you could have been mistaken for being in another country when all 47 Spoonbill and 2 Great White Egret were quite happily feeding/snoozing just left of the Mac Hide, and in one special moment on the webcam we had Spoonbill, Great White Egret, Little Egret and Grey Heron all in one view.  Also on Brownsea 400+ Avocet, 5 Knot, 31 Curlew, 30 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Greenshank and a Kingfisher.  At Studland another/the same Yellow-browed Warbler was present, this time down the beach side of the nature trail at Knoll Beach, leading to Littlesea in a Long-tailed Tit flock, also present a few Chiffchaff and a Firecrest. A concentrated effort was made at Lytchett Bay where a Jack Snipe, a late Spotted flycatcher, 2 Firecrest, 2 Barnacle Goose, 2 Rock Pipit, 1 Spotted Redshank and 1 Ruff were all recorded. Up around Soldiers Road/Hartland a Wheatear was still hopping around in search of food, 1 Woodlark in sub-song, 9 Dartford Warbler, 12 Stonechat, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine and 6 Snipe.

Harbour Update – posted 10/10/14

Posted on: October 11th, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today saw the harbours first (and hopefully not last) Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn, at the south end of Knoll Beach, Studland.  Sea-watched at Branksome have been fairly quiet, but an Arctic Skua was a nice welcome, along with more and more Brent Geese arriving in small groups. Lytchett Bay has seen a nice mix of birds on the new scrape that’s been created along the lane to the water works, including 2 Spotted Redshank, 1 Ruff, 7 Greenshank, 132 Redshank, big numbers of Teal and Wigeon. There were 2 Sandwich Tern out on Baiter during the recent windy weather.  Brownsea Avocet numbers are growing day by day with around 400+ now present, and at least 32 Spoonbill were still on the lagoon. Down at Baiter a nice flock of 25 Turnstone were giving exceptionally close views down to a couple of feet!


Harbour Update – posted 07/10/14

Posted on: October 7th, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour

During the gales of yesterday morning a sea watch at Branksom Chine came up trumps with 10 Arctic Skua and 2 Pomarine Skua, as well as 2 Arctic Terns, 4 Dunlin and 2 Mediterranean Gull. Great White Egrets were seen in Brands Bay, Lytchett Bay and this morning on the Brownsea Lagoon, all sightings most likely consisting of 2 birds. Also on Brownsea just 16 Spoonbill, a very poor show indeed compared to recent events! The ringtail male Hen Harrier was again over Hartland Moor, this time with a Hobby in tow and a Hobby was over Arne Moors again. Out on Baiter an Arctic Tern was seen hunkering down out of the rain with 2 Common Tern and a Sandwich Tern, along with 26 Ringed Plover, 50+ Dunlin, 10+ Turnstone and 200+ Oystercatcher. Brent Geese are arriving day by day at the moment with around 50 in the harbour so far, with birds gathering in Studland Bay and a few smaller groups venturing into the harbour. There was also a report of a possible Rose Coloured Starling just outside the harbour, around the back of Sandford on the edge of Wareham Forest.

Harbour Update – posted 05/10/14

Posted on: October 5th, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A great day in the harbour today with a whole suit of nice birds to feast your eyes on. Starting off with the two Great White Egrets are still present, and choosing to do mini tours of the southern bays before meeting up at the end of the day to settle down in the Little Egret roost on Littlesea. One was on the Brownsea Lagoon first thing, whilst another was viewable from the Triangle Hide at Littlesea, and then one was feeding out in Brands Bay for a bit around midday. The Spoonbill flock on Brownsea continues to rise with 47 birds now present…will we make 50 this week? The Pectoral Sandpiper was also still at Lytchett Bay on and off throughout the day despite going missing for periods of time. Also at Lytchett Bay were 2 Ruff, 1 Firecrest and a juvenile Garganey.  There were also 2 Firecrest on Brownsea too. The Osprey was active in Brands Bay where a Golden Plover (rare for here) was also found during the WeBS count. On Brownsea lagoon also 373 Avocet, 14 Spotted Redshank, 220 Black-tailed Godwit and 60 Little Egret


Great White Egret – Brands Bay – David Whalley

Harbour Update – posted 03/10/14

Posted on: October 3rd, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The harbour is buzzing at the moment with three exciting bits of news. Firstly from early this evening when the discovery of Lytchett Bays only second ever Pectoral Sandpiper was found (the last being 22 years ago), which was only just viewable in the darky gloom but still an excellent record. Secondly, one of the recent Great White Egrets found its way on to the Brownsea Lagoon, which meant we could pick it up on the webcam, allowing people at home, work, school to watch the Great White monster! What was even nicer is that for some of the time it chose to hang out with part of the Spoonbill mega flock, which currently consists of 40 birds! This is one of, if not the largest gathering of Spoonbill ever recorded in Britain, so if you get the chance to head out to Brownsea soon, then please do. Elsewhere the ringtail Hen Harrier was up on Hartland Moor and a Hobby was hunting Hirundines over Arne moors. There are currently 5 Brent Geese out in Studland Bay along with 2 Black-necked Grebe still. The Brands Bay Osprey was still present today too.  The Holes Bay winter gang continues to increase with now 514 Wigeon present and 247 Black-tailed Godwit, also 123 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Kingfisher and 31 Curlew there. Forgot to mention that Lytchett Bay also had 3 Ruff yesterday.


Harbour Update – posted 01/10/14

Posted on: October 1st, 2014 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With October now upon us it won’t be long before flocks of Redwing can be heard overhead on cold autumn nights and Fieldfare break the morning silence with mischievous chuckling as they arrive from the north. Talking of visitors from the north, the harbour saw a whacky if not slightly dubious arrival on Monday when a dead Red Grouse was washed up on the beach in front of the cottages on Brownsea! Where it came from is anyone’s guess, but the bird was relatively ‘fresh’ and easily identifiable so perhaps an unwanted bird from a local estate? The ringtail Hen Harrier was again present around the Middlebere/Hartland area. Brownsea is holding some really nice totals at the moment including a whopping flock of 39 Spoonbill which can be viewed on our Brownsea webcam. I’m pretty sure we’ll break the 40 mark this week, and who knows…could we possibly even see 50 by mid October? Also on Brownsea 17 Spotted Redshank, 3 Grey Plover, 4 Knot but only 150 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Avocet, indicating that a number of the new arrivals have already moved on to their Middlebere wintering area as there were 1029 Black-tailed Godwit and 354 Avocet at Middlebere yesterday. Also at Middlebere 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Greenshank, 7 Spotted Redshank, 15 Redshank, 1 Yellow-legged Gull, 6 Med Gull, 3 Marsh Harrier and a Peregrine. Out in Brands Bay one of the Great White Egrets was present, also 34 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Osprey, 2 Grey Plover, 210 Black-tailed Godwit, 100 Redshank, 10 Pintail, 4 Whimbrel and 1 Kingfisher. In Holes Bay 5 Ringed Plover and 10 Turnstone were good records, also there 3 Kingfisher, 2 Grey Wagtail and a Common Buzzard

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