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 August, 2015

Harbour Update – posted 30/08/15

Posted on: August 31st, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today a Poole Harbour Bird Race was held, involving six teams of two people competing against each other to see who can see the most species of bird in a day. Not only can this provide an incredible list of birds, but it also means almost the entire harbour is covered from dawn til dusk, providing highlights from the entire area. The boundaries we use for the Poole Harbour bird race are that of the Map section on our website which provides a great range and variation of habitats. The forecast looked set to offer some good birdy opportunities with a bit of rain through the night, clearing at dawn and a light north-easterly breeze early morning, fading away through the afternoon. With enthusiasm and anticipation bursting from the seams the 15-hour ‘birdathon’ was on.

With most teams starting around 4am Nightjar were seen/heard at Arne and Studland whilst both the Arne and Middlebere Barn Owls were seen too by some teams. A favoured spot at dawn appeared to be the Ballard/Old Harry area with almost all teams appearing there at first light, and a wise decision it proved to be. Redstart, Whinchat, Wheatear, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Chiffchaff, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Sedge Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Yellow Wagtail, Dartford Warbler, Yellowhammer, Crossbill, Common Scoter, Fulmar and Gannet were clocked between the teams. However, whilst that was going on, another team jammed in on a Wryneck at Greenlands Farm…by far one of the best birds of the day.

Wryneck – Greenlands Farm – Peter Moore

RSPB Lytchett Fields provided a mouth watering opportunity for anyone wanting to bump up their day (or year) list with 2 Wood Sandpiper, 4 Ruff, 2 Little Stint, 10 Knot and numerous Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Snipe, Lapwing and Teal. The other hotspot seemed to be Brownsea where Spoonbill numbers have now hit 17 and the lagoon was filled with at least 15 Greenshank, 4 Spotted Redshank, 1 Sanderling, 10 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Tern, 40+ Sandwich Tern, 50+ Common Tern and all the usual other waders. Whilst away from the lagoon on Brownsea both Pied and Spotted Flycatcher were near the Villa and Firecrest were seen just beyond the villa. One of the main features of the day was Osprey with numerous sightings from almost every site. There were 3 in Brands Bay alone at dawn, not to mention the 2 birds seen in the Wareham Channel around the same time. We even had one low over the lagoon mid-afternoon flushing EVERYTHING off the lagoon in one foul swoop.

Osprey – Brands Bay – Peter Moore

Another incredible feature of the day was just simply how many migrants there were around; it seemed every fence post around Old Harry, Ballard, Greenland’s Farm or Arne had either a Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, Whinchat or Wheatear sat on it…just incredible.

Whinchat – Greenlands Farm – Peter Moore

Plus, if you throw all the ‘regular stuff’ that was ticked into the mix, such as Hobby (Arne), Bearded Tit (Swineham), Woodlark (Soldiers Road), Marsh Harrier (Wareham Channel) etc, the day was probably one of the most productive days the harbour has seen for many many years. In fact, the winning team (no gloating allowed) logged an incredible 130 species during the course of the day (FULL LIST HERE), beating the previous total of 123 by seven species. A total combined list from all participating teams is being compiled as we speak, and I will publish this when I have it.

My message to anyone wanting to go our birding in Poole Harbour is GO NOW. The range of species is staggering, the scenery beautiful and the birding community a sheer joy to be with. Look forward to seeing you out in the field soon. 


Harbour Update – posted 29/08/15

Posted on: August 29th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Undoubtedly the bird of the day was a stunning Bluethroat that was trapped and ringed in Lytchett Bay. Unfortunately, the bird was never seen again after being released, so we hope you enjoy these gorgeous ‘in the hand’ photos. Also ringed at Lytchett Bay today were 6 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Whinchat, 1 Dartford Warbler, 1 Common Sandpiper and a mix of commoner migrants. Its likely there are currently 6 Osprey in then harbour with 4 seen together in the Wareham Channel early morning with others seen in Lytchett Bay and Brands Bay around the same time. Also at RSPB Lytchett Fields 2 Wood Sandpiper, 4 Ruff, 1 Little Stint, 1 juv Cuckoo, 7 Knot, several Green and Common Sandpiper plus 3 Spotted Flycatcher and a Whinchat. At Middlebere this morning a juv Marsh Harrier, 2 Hobby, 3 Greenshank, 2 Spotted flycatcher, 2 Tree Pipit and 1 Redstart were noted. On the Brownsea Lagoon this afternoon 1 juv Curlew Sandpiper, 1 juv Garganey, 7 Spotted Redshank, 19 Knot and a Firecrest were logged

Harbour Update – posted 28/08/15

Posted on: August 29th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

RSPB Lytchett Fields continued to hold good numbers of birds with 4 Wood Sandpiper, 4 Ruff, 2 Little Stint, 1 Greenshank, 50+ Dunlin, 8 Common Sandpiper, 6 Green  Sandpiper, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Whitethroat, 10 Willow Warbler and 1 Whinchat. A Black Tern made a brief appearance at Swineham GP. At Baiter there were 9 Ringed plover, 4 Dunlin, and 6 Oystercatcher. Greenlands Farm saw 1 Hobby, 11 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Tree Pipit, 3 Wheatear, 3 Redstart, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Garden Warbler, 5 Blackcap and 12 Willow Warbler. 2 Osprey were circling above Brands Bay in the morning, also there 1 Hobby, 1 Knot and 2 Greenshank. Late news from Middlebere on Wednesday included 10 Spoonbill, 1 Osprey, 3 Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Redstart, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Bullfinch and 12 Mistle Thrush. Brands Bay saw 1 Pintail (eclipse drake), 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 5 Sanderling and 20 Med Gulls. Along Soldiers Road 3 Woodlark, 1 Wheatear, and a Hobby. 

Harbour Update – posted 27/08/15

Posted on: August 29th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

At South Haven there were 3 Gannet, 16 Ringed Plover, 4 Sanderling, 1 Common Sandpiper and 100 Med Gull. At RSPB Lytchett Fields 81 Dunlin, 1, Little Stint, 4 Ruff, 3 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Knot, plus the usual Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Black-tailed godwit, Redshank etc. In the Wareham Channel 4 different Marsh Harrier came out of the roost. A juvenile Osprey was roosting at the back of Brands Bay. 

Harbour Update – posted 26/08/15

Posted on: August 27th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today a horrid rainy morning eventually gave way to sunshine by mid afternoon, and despite the wind a good selection of birds were seen. Out on RSPB Lytchett Fields there were 68 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover, 5 Ruff, 2 Little Stint, 3 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank good numbers of Yellow Wagtail and a handful of Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Sedge Warbler. Looking out across Arne moors from Slepe Heath produced 2 Osprey over the Arne Peninsular, one carrying a fish, plus 2 hunting Hobby. At least 6 Whinchat were out in the short grass on the moors with 11 Stonechat. The top north-west corner of the moors was flooded out and hosted an incredible 80-100 Yellow Wagtails, 3 juvenile Ruff, 3 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, and 1 Spotted Redshank. In scrub along the Arne Road a mixed flock of migrants contained 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, several Willow Warbler and a Blackcap.

Harbour Update – posted 25/08/15

Posted on: August 26th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

More Osprey around today with 1 viewed from the Houseboats towards Newton and Brands Bay and another 2 (possibly including the bird seen from the Houseboats) seen over Brands Bay/Goathorn. There seems to be a good number of Osprey in the harbour, and don’t forget we’re after ALL YOUR OSPREY SIGHTINGS from around the harbour, so for more information please CLICK HERE. Also from the Studland area there were 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Sanderling, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Hobby, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 8 Whitethroat, 8 Willow Warbler and a Sedge Warbler at South Haven. From the Houseboats, 1 Common Sandpiper and a Kingfisher whilst in Brands Bay 42 Teal, 135 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshank and 4 Knot were logged. On Brownsea the Spoonbill total reached 15 by the end of the day. In Poole Park a Greenshank was seen out n the cricket pitch amongst gulls and geese which was a bit odd and on RSPB Lytchett Fields there were 2 Little Stint, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 51 Dunlin, 17 Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank and a juvenile Med Gull

Harbour Update – posted 24/08/15

Posted on: August 26th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

RSPB Lytchett Fields still seems the place to be with good counts of waders still including 2 Little Stint, 17 Ringed Plover, 2 Little Stint, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Common Sandpiper, 5 Green Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank and the usual Redshank, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe etc. At South Haven 1 Turnstone, 6 Sanderling and 9 Ringed Plover were counted with another 10 Ringed Plover at the Houseboats. In Brands Bay there were 63 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshank, 3 Turnstone, 79 Dunlin and 3 Knot.

Harbour Update – posted 23/08/15

Posted on: August 24th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It’s a great time to be out birding in the harbour at present, with birds of many species turning up right across the area. Highlights from the last 4 days include…

Thursday 20th August

Four Osprey were feeding in the Wareham Channel which seemed to consist of three adults and one juvenile. A Knot arrived on RSPB Lytchett Fields and joined 5 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Ruff, 20 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 41 Dunlin, 6 Greenshank, 8 Common Sandpiper, 10 Green Sandpiper, 42 Lapwing and 10 Snipe, plus 2 Osprey were out in the Bay. Off Pilots Point, Studland a Balearic Shearwater was a great record also there 15+ Gannet, 4 Common Scoter, 3 Whitethroat and 7 Ringed Plover. From the House Boats looking towards Middlebere revealed an Osprey and 1 Spoonbill, whilst in Brands Bay 10 Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank, 1 Knot and 3 Turnstone were the highlights. There was also a Balearic Shearwater noted from Branksome. At Middlebere there were 8 Spoonbill, 1 Osprey, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Spotted flycatcher, 2 Spotted Redshank,, 1 Greenshank and 2 Yellow-legged gull.


Friday 21st August

4 Osprey were again noted in the Middlebere channel at dawn along with a whopping count of 47 Little Egret. Three Marsh Harrier were also counted coming out of their roost. Another Osprey was seen fishing out near Newton Bay and another Balearic Shearwater was noted from Pilots Point, along with an Arctic Skua. RSPB Lytchett Fields had 4 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Ruff, 17 Ringed Plover, 45 Dunlin and 1 Knot, also 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 Hobby.


Saturday 22st August

On RSPB Lytchett Fields 4 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Ruff, 1 Knot, 40 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 8 Green Sandpiper, 6 Common Sandpiper, 15 Snipe and 2 Greenshank. 3 Osprey were again in the Wareham Channel plus a new Marsh Harrier came out of the roost, which has involved 6 different birds over the last month. On the Brownsea Lagoon the Spoonbill total rose to 11 and there were 5 Spotted Redshank. Middlebere saw a good range of birds too with 2 Osprey, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hobby and 2 Kestrel, wader-wise 1 Whimbrel, 4 Knot, 1 Ruff, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Green Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 5 Spotted Redshank and a good count of 12 Yellow-legged Gull.


Sunday 23rd August

Sunday saw the arrival of the first 2 Little Stint on Lytchett Fields, also 4 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 1 Knot, 11 Green Sandpiper, 6 Common Sandpiper and 4 Yellow-Wagtail. A ringing session here also saw 8 Grasshopper Warbler. A Pied Flycatcher was in a private garden in Upton and a Garden Warbler and Hobby were seen from Lytchett Bay view. 

Harbour Update – posted 23/008/15

Posted on: August 23rd, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Over the last few days the harbour has seen some excellent bird counts from a variety of species. A full account will be written up tomorrow, but highlights have included still at least 4 Osprey in the harbour, most visible out in the Wareham Channel, and also the dead trees at Middlebere, and one even over at South Haven. The 4 Wood Sandpipers remain at Lytchett Fields, and are now joined by 2 Little Stint which were feeding together along with 3 Ruff, 17 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover and a wonderful selection of other waders. If you haven’t been to Lytchett Fields I suggest you try and get down as soon as possible. For directions click HERE and click on the Lytchett Bay section  of the map. On Brownsea the Spoonbill total has now swelled to 11 birds.  Yesterday evening, Middlebere was another hot spot yesterday with a Wood Sandpiper, 2 Osprey, 3 Spoonbill and good numbers of other waders. 

Harbour Update – posted 19/08/15

Posted on: August 19th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Five seemed to be the magic number today, even though the rain set in, and tried to ruin the day. It started off when 5 Osprey were reported in and around the Arne peninsular, with 3 even roosting in one tree during the rain, whilst another was fishing in the Wareham Channel and another was over in Middlebere. Don’t forget we’re after your Osprey sightings. For more information READ HERE. At RSPB fields the 5 Wood Sandpiper were present again along with 2 Ruff and a good spread of regular waders.


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