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 18/08/15

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

Lytchett Bays Wood Sandpiper record lasted one day, when 5 were counted in the morning, a fantastic total for the harbour. With the Wood Sands were 3 juv Ruff still, 12 Ringed Plover, 23 Dunlin, 10 Common Sandpiper, 6 Green Sandpiper, 16 Snipe, 28 Lapwing, 50+ Redshank and an influx of 98 Teal, 2 Whinchat and 3 Yellow Wagtail. On Brownsea there are now 8 Spoonbill, and this total is likely to increase week by week until late October. Last year we reached a maximum of 49…can we see 50 this year? An Osprey put on a good show in the Middlebere Channel, repeatedly fishing until finally in caught a fish and flew off towards Wytch. Ballard hosted 23 Whitethroat, 2 Redstart and 1 Spotted Flycatcher. In Brands Bay a Ruff, 2 Whimbrel and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit were counted and there was a Spotted Flycatcher at Littlesea. The scrub around Holes Bay north saw 1 Redstart, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Garden Warbler and a Reed Warbler.  

Harbour Update – posted 17/08/15

Posted on: August 18th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

An incredible total of 4 Wood Sandpiper were counted on RSPB Lytchett Fields yesterday morning, which has to be close to a Dorset record for this species in one place at one time. This coincided with a site record of 13 Common Sandpiper spread across both sets of fields plus 3 juvenile Ruff, 7 Ringed Plover, 20 Dunlin, 9 Green Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, lots of Redshank, Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Common Snipe and 2 Whinchat. The scrub at the top of Holes Bay north saw 1 Redstart, 3 Garden Warbler, 8 Blackcap, plenty of Willow Warbler as well as a Common Sandpiper by the outflow channel.  At South Haven there were 8 Sanderling and 1 Common Sandpiper and in Brands Bay 21 Teal, 1 Whimbrel, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Yellow Wagtail. On Brownsea 3 Spotted Redshank, 2 Spoonbill, 18 Avocet and 2 Ringed Plover were noted on the lagoon webcam.

I also mentioned yesterday that I would post three types of passerine calls which I recorded during a night sound recording session from my garden on the 15/08/15. Now I’m not going to pretend I know what these are, but from having had several conversations with friends and colleagues it’s suggested that these calls could be of either, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher and even Robin. Which is which to me is a total unknown at present but we’re working on finding out a lot more about these types of calls and will hopefully one day (soon) be able to assign them to a specific species. For now I’ll just lable them Passerine call 1, 2 and 3. The reason for showing them is to illustrate the fact that even though they sound the same, on the sonagram they are in fact quite different, possibly suggesting that each is a different species.

Passerine call 1 – slight downward inflection


Passerine call 2 – sharp rising inflection


Passerine call 3 – slight rising inflection

Harbour Update – posted 16/08/15

Posted on: August 16th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour


Yet again waders were the main feature, especially at RSPB Lytchett Fields where the viewpoints offered great views of a whole range of species including 2 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Ruff, 7 Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpiper, 12 Dunlin, 77 Redshank, 7 Ringed Plover, 90 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Snipe, 20 Lapwing as well as 7 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and good numbers of Willow-chiff. Up around Old Harry and Ballard migrants included 1 Yellow Wagtail, 35+ Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 13 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Wheatear, 1 Redstart and 2 Spotted Flycatcher. At Greenland’s Farm, Studland there was 1 Hobby, 7 Willow Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Wheatear, 4 Redstart and 2 Spotted Flycatcher.

I’ve finally got round to doing some more night recording sessions to which I’ll carry out from my garden and the lower Frome Valley over the following weeks. Last night I set up in my garden and had 1 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Water Rail, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Grey Heron plus a series of six different passerine calls over the course of the night comprising of possibly Pied or Spotted Flycatcher and even Robin. There were three examples which seem quite different to one another which I’ll post tomorrow, but in the mean time here is the Ringed Plover passing over my house at around 2:30am


Ringed Plover – calls of a night time migrant – Lytchett Matravers


Harbour Update – posted 15/08/15

Posted on: August 15th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today was another good day busy with birds, but this time in slightly more enjoyable weather. Starting off at Studland where 2 Black Tern were found feeding in a mixed tern flock off the houseboats, also in the area 9 Ringed Plover, 7 Common Sandpiper and a Yellow Wagtail and good numbers of common warblers. At Lytchett Bay a Wood Sandpiper appeared and a juv Ruff was still present, also 5 Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpiper and 20+ Dunlin, 1 Whinchat, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Firecrest. Just across the bay a ringing session at Lytchett Heath produced almost 200 birds including 6 Grasshopper Warbler and 2 Tree Pipit amongst the many many Sedge Warbler. An Osprey drifted over Fleetsbridge late afternoon heading towards Poole Town Centre. The scrub around the northern section of Holes Bay held 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 4 Garden Warbler, 1 Whitethroat and a Reed Warbler.

Harbour Update – 14/08/15

Posted on: August 15th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The dire weather ‘downed’ a lot of birds as they tried to take shelter whilst feeding at the same time. A likely Melodious Warbler was seen at RSPB Lytchett Fields first thing in amongst a mixture of Willow Warbler and a Garden Warbler. On the fields were 15 Ringed Plover, 5 Common Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 1 juv Little Ringed Plover, 15 Dunlin, 3 Green Sandpiper, 3 Kingfisher, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Hobby over, and good numbers of the usual Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing. At Swineham a Caspian Gull was reported from Swineham Point, also present was 1 Pied Flycatcher, 9 Willow Warbler, 7 Reed Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Wheatear, 1 Hobby, 3 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper and a Ringed Plover. At Upton CP 6 Spotted Flycatcher and a Pied Flycatcher were near the cattle trough in the field near the park entrance, also a male Redstart. On Brownsea 3 Spotted Redshank, 2 Spoonbill and 8 Greenshank were present. Brands Bay saw 1 Knot, 1 Arctic Tern, 1 Spoonbill and 2 Common Sandpiper, whilst at South Haven there were 11 Sanderling, 11 Ringed Plover and 1 Dunlin.

Harbour Update – 13/08/15

Posted on: August 13th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A ringing session at Lytchett Bay highlight a big movement of Sedge Warbler through the harbour with 186 ringed in a few hours, along with 4 Grasshopper Warbler and a Kingfisher.  On RSPB Lytchett Fields there were 10 Ringed Plover, 2 juv Ruff, 7 Green Sandpiper, 15 Dunlin, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Yellow Wagtail and 3 Greenshank. Redstarts were noted in gardens today in north Poole and Upton. A couple of Pied Flycatchers have occurred in the Arne car park this week with a mix of common migrants. On Brownsea there were 3 Spotted Redshank and 18 Avocet. Holes Bay north held 3 Common Sandpiper, 6 adult Yellow-legged Gull and 117 Black-tailed Godwit. In Brands Bay there were 2 Ringed Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 180 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank, 25 Dunlin and 1 Common Sandpiper. At South Haven 10 Ringed Plover, 3+ Sanderling, and 2 Turnstone made up a nice wader flock on the beach. At Littlesea a Spoonbill passed over-head and a Common Sandpiper was noted. At Upton CP there were 4 Spotted Flycatcher and a Garden Warbler around the paddocks.


Harbour Update – 11/08/15

Posted on: August 11th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today was another cracking day for birds in the harbour with plenty to feast your eyes on. Firstly, a Melodious Warbler was found at South Haven, Studland first thing and was seen only a handful of times throughout the rest of the day. This is a good record, and from what I believe only the 7th record for the harbour. Also at South Haven 3 Common Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Garden Warbler and 1 Swift. On RSPB Lytchett Fields a Wood Sandpiper was present for its second day with 2 Ruff, 3 Ringed Plover, 4 Snipe, 13 Dunlin, 18 Green Sandpiper and a Hobby chasing after hirundines. At Lytchett Heath there was 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 30+ Willow Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Nightjar, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Cetti’s Warbler. Brownsea was busy with 7 Greenshank, 18 Avocet, 2 Spotted Redshank, 1 Whimbrel, good numbers of Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Redshank, 1 Spoonbill, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Kingfisher. At Holton Lee 2 Tree Pipit passed over.

Wood Sandpiper – RSPB Lytchett Fields


Harbour Update – posted 09/08/15

Posted on: August 10th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today was the second ever Hen Harrier Day, an event that brings like-minded people together who want to see change in the way our uplands are managed and the protection of our birds of prey increased. All in all there were six events held right across the country, and ours was held at the wonderful Arne RSPB reserve. Last year the event in the south was at the RSPB Radipole reserve and attract 30 people (a good effort for a first attempt in the pouring rain), this year 150 people their way to Arne to show their support. You may ask why host an event in the south, when the issue is predominantly in the north? Well, every winter, Poole Harbour and the south coast in general sees Hen Harriers arrive from the north and we know this due to some satellite tagging and leg ring recovery data we have received. So, if Hen Harriers disappear in the north, they’ll disappear here too. All in all it was a great event and well organised by the hen Harrier south team. A huge thanks must go to RSPB Arne for hosting the event and lets hope that the pressure that is getting applied right across the county allows us to see some change some time soon. Coincidentally, 2015 is said to be the best breeding year for Hen Harriers in five years with six pairs and 18 fledged young.

Bird news from today included the BLACK STORK, which was seen in the Wytch Lake again early morning but was later seen circling high and drifting off west over Middlebere just before lunch time (seconds after the Hen Harrier event had just finished). Also at Wytch Lake 2 Tree Pipit over, 1 Marsh Harrier and a Spotted Flycatcher. RSPB Lytchett Fields was looking good again with a juv Ruff, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Oystercatcher and good numbers of Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing. At Middlebere there was 1 Spoonbill, 1 Whitethroat, 8 Yellow-legged Gull, 26 Little Egret, 3 Green Sandpiper, 10 Black-tailed Godwit and a number of newly fledged Swallow and Sand Martin. 

There was also a great example of RIDICULOUS parking at in Slough Lane Lytchett Bay. This wasn’t necessarily a birder,  but Just to remind anyone visiting RSPB Lytchett Fields, there is strictly NO PARKING along the lane, especially not half way across an access gate that large Wessex Water tankers need access to 24 hours a day. Many Thanks

Harbour Update – 08/08/15

Posted on: August 8th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

What a great day it was to have a Pimms or two (or three or four). Not so good when you get a phone call at 17:30 saying a BLACK STORK had just been photographed flying low over the Arne Road, and I’m stuck at home unable to drive. However, the search was on and local birders Steve Smith and Nick Hopper took on the challenge. A good vantage point was needed to see if the bird was flying between sites and eventually after about 30 minutes it was seen flying over Arne and dipping into the Middlebere area. Another search proved fruitless until it was then seen flying over Middlebere towards the Wytch Channel where it eventually settled and was joined by 3 Spoonbill. This was the 6th Poole Harbour record, which includes two historical reports of birds shot in 1839 and 1849 with all six records bar one coming from Middlebere, the other being at Lytchett Bay in May 2011. Migrants along the Middlebere track this morning included 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Sedge Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, numerous Willow Warbler and Blackcap, the Barn Own was seen briefly and 2 Green Sandpiper were out in the channel. On RSPB Lytchett Fields there was 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 13 Dunlin, 1 juv Marsh Harrier, 111 Black-tailed Godwit, 61 Redshank, 5 Greenshank, 11 Green Sandpiper and 2 adult Yellow-legged Gull.

Black Stork with 3 Spoonbill – Wytch Lake (near Middlebere) Aidan Brown

Harbour Update – posted 07/08/15

Posted on: August 7th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today was definitely the first real migrant day of the spring with many areas seeing a good range of common migrants. At South Haven there were 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 Dartford Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 3 Sanderling and 5 Ringed Plover. In Brands Bay 1 Teal, 125 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank and 1 Whitethroat were counted. At RSPB Lytchett Fields Sherford Pools held most birds with 1 Common Sandpiper, 4 Green Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 1 Snipe, 100 Black-tailed Godwit, 50 Redshank, 15 Dunlin and 10 Lapwing were all roosting/feeding. On Brownsea today there were 11 Avocet, 2 Spoonbill and 200 Black-tailed Godwit. Middlebere saw 1 Redstart. Finally, a mega mornings birding/ringing at Lytchett Heath saw 6 Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Garden Warbler, 7 Bearded Tit, 26 Willow Warbler, 1 Redstart, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Common Whitethroat, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 120+ Sedge Warbler and 30+ Reed Warbler. Apart from the totals, the most amazing thing about this mornings ringing session was we caught four controls! A French Sedge Warbler and BTO ringed Garden Warbler, Blackcap and Bearded Tit. You can often go months without catching a control so to get four in one session is unprecedented.   

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