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, 2015

harbour Update – posted 31/10/15

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

Today was the Arne Forage Festival and we (along with the Stour Ringing Group) were invited to host a ringing demonstration for the public. The event was a huge success, not only because we ringed over 100 birds, but because the public engagement element of the demo worked brilliantly with visitors oooing and ahhhing at the range of species on show. Highlights were 2 Firecrest, 4 Redwing, 3 Nuthatch, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and a good mix of common woodland/garden species. Also on the reserve were 19 Spoonbill at Shipstal, a brief Yellow-browed Warbler in the car park along with similarly brief Brambling behind the visitors centre and 2 Black Redstart around the Farm Buildings. There was surprise Yellowhammer at Arne yesterday, the first in quite some years There are now 3 different Hen Harrier in the harbour, 2 ringtails and a grey male, which were seen around the Hartland area. There were 5 Marsh Harrier in and around the Wareham Channel.  At RSPB Lytchett Fields there were over 1000 Teal gathered on all fields with 4 Spotted Redshank there yesterday. There was an impressive 1200+ waders and wildfowl on all fields today with good numbers of Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe, Lapwing, Dunlin and Black-headed Gulls along with 2 Green Sandpiper and a Peregrine being a menace. Off Knoll/Middle Beach 14 Black-necked Grebe gathered in the evening roost with 3 Common Scoter. At Studland (Knoll) car park 2 Firecrest were present with another 4 at Greenland’s Farm. Vis-mig over Greenlands consisted of 46 Skylark, 6 Bullfinch, 5 Linnet, 138 Fieldfare, 4 Redpoll and a Brambling that settled for a short while. A Short-eared Owl was seen at dusk along the Arne Road.

Harbour Update – posted 29/10/15

Posted on: October 30th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Ergh! A wet, rainy day that didn’t produce very much…at all! Highlights were a minimum of 5 Brambling outside the Arne visitors center again and 2 Firecrest elsewhere in the car park. 31 Spoonbill were on Brownsea and a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen briefly in Middlebere with another (or the same) seen out over Slepe Heath with a late Hobby.

Saturday 31st October – Arne Forage Festival at Arne RSPB Reserve

Our Birds of Poole Harbour charity will be there discussing our work and we’ll also hosting a ringing demo in partnership with the Stour Ringing Group from 10am to 2pm. Our marquee is the first on the left as you enter the field.

Harbour Update – posted 28/10/15

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

The 6 Brambling at Arne remained settled behind the Visitor Centre. They rarely show all at the same time but are present for most of the day, feeding in amongst the Chaffinch and Greenfinch, but all the finches seem particularly flighty, rarely staying on the ground for longer than a few seconds. It was a Black Redstart day too with one at French’s Farm, Lytchett Bay, 1 briefly at Arne Farm and two at South Haven, Studland. There were also 3 Black-necked Grebe out in Shell Bay. There is a good number of Greylag and Canada Goose appearing on Lytchett Fields at the moment, which could in turn attract in a wandering White-fronted or Pink-footed Goose. There were again 2 Firecrest in the Arne car park and a Barn Owl was seen out hunting along the Arne Road at dusk. A Great White Egret flew along the Wareham Channel at dusk towards the main Poole Harbour egret roost and 6 Marsh Harrier came into roost. The 32 Spoonbill remained on Brownsea along with 12 Spotted Redshank. There are good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing arriving now with flocks of various sizes passing overhead at dawn in many places. 

Harbour Update – posted 27/10/15

Posted on: October 28th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There’s no sign of this ‘big freeze’ the papers keep referring too, in fact the words overly mild seem more appropriate. On Brownsea the pretty sedentary 32 Spoonbill remained along with a Great White Egret early morning and 12 Spotted Redshank. The 2 Common Scoter were again in Holes Bay and they were joined by a Common Sandpiper on the railway bridge. In Brands Bay a Short-eared Owl was hunting and there were finally a few Grey Plover with 5 present along with 5 Red-breasted Merganser, 96 Brent Geese 39 Avocet. There was another Short-eared Owl hunting on Otter Island in Lytchett Bay. There was another Black Redstart on the roof of the farm buildings at Arne, and no less than 4 Brambling were underneath the feeders outside the visitors center. A ringtail Hen Harrier was seen in Middlebere and another (or the same) out over Swineham. There was a minimum of 5 Marsh Harrier in and around the Wareham Channel area.

The full moon that occurs during this time period is also known as the Woodcock moon, for the obvious reason that Woodcock start to arrive in bigger numbers during this period, but its not only Woodcock that advantage of the bright clear nights at the end of October. We could also see bigger numbers of Red-breasted Merganser arriving and the first Goldeneyes of the winter too.

ARNE FORGARE FESTIVAL – This Saturday, October 31st is the sixth Arne Forage Festival to be held at Arne RSPB Reserve. The festival starts at 11am (although get there early for parking) and finishes at 4pm. We’ll be there hosting a ringing demo in partnership with The Stour Ringing Group from 10am – 2pm, so come along and see some of our most familiar garden and woodland birds up close for a fascinating insight in to their lives.

Harbour Update – posted 26/10/15

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

The Arne Brambling fest continued with a whopping 6 now feeding under the feeders outside the visitors centre. The word whopping may sound a little over kill but considering the last largest count was back in 2010 which consisted of 2 for twenty minutes, then a party of 6 is well and truly whopping! A Great White Egret was in Middlebere again and there were 8 Spoonbill on Shipstal Point with  another 22 on Brownsea. There are now 7 Marsh Harrier in west Poole Harbour and a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen in Middlebere and along Arne Moors. Firecrests were at Knoll Beach, Studland, Arne car park and PC World. A Black Redstart was on the Farm Building roofs at Arne Farm.

Harbour Update – posted 25/10/15

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

Today was one of those classic late autumn days with the low autumn sun illuminating the yellows, oranges and browns of various different tree species… certainly a contrast from yesterday. The two male Common Scoter were again in Holes Bay south along with a rise in Wigeon numbers to 625. From Poole Quay there were 3 Diver sp, two of which were Red-throated Diver but the other remained unidentified. The two Great White Egret were noted in different areas of the harbour with one in Middlebere and the other at Littlesea, Studland. A Firecrest was in Upton CP with another 3 in the car park at Arne. A Short-eared Owl was hunting over in the Wytch Channel and there was also 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Water Pipit and 4 Crossbill that area too. 

Harbour Update – posted 24/10/15

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

There was an interesting discovery of two male Common Scoter in Holes Bay, close into the footpath in the southern section of the bay. Although they’re regular out in central harbour and Studland bay each winter I can’t think of any previous records from Holes Bay. Normally an occurrence like this is down to adverse weather conditions and birds wanting to take refuge but we can’t really say there has been much adverse weather so maybe they just fancied a change of scenery? At RSPB Lytchett Fields the Ruff was still present along with 2 Greenshank, 18 Dunlin, 67 Lapwing, 35 Redshank, lots of Snipe and Teal and a good number of Rock Pipit are beginning to appear. There were 3 Marsh Harrier out in the Wareham Channel mid afternoon and a Peregrine passed over Slepe Heath. Brownsea hosted 21 Spoonbill and 6 Red-breasted Merganser were off the sea wall. A few more Brent Geese are now arriving with a conservative estimate of 300 in the harbour. 

Two male Common Scoter in Holes Bay south – Paul White

Harbour Update – posted 23/10/15

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

A fairly quiet day with a ringing session at Lytchett Heath providing a bit of interest with several Redwing ringed along with only the 2ndWater Rail at Lytchett Bay in the last 10 years. At dawn there was an obvious but limited thrush movement with Redwing and Song Thrush passing in over but numbers soon fizzled out at dawn. There were a minimum of 5 Bearded Tit in the reed beds there too and Blackcap and Chiffchaff were present to. A Ruff at Lytchett Fields was the first ‘different’ wader in a while in amongst the standard Snipe, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank and Teal.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION –  We Received information of a suspicious looking white transit van touring the back roads of Hartland Moor, Middlebere and Soldiers Road with the passenger of the vehicle getting out approaching parked cars and trying door handles to check if the cars were locked or not. Unfortunately a number plate wasn’t obtained but the van was said to be scruffy looking with a lot of foliage on it, plus ‘ladders and boards on it’


Harbour Update – posted 22/10/15

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

The arrival of more Short-eared Owls is perhaps an indicator of things to come weather wise with 3 in the harbour today. One was out across Arne Moors, another was seen to leave the marshy area of Littlesea, Studland at dusk and another spent the day at Lytchett Bay being spotted high over the bay at dawn and then hunting out across the marsh at dusk, even landing on our net poles just before dark while we were out ringing Pied Wagtail roosts. The ringtail Hen Harrier was over Slepe Heath and then went out across Arne Moors whilst both Peregrine and Marsh Harrier were settled on posts out on Hartland Moor when a Merlin dashed in between the two. At Lytchett Bay there was also a Marsh Harrier, 4 Skylark in the Arable Field and several Goldcrest and Chiffchaff. Another (or possibly the same) ringtail Hen Harrier was seen out across Greenlands Farm and a Great White Egret was on Littlesea whilst another was at Shipstal, Arne. A new Brambling was at the feeding station in the Arne car park and still a few Firecrest there too. 

Harbour Update – posted 21/10/15

Posted on: October 22nd, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There was a bizarre occurrence today when a guided walk at Arne RSPB reserve quite literally bumped into a Great White Egret in the woods near the Shipstal Hide. It was during a period of heavy rain so it could be that the bird was sheltering in woods to keep dry, but the group was able to approach very close (within 30m) which is odd for Great White Egret as they’re normally very shy birds. It casually just wandered off into the woods and out onto the marsh and wasn’t seen again. Injured? Or just disliked the rain? Other than the usual suspects there wasn’t much else reported due to the rain. 17 Spoonbill were on Brownsea, Marsh Harriers were noted at Lytchett Bay and Middlebere. There are still a minimum of 2 Firecrest in the Arne car park and the ringtail Hen Harrier flew up the Middlebere Channel where there was also a reasonable passage of Fieldfare and Redwing overhead.

We have just uploaded our latest survey, carried out by and titled – Corvids of Poole Harbour. This is a revised study that Nick carried out back during the 2007/08 winter period but also incorporates his recent winter Magpie roost survey which was carried out during the 2014/15 winter period.

Read the survey here – CORVIDS OF POOLE HARBOUR

We’ve also recently been building relationships with another local landowner to allow us to put up more Barn Owl boxes. With some of the funds raised from our monthly field trip program we purchased two more Barn Owl boxes and put them up at a site near Ridge, just outside Wareham. The boxes were erected two weeks by Jason Fathers from Wildlife Windows and we’ll be checking them in the following weeks to see if any wandering birds have taken to them yet. Keeping fingers crossed!

Jason Fathers from Wildlife Windows and our new Barn Owl boxes


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