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 20/10/15

Posted on: October 21st, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another vis-mig session was held up on Glebelands, Ballard where 3 Brambling, 6 Crossbill, 11 Yellowhammer, 21 Bullfinch, 54 Fieldfare, 88 Redwing, 40 Skylark, 50c House Martin, 20c Swallow and a steadyish passage of Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Redpoll, alba Wagtails and Meadow Pipits were passing over head and a female Merlin and 2 Peregrine were also seen.  From Middlebere a ringtail Hen Harrier was finally photographed and more Fieldfare were seen arriving overhead. From the Arne side it was also noted that there were 2 Great White Egret present again in the Middlebere Channel. On Brownsea there were 27 Spoonbill, 42 Dunlin, only 3 Spotted Redshank, 4 Greenshank, 2 Grey Plover, 1 Turnstone, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine and 2 Firecrest. The best at Studland was a female Marsh Harrier hunting over the South Haven pool. 

Harbour Update – posted 19/10/15

Posted on: October 20th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today proved you don’t have to be at a coastal site to get good vis-mig birds when a Lapland Bunting passed over Lytchett Heath at 8:30am calling low overhead and passing off to the NW. Also over the Lytchett Bay area were 2 Crossbill, 2 Egyptian Geese, 1 Rock Pipit, 5 Fieldfare and 6 Redwing. A Yellowhammer at Lytchett Fields the previous day was the first since November 210! At Arne a Hawfinch passed over the car park calling and 2 Firecrest and the Brambling were still viewable in the car park area. A Short-eared Owl flew over Slepe Heath and out across Arne Moors towards Swineham at 5pm and 3 Marsh Harrier, including a sub-adult male were present there too. A first year Cetti’s Warbler was singing in Poole Park and a Red-throated Diver was out off Fisherman’s dock. A flock of c200 sinensis Cormorant flew out across Whitecliff/Baiter towards the harbour mouth. 

Harbour Update – posted 18/10/15

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

There was a good report of not one but two Great White Egret in Middlebere during the morning, potentially confirming what we thought may be the case that there were in fact two separate birds. Another Short-eared Owl was seen out hunting over Arne moors, whilst harassing a couple of the 7 Marsh Harrier. The two Brambling at the Arne VC were present again feeding in amongst Chaffinch and House Sparrows whilst up to 3 Firecrest can still be seen in and around the car park. Several flocks of Fieldfare were seen passing over the Middlebere track heading north. The Spoonbill flock remained separate with birds both on Brownsea and Shipstal Point, Arne. 

Harbour Update – posted 17/10/15

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

The male Brambling at Arne was joined by a female and could be viewed on and off from the visitors centre window in the car park where there were also several Firecrest too. A Merlin flew in through the harbour mouth with another seen at Arne and 3 Red-breasted Merganser were sat off Furzey. There were 32 Spoonbill with 20 At Arne and 12 on Brownsea. Our monthly BoPH field trip at Greenlands Farm/Brands Bay area scored well with 4 Crossbill, 1 Ring Ouzel, 6 Lesser Redpoll, 100+ Fieldfare, 300+ Redwing, 1 Peregrine, 1 Marsh Harrier, 4 Dartford Warbler, 4 Stonechat and the Great White Egret was on Little Sea. Overhead Chaffinch, Siskin, Reed Bunting, Swallow and a few flocks of Wood Pigeon all passed north and out in Brands Bay there were 20+ Pintail, 400+ Black-tailed Godwit along with the usual Redshank, Curlew, Teal, Wigeon etc. Also on Brownsea were 10 Spotted Redshank, 12 Greenshank, 100+ Avocet, 200+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Sandwich Tern, 15 Little Egret, 1 Turnstone, 5 Swallow, 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Kingfisher and a Red Kite passed overhead.

Harbour Update – posted 15/10/15

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

One of my personal highlights from the last few days is a male Brambling that’s taken up semi-residence at the feeders out the back of the Arne visitor’s center. Although not a rare bird by any stretch of the imagination, they can often be extremely difficult to see and catch up with in the harbour each winter, sometimes with no birds over-wintering at all, just a few migrants during the autumn. Out in the Wareham Channel 3 Marsh Harrier were gliding about before going into roost and 4 Woodlark, 6 Crossbill and a Peregrine passed over Slepe Heath with the female Merlin still present there. There was a small movement of thrush’s at dawn with around 100 Redwing a similar number of Song Thrush and a handful of Fieldfare. Spoonbill totals were split between Brownsea and Shipstal combining at 31 birds and 14 Spotted Redshank, 350 Avocet and 9 Greenshank were also on the lagoon.

There has been a bit of an influx of Short-eared Owls this week with 7 on Portland and 2 at Durlston. Its well worth keeping an eye out around Arne, Hartland Moor, Slepe Heath, Soldiers Road etc at dusk and dawn as these sites have historically always been good places for this species. Ring Ouzels, Firecrests, Black Redstarts and more Brambling will all be around somewhere and are all classic mid to late autumn birds. And where are those Yellow-browed Warblers??????

Harbour Update – posted 13/10/15

Posted on: October 14th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Some exciting news came to light today when a recording of a mystery Pipit from yesterdays Glebeland’s vis-mig session was analysed to show it to be an Olive-backed Pipit. The recording has been submitted to the DRC (Dorset Rarities Committee) along with a description and an annotated sonagram created by Magnus Robb explaining his conclusion. If accepted it will be a first record for Poole Harbour and coincidently came a day before one was trapped and ringed on Portland!

 Olive-backed Pipit – Glebelands, Studalnd 12/10/15

At Middlebere 6 Crossbill passed north along the track along with a few Siskin, 1 Skylark, 3 Bullfinch and Goldcrest were calling from every bush. From the hide there were 200 Avocet, 300 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Pintail, 1 Peregrine, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 Kestrel. Thrush passage at Lytchett Bay consisted of 152 Redwing/Song Thrush north whilst at South Haven, Studland 18 Redpoll, 315 Siskin, 253 Linnet, 273 Goldfinch, 161 Chaffinch, 2 Mistle Thrush, 23 Song Thrush, 19 Redwing, 90 Meadow Pipit, 25 Swallow, 11 House Martin and a Sparrowhawk all passed the across the harbour mouth. On Brownsea there were 16 Spoonbill, 18 Spotted Redshank and a Peregrine. A ringtail Hen Harrier was seen at Arne and the Marsh Harrier roost has stayed consistent with 7 birds.

Harbour Update – posted 12/10/15

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

The conditions couldn’t have been any better today for visible migration along the Poole Harbour coastal areas and with two vis-mig sessions taking place at the usual spots, Glebelands and South Haven. At Glebelands the sheer number of birds passing up and over the ridge was staggering, a true migration spectacle. It started around 6:30am when a few Redwing and Song Thrush were noted passing overhead and by 7am the first Goldfinches started to pass by. Over the next hour Linnet, Goldfinch, Siskin and Chaffinch all started going by in flocks of between 10-50 every few seconds and that continued right up until 9am. Redpoll were also present in good numbers moving over every 5 minuets in 4 or 5s and a total of 13 Crossbill were reached with flocks of 7, 3 and 3. Another highlight was potentially 4 Tree Sparrow that traveled with a flock of Chaffinch and there were also 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Yellowhammer and a constant stream alba Wagtails, Meadow Pipit and to a lesser extent Hirundines. No definitive counts were made as we were trying to work out flight lines for all birds passing by and in total 3 definitive lines were found. One that the finches were following, then one further west that finches, alba wagtails and Skylark were following and another further west again that only thrushes were following. A Ring Ouzel was even discovered in the valley beneath the thrush line. At South Haven a coordinated count was made with 3 Reed Bunting, 3 Bullfinch, 323 Goldfinch, 116 Linnet, 271 Siskin, 13 Redpoll, 74 Chaffinch, 2 Tree Sparrow, 5 Fieldfare, 41 Redwing, 41 Song Thrush, 63 Meadow Pipit, 49 Pied Wagtails, 2 Skylark, 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker all moving across the harbour mouth. There were 277 Cormorant all fishing in a feeding flock just in the harbour mouth. A session at Boarder Road, Lytchett Bay produced 21 Song Thrush, 4 Redwing, 4 Fieldfare and 2 Blackbird all north with a further 157 Thrush sp

Harbour Update – posted 11/10/15

Posted on: October 12th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

More vis-mig totals but before those 7 Marsh Harrier were counted coming out of the west Poole Harbour roost and a Hobby and Merlin were observed around the Arne Moors/Hartland area. A Woodcock was sat out on French’s pools, Lytchett Fields first thing. At Glebelands, Ballard vis-mig counts included 15 Crossbill, 302 alba Wagtails, 276 Meadow Pipit, 253 Linnet, 113 Siskin, 120 Goldfinch and 3 Redpoll.  At South Haven there were 15 Crossbill, 85 Linnet, 657 Siskin, 128 Goldfinch, 32 Chaffinch, 11 Redwing/Song Thrush, 32 alba Wagtail, 2 Sparrowhawk and 12 Pintail. The Spoonbill 50+  are still commuting between the Brownsea Lagoon and Shipstal Point, Arne and the Great White Egret was at Shipstal too. 

Harbour Update – posted 10/10/15

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

Vis-mig is certainly the order of the week with NE winds forecast for the next week or so. With this in mind vis-mig session were conducted at both Glebelands end of Ballard and at South Haven. At Glebelands the highlight was 42 Crossbill that passed over early on in five separate parties of 6, 7, 23, 4 and 2 all heading east along the ridge. There was also a big movement of alba Wagtails with c200 passing by, along with big numbers of Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Goldfinch, Siskin, Chaffinch, several Greenfinch, Lesser Redpoll, 3 Yellowhammer, 1 Tree Pipit and 6 Skylark. At dawn Song Thrush were passing in good numbers and Goldcrests seemed to be calling from every bush. At South Haven, more signs of winter with the first 2 Red-breasted Merganser through the harbour mouth along with 8 Redwing, 519 Siskin, 587 Goldfinch, 200 Linnet, 37 Redpoll, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker all north across the harbour mouth. At Lytchett Bay, a Red Kite was an odd mid October record whilst Chiffchaff and Goldcrest were common-place around much of the area.

The recording below is of the largest flock of Crossbill that passed over Glebelands this morning which happened to give snippets of song in amongst their normal flight calls

Flock of 23 Crossbill over Glebelands, Ballard 10/10/15 – Flight calls and snippets of song

Harbour Update – posted 09/10/15

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

A mundane Friday burst into life at fist light when a Short-eared Owl was seen high over Arne Moors getting harassed by corvids whilst at roughly the same time, the first Hen Harrier of the winter passed over Lytchett Heath in the form of an adult female. If that wasn’t enough there were 53 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon mid-morning with the Great White Egret feeding in amongst them. A Firecrest, 10 Chiffchaff and 8 Blackcap were at the PC World drain. At RSPB Lytchett Fields there were 2 settled Lesser Redpoll, 6 Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpiper and 60+ Reed Bunting. A ringing session at Lytchett Heath saw good numbers of Chiffchaff ringed along with 2 Cetti’s Warbler and an adult male Dartford Warbler. There were 3 Sandwich Tern out in the harbour and 3 Black-necked Grebe in Studland Bay.


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