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 08/10/15

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today a coordinated count took place in an effort to obtain an accurate total of Spoonbill with a count at Arne and a count on the Brownsea Lagoon using the Birds of Poole Harbour Brownsea Lagoon webcam. The outcome was quite staggering. Arne held 28 birds and Brownsea Lagoon held 32 meaning there was a minimum of 60 in the harbour. We say minimum, as who’s to say there weren’t others elsewhere in the harbour feeding or roosting. We’ll try and coordinate more counts over the next week or two to obtain an accurate total before some birds depart further into the south-west. At RSPB Lytchett Fields there were still big numbers of Teal and Redshank, also 40+ Dunlin, 6 Greenshank, 7 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 1 Wheatear and 5 Goldcrest. Despite the calm weather there was a small pulse of vis-mig at South Haven, Studland with 61 Redpoll, 23 Siskin, 19 Linnet, 20 Greenfinch, 66 Chaffinch, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 5 Skylark and 18 House Martin, all north. In brands Bay 356 Teal, 58 Pintail, 72 Wigeon, 1 Grey Plover, 106 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank and 28 Dunlin were counted. Off Knoll Beach 8 Black-necked Grebe were on the water. 

Harbour Update – posted 07/10/15

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

A blustery day with reports few and far between. The Spoonbill flock of 54 birds was again at Arne before splitting and 22 arriving back on Brownsea. Also at Arne 3 Woodlark passed over the car park and 2 Firecrest were next to the visitors center. In Studland Bay just 2 Black-necked Grebe could be seen also 4 Brent Geese passed out in the bay. At Lytchett Bay there was a definite arrival of Goldcrest with a minimum of 25 around different parts of the bay with 2 Lesser Redpoll passing overhead too. At Middlebere 2 Marsh Harrier were out in front of the hide for a short while and a Spotted Redshank was feeding with 2 Greenshank. On RSPB Lytchett Fields Teal, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe and Lapwing can all be found in good numbers from the viewing areas.

I have already started to receive photos of colour-ringed Spoonbill so as soon as we have any info back regarding the origin of each bird we’ll post it right away.

Colour-ringed Spoonbill – Sarah Morrison – Brownsea Island

Harbour Update – posted 06/10/15

Posted on: October 6th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It was only a matter of time, but today saw the Poole Harbour Spoonbill flock reach 53 (possibly 55) birds, breaking last year’s British record of 49. All 53 were gathered on Shipstal Point , Arne on the high tide and there is still another few weeks for the flock size to potentially grow. There are a minimum of 7 ringed birds in amongst the flock so if anyone manages to get good photos or views of the colour rings then please email them to us at info@birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk

Ringing records from last year’s birds showed that we have Dutch, German, Belgium and French ringed Spoonbill visiting us. Another big surprise this afternoon came when a Hawfinch settled at the top of an Oak in the Arne car park for a short while before flying off north. The first ‘urban’ Yellow-browed Warbler was also found this morning with a bird calling away in Broadstone in private gardens near Dunyeats Road. On Brownsea there were 10 Spotted Redshank, c450 Avocet, 2 Hobby and 2 Spoonbill (possibly additional birds to the Arne flock). A sea watch from Branksome produced 1 Arctic Skua, 1 Gannet, 2 Brent Geese and 5 Sandwich Tern.

Harbour Update – posted 05/10/15

Posted on: October 6th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A wet yucky day with not much to report other than c500 Teal, 150 Redshank, 100 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Greenshank, 1 Peregrine and a handful of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest at RSPB Lytchett Fields. Avocet numbers on the Brownsea Lagoon grew to about 400 and there were 11 Spotted Redshank and 12 Spoonbill.


Harbour Update – posted 04/10/15

Posted on: October 5th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A brisk easterly wind soon picked up making birding difficult but the Ring Ouzel at Middlebere stayed for its third day making the most of the berry laden Rowan Tree where it was feeding quite happily with several Mistle Thrush and Song Thrush. 18 of the harbour’s 47 Spoonbill came and settled in the Middlebere Channel. The Arne car park had a stormer of a day with a Yellow-browed Warbler in the over-flow car park, 24 Crossbill over with a few settled at the top of a Fir Tree, no less than 4 Firecrests around the visitors center and a Continental Coal Tit. RSPB Lytchett Fields was a bit quiet with 7 Greenshank, 60 Lapwing and a Peregrine the highlights. Several Marsh Harrier were out in the Wareham Channel viewed from Slepe Heath and 6 calling Woodlark went over at dusk.

Yellow-browed Warbler Alert – This autumn the country has seen an almighty influx of these once rare tiny little warblers and Dorset has already seen its fair share with birds popping up at several coastal spots. We’re asking people to keep an eye out for these stunning little birds in their gardens, local parks whilst out on walks etc as it would be great to get a scope on the true scale of this influx in the Poole Harbour area as we think there are probably a great deal more birds out there than are being found. Yellow-browed Warblers will often associate with tit flocks and are big fans of Sycamore trees. They’re busy little birds and can sometimes be quite hard to get a good view of (certainly whilst there are lots of leaves still on trees), but when they do show they’re fairly easy to ID with a bright yellow eye stripe and an obvious yellow wing bar. Be careful though as there are plenty of Chiffchaff around at present which also have a yellow eye stripe, but are plaine olive green all over with no yellow wing bar.Their call is also very recognisable. Below is a recording we made at Knoll beach, Studland last year of a bird that was moving through the scrub with a flock of Long-tailed Tits. Please report all Poole Harbour Yellow-browed Warbler sightings (and any other sightings) to info@birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk

Yellow-browed Warbler – Knoll Beach, Studland – 31/10/14

Harbour Update – posted 03/10/15

Posted on: October 5th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another fine still early autumn day which produced a bit of fog and mist, but the sun soon burnt that off. A ringing session at Lytchett Heath saw a good mix of species including 4 late Sedge Warbler and 1 Reed Warbler along with good numbers of Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Goldcrest, 2 Bearded Tit (four more present in the reeds) and 1 lone Lesser Redpoll. There was a bit of vis-mig whilst ringing too which saw 8+ Lesser Redpoll, 6 Crossbill, 2 Woodlark, 1 Redwing, several Siskin and a high flying Bullfinch. At South Haven 17 Crossbill passed over the harbour mouth with 2 Yellow Wagtail and a handful of Chiffchaff and 5 Brent Geese arrived. The Ring Ouzel (possibly 2) was again feeding in the Rowan Tree at Middlebere much to the delight of several photographers. Also at Middlebere 22 Brent Geese came down and settled in the channel and there were big numbers of Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Wigeon and Teal present. On RSPB Lytchett Fields there were 3 Green Sandpiper, 1 Ringed Plover, 3 Greenshank and a Firecrest was along the lane. The Great White Egret was on the Brownsea Lagoon for most of the morning and the harbour Spoonbill flock reached 47…almost breaking the 50 mark!, also there 29 Little Egret, 16 Spotted Redshank, 355 Teal, 55 Wigeon and 83 Dunlin.

Harbour Update – posted 02/10/15

Posted on: October 3rd, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Autumn goodies came thick and fast this morning starting with a Ring Ouzel feeding in Rowan Trees with Mistle Thrush along the track at Middlebere, then news came in of the harbours first Yellow-browed Warbler at South Haven. Then, whilst a vis-mig count was being conducted a Hawfinch passed by calling, a true harbour rarity. Also noted during the vis-mig session was 254 Swallow, 12 Alba Wagtail, 1 Grey and 1 Grey Yellow Wagtail, 13 Meadow Pipit, 20 Chiffchaff, 95 Siskin, 16 Linnet, 21 Redpoll, 16 Greenfinch, 165 Goldfinch, 49 Chaffinch and 1 Mistle Thrush. A Cetti’s Warbler was also at South Haven with 20+ Goldcrest. At Lytchett Bay there were 2 Bearded Tit at the end of footpath 12 with numerous Blackcap and Goldcrest. At Lytchett Fields there were 8 Stonechat and 1 Whinchat, 50 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Greenshank and 6 Green Sandpiper.

Harbour Update – posted 01/10/15

Posted on: October 3rd, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There was a nice surprise at South Haven when a Snow Bunting passed across the harbour mouth at first light. Snow Bunting are really tricky to catch up with in the harbour with individuals only turning up once every few years. Studland is certainly the place to look with majority of sightings. Also at South Haven Studland 17 Crossbill with 247 Swallow, 1 Grey Wagtail, 40 Alba Wagtail, 41 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 5 Song Thrush, 441 Goldfinch, 305 Siskin, 108 Linnet, 24 Redpoll, 28 Chaffinch all north and 3 Spoonbill across the harbour mouth. At Greenlands Farm there were 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Wheatear, 13+ Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat and 10 Chiffchaff. There are still 6 Marsh Harrier making up the west harbour roost and a Merlin was seen on Coombe Heath, Arne.

Harbour Update – posted 30/09/15

Posted on: October 1st, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There was a nice bit of coverage from around the harbour today, starting of at Glebelands, Ballard where another vis-mig recording session was held. It took a while for birds to get moving, but when they did they just kept on coming. If you get a chance to experience this its well worth the effort as at times parties of birds were migrating just feet above our heads. Totals included 8 Crossbill, 8 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Yellowhammer, c500 Siskin, c700 Goldfinch, c100 Alba Wagtail, 4 Grey Wagtail, 17 Lesser Redpoll, c50 Linnet, 14 Chaffinch, c400 Swallow, 2 Sand Martin, 9 Skylark as well as 1 female Merlin, 1 Peregrine and 1 Kestrel. In the bushes on top of Glebelands Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Stonechat were present in moderate numbers and a late Whitethroat was noted too. Out in Studland Bay 7 Common Scoter, 4 Black-necked Grebe and 11 Brent Geese were out on the water and the Great White Egret was roosting at Littlesea. At Greenlands Farm 2 Wheatear and 3 Yellow Wagtail were on the open pasture. At Middlebere a reasonably late Pied Flycatcher was around the barns with 2 Spotted Flycatcher and from the hide the tide was perfect for holding lots of birds at the top of the Middlebere channel with 525 Avocet, 644 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Knot, c50 Redshank, 11 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpiper, c200 Wigeon, 8 Pintail, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 Peregrine. At Lytchett Bay View 6 Crossbill went over and an adult Yellow-legged Gull was present. Lytchett Fields held a pretty standard set of waders including Dunlin, Greenshank, Redshank, Lapwing, Snipe etc and a Marsh Harrier passed over too. The female Merlin is still present on Hartland and 6 Marsh Harrier left the west Poole Harbour roost. On Brownsea the Spoonbill total remained at 42 today.

Below are two recordings from this mornings session up on Glebelands, Ballard. The first is of the party of 8 Crossbill, which were migrating with several Goldfinches. These birds passed just feet above our heads giving a great opportunity to record their lovely yip yip call.

Crossbill – Party of 8 autumn migrants passing over Gleblands, Ballard – 30/09/15

There are a heard of 10 cattle on the top of Glebelands which act as an excellent Yellow Wagtail magnet. Any passing Yellow Wagtails instantly get drawn in by the small insects around the feet of the cows and often call the whole time they’re there. The birds in this recording literally fell out of the sky as they were migrating to stop off and take advantage of the cows.

Yellow Wagtails – Several birds stopping off to feed as they passed over Glebelands, Ballard – 30/09/15


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