Poole Harbour sightings blog

A record of all interesting and notable sightings from around the harbour throughout the year.

Latest Sightings

Archive for November, 2015

Harbour Update – posted 19/11/15

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

Apologies for the lack of updates recently, our team has been away for a short while. Below is a full over view site by site.

Lytchett Bay/Fields

Most interesting was a Kittiwake sat out in the middle of the bay on the 16th, which was the record breaking 158th species to be seen in the Lytchett Bay recording area this year. Between 1-4 Water Pipits are still around the site and a maximum 4 Marsh Harrier have been using the site. 6 Spoonbill have now started to use the bay for feeding, meaning they may also start using the Holes Bay outflow soon.

Brownsea Lagoon

Up to 11 Spoonbill have been using the lagoon, also 13 Spotted Redshank, 40 Grey Plover, 10 Greenshank, 4 Turnstone, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Peregrine, c300 Avocet and 4 Knot

Baiter Park

There were 4 Sandwich Tern hunkering down in the wind also 214 Brent Geese, 11 Ringed Plover and 16 Turnstone.

Hartland Moor/Slepe Heath

A minimum of 3 Short-eared Owl were counted on the 16th with 2 hunting over Slepe Heath at dawn and dusk and another over Hartland Moor. The 3 Hen Harrier are still circumnavigating the harbour but are present mostly around Middlebere and Hartland. 10 Marsh Harrier left the west Poole Harbour roost.

Studland/Poole Harbour Entrance

At the harbour on the 18th , 87 Shag flew in with 6 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Common Scoter, 1 Black-throated Diver and 5 Sandwich Tern were fishing. In Studland Bay there was 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, 4 Common Scoter, 12 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Razorbill. There were another 7 Black-necked Grebe in Brands Bay. Another Short-eared Owl was noted, this time flying off the sea at South Haven along with 2 Merlin. There were 15 Sanderling and 11 Ringed Plover on Shell Beach. A Red-necked Grebe was off South Beach

Other sites

There were 4 Lesser Redpoll in Poole Park. 108 Magpie flew into roost at Hatch Pond. 2 Firecrest were at Creekmoor Ponds


Sandwich Terns – Baiter park – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 15/11/15

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

Three days of wind, rain and misery have made birding very difficult, but today was a slightly improved picture. Highlights from the last few days include now 10 Marsh Harrier and 3 Hen Harrier working the Wareham Channel, Middlebere area. A Short-eared Owl was on Hartland Moor. Off Middle Beach, Studland a quick scan found the first returning Great Northern Diver of the winter, 7 Black-necked Grebe and 3 Common Scoter. At Lytchett Bay up to 5 Water Pipit have been seen with the easiest to be seen on Lytchett Pools, along Slough Lane. Also at Lytchett Fields up to 3 Marsh Harrier, 1 Merlin, 2 Spotted Redshank and good numbers of Snipe, Dunlin, Redshank and Lapwing. There were 22 Spoonbill on Brownsea plus 4 in Middlebere where 326 Avocet, 455 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Spotted Redshank and a Barn Owl were seen.

Harbour Update – posted 11/11/15

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

The number of over-wintering, open water species is increasing slowly day by day with a minimum of 50 Red-breasted Merganser out in South Deep (near the inner harbour mouth) and a Common Scoter there too. The Brownsea Lagoon was looking good with 25 Spoonbill, c300 Avocet, c400 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Spotted Redshank and good numbers of the common duck and waders species. At Holton Lee 2 Marsh Tits are regular visitors to the feeding station there where they also had the first over-wintering Lesser Redpoll and a few Siskin. A Great White Egret was in the Wytch Channel and then moved to Middlebere mid morning. A Short-eared Owl posed nicely along the Arne Road on the edge of Slepe Heath. There was also possibly a second Short-eared Owl out in the Wareham Channel early morning. A total of 8 Marsh Harrier left the west Poole Harbour roost at dawn with a possible 2 more appearing from the east around the same time. The 2 ringtail Hen Harriers were active again throughout the day visiting Middlebere, Keysworth, Swineham and Shipstal. At Lytchett Fields 3 different Marsh Harrier were present as were 3 Water Pipit (2 on Lytchett Pools), 65 Dunlin, 154 Lapwing and 101 Redshank. From Middle Beach, Studland there were 3 Common Scoter and 5 Black-necked Grebe plus a Firecrest in Knoll beach woods.    

Short-eared Owl – Arne Road, Slepe Heath – Paul Morton


Harbour Update – posted 08/11/15

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

Today Durlston CP saw a massive movement of birds, mainly finches, which was unprecedented to say the least, and not something we would have expected here in Poole Harbour with a strong SW wind. So, we don’t know if any of the birds that Durlston saw passed by/over our Poole Harbour counting areas, but judging on Christchurch Harbours daily report it looks like we could well have seen a good vis-mig count from up at Glebelands. That said, South Haven, Studland was covered but the counts certainly didn’t reflect what was going on elsewhere in the county with only 148 Goldfinch, 461 Linnet, 12 Siskin, 28 Meadow Pipit, 12 Chaffinch and 1 Brambling (Durlston had 468)! Also at South Haven were 2 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Common Scoter, 1 Peregrine, 13 Grey Plover, 5 Sanderling, 1 Rock Pipit and 1 Cetti’s Warbler. In Brands Bay there was 1 Merlin, 213 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Greenshank, 13 Grey Plover and 5 Dunlin.  At RSPB Lytchett Fields there were 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Greenshank, 50+ Fieldfare and 3 Goldcrest. At Middlebere the Great White Egret dropped in in front of the hide for a while, also noted were 572 Avocet, 552 Black-tailed Godwit, 120 Redshank, 60 Lapwing, 20 Dunlin, 2 Yellow-legged Gull and a Merlin. A night recording session from a listening station in Stoborough produced a really late Tree Pipit, 688 Redwing calls, 48 Song Thrush, 15 Blackbird, several passing Brambling, Bullfinch and Skylark.

Chris Thaine, the DWT Warden on Brownsea has had some infor back regarding one of the colour-ringed Spoonbill that’s been present on the lagoon since mid October.

Colour-ringed Spoonbill B[AE]a/W[AE]– Brownsea Island

It is quite a wanderer and first ringed as a pullus (chick) in the Netherlands in 2006.

It was subsequently seen in France and Netherlands in 2006 and 2007 and first seen on Brownsea in Nov. 2007.

It was in Poole Harbour in March 2008 and France and the Netherlands again later that year.

In Jan and Feb 2009 it was in Devon then Cornwall then again in Devon (Yealm estuary) in January 2010. Briefly in Cornwall (Tamar) the same month then back to France.

October 2010 it was  on the lagoon. December on the Tamar and back in Poole Harbour in Jan 2011.

Since January 2011 all the sightings (in total 18 of them) are from Shiermonnikoog (where it was originally ringed) and Poole Harbour only. It appears to spend April-July at least in the Netherlands and was on Brownsea in Aug 2011, Poole Harbour in February 2012, Sept, Oct, Dec 2012, Jan and March 2013.

April and July 2014 it was back in Netherlands and seen on Brownsea in Oct 2014 and not seen again until turning up on Brownsea again this year.

Great White Egret, Grey Heron and Little Egret in Middlebere – Peter Moore

Below is a recording made earlier this month of a flock of Redwing and Fieldfare flying in over Ballard Down before sunrise. Most thrush species move at night apart from Mistle Thrush it seems, with no records of Mistle Thrush calling at night during recording sessions. The calls of Fieldfare and Redwing as they pass overhead in the darkness has to be one of the best and most magical sounds of the birding year.

 Redwing & Fieldfare passing over Ballard Down before sunrise

Harbour Update – posted 07/11/15

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

The blustery wet south-westerlies look set to dominate over the next week (or longer) but today was a tale of two halves with a horrendous morning but actually quite pleasant afternoon and a lovely still night. No surprises that there wasn’t much coverage during the morning but by the afternoon reports started coming through. There was a Yellow-browed Warbler in Nutcrack Lane, Stoborough mid afternoon and a Great White Egret seen at Middlebere. Around the Studland area there were 3 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Common Scoter, 1 Swallow and a Firecrest from Middle Beach. In Brands Bay 3 Black-necked Grebe, 61 Great Crested Grebe, 45 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Goldeneye, 5 Common Scoter, 3 Grey Plover, 1 Knot, 1 Woodcock and 3 Sandwich Tern were noted. At Littlesea the Great White Egret was seen and there were 5 Common Scoter at South Haven. 

Harbour Update – posted 06/11/15

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

The less said about today the better. It was wet from start to finish and the long faces of the 11 Spoonbill getting sodden on the Brownsea Lagoon webcam summed it all up!

Harbour Update – posted 05/11/15

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

The weather really did put a dampener on things with 15 Turnstone and 21 Ringed Plover out on Baiter Park being the only notable new sighting. There were 11 Spoonbill on the Brownsea webcam along with 6 Greenshank. There was a male Brambling at the Arne VC and the ever-present Firecrests. There was a minimum of 5 Black-necked Grebe in Studland Bay. 

Harbour Update – posted 04/11/15

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

The rain continues to be a wet inconvenience but small bits of coverage from around the harbour still trickle in. A Woodlark was seen migrating over South Haven at dawn. 5 Common Scoter also entered the harbour early doors and a dark looking Peregrine also passed by. A Brambling at Boarder Road brought Lytchett Bays year total up to 157 species, equaling the best ever total for the site. There was also a Firecrest at Lytchett Bay and  good numbers of the usual species out on the wet fields. A Short-eared Owl was out across Arne moors and a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen from Middlebere. There seem to be separate Spoonbill flocks now with birds roosting at Shipstal, Middlebere and Brownsea on the high tides. A Magpie roost at Hatch Pond consisted of 91 individuals.

Harbour Update – posted 03/11/15

Posted on: November 4th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Despite the rain and fog there was quite a bit of coverage today. Only 4 Marsh Harrier were seen to come out of the west Poole Harbour roost, however at the same time both a Merlin and Peregrine were sat out on posts on Hartland and a ringtail Hen Harrier was out over the Wareham Channel. Middlebere saw a good haul of birds too with 3 separate Marsh Harrier, 1 ringtail Hen Harrier, 1 Peregrine, 1 Merlin, 475 Avocet, 600+ Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Spotted Redshank, 5 Grey Plover and 2 Greenshank. Off Middlebere Beach, Studland there were 9 Black-necked Grebe and 6 Common Scoter, whilst a vis-mig session at South Haven produced 291 Goldfinch, 1+ Brambling, 47 Meadow Pipit and an adult winter Little Gull entered the harbour mouth. 

Harbour Update – posted 02/11/15

Posted on: November 4th, 2015 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another foggy, dreary day with few reports. RSPB Lytchett Fields was holding its own though with 2 Firecrest, 1 Water Pipit, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hen Harrier, a whopping 130 Snipe, 86 Redshank, 36 Dunlin and 106 Black-tailed Godwit. Spoonbills were spread between Brownsea, Shipstal and Middlebere. There’s been no sign of the male Hen Harrier since last week but ringtails were seen at Middlebere and Hartland Moor. 

Call 01202 641 003