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 December, 2015

HArbour Update – 31/12/15

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

We can’t believe its the end of another year….they seem to be vanishing way WAY to quickly. From all of us here at Birds of Poole Harbour we wish you all a Happy New Year and look forward to seeing what 2016 brings our way. What ever it may be, we strive to continue to promote and popularise bird conservation, preservation and observation in and around Poole Harbour for you learn from and enjoy. Please continue to send us your sightings, photos (ID mysteries too please), videos and questions, as we love to see and hear what people are up to in the harbour and where you enjoy to go birding.

So to end 2015, more wind and rain hit for most of the day but gave way to a clear, crisp cold night sky meaning we could see in 2016 with some sun…that would be novel! Once again, most of the action came from the Studland area with a handful of Med Gulls around the beaches, 33 Sanderling on Shell Beach, 2 Great Northern Diver of Jerry’s Point and 2 Sandwich Tern were feeding in the harbour mouth. There were 30 Spoonbill off Shipstal, Arne and 2 in Middlebere. At Holton Lee a Marsh Harrier drifted by the shoreline. 

Harbour Update – 30/12/15

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

We knew it wouldn’t last long. Yesterday’s sun gave way to 40mph winds and heavy rain today but it didn’t stop the die-hard Studland faithful’s from attempting to notch up a few last minute species for their annual lists. Despite the wind there weren’t many sea birds on the move with a Great Skua the best from a South Haven sea watch, also from there 7 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 10+ Ringed Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 23 Sanderling, 70+ Dunlin, 1 Turnstone, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Kittiwake and 2 Sandwich Tern. From Brands Bay 1 Great Northern Diver, 15 Black-necked Grebe and the Great White Egret flew in at lunchtime. From Middle Beach there were 2 more Great Northern Diver (bringing the Studland day total to 10), 5 Black-necked Grebe, 8 Gannet and 4 Common Scoter. At RSPB Lytchett Fields there was a good spread of Lapwing, Dunlin and a few Redshank and at Holton Lee a Marsh Harrier passed the NW end. At Baiter Park there were 6 Turnstone feeding on the beach with 300+ Brent Geese on the playing field. 

Harbour Update – 29/12/15

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

Finally another bright day with warm sunshine to kick things off, which finally gave way to wind and rain…obviously! We shouldn’t expect anything less these days. Whilst the sun was out many birds made the most of it with both Song and Mistle Thrush in full voice at Holton Lee with Marsh Tit, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Nuthatch and plenty of common woodland species around the feeders there. Out across the Wareham Channel 4 Marsh Harrier came out of the main roost and singles of Merlin, Peregrine and Hen Harrier all dashed over Arne Moors. A flock of 5 Woodlark passed over Stoborough Heath calling. From the Raptor hide at Arne a male Marsh Harrier gave supurb close views, with another 1-2 putting up the many hundreds of Avocet, Brent Geese and Black-tailed Godwits in the Middlebere Channel.

Harbour Update – 28/12/15

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

A busy day today with plenty about and some fine weather. The Great Northern Diver is still showing exceptionally well off Baiter, at one time swimming with a dog 2 feet away! From Soldiers Road there were 2-3 Marsh Harrier viewed over the Wareham Channel. Off Middle Beach there was 1 Black-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver, 5 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Common Scoter and 1 Great Skua. In Shell Bay there was just 1 Great Northern Diver and 1 Black-necked Grebe. A scan form the Houseboats towards Brownsea produced 6 Great Northern Diver and 1 Slavonian Grebe. In Brands Bay 8 Sandwich Tern were fishing, 1 Great White Egret, 5+ Black-necked Grebe, 1 Merlin and a Peregrine. A high tide count at Lytchett Fields produced some good totals including 300+ Lapwing, 279 Dunlin, 4 Water Pipit, 200+ Teal, 30 Shelduck, 27 Redshank, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 ringtail Hen Harrier. 

Harbour Update – 27/12/15

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

The Christmas come down seemed to be in full effect today with (more) foul weather and not many reports other than the Great Northern Diver feeding again just a few meters off Baiter Beach, Spoonbills on both Brownsea and Arne and both Marsh and Hen Harriers viewed from the Middlebere hide. 

Harbour Update – 26/12/15

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

Today another count on Brownsea produced 828 Avocet, 642 Black-tailed Godwit, 66 Bar-tailed Godwit, 139 Grey Plover, 140 Teal, 36 Wigeon and 68 Gadwall. News from Brownsea is that duck numbers have really tailed off in the last week. In Brands Bay a sub-adult male Eider Duck was found with a Red-throated Diver, 6 Black-necked Grebe, 9 Spoonbill, 8 Shoveler, 55 Avocet, 500+ Dunlin, 1 Sandwich Tern and the usual wildfowl. From the Houseboats there was 1 Great Northern Diver and 3 Spoonbill. From Shell Bay (where the new boardwalk opened today) there was 1 Great Northern Diver, 20 Gannet and 22 Ringed Plover. And finally, from Middle Beach 2 Great Northern Diver, 11 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 4 Common Scoter and 1 Fulmar south. 

Harbour Update – Christmas Day

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

From all of us here at ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ we want to wish you all a very merry Christmas and want to thank you all for your support and enthusiasm for all our work over the year. We’re looking forward to an exciting 2016 and look forward to a bird filled year. There were a few sightings from the festive day which included the male and ringtail Hen Harriers at Middlebere again. On the Brownsea lagoon there were 847 Avocet (an exact same total from the previous days count), 419 Black-tailed Godwit, 81 Bar-tailed Godwit (including the retiring summer plumaged bird), 141 Grey Plover, c870 Dunlin, 6 Pintail (real Brownsea rarities), 3 Spoonbill and 240 Oystercatcher.

Harbour Update – posted 24/12/15

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

With the Christmas rush, here are the brief highlights from Christmas Eve. The Smew was in Holes Bay south again. The Great Northern Diver was off the Baiter shoreline again very close in and in Middlebere there were male and female Hen Harriers, 2 Marsh Harrier and 2 Raven. From Middle Beach there was 1 Great Northern Diver, 11 Black-necked Grebe and stag Sika Deer swimming 30 off shore! In Brands Bay there were 20 Black-necked Grebe in the evening roost, 13 Spoonbill, 28 Avocet and an Owl species likely to be a Short-eared Owl flew across the road near the Greenland’s Farm track. 

Harbour Update – posted 23/12/15

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

Today was our first ever Family Bird Boat trip which is an extension of our existing School Bird Boat project. This saw 75 eager members of the public book onto the trip for free, with the aim of us showcasing the best Poole Harbour has to offer in terms of scenery, tranquillity and of course birds. We’re not quite sure who was looking down on us (but its seems we’d certainly been on Santa’s good list) as the weather was a pure picture. As the sun poked its head over Sandbanks we departed from Poole Quay ready for a 2.5 hour tour around some of the harbours most beautiful areas. We visited the Brownsea Lagoon first which was at its absolute best as 500+ Dunlin, 300+ Avocet, 100+ Grey Plover as well as Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Greenshank, Curlew, Redshank and a handful of Knot all sat, sunning themselves in peace. That was until a female Merlin came down a spooked the whole lot, resulting in an incredible and dramatic scene of chaos for a while until everything settled back down again. There was also a single Spoonbill on the lagoon and plenty of winter duck. As we made our way around a Black-throated Diver was off the Brownsea SE corner and Red-breasted Merganser, Goldeneye and Great Crested Grebe were kept the interest up as we made our way to Arne. There was a minimum of 5 Sandwich Tern feeding in between Arne and Green Island and a Great Northern Diver was off Shipstal Beach, and eventually came really close to the boat. Finally the other 30+ Spoonbill were on Shipstal Point, Arne and kindly took to the air for a short while for us and settled again in the morning sun. All in all it was a near perfect trip (made not totally perfect by missing the Black Guillemot which was seen off Brownsea about 30 minutes after the tour finished)! We are running 3 of these trips this winter, which are all currently fully booked, however it proved such a well received event we’ll almost certainly do it again next winter. Elsewhere in the harbour there was 1 Great Northern Diver, 7 Black-necked Grebe and 3 Common Scoter off Middle Beach, Studland. From South Haven, 1 Great Northern Diver with another in Brands Bay and 3 Black-necked Grebe. In Middlebere 2 Marsh Harrier and a ringtail Hen Harrier played together in the afternoon wind from the Raptor Hide and the 2 Great Northern Diver were again close in at Baiter with the Guillemot and several Red-breasted Mergansers close in to Fisherman’s Dock again. 

Harbour Update – posted 22/12/15

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

Unsurprisingly there was little reported today with strong SW winds and driving rain at times. The best came from Baiter where now 2 Great Northern Diver have taken up to feeding just a few meters off the beach at Baiter and a Guillemot was again within the Fisherman’s dock end of Baiter. Out on the playing fields 300+ Brent Geese continue to feed with good numbers of Oystercatcher and a few Black-tailed Godwit.


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