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 April, 2016

Harbour Update – posted 19/04/16

Posted on: April 20th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A nice light easterly breeze saw a few more migrants make landfall, and waders are now trickling through. At Swineham GP a nice mixed flock of 17 summer plumaged Dunlin and Ringed Plover settled on the newly cleared area. This little patch looks as though it has the potential to attract a few more waders in? Also at Swineham were 2 Wheatear and a Sedge Warbler. At the PCW Drain a Common Sandpiper and 10+ Blackcap were present with a handful of Willow Warbler. Still not many Terns on Brownsea, however 2 Knot, 7 Spotted Redshank, 35 Dunlin, 1 Spoonbill, 1 Grey Plover, 3 Turnstone, 3 Greenshank, 3 Avocet, several Med Gulls and a Reed Warbler made up for that. At Lytchett Fields a stunning male Redstart was in hedges on the approach track to the viewing areas, also 2 Wheatear, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel and a Greenshank. On Stoborough Heath there was a great count of 25 Wheatear

Redstart – Lytchett Fields – Paul Morton


Dunlin and Ringed Plover – Swineham GP – Richard Stephenson


Dunlin and Ringed Plover – Swineham GP – Richard Stephenson



Harbour Update – posted 18/04/16

Posted on: April 19th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

What started off as a stunning still (but cold) spring morning, with frost on the ground turned into an even colder and chilly rest of the day, with birds few and far between. Best bird of the day (although you still can’t count them) was a Great Bustard that flew low over Sea View Road, Upton and headed towards Lytchett Minster. This will almost certainly be one of the birds from the Salisbury Plain reintroduction scheme, possibly making its way back to the site for the summer. The harbour’s first Lesser Whitethroat was heard in Boarder Road, Lytchett Bay. There was a nice record of a Common Sandpiper at Hatch Pond with another in the PCW Drain. At Arne, a Cuckoo was calling at dawn and there were 3 Whimbrel in the mouth of Middlebere plus a constant trickle of Swallow, House and Sand Martin overhead all day with 2 Tree Pipit and a Peregrine. A Hen Harrier was in Poole Harbour west at dawn and a Ring Ouzel was on Stoborough Heath. Common migrants are still passing through each day with Blackcap and Willow Warbler arriving on territory as each day passes. Its well worth keeping your eye out in the garden as migrants will often pass through, feeding along the way.

Blackcap – Holes Bay  – Colin Moyes

harbour Update – posted 17/04/16

Posted on: April 19th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today was a super still day that saw Hirundines on the move all day, pulsing over, some at great height in waves. A few waders arrived too with a Common Sandpiper at Lytchett Fields also 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 female Redstart, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Sedge Warbler, 3 Reed Warbler and 20+ Blackcap. It was also noted that a ringed Reed Warbler which was ringed as an adult at Lytchett Bay in June 2012 is now back again for its 5th year in a row singing from exactly the same bush as where it was originally photographed in 2014, a pretty mean feat for such a tiny bird. At Studland there were 4 Yellow Wagtail at Greenlands Farm, 6+ Wheatear and c100 Swallow north and in Brands Bay a Great Northern Diver was still present with 177 Black-tailed Godwit. At Arne Woodlark and Dartford Warbler continue to display out on the heathland and another Cuckoo was heard along the Arne Road. A Red Kite was seen drifting over north. 

‘Old Faithful’ Reed Warbler – Lytchett Bay – Ian Ballam


Yellow Wagtail – Lytchett Bay – Ian Ballam


Common Sandpiper – Lytchett Bay – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 16/04/16

Posted on: April 18th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With Portland going through a bit of a purple patch there was hope in the harbour for some similarly good finds. With so much decent habitat around the harbour finding rarities can take some time but we’re sure there are some out there somewhere.  Around mid morning an Osprey drifted in to the harbour via Studland, across over Brownsea and drifted towards Arne. 7 Spoonbill were seen to fly on to the Brownsea Lagoon. There have been several reports and sightings of Peregrine hunting over Poole Town Centre in recent weeks, sometimes carrying prey. We would like to gather as many Peregrine sightings as we can from in and around Poole Town to try and pin down a possible breeding location. They do breed outside the harbour (Wareham Forest, Old harry/Ballard) but not actually within the town…as far as we know! At Swineham there were 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 Willow Warbler, 4 Cetti’s Warbler, Whimbrel and 200+ Hirundines. On Brownsea there were singles of Spotted Redshank and Knot. At Challow hill, Corfe a Nightingale was back on territory, also there 4 Dartford Warbler, 6 Yellowhammer, several Willow Warbler and Stonechat. In Holes Bay North, a small fall of Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Whitethroat appeared in the PCW Drain along with a single Sedge Warbler. There was another Little Ringed Plover at Lytcehtt Fields and in Middlbere 2 Spotted Redshank, 6 Ringed Plover and a ringtail Hen Harrier.

Willow Warbler – Fleets Corner – Paul Morton

Harbour Update – posted 15/04/16

Posted on: April 16th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Although the grim wet weather put most birding attempts to bed for most of the day, after it cleared around 3pm migrants were turning up left right and centre, hoping to grab a quick snack before moving on. The waste ground next to the Twin Sails Bridge saw 15+ Wheatear and a Whitethroat feeding on the short- cropped grass. At the PC World Drain a Sedge Warbler, 5 Whitethroat, 10 Blackcap and several Willow Warbler. At Lytchett Fields 4 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Wheatear, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 50+ Swallow, 2 Reed Warbler and 3 Greenshank were present. At Middlebere 42 summer plumaged Dunlin were out from the hide, also 1 sub-adult female Marsh Harrier and 200+ Black-tailed Godwit. A Whinchat and Cuckoo were on Canford Heath. 

Wheatears – Twin Sails Bridge




Blackcap – Lytchett Fields 


Sedge Warbler – PC World Drain


Yellow Wagtails – Lytchett Fields



Harbour Update – posted 14/04/16

Posted on: April 15th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

This morning another Osprey was found, this one sat in a tree on the edge of the Holton Lee site eating a fish, viewed from Lytchett Fields. It then went back to Lytchett Bay, caught another fish and then flew off NW high carrying its brunch along the way. Also see out on Lytchett Fields were the 2 summer plumaged Water Pipit, a summer plumaged Spotted Redshank and the sites first Reed Warbler of the year. Another different Hen Harrier buzzed through the harbour this AM, this one a compact juvenile male which was seen high above Swineham before making its way back towards Arne. The harbours first Whitethroat appeared at the PCW Drain along with 3 each of Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. A Ruff was also noted in Holes Bay NE with a Common Sandpiper and a Peregrine passed over. In Middlebere there were 4 Spotted Redshank (2 summer plumaged), c40 summer plumaged Dunlin, c200 summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit and a single Spoonbill. Cuckoo’s are now popping up here and there with one on Canford Heath and another on Hartland Moor.

Osprey – Holton Lee (viewed from Lytchett Fields) – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 13/04/16

Posted on: April 14th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Todays highlight was a Siberian Chiffchaff singing at South Haven, Studland near the boardwalk. Also through there, a Yellow Wagtail, Whimbrel and small passage of finches, Swallows and Corvids. A ringing session in the north of the harbour saw the first 4 Blackcap of the spring ringed including a male from a pervious year which we’re checking the date on now.  Second to our lovely night recording of a Cuckoo passing over Poole in the darkness on Monday night, several ‘daytime’ sightings have now begun to occur with one calling in Rempstone, one on Hartland and one near Arne. At Lytchett Bay there are still 2 summer plumaged Water Pipit plus a summer plumaged Spotted Redshank


Male and female Blackcap – Poole Harbour North


Little Ringed Plover – Arne moors (yesterday) 


Linnet – Holton Lee 

Harbour Update – posted 12/04/16

Posted on: April 13th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A foggy start gave way to a beauty of a day, bringing with it a nice selection of birds. At South Haven a reeve Ruff flew down the beach after being flushed from the flooded area, a great patch record and not an easy bird to catch up with at Studland let alone anywhere during the spring in Poole Harbour. Also at South Haven were 4 Wheatear and plenty of med Gull moving about. What seemed to be a migrant (passing) Hen Harrier appeared over Hartland briefly before taking out some aggression on an unsuspecting Peregrine. What should have been the harbour’s first Cuckoo was heard calling distantly from Hartland mid-morning…more about that later! Brownsea Lagoon numbers were moderate to say the least but over the coming weeks more and more Sandwich Tern and Common Tern will be arriving making it the summer-hive of activity we’re all familiar with. Today numbers consisted of 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 4 Turnstone, 2 Brent Geese, 6 Avocet and still good numbers of Black-tailed Godwit. Out on Arne Moors (viewed from Ridge Wharf) were 5 Little Ringed Plover on a flooded patch but they had gone by late afternoon. Another Osprey slowly drifted over Canford Heath mid morning and a single Red-legged Partridge at Holton Lee was the first in quite some time. 

From our Listening Station in Old Town Poole, we encountered something quite unexpected on Monday night. When night recording for night migrants, the excitement always comes from never knowing what species you’re going to encounter next. On Monday night when analysing the nights recording we heard something familiar. Incredibly at 00:18am a Cuckoo flew over calling just twice before disappearing into the night! A real turn up for the books. Also encountered that night was a passing Common Snipe and 3 Song Thrush calls.

Cuckoo – Cuckoo – Call of night time migrant – Old Town Poole Listening Station


Common Snipe – Common Snipe – Calls of night time migrant – Old Town Poole, Listening Station

Harbour Update – posted 11/04/16

Posted on: April 12th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Like the rest of the county, spring migration really seemed to arrive in the harbour today, although best bird of the day doesn’t sound too spring-like. An Iceland Gull found out on the mud of Upton CP was a nice find, sat amongst Herring Gulls and 22 Med Gulls, including a green colour-ringed bird. After the rain passed mid morning a good passage of hirundines travelled through the harbour with Swallow and Sand Martin most prominent and a few House Martin in tow. There were 2 Little Ringed Plover on pools in the lower Frome Valley near Swineham and a minimum of 10 Cetti’s Warbler singing. At the PCW drain 15+ Blackcap had arrived and 4-5 Willow Warbler were singing. Out on Lytchett Fields a summer plumaged Dunlin had arrived indicating that they are now on the move too, plus a Whimbrel was in the Bay and 2 straggling Brent Geese dropped in too, alos 1 remaining summer plumaged Water Pipit.  In Middlebere the summer-plumaged Spotted Redshank was still feeding and a female/juv type Marsh Harrier was circling over the Piddle Valley. 

Iceland Gull (right)- Upton CP – Ian Ballam


Black-tailed Godwit – Middlebere – Roger Hewitt

Harbour Update – posted 10/04/16

Posted on: April 11th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A strong easterly wind seemed to keep the birds heads low today, at risk of being blown into next week! A Whimbrel appeared in Holes Bay mid morning and the harbour’s first Yellow Wagtail of the spring was in Upton CP. A summer plumaged Water Pipit was again at Lytchett Fields. A night recording session from our listening station in Old Town Poole produced a single Ringed Plover and a flock of Sandwich Tern passing over at 1:40am.

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