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 August, 2016

Harbour Update – posted 29/08/16

Posted on: August 30th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A stiller, calmer day produced a selection of migrants from various locations. At Swineham 7 Yellow Wagtail were in with the cattle opposite the entrance to Swineham Farm, also 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Sedge Warbler, 2 Willow Warbler and several Chiffchaff and Reed Warbler still about. At Holton Heath there were still 6+ Spotted Flycatcher about along with a post breeding flock of 11 Mistle Thrush feeding on Rowan Berries. At Middlebere there were 2 Osprey feeding together in the trees at Middlebere, one even looked as if it was going to perch up on the nesting platform opposite the Middlebere hide but at the last minute decided not to. On Lytchett Fields there was an arrival of Ruff with 5 by late evening along side 2 Little Stint still and a nice selection of Common and Green Sandpipers, Common Snipe, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 10 Spoonbill, 30+ Avocet, 1 Spotted Redshank and 7 Greenshank.

We also placed on social media this evening that after analysing all our night recordings from August 22nd to 26th its likely we may have had a passing of Ortolan Bunting each night over the five nights, including 3 likely pass overs on the night of the 24th.  If you combine this info with the news that Nick Hopper had 4 over Portland on the night of Aug 24th then it seems something very interesting is going on with this species at night during the latter part of August. Our recordings between August 22nd and 26th consist of several different call types ranging from full sequences of flight calls to just singular calls although all are distinct and seem to be consistent with Ortolan Bunting. We’ll continue our night recording sessions throughout the autumn combined with field observation work too to see if we can experience and gain more evidence of this phenomenon.

Spotted Flycatcher – Swineham – Peter Moore

Common Whitethroat – Swineham – Peter Moore

Sedge Warbler – Swineham – Peter Moore

Reed Warbler – Swineham – Peter Moore


Harbour Update – posted 28/08/16

Posted on: August 30th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With the SW wind settled for a few days now, migrants are becoming harder to come by. At Lytchett Fields 2 Little Stint, 2 Ringed Plover, 4 Greenshank, 44 Dunlin, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Knot were the pick of the bunch on an early round. A corking adult male Redstart was on Holton Lee heath whilst in Holes Bay there were 204 Black-tailed Godwit, 165 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Knot, 2 Snipe and 6 Ringed Plover along with 1 Little Grebe back for ‘the winter’ 21 Little Egret, 125 Teal, 2 Raven and a Spotted Flycatcher. Night recording has been very quiet since last weeks bonanza night with just a handful of Tree Pipit, Robin and the odd wader in recent nights, what we really need is another dark, dank and wet still night like last Thursday to bring the birds down to an audible level. The Osprey was feeding on a fish again in the dead trees at Middlebere.


Harbour Updates – posted 27/08/16

Posted on: August 28th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Efforts to try and catch Aquatic Warbler this autumn have so far been in vein but today saw an incredible form of compensation when 18 Grasshopper Warbler were ringed during a session at Lytchett Bay in just a few hours, beating the previous highest ever total for the site by ten in a single morning. Also in and around Lytchett Bay/Fields were 2 Redstart, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Whinchat, only a handful of Yellow Wagtail, 3 juv Little Stint, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Common Sandpiper, 15+ Green Sandpiper, 3 Knot, 200 Black-tailed Godwit, 30+ Dunlin, 100+ Redshank and 7 Greenshank. Night recording from our listening station was much quieter last night with just 11 Tree Pipit, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Redshank, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Little Ringed Plover and 8 passerine calls. The Brownsea Lagoon today was special and featured 2 juv Little Stint, 10 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 1 Grey Plover, 70 Dunlin, 16 Ringed Plover, 86 Redshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 9 Greenshank, 10 Spoonbill and a Firecrest near the Villa. Osprey sightings came from Lytchett Fields, the Wareham Channel and Middlebere. 

Stonechat – Lytchett Fields

Blackcap – Holes Bay north

Osprey – Middlebere

Common Sandpiper – Lytchett Fields


Harbour Updates – posted 26/08/16

Posted on: August 28th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With more night migration research going on we were amazed to find we had another Ortolan Bunting over our listening station in Old town Poole along with 1 Redshank, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper, 25-30 Tree Pipit and 22 passerine calls. We understand that the Portland Obs guys have also been encountering Ortolan Bunting over their site at night, which provides a fascinating insight into what’s going on above our heads at night along the south coast. Lytchett Fields seems to have quietened down a bit with only 1 Little Ringed Plover, 6 Curlew Sandpiper, 10+ Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 2 Kingfisher, 4 fly-over Yellow Wagtail and 1 Tree Pipit the real birds of note, along with the standard Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank and Snipe. Along Soldiers Road there were 6 Spotted Flycatcher and a Redstart and an Osprey was in the dead trees at Middlebere for most of the day with 1 Grey Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 2 Avocet, 2 Spoonbill in the channel and another Redstart along the lane. At Holton Heath 10 Spotted Flycatcher were feeding on the woodland edge. 

 Ortolan Bunting – Calls of night time migrant – Old Town Poole Listening Station 25/08/16 @ 3:15am


Harbour Updates – posted 25/08/16

Posted on: August 26th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A wet muggy night produced a reasonably big Tree Pipit movement with 931 individual calls logged between 21:00 and 04:30 from our night listening station in Old Town Poole. This may seem massive but based on the fact some birds were calling 15-20 times as they passed over then best estimates suggest around 50-75 individuals passed over during the night. Also recorded were 223 passerine calls, all likely to be mostly Robin with a few Pied and Spotted Flycatcher in amongst them, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Dunlin, 2 Green Sandpiper, 6 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Ringed Plover, 1 possible Curlew Sandpiper and amazingly what sounds like another Ortolan Bunting!  At Middlebere there was a single Osprey again with 6 Spoonbill and at Lytchett Fields there 1 Little Ringed Plover, 6 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Ruff and a Wood Sandpiper were logged. On the Brownsea Lagoon a single Curlew Sandpiper was present with 4 Spoonbill. At the Twin Sails site there were singles of Redstart and Whinchat with 2 Wheatear also present and a handful of Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit overhead.


Harbour Updates – posted 24/08/16

Posted on: August 25th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

So far this year we’ve analysed hundreds of hours worth of night recordings from our listening station in Old Town Poole with some fascinating results such as Woodcock, Mandarin Duck, Cuckoo and little Ringed Plover all passing over but the cream of the crop went over last night when an Ortolan Bunting passed over close to the microphone at 2am, this being only the second (possibly third) Poole Harbour record. Apparently they’re a common night migrant down in southern Europe so are we just discovering that actually they’re a regular night migrant here in the UK too with news that one passed over Portland late at night on the same night too! Also recorded this night were 22 Tree Pipit, 4 Robin, 1 Redshank, 2 Oystercatcher, 1 Curlew, 1 Whimbrel and 1 flycatcher sp. On Lytchett Fields there were 8 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint, 2 Ruff, 2 Knot, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Willow Warbler and several Willow Warbler overhead. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 4 Curlew Sandpiper and 9 Spoonbill. An Osprey was in Middlebere. 

Ortolan Bunting – Calls of a night time migrant – Old Town Poole Listening Station 2am 24/08/16


Harbour Updates – posted 23/08/16

Posted on: August 24th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Things seemed to have settled slightly but we’re hoping that the mixture of light SE winds and the forecast rain in the coming days it could all get going again. Ospreys today were seen over Lytchett Bay and 2 over Arne. At Lytchett Fields there were still 8 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stint, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Ruff, 10+ Green Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpiper, 6 Greenshank, 20+ Snipe, 60+ Lapwing and 800+ Black-tailed Godwit. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 9 Spoonbill and 4 Curlew Sandpiper.

Curlew Sandpiper – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam


Harbour Updates – posted 22/08/16

Posted on: August 24th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

At Middlebere there was 1 Spoonbill, 2 Spotted Redshank, and 3 Greenshank. At Lytchett Fields there were still 8 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stint, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Spotted Redshank and 1 Ruff.

Ruff – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam


Harbour Updates – posted 21/08/16

Posted on: August 24th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Record numbers of Black-tailed Godwit were on Lytchett Fields today with a count of 1031 at midday. It was also packed with other species such as 15 Green Sandpiper, 5 Greenshank, 20+ Snipe, 170+ Redshank, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 5 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 9 Curlew Sandpiper, 60+ Lapwing, 60+ Dunlin, 1 Little Stint, 1 Spotted Redshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Knot and 200 Teal! An Osprey passed over Arne. 


harbour Updates – posted 20/08/16

Posted on: August 24th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Despite yesterdays good run of birds, coverage was at a minimum today with just an Osprey off Swineham Point and one each of Lesser Whitethroat, Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher around the Swineahm pits reported. An Osprey passed over Lytchett Fields briefly and disturbed 6 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stint, 2 Ruff and 1 Little Ringed Plover.

Osprey – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam


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