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 September, 2016

Harbour Update – posted 18/09/16

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

Well, what started off as a pretty productive day with a busy ringing session at Lytchett Bay (more of on that a bit later), things really were turned up a notch when local patch watcher Ian Ballam found Poole Harbours second only ever Lesser Yellowlegs on Lytchett Fields. The harbours first was a frustratingly anti-social bird that was found by a DWT member on Brownsea Island in December (when the island is closed) 2014. Luckily today’s bird played ball and showed for the lucky birders that ventured down. As the fields flooded with the large high-tide the Redshanks that the Lesser-legs was associating with disappeared around midday as did the lesser-legs and wasn’t seen for the rest of the day. Also on the fields were a single Ruff and a Barn Owl was out hunting early evening. The ringing session at Lytchett Bay was exciting for other reasons in that numbers of birds ringed were well up on previous visits with 126 birds ringed including 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 79 Chiffchaff, 18 Meadow Pipit as well as Cetti’s Warbler, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, Stonechat, Kingfisher and commoner birds. In Middlebere the Great White Egret was again photographed and 2 Osprey commuted between the dead trees and the nesting platform. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 30 Spoonbill, 2 Ruff, 6 Curlew Sandpiper, 6 Spotted Redshank, 9 Greenshank, 3 Knot, 6 Sanderling and good numbers of Avocet, Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank and Dunlin.

Lesser Yellowlegs – Lytchett Fields – Shaun Robson



Ruff – Brownsea Lagoon – Peter Moore


Dunlin (left) Curlew Sandpiper (right) – Brownsea Lagoon – Peter Moore


Grasshopper Warbler – Lytchett Bay – Paul Morton


Kingfisher – Lytchett Bay – Paul Morton

Harbour Update – posted 17/09/16

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

The wind made things tough today but the Brownsea Lagoon was looking incredible again with 4 Ruff, 7 Curlew Sandpiper, 6 Sanderling, 6 Spotted Redshank, 11 Knot, 29 Spoonbill 40+ Ringed Plover plus Avocets, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Knot, Dunlin, Curlew and a handful of returning Wigeon, Shoveler and Gadwall. In Middlebere still at least 2 Osprey performing well along with a visit from the Great White Egret. In Brands Bay there were c130 Teal, 7 Wigeon, 6 Pintail, 1 Shoveler, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshank, 1 Wheatear and a Marsh Harrier. At Lytchett Fields the rare occurrence of a Turnstone made a quiet day a bit brighter along with the usual Redshank, Snipe, Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwits.

Great White Egret – Middlebere – Simon Kidner


Osprey – Middlebere – Simon Kidner




Spoonbills – Middlebere – Simon Kidner (actually taken on 26/08/16 but is one of our fave photos of the year)!


Harbour Update – posted 16/09/16

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

It was the waders that stole the headlines again today with a wonderful range of species and some great totals. The Brownsea Lagoon was just magnificent and thanks to James Phillips for a full species count and log. Totals from the Brownsea Lagoon today included 25 Spoonbill, 7 Curlew Sandpiper, 6 Ruff, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Little Stint, 315 Dunlin, 51 Ringed Plover, 1 Sanderling, 11 Knot, 14 Turnstone, 6 Spotted Redshank, 18 Greenshank, 123 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 846 Oystercatcher, 178 Avocet, 202 Black-tailed Godwit, 21 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Snipe, 24 Curlew, 3 Grey Plover, 7 Common Tern, 2 Sandwich Tern, 8 Wigeon, 312 Teal, 12 Shoveler, 7 Gadwall and 2 Kingfisher, also 8 Yellow Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail and 2 Wheatear in the vicinity too. Lytchett Fields held its own too with 1 Wood Sandpiper, 4 Ruff, 1 Common Sandpiper, 9 Dunlin, 158 Redshank, 1 Whinchat, 1 Wheatear and another trickle of 15+ Meadow Pipit. The (a) Great White Egret was in the Lower Piddle Valley late afternoon and was present in and around the Ridge Flood Meadows early morning. Swallows and Meadow Pipits were certainly on the move with many small flocks making heir way low across the harbour. 1-2 Osprey were hanging out in the Middlebere area again. 

Curlew Sandpiper – Brownsea Lagoon – Phyl England


Kingfisher – Middlebere – Phyl England

Harbour Update – posted 15/09/16

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

The Great White Egret was again seen in Middlebere for a short while. Ospreys were in Lytchett Bay, over Soldiers Road and in Middlebere. At Lytchett Fields there were 3 Ruff, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 11 Greenshank, 7 Green Sandpiper, 4 Whinchat, 1 Wheatear, 3 Whitethroat and 4 Yellow-legged Gull. There was a decent passage of Swallow, House Martin and Meadow Pipit during the morning with 900, 500 and 200 respectively. On the Brownsea Lagoon Spoonbill numbers have remained at 25 for the last few days, will this total increase by the weekend?

Harbour Update – posted 14/09/16

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

The bird of prey focus was very much alive this AM when from standing in one spot along Soldiers Road 2 Red Kite, 2-3 Osprey, 3 Hobby and 3 Marsh Harrier (including a stunning adult male) were seen out over and across the Wareham Channel area. In Middlebere the Great White Egret was seen again feeding in one of the channels and Ospreys were seen in the dead trees. At Lytchett Bay an Osprey spent most of the morning feeding/fishing. Out on the fields the sites first autumn Wheatear of the season was seen and there were 3 Ruff on the fields. At the PC World Drain there were 2 Spotted Flycatcher and plenty of Chiffchaff.

Harbour Update – posted 13/09/16

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

Great news today when the autumns first Great White Egret appeared at Lytchett Fields before disappearing fairly quickly and being relocated on the Brownsea Lagoon by late morning. Its nice to say that this was inevitable as we have now seen this species arrive in the harbour in the early autumn for three years in a row now and here’s hoping (like last year) we get multiple birds again that stay in the harbour well in to the autumn and winter period. Last year and the year before Brands Bay and the Brownsea Lagoon were the best places to see Great White Egret when they were present in the harbour. Also on the Brownsea Lagoon were the 25 Spoonbill again along with 2 Spotted Redshank, 8 Knot and good numbers of Ringed Plover and Dunlin. On Lytchett Fields there were 2 Wood Sandpiper, 4 Ruff, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 120+ Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 4 Greenshank and 2 Yellow Wagtail. Ospreys were seen feeding/hunting in Lytchett Bay, Holes Bay, Upton CP, Wareham Channel and Middlebere probably consisting of 3-4 individuals including a blue colour-ringed bird.  

Great White Egret – Lytcehtt Fields – Ian Ballam

Great White Egret – Lytcehtt Fields – Ian Ballam

Ruff – Lytcehtt Fields – Ian Ballam


Harbour Update – posted 12/09/16

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

The easterly winds picked up early doors and actually made birding a bit tricky, and the low cloud cover that looked so promising at dawn didn’t really drop too many migrants either. That said on Brownsea the Spoonbill totals keep on rising with 25 now on the lagoon. Local raptor watcher Peter Hadrill reported 2 Osprey out in the Middlebere Channel with other sighting coming from 2 at Middlebere and 1 over Lytchett Bay, all probably relating to 2-3 birds also there were 2 juvenile Hobby hawking over Arne Moors and 3 Marsh Harrier came out of the west Poole Harbour roost. At Lytchett Fields numbers of birds seemed to drop a bit with just 3 Ruff and 1 Wood Sandpiper the highlights but still plenty of Snipe, Redshank, Lapwing and c50 Dunlin. At Greenland’s Farm there was a good count of 15 Wheatear. A short sea-watch from Branksome Chine produced 2 Common Scoter, 2 Fulmar, 1 Kittiwake, c30 Sandwich Tern and 11 Gannet. Night recording from our listening station in Poole was pretty quiet last night but the highlight was another Ortolan Bunting also 3 Tree Pipit, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Robin.

Spoonbill – screen grab of 25 on Brownsea Webcam 

Harbour Update – posted 11/09/16

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

What a difference a day makes, not a breath of wind could be felt or heard as we headed out early doors for a bit of a pootle around the harbour and it seems many other people did the same judging by the number of reports. Starting off at Lytchett Fields where there were 5 Ruff, 5 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 100+ Dunlin, 2 Greenshank, 8 Green Sandpiper, 100+ Dunlin, 6 Yellow Wagtail and an Osprey caught a fish out in Lytchett Bay. Off Swineham Point a count of 233 Black-tailed godwit, 24 Curlew, 22 Oystercatcher, 2 Greenshank, 41 Shelduck and 8 Sandwich Tern was made whilst a small mixed feeding party of 12 Reed Bunting and several Skylark were flushed, whilst in and around Swineham GP there were 2 Wheatear, 3 Kingfisher, 1 Sedge Warbler, 3 Reed Warbler and a Grey Wagtail over. The Brownsea Lagoon was given a good grilling too as Spoonbill numbers rose to 22, also 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 27 Ringed Plover, 40 Dunlin, 2 Turnstone, 9 Spotted Redshank, 15 Greenshank, 140 Redshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 170 Black-tailed Godwit, 60 Avocet, 26 Curlew, 250 Oystercatcher, 2 Wigeon, 107 Teal, 3 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall, 6 Common Tern and 3 Sandwich Tern. From Coombe Heath, Arne there were 2 Osprey still in the dead trees with 7 Knot in the Middlebere Channel. Up on Stoborough Heath early evening a small passerine flurry consisted of 5 Redstart, 3 Whinchat, 2 Wheatear, 5 Whitethroat, 20 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Hobby and 5 Woodlark. At the PC World drain there were singles of Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher and Reed Warbler, 20+ Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, 1 Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail. On the twin Sails site just a single Wheatear and a Tree Pipit over. Whilst over on the Studland side at Greenland’s Farm there was 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 15 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat and 1 Redstart and in Brands Bay 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 126 Black-tailed Godwit

Harbour Update – posted 10/09/16

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

Although the conditions were abysmal for most of the day, when things did clear a nice selection of sighting were reported starting at Lytchett Fields where there were 4 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint, 2 Ruff and 100+ Dunlin along with the usual Redshank, Snipe, Greenshank and Green Sandpiper. On Brownsea a flock of 5 juvenile Little Gull passed over the lagoon in the murk before carrying on further into the harbour whilst Spoonbill totals reached 16 and there were 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stint, 5 Knot 50+ Avocet and c200 Black-tailed Godwit. In the woods behind the Mac Hide on Brownsea 3 Firecrest were counted. In Middlebere a drenched Osprey managed to catch a fish and found some pitiful amount of joy from picking small pieces off its scaly prize whilst rain hit the poor bird sideways on for most of the morning. On the low-tide at Middlebere there were 10 Knot, 4 Spotted Redshank, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Greenshank. Up on Hartland a flock of 3 Woodlark were flushed and at Norden Sewage works 3 Chiffchaff are back/passing through feeding on the filter beds. Night recording from our listening station produced a surprise at 3:45am when a Peregrine went through calling as it passed. We have to admit we were stumped with this set of calls for a while as they were totally out of context but then it suddenly dawned on us what it was. Was it just passing through or perhaps out hunting and using the illumination of Poole Town Centre to its advantage as proven in Nottinghamshire recently. Also logged that night were 7 Robin, 8 Tree Pipit, 1 small Bar-tailed Godwit flock, 1 Blackbird, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Pied Wagtail (unusual at night), 1 Moorhen and 1 Redshank.


Peregrine Falcon 11/09/16 3:45am Old Town Poole Listening Station


Bar-tailed Godwit 11/09/16/ 00:41am Calls of night time migrants – Old Town Poole Listening Station


Moorhen 11/09/16 4:51am calls of night time migrant – Old Town Poole Listening Station

Harbour Update – posted 09/09/16

Posted on: September 10th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With the wind and rain setting in by early evening and a fresh SW breeze the night before, the prospect of sound recording or finding any decent within the 24 hours of Friday didn’t seem promising. Analysing our night recordings from Thursday night going into Friday morning was so underwhelming that it looked as if we were going to draw a complete blank, and it wasn’t until 3 spritely Robins and 2 hardy Tree Pipit piped up in the latter part of the night that ‘nil pois’ had been prevented. Elsewhere it was pretty routine with 151 Dunlin, 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Ruff, 1 Wood Sandpiper and 2 Ringed Plover out on Lytchett Fields whilst out in Lytchett Bay there were 35+ Curlew, 10+ Greenshank, 4 Wigeon, 3 Little Grebe, 2 Great Crested Grebe and a fly over Osprey. At the Twin Sails site near Hamworthy saw 3 Whinchat and 2 Wheatear. On Brownsea 14 Spoonbill, 5 Knot and 4 Spotted Redshank were on the lagoon. Chiffchaff numbers are building with plenty around the harbour now being reported but at the PC World drain along there were 20+.

Whinchat – Twin Sails, Hamworthy

Wheatear – Twin Sails, Hamworthy

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