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 October, 2016

Harbour Update – posted 30/10/16

Posted on: October 31st, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

After Friday nights incredible thrush passage we placed our recording gear out again on Saturday night and were again treated to an almighty passage of mainly Redwing, Song Thrush and Blackbird. There were so many calls throughout the night that the mear thought of counting them all sent shudders down our spine, but based on totals from Friday night our best estimates from Saturday night came to around 3400+ Redwing calls, 1300+ Song Thrush calls, 1000+ Blackbird calls, 60+ Fieldfare calls plus 15 Skylark calls and 1 Common Snipe. Both Friday and Saturday night saw low, thick dark cloud cover which would explain why the passage was so intense as birds were forced to call more and were flying at a lower altitude. With Sunday night being a brighter, clear, starlit night it will be interesting to if the passage is as intense and prolonged. Other highlights from around the harbour included a superb adult male Hen Harrier which quartered over Hartland Moor mid morning, followed by a ringtail Hen Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine and Kestrel. On Brownsea 32 Spoonbill were still roosting on the high tide, heading off to Fitzworth to feed on the low tide. At Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs is still present along with a Jack Snipe that was flushed near one of the viewpoints, a Marsh Harrier over and a Grey Plover on the fields. 

To give you an idea of what the thrush passage was like over Friday and Saturday night we have provided just a five minuet section for you to listen to from midnight on the night of October 29th. Best listened to with headphones.

 Strong Redwing, Blackbird & Song Thrush passage – 00:00 29/10/16 Old Town Poole Listening Station

Harbour Update – posted 29/10/16

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

After a short break from night sound recording from our listening station in Old Town Poole, the conditions looked good for a decent thrush movement so we stuck our gear out to see what was moving…well, as it turned out quite a lot actually! There was a big pulse of thrushes with 3256 Redwing calls, 1045 Song Thrush calls, 712 Blackbird calls, 54 Fieldfare calls, 4 Skylark, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Yellowhammer and 3 Golden Plover recorded, to say counting all that lot was a little tricky would be an understatement! Our dish was out again on Saturday night and we can’t wait to see/hear what the totals are. Elsewhere in the harbour, at Lytchett Bay there were 4 Brent Geese, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 Red-breasted Merganser out in the bay, on Lytchett Fields there was the Lesser Yellowlegs, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Grey Plover, 1 Merlin, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap and a Water Pipit. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 24 Greenshank, 9 Spotted Redshank, 34 Spoonbill, 7 Knot, 1 Merlin and increasing numbers of Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover and Dunlin. There were Firecrests at Arne (1) and Upton CP (2). There was another Yellow-browed Warbler at Arne along with at least 3 different Marsh Harrier in Middlebere.

 Golden Plover 29/10/16 03:25 Old town Poole Listening – Calls of a night time migrant

Harbour Update – posted 28/10/16

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

As autumn gives way to winter and the trees turn to golden shades of brown the signs of winter birding continue to be recognised as several more Red-breasted Merganser appeared in Whitley Lake, Sandbanks along with an increasing total of Brent Geese. In Poole Harbour west, winter raptors are being seen more frequently now as 2 Hen Harrier, 5 Marsh Harrier and Merlin are being recorded almost daily now. The Black Redstart was again on the barn roofs at Arne and 2 Firecrest were in the car park. On Brownsea there were 30 Spoonbill. Lytchett Fields saw at least 1 Curlew Sandpiper still and the Lesser Yellowlegs was present in the morning and a Firecrest was along Slough Lane. The Great White Egret was viewable on Arne, from Hamworthy Beach along with 4 Sandwich Tern

Harbour Update – posted 27/10/16

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

Today saw a nice variety of species including a late Whinchat at Sunnyside Farm and a handsome male Merlin. At Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs was still present and a redhead Goosander dropped into Lytchett Bay very briefly late afternoon before heading up the Sherford River. Also at Lytchett Bay 1 Firecrest, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Green Sandpiper. The Great White Egret was in Middlebere for most of the day. On the Brownsea Lagoon up to 24 Spoonbill were present and could be viewed on our Live Webcam for most of the day. There were other Firecrests at Middle Beach, Studland (1), Arne (3) and Holton Lee (1). A Black Redstart was on the farm buildings at Arne too. In Studland Bay 7 Black-necked Grebe were feeding with a single Red-breasted Merganser. At Middlebere there was a single Marsh Harrier and a decent sized flock of c200 Fieldfare heading west. 

Harbour Update – posted 26/10/16

Posted on: October 27th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today was a fine spring…erm, we mean autumn day! As temperatures in the sun hit about 15 degrees. At Arne and night sound recording session produced 307 Redwing, 24 Song Thrush, several Barn Owl calls, 1 Common Snipe and a few Grey Plover. When collecting in our gear in the morning we also had 1 Brambling, 5 Lesser Redpoll, 6 Skylark and a few Linnet flocks passing over. On Arne Farm a Black Redstart was on the Autumn Watch studio roof. Spoonbills were mostly resident on Brownsea however moved over to Arne in the darkness to feed! In Studland bay the Black-necked Grebe total rose to 19. On Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs returned after a few days absence and was hanging out with 5 Greenshank and also thee 4 Rock Pipit were present. A Puffin was reported to fly by Old Harry rocks. Finally, a Lesser Whitethroat was photographed at Middlebere cottages this morning, which is a really late record. An attempt to try and re-find it tomorrow will take place to try and obtain some sound recordings if possible. 

Lesser Whitethroat – Middlebere Cottages – Bryan Pinchen

Harbour Update – posted 25/10/16

Posted on: October 27th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With lighter winds from the east another vis-mig session was attempted at South Haven but passage was much lighter with just 12 Redwing, 4 Song Thrush, 3 Reed Bunting and 7+ Goldcrest in the bushes. A Merlin dashed over Studland churchyard, 3 Firecrest were in Knoll Beach car park and 6 Lesser Redpoll flew over as there were still up to 8 Black-necked Grebe off Middle Beach. A Black Redstart was on rooftops in Old Town Poole. On Brownsea there were up to 38 Spoonbill (will they venture over to Arne for Autumn Watch)?, with 5 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 6 Grey Plover and 1 Kingfisher. Best bird of the day goes to a Great Grey Shrike that was found on Hartland Moor although it was very mobile. At Arne there are still a minimum of 3 Firecrest in the car park  and 2 Marsh Harrier were in Middlebere. 

Fieldfare – Middlebere – Simon Kidner

Harbour Update – posted 24/10/16

Posted on: October 27th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The wind was still blowing strong from the NE, which encouraged some thrush passage over South Haven as 352 Redwings passed over with 9 Fieldfare, 1 Blackbird, 9 Song Thrush, 11 Meadow Pipit, 7 Siskin, 6 Swallow and 10 alba wagtail. At Arne the Great White Egret was in Middlebere, 2 Firecrest were in the car park, 2 Swallow passed overhead and there were flocks of 80+ Fieldfare and 50+ Redwing. At Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs was STILL there and in Poole Harbour west a Merlin, 3 Marsh Harrier and a Peregrine were seen. A night lamping session in the Lower Frome Valley only saw 2 Common Snipe ringed, but 4 Jack Snipe were seen. 

Harbour Update – posted 23/10/16

Posted on: October 27th, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Things were a bit quieter today as the wind was gusting pretty hard. Nonetheless, some decent coverage at Studland produced a Great White Egret in Brands Bay with 1 Black-necked Grebe, 5 Avocet, 9 Knot, 2 Grey Plover and 15 Dunlin. On Slepe Heath a ringtail Hen Harrier went over. On Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs was still present with the usual spread of waders. In Middlebere the roosting wader spectacle is something you should try and experience as Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Brent Goose number continue to grow. A night sound recording session at Arne produced 214 Redwing calls, 87 Song Thrush calls, 1 Greenshank, 3 Dunlin and several Grey Plover. 

Marsh Harrier – Middlebere – Simon Kidner

Harbour Update – posted 21/10/16

Posted on: October 23rd, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Lytchett Bay got off to another good start when 3 Golden Plover flew over Lytchett Fields at first light. The Lesser Yellowlegs was also still on Lytchett Fields with several Redshank, 1 Knot, 2 Curlew Sandpiper and 100+ Dunlin. There were also 3 different Marsh Harrier that visited the site too. In Poole Harbour west there were 6 different Marsh Harrier that went into roost, also 1 Merlin and a ringtail Hen Harrier were present. Another lamping session in the Lower Frome Valley produced 2 new Jack Snipe ringed and 2 Common Snipe, with a Woodcock and further 2 Jack Snipe seen. The Great White Egret was in Middlebere again with c500 Avocet, c600 Black-tailed Godwit, c 300 Dunlin, 1 Spotted Redshank and a Grey Plover.

Harbour Update – posted 20/10/16

Posted on: October 21st, 2016 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Lytchett Bay is the site that just keeps on giving at the moment as a Whooper Swan showed up this morning, hanging out with 2 Mute Swan. Then later in the day a small stint-type wader was found out on Lytchett Fields, which annoyingly disappeared and couldn’t be relocated. The description and views possibly suggested a Baird’s Sandpiper, and the way things are panning out at Lytchett Bay at the moment it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if it was one! Up on top of Hartland a Ring Ouzel was feeding with Blackbirds along the road and a Hen Harrier was up on Slepe Heath late afternoon. Up on Ballard a short vis-mig session produced 1 Merlin, 2 Common Snipe, 2 Mistle Thrush, c100 Linnet, c 150 Goldfinch, c50 Siskin and 5 Stonechat along with a steady trickle of Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail. The Middlebere channel was brimming with birds on the rising tide with c550 Avocet, 1000 Teal, good numbers of Black-tailed Godwit and smaller numbers of Bar-tailed godwit, Dunlin and Lapwing. 

Whooper Swan – Lytchett Bay – Ian Ballam


Whooper Swan – Lytchett Bay – Ian Ballam


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