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 February, 2017

Harbour Update – posted 16/02/17

Posted on: February 17th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Although we were welcomed by another dawn of thick fog, it was a heavenly surprise when stepping onto one of the heathlands in Poole Harbour north, as two singing Woodlark were dueting with one another through the silence of the fog. This once rare, but now increasing heathland species becomes very vocal at this time of year with their sweet descending notes ringing out across the flowing gorse. Its not only the Woodlark that are now getting going, you may have noticed that Song Thrush, Robin, Dunnock and Wren are all now adding to the increased volume at dawn and in areas where Chiffchaff over-winter such as the Norden Sewage works, their familiar summer song can be a welcome treat on cold February morning. The weather for next week is to remain settled, mild and dry so why not get out to try and listen to hear as many different song types as you can. In February, the songs are not always as full or as crystalised as they will be a bit later on in the spring but it’s certainly a welcome sign that spring is just a matter of weeks away.  By visiting different habitats you’ll increase the variety of different songs you can hear so why not start off in the Woodland areas of Upton CP listening to Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker whilst out on the heaths Dartford Warbler, Woodlark and Linnet will all be warming up for the months ahead. At Lytchett Heath, the Bearded Tits were vocal in the reedbeds at the end of the heath and Dartford Warbler were just about making a silhouette on top of the gorse through the fog. At Upton CP a Firecrest was in scrub in front of the house and the Smew was still in Holes Bay NE. At Arne there were 17 Spoonbill on Shipstal Point and around the reserve Redpoll and Siskin were busy toing and froing in some Alders.  The Lesser Yellowlegs was in Lytchett Bay again and the Starling murmurations is still going strong at Shell Bay, Studland. 

Woodlark song – Heathland, Poole Harbour north – 16/02/ 17 @ 08:23

Harbour Update – posted 15/02/17

Posted on: February 16th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today we conducted the commentary on a DWT public bird boat which gave us a great excuse to be out on the water for a couple of hours, something we can never really ever turn down. Although a band rain hampered viewing for a short while a good range of species kept the crowds entertained with 2 Great Northern Diver, one in South Deep and the other off the NW corner of Brownsea, 19 Black-necked Grebe including a flock of 15 in central harbour, 16 Spoonbill on Shipstal Point Arne, 21 Goldeneye and plenty of Mergs and Great Crested Grebe. The lagoon was really busy with good numbers of Wigeon, Gadwall, Shoveler, Teal and a couple of Pintail whilst a single Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, c70 Grey Plover an adult Yellow-legged Gull, c50 Bar-tailed Godwit including the summer plumaged bird, 1 Merlin and a single Firecrest near the villa. At Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs was still there and a Hen Harrier was still hunting in the area and 6 Sandwich Tern were in the Whitley Lake, Sandbanks area. 

Harbour Update – posted 14/02/17

Posted on: February 15th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Although milder, a strong easterly wind was still blowing making a Studland bay watch a little tricky. Still, from Middle beach there were still 2 Black-necked Grebe bobbing about with 5 Common Scoter and 1 Great Northern Diver plus 2 Fulmar out over the water. In Shell Bay there was another Great Northern Diver with a Red-throated Diver going east and a single Black-necked Grebe in the bay. At Poole Park, on the main boating lake some areas are still nice and muddy which attracted in 1 Greenshank, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and numerous Oystercatcher with 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Little Grebe and 2 Goldeneye feeding in the shallows. At Lytchett Bay the Lesser Yellowlegs was still present with a Hen Harrier hunting along the northern shore of the bay and at South Haven, Studland 44 Sanderling were on the rocks. At Arne 16 Spoonbill were still on Shiptstal, Arne and Just outside the Poole Harbour boundary in Corfe Mullen 6 Waxwing were found in a Beech Tree on Hanham Road. On Hartland Moor a ringtail Hen Harrier caught some prey at the top end of the Moor and out in South Deep, off Brownsea a single Slavonian Grebe, 7 Black-necked Grebe and 5 Goldeneye were feeding. 

Harbour Update – posted 13/02/17

Posted on: February 14th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today was fairly quite, but being a windy Monday morning its not much surprise! The filter bed at Norden Sewage works was literally hopping with Chiffchaff including a Siberian Chiffchaff, also 1 Goldcrest and 1 Grey Wagtail. Along Holme Lane 3 Little Egret were with the cattle, surely its calling out for a returning Cattle Egret soon? If going past that area its well worth checking. At Swineham the 11 Barnacle Geese were still on the main pit and at Arne 12 Spoonbill were on Shipstal with 1 Firecrest in the car park, c800 Avocet and c800 Brent Geese in Middlebere. At Whitley Lake, Sandbanks late afternoon the windy conditions and big low tide attracted masses of gulls into the bay with an adult Yellow-legged Gull and 24 Mediterranean Gull the highlights with 72 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Greenshank also feeding near the Sandbanks marina. 

Finally, it was sad to hear that the dolphin seen swimming out off Goathorn last week was found washed up on the southern shore of Brownsea. It was initially thought that it was Bottle-nosed Dolphin, but distant views made ID difficult. Upon closer inspection it was actually a Common Dolphin, which contradictory to its name is an extremely rare occurrence in Poole Harbour. 

Potential Siberian (tristis) Chiffchaff – Norden Sewage Works

Harbour Update – posted 12/02/17

Posted on: February 14th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There have already been a good number of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker sightings this ‘spring’ and today produced another likely sighting at Lytchett Fields in the same area one was photographed this time last year. Between now and the end of March is a great time to try and find this now very scarce woodpecker, and by listening to their distinct drumming sound is a good way to try track them down in large old mature deciduous woodlands. At Swineham the 11 Barnacle Geese were on the main pit and in Poole Harbour mouth a Great Northern Diver was feeding with a Razorbill near by.  At Lytchett Fields a nice sight of 12 Spoonbill out on the fields was slightly out of the blue and a Hen Harrier hunted quite actively around the site for part of the day with Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Lesser Yellowlegs and Greenshank all in the bay on the low tide. 

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Drumming – Poole Harbour – Mark Constantine & The Sound Approach 

Harbour Update – posted 11/02/17

Posted on: February 14th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

After being away for a week it was nice to return today and host our second ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ public bird boat. A fully booked trip saw us head out in snow and finish with numb fingers and toes but that certainly didn’t hamper our enjoyment. A strange sight of a Sandwich Tern through dollops of snow got the trip underway and we were soon in to numerous Red-breasted Merganser and a few Great Crested Grebe. The lagoon was fairly busy giving good views of Avocet, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Shoveler, Wigeon, Gadwall and Brent Geese. Near the harbour mouth 2 Great Northern Diver passed close and then a fly by Common Scoter zoomed by. Round the back of all the islands more Mergansers and Brent Geese were feeding and in central harbour 5 Black-necked Grebe were bobbing around on the choppy waters. At Shipstal the over-wintering Spoonbill flock of 16 remained faithful to their usual spot and in the mouth of Middlebere Curlew, Avocet, Grey Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin were feeding in the draining channels. In Holes Bay the redhead Smew remained faithful to the NE corner and the Lesser Yellowlegs was out in Lytchett Bay on the low tide. At Greenland’s Farm a Firecrest was at the end of the track and on the drained Poole Park boating lake Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit and a Turnstone were feeding close to the road on the mud.

Full species list from BoPH bird boat trip

Harbour Update – posted 10/02/17

Posted on: February 11th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour


Waxwing x 9 – Briefly at Rossmore Road but not seen after 9:30am

Smew x 1 redhead – Holes Bay

Lesser Yellowlegs – Lytchett Bay

Spoonbill x 10 – Shipstal Point, Arne

Common Scoter x 1 – Brands Bay

Black-necked Grebe x 12 – Central Harbour

Harbour Update – posted 09/02/17

Posted on: February 11th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour


Waxwing x 9 – Rossmore Road, Poole

Smew x 1 redhead, Holes Bay

Great White Egret x 1 Lytchett Bay

Ruff  x 1 – Upton CP

Spotted Redshank x 1 – Holes Bay

Woodcock – Lytchett Bay & Hartland Moor

Waxwing – Rossmore Road, Poole – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 08/02/17

Posted on: February 11th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour


Lesser Spotted Woodpecker – Corfe River Valley

Woodlark – Corfe River Valley

Marsh Harrier – Corfe River Valley

Harbour Update – posted 07/02/17

Posted on: February 11th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour


Firecrest x 1 – Upton CP

Purple Sandpiper x 2 – North Haven

Sanderling x 45 – Shell Bay, Studland

Great Northern Diver x 2 near harbour mouth

Sandwich Tern x 6 – Shore Road, Sandbanks

Spotted Redshank – Holes Bay

Spotted Redshank – Holes Bay – Nick Mudge


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