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 March, 2017

Harbour Update – posted 30/03/17

Posted on: March 31st, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

This morning looked perfect for a fall of sorts, Wheatear and Chiffs galore was the expectation but sadly the reality was that birds were sparse and birding tough going. Still, there was a reasonable selection on offer with 1 Wheatear on Hartland Stud and 2 along Soldiers Road where both Greenfinch and Meadow Pipit were battling for airspace as they displayed and sung around each other. Within the Corfe River Valley a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming and a possible Continental Stonechat was on top of Hartland. From Middle Beach 4 Black-necked Grebe a Great Northern Diver, 1 Gannet, 2 Auk sp, c20 Med Gulls, 8 Sandwich Tern 3 Sand Martin and 1 Swallow were all out on/over Studland Bay. On Hartland there was a nice contrast of winter and summer with both the Great Grey Shrike and what’s likely to have been Wednesdays Hobby over Hartland Moor. At South Haven, Studland a Little Ringed Plover was on a small patch of flood near the car park with a freshly arrived Willow Warbler and 16 Sandwich Tern gathered on the beach with a single pale-bellied Brent Goose. At Lytchett Fields both the Green-winged Teal and Lesser Yellowlegs were on the fields with 105 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshank, 1 Swallow over and 7 Chiffchaff around the site. Up on Old Harry and Ballard there were just 2 Willow Warbler and 5 Blackcap. Night recording over Stoborough picked up a few straggling Redwing and Song Thrush, 2 Water Rail, Coot and Moorhen.

Harbour Update – posted 29/03/17

Posted on: March 30th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

After days of unbroken sunshine we finally saw a pretty grotty weather system pass through which seemed to pass through quite a bit later than forecast. Wind was consistent but the rain showers were on and off, which in turn did drop some migrants in, most noticeably over Swineham GP where a good gathering of Sand Martin and Swallow were feeding with a single House Martin, a Little Ringed Plover was on the Swineham floods, within the harbour up to 20 Sandwich Tern were out feeding or sat on numerous buoys and on the edge of Upton CP a Willow Warbler was seen. There are still a few Red-breasted Merganser about along with c20 Great Crested Grebe. A Marsh Harrier was flying low along the sea wall of Arne Moors, a ringtail Hen Harrier was along the Arne road and a Peregrine drifted high above Arne. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 2 Yellow-legged Gull, c20 Avocet, c120 Med Gulls and a few left over Grey Plover, Dunlin and Bar-tailed Godwit. On Hartland the Great Grey Shrike was still present along Soldiers Road and the Green-winged Teal was on Lytchett Fields. In Middlebere a Marsh Harrier was near Coombe Heath and 2 Wheatear were near Shipstal Beach. 

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Harbour Update – posted 28/03/17

Posted on: March 29th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Hooray! An Osprey arrived today which was actually photographed over Morden Bog but it was carrying a massive fish, which we assume must have come from the harbour. Chances are it could still be around somewhere so worth keeping an eye out around Arne, Middlebere and the Wareham Channel area.  There was also still a ringtail Hen Harrier in the west of the harbour too and 2 Marsh Harrier finally looked as if they may begin some kind of courting…about ruddy time, the Radipole harriers have been ‘at it’ for weeks! At Lytchett Fields there were 2 Water Pipit and the Green-winged Teal and the Lesser Yellowlegs was on French’s Pools. In Middlebere a few waders were recorded with 2 Spotted Redshank and several Greenshank.

Dartford Warbler – Keith Rawling – Poole Harbour south

Harbour Update – posted 27/03/17

Posted on: March 29th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Well, the sun continued to shine and so did the Red Kite passage with a single over Arne at midday and then another over Upton late afternoon. There was also news of a very early Hobby that arrived on to Hartland Moor mid-morning, landing on a pine before alighting again and headed NW towards the harbour. What was also likely to be a new Great White Egret entered the harbour just before dusk, having arrived in low over Swineham from the west, with c50 Sand Martin and 2 reported Common Sandpiper. At Lytchett Fields the Green-winged Teal was still on Sherford Pools. Marsh Harrier were again seen around the mouth of the Frome and Peregrine were seen over Poole Town Centre, Arne and up on Ballard. More Chiffchaff and a few more Blackcap can be heard singing now from numerous sites and it won’t be long until Willow Warbler and Whitethroat are common-place amongst the dawn chorus.



Harbour Update – posted 26/03/17

Posted on: March 27th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The glorious weather continued today and with it a shift of Red Kites NE across the harbour area. It started with 2 that drifted along the top of Keysworth and then headed low over Lytchett Fields. At 12:15 another drifted low over Brownsea Island with another at 15:15 above the Wareham Channel, also heading NE. These banks of high pressure are always good for getting kites to move and they can literally turn up anywhere so keep you eye’s to the sky during these sunny days for passing kites overhead. Watching a large area of sky around midday will allow you to pick up any raptors that are on the move or that area displaying and a sky watch from Slepe Heath produced 10+ Common Buzzard, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 Kestrel. On the Brownsea Lagoon today there were 42 Knot, 32 Avocet, 25+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 21 Grey Plover, 8 Greenshank, 4 Spotted Redshank, 8 Sandwich Tern, 7 Pintail and 3 Brent Geese. In Bramble Bush Bay a summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe was all on its lonesome but was soon joined by a few remaining Red-breasted Merganser. On Hartland the Great Grey Shrike was still out in the center of the Moor.  

Red Kite – Lytchett Fields – Shaun Robson

Harbour Update – posted 25/03/17

Posted on: March 27th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

This is more like it, a stunning late March day with a steady easterly breeze, although the breeze early morning made it feel quite nippy. Again, Meadow Pipits were on the move throughout the morning, heading ENE in small loose flocks. Out on Hartland a Wheatear was sat on a post trying to avoid the Great Grey Shrike which is also still about in that area. In Lytchett Bay a Bar-tailed Godwit was an early rare occurrence with the first records usually mid to late April consisting of passage birds and the Green-winged Teal was still on Sherford Pools with a Little Ringed Plover there too. At Arne 8 Spoonbill were at Shipstal, Firecrests were in the car park and the reserves first Swallow and Blackcap of the spring were also seen. 

Harbour Update – posted 24/03/17

Posted on: March 27th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Luckily the weather forecast for the weekend ahead is improving and we can get rid of these strong winds and rain. That said, the weather brought down a new Little Ringed Plover at Lytchett Fields and a near summer plumaged Water Pipit too, along with the Green-winged Teal still on Sherford Pools. Ringing activities around the harbour are seeing Chiffchaff being caught with face’s full of pollen highlighting that these are birds having moved up through Europe rather than birds that have moved locally. Meadow Pipits were on the move too with flocks between 5-20 birds passing over areas such as Greenlands Farm and Slepe Heath through the course of the morning.  

Pollen-faced Chiffchaff 

Harbour Update – posted 23/03/17

Posted on: March 27th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It was a bit grotty today with not much reported other than the Green-winged Teal still on Lytchett Fields and good numbers of Med Gulls continuing to pair up on Brownsea. A night recording session from a listening station in the north of the harbour produced 3 Water Rail, 2 Moorhen, 1 Coot, 14 Redwing calls and a Mallard all over between 7pm and 5am. 

Harbour Update – posted 22/03/17

Posted on: March 23rd, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A day of two halves today, with a wet dank start, finishing with a picture perfect still sun set with both ends of the day producing some decent birds. The rain had obviously forced down a few migrants, most notably 3 Little Ringed Plover in one of the cattle fields along Holme Lane. Any muddy pools in fields are worth checking this time of year for ‘LRP’, although we have never seen or were ever really expecting to find any here! In the Lower Frome Valley, around the Bestwall area 3 Wheatear were doing their best to dodge the rain and a few Sand Martin were over Swineham GP. On the edge of Upton CP a Blackcap was sub-singing in the cold and at Lytchett Fields the Green-winged Teal was still on Sherford Pools and the Lesser Yellowlegs was out in Lytchett Bay again. From Coombe Heath, Arne 3 Spotted Redshank were in Middlebere with a Marsh Harrier, 7 Grey Plover and a male Wheatear also noted. On Brownsea it seems to be the invasion of the Med Gulls with really good numbers of birds on the gravel islands. As the day drew to an end the wind dropped off totally which made perfect end of the day bird watching conditions and at Swineham, off the corner of the gravel pit a ringtail Hen Harrier, Barn Owl, male Merlin, 18 Sand Martin, 1 Wheatear, several calling Bearded Tit, c5 Cetti’s Warbler and plenty of singing/squealing Water Rail were all logged. 

Plenty of Chiffchaff singing around the harbour now – Arne – Paul Morton

Grey Heron – Wareham Channel – Paul Morton

Harbour Update – posted 21/03/17

Posted on: March 22nd, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

This morning was blissfully sun-filled but wow…the WSW wind was blimmin cold! That said, in sheltered areas birds made the most of the early rays and at Challow Hill many birds are already back on territory it seems with 2 pairs of Stonechat along the main track, several Yellowhammer paired up, Dartford Warbler singing and flirting in the gorse, Chiffchaff singing down in the lower copse and Meadow Pipits flitting around on the steep sided edges of the hill. At Swineham still a handful of Sand Martin were over the gravel pits and on Hartland Moor the Great Grey Shrike was still present. On Lytchett Fields the Green-winged Teal was on French’s Pools and the Lesser Yellowlegs was viewable from the Turlin Screen. Early evening saw a huge gathering of Black-headed and Med Gulls around ‘Gull Islands’ consisting of thousands of birds making an absolute racquet before bedding down for the night. Hopefully these are birds that are prospecting the islands ready for a busy breeding season ahead. At Arne, 8 Spoonbill were in Middlebere with a Marsh Harrier seen too and in the car park a Firecrest was singing. Ospreys are now turning up at traditional breeding sites across the UK now too, so when we will we see our first passage Poole Harbour bird?

Black-headed and Med Gull roost gathering, Wareham Channel, Poole Harbour 21/03/17 @ 17:45

Yellowhammer – Challow Hill – Paul Morton

Dartford Warbler – Challow Hill – Paul Morton



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