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 April, 2017

Harbour Update – posted 30/04/17

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

Conditions over night evolved into a perfect opportunity for a dawn sea watch, with a SE wind building and rain forecast for mid morning. Poole Bay is a large area that relies on the SE wind to push migrating sea birds closer to the shore as they migrate their way up through the English Channel. Several local Poole birders were out early this AM monitoring migrating sea birds and from Branksome Chine returned with a great bird log. Totals included 7 Arctic Skua, 1 Pomarine Skua, 1 Great Skua, 1 Black Tern, 3 Arctic Tern, numerous Common and Sandwich Tern, c15 Whimbrel, 5 Dunlin, 1 Great Northern Diver, 4 Common Scoter, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Shelduck, c50 Gannet, 5 Fulmar, a decent passage of Great Black-backed Gulls, several Med Gulls, a single 1st summer Kittiwake, 1 Hobby and 43 Swallow. A Watch from the top of Ballard Down returned 2 Pomarine Skua, 8 Arctic Skua (5 of which were the same as the Branksome birds), 1 Manx Shearwater, 41 Common Scoter, 3 Brent Geese, 32 Whimbrel, 3 Fulmar and c100 Gannet. And there was more action at the harbour mouth with a single 1st summer Little Gull, 2 Arctic Tern and 5 Little Tern all logged. At Lytchett Fields there were good numbers of waders with 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Ruff, 12 Dunlin, 4 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper and the pale-headed Egyptian Goose

Knot and Ringed Plover – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 29/04/17

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

Today started off still and overcast but a chilly wind picked up as our monthly field trip headed out up to Challow Hill and along towards Nine Barrow Down. The focus was to listen to and find spring migrants which eventually gave themselves up. Along the Challow Hill path there were 6-7 Common Whitethroat territories we also had 1 Yellow Wagtail overhead, 1 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat, several Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Yellowhammer, also Kestrel, Stonechat, Swallow, Raven and Buzzard. At Lytchett Fields the sites first Lesser Whitethroat was singing with 3 Whimbrel, 1 Ruff, 100+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 9 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin and a summer plumaged Knot all on the fields. At Arne an Osprey was reported flying and fishing in the mouth of Middlebere and there were 5 Yellow Wagtail in the Arne farm fields and the Redstart was still singing near Shipstal. 

Our Group above Corfe Castle – Barbara Bisset

Whinchat above Corfe Castle – Pauline Miller

Yellowhammer above Corfe Castle – Pauline Miller

Wheatear above Corfe Castle – Pauline Miller


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

Important Info – Our spring bird boat tour tomorrow morning has been postponed due to the weather forecast. A new date will be announced shortly. Guests booked on to the tour will be entitled to a full refund or may remain booked on to the tour for the new date when announced. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. Can you believe it…no rain for a month then a down pour and strong winds on our premier Spring boat trip!!!! Please call 07711370386 for any further enquiries regarding this event. #maybenexttime

Harbour Update – posted 28/04/17

Posted on: April 28th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today started off strangely when a male Wood Duck flew through over the Holton Lee reed bed at around 8:15am. Ok, there are several feral populations around the UK but as far as we can recall there haven’t been any Dorset, let alone Poole Harbour records for this species for a number of years. We also did another survey up the Wareham Channel today too, and although a cold westerly blew we still counted 3 Swift and reasonable numbers of Swallow, House and Sand Martin over Bestwall. There were still plenty of singing Reed and Sedge Warbler along the River Frome walk and 3 Common Sandpiper, 8 Whimbrel and 2 Oystercatcher were around the Swineham area. Out in central harbour it seems all over-wintering wildfowl have now moved on with just c20 Great Crested Grebe hanging on. At Arne both singing Wood Warbler and Redstart were seen down near the Shipstal Wood, with 12 Whimbrel in Middlebere. On Brownsea 32 Common Tern and 62 Sandwich Tern were counted with Bar-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Dunlin, Knot and 80 Med Gulls also recorded. 

Harbour Update – posted 27/04/17

Posted on: April 28th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Things seemed much quieter today with a Hobby feeding over the Corfe to Studland road, a good number of Whimbrel in Middlebere, 2 Ruff, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Little Ringed plover, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank and 120+ Black-tailed Godwit at Lytchett Fields.

Harbour Update – posted 26/04/17

Posted on: April 28th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The wind eased off a bit today and a good mixture of species were seen. The Osprey was again in the Wareham Channel. A Cattle Egret was in fields just west of the Stoborough causeway. In Middlebere a good spring count of 22 Grey Plover were feeding on the low tide with c 200 summer plumaged Dunlin, 1 Knot, 2 Ringed Plover, 5 Redshank and c70 Black-tailed Godwit. At Challow Hill there were 5 Whitethroat on territory, 3 Yellowhammer, 7 House martin, 4 Blackcap and a female Stonechat feeding newly fledged chicks. On the Brownsea Lagoon 2 Ringed Plover, 24 Sandwich Tern, 10 Dunlin, 6 Avocet, 1 Knot, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Greenshank were counted. At Lytchett Fields there were 3 Ruff, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper and 7 Dunlin dropped in. At Arne a Cuckoo was singing late afternoon and a Marsh Harrier went over the Wareham Channel.

Ruff – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 25/04/17

Posted on: April 28th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The cold wind blew strong today and through any layers trying to prevent frost bite kicking in! The sun did offer some warmth but precious few migrants made their way into the harbour. An Osprey was seen fishing off Swineham Point mid-morning and the Great Grey Shrike was still in the SE corner of Hartland Moor. At Lytchett Fields the 3 Ruff were still on Sherford Pools with 3 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper and a Greenshank with a Swift over and 1 Garden Warbler, 4 Whitethroat and 3 Willow Warbler in scrub around the site. At Sunnyside Farm there were 5 Wheatear. At Swineham 3 Whimbrel and the Egyptian Goose were on the ‘Curlews’ Cottage paddock with c200 Sand Martin overhead. In more positive news, there was finally some interacting between 2 newly arrived Marsh Harrier in Poole harbour west whilst 2 others watched on. Is it too late for a breeding attempt? We’ll just have to wait and see. 

Little Ringed Plover – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 24/04/17

Posted on: April 25th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

This evening, something really rare was seen, something we haven’t seen for quite some time…Rain! Along with some building wind from the SW which was just as novel considering northerly winds have dominated since late March/early April. Still, even in a strengthening wind migrants continued to arrive, albeit in smaller numbers. At Arne, where we today started our Dorset Discovery Spring Tour there was Redstart, Hobby, Willow Warbler, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Blackcap and Tree Pipit as well as the standard 7+ Dartford Warbler, 1 Woodlark, Stonechats, Siskins, Meadow Pipits, Mistle Thrush and Green Woodpecker. Up on Hartland the Great Grey Shrike was still happily feeding from wires in the SE corner of the Moor next to Scotland Farm. Another Cattle Egret was found, this time at Bestwall Meadows. At Swineham the Egyptian Goose was still present behind ‘Curlews’ Cottage with 7 Whimbrel and over the main pit c200 Sand Martin, c30 House Martin and Swallow. At Lytchett Bay there were still 3 Ruff, 3 Little Ringed Plover and 2 Whimbrel.

Dartford Warbler – Hartland moor – Chris Snook

Harbour Update – posted 23/04/17

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

Apparently it’s going to get cold, cold, cold next week, so with today being another blissfully rich spring day, full of birds who knows what next week will have in store for us? Again, today was great for spring migrants, coming in from a whole range of areas. Highlight of the day must go to the Wood Warbler which turned up in a very urban area of Poole north where it happily sang and fed in a line of Oak Trees for 20 minuets before disappearing off. Up on Old Harry totals included 1 Redstart, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Common Whitethroat, 5 Wheatear, 7 Willow Warbler, 2 Swallow, 6+ Yellowhammer, 3 Fulmar, 2 Gannet and 7 Guillemot/Razorbill. At Challow Hill several Common Whitethroat are back on territory along with 4+ Blackcap. There were more Cuckoo at Arne (2), Sunnyside (1) and Swineham (1). Over Swineham a herd of 27 Mute Swan flew low east which included the Lodmoor Swan Goose! Between Wareham and Swineham another great count of warblers was made with 34 Reed Warbler, 17 Cetti’s Warbler, 7 Sedge Warbler, 6 Blackcap and 6 Chiffchaff all noted along with 4 Wheatear and 4 Whimbrel out on the grazed floods behind ‘Curlews’ cottage. Up On Hartland a few Wheatear were dotted about with a few more on Hartland Stud. On Arne Moors there was a single Little Ringed Plover. At Arne 2 Yellow Wagtail were in the farm fields. At Lytchett Fields there were 3 Ruff today with 3 Whimbrel, 3 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Sedge Warbler, 6 Reed Warbler all present and a drake Red-breasted Merganser was in the bay. At South Haven, Studland there were 7 Wheatear, 2 Swift, 35 House Martin and 1 Sand Martin with 2 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank and 6 Whimbrel in Brands Bay. 

Wheatear – Hartland Moor – Paul Morton

Reed Bunting – Swineham – Paul Morton

Harbour Update – posted 22/04/17

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

Again it seemed like migrants were on the move today, or had at least arrived with really good numbers Reed and Sedge Warbler at Swineham/Bestwall. In total 19 Reed Warbler and 17 Sedge Warbler were logged with 14 Cetti’s Warbler, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, c10 Swallow and 1 Egyptian Goose. In Poole Town a Pied Flycatcher was singing in a suburban garden at dawn. Up On Ballard 3 Grasshopper Warbler were reeling, also present were 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 20+ Willow Warbler, 5 Common Whitethroat, 5 Wheatear and 2 Yellow Wagtail over. At Lytchett Bay there were 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Greenshank and 2 Ruff. We continued with our night monitoring from our Listening Station in Poole and again had a decent list of birds with a fly over Ring Ouzel at 2:53am the highlight, also 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit flocks, 1 Water Rail and 1 Moorhen.

 Ring Ouzel – Call of spring night migrant – Old Town Poole Listening Station 22/04/17/ @ 02:53

Common Whitethroat – Old Harry – Paul Morton

Wheatear – Old Harry – Paul Morton


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