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 21/04/17

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

Spring migrant totals are picking up a bit now with numerous arrivals around the harbour. On Hartland Moor a Lesser Whitethroat was singing and Common Whitethroat are now back on territory at Challow Hill. At Lytchett Fields there were 4 Wheatear and Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff numbers continue to increase at many sites around the harbour. Lytchett Bays first Cuckoo of the spring and the bay also saw a decent run of waders in the morning with 23 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Whimbrel and 9 Greenshank on the rising tide along with the 2 Ruff out on the fields. The Great Grey Shrike was again in the SE corner of Hartland Moor. On all the heaths Stonechat and Dartford Warbler are in full breeding mode, however when will we hear/see our first Nightjar of the summer? A night recording session from our Listening Station in Old Town Poole produced a good flow of birds during the latter part of the night with 4 flocks of Bar-tailed Godwit, several Common Sandpiper, 3 Dunlin, 3 Grey Plover, 1 Moorhen, 1 Tree Pipit and 5 Song Thrush.

LYTCHETT BAY NOTICE – Please can we remind ALL visitors to Lytchett Fields that there is strictly no access beyond the viewpoints looking over the fields. The new hide structure you can see as you look south is not part of the Lytchett Fields reserve, but is in fact part of the Holton Lee estate. This is an exciting new project we’ve been working on in partnership with Liveability – Holton Lee and we’ll hopefully have more info on that project for you in the near future. We thank-you for your continued support cooperation. 

 Bar-tailed Godwit – Night migrating flock – Old Town Poole Listening Station 21/04/17 @ 02: 12

Meadow Pipit – Hartland Moor

Stonechat – Hartland Moor – Colin Moyes

Harbour Update – posted 20/04/17

Posted on: April 21st, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Surprise of the day today was re-finding the Hartland Great Grey Shrike sat on wires at the south-eastern end of Hartland Moor. It looked quite settled and was happily feeding on beetles and ants.  This is quite a late date for this species, although one did hang around in Dorset in 2013 until April 30th so we’ll wait and see if it too remains as a long stayer. We also received late news of a Fieldfare in fields down the road from Arne on Wednesday evening which too seems quite late. Migrants were again a bit thin on the ground but Wheatears were still up on Hartland Stud (2) and in the Hartland Sheep/Cattle fields (6). On pools in the Lower Frome Valley 3 Little Ringed Plover were feeding, along Arne Moors and around Swineham/Bestwall good numbers of Reed and Sedge Warbler were still singing. At Hatch Pond a Reed Warbler was singing too. The Great White Egret was again recorded near East Holme Bridge. At Challow Hill the springs first Whitethroat arrived back on territory but still just Blackcap and Chiffchaff the only other migrants. At Lytchett Bay the 2 Ruff were still on the fields and House Martin were gathering mud from the field edges. 

Great Grey Shrike – Hartland Moor

Harbour Update – posted 19/04/17

Posted on: April 20th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Summer migrants were still coming through around the county and our feature species seemed to be Wheatear with good numbers about. There were 2 on Hartland Stud, 7 on top of Hartland Moor, 4 on Studland golf course and 16 at Greenlands Farm. Willow Warbler were again conspicuous around the harbour and Blackcap numbers seem to be increasing too. Again Swallow with the odd House Martin thrown in for good measure came through for most of the morning, and at Sunnyside Farm a male Ring Ouzel was feeding in the fields whilst Lapwing displayed and Willow Warblers sang. A Great White Egret was reported from East Holme and a Hobby was hunting over a boggy area of Upton Heath. We carried out our first night recording session for a while from our listening station in Old Town Poole, and despite WNW winds dominating some passage was picked up with Common Sandpiper, Dunlin, Sandwich Tern, Whimbrel and likely Bar-tailed Godwit all recorded during the hours of darkness. 

Whimbrel – Calls of a night migrating flock – Old Town Poole Listening Station 19/04/17 @ 02: 39 

Sandwich Terns – Poole Harbour

Displaying Sparrowhawk – Corfe Castle

Harbour Update – posted 18/04/17

Posted on: April 20th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Other areas of the county saw big falls of birds today and we had our fair share trickling through to inner parts of the harbour. Ring Ouzels were seen up on Hartland Moor and along Soldiers Road. At Arne Redstart and an early Spotted Flycatcher were reported. There seemed to have been a mini influx of Willow Warbler too with many singing in mixed woodland around the harbour. At Lytchett Fields the 2 Ruff were still present with a single Little Ringed Plover, 2 Wheatear and a new Reed Warbler. On the Brownsea Lagoon a smart summer plumaged Spotted Redshank was feeding in front of the Lower Hide and 23 Knot, 6 Avocet and 6 Greenshank were also present. On Hartland Stud 2 Wheatear were feeding and a small pulse of Swallow were moving through out the day. In Holes Bay north a late(ish) Wigeon was hanging out with some Mallard and a Common Sandpiper was near the outflow.

Chiffchaff – Hartland Moor – Paul Morton

Wigeon – Holesa Bay north 

Common Sandpiper – Holes Bay north 



Harbour Update – posted 17/04/17

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

As April progresses more and more migrants will continue to arrive, but this NW wind will be keeping things at bay. It still doesn’t seem like a huge amount has turned up, so here’s hoping the last 2 weeks of April and early May see’s a big rush of birds. Today was still pretty decent though with a good mix of migrants around Swineham with 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 10 Sedge Warbler on the River Frome walk, 9 Reed Warbler, 6 Wheatear in the field behind the house aptly named ‘Curlews’ where in fact it was 3 Whimbrel which joined the Wheatear. 2 Common Sandpiper were on the low tide mark near Swineham Point and over the main pit several Swallow and Sand Martin were feeding. At Lytchett Bay, Sedge Warbler made its first appearance of the spring too. At South Haven 7 Wheatear were dotted around with a singing Firecrest near by (most likely a migrant), a Cuckoo, a few Reed Warbler near the boardwalk and a decent passage of Swallow all heading north. In Brands Bay a Brent Goose remained with 2 Pintail, 25 Teal, 1 Ringed Plover, 8 Whimbrel, 50+ Swallow, 3 House Martin, 2 Sand Martin, 2 Wheatear and a single Whitethroat.

Sedge Warbler – Swineham 


Whimbrel – Swineham 

Swallow – Bestwall

Harbour Update – posted 16/04/17

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

Today most of the focus was on Lytchett Fields/Bay where a reeling Grasshopper Warbler was found at dawn in scrub on the northern edge of the bay where 3 Yellow Wagtail also went over, with both Ruff also still on the fields and 3 House Martin hawking over the approach field. An Osprey flew in over Durlston heading towards the harbour but wasn’t relocated. At Slepe Heath 4 Tree Pipit were buzzing around but not really singing or seeming very settled and a Little Ringed Plover was in the Lower Frome Valley near Swineham. On Hartland Moor early returning migrants and resident breeders were all busy gathering nesting material and singing with Blackcap and Dartford Warbler very prominent. Swallows were passing through the harbour for most of the day on a fairly broad front. The 3 Whimbrel were still on fields at Bestwall. 

Grasshopper Warbler – Lytchett Bay – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 15/04/17

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

Today was fairly quiet with the highlight being a Great White Egret flying north over central Poole. On Lytchett Fields there was a single Little ringed Plover, 2 Ruff, the Lesser Yellowlegs and in the bay was 1 Whimbrel, 5 Ringed Plover and 17 summer plumaged Dunlin

Dartford Warbler – Hartland Moor – Keith Rawling

Harbour Update – posted 14/04/17

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

Reports and sightings are few and far between at the moment so if you’re out in the field anywhere within our Poole Harbour recording area then please email us in your sightings or Tweet (@harbourbirds) us or Facebook (Birds of Poole Harbour) us, we’re really keen to about any sightings, especially of any spring/summer migrants. Today the 2 Ruff were still on Lytchett Fields with the Lesser Yellowlegs. At Swineham there were 2 Common Sandpiper and the eastern end of the pit with 4 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler and 3 Reed Warbler in the area and at Bestwall 3 Whimbrel

Harbour Update – posted 13/04/17

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

Today provided another nice mix of spring migrants and birds on the move when 2 first summer Spoonbill passed over Lytchett Bay, heading east. Our over-wintering birds had departed a few weeks ago so it seems these were potentially migrants passing through the area. On Lytchett Fields 2 newly arrived Ruff were feeding in amongst the Black-tailed Godwits. A Hobby dashed through over Slepe Heath quickly, heading west towards Wareham. An early evening visit to Swineham produced an Osprey over the western end of the Wareham Channel, 2 Common Sandpiper on the edge of the pit, 1 House Martin amongst a mixture of Swallow and Sand Martin over the main pit and an intriguing 64 Gadwall in the Wareham Channel. Up on Branksome cliff top a Dartford Warbler was in gorse next to the road, along Cliff Drive and 3 Gannet were out in Poole Bay. Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, a few Wheatear, more Blackcap and gentle passages of hirundines were noted at several sites across the harbour but still no sign of any Redstart, Lesser Whitethroat or even Common Whitethroat! 

Harbour Update – posted 12/04/17

Posted on: April 13th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

When most of the county seemed to have a decent fall of common migrants, none were really reported from around the Poole Harbour area. Is that because they weren’t there or was it because they just weren’t reported? A few Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Swallow and Sand Martin were recorded but not much else. Highlights though included a Little Tern in the Wareham Channel mid morning and the two Cattle Egret that were in the Frome Valley were back again about 300m east of Holmebridge. The Lesser Yellowlegs was on Lytchett Fields mid morning with the springs first Common Sandpiper. A Red Kite drifted low over Upton and on the tall part of the Asda building in Poole a male and female Peregrine were roosting. On the Brownsea Lagoon 3 Spotted Redshank were still at the southern end with 11 Avocet, summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Knot and 15 Bar-tailed Godwit. Our first night recording session from our listening station in Old Town Poole produced only 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Moorhen and 1 Coot. Talking of night sounds, there was potentially a big passage of Coot over Lytchett Bay on the night of April 8th and 9th with 53 calls recorded by Nick Hull. Whether this was just a handful of birds or something a bit more substantial is yet to be decided but the sheer number of calls suggests something interesting was going on considering this is a pretty rare bird for Lytchett Bay. 

 Moorhen & Coot – Calls of night time migrants – Old Town Poole Listening Station – 12/04/17 @ 22: 30

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