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 July, 2017

Harbour Update – posted 30/07/17

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

Its not everyday a Poole Harbour first occurs but two within a month of one another and from the same bird hide seemed quite unlikely, however from the Mac Hide today, where last months Elegant Tern was found Poole Harbour’s first Bonaparte’s Gull was photographed as it bobbed around in the shallows around 2:30pm before disappearing off. Sadly it was only seen by the finder, so there’s hope it stays around as long as the Longham bird did a few weeks ago…maybe making an impromptu stop off at Poole Park to feed on bread? Here’s hoping! An Osprey was in the dead trees at Middlebere and 5 Spoonbill fed on the falling tide mid morning. 

Bonaparte’s Gull – Brownsea Lagoon – Lorne Bissell

Harbour Update – posted 29/07/17

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

The day started off fairly fine but ended as grim as the night before. Some ringing and monitoring during the hours of sunshine were productive though with 18 Sedge Warbler and 12 Reed Warbler ringed during a session at Lytchett Bay, 13 Willow Warbler counted at Holton Lee with Greenshank, Tawny Owl and Nightjar noted during a short night sound survey and on the Brownsea Lagoon a full survey saw 7 Greenshank, 76 Redshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, 7 Curlew, 9 Avocet, 34 Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Dunlin, 1 Turnstone, 154 Oystercatcher, 7 Little Egret, 1 juv Yellow-legged Gull, triple figures of both Common and Sandwich Tern, 11 Gadwall, 26 Teal and 1 Peregrine. There was also a flock of 14 Common Sandpiper at Seymers Marsh on Brownsea. An Osprey was in Middlebere mid morning. 

Pot of gold in the Wareham Channel


Harbour Update – posted 28/07/17

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

Today saw the first returning Wheatear of the autumn drop down onto Lytchett Fields mid morning with 1 Little Ringed Plover, c10 Green Sandpiper, and the usual cohort of Redshank, Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwit out on the fields. On Brownsea 2 Spotted Redshank were still present and 4 Spoonbill were feeding in the Wareham Channel on the low tide. The Arne Hobby chicks seem to be doing well and there seem to be plenty of Whimbrel and to a lesser extent Grey Plover in the far reaches of various creeks and channels with Middlebere, Wytch, Brands and Redhorn all seeing returning birds.

Osprey Translocation Update

A quick check on the birds this evening before the afternoon shift finished saw 6 of the 8 all perched and almost ready to go. We’re just giving them a few days to get used to eating larger sections of fish before ‘the big off’ as we’ll continue to place large (and even whole) fish on the feeding platforms out in front of the pens after they’re released. We took a quick snap through one of our spy holes this evening too, just because we couldn’t resist. 

Barn Owl – Arne Farm – Ian Brown

Wheatear – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Osprey LS1 – Look mean and keen

Kingfisher – Middlebere – Ian Brown


Harbour Update – posted 27/07/17

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

An interesting report came from a sighting several hundred miles north of Poole Harbour today, when it was confirmed that the male Osprey S1 which has been at Arne/Poole Harbour all summer has ventured back north again to his natal area of Rutland Water. Moving north for the autumn seems a strange behaviour for an Osprey but an identical situation occurred last year when another Rutland 2nd summer male over-summered in the New Forest, only to leave on July 26th and arrive back at Rutland on July 27th. It seems they can’t stay away from their natal areas and was perhaps interested to see what had happened on his home patch this summer before venturing back south again properly for the winter? On Brownsea there were 2 Spotted Redshank and 2 more Garden Warbler ringed at Fleets Corner, near Holes Bay. At Lytchett Fields there were 28 Dunlin, 4 Common Sandpiper, 17 Green Sandpiper and an adult Yellow-legged Gull in the bay. The 2 dark-bellied Brent Geese that were in the Wytch Channel earlier in the month are still there and more signs of autumn included 16 Common Gull back in Brands Bay with 13 Whimbrel and 1 Greenshank. In Bramble Bush Bay there were 2 Common Sandpiper and 2 Whimbrel. In Middlebere there were 2 Spotted Redshank and 5 Greenshank

Garden Warbler – Fleets Corner – Olly Slessor 


Harbour Update – posted 26/07/17

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

Another yucky summers day, just prime for the summer holidays! At Arne an Osprey was sat in the dead trees at Middlebere early morning. At Lytchett Fields there were 22 Dunlin, 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Little Ringed Plover and 17 Green Sandpiper. A very wet and windy boat trip around the harbour saw plenty of newly fledged Common Tern out feeding near the harbour entrance, a fresh juv Peregrine Falcon was up to no good on the Brownsea Lagoon, although its obvious lack of any kind of hunting skills made it quite clear all waders and terns were safe. Several Great Crested Grebe were out in central harbour and a Kingfisher was in Holes Bay.

Osprey Translocation Update

We’re now up to six birds using the perching posts on and off and its looking like a release next week some time is on the cards. Some foul weather over the coming weekend may delay things slightly but we’re hoping to at least get everything set up and in place ready for the big day(s). 

LS0 and LS1 enjoying the Poole Harbour sunset


Harbour Update – posted 25/07/17

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

August is slowly but surely creeping up on us…the month of true variety. It tends to be that you can see more species of bird in Poole Habour during August than any other month in the year and signs are already showing it could be a busy month. Waders are already flowing through with 8 Common Sandpiper feeding on the Holton shoreline, good numbers of Whimbrel feeding in numerous bays around the harbour, 2 Spotted Redshank on the Brownsea Lagoon, and Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin numbers on the increase. In the Wareham Channel 5 Spoonbill were feeding on the low tide with around 80 Little Egret in the area. At Holton Pools the colour-ringed Greenshank that first appeared at Lytchett Fields last year was close enough for a decent photo, and at Lytchett Fields there were c20 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, c50 Redshank, c60 Black-tailed Godwit and 9 Dunlin on the fields with a Woodlark flushed there too. At Arne there was another Osprey, this one a tatty looking individual which doesn’t seem to be S1 the 2-year old male that’s spent all summer at Arne.

Colour-ringed Greenshank – Holton Pools – Ian Ballam


Hen Harrier Day 2017

Posted on: July 26th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour


Harbour Update – posted 24/07/17

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

It was another good day for birds today with a bit of an autumn/winter vibe. The first returning Wigeon of the autumn popped up in Lytchett Bay early morning, which is a pretty early date. Normally we’d expect the first to return around mid to late August, so whether this bird has really returned from the far north of Europe or from somewhere a bit closer to home we’ll never know. Continuing with the wintery theme a raft of 8 Common Scoter were out in central harbour with 2 males and 6 females bobbing along off Arne. 5 Spoonbill were roosting up on the Keysworth shoreline on the high tide, which may explain why they’ve gone missing from Brownsea recently and over Swineham a Hobby was hunting over recently cut hay fields. This could be one of the pair from Arne or one a pair from further up the Frome Valley. There were some signs of passerine passage this morning with 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Willow Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler, several Chiffchaff and 4 Blackcap ringed at Fleets Corner in Poole Harbour north. Lytchett Fields was busy again with Green Sandpiper with 21 counted along with 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Common Snipe and 9 Dunlin out on the fields. Out over the Wareham Channel 2 Osprey were circling together in the wind before drifting off towards Arne with 2 Marsh Harrier seen in and around the mouth of the river Frome, near Swineham. Along the Studland Road at the Corfe end a large gathering of c100 Swift were actively feeding.

Garden Warbler – Fleets Corner


Osprey Translocation Update

We now have up to five of the chicks using the perching bars at the front of the pens with LS2 having a bit of a go today too but then promptly flapped and fell off. Not a bad effort, but must try harder! We were testing out the tiny tail mounted tracking tags today too which we’ll be fitting to the birds in the coming days ready for when they’re released. Being able to locate, monitor and track the birds after they’ve been released is essential and these tiny receivers will allow us to know roughly at anyone time which direction each bird is and close they are. They will only allow us to track the birds whilst they’re in the harbour and once they leave we’ll lose signal and the tags will moult out with the feathers in several weeks. We’re also beginning to up the size of fish pieces the birds are getting as each now seems to be using their talons to tear bits of meat to eat, rather than eating the smaller chunks we’ve been providing. The plan is to get them seeing and eating larger pieces now to the point we can just place out whole fish for them to enjoy. They don’t even know how lucky they are! 


Harbour Update – posted 23/07/17

Posted on: July 24th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It was nice to have some variety today with more migrants beginning to appear, although we have to start with the bad news, which is that sadly (and almost inevitably) all 4 of the Avocet chicks have disappeared. A vigil across the Brownsea Lagoon today retuned no sightings of our most recent arrivals, and it’s looking as if we’re going to have to wait another year before the most elegant of waders successfully breeds on Brownsea. Give it time and we’re sure they will, but you can’t help but feel for the poor parents after investing so much time in incubating and hatching them. There were 11 adult Avocet on the lagoon today with 3 Spotted Redshank, 1 Turnstone, 2 Common Sandpiper and most amazingly of all, a family of Shoveler duck. This species is rarely ever confirmed as a breeder in Dorset so to see a row of ducklings following their mother was a real treat for the observers. Lytchett Fields was busy with 70+ Reed Warbler, 25+ Sedge Warbler, 2 Willow Warbler, 10 Greenshank, 9 Dunlin, 8 Common Sandpiper and 16 Green Sandpiper across the site. South Haven at Studland saw the autumns first Garden Warbler moving through with a family of Spotted Flycatcher (1 adult, 2 juvs), 1 Sedge Warbler and 3 Willow Warbler. Finally, the Hobby nest cam in the Arne visitors centre is an absolute must to go and see. Crystal clear images of one of the most spectacular birds EVER, feeding their young…..just stunning!

Photo of the TV screen at Arne showing adult Hobby feeding chicks.


In Other (we mean Osprey) news, all pretty much the same at the moment with the birds happily gazing out across Poole Harbour whilst being fed plenty of the best local fish possible. All are now really strong in the wing and we estimate 5-6 days before all are perched up on their perching bars at the front of their pens ready to be released. We’re beginning to look at long-term weather forecasts so we can give our birds the best possible chances upon release. Foul weather and wind is a big no-no, so we’re looking for a decent gap in the weather for when we open the pens, and fortunately its not looking too bad in the near future!


Harbour Update – posted 22/07/17

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

As of this morning there are now 3 Osprey chicks perched up in their pens with more to surely follow in the coming days. LS6 has joined LS0 and LS1 in being part of the hierarchy as they look down on their fellow ‘pen partners’ from above. Each of the 8 Osprey chicks are still feeding brilliantly and their plumages are looking fresh and perfect and we can’t wait for the moment we’re finally able to open the pens where each bird will become a true asset to the harbour. In the mean time our volunteers continue to work hard in monitoring and feeding the birds and we can’t thank them enough…they’ve done a truly sterling job. 

Sightings were pretty quite today with a tough breeze blowing over the recording area. At Swineham there were still Sedge Warbler feeding young and good numbers of Reed Warbler along the river edge. At Lytchett Fields a Spotted Redshank was out on the fields with c40 Common Redshank, 2 Common Sandpiper and 5 Green Sandpiper, although there were probably more. Within the next week passerines as well as waders will begin passing through in bigger numbers with warblers, chats and flycatchers pulsing through and we’re always really keen to hear about where people are seeing different species. So please email, tweet or Facebook us with your sightings from around the harbour. 

Sedge Warbler – Lytchett Bay – Ian Ballam



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