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 August, 2017

Harbour Update – posted 29/08/17

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

With the busyness of August bank holiday over with and the roads now a little more easy going, venturing from A to B around the harbour is a bit more bearable! A quick morning dash over to Ballard (from Poole) which would have been rather long winded just two days ago, was in fact a quick and swift process allowing us to squeeze in some birding along the way. Along the Ballard ridge there were 3 Redstart, 1 Whinchat, 3 Whitethroat, c15 Yellow Wagtail, c10 Chiffchaff, 7 Yellowhammer and the Hooded Crow.  On Lytchett Fields there was finally a ‘twitchable’ Wood Sandpiper along with 2 Ruff, 25+ Ringed Plover, 180+ Dunlin, 60+ Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Greenshank and 10+ Yellow Wagtail. At Arne 29 Spoonbill were in Middlebere with 1 Great White Egret, 3 Osprey and a flock of 30+ Yellow Wagtail moving between farm fields on then opposite side of the channel. Yellow Wagtail are pretty prominent around numerous farm fields at the moment, simply look around the feet of cattle out in the farm fields and listen out for their sweet, high pitched descending call and you should be able to locate them pretty easily. Yesterday evening a juvenile Marsh Harrier was giving one of our Osprey juvs a torrid time, chasing and harassing LS0 looking as if it wanted a piece of the fish he was carrying. 

Great White Egret with Little Egrets – Middlebere – Ian Brown

Osprey – Middlebere – Ian Brown

Spoonbill flock – Middlebere – Ian Brown

Harbour Update – posted 28/08/17

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

There was a really nice selection of birds around the harbour today including several scarcities/rarities. The Bonaparte’s Gull was still on Brownsea Lagoon mid-afternoon, the Hooded Crow was still at Glebelands, Studland, the Great White Egret was still in Middlebere/Wtych Lake area and in Stoborough 2 Ortolan Bunting were sound recorded during a night sound recording session. In the Holes Bay area an earlyish Wigeon was back in the NE corner with 2 Common Sandpiper. At Lytchett Heath, a ringing session produced 7 Grasshopper Warbler, 16 Reed Warbler, 30 Sedge Warbler, 7 Blackcap, 7 Willow Warbler and 13 Chiffchaff, whilst migration through Ballard Down included 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 6 Whitethroat, 1 Redstart and an early moving Reed Bunting. At Swineham 3 Yellow Wagtail were in the paddocks with 1 Wheatear also an Osprey was out over the Wareham Channel and a Garden Warbler was feeding in the garden of Fourfields Barn. Lytchett fields was busy again with the first Ruff of the autumn also 26 Ringed Plover, 189 Dunlin, 6 Greenshank, 80+ Black-tailed Godwit, 140+ Redshank, 20 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper as well as Lapwing, a few Common Snipe and 4 Yellow Wagtail. On Brownsea there were 22 Spoonbill and a single Arctic Tern. Finally a Nightjar was found roosting near Arne. 

Harbour Update – posted 27/08/17

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

It’s been so busy with birds recently that the thought of a new species being added to the Poole Harbour list for this year could possibly send us into overdrive. Well, today a new species was added to the Poole Harbour list for the year in the shape of a Hooded Crow found by Steve Smith originally near Manor Farm, Studland and then watched feeding in the farm fields near Glebelands. Can you really get excited about Crow? You certainly can! Especially when it looks as great in real life as it does in Peter Moores photo below. Passerine totals through the harbour were lower today but the variety still high with 2 Grasshopper Warbler, Garden Warbler, Reed & Sedge Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Tree Pipit, House & Sand Martin all ringed at Ballard, whilst at Greenlands Farm Yellow Wagtail, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Wheatear and Blackcap were also noted. On Brownsea 26 Spoonbill were roosting, a juvenile Garganey was in the central lagoon and 2-4 Ruff were at the back of the lagoon for a short while along with 1 imm Pintail, 200+ Dunlin, 45+ Ringed Plover, 26 Avocet, 13 Greenshank and 4 Spotted Redshank. At Lytchett Fields/Bay there was a Redstart, 1 Grashopper Warbler, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Osprey (adult), 2 Yellow Wagtail and good numbers of waders. In Brands Bay there was a single Spoonbill with 38+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Greenshank and 35+ Dunlin. Its now very obvious that LS7, one of our Osprey chicks from this years translocation project has left us already! There has been no sight or signal from this bird now since Friday morning. He could even be in southern Spain by now!

Hooded Crow – Glebelands, Studland – Peter Moore

Yellow Wagtail – Greenlands Farm, Studland – Peter Moore

Willow Warbler – Greenlands Farm, Studland – Peter Moore

Common Whitethroat – Greenlands Farm, Studland – Peter Moore

Harbour Update – posted 26/08/17

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

Today was our third and final Osprey boat trip which after yesterdays excitement was going to be tough to beat. However we like a challenge, so the gauntlet was thrown back down again to see what we could produce for our guests on board. Well, the weather stayed firm and provided a mill pond like setting and sure was sure enough, without fail 3 Osprey were seen with one perched up on an artificial nest on Arne, one out over Arne Moors and one circling high over Arne. A Great White Egret was a nice addition to the boat list  and a Peregrine chase in the mouth of the Frome was spectacular. We also saw 3 different Marsh Harrier, one of which was wing-tagged and believed to be from a site in Norfolk which was then promptly seen off by one of the juv Osprey. In Middlebere there were 7 Spoonbill. Up on Ballard Down our monthly field trip took place which was also busy with birds and included an Osprey heading out over the top of Ballard Down (more on that in a minute), 3 Peregrine, c50 Med Gull, 10 Chiffchaff, 30+ Willow Warbler, 15 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 6 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Redstart, 1 Whinchat, 14 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and 220 Goldfinch. At Lytchett Bay a few migrants were moving too with 6 Whitethroat, 5 Tree Pipit, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Yellow Wagtail and 20 Green Sandpiper, 4 Ringed Plover and 195 Teal all on the fields. On Slepe Heath there were 11 Whitethroat, 1 Whinchat, 14 Stonechat, 7 Dartford Warbler, 1 Wheatear, 1 Redstart and 8 Willow Warbler. On Brownsea the Bonaparte’s Gull was still present with 18 Spoonbill and 1 Little Stint. Finally, we believe one of our Osprey chicks from this years trans-location project has left on migration already! LS7 hasn’t been seen or heard of since Friday morning where it was hanging around by the pen. One of our team went to do the evening feed later that day and didn’t pick up a signal and now being late on Saturday evening, still with no signal its safe to assume its well on its way to Africa. We wish LS7 a safe and event-free journey and look forward to seeing it again in a few years time. 

Greenshank – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 25/08/17

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

Today was our second Osprey bird boat of three and the conditions today (and the same for tomorrow) looked perfect. But don’t you just hate it when a crowd comes to see you and someone, or in this case something else steals the show? That’s exactly what happened today when the Ospreys were well and truly out-classed (as much as it pains us to say that). We were treated to an excellent flying display of an Osprey along the Arne shoreline down the Wareham Channel, while another flew to the north heading for Lytchett Bay. Common and Sandwich Tern were actively feeding, looking as if they were diving into glass as the harbour was totally motionless. Then it was the turn of the seals with 2-3 seen in the mouth of Middlebere and 3 Common Sandpiper were on the shore of Long Island. Then, out of nowhere, local musician and birder Simon Emmerson shouted out “whats that?? A..a Phalarope”… and sure enough, not 10 feet from the boat was a tiny, immaculate juvenile Red-necked Phalarope feeding happily as 50+ people stared down on it from a big yellow Brownsea Island Ferry. We watched it for a good 15 minuets as photographers happily snapped away in the mid afternoon sunshine. That wasn’t the only amazing birding event today. Elsewhere an incredible 73 Grasshopper Warbler were ringed on Ballard along with 27 Sedge Warbler, 11 Reed Warbler, 20 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 12 Whitethroat, 1 Redstart and 1 Tree Pipit. A Great White Egret was in Wytch Lake and 11 Spoonbill were in Middlebere. At Lytchett Fields there were 95 Dunlin, 110 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, 8 Greenshank, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Common Sandpiper, 23 Green Sandpiper along with 3 Spotted Flycatcher and 7 Yellow Wagtail. Redstarts were at Greenland’s Farm, South Haven, Hartland Moor and Slepe Heath with Whinchat and Spotted Flycatcher also on Hartland. In Middlebere 4-5 Osprey were present all day. 

Red-necked Phalarope – Central Harbour – Katie Horrocks

Red-necked Phalarope – Central Harbour – Rowena Bird

Harbour Update – posted 24/08/17

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

It started off fine but cooled down by the afternoon. Passerine migration didn’t really pick up too much other than the odd Whinchat or Redstart on Hartland. Whitethroat and Blackcap are increasing in numbers though and as august gives way to September these two species will increase even more. In Middlebere there were 10 Spoonbill, 5 Osprey, 2 Greenshank and 2 Redstart along the access track. Migration through Ballard was slow with just 6 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Whitethroat and 2 Redstart, although 94 House Martin were ringed and 2 British controlled birds were also caught. At Lytchett Bay there were 115 Dunlin, 21 Green Sandpiper, 10+ Yellow Wagtail, 12 Sedge Warbler and 1 Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher – Lytchett Bay – Shaun Robson

Harbour Update – posted 23/08/17

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

Apart from the obvious conservation benefit of our most recent Osprey translocation project there is a significant secondary benefit, which is the public benefit. Offering the opportunity for people to come and see these magnificent birds of prey is special in its self but being able to do it within the setting of Poole Harbour whilst watching plenty of other great wildlife truly is special. Today we hosted ours (and the projects) first ever Osprey translocation cruise where we were able to present, discuss and showcase the project to a budding and enthusiastic audience whilst taking in the best the harbour had to offer. We make no secret of the fact that this then provides all organisation involved within the project the opportunity to talk about their wider work, bettering and widening peoples understanding of other conservation issues and topics, which for us is just as important as the Osprey project alone. It was fantastic to see so many new faces and to take questions from everyone on board. It panned out exactly as we had hoped it would, when discussing it all those years ago, when the project was still just an idea rather than a reality. A huge thanks again to everyone on board and we look forward to our next two (Fri & Sat) this week. Thankfully, some (not all) Osprey played ball and our hardy passengers were treated to watching two Osprey fishing out in the Wareham Channel, with one even catching a fish. We also saw another (or the same) two on top of Arne Hill getting mobbed by Ravens. Whilst out on the boat plenty of Common and Sandwich Tern were still out and about feeding and we even had a Wheatear try and land on the boat near the mouth of the Frome. Black-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Shag, Little Egret and a Peregrine were also seen, but the real stars of the show were of course our talon-masked friends. Elsewhere in the harbour a Marsh Tit was ringed up on Ballard Down which is pretty exceptional along with 32 House Martin and 1 Garden Warbler. On Brownsea there were 2 Spoonbill, 1 Little Stint, 1 Spotted Redshank and the Bonaparte’s Gull. Lytchett Fields was mad with birds including 126 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 14 Green Sandpiper, 1 Knot, 8 Greenshank, 126 Redshank, 3 Common Sandpiper and a good sweep of Lapwing, Common Snipe, Shelduck and Black-tailed Godwit as well as 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Whinchat and 7 Yellow Wagtail. We also began night recording again properly a few nights ago and last night was quite busy with birds as 13 Tree Pipit, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin, 2 individual Common Sandpiper and 1 flock, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit flock, 1 small Ringed Plover flock and 1 Common Snipe all passing over our listening station between 9pm and 4:30am.

Common Seals see from Osprey boat trip this AM – Phyl England

All aboard…Osprey boat trip this AM 

Osprey – Middlebere – Simon Kidner (not photographed from boat trip)

Harbour Update – posted 22/08/17

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

A dark, dank, misty murky morning welcomed us this morning and it didn’t budge until around 11am, and with a stiff easterly wind it forced a Great Skua into Poole Bay which seemed lost in the fog, until it then cleared and the bird then headed out back south again, along with 9 Common Scoter. Ringing totals near Ballard included just 9 Willow Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 6 Whitethroat and a Redstart. On Brownsea there was still 1 Little Stint and in Middlebere 5 Osprey and 9 Spoonbill were present. Night migration over our listening station in Old Town Poole was pretty slow too with just 3 Tree Pipit, 6 Robin, 3 Common Sandpiper and 1 Ringed Plover.

Juvenile Osprey – Middlebere – Simon Kidner


Juvenile Osprey – Middlebere – Simon Kidner

Harbour Update – posted 21/08/17

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

Once Sundays ‘yuk’ had moved on through, things improved weather wise and some passage picked up first thing with a good flurry of birds moving through Ballard which included 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, and the standard Blackcap, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler. Sadly, we didn’t experience a stonking American gem like those lucky so and so’s did over at Portland when an American Yellow Warbler turned up at Culverwell, although it just goes to show, you just never ever know what will turn up next! On Brownsea there were good numbers of Black-tailed godwit, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Little Egret, 1 Knot, 1 Little Stint, 2 Kingfisher and several Common and Sandwich Tern still hanging about. Out in the Wareham Channel there were 3-4 Osprey fishing/hunting/soaring with 2 Hobby over Arne Moors and an adult male Marsh Harrier left the dawn roost in Poole harbour west. Spotted Flycatcher are seemingly quite numerous at present with family groups and migrants active on many wooded, heathland edges, enjoying the warm sunshine and late summer insects. At Lytchett Fields there were 12 Yellow-legged Gull out in the whilst on the fields 123 Redshank, 104 Black-tailed Godwit, 91 Dunlin, 54 Lapwing, 12 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 20+ Green Sandpiper, 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Wheatear and 1 Yellow Wagtail all enjoyed the late afternoon high tide. 

Pied Flycatcher – Ballard – Olly Slessor

Redstart – Ballard – Olly Slessor

Harbour Update – posted 20/08/17

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

This morning the Great White Egret appeared in Middlebere again before flying off north-east towards Round Island. Also in Middlebere were 10 Spoonbill, 3 Osprey, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hobby and 1 Green Sandpiper, c200 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Greenshank. There was also a reliable report of a Goshawk heading over Middlebere mid-morning too, which spooked all the Spoonbill and waders. Confirmed records of ‘Gos’ are less than annual within our Poole Harbour area but with populations increasing elsewhere around the country, dispersing juveniles could well be moving through the area right now. On Brownsea there were 2 juv Little Stint. At Lytchett Fields there were 85 Dunlin, 81 Redshank, 21 Green Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ringed Plover, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and 2 Blackcap. Migration through Ballard Down, Studland included 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Spotted Flycatcher plus several each of Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Whitethroat.

Great White Egret – Middlebere – Phyl England

Spoonbill – Middlebere – Phyl England


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