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 September, 2017

Harbour Update – posted 27/09/17

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

A quick catch up from today. The Stilt Sandpiper was still in Middlebere, there were 2 Curlew Sandpiper on Brownsea and 1 on Lytchett Fields. Little Stint totals are rising with 4 on Lytchett Fields and 2 on Brownsea. An Osprey was in Middlebere and a Great White Egret was on the marsh at Upton CP. Other highlights from Lytchett Fields included 4 Ruff, 12 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 155 Dunlin, 1 Marsh Harrier and an adult Yellow-legged Gull. In Holes Bay Wigeon totals hit 400+. On the Brownsea Lagoon 8 Sanderling, 15 Greenshank and 5 Spotted Redshank added to the interest. A Guillemot was sat off Poole Quay feeding early evening. There were 3 Firecrest in Upton CP along with another 3 at Arne. 

Harbour Update – posted 26/09/17

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

Middlebere definitely seems to be the place to be at present with a whole suit of birds to feast your eyes on. Not only was the Stilt Sandpiper present there for most of the day but the Spoonbill total has now nearly reached 60, with between 54 and 57 reported. Also in the Middlebere channel were 360 Avocet, 1041 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Greenshank, 10 Knot, 1 Ruff, 26 Dunlin and 1 Whinchat and 2 Dartford Warbler along the approach track. The Red-necked Phalarope was still on the small pool in the NW corner of Arne Moors late afternoon and at Lytchett Fields there were 4 Ruff, 2 Little Stint, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 141 Black-tailed Godwit, 250+ Dunlin and 1 Marsh Harrier around the bay. Firecrests are now beginning to move through with individuals seen in a private garden in Poole and 1 in a mixed-tit flock at Luscombe Valley. Migration through Ballard was moderate despite the early fog with over 100 Chiffchaff ringed and a good passage of Meadow Pipit overhead along with the first decent flurry of Grey and alba Wagtails, Linnet, Chaffinch and Goldfinch. We also got our nocturnal migration listening station up and running last night with some great results. Over the coming weeks there will be big movements of birds across Europe such as the arrival of our winter thrushes and the departure of the last of our summer migrants. By monitoring what passes over our listening station at night it gives a better understand of how and when different species are migrating plus giving us an insight into a nocturnal phenomenon that would otherwise go un-noticed. Last night, highlights included 2 Ring Ouzel, the first small pulse of Song Thrush with 13 in total and 9 Blackbird, 9 Robin, 3 latish Tree Pipit, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Skylark, 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Redshank, 1 Moorhen and 1 Grey Heron. 

Ring Ouzel – Call of a night time migrant – 26/09/17 @ 02:36 – Old Town Poole Listening Station 

Harbour Update – posted 25/09/17

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

Luckily, for those who had struggled to catch up with the Stilt Sandpiper during its time in Poole Harbour were given a third chance today as it reappeared in Middlebere today after being re-found yesterday evening. It fed quite happily out on the mud in the presence of 47 Spoonbill, 200+ Avocet, 500+ Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Wigeon, 1 Kingfisher and the Great White Egret. Not a bad place to go birding currently! The Yellow-browed Warbler that was at Arne was seen again in the car park and a newly arrived individual was at Lytchett Bay down near the waterworks along Slough Lane. On Lytchett Fields there were 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Ruff and 3 Little Stint, one of which got pulses racing due to its pale and different appearance. Overall the bird was dumpier, larger, paler and fed slightly differently but having consulted friends about the bird the agreed ID was a slightly more worn juv Little Stint. Still, it gave a great opportunity to be able to study the variability of this species. An Osprey spent the day touring the eastern end of Arne between Middlebere and Shipstal. Migration through Ballard was steady with 39 Chiffchaff, 23 Blackcap, 42 Meadow Pipit, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Stonechat ringed with the added bonus of a hunting Kestrel also ringed!

Little Stints showing great variability – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Kestrel – Ballard Down – Olly Slessor

Stonechat – Ballard Down – Olly Slessor

Yellowhammer – Ballard Down – Olly Slessor

Harbour Update – posted 24/09/17

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

There was exciting news today in that the Stilt Sandpiper was relocated in the harbour, this time in Middlebere on the low tide. It was seen from the Coombe viewpoint on the Arne side at 15:15, unfortunately just as the poor weather began to creep in. It’s likely it’s been present in the harbour since disappearing from Lytchett Fields on Thursday last week, but where it’s been roosting/feeding prior to today is anyone’s guess. The Brownsea Lagoon is a good bet, but no reports or possible sightings of this bird have come from there in recent days so until (if) it appears again we’ll just have to wait and see where it ‘pops up’. The Red-necked Phalarope was present again all day on Arne Moors but the Grey Phalarope disappeared early doors by all accounts, although the Little Stint that turned up yesterday remained faithful to the pool. Again, Spoonbill totals crept up, now with 44 in Middlebere. This autumn their behavior is very different to the last 5 years, deciding to roost mostly on Middlebere rather than Brownsea. Why this is we’re not sure but it’s looking as if it could be another great autumn/winter for this species and will we see another record breaking year? The Yellow-browed Warbler was seen and heard again at Arne, this time mostly in the overflow car park. On Lytchett Fields there were 4 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stint, 2 Ruff, 1 Marsh Harrier and the usual good numbers of commoner waders and wildfowl including a drake Cinnamon Teal, presumably a feral escapee from somewhere? In Holes Bay NE the Wigeon numbers have grown with 218 now along with 3 Kingfisher in the area. With this fine weather, migration through Ballard was slow again with just 19 Blackcap, 11 Chiffchaff, 14 Meadow Pipit and a Swallow ringed. In Poole Harbour west 2 Merlin woke up in a foul mood and began hassling up to 5 Marsh Harrier that came out of the Poole Harbour west roost!

Stilt Sandpiper – Middlebere – Neil Telfer 

Harbour Update – posted 23/09/17

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

It was great to hear that both the Grey Phalarope and Red-necked Phalarope were still on the small polls at Arne Moors and that continued access had been granted by Ridge Wharf Yacht Club. A huge thanks to Ridge Wharf as we estimated that over the Friday and Saturday 150-200 came to enjoy the birds and the icing on the cake was when a Little Stint came to join the party late on Saturday afternoon too. In Middlebere the Spoonbill totals continued to increase with 37 present, also 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Merlin, c350 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Knot and c150 Avocet of counted. At Arne, a Yellow-browed Warbler was seen and heard in and around the car park several times. It’s looking already as if it could be a good autumn for this species with several sightings in the harbour already. Normally late Sept and throughout October is when we see the main arrival and rush of ‘YBW’ so several mid-Sept records is a good sign. A Great White Egret was seen over Holes Bay late evening with a Spotted Redshank near the outflow in Holes Bay NE and at Lytchett Fields the cluster of scarcer waders were still being very showy with 2 Little Stint, 2 Ruff, 1 Knot, 3 Curlew Sandpiper all feeding close to the viewpoints with Dunlin, Redshank, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe and Teal all present in good numbers still. At Holton Pools the Kingfishers were still wowing the crowds, fishing just meters in front of the newly positioned hide. After yesterdays rush of migrants, migration through Ballard was much quieter today with just 32 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler and 1 Goldcrest ringed. 

Harbour Update – posted 22/09/17

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

Today was a real delight and a total contrast to yesterday in terms of weather. Sadly the Stilt Sandpiper wasn’t re-found at Lytchett Fields but the Red-necked and Grey Phalaropes performed well for many visitors for much of the day. Lytchett Fields was still busy with 4 Little Stint, 3 Ruff, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Knot, 1 Spoonbill and the standard spread of Redshank, Lapwing, Teal and Snipe. From the School Bird Boat today 17 Spoonbill were on the Brownsea Lagoon and one of the Arctic Tern from yesterday were still hunting just off of Poole Quay. Migration through Ballard this AM was busy with a Ring Ouzel, 97 Chiffchaff, 50 Blackcap, 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Redstart and 2 Whitethroat ringed and monitored moving through the area. In Middlebere there were 24 Spoonbill.

Ring Ouzel – Ballard – Olly Slessor

Firecrest – Ballard – Olly Slessor

Arctic Tern – Poole Quay – Marcus Lawson

Ruff – Lytchett Fields – Shaun Robson

Little Stint – Lytchett Fields – Shaun Robson

Harbour Update – posted 21/09/17

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

Its fair to say Dorset is having a pretty good year with Poole Harbour certainly benefiting from extra coverage too. Today, despite the rain, saw pots of gold at either end of the rainbow when to begin with Poole Harbours second Stilt Sandpiper turned up at Lytchett Fields. Initially playing hard ball at the very back of French’s Pools, it finally gave its self up and flew and landed on the pools next to the viewpoints giving point blank views. There’s still some question as to whether it’s the same bird as the Lodmoor bird and giving its rarity status it’s probably likely, however there seem to be some slight plumage differences showing in some photos, so I guess we’ll see. Then, at the other end of the day a Red-necked Phalarope was found swimming around in exactly the same pool as the Grey Phalarope that was found on Sunday with both feeding shoulder to shoulder with one another in the NW corner of Arne Moors. As the site is private and the birds were found during a survey, access wasn’t granted immediately but with thanks to Ridge Wharf Boat Yard who later kindly agreed access through their yard, people were able to come an enjoy the birds from a safe distance up on the sea wall. For directions to try and see the birds CLICK HERE. Lytchett Fields had a great supporting cast of 2 Ruff, 3 Knot, 2 Little Stint, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 200+ Dunlin, 40+ Lapwing, 100+ Redshank, 300 Teal and 7 Wigeon. A sea watch from Branksome chine produced 4 Eider east and a pale morph Arctic Skua harassing an Arctic Tern. The seasons first school bird boat also took place today and despite the wind and rain 2 Arctic Tern, 6 Spoonbill and a good selection of waders on the Brownsea Lagoon including 1 Little Stint, 5 Common Sandpipers, 3 Spotted Redshank, 18 Greenshank, 1 Sanderling, 3 Ringed Plover and 38 Dunlin kept spirits high. A Peregrine was hunting just off Poole Quay mid morning and another was roosting on he tall part of the Asda building. 


Stilt Sandpiper – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Stilt Sandpiper – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 20/09/17

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

If there weren’t enough signs to prove autumn had well and truly landed, well today’s arrival of the harbours (and Dorset’s) first Yellow-browed Warbler of the season just about sealed it. Sadly it was on private land, but this does mean these awesome little autumn gems are now beginning to pass through, so its well worth keeping yours eyes peeled in passing Long-tailed Tit flocks and your ears on high alert for their familiar calls. Below is a recording made from Knoll Beach, Studland back in 2014 to help you familiarise yourselves. Middlebere was again popular as 29 Spoonbill, 1 Osprey, 1 Great White Egret, 2 Marsh Harrier, 709 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Greenshank, 121 Avocet, 4 Knot, 18 Wigeon, 6 Pintail and 19 Yellow Wagtail. At Lytchett Fields there were 2 Little Stint, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 1 Spoonbill, 12 Wigeon and all the usual cohort of waders and wildfowl. In the Wareham Channel on the low tide 25 Spoonbill were feeding and 8 adult Yellow-legged Gull, 13 Pintail and large numbers of other gulls were out on the mud. The first night ringing session of the autumn/winter didn’t produce any Jack Snipe (or Woodcock) unsurprisingly as its still too early but the first Common Snipe was ringed along with a Wheatear. 

Yellow-browed Warbler call of autumn migrant – 31/10/14 – Knoll Beach, Studland, Poole Harbour

Common Snipe – Lower Frome Valley

Little Stint – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Little Stints – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 19/09/17

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

Lytchett Fields is still looking strong at present with a great sweep of birds across the whole site with 3 Ruff, 2 Little Stint, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 16 Greenshank, 100+ Redshank, 1 Spoonbill, 200+ Dunlin, 40+ Lapwing and 300+ Teal. In Middlebere the Great White Egret was seen again and there were 21 Spoonbill, 2 Osprey (one Scottish ringed bird and 1 un-ringed), 700+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Peregrine, 40 Avocet, 2 Greenshank and 4 Grey Plover. In Holes Bay, 4 Black Swans appeared from somewhere, but we’re not assuming Australia. The Brownsea Lagoon was also looking fab with 1 Little Stint, 6 Sanderling, 6 Grey Plover, 8 Spoonbill, 2 Kingfisher, 3 Pintail of note alongside increasing numbers of Wigeon, Gadwall and Shoveler, 300+ Oystercatcher, 40 Avocet, numerous Redshank, Sandwich Tern, and 2 Firecrest near the villa. The Grey Phalarope was again out in the NW corner of Arne Moors. 

Chiffchaff – Poole Garden – Marcus Lawson


Harbour Update – posted 18/09/17

Posted on: September 19th, 2017 by Birds of Poole Harbour

After a busy day yesterday, things quieted down today, which for a Monday is no surprise. The big news of the day is that we no longer received a signal from our last juvenile Osprey LS6 meaning that all 8 of this summers translocated chicks are now underway with some even possibly already down in Africa. We’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone that’s been involved from volunteers, landowners and you the public for supporting the work with either financial donations or joining us on our Osprey boat cruises back in August. Arne was buzzing with people through August, all excited to see Osprey within Poole Harbour and now that all 8 have gone we can now reflect, assess and start planning for next year now! Sightings from around the harbour included 21 Spoonbill at Middlebere, 9 on Brownsea and 1 on Lytchett Fields. There were single of Ruff and Curlew Sandpiper on Lytchett Fields too and migration the Ballard Down included a steady flow of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Meadow Pipit with 2 Common Redstart also ringed. There are already 3 Merlin back, mostly frequenting the Hartland area but also traveling down the Wareham Channel area too. 


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