Poole Harbour sightings blog

A record of all interesting and notable sightings from around the harbour throughout the year.

Latest Sightings

Archive for April, 2018

Harbour update – 18/04/18

Posted on: April 21st, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Hooray! Spring finally arrived today and did so in style. High-pressure systems always allow birds to get moving and with 3 Common Crane over Wareham mid-morning it was obvious birds were arriving. There had also been Poole Harbours biggest arrival of Wheatear today (for this spring) with 8 at Sunnyside Farm, 2 at Lytchett Bay, on Hartland, 6 at Greenlands Fram and 3 at Arne. Whitethroat were heard singing at Chads Copse, Lytchett Bay, up on Ballard Down and at Greenland’s Farm. A Red Kite drifted over Holton Lee late afternoon. The springs first Cuckoo was singing away at Arne at first light and stayed for most of the day. There were 3 Spoonbill in Middlebere and Whimbrel could be heard calling overhead at Swineham, Arne and Brownsea. Its also great to see Swallow now settling on telegraph wires, resting up having just arrived and with the hot weather due to continue it will allow hopefully many more to arrive safely.  A nocturnal sound recording session on Lytchett Heath was fairly busy and produced 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Coot, 2 Moorhen, 2 Water Rail and several Curlew flocks moving over in the dark. 

Harbour Update – posted 16/04/18

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With the mid week forecast looking to reach scorchio levels, it looks like we have to put up with just a couple more days of nippy April weather. The wind built throughout the day and still made mid April feel like mid February. Still, a Little Ringed Plover made it through on to Lytchett Fields with 2 Green Sandpiper still there and a Greenshank. Despite the cold a few Swallow were making their way through and at Arne Wheatear were on Shipstal and Coombe Heath. The ringtail Hen Harrier was still taking up residence in the west of the harbour commuting between Swineham and Hartland mid morning but with high pressure arriving mid week will we see him disappear soon? Willow Warbler are still trickling through but Chiffchaff are well and truly back in force now with birds singing on territory right around the harbour. At the PCW drain, Fleets Bridge 3 Willow Warbler were singing as were 2 Blackcap and 6 Chiffchaff.

Harbour Update – posted 15/04/18

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today we hosted our first spring bird boat tour of the season which was aptly named ‘Up with the Lark’. We did indeed hear Skylark singing high above the Frome Valley but were also treated to great selection of other birds too, most of which could make you think it was a winter bird boat rather than a spring tour. In the Wareham Channel there were 2 Great Northern Diver with another off Pottery Pier, Brownsea. On Arne Moors a ringtail Hen Harrier and over Giggers Island a female type Marsh Harrier. A small passage of Swallow, Sand and House Martin were over Swineham GP and 2 newly arrived Common Sandpiper were present, one at Swineham and another on Round Island. We also had a fly by Kingfisher up near Wareham Quay. Other spring migrants included the first Reed and Sedge Warblers with 4 Whimbrel out on the Swineham flood plain (seen from the footpath and not our boat). There were also a number of Sandwich Tern around the harbour with c30 present seen fishing in various areas and single lonely Brent Goose was left in the mouth of Middlebere. Elsewhere a Common Tern was on the Brownsea Lagoon, the springs first Common Redstart was seen on the outskirts of Wareham and also the first Yellow Wagtail flew low over Lytchett Fields early morning. This coming week looks set to see more migrants arrive with high pressure coming in from the east and some sun finally; great migrating conditions for species such as Cuckoo, Hobby, Swift and the odd rarity or two. 

Harbour Update – posted 14/04/18

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today a thick fog had settled across the harbour and despite clearing inland, the main body of the harbour remained covered in thick fog for pretty much the entire day, even forcing many Brownsea cruises to cancel trips due to navigation issues. Luckily just a few hundred meters inland the sun was shining and it really began to feel like we’d turned a corner. At Arne the springs first Whimbrel flew over Coombe Heath and Middlebere. In the Wareham Channel a new female type Marsh Harrier arrived in over Giggers Island. An Osprey was seen flying over Wareham train station and one (the same?) was seen heading east over Morden Bog. At Swineham Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Cetti’s Warbler were all in full song and a female Garganey was on a flooded pool on the Swineham river walk. Swallows and Sand Martin pulsed through in small numbers for most of the day. With the warm sunshine and clear sky providing good migrating and display conditions Common Buzzard were really visible across much of the harbour skyline and a single Red Kite drifted north over Upton. Lapwing were also displaying at Sunnyside with one, possibly two pairs present. 

Harbour Update – posted 13/04/18

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A fairly quiet Friday with a continuing grey tone to the harbours setting. Highlights being 3 Little Ringed Plover and 3 House Martin over Lytchett Fields, up on Ballard just 2 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff and Blackcap were ringed. A nocturnal sound recording session over the Frome Valley produced a Little Ringed Plover, Common Scoter, Golden Plover and Curlew all migrating up the Frome Valley in between 9pm and 2am with Med Gulls also recorded entering the harbour during the dead of night a Tawny Owl called from the woodland on the edge of the Arne Road. 

Harbour Update – posted 11/04/18

Posted on: April 11th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There was a definite feel of an arrival this morning with low cloud clearing by mid morning and a warm sunshine beamed down across the harbour. The springs first Grasshopper Warbler was ringed up on Ballard Down along with 5 Chiffchaff and at the PC World drain 5 Blackcap, 5 Willow Warbler and 8 Chiffchaff were feeding opposite the KFC. At Arne two Osprey were still kicking about with AX8 definitely confirmed and it’s assumed the other bird is S1 still. Late afternoon saw 4 Garganey found in Holes Bay NW, best viewed from the Stone Bench just outside Upton Country Park. Swallows were coming through in small numbers along Studland and at Swineham c10 Sand Martin, c10 Swallow and a House Martin were over the gravel pit.  On Greenland’s Farm 4 Wheatear were at the southern end and a small handful of Red-breasted Merganser remain with several off Brownsea. At Lytchett Fields there was still a Little Ringed Plover on Sherford Pools and 4 Avocet flew low over the site. 

Harbour Update – posted 10/04/18

Posted on: April 11th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Things look to warm up over the coming week and the arrival of a Common Crane high in over the harbour heading towards Upton Heath was a welcome sight. After an absence of a couple of days, Osprey AX8 reappeared again at Arne suggesting it had just been hunkering down over the last couple of days in the grotty weather. The ringtail juv Hen Harrier was again seen around the Middlebere and Swineham area during the day. At Lytchett Fields a nice mix of birds included 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Spoonbill, 1 Whimbrel, 2 Green Sandpiper and 3 colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit out of a group of 21. Up on Ballard Down a Golden Plover flew north and ringing totals included just 1 Lesser Redpoll, 10 Goldfinch and 3 Chiffchaff

Common Chiffchaff – Ballard Down – Stephen Menzie

Lesser Redpoll – Ballard Down – Stephen Menzie

Goldfinch – Ballard Down – Stephen Menzie

Harbour Update – posted 09/04/18

Posted on: April 11th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Just when you think spring may have arrived today happens! Grey, drizzly, foggy, damp and miserable. Come on April…pull yourself together! An attempt to run the Ballard Down ringing station was made with 7 Goldfinch and 2 Chiffchaff the only rewards but a singing Blackcap provided some sort of solace that things are going to get better. Brownsea was relatively quiet too with c30 Avocet still present, c50 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Greenshank the highlights but Redshank, a few Grey Plover and Dunlin remain. There’s been no sign of any Osprey the last couple of days but to be honest, with this weather they’d much prefer to just sit it out, giving the impression they’ve gone. Will we see any in the next couple of days when things improve? There were 2 Little Ringed Plover on Lytchett Fields with 2 Green Sandpiper. Just north of the harbour Stour Ringing Group managed to catch and ring a Common (Mealy) Redpoll on Canford Heath, along with 16 Lesser Redpoll.

Lesser Redpoll (left) and Mealy Redpoll (right) – Canford Heath – Ian Lewis


Harbour Update – posted 08/04/18

Posted on: April 11th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Things are still plodding along slowly in terms of spring migration but a Wood Duck flying past Holton Pools mid morning was a bit of a surprise. Interestingly one was also seen flying past the same site on April 4th 2017. Considering there’s been no other reports of this species from elsewhere around the harbour in recent years, its an odd coincidence that one should be seen flying past the same site at the same time of year two years in a row! There were also 20 Swallow around Lytchett Fields and a Wheatear on Holton Pools. The juv male Hen Harrier was blitzing around the west of the harbour today and was also seen at Middlebere. He certainly likes it here. At our Ballard Down ringing station 3 Chiffchaff and a single Blackcap (first of the year) were ringed. 

Harbour Update – posted 07/04/18

Posted on: April 8th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There was more excitement today when a second Osprey was seen at RSPB Arne, at one point with both hunting off Shipstal. One was assumed to be S1 again as blue ring could be seen on the right leg, but the other bird seemed to be ringed too. We spent the late afternoon trying to see if we could track down this new bird by checking suitable perching areas and by complete fluke we managed to track it down. Thankfully the bird was so focused on feeding that we were able to get close enough to read the ring number which was in fact blue on the left leg, stating it was in fact it was a Scottish ringed individual. The ring read AX8 and we’ve had info back stating it’s a two-year old bird that was originally ringed on June 19th 2016 near Inverness. Chances are this bird will just head on straight through, but with S1 still lingering about it may be tempted to stay a few days…who knows! There was a definite arrival of hirundines today with Swallows, Sand Martin and the odd House Martin being seen passing through and at Swineham a count of 20 Swallow was made.  In Middlebere the 4 Spoonbill were still present and the 2nd year male Hen Harrier was still bombing around the mouth of the Wareham Channel during the morning. Chiffchaff are now back in force with many birds singing on territory and Willow Warbler were singing at Sunnyside Farm, Soldiers Road, Arne and Challow Hill (near Corfe). Blackcap are also now arriving in moderate numbers and were singing at the PC World drain, Arne, Hartland Moor and Holton Lee.

Scottish ringed Osprey AX8 Near Arne – Paul Morton

Call 01202 641 003