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 May, 2018

Harbour Update – posted 29/05/18

Posted on: May 31st, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Things are still feeling as if they could ‘kick off’ again migration wise, and with another nice area of high-pressure coming in from the east we could see more waders arrive and passerines passing through. A few more waders appeared on Lytchett Fields today with 2 Turnstone fresh in also 23 Ringed Plover, 15 Dunlin, 210 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Oystercatcher present. However the highlight was when an Arctic Tern came bouncing across the fields, hawking and hovering for a short while before moving off back towards the bay. A female Marsh Harrier was present in the west of the harbour at dawn and apparently a dark male was seen over the Wareham causeway yesterday too. Its good to hear that Lapwing have fledged young at RSPB Arne, a species that seems to struggle around most parts of the harbour as a breeding species.


Harbour Update – posted 28/05/18

Posted on: May 29th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

This July we’ll be entering the second phase of our Osprey translocation project here in Poole Harbour with 14 new chicks arriving in early July. Over the next two weeks we have one of the nesting/feeding platforms from the project set up in our BoPH HQ on Poole Quay so your own little chicks can come and have a sit in a real life Osprey nest before it gets put in place ready for the real deal later in July. Come down and meet our team and learn about this years project and where the best places will be to try and see them. Don’t forget we also have our Osprey cruises heading out this summer (Aug 22nd-29th) so why not book on to one of those for a full overview of the project and the chance of seeing this years youngsters or any passage Osprey before they head off down to West Africa this winter.

Talking of Osprey there was one at Arne again having been absent for several days. At Lytchett Fields it seemed a few of the waders had moved off with only 23 Ringed Plover and 11 Dunlin left over. Also a Cuckoo was calling near the sewage works at Lytchett Bay along Slough Lane.

Osprey nest installation – BoPH HQ, Poole Quay


Harbour Update – posted 27/05/18

Posted on: May 29th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It seemed to have all gone quiet on the Osprey front these last few days but one was seen flying over Lytchett Bay getting mobbed by gulls mid-morning and a Cuckoo was calling near Lytchett waterworks. On Upton Heath a Hobby was noteworthy and a decent number of House Martin mud gathering on a muddy pool was a welcome sight considering the very low numbers that have (or haven’t as the case may be) arrived back yet. Also on Upton Heath were 2 Buzzrad including one with what looked like a shot wing, 2 Whitethroat and 12 Stonechat including several newly fledged young. On Lytchett Fields, yet another Sanderling was present, and there were still plenty of Ringed Plover, several Grey Plover and c30 Dunlin.

Hobby – Upton Heath – Rene Goad



Harbour Update – posted 26/05/18

Posted on: May 29th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

When waders begin passing through there tends to be nowhere better than the Brownsea Lagoon or more recently now, Lytchett Fields. Today the latter site saw 49 Ringed Plover arrive along with a summer plumaged Knot, 29 Dunlin, 8 Grey Plover, 248 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Oystercatcher along with a freshly arrived Arctic Tern hawking in Lytchett Bay. On the Brownsea Lagoon a freshly arrived Black Tern also hawked over the area for a short while before exiting the harbour mid-morning and there was another decent showing of Sanderling with c30 present on the lagoon. At South Haven a Little Tern was out feeding with 65 Common Tern near the harbour mouth, also there a Cuckoo, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and a modest passage of Swift and House Martin.

Sanderling – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Grey Plover – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Knot – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam


Harbour Update – posted 25/05/18

Posted on: May 29th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Wader totals increased again today with 44 Ringed Plover on Lytchett Fields along with 24 Dunlin, 4 Greenshank, 242 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Redshank. On the Brownsea Lagoon 26 Sanderling were now present with c50 Dunlin and 8 Grey Plover again. A Marsh Harrier drifted over the west of the harbour near Swineham and a Red Kite drifted over Lytchett Minster. At Sunnyside a late Wheatear was present as was a Sedge Warbler and a Reed Warbler was singing in the Arne overflow car park suggesting some passerine passage had also taken place today. There were also 2 Cuckoo at Middlebere.

Reed Warbler – Swineham – Keith Rawling

Reed Bunting – Swineham – Keith Rawling

Cuckoo – Middlebere – Keith Rawling


Harbour Update – posted 24/05/18

Posted on: May 29th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Finally there’s been a shift in the circumstances and waders seem to be getting through a bit now with 1 Sanderling (very rare here), 23 Ringed Plover on Lytchett Fields along with 8 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel, 213 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Oystercatcher and 1 Redshank. On the brownsea Lagoon there were 17 Sanderling with 36 Dunlin along with 5 Grey Plover. Here’s hoping more come through over the coming days.

Sanderling – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam


Harbour Update – posted 23/05/18

Posted on: May 24th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

As we mentioned the other day this spring has been one of the best in recent years for migrating Osprey through Poole Harbour, with birds beginning to pass through from early April and here we are in late May and there are still birds using the harbour on migration. We mentioned that this ‘bodes well’ for when our translocated Osprey chicks that were released in 2017 begin to arrive back in the spring of 2019 as they will hopefully encourage some of these passage birds to hang around a bit longer and eventually stay to breed. There are several possibilities when it comes to Osprey beginning to nest in and around Poole Harbour as a result of our translocation project. The first is obviously that some of our translocated birds arrive back and begin nesting at some point over the coming years. This will with out doubt happen at some point down the line. However, by releasing Osprey chicks into the harbour each year over the coming four years it can totally change the dynamics of how passage/migrating Osprey see the area. When migrating Osprey pass through the harbour in autumn and begin seeing lots of newly fledged (released) youngsters in the harbour, some of these migrating birds will very quickly get drawn to this area as an obvious successful place to raise young. Last year when our first eight chicks were released an unpaired two-year old ringed migrant Osprey called CJ7 who was originally born and hatched at Rutland turned up in the harbour and for just under a week began associating her self very closely with our translocated chicks, often feeding and once even roosting with them. She was clearly happy to see them and liked what she saw in terms of habitat and friendly faces. This last week two Osprey have been present in the harbour but frustratingly they’ve not been close enough to see if any had rings on their legs. Then, finally today we managed to track one of the two down, only to find it was CJ7 back again! She’s obviously been drawn to Poole Harbour again, perhaps looking to see if there are any other chicks or nesting birds around this year, as Osprey are semi-colonial and like nesting in areas where other Osprey are nesting. Now, its way too early to get excited but its very significant that CJ7 has returned to Poole Harbour as it could be the beginnings of her taking a liking to the area and hoping/waiting for a male, perhaps one of our returning chicks next year to settle down with? Or, she could just as simply head off back to Rutland and we never see her again. Either way we’ll be watching things very carefully from here on in.

Elsewhere around the harbour today there were 2 newly arrived Ruff on Lytchett Fields and another on Brownsea. Also on Lytchett Fields were 181 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, 4 Dunlin and 1 Greenshank. At Arne 3 Cuckoo were calling, one at Shipstal, one at Middlebere and one on Arne Hill and a Red Kite drifted over Coombe Heath. With the heat attracting insects up into the stratosphere Hobby were again active over Slepe Heath and the western end of Middlebere.

 Osprey CJ7 having a good preen at Arne


Harbour Update – posted 22/05/18

Posted on: May 23rd, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Yet again Red Kites were active with individuals passing over Canford Heath/Hatch Pond, Parkstone, Upton and Slepe Heath. At Lytchett Fields there were 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank, 1 Dunlin and c130 Black-tailed Godwit. Again, Nightjar activity was pretty intense last night, certainly on some of the heathlands along the southern and south-western shores with the end of May seeing peak activity as males arrive on territory and begin to court females. There were Hobby over Slepe Heath and Wareham Water Meadows and 1-2 Osprey were around Middlebere and the Wareham Channel.

We’d also like to bring to your attention an issue that relates to two species we mention frequently on our sightings blog. In recent weeks Red Kite have become a regular feature for us here in Poole Harbour and during the winter Hen Harriers are one of star species, providing immense excitement for those lucky enough to see one quartering over the spartina saltmarsh. However, both species are ruthlessly under attack and today the RSPB investigations team issued a press release relating to three more sat-tagged Hen Harriers that have gone missing in suspicious circumstances in northern England. Likewise, at least half a dozen Red Kite have been found trapped, poisoned or shot at various sites in the north of England in recent months. You can read about the Hen Harrier issue HERE and the latest Red Kite issue HERE. Now, we don’t know about you but we’re getting sick of reading these stories which seem to be almost daily now. It seems illegal persecution of birds of prey is occurring systematically on or near shooting estates in the UK and if something isn’t done about it now then it won’t be long before they’re gone for good. Please read the articles and show your support for getting these heinous crimes stopped.

Nuthatch – Upton CP – John Pick


Blackbird – Upton CP – John Pick


Harbour Update – posted 21/05/18

Posted on: May 23rd, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With this long period of good weather it was inevitable that a heathland fire would occur somewhere around the harbour, but we weren’t quite expecting it to be Arne. Despite the number of visitors that visit the Arne peninsular each summer, fires here are (thankfully) very rare and it usually tends to be the urban heathlands of Poole Harbour north that suffer this time of year. Regardless, please remember that having any kind of small camp fire or BBQ creates an extreme high fire risk, so to reduce that risk simply don’t have one and certainly not on, in or near any heathland sites. Luckily fire crews were able to get on top of it and extinguish the flames fairly quickly, but a few avian casualties were found sadly. On a slightly happier note, 2 Osprey were seen again over the Arne peninsular. At Lytchett Fields there were 6 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin and 37 Black-tailed Godwit. Nightjar are certainly back in numbers with birds vocal at all traditional breeding sites, including on Lytchett Heath where their presence has been a bit sporadic over recent years.

Fire damage at RSPB Arne today – Photos RSPB Arne team


Harbour Update – posted 20/05/18

Posted on: May 22nd, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A really productive day today and fine weather to boot and lots of birds now with young. Up on Hartland Moor there were 3 Cuckoo calling also Mistle Thrush with newly fledged young. At Challow Hill, Yellowhammer, Common Whitethroat and Red-legged Partridge were along the main track and on the top ridge.  At Ower a single Crossbill, 6 Tree Pipit, 4 Cuckoo, Siskin, Linnet, Woodlark and another 3-4 Cuckoo calling. On Shell Beach, Studland there were still a few Sanderling, most of which were in full breeding plumage. At Lytchett Fields a Cuckoo was calling near the waterworks at the end of Slough Lane and out on the fields were 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin and c70 Black-tailed Godwit. Over Slepe Heath and the Arne road area 5 Hobby were hunting/displaying with what looked like 2 pairs and a singleton. There were also 2 Osprey over the Wareham Channel and then Arne for most part of the day. This has to have been one of the best springs in recent memory for passage Osprey in Poole Harbour with birds present/passing through most days from the beginning of April. This alone bodes well for when the chicks from our Poole Harbour Osprey translocation project begin to arrive back next spring (2019) and start prospecting for new breeding sites.

Reed Warbler – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Common Whitethroat – Upton Heath – Rene Goad

 Stonechat – Upton Heath – Rene Goad


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