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 June, 2018

Harbour Update – posted 28/06/18

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

It was another (mini) wader fest today most notably at Lytchett Fields where 12 Green Sandpiper had dropped in, along with 6 Little Ringed Plover still present the 1stCommon Sandpiper of the autumn, c30 Lapwing, c50 Redshank and c20 Black-tailed Godwit. There was also a Barn Owl hunting over the fields early evening. A Cattle Egret was out on Arne Moors (viewable from Slepe Heath) with the cattle herd and a Hobby was over there too. There was also an Osprey out over the Wareham Channel with a different bird out over at Morden Bog. We hadn’t received any news of Spotted Flycatcher from around the harbour this summer, which is very worrying so it was great to hear of one singing along Holme Lane yesterday. Although just one Spotted Flycatcher across the whole harbour isn’t quite good enough. We also received a better photo of the presumed American Golden Plover at Brands Bay last week, which does indeed show it was this rare American vagrant and a first for Poole Harbour.

American Golden Plover – Brands Bay – Claire Robinon (19/06/18)

Barn Owl – Lytchett Fields  

Harbour Update – posted 26/06/18

Posted on: June 28th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There were 2 Osprey out over the Wareham Channel mid-afternoon and the Great White Egret was seen heading east along the Wareham Channel, along the northern Arne shoreline. Lytchett Fields saw 5 Little Ringed Plover and 156 Black-tailed Godwit. Out in Brands Bay there was a single Whimbrel along with c40 Curlew. It’s also a great time of year to test your aging skills of birds with plenty of young around now. Freshly fledged Juveniles this time of year will have completely fresh and new feathers, often making them look neat and sometimes a bit ‘off-colour’. Adults on the other hand will be looking rather ‘worn’ either because they haven’t begun moulting yet or because they are moulting. A good example is of the two Linnets below that were photographed at Brands Bay. The left hand bird is a juvenile and you can see the buff-brown edges to the coverts, where as the adult on the right has stronger tones to the feathers without any buff fringes to the coverts.

Juvenile Linnet (left) and adult (right) – Brands Bay

Harbour Update – posted 25/06/18

Posted on: June 28th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

oday we began our three-day Dorset Discovery tour in partnership with the Dorset RSPB team which today began at Arne. We’ll do a full trip report in due course but highlights from our first day included 1 Osprey over the Wareham Channel, 2 Hobby over Arne Hill, 5+ Dartford Warbler, several Stonechat family parties, a small passage of Swift south and a carpet Silver-studded Blue Butterfly on parts of the wet heath. In Middlebere the Great White Egret was seen again and there were 3 Greenshank and 28 Redshank also back in the channel. On Lytchett Fields there were 108 Black-tailed Godwit, 47 Redshank, 5 Little Ringed Plover and 1 Ringed Plover.  

Little Egret – Holton Pools – John Pick

Harbour Update – posted 24/06/18

Posted on: June 25th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It’s always nice when a surprise bird ‘pops up’ out of nowhere and today a photo was sent to us by Debbie Derrick that was titled: Golden Plover, Redhorn. However, Golden Plover in Poole harbour are scarce enough, let alone in the middle of summer, so it was an even bigger shock when we open the email and the bird in the photo looked to be an likely American Golden Plover, a first for Poole Harbour. Apparently it had been present since June 18th-22nd, but the bird was looked for today but sadly couldn’t be relocated. There’s a chance it could still be around somewhere so well worth keeping an eye out around Brands Bay, the Brownsea Lagoon, Middlebere and Lytchett Fields. There was also a good total of birds out on Lytchett Fields indicating that some birds really have given up for the summer already as 5 Ringed Plover dropped onto the fields whereas the first juv Little Ringed Plover joined 4 adults also on the move south. There were also 51 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Green Sandpiper, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Greenshank, 57 Redshank, 23 Lapwing (all adults) and 1 Curlew. Late afternoon saw a Great White Egret pass over Middlebere in heavy wing moult which is the first since the early spring and in Middlebere there were 109 Curlew which for mid-June doesn’t bode well for a successful breeding season. Barn Owls are active at Arne, Lytchett Fields, Greenland’s Farm, Swineham and Middlebere. Along Soldiers Road there was a Cuckoo still, 2 Willow Warbler and 1 Hobby. In Studland Bay a Gannet was feeding close into Shell Bay.

Presumed American Golden Plover – Redhorn/Brands Bay – Debbie Derrick


Gannet – Richard Stephenson – Studland Bay


Harbour Update – posted 23/06/18

Posted on: June 25th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Tonight we hosted the commentary on the Brownsea Island Ferries Puffin cruise out to Dancing Ledge, which is always a pleasure. Leaving Poole Quay and heading out past Old Harry and Durlston Head it gives us a chance to see species we don’t often get to see during the summer here in Poole Harbour, in fact we’ve never seen a Puffin within our Poole Harbour recording area and chances are we won’t in the foreseeable future either! Highlights from the trip included 6+ Puffin off Dancing Ledge, a family of 5 Peregrine including an adult feeding 4 youngsters, 3 Gannet, c1000 Guillemot, c80 Razorbill, 10 Fulmar, c10 Kittiwake, Common and Sandwich Tern and several Med Gulls. Around Lytchett Bay Nightjar and Barn Owl were active and on Lytchett Fields there were 4 Little Ringed Plover, 7 Green Sandpiper, 30+ Black-tailed Godwit and 30+ Redshank. On the Brownsea Lagoon the Avocet chicks seem to be holding strong and with 2 more seeming to be sitting on eggs is this the beginning of a Poole Harbour colony?

Puffin – Dancing Ledge – Paul Morton

Guillemot Colony – Durlston Ledge – Paul Morton

Old Harry Rocks at sunset – Paul Morton

Harbour Update – posted 22/06/18

Posted on: June 25th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There were more waders around to day with 4 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Lapwing on the Holton Lee Scrape and on Lytchett Fields the colour-ringed Greenshank from Montrose is now back in the harbour for its 4th autumn and there were also 3 Little Ringed Plover, 35 Redshank, 3 Green Sandpiper, 1 Grey Plover and 1 Dunlin. At Arne an Osprey was high over the Wareham Channel, there were 2 Hobby over Hartland and a Marsh Harrier was over Swineham. We’re now also well into building our pens for this summers Osprey translocation with our new batch of 14 chicks arriving in only 3 weeks time! We’ll be speaking more about this in due course.

Osprey Translocation 2018 Begins!

Harbour Update – posted 21/06/18

Posted on: June 25th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There was a great find today when a Little Owl was found and photographed at Holton Lee, a species that’s been absent for almost a decade within the harbour. They used to breed at Lytchett Bay, Upton CP, Arne and Middlebere but none have been recorded from any of these sites in recent years. Hopefully its breeding on site and we could potentially see a mini revival. This also took the disappointment away of the American Royal Tern missing Poole Harbour completely yesterday and heading straight to Weymouth. Will it rock up here later in the summer? On the Asda building at Holes Bay there were 2 Peregrine again. At Lytchett Fields there were 2 Little Ringed Plover.

Little Owl – Holton Lee – Richard Stephenson

Harbour Update – posted 20/06/18

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

Well, we watched and waited for the Royal Tern to arrive on to the Brownsea Lagoon which in all honestly it should have done out of sheer politeness, but sadly it by-passed the harbour completely and decided to spend a brief part of its summer holiday in Weymouth…for an evening! There were still 4 Little Ringed Plover on Holton Pools along with a few Lapwing, 2 Gadwall and 3 Little Egret.

Harbour Update – posted 19/06/18

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

We’ll start off today with a species that hasn’t been seen in the harbour but in fact seen c75 miles east of us in West Sussex. An American Royal Tern which spent the latter part of last year and this winter in the Channel Islands appeared in the Sandwich Tern colony at Church Norton West Sussex yesterday evening. Despite the distance and the apparent remote chances of this bird appearing here, there’s actually an outside possibility it could appear within our own Sandwich Tern colony here on Brownsea Island. The reason we think this is because we saw an exact same situation last year when a rare Elegant Tern (the first confirmed for Britain) appeared in the same colony at Church Norton where it spent a few days before decamping to the tern colony on the Brownsea Lagoon for half a day. So, if you’re on Brownsea over the coming days please keep an eye out for a large tern with a long, bright orange bill. And if you see it…call us! Pleeeeease. 01202 641003 😉

Now back to the birds that were actually here. It was interesting to watch several Common Tern crossing the twin sails bridge site and the rough ground next to it, as we’d never witnessed this before. We were aware that terns follow the channel through into Holes Bay but always assumed they stuck to the channel and hadn’t considered that they’d take shortcuts across the rough ground and roads. Something to consider if and when that area becomes developed. The non-breeding female Marsh Harrier that’s been hanging around the harbour this summer was seen again in the west near Swineham. On the Brownsea Lagoon, Middlebere, Shipstal, the Wareham Channel and in Holes Bay little humbug Shelduck ducklings are beginning to appear and on Lytchett Fields the first newly fledged Redshank appeared a few days ago. All around the harbour now freshly fledged juvenile birds are beginning show and it won’t be long now (with July only being next weekend) that we begin seeing the return southward migration of both passerines and waders through Dorset.

Harbour Update – posted 18/06/18

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

What was presumed to be Osprey CJ7 was seen fishing in the Wareham Channel early morning on the low tide.


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