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 17/06/18

Posted on: June 18th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Didn’t think we’d be saying this anytime soon but it was actually good to feel a bit of rain on our faces today seeing as it’s been super dry of late. Still much of the same at present with a Spoonbill in Middlebere, an Osprey was out over the Wareham Channel, 1 Little ringed Plover at Holton Pools, 10 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin at Lytchett Fields, 2 Hobby were over Slepe Heath and newly reported were 2 Spotted Flycatcher near the waterworks at Lytchett Bay.

Up and coming events

We have a few events coming up over the coming weeks. Firstly, this Saturday June 23rd we’re doing the guest commentary on a Brownsea Island Ferries Puffin cruise out of Poole Harbour and along the Jurassic Coast. For full details and to book on call 01929 462383.

Then on July 1st and 15th we’re hosting our Summer ‘Up with the lark’ Wareham Channel cruise. For full details and to book CLICK HERE

We have just 1 space left on our Poole Harbour Nightjar experience walk on July 13th so to grab that CLICK HERE.


Harbour Update – posted 16/06/18

Posted on: June 18th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The undoubted highlight from today was that a pair of Avocet hatched two chicks on the Brownsea Lagoon. This is wholly significant because they’re (currently) the only Avocet pair in Dorset. A pair bred and hatched young last year too on the lagoon, in fact it looks as if one of this years birds is the same as it has a limp. But sadly the 3 chicks last year were predated by gulls over the course of the following week. Rumour has it that this summer there is also another pair sitting on eggs on the lagoon, so the Dorset population of breeding pairs could have potentially doubled in a single year! George Greens ‘Birds of Dorset’ states that Avocet have bred in the county before but it doesn’t state dates so its safe to say the any previous breeding success are truly historical rather than recent. There were a couple of early returning Little Ringed Plover about too with one on Lytchett Fields and another on Holton Pools with 8 Lapwing, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Oystercatcher at the latter site too. Hobby were again seen over Slepe Heath, Middlebere and one was further up the Frome Valley near East Holme. 

Little Ringed Plover – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam


Harbour Update – posted 15/06/18

Posted on: June 16th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

This has been without doubt one of the best springs for Osprey in recent Poole Harbour history with birds present most days/weeks as of early March. There had been a few sightings of ‘an Osprey’ in the last few weeks but it was unknown whether it had a ring on or not so we were keen to try and get a fix on the bird to try and confirm an ID. Luckily we managed to find the bird mid-morning on a private part of the Arne Reserve (thanks to the RSPB for granting us access) and we were able to see it had a ring on it. With careful stalking we were able to get a number on the ring and sure enough it was CJ7. Had she been away and come back again or had she been here the whole time? Either way she obviously likes the harbour and finds it productive. But then again, we thought that about S1 last summer and he’s now on a nest looking for a female up at Rutland! The difference however is that a) S1 is a male and is keen to nest where he himself was raised which is typical for males, plus, last summer he wasn’t sexually mature and was just doing what 2nd year Osprey do which is hang out in food rich areas for the summer. CJ7 being a three-year old female means she sexually mature now and could in theory be lured away from her natal site IF a male was to start courting her. Next spring (with luck) some of our trans-located birds will begin to come back, so is there a chance one of those could begin forming a bond with CJ7 should she return again? Sadly, breeding with any of our returning birds is unlikely as they won’t be fully sexually mature, but it could be start of something special??

Also at Arne today the first Crossbill of the autumn were on the move as 2 passed over south. Also present were 2 Hobby, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Woodlark, c6 Dartford Warbler and c10 Swift. At Lytchett Fields again there were 7 Green Sandpiper and a small number of commoner waders such as Redshank, Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing.  At the PC World drain several young Blackcap were noted again and it seems some birds are really in need of their post-breeding moult! 

Female Osprey CJ7 – RSPB Arne – Paul Morton

Robin – Upton CP – John Pick

Nuthatch – Upton CP – John Pick


Harbour Update – posted 14/06/18

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Once again the Green Sandpiper total at Lytchett Fields increased again today with 7 now present across the site. This is quite a high total for mid June and we wouldn’t expect to see this many until later in the month. Are we witnessing the early return of these birds because the spring was just simply ‘too late’, therefore not allowing them to breed? How many will we see arrive over the coming days and will it just be Green Sandpiper or will we see the early return of many other wader species? The only other species of note reported to us was a Hobby at Middlebere, 3 Spoonbill flying over the Wareham Channel and 2 Woodlark at Holton Lee. 


Harbour Update – posted 13/06/18

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The return wader passage continued this AM with Lytchett Fields Green Sandpiper totals rising from 3 to 5 today and there was still a Grey Plover and Greenshank out on the fields too. It seems to be a good Hobby year in terms of numbers present, lets hope they all successfully breed but birds were seen hawking over Slepe Heath and Hartland, Arne, the Wareham bypass and at Morden Bog up to 6+ birds were present. At Holton Pools a Little Ringed Plover was on the new scrapes. There is a real absence of Spotted Flycatcher this summer so we’d be really keen to hear of any nesting in people’s gardens or if anyone knows of any sites then please also let us know. There are none at the traditional sites and spring passage was very limited this year. Around the harbour mixed-tit flocks are already forming and newly fledged Chiffchaff and blackcap are joining them and it won’t be long until the first Willow Warblers start joining them too. We also found a small colony of Silver-studded blue Butterfly on Lytchett Bay Heath which is actually a first record of this species for the whole of Lytchett Bay and a welcome addition to the Lytchett Bay non-avian list.

Little Ringed Plover – Holton Pools – Trevor Wilkinson

Silver-studded Blue Butterfly – Lytchett Bay Heath – Paul Morton


Harbour Update – posted 12/06/18

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Yep, It’s over! Summer has officially finished. Ok, a bit drastic but this morning we saw the first returning Green Sandpipers of the autumn with 3 on Lytchett Fields first thing this AM. ‘Green Sands’ are always one of the first to begin passing through south, often followed by juvenile Little Ringed Plovers by the end of June. With the still, mild weather over the last week Nightjar watching has been at its prime with reports coming in from many different heathland sites across the harbour. A watch on Slepe Heath saw no less than 6 birds active at dusk along wit 2 Hobby, 1 Cuckoo and 2 Tawny Owl. At Holton Lee 2 Woodlark were along one of the heathland tracks and there are now several fresh juv Great Spotted Woodpeckers using the feeders at the feeder hide. At Fleets Corner (PC World drain) there are plenty of newly fledged Blackcap and Chiffchaff, continuing the evidence that this site is an important oasis for some breeding birds in the middle of town. At Arne an Osprey was seen near Shipstal and after an absence of a few months it seems a Peregrine Falcon is now back using the tall part of the Asda building near Holes Bay as a roosting spot. If it hangs around for a few more weeks we’ll try and arrange and set up an event inviting the public to come and see these amazing birds. 

Peregrine Falcon – Asda Building, Poole


Harbour update – posted 11/06/18

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Having been away in Somerset for the last four days it was great to get out onto a Poole Harbour heathland this afternoon. A vigil from Slepe Heath produced an Osprey over the Wareham Channel (the first to be seen over the last few days), a Hobby over the Arne Road. There were also 3 Willow Warbler singing around the fringes of Slepe Heath along with a Cuckoo. A good number of freshly fledged, yellow gaped Dartford Warbler were dotted around the heath. At Sunnyside Farm Lapwing were still active over the site, hopefully suggesting that they’re now with young. Plenty of Silver-studded Blue Butterfly were on the wing. At Lytchett Fields there were 80 Black-tailed Godwit, 27 Teal, 12 Lapwing, 7 Redshank, 2 Ringed Plover and 1 Grey Plover. A nice record of 2 Barn Owl hunting near Greenlands Farm, Studland was a welcome surprise. We did put up a Barn Owl box there some years ago so we’re hoping this could be a pair that’s taken up residence at this site? A good total of 11 Nightjar were logged calling across Godlingston Heath and 2 Cuckoo were very vocal there too until after dark. 


Harbour update – posted 10/06/18

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

We think most people were out enjoying the weather rather than birds by the end of today, as the harbour was drenched in golden glory for most of the afternoon. Still, Holton Pools had a Little Ringed Plover on the new scrapes for most of the day which is almost certainly an early returner and at Lytchett Fields the first juv Black-headed Gull of the summer was present along with 88 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Lapwing, 2 Ringed Plover and 2 Greenshank.  At Holton Lee the first Great Spotted Woodpecker fledglings in the harbour were seen at the feeder hide and young Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit can be found and heard forming mixed-tit flocks already which will build in number between now and September. 


Harbour update – posted 09/06/18

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There’s a great new Nightjar study taking place on the boarders of the harbour which is a joint partnership project between the Stour Ringing Group, Bournemouth Uni and Biotrack. For regular updates follow their new twitter profile @DNightjars. Last night their team were out on a heath in the north of the harbour where they caught their first 5 birds  (2 females and 3 males) and between the five, three were fitted with radio tags to enable the team to track and find nesting sites and gage where birds are heading off to feed at night. At Lytchett Fields there were 88 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Lapwing, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover 1 Greenshank and already a build up of Teal with 24 counted. A Puffin cruise also left Poole Harbour this evening, which ventured out towards Dancing Ledge. Although this is a tiny colony in comparison to other sites around the UK, just 3 birds were seen which mirrors the sad decline of this birds national population with bigger breeding colonies seeing big drops in their population. Also logged from the boat were 25 Bar-tailed Godwit and 30 Black-tailed Godwit on the Brownsea Lagoon, plenty of Common and Sandwich Tern fishing in Studland Bay, several Gannet close to the boat near Old Harry, a Peregrine over the boat and a few Kittiwake and Fulmar. 


Harbour update – posted 08/06/18

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It seems a few waders are on the move but which way are they going…north or south? Its been such a strange spring that you feel that some birds may have given up on the breeding season already this year and are instead just going on a bit of a summer jaunt. At Lytchett Fields there were 78 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Dunlin, 4 Oystercatcher, 1 Greenshank and 1 Redshank. In Middlebere there were 2 Grey Plover again with 5 Dunlin. At Arne 2 Hobby were over the Salterns Marsh. We also received news from Jason Fathers who monitors and rings the Bournemouth Peregrines that blue PK, a juvenile from last years brood has been hanging out at Ballard Down this summer and was recently photographed. 

Peregrine blue PK – Ballard Down


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