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 July, 2018

Harbour Update – posted 28/07/18

Posted on: July 30th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With a short but sharp storm battering the harbour last night and the remains still blowing ‘a gooden’ at dawn it was an amazing scene to have 3 Osprey circling together in the breeze at Lytchett Bay around 8am. At Holton Pools another Yellow Wagtail was on the scrapes along with a single Green Sandpiper and 3 Little Egret. Whimbrel are now ‘dropping in’ to various bays with several individuals in Brands Bay, Bramble Bush Bay, Arne Bay and in Middlebere. Juvenile Willow Warbler are becoming more and more conspicuous in Long-tailed Tit flocks as they move through scrub and heathland habitats and will soon be joined by species such as Redstart and Spotted and occasional Pied Flycatcher.

Harbour Update – posted 27/07/18

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

The heat wave looks set to be coming to an end for a brief period this weekend with some rain (yes rain) due to hit us over night tonight and then a proper down pour on Sunday. Never have we wanted it to rain so much with the heathlands all like tinderboxes and almost all of the countryside devoid of any moisture. The last 48 hours has also seen three devastating heathland fires across southern Dorset (Ferndown Common, Ham Common and Canford Heath) so a good drenching in in everyone’s best interest. With cloud cover rolling in over the course of the day a definite cooler feeling was set across the harbour with a few more migrants noted on the move. On Lytchett Heath a Long-tailed Tit flock contained 7 Willow Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler and 2 Blackcap. At Lytchett Fields a Grasshopper Warbler, 33 Sedge Warbler and 16 Reed Warbler were ringed. At Middlebere a single Osprey was on the Middlebere platform and the Spoonbill was still in the channel along with a Green Sandpiper in front of the Middlebere hide and a Peregrine.

Harbour Update – posted 26/07/18

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

With people trekking down to Middlebere to see Ospreys its great to hear that other species are being logged along the way. Today in the channel were 2 Greenshank, 1 Knot, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Avocet, 1 Spoonbill, 10 Little Egret, 1 Peregrine Falcon and of course an Osprey on the Middlebere platform. In the Corfe Channel there were 10 Greenshank and 2 summer plumaged Spotted Redshank. At Lytchett Fields there were 6 Green Sandpiper, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 5 Common Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank, 2 Little Ringed Plover and 2 Common Snipe.

Harbour Update – posted 25/07/18

Posted on: July 26th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With the hottest day of the year approaching (if that’s even possible) then getting your birding done before 11am is well advised. An early morning walk to Coombe Heath saw yesterdays Cattle Egret settled again to the right of the Raptor Screen at Arne and was later seen on the edge of Wytch Lake. Again, 2 Osprey were seen over the course of the day, mostly around the Arne peninsular but also over the Wareham Channel. More migrants were on the move and a ringing session at Lytchett Heath saw 2 Garden Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 45 Sedge Warbler, 21 Reed Warbler, 8 Willow Warbler and 3 Bearded Tit ringed over the course of the morning. On Lytchett Fields there were 20 Green Sandpiper and 3 Greenshank. At Holton Lee the 2 Little Owl were active early evening and the Cuckoo that was seen on Tuesday was seen again this evening and there were 2 Green Sandpiper on Holton Pools.

Little Owl – Holton Lee – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 24/07/18

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

Although there’s been no sign of the Purple Heron for a few days at Littlesea, the ‘heron run’ continues with a Cattle Egret that was seen at Arne, heading across Middlebere this morning. It goes without saying these days that 2 Osprey were seen at Arne and Middlebere throughout the day and from now on they’ll become a daily feature as numbers begin to rise as birds start heading south for the winter. Our ringing stations around the harbour are getting busier too with our Ballard site ringing seven species of warbler including Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler. At Lytchett Bay a Marsh Harrier was seen again and there was a single Common Sandpiper near the Waterworks, also 4 Sedge Warbler, c10 Reed Warbler and 15 Black-tailed Godwit. A large Starling flock of around 1000 birds dispersed west at dawn past Arne Moors which we assume is a large post breeding flock that’s forming.

Cattle Egret – RSPB Arne – Fabian Harrison

Common Sandpiper – Keith Rawling – Lytchett Bay

Harbour Update – posted 23/07/18

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

Wow, what a day. First we’ll go through the bird info, than talk about the several exciting events we hosted over the course of today. Highlights included a fresh juv Cuckoo at Holton Lee where 4 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank and 2 Lapwing were on Holton Pools. The first 2 migrant juv Willow Warbler were also at Holton Lee with a Marsh Harrier and a light passage Swift went out over south across the Wareham Channel. On Lytchett Fields an adult Little Stint was a turn up for the books with 10 Greenshank, 19 Dunlin, c100 Redshank and 39 Little Egret also present. At Arne and over the Wareham Channel up to 2 Osprey were again on and off during the course of the day.

This evening we were thrilled to host the end of the Chris Packham UK Bioblitz campaign tour at our Birds of Poole Harbour HQ on Poole Quay ending 10 days of intensive wildlife surveys around the UK.

Chris Packham’s BioBlitz campaign aimed to highlight the biodiversity of British wildlife across the nation, visiting 50 wildlife sites across the UK in just 10 days. The results will provide a benchmark with which future surveys can be compared, and see how the populations of different species rise and fall over time. Chris Packham started in the Scottish Highlands on July 14th, criss-crossing the UK and helping the survey effort along the way; from the smallest insect to the largest deer and everything in between. Specialists, amateurs, and enthusiastic naturalists have helped immeasurably along the way, including members of the public who have come along to events to listen and learn about the UK’s fantastic biodiversity.

Arriving at Poole Quay with his BioBlitz crew, Chris Packham boarded a ferry with 50 lucky Poole school children and the Birds of Poole Harbour charity team. Chris and his crew were treated to a cruise around Poole Harbour for a spot of birding, passing the internationally important Brownsea lagoon site and seeing common and sandwich terns in flight. The ferry docked back at the quay at 8pm, returning to an audience 200 strong to hear Chris’ rousing speech about the campaign and the future of British biodiversity. He then crossed the finish line at the HQ of local conservation charity Birds of Poole Harbour, where he then spent an hour meeting and speaking with visitors about wildlife and the environment.

Paul Morton from the Birds of Poole Harbour charity explained

“To have Chris and his team finish his campaign here in Poole Harbour was a real privilege. Over the ten days they visited some areas that were in dire need of environmental change but they were keen to finish here on the south coast because of how rich our biodiversity is and to highlight how some areas are getting it right”

You can get involved with Chris Packham’s campaign by contacting Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and telling him your concerns for the state of british biodiversity and the threats it faces. Chris Packham is also calling for everybody who cares about wildlife to join him in central London on September 22nd 2018 for The People’s Walk for Wildlife as a nature-inspired call to arms.

Check out his website for more information:


For more information about Birds of Poole Harbour, check out their website:  



Common Cuckoo – Photographed during the Holton Lee Bioblitz – Clare Slade

Chris Packham addressing the crowd – Poole Quay – Debbie Parker

Chris Packham addressing the crowd – Poole Quay – Debbie Parker

Chris Packham crossing the finish line – BoPH HQ – Debbie Parker


Harbour Update – posted 22/07/18

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

There were more signs of migration today with the first Pied Flycatcher of the autumn seen on Brownsea, with a male feeding along the lagoon access track. Also on Brownsea an Arctic Tern was on the lagoon briefly and an Osprey passed over the western end. There were also 2 Osprey with sightings on and around Arne for most of the day. There was also the first real pulse of Sedge Warbler migration through the harbour with c10 at Lytchett Fields along with 14 Dunlin, 9 Green Sandpiper, 9 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Common Snipe, c150 Redshank, c40 Lapwing and 14 Little Egret.

Linnet – Lytchett Fields – Paul Morton

Harbour Update – posted 21/07/18

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

The Purple Heron was again seen coming into roost at Littlesea late evening along with only 45 Little Egret tonight.  In Middlebere there was an Osprey on the nesting platform and a Spoonbill was in the Middlebere Channel. 

Harbour Update – posted 20/07/18

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

As summer progresses and autumn powers through the birding seems to get more and more exciting by the day. Today the Purple Heron was seen again at Littlesea Studland where photographer Malcolm Brunt managed to take what’s probably one of the best Purple heron photos ever seen in the UK let alone Dorset…just amazing. Then, this evening 6 Great White Egret flew over and settled on Lytchett Fields again which are likely to be the same flock as the ones seen a few weeks ago…or are they? Are we in fact seeing a steady arrival of this species into the harbour? On the Brownsea Lagoon the 2 Roseate Tern were on the ‘Boomerang’ again. On Holton Pools both Common and Green Sandpiper were using the scrapes and an Osprey was out over the Wareham Channel and at Middlebere for most of the day.

Purple Heron – Littlesea – Malcolm Brunt

Common Sandpiper – Holton Pools – Nick Mudge

Green Sandpiper – Holton Pools – Nick Mudge


Harbour Update – posted 19/07/18

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

The Purple Heron was seen today but earlier in the day around 16:30 flying towards the northern end of Littlesea but despite a prolonged evening watch it didn’t come into the egret roost at dusk sadly. Still, a mass hirundine flock containing c200 birds, consisting of mostly Sand Martin that came in just before dark to feed on the surface of the water was a picture in its self and there were 8 Great Crested Grebe, some with juveniles still in tow. At Middlebere an Osprey was on the post for most of the afternoon and in the channel 1 Spoonbill, 7 Greenshank, 1 sum plum Spotted Redshank and a Whimbrel were present during the afternoon. At Lytchett Fields there were c20 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 9 Dunlin and 1 Greenshank with a particularly showy Water Rail too. In Lytchett Bay Curlew totals rose to 39 and there were 25 Little Egret and an adult Yellow-legged Gull. There were also reports of Osprey over the Wareham Channel and at Morden Bog. A new Marsh Harrier entered the harbour too with a young male over near Swineham early morning.

Water Rail – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Grey Heron and Red-eared Terripins – Poole Park



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