Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Archive for October, 2018

Harbour Update – posted 20/10/18

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

Another blissful day with the sun beating down (after the fog cleared) which although was beautiful, wasn’t very productive for birding. A/the Great White Egret was on Little Sea, Studland mid-morning. Around Middlebere and Hartland the first decent Fieldfare flock was seen with 46 altogether with Mistle Thrush and Redwing mixed in with them. A vis-mig session at South Haven saw 2 Crossbill, 15 Redwing, 2 Fieldfare, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Skylark, 31 Siskin, 3 Bullfinch, 3 Jay, 1 Greenshank, 1 Common Snipe and 40 Cormorant migrate across and into the harbour mouth. On Brownsea there were 3 Spotted Redshank but just a single Spoonbill with the rest (40+) on Shipstal, Arne.


Harbour Update – posted 19/10/18

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

It seems the days are getting warmer, not colder and with the harbour yet again like a mill pond you could have been mistaken for thinking it was a mid May morning today. However the presence to 2 Whooper Swan that passed of Lytchett Bay and Holton Lee provided the autumnal feel that’s so desperately needed. There was also the first decent return of Red-breasted Merganser with 16 in South Deep off the southern Brownsea shoreline along with 41 Spoonbill and 18 Brent Geese on Shipstal, 23 Great Crested Grebe in central harbour, c400 Avocet, 2 Sanderling and 1 Peregrine on the lagoon and 2 Sandwich Tern in the mouth of Middlebere. At Hatch Pond the Cetti’s Warbler was still calling and there, a Kingfisher was present and there were 4 Great Crested Grebe on the lake. At Middlebere a Marsh Harrier passed over and 4 late Swallow dashed through. There were actually 3 Marsh Harrier in the harbour today (2 immature males and a female) which ridiculously is the best day total for Marsh Harrier since January 26th this year according to local harrier watcher Peter Hadrill. On Hartland there was a late Wheatear, 20+ Dartford Warbler enjoying the sun and 2 Woodlark. At South Haven a Great White Egret flew over the boardwalk and a vis-mig session provided 1 Woodlark, 1 Brambling, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 96 Siskin, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 6 Bullfinch, 3 Lesser Redpoll and 30 Jackdaw as the highlights.


Harbour Update – posted 18/10/18

Posted on: October 19th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Well, we thought the vis-mig would pick up and it certainly did. The main area watched/counted this morning was South Haven, Studland which logged 88 Song Thrush, 13 Redwing and 39 Meadow Pipit as well as many hundreds of Chaffinch, Linnet, Siskin and Goldfinch with singles of Yellowhammer and Woodlark too. Amazingly 66 Spoonbill were counted on Shipstal Point, Arne. Where another 11 have turned up from is anyone’s guess but with 75 logged on Oct 19th last year, will we see a late surge and yet another record-breaking year for Spoonbill? Yet again the 2 Cattle Egret were on the west side of the Wareham to Stoborough causeway. At Lytchett Fields 45 Skylark migrated over the site during the morning and there were 2 Spotted Redshank, 8 Greenshank, 120+ Redshank and c50 Black-tailed Godwit on the fields. At Holton Pools a flock of 11 Crossbill flew low across in front of the hide and a Peregrine and a Marsh Harrier had a bit of a tussle too. At Middlebere the autumns first Fieldfare were seen with 15 along the lane also 11 Mistle Thrush, 6 Bullfinch, 73 Wigeon, 4 Greenshank, 4 Knot, 1 White Wagtail and a Merlin was on Hartland again.

Peregrine – Holton Pools – John Pick


Harbour Update – posted 17/10/18

Posted on: October 19th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The forecast looks good for some visible migration at coastal watch points over the next week or so. With thrush’s, finches, wagtails, pipits and larks on the move, a watch at dawn can be quite spectacular especially at places like South Haven or Ballard Down. Today the first Red-breasted Mergansers were also looked with 5 out in South Deep, off the south shore of Brownsea along with 3 Black-necked Grebe. A Great White Egret was seen on Little Sea, Studland mid afternoon.  From Poole Quay the Kingfisher was seen again near our HQ and 3 Swallow passed over. At Hatch Pond another Kingfisher was seen and a Cetti’s Warbler was heard. Between the harbour mouth and Brownsea 20+ Swallow and 16+ House Martin flew through. And at Baiter there were 11 Turnstone and a Carrion Crow doing its best to disguise its self as a Magpie. On Hartland a female Merlin was in the centre of the moor at dawn, and just 1 Marsh Harrier came out of the roost.

Turnstone – Baiter – John Pick

Carrion Crow – Baiter – John Pick


Harbour Update – posted 16/10/18

Posted on: October 17th, 2018 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The forecast yesterday looked good for a vis-mig session, but at the last minuet the temperature rose quite substantially, enough so that a thick blanket of fog descended up the harbour by late evening. However all was not lost as another Yellow-browed Warbler was found along the coast path from South Beach at Ballard Down and in the gloom a Hawfinch passed over heading NE. There were also some other finches on the move with c30 Siskin, c50 Goldfinch, c30 Linnet, 4 Greenfinch and 2 Chaffinch over along with 5 Skylark, 9 Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaff, c40 Meadow Pipit, 3 Yellowhammer and 1 Reed Bunting passing through and over the area. Several good contenders for freshly arrived Continental Robin were also ringed at our ringing site during the morning too. A moth trapping session as part of our two-year Moths of Poole Harbour study caught the projects first Clifden Nonpareil. On Hartland the Cuckoo that was found on Saturday was still hanging about on SW corner of the moor where there was also a late Common Redstart. On Shipstal Point, a high count for this autumn/winter of 45 Spoonbill were counted. It seems the female Merlin on Hartland is pretty settled and has been seen out in the centre of the moor for almost a week now. A Woodlark passed over Sunnyside at dawn and in the Frome Valley 3 Cattle Egret were next to the railway line up near Holmebridge. 

Continental Robin – Ballard Down 

Clifden Nonpareil – Ballard Down


Harbour Update – posted 15/10/18

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

With the large number of Yellow-browed Warbler arriving into the UK last week its no surprise that they’re now beginning to trickle in to Dorset and today another was found in the harbour, this time in the PC World drain, next to KFC at Wessex Gate retail park. Not necessarily the first place you’d think of to look for a rare/scarce bird but amazingly today’s was actually the 5th Yellow-browed Warbler to be found at this funny/weird little site in just three years! There were also 3 Blackcap, 3 Common Chiffchaff, 1 Siberian Chiffchaff, 1 Kingfisher and 1 Grey Wagtail there today too. Up on Hartland a Firecrest was in a Long-tailed Tit flock which has prompted us to acknowledge that this autumn Goldcrest are virtually nowhere to be seen. Is anyone else seeing any? The harbour’s first Ring Ouzel of the autumn was seen along the track of Middlebere and Marsh Harriers were at Middlebere, Lytchett Bay and Swineham (all possibly the same birds).  At Lytchett Fields another Firecrest was near the waterworks and out on the fields were c150 Black-tailed Godwit, c40 Dunlin and 60 Meadow Pipit.

Yellow-browed Warbler – PCW Drain – Ian Ballam



Harbour Update – posted 14/10/18

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

A fairly grim start to the day which eventually cleared thankfully, but there wasn’t much reported over the course of the day. At Middlebere there were 105 Avocet, c200 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Spotted Redshank, 35 Lapwing, 21 Curlew and a Wheatear. In Upton CP there were 2 Firecrest and in both Holes Bay and Lytchett Bay drake pintail were logged arriving in. On and around Hartland Moor there was still 1 female Merlin and a Peregrine with still only 2 Marsh Harrier coming out of the west Poole Harbour roost. At Lytchett Fields there were 2 Spotted Redshank and along Soldiers Road 3 tardy Swallow. On the Wareham to Stoborough causeway the 2 Cattle Egret were again feeding in amongst the cows on the west side of the road.


Harbour Update – posted 13/10/18

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

We’ve said this numerous times this year but the warm weather seems to be impacting a range of biodiversity across the harbour, even this late in the year. Today in the late afternoon, early evening it was 22 degrees, which for mid October is a crazy temperature. More average would be 14 degrees so with this in mind it was amazing that we found a Smooth Snake out on a heathland near Hartland this afternoon, which is a species that normally goes into hibernation in October. Also, a late Cuckoo was photographed up on Hartland which is about two-weeks later than normal. Also out and around Hartland was a female Merlin, 1 Hobby still and a Peregrine with both immature male and female Marsh Harrier out over the Wareham Channel. Out on Shipstal Point, Arne the Spoonbill flock is staying consistent at 40 birds…will we see it increase at all? With the wind still fairly steady this morning another sea watch was attempted with only 1 Diver sp (likely Great Northern Diver), 2 Brent Geese and 2 Gannet the birds of note. At the Wareham by pass the 2 Cattle Egret were seen again to the west of the bridge amongst the cattle. At Lytchett Fields there were c200 Black-tailed Godwit, c200 Redshank, 6 Greenshank, 5 Green Sandpiper, 1 Knot and 1 Spotted Redshank and at Holton Pools the Kingfishers are kindly continuing to satisfy the numerous visiting photographers.

Smooth Snake – Hartland Moor


Harbour Update – posted 12/10/18

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

With a strong southerly wind blowing it made sense to attempt a Branksome sea watch which would be the first of the season. It was surprisingly productive with one (possibly two) distant Skua sp, most likely Arctic, 1 Eider, 4 Common Scoter, 3 Dunlin, 1 Curlew, 11 Med Gull, 5 Brent Geese and 26 Gannet. At Middlebere there were singles of Marsh Harrier, Merlin and Peregrine and still 2 Spotted Redshank.


Harbour Update – posted 11/10/18

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

A really great mix of birds today which included a ringtail Hen Harrier on Hartland, although it didn’t look to stick around, also 2 Merlin, 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hobby and a Peregrine seen there too. On the Wareham bypass 2 Cattle Egret was seen with the cows again near the causeway. In Holes Bay NE 2 Green Sandpiper over were possibly a site first, also 700+ Black-tailed Godwit and 50+ Dunlin present. On Sunnyside Pools there were 2 Green Sandpiper and at Lytchett Fields 1 Spotted Redshank, 200+ Redshank, 8 Greenshank, 4 Green Sandpiper, 700+ Teal, 150 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Knot. On the Brownsea Lagoon Avocet numbers saw a marked increase with c500 present. In Middlebere there were 2 Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 30 Avocet and 1 Peregrine.


Call 01202 641 003