Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Archive for January, 2019

Harbour Update – posted 30/01/19

Posted on: January 30th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Well, we were hoping it was just a matter of time, and sure enough some Waxwing turned up within the harbour boundary today. Having been sighted in Hampshire, Devon and Cornwall within the last couple of weeks it was surely just a matter of time before some settled in Dorset. Lucky for us it was just outside Wareham on the Carey Estate, just on the corner junction of Carey Road. There were five in total which kept dropping down and feeding on Rose Hips, often just meters away from the on looking crowd. No matter how many times you see a Waxwing, it will always be a memorable experience, and if you’ve never seen one before…you just wait!!! Also around the harbour there were 2 Firecrest at Norden Sewage Works with c10 Common Chiffchaff and off Middle Beach, the harbours first Common Scoter of the year was settled and there were c15 Black-necked Grebe across Studland Bay. The male Black Redstart was again around the flats behind the Thistle Hotel. Off Baiter there were 7 Goldeneye, 6 Red-breasted Merganser, 112 Brent Geese and 5 Turnstone. In Poole Park the drained main boating lake held 2 Avocet, 35 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Dunlin, 10 Redshank, 6 Little Egret, 4 Little Grebe and the Mandarin Duck.

Waxwing – Wareham – Magnuss Robb


Harbour Update – posted 29/01/19

Posted on: January 30th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The Common Crane commuted between Hartland and Middlebere again today. The ringtail Hen Harrier was seen at Middlebere. A Merlin was on Hartland and the male Black Redstart was still behind the Quay along East Quay Road. Holes Bay was busy again with Avocet, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Wigeon, Teal etc. On Brownsea a Spotted Redshank was feeding with a Greenshank.


Harbour Update – posted 28/01/19

Posted on: January 29th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today was a tad calmer, allowing a count of open-water species around the Studland Peninsular. In total 46 Black-necked Grebe were counted between Studland, Shell and brands Bay with 2 Slavonian Grebe off South Beach and another in Brands Bay with only 5 Goldeneye noted! A scan of Poole Bay saw 3 Red-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver, several Great Crested Grebe and 2 Razorbill. The Black Redstart remain in East Quay Road. The Common Crane was foraging again in reeds, salt marsh out from the Middlebere Hide and the ringtail Hen Harrier was seen there too. From the Holton Pools hide there were singles of Green Sandpiper and Marsh Harrier were logged and at Norden sewage works there were c10 Common Chiffchaff and a single Firecrest.


Harbour Update – posted 27/01/19

Posted on: January 29th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today we hosted one of our Wareham Channel winter bird boats. The forecast showed bright sunshine but potential strong winds. It started off brilliantly with a big low tide as we crept up the Wareham Channel and Wareham River where 16 Spoonbill fed in a muddy channel and the mudflats hosted good numbers of Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Redshank, Grey Plover, Shelduck Gadwall and Wigeon all fairly close to the boat, and as we headed up the River Frome 1-2 Marsh Harrier danced in the wind and Swineham GP saw c10 Tufted Duck, 4 Great Crested Grebe and c50 Canada Geese flew in from Arne Moors. As we headed out towards the harbour the wind had picked up making open water bodies difficult to bird, so we headed for the slightly more sheltered area of the Brownsea Lagoon where c100 Avocet, c200 Dunlin, c50 Grey Plover and c50 Bar-tailed Godwit were sheltering. By the late afternoon the wind had subsided and a sea watch from Branksome saw 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 17 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Guillemot and c10 Razorbill. The Black Redstart continued to show off for the many visitors the turned up to see it behind the Thistle Hotel and the Common Crane was again on Hartland but was seen out from the Middlebere hide during the day in sheep fields opposite the hide. The Mandarin was still posing in Poole Park, and once again, Holes Bay north was looking FAB despite the wind. As the temperatures drop, Holes Bay tends to retain a certain warmth to it due to it being surrounded by urbanisation and also the two outflow channels that run into it. This means many birds prefer feeding here rather than ‘preferred’ feeding sites, so today c200 Avocet, c400 Dunlin, lots of Wigeon and Teal etc were feeding right next to the footpath in the NE section. Well worth a visit this week on the low/rising tide if you have time.


Harbour Update – posted 26/01/19

Posted on: January 28th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With a cold windy front approaching in the afternoon a birding session along the Studland peninsular at dawn was held as part of our Birding Poole Harbour ID series. A good session saw 2 Sanderling in Bramble Bush Bay with 10+ Red-breasted Merganser. Off Shell Beach 4 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Great Northern Diver were settled and at Middle Beach 1 Firecrest and a further 8 Black-necked Grebe were logged. The Black Redstart was in the same courtyard again behind the Thistle Hotel. A sea watch off Branksome in the afternoon saw 1 Black-throated Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver, 6 Razorbill, 1 Kittiwake and 5 Gannet. The Common Crane was yet gain on Hartland Moor, but this time was settled in the middle of Hartland for part of the day. A leucisitic Herring Gull showed up in the Brownsea gull roost, initially giving the impression of an Iceland Gull, but further scrutiny proved otherwise. Around Baiter there were Turnstone on the beaches and a Sandwich Tern flew by and in Parkstone Bay 3 Goldeneye were present.

Black Redstart – Poole Quay – Mark Wright


Harbour Update – posted 25/01/19

Posted on: January 28th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The adult male Black Redstart was showing better today and is now attracting quite a lot of attention. A school bird boat out around the harbour saw 21 Spoonbill on Shipstal and 2 Great Northern Diver (1 South Deep and 1 off Baiter). At Norden sewage works 10+ Chiffchaff  were on the filter beds and a couple were singing again.  The Common Crane (as recent patterns of behaviour predicted) was seen at sawn flying over Hartland and then again at dusk where a nice crowd of people gathered at dusk to watch it fly over towards Middlebere. A ringtail Hen Harrier was at Slepe Heath with 1 merlin near there too, 3 Marsh Harrier were in the mouth of the Frome.  Middlebere is still holding lots of Avocet, Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwit. Off Branksome 4 Red-throated Diver were settled with a Great Northern Diver. A Little Owl was heard calling behind Maranoa Farm, near Middlebere.


Harbour Update – posted 24/01/19

Posted on: January 28th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The Common Crane was out in the centre of Hartland at dawn and didn’t seem to go far during the day and 7 Cattle Egret flew up the Wareham Channel at dawn and 2 Merlin were also out on Hartland. A max count of 46 Black-necked Grebe and 3 Slavonian Grebe have been logged between Studland/Shell Bay and the harbour in the last week too. At Holton Pools there was 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Marsh Harrier and 46 Lapwing. At Holmebridge 1 Firecrest, 2 Marsh Tit and a few Bullfinch were near the bridge. In the fields below the Worgret Manor 6 Cattle Egret were in the field. The male Black Redstart was again showing off behind Poole Quay at flats behind the Thistle Hotel and on Shipstal 24 Spoonbill were feeding. At Bestwall/Swineham 2 Marsh Harrier were off the point and at Lytchett Fields, weirdest sighting of the day came when 4 Sandwich Tern flew over the fields.

Common Crane – Hartland Moor – Peter Moore


Harbour Update – posted 23/01/19

Posted on: January 24th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Much of the same today, but the crisp, frost covered stillness of the morning meant that the Cattle Egrets in Holme Lane needed their own personal hot water bottles at dawn and were found hitching a ride on the back of some of the cows in the field in true Cattle Egret style. There was also the first Cattle Egret of the year for Lytchett Fields on Sherford (ice) Pools at dawn. The Common Crane yet again appeared at dawn on/over Hartland Moor…disappeared for the day and then re-appeared again at dusk. Where it goes during the day, we’d love to know. In Middlebere a Peregrine was beating up/chasing the Avocet and Lapwing for a while and a Spotted Redshank flew in. In Holes Bay NE there were 234 Avocet, 500+ Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Goldeneye and 25 Pintail with 51 Shoveler Duck, 19 Gadwall and 20 Lapwing in Holes Bay NW.

Cattle Egrets Holme Lane (above) Paul Morton and Cattle Egret Lytchett Fields (below) Shaun Robson


Harbour Update – posted 22/01/19

Posted on: January 24th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With snow falling north of us up in the midlands it was no surprise today that a flock of Golden Plover were found in the harbour with c40 flushed off the Keysworth estate by a Peregrine. We now tend to only ever see Golden Plover as a result of cold weather elsewhere, when they flee for warmer coastal areas. Also seen today was a Bittern at Swineham briefly in the reed beds along the northern edge of the pit. Also on Swineham GP were 4 Pochard, 1 Goldeneye, 6 Great Crested Grebe and a small number of Gadwall, Shoveler and Tufted Duck. In South Deep there were 2 Great Northern Diver and 2 Black-necked Grebe and another Great Northern Diver was off Baiter. The Common Crane was again seen leaving its roost at dawn and then seen arriving back again at dusk at Hartland Moor. From the Middlebere hide the ringtail Hen Harrier was seen and a Merlin was in Hartland. Along Holme Lane 3 Cattle Egret were in the cow field with tens of Redwing and Fieldfare. Off Shipstal c20 Spoonbill were roosting and on Lytchett Fields 2 Green Sandpiper and 2 Spotted Redshank were feeding with a Marsh Harrier out in the Bay and out in the centre of Poole Park Boating Lake the 2 Avocet were still enjoying themselves!

Male and female Siskin – PC World Drain – Ian Ballam


Harbour Update – posted 21/01/19

Posted on: January 21st, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Near perfect conditions around the harbour with all water bodies (even out in Poole Bay) like an oil slick which made viewing diving and open water species easy. Out in Poole Bay 4 Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver, 5 Shoveler and c15 Great Crested Grebe were settled and out off Middle Beach, Studland there were 37 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Slavonian Grebe and 1 Great Northern Diver with a Firecrest in the car park. There were also 6 Black-necked Grebe in Shell Bay and 3 in Bramble Bush Bay giving a harbour total today of 46 which is the highest for quite some time. There was also a third Slavonian Grebe in Brands Bay. This evening the Common Crane flew into Hartland Moor at 16:40 and then off to Slepe Bog. The White-fronted Goose also re-appeared at Bestwall with the Greylag flock. Poole Park boating lake is now almost fully drained of water and looks FANTASTIC. There were so many birds out there including the 2 Avocet, but also c10 Redshank, c15 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Little Grebe and c30 Tufted Duck. Along Poole Quay c20 Ringed Plover were along the sea wall at Fisherman’s Dock with a Kingfisher and 6 Turnstone there too. On Hartland 2 Merlin were seen and the ringtail Hen Harrier was seen at Sunnyside Farm. At Holme Lane 6 Cattle Egret were feeding and then moved down towards the Wareham bypass. In Arne Bay 25 Spoonbill were on Shipstal and a Black Brant was in with c550 Brent Geese. Firecrest were pretty numerous with 2 in the Arne car park, 1 at Upton CP and 1 at Middle Beach, Studland. An early morning (pre-dawn survey) saw 8 Woodcock on top of Hartland Stud. At Lytchett Fields there were 3 Green Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank and 1 Water Pipit. At Norden sewage works c15 Chiffchaff were in scrub around the filter beds and along Thrashes Lane, 8 Yellowhammer, c10 Reed Bunting and good numbers of Chaffinch were in hedgerows bordering the fields.

Redwing – Upton CP – Rene Goad

Common Buzzard – Upton CP – Rene Goad


Call 01202 641 003