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 January, 2019

Harbour Update – posted 20/01/19

Posted on: January 20th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A mega busy Poole Harbour WeBS (Wetland Birds Survey) day today so we’ll just get right into it. Off Branksome beach a Red-necked Grebe settled and 7 Red-throated Diver were moving about out in Poole Bay. The Common Crane was seen flying over the Studland Road, and was later assumed to be seen leaving north over Durlston. Along Holme Lane 11 Woodlark were in the main cattle field and 6 Cattle Egret were in the Frome Valley near the bypass with another 2 in Lytchett Minster at Post Green. Off Middle Beach there were 15 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Great Crested Grebe, and 12 Brent Geese and another 4 Black-necked Grebe in Shell Bay. Out in South Deep there was a single Great Northern Diver, 1 Slavonian Grebe, several Black-necked Grebe, 1 Spoonbill and several thousand Herring, Common and Black-headed Gulls. At Holton Lee the Little Owl was seen again at dusk and on Poole Quay, a male Black Redstart was seen on houses behind the Thistle Hotel. At Norden sewage works there were good numbers of Chiffchaff and plenty of Red-legged Partridge in the field directly opposite. With the tide so low this afternoon some area, especially along the southern shores of the harbour and Holes Bay south saw large numbers of common waders and wildfowl so it will be interesting to see what WeBS data is returned when all counts have been combined. Out in central harbour near dusk a large gathering of 42 Goldeneye, 57 Great Crested Grebe and c50 Red-breasted Merganser formed and at Lytchett Bay/fields, there were 3 Green Sandpiper, 1 Water Pipit, 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Peregrine, 1 adult Yellow-legged Gull and 1 Spoonbill. A Jack Snipe was flushed off Swineham Point and a male Goldeneye was on the main pit. This list is just the obvious highlights, but with a cold snap on the way, there’s no better time to be out enjoying the harbour…there’s just so much to see!

Harbour Update – posted 19/01/19

Posted on: January 20th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It literally piddled down all day, which was much needed actually as areas were getting rather dry recently. That said, not much birding could be carried out but the discovery of 2 Avocet out in the middle of the recently drained Poole Park Boating Lake was a superb Poole Town Centre record and will hopefully be a feature of things to come with the Borough of Poole’s new re-workings and plan for the site. Also at Poole Park 1 Mandarin Duck, 2 Shoveler, 2 Teal, 1 Wigeon, 91 Coot, 11 Little Grebe, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and c50 Tufted Duck. At Norden Sewage Works there were 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest and 1 Grey Wagtail. Along Holme lane 6 Cattle Egret were seen flying towards the Frome Valley.

Harbour Update – posted 18/01/19

Posted on: January 20th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Harbour Update – posted 17/01/19

Posted on: January 18th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Finally the Common Crane was found on the deck today in a field off Middlebere/Coombe Viewpoint. Having been present in the harbour for well over a week now, but only seen by a handful of people it gave its self up this afternoon and was enjoyed by many birders. Hopefully it will stay around for the rest of the winter and be enjoyed by many more birders. Also in Middlebere was a Great White Egret briefly and 13 Spoonbill were on Shipstal Point.

Common Crane – Middlebere – Paul Morton


Harbour Update – posted 16/01/19

Posted on: January 16th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A wet and wild day which may hopefully force a few ‘missing’ species back into the harbour, or certainly make them settle in some of the outer bays. Common Scoter, Red-necked Grebe, Eider, Black Guillemot and Long-tailed Duck all went missing just before Christmas, during that period of settled weather, so hopefully a bit of wind may some at least some of the return…maybe with the added bonus of a fresh in Velvet Scoter or Black-throated Diver. Actual sightings today were a little less exciting with just 2 Marsh Harrier reported over the Frome mouth, 6 Raven were over Slepe Heath. No sign of the Common Crane today but 2 Spoonbill in Lytchett Bay and another 14 at Shipstal was pretty standard.

Harbour Update – posted 15/01/19

Posted on: January 16th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The harbour was looking great today with plenty of birds to be seen. At sunrise the Common Crane was again leaving the Hartland area heading south west and was seen again at dusk coming in from the Corfe direction, heading towards Arne Moors. A Short-eared Owl was hunting along the Holton shoreline at dusk and 3 different Marsh Harrier went into roost in Poole Harbour west. A male and female Hen Harrier were seen near the mouth of the Frome/Swineham and a Great White Egret was in Shell Bay with 2 Cattle Egret in Lytchett Minster. In Studland Bay there were c20 Black-necked Grebe and a Great Northern Diver was in Shell Bay. Brands Bay was full of birds with c30 Knot, c70 Grey Plover and c20 Pintail the highlights along with good numbers of commoner waterfowl. Brownsea Lagoon was also looking good as plenty of Avocet were active out in front of the hide, 3 Greenshank were on the stony islands, c150 Bar-tailed Godwit flew in to roost and a single Spotted Redshank was at the southern end. At Norden Sewage works 2 Chiffchaff (one in full song) and a Grey Wagtail were present. At Sunnyside Farm, a night survey saw a minimum of 6 Jack Snipe present.

Harbour Update – posted 14/01/19

Posted on: January 16th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Arne was busy today with c300 Avocet in Middlebere with 1 Merlin and 2 Marsh Harrier along the channel and 50 Lapwing, 1 Shoveler, 1 Gadwall, c30 Wigeon and 50 Black-tailed Godwit at the top end of the channel. Off Shipstal there were another 11 Spoonbill and off Shipstal Beach 5 Goldeneye, 7 Great Crested Grebe and c20 Red-breasted Merganser. In the Arne car park 3 Firecrest were in the Holly at the end of the lane near the toilets. At dawn 1 drake Goosander and 1 Great White Egret flew up the Frome Valley, c300 Avocet were in the Wareham Channel and a ringtail Hen Harrier was at Swineham and 2 Crossbill flew over the Arne road at dawn. The Common Crane was again seen in flight over the Hartland area but couldn’t be relocated. At Holme Lane 6-7 Cattle Egret were still in the field along the road and in South Deep there were 2 Great Northern Diver and 2 Black-necked Grebewere in Brands Bay. At Holton Pools a Water Pipit retuned. 

Water Pipit – Holton Pools – John Pick


Harbour Update – posted 13/01/19

Posted on: January 16th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The Common Crane flew in from the south today, over the Wareham Channel and towards the Arne Moors. Will it be found on the deck again any time soon? In Middlebere there was the sub-adult male Hen Harrier, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 Spoonbill. At Swineham there were 4 Egyptian Geese, 4 Pochard on the Gravel Pits, 1 Marsh Harrier at Swineham Point with 2 Water Pipit, 6 Skylark, 5 Rock Pipit and 5 Common Snipe out on the marsh. 7 Cattle Egret were viewable from the road along Holme Lane.

Harbour Update – posted 12/01/19

Posted on: January 13th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The stillness departed today and a steady wind built throughout the day, which to be honest we could really do with. A bit of unsettled weather will hopefully draw in some more Great Northern Diver or scarcer sea duck or grebe species into the harbour. These recent settled conditions have been great for birding, but has seen a departure of things like the Eider, Common Scoter, Long-tailed duck and Red-necked Grebe that were all present right up until the end of last year…just as the weather calmed down. Either way, it will be interesting to see what turns up during and after these stronger blows. Some other good news it that Poole Park Lagoon has been drained! This provides an exciting birding experience right in the centre of town which back in 2010 saw two American species drawn to the lakes….Long-billed Dowitcher and Ring-billed Gull. There were no American species present today (that we were aware of) but there was a great supporting cast including 1 Water Rail (great Poole Park record), 4 Goldeneye, 11 Little Grebe, 42 Tufted Duck, 1 Wigeon, 2 Teal and 1 drake Shoveler, also 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Redshank and 11 Oystercatcher. The Mandarin was also still on the smallest pond. At Middlebere the ringtail Hen Harrier was seen mid-morning and a Merlin was on Hartland.

Newly drained and bird-rich Poole Park Lagoon

Little Egret – Holes Bay – Rene Goad

Harbour Update – posted 11/01/19

Posted on: January 11th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It was flat calm by the end of the day and a perfect mid to late winter scene. Although spring is just around the corner and dreams of warmer weather are almost here, we can’t help but feel sad every time winter drifts away as cold stillness and beauty then become the distant memory and large numbers of waders and wildfowl melt away into the spartina. With that said it seemed fitting a nice selection of winter birds were reported today with 2 Common Scoter and a Great Northern Diver off the southern shore of Brownsea. In Middlebere 5 Spotted Redshank were at the top end of the channel and a Marsh Harrier flew past the hide. In Studland Bay 11 Black-necked Grebe were off Middle Beach and in Bramble Bush Bay 12 Sanderling were on the beach. Chiffchaff are still present at several sites with 4 at Norden Sewage works and 5 at the PC World Drain. Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Brent Goose and Shelduck numbers around the harbour seem at the highest for the winter with our December WeBS count totals now in showing there were Wigeon [4718], Dunlin [2094], Black-tailed Godwit [1634], Lapwing [1765], Avocet [1223], Brent DB [1178], Red Breasted Merganser [203], Goldeneye [45], Black-necked Grebe [24], Great White Egret [1], Spoonbill [34] present on Dec 30th. Elsewhere 5 new Cattle Egret were found in fields next to the bakers Arms in Lytchett Minster, 2 Barn Owl were at Middlebere, the Little Owl was seen again at Holton Lee and the Green Sandpiper was on Holton Pools. This evening we also carried out a ringing session at Lytchett Bay having taken it easy in recent weeks with the Christmas period with 1 Woodcock, 1 Common Snipe and 1 Skylark ringed.

Woodcock – Lytchett Bay – Stephen Menzie

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