Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Archive for February, 2019

Harbour Update – posted 06/02/19

Posted on: February 7th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

This morning and early afternoon felt more like a mild March day as (very) early spring warmth bathed the harbour. However, by late afternoon another big low pressure system kicked in and gales and heavy rain set in over night. These strong winds (as cold as they are) are great for ‘shaking things up a bit’ and will hopefully force some outer harbour species inside to settle for a few days/weeks. Portland Harbour saw a Black Guillemot appear out of nowhere last week so you never know. Highlights from today included a good count of 85 Shoveler on Swineham GP and an odd record of Red-legged Partridge along the track there. Out in the Wareham Channel, 12 Spoonbill were feeding and a Marsh Harrier flew over the Wareham by pass. In Parkstone Bay 2 Goldeneye and 2 Great Crested Grebe were just offshore and 8 Turnstone were on the beach. At Lytchett Fields there were 5 Green Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 301 Lapwing, 2 Spoonbill, 2 Water Pipit, 10+ Rock Pipit, 1 Merlin and 1 Marsh Harrier. Along Holme Lane 6 Cattle Egret were in the normal field and Poole park was again busy with birds, mostly Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Oystercatcher and a Greenshank. In Holes Bay a good count of 55 Pintail were in the NW section and 2 female Goldeneye were in the SE section.

Goldeneye – Holes Bay – Rene Goad

Pintail – Holes Bay – Rene Goad

Harbour Update – posted 05/02/19

Posted on: February 6th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another damp and dreary day which saw 4 Cattle Egret and 4 Woodlark in the Holme Lane fields. With heavy rain yesterday much of the Frome Valley was flooded and saw a number of Pintail, Gadwall and Shelduck along with a single Egyptian Goose at Holmebridge. Again Poole Park was a focal point with Black-tailed Godwit now almost peaking at 100 birds. Off Baiter there were 4 Goldeneye, 6 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Turnstone and 4 Med Gull were back in the harbour. Numbers of Med Gull will now rise on Baiter and around Parkstone Bay during Feb and March, especially on the low tides. At Lytchett Fields there was 1 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 301 Lapwing, 2 Spoonbill, 2 Green Sandpiper and 2 Water Pipit.

Spoonbill – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 04/02/19

Posted on: February 6th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Murky…for most of the day! Main highlights included a good selection of birds again present on the Poole Park Lagoon including 2 Avocet, c70 Black-tailed Godwit, c15 Redshank, c50 Oystercatcher and 1 Greenshank.  From Poole Quay, 2 Black-necked Grebe were visible (with a scope and good eyesight) on the northern Brownsea shoreline.  

Harbour Update – posted 03/02/19

Posted on: February 4th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The freezing temperatures were still present at dawn, but the cold wind had subsided and actually, by around 11am, a degree of warmth could be felt on cold noses and freezing fingers. With the finer conditions present today a nice set of sightings were reported. A bird boat around the harbour saw 3 Great Northern Diver off the northern Brownsea shore, 1 Slavonian Grebe, in South Deep, 10 Spoonbill at Shipstal, good numbers of Goldeneye now seem to be present and a few Black-necked Grebe were in central harbour. At Lytchett Bay, 2 Water Pipit were again on the fields and Cattle Egret were spread between Nutcrack Lane and Holme Lane and there were 5 Woodlark in the Holme Lane field with good numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare. In the field behind the Worgret Manor there were c25 Golden Plover with c40 Lapwing. A Barn Owl was hunting around Little Sea, Studland and 10 Black-necked Grebe and a Great Northern Diver were out in Studland Bay with 2 Slavonian Grebe in Shell Bay. The Poole Habour Marsh Harrier cohort has risen to 4 currently but just the single female Hen Harrier remains present around the harbour, today mostly sticking to the northern shoreline near Keysworth. Around Hartland there were 3 different Merlin and the warmer sunshine. General birding around the harbour seemed to show plenty of Redwing, Fieldfare, Lapwing and Skylark making use of the thawed out fields, but how long will they remain for? At Hatch pond a Red-breasted Merganser/Goosander was reported yesterday but a search this AM couldn’t relocate it. 

Great Crested Grebe – Hatch Pond – Rene Goad

Harbour Update – posted 02/02/19

Posted on: February 4th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

We had an interesting insight into what happens at night, post a cold weather event. The answer is…absolutely nothing! 

We had our sound recording gear set up the night after the snow hit and although species such as Redwing, Fieldfare, Skylark, Golden Plover and Lapwing were present in abundance in surrounding areas during the day, during the night just 2 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush and 1 Coot were logged all night. It sounds obvious but it seems birds reacting to cold/extreme weather only do so immediately before or during the weather event its self regardless if its day or night. And although these species normally migrate at night, they seem to stay put during the nights directly following the cold/extreme weather event to retain and conserve valuable energy levels. If there’s no need to move during the night any more…why would they? This was highlighted the night the snow hit when Portland logged 24 flocks of Golden Plover moving over the bill in the darkness along with plenty of thrush too. We’ll continue to put out our gear when we can over the following days to see if there is a ‘return’ night migration of species that escaped the cold weather but were now ambling their way back to original wintering sites. Or, will they make their way back to these sites during the day when foraging? 

At Nutcrack Lane 8 Cattle Egret returned and the fields were littered with Fieldfare, Redwing and Lapwing. A drake Goosander flew up the Wareham Channel and a single Golden Plover flew over Swineham. On Swineham GP there were 6 Pochard and a pair of Egyptian Geese. Off Middle Beach there were 2 Goldeneye and 2 Black-necked Grebe. 

Harbour Update – posted 01/02/19

Posted on: February 2nd, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With last nights snowfall it was hoped that a cold weather movement would be sparked at dawn, and although some Lapwing, Redwing, Fieldfare and Skylark were noted moving across the harbour at various locations, there certainly wasn’t a mass exodus of birds looking to escape the cold weather. That said, out on Baiter a flock of 15 Skylark was unusual and a Golden Plover flew over Poole Quay. Lapwing, Fieldfare and Redwing were settling on exposed grassy/muddy fields in the south of the harbour and 4 Cattle Egret were looking mighty miserable along Holme Lane. At Shell Bay, Studland a 1st winter male Eider was settled and 2 Great Northern Diver were also in Shell Bay. In between North Haven and Brownsea 2 Black-necked Grebe and 10 Red-breasted Merganser were settled.  In Parkstone Bay, off Baiter 2 Sandwich Tern were fishing and 6 Goldeneye were on the water. Poole Park was busy again with 57 Black-tailed Godwit, 29 Dunlin, 17 Redshank, 29 Oystercatcher, 1 Greenshank and 8 Shoveler. At Lytchett Fields there were 3 Water Pipit and a Woodcock was flushed from the approach path. In Lytchett Minster 2 Cattle Egret were in the field opposite the Bakers Arms with several Little Egret. A male Merlin was up on Hartland and 3 Marsh Harrier were in the west harbour roost.

Harbour Update – posted 31/01/19

Posted on: February 2nd, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Well, the predicted heavy snow kicked in around 6pm and began settling throughout the evening. Prior to this and leading up to the snow fall, a short and very cold sea watch was carried out at Branksome where 2 Red-throated Diver, 1 possible Black-throated Diver and c5 Kittiwake passed out in Poole Bay. The 5 Waxwing from yesterday were present first thing in Carey Road but couldn’t be relocated after 10am. At Sandbanks, the roosting flock of Sanderling contained the blue and yellow flagged individual which was first seen in the harbour last year and was confirmed to have been ringed in 2013 in Hampshire. By the Wareham bypass 4 Cattle Egret were just west of the bridge and along Holme Lane 2 Woodlark were in the cattle field along with good numbers Redwing, Fieldfare and several Mistle Thrush. In the Wareham Channel 3 Marsh Harrier were present and 12 Spoonbill were feeding there too.

Sanderling – Sandbanks – Ian Ballam


Call 01202 641 003