Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Archive for March, 2019

Harbour Update – posted 27/03/19

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

Another fine spring day which started with some good fall conditions and saw Willow Warblers at the PC World Drain, Swineham and Arne. Best find of the day was a moulting Red-necked Grebe at Swineham GP which was a 1st for the site. Also at Swineham were 3 Sand Martin and an Osprey was seen hunting over the Wareham Channel. A bit later in the day another, or the same Osprey was seen high over the Wareham Channel heading north. A few additional sightings were sent in from yesterday which included the harbours firth Little Ringed Plover of the year, flying around and calling at dusk down at Swineham where an Osprey was again logged and Bearded Tit were really vocal in the reed beds. Jack Snipe, Ruff and Greenshank were all logged flying around Swineham Point near dusk.


Harbour Update – posted 26/03/19

Posted on: March 26th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Wow, what a day to be out. We circumnavigated the whole harbour, prepping for the launch of a project that we’ll be announcing on April 1st.  But until then, lets just talk about the birds. There was a great mix of species out there today with winter, spring and summer all represented in one way or another. It began at Swineham GP where the harbours first Willow Warbler was singing down by the gravel pit, just as the over-wintering White-fronted Goose passed overhead and landed on the pit. Also on Swineham were 4 Pochard, 6 Great Crested Grebe and 4 Little Grebe. At Holmebridge a Grey Wagtail was in full song and at Harland Stud a single Wheatear was out on the fields. A rare visit to Old Harry and Ballard returned 3 Swallow in off the sea, 4 Rock Pipit (2 singing) and a small party of Linnet. At Challow Hill, Corfe, a Blackcap was singing as were 2 at the PC World drain. Chiffchaff continue to be ‘well heard’ around the harbour, certainly in any wooded area. At the end of the day a vigil from Slepe Heath was carried out with much success. It began with 2 Swallow passing through and a few Sand Martin, when it was noted a female Marsh Harrier was soaring high above the Wareham Channel who was then joined by a female Hen Harrier. Both soared for several minutes together before then going their own separate ways. Then within a few seconds an Osprey drifted in from the SW and was instantly hassled by gulls. However, unperturbed it carried on regardless and caught a fish only 10 minutes later before then heading towards Arne and was soon lost to view. On Brownsea today 3 Spoonbill now resided and c20 Sandwich Tern were settled. Up On Hartland a small scattering of Fieldfare remained despite the warm temperatures and Meadow Pipit seemed to be on the move for most of the day. At Hatch Pond the first Great Crested Grebe chicks of the year hatched.

Blackthorn in full spring flower – Old Harry

April 1st spoiler 


Harbour Update – posted 25/03/19

Posted on: March 26th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Despite the calmness of the weekend, today saw a cold and chilly NW wind blow. We had a school bird boat at dawn which was lovely when went down wind, but bloody cold in any other direction! The main area of interest was the Brownsea Lagoon which saw 2 Spoonbill, c60 Med Gull, c20 Avocet, c15 Grey Plover, c200 Black-tailed Godwit but out on the water only c20 each of Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe remained. At Holton Pools a single Wheatear dropped in with a second on Baiter playing fields and at the PC World Drain a male Blackcap was singing back on territory. Poole Park had a new species attracted to it in the shape of a Knot, but there were still also 251 Black-tailed Godwit, 43 Med Gulls and 32 Oystercatcher.

Blackcap – singing at PC World Drain – Ian Ballam


Harbour Update – posted 24/03/19

Posted on: March 25th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A perfect spring day today which saw us actually witness a staging event for a migrating Osprey. At 9:10am whilst carrying out a vigil from the top of Slepe Heath an Osprey arrived in high from the south and immediately began fishing in the Wareham Channel where it was getting hassled by the local gulls. It soon caught a fish and headed to Arne somewhere but we couldn’t relocate it sadly. After carrying out some monitoring work elsewhere in the harbour, we returned to Slepe Heath to carry out another watch, only to see the mornings Osprey lift from the SW corner of Arne, catch a thermal until it was super high and then bee-lined off north. To see an Osprey is always a special event, to see one actually stage in the harbour before leaving again was pure magic. There was also a small passage of Red Kite today through the harbour with one over Studland, another over Stoborough and a third over Holton Lee. On Brownsea the Sandwich Tern totals continue to increase with 15 there today, along with 460+ Black-tailed Godwit, 20+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank and 40+ Grey Plover. At Middlebere a single Cattle Egret was feeding in fields with a small group of Little Egret. Finally, this weekend has been a busy for our camera traps on the Osprey nesting platforms dotted around the harbour. It seems the nests are attracting everything other than Osprey at the moment. But hey, its still early days in terms of Osprey migration so we’re still hopeful these will play a key role in helping us ID individual birds of the coming weeks.  

Peregrine caught on Osprey platform camera trap 

Wood Pigeon caught on Osprey platform camera trap 

Great Tits caught on Osprey platform camera trap 

Chaffinch caught on Osprey platform camera trap 


Harbour Update – posted 23/03/19

Posted on: March 25th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Good conditions today and a nice little flurry of spring migrants came through the harbour. There were Wheatear at Hartland Stud (3), 2 at Baiter Park, 1 at Arne, 1 at Sunnyside Farm and 4 on Hartland. At Swineham GP a big count of 120+ Sand Martin were feeding over the pit at dusk. Chiffchaff really arrived today with birds singing everywhere it seemed today. In Poole Park 4 Ringed Plover were feeding with c300 Black-tailed Godwit and 62 Med Gull were settled on the mud. Off Coombe Heath 2 Spoonbill were feeding in Middlebere. The male Black Redstart was still along the quay, behind the Thistle Hotel around midday. At Bestwall the White-fronted Goose was still hanging on with a small group of Greylag Geese.


Harbour Update – posted 22/03/19

Posted on: March 25th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Yesterdays Osprey was seen again briefly at dawn at Middlebere but sadly disappeared as quickly as it was found! At Stoborough a Great White Egret was seen flying over the Causeway, heading east towards the Wareham Channel. On the Brownsea Lagoon 13 Sandwich Tern were settled on the Boomerang, but so far only Med Gull and Black-headed Gull have shown interest in the nesting islands, which is typical for this time of year. Sadly an adult male Golden Pheasant was found dead face down in the water just off Round Island. In Poole Park there were 304 Black-tailed Godwit and 45 Med Gulls. Our school bird boat only returned very small numbers of Red-breasted Merganser, Brent Geese and Great Crested Grebe.


Harbour Update – posted 21/03/19

Posted on: March 22nd, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Its really beginning to get exciting now as the harbours first confirmed Osprey of the spring arrived at Middlebere before then disappearing for the rest of the day. This is two days earlier than our first record last year, but will it stick around? We’ll be out first thing tomorrow morning to see if we can pin it down at all. Also at Middlebere 2 Swallow flew through and at Lytchett Fields there was a Spotted Redshank, Green Sandpiper and Greenshank. A school bird boat noted that a large number of winter birds had well and truly departed with only a small handful of Red-breasted Merganser, Great Crested Grebe and Brent Geese still present across the harbour and on the Brownsea Lagoon signs of spring are obvious with Med Gulls now well out-numbering Avocet. The big female Peregrine was still at her vigil on the tall part of the Asda building in Holes Bay.


Harbour Update – posted 20/03/19

Posted on: March 22nd, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another nice calm day allowing for listening and viewing with more migrants on the move. During the morning c50 Crossbill, were on the edge of Greenland’s Farm and at Swineham c40 Sand Martin were over the gravel pit at dusk. At Holton Lee 2 Wheatear were in the back-fields and the Little Owl was behind the brick cottage. With short bursts of sunshine numerous Buzzard were soaring and displaying and a pair of Sparrowhawk were really active over the Piddle Valley. At Shell Bay a small flock of Sanderling remain including a couple of ringed birds. At dawn a ringtail Hen Harrier circled up high over the Wareham Channel before departing NE and a Merlin was on Hartland Moor. In the Wareham Channel 7 Spoonbill fed on the big low tide and 8 Cattle Egret left the roost and headed west, probably towards Holme and Bog Lane.


Harbour Update – posted 19/03/19

Posted on: March 22nd, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Quiet toady despite the calm conditions. More signs of spring with 5 Sandwich Tern on the Brownsea Lagoon with 5 Greenshank, and at Lytchett Fields there were singles of Spotted Redshank and Greenshank and 2 Green Sandpiper.


Harbour Update – posted 18/03/19

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

This is more like it! Low winds, mild conditions and a spring scent in the air. There were 2 Sand Martin over Swineham GP, 2 Wheatear on Greenland’s Farm and another at Sunnyside Farm. Off Middle Beach 3 Black-necked Grebe and 3 Great Crested Grebe remained and Chiffchaff seemed to be more conspicuous around the harbour with several singing at numerous sites. A Woodlark was in full song over Soldiers Road and Dartford Warblerwere singing at Arne. At Holton Lee a single Firecrest was near the cottage and at Sunnyside Farm there was another Wheatear and 50+ Meadow Pipit arrived on the scrape to feed. Out over the Wareham Channel a female Marsh Harrier and Hen Harrier circled together. 


Call 01202 641 003