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 April, 2019

Harbour Update – posted 29/04/19

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

There seemed to be a nice scattering of downed migrants across the harbour today with 5 Wheatear, 2 Common Whitethroat, 1 Cuckoo and a small passage of Swallow across Greenland’s Farm. At Lytchett Fields there were 4 Little Ringed Plover again, also 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Blackcap and 1 Greenshank. At Holton Pools there were 2 Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Shelduck. Osprey activity seemed to ramp up a bit, although it may have just involved our two (currently resident) females ‘CJ7′ and ‘Beaky’. At dawn CJ7 was on a nest platform in the west of the harbour and Beaky was on the Middlebere platform for most of the day. Then at around midday 2 were seen circling high together over Round Island whilst another was seen out over the Wareham Channel. At Lytchett Fields, Stonechat fledged young for the first time in several years and the first fledged Robins are beginning to be seen at various sites too. In the Middlebere channel a single Spoonbill was feeding and Hobby were over Godlingston and Slepe Heath. In the Frome Valley only 6 Cattle Egret were counted. The summers first Nightjar of the summer was heard singing half-heartedly from a south harbour heathland and some night migration  recording in the Piddle Valley logged a drumming Common Snipe and a few small parties of Whimbrel moving through.


Harbour Update – posted 28/04/19

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

Hoorah! Today we saw a return of Osprey CJ7 as she had gone missing for a couple of days. She didn’t return to her favoured Middlebere platform, but instead opted for another vacant nest near Arne. It could have been because the large un-ringed female Osprey that’s now been around for a week or so was still taking up residence on the Middlebere platform, eating large Mullet. 

There was plenty more on offer today too with 3 Hobby hawking up and down the Arne road and on the edge of Slepe Heath. At Swineham/River Frome a count of 44 Reed Warbler, 6 Sedge Warbler, 19 Cetti’s Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Cuckoo, Whimbrel, 1 Swift and 50 Sand/House Martin were over the gravel pit. At Middlebere there were 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat, 1 Willow Warbler, 5 Reed Warbler, 1 Cuckoo and c10 Swallow. At Holton Lee a Cuckoo flew over Holton Pools and there were 4 Reed Warbler and 1 Whimbrel was in the bay. Away from nest platforms, Osprey were also reported over the Wareham Channel and near Ower Bay, but these relate to the 2 females that are present and a Marsh Harrier was in the mouth of the Frome. On the Brownsea Lagoon the Sandwich Terns have now begun moving onto the breeding islands and can be watched live HERE via our Brownsea webcam which was installed back in 2013 in partnership with Dorset Wildlife Trust and National Trust. On Baiter a decent small flock of waders consisting of 1 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover and 12 Turnstone were feeding along the low tide line.

Ringed Plover – Baiter Beach – Ian Ballam

Turnstone – Baiter Beach – Ian Ballam

Dunlin – Baiter Beach – Ian Ballam


Harbour Update – posted 27/04/19

Posted on: April 27th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Storm Hannah came and went last night and left a bright but breezy day ahead. Sadly there wee no signs of any Osprey on our nest platforms today which is the first time since April 1st. With the arrival of the un-ringed female a couple of days ago it could just be that CJ7 is off exploring currently, so lets hope she re-appears again soon. Sightings today were limited with 6 Reed Warbler in the Holton reedbed along with a Peregrine over and plenty of Med Gulls over head. In the Frome Valley 4 Cattle Egret and 10 Little Egret were feeding with the cows and a Hobby was seen flying along Poole Park lake which is a good central town record. There’s still a distinct lack of any hirundines coming through with only a handful of Swallow, Sand Martin and House Martin logged across the harbour. At Lytchett Fields there was a single Marsh Harrier and at Baiter there were 8 Turnstone, 1 Ringed Plover and 59 Oystercatcher including a colour-ringed individual from the Axe Estuary.


Harbour Update – posted 26/04/19

Posted on: April 27th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There was no sign of CJ7 today, but the un-ringed Osprey arrived really on the Middlebere nest (3:57am) and then spent most of the morning sat motionless before heading out to catch a fish, and then proceeded to devour it on the nest platform. The Cattle Egret group of 12 birds were again in the Frome Valley, just west of the Wareham bypass. At Arne, 5 late Brent Geese were off Shipstal and at Swineham GP the harbours first 2 Swift of the year were over the lake along with a handful of Swallow and Sand Martin, and the Red-necked Grebe was hiding away, tucked up at the western end of the pit.


Harbour Update – posted 25/04/19

Posted on: April 27th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A quick over-view today with 14 Cattle Egret seen heading up the Frome Valley at dawn, an Osprey was over the Wareham Channel mid-morning, 2 Spoonbill also flew west at dawn up the Wareham Channel and a lone Marsh Harrier was seen near Swineham. No sign of CJ7 today but an un-ringed female landed on the nest and ate a fish mid-morning. At Lytchett Bay 10 Whimbrel were out on the mud, a Peregrine passed over at dawn and a single Greenshank was logged.


Harbour Update – posted 24/04/19

Posted on: April 27th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There were 2 different Osprey on the Middlebere nest platform today with CJ7 doing her usual morning visit at dawn, with a bit of house keeping at sun-rise before moving off, then later in the afternoon a new un-ringed female arrived with a huge great big bill and long legs, giving her a very distinctive look. There was also a nice find of 12 Cattle Egret pre-roosting at Swineham GP with a single Great White Egret over too good numbers of Sand Martin, House Martin and  Swallow over the lake with a single Cuckoo too. Lytchett Fields was busy with waders today and included yesterdays Curlew Sandpiper, 6 Grey Plover, 4 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank plus the usual Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Oystercatcher etc. A short sea watch from Branksome produced 3 Fulmar, 1 Common Scoter and 1 Brent Goose.


Harbour Update – posted 23/04/19

Posted on: April 27th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With a bit of rain today it was nice to see a new wader arrive in the shape of a spring Curlew Sandpiper on Lytchett Fields. Although present in autumn, these are very scarce in Dorset/Poole Harbour during the spring. At Swineham GP the Red-necked Grebe was still present on the lake with a Cuckoo there too and in the Frome Valley 9 Cattle Egret were feeding again to the west of the bypass. Osprey CJ7 was (as usual) on the Middlebere platform this AM.


Harbour Update – posted 22/04/19

Posted on: April 27th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The Swineham White-fronted Goose re-appeared today in full adult plumage now, but as to why its still here is a bit of a mystery as it should be on its way back to Russia by now. Also at Swineham the Red-necked Grebe was found again, 26 Cetti’s Warbler territories were logged, also 4 Whimbrel, 5 Sedge Warbler, 2 Cuckoo, 4 Skylark and 7 Reed Bunting. Up on Hartland there were 2 Wheatear, 1 Red Kite passed over and Dartford Warbler were very vocal. Female Osprey CJ7 was back and fourth at the Middlebere nest platform for most of the morning but disappeared by the afternoon and a Cuckoo was on Coombe Heath, Arne. At Lytchett Fields there were 2 Spotted Redshank, 4 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank, 2 Lapwing and 25 Med Gulls. On Baiter Beach 15 Turnstone were feeding, some in almost full summer plumage.


Harbour Update – posted 21/04/19

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

It wasn’t the bird song of spring that woke may a people up this morning but in fact a hard core drum and base rave, booming out across Middlebere! Having started at around midnight in continued into dawn and carried on all day. Despite the booming rhythm, Osprey CJ7 sat tight on the Middlebere nest, even bobbing her head in time with the music occasionally too! In front of the hide 6 Whimbrel and 4 Grey Plover were out on the mud. Amazingly the Swineham White-fronted Goose was re-found today, having not departed north yet. Is it injured/sick? Or just not as wild as we had all originally assumed? Also, on the Swineham Pools a single Little Ringed Plover was present and along the Frome Valley a minimum of 24 Reed Warbler. Up on Ballard there were 3 Willow Warbler at the start of the South Coast path plus 3 Peregrine out near Old Harry and a scattering of Whitethroat including a couple that look to be back on territory. On Brownsea there was a single Spoonbill still and 12 Avocet. Cuckoo’s were calling at Arne, Swineham and Lytchett Fields and 7 Cattle Egret were in the Frome Valley near the Worgret Manor Hotel. At Sunnyside Scrape 2 Little Ringed Plover dropped onto the pool and a Red Kite drifted over. On Lytchett Fields there were 130+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Spotted Redshank and 2 Little Ringed Plover.


Harbour Update – posted 20/04/19

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

Today we hosted our first ‘Up with the Lark’ Poole Harbour bird boat of the year which saw a great range of species in a stunning sun-soaked Wareham Channel. As we cruised up the Wareham Channel numerous Sandwich Tern were fishing close to the boat as both Mediterranean Gulls and Black-headed Gulls busily ventured back and fourth from the nesting colony of the Holton shoreline. A flock of 12 Brent Geese also departed the Wareham Channel having likely just settled there for the morning as we now understand may birds use the channel as a staging site in late April. As we made our way up the river good numbers of Reed Warbler and a coupe of Sedge Warbler were singing and 5-10 Cetti’s Warbler were blasting out songs close to the boat. Sadly we missed 2 Osprey by a matter of minuets, one being CJ7 and the second being an un-ringed individual which then went on to pass over Lytchett Bay as it headed north. On the Brownsea lagoon there was a single Spoonbill, 12 Avocet, 12 Grey Plover including 3 summer-plumaged individuals, 1 Knot, 17 Dunlin, c20 Bar-tailed Godwit, 24 Common Tern and c100 Sandwich Tern, 1 Greenshank and c30 Med Gulls. At Lytchett Bay a Red Kite passed over and on the fields were 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Spotted Redshank and c30 Black-tailed Godwit. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was photographed on a house roof in Parkstone and more Cuckoo reports came from Stoborough Heath, Arne, Swineham and Godlingston.

Yellow-legged Gull – Parkstone – Pete Smith


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