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 19/04/19

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

With a shimmering heat sitting low to the ground the Brownsea Lagoon was looking like a Spanish salt-pan today and primed for some decent birds to arrive. Some good coverage produced 16 Grey Plover, 1 Knot, 12 Avocet, 1 Spoonbill, 21 Dunlin, 12 Common Tern, c70 Sandwich Tern, c50 Med Gulls, 1 Greenshank and c150 Black-tailed Godwit. Still CJ7 continues to bring nesting material to the Middlebere platform with a good number of grass gathering missions made this AM. There were also 4 Whimbrel in Middlebere and a male Common Redstart on the edge of Hartland Moor. Again Cuckoo were calling at Swineham, Lytchett Bay and Hartland. At Lytchett Fields 4 Little Ringed Plover appeared out of nowhere and 6 Cattle Egret were in fields just north of Worgret Manor.

Black-tailed Godwit – Brownsea Lagoon – Rene Goad

Grey Plover – Brownsea Lagoon – Rene Goad

Osprey CJ7 carrying nest material – Middlebere


Harbour Update – posted 18/04/19

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

Its really beginning to warm up and it looks set to be a scorcher over the weekend. A few more passerines dropped into the harbour today with Wheatear, Whitethroat and Reed Warbler at Lytchett Bay, a scattering of Blackcap and Wheatear across Upton Heath and Willow Warblers at Challow Hill and Greenlands Farm. In Middlebere there were 4 Whimbrel and 2 Grey Plover with both female Osprey CJ7 and another un-ringed bird which moved up the channel. In Brands 12 Grey Plover and 1 Whimbrel were present. In Poole, near Dunyeates Hill a reeling Grasshopper Warbler was on the ARC nature reserve and Cuckoo’s were calling on Hartland, Swineham and at Morden Bog. Red Kites were over Keysworth and Candford Heath.

Harbour Update – posted 17/04/19

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

Mid April is always a great time of year, and if the conditions provide, then the birds will appear and today they did! A great suit of birds were logged across the harbour as the fog lifted, then dropped, then lifted again throughout the day. The day started off as usual with Osprey CJ7 bringing more nesting material to the Middlebere platform when a 2nd (un-ringed) female then decided to do a fly by of the Middlebere hide. A potential 3rdOsprey was then also seen out in Wareham Channel at roughly the same time. Willow Warblers and Blackcap arrived in good numbers for the fist time this spring with records of Willow Warbler at Sunnyside Farm, Soldiers Road, PCW Drain and Hartland, and Blackcaps up on Ballard in reasonable numbers in the scrub. At Lytchett Fields, the first Redstart of the spring popped up near the car park and out on the fields them selves were a grounded Yellow Wagtail, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Spotted Redshank and 2 Common Sandpiper.  On the Brownsea Lagoon the first 2 Common Tern of the spring appeared in amongst the Sandwich Tern and in Stoborough 2 Hobby were circling over the river valley. At Holme Lane 6 Cattle Egret were still feeding in the fields and are now looking rather spring-like and there were 3 freshly arrived Cuckoo with 1 at Swineham, 1 in Stoborough and another at Studland. A steady trickle of Swallow pulsed through for most of the day and 2 Red Kites drifted over the harbour, one at Candford Heath, the second at Sandford. Night sound recording in the Piddle Valley produced a small party of Common Sandpiper leaving the harbour at around 9pm and 2 small parties of Whimbrel just after dark and and hour before sunrise.

Common Sandpiper – Calls of night migrants – Piddle Valley 17/04/19 @ 2103

Yellow Wagtail – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 16/04/19

Posted on: April 17th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Some rain through the night and a sill morning produced a nice fall of birds around the harbour including a Nightingale which was singing at the northern side of Upton Heath mid-morning. Nightingale have seen a dramatic decline in the UK and there are now NONE breeding within our Poole Harbour recording area. Our only opportunity to hear these spring songsters nowadays is if you’re lucky enough to ‘bump’ in to one on spring migration. At Lytchett Fields a new spring record count of 9 Little Ringed Plover was observed along with 2 Whimbrel, 2 Spotted Redshank (including 1 summer plumaged bird), 1 Greenshank and 159 Black-tailed Godwit. At Swineham 3 Sedge Warbler were singing along with 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Cuckoo and c20 Sand Martin. In Middlebere there were 10 Grey Plover and 66 Shelduck and at Sunnyside 3 Wheatear were on the scrape. On the tall section of the Asda building a female Peregrine was sitting out the rain mid-morning and as it warmed and dried up later in the day Dartford Warbler were very active on the local heaths with plenty of display flying. Osprey CJ7 was very active at the Middlebere nest platform again during the morning but there was a surprise appearance from a new female bird today which was also colour-ringed, albeit on the left leg. We could make out the letters PA (and we think 2) which makes it a 3-year old female from Scotland, hatched in 2016 near Loch Lomond. She’s obviously a non-breeder like CJ7, but shows that the non-breeding cohort are now arriving and making their way through the area now…so hopefully not long before we may see one of our LS birds arrive. We’ve re-started doing quite a bit of night sound recording again, and last night had a flock of Dunlin depart the harbour and head up the Piddle Valley just after sunset.

 Dunlin flock – calls of night time migrants – Piddle Valley – 16/04/19 @20:57

 Peregrine Falcon – Asda, Holes Bay, Poole

Harbour Update – posted 15/04/19

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

Today a blasting SE ripped across the harbour, and a sea watch should really have been undertaken, having seen all the goodies that were passing Chesil and Portland Bill mid morning. But sadly we couldn’t get down to Branksome but still, we saw Osprey CJ7 very briefly at the Middlebere nest again bringing some nest material to the platform. A few more waders were reported with 2 new Common Sandpiper fresh in at Lytchett Fields along with 2 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel and 4 late Wigeon. On the Brownsea Lagoon a very small number of Avocet were displaying and pairing up and 2 Spoonbill were present. At Sunnyside 4 Wheatear were near the scrapes but only a single Little Ringed Plover was there.

Harbour Update – posted 14/04/19

Posted on: April 15th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

After yesterday’s busyness of nest prepping, female Osprey CJ7 ramped it up a gear this morning and was really active around the Middlebere platform, bringing sticks and moss to the nest for a good hour or so before drifting off high NW not to be seen again for the rest of the day! The NE wind had really picked up by midday and it was FFFreeeeeezing when not in a sheltered spot, but other sightings of Swallow pulsing through, 2 Little Ringed Plover at Sunnyside, a Common Whitethroat at the PC World drain, 2 Wheatear at Middlebere and the springs first Whimbrel in Lytchett Bay still tried to make it slightly spring like today. Other reports came in the shape of 3 Spoonbill at Shipstal, Arne, another Osprey (or possibly CJ7) drifted over Lytchett Bay and also the Corfe Road and on Lytchett Fields 1 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Green Sandpiper and 1 Greenshank were present.

Osprey CJ7 in the Middlebere nest platform – Barbara Bisset

Harbour Update – posted 13/04/19

Posted on: April 14th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

We’ve been making a lot of comment on Osprey behaviour and sightings from around the harbour in recent weeks, with CJ7 receiving most attention. We’ve had a team out monitoring her activities and we’ve noted some interesting behaviour on some of the nest platforms and today we got some nice photos of her nest prepping and stick carrying at the Middlebere platform. This was the first time we’d logged this behaviour on this particular platform and it’s truly an exciting development in the hoped for re-colonisation of Osprey here on the south coast for the first time in a few hundred years. All we’re hoping for now is that one of our male Osprey chicks from 2017 returns to the harbour over the coming weeks and strikes up a bond with CJ7 in preparation for possible breeding to take place next spring.

It also felt  very spring like out on the heathlands with the springs first Cuckoo calling out at Morden Bog, Wareham Forest. At Lytchett Fields 1 Yellow Wagtail flew over and there were 4 Little Ringed Plover and 2 Spotted Redshank on the fields.

Female Osprey CJ7 nest prepping on Middlebere Platform

Harbour Update – posted 12/04/19

Posted on: April 14th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It’s still very cold, and the ENE wind is due to build by the weekend but the sun shone and we were thrilled to have a visit to our BoPH HQ by the Biotope UK team who were visiting in regards to an exciting project we’re helping with at RSPB Arne later in the year. Although we can’t say too much now, it was great to see the Biotope team, and I’m sure the RSPB Dorset team will be releasing more info about this exciting project in the coming weeks/months which is scheduled for Autumn 2019.

Sightings today were limited to CJ7’s standard morning visit to the Middlebere platform where she sat and pondered for a while. Red Kites were logged over Poole Park and Holton Pools. A Little Ringed Plover flew over Morden Bog which is quite an exceptional record, at Lytchett Fields there were just 2 Green Sandpiper and at Baiter there were still 12 Turnstone feeding on the beach.

Harbour Update – posted 11/04/19

Posted on: April 12th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

This cold ENE wind is slowing migration right up, with not much getting through currently other than another small trickle of Osprey with at least three different birds in and around the harbour this AM. As is currently usual, CJ7 spent the early part of the morning on the Middlebere platform, whilst in the Piddle Valley, just north of Wareham, two different Osprey (one male, one female) were seen low heading towards the harbour. At Lytchett Fields there was just a single Little Ringed Plover with 54 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Spotted Redshank but the sites 1st Common Ringed Plover of the spring was the most noteworthy sighting. A Tree Pipit was heard over Middlebere, singles of Willow Warbler were at Greenlands Farm, Swineham and Hartland and 3 Wheatear were on Hartland Stud with another 2 on Greenlands Farm. A few Swallow and Sand Martin are now arriving back at nesting sites, but there are still plenty more yet to arrive. Blackcap seem to be everywhere already, despite it only being early/mid April. Although we’re sure some have arrived from the south, is it the case that in fact some of our over-wintering birds and now staying as breeding residents?

Swallows – Stoborough 

Harbour Update – posted 10/04/19

Posted on: April 12th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today saw the harbours second Yellow Wagtail of the spring, this time passing over Poole Park, where the lagoon has now filled up considerably and only held 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Redshank and a few Oystercatcher. Ten tardy Fieldfare were in the Piddle Valley and at Lytchett Fields an Egyptian Goose flew over and on the fields was 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Little Ringed Plover and 2 Green Sandpiper. An Osprey was high over Coombe Heath and another Hobby dashed through, this time at Greenlands Farm where there were also 2 Wheatear, several Chiffchaff and Blackcap and 7 Swallow through overhead.

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