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 June, 2019

Harbour Update – posted 10/06/19

Posted on: June 10th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Several bits of interest today. Firstly, after a month of ‘staying away’, female Osprey CJ7 was on one of the Poole Harbour nest platforms mid afternoon. Although she’d been seen around the harbour in recent weeks she had been staying away from the platforms as her breeding instinct waned away. At Lytchett Fields there were 45 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Lapwing and 2 Redshank with c20 House Martin mud collecting near the SANG car park. At Sunnyside there were also 3 newly fledged Lapwing out on the pools, which is great news. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 4 Spoonbill briefly and several Avocet, but no signs of any breeding.  At Holton Lee a Cuckoo was out on the heath with others at Hartland and Swineham. Finally, we’re beginning a nocturnal migration sound recording experiment at Corfe Castle in partnership with the National Trust which has already turned up some interesting finds which you can read about HERE.


Harbour Update – posted 09/06/19

Posted on: June 9th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A complete contrast to yesterday’s windy weather, today has provided calm and warm conditions with mild SW Winds of 7mph. The busy boat show hasn’t deterred birds from visiting the Quay with a Little Egret, 14 Canada Geese, c12 Sandwich Tern, 4 Common Tern and 4 Oystercatcher all seen from the HQ. Over at Holten Lee the resident male Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen feeding a juvenile on the feeding table! Other highlights caught on the webcam were Nuthatch, Chiffchaff and Great Tit.

Lytchett Fields has had an interesting array of species today including; 1 Curlew, 2 Oystercatcher, 4 Lapwing, 25 Gadwall, 2 Teal and 38 Black-tailed Godwit.

Brownsea Lagoon has produced its first Common Tern chicks, popping their heads out from under parents. Sandwich Terns are busy fattening up their growing chicks, as are the Greater Black-backed Gull and Black headed Gull. The resident 6 Avocet have been joined by 17 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Spoonbill and Gadwall. The Canada Geese have started building in numbers for their moult with 19 spotted today.  

At Upton CP the duck pond has been rewilded and as a result is full of Reed Warbler which is both good to see and hear. At Arne 2 Cuckoo were around Middlebere/Coombe Heath and in Brands Bay an over-summering Brent Goose was found. 

Great Spotted Woodpecker with young – Holton Lee feeder cam 

Male Nightjar singing from song post – Slepe Haeth – Paul Morton


Harbour Update – posted 08/06/19

Posted on: June 8th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

High winds with gusts of 40mph have been blowing a gale over at the Poole Quay. This hasn’t hampered a Red Kite which was spotted at a distance from the HQ gliding over the water. 7 Canada Geese and 2 Oystercatcher were also taking in the sites of the boat show.

Holten Lee webcam picked up the usual Great Spotted Woodpecker, chaffinch, Nuthatch and Goldfinch, while at Asda a Peregrine Falcon was perched up on a balcony in car park this afternoon at 15.30.

The Sandwich Tern Chicks, of which there are c53, are getting braver at Brownsea Lagoon moving further from parents and dipping a toe (claw) in the water. With c225 adults there are plenty of eyes to watch out for the Greater Black-backed gulls, all c105 of them, taking the opportunity to pick off any wondering chicks to feed their own. No chicks from the Common Terns (c233) just yet but there are large numbers Black-headed Gull chicks with 85 spotted amongst 128 parent birds. 16 Bar-tailed Godwit and 6 Avocet were also present.

Keep your eyes peeled for Storm Petrels in the Harbour as a gathering of these have been reported down at Christchurch Bay.


Harbour Update – posted 07/06/19

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

A very wet morning has seen Sandwich Tern chicks, Greater-Black-backed Gull and Black-headed Gull chicks hiding under their parents, but this afternoon the sun crept through the clouds and they all came out to dry off. 6 Avocet were seen with some signs of nesting but no sign of any eggs or chicks yet. A Godwit species, Oystercatcher (1 nesting) and large numbers of Shelduck were also spotted.

Sea watch reported a spectacular c20 Gannets off Branksome Beach whilst as Brands Bay 8 Curlew and c10 Oystercatcher were seen. At Holten Pool there were 26 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Lapwing, a Redshank, a Gadwall in Flight and a Mediterranean Gull.


Harbour Update – posted 06/06/19

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

The islands on Brownsea lagoon were very busy today! The Black-headed Gull chicks were growing in confidence, choosing to explore their island and venture further into the water. The Sandwich Tern chicks were also keeping their parents busy and were regularly seen requesting food and flapping their wings. Avocet, Oystercatcher, Shelduck and Gadwall were all seen enjoying the sunshine on the lagoon as well.

Great to hear that an Osprey was seen at Middlebere channel this morning and c20 swallows were seen flying around the fields close by.


Harbour Update – posted 05/06/19

Posted on: June 5th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The Sandwich Tern chicks have been active over at Brownsea Island Lagoon with most Terns having at least 1 chick, keeping the parents busy bringing Sand Eels in for food (see video below0. Also over at the lagoon were large numbers of Shelduck (c40), Common Tern (c150), Greater Black-backed Gull, 4 Avocet, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, c40 Oystercatcher, c20 Cormorant and 3 Gadwall.

Our Holten Lee camera caught the resident Great-spotted Woodpecker. We also took a group of from the Dorset Wildlife Trust out on a walk there this morning and saw, Little Owl, Dartford Warbler, Linnet, Mediterranean Gull, Swifts, Swallows, Chiffchaff, a Bullfinch with a hungry juvenile and Reed Warbler being fed by the parents. At Holton Pools there were 2 Oystercatcher, 1 Little Egret and a newly fledged Pied Wagtail. Over at Middlebere a Sparrowhawk and a Blackcap were also spotted.


Harbour Update – posted 04/06/19

Posted on: June 5th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Tonight we hosted our first Nightjar walk of the season, which turned out to be a real beauty. Despite the quick drop in temperature at sunset we were treated to a chorus of at least 8 different males, plus a few fly-bys of courting pairs including wing-clapping and numerous contact calls. We even managed to flush one, a male (by accident) from the side of the footpath just as we started our walk at 8pm which allowed us to see the bird, including the bright white spots in broad day light. We also sadly found a whole tail of a male Nightjar on a path which looked as if it had been pulled out by a predator, although the tail was fully in tact which suggests the bird may have got away…but is now just flying around ‘tailless’. Other highlights included a Marsh Harrier out on Arne moors, 1 Hobby over the heath, a decent fledged party of both Linnet and Stonechat, 4 Emperor Moth, 1 Cuckoo, 2 Willow Warbler and a few Dartford Warbler. If you’d like to experience Nightjar in all their glory then our Nightjar walks are every Tuesday through the summer (until end of July), so to book on CLICK HERE.

Other highlights from today included 2 sightings of Osprey, one see flying over the northern Arne shoreline and a second sighting (of possibly the same bird) seen from the Holton Lee side, out across the Wareham Channel. Cuckoo were still calling on Hartland, Slepe Heath, Middlebere and at Morden Bog. A Peregrine took a gull chick from the gull islands and in Middlebere a Marsh Harrier flew past the hide. Bearded Tit seem to be having a good year at Lytchett Bay with family parties already being seen/heard from Lytchett Bay view and at the end of Lytchett Heath Nature Reserve. At Holton Pools 2 sum plum Black-tailed Godwit were feeding in front of the hide, as was an Oystercatcher, 2 Little Egret and up to 4 Reed Warbler are nesting around the perimeter of the pools.

Watching and waiting for Nightjar on our Nightjar walk – Slepe Heath


Tail of male Nightjar found on our Nightjar walk – Slepe Heath


Harbour Update – posted 03/06/19

Posted on: June 3rd, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There was already a few possible signs of return migration or failed breeding today with Greenshank, Redshank and Lapwing (all adults) on Lytchett Fields, along with the long-staying male Little Ringed Plover. There was also a Cuckoo flying around the waterworks at dawn Nice to see so many Nightjar being reported from numerous sites including Arne, Slepe Heath and Holton Lee. The Dorset Nightjar team were also out last night at sites in Poole Harbour north and managed to track down several individuals using radio-tracking technology. Many birds are already well into feeding second broods with the heathlands seeing plenty of 1st brood Stonechat about. Freshly fledged Starlings are noisily moving about in ever growing flocks, waiting for their younger siblings to join them in a few weeks time as hungry calls tumble out of holes in tree trunks and from under roof guttering. There was no sign of CJ7 today but a Hobby was over Middlebere and 2 Egyptian Geese were at Sunnyside.


Harbour Update – posted 02/06/19

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

An overcast morning turned into a dreary afternoon with SW winds and cool temperatures. Over at Brownsea Lagoon the Tern chicks have been tucked away out of the rain again. 1 Oystercatcher seems to have made its nest in amongst the Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns. Also spotted were 18 Dunlin, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Oystercatcher (incl. 1 on nest), 6 Avocet (1 on nest) and 7 Gadwall. High numbers of Shelduck were observed with c113 and 8 ducklings spotted. Over at Holten Lee the webcam picked up several Nuthatch, the regular Great-spotted Woodpecker and usual Robin and Bluetit were seen along with some boisterous Rooks. Lychett Fields reported a Little Ringed Plover, Whimbrel and 30 Black-tailed Godwit. A Hobby was spotted at Hartland Moore flying towards Middlebere. Bullfinch, Linnet and Dartford Warbler were seen along the track to Middlebere hide. A lovely sight of 3 Spotted flycatcher and a Lesser Whitethroat was captured at Wytch farm along with the background call of CuckooOver at Old Harry Rocks 3 Fulmar were seen, along with lone Dolphin who was following boats too and from the Harbour.


Harbour Update – posted 01/06/19

Posted on: June 1st, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another beautifully sunny day in the harbour with light South Westerly winds providing perfect conditions for the Tern chicks to start venturing out from under their parents at Brownsea Lagoon. Sandwich Tern numbers have reached c220 pairs with most parents having at least one chick hatched now. The Common Tern population is also looking healthy with c150 pairs counted and almost all sitting on an egg or two. A couple more weeks and we should being seeing these eggs hatching too. Also seen over on the Lagoon were 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, c40 Oystercatcher, 2 Dunlin and 4 Avocet, 1 of which has been sitting on a newly constructed nest! The Graylag Geese, Canada Geese, Shelduck and Greater Black-backed Gull also have goslings/chicks. The Holten Lee webcam captured a Siskin, a Nuthatch and Chaffinch whilst over at the HQ on the Quay staff spotted a Buzzard gliding in the distance. Lychett Fields featured a Little Ringed Plover, a Black-tailed Godwit a Stonechat and 2 Oystercatcher.


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