Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Archive for November, 2019

Harbour Update – posted 30/11/19

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

The Frome flood fields Cattle Egret remained present accompanied by 100s of Black-headed Gulls. Middlebere featured 250 Lapwing, 50 Redshank, 35 Curlew, 9 Brent Goose, 4 Spotted Redshank, 30 Dunlin & common wildfowl. PeregrineSparrowhawk and Marsh Harrier were all recorded from Middlebere throughout the day.

A rising tide at Lytchett Fields saw 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank, c60 Dunlin, c50 Redshank, c20 Lapwing and 1 Common Gull with Black-headed Gulls. Lytchett Bay held a single Grey Plover with c50 Dunlin, along with 129 Avocet, c60 Brent Goose, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and a Great Crested Grebe. A Further 2 Red-breasted Merganser spent the afternoon in Holes Bay South.


Harbour Update – posted 29/11/19

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

Sightings have been thin on the ground today. However, good report from Lytchett Fields featuring 1 Spotted Redshank, 3+ Water Pipit, 5 Avocet, 2 Curlew, 53 Dunlin, 3+ Green Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 25 Lapwing, 91 Redshank and 6 Snipe.

Holes Bay reports featured high numbers of Wigeon, c100 Avocet, 2 Tufted Duck, Pintail, Shoveler and Great Crested Grebe.

Good numbers of Common Redshank, c.150 Lapwing, Marsh Harrier and Peregrine over Middlebere this AM.


Harbour Update – posted 28/11/19

Posted on: November 28th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Not a huge number of sightings today, despite being relatively calm and dry. Along the Poole Harbour south-east shoreline, sightings included 1 Long-tailed Duck off Redhorn Point, 2 Great Northern Diver in South Deep, as well as 9 Black-necked Grebe, 5 Goldeneye and 12 Red-breasted Merganser off Jerry’s Point.

Studland Bay provided good sightings from Middle Beach, including 8 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver5 Great-crested Grebe and 12 Brent Geese. A group of 17 Sanderling and 2 Ringed Plover were recorded on one of the groynes at Sandbanks.

Reports at Holes Bay were similar to yesterday, with of 3 Snipe seen flying over. A single Firecrest was reported at the south end of Grove Lake at Upton Country Park, as well as 59 Curlew and 2 Black-tailed Godwit. Another highlight from today, although outside of the BoPH recording area, is a Great Grey Shrike reported from Sugar Hill in Wareham Forest.


Harbour Update – posted 27/11/19

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

Our weekly Poole Town Birding Walk didn’t miss the bad weather, but it did produce some great birding. After enjoying the Turnstones along the Quay, a Great Northern Diver could be seen from Baiter car park. Feeding amongst the Oystercatcher flock on Baiter were 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and numerous Redshank. A single Greenshank was also feeding at the northern end, near the Skate Park. Parkstone Bay held several Great Crested Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser and Brent Goose. Poole Park was also productive, offering views of both female and drake Goldeneye, 2 Mediterranean Gull and 1 Sandwich Tern. A flock of c45 Brent Goose briefly dropped down onto Baiter Park to conclude the enjoyable walk.

The high tide Holes Bay roost featured 141 Avocet, 310 Black-tailed Godwit, 41 Curlew, 150 Redshank, 9 Shelduck, 15 Pintail, 60 Mute Swan, 15 Shoveler, 35 Teal, 460 Wigeon, 6 Little Egret, 6 Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Grey Wagtail, 2 Canada Geese, Lapwing, Raven, 2 Common Gull, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Oystercatcher, Peregrine, 2 Cormorant, c1000 Wigeon and 250 Dunlin.

Lytchett Fields produced 2 Water Pipit from French Pool’s Viewpoint, as well as 16 Curlew in Arable Field, 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Green Sandpiper and a Dunlin in Approach Field. Wareham town centre drew in c150 Black-tailed Godwit in the flooded fields near Saxon Roundabout. Elsewhere, Hartland Moor recorded a Merlin this evening.


Harbour Update – posted 26/11/19

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

Huge high waters were experienced across the harbour today, encroaching onto footpaths and roads near the shore. Over at Baiter, a flock of 54 Brent Geese were feeding out on the Park along with 1 Greenshank, 4 Redshank and 8 Turnstone. Our next Poole Town Winter Walk takes place on Wednesday (10am – 1pm) and will incorporate Poole Quay, Baiter and Poole Park, offering a chance to experience many of these abundant winter visitors. More details can be found here.

A Marsh Harrier was recorded over Holton reeds. Lytchett Fields picked up Little Grebe on French’s Pool, a minimum of 200 Teal and 2 Green Sandpiper on Approach Field. Pool’s Field held 63 Redshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and a Spotted Redshank.


Harbour Update – posted 25/11/19

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

Frome flood fields held a single Cattle Egret. It’s great to see at least one bird over-wintering as this species was once rare in Britain and Dorset until 2006, but by 2009 it had been removed from the BBRC list. In autumn 2018, numerous records were obtained from several sites around the harbour with a max count of 7 birds in the Frome Valley and by December 2018 a flock of 20 were frequent in the Frome valley. The flooded fields also supported c100 Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Lapwing and plenty of Black-headed Gulls.

A very wet but packed Middlebere channel featured c2000 wildfowl, c350 Avocet, 5 Spotted Redshank, 30 Curlew, 150 Lapwing and a splattering of Black-tailed Godwit. Within the space of 20 minutes, both Peregrine and juvenile Marsh Harrier made a welcome appearance to the channel.

A grand total of 7 wader species could be found along Baiter Park this morning with 12 Turnstone, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 100+ Oystercatcher, 2 Dunlin, 4 Redshank and 2 Greenshank. The Great Northern Divercontinued to show off Baiter slipway today. A drake Goldeneye was also present on Poole Park throughout the day.

Greenshank – Baiter Park – Paul Morton


Harbour Update – posted 24/11/19

Posted on: November 24th, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Once a month wetland sites are surveyed under the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS), providing data for population and trends in abundance and distribution across the country. Poole Harbour hosts huge numbers of wintering birds and today saw the coordinated November WeBS count, providing excellent coverage of the harbour.

South Central harbour was teeming with activity on the low tide and many open-water highlights included 1 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Slavonian Grebe, 11 Black-necked Grebe, 3 Great Northern Diver, 27 Goldeneye, c100 Great Created Grebe, c70 Red-breasted Merganser and 1 Common Scoter. Huge numbers of waders and wildfowl were feeding out on the exposed mudflats including 18 Spoonbill, c40 Grey Plover, lots of Black-tailed Godwit, c400 Avocet and Curlew with Marsh Harrier, 1 Firecrest and 1 Great White Egret. The highest Lapwing count (167) at Lytchett Fields this autumn was logged today, along with 62 Avocet, 20 Black-tailed Godwit 75, Brent Goose, 40 Curlew, 31 Dunlin, 16 Gadwall, 3 Greenshank, 2 Kingfisher, 2 Knot, 167 Lapwing, 2 Pintail, 2 Spotted Redshank, 107 Redshank, 299 Teal, 2 Water Rail, 534 Wigeon and a Yellow-legged Gull. The 2 Velvet Scoter were off Jerry’s Point with 6 Common Scoter and Black-necked Grebe off there too.

Swineham held abundant numbers of Coot on the gravel pits with a few Shoveler scattered amongst them. Great Crested GrebeGadwallMallard & Tufted Duck and Little Grebe were all recorded along the Frome. At least 150 Lapwing were among the Piddle flood fields and 2 Marsh Harrier were seen quartering the area. A flock of 6 Bearded Tit were observed over the Frome.The old scrape at Swineham harboured 50 Lapwing, 20 Mallard and 6 Curlew while the new scape 3 held and additional Snipe, 8 Shelduck, several Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Curlew, 2 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall & Mallard. The Two Rivers produced c150 Curlew, c125 Canada Geese and the White-fronted Goose amongst the Greylag in Frome flood field opposite Redclyffe Yacht Club.

Elsewhere, a Short-Eared Owl was found this evening flying between Soldiers Road and the Arne Road junction. It appeared from the Slepe Heath side and moved on west along the base of Stoborough Heath. A total of 7 Marsh Harrier had gathered in the west Harbour by sunset. Studland Bay featured a Red-throated Diver, 4 Black-necked Grebe and 11 Red-breasted Merganser and c100 Brent Goose entered harbour this morning at 9.15am. Rockley Park featured 106 Brent Goose, offering close views from the Park. Goathorn offered small numbers of Avocet, A single Great White EgretWoodcockFirecrest and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. Fitzworth Point was of a hive of activity, vast numbers of waders present as usual, including more unusual visitors for the area including 12 Turnstone and 3 Sanderling. The evening also produced a Merlin over towards Wytch Causeway.

 Spoonbill gatecrashing Avocet party – Wytch Lake

Feeding Avocet flock – Wytch Lake


Harbour Update – posted 23/11/19

Posted on: November 23rd, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today we hosted out first low-tide cruise of this winter period and it was an absolute treat to be able to showcase the wealth of bird life that Poole Harbour has to offer during the colder months. Traditionally we’ve always hosted high-tide cruises around the harbour looking at open water species, but with recent experiments and survey boats we’ve learnt we can explore the harbour on the more exciting low tide to seek out a whole range of waders too.

We left the quay at 12:30pm with a low tide expected at 1:20pm, so we crept along the northern shoreline before entering the Wareham Channel as the tide flowed past us out towards the harbour mouth. As shorelines became exposed birds began to reveal themselves as Curlew, Oystercatcher and Brent Geese lined the shingle and sand banks. On the northern Arne shoreline 9 Spoonbill busily fed as Red-breasted Merganser began to appear in small flocks. Great Crested Grebe became numerous very quickly and Gadwall began to appear. As hoped for Marsh Harrier showed up along the Keysworth shoreline with 3 present including a 2nd year male, 1 juv and an adult female. Towards the mouth of the Piddle a flock of c120 Avocet fed in a tight flock as Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and a few Redshank searched the mudflats. We entered the Frome and Little Grebe seemed abundant on the river fringes as two Kingfisher showed superbly sat on low rocks on the shore. As we crept up the rived a few Reed Bunting gave them selves away as Shoveler, Gadwall, Greylag Geese and Lapwing became really conspicuous on the floodplain and new Swineham scrapes with c150 Lapwing, c30 Shoveler plus 100+ Coot on the main gravel pit. As we exited the river 2 Bearded Tit showed briefly on the edge of the reed bed as more Lapwing arrived to settle on the mudflats. Out towards central harbour more and more Great Crested Grebe were logged and a single Slavonian Grebe was in Balls Lake. Goldeneye were represented in a few small flocks (mostly females) with flocks of 11, 4 and 2. We managed a healthy 4 Great Northern Diver with 1 off Hamworthy Beach, 2 in South Deep and 1 off Furzey Island, with a single Red-throated Diver off Green Island. We managed to catch up with a couple of Black-necked Grebe in the Balls Lake area and off Jerry’s Point  a single Velvet Scoter was logged and at 4pm (by a land based observer) 13 Common Scoter settled in Brands Bay at dusk. We passed the Brownsea Lagoon as the light began to fade as many (mostly) Herring Gull came into roost but it was also busy with Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Avocet, a few Knot, Greenshank, Grey Plover and a Peregrine was settled on the Tamrisk Island. Other bits and pieces included a Cetti’s Warbler singing up the Frome, several Raven overhead, a flock of 17 Snipe over, 2 Egyptian Geese, a small flock of Redwing, a few fly over Rock/Water Pipit, 1 Stonechat, It was quite a trip, and when you add in the commoner species such as Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Shags, Cormorants, Wigeon, Teal, Common Gulls, Starlings and so on it made for an extremely productive trip with 76 species logged in all.


Harbour Update – posted 22/11/19

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

Wednesday saw the beginning of our Sunnyside Ringing Demos, and what a start! Within the hour we had terrific views of the trio – Woodcock, Common Snipe AND Jack Snipe. Not only that, but we were able to compare juvenile and adult Woodcock in the hand at the same time. Six other Ringing Demo events are available between December and February. A full list of Ringing Demo events can be found here. Please note booking is essential as places are limited per event.

Returning to today, Sunnyside Scrape received an uncommon visitor in the form of a Little Grebe. Brownsea Lagoon saw 2 Greenshank, 18 Curlew, 4 Brent Goose, 1 Green Woodpecker amongst numerous AvocetRedshankBlack-tailed Godwit and Dunlin. A small flock of Shoveler spent the day shoveling but not wildfowl numbers on the lagoon today were relatively low. Holton Pools held RedshankGreenshankStonechat as well as a Marsh Harrier making a welcome appearance. A total of 85 Brent Goose were feeding at Baiter Park and a Firecrest and Grey Wagtail frequented Norden sewage works, Corfe Castle. A notable flock of 65 Pintail frequented Shipstal, amongst numerous Curlew and 17 mobile SpoonbillGreat Northern Diver was close in at Baiter this morning and a pair of Goldeneye were close in at Parkstone Bay this morning.

Woodcock – Sunnyside Ringing Demo – Dorothy Widnall

Common Snipe – Sunnyside Ringing Demo – Dorothy Widnall

Great Northern Diver – Baiter – Ian Ballam

 Goldeneye – Parkstone Bay – Ian Ballam


Harbour Update – posted 21/11/19

Posted on: November 21st, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Jerry’s Point at midday offered 2 Velvet Scoter, 1 Common Scoter, 1 Great Northern Diver close in, 6 Black-necked Grebe, 7 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Sandwich Tern as well as 10 Sanderling, 7 Turnstone and 3 Grey Plover on beach. Poole Quay produced Great Northern DiverCommon GuillemotGreat Crested Grebe and two small flocks of Avocet from our office window, but we’re still working on picking up the Long-tailed Duck from the office! Excitingly, a Purple Sandpiper was seen near the chain ferry at Studland.

High water levels at Lytchett Bay held good numbers on Approach Field including DunlinGreenshankRedshankGreen SandpiperLapwing and Teal. Also, 2 Marsh Harrier quartering about Lytchett Fields this morning with the 2nd bird seen to catch a teal on French’s Pool.


Call 01202 641 003