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 December, 2019

Harbour Update – posted 31/12/19

Posted on: December 31st, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Ok, so there were no last minute wonder birds today, but instead a nice steady covering of the usual suspects. It’s been a good winter so far, with what seems to be excellent numbers of birds around of many species. It seems species like Firecrest, Bullfinch, Black-tailed Godwit, Shoveler, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Great Northern Diver, Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe are present in higher than average numbers this winter, with lower than average totals of Fieldfare, Avocet, Chiffchaff, finch flocks, and over-wintering Blackcap.

Well, we’re now half way through the winter with just January and February left to see us out of the dark and into the light. Although we’re looking forward to an exciting spring, January and February can be really productive months often with the highest totals of the winter birds logged. That’s why we’ve chosen January 19th to host our first Big Poole Harbour Bird Count, which is where we want to get everyone involved in recording and logging everything you see on that day. We’ll be providing more info on this early next week so please keep an eye out.

So, with 2019 coming to an end we want to say a HUGE thank you to all our supporters over the year for what’s been an extremely productive year for our charity and has seen us grow and build on our work around the harbour. We can’t do any of this with out you, so from all of here at BoPH we with you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR and look forward to seeing you out in the field during 2020.

Spotted Redshank – Brownsea Lagoon


Harbour Update – posted 30/12/19

Posted on: December 31st, 2019 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With the year drawing to an end the decent winter run continues with not one but two Hen Harrier in Middlebere today, both ringtails. Also 3 Marsh Harrier present in and around the Arne Peninsular and a Merlin on Hartland. At Swineham the gravel pits are still busy with birds, mainly Coot (150+) and Gadwall (100+) but also a single Pochard, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Little Grebe and 8 Tufted Duck. Off Swineham Point there were 4 Bearded Tit and 2 Marsh Harrier with 5 Cetti’s Warbler along the River Frome. At the PC World Drain the Firecrest was still present along with 4 Common Chiffchaff with another Firecrest at Middlebere. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 2800+ Black-tailed Godwit, 750+ Dunlin, 32 Ringed Plover, 91 Avocet, 88 Bar-tailed Godwit, 180 Grey Plover, 19 Redshank, 3 Spotted Redshank, 2 Sanderling, 2 Pintail and 11 Brent Geese. The 2 Long-tailed Duck were off Jerry’s Point again with 2 Great Northern Diver there too and 4 Black-necked Grebe.


Harbour Update – posted 29/12/19

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

The conditions were wonderful for today’s Wareham Channel cruise. The calm weather offered cracking views of all of the star winter species present in the harbour at the moment. The journey along Wareham Channel produced 2 Marsh Harrier and Red-breasted Merganser in abundance.

The meander up the River Frome to Wareham provides great flooded fields covered in Lapwing, Curlew and Black-headed Gulls. As we returned to the open waters of Poole Harbour it was not long before we were spotting Great Northern Divers seemingly everywhere!  The South Deep again produced the best open water birding spectacles, offering 2 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Common Scoter, and many of the Black-necked Grebe and Goldeneye observed from the boat. 

The Brownsea Lagoon was also looking fantastic with a whole spread of waders and wildfowl including c2000 Black-tailed Godwit, c100 Grey Plover, c300 Avocet, c1500 Dunlin, c70 Bar-tailed Godwit (including the regular returning summer-plumaged individual), c50 Shoveler, 32 Ringed Plover and 1 Sanderling.

Off Middle beach there was a single Slavonian Grebe and a further 2 Slavonian Grebe were spotted from a watch off Goathorn. At Middlebere the ringtail Hen Harrier was sat on a fence post and 2 Firecrest were in Bramble next to the hide. The second ever recorded Black-necked Grebe featured in the Lytchett Bay this morning (first recorded back in 1997!). Elsewhere, 23 Spoonbill were roosting at Shipstal Point, Arne.

Long-tailed Ducks – Brands Bay – Rene Goad


Harbour Update – posted 28/12/19

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

Sightings were fairly thin on the ground again today, perhaps because we’re all still recovering from the big day, or maybe due to the thick mist which shrouded the harbour from early afternoon.

Despite consistent high tides, Holes Bay harboured some 38 Curlew, 50+ Avocet, 9 Lapwing, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Little Egret, good numbers of the usual suspects of WigeonTeal and Shelduck, plus 1 leucistic Canada Goose in amongst conspecifics. At the Upton Country Park end, Redwing were gathered in a flock of 60+ birds.

Baiter Park was also fairly productive with 1 Great Norther Diver and 11 Red-breasted Merganser showing down to a very good distance, alongside both male and female Goldeneye. Also present were Dark-bellied Brent Geese, TurnstoneRedshank, and Oystercatcher.

Brands Bay held good variety today, with three grebe species showing: 1 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Black-Necked Grebe, and plenty of Great Crested Grebe. Also present were 2 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Great Northern Diver, and an abundance of Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser

At the opposite end of the harbour a ringtail Hen Harrier passed over the mouth of the Wareham Channel around midday and 3 Marsh Harrier were over Swineham Point. The river valley’s are still extremely flooded and are holding good numbers of Lapwing, Shoveler and Gadwall.  Meanwhile, the 25 over-wintering Spoonbill still appear to be spending most of their time in a communal roost on Shipstal Point at Arne.

Spoonbill – Shipstal Point – Lyn Lambert


Harbour Update – posted 27/12/19

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

At least the winds have subsided but that rare orange ball in the sky still remains elusive other than it’s day out on Christmas Day. Despite the dank conditions todays highlight was a Short-eared Owl hunting over a waterlogged Arne Moors and Swineham Point. The Siberian Chiffchaff was still along the North Walls at Wareham and Firecrest were conspicuous with 1 at Middlebere, 1 behind Wareham Hospital, 1 at PCW Drain, 2 in Upton CP and 2 at Arne. At Middlebere a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen briefly also 1 Marsh Harrier, 2 Spotted Redshank and c300 Avocet. Off Jerry’s Point there was 1 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver and 1 Black-necked Grebe.

Firecrest – Middlebere – Nigel Gidney


Bullfinch – Middlebere – Nigel Gidney


Harbour Update – posted 26/12/19

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

It seems most people were either nursing a sore head or sore tummy today with not many reports. It’s not surprising either considering the weather did a complete 180 degree u-turn compared to the blissful spring-like conditions we saw on Christmas Day.

Still, 2 Great Northern Diver were off Middle Beach and a 4 Black-necked Grebe were off Jerry’s Point. With the weather looking to settle down for a bit lets hope plenty of you can get out and enjoy some New Year birding over the next couple of weeks.

And don’t forget that on January 19th its our Big Birds of Poole Harbour Bird Count where we want to encourage as many people as possible to get out on that day and survey the entire harbour so we can make an assessment of all harbour species present and a snap shot of their distribution and totals. More info on this event will be available soon, but for now….save the date in your diary and mark it ‘Birding Day’!!!


Harbour Update – posted 25/12/19

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

First and foremost we’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas from all of us here at Birds of Poole Harbour. 2019 Has seen us grow even more and our support even more so, allowing us to carry out more work, host more trips, carry out more surveys and ultimately protect and educate people on the harbours important bird life. We’re so excited about 2020 for a whole host of reasons but we’re aiming to make next year our biggest and most successful year to date as a charity and we can’t wait to share it with you, so as always, thanks for your kind support and donations over the last 12 months and lets make 2020 a year to remember.

Sightings from Christmas Day included a single Marsh Harrier at Holton Lee, 1 Merlin at Middlebere, 3 Great Northern Diver and a Black-necked Grebe from Sandbanks and 8 Black-necked Grebe and 10 Common Scoter from Middle Beach, Studland. There were also 2 Firecrest in scrub at Evening Hill. In Poole Park there were 2 Goldeneye. Off Jerry’s Point there was a single Slavonian Grebe and 3 Black-necked Grebe.

Goldeneye – Poole Park – Rene Goad


Harbour Update – posted 24/12/19

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

Well, well, well…..what a great Christmas present.

Before we (and you) see in the big day, we want to quickly share some exciting news we received today. About around 3pm we got a Facebook message from a lady called Joanna Dailey stating she was down in The Gambia at a site where there were currently 20+ Osprey hanging around with one that had a blue leg ring coded 019. The message also came with a photo clearly showing the leg ring, and low and behold, it’s one of our 2019 translocated chicks making it’s self at home in the Gunjur Quarry area in southern Gambia. This is a brilliant piece of news as it shows that at least one (and hopefully more) of this years youngsters made it safe and sound to Africa.

We’d like to say a huge thanks to Joanna for her speedy news and for allowing us to use her photo. We’d also like to thank her guide too, Fansu Bojang who showed Joanna the site with all these over-wintering Osprey.  Joanna also kindly said she’s try and send some video too, so when all the Christmas festivities are over we’ll get this posted for you asap.

Bird news today was fairly quiet as we’d expected but the Marsh Harriers were putting on a good show at Holton Pools with a Water Pipit there too. From the top of Old Harry 2 Great Northern Diver went by and 3 Black-necked Grebe were in Studland bay and 8 Ring-necked Parakeet were in the South Beach car park. The Siberian Chiffchaff was still present along the North Walls in Wareham and 2 Firecrest were on Slepe Heath.

Osprey chick 019 photographed in The Gambia on Christmas Eve – Joanna Dailey

Marsh Harrier – Holton Pools – Alison Copland


Harbour Update – posted 23/12/19

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

Christmas Day looks as if it will be the best birding day for months! So will you be able to sneak out between the Turkey and Gavin & Stacey!!!?? If so, there are plenty of good birds about including some new arrivals.

Shell Bay; 1 Med Gull80 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 6 Oystercatcher, 1 Black-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver.

Bramble Bush Bay; 1 Little Egret, 7 Oystercatcher, 4 Turnstone, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 7 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Red-throated Diver, 2 Sanderling.

Jerry’s Point; 34 Brent Geese, 50 Oystercatcher, 13 Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Black-necked Grebe.

Brands Bay; 3 Great Crested Grebe, 50+ Knot, 30 Wigeon, 50+ Redshank, 107 Brent Geese, 200+ Dunlin, 31 Curlew, 20 Oystercatcher, 8 Shelduck, 50+ Grey Plover.

Studland Bay, from Middle beach: Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Black- necked Grebe, 6 Common Scoter, 10 Brent Geese, 3 Med Gulls

Corfe Sewage Works, Norden; 3 Jays, 20+ Siskin, 1 Treecreeper, 6 Chiffchaff (no obvious Siberians), 4 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Goldcrest, 10+ Redwing, 1 Buzzard.

Middlebere (counts approximate as low tide & deep channels obscuring some birds); 8 Avocet, 150 Teal, 1 Curlew, 20 Wigeon, 2 Shelduck, 1 Heron, 1 Little Egret, 80+ Dunlin, 1 Buzzard, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Fieldfare, 4 Redshank.

Other highlights from around the harbour included 2 Marsh Harrier and 1 Water Pipit at Holton Pools, 1 Great White Egret at Littlesea, 20 Spoonbill at Shipstal Point, Arne, 2 Hen Harrier in the Wareham Channel and the Great Grey Shrike was at Morden Bog still.


Harbour Update – posted 22/12/19

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

Middlebere provided views of the female Hen Harrier, Merlin, 2 Marsh Harrier, Spotted Redshank, 13 Pintail, 45 Teal, 140 Wigeon, 230 Avocet, 32 Curlew and 200 Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit and Brent Geese.

At Lytchett Bay, highlight records were 5 Spoonbill, along with 1 juvenile male Hen Harrier.

2 Long-tailed Duck were seen off Jerry’s Point again and an excellent harbour record was sighted off Knoll Beach today in the form of a Black-throated Diver.


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