Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Archive for February, 2020

Harbour Update – posted 29/02/20

Posted on: February 29th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With the Osprey season really not that far away now (several probably having already left their wintering grounds), it was great to hear that our 2019 chick 019 was seen again in Gunjar Quarry, Gambia yesterday meaning she may stay there this summer utilising this fishing hotspot.

We’ve had a quick look at the long range forecast, it looks as if things begin to settle down week commencing March 9th…will we see our first Wheatear that week? Today produced our first Slow Worm of spring.

Littlesea, Studland again featured the regular Great White Egret, however another bird was recorded near River Frome at Worget. Jerry’s Point produced 1 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Slavonian Grebe, 3 Great Northern Diver, 7 Turnstone, 4 Oystercatcher and 9 Red-breasted Merganser. Brand’s Bay held a further 2 Black-necked Grebe and single Great Northern Diver. A good site count of 32 Pied Wagtail were recorded on one of the sodden fields at Sunnyside. The 4 Scaup remain highly faithful to Holes Bay, seen again just south of the railway bridge. Middlebere enjoyed another visit from the ringtail Hen Harrier again, along with a Spotted Redshank. Poole Harbour Marsh Harrier numbers now down to 2 individuals as we come to the end of the month.

Osprey 019 – Gunjar Quarry, Gambia – Chris Wood



Harbour Update – posted 28/02/20

Posted on: February 28th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Plenty of activity at Baiter in the wind and rain today, featuring 8 Ringed Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Redshank , c.150 Brent Geese and c.200 Oystercatcher. A Spotted Redshank occupied Brownsea Lagoon and another 3 could be seen from Middlebere. The long-staying Siberian Chiffchaff continues to loiter around Wareham Common and the Morden Bog Great Grey Shrike remained visible just west of Old Decoy Pond. Lytchett Fields continued to hold the Harbour’s Water Pipit, with a single bird seen today along with a Green Sandpiper.

Black-tailed Godwit – Baiter Park – Ian Ballam


Bar-tailed Godwit – Baiter Park – Ian Ballam


Redshank – Baiter Park – Ian Ballam


Harbour Update – posted 27/02/20

Posted on: February 27th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The Wareham Channel enjoyed 2 quartering ringtail Hen Harrier and 5 drake Shoveler frequented Lytchett Bay this morning. Yesterday saw the last Sunnyside Ringing Demo of the season. The conditions made it hard work on the ground to catch the birds. The evening was exceptionally still and bright meaning birds could see us coming a mile off! Despite the challenging field conditions, two late arriving catches meant we managed to produce 3 Jack Snipe.

Jack Snipe – Sunnyside Ringing Demo

Harbour Update – posted 26/02/2020

Posted on: February 26th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Wareham Channel was full of action at first light, featuring 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Hen Harrier, 2 Marsh Harrier and 9 Spoonbill. Highlights from a mornings visit to Coombe Viewpoint offered 2 Marsh Harrier and a Great Northern Diver among the slowly decreasing number of winter wildfowl. A pair of Avocet were on French’s Pool this morning, an uncommon visitor to fields this winter Lytchett Fields. Holton Pools held singles of Greenshank, Redshank and 2 Little Egret late morning, while the nearby horse paddock fields produced a small feeding flock of 6 Redwing and 3 Mistle Thrush. Our last Winter Urban Birding walk of the season concluded with great views of the long-staying Poole Park Boating Lake Red-breasted Merganser and a Great Northern Diver off Baiter as we completed our circuit. Late afternoon at Jerry’s Point  saw 2 each of Great Northern Diver, Black-necked Grebe, Common Scoter as well as a female Goldeneye and 6 Red-breasted  Merganser. The tide was just starting to drop at Brands Bay and about 25 Grey Plover, 40 Pintail, a single Spoonbill and around 700 Dunlin were present.
Goldcrest – PC World Drain – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 25/02/20

Posted on: February 26th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

In certain, sheltered areas spring seems to be trying to take a hold, despite the wind and frequent rain taking control in the more exposed areas. A good example was at the top end of the PC World drain this AM where c15 Common Chiffchaff present and 4-5 of them in full song. Also present were 2 Siberian Chiffchaff and a male Blackcap sub-singing. Also 1 Firecrest, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 6 Goldcrest, 3 Jay’s a 1 Sparrowhawk. A School Bird Boat also headed out today and saw 4 Great Northern Diver, 2 Common Scoter (off Jerry’s Point), 6 Black-necked Grebe (central harbour), 8 Spoonbill (Shipstal). The Water Rail was again showing well on the edge of one of the islands on the main Poole Park boating lake. There were another 3 Blackcap in an Upton Garden and in the lower Frome Valley there was 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Hen Harrier, 2 Merlin and 2 Marsh Harrier. 8 Spoonbill were on Shipstal Point, Arne.

Blackcap – PC World Drain – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 24/02/20

Posted on: February 26th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Just a few sightings from today including a Hen Harrier in the Lower Frome Valley near Swineham, and with the strong winds during the morning 3 Fulmar and 1 Gannet passed Branksome Chine.

Mediterranean Gull (summer plumaged) – Baiter Park – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 23/02/20

Posted on: February 24th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With all the terrible weather recently it was nice that a (minor) break in the relentless wind and rain occurred with the wind dropping off a bit meant our Poole Harbour WeBS count was rewarded with a good spread of winter birds still present. In the Brands Bay/Jerry’s Point area there were 5 Great Northern Diver, 6 Goldeneye, 5 Slavonian Grebe, 23 Black-necked Grebe, 3 Common Scoter and c1300 Black-tailed Godwit. Near the Wytch Channel the Black Brant was still in with the Dark-bellied Brent Geese as were 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese. There are huge numbers of gulls arriving into the harbour each evening currently of many different species, but mainly Herring, Common and Black-headed Gulls with smaller numbers of Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Mediterranean Gulls. There were 4 Spotted Redshank in Middlebere with 2 Firecrest near the hide and a Short-eared Owl was in the mouth of the Frome near Swineham at dawn. There were 4 Spoonbill in the south of the harbour in Newton Bay. At Swineham there were 600+ Lapwing and 200+ Dunlin off Swineham Point and on the main pit 2 Egyptian Geese and 2 Pochard with a minimum of 12 Cetti’s Warbler singing in the area. The fringes of the southern shores (only accessible by boat) were busy with c800 Wigeon, c400 Dunlin, 350 Brent Geese and c250 Shelduck with 3 Great Northern Diver and 5 Black-necked Grebe in central harbour. At Holton lee the small Redwing flock which contained 2 Fieldfare were still in the horse fields opposite the car park.

Little Egret – Holes Bay

Harbour Update – posted 22/02/20

Posted on: February 24th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Well, with the promise (and hope) that last nights storm would blow through by 9am we decided to press ahead with our winter Wareham Channel boat cruise, which ended up being quite tough going in terms of finding birds due to the chop on the water. The wind did eventually ease with about 45 minutes left of the trip and for a whacky hour or so it actually felt a spring like. We were much more sheltered up the River Frome which produced 400+ Lapwing, 1 Green Sandpiper, several Common Snipe, c50 Curlew and plenty of Coot on Swineham GP. The Brownsea Lagoon had c1500 Black-tailed Godwit, c300 Dunlin, c200 Avocet and c50 Bar-tailed Godwit. Off the Brownsea north shore 2 Great Northern Diver were feeding together. Reports from Poole Park included 12 Red-breasted Merganser and 10 Tufted Duck and Brent Geese, 4 Red-breasted Merganser and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit. Other highlights include a Merlin flyover Poole Quay, as well as a Great Northern Diver reported in Holes Bay South.

We’re glad to announce that our Poole Harbour Big Bird count data is now available to view. We’ve spent a few weeks bringing the data together and trying to make sure we’ve allowed for any double counting etc. So, if you took part…thank you very much and we hope you enjoy our perusing through what was a thoroughly busy day!


Pintail – Holes Bay – Rene Goad

Harbour Update – posted 21/02/2020

Posted on: February 21st, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The day began with a Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl having a mini-bust up in Lower Frome Valley, near Swineham. A minimum of 8 Mediterranean Gull were recorded at Baiter this morning, along with a Common Gull. A walk from Knoll beach to Jerry’s Point, Studland offered views of a Mediterranean Gull, Little Egret, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Wigeon, 30 Oystercatcher, 5 Redshank, 3 Sanderling, 7 Turnstone, 4 Great Northern Diver, 15 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Great Black-backed Gull and 25 Brent Goose.

Mediterranean Gull – Baiter – David Foster

Harbour Update – posted 20/02/20

Posted on: February 20th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Some of the Black-tailed Godwit are beginning to show off their summer finery, with large numbers of birds still visible at Brownsea Lagoon on the high tide. A huge Lapwing count was recorded at Sunnyside scrape today, peaking at 356 individuals in the afternoon.

Fancy a day in with a good book during this bleak weather? We’ve got your birding material covered as the Lytchett Bay 2019 report is hot off the press! Check it out here.

Black-tailed Godwit transitioning into summer plumage – Brownsea Lagoon – Hamish Murray


Call 01202 641 003