Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Archive for June, 2020

Harbour update – posted 17/06/20

Posted on: June 17th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There were more elements of interest today with raptor numbers good again out in the Wareham Channel area. Female Osprey CJ7 was circling high over the Wareham Channel and even made a (now rare) visit to the Osprey nest cam briefly before being seen off by a crow. 3 Hobby were active between Arne moors and Hartland. The female Marsh Harrier seems to be playing hard to get now with very rare appearances during early morning watches but 2 Peregrine are very busy now as the chicks at Corfe seem be getting hungrier and hungrier. At Lytchett Fields a Green Sandpiper was seen along with 11 Black-tailed Godwit and c15 Lapwing.  There were both a Peregrine and Barn Owl hunting late morning at Middlebere and 3 Hobby hunting at Morden Bog along with a Cuckoo there too.

Raven – Ballard

Harbour Update – posted 15/06/20

Posted on: June 16th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

We’ve reached the half way mark! Despite all being locked away for much of the spring the year seems to still be flying by. Although things all may seem a bit quite now, give it a few weeks and the first migrating Willow Warblers and Whitethroats will be appearing in the hedgerows and the first departing Little Ringed Plovers will be appearing at sites like Lytchett Fields and the Swineham Scrapes. We’ve noticed a few Green Sandpiper reports from elsewhere in the county, suggesting they’re already beginning to appear now on their return journeys south and the ‘pre-autumn’ gathering of Lapwing at Lytchett Fields continues to hold around c15-20 birds. Nightjars have been putting o an excellent show on local heathlands with good numbers reported from right around the harbour. No doubt this fine weather helping breeding pairs feed hungry easily enough with the abundance of moths. The first fledged Cuckoo’s are now also being spotted with one seen in Wareham Forest and another near Hartland.

Birds of Poole Harbour – BOAT TRIP UPDATE

This week we’ve been liaising with the ferry companies about the possibility of being able to run our trips from July onwards in accordance to government guidelines. There are still several uncertainties but we’re hoping we may be able to resume some kind service for our remaining boats and we plan to start advertising our winter ones soon. If you’re booked on to any of our July or August trips, please bear with us whilst we get confirmation from the ferry companies as to whether we’ll be able to run the trips or not. If not, we’ll of course be in touch to provide information on refunds etc.

Thanks for your support and patience

The BoPH Team

Reed Bunting (male) – River Piddle

Harbour Update – posted 13th & 14th June 2020

Posted on: June 15th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It was a fairly quiet weekend with a few reports coming our way, including female Osprey CJ7 being sighted out over the Wareham Channel and Arne. Hobby were over Arne, Hartland, Lytchett Fields and Middlebere. The female Marsh Harrier was seen out over Giggers Island and the Sandwich Terns on Brownsea are doing well and are already growing flight feathers. It also sounds like it’s a good time to listen out for Crossbill as numerous small flocks have recently been heard moving from breeding sites to potential new feeding areas with birds being heard over Parkstone, Merley, Wareham and Arne. Below is an Autumn recording to familiarise yourself with the flight calls they make whilst on migration.


Harbour Update – posted 12/06/20

Posted on: June 13th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

What a difference a year makes. It was June 12th 2019 that saw all of our hearts here at BoPH go through the roof when we received a photo from one of our Poole Harbour nest cams of 2 blue-ringed Osprey on one of the Poole Harbour nest platforms, one of one we knew to be female CJ7 but the second was a mystery male. It was exciting because spring 2019 was when we could possibly see the return of one of the chicks we raised and relapsed back in 2017 return for the first time. What followed was a day of intense fieldwork around the harbour trying to track down this mystery bird to see if we identify who it was. Anyway, after several hours of trying we eventually got lucky and were able to confirm it to be one of our males from 2017, LS7. Last summer they pair boned and things were really looking good for this spring. Sadly, as we all know by now poor LS7 never made it back this, likely having dies on migration either last autumn or this spring. Interestingly, from conversations with other osprey workers around the UK it sounds as if a number of ‘adult’ Osprey didn’t arrive back this spring, possibly due to the cold and persistent NE wind stayed in place in southern Europe during the latter part of March and early April, possibly forcing migrating birds out into the Atlantic. We’ll never know what happened to LS7, but what we experienced this spring is one of the tragic realties of Osprey ecology, and all we can do is press on, hope and wait for female Osprey CJ7 to find a new mate over the coming springs. We’re confident she will, but we just wanted to take some tome today remembering LS7 and provide some nice photos of when he was active around the harbour last summer.

Else in the harbour today at Lytchett Fields a Spoonbill dropped down onto Lytchett Fields which is a good early summer record. Crossbill seem to have a good season with numerous groups in and around the outskirts of Wareham Forest. On the Brownsea Lagoon, Sandwich Tern chick totals currently stand at 175 which is great news and is apparently a higher than normal rate of productivity according to the DWT.

First image we received of LS7 on this day last year

First photo we took after tracking him down later that day

First time CJ7 and LS7 visited their ‘chosen’ nest together

Common Crossbill – Southern edge of Wareham Forest

Harbour Update – posted 11/06/20

Posted on: June 12th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It sounds like the pink wave may have reached Poole Harbour, although sadly it was enjoyed (so far) by only one lucky household. On Wednesday evening a resident along the North Walls of Wareham reported a Rose-coloured (Rosy) Starling in their garden feeding with Common Starling. The finders description sounded perfect, and the location was equally suitable so, despite no photo it really sounds like we had a Rose-coloured Starling grace Poole Harbour albeit briefly. Despite much searching by the Wareham birding fraternity it wasn’t relocated but there are multiple Starling flocks in and around Wareham/Northmoor and masses of gardens for it to hide in, so there’s every chance it could still be around! These flamboyant rarities from SE Europe tend to turn up in autumn and it’s usually the very drab juveniles that make it here. However, this springs influx has seen a wave of pink beauties arrive here in the UK, meaning others could also be lurking in urban gardens around the area. At Lytchett Fields there were 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Oystercatcher, 16 Lapwing, 8 Curlew, 26 Gadwall and 17 Teal (autumn really has started)! A short survey in some woodland in the west of the harbour in search of juvenile Long-eared Owl sadly didn’t produce the goods, but 4 Tawny Owl chicks from two separate pairs were logged.

Stonechat – Soldiers Road 

Harbour Update – 9th & 10th June 2020

Posted on: June 11th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

That’s more like it, it’s felt a bit more like summer again. Good news away from the harbour is that our 2018 Osprey chick female 014 was seen again up at Dyfi Osprey project in Wales. Last time she kept her distance by sitting on one of the camera poles but this time, she really wasn’t shy and landed on the nest, much to the disgust of the resident pair! Back to the harbour, we were thrilled today when we checked an area of wetland we’ve been working on over the last couple of years with Natural England only to find 3 pairs of Lapwing with 6 (fairly) newly fledged chicks. This is a great result and shows what a small bit of habitat creation work can do and a lack of disturbance. Elsewhere it was also confirmed that Little Ringed Plover had bred on the Holme Lane gravel pit with 2 adults and a newly fledged juvenile logged, along with 1 pair of Lapwing and 2 newly fledged juveniles. Also on site were 11 Egyptian Geese and 6 Little Grebe. Out in Poole Bay a quick check for any settled mid-summer sea birds only produced 3 Gannet. At Lytchett Fields there were 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Hobby, c15 Lapwing and 11 Teal. Crossbill seem to be moving about a bit, certainly on the outskirts of Wareham Forest and numerous conifer plantations, but a small flock over central Poole suggests they’re now beginning to wander a bit further.

Lapwing chick – Poole Harbour wetland site 


Harbour Update – posted 7th & 8th June 2020

Posted on: June 8th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

That’s better. The cold wind soon moved off and the blanket of warmth returned. There were plenty of interesting finds and reports from the last couple of days with confirmed breeding of Little Ringed Plover at the Holme Lane GP with a juv and 2 adults seen, along with 11 Egyptian Geese, 4 Lapwing, 2 of which were fledged juveniles and 5 Little Grebe. From Slepe Heath 2 Hobby were seen and there were 2 Cuckoo still calling. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 3 Spoonbill and up to 5 Avocet are now (potentially) sitting on eggs, which is a great result! Lets hope they can collectively bring some young off. Female Osprey CJ7 was seen at Morden Bog by several people and photographed flying right overhead. The female Marsh Harrier was out over Giggers Island but sadly the male she got friendly with a couple of weeks ago has now moved on. Post breeding groups of Mistle Thrush are now beginning to form with flocks of between 5 and 15 appearing on different heathland sites around the harbour. At Lytchett Fields there’s still 2 Little Ringed Plover, also c15 Lapwing including the first juv of the ‘autumn’ to arrive on site. There was an interesting gathering of 33 Sanderling roosting on the end of Redhorn, which is a late date (and high total) for this species in the harbour. Finally and rather randomly, this handsome Fulvous Whistling Duck has appeared in Poole Park and seems to be attracting a small crowd!

Fulvous Whistling Duck – Poole Park – Clare Slade


Harbour Update – posted 5th & 6th June 2020

Posted on: June 7th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Ooof! They weren’t wrong about the temperature drop. Saturday felt like a cold March day with hoodies and jackets needed. The temperature drop and swing in wind direction from the NW, pretty much halted and new, late arrivals/migration from taking place. Even female Osprey CJ7 seems to have given up moving around the harbour and has now taken up semi-residence in the Wareham Channel, although she did make a brief appearance of another harbour nest platform late afternoon. This time of year it’s always good to confirm breeding of rare, scare (or just shy) species and today Gadwall were seen with young in Middlebere which is good news. It’s also thought that at least 3 pairs of Avocet are sitting on eggs on the Brownsea Lagoon, but the best bit is they’ve finally decided to nest somewhere safe! The last few years they’ve nested with 2ft of several Great Black-backed Gulls which sadly normally predate the young Avocet within days. Now that the Avocet have chosen to set on some of the small stony islands there may be a better chance of success! On Friday there was a report of a Turtle Dove in a Wareham garden but no further info. Both the male and female Peregrine were on the Asda building which suggests breeding didn’t occur this summer sadly. Several visits to Lytchett Fields produced 1 Little Ringed Plover, up to 20 Lapwing, 6 Teal and 7 Black-tailed Godwit.

Little Ringed Plover – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

CJ7 on ‘other’ harbour nest platform on Saturday evening

Harbour Update – posted 04/06/20

Posted on: June 5th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Early June….the birding doldrums! Migration has pretty much halted, breeding and nesting activity for many species is already drawing to a close and with the sun rising at 4:30am, most of the exciting birding activity is well and truly over by the time most of us arise from our beds. But it’s a great time to observe different behaviour and to certainly familiarise yourself with the tricky ID challenges of young birds either in your gardens or out around the harbour. It’s also a great time to really listen to the variety of calls made by young bird’s as now is a time for great confusion. Some adult birds are still in fine voice such as Song Thrush and Blackcap, but as June progresses the sound of spring will slowly fade away. You may have noticed that young Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Starling and Siskin are visiting your feeders now or out on the heaths young Stonechat and Linnet are quite conspicuous. Watch and listen to these birds carefully and you’ll notice subtle (and some not so subtle) differences in both plumage and sound which allows you to ID birds to age quite easily this time of year. Enjoying birds for what they are is always a joy but now is a perfect time (we think) to advance your birding skills and build your knowledge before the autumn rush begins.

That said, today provided a nice variety of finds with raptors putting on a good show with an Osprey (presumed CJ7) out over the Wareham Channel, 1 Marsh Harrier near Swineham, 1 Hobby over the Arne Road and 1 Red Kite over Hartland. At Lytchett Fields there were 2 Little Ringed Plover, 26 Lapwing, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Yellow-legged Gull. Along Bog Lane and at Holme Lane GP there was a single Hobby and 4 Egyptian Geese with 9 Goslings suggesting that these once scarce feral visitors will now soon become a regular fixture to the Poole Harbour birding scene. An evening watch of the Wareham Channel resulted in 67 Shelduck and 17 Gadwall but most surprising of all, were 2 Badgers running a mock in and around the reed beds off Swineham. Could Badgers be another reason why Marsh Harrier no longer nest there? Also Rose-coloured Starling (Rosy Starling) have now been seen either side of the harbour in Christchurch and Weymouth so it stands to reason we could see one somewhere locally, we just need the wind to swing SE again. Our bet is at Baiter….so watch those Starling flocks!

Two Badgers in reed bed off Swineham

Harbour Update – posted 2nd & 3rd June 2020

Posted on: June 3rd, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It’s about bloomin time! Finally, after almost 2 months of blissful sunshine it actually rained! We really needed this as did the landscape that seemed to be suffering more and more as each sun-scorched day went by. As so often happens when light rain comes, airborne insects emerge and species such as Swallow, House Martin and Swift take full advantage. That was the scene over Wareham tonight with c100 in total collectively made up of all three species. The rain also seemed to bring more birds on to Lytchett Fields with 31 Lapwing, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Green Sandpiper, 13 Gadwall, 1 Teal and a Marsh Harrier. Yesterday morning the Marsh Warbler was said to have moved 100 yards along the river and a 1st summer Little Gull was on Swineham GP. There were also 2 Osprey seen together over Lytchett Bay providing a minor bit of excitement for a short while only for CJ7 to later arrive back at the nest cam…..alone!

It’s looking like it’s time to start thinking Pink too! With a massive Rose-coloured Starling irruption sweeping across Western Europe it’s well worth keeping an eye out for any pink starlings in your local starling flocks. Today Dorset saw a couple already with individuals seen at Christchurch Harbour and Southbourne and hopefully it’s just a matter of when not if we’ll see one in the harbour.

Swift – Poole Park

Call 01202 641 003