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 July, 2020

Harbour Update – posted 30/07/20

Posted on: July 30th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Autumn definitely landed today with the first migrant Osprey of the season arriving into the harbour. Thankfully it wasn’t a distant speck out over the Wareham Channel but in fact was a visitor to our Poole Harbour Osprey nest cam, much to the disgust of CJ7 who quickly arrived and made the new arrival (who we believe to be a female) feel rather uncomfortable, so much so that she soon left the nest. That said, it was great to see two Osprey on the nest cam again, we just hope an unattached male bumbles along some time over the next week or so and CJ7 isn’t so hostile next time! August is the best month for Osprey migration through Poole Harbour so there should be more on the way any day now. Other birds of prey in the harbour this AM included 4 Marsh Harrier out of the west Poole Harbour roost and what looked like a Hobby family out over Arne Moors, viewed from Hydes Heath. Willow Warbler filtered through much of the harbour today with a peak between 7am and 10am. A high tide count on the Brownsea Lagoon saw 4 Spoonbill, 6 Greenshank, 170 Dunlin, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 92 Common Redshank, 2 Avocet but very low numbers of tern remain with just 18 Common and 4 Sandwich Tern.

Harbour Update – posted 28th & 29th July 2020

Posted on: July 30th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It looks as if the wet weather is now well and truly behind us with a scorcher of a weekend on the cards. With hot days often come cold mornings and these colder early mornings are great for getting out early to look for early returning migrants pulsing through the hedgerows. Willow Warbler migration is now well underway and will build over the next two weeks, as they flit and flick through the bushes, often accompanying Long-tailed Tit whilst getting ‘agro’ with a chat or flycatcher. There were 30+ Willow Warbler across Lytchett Bay, 20+ across Slepe Heath/Hartland Moor and a handful in the PCW Drain. At Lytchett Fields there were 14 Green Sandpiper, 4 Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, 97 Curlew, 1 Kingfisher and 1 Peregrine. 1 Little Ringed Plover and 1 Spotted Redshank. Holes Bay NE saw 1 Common Sandpiper and our Nightjar walk on Tuesday evening saw 5 Crossbill fly over Slepe Heath along with 1 Woodlark and just after dusk (just after we’d finishing watching 1-2 Nightjar) we heard both Greenshank and Common Sandpiper fly over in the darkness. On Brownsea 1 Spoonbill was seen briefly and 4 Common Sandpiper were on the lagoon. Passerine migrants seen around the harbour included 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Common Whitethroat and a flyover Yellow Wagtail at Greenland’s Farm. At Ballard 7 Common Whitethroat and 6 Willow Warbler were counted.

Willow Warbler – Lytchett Heath – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 27/07/20

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

Another day of rain was just what we needed to see some water get added to the dried up set of pools at Swineham, although we could do with quite a bit more to really make them productive again. That said a Common Sandpiper and a Yellow Wagtail were drawn to them post the downpour. Lytchett Fields doesn’t need to worry about the rain to fill it up as the spring high tides are currently doing a good job of that and saw 23 Green Sandpiper on there along with 2 Little Ringed Plover, 7 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank and 1 Common Sandpiper. The Cattle Egret was again on the gravel pit island atr Swineham with 7 Little Egret. Other than this……the rain kept most birds and birders at bay!!! There was also late news of the harbours first Pied Flycatcher which was photographed on a fence near the main Arne car park last week.

Linnet – Brands Bay 

Harbour Update – posted July 25th & 26th weekend

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

It was great to be back out on the water again today as we hosted our first public bird boat since lockdown. With a much reduced guest list to allow for social distancing we headed out on the big low-tide this morning in search of passage waders and early returning over-winter species. The harbour was looking great with birds of interest across the whole area. Starting on the Brownsea north shore, 7 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank and 1 Whimbrel were feeding on the tide line. On the Brownsea Lagoon there was 1 Spoonbill, 7 Avocet, c100 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank and plenty of Common and Sandwich Tern. In fact both species were very prominent right across the harbour. The mud flats held good numbers of Curlew and Little Egret were abundant in each small, shallow channel. It seems Great Crested Grebe are arriving now for the winter, or at least are transiting as two different small flocks flew past close to the boat. A strange sight seeming flying groups of Great Crested Grebe mid-summer! As we made our way up the Wareham Channel we found where the Black-tailed Godwits had been hiding with c300 in the mouth of the Frome along with 3 more Common Sandpiper. Swineham GP produced a nice surprise in the form of a full summer plumaged Cattle Egret roosting in the trees in the centre of the gravel pit. There were also 3 Common Seal in the mouth of the Piddle hauled up on the mud, just as female Osprey CJ7 made an appearance over the Wareham Channel before drifting off high SE towards the Middlebere Channel. The autumns first Common Gulls were back already and a couple of Swift were seen over Arne Moors. All in all an excellent trip that I hope we can do more of in the very near future! At Lytchett Fields there were good totals of 23 Green Sandpiper, 10 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 80+ Redshank and 21 Black-tailed Godwit. Female Osprey CJ7 was on the nest cam briefly this morning and was later seen over Lytchett Bay too. In Holes Bay there were 7 Whimbrel and 35 Redshank.

Cattle Egret – Swineham GP – Brittany Maxted

Black-tailed Godwit – Wareham Channel – Clare Slade

Harbour Update – posted 23/07/20

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

With the country trying to get back to ‘normal’ it was great to see that Brownsea Island was now open again to visitors. Their set up is now slightly different and pre-bookings must be made (which you can make HERE) to be able to enter the island, but there’s no doubt that after such a strange and troubling spring and summer, a trip to Brownsea would be good for anyones soul. Thanks too to DWT Brownsea warden Luke Johns for providing us with a high-tide count on the lagoon which produced Avocet 14, Black-Tailed Godwit 11, Dunlin 147, Redshank 122, Greenshank 10, Oystercatcher 189 (including 3 fledgling young), Common Sandpiper 1, Moorhen 7, Canada Geese 8, Greylag Geese 9, Shoveler 4, Mallard 6, Teal 5, Shelduck 15 Black-headed Gull 46, Great Black-backed Gull (25 adults 19 fledgling young), Herring Gull 1, Common Tern 181, Sandwich Tern 52, Little Tern 1 (turned up briefly on the sandbar near the wading pool), Meadow Pipit 1 and Cormorant 38. The Holme lane GP had 14 Egyptian Geese on it and a ringing session in the Lower Piddle produced 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 5 Willow Warbler and 2 Tree Pipit flew over. Off Swineham at least 1 Marsh Harrier was still present.

Marsh Harrier – Swineham

Harbour Update – posted 22/07/20

Posted on: July 23rd, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today was a much quieter day with a very hot sun beating down onto the harbour. Any migration had tailed off by 9am but a male Cuckoo on the edge of Wareham Forest was noteworthy. An Osprey flew over Arne Moors, viewed from Slepe Heath, as it seemed to drop down and pick something up from the ground which was odd, before then flying off towards Arne. A Marsh Harrier was at Lytchett Bay along with a good suit of waders still including 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank, 2 Little ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 42 Redshank, 48 Lapwing, 4 Green Sandpiper, 9 Dunlin, 3 Greenshank and 4 Green Sandpiper.

Also, if you haven’t seen yet, we’ve refined and reorganised our Osprey cruises that occur in late August by reducing the number of trips we’re doing as well as guest capacity. This means our timetable is much reduced and we’re now only carrying out trips on August 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd. There are still tickets available though so if you’re keen to join us and get out in the fresh air then please visit our bookings page for more information.

Dartford Warbler – Upton Heath – Clare Slade

Harbour Update – posted 20th & 21st July 2020

Posted on: July 22nd, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Autumn. Yes it’s hot like a summer should be, but the birding is really spicing up nicely. Early autumn migrants are picking up pace nicely with gorgeous bright yellow Willow Warblers now beginning to appear in mixed tit flocks. In the last couple of days ringing sessions at Lytchett Bay and the Lower Piddle have produced 7 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 10+ Willow Warbler, 10+ Sedge Warbler, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Tree Pipit. This highlights that all these species are now on the move and can be found if up early enough and by visiting an area with a good amount of scrubby habitat, such as Slepe Heath, Greenlands Farm, Middlebere etc, all really well known migration hotspots. Give it a few more days and the first migrant Common Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers will soon be found too .Lytchett Fields/Bay is really producing some good early autumn waders with 37 Dunlin, 17+ Green Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpiper, 4 Greenshank, 104 Redshank, 5 Little Ringed plover, 1 Spotted Redshank, 30+ Black-tailed Godwit, 82 Lapwing, 3 Whimbrel, 10+ Curlew and 15+ Teal. Female Osprey CJ7 has become really active again on the nest cam, visiting most mornings, doing some nest tidying and then leaving again.

Willow Warbler – Lytchett Bay – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 19/07/20

Posted on: July 19th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The early morning looked promising with low cloud and no wind, but the cloud soon brought drizzle and by 9am, birding was a wash out. We did still manage to jam in a short ringing session in the west of the harbour before the rain set in which saw the first 2 Grasshopper Warbler of the autumn caught. An Osprey was out over the Wareham Channel getting mobbed and a Hobby was seen over the Arne Road. Lytchett Fields was busy on the rising tides today which saw 83 Lapwing, 94 Common Redshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 5 Little Ringed Plover, 15 Dunlin, 10 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank and 1 Whimbrel with a flyover Yellow Wagtail too and a visiting Marsh Harrier. CJ7 was back on her nest again briefly today. We’ve got a feeling she’s soon going to be joined by a second bird over the coming weeks, but will it be one of our translocated chicks from 2017 or 2018?? In Holes Bay the over-summering Wigeon was still there and 8 Teal are now already back in Holes Bay NW.

Grasshopper Warbler – West Poole Harbour

Harbour Update – posted 17th & 18th July 2020

Posted on: July 18th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Autumn presses on with more new arrivals and birds passing through. At Lytchett Fields there was a rise in Greenshank at Lytchett Fields (2) and Middlebere (6). Also at Lytchett Fields were 86 Redshank, 10 Green Sandpiper, 7 Little Ringed Plover and 1 Spotted Redshank. Female Osprey CJ7 has become quite active again on the Poole Harbour nest cam in the last few days, certainly early mornings where she seems to be doing more nest prepping and tidying which is a good sign for next year. It was also confirmed that Teal are breeding at Lytchett Fields, which is always hard to prove. It’s likely that several pairs nest in the harbour but finding them is a different matter all together. In Poole Harbour west 3 Marsh Harrier left the roost, including a new female, making her the 6th different Marsh Harrier to arrive/pass through the harbour in recent weeks (thanks Peter Hadrill for the info). In Holes Bay there was a great mix of waders including 1 Knot, 1 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Whimbrel, 18 Curlew, 145 Black-tailed Godwit, 101 Redshank and 5 Oystercatcher. Several ringing sessions have taken place too in the west of the harbour and at Lytchett Heath with combined highlights producing the first migrant Garden Warbler (1) and Willow Warblers (3) passing through, also 11 Stonechat, 5 Bearded Tit, 10 Sedge Warbler, 2 Cetti’s Warbler, 25 Reed Warbler, 1 Common Whitethroat and 4 Chiffchaff.

Garden Warbler – Poole Harbour west

Cetti’s Warbler – Lytchett Heath

Harbour Update – posted 16/07/20

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

It’s getting hot again, zapping the energy out of any long birding stint. Not much to report today other waders at Lytchett Fields with 8 Little Ringed Plover, 24 Lapwing, 5 Green Sandpiper, 103 Common Redshank and 1 Spotted Redshank. At Holes Bay there were 50 Curlew, the Wigeon, 1 Whitethroat and 29 Black-tailed Godwit. From Lytchett Bay view there was 1 Whimbrel, 1 Common Tern and good numbers of Reed Warbler in the reed beds. Female Osprey CJ7 was on the Middlebere nest platform from 7:00am to 7:50am but wasn’t seen after that. A short ringing session in the west of the harbour saw 2 juvenile Stonechat caught which were two of an amazing 8 present in one small area highlighting the good breeding season they’ve had.

Juvenile Stonechat – Poole Harbour west



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