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 14th & 15th July 2020

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

Osprey activity is beginning to build as CJ7 has become re-active on several harbour nest platforms again, including the Middlebere platform and the Poole Harbour nest cam. She even bought in a bit of nesting material today! Any day now we should begin to see new Ospreys arriving as they begin their journey south, with the peak coming in mid-late August. The Cattle Egret at Lytchett Fields has been present each morning over the last couple of days, rarely seeming settled for long though as it moves around the site and even venturing off over the dual carriageway. Also present at Lytchett Fields have been 7 Little Ringed Plover,11 Green Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel and c40 Common Redshank. On the Brownsea Lagoon there 71 Common Redshank and 1 Common Sandpiper. Our Nightjar walk on Tuesday night was another ‘stormer’ with good views of several birds plus 2 Dartford Warbler, 1 Marsh Harrier out over the Wareham Channel and lots of Little Egret heading into the roost. At Holes Bay there was a migrant juv Common Whitethroat near the PCW Drain plus 1 Greenshank, 56 Common Redshank and 9 Black-tailed Godwit were off the Stone Bench. In Middlebere there were 4 Greenshank and 1 Avocet.

CJ7 on both the Middlebere nest platform and the nest cam

Harbour Update – posted 13/07/20

Posted on: July 14th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

She came back! Briefly! It was fantastic to see female Osprey CJ7 back on her nest cam today for a couple of extended periods. She spent some time nest cleaning/tidying and also seemed to be regurgitated a pellet….lovely! We know from other peoples reports that she hasn’t really ventured very far this spring and summer, and wondered if her re-appearance on the nest was related to another Osprey being in the area, but we couldn’t find/see one. We’re now entering prime time (mid July to late Aug) where non-breeding 3-year old Osprey begin heading back to natal areas again to have a good look around before migrating off to Africa, and of course, migrant adults and juveniles will also be arriving soon so keep your eyes peeled if out around the harbour or on our webcam for any new visitors that happen to drop by. As predicated, a wandering heron species, this time, a fine summer plumaged Cattle Egret, appeared on Lytchett Fields and stayed for most of the day, although hiding for most of it. Late July and August see’s heron species from both here in the UK and the near continent leave the breeding colonies and begin wandering/visiting various wetlands. It was late July 2018 that Lytchett Fields had a flock of 7 Great White Egret ‘drop in’ for several minutes before heading off again. Also at Lytchett Fields were 7 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 15 Green Sandpiper and the 1st Whimbrel of the autumn. Also, at Lytchett Heath 7 Crossbill were still present. At Holme Lane GP the flock of 14 Egyptian Geese were still present and in the Wareham Channel, 3 different Marsh Harrier left the west harbour roost. The Brownsea Lagoon had 16 Black-tailed Godwit and 14 Common Redshank.

Cattle Egret – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 11th and 12th July 2020

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

What a glorious weekend with some really nice highlights, and more sure signs that birds are most definitely on the move. At Lytchett Fields on Saturday 2 early Yellow Wagtail flew over the viewpoints which are an early set of records for Dorset, especially Poole Harbour. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 47 Common Redshank back and 20 Dunlin along with 1 Common Sandpiper. In Holes Bay NE a surprise Wigeon was seen. Obviously these are normally autumn and winter birds however a Wigeon was also logged in Holes Bay in mid-May, suggesting that this is in fact a sick or injured bird left over from last winter rather than a really early returning bird this autumn. Also in Holes Bay were 63 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 128 Black-tailed Godwit and 52 Curlew with a Hobby also seen over Upton Heath. It was certainly a flying ant day with many thousands of gulls over Poole Town on Saturday and equally as many over Swineham, Keysworth and Wareham during Sunday evening. A specific egret roost count was made on Sunday evening, looking out across the Wareham Channel which logged 74 Little Egret fly into the Wareham Channel roost, but not the hoped for Cattle or Great White Egret sadly…there’s always the rest of the month!!! Also in the Wareham Channel area 11 Avocet arrived in high from the NW, which could either be staging birds moving through, or early returning over-winter birds…either way, they weren’t local! Also in the Wareham Channel area were c400 Black-tailed Godwit, 36 Curlew, 2 Hobby, 1 male Marsh Harrier, 18 Teal and an amazing c930 Sand Martin, all heading SSE before sunset, which really painted a picture of autumn seeing such large numbers of birds departing. Also a flock of c500 Starling roosted on the edge of the Wareham Channel. Also, at Lytchett Heath the first 2 Sedge Warbler of the autumn were ringed by the Stour Ringing Group.

Flock of 11 Avocet ‘arriving’ into Poole Harbour – Wareham Channel

Male Marsh Harrier – Wareham Channel

Harbour Update – posted 10/07/20

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

It was a glorious start to the day which allowed us to venture out on to a survey boat and count harbour birds for the fist time since February! It was great to finally get back out on the water and see what birds were about, what had arrived, what had bred successfully etc. Highlights and totals included 2 Little Tern out on a sand bar in South Deep, 2 Common Sandpiper (Brownsea north shore and Frome Mouth), 4 Turnstone, c50 Curlew, 14 Dunlin, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, c460 Black-tailed Godwit, 103 Mute Swan, 13 Whimbrel, 1 Marsh Harrier, 6 Great Crested Grebe, great numbers of Sandwich and Common Tern including numerous fledged chicks, c100 Oystercatcher, 1 Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Greenshank, c30 Little Egret and 2 Avocet. There was a freshly newly arrived adult male Marsh Harrier in and around the Hartland/Wareham Channel area and female Osprey CJ7 made an appearance on the nest cam for the first time in several weeks. On Lytchett Fields there were still at least 8 Little Ringed Plover and a Hobby was also seen.

Little Egrets – Ower Bay

Common Seals – Wareham Channel

Harbour Update – posted 8th & 9th July 2020

Posted on: July 9th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The unsettled weather dropped a few more birds onto Lytchett Fields including a site record total of 15 Little Ringed Plover, also there over the last couple of days have been 17 Green Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 30+ Common Redshank, 40+ Lapwing, 50+ Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Curlew, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hobby, 1 Peregrine and 1 Yellow-legged Gull. At Swineham there were 2 Common Sandpiper on the main gravel pit island and 2 Hobby were active over the Slepe Heath, Arne Moors area. Swallow numbers seem very very low around the Poole Harbour area with hardly any being noted in traditional sites, with only 6 individuals logged at Redcliff Yacht Club at Bestwall. There were 26 Common Redshank back on the Brownsea Lagoon today too, which are the first of the autumn returners. A blue ringed Osprey was seen in the dead trees at Middlebere which was assumed to be CJ7 but, we’re all on the look out for our 2018 female 014 who was only in Devon a couple of days ago and has since gone missing from there, along with 200+ Black-tailed Godwit also in Middlebere and a Marsh Harrier yesterday. We also had a lovely encounter on our Osprey nest cam last night when 3 Nightjar (2 males and 1 female) courted on the perching post of the nest, providing a great insight to this normally invisible behaviour.

Harbour Update – posted 07/07/20

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

Today was a good day…as we got to finally meet some members of the public again….hoorah! This evening we hosted our first public event since mid-March, and it felt great to be out talking to and enthusing with interested members of the public again. Our Nightjar walk saw us head up to Slepe Heath, in what was an initially chilly wind. Despite the breeze we had a great evening with some nice highlights including a Hobby high over Arne, a Marsh Harrier out over Giggers Island, a Common Sandpiper high overhead just after dark, departing from the harbour, numerous Meadow Pipit and Stonechat, 1 Hare, 1 Roe Deer, 4-5 Nightjar (seen really nicely too) and an amazing 22 Glow Worm. On in the mouth of the Piddle there was a group of 7 Common Sandpiper sat on a platoon highlighting more migration. At Lytchett Fields there were 7 Little Ringed Plover, 42 Redshank, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 20 Lapwing, 4 Med Gulls and 12 Sand Martin. Plus, some more good news in that our 2018 female Osprey, 014 who had appeared in Wales earlier this spring and who spent most of May and June getting up to mischief on numerous different nests in that region suddenly appeared on the Axe Estuary in Devon, possibly suggesting she may be making an effort to return to Poole Harbour over the next few days/weeks? Lets hope so, it would be great to see her here again after 2-years of being away.


Harbour update – posted 06/07/20

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

It was interesting to read today on Twitter that Portland bird Obs caught their first Willow Warbler of the autumn today, which we’re sure will be the first of many. Willow Warblers main passage period is late July and early August with most having gone through already by the latter part of August. This capture today means young birds are already on the move so it’s worth keeping an eye out in Long-tailed Tit flocks throughout July (and over the next week or two) as ‘Lottie’ flocks are a typical carrier species for migrating passerines such as Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. This time of year provides a great opportunity to learn a different call type between Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff which allows you to separate the two on call alone, often without even having to see the bird. In 2006 local Poole based publishing company ‘The Sound Approach’ published their first title ‘The Sound Approach to birding’. This award winning title introduces bird song to it’s reader in a manageable and easy to understand format, allowing you to get your head around what can quite often be a challenging topic. Recently the Sound Approach team uploaded their titles onto their website as free ‘Web-Books, and in Chapter 2 of ‘The Sound Approach to birding’ they provide an excellent breakdown and example of the two calls made by both adult and juvenile Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff on autumn migration. Click on the link below to have a read up on this topic. (We highly recommend reading the rest of the book too)!!!!


Well, we haven’t had our first migrating Willow Warbler here yet in the harbour, but up on Ballard there were several Common Swift leaving SW out to sea which suggested some of these are already on their way out of here. Also, the BTO Cuckoo tagging project also showed some of their tagged male Cuckoo’s were seen leaving the UK yesterday with one, ‘Valentine’ already almost down in Southern France! At Lytchett Fields there were still 11 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper and 2 Green Sandpiper with a single Dunlin on the rising tide. On Slepe Heath a Hobby was hunting over the mire and 8 Stonechat were counted. Stonechat seem to have had an excellent season with many juveniles on all the local heathlands. Crossbill were logged at Lytchett Heath (5), Rempstone Forest (7) and Greenlands Farm (4). It’s also worth mentioning that July is the time to keep an eye out for ‘moving’ herons of all species and with the increased breeding numbers of Cattle Egret in the UK, dispersing juveniles from elsewhere in the country could soon be joining our local Little Egrets in various roosts. Take note that juvenile Cattle Egret have black bills like Little Egret, so can be over-looked quite easily.

Silver-studded Blue Butterfly – Hartland Moor

Harbour Update – posted 05/07/20

Posted on: July 6th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Autumn passage is building really nicely at the moment with now 11 Little Ringed Plover on Lytchett Fields today. The Poole Harbour record is of 12 on several dates at Lytchett Fields last year but being so early in July, there’s plenty of time for more to arrive, as it seems they’ve had a good breeding season. Also on the fields were 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpiper and 1 Peregrine. In Middlebere an Osprey (assumed to be CJ7) with a fish was seen flying over the channel, over Hydes Heath and out towards the Wareham Channel. In the Middlebere Channel it’s self were 11 Curlew, 7 Little Egret, 3 Redshank and 14 Shelduck. At Creekmoor Ponds, it was great to see a Great Crested Grebe was still on eggs as we’re not sure the last time they bred there.


Harbour Update – posted 04/07/20

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

Pretty grim today, but bad weather often forces down migrating birds, and today highlighted that. The Lytchett Fields Little Ringed Plover flock rose from 4 to 8 which for early July is a good total. Just outside the recording area a group of 10 Common Sandpiper were on Peveril Point, Swanage with another 3 Common Sandpiper on Seymers, Brownsea. Also at Lytchett Fields was the Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 6 Green Sandpiper, 30+ Redshank, 81 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Yellow-legged Gull and lots of juv Reed Warbler are beginning to appear. Over in Rempstone Forest a party of 11 Crossbill flew over and at Greensland’s Farm a Red Kite was seen. Female Osprey CJ7 was again seen out over the Wareham Channel in between the poor spells of weather and at Holes Bay a roost of 37 Little Egret were counted. In the PC World Drain, there were 6 Blackcap and 12 Chiffchaff, all mostly juveniles.

Black-tailed Godwit – Lytchett Fields

Harbour Update – posted 03/07/20

Posted on: July 4th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It wasn’t a bad day in the end, although the wind did build quite substantially. Female Osprey CJ7’s behaviour is interesting at the moment, as she’s taken to sitting on channel markers out in the Wareham Channel (rather American like) before going fishing elsewhere in the harbour. This morning she was on a marker in the mouth of Frome before heading off towards the Middlebere Wytch Lake area to catch a fish before heading off towards Wareham Forest. At Lytchett Fields there were more signs of autumn passage getting underway with 4 Little Ringed Plover, however, 3 of them were juveniles, which means a newly arrived juvenile had a arrived in from somewhere. This new bird seemed incredibly ‘fresh’ in terms of it’s juvenile plumage suggesting this too could have been raised somewhere local?? Also, the autumns first Greenshank returned onto the fields, and also present were 1 Spotted Redshank, 3 Green Sandpiper, 74 Black-tailed Godwit, 44 Redshank, c30 Lapwing and c15 Teal. More Crossbill were heard flying over with 8 over Slepe Heath/Hartland and c15 over Greenlands on the edge of Rempstone.

Newly arrived ‘fresh’ Little Ringed Plover – Lytchett Fields – Shaun Robson

Juvenile Lapwing – Lytchett Fields

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