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 September, 2020

Harbour Update – posted 26/09/20

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

An excellent ringing session at Lytchett Bay this morning racked up 11 Lesser Redpoll, scarce finch for the site. The session also recorded  8 Cetti’s Warbler, Firecrest, Dartford Warbler and a late Sedge Warbler. The nearby Fields attracted 225 Dunlin, and a Wood Sandpiper showed well in the morning. The additions of Common and Green Sandpiper made for a good trio for late September in the Bay. The juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper was still on Stilt Pools at Swineham this morning, as was the Bestwell Cattle Egret still associating with the cattle. This morning’s high tide roost at Holes Bay topped 663 Black-tailed Godwit, along with highlights of 13 Knot, 6 Shoveler, 2 Pintail and 2 Kingfisher, making appearances at both PC World and Creekmoor drains.

Our free winter birding walk dates are out now! Join our team for a weekly guided tour, exploring the riches of the urban side of Poole Harbour. Poole Quay, Baiter and Poole Park are incredibly important feeding grounds for a range of winter visitors including Kingfisher, Brent Geese, Goldeneye, Great Northern Diver, Turnstone and more. Booking essential.


Lesser Redpoll – Lytchett Bay – Shaun Robson


Harbour Update – 25/09/20

Posted on: September 25th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It was 4 degrees this morning when we left for work! Then a cold wind set in and then some leaves fell off a tree….well, 2 leaves to be precise, but still, autumn seemed to progress once more. Hirundines were pushing through the harbour for most of the day, initially in bigger numbers but then smaller totals by late afternoon. It seemed to mostly be Swallow with lesser numbers of House Martin and Sand Martin. At Swineham 1 Pectoral Sandpiper was still on the scrape along with 23 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Lapwing and 1 Dunlin with 1 Cattle Egret near the Swineham access road. In Holes Bay NW there were 16 Knot, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 539 Black-tailed Godwit, 96 Redshank, 10 Curlew, 250+ Wigeon, 7 Shoveler, 2 Pintail, 2 Kingfisher and 16 Little Egret. At Lytchett Fields the Wood Sandpiper was seen again and at Holton Lee there were 12 Stonechat.

BREAKING NEWS: As a charity, we’ve also decided to host our popular Big Poole Harbour Bird Count FOUR TIMES A YEAR, building on last years community led data gathering format which saw around 100 data submissions in early January 2020. With autumn rumbling on we thought it would be great to kick start the autumn Big Poole Harbour Bird Count on October 25th 2020. Keep an eye out on our website and social media channels for more information, but in the mean time……BOOK THE DAY IN YOUR DIARY AS ‘BIRDING DAY’

Cattle Egret – Swineham – Trevor Warwick

Harbour Update – posted 24/09/20

Posted on: September 25th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

We welcomed back autumn today with cold showers and blustery wind, just the kind of weather that could drop one or two new North American waders our way. Not that we’re bored with the Pectoral Sandpipers, but a Buff-breasted would do just nicely right about now. One of the Pectoral Sandpipers was still on the Swineham Scrape today, but most noticeably so was an early returning Jack Snipe, which is a great September record. We don’t tend to see the first until at least the second week of October. Also at Swineham were 2 Cattle Egret, 1 Spotted Redshank, 34 Black-tailed Godwit, c30 Dunlin, 4 Curlew, 1-2 Yellow-legged Gull and a few Wigeon and Pintail. Lytchett fields was looking fantastic with a Great White Egret present all day, along with 203 Dunlin, 115 Black-tailed Godwit, 120+ Redshank, 9 Greenshank, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank, 300+ Teal, 2 Marsh Harrier and 1 Peregrine. Holes Bay north saw c350 Wigeon, c80 Teal, c350 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Pintail. Finally there were 16 Sandwich Tern on the spit opposite Shipstal Bay, Arne.

Harbour Update – posted 23/09/20

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

Winter is creeping up on us by the day… the Holes Bay Wigeon flock sat at 374 this morning, accompanied by a supporting cast of 12 Dunlin, 32 Redshank, 200+ Black-tailed Godwit and singles of Pintail, Knot and Kingfisher. The first Osprey sighting for several days came today. Veiwed from Hyde’s heath, the bird was seen flying over towards towards Coombe heath. Lytchett Fields offered a Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Spotted Redshank and just shy of 100 Dunlin this morning. Baiter Beach was busy with activity this morning, with 17 Ringed Plover, 31 Turnstone, 2 Dunlin and 2 Mediterranean Gull all logged. Such close views offer a real opportunity to study the ageing of birds. Take the pale fringing on the upperparts of the juvenile Ringed Plover, for example, compared to the uniform upperparts of an adult. One of the long-staying Pectoral Sandpipers was still on the Swineham Scrape along with 1 Cattle Egret  and a Marsh Harrier flew over. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 48 Spoonbill highlighting that numbers are building nicely for another record count which tends to be achieved around mid-October.

Harbour Update – posted 22/09/20

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

Kingfisher post-breeding dispersal is well underway with records coming in today from at Holton Lee and Whitecliff. After breeding along the river valleys feeding in to Poole Harbour, birds head down to coastal spots during autumn and winter.

Swineham Stilt Pools held 6 species of gull (Blacked-headed, Herring, Yellow-legged, Common and both Lesser and Great black-backed). Waterfowl consisted of 3 Wigeon, 10 Shoveler, 16 Teal and Mallard present. The Pectoral Sandpipers continued to feed actively, accompanied by a supporting cast of 2 Dunlin, 26 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Lapwing, 1 Snipe and a Green Sandpiper. Also of note was a Cattle Egret loitering among the cows in the fields nearest to wareham.

Middlebere featured large numbers of Wigeon and Avocet, with additional highlights from Great White Egret and Peregrine flyovers.  A notable 28 strong Mistle Thrush flock was also present, and Siskin continue to move with 82+ logged this morning, as well as 3 Crossbill.

Harbour Update – posted 21/09/20

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

The warmth (and the good times) are apparently coming to an end as colder unsettled weather beds back in again by mid-week with autumnal wetness heading our way, so many birders were out this AM making the most of the late summer sunshine. The first Ring Ouzels of the autumn were seen up on Ballard Down with 3 together. October tends to be ‘Ouzel Month’ but with the NE winds recently it’s obviously delivered a few early arrivals. Vis-mig was much quieter for Siskin with only c300 logged but 108 Lesser Redpoll was notable. A likely dark-morph juvenile Honey Buzzard was seen over Wareham Common heading south, when what was possibly the same bird was then photographed over Durlston an hour or so later. On Lytchett Fields there were 2 Curlew Sandpiper on French’s Pools with 33 Dunlin. At Swineham, the long staying Pectoral Sandpipers were still on the Stilt Pools with 2 Cattle Egret still in the same field. In Holes Bay the Wigeon flock hit a new high of 364 which for mid to late Sept is a good total, plus there were 9 Pintail, 2 Shoveler, only 198 Black-tailed Godwit and 110 Redshank.Little Sea hosted at least 3 Great White Egret when visited at high tide. 23 Little Egret and 4 Grey Heron were also present.

Crossbill – Lytchett Fields (yesterday) – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 20/09/20

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

Blue skies and north-easterly winds ensured another vis-mig morning today with several counts from across the harbour. At Ballard Down Siskin totals came in at 2530 along with 42 Crossbill, 28 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Tree Pipit, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Grey Wagtail plus 3 Sparrowhawk, 2 Peregrine and many many hundreds of Swallow, House Martin and Meadow Pipit. Around the same time over South Haven there were 1010 Siskin, 160 Meadow Pipit, 9 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Crossbill, 232 Swallow, 4 Sand Martin and 7 alba Wagtail. At Swineham both Pectoral Sandpipers were in their increasingly ‘usual’ spot on the ‘Stilt Pools’ along with 1 Snipe and 43 Black-tailed Godwit, and the number of Cattle egret had risen back up to 3 once again. On the gravel pit sat 116 Coot, 18 Tufted Duck, 3 Little Egret and 2 Fulvous Whistling Ducks. Also in the area were 2 female and 1 male Marsh Harrier, and 1 Great White Egret, just as another was simultaneously viewed on the Corfe River, meaning there are currently at least two individuals in the harbour. A few more unusual occurrences included 1 Little Grebe at the Raptor Screen at Arne, 1 Grey Plover in Holes Bay amongst 27 Knot, and 7 Crossbill in the trees next to the approach fields Lytchett Bay, where an obligatory single Osprey could also be seen.


Harbour Update – posted 19/09/20

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

Another notable increase in passerine migration today, with Ballard Down producing 3221 Siskin, 65 Crossbill, 12 Redpoll, 51 Goldfinch, 19 Linnet, 447 Meadow Pipit, 5 YellowWagtail, 9 Grey Wagtail, 37 White/Pied Wagtail, and droves of Hirundines including 18 Sand Martin. The 2 Pectoral Sandpiper and 1 Cattle Egret were still present at Swineham, along with 1 Common Snipe, 21 Blacktailed Godwits, 1 Pintail, 2 Yellow-legged Gulls and 1 flyover Great White Egret. This may have been the same individual later seen over Arne, along with 1 Osprey and 2 Spoonbill. The other 40+ Spoonbill were located on the Brownsea Lagoon. Wildfowl numbers also increasing in Holes Bay with 191 Wigeon, 54 Teal, 8 Shoveler, 2 Pintail, 21 Knot, 19 Curlew, 1 Dunlin and 12 Redshank. Meanwhile highlights from Lytchett fields included another 1 Osprey, 1 Green Sandpiper, Whinchat,Spotted Flycatcher, and a surprise flyover Red Kite which settled in a nearby tree.

Siskin migration – Ballard Down – Nick Hopper

Harbour Update – posted 18/09/20

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

Visible migration really ramped up this morning with the UK’s third highest count of Siskin logged up on Ballard with 2632 counted heading NE into the wind along with 13 Crossbill, 5 Lesser Redpoll (first of the autumn), 1 Tree Pipit, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 93 Meadow Pipit, 30 Goldfinch and a good number of Swallow and House Martin. Birds were moving east along the river valley’s too with c500 Swallow & House Martin, 4 Woodlark, 6 Crossbill, 1 Common Snipe and c70 Siskin all heading down the Piddle and Frome Valley with 2 Great White Egret logged heading west up the Piddle Valley at dawn. There was also a Great White Egret at Lytchett Fields first thing and a Red Kite drifted north over Holes Bay NE. Avocet numbers on the Brownsea Lagoon are building with 292 now present along with 362 Teal. The only Osprey of the day was reported late in the day sat in the dead trees at Middlebere. At Swineham the 2 Pectoral Sandpiper were again on the Stilt Pools and 2 Cattle Egret were in the same field and another was next to the road on the Wareham Causeway. There were 2 Curlew Sandpiper on Lytchett Fields with 151 Dunlin and 4 Curlew Sandpiper were on Brownsea.

Yellow Wagtail – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 18/09/20

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

Autumn took on different twist today with a species we normally associate with later in the season as a Lapland Bunting passed over South Haven at 8am, along with a high count of 745 Siskin, 190 Swallow and 18 Meadow Pipit which highlights the Vis-Mig season is building nicely. At Lytchett Fields 3 different Great White Egret were seen with one during the morning and then two together late afternoon. Also at Lytchett fields were 9 Greenshank, 43 Dunlin, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hobby and 10 Yellow Wagtail. At the Holme Lane GP there were 20 Egyptian Geese and 5 Tufted Duck. Both Pectoral Sandpiper were still on the ‘Stilt Pools’ at Swineham, 3 Cattle Egret were in the same field and the first group of Spoonbill have already de-camped from Brownsea and were seen on the Shipstal Spit with 20 roosting around midday. Out in the Wareham Channel 2 Osprey were seen hunting, both looked to be juveniles.

We’ve also just finished putting together a video that highlights how much the Osprey season, and specifically CJ7 meant to us as a team and to our friends and partners. Please watch the video below for an insight to the emotional connection we all made to the harbour this spring……..

Call 01202 641 003