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 October, 2020

Harbour Update – posted 21/10/20

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

Yesterday’s Holes Bay Osprey is still here. There was no chance it leave today with all this miserable weather about, so it was good to see the bird back on the platform again. Below the feeding platform, a high tide roost count on Pergins Island featured 4 Avocet, 317 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Curlew, 3 Redshank and a Kingfisher from the Stone Bench. A count during a weather window from the new RSPB Arne Lookout offered c.70 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Teal, Wigeon, Pintail, Red-breasted Merganser, Lapwing and 2 adult male Hen Harrier. Incredibly, a third (juvenile male) Hen Harrier was quartering over Arne Moors this morning. So that’s a minimum of 3 present in the harbour! Over at Lytchett Bay, the Fields drew in a minimum of 280 Dunlin, 1 Curlew Sandpiper c.60 Redshank, 70 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Greenshank and a Spotted Redshank, 3 Yellow-legged Gull and a flock of c.30 Curlew were flushed by a Marsh Harrier over the Bay.

Juvenile Osprey – Pergins Island Feeding Platform


Harbour Update – posted 20/10/20

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

westerly is a mini influx of Glossy Ibis into Dorset! In total it seems 8 different individuals were logged along the Dorset coast with 3 being seen in the harbour with 2 logged in the Studland/Ballard area and another seen over Lytchett Fields and later again at Holton Pools (4 at Christchurch Harbour and 1 at Portland/Weymouth). We can’t seem to remember mid to late October being a particularly good time for Glossy ibis, so why 8 suddenly appeared today is anyone’s guess. Still, lets hope they stick around or that the influx continues! Also around the harbour was a Great White Egret seen over South beach Studland with 3 Black-necked Grebe and 4 Common Scoter out in Studland Bay. Off Jerry’s Point there were 4 Common Scoter, 1 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 more Black-necked Grebe. At Lytchett fields there were 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 8 Grey Plover, c200 Dunlin, 3 Avocet and c140 Black-tailed Godwit. The Stilt Pools at Swineham hosted 27 Dunlin, 10 Shoveler, 19 Black-tailed Godwit and 31 Lapwing. Along Baiter there were 20 Turnstone and in Poole Park 2 Kingfisher were active on the main lake

We were also excited to collect in our night sound recording equipment from the roof of a tall high-rise block of flats in Poole having been recording every night for about two weeks. The initial checks show there have been some really decent Redwing movements over Poole Old Town with a good number of Song Thrush and Blackbirds logged too, but only several Fieldfare so far. Also of note so far (although we still have about 10 nights to check) have been a couple of Skylark, 1 Golden Plover and best of all, a close Hawfinch. We’ll be checking more files over the coming days and will be re-deploying the recorder


Harbour Update – posted 19/10/20

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

It’s the start of a new and different weather pattern this week having just enjoyed a week or so of northerly and easterly winds. It’s back to good old wet and windy south westerly’s again, but hey, we don’t mind as that can still produce new birds at this time of year.

Today we retrieved our sound recording gear from the roof of a high-rised set of flats on Old town Poole where it’s been deployed for 2 weeks recording night migrants. Having had a sneaky peak at some of the sound files the results are looking promising with good numbers of Redwing, Song Thrush and Blackbird calls present within the recording. When we begin finding nice recordings to post, we’ll host them on the sightings page over the next few days and weeks.

Sightings today were from all over the place, starting at Studland where there were 2 Black-necked Grebe and 2 Common Scoter in Studland Bay with another Common Scoter in the harbour mouth. Brent Geese were present with 17 flying in through the harbour mouth and 7 in Studland Bay. 14 Crossbill were logged over Middle Beach with 7 Lesser Redpoll. At Lytchett Fields a Jack Snipe was flushed and a Yellow-browed Warbler was in Upton CP. Between Jerry’s Point and Brands Bay there was just a single Red-breasted Merganser but 49 Great Crested Grebe. Out in Poole Bay 20+ Gannet were heading west. In Holes Bay today there were 40 Shoveler (a big increase), 28 Knot, 471 Black-tailed Godwit, 102 Dunlin, 82 Redshank, 2 Grey Plover and 1 Kingfisher. Along the Studland beaches there are plenty of birds taking advantage of the rotting seaweed which is crawling in flies, with Rock and Meadow Pipit, Stonechat, Skylark, Robins and Pied Wagtail all enjoying themselves early this AM.

Redshank, Knot and Grey Plover – Holes Bay north – Martin Adams


Harbour Update – posted 18/10/20

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

Swineham featured Marsh Harrier, passing flock of Lesser Redpoll and 50 Curlew. Early visit to Holes Bay captured the departing 1420 strong Black-headed Gull roost, along with a decent count of staple 550 Wigeon and 21 Knot. The rising tide in Lytchett Bay produced 393 Wigeon, 387 Teal, 180+ Dunlin, 60+ Redshank, 4 Greenshank, 18 CurlewKingfisherYellow-legged Gull and a notable 9 Little Grebe this morning. Brownsea Island attracted 38 Spoonbill onto the Lagoon.

Rock Pipit – Holes Bay – Steve Grundy


Harbour Update – posted 17/10/20

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

The highlight from today was the probable Long-eared Owl reported in a Lilliput garden this morning, watched  briefly by the observer until seen off by crows. The Cold Harbour Yellow-browed Warbler continued to frequent the area surrounding the Forestry Commission Wareham Office and a Red Kite drifted over Upton this afternoon, possibly the same bird over Swanage North Beach just over an hour later. It also seems that the Lytchett Fields Grey Phalarope relocated to the Stilt Pools at Swineham. A Hobby was seen hunting out over Hartland mid-morning and Marsh Harrier were spread across the west of the harbour at dawn.

The Linnet flock knocking around the Arable Field, Lytchett Bay has steadily increased in recent weeks, today hitting impressive 168 strong! Having not been recorded in Lytchett Bay since mid-August, several Mediterranean Gull made a welcome appearance, with just one in the Bay and 2 on the Fields. The Fields also held an additional 249 Dunlin, 1 Spotted Redshank, 62 Common Redshank, 63 Lapwing and 6 Common Gull. Holes Bay recorded counts of 493 Wigeon, 25 Shoveler, 9 Pintail, and 5 Teal on rising Spring tide, as well as 2 Kingfisher, c.400 Black-tailed Godwit, 100+ Dunlin, 50+ Redshank and 20 Knot.

Red Kite – Upton – Tony Furnell


Harbour Update – posted 16/10/20

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

Lytchett Bay’s first Brent Geese of the season were logged today.  A total of 7 were recorded in the entranced channel. The Bay also held a minimum count of 245 Wigeon. A Yellow-browed Warbler was kicking around Cold Harbour. 3o Spoonbill were observed on our Brownsea Lagoon webcam, numbers are certainly increasing with birds venturing across more of the harbour. Elsewhere a further 33 Brent Geese occupied Shipstal Point, Arne and an additional 4 Brent’s were seen on the reserve from Coombe viewpoint. Two large mixed flocks of Lapwing & Starling in flight, as well as  Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Teal, Wigeon, Pintail and Marsh Harrier all recorded from the new Lookout. Visible migration was fantastic at both South Haven and Glebelands with South Haven seeing 347 Lesser Redpoll and 152 at Glebelands and equally impressive numbers of Crossbill 103 at Glebelands.

Wigeon – Lytchett Bay – Ian Ballam


Harbour Update – posted 15/10/20

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

Visible migration was fantastic toady with great conditions producing  354 Lesser Redpoll, 157 Siskin, 321 Goldfinch, 28 Crossbill, 1 Brambling and 1 Ring Ouzel  at South Haven, with Glebelands seeing an equally great range of totals including 210 Siskin, 430 Goldfinch, 105 Goldfinch, 97 Lesser Redpoll and 1 Brambling. There were 3 Pintail flying high over Lytchett Bay were of note this morning, along with a group of Crossbill over towards Holton Lee. Several Firecrest were kicking around Poole park today, with a minimum count of 4 near the park steps to the north of the mini golf.

Today’s Poole Town Walk concluded with an exceptional record of a Great White Egret over Poole Town, coming in off the harbour! Other highlights from the guided walk included 2 Sandwich Tern seen fishing in the harbour, 3 Swallow, c20 Turnstone and a brief appearance from a Kingfisher at Poole Park. To book onto our free walks please visit: https://www.birdsofpooleharbourbookings.co.uk/event/poole-town-birding-walks

Our team at Birds of Poole Harbour really enjoy running our free guided walks around Poole Town and the Harbour. By making a donation to the charity you will help us to continue to run these free events. You can add a donation when you checkout or by visiting our donate page.


Harbour Update – posted 14/10/20

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

Those on our highly enjoyable Holes Bay guided walk this afternoon were treated to 230 Black-tailed Godwit, 22 Knot, Grey Plover, Grey Wagtail, a carpet of several hundred Wigeon, an elusive Firecrest and exceptional views of a Kingfisher. The adult male successfully caught a fish after several failed attempts from his favourite shopping trolley. Earlier in the day, 3 Sandwich Tern were also observed in Holes Bay south.

Two Ring Ouzel continue to kick around Godlingston Hill Gully, but remain quiet elusive. Middlebere Channel held c700 Black-tailed Godwit, 200 Avocet, 15 Redshank, 7 Grey Heron, 5 Little Egret, 3 Curlew, 2 Shelduck and good numbers of Wigeon. Nearby, c150 Lapwing were occupying the Slepe farm field. Brands Bay featured a further 98 Curlew, 285 Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Dunlin, 69 Redshank, 61 Pintail, 1 Brent Goose, 3 Grey Plover, 45 Great Crested Grebe & more Wigeon.

Kingfisher – Holes Bay Guided Walk


Harbour Update – posted 13/10/20

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

The Grey Phalarope remained at Lytchett Fields today, seen this morning from the French’s Pool viewpoint. A Curlew Sandpiper from Lytchett Fields was also reported. A count at Holes Bay today produced 420 Black-tailed Godwit, 115 Dunlin, 36 Redshank, 21 Knot, 2 Curlew, 2 Grey Plover, 552 Wigeon, 211 Teal, 21 Shoveler, 6 Pintail and 1 Gadwall. No Ospreys were reported in the harbour area today, though a Red Kite was seen over Holton Lee. At South Haven, Studland a Jack Snipe was seen on the waters edge near the car park and a drake Eider was in Shell Bay and 2 Woodlark and 4 Crossbill flew over South Haven.

Mega news! Remember the Lytchett Bay Aquatic Warbler trapped and ringing on 12th August? Well, 16 days later the very same bird was controlled (re-trapped) in Northern Spain – simply superb!

Aquatic Warbler Control

Turnstone – Baiter 


Harbour Update – posted 12/10/20

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

The Redwings have arrived! With 10 venturing down the Piddle Valley yesterday, it was only a matter of time before the rest got going and this morning flocks of between 50-150 were logged at several sites. This isn’t quite the floodgates being opened, rather the first casual observers in a newly opened discount store. It starts off fairly calm, until before you know it the masses arrive and carnage ensues. Poole Harbours peak thrush passage tends to be the latter part of October and in the right wind conditions can see big numbers of Redwing, Song Thrush, Fieldfare and Blackbird track across certain areas, most notably the harbour mouth, but also across the top of Arne, through the Corfe Gap and up (and down) the river valley’s. This morning flocks were passing over urban and rural areas so be sure to look out and up when you first get up to see if you can catch the last of the nights passage before birds settle down on the ground for the day. Now’s also the best time to start heading out into your gardens at night, anytime after dark and try listening for Redwing passing over. This is known as noc-mig (nocturnal migration) and we’ll be doing a video about this soon. Also today an Osprey was roosting on the north shore of Brownsea at dawn which was just visible from Baiter. At Lytchett Fields the Grey Phalarope was still present and a Pochard was out in the bay. Crossbills passed over the Piddle Valley (18), Lytchett Bay (2) and Studland (11). There are also currently 9 different Marsh Harrier in the harbour, spending most of their day around the Wareham Channel, Middlebere area and 2 Merlin were on Hartland. The Great White Egret was in Middlebere again and the harbour seems to be littered with Stonechats currently with counts of 5-10 at multiple sites.

Below is an example of thrush migration we recorded at dawn back in 2015 up on Ballard Down. No matter how many times we hear Redwing, the first autumn birds always get our hearts racing!

Redwing & Fieldfare, calls of arriving migrants – Glebelands, Poole Harbour 06/11/15

Male Stonechat – Middlebere


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