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 November, 2020

Harbour Update – posted 30/11/20

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

A foggy start to the morning which lifted this afternoon, but we had a good number of sightings from across the harbour. 5 Great Northern Diver were reported between Jerry’s Point, Furzy and Green Island this morning, with also 2 Long-tailed Ducks and 2 Black-necked Grebes. Less commonly reported, there was a further Great Northern Diver in Holes Bay this morning.

An extensive count of the Middlebere Channel on the turning tide produced c.750 Avocet, c.350 Lapwing, 320 Wigeon, 106 Teal, 90 Black-tailed Godwit, 82 Shelduck, 49 Redshank, 5 Spotted Redshank, 3 Grey Plover, 19 Curlew, 23 Brent Geese, 27 Dunlin, 3 Shoveler, 3 Little Egret, a Common Snipe and a Peregrine. Over on Swineham Gravel Pit, 4 Pochard were reported, as well as a single Marsh Harrier and 6 Fieldfare over Swineham Point. Black Redstart continue to b reported, with one sighting this morning in St Mary’s graveyard in Wareham. A nice sighting of a Merlin was also reported at Holton Lee, which is currently closed to visitors, but the Merlin was photographed by a member of staff.

Merlin – Holton Lee – Tony Furnell


Harbour Update – posted 29/11/20

Posted on: November 29th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A quieter but equally stunning day in Poole Harbour today, though a permanent haze may have hampered the birding efforts of a few. Highlights from Lytchett Fields included 4 Avocet, 1 Water Pipit, 1 Rock Pipit and the usual 50+ Linnet flock in the farm fields. Meanwhile, between tides Holes Bay held 627 Black-tailed Godwit, 292 Dunlin, 137 Avocet, 30 Redshank, 10 Curlew, 2 Lapwing, 10 Knot, alongside a flock of 12 Redwing.

The south-east of the harbour continues to boast the majority of the key winter species, as all 3 Long Tail Duck were relocated around Furzey and Green Island, along with 5 Great Northern Diver, 4 Scaup, 4 Common Scoter, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 7 Goldeneye, 16 Red-breasted Mergansers. Also of note were 245 Oystercatchers on Cleavel Point viewed from the water.

Long-tailed Duck – South Deep – Garry Hayman


Harbour Update – posted 28/11/20

Posted on: November 29th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A gorgeous day to be in the harbour: with clear skies and relatively little wind, those who ventured out were well rewarded. By far the highlight was a juvenile Goshawk, only the fourth recorded in Lytchett Bay, which perched briefly in the trees on the far side of Sherford Pools. Also of note on the Fields were 2 Green Sandpipers and 1 Water Pipit – remember to keep an eye out for colour ringed individuals when visiting!

There were flocks of 12 Lesser Redpolls and 18 Redwing on Wareham Common, along with a wintering Chiffchaff amongst the bushes. Downstream there were 2 Marsh Harriers over Swineham and Arne Moors, and the Wareham Channel itself hosted several Spoonbill.

The east of the harbour was teeming with wetland species, including the returning the Bar-tailed Godwit flock off Shore Road at Sandbanks. In Bramble Bush Bay there were 10 Turnstone, 41 Oystercatcher, 2 Sandwich Tern, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Great-crested Grebe, 6 Brent Goose and a highlight of 15 Sanderling, four of which were carried metal rings on their legs. Moving round to Jerry’s Point and looking out towards the islands and South Deep, there were 4 Scaup, single figures of Black-necked Grebe, Common Scoter, and Great Northern Diver, plus a tight raft of 10 Goldeneye.

By the evening low tide, Brands Bay was absolutely packed with 100s of Wigeon and twice again of Dunlin. Mixed in amongst these were dozens of Teal, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, Redshank and Oystercatcher, and the occasional treat of Pintail, Grey Plover, Knot, Greenshank and 12 Avocet. Sadly just before sunset this glorious scene was interrupted as wildfowling activity began, after which fewer of the disturbed birds returned to settle, hopefully finding refuge elsewhere nearby.

Juvenile Goshawk – Lytchett Fields – Garry Hayman


Harbour Update – posted 27/11/20

Posted on: November 27th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

No Long-tailed Ducks from Jerry’s Point today, but otherwise productive with 3 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Scaup, 3 Common Scoter, Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser present, as well as a count of 15 Sanderling, 27 Dunlin, c.20 Ringed Plover and 2 Grey Plover. In the Middlebere Channel, 450 Avocet, 140 Black-tailed Godwit, 380 Lapwing, 7 Grey Plover, 47 Dunlin, 50 Redshank, 3 Spotted Redshank and 10 Curlew were counted. 1 Spoonbill was also reported off Round Island.

Sightings from Lytchett Bay this morning included a drake Pintail, as well as a female Marsh Harrier and a Peregrine. A ringing session this morning saw a retrap of a Bearded Tit, which was ringed in October 2019:

Bearded Tit – Lytchett Bay – Shaun Robson


Harbour Update – posted 26/11/20

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

After yesterday’s no-show, there were 2 Long-tailed Duck seen off Furzey Island today from Jerry’s Point, along with great total of 4 Great Northern Diver,  4 Scaup, 31 Red-breasted Merganser, 7 Goldeneye, 3 Common Scoter, and 1 Black-necked Grebe. 113 Avocet were present in Holes Bay. From Middlebere, 1 Marsh Harrier and a flock of 10 Crossbill were reported.

Common Scoter – Jerry’s Point – Garry Hayman


Harbour Update – posted 25/11/20

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

Jerry’s Point failed to produce a Long-tailed Duck, however 4 Scaup, 5 Common Scoter and 5 Great Northern Diver maintained the quality. Holes Bay held 1306 Wigeon, 173 Teal, 38 Shoveler, 28 Pintail, 41 Shelduck in North and SE. Over 500 Black-tailed Godwit were logged from the Stone Bench in fading light along with mimimum counts of 200 Dunlin, 100 Redshank, 90 Avocet, 22 Knot and 20 Curlew. Turlin Moor LNR, Lytchett Bay featured 54 Brent Goose, 5 Canada Goose, 17 Mute Swan, 20 Shelduck, 6 Gadwall, 250 Wigeon, Mallard 13, 100 Teal, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Water Rail, 44 Avocet, 75 Oystercatcher, 100 Lapwing, 40 Curlew, 160 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Dunlin, 3 Greenshank, 60 Redshank and 1 Kingfisher.

Kingfisher – Holton Pools – Tony Furnell (Please note, Holton Lee is closed to the public)


Harbour Update – posted 24/11/20

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

It felt a bit more like November today with a gusty wind building throughout the day. By the weekend, the wind swings round NE and things will certainly begin to chill. It was much of the same today, especially around the Jerry’s Point area with the 2 Long-tailed Duck, 4 Scaup, 6 Common Scoter, 4 Great Northern Diver, 8 Goldeneye, 1 Great White Egret, 30+ Red-breasted Merganser and 30+ Great Crested Grebe. An adult female Hen Harrier was in the mouth of the Frome near Swineham late afternoon as were 4 Marsh Harrier.


Harbour Update – posted 23/11/20

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

Another fine, calm day which made watching the open water areas of the harbour pretty easy. Off Jerry’s Point the 2 Long-tailed Duck were still present along with 4 Scaup, 4 Common Scoter, 5 Great Northern Diver, 6 Black-necked Grebe, 11 Goldeneye plus 27 Ringed Plover, 3 Sanderling, 7 Grey Plover and c450 Dunlin and 1 Great White Egret. In Holes Bay several Rock Pipit were present including what looked to be a littoralis Scandinavian Rock Pipit, being much paler and ‘cleaner’ than our British Rock Pipits. At Lytchett Bay another Water Pipit was colour-ringed as part of a national scheme to monitor their movements within the UK and potentially back to their breeding grounds. In Holes Bay NE a Green Sandpiper seems to have taken up winter residence which is a decent over-wintering bird for Holes Bay.

Plus, the results for our Big Poole Harbour Bird Count are in. On October 25th many of you got out and made your sightings count by submitting them to us for the Big Poole Harbour Bird Count. Brittany, from our BoPH team has been working on the data results website which is now launched and ready to go. You can look at info for different species and sites, compare data from the winter Big Bird count, plus, we’ll be hosting more moving forward with the next being in January 2021 on the 10th….more info to follow soon. In the mean time, you can explore the data HERE.

Finally, we’ve been contacted by numerous people regarding our binocular sales and the HQ being closed, and although we hope to be re-open for December weekends, we’ve decided that we would also move our binocular and telescope sales online to expand our service and offer you the chance to purchase our ‘Cruelty Free Range’ remotely. So, if you know anyone that’s been good this year and deserves something extra then please visit our new ONLINE SHOP HERE.

Scandinavian Rock Pipit – Holes Bay – Alison Copland


Harbour Update – posted 22/11/20

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

It was a great morning to be out today with the Poole Harbour WeBS counters out in force covering the whole harbour at 9:30am. The calm conditions really helped and good totals of multiple species were logged with highlights consisting of 3 Long-tailed Duck (2 off Jerry’s Point and 1 near Newton Bay), 8 Great Northern Diver, mostly off Jerry’s Point, 13 Goldeneye scattered across the harbour, 26 Black-necked Grebe (11 Middle Beach, 7 Jerry’s Point, 4 Shell Bay and 4 Central Harbour), 4 Scaup in Brands Bay, 6 Common Scoter (3 off Jerry’s Point and 3 off Middle Beach, 18 Spoonbill in Middlebere along with 100+ Great Crested Grebe, 80+ Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Goosander in Lytchett Bay and excellent totals of regular over-wintering waders and wildfowl. Additional bonuses included 2 Reeve’s Pheasant near Norden Sewage works (most likely recent releases), 2 Water Pipit at Lytchett Fields, 1 Great White Egret in Brands Bay, 4 Marsh Harrier in the Wareham Channel, a ringtail Hen Harrier at Morden Bog and 2 Merlin (1 Middlebere, 1 Slepe). At Swineham a Barnacle Goose was hiding in amongst the many Canada Geese and on the GP were 3 Pochard. 


Harbour Update – posted 20/11/20

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

It was great to see the harbour so calm this morning, allowing for a full area count to be conducted across Brands Bay, South Deep and off Jerry’s Point. The returns were excellent with 2 Long-tailed Duck off Furzey Island, also 4 Scaup, 4 Great Northern Diver, 2 Common Scoter, 2 Goldeneye, 36 Red-breasted Merganser and 44 Great Crested Grebe. Brands Bay was full of birds on the low tide too with c400 Dunlin, 6 Sanderling, c150 Avocet, c30 Pintail, 14 Grey Plover and the Great White Egret. The Purple Sandpiper still seems to be around as it was noted near the houseboats at the harbour mouth. Off Middle Beach, Studland there were 3 Common Scoter and 6 Black-necked Grebe

Purple Sandpiper with Dunlin and Ringed Plover – Studland Houseboats – Nick Gadenne


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