Poole Harbour sightings blog

A record of all interesting and notable sightings from around the harbour throughout the year.

Latest Sightings

Archive for November, 2020

Harbour Update – posted 09/11/20

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

This still weather is making it really easy to find and count birds out on the open water. Yet again, Jerry’s Point produced the goods today with a redhead Goosander out on the water with Red-breasted Merganser. Other totals included 4 Great Northern Diver, 4 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Scaup, 1 Common Scoter, 1 Goldeneye, 60+ Great Crested Grebe and 20+ Red-breasted Merganser. From the Houseboats in Bramble Bush Bay there were 32 Ringed Plover, 8 Sanderling and 9 Dunlin. Brands Bay was packed with 498 Black-tailed Godwit, 237 Dunlin, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Grey Plover, c100 Redshank, c300 Wigeon, c120 Brent Goose, c30 Pintail and 1 Marsh Harrier. From Middle Beach there were 4 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Gannet (plus a dead one on the beach) and from South Beach 2 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Common Scoter and 1 Great Northern Diver. Out on Wareham Common the largest Fieldfare flock of the autumn was present with c150 logged today with c30 Redwing. At Upton Country Park there were 600+ Black-tailed Godwit, 250 Dunlin, 25 Knot, 66 Avocet, 30 Pintail, 70 Shoveler and good numbers of Teal and Wigeon. Swineham was Goose-tastic today with 71 Greylag Geese, 2 Egyptian Geese and 212 Canada Goose. Primed to draw in a Pink-foot, White-fronted or Bean Goose should the weather turn colder later in the winter. Also at Swineham a Hen Harrier was busy patrolling over the reed beds.

Pintail – Holes Bay CP – Rene Goad

Redhead Goosander – Jerry’s Point – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 08/10/20

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

A murky morning created an atmospheric start around the south of the harbour, making for calm, yet challenging field conditions. Jerry’s Point featured the bird of the day… a male Long-tailed Duck, as well as a strong supporting cast of 2 Scaup, 1 female type Common Scoter, 6 Great Northern Diver (including 1 in summer plumage), 7 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Goldeneye, 43 Great Crested Grebe, 30 Red-breasted Merganser, 30 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 31 Oystercatcher, 23 Turnstone, 19 Dunlin and 1 Great White Egret off Redlake. Brand’s Bay hosted a further 365 Wigeon, 69 Pintail, 32 Teal, 18 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 280 Black-tailed Godwit, 140 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank, 2 Grey Plover, 21 Lapwing, 19 Curlew and Redshank.

Elsewhere, a Stoborough garden enjoyed a visiting Firecrest and Holes Bay racked up peak counts of 1244 Wigeon, 640 Black-tailed Godwit and 121 Avocet, as well as singles of Grey Plover and Kingfisher.

Wigeon – Brand’s Bay – Gary Hayman

Pintail – Brand’s Bay – Gary Hayman

Harbour Update – posted 07/11/20

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

It was pretty mild today, almost spring like in fact with Skylark in full song just outside Lytchett Minster. One of the highlights of the day were 2 Water Pipit that were colour-ringed as part of a national scheme to track their movements across the UK/Europe and possibly back to their breeding grounds in the spring. After a week of trying 2 were finally caught by Stour Ringing Group in Lytchett Bay and were ringed with yellow colour-rings labelled 0K and 1K in black lettering. Will be fascinating to see if they appear anywhere else in the UK this winter. Elsewhere around the harbour the Jerry’s Point area was well watched again with 4 Great Northern Diver, 37 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Goldeneye, 1 Common Scoter and 3 Black-necked Grebe and in Brands Bay there were 310 Black-tailed Godwit, 22 Lapwing, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Peregrine and 2 Great White Egret. Around Middlebere/Slepe/Wareham Channel area there were 2 Hen Harrier, 5 Marsh Harrier and 1 Merlin. There were 2 late Wheatear up on Nine Barrow Down and 3 more House Martin off Studland.

Water Pipit – Lytchett Bay – Shaun Robson

Water Pipit ‘1K’ – Lytchett Bay – Shaun Robson

Harbour Update – posted 06/11/20

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

A slightly nippier wind today from the east, with Jerry’s Point area with 4 Great Northern Diver, 1 Scaup, 2 Goldeneye, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 23 Red-breasted Merganser, 29 Turnstone, 2 Sandwich Tern and several Dark-bellied Brent Geese. There were 2 ringtail Hen Harrier in the Swineham area, which looked like a male and a female. In Holes Bay there are up to 4 Kingfisher utilising the rocky shoreline which are providing excellent views for anyone walking along there on cold frosty mornings. There was a Merlin in Ridge and a few House Martin were logged with 2 over Scotland Farm and 6 off Brownsea. There were 2 Cattle Egret again in the field just beyond the Bakers Arms roundabout.

Kingfisher – Holes Bay – Alison Copland

Harbour Update – posted 05/11/20

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

Well, we entered another lockdown today, but we’re glad to hear most nature reserves and open spaces remain open access to the public. This means people are still able to follow the current guidelines but still get some fresh air, exercise and go birding. This resulted in 6 Great Northern Diver being seen off Jerry’s Point today with 3 Goldeneye, 5 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Red-necked Grebe and the Great White Egret was in Brands Bay and later seen at Littlesea. A Grey Phalarope was also found off the end of the near the Houseboats in Bramble Bush Bay. 2 Cattle Egret were seen again over Lytchett Bay and there were 2 Water Pipit at Lytchett Fields. Annoyingly a blanket of Fog was settled over Poole Harbour north meaning Wood Pigeon movement never really got going. A Hen Harrier was also seen high over Lytchett Fields and off Middle Beach there was 4 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Great Northern Diver.

Great Northern Diver – Jerry’s Point – Paul Swann

Grey Phalarope – Bramble bush Bay – Nick Gadenne


Harbour Update – posted 04/11/20

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

We’d hoped this morning would produce the wood, and it did!!! Wood Pigeons began appearing over Evening Hill at 06:58 with small flocks of 20, 40, 100…..before long big flocks of 500-1000 were moving and then between 8am and 9:30am streams of flocks between 500-2000 were moving high above the harbour. In the end our best estimate was 75,014 after totalling our tally, but the truth is several other flocks could/would have passed high unnoticed and it’s likely our count is an undercount. This was a good tally, but it didn’t quite hit the dizzy totals of 160k Wood Pigeon over the harbour in Nov 2010. Other highlights today included 5 Great Northern Diver, 1 Scaup, 2 Black-necked Grebe, 47 Great Crested Grebe and c15 Red-breasted Merganser. At Lytchett Bay, whilst also looking for Wood Pigeons, birders logged 2 Cattle Egret and 1 Egyptian Goose. At Arne 28 Spoonbill were on the Shipstal Spit and in the Piddle Valley a ringtail Hen Harrier was logged.

Wood Pigeon migration – High over Evening Hill

Harbour Update – posted 03/11/20

Posted on: November 3rd, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There was a sniff of Woodpigeon migration this AM with c400 over Baiter car park heading South West over Brownsea. Could tomorrow be the big day??? The Osprey was seen again in Brands Bay where it was seen circling the area before heading off over Goathorn. There were 5 Cattle Egret in the fields north of the A35 just 100m beyond the Bakers Arms roundabout, west bound. Later this evening a Cattle Egret was seen heading over Lytchett Fields heading to roost. In the Brands Bay/Jerry’s Point area there were 5 Great Northern Diver, 2 Scaup, 3 Black-necked Grebe, 5 Common Scoter and 11 Red-breasted Merganser. On the Brownsea Lagoon 8 Spotted Redshank were logged with 4 in Middlebere and 30 Spoonbill were on Shipstal. There are good numbers of wildfowl in Holes Bay north now with 700+ Wigeon, 56 Teal, 22 Shoveler, 18 Pintail, 13 Shelduck, plus 2 Kingfisher along with 89 Avocet, 91 Dunlin, 69 Redshank, 2 Greenshank 550 Black-tailed Godwit, 25 Knot, 20+ Curlew.

Harbour Update – posted 02/11/20

Posted on: November 2nd, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A real eclectic mix of species today from across the harbour. Most amazingly was a late Osprey which was seen over Brands Bay mid morning. Looking at the forecast we doubt it will leave tomorrow but the conditions on Wednesday and Thursday will be ideal for it to ‘catch up’. Talking of conditions, Wednesday could end up being a Woodpigeon morning. If so, keep an out on airspace above Evening Hill towards Brownsea anytime from 6:30am onwards. Last year they moved en mass on Nov 6th but when the weather conditions are good they just go, and looking at the forecast Wednesday or Thursday look like the ideal morning. There were good numbers of Great Northern Diver around today with 7 off Jerry’s Point, 1 in Shell Bay and 1 over Lytchett Bay. There were 3 Scaup, 6 Common Scoter, 4 Black-necked Grebe, 11 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Goldeneye off Jerry’s Point too, also 1 Merlin and 1 Great White Egret in Brands Bay. There were c400 Med Gull of South Beach which is an excellent winter total and off Middle Beach a Little Gull and 2 Black-necked Grebe. At Shipstal 34 Spoonbill were roosting and there was Purple Sandpiper seen at the Sandbanks slip way today which is the first this year and for quite some time! In Middlebere the Avocet and Black-tailed Godwit flock remained and c25 of the Spoonbill were there too.

Great Northern Diver – Jerry’s Point

Harbour Update – posted 01/11/20

Posted on: November 1st, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Highlights off a blustery Jerry’s Point were 4 Great Northern Diver, of which 2 in stonking summer plumage). Open water species also present in the area included 4 Scaup (uncommon in this area of the harbour), 1 Goldeneye, 18 Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Black-Necked Grebe and 25+ Great Crested Grebe.

Swineham featured a nice male Marsh Harrier & ringtail Hen Harrier hunting simultaneously, quartering the Keysworth shoreline, flushing 150+ Lapwing and 700 Starling in the process. The gravel pit held 3 Pochard, while Stilt Pools saw 140 Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, 19 Curlew and Lapwing. Great White Egret were recorded at Brands Bay and Lytchett Fields. The Holes Bay high tide roost held a minimum of 60 Avocet and 500 Black-tailed Godwit.

Ruff – Stilt Pools, Swineham – Gary Hayman

Call 01202 641 003