Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Archive for December, 2020

Harbour Update – posted 30/12/20

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

There was more frost on the ground this AM but it sadly didn’t deliver very much in terms of anything new. There were 4 Goldeneye again in Holes Bay SE and decent numbers of Black-tailed Godwit (785+), Avocet (253), Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, 3 Kingfisher and 8 Little Grebe in Holes Bay NE. The Great White Egret was feeding along the River Corfe and off Middle Beach there were 7 Black-necked Grebe. In Lytchett Bay there were 80+ Avocet, 6 Little Grebe and plenty of Redshank and a Chiffchaff was at Lytchett Fields. At Arne there were 24 Spoonbill and 3 Marsh Harrier seen. Not many open water species were reported but there seems to be an arrival of new birds coming in with Velvet Scoter, 3 Slavonian Grebe and 3 Long-tailed Duck around the Fleet in the Weymouth area.

Common Chiffchaff – Lytchett Bay – Ian Ballam


Harbour Update – posted 29/12/20

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

We’re loving this cold weather as it keeps delivering good birds, with todays best bird not actually being seen today though. News reached us today that on Dec 20th a Bittern was seen in front of the viewing screen at Lytchett Bay which is the first for the bay in quite a while and certainly one of only a handful of records from the harbour over the last several years. Birds from today at Lytchett Bay included 2 Cattle Egret over the bay at dusk heading to the Holes Bay roost, also 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Yellow-legged Gull and 5 Spoonbill. At Swineham there was a Jack Snipe c100 Lapwing, 2 Egyptian Geese, 5 Cetti’s Warbler, 1 Marsh Harrier, 2 Water Rail and 1 Chiffchaff. In Holes Bay SE there were 3 Goldeneye with another 1 on Poole Park Lake. Off Jerry’s Point/Brands Bay there were 2 Great Northern Diver,Scaup, 1 Common Scoter, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 23 Sanderling, 1200 Dunlin, 30 Grey Plover, 10 Knot, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Grey Plover. In Middlebere 3 Bearded Tit were seen which are a rare find there and in the Middlebere Channel there were 4 Spotted Redshank, 26 Curlew, 550 Avocet, 1 ringtail Hen Harrier and 120 Lapwing. At Littlesea, Studland the Great White Egret flew into roost at dusk and a Woodcock was seen.

Bullfinch – Swineham – Peter Moore

Harbour Update – posted 28/12/20

Posted on: December 28th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today was another excellent day for birding around the harbour with perfect conditions and even a sprinkling of snow on the ground at dawn for some people. Most focus was given to the Studland area which returned a decent run of birds including the 4 Scaup off Redhorn along with 3 Great Northern Diver, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 11 Goldeneye and 4 Common Scoter. In Shell Bay there were 3 Great Northern Diver and on the beach 43 Grey Plover and 23 Ringed Plover were roosting. Out in Studland bay there were 6 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Red-throated Diver, 5 Common Scoter and a small passage of Auks, Kittiwake and Gannet heading west past Old Harry, as well as a couple of Lapwing heading east way out in Studland Bay suggesting a possible cold weather movement from further north. Out off Shipstal Point, Arne there were 9 Black-necked Grebe, 22 Spoonbill and 11 Goldeneye. A Slavonian Grebe was off Furzey Island and at Lytchett Fields there were 4 Green Sandpiper, 1 Yellow-legged Gull and 1 Marsh Harrier with another 3 Marsh Harrier in the Wareham Channel. The Ring-billed Gull was looked for during the afternoon but wasn’t seen.

Grey Plover roosting on Shell Beach, Studland


Harbour Update – posted 27/12/20

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

An excellent list of species today from right across the harbour. Storm Bella certainly delivered at different sites starting out in Poole Bay where there were 400-500 auk (50/50 Guillemot and Razorbill) passing west, as well as c80 Kittiwake, c100 Gannet, 8 Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver, 1 (poss 2) Black-throated Diver, 2 Common Scoter, 1 Avocet, 4 Great Crested Grebe and 22 Black-tailed Godwit all west. At the harbour entrance a Long-tailed DUCK entered the harbour mouth at dawn along with 5 Great Northern Diver, 85 Shag and 385 Black-tailed Godwit. At Lytchett Bay the Ring-billed Gull came into roost again at 14:15 before moving towards the Wareham Channel, plus a Pochard settled in the bay (rare here) at dawn, 4 Spoonbill and 2 Cattle Egret flew over at dusk heading towards the Holes Bay egret roost. Around the Studland peninsular there were 4 Great Northern Diver, 17 Black-necked Grebe and 6 Common Scoter off Knoll Beach, and around Brands Bay there were 41 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Black-necked Grebe, 71 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Scaup, 21 Goldeneye and 1 Common Scoter. Finally, the lone Purple Sandpiper at Sandbanks has now found a friend which is good news!

Great Northern Diver – Shell Bay 

Harbour Update – posted 26/12/20

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

With Storm Bella bashing its way across Dorset tonight who knows what may arrive in the harbour tomorrow, but today certainly ended well with the discovery of an adult Ring-billed Gull in Lytchett Bay, found by Shaun Robson. Other general sightings included 10 Spoonbill also in Lytchett Bay, 3 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Great Northern Diver in Studland Bay, 2 Great Northern Diver off Baiter, 6 Egyptian Geese along Holme Lane and in Holes Bay NW a great count of 88 Shoveler plus 26 Pintail & 1 Gadwall.

Christmas Day – Dec 25th 2020

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

Merry Christmas from all of us here at Birds of Poole Harbour. It’s been a crazy year, one that I’m sure many of us will choose to forget. However, through the gloom we saw big advances in the Poole Harbour Osprey project with female Osprey CJ7 settling on a nest platform all spring and entertaining the masses through lockdown and we really can not wait to see what 2021 delivers…..with or without covid in our lives. As a charity we thrive on meeting like-minded nature and bird enthusiasts that we can share experiences with, either on our boat trips, at pop up events, on guided walks and even online. 2020 has hampered at lot of our people engagement work but we promise to still deliver whereever we can in what ever way we can next year and we can’t wait to see you all out in the field too in the very near future.

So, from all of us here at BoPH, thanks as always for all your kind support over the year(s), it really does mean so much to us. We hope you all manage to try and have some form of Merry Christmas and bird filled 2021 x

A cold and christmasy Bramble Bush Bay

Harbour Update – posted 24/12/20

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

Well, the big day is finally here and what a year it’s been! Todays finally produced some sunshine after what seemed like months of rain, but todays northerly blow certainly made it feel like a bleak mid winter. There was a nice selection from around the harbour with 6+ Spoonbill finally dropping into Holes Bay, a site they used to be fairly regular at. It always tends to be when the temperature drops that Spoonbill forage in Holes Bay NE as the temperature tends to be a bit warmer there and a pair of Red-breasted Merganser were in the SE section. Off Jerry’s Point there were 3 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Scaup and 2 Great Northern Diver. From Middle Beach, Studland, despite the wind a single Black-necked Grebe was found and 3 Ring-necked Parakeets were in Studland Village. Holes Bay had 171 Avocet, 1000+ Wigeon, 621 Black-tailed Godwit and 54 Shoveler as well as good numbers of other regular Holes Bay species. Firecrests were at Swineham, Arne, Holme Lane and Knoll Beach.

Firecrest – Swineham – Peter Moore

Harbour Update – posted 23/12/20

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

Sightings were pretty thin on the ground today, but with weather like we’ve had, no one can be blamed for a reluctance to venture out.

In the early morning there were 5 Great Northern Diver, 4 Common Scoter, 2 Scaup, 7 Goldeneye, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 27 Red-breasted  Merganser, 31 Oystercatcher, and 3 Redshank viewable from Jerry’s Point, along with 2 Long-tailed Ducks off the Brownsea shore. In addition, 17 Knot and a sizeable passage of Dunlin were also noted moving past into Brand’s Bay.

Closer to midday, the northern sector of Holes Bay held 950 Wigeon, 130 Shoveler, 59 Curlew, 125 Black-tailed Godwit, 36 Avocet, 5 Knot, approximately 30 Dunlin, alongside the usual abundance of Redshank, Teal, and Pintail expected at this time of year.

Conditions look much clearer and cooler for tomorrow, with a northerly wind. Could this potentially blow in some additional winter visitors…?

Red-breasted Merganser – Poole Park – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 22/12/20

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

Despite the frequent showers today, calm winds made for good birdwatching conditions, both inside the harbour and out.

The highlights from our Pop-up event at Knoll Beach, Studland were a raft of 6 female/juvenile type Common Scoter in the centre of the bay, 6 Black-necked Grebe scattered widely, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Sandwich Tern, 31 Brent Geese, and 22 Canada Geese. Closer to the Harbour mouth the Red-necked Grebe was showing well once again in Shell Bay, alongside 2 Great Northern Diver, 14 Sanderling, 3 Sandwich Tern, plus 16 Turnstone and 1 Grey Plover tucked up in Bramble Bush Bay. From Jerry’s Point 5 Great Northern Diver, 2 Scaup and 4 Sandwich Tern were also noted.

Elsewhere a Ringtail Hen Harrier gave stunning views at Middlebere, and 27 Spoonbill were seen flying west over the Swineham Gravel Pit. Also of note were 2 Egyptian Geese at Bog Lane.

Ringtail Hen Harrier – Middlebere – Peter Moore

Harbour Update – posted 21/12/20

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

Sightings have been thin on the ground today, but still a few highlights from round the Studland Peninsula. Over from Jerry’s Point, 3 Great Northern Diver, 3 Scaup, 1 Great White Egret, 13 Red-breasted Merganser, 9 Goldeneye and 1 Grey Plover were reported. In Shell Bay, there was 1 Red-necked Grebe, 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Mediterranean Gull and Sanderling.

If you haven’t been birding over at Studland so far this winter, we’re hosting our last pop-up event tomorrow (Tuesday 22nd) at Knoll Beach from 11am-3pm. We hope you can join us. Find more information here.

Great Northern Diver – Studland – Garry Hayman



Call 01202 641 003