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 January, 2021

Harbour Update – posted 19/01/21

Posted on: January 19th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Holes Bay saw quite a lot of focus, and a good number of people are really enjoying the urban Kingfishers. If you’re keen to see them, then now’s the time as they actually start heading back up the river systems in February and will be all but gone from the harbour fringes by late February. Holes Bay, Poole Park, even Shore Road, Sandbanks and Baiter all hold over-wintering Kingfisher. There seems to be 3-4 in Holes Bay north and south currently, and often shoot up the PCW Drain when the weather gets a bit wild. Also in Holes Bay there were good numbers of Shoveler, a Goldeneye and c30 Pintail with c10 Common Chiffchaff in the PCW Drain and the Siberian Chiffchaff. The/a Peregrine was back on the Asda building again. A pair set up a territory in this area last spring, commuting between the Asda building and the Barclays building. It seems they keen to breed somewhere in town, so we’d be really interested in any courtship/vocal interactions between the pair that anyone experiences over the next couple of months. Off Jerry’s Point there were 2 Slavonian Grebe and 7 Black-necked Grebe and a Great Northern Diver off Middle Beach. In Stoborough 2 Egyptian Geese were in fields near Sunnyside and there were another 2 along Holme Lane.

A frosty Siberian Chiffchaff – PCW Drain – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 17/01/21

Posted on: January 17th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It was another fine day with more signs of spring as 6 -7 Great Spotted Woodpecker were drumming in Upton CP and Mistle Thrush were in full song at Lytchett Bay. The strange (but annual) mid/late January arrival/influx of Chiffchaff into the PCW Drain occurred again with c20 present up near KFC including a Siberian Chiffchaff. Off Jerry’s point there were 4 Long-tailed Duck 3 Common Scoter, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 4 Great Northern Diver, 15+ Goldeneye and the 4 Scaup were in Brands Bay. A Merlin was dashing about Slepe Heath and Marsh Harrier seem to be on the up with decent numbers across the Wareham Channel. There were 2 Cattle Egret in the Organford/Bakers Arms Field today with several Little Egret and a Water Pipit was at Lytchett Fields. At Poole Park there were 5 Red-breasted Merganser on the boating lake and a Great Northern Diver off Baiter.

Red-breasted Mergansers – Bramble Bush Bay – Nick Gadenne

Harbour Update – posted 16/01/20

Posted on: January 16th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

We can feel spring in the air. Once this morning rain cleared it was actually a pretty gorgeous day that spurred on both Mistle Thrush and Song Thrush to start singing away at several harbour fringe locations. Great Tit and Blue Tit already seem to be getting territorial and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming at Bog Lane where there were also 4 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Egyptian Geese, c20 Redwing and 2 Raven. A male Hen Harrier flew up the Piddle Valley from Swineham and a new adult male Marsh Harrier was in the harbour. A Cattle Egret was just inside the harbour boundary at Lytchett Minster/Bakers Arms area and at Middlebere there were 4 Spotted Redshank with 2 Spoonbill in Lytchett Bay. Sanderling were recorded at several sites across Studland, with 11 observed at Shell Bay and another photographed at Bramble Bush Bay.

Sanderling – Bramble Bush Bay – Nick Gadenne

Harbour Update – posted 15/01/21

Posted on: January 15th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A female Marsh Harrier graced Little Sea, disturbing c.50 Wigeon, c.40 Teal, 2 Shoveler and a Pintail in the process. Excellent range of open-water species on view at (yep, you guessed it) Jerry’s Point once again, clocking up an impressive 4 Great Northern Diver, 3 Common Scoter, 2 Scaup, 3 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Long-tailed Duck, 24 Goldeneye, 21 Red-breasted Merganser and a Dartford Warbler flitting around the surrounding gorse. Central Harbour also featured a minimum count of 50 Red-breasted Merganser, 12 Goldeneye and 4 more Black-necked Grebe. A single Water Pipit was observed at Lytchett Bay and a cycle ride along Holes Bay SE produced 3 Kingfisher, 250 Wigeon and 30 Avocet feeding near the deep channel under the railway bridge. The 2 Poole Park Red-breasted Merganser offered particularly impressive views today…

Red-breasted Merganser – Poole Park – Clare Slade

Harbour Update – posted 13/01/21

Posted on: January 13th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Rather quiet over the last couple of days with Cattle Egret, Merlin and Water Pipit at Lytchett Fields Bay. Off Jerry’s Point there were 4 Scaup, 3 Common Scoter, 3 Slavonian Grebe, 4 Great Northern Diver and 4 Long-tailed Duck. At Swineham a Green Sandpiper was on the Stilt Pools and 12 Spoonbill and c5000 Common Gull were out in the Wareham Channel with a few Bearded Tit calling in the reedbeds. At Brands Bay the Great White Egret was seen and a male Merlin was in Lytchett Bay at dusk.

Pintail – Holes Bay – Ian Ballam


Harbour Update – posted 12/01/20

Posted on: January 12th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There was no sign of yesterday’s putative American Wigeon at Brand’s Bay, however only half of the 600+ strong flock present the previous day remained. Could the bird still be in the harbour?! The Holes Bay wigeon flock would certainly be worthy of a thorough grilling. Other records from the Studland Peninsula included 4 Scaup, 4 Great Northern Diver, 3 Slavonian Grebe, 36 Goldeneye and a Great White Egret from Redhorn Quay. Little Sea hosted 11 Pintail, 1 (Eurasian) Wigeon, 10 Shoveler and a small mix of gulls, and a female Merlin was spotted en route.

To the north of the harbour, staff photographed a Water Pipit on Holton Pools. Please note that the site remains closed to the public. Be sure to check for any colour-rings when observing a potential Water Pipit. The Common Sandpiper remained at Holes Bay, feeding south of the PC World Drain outlet. Poor visibility during a high tide roost count logged 50 Curlew, c.150 Avocet, 100 Black-tailed Godwit and 500 Wigeon. A Great Northern Diver was off the Hamworthy shoreline and the Lytchett Bay Cattle Egret was observed again late afternoon, along with a male Merlin.

Water Pipit – Holton Pools (site closed) – Tony Furnell

Lockdown Birding: Poole Park & Baiter Park

Harbour Update – posted 11/01/21

Posted on: January 11th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The Studland area certainly seems to be having a good year with what looked to be a 1st winter drake American Wigeon in Brands Bay, photographed with Eurasian Wigeon. Ideally a good look at the bird needs to be obtained to confirm it’s ID but many of the features seem good. Hopefully if it is one, it will make its self feel at home in Brands Bay long enough to clinch the ID. Off Jerry’s Pojnt today there were 3 Great Northern Diver, 4 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Common Scoter, c600 Wigeon and 12 Avocet. At Swineham an adult male Hen Harrier visited briefly but then headed back off west. There were still 2 Pochard on Swineham GP and a Spotted Redshank off Swineham Point.

Possible 1st winter male American Wigeon – Brands Bay – Garry Hayman

Harbour Update – posted 10/01/21

Posted on: January 10th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

We’d like to thank everyone that’s continued to send us sightings whilst out on their daily exercise, we really appreciate it. Today was also Poole Harbour WeBS so quite a few sectors were covered as well. As it transpired there were several highlights, most notably the sunning harbour scene once the fog cleared leaving a glass calm harbour to be counted. The best from the day included 4 Long-tailed Duck, 4 Slavonian Grebe, 4 Common Scoter, 4 Scaup, 2 Great Northern Diver, 31 Great Crested Grebe, and 15 Goldeneye off Jerry’s Point whilst out in central harbour there were 48 Goldeneye, 82 Great Crested Grebe, 42 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Great Northern Diver and 8 Black-necked Grebe. Surprise of the day was when c50 Barnacle Geese came in low over Lytchett Bay and started circling the sub-urban northern fringes of the bay, circling so low residents could sound record them in their gardens! A Cattle Egret was at Lytchett Fields and a Great White Egret was in Brands Bay. Pochard seem to be having ‘a better’ winter in the harbour with 2 on Holme Lane GP and 1 on Little Sea at dusk with the roosting wildfowl flock. Spoonbill’s were in Middlebere and the Wareham Channel. Merlin and Marsh Harrier were seen at different sites with 3 Marsh Harrier at Lytchett Bay and Merlin at Middlebere and Arne.


Cattle Egret – Lytchett Fields – Shaun Robson

Harbour Update – posted 09/01/21

Posted on: January 10th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Rather quiet today but the sighting of an almost certain Siberian Chiffchaff at the KFC end of the PCW Drain was a welcome find as none have been found yet this winter. Off Jerry’s Point/Brands Bay area there were 4 Scaup, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Great Northern Diver, 3 Slavonian Grebe, 16 Goldeneye, 2 Common Scoter and 25 Red-breasted Merganser. In Brands Bay were c220 Brent Geese, c130 Wigeon, c300 Teal, c95 Pintail, 10 Shoveler, 27 Knot and 11 Grey Plover. Holes Bay was busy with it’s standard array of Avocet, Dunlin, Wigeon etc.

Goldcrest – Slepe Heath

Harbour Update – posted 08/01/21

Posted on: January 9th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A quick overview today. Most notably the increase in the number of wildfowl that are using Little Sea currently which today stood at 477 Wigeon, 81 Pintail, 17 Teal and 27 Shoveler. This is a marked increase since the dire situation the areas been in over the last 10-15 years. Maybe the National Trusts efforts of removing the carp are already paying dividends? Long may the recovery continue! Also today 2 Slavonian Grebe 4 Scaup, 3 Great Northern Diver, 19 Goldeneye, 31 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Common Scoter were off Jerrys Point. The Common Sandpiper at Holes Bay was becoming a bit braver and was even seen walking along the main cycle path during the morning!

Common Sandpiper – Holes Bay – Ian Ballam

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