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 31/01/21

Posted on: January 31st, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There it is….January 2021 finished with already. No-one should ever wish time away, but in these circumstances I think we’re well within our right to wish some sun and warmth our way. That said, the cold weather further north pushed some birds this way including 5 Russian White-fronted Geese over Lytchett Fields. We hope more of these will appear over the coming weeks as birds begin making their way back north and places like Lytchett Fields, Swineham and the Frome Valley could all easily hold passage geese during February, so if out on your daily exercise in those areas keep an eye out. Other highlights at Lytchett Fields were a colour-ringed Water Pipit, a male Merlin, 1 Jack Snipe and c200 Linnet in the arable field. On the Asda building there were 2 Peregrine back, no doubt plotting and planning on perhaps trying to figure out where they can potentially lay eggs this year? We really hope so! Off Jerry’s Point there were 4 Long-tailed Duck, 4 Scaup, 3 Common Scoter, 18 Goldeneye, 5 Slavonian Grebe, 3 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Great Northern Diver and the usual spread of Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe. At Holes Bay the over-wintering Common Sandpiper was back at the drain channel entrance, a Goldeneye was just off the cycle path and Wigeon numbers in Holes Bay are already dropping off.

Plus, exciting news – This evening Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin kindly launched news of our new Reintroduction and Rewilding Summit, an online event planned for April 10th which will showcase some of the most progressive and exciting nature restoration projects across the UK (and Europe). Although the actual event isn’t until April 10th, each week leading up to that day we’ll be posting a new podcast, hosted by Charlie Moores which seeks to draw out the detail of many of these projects and provide context in how they fit into a wider nature recovery framework.

Podcasts will feature the likes of Roy Dennis, Derek Gow, The White Stork Project and The Vulture Conservation Foundation. Plus, on April 10th not only will a whole range of topics and projects be discussed, guest speakers will also include people such Benedict Macdonald (of Rebirding fame) and young birder Indy Greene.

You can get full details by visiting our website and you can listen to the first podcast on the webpage, which this week focuses on the Poole Harbour Osprey project – https://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/the-reintroduction-rewilding-summit/

Comparison shots of Common ‘collybita’ Chiffchaff (above) and Siberian ‘tristis’ Chiffchaff (below)

PCW Drain- Rene Goad


Harbour Update – posted 30/01/21

Posted on: January 31st, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

January has almost come to an end and we can soon look forward to the shortest month of the year. Lets then get that quickly out of the way and done with before the excitement of spring engulfs us. The less said about today the better, with persistent rain falling pretty much all day. Only real highlights were 2 Goldeneye and 1 Red-breasted Merganser on Poole Park Lake, 1 Great Northern Diver, 30 Red-breasted Merganser and 38 Turnstone off Baiter and at a very flooded Lytchett Fields, 21 Avocet, 3 Green Sandpiper, 5 Greenshank and a flock of 30 Stock Dove.

Despite the rain, we do have an exciting announcement planned for Sunday evening so make sure you check our website and social media channels for updates. It will hopefully provide the inspirational and motivational need we all desire at the current moment in time….So watch this space.

Bar-tailed Godwit – Shore Road


Harbour Update – posted 29/01/21

Posted on: January 29th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A Great Northern Diver was spotted off the Hamworthy shoreline this morning, along with 30 Turnstone along the old jetty. PC World Drain continues to support Kingfisher, Firecrest and the Siberian Chiffchaff among the Common Chiffchaff. Continuing the urban round up… c.70 Goldfinch, 2 Mistle Thrush and 5 Turnstone were logged at Poole Park. Whitley Lake shoreline held 91 Bar-tailed Godwit, 29 Turnstone, 16 Sanderling, 48 Oystercatcher, 12 Dark-bellied Brent Goose and 3 Curlew.

Jerry’s Point clocked up a further 3 Great Northern Diver, 5 Common Scoter, 4 Scaup, 3 Black-necked Grebe, 7 Goldeneye, 19 Red-breasted Merganser and 11 Turnstone. A Spoonbill was feeding in Brand’s Bay and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose joined the Dark-bellied flock off Redhorn Quay, along with 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-necked Grebe and 14 Goldeneye. A falling tide at Lytchett Fields produced 2 Greenshank, 67 Redshank, 280 Lapwing, 50 Teal and 10 Common Gull in amongst 500 strong Black-headed Gull flock.

Pale-bellied Brent Goose – Redhorn Point- Garry Hayman

Spoonbill – Brand’s Bay – Garry Hayman


Harbour Update – posted 28/01/21

Posted on: January 28th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A Peregrine caused some commotion behind Lilliput petrol station at this morning as it passed overhead towards Ashley Cross. Two Firecrest, 1 Redwing, 1 Blackcap and 6 Tufted Duck were the hightlights at Creekmoor Lakes while Holton Pools featured both Greenshank and Redshank. Lytchett Bay totals included 14 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 5 Egyptian Goose over, 75 Wigeon, 100 Teal, 11 Red-breasted Merganser, 63 Shelduck, 55 Avocet, 1 Spotted Redshank, 30 Curlew, 3 Greenshank, 82 Redshank, 150 Lapwing, 7 Snipe, 4 Spoonbill, 2 Mediterranean Gull among 400 Black-headed and 36 Common Gulls, a single Chiffchaff, 2 Marsh Harrier and a Kestrel. Other birds of prey logged across the harbour included a Merlin over Hartland Moor and a ringtail Hen Harrier quartering Middlebere.

Redwing – Creekmoor Lakes – Martin Adams


Harbour Update – posted 27/01/21

Posted on: January 27th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today we were able to run a full harbour survey, the first of the year, in order to census the harbour and to complement the data gathered during the January WeBS on the 10th which was partially incomplete due to covid restrictions. With the settled weather recently there seemed to have been a big clear out of Great Northern Diver with only 2 across the harbour! In contrast we managed a respectable 217 Red-breasted Merganser which is more than the WeBS total of 170. There were 101 Great Crested Grebe and 52 Goldeneye. Of note the 4 Scaup seemed to have relocated to the west side of Green Island and there were 13 Black-necked Grebe logged in total. There were 2 Slavonian Grebe off Jerry’s point and the 4 Long-tailed Duck were also in South Deep. A Black Brant was at Shipstal Beach, Arne and a singles of Hen and Marsh Harrier were in the Wareham Channel. On Swineham GP there were 2 Pochard and 77 Curlew were on the Stilt Pools. Lapwing numbers seemed low with only a single flock of c120 seen. Three different Sparrowhawk were logged in different places and the Brownsea Lagoon held 1 Spotted Redshank, 103 Bar-tailed Godwit, c1500 Black-tailed Godwit, c30 Knot, c60 Grey Plover, 8 Sanderling, c20 Ringed Plover, 4 Greenshank and c120 Avocet. In total only 17 Spoonbill remain with 13 on Shipstal and 4 roosting on ‘Gull Islands’, which was a first for us. In Holes Bay there were 1476 Wigeon, 1000+ Black-tailed Godwit, c170 Avocet, 150+ Dunlin, 31 Curlew plus still good numbers of Pintail and Shoveler with a single Goldeneye in Holes Bay NE. The PCW Drain still held the Siberian Chiffchaff as well as 10 Common Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest, 4 Goldcrest, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 1 Kingfisher and 1 Grey Wagtail.

Siberian Chiffchaff – PCW Drain 

Black Brant – Shipstal Beach, RSPB Arne


Harbour Update – posted 26/01/21

Posted on: January 26th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Pretty miserable conditions throughout the day wasn’t inspiring of some birding exercise. The day was brightened by the presence of a Water Pipit at Holton Pools, accompanied by a Green Sandpiper. Due to the murk, it was difficult to call categorically whether this pipit is colour-ringed or not. A c.150 strong Linnet flock were on the wires above the Arable Field, Lytchett Bay.

Water Pipit – Holton Pools – Tony Furnell

We’ve delved into our archives again and put together a Holes Bay Lockdown Birding feature. With restricted opportunities to be out and about connecting with nature, we hope that this series will offer an insight into the birdlife to look out for when taking your daily exercise. As always, please adhere to and follow all current government advise, rules and guidelines when exercising locally.


Harbour Update – posted 25/01/21

Posted on: January 25th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Holes Bay welcomed a true wildlife spectacle today. Among the 100+ Avocet, 90+ Dunlin and carpet of 800+ Wigeon a staggering 1700+ Black-tailed Godwit murmuration took place over the bay. Absolute magic on the fringes of Poole Town! The Sandbanks Purple Sandpiper was spotted one of the groynes near the volleyball Court. Similar totals around Jerry’s Point again today with 4 Long-tailed Duck, 3 Slavonian Grebe, 3 Common Scoter, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Black-necked Grebe and a Goldeneye offshore, and a supporting cast of Sanderling, Greenshank and Bar-tailed Godwit on the low tide. A colour-ringed Sanderling was scuttling around Shell Bay beach. A cracking Kingfisher was captured on camera at Poole Park and 2 Lesser Redpoll seen feeding around the Stone Bench and pond at Upton Country Park.

Hampshire ringed Sanderling – Shell Bay – Nick Mudge

Kingfisher – Poole Park – Clare Slade

Purple Sandpiper – Sandbanks – Garry Hayman


Harbour Update – posted 24/01/21

Posted on: January 25th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

So as it turned out, it wasn’t quite the great blizzard of 2021, but it did seem to see a few birds move into the area. Finally after much checking over the winter a Brambling appeared in the Holme Lane Chaffinch flock where c50 Chaffinch, c30 Goldfinch and c30 Redwing were also feeding and 2 Egyptian Geese were feeding. At Swineham several Bearded Tit were pinging in the reed beds off Swineham Point and the pits held mostly Coot (64) with 11 Tufted Duck, 9 Great Crested Grebe and 2 Egyptian Geese plus the high tide forced 8 Skylark and a number Rock Pipit off of the saltmarsh. There were 2 Water Pipit in the Lower Frome Valley and a group of Redwing started some early community song at Holme Lane, something we don’t tend to hear until it warms up slightly in the first week of March, just before they leave. Off Jerry’s Point the 4 Long-tailed Duck were seen near Furzey, plus there were 3 Great Northern Diver, 3 Slavonian Grebe and 4 Black-necked Grebe. At The PCW Drain the Siberian Chiffchaff was showing well with 3 Common Chiffchaff and a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail were also in the channel.

Common Sandpiper – Holes Bay NE outflow – Rene Goad


Harbour Update – posted 23/01/21

Posted on: January 24th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Although we’re all hoping for spring to spring into action, there’s some snow due, and possibly/hopefully some cold weather movements. The next couple of days will tell, but its worth keeping an eye out for Fieldfare and Redwing movements as well as Skylark, Lapwing and Meadow Pipits, all of which respond to snow and cold weather quite dramatically. Also worth checking open water bodies for Smew, Goosander and winter geese in the floodplains.

Today 6 Slavonian Grebe were off Jerry’s point which is a winter peak count, also the 4 Long-tailed Duck were still off Furzey with 3 Black-necked Grebe, 3 Great Northern Diver and 3 Common Scoter in the general area. At the PCW Drain the Siberian Chiffchaff was seen again with 3 Common Chiffchaff and the Common Sandpiper was at the drain mouth with the female Goldeneye still present there too. A Lesser Redpoll was at the Stone bench, Upton CP and the Peregrine was on the Asda building. We’ve been receiving a lot of stunning photos on our social media channels from people who are making the most of their daily walks during lockdown, and documenting the harbours rich and varied bird life, certainly in the northern urban areas of the harbour. So, thanks so much for these, we love seeing them and please keep them coming…(and stay safe)!

Siberian Chiffchaff – Holes Bay Nature Twitter Account


Harbour Update – posted 22/01/21

Posted on: January 23rd, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A gorgeous January day with the standard mix of recent species observed including 3 Great Northern Diver, 4 Slavonian Grebe, 7 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Long-tailed Duck, 5 Common Scoter and a decent number of Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser around the Jerry’s Point area. At Whitley Lake, Sandbanks there were 24 Sanderling, 16 Turnstone, 95 Bar-tailed Godwit, 32 Oystercatcher, 50+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese and 6 Red-breasted Merganser and a Purple Sandpiper was on one the rocky groynes and the Common Sandpiper was seen again at Holes Bay and a Goldeneye was out off the PCW drain entrance.

Also, huge thanks to everyone that contributed towards our Osprey trail cam fundraiser. Today we hit our target of £1500 which will pay for the re-installation of the 5 cameras this spring and the photo packages that will allow us to monitor the other nest platforms around the harbour this spring and summer. Here’s looking forward to 9 weeks time and the first returning Ospreys of 2021! We purposefully left out one of the cameras this winter to see what species use the nest platforms during the colder months and recently the local Ravens have been gearing themselves up for the up and coming breeding season and the local Buzzards have been sunning themselves on there!

Raven and Common Buzzard on Osprey nest platforms in the last week


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