Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Archive for March, 2021

Harbour Update – posted 30/03/21

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

Today was another really beautiful day with more migrants arriving by the hour. Most excitingly (but also frustratingly) was an un-ringed Osprey that landed on our Osprey nest cam, however it only touched down briefly (4 minutes) and only sat on the perch just above the camera meaning we didn’t get to see it live! It was only when one of our team alerted us to its presence that we were able to re-wind the footage (as you can too on our YouTube channel) and see the shadow arrive in at 11:07.10 and then you can hear it land at 11:07:40. Later in the day two Osprey were also out hunting in the Wareham Channel with one venturing over Lytchett Bay and away north. A Red kite was also out over Lytchett Bay too and a stunning full adult male Marsh Harrier (very scarce plumage type in Poole Harbour) passed over Lytchett Fields. and there were 5 Little Ringed Plover on Lytchett Fields and a Willow Warbler there too. Another Willow Warbler was in the top end of the PCW Drain along with 5 singing Chiffchaff and 2 singing Blackcap, plus a singular Ruff was in with the Black-tailed Godwits at Holes Bay too. Swallow and Sand Martin passed over in small numbers, often high because of the glorious weather. Reminders of winter were still around with 2 Long-tailed Duck off the south shore of Brownsea along with a Black-necked Grebe, c30 Great Crested Grebe and c80 Red-breasted Merganser. There was also a Little Ringed Plover on the Swineham scrapes and 2 Spoonbill were on the Brownsea Lagoon including a white colour-ringed individual. A possible Goshawk was seen out off Sea View viewpoint at the top of Constitution Hill and it’s also nice to see and hear so many Sandwich Tern out around the harbour now….a true sound of summer.

Fairly typical shot of a Poole Harbour Osprey as it fly’s away!

Adult male Marsh Harrier – Lytchett Fields – Alison Copland

Harbour Update – posted 29/03/21

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

A great day all round with plenty to be had at various locations. Spring migration definitely landed with the first Hobby of the year over Hartland Moor and an Osprey over Soldiers Road. There was a Black Redstart at Knoll Farm too along Soldiers Road with 4 Wheatear in the fields at Hartland Stud. There were 6 Little Ringed Plover at Lytchett Fields and 2 at Swineham GP scrapes. There were also c400 Sand Martin and Swineham too this evening with 3 Swallow. Willow Warbler were logged at Ridge and Holes Bay. There were also 2 Barn Owl at Swineham and a Merlin at Hartland. There were also 3 Wheatear at Lytchett Fields, 17 Sand Martin and 1 Tree Pipit was also reported. A Purple Sandpiper was still at Sandbanks and 2 Black-necked Grebe in summer plumage. Add all that to the now regular singing Chiffchaffs, displaying Dartford Warblers and nest building Blackbirds we think it’s safe to say……winter has officially gone and spring is here with a vengeance.

Sand Martin flock at dusk – Swineham GP

Black Redstart – Soldiers Road – Paul Swann

Harbour Update – posted 28/03/21

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

There were definitely more signs that spring migration is now building nicely with another run/arrival of some well known early movers making landfall today. At Little Sea, Studland there was all three common hirundines with multiple Sand and 1 House Martin as well as several Swallow. There were also Swallow over Brownsea, Goathorn, Lytchett Bay and Holes Bay. There were also more Little Ringed Plover with 2 at Lytchett Fields and 3 near Holme Lane. There were also 2 more Osprey with one sat on the southern shore of the Wareham Chanel eating a fish, a trait they often do in their wintering grounds but rarely seem to do in the UK. Plus another was seen flying over Brownsea with a fish. There was also a Cattle Egret at Lytchett Fields this evening and a Great White Egret was seen over Arne. A Purple Sandpiper was still on the groynes at Sandbanks and there were 2 Spoonbill and 3 Wheatear on the Brownsea Lagoon. A Willow Warbler was heard at Bestwall, a Woodlark was  at Studland and Sandwich Tern numbers are building nicely on Brownsea with c30 logged today. The Poole Peregrines were active again and seen on both the Asda and Barclays building.

Little Ringed Plover – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Purple Sandpiper – North Haven, Sandbanks – Joe Parker

Harbour Update – posted 27/03/21

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

Yesterday saw an arrival of Wheatear and today certainly saw a rush of Osprey with 3 different individuals logged within an hours time frame out in the Wareham Channel. Each caught a fish and headed towards the Arne area but couldn’t be pinned down to a feeding snag to check for leg rings. For those that don’t know, as well as the live Osprey nest cam, we also have cameras on five other nests within the harbour area too. These aren’t live webcams, but in fact 4G trail cams that link to the phone network and send us images every 2 hours from 5am – 11pm, so when/if an Osprey lands on a remote nest platform within a private area we’ll know about it. As expected all of this years Osprey so far have been staging/passage birds that are having a quick feed in the harbour before continuing off north. It won’t be for another week or so until non-breeding individuals begin arriving and could start showing an interest in some of the nest platforms, and that hopefully includes CJ7 too. There were still several Wheatear on top of Hartland and 1 at Stoborough Heath and a Great White Egret was at the base of Hartland Moor out on Slepe Moor. At Swineham first thing there were c100 Sand Martin which left pretty quickly and the Egyptian Geese that have been on the Rugby pitch have now got goslings. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 2 Spoonbill, in Oakdale a Red Kite drifted overhead.

Great White Egret – Swineham (yesterday) – Peter Moore

Harbour Update – posted 26/03/21

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

Finally, some new migrants! There was definitely a mini fall of Wheatear across the harbour today with 3 on Coombe Heath, Arne, 5 at Scotland Farm, 1 at Lytchett Bay (with a White Wagtail) and even 1 on our Osprey nest cam briefly around 13:22. Today also heralded our first Little Ringed Plover of the year with one on the Swineham Scrapes, which was joined by a Great White Egret too. There were also photos that emerged yesterday of the Poole Peregrines being seen to mate which is encouraging for a potential successful breeding attempt this season…..where ever that ends up being. There were 4 Sandwich Tern feeding off Baiter and Spotted Redshanks were seen in Lytchett Bay and Holes Bay north.

Wheatear (female) – Osprey nest cam

Harbour Update – posted 25/03/21

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

We received (written) word of an Osprey sighting over Middlebere this afternoon at 4pm. Thanks to whoever left the note in the hide! Another visit at 6pm produced 101 Black-tailed Godwit and 13 Grey Plover. Swineham offered 10+ Sand Martin over the gravel pits and a Great White Egret feeding on Curlew Pools before heading up the Frome. Otherwise not much wildfowl around the site, however the Egyptian Goose was observed on the rugby field again. A total of 7 singing Chiffchaff made up the other migrants noted at Swineham. There were also plenty of other Chiffchaff singing plus several on the Ballard headland suggesting a fall/arrival had occurred. This was also highlighted by a photo we were sent showing a freshly arrived Chiffchaff (outside our harbour recording area) in Langton Matravers which had a face full of sticky pollen on its face, a regular feature of birds that have been feeding as they make their way up through Europe.  The first hirundine was recorded over Lytchett Bay, with 1 Swallow making a brief appearance in the morning. It also seems some over-wintering Blackcap are beginning to move around local gardens with ‘new’ birds appearing in areas. Our summer migrant Blackcap don’t tend to arrive until April so new arrivals into gardens are likely to be over-wintering birds moving out of winter territories before moving off back to breeding grounds themselves.

Osprey sighting – Middlebere hide – photo taken by Sean Walls

Canada Goose – Redhorn, Brand’s Bay – Nick Gadenne

Pollen-faced Chiffchaff – Langton Matravers – Pete Christie

Female Blackcap – Poole – Paul Swann

Harbour Update – posted 24/03/21

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

We’re still hanging on to a few winter visitors, with the likes of Fieldfare still being logged in small numbers locally. But early signs of migration are evident with plenty of Meadow Pipit to be found and encountered overhead across the harbour and a Wheatear was photographed at Studland Bay mid-morning. After yesterday’s flurry of Osprey sightings, the only record today came in at 06:05 over the Arne Peninsula, with no further observations.

Wheatear – Studland, Shell Bay – Richard Adams

With just over 2 weeks to go until The Reintroduction & Rewilding Summit that we are running, hosted by the Self-Isolating Bird Club on Saturday 10th April, you can now sign up here to receive the link to stream the event for free! We hope you can join us.

Harbour Update – posted 23/03/21

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

Well, it finally happened. Osprey season has once again begun. This morning, not one but two individuals were seen hunting out in the Wareham Channel with one catching a fish then settling on the southern channel shoreline in a Silver Birch Tree and then the second heading off over towards Middlebere. Then, around 12:30pm another Osprey was seen in Holes Bay, which could have actually potentially been a third individual which is excellent. Migrant Osprey this early in the season all tend to be established breeders further north so rarely stick around. And it was no surprise that there we didn’t capture any todays birds on any of our 6 nest cams around the harbour. Give it another week and not only will we hopefully see the return of CJ7 but also numerous other non-breeding individuals that may be interested in sticking around. At least the floodgates have now opened. Yesterday, one of the IOW White-tailed Eagles also passed over the harbour heading north, having passed over the Wareham Channel and then over Holes Bay. Now that would have been a sight and a half! Plus, with two being photographed together over Christchurch Harbour this morning it seems this could soon become a regular and very exciting sight from now on. There were 31 Sand Martin at Swineham GP with 1 drake Pochard there too, and 4 Sandwich Tern were off Baiter.

Record shot of Osprey over Wareham Channel taken from Ham viewpoint – Joe Parker

Harbour Update – posted 22/03/21

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

A beautiful day signalled with singing Skylark on Hartland, displaying Meadow Pipit on Slepe Heath, singing Blackcap in Poole, Peregrines carrying out food passes on the Barclays building, Brimstone Butterfly’s dancing on woodland edges at Arne, Buzzards soaring over most of the harbour skyline and a sun set that was hard to beat. A Bittern watch was carried out at Swineham at dusk which produced sadly no Bittern but there were other obvious departures with a flurry of Redwing ‘zeeting’ into the darkness just after sunset, three separate flocks of Common Snipe and what looked to be 2 Jack Snipe lifting off and heading stratospherically high north on their voyage back to their breeding grounds plus several flocks of Teal heading off in the inky, gloomy darkness calling and saying good bye until winter. There were also 27 Sand Martin over the main pit, 1 Barn Owl flew by and 4 Chiffchaff were singing. Two Red Kite drifted south of Lytchett which signals the start of the big spring migration and there was still a single Purple Sandpiper with 16 Sanderling on the Sandbanks groynes. Poole Park had a number of Med Gulls still, 11 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Kingfisher. There was also a stunning Common Buzzard logged on our Osprey nest cam along with a Kestrel. Hopefully not long until the first Ospreys are logged in the harbour!

Pale Common Buzzard on Osprey nest cam


Harbour update – posted 21/03/21

Posted on: March 22nd, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The conditions today were much better today, and despite the forecast of low, cold cloud cover all day, the sun did actually come out around lunch time making it actually quite ‘hot’. This prompted numerous reptiles to emerge with quite a few Sand Lizard reported and a few Adders being seen around the Hartland/Middlebere area. Bird-wise though the early spring migrants were no-where to be seen with not a single Wheatear, Sand Martin or Little Ringed Plover reported. A few more Meadow Pipit were on the move and Chiffchaff are now definitely established in many areas. The wind swings round SW this week which could push some more birds our way, and hopefully our first passage Osprey too. There was a single Marsh Harrier in the Wareham Channel and 2 Spoonbill were in Brands Bay.

Sand Lizard – Hartland Moor




Call 01202 641 003