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 April, 2021

Harbour Update – posted 18/04/21

Posted on: April 18th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another gorgeous day today saw further signs of spring on Hartland Moor, with 10 Swallow heading north, alongside 4 Wheatear, 5 Willow Warblers, and considerable counts of Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Stonechat, Meadow Pipit & Skylark. The recently arrived Cuckoo was also heard and seen in the south-west corner of the moor.

Slightly further afield a single Osprey, likely CJ7, was photographed over Morden Bog this morning.

At Lytchett Fields this afternoon there were once again 8 Little Ringed Plover, joined by 1 Ringed Plover and a hunting Marsh Harrier. The approach field held 36 Pied Wagtail and 1 White Wagtail, whilst the Bay beyond had 449 Black-tailed Godwit and a single Dunlin in summer plumage.

At Fleets Corner (PCW Drain) a Lesser Whitethroat was heard singing as was a Garden Warbler, plus there were 2 Willow Warbler and 2 Blackcap there too.

Swineham was also a hive of activity, with 2 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Teal and 2 Egyptian Geese on the Stilt Pool, and a single Green Sandpiper on the remaining pool at Bestwall. A total of 14 Reed Warblers were heard on territories along the Two Rivers Walk and there was a single Sedge Warbler in the reeds at the far eastern end of the main gravel pit. Also heard and seen were 2 Willow Warbler, 3 Med Gull over the Frome Valley and a Skylark 1 singing in the Piddle Valley.

The highlight however was a flock of 7 calling Whimbrel which arrived down the Frome Valley and circled over the Stilt Pools before returning back upstream. Wonderful birds and as more begin to arrive in for the spring, now is the perfect time to sit out in the garden in the late evening and listen for them passing overhead. Here’s an idea of what to listen out for:

Wheatear – Greenlands Farm


Harbour Update – posted 17/04/21

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

A Whimbrel was observed in Holes Bay South (on Asda Saltmarsh). Highlights from a midday visit to RSPB Lytchett fields included 3 Little Ringed Plover, 16 Shelduck, 6 Teal and a calls from an illusive Spotted Redshank. An Osprey (likely CJ7), 2 Marsh Harrier and a Hobby were logged over the Wareham channel, along with a small passage of Swallows.

Summer-plumage Black-tailed Godwit – Holes Bay – Holes Bay Nature Twitter Account (@BayHoles)

Whimbrel – Holes Bay South – Holes Bay Nature Twitter Account (@BayHoles)

Dartford Warbler – Upton Heath – Martin Adams


Harbour Update – posted 16/04/21

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

The harbour received less coverage today than in recent days, but still plenty of migrants to be found. A smart male Common Redstart was discovered at Frenches Viewpoint, Lytchett Fields this afternoon and flyover male Ring Ouzel also graced the site. Parkstone Bay is still hanging on 14 Turnstone (with one moulting into summer plumage), while 3 Swallow passed over 2 Wheatear at Baiter Park. A ringed Osprey was reported on the Middlebere nest shortly after, which is highly likely to have been CJ7, before being displaced by a crow.

Remember to join us at Ham Common Viewpoint tomorrow morning from 9-11:30am for our Pop-Up Osprey Watch. We’re more than happy to answer any questions about the project and will be on hand to point out Ospreys hunting in the Wareham Channel. For those who aren’t local, we will still be running our regular Q & A on the YouTube livestream from 10-11am.

Wheatear – Baiter Shoreline – Martin Adams

Blackcap – Garden – Alison Copland


Harbour Update – posted 15/04/21

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

Some great coverage and more new arrivals were located. Up on Nine Barrow Down 2 Ring Ouzel were in scrub and at Arne a ringtail Montagu’s Harrier was reported flying over Coombe Heath heading towards Scotland Farm which is a really early record. There were also 2 Cattle Egret in the Frome Valley and at Swineham there were 3 Little Ringed Plover on the scrapes and an Osprey flew over the GP heading west. There were 4 Wheatear at Hartland Stud and 3 at Scotland Farm and Willow Warbler were singing at several sites again suggesting another mini fall. At Lytchett Fields there were 2 White Wagtail, 3 Little Ringed Plover and a Spotted Redshank. At Holes Bay the first Reed Warbler of the spring was back next to the boardwalk and there were 3 Willow Warbler at the PCW Drain. At Greenland’s Farm there was a single Yellow Wagtail, 6 Wheatear and at Holme Lane GP there was 1 Common Sandpiper and the Egyptian Geese have hatched 5 young.

Tardy Fieldfare – Holton Lee

Common Crossbill – Arne 


Harbour Update – posted 14/04/21

Posted on: April 14th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Pop-Up Osprey Watches Resume!

Exciting news! We’ll be running two free Pop-up Osprey Watch events this week at Ham Common Viewpoint from 9am – 11:30am on Thursday and Saturday. We’ve had one of the best springs on record for ospreys in Poole Harbour, and the Wareham Channel is THE place to look for them at this time of year. Join one of our experts to hear the most recent project updates and hopefully see some ospreys for yourself! BCP car parking charges apply. Please note that social distancing will be in place and we won’t be able to share optics so please bring your own binoculars!

A single Fieldfare in this fields next to the Holton Lee office was certainly a surprising record! Still 40+ Avocet hanging around Brownsea Lagoon today. The first “grounded” Whimbrel for Lytchett Bay were logged this morning, with 3 individuals recorded on the fields. A couple of singing Willow Warblers and 3 Little Ringed Plover made up the supporting cast of spring migrants.

58 species were observed along the Two Rivers Walk around Swineham this morning. Highlights include a singe Little Ringed Plover on the Stilt Pool, together with 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Teal and 2 Egyptian Geese. No water (or birds) on the Curlews Pool. Common migrant included 8 Reed Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler at the eastern end of the main pit, 4 Willow Warbler, 8 Swallow, 21 Sand Martin, 4 Blackcap. Other species included a single Marsh Harrier hunting in the Piddle Valley, where it was joined by a Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard. Five vocal Mediterranean Gull, mostly in the Frome Valley towards Redcliffe, 13 Reed Bunting, 4 singing Skylark, 1 Raven 12 Greylag Goose, as well as 1 Little Grebe and 11 Great Crested Grebe on the main Gravel pit.

A watch from South Haven logged 1 Whimbrel leaving the harbour through the entrance and a Cuckoo heard behind Shell Bay. As well as two Willow Warblers on territory since early in the month, about another four today. Greenlands featured a single Common Redstart and 10 Wheatear (8 males & 2 females) with one male in strong song on top low gorse, not often experienced here.

Avocet – Brownsea Lagoon – Hamish Murray


Harbour Update – posted 13/04/21

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

There was still a couple of reminders that winter wasn’t that long ago with a single Fieldfare logged at Holton Lee when paying a visit to their offices and a single dark-bellied Brent Goose was still out in the Wareham Channel. There was a decent fall of Willow Warblers around the harbour with several in the PCW Drain, 3 at Greenlands Farm, 2 along Soldiers Road and 2 at Coombe Heath, Arne. There were also 10 Wheatear at Sunnyside Farm and out in the Wareham Channel the young Peregrine was once again out there causing mayhem, this time in partnership with a Marsh Harrier that perused close behind the fleeing Black-tailed Godwits and Black-headed Gulls. At Morden Bog the first Tree Pipit was back on territory and a Cuckoo was calling there too. Whimbrel were heard calling at Swineham and Lytchett Fields with 2 seen on the ground there too. There were also 7 Little Ringed Plover at Lytchett Fields and an Osprey (not CJ7) was also seen over the fields carrying a fish.

Blackcap – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam


Harbour Update – posted 12/04/21

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

It would be well worth starting to listen out at night now for passage Whimbrel as they are now starting to arrive with the first 2 at Lytchett Bay today and one in the Wareham Channel. From mid-April onwards their whistling cry’s can be heard after sun set as they pass over in good numbers all the way until mid-May. Other passage waders can be logged moving at night too as April progresses with Ringed Plover, Knot, Turnstone, Common Sandpiper and Dunlin all regularly being recorded at night around this time of year. Today there were also 3 Osprey in the harbour including one over Upton CP and CJ7 was seen semi-interacting with another Osprey but we think it may have been a territorial escorting of another female away from the channel rather than the warm welcoming of a fine young male. CJ7 also visited the Middlebere platform today for the first time this spring as she carried out her daily tour of the harbour. Also a Peregrine was causing mayhem again out in the Wareham Channel around Gull Islands where c5000 Black-headed Gull were present and no less than c300 Med Gulls. Also 1 dark-bellied Brent Goose was still out there and c1000 fine looking summer-plumaged Black-tailed Godwit. There were 8 Little Ringed Plover on Lytchett Fields and at Swineham 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 Reed Warbler, c40 Sand Martin, 2 Little Ringed Plover and c10 Swallow.

CJ7 on Middlebere nest platform


Harbour Update – posted 11/04/21

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

We’re sorry we didn’t get to post our sightings yesterday. We had just finished hosting our Reintroduction and Rewilding Summit and had had enough of computers by the end of the day! However….what a day, and what a great response. If you watched it, thank you very much, if you watched most of it but missed some, you can catch up with the rest on the link below. If you watched it all and thought it was bloody amazing, you can also watch it again on the link below! In all seriousness, we’d like to say a huge thanks to Chris Packham, Megan McCubbin and Fabian Harrison from the Self Isolation Bird Club for their support in making the day a success and of course to all the contributors who kindly provided their time and expertise in providing detail and passion about how and why reintroductions and rewilding are so import as we move forward. Please, if you get a chance to watch any of the event the program was recorded and is now broken up into chapters and available for free to watch……

Also, today CJ7 had her first visitor to the nest this spring and for a brief moment saw pulses rise when a blue ringed (right leg) Osprey landed briefly on the nest cam around 14:30. Of course, all our translocated birds are blue ringed on the right leg, but as are almost all English and Welsh Osprey too. Anyway, the ring thankfully showed, enabling the bird to be ID’d as a 2018 Rutland female called 3AX. Yes…another female! It’s incredible that almost all encounters with CJ7 have been with other female Osprey, perhaps jealous of her care free, single life? Who knows, but a male surely, SURELY has to be on the cards soon? As Tim mackrill pointed out to me today….patients is a virtue. There was also an un-ringed Osprey in Middlebere this morning too, so there’s certainly no shortage at present. Other birds of note included 3 Pochard at Swineham GP which is a good mid-April record, also at Swineham 3 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Sedge Warbler, 3 Reed Warbler, 1 Willow Warbler, and a small mix of Swallow, Sand Martin and House Martin. A Hobby was over Hartland and a female Merlin was at Slepe Moor. At Lytchett Fields yesterday there were 7 Little Ringed Plover and a Purple Sandpiper was still at Sandbanks. The first Cuckoo of the spring was at Morden Bog and Woodlark were really vocal and active today across southern harbour heathlands despite the nippy cold wind.


Harbour Update – posted 10/04/21

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

Lytchett Fields there were 2 different Osprey, one which headed NE and another that headed NW…so not quite the pairing moment we were hoping for, assuming one was CJ7 as she moved about the harbour. Also at Lytchett Fields were 3 Wheatear, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 6 Greenshank and 2 Lapwing. The first early passage of Common Sandpiper was noted with 2 in Holes Bay north and another on the Swineham scrapes. Also at Swineham were 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Wheatear, 2 Egyptian Geese, and a pair of Tawny Owl were calling along the lane. Willow Warbler were logged singing at Ballard, Greenlands Farm and Soldiers Road. A Red Kite passed over Studland.

Little Ringed Plover – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam


Harbour Update – posted 08/04/21

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

The wind swung today to the SW but it was still blimmin cold! It seems like with the change in wind direction the Ospreys that have been using Middlebere have finally moved on with no photos from the Middlebere platform for the first time since March 31st. However whilst CJ7 was on the nest cam around 5:30pm another Osprey was seen fishing out in the Wareham Channel which promptly caught a flatfish and took it to the Keysworth shoreline to feed. A Raven came and landed next to it, and structurally the Osprey seemed quite a lot smaller suggesting it could be a male. We of course have no idea how the season will pan out this year, but its worth bearing in mind that there’s a chance CJ7 won’t pair up again this summer whilst we wait for some/more of our translocated males to arrive back. There’s been no shortage of migrant Osprey in the harbour so far this spring and CJ7 has probably encountered a good number of them with her daily outings around the harbour but so far, but they’re all probably established breeders further north meaning there’s little chance of them hanging around. As we move further into April and May the non-breeding Osprey begin arriving back and exploring, and it’s during this period ‘wandering’ males could become interested in the harbour and CJ7. A Peregrine was causing mayhem out in the Wareham Channel too flushing 300+ Black-tailed Godwit. A Spoonbill was in Middlebere, a Spotted Redshank was at Lytchett Fields with 1 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Ringed Plover and where 2 Osprey were also seen briefly over the fields, but not togther sadly. Also 1 Willow Warbler and 8+ Blackcap there too.At Swineham there were still 250+ Sand Martin, 20+ Swallow and a Little Ringed Plover on the Swineham Scrapes. Swallow were also pushing through again in small numbers and a Red Kite drifted over Studland. There was also a random Barnacle Goose on the Brownsea Lagoon which is a nice April record.

Greenshank – Brands Bay – Nick Gadenne

Stonechat – Middlebere – Nick Gadenne

Meadow Pipit – Middlebere – Nick Gadenne

Linnet – Middlebere – Nick Gadenne


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