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 May, 2021

Harbour Update – posted 19/05/21

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

It was great to be back out exploring and interpreting the harbour and surrounding area as we ran our first Purbeck Puffin Cruise since summer 2019. A stunning, if slightly lumpy, charter touring the Jurassic Coastline as Guillemots and Razorbills cruised passed the boat in impressive numbers on our approach to Dancing Ledge. Three Puffins played hardball to start with, but by the end we were all treated to superb views of two Puffins sitting on the water and regularly diving and feeding no more than 20 meters off the boat! Flyby Gannet, Fulmar, Kittiwake and Peregrine all adding additional excitement to the trip. Within the harbour, both male and female Cuckoo were logged around Middlebere again this morning, with Whimbrel kicking around the channel, along with RedshankShelduck and 3 Little Egret. The Studland Houseboat notable wader count produced 54 Sanderling, 8 Dunlin & a Ringed Plover, with many of the Sanderling in their lovely gingery summer plumage.

Following on from the whirlwind of yesterday evening, CJ7 and 022 continued to reinforce their bond with numerous mating attempts and 022 making adjustments to the nest and egg-cup scraping! The pair appear to be bonding well and it could be possible for them to breed this year, and if not, their relationship is forming a good foundation for breeding next year. All great signs.

Puffin – Dancing Ledge – @nyrak62 (twitter account)

Harbour (AND OSPREY) Update – posted 18/05/21

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

Today was the day we’ve all been waiting for. At 5:32am one of our harbour nest platform trail cameras picked up an image of a single Osprey. In the next series of photos two Osprey were present! We could see they both had blue rings, but the images were too blurry to confirm the numbers. One was almost certainly going to be CJ7 but who was the new comer?

When we receive the photos from the trail cams they don’t arrive as HD quality images and we have to request them, meaning an agonising wait until the next transmission of photos come through. Anyway, at 9am the HD versions of the photos came through and BOOOOM! It was one of our 2019 translocated males 022……FANTASTIC!

What was even better was that female Osprey CJ7 found him almost immediately and the two then spent the whole day together touring the harbour, visiting several sites and a couple of different nest platforms. The best moment was mid-morning when the pair made an appearance on the live nest cam, allowing all viewers at home to enjoy the arrival.

Then, this evening we were all treated to ‘a show’ with CJ7 and 022 present at the main nest site and mating frequently. We’ll be writing a fuller insight into what this means but for now, we’re just over the moon that we have a male back in the harbour that’s paired with CJ7 and they seem to be getting on!

For now, here’s a series of exciting photos that summed up todays events….

Male Osprey 022 arriving this morning at 05:32

Female Osprey CJ7 joining male Osprey 022 this morning at 06:39

Male Osprey 022 visiting the nest cam for the first time

Male Osprey 022 showing off to CJ7

A ‘busy’ evening for the new couple

Harbour Update – posted 17/05/21

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

It seemed to rain pretty much all day, with added hail, a few rumbles of thunder and some pretty ‘whippy’ wind. Come on May…..sort yourself out!

It’s been a tough spring for a lot of breeding birds and spring migrants have been rather thin on the ground. It seems there are really limited numbers of breeding warblers, finches, pipits, hirundines etc out around the harbour. Hopefully things will spring into action when things warm up later in May and into June. There was a late Wheatear on Canford Heath today so there are still migrants coming through, so perhaps it’s just going to be a really late season this season. In Brands Bay 3 Brent Geese have decided they like the cooler temperatures so much they’re just going to stay as have 21 Sanderling. There were still 5 Little Ringed Plover at Lytchett Fields and a handful of Swift are back over Old Town Poole with 20+ back over the Hamworthy site too. Cuckoo were calling this morning from Coombe Heath, Slepe Heath and Arne.

Harbour Update – posted 16/05/21

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

A brave meander along the Frome and Piddle Valleys in this morning’s bleak conditions yielded a respectable tally of 65 Reed Warbler, 27 Cetti’s Warbler, 5 Sedge Warbler, 9 Blackcap and 3 Chiffchaff, as well as an aerial Hobby and Cuckoo in the Piddle Valley, 16 Swallow over Ridge yacht club, 11 Swift over Redcliff Yacht club and at least 10 male Reed Bunting. Despite a much needed top up, the Swineham scrapes remained unoccupied.

Raven predating CJ7’s 5th unfertilised egg – Osprey Nest Cam

Harbour Update – posted 15/05/21

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

Yet another decent Branksome Chine seawatch today with Black Tern, Arctic Tern, 2 Kittiwake, Manx Shearwater and 2 Common Scoter all before 9.30am, along with a constant stream of Common Tern migrating and feeding, 20 Sandwich Tern, 1 Mediterranean Gull and 2 Fulmar (including one blue phase individual)… Not too shabby! CJ7 was photographed circling over Coombe Heath at 10:46 this morning, and another Osprey sighting (presumably CJ7) was recorded over Gold Point, Arne at 1pm while a Marsh Harrier was hunting over Swineham Point. The Great White Egret and 4 Cattle Egret remain the Frome Valley. Greenlands Farm logged Treecreeper and Greylag Goose with young, as well as Spotted Flycatcher and Pied Wagtail on territory. Holes Bay held 4 Little Egret, 1 Redshank, Water Rail and a light scattering of Shelduck and Oystercatcher, several singing Balckcap, Chiffchaff and 8 Reed Warbler., with 3 Swallow overhead the only other migrants.

Harbour Update – posted 14/05/21

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

A Reed Warbler ringed in Portugal was caught at a Lytchett Heath during a ringing session this morning – an excellent control of this sub-Saharan migrant! Nearby, 2 Hobby were busy hawking insects over the Holton Lee treeline, seen from Lytchett Fields Viewpoint. Holes Bay clocked up 23 Black-tailed Godwit off Pergins Island, while the Common Whitethroat remains present just south of the railway bridge. A single Cetti’s Warbler and 19 Reed Warbler were also singing across the Bay and Park, as well as vocal Water Rail, a pair of Reed Bunting and a Linnet singing near the Screen Hide. House Martin were logged at Creekmoor, prospecting old nest sites. Turnstone numbers are dwindling now, with just 3 individuals and 10 Oystercatcher around Baiter.

CJ7 laid a 5th unfertilised egg this morning!

Harbour Update – posted 13/05/21

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

Limited coverage of the harbour today. A survey of Holes Bay resonated with the season, only 4 Oystercatcher and a single Redshank representing the wader assemblages today, accompanied by vocal Reed Warbler, Swallow, Blackcap, Chiffchaff all present, along with 1 Common Whitethroat. Elsewhere, 20 Swift were feeding over Swineham this afternoon, and another 5 over Parkstone.

Exciting news – Our Nightjar experience walks are back! The southern heaths of Poole Harbour are a stronghold for Nightjar – and Slepe Heath is no exception. This mysterious bird and its quirky lifestyle add to their endearing personality and haunting ‘churr’ rings out across the heathland at dusk. Join Birds of Poole Harbour to learn about and see some of the important areas for these heathland specialists whilst taking in stunning views out across the Wareham Channel. The grand finale will be listening to (and hopefully watching) Nightjar as they become active at dusk, before they then head out in to the darkness. Booking essential. Visit our events page for more details and bookings.

Common Whitethroat – Holes Bay – Holes Bay Nature Twitter Account @BayHoles

Harbour Update – posted 12/05/21

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

Nice spread of warblers to be heard and seen across Poole’s urban gem, Holes Bay, this morning with Common Whitethoat, Sedge, Reed and Cetti’s Warblers all singing. Young birds are also being observed on a more regular basis now with Woodlark and Stonechat recorded feeding young across Poole Harbour’s southern heathlands.

Common Terns – Studland – Seb Haggett

Harbour Update – posted 11/05/21

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

There was an interesting sighting of an Osprey over Holes Bay, which isn’t a regular hunting spot for CJ7, so was likely to be a migrant passing through. The Osprey flushed 6 Whimbrel, and 3 Swift were also reported over the bay. At Lytchett Fields, in addition to 2 Lapwing and a Turnstone flyby, the highlight was a Wheatear in whimbrel field. At Baiter, 13 Turnstone, 7 Oystercatcher and 1 Common Tern was reported.

Otherwise, it was a quiet day for sightings in the harbour, but some exciting reports outside of the boundary… As well as a male Golden Oriole fly over at Durlston yesterday morning, a Chough was reported at Portland. So, if you are spending any time at Studland in the coming days, it’s worth scanning the corvids.


Harbour Update – posted 10/05/21

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

With the wind swinging round and now coming from deep south there’s a chance of another pulse of migrants to arrive. Highlighted yesterday with a Turtle Dove in a Studland garden yesterday, a real Poole Harbour rarity these days. An Osprey was seen heading NW over Upton Heath today and was likely to be a migrant rather than CJ7 and a Spoonbill was at Lytchett Fields this morning. At Brands Bay there were still 4 Brent Geese and 11 Sanderling were on the beach. Good numbers of Swift were again over Swineham GP and up on Hartland 4 Wheatear were near Scotland Farm. A Lesser Whitethroat was along the Middlebere track and 2 Cuckoo were on Slepe Heath. A Nightjar was churring on Brownsea this evening…..we just need the balmy summer evenings now and summer would have properly arrived.

Swallow and Swift – Swineham – Peter Moore

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