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 June, 2021

Harbour Update – posted 20/06/21

Posted on: June 20th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

This morning’s Poole Harbour Osprey Project Tour boat trip departed Poole Quay into an ominous mist at 9AM, with Brownsea Island shrouded from view and the recent rainfall having only eased in the last 30 minutes. As the conurbation disappeared into the murky, visibility began to improve to the west and it wasn’t long until the active Marsh Harriers put on a show, quartering over Gigger’s Island and the Keysworth shoreline for the duration of the trip, regularly flushing the breeding Lapwing and Redshank. A Hobby flew right over the top of the boat towards the Arne peninsula, Sandwich Terns offered wonderfully close views from all angles of the boat, and a slow meander up the River Frome produced a small flurry of Swallow set to a backdrop of constant Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting and Skylark song. By the return journey, the sun was beginning to fight through the cloud cover, the mist had well and truly lifted and the ideal conditions quickly welcomed the appearance of an Osprey, likely CJ7! First appearing at close range from the Arne peninsula, the bird tracked west very quickly and was soon distant over the mouth of the River Frome and Piddle, swooping down but pulling out last minute on several fishing attempts en route.

Poole Peregrine update – Unfortunately, it is with great sadness we have to report that one of the juvenile Poole Peregrines was found dead yesterday morning having had a collision with a building. A great shame. Hopefully the remaining two will survive.

~ Joe

Marsh Harrier – Keysworth Shoreline (photographed from Osprey Project Tour) – Alison Copland

Harbour Update – posted 19/06/21

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

A minimum of 35 Swift were logged over Barclays while observing the recently fledged Peregrines. The juvenile Peregrines continue to explore with more confidence, with one brave bird even perching alongside the car park ramp today! Be sure to always keep a sensible distance away from the birds as the continue to scout out the wider area. From Coombe Heath, a Cuckoo offered great views while perched, a Common Tern fished in the channel while Hobby hawked over the marsh and two families of Shelduck navigated the channel with young. Scoping Furzey Island from Redhorn rewarded one observer with distant views of a male and 2 female Golden Pheasant, as well as a Red Squirrel! Young Crossbills showed well at Rempstone Forest this morning. Several visits were made by 022 and CJ7 to the livestream webcam today, with added variety from Greenfinch and flyby Kestrel.

~ Joe

Juvenile Crossbill – Rempstone Forest – @BirderOtbt (twitter account)

Harbour Update – posted 18/06/21

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

The rain arrived today, but luckily held off for our Nightjar walk last night, which ended up being quite exceptional. What initially looked set to be a wet, soggy stomp around Slepe Heath ended up being one of the best Nightjar walks we’ve ever hosted. You know a walks going to be good when you find not one, but two burrowing Sand Lizard right next to the footpath, allowing our group to stand and watch this incredibly rare event. Female Sand Lizards wait for mild, muggy evenings in June to egg lay, and when burrowing, tend to do it during the cover of darkness as they enter a trance like state, fully focused on getting the burrow dug and the eggs laid. As we stood and watched one of the lizards burrowing we were surrounded by Dartford Warbler calls and a distant Cuckoo. Then, at 21:45 the Nightjar put on an incredible display with no less 8 seen bombing around us, producing a whole range of vocalisations at close range, allowing everyone to hear clearly the different call types. Then, the night was finished off with the first Glow Worm of the season. Just magical.

Also today, after a three day absence both Ospreys 022 and CJ7 made a couple of brief appearance on the nest cam, 022 still finding it difficult to share any bit of fish with CJ7, in fact having had three days apart he looked positively terrified of her! Still, it was good to see him/them back and with some nest tidying going on with CJ7 even bringing back some nest material too. With all this hot weather recently, they’ve probably enjoyed a bit of cooling in the rain today.

The Barclays Peregrines were pretty quiet today, although are now mixing it up a little bit and settling on different balcony ledges with one now able to fly, do a circuit then land again (not on the floor)!

The Great White Egret was in Middlebere again and the Marsh Harrier pair were active at dawn despite the rain, provisioning the young  of which we still don’t know how many there are? Can’t wait to see the first heads bob up and test flights take place.

Male Osprey 022 back on the nest after a 3 day absence 

Female Sand Lizard nest burrowing – Slepe Heath


Harbour Update – posted 17/06/21

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

It’s been another eventful day for the Barclays Peregrines. After one of the juveniles was grounded earlier this week following a fledging attempt, yesterday evening saw the successful fledging of the 3 young, with one having made it’s way to the top of the Barclays building with the adults and venturing away from its usual ledge in the morning. They usually fledge between 5-6 weeks of age and will stay around with the parents for a further 2-3months while they learn to hunt and become independent.

On the Osprey Webcam last night, a pair of Nightjar were displaying, with churring starting at 04:09, followed by the arrival of a female perching on the nest platform and a male coming into view shortly after. Our Purbeck Puffin Cruise yesterday evening presented perfect conditions for viewing the birds, with 5 individual Puffins recorded, notably with one perched on the lower rocks at Durlston with the Guillemot colony. Matching the success of the nesting Peregrines at Barclays, the breeding pair at Ballard Down could be seen from the boat with 3 juveniles on the cliffs of Old Harry, looking as though fledging was imminent. It’s a fantastic sight to see multiple pairs doing so well.

– Liv Cooper

Juvenile Peregrine on top of Barclays – Martin Adams

Puffin – Dancing Ledge – George Butler

Harbour Update – posted 16/06/21

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

All 5 members of the Peregrine family were just visible through the mist shrouding the Barclay’s building in Poole this morning. The poor visibility may have contributed to their inactivity early on, potentially limiting their ability to hunt by making it more difficult for them to pick out and target distant prey. On the other hand such conditions could also give them an advantage if their prey can’t see them coming! Either way, all three chicks look to be in very good condition and growing well, indicating that they continue to be fed well by the parents.

Just across the road in Holes Bay a very different style of parenting was being demonstrated by the Oystercatchers, who were also out and about with their young, feeding on the mudflats. Oystercatcher chicks – like most waders – are ‘precocial’, meaning they are mobile and able to feed themselves from the moment they hatch. This more relaxed parenting approach requires much less food provisioning effort on the part of the adults, but greatly increases the vulnerability of the chicks to predators… such as peregrines for example!

Further raptor activity elsewhere in the harbour included both Kestrel and Hobby seen at Hotlon Lee, and an Osprey drifting over Coombe and then Hyde’s Heaths at Arne just after midday. Also around the Middlebere area, the Great White Egret was seen once again.

Muggy conditions like those we’ve had recently are perfect for getting out onto the local heaths in the evenings to look for Nightjars and Glow Worms. We have a limited number of spaces available on our guided Nightjar Experience tomorrow at 8pm on Slepe Heath, which you can book onto here.

Brittany Maxted

Oystercatcher chicks – Holes Bay – Holes Bay Nature (Twitter)

Harbour Update – posted 15/06/21

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

We’ve been lucky enough to find 2 Spotted Flycatcher nests over the last 24 hours, one on a private house just outside Wareham and a second at Sandford Woods (Holton Heath, Organford). This is a species thats suffered big declines over the last two decades, so we’d be really interested in hearing about any ‘Spot Fly’ nests you find around the harbour these next few weeks. The nests we’ve found both have young being fed, so any adults around the harbour should be really active currently. Male and female Osprey CJ7 and 022 were both on the nest cam early this morning, and even mated again briefly but then disappeared for most of the day. These warm evening have really got the Nightjars going with 20+ seen and heard along the heathlands along the southern shores of the harbour, especially in between Greenlands Farm, Rempstone and the Corfe River Valley. Also in that area were 4 Tawny Owl including a calling juvenile, 1 Hobby and 1 juv Woodlark. The 3 juv Peregrine were all present and correct this morning, and for now have stayed put up on the top ledge of Barclays. Both the adult Marsh Harrier were busy in the Wareham Channel, interacting quite a bit, and at times even having a bit of a barney! We’re hoping alls well with the chicks at the nest and that the new parents are doing a good enough job at provisioning them. Time will tell, but it will be great to see fresh new juv Marsh Harrier fledge from a Poole Harbour nest once more.

Paul Morton

Spotted Flycatcher – Wareham 

Harbour Update – posted 14/06/21

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

It was another blisteringly hot day today with some ‘interesting’ occurrences. Most notably having to go and rescue one of the Poole Barclays Peregrines which had found it’s self grounded late morning. Earlier it had attempted to fledge, and seemed to be doing quite well. However, once on the pavement it was then too exhausted to then make its way back up to the ledge. However thanks to the speedy quick thinking of the Barclays team and Jason Fathers we were able to get to the bird really quickly, and then get it back up to its nesting ledge with it’s siblings. This allowed us our first proper look and the juv’s and could see quite clearly the chicks are made up of 2 males and 1 female. It’s quite possible this will happen again over the coming days or weeks, but lets hope we can achieve the same result each time! There was a Great White Egret feeding in front of the raptor screen at Arne (Middlebere) and both a Cuckoo and Nightjar were calling at the same time from Middlebere heath mid-morning. At Lytchett Fields there were 23 Lapwing, which included the first dispersed juvenile of the autumn. Probably from one of the local breeding sites such as Keysworth or Morden.

Yesterday we mentioned that we had an Osprey that appeared at the release site and wondered if it could have been a new arrival? Well today, male Osprey 022 showed up there suggesting that it was actually him yesterday reacquainting himself with his natal site. This is common behaviour in young male Ospreys  and he’ll probably visit the area again several times this summer.

We also received some great news today that our translocated Osprey from 2018, female 014, has successfully hatched chicks in the Glaslyn Valley in Wales. This is a great achievement for the project because it actually fulfils part of the long-term objective of our translocation because we’re already seeing the main England populations connecting up. We of course have CJ7 from Rutland, Wales now have female 014 and all we need now is for our pair to breed and at some point in the near future we just need to steal a Welsh Osprey and the triangle will be complete!

Joe Parker

Rescued Peregrine chick from the Barclays nest

Male osprey 022 over his old release site

Harbour Update – posted 13/06/21

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

What a beautiful day for a Poole Harbour Osprey Project Tour! We spent 2 hours cruising up the Wareham Channel this morning while talking about the in’s and out’s of our flagship project. With only our resident summering pair (CJ7 & 022) in the harbour at the moment viewing Ospreys is a real challenge, but there is always a chance of encountering an Osprey if we’re lucky. The exceptionally calm morning meant the calls of Skylark, Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting, Redshank and more could all be heard clearly from the boat across the western shores. After cruising up the River Frome quickly and finding an Egyptian Goose on the Swineham scrapes, we returned to the Wareham channel and were treated to 2 Osprey successfully hunting! To add to the excitement, a Marsh Harrier was patrolling Gigger’s Island while one of the Ospreys was fishing, offering great views of both birds in the same field of view.

Late this afternoon we had an interesting moment when prepping some work at the Osprey release site, when we accidentally flushed an Osprey that was sat in some trees near by. This is classic behaviour for a 2-year old, returning to the natal site upon its return. Sadly we didn’t get good enough views to see if it was ringed, but its highly likely it will be one of our 2019 birds, either 022 making a visit, or quite possibly anew arrival? We’ll be keeping a close eye on things over the coming days.

More Red Kite were moving around today with individuals over Hartland, Middlebere and Hamworthy. The 3 juv Peregrine are now really active and very visual, chasing each up up and down the length of the top balcony. If you’re in Poole anytime this week, it’s well worth popping your bino’s in the car and stopping off to watch them. It’s a great site for the centre of Poole. There was also more evidence of return passage with 10 Avocet in Middlebere which is quite a high mid-June count.

Joe Parker


Dartford Warbler – Garry Hayman

Harbour Update – posted 12/06/21

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

At risk of overloading our sightings page with Peregrine photos, it’s not every day you can enjoy such a spectacle in the heart of a busy conurbation! Feral Pigeon continue to be delivered to young, and once fledged, we might begin to witness live prey being brought in – all excellent practice for juveniles looking to hone in their new hunting skillset!

Tickets have sold out for tomorrow’s Osprey Project Tour cruise, but limited spaces remain on trips running on 20 June, 27 June & 4 July. Make the most of this glorious weather while enjoying a guided tour of the harbour delivered by our Osprey Project team for a unique opportunity to gain an overview of the project and its progress, along with some of the finer details and what we can expect to happen next. While there won’t be guaranteed views of Ospreys from the boat, there is always the chance that one of over-summering pair will make an appearance, so all eyes will be firmly fixed on the skies…

These balmy, hot summer’s evenings are also prime conditions for the Nightjars breeding across our local heathlands. We cannot encourage you enough to get out one evening this week! Pick a still, muggy evening and venture out for dusk to experience the other-worldly, churring song of this heathland specialist.

Joe Parker

Juvenile Peregrine – Barclays, Poole – Twitter @twamers

Harbour Update – posted 11/06/21

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

Last nights Nightjar walk was an absolute corker with Nightjar active before dark and a Cuckoo giving two Stonechat grief in the middle of Slepe Heath. Dartford Warbler showed really well too, despite the gloom and Meadow Pipit are still singing on territory. Today a Honey Buzzard was seen heading over Lytchett Bay which are always a joy to see and an adult male Yellow Wagtail was in the Lower Piddle Valley which suggests some return migration is already underway….unless its breeding somewhere of course? There were 2 Hobby and a Peregrine over Wareham Common the juvenile Peregrines at Barclays were really active today, doing more wing stretching. Ospreys CJ7 and 022 spent quite a bit of time on the nest again and were later seen over the Wareham Channel. The first 6 Lapwing of the autumn returned to Lytchett Fields and there were 3 Curlew and a Grey Plover in Middlebere.

By Paul Morton

Male and female Osprey CJ7 and 022 on the nest cam 


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