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 July, 2021

Harbour update – posted 21/07/21

Posted on: July 21st, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

This wonderful weather sounds like it’s going to come to end come Friday, so we were out today making the most of it. Plenty of highlights with 2 adult Curlew Sandpiper on the Brownsea Lagoon with 5 Common Sandpiper, 5 Greenshank, 55 Dunlin, c50 Redshank and decent numbers of Black-tailed Godwit. It was also a joy to see so many fledged Common and Sandwich Tern dispersed with juvenile Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls. There also seemed to be an arrival of Little Egret with 13 roosting on the north face of Brownsea, an area we’ve never logged or seen them before. Late July and early August sees peak numbers of Little Egret so plenty could be coming in now and settling in new areas. At Swineham a flock of 9 Common Snipe bombing around was also a strange late July record. There were 2 Egyptian Geese on the Swineham scrape along with an adult Yellow-legged Gull and a juvenile Shoveler Duck and 1 Teal. At Lytchett Fields a Grasshopper Warbler was flushed from the main path, at Studland a Great White Egret is already back at the Little Sea roost and in Brands Bay there were 3 Whimbrel. Above Lower Hamworthy a decent flock of c50 Swift were feeding with 28 over Fleetsbridge and there were 2 Turnstone off Hamworthy Beach.

Stonechat – Swineham

Harbour Update – posted 20/07/21

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

July has absolutely bombed on by, with more and more autumn migrants appearing each day. Today at Lytchett Heath, 3 more passage Sedge Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler and the first Willow Warbler of the autumn for there were ringed. A Red Kite drifted over Studland. In Brands Bay first the 2 Common Gulls of the autumn were with 57 Med Gull which included 2 Juvs, plus there was 1 Whimbrel. At Lytchett Fields a Spoonbill was on the fields again and the Marsh Harrier was seen over the far field. A juvenile Cuckoo was on Slepe Heath. Random sighting of the day was a juv Marsh Tit that showed up in an Upton garden, a species thats almost completely absent from the harbour these days. Where it fledged from is anyones guess but Upton CP would be our first guess? These warm muggy nights have been excellent for Nightjar, with some brilliant displays up on Slepe Heath and around Hartland. With the weather changing later this week it would be worth getting out over the next couple of nights to experience this.

Sedge Warbler – Lytchett Heath 

Harbour Update – posted 19/07/21

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

Well, it almost hit the 30 degree mark today which is quite something for Poole Harbour! An impressive 229 Curlew arrived into Middlebere this evening, highlighting the volume of some waders that are moving currently with 2 Spoonbill and 1 Greenshank there and both Ospreys CJ7 and 022 being seen over Hydes Heath too. At Lytchett Fields a Marsh Harrier was keeping waders away from the fields and another 2 lemon yellow Willow Warbler were on Stoborough Heath. A few juvenile Mediterranean Gulls are now appearing, with individuals at Baiter and Lytchett Fields and most of Common Tern on Brownsea have now fledged, although teh Sandwich Tern colony is still busy busy busy.

Harbour Update – Posted 18/07/21

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

Another sweltering day, with more birds on the move though. At Lytchett Fields 6 Green Sandpiper were present and what could well have been the first migrant Willow Warbler heading south were seen at Arne, with 3 fresh juveniles logged. A Great White Egret in the Middlebere channel with 2 Spoonbill. Up on Slepe Heath 3 Hobby were really high catching insects, which seemed to be abundant with lots of dragonfly’s and Flying Ants out and about, which also triggered a mass gull feeding frenzy over Poole. Three Peregrine were logged around the Asda/Barclays area with 2 adults and 1 juv seen. In Holes Bay there were 99 Black-tailed Godwit and 64 Redshank from the Stone Bench, plus 20 Little Egret and 2 Grey Heron. After what seemed a slow start for Swallows and House Martins, its great to see quite a few young having now fledged at different sites, and with this hot weather, the sound of screaming Swifts overhead in the late evening has been a wonderful cherry on the cake in warm fading light.

Black-tailed Godwit – Holes Bay – Martin Adams

Harbour Update – posted 17/07/21

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

Autumn is moving up the gears… The first Grasshopper Warblers are now on the move! Two were trapped and ringed at Lytchett Bay this morning, along with a juvenile male Bearded Tit and a smatttering of fresh in Reed and Sedge Warblers. Nearby, Lytchett Fields featured a Spoonbill that sat by Sherford Pools’s viewpoint. Spoonbill numbers will begin to increase as we approach August and peak through October. Without a doubt the best places to see Spoonbill is on the Brownsea Lagoon (Aug – Oct), Shipstal Point, Arne (Oct – Mar), the Wareham Channel (low-tides Oct – Mar). The Middlebere Channel can be fruitful depending on the tide (Aug – April).

Juvenile male Bearded Tit – Lytchett Bay ringing session

Harbour Update – posted 16/07/21

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

We got a couple of nice updates today regarding breeding birds both here in the harbour, and a bit further way. Firstly, we heard from raptor watcher Peter Hadrill who reported to us that the breeding Marsh Harrier are doing well, despite no sign of any chicks over the reed beds yet, although it won’t be long now. Interestingly the adult male lost interest several weeks ago and departed, leaving the female to raise the chicks on her own which she seems to be doing really well. Apparently even catching a Black-headed Gull from the air and taking it to ground today. We don’t know how many chicks there are but it it won’t be long until we know with fledging due any day now.

Secondly we had an exciting update from the ‘Friends of the Ospreys’ team up in Wales who’ve been keeping us up to date with the progress our translocated female Osprey 014, who we raised and released here in the harbour in 2018, and is now on a nest, raising a single chick herself at a site called Pont Croesor. This is a big milestone for the project, to actually see the first chick being raised and ringed today as a direct result of our Poole Harbour translocation project is just amazing. Because as we’ve said before, one of the main objectives is to get all these populations interconnecting which over the coming years we’re sure will be accomplished. Below are a series of photos courtesy of the ‘Friends of the Ospreys’ team as they went to the nest site today to ring the single chick which turned out to be a male, and is now ring number 494. As it turns out 014 actually laid 3 eggs, but likely due to the cold and wet spring, only the one progressed enough to hatch. Good luck on your travels in the future young man.

Around the harbour today, it was the absolute scorcher they’d predicted making birding tricky, but there were Whimbrel in Brands Bay, Holes Bay and Lytchett Bay. Male and female Osprey 022 and CJ7 were seen over RSPB Arne again and our Nightjar walk last saw a stunning sunset welcome in 4-5 Nightjar fly around our group with 2 Glow Worm seen and plenty of Dartford Warbler still calling.

Female Osprey 014’s new chick at the Pont Croesor nest in Wales – ‘Friends of the Ospreys’

Our Nightjar group at sunset last night – Julie and Steve Smith

Harbour Update – posted 15/07/21

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

It was another hot one, with more glorious sunshine on the way, plus a decent easterly airflow predicted too over the next week. Will those easterly breezes deliver the first flurry of Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler or Grasshopper Warbler, or perhaps the first Wood Sandpiper or Ruff? It should almost certainly make one or two Balearic Shearwater visible out in Poole Bay. Regardless, its an exciting time of year with waders already coming through as 2 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, 137 Redshank, 128 Black-tailed Godwit and 25 Curlew were logged in Holes Bay. Plus Common Sandpiper were at Brands Bay, Swineham and Holme Lane GP.

Harbour Update – posted 14/07/21

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

Today the best bird was a White Stork that passed over Lytchett Bay, heading north. Sadly it was only seen by one individual here, but it could well have been the bird that was tracking east from Weymouth mid-morning. One of the juv Peregrines from Barclays landed on our Holes Bay Osprey feeding platform late afternoon, which was always a matter of when rather than if. There was also an Osprey at Morden Bog at 17:00, which is definitely neither of ours, and looks to be un-ringed. Plus, based on the tail moult looks like the bird that was over Middlebere late last week. At Holme Lane there was a single Green Sandpiper and at Lytchett Fields 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel and 22 Black-tailed Godwit. An early autumn ringing session saw the first two dispersing juvenile Kingfishers ringed in the lower Piddle Valley.

Juvenile Peregrine on the Pergins Island Osprey feeding platform

Juvenile Kingfisher ringed in Lower Piddle Valley

Harbour Update – posted 13/07/21

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

Another encouraging day with some more migrants on the move as the first 3 Sedge Warbler of the autumn were ringed at Lytchett Bay. This is a species that doesn’t breed within the lytchett Bay area so we know they’re dispersing birds, albeit likely from a nearby breeding site. Beautiful summer-plumaged Black-tailed Godwit are already beginning to appear in numbers with c125 at Holes Bay and c185 in Lytchett Bay, plus a decent sized flock in Middlebere. Also at Middlebere were 4 Spoonbill, 1 Cuckoo and an Osprey was seen over Hydes Heath, Arne. In Brands Bay there were 71 Curlew and 2 Whimbrel and 5 Greenshank were in Lytchett Bay. In the Brownsea Channel there were c180 Common Tern and c30 Sandwich Tern. On the Swineham scrapes there were 7 Egyptian Geese goslings and 2 adults and on Arne Moors a Great White Egret and an adult Yellow-legged Gull.

Whimbrel – Brands Bay – Garry Hayman

Harbour Update – posted 12/07/21

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

We don’t remember anyone forecasting any great floods for Dorset today, yet come 9-o-clock this morning it seemed many low lying spots around the harbour saw the harbour expand to numerous cul-de-sacs, roads and streets, with Fleetsbridge completely underwater for most of the morning. The heavy rain didn’t subside until around lunchtime meaning sightings were pretty limited today. However there were 2 Spoonbill in the Middlebere Channel and 3 Avocet logged yesterday too. A Marsh Harrier was at Lytchett Fields and there were 2 Hobby in the Piddle Valley. Hirundines have been thin on the ground this year, but a decent sized mixed flock of 200+ House Martin and Sand Martin, with 10+ Swift mixed in was a welcome sight over Wareham after the rain eased. An evening visit to Holes Bay produced a Yellow-legged Gull, 30 Redshank and 2 Whimbrel. 

Fresh juvenile Reed Bunting ringed on Sunday at Lytchett Heath


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