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 August, 2021

Harbour Update – posted 31/08/21

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

Cooler today but still plenty around. At Holton Lee there were 2 family parties of Spotted Flycatcher with 10+ birds near the car park, along with numerous Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff joining the party and 1 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, Treecreepers, Goldcrests and 1 Firecrest. An Osprey also passed over Holton Lee and 2 were seen in Lytchett Bay with another (or the same 2) in the Wareham Channel. CJ7 and 022 were still around this morning, with CJ7 now having stayed longer this season than she’s ever stayed before. In Holes Bay the Wigeon flock has gone up to 60 and a Kingfisher was in the PCW Drain. In Brands Bay there was a single Curlew Sandpiper and another at Lytchett Fields. There were 16 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon and at the start of the Middlebere track there were 2 Redstart, 1 Wheatear, 1 Whitethroat and a Whinchat and at Sunnyside 2 Whinchat, 1 Wheatear and 1 Whitethroat. Finally the Great White Egret was in Middlebere today and there were 11 Pintail there too.

Great White Egret – Middlebere – Ken  


Harbour Update – posted 30/08/21

Posted on: August 30th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There was a real sense of arrival this morning as the skies darkened and the wind built, making it feel very autumnal. Not so much for passerines, but wildfowl were most definitely on the move with 14 Common Scoter seen flying high above Poole Quay heading towards Poole Bay. Whilst on our Osprey Cruise today, Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Gadwall and Teal were all seen flying in from high north, circling the Wareham Channel before moving on. Also logged from today’s Osprey Cruise were 2 Hobby over Arne, 1 Peregrine over the Wareham Channel, 1 Marsh Harrier, c100 Avocet and c600 Black-tailed Godwit along with the first decent ‘raft’ of c300 sinensis Cormorant fishing off the Arne shoreline. Osprey-wise we had two, un-ringed adult females fly close past the boat, with another seen fishing in Arne Bay. There were 2-3 fishing in and around Lytchett Bay on and off throughout the day too. Plus, both Ospreys CJ7 and 022 were seen on a harbour nest platform today too, highlighting they were still around, although haven’t been seen for the rest of the day……have they gone? In Brands Bay there were 2 Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Spotted Redshank. In Holes Bay there were 47 Wigeon back and at Lytchett Fields there were 8 Yellow Wagtail and 1 Redstart. At Hartland yesterday there were 11 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Wheatear, 4 Redstart, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and 11 Willow Warbler and at Godlingston Heath today 1 Whinchat, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Redstart and 2 Wheatear

Avocets – Wareham Channel – Mark Wright (@markwright12002)

Female Osprey – Wareham Channel – Mark Wright (@markwright12002)

Curlew Sandpipers – Brands Bay – Rob Johnson


Harbour Update – posted 29/08/21

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

A dream Osprey cruise departed Poole Quay this morning at 9AM. Clear blue skies and a rising tide made for the perfect conditions for a couple of our translocated juvenile Ospreys (370 & 379) to spend the morning honing in their newly discovered fishing skills, patrolling the harbour and attempting numerous failed fishing attempts for the duration of our trip! A total of 5-7 different individuals were logged across the Wareham Channel from our boat, including an unringed juvenile and 022 skydancing yet again! A real privilage to see, this behaviour has been missing from our landscape for c.200 years and is surely a fantastic indicator of his strong health and condition ahead of his migration south. A Juvenile Osprey was also causing a commotion at Brands Bay, disturbing the Spotted Redshank (scarce visitor to this area of the harbour), 23 Great Crested Grebe, 50 Teal, 5 Ringed Plover, 79 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank, 8 Knot, 15 Dunlin, 48 Mediterranean and 22 Common Gull below.

A Stour Ringing Group session at Lytchett Bay continues to capitalise on the strong Grasshopper Warbler passage this season, with another 14 birds trapped and ringed this morning. Passage passerines continue to filter through the harbour, with 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Common Redstart and 3 Wheatear among the migrants at Greenlands Farm. Plenty more flycatchers, starts and chats to come through over the next couple of weeks… Dream a little bigger and you could consider finding a Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike or better??

Grasshopper Warbler – Terry Elborn

It was hard to decide which Osprey to watch at times during this morning’s Osprey Cruise!


Harbour Update – posted 28/08/21

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

Adding to yesterday’s stream of migrants, today 2 Pied Flycatcher were reported from RSPB Arne on Grip Heath from the Red Trail. This morning’s Osprey Cruise truly delivered, with at least 5 Osprey visible at the same time over the Wareham Channel, 3 of which were hunting. 4 Osprey were reported from Coombe Heath at Arne during the morning, with 2 of the translocated juveniles from this year’s cohort were amongst the sightings in that area, and a lone Osprey reported hunting over Lytchett Bay earlier in the day. Towards midday, a further 2 Osprey and a Marsh Harrier were seen over Lytchett Fields, along with 10 Greenshank feeding on the fields. A Marsh Harrier was also seen in the Wareham Channel from this morning’s cruise, as well as the first signs of Great Crested Grebe numbers building, with a raft of 17 individuals seen from the boat. 4 Greenshank and a Spotted Redshank were also seen were feeding on the mudflats at the mouth of the River Frome. There was an interesting sighting yesterday of a probable Little Stint on Brownsea Lagoon (see video below), though hard to confirm from the footage. We’ll be scanning the lagoon from tomorrow’s Osprey Cruise to confirm if the bird is still around.

Osprey with fish – Coombe Heath – Kate Plater


Harbour Update – posted 27/07/21

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

Another day where the migrants continue to roll in! A fantastic record of a Purple Sandpiper on the rocks at Sandbanks this morning was one of the highlights of the day. Also this AM, a count at Stoborough Heath produced an impressive count of 5 Redstart, 3 Wheatear, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Whitethroat, 8 Willow Warbler and 10 Mistle Thrush. Just down the road at Sunnyside Farm, a further 3 Spotted Flycatcher, a juvenile Willow Warbler, Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail were reported.

Over at Studland this morning, Brands Bay hosted 63 Teal, 13 Ringed Plover, 91 Black-tailed Godwit, 107 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 3 Turnstone, 85 Dunlin, 5 Knot, 5 Common Gull & 89 Mediterranean Gull, as well as a Whinchat and Grasshopper Warbler on the path to Jerry’s Point. At Greenlands Farm there were 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Whinchat and 8 Wheatear, as well as a further 8 Spotted Flycatcher and a Lesser Whitethroat at South Haven. From Hartland, a male Redstart, Hobby and Wheatear were the highlights.

From the Osprey Cruise this morning, 2 Osprey were seen in the Wareham Channel, as well as a Marsh Harrier and 3 Grey Plover, with 7 Spoonbill counted on Brownsea Lagoon. Osprey sightings have continued to be numerous across the harbour, with 2 reported at Lytchett Field this morning, and one perched in a tree behind Sherford Pools there later at around midday. A total of 4 Osprey were reported over the Gull Islands in the Wareham Channel from Ham Common Viewpoint this morning, as well as one feeding in the dead trees from the Raptor trail at RSPB Arne.

Purple Sandpiper, Sandbanks, David & Caleb Bevan


Harbour Update – posted 26/08/21

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

Autumn migrants are coming through thick and fast currently with plenty of nice birds to see. Redstart and Whinchat numbers are building with 2 Whinchat at Lytchett Bay, 1 at Greenlands Farm, 1 at Godlingston 1 at Hartland and 2 on Arne. Redstart were flitting around the fringes of Hartland, Middlebere, Greenlands Farm and Slepe Heath and they’re often joined with Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and a few Chiffchaff. Spotted Flycatcher are also being logged in good numbers around the heathland edges, certainly in the south of the harbour and Wheatear are numerous out on rough patches of high ground, plus one was in Holes Bay too. Also 6 Grasshopper Warbler were ringed during a morning ringing session at Lytchett Bay and Yellow Wagtail were logged at Holton Lee, Godlingston and Hartland. There were good numbers of Swallow and House Martin high above the Wareham Channel with c500 in total which attracted the attention of 2 local Hobby. There were 2 different Marsh Harrier in the Wareham Channel and between 3-4 Osprey were seen with individuals seen catching fish in the Wareham Channel, Lytchett Bay and Middlebere. At Baiter there were just 3 Turnstone, but 36 Ringed Plover and 7 Dunlin. In Middlebere there were 10 Spoonbill and 50 Avocet and the 2 Bottlenose Dolphin were seen again in the harbour mid-morning.

Osprey bathing in Middlebere a couple of days ago – Ken (PenHillMan)

Curlew and Redshank – Brands Bay – Nick Gadenne


Harbour Update – posted 25/08/21

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

This glorious high pressure system is basking us in glorious sunshine and with great birds. Today a Red-backed Shrike was reported on Coombe Heath, Arne and just outside the harbour boundary a Wryneck was in Church Knowle near Corfe. Our Osprey Cruise was stunning with 3-4 individuals seen, including one of our juveniles, young male 371 which arrived down the river valley to join what looked like CJ7 and 022 over Arne, before one then caught a fish over in Arne Moors Bay. There were also 2 Marsh Harrier on the Keysworth shoreline and a Peregrine was doing a great job beating up a Herring Gull over Brownsea. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 16 Spoonbill and once again the 2 Bottlenose Dolphin were seen again in between Brownsea and Sandbanks. In Lytchett Bay there were up to 4 Osprey fishing this morning which was quite a sight, including the female from Glaslyn ‘8C’ which appeared in the harbour a few days ago. In total there must at least 5-6 migrant Osprey in the harbour currently with individuals also seen in Middlebere, over Swineham and near Brands Bay…..with more on the way! Passerine wise, there were 2 Spotted Flycatcher in Upton CP, 3 Wheatear on the Brownsea Lagoon sea wall, 1 each of Redstart, Whinchat, Wheatear and Spotted Flycatcher on Hartland, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat and a Cuckoo at Lytchett Fields with a fly over Great White Egret there too and at Sunnyside a decent passage of Sand Martin and c30 Yellow Wagtail. In Holes Bay the first 6 Wigeon of the winter arrived and settled and in the PCW Drain there were 2 Cetti’s Warbler, 1 Common Whitethroat and a Kingfisher.

Wigeon – Holes Bay – Rene Goad

Female Osprey ‘8C’ – Lytchett Bay – Rene Goad


Harbour Update – posted 24/08/21

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

This NE air flow could really make things productive over the coming weeks with Red-backed Shrikes, Icterine Warblers and Wrynecks spring to mind. To be honest, several Pied Flycatcher will suffice, but things definitely seem on the rise currently. An adult Honey Buzzard drifted over Morden Bog this morning with an adult un-ringed male Osprey over too plus Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit present too and 4 Woodlark on the deck. Our Osprey Cruise today was action packed with between 5-6 Osprey clocked around the Wareham Channel area and 9 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon with 3 more Wigeon seen and 4 newly arrived Shoveler too. However, the 2 Bottlenose Dolphin that suddenly appeared next to the boat off the Brownsea Lagoon made for a welcome distraction from the birds. There are some cracking photos of Osprey being taken at different sites, but they seem to be very active in Lytchett Bay with 3 present most days currently as well as the usual 2-3 birds in the Middlebere area and one flew over Holes Bay today too. At Holes Bay there were 2 Common Sandpiper, 1085 Black-tailed Godwit, 163 Redshank, 3 Knot and 61 Teal. At Lytchett Fields there was a Spotted Redshank (scarce in the harbour this autumn), 1 Whinchat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Knot and a Ruff. At Greenlands Farm there were 16 Wheatear, 2 Whinchat, 2 Redstart and 2 Spotted Flycatcher. In Middlebere there were 15 Spoonbill, 10 Avocet, c90 Black-tailed Godwit and a Wheatear on Coombe Heath and a juv Cuckoo along the Middlebere track. At Sunnyside there were 3 Green Sandpiper, 2 Wheatear and a Redstart. At Swineham this evening a few passerines were around with 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Wheatear and 1 Spotted Flycatcher in scrub plus 1 Green Sandpiper on the scrapes. Finally in Upton CP there were 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Garden Warbler and 2 Blackcap.

Bottlenose Dolphin – Off Brownsea north – Siomn Kidner

Osprey over Corfe Castle – Derek Morgan

Osprey – Lytchett Bay – Mark Wright


Harbour Update – posted 23/08/21

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

It was another Osprey-filled morning with numerous individuals around the harbour, although the Wareham Channel seemed quieter than normal mid-morning, although male 022 went into full display mode, sky-dancing with a fish over the Arne area, very conveniently just as our Osprey Cruise passed by. This was a real thrill to stand and watch this behaviour with a boat full of guests, knowing that this behaviour hasn’t been seen in southern Britain for around 200 years until this year. We also had images from one of our harbour nest platforms showing a new ringed bird had arrived with ‘blue 8C’ seen near Wareham Forest. This female is a 2014 hatched bird from the Glaslyn nest in Wales, although it’s un-known currently whether she’s breeding anywhere in the UK. Regardless, its great to be able to learn a bit more detail about some of the birds that are visiting and staging at the harbour each year. Un-ringed individuals were also logged at Middlebere, Lytchett Bay, Morden Bog the Wareham Channel and Shipstal. There were some other exciting arrivals today too including the first 3 Wigeon of the autumn/winter over the Wareham Channel and 3 Pochard on Swineham GP. A sub-adult male Marsh Harrier floated over Giggers Island and a fresh juv was in Middlebere. Also in Middlebere were 5 Spoonbill, 1 Spotted Redshank, 24 Avocet, c90 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Peregrine. The Brownsea Lagoon was busy and saw 300+ Oystercatcher, c100 Dunlin, c30 Ringed Plover, 2 Spoonbill, 2 Knot, 8 Greenshank and1 Kingfisher. A slow ringing session at Lytchett Bay saw only 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 11 Sedge Warbler, 11 Willow Warbler and 1 Whitethroat. There was also a Common Redstart at Middlebere, 1 Whinchat on Hartland and 2 at Lytchett Fields and there were still 2 Nightjar using the Osprey nest cam perch last night.

Newly arrived Osprey ‘blue 8C’ a 2014 Glaslyn female


Harbour Update – posted 22/08/21

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

Watching a couple of our translocated juvenile Ospreys confidently explore the wider harbour, interacting with migrant adults filtering through the harbour was a very special addition to this morning’s Osprey cruise. Using the yagi to scan through their unique radio tag signals, we were able to confirm that birds 370 and 374 were exploring the Wareham Channel – this is such an important stage of the project as these young birds consolidate the imprinting process, mapping our the local area before embarking on their long 4,000km migration to West Africa! Other highlights from the boat trip included numerous Osprey interactions with Marsh Harrier, a Great White Egret on Arne Moors, 7 Spoonbill on Brownsea Lagoon and a Wheatear along the Lagoon seawall. Osprey sightings were also logged at Lytchtet Bay (2) and Middlebere (1), with the latter observed preening in the water. There was quite a scattering of ground autumn passerines across the harbour in the form of 5 Wheatear at Hartland Moor, Pied Flycatcher at Wytch and Common Redstarts along the Middlebere lane (1), harbour mouth (1) and 3 at Norden. Common Whitethroat were in numerous bushes around Hartland and there were 8 Spotted Flycatcher together at Arne. During our first WeBS count of the season, the sound of Whimbrel calling across the mud lflats from numerous sites along the south of the harbour was a real treat with 100+ in Brands Bay, and was a Wood Sandpiper that alighted near Wytch, calling rapidly as it headed north was a great finale.

Common Redstart – Middlebere – Aidan Brown


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