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 October, 2021

Harbour Update – posted 16/10/21

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

Numbers of Avocet are building nicely with c.400 seen in the Middlebere Channel this morning, along with c.300 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Spotted Redshank, 2 Green Sandpiper, as well as Grey Plover, Dunlin, Pintail and Shoveler. Not quite as spectacular as yesterday’s 19 Cattle Egret, but nonetheless a great sighting, 3 Great White Egret flew in together to join the waders in the Middlebere Channel this AM. Over at Studland, 38 Great Crested Grebe and 23 Turnstone were present this morning in Brands Bay, and later this afternoon, the Scaup was seen again off Redhorn Point. The juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper was also still present on the Sherford Pools at Lytchett Fields today.

Turnstone – Brands Bay – Martin Adams

Harbour Update – posted 15/10/21

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

A fascinating day for a number of reasons. Most significantly was a flock of 19 Cattle Egret that entered the harbour through the harbour entrance this morning around 8am, logged by Graham Armstrong. This is the second highest total for this species in the. harbour after 23 were logged togther late in August 2017 entering the harbour. An over-wintering flock of 17-19 were also present in East Holme during the 2017-18 winter period. Where they’re heading is anyones guess, and we’re not sure if they’ve stopped off or pushed on straight through, but either way, still a great visual spectacle. To compliment the Cattle Egret there were 2 Great White Egret in Middlebere and another at Lytchett Fields where the Pectoral Sandpiper also reappeared. Male White-tailed Eagle G461 entered the harbour again today and was seen a couple of times over the Wareham Channel and then again over Middlebere. He definitely seems to enjoy the Wareham Channel and Middlebere area whenever he comes back this way. Is over-wintering a possibility? More Redwing pulsed over last night and this morning with the first of the season being ringed at our ringing demo event this AM at Lytchett Bay, along with the first arriving crests as 5 Firecrest were ringed along with several Goldcrest. It seems like its going to be a poor autumn for crests with ringing sites and east coast sites reporting very very few numbers so far this autumn. In Brands Bay the Scaup was present along with 7 Red-breasted Merganser and a Red-throated Diver was off Shipstal Beach, Arne where c50 Spoonbill are still present.

Distant pectoral Sandpiper – Lytchett Fields – Garry Hayman

Harbour Update – posted 14/10/21

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

More Redwing were arriving this morning after what seemed like another semi-decent night passage. At least another several hundred passed over at dawn, but passage soon fizzled out by 8am. Hopefully more on the way tonight before the big low pressure system arrives this weekend. The first Hen Harrier of the autumn/winter appeared this evening in the Lower Frome Valley, a young male buzzing around chasing Meadow Pipits. Also 2 Swallow over Swineham and a Little Stint, 1 Green Sandpiper and an adult Yellow-legged Gull was on the Swineham Scrape. At Shipstal there were 51 Spoonbill with the rest likely on the Brownsea Lagoon. Wigeon totals are creeping up with 852 in Holes Bay….will we hit 1000 by the end of October? Another good record for Holes Bay was a Dartford Warbler along the cycle track giving a nice example of local dispersal from (Upton?) Heath. A Scaup off Jerry’s Point gave a distinctly wintery feel with a Red-throated Diver in the Brownsea Channel too along with 20 Brent Geese and 10 Red-breasted Merganser in Brands Bay. There are also still between 4-6 Marsh Harrier present, moving around the harbour.

Siskin – Brownsea – Martin Adams

Harbour Update – posted 13/10/21

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

The first wave of Redwings appeared this morning with several flurry’s over various areas. There were big movements much further north, but this is typical for us southern late comers, with the bulk of thrush passage not occurring until a bit later in October. Regardless, several hundred were logged across the harbour and it won’t be long until several thousand pulse across the night sky as they’re joined by Song Thrush, Blackbird, then Fieldfare, occasional Ring Ouzel and Skylark. Yesterdays Pectoral Sandpiper was seen again on Lytchett Fields but wasn’t around for very long. On Shipstal, Arne 55 Spoonbill were counted and in Middlebere there were 3 Great White Egret. Up on Ballard there were still 20-30 Stonechat, several passage Skylark, a few Linnet and Goldfinch on the move and 1 Black-necked Grebe off Jerry’s Point.

We’ve also just published a full OSPREY SEASON 2021 REVIEW which covers everything thats happened this year and talks about what we’ve possibly/hopefully got to look forward to next year. To complement the write up we’ve made this video too which covers in detail the step by step story of the 2021 Osprey season….Enjoy!

Harbour Update – posted 12/10/21

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

No eagle today, but a harbour rarity was still to be found when Ian Ballam found a Pectoral Sandpiper at Lytchett Fields which was only on view briefly before disappearing into some of the thicker grass at the back of Sherford Pools. It’s possible it could still be around tomorrow, so worth checking again on the rising tide. In the Piddle Valley a Woodlark was in full song and a Lesser Redpoll passed over. A Red Kite was high over South Beach and up around Ballard no less than c35 Stonechat were along the coast path with several groups of Linnet and Goldfinch still on the move by late afternoon. In Brands Bay there were 17 Brent Geese, 6 Red-breasted Merganser and 62 Great Crested Grebe. Off Knoll Beach there were singles of Guillemot and Razorbill and Marsh Harrier were again really active in the Wareham Channel. In Holes Bay there were 1077 Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Redshank and a Lapwing Holes Bay North (scarce here), 472 Wigeon, 31 Teal, 11 each of Pintail and Shoveler, 246 Canadas and 1 Kingfisher.

Stonechats – Ballard/Glebelands

Harbour Update – posted 11/10/21

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

Yesterdays White-tailed Eagle, male G461 which is one of the reintroduced birds from the Isle of Wight was seen again in the Wareham Channel briefly this morning but not seen since. Hopefully he’s still around and explores the south and west of the harbour a bit more over the next few weeks. There were also plenty of other birds of prey in the Wareham Channel area including a Red Kite over, 1 female Merlin zipping over Arne Moors, 1 Peregrine at Swineham and masses of Marsh Harrier activity with a minimum of 5 (but possibly up to 8) around the mouth of the Piddle/Frome, plus several tussles high above Keysworth, as well as individuals around Middlebere and Lytchett Bay. There were also still several pulses of Swallow and House Martin high above the Wareham Channel and a decent passage of Meadow Pipit was going on all day. In Middlebere there were 2 Great White Egret and another in Brands Bay.

Little Egret – Middlebere – Alison Copland

Harbour Update – posted 10/10/21

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

Well, an old friend (who is actually a new friend) White-tailed Eagle G461 returned to the harbour this morning having been away for a couple of weeks. He was first seen heading along the Wareham Channel at dawn and was seen again a few times this afternoon around the Middlebere/Wytch Lake area, where he was photographed. This is the third period he’s returned to the harbour/Purbeck area, so certainly seems to like the general area. Being a 2020 bird, he’s still got plenty of scouting about to do over the next year or two, but it would be great if he decided to settle in South Dorset for this coming winter period. There were also 58 Spoonbill logged today on the Brownsea Lagoon with 7 seen arriving in through the harbour mouth, and there were 3 Great White Egret in Brands Bay. Some vis-mig across the harbour mouth included 445 Goldfinch, 105 Siskin, 1 Woodlark, 2 Lesser Redpoll and 2 Crossbill.

White-tailed Eagle (G461) – Wytch/Middlebere area – Mark Wright (@markwright12002)


Harbour Update – posted 09/10/21

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

A foggy start to the day had things feeling a bit more autumnal. Yesterday morning, 2 of the first Redwing over Wimborne were reported meaning that the major autumn thrush passage will soon be underway over Poole Harbour. From Middlebere this morning, there was a count of 297 Avocet, 30+ Black-tailed Godwit, 20+ Lapwing, c.50 Wigeon, 20 Pintail, 2 Great White Egret and 1 Marsh Harrier. A new high total of Spoonbill for the year were counted on Brownsea Lagoon today with 58 present, 45 of which were also seen from the Shipstal hide at Arne this morning. Over at Baiter, 4 Wheatear, 28 Ringed Plover, 30 Turnstone and 15 Oystercatchers were present this AM. Also, still a juvenile Hobby on a heath in the south of the harbour.

Wheatear – Baiter – Martin Adams



Harbour Update – posted 08/10/21

Posted on: October 8th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another mild autumn day that had us puffing getting set up for our early morning ringing demo at Lytchett Bay in 17 degrees of morning warmth. It certainly doesn’t feel very autumnal at the moment but with northerly winds kicking in next week, that may be about to change. At dawn we hosted another Bearded Tit ringing demo in partnership with Stour Ringing Group and with thanks to Dorset Wildlife trust for access. In the end it was a productive session with 4 Bearded Tit, 1 Water Rail, 1 late Sedge Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 3 Stonechat, 1 Meadow Pipit, 2 Reed Bunting including a British control, 1 Dunnock and Wren. At Lytchett Fields another Jack Snipe was seen and at Little Sea, Studland this evening 3 Great White Egret entered the roost. The loan Barnacle Goose thats been following/present with some of the local Canada Geese around this year was in Holes Bay this AM and at Hartland a female Merlin was active as was a semi-late Hobby. Yesterday an Osprey was photographed in Brands Bay, and this evening the number of Great Crested Grebe in the evening roost rose to 85! where there were also 2 Great White Egret. At Greenlands Farm there were 2 Firecrest and a single Wheatear and in Holes Bay around 450 Wigeon are still present. Finally, there’s definitely something going on with Jay’s currently with lots moving around different areas. A Flock of 6 flew over Lytchett Bay togther, but 11 were seen in total, and a drive from Wareham to Poole counted no less than 15 moving over suggesting that there could be a big push of Jays on the way, unless its already underway? The next clear bright morning could be really interesting for Jay passage.

Bearded Tit – Lytchett Bay 

Harbour Update – posted 07/10/21

Posted on: October 7th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

After last nights hat-trick of Jack Snipe last night at Sunnyside, another was logged today, this time during daylight hours, seen flying over Lytchett Bay where there were also 2 Marsh Harrier and c50 Meadow Pipit. In Holes Bay a Great White Egret landed briefly another in Middlebere. Also in Middlebere were c30 Pintail, 2 Spoonbill, c50 Avocet and 2 Marsh Harrier. In Poole Park a Firecrest was singing briefly and in Holes Bay there were 475 Wigeon. At Baiter there was a hardy Wheatear also a Rock Pipit, several Swallow over and c10 Turnstone. Also, some more autumn firsts this evening with 2 Red-breasted Merganser back in Brands Bay along with 6 Brent Geese and 79 Great Crested Grebe. Plus, the first Redwing of the autumn flew over Brownsea too this morning.

Marsh Harrier sequence from Middlebere yesterday – pennhillman

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