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 November, 2021

Harbour Update – posted 30/11/21

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

A great number of sightings in from Studland today, most notably a report of a Snow Bunting at Studland between Pilot’s Point and Knoll Beach. The 4 Velvet Scoter were still present off Middle Beach today, along with 14 Common Scoter, 1 Gannet and 6 Red-breasted Merganser. In a count of Bramble Bush Bay, 6 distant Goldeneye, 5 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Grey Plover, 17 Ringed Plover, 2 Curlew, 6 Turnstone, 45 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 11 Oystercatcher and 2 Redshank were recorded. Numbers of Pintail in Brands Bay were high again, with 50+ counted.

There was a redhead Goosander in Holes Bay NE this morning, seen fishing at the end of PC World Drain. Also noted in Holes Bay NE were 2 Spoonbill and 1 Common Sandpiper. In Whitley Lake, 66 Bar-tailed Godwit, 86 Oystercatcher, 3 Curlew, 14 Turnstone, 6 Mediterranean Gull and 1 Rock Pipit were reported. 1 Goldeneye was also reported on Poole Park.

Goosander – Holes Bay NE – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 29/11/21

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

Much of the same today, but in much nicer conditions!! A flat calm Studland Bay welcomed the day in, meaning the 4 Velvet Scoter could be seen well of Middle Beach, along with 11 Common Scoter, 6 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Great Northern Diver. Off Shell Beach there was another Great Northern Diver, 1 Guillemot and 1 Razorbill. Full counts between Brands Bay and Jerry’s Point included 33 Great Crested Grebe, 25 Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Scaup, 11 Goldeneye, 6 Common Scoter, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 Great White Egret. In Holes Bay north there were thousands of birds gathered on the high-tide, mostly Black-tailed Godwit and Wigeon but a pair of Kingfisher were also showing displaying behaviour close to the cycle path. A Brambling was just north of Knoll beach and 4 Lesser Redpoll were at South Haven. On Holme Lane GP there were 4 Pochard still and a merlin was at Middlebere with 5 Marsh Harrier seen in the Wareham Channel. A Great White Egret was also on Swineham GP.

Kingfishers – Holes Bay – Martin Adams


Harbour Update – posted 28/11/21

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

The storm disappeared over night but the wind chill was still there and by early afternoon a still NW wind had kicked back in again. There’s a mixed bag of weather on the way, but these strong northerly winds could have easily pushed some decent birds into the harbour that have so far gone un-noticed/found so when the wind settles down on and off over the week it would be well worth getting out if you can.

Much of the same today with the 4 Velvet Scoter still off Middle Beach, along with 12 Common Scoter, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 5 Black-necked Grebe and 2 Great Northern Diver. From the House Boats there were 6 more Common Scoter and 2 Sanderling. There was another late Swallow, this time at Lytchett Bay. There were 3 Cattle Egret in the Frome Flood fields near Holme Lane and the 6 Scaup were still off Jerry’s Point. An adult male Hen Harrier was seen at RSPB Arne and a Great White Egret was in Brands Bay. A new colour-ringed Spoonbill was seen, this time in Holes Bay, with white ring ‘NBNZ’. Details have been sent for the birds info.

Spoonbill – Holes Bay – Rene Goad

Spoonbill – Holes Bay – Rene Goad

Harbour Update – posted 27/11/82

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

Wow…..Storm Arwen hit with a vengeance this morning, bringing icy cold winds from the north and even a bit of snow in areas across the harbour. Birding efforts were mostly kept short but still a core of hardy sightings were logged including the 4 Velvet Scoter still off Middle Beach, Studland with 7 Common Scoter, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 9 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Great Northern Diver. At Swineham there was a redhead Goosander on the main pit, along with 18 Dunlin on the Curlew Pools and an adult male Marsh Harrier. There were 4 Spoonbill in Lytchett Bay today and 4 Scaup off Jerry’s Point.

‘Redhead’ Goosander – Swineham GP – Peter Moore

Black-tailed Godwit – Swineham – Peter Moore

Harbour Update – posted 26/11/21

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

These strong winds are already moving birds around as 4 Velvet Scoter (2 male, 2 female) claim today’s top spot. Viewed from Middle Beach, Studland, the Bay also enjoyed 9 Common Scoter with nearby Red-necked Grebe still off Shell Bay along with Kittiwake, Razorbill and 11 auk sp. Lytchett Bay welcomed 3 Spoonbill, 2 Marsh Harrier and a Peregrine and Bog Lane Greenspace recorded 1 Green Sandpiper, 7 Cattle Egret and (another) late Swallow to add to the tally logged across the harbour in recent days. With these cold temperatures and strong winds that peak in the morning, tomorrow promises to see more birds displaced and on the move seeking shelter in and around the harbour…

Harbour Update – posted 25/11/21

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

It was nice to get a feel of spring today, but more of that in a minute. Holes Bay was stacked today with c1500 Wigeon again which is close, but not quite a site record for this part of the harbour (1818 in Nov last year). Also in Holes Bay were 107 Avocet, c600 Black-tailed Godwit, c200 Dunlin and c100 Redshank. In the PCW Drain 5 Common Chiffchaff were feeding and a Cetti’s Warbler was singing. A late Swallow was over the Lower Piddle Valley and Red Kites seemed to be moving with 3 over Brands Bay and 1 over Holton Lee. In the Wareham Channel there were 4 Marsh Harrier and a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen.

However, the warmth today came from a lovely surprise when some of the Sound Approach team (some who conveniently live in Poole) were analysing some old noc-mig data from May last year, only to discover the calls of a Night Heron flying right over Poole Town centre. Mark Constantine and Magnus Robb were listening to some of Marks recordings when a series of the distinctive calls were noted from a warm, balmy early morning recording session on May 2nd 2020. At the time it was only the 3rd Poole Harbour record, so is an incredibly notable recording. It also highlights when we should be looking and listening for more Night Heron with this bird being logged on May 2nd 2020, and one being seen in the Piddle Valley this year on May 3rd. Early May is the time it seems.

Black-tailed Godwit – Holes Bay – Martin Adams

Black-tailed Godwit – Holes Bay – Martin Adams

Wigeon – Holes Bay – Martin Adams

Harbour Update – posted 24/11/21

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

A damp low gloom hung over the harbour for most of the day, but the zero wind helped for open water scouring. The 6 Scaup and 5 Common Scoter were still off Jerry’s Point, there was a Great Northern Diver in the harbour entrance and there were 38 Spoonbill on Shipstal Point. There was a Merlin in Lytchett Bay, a Pochard on Holme Lane GP and 6 Goosander on the Piddle with 3 Woodcock flying out of their roost at Studland. Over Hartland 7 Fieldfare flew over at dawn and in Holes Bay there are now close to 1500 Wigeon with 500+ Black-tailed Godwit, 332 Dunlin, 26 Pintail, 30 Shoveler and a Peregrine.

Merlin – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 23/11/21

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

Main highlights were from around the Studland area with the Red-necked Grebe and a Great Northern Diver in Shell Bay. Off Jerry’s Point the 6 Scaup were still there with 5 Common Scoter. There were 3 Lesser Redpoll at South Haven which have been scarce elsewhere around the harbour this autumn. Fieldfares passed over the Lower Piddle Valley, Lytchett Bay View and Hartland. An evening watch logged 8 Woodcock depart a wet woodland site in the Lower Piddle Valley along with 2 Common Snipe. 

Grey Plover – Bramble bush Bay – Ian Ballam

Turnstone – Bramble bush Bay – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 22/11/21

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

An interesting morning at Lytchett Bay Viewpoint for visible migration today, with 4 Goosander flying low east, 1 Swallow heading north, and high numbers of thrushes moving, including 95 Redwing and 24 Fieldfare heading north. Also at Lytchett Bay was a fresh in Siberian Chiffchaff in the willows near the viewpoint, as well as 66 Brent Geese, 97 Avocet, 422 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Gadwall and 1 Shoveler in the bay itself. The White-tailed Eagle was still around today, seen over the Brownsea Lagoon this morning, before flying east towards Sandbanks. Studland was well monitored, with 5 Common Scoter and 4 Goldeneye seen from Redhorn Quay, as well as 1 Sanderling seen by the house boats in Bramblebush Bay. From Middle Beach, 5 Common Scoter and 5 Black-necked Grebe were reported. We’ve had no reports of the Red-necked Grebe today. 1 Marsh Harrier was reported in the Wareham Channel near Gigger’s Island this morning.

Goosander – Lytchett Bay – Shaun Robson
Common Scoter – Brands Bay – Clive Hargrave

Harbour Update – posted 21/11/21

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

A truly magical Wareham Channel and Harbour Cruise this morning. Early morning satellite tag data kindly shared by Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation confirmed that White-tailed Eagle G461 was still present in the harbour as our boat departed Poole Quay at 9AM, but would he show himself during the cruise?? Creeping up the Wareham Channel immediately offered stunning views of 4-5 Marsh Harrier, which elegantly patrolled reedbeds very close to the boat at times. Continuing along the River Frome towards Swineham floodplain yielded 9 Egyptian Geese and a large influx of Lapwing plus on the scrape were a few Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit. Heart rates then went through the roof as the White-tailed Eagle showed himself over the Wareham Channel, cruising above the skyline and illustrating its colossal size. The cruise went on to enjoy various raptor sightings with Red Kite logged high northeast, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and several Common Buzzard also seen throughout the event. A large flock of c.150 sinensis Cormorant were feeding off Ham Common before continuing around the back of the islands producing 6 Scaup and 4 Common Scoter around South Deep, as well as a Great Northern Diver near the harbour mouth. Later in the day male White-tailed Eagle G461 was then seen cruising Brands Bay and was even perched up on Hartland Moor for a while. A perfect early winter cruise. Elsewhere, a Lytchett Bay ringing session trapped and ringed 10 Redwing, Firecrest and 4 Bearded Tit. On Holme Lane GP 2 Pochard were with decent numbers of Gadwall, Shoveler and a few Wigeon.

White-tailed Eagle – Wareham Channel Cruise – Alison Copland

Marsh Harrier – Swineham, from Bird Boat – Clare Slade

Marsh Harrier – Swineham, from Bird Boat – Clare Slade

Scaup, South Deep, from Bird Boat – Clare Slade

Marsh Harrier – Wareham Channel Cruise – Alison Copland


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