Poole Harbour sightings blog

A record of all interesting and notable sightings from around the harbour throughout the year.

Latest Sightings

Archive for January, 2022

Harbour Update – posted 20/01/22

Posted on: January 20th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another nice day of sightings with one of the highlights being the Black-throated Diver visible in Studland Bay this afternoon, reported from both Middle Beach and then Knoll later on in day. Also from Knoll, were 8+ Black-necked Grebe, 5 Great Crested Grebe and 4 Common Scoter. Also at Studland, 1 Siberian Chiffchaff was seen from the boardwalk to Shell Bay. Another Siberian Chiffchaff was present at PC World Drain this morning too. The Glossy Ibis was visible again this morning, seen flying north over Lytchett Bay and dropped back into the bay for dusk at 16:40. Not many bird of prey sightings reported today, apart from a Kestrel at Greenlands Farm. The Spoonbill count off Shipstal Point today reached 32 individuals. Finally, 28 Sanderling and 1 Purple Sandpiper were reported at North Haven on the Sandbanks groynes. At Soldiers Road there were 31 Fieldfare. A couple of Crossbill were moving on the edge of Wareham Forest near the Piddle Valley.

We’re currently wrapping up on collecting the data from last Sunday’s Big Poole Harbour Bird Count. If you still have your count to submit, please send it to sightings@birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk to make sure it gets included! Once we have all data in, we’ll be putting together and inviting everyone to a FREE online presentation to highlight the results, talk about species status in the harbour and talk about how you can make the most of your harbour birding during the winter. Keep an eye out for more details soon.

Kestrel – Greenlands Farm – Rob Johnson



Harbour Update – posted 19/01/22

Posted on: January 19th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today saw the first piece of unsettled weather for a while which was a tad frustrating for our School Bird Boat trip, although all the regulars were logged with a Guillemot off Poole Quay, a Great Northern Diver off Jerry’s Point, c20 Spoonbill on Shipstal and a Marsh Harrier over there too, 11 Goldeneye in central harbour and plenty of Red-breasted Merganser. The Siberian Chiffchaff was calling perfectly and beautifully in the PCW Drain this morning too with 3 collybita (Common) Chiffchaff in there too. The Glossy Ibis dropped out into the centre of Lytchett Bay again this evening and off Middle Beach there was a Black-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver, 12 Black-necked Grebe, 7 Common Scoter and 4 Ring-necked Parakeet.

Siberian Chiffchaff – PCW Drain


Harbour Update – posted 18/01/22

Posted on: January 18th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another cold and beautiful day. The Glossy Ibis flew into Lytchett Bay again this evening, this time spending quite a bit of time out on the mud out in the centre of the bay until it got dark. The Brownsea Lagoon was busy and saw 310 Avocet, 16 Greenshank, 140 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Knot, 6 Sanderling, 920 Dunlin, 12 Turnstone, 1 Spotted Redshank and 530 Black-tailed Godwit. At the harbour mouth 2 Great Northern Diver were seen and a Black-throated Diver flew to the harbour entrance before turning back and heading off to Studland Bay. The Siberian Chiffchaff was at the Shell Bay boardwalk again, 6 Black-necked Grebe were off Middle Beach and a Great White Egret was at Littlesea, Studland.

Glossy Ibis – Distantly out in the centre of Lytchett Bay this evening – Shaun Robson

Harbour Update – posted 17/01/22

Posted on: January 17th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

This afternoon a Short-eared Owl was seen over Great Ovens Hill just near Sandford, heading south towards the Keysworth area of the Wareham Channel. They’ve been scarce this year, but spring passage of birds will start around now, so as individuals move from over-wintering areas, they’ll begin moving through the harbour during the latter part of the winter and early spring. The Common Sandpiper was seen at the PCW Drain entrance and 4 Chiffchaff were in the channel. This morning 12 Marsh Harrier left the harbour roost and 3 Spoonbill were in Middlebere.

Thank you to everyone who has sent in their sightings from the Big Poole Harbour Bird Count yesterday, do keep them coming if you’ve got any left to submit!

Reevse’s Pheasant – Norden

Harbour Update – posted 16/01/22

Posted on: January 16th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Big Poole Harbour Bird Count

Today was our Big Poole Harbour Bird Count, a survey that encourages everyone to get out and log literally everything they see right across the harbour. This enables a series of habitats to be watched and (hopefully) a decent species total to be logged throughout the day, providing info on the locations and totals of some of the harbours most watched (and under-watched) birds. The count also coincides with the Poole Harbour WeBS count, meaning all areas of the open mud and water are counted by the WeBS team, providing a full census of all waders and waterfowl to add to the days results.

Although we’re still waiting for lots of sightings and results to come in, it looks as if it could have been a decent count with so far 136 different species logged throughout the day. Below are some highlights, but we’ll try and bring the main bulk of the results together over the next few weeks.

Many areas were covered today, and out in Poole Bay (from Branksome) was 1 Velvet Scoter, 1 Common Scoter, 4 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver, c30 Razorbill, 2 Guillemot and 67 Cormorant. From Old Harry there were 6 Fulmar and 2 Gannet were off Middle Beach. Around the rest of Studland there was 1 Slavonian Grebe off Jerry’s Point with 4 Scaup and 1 Great Northern Diver. The Black-throated Diver was out in central harbour again and the male Black Redstart was at the Tatnum. The Lytchett Bay Glossy Ibis appeared again this evening and headed out over Lytchett Bay towards Rockley at dusk. 2 Great White Egret were seen at Brands Bay and there were also 2 at Swineham. Also at Swineham were 3 Goosander and several Bearded Tit. The Purple Sandpiper were found, originally off Jerry’s Point but then over at Sandbanks in front of the Haven. Lesser Redpoll have been rare this winter but one was on a feeder in Upton and 2 flew over Wareham Common. The only Crossbill were 7 logged at Rempstone and a Woodcock was flushed from the side of the road at Soldiers Road. Most raptor species were logged (apart from Goshawk, Sea Eagle and Red Kite) with ringtail Hen Harrier in Middlebere, 5+ Marsh Harrier in the Wareham Channel and 2 Merlin off Shipstal/Wytch Lake. In Brands Bay there was a Yellow-legged Gull and a Black Brant was off Goathorn. A Marsh Tit was in Upton CP (an excellent find) and a Woodlark was on Upton Heath, with 8 near the Dorset Water Park. In Holes Bay SW 2 Spotted Redshank were feeding, 22 Spoonbill were off the NW Arne shoreline and 17 Black-necked Grebe were off Middle Beach. Other scarcer species such as Firecrest, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare and Water Pipit were all reported too in varying totals but the WeBS count seemed to be bustling in some areas with huge numbers of Teal, Wigeon, Dunlin, Avocet and like feeding during the low tide.

Once again, a huge thanks to everyone that took part, and we’re already looking forward to the Spring Big Bird Count (date TBC)

Fieldfare – Soldiers Road

Harbour Update – posted 15/01/22

Posted on: January 15th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Mirror calm waters welcomed us this morning for our Wareham River and Harbour Cruise which aided viewing open water species immensely. Plus, it was a perfect harbour day being cold, beautiful and full of birds. Highlights from the boat included the Black-throated Diver close to the boat, along with 2 Great Northern Diver too. A minimum of 5 Guillemot were logged, mostly off the urban shorelines (Baiter, Whitecliff and Poole Port) and there was a good spread of Red-breasted Merganser (minimum of c150), 17 Goldeneye were mostly in the Wareham Channel and c30 Great Crested Grebe were spread around. At Swineham there were 5 Marsh Harrier moving around, also a ringtail Hen Harrier and 2 Egyptian Geese were on the Swineham Scrapes. c150 Lapwing were being flushed by the Marsh Harrier’s around Keysworth and there were 5 Little Grebe in the mouth of the Frome. The Brownsea Lagoon was busy and logged c200 Avocet, 3 Greenshank, c400 Black-tailed Godwit, c100 Bar-tailed Godwit, c200 Dunlin but only a handful of Grey Plover and Knot. Elsewhere the Black Redstart was seen again in the Tatnam area near Longfleet School, and this evening the Glossy Ibis was seen out on the mud of Lytchett Bay. Off Middle Beach, Studland there were 14 Black-necked Grebe and 9 Great Crested Grebe. The over-wintering male Goshawk was also seen in Middlebere again this afternoon.

Excellent comparison shots of today Black-throated Diver (above) and one of the Great Northern Diver (below) from this mornings bird boat – Central Harbour – Alison Copland

Harbour update – posted 14/01/22

Posted on: January 14th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Wow, long may this continue. Another beautiful and perfect day with both a sunrise and sunset to remember. True winter beauty. Lots of good birds again with the Black-throated Diver again out in central harbour, along with 17 Goldeneye, 1 Great Northern Diver and c50 Red-breasted Merganser. An evening visit to Brands Bay produced 1 Great Northern Diver, 4 Scaup, 2 Common Scoter and 2 Great White Egret went into roost at Littlesea. Holes Bay was looking amazing with still good numbers of birds present including c1000 Wigeon, c50 Pintail, 500 Black-tailed Godwit and c200 Teal. There was a Purple Sandpiper on the Groynes at Sandbanks still and in Lytchett Bay there were 3 Spoonbill and a Spotted Redshank. Marsh Harrier were logged at Lytchett Bay, the Piddle Valley and yesterday 17 were logged coming out of the west harbour roost. Merlin were seen in Middlebere, off Shipstal and on Hartland. There were 17 Fieldfare in the camping field along Soldiers Road and a Barn Owl was around Middlebere too.

Also, many thanks to Garry Hayman who recently sent us some interesting highlights and totals that were gathered from the Middlebere Hide Diary from 2021. There are some good records in here, and some that will certainly need ‘chasing up’. If anyone has any info or photos of the April Long-billed Dowitcher that was logged in the diary on April 9th 2021, we’d loved to hear from you.

Significant entries / rarities (not necessarily confirmed sightings)

Long-billed Dowitcher x 1 at 19.00 – 19.30 on 9th April
Garden warbler x 1  (Middlebere track) on 6th may
Hooded Crow x 1 on 6th June
Melodious Warbler (Harrier hide) 25th June
Common Crane x 1 on 9th August
Golden Plover x 2 on 13th September
Goshawk x 1 on 11th October
Redstart x 1 along Middlebere track on 23rd Oct 
Pochard x 1 on the 23rd October
White-tailed Eagle on 29th October
Hen Harrier x 1 (Adult Grey Male) on 31st October
Goosander x 1 (female) on 3rd November

First sightings /record of the year – season

Cuckoo: 28th April
Willow warbler (Middlebere track): 1st May
Reed Warbler (Middlebere track /reedbed): 1st May
Nightjar (Middlebere track): 7th June
Greenshank: 9th July
Spotted Redshank (1 in summer plumage) on 23rd July
Ruff: 13th September
Pintail: 20th September
Hen Harrier (Ringtail): 20th September
Merlin: 28th October

Highest count of a species

Whimbrel x 7 on 3rd May
Cuckoo x 3 on 16th May
Curlew x 229 on 19th July at 19.00 (observer-Sean)
Spotted Redshanks x 7 on 23rd July and 13th September
Great White egret x 3 on 11th October
Greylag Goose x 8 on 30th November
Pintail x 40 on 5th October
Marsh Harrier x 3 on 31st December
Spoonbill x 30 on 31st December
Whinchat x 3 (middlebere track) on 3rd September
Wheatear x 7 (middlebere track) on 3rd September
Redstart x 3 (middlebere track) on 3rd September
Greenshank x 15 on 13th September
Redshank x 95 on 28th October
Avocet x 800 on 2nd December
Merlin x 2 on 1st December
Lapwing x 220 on 24th December

Waders and wildfowl – Holes Bay – Martin Adams

Black Redstart – Heckford Park, Poole – Dani Vellender

Merlin – Middlebere – Pete Christie


Harbour Update – posted 13/01/22

Posted on: January 13th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another beautiful day that was as welcome and adored as yesterday. Please may the latter part of Jan, all of Feb and the rest of the year be as beautiful and calm as today. Once again, a Glossy Ibis (presumed to be yesterdays bird, but could well be another) flew over Lytchett Fields and headed out towards the Wareham Channel. With the UK influx just before Christmas it’s good to see Poole Harbour now seeing some of the action. With so much suitable habitat it could well stick around. It was also noted that an adult male Black Redstart was photographed on the roof of a house in the Heckford Park area of Poole, although the exact location is currently unknown. There were a minimum of 3 Merlin around Middlebere and Hartland and a Guillemot was off the Poole Port Ferry terminal. Off Shipstal the Black-throated Diver was still present in central harbour and there were 13 Black-necked Grebe and 9 Common Scoter off Middle Beach. A ringtail Hen Harrier was over Slepe Moor again, there were 2 Spoonbill in Middlebere and 22 were on Shipstal. Finally a Siberian Chiffchaff was found at Sunnyside.

Glossy Ibis – Lytchett Fields – Alison Copland

Harbour Update – posted 12/01/22

Posted on: January 12th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today’s highlight is a desirable addition to any Poole Harbour birders’ year list: a Glossy Ibis which flew over the Approach Field at Lytchett Fields just before 10:30 this morning, heading low east over the SANG fields. This may have been the same bird that was found at Lodmoor yesterday and was seen there again earlier this morning. Also of interest in the north of the harbour was a Water Pipit reported at Holes Bay and a drake Goldeneye was photographed in Poole Park.

Over at Arne this morning, 22 Spoonbill were spotted making their commute across from Brownsea. 5 Goldeneye and 15 Red-breasted Merganser were both visible out in the central harbour from Shipstal Beach, and further up the Middlebere Channel 1 Ringtail Hen Harrier and 3 Marsh Harrier were hunting actively, the latter causing much disruption amongst the large flock of Avocet. Further south, a Cattle Egret was also reported in Stoborough. And at Norden Sewage Works were Grey Wagtail, plenty of Chiffchaff and 5 Siskin.

5 Great Northern Diver, 1 Gannet, 7 Common Scoter, 1 Razorbill were seen off South Haven at Studland, whilst singles both Siberian and Common Chiffchaff were present in the trees surrounding the Shell Bay reedbed. Off Middle Beach were was an addition Great Northern Diver, 19 Black-necked Grebe, 9 Common Scoter and 4 Ring-necked Parakeet. On the opposite side of the penisula, between Brands Bay and Bramblebush Bay there were 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 4 Scaup (one drake), 1 Common Scoter, 5 Goldeneye, 50+ Shelduck, 40 Brent Geese, 30 Wigeon, plus Black-necked Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser on the open water, alongside Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit, 50 Sanderling, 44 Turnstone, 6 Redshank, 4 Little Egret, and big numbers of both Knot & Dunlin.

 Drake Goldeneye (back) & Tufted Duck – Poole Park – Katrina Roberts

Harbour Update – posted 11/01/22

Posted on: January 11th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A very foggy start to the day gave some rewards, with a great record of 2 Golden Plover showing up on Studland early this morning, before they flew east. In the Middlebere Channel this morning, as well as the large Avocet flock on the low tide, 1 ringtail Hen Harrier and 1 Merlin also reported. Across in the Wareham Channel, 7 Spoonbill were seen, as well as 3 Marsh Harrier hunting over Arne Moors, seen from Slepe Heath. This was topped by later reports of 4 Marsh Harrier in the area seen from Swineham, along with a Great White Egret on the gravel pit, as well as 13 Black-tailed Godwit on the scrapes. Near Holmebridge, 7 Pochard, c.100 Teal and 1 Cattle Egret were seen. Off Shipstal Point, Arne the Black-throated Diver was re-found plus there was 1 Great Northern Diver, 7 Black-necked Grebe, 27+ Great Crested Grebe, 67 Red-breasted Merganser, 7+ Goldeneye, 1 Scaup, 1 Common Scoter and 2 Razorbill.

Golden Plover – Studland – OTBT Birder (@BirderOtbt)



Call 01202 641 003