Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Archive for February, 2022

Harbour Update – posted 28/02/22

Posted on: February 28th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Well, thats February over and done with. A soggy end, but a step closer to a warmer, spring time period of new arrivals and new birds. We saw out February with a low-tide cruise this afternoon and with the water 15cm lower than it should have been, then a short time aground seemed inevitable. However, despite what seemed like fewer birds during WeBS yesterday, there certainly still seemed to be reasonable numbers of Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit dark-bellied Brent Geese, Wigeon and Teal. Avocet were definitely down on numbers with only 2 in the Wareham Channel and c300 on the Brownsea Lagoon. Red-breasted Merganser were still in triple figures with c120 seen and Great Crested Grebe suddenly seemed a bit more numerous again having been quite sparse this winter. There were 3 Guillemot off Poole Quay/Port and Med Gulls were gathering in small numbers on the Brownsea Lagoon. At Lytchett Bay 3 Brambling are now using the feeders at the end of Slough Lane and at Swineham the 3 Tundra Bean Geese were still in the paddocks next to the B&B (view only from public footpath).

Tundra Bean Goose – Swineham – Peter Moore

Harbour Update – posted 27/02/22

Posted on: February 27th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

As a couple more spring migrants arrived into the UK today, with 2 more Wheatear in Cornwall and a Sand Martin in Somerset, realistic thoughts are now beginning to wander as to when the first Poole Harbour records will be. When will the first Swallow dash by, when will we hear the first sweet notes of a newly arrived Willow Warbler and of course, when will the first Osprey touch down? The next 2-3 weeks will hopefully see these firsts appear one by one, and we can start focusing on our resident and visiting breeding birds, as well as passage migrants (and hopefully a few rare and scarce vagrants).

Despite the taste of spring, there was a nippy easterly wind today but the Poole Harbour WeBS count logged 3 Great Northern Diver and 3 Scaup between Jerry’s point and Brands Bay with another Great Northern Diver off Brownsea. There was also 1 Slavonian Grebe and 3 summer-plumaged Black-necked Grebe off Jerry’s Point. At Swineham the 3 Tundra Bean Geese were in the B&B paddocks and there was also a Bittern seen in the reed margin of the main pit. There was also a drake Pochard on the main pit. In Wytch Lake there were 3 Spoonbill and in Lytchett Bay this evening there were record site counts for both Med Gull (205) and an incredible c15,000 Black-headed Gull, with more still arriving after the count had been conducted. In Holes Bay NW there was a single Spotted Redshank and a Marsh Harrier was over Middlebere. There’s definitely a drop off in numbers with one sector that normally holds c700 Avocet during WeBS not seeing a single individual! Out on the heaths, and out of the wind, Dartford Warbler have begun display flights and Raven are incredibly vocal and active at the moment with plenty of sky tumbling around the Wareham Channel, Arne etc. Skylark were also in full song in fields around Thrashers Lane and on Hartland.

Mediterranean Gull – Middle Beach – Peter Moore


Harbour Update – posted 26/02/22

Posted on: February 26th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Well, it’s not even March yet, but it’s all beginning to happen. This morning the first 2 Wheatear were reported down in Cornwall and in Hampshire the first migrant White Wagtail was logged, which basically means….spring migration has arrived. The first few days of March often bring the first Sand Martin or Garganey, but with todays wind coming up from the SSE, it’s no surprise a few early birds have arrived into the UK.

Our highlight today (well, yesterday actually) was not a newly arrived migrant, or a rare vagrant from far and wide, but in fact a biscuit hiding Raven which after our nest check yesterday of the Poole Harbour Osprey nest cam, decided to hide two Bourbon Biscuits in the newly moss carpeted nest. Firstly, no, the biscuits weren’t ours. Yes, we had been on site that morning doing the work, but we definitely didn’t have any Bourbon biscuits. So, where the raven got it’s sweet treats from is anyones guess, but the behaviour alone provided a fascinating insight into what these birds get up to, and also really caught the publics imagination with the tweet showing the footage having been viewed 40k times by this evening and liked c2500 times!

Away from webcams, the 3 Swineham Tundra Bean Geese were back in the paddocks at Swineham again and a Goshawk was seen flying over the southern edge of Wareham Forest being chased by Ravens and the/another Goshawk was seen again in and over Arne where there was also a Great White Egret and Marsh Harrier. At Lytchett fields the male Brambling was at the feeders again and there was also a Siberian Chiffchaff at Swineham calling with 2 Common Chiffchaff. A massive count of 10,500 Black-headed Gull entered the pre-roost in Lytchett Bay this evening but only 65 Med Gull were logged. In Studland bay there was at least 1 Slavonain Grebe and 3 Black-necked Grebe, one of which is in near full breeding plumage and on Shipstal there were still 5 Spoonbill. 

Goshawk – Arne – Mark Wright

Great White Egret – Arne – Mark Wright

Summer-plumage Black-necked Grebe – Middle Beach – Peter Moore

Harbour Update – posted 25/02/22

Posted on: February 25th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It’s felt very spring-like today with the blue skies and gentle breeze. It’s nice to hear that Red Kite are starting to come through again, with 1 reported over Upton this morning. This could well be the same bird that was also reported over Lytchett Bay, along with 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk and 2 Buzzard – a great day for raptors. A count in Brands Bay on the rising tide included 399 Teal, 313 Wigeon, 15 Pintail, 4 Shoveler, 2 Avocet, 303 Black-tailed Godwit, 13 Knot, 29 Grey Plover, 300+ Dunlin and 7 Turnstone. At South Haven, 1 Great Northern Diver, 4 Gadwall and 7 Sanderling were reported. Finally, the 3 Tundra Bean Geese were present again in the paddock fields to the west of the main house at Swineham.

Harbour Update – posted 24/02/22

Posted on: February 24th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The 3 Tundra Bean Geese were back in same field at Swineham this evening. Lytchett Bay featured a Spotted Redshank this morning and a female Marsh Harrier perched on the saltmarsh fringing Lytchett Heath. Shell Bay, Studland offered an overwintering Sandwich Tern and single Black-necked Grebe. Nearby, Pilot’s Point produced a pale-bellied Brent Goose and Greenshank occupied Bramble Bush Bay. The weather held out for our Holes Bay walk, in fact there was largely blue skies throughout! Highlights included Mediterranean Gull, Kingfisher fly-bys Black-tailed Godwit beginning their pre-breeding moult and feeding Avocet close in to the cyclepath.

Tundra Bean Goose – Swineham – Adam Day

Harbour Update – posted 23/02/22

Posted on: February 23rd, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Studland was productive this morning, with Brands Bay giving a count of 593 Dunlin, 14 Knot, 340 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Avocet, 255 Wigeon, 181 Pintail, 10 Shoveler, 14 Ringed Plover, 35 Grey Plover, 341 Teal and 10 Turnstone. From Jerry’s Point, 12 Great Crested Grebe and 36 Red-breasted Merganser were reported. Studland Bay was watched from Middle Beach, counting 4 Black-necked Grebe, as well as 3 Slavonian Grebe still. At the Lytchett Fields Feeding Station, 1 female Brambling was seen, making a change from the male that has been seen recently. 1 Purple Sandpiper was reported on one of the groynes at North Haven, just east of the Haven hotel.

Looking ahead to the rest this spring and summer, we’re pleased to be conducting a breeding raptors of Poole Harbour study to assess totals of some of the UK’s most protected bird species. For this survey, sensitivity is absolutely key, so if you are happy to report any display and nesting behaviour, please send us a private message or email us directly at info@birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk. Thank you!

Purple Sandpiper hidden amongst rocks – North Haven – Terry Elborn


Harbour Update – posted 22/02/22

Posted on: February 22nd, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another mixed day, but spring was definitely in the air by mid-afternoon with both the first Brimstone Butterfly and (partially) singing Common Chiffchaff in the Piddle Valley, with pairs of Woodlark also logged at Rempstone. There were still a minimum of 5 Marsh Harrier in Poole Harbour west, and 6 Black-necked Grebe and 2 Slavonian Grebe off Middle Beach.

Water Rail – Poole Park – Peter Moore (21st Feb)

Pale-bellied Brent Goose – Baiter Park – Peter Moore (21st Feb)

Harbour Update – posted 21/02/22

Posted on: February 21st, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Where the hell has February gone? It seemed like only yesterday that we were all celebrating the turn of the New Year and the dark days of January were trudging along, but here we are with just 7 days left of February and the potential of the first Wheatear, Garganey, Sand Martin or Little Ringed Plover in just a weeks time! Not to mention the possible first Osprey in 2-3 weeks time. Soon it will all be go, go, go and the spring floodgates will open, so, until then, lets just make the most of the final days of winter and start day dreaming of what’s to come over the following 2-4 weeks.

So, with winter on its way out, it’s no surprise that Med Gull numbers are on the rise with 180 on South Beach and 6 Black-necked Grebe off Middle Beach with 3 Slavonian Grebe, 8 Common Scoter and 7 Great Crested Grebe. On Baiter Park there was a single pale-bellied Brent Goose with 13 dark-bellied Brents. A decent count of 12 Marsh Harrier were still in the west harbour area this AM and a Merlin was in Middlebere. There are still 17 Spoonbill on the Shipstal Spit.

Finally, the 2021 Lytchett Bay Bird and Wildlife report was published today and can be viewed by visiting our website HERE. Another great report, documenting the changes and developments of this site. Well done to all involved.

Male Red-breasted Merganser – Poole park – Peter Moore


Harbour Update – posted 20/02/22

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

There was no sign of the Tundra Bean Geese at Swineham today, no doubt tucked away having already found a new set of fields close by, waiting to be discovered by the next lucky birder. The strong winds dropped 2 Great Northern Diver off in Shell Bay, with 6 Black-necked Grebe off Middle Beach with 2 Slavonian Grebe and 8 Common Scoter. In Lytchett Bay there were 2 Marsh Harrier and 2 rintail Hen Harrier were logged around the Arne area. In Poole Park 4 Shoveler was a good count and there were also 4 Red-breasted Merganser. There were still c1000 Black-tailed Godwit in Holes Bay NE and counts of 150+ Brent Geese at Baiter and Whitley Lake. Along Middle Beach c30 Sanderling was also a decent total and c50 Med Gull were around Baiter Beach.

Eurasian Teal – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 19/02/22

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

As hoped, the 3 Tundra Bean Geese re-appeared at Swineham again today in the paddock fields to the west of the main house. They turned up mid-morning having been elsewhere at first light and for the early part of the morning, but they obviously seem to like the paddock fields and will hopefully remain faithful to that site for a while longer yet.

Elsewhere sightings were still few and far between, but the Brambling was still still at the Lytchett Bay feeders along Slough Lane, there was an amazing 150 Brent Geese on the Brownsea Lagoon (surely a lagoon record) and in Brands Bay there were 2 Black-necked Grebe and still 120 Pintail.

Adult male Brambling – Lytchett Bay – Ian Ballam


Call 01202 641 003