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 March, 2022

Harbour Update – posted 31/03/22

Posted on: March 31st, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Well, thats March over and done with, and what did we finish with…..snow! Several small short blizzards hit late afternoon and almost sub-zero temperature were sustained all day with a biting cold NE wind which will certainly be a shock to the system for those hundreds of butterflies that were on the wing last weekend and the young hatchlings that are already in nests being fed by mum and dad. There was still enough to keep people entertained with more Osprey sightings, all from the Wareham Channel area including what looked like a new un-ringed individual. At Lytchett Fields there were 6 Little Ringed Plover and a Brambling was still under the feeders. This evening at Swineham 5 Cattle Egret and a Great White Egret went into the roost and there were c30 Sand Martin and a single Swallow was over the gravel pit and a drake Pochard was on the water. There was a Black Redstart in the Godlingston Gap at Studland and a Willow Warbler was singing at South Haven, Studland.

Osprey over Wareham Channel – Alison Copland


Harbour update – posted 30/03/22

Posted on: March 30th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

What a day. Spring migration presses on and more arrivals continue to appear. After yesterdays appearance of migrant Osprey ‘8C’ on the nest cam, today we clocked a new Osprey from our Spring Safari Cruise that was bearing a blue ring on the left leg, suggesting it was Scottish. Frustratingly it was too distant to read the ring, but as luck would have it, it later landed on one of our other harbour platforms and gave us great views of the ring, ‘FE’. Currently we don’t know the origin or age of this bird, but have sent all the details to the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation so will hopefully get some info on it soon. There were other Ospreys today too with one over Holes Bay Asda, a second was also in the Wareham Channel during mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Our Spring Safari boat this morning really jammed in on some great highlights with the Osprey eating a fish off the side of the boat, then a second flying in Arne Bay. Both White-tailed Eagles were also in the Wareham Channel, with one giving incredible views as it sat up perched on a post and then flew by, with the second sat in a small dead tree as 2 Marsh Harrier flew by. Up at Swineham there were 10+ Sand Martin and 2 Swallow over the gravel pit with c20 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Egyptian Geese, 5 Shoveler and several Wigeon and Gadwall on the scrape. The Brownsea Lagoon was still fairly busy with c40 Avocet, c30 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Grey Plover, 10 Sandwich Tern, c40 Oystercatcher and a few Redshank. Elsewhere there was a Ring Ouzel on Hartland/ Slepe Heath, 2 Little Ringed Plover at Lytchett Fields, 1 Red Kite over Slepe Heath and another in the Frome Valley.

Migrant Scottish Osprey ‘FE’ on a Poole Harbour nest platform

Red Kite perched on pylon – Frome Valley

Assumed Osprey ‘FE’ seen from bird boat before it landed on nest platform – Clive Hargrave

White-tailed Eagle seen from bird boat in Wareham Channel – Alison Copland

White-tailed Eagle seen from bird boat in Wareham Channel – Clive Hargrave

Video of White-tailed Eagle seen from bird boat in Wareham Channel – Alison Copland


Harbour Update – posted 29/03/22

Posted on: March 29th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Sorry, a bit of a late set of sightings tonight, but its been a rather manic day. As we approach the end of March, Osprey sightings are always likely to increase and this morning at 9:30am we had our first visitor to the Poole Harbour Osprey nest cam, but it wasn’t (as we’d hoped) female CJ7, but in fact a returning Osprey that we saw last autumn known as ‘8C’ who is a 2014 hatched female from the Glaslyn nest in Wales. It’s thought she breeds somewhere further north, so has probably already left the harbour, but still, it was great to see our first Osprey on the nest this season and here’s hoping CJ7 arrives back any day now. There was a second Osprey today that was briefly in Lytchett Bay too. Both female White-tailed Eagles were still in the Wareham Channel area and they also visited Middlebere where they wowed birders who were up on Coombe Heath as both birds flew by, almost at eye-level, heading back towards the Wareham Channel. At Lytchett Fields there were 5 Little Ringed Plover and Wheatear were at Baiter (5), Greenlands Farm (2) and 2 on Studland Beach.


Harbour Update – posted 28/03/22

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

It often happens that when the weather changes you then see a change in pattern when it comes to birds behaviour and thats exactly what happened this morning, resulting in a number of ‘firsts’ for the spring. The bright sunny blue sky’s of the last week has allowed migrants to pass straight through, high and un-noticed through the harbour. All it took was a bit of cloud cover this morning and a slight northerly wind and we were instantly rewarded with our first and then second, and then even possibly our third Osprey of the spring with one catching a fish in the Wareham Channel around 8:30am, with a second seen in Lytchett Bay a few minutes later. Then, later in the day one was seen fishing in Middlebere and one (or the same) was fishing off Round Island this evening. Then, at Arne the first Willow Warbler was found singing, followed by the remarkable record of the springs first Tree Pipit being heard on the Osprey nest cam just before midday. The highlight of the day undoubtedly came when our team went to check the Osprey nest site area, only to find an adult male Ring Ouzel sat on the perch bar above the camera. Upon reviewing the footage to see if it landed on the nest at all prior to our arrival (which it didn’t), we did find the section of recording where we heard it land, only to then very softly start sub-singing above the camera. We’ve embedded the videos of both the Tree Pipit and the ring Ouzel below. Also today both White-tailed Eagles were present out in the Wareham Channel area, although one was seen to head off high, suggesting its moved on again. There were up to 4 Marsh Harrier present in the Wareham Channel area and at Lytchett Fields there were 5 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Water Pipit and 2 Green Sandpiper. There were up to 2 Great White Egret moving around the Wareham Channel and 3 around Brands Bay/Goathorn area yesterday. Elsewhere there were 3 Spotted Redshank in Middlebere and Red Kites were over Slepe Heath, Ballard and Upton with 2 Swallows also logged with one over Arne and the other over the Wareham Channel.

Osprey in Wareham Channel just after catching a fish at 08:30am

Tree Pipit flight call over Osprey nest cam around midday

Ring Ouzel soft sub-song from Osprey nest perching stick above the camera


Harbour Update – posted 27/03/22

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

Today we hosted our first ever Spring Safari Cruise, and it didn’t disappoint with 2 White-tailed Eagle, 1 Red Kite, 3 Marsh Harrier, and plenty of Buzzard all in the upper Wareham Channel! Up the Frome river Skylark and Cetti’s Warbler were both singing away in full display mode, and on the scrapes were the 5 Egyptian Geese amongst the Canada and Greylag Geese, Shoveler, Teal, and Black-tailed Godwit. In the river mouth a couple of late staying Red-breasted Merganser were sheltering off Gigger’s Island, and a little later 1 Great White Egret was moving around Arne Moors, where both White-tailed Eagles had also relocated.

Around Poole Quay and the Central Harbour there were 2 Guillemot, both still in winter plumage. A few Turnstone were present on the Hamworthy shoreline, and a handful of Brent Geese remained around the Arne Peninsula and Brownsea docks.

On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 200+ Black-tailed Godwit, 40+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 30+ Avocet, 10+ Redshank, a few Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Shelduck, plus the usual Black-headed, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls.

Elsewhere, at Lytchett Fields 2 Water Pipit were still present, along with 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Avocet, 3 Shelduck, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Snipe, plus more hunting Marsh Harrier and displaying Skylark.

White-tailed Eagle with Little Egret – Wareham Channel – Simon Wilson

Red Kite – Wareham Channel – Alison Copland


Harbour Update – posted 26/03/22

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

More glorious sunshine, which brought the first Swallows of the spring, with 2 at Lytchett Bay and 1 over the Piddle Valley. There were 2 Little Ringed Plover on the Swineham Scrapes and 2 on Lytchett Fields and there was alos a mini arrival of Black Redstart with 1 on Studland Church and 2 up on Ballard Down. More Red Kite were logged with 3 over Ulwell, 1 over Swineham, 1 over Lytchett Minster and 1 over Canford Heath. We went from 4 to 2 White-tailed Eagles today with 2CY female G801 and 3CY female G381 hanging around the Wareham Channel area, but staying elusive. There was a Great White Egret at Sunnyside and another in Middlebere.

Tawny Owl – Middlebere Osprey platform 

Woodlark – Poole Harbour heathland 


Harbour Update – posted 25/03/22

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

Well, what we lack in Ospreys currently we certainly make up for in White-tailed Eagles, with FOUR present (briefly) today with three new ones passing through during the afternoon, and one even attempting to catch a fish in Brands Bay, and the relatively settled female G801 still hanging about out in the Wareham Channel. Yesterdays Yellow Wagtail at Swineham, which caused some debate about it’s ID was present again this evening and with better photographs was able to determine that it was indeed a standard flavisima and not anything scarcer sadly. There was also a Little Ringed Plover on the Swineham scrape and 3 Little Ringed Plover at Lytchett Fields. Red Kites passed over the Piddle Valley, Stoborough and Studland and there were 4 Cattle Egret in fields on the edge of the Frome Valley below Worgret Manor. There was a tardy male Merlin also at Lytchett Fields the Peregrine pair on Barclays seemed to do a nest shift, suggesting they’re now incubating eggs which is great news. Finally there were 3 Spoonbill still on Shipstal Point during the high tide.

Back of the camera image of the early Yellow Wagtail at Swineham – Peter Moore


Harbour Update – posted 24/03/22

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

The weather just keeps getting better and better, and hopefully so will the birding over the next few weeks. There was an obvious arrival into the harbour today with 4 new Cattle Egret appearing, with 5 in total roosting with a Great White Egret at Swineham. Having only had 1 Cattle Egret present in the harbour (Frome Valley) since the new year, the new 4 show that migrant heron species are on the move. There was also a great early spring record of an adult Yellow Wagtail on the Swineham scrapes with 9 White Wagtail and 60 Pied Wagtail. At Lytchett Fields there were 4 Little Ringed Plover and 1 Spotted Redshank along with a couple of White Wagtail. Finally, we heard from Tim Mackrill that young female White-tailed Eagle G801 arrived back into the harbour and went straight back to the Wareham Channel. Away from the harbour (but of note and interest) an Osprey was over Longham this morning and there was a small arrival of Hoopoe into the UK with one on Portland, and with this fine weather and easterly breeze set to continue, there should be many more new arrivals due so keep a good eye out.

White Wagtail – Lytchett Fields – Mark Wright

Pied Wagtail – Lytchett Fields – Mark Wright


Harbour Update – posted 23/03/22

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

It felt liked we’d skipped spring today and just gone straight to summer, with loads of butterfly’s and bee’s on the wing and bird song throughout the woodlands really ramping up. Chiffchaff are certainly one of the most dominant singers at the moment along with Song Thrush and around the edges of the conifers, displaying Siskin are making a right racket. Mistle Thrush are certainly making themselves known in quiet corners of the harbour and Blackcap are now trickling through with the first few already back on territory. These beautiful blue sky’s are perfect migrating conditions, and it’s no surprise that multiple Osprey are already back on territory in areas like Rutland, Northern England and up in Scotland, despite the fact we’re still waiting for our first. Any day now though! Red Kite were one again on the move though with 3 over Ballard, 2 over Wareham and 2 over Arne. The Garganey was on the Swineham floods plus there was a Great White Egret and Cattle Egret at Swineham with 2 flyover Spoonbill. At Lytchett Fields there were 5 Little Ringed Plover and a summer plumaged Water Pipit. Off Bog Lane SANG there was 1 Cattle Egret and 1 Great White Egret in the Frome Valley with a Marsh Harrier over there too.

Garganey – Swineham – Adam Day


Harbour Update – posted 22/03/22

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

Two female-type plumage Black Redstart were picked up at South Haven this morning, one by the car park toilet block & one at the toll booth end. Lytchett Fields had 3 Little Ringed Plover on Approach Pool, a Spotted Redshank on the fields, a respectable count of 712 Black-tailed Godwit in the Bay and 2 Red Kite that drifted south this morning, with another individual logged over the Lower Piddle Valley. At RSPB Arne, Coombe Viewpoint featured c.100 Black-tailed Godwit and Great White Egret. Two Black-necked Grebe were off Middle Beach and 10 Sandwich Tern were seen on the boomerang from the Avocet Hide on Brownsea Lagoon this morning. There were 2 Great White Egret at Swineham this evebing and a Cattle Egret flew over too.

Garganey (yesterday) – Swineham Scrapes – Peter Moore


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