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 April, 2022

Harbour Update – posted 20/04/22

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

Lovey to see House Martins zipping around the Swineham airspace today. A Ring Ouzel was encountered in the Ballard Gap and in Holes Bay there was new-in Whimbrel in SE compartment, while summer-plumage Black-tailed Godwit continue to cling on. Over on Hyde’s Heath, RSPB Arne Swallows passed over a Cuckoo while Marsh Harrier quartered the Wareham Channel, with distant Seal and migrant Osprey was also logged. It’s definitely worth actively watching the skies for raptors at the moment, these welcome easterlies saw more Red Kite pass over the harbour and further west in the county, Abbotsbury logged 48 Red Kite in a 3 hour watch!

Whimbrel – Holes Bay SE – Holes Bay Nature (twitter)


Harbour Update – posted 19/04/22

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

Wonderful to welcome of the safe return of Osprey 019 to the UK, thanks to the team at Brenig for notifying us of her intrusion on the Welsh nest at 1.24pm. Released as part of our Poole Harbour translocation project in 2019, 019 returned to the UK for the first time last year, visiting the Glaslyn nest and has been seen in the last two winters in Gunjur Quarry, The Gambia. There’s still time for her to find a mate and go on to breed this season… Turning to within, regular harbour go-ers G318 and G801 (Isle of Wight White-tailed Eagles) were out causing a commotion over Brownsea Lagoon around midday, with additional sightings coming in from Shipstal, Arne and Swineham. The latter site also clocked up Cattle Egret, Marsh Harrier and Cuckoo. An incoming tide at Lytchett Fields failed to produce the Green-winged Teal, instead featuring c.20 Eurasian Teal on Sherford Pools. Red Kite continue to passage continues, with birds logged over Arne and Wareham. At Old Harry/Ballard there were 3 Wheatear, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 5 Common Whitethroat and 2 Rock Pipit with 2 Gannet, 1 Fulmar, 2 Common Scoter and 2 Guillemot past west. In Brands Bay there were 2 late Pintail, 2 Whimbrel and 5 Swallow over with 2 Ringed Plover in Bramble Bush Bay and 7 Common Tern in the harbour mouth. In Wytch Lake there was a single late dark-bellied Brent Goose and at Holme Lane GP 2 Common Sandpiper and 1 Egyptian Goose. At Challow Hill just a single Yellowhammer was logged but Willow Warbler were evident in multiple places including along the Arne Road, the Studland Road, Swineham and Ballard.

Incredible scenes of White-tailed Eagles G318 and G801 interacting over Brownsea Lagoon – Ben Arkless

Female White-tailed Eagle G318 – Brownsea Lagoon – Ben Arkless

019 intruding Brenig nest in Wales (seen here behind LJ2)

Harbour Update – posted 18/04/22

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

Another stunning morning to be out birding, and what better way to explore the harbour than on one of our Spring Safari Cruises?! Todays venture up the River Frome was greeted by a couple of Swallows and a chance to listen to and enjoy the songs of Skylark, Cetti’s and fresh-in Reed Warblers, Reed Bunting and Blackcap. Then things really got going as we approached the Swineham scrapes, finding a Common Sandpiper before a smart summer-plumage Cattle Egret dropped in to join the colourful c.50 strong Black-tailed Godwit flock momentarily. As we re-joined the Wareham Channel we were treated to a fly-by of male Osprey 022 carrying a fish, followed in quick succession by a skydancing Marsh Harrier, only to be interrupted and harassed by a persistent Peregrine! And if that wasn’t enough to get the hearts racing, a Goshawk then decided to join in on the action, drifting north over Gigger’s Island before concluding the trip by working Brownsea Lagoon, scoping over the seawall to add male Wheatear, c.10 Avocet, Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Knot, c.20 Common Tern and numerous Mediterranean Gull to the species list for the trip. An early afternoon walk to Swineham Point witnessed the arrival of a White-tailed Eagle into the harbour! Elsewhere, the long-staying Lytchett Bay Green-winged Teal showed again on Sherford Pools, Lytchett Fields, a Peregrine with prey in tree beyond  and 2 Little Ringed Plover on Approach Pool. There was no sign of yesterday’s Little Ringed Plovers at Sunnyside, but this was made up for with singing Cuckoo. Three Red Kite were picked up circling over Stoborough Heath, and another individual was seen over Westbourne.

We’ve just announced dates for our Nightjar Experience Walks (June-July) and have added three more dates to the new Morden Bog Dawn Chorus ID Courses. The previous dates sold out in record time, so grab your places while you can! And there’s still a few places left on the Spring Safari Cruises from 27th April and into May… All information and events booking can be found on our events page here.

Summer-plumage Cattle Egret at Swineham from today’s Spring Safari Cruise – Clare Slade

Osprey 022 from today’s Spring Safari Cruise – Clare Slade

Peregrine (right) mobbing Marsh Harrier (left) from today’s Spring Safari Cruise – Clare Slade

Goshawk – Wareham Channel – Rene Goad

Harbour Update – posted 17/04/22

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

Plenty more spring migrants around today with more Cuckoo’s arriving with individuals on Slepe Heath, Wytch Lake, Brownsea and Arne. There were also 2 Common Whitethroat at Middlebere and a Tree Pipit flew over Scotland Farm. At Sunnyside there were 2 Little Ringed Plover, a Red Kite was over Hartland Moor, a Wheatear in Holes Bay and the Green-winged Teal was still at Lytchett Fields. There were loads of Black-tailed Godwit in the harbour today counted during WeBS, well over 1000. Not too many Whimbrel with just 6 logged in Wytch Lake. There are also good numbers of Med Gull on Brownsea where there are still 20 Avocet and c30 Bar-tailed Godwit.

Med Gull – Brownsea Lagoon – Clare Slade

Harbour Update – posted 16/04/22

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

Despite probably plenty of birders being out and about today, reported sightings were thin on the ground. A Blue-headed Wagtail at Sunnyside was a treat of a find, and White-tailed Eagle G801 was seen agin in the Wareham Channel, although was heading for the Corfe gap by late afternoon. The Green-winged Teal was still at Lytchett Fields, and at South Haven, Studland there were 20 Common Tern logged in through the harbour entrance and a Yellow Wagtail there too. The Middlebere Ospreys seem to have moved on but CJ7 and 022 are still doing well at their new nest site with plenty of mating and nest building still being carried out today.

Blue-headed Wagtail – Sunnyside Farm – Jol Mitchell

Harbour Update – posted 15/04/22

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

What a beaut start to the bank holiday weekend. Pea soup fog to start, followed by beautiful blue sky’s and 20 degree plus temperatures for the rest of the day. We hosted another Spring Safari Cruise this morning which provided a great opportunity to watch 2 hunting Osprey out in the Wareham Channel, 2 Marsh Harrier, a late Red-breasted Merganser, c80 Black-tailed Godwit at Swineham along with 4 Shoveler, 15+ Cetti’s Warbler, several Swallow and multiple Sandwich Tern. Reported separately at Swineham were 8 Reed Warbler and 3 Sedge Warbler. What was really frustrating was that just an hour after our trip finished, White-tailed Eagle G801 arrived back into the harbour, heading to her favoured area, the Wareham Channel! At Swineham there were also 2 Cattle Egret in fields up near Bestwall with 12 reported earlier in the day! At Lytchett Fields the Green-winged Teal was still there along with 2 Spotted Redshank. On Brownsea there were now up 20 Common Tern and 40 Sandwich Tern and still 42 Bar-taild Godwit and c20 Avocet. The Middlebere Osprey was busy this AM having caught a fish in the Wareham Channel for our boat to watch, before heading back to Middlebere. Sadly, there were no other sightings this afternoon suggesting she’s now moved on.

Osprey – Middlebere

Harbour Update – posted 14/04/22

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

April is ploughing on, and things are still really interesting. There are still 2-3 other different Osprey hanging around the Wareham Channel/Middlebere/Arne area with others still due to pass through during the rest of April. And with 022 out displaying briefly over the Wareham Channel it could tempt these new arrivals to hang around longer which will continue to change the dynamics of the Osprey population here on the south coast. Our new Osprey pair continue to look super happy, nest building, mating, fish swapping…basically doing all the things they should be doing to see out a productive and successful breeding season.

At Lytchett Fields today the Green-winged Teal was still there and there were 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank and 2 Little Ringed Plover. A Hobby was seen again out over Slepe Heath, a Tree Pipit was over Wareham Common and c40 Swallow were over Swineham GP tonight. There were also a few new Reed Warbler and Swineham and 2 Sedge Warbler. 

New Osprey using the Middlebere nest platform

Harbour Update – posted 13/04/22

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

One of our favourite markers of spring today… The first Hobby of the season was logged out over Slepe Heath this morning.  Always a treat to watch these birds hawking dragonflies through the summer months! Plus, another good record of a Wood Warbler briefly in the Lower Piddle Valley. The Lytchett Bay Green-winged Teal continued its residency for another day, again appearing on Sherford Pools with the rising tide, accompanied by 99 Black-tailed Godwit on French’s Pool, 3 Pintail in the bay and a Red Kite that drifted west towards Lytchett Bay airspace. Brownsea Lagoon welcomed the arrival of 3 Common Tern, as well as appearances from singles of Whimbrel, Knot, 6 Greenshank, 2 Dunlin, c.90 Black-tailed Godwit, 35 lingering Avocet and c.40 SandwichTerns. Watches from Coombe Heath, Arne offered wonderful views of the of the various Osprey comings and goings, clocking up 3 different individuals (including 022), as well as enjoying 5 Spoonbill. Greenlands Farm offered several grounded spring migrants in the form of 1 Redstart & 2 Wheatears while PC World Drain, Holes Bay again produced Common Sandpiper. At Sunnyside this evening the first Whinchat of the spring was found and both Reed and Sedge Warbler were singing at Swineham too. Finally, a Hoopoe was found on Hartland Moor before flying off.

Male Osprey 022 photographed from Coombe Heath – Kate Plater

Hoopoe – Hartland Moor – OTBT Birder (Twitter – @BirderOtbt)

Harbour Update – posted 12/04/22

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

Yet again, the Wareham Channel featured White-tailed Eagle, with observers enjoying the bird from Ham Common and Swineham Point, while the reedbeds fringing the shorelines were patrolled by Marsh Harrier. At Holes Bay, PC World Drain offered Common Sandpiper and a Sandwich Tern put in an appearance in Holes Bay South. Here at Birds of Poole Harbour we’re thrilled to welcome Jenny Shelton from the incredible RSPB investigations team supporting us over the next few weeks on Osprey monitoring and protection, as well as making star guest appearances on our public bird boats! Lytchett Bay continues to tick over on the wader front, with 5 Ringed Plover and 2 summer-plumage Dunlin (both in summer plumage), 5 Greenshank, 168 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Little Ringed Plover and the Spotted Redshank, as well as the Green-winged Teal and singing Reed Warbler.  Big thanks to Garry Hayman and Peter Hadrill for a fantastic write up on the Wintering Hen Harriers in the Isle of Purbeck/Poole Harbour this winter. A must-read report!

Spotted Redshank -Lytchett Bay – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 11/04/22

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

A fascinating day with plenty going on. White-tailed Eagle G318 appeared in over the Wareham Forest and headed straight for the Wareham Channel. Raptors were moving around with 3 Red Kite, 8 Buzzard, 1 Goshawk, 1 Marsh Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawk and a Peregrine moving over the Lower Frome and Piddle Valleys. There was also a decent number of hirundines around with c100 Sand Martin, c30 Swallow and c10 House Martin feeding high above Wareham. There was also a flock of 8 Whimbrel high over Swineham heading north with another on Brownsea Island. At Lytchett Fields the Green-winged Teal was still on Sherford Pools along with 5 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Spotted Redshank and 1 Common Ringed Plover along with a Black Redstart At Bog lane there was a Ring Ouzel, 2 Mandarin and 5 Cattle Egret were on the floodplain.

Our Osprey pair continued to settle in with more food passes at the nest site along with some more mating whih is just what we want to see at this early stage. Theres still a long way to go but things are all looking good!

Green-winged Teal (left) and Eurasian Teal – Lytchett Fields


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