Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Archive for May, 2022

Harbour Update – posted 31/05/22

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

Best news today was that there are now three juvenile Peregrine chicks visible on the Barclays building which is great news, and shows the parents are doing a great job at providing enough food. They don’t look like they’re too long from fledging, so it’s likely we may see another ‘grounding’ or two over the coming weeks, so if you see of or hear of one on the ground/in trouble please get in contact with us. Elsewhere today 2 Red Kite passed over the Piddle Valley and 2 Hobby were over Hartland. A Quail was heard briefly at Nine Barrow Down and 2 Spoonbill were in Middlebere.

We’re obviously still waiting for ‘a hatch’ at the Osprey nest, and having spoken to Tim Mackrill today, his prediction is for hopefully tomorrow! Today is still only day 38 after the initial so there’s still plenty of time for some action to take place. Tomorrow would be great…so please hurry up!

Peregrine chicks – Barclays building – Rene Goad

Harbour Update – posted 30/05/22

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

Not many sightings reported so far today, aside from a few nice bird of prey reports and updates. One of the IoW White-tailed Eagles was seen this morning from Coombe Heath, in flight over the Wareham Channel. A juvenile Peregrine from the nest on the Barclays building was visible on the balcony again this morning, so it’s good to hear the young are continuing to gain confidence. From reports, we know at least 2 juveniles Peregrines are present, although 3 eggs were laid. Today marks 37 days since CJ7 laid the pair’s first egg, which is the average incubation period for Osprey eggs. So far, we haven’t seen signs of hatching today, but the pair appear to have been playing close attention to the eggs and CJ7 was reluctant to let 022 incubate this morning, which could be a good sign. In the later stages of incubation, the adults will be able to hear noises from within the eggs, and will be more restless, regularly turning them and standing up frequently. We’ve started seeing these behaviours over the last 48 hours, so hopefully hatching isn’t far off. Incubation usually ranges between 36-40 days, so we’ll be watching very intently over the next couple of days for this activity. We’ll be able to confirm hatching if/when we see CJ7 reaching into the nest to feed the chick, tearing off small pieces of fish for them.

Plenty of other species have already fledged chicks, including a pair of Redshank who were seen shepherding their brood of three chicks across the road from Hartland Moor towards the Middlebere channel this afternoon. And from the sublime to the ridiculous, an adult Oystercatcher was seen feeding a juvenile Black-headed Gull on Brownsea Lagoon (not for the first time in recent years)!

CJ7 inspecting the eggs this morning

Harbour Update – posted 29/05/22

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

Yesterday evening we hosted our first Purbeck Puffin and Seabird Cruise of the year, and were treated to stunning conditions throughout the trip. Before even leaving Poole Quay we had a Sparrowhawk circling overhead, and passing through the harbour entrance we spotted a flyover Cuckoo transiting between South Haven, Sandbanks, and then on to Brownsea Island. As we departed the harbour and crossed Studland Bay we picked up 2 Arctic Skua harassing Common and Sandwich Terns out in Poole Bay, a real treat! A single adult Peregrine was perched on a ledge south of Old Harry, along with several Shag and Cormorant as a flock of House Martin skimmed the cliff top. The stretch between Durlston and Dancing ledge produced 4 Puffins, 20+ Razorbills, 100+ Guillemot, 8 Fulmar, 20 Kittiwake, and several large flocks of Herring Gull, with a few Great black-backed, Black-headed and single Mediterranean Gull mixed in.

As one series of boats begins another comes to an end, hosting our final Spring Safari Cruise this morning. The undeniable highlight was seeing 1-year-old White-tailed Eagle G801 back on the shores of the Wareham Channel, after her three-week excursion which saw her venture all the way to Yorkshire and back via Kent, Norfolk and Staffordshire (at total distance of 1668km)! It’s very common for young eagles of her age to make these nomadic exploratory journeys, but nonetheless we’re very encouraged by how quickly she returned to Poole Harbour. Other notable species from the boat were Bearded Tit in the Swineham Reedbeds, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull on the Stilt Pools, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit on the Arne shoreline, and a distant adult Peregrine on the Barclays building in Poole, where at least two juveniles are now visible on the balcony.

Juvenile Peregrine – Barclay’s Building, Poole – Rene Goad

Sunset over Brownsea Lagoon from yesterday’s Puffin Boat – Brittany Maxted

Harbour Update – posted 28/05/22

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

Brownsea Lagoon featured 2 Little Terns in the morning, with an afternoon visit producing singles of Avocet, Yellow-legged Gull, Ringed Plover, 12 Dunlin, 15 Sanderling, 2 Turnstone and 86 lingering Black-tailed Godwit. The gull and tern survey logged 160 Common Tern nests, 190 Sandwich Tern nests (10 chicks), 164 Black-headed Gull nests (103 chicks) and 15 Great Black-backed Gull nests (13 chicks). Middlebere Channel offered 3 Spoonbill and another lone Avocet while a Red Kite drifted north over Holes Bay mid-morning.

Spoonbill (first-summer) – Middlebere – Kate Plater

Harbour Update – posted 27/05/22

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

Yesterday’s Alpine Swift lingered around briefly into this morning, showing well just south of Old Harry until 08:20am before being lost to view high over sea. Elsewhere, 5 Red Kite were picked up circling south of Bere Regis at Dorset Wildlife Trust’s new site Wild Woodbury and a White-tailed Eagle was logged at RSPB Arne around 1pm and again from Middlebere at 1:50pm.

It’s half-term next week and to celebrate we’re running another Children’s Workshop with Careys Secret Garden to celebrate all things wild as part of their ‘Nurture with Nature’ series, a great opportunity for children to get excited about the natural world. Our 1.5-hr workshop taking place on Wednesday 1st June is aimed at getting children up close and face-to-face with nature, focusing on the fascinating lives of birds, how we can identify them and why they are so important, all brought to life with a private bird ringing demonstration! Discover more and book your places here »

Kingfisher – Birds of Poole Harbour Children’s Workshop

Harbour Update – posted 26/05/22

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

The undoubted highlight today was Poole Harbours 6th record of Alpine Swift, and the first in nearly 20 years. We received a message around lunchtime of a mystery large swift flying around Old Harry at 11am with a white belly which sounded too intriguing not to go and check out, with the description sounding perfect for Alpine Swift. Upon arrival a few House Martin were bombing about, when almost immediately a large, pointy winged swift scythed through the martins, showing pure white underparts. A stunning Alpine Swift!! It spent from 11am until at least 8pm tearing up and down the same stretch of cliff, often feeding within 1m-2m of the building crowd of onlookers. A truly spectacular bird in a stunning setting with Old Harry as the back drop. There were 2 summer-plumaged Cattle Egret in the Lower Frome Valley and from our Spring Safari Cruise this morning a 1st summer Little Gull was in the mouth of the Frome near Swineham. There were also 3 Marsh Harrier around the Wareham Channel and an Osprey was seen in the Wareham Channel early doors around 6:30am.

Alpine Swift – Old Harry – Paul Morton

Alpine Swift – Old Harry – Paul Morton

Alpine Swift & onlookers – Old Harry – Paul Morton

Alpine Swift – Old Harry – Rob Johnson (Twitter – @RobJohn72810618)

Alpine Swift – Old Harry – James Leaver (Twitter – @BirderOtbt)

Alpine Swift – Old Harry – Mark Wright (Twitter @markwright12002)

Harbour Update – posted 25/05/22

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

The wind and rain downed a few migrant waders this morning including 2 new Ringed Plover on Lytchett Fields and a Little Ringed Plover. At South Haven there were 3 Ringed Plover and 5 Sanderling and on the Brownsea Lagoon 1 Avocet, 1 Grey Plover, 6 Ringed Plover, 21 Dunlin, 6 Sanderling, 2 Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit 1 and 86 Black-tailed Godwit. Last night 5 Puffin were seen off Dancing Ledge which is great news as this Saturday is our first Puffin cruise of the season which is sold out, however, due to increased demand we’ve put on a couple of extra Puffin trips which can be booked on to here – https://www.birdsofpooleharbourbookings.co.uk/event/puffin

Puffins – Dancing Ledge – Garry Hayman

Harbour Update – posted 24/05/22

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

A quieter day, but the Peregrines on Barclays are doing really well, with regular watchers logging lots of interesting behaviour, including multiple food deliveries to the chicks. This is a great spectacle to be experiencing in the centre of town, with the pavement just outside the main entrance being one of the best places to watch. At Slepe Heath this morning there was a single Cuckoo calling and 2 Willow Warbler were along the Arne Road. Up on Ballard some more Swifts were arriving in with a couple of small parties of 10+ coming in off the sea. We logged an interesting behaviour from female Osprey CJ7 yesterday while male 022 was incubating. She was soaring high over the nest and went into a semi-display mode, sky dancing and tumbling, which Tim Mackrill explained to us was often performed by female Ospreys when a rival female could be seen near to the territory. This suggests there could well have been another Osprey around briefly near the nest site.

Peregrine – Barclays House – Holes Bay Nature

Harbour Update – posted 23/05/22

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

We’ve now entered ‘hatch week’. The week that could potentially see CJ7’s and 022’s first egg hatch. The likely dates will be either May 28th or 29th, but could realistically run into next week too. Regardless, we’ll all be watching for a change in behaviour over the weekend and keeping our fingers crossed for another significant moment in this incredibly exciting year.

It seemed to be another Red Kite day with 6 kettling over Ballard and another over Lytchett Fields this morning.  A stunning adult Yellow-legged Gull made an appearance on our Middlebere nest cam. The Brownsea Lagoon hosted a 2nd summer Spoonbill, 2 Avocet and c95 Black-tailed Godwit.

Yellow-legged Gull – Middlebere nest platform

Harbour Update – posted 22/05/22

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

Great news today when the first Peregrine Falcon chick poked its head out over the top of the nesting balcony at Barclays. Always a great moment when the first signs of life appear…..but how many will it be this year? It was also another Red Kite day with multiple birds over several sites including 3 over Slepe Heath, 2 over Upton, 1 over Lytchett Minster and 1 over Arne. Nightjar are all in fine voice across all the harbour heathlands and there were still Cuckoo calling up on Slepe Heath and at Hartland.

Peregrine Falcon chick – Barclays house – Rene Goad


Call 01202 641 003