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 May, 2022

Harbour Update – posted 21/05/22

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

Well today’s windy conditions did nothing to diminish the quality of the birding! First excitement was a Roseate Tern on the boomerang island on Brownsea Lagoon during the early afternoon. It disappeared soon after it was found, but was later relocated in the same spot just after 4pm, before being flushed minutes later along with all the Sandwich and Common Terns present. Also on the lagoon was a possible 1st summer Caspian Gull, and elsewhere on the Island a Nightjar was seen basking in the sun.

Then in the early evening a Golden Oriel was heard and briefly seen in flight at the RSPB Arne reserve! Could this be the same elusive bird which was briefly heard from the Brownsea Island Villa on Wednesday morning? Either way it’s encouraging, that the bird has stuck around or that multiple individuals may be passing through.

Cuckoo and Swift were both also recorded at Arne, whilst Hobby and Redstart were active over Morden Bog. And following the seasonal release of the cows at Lytchett Fields on Monday, 4 Cattle Egret have today appeared and begun tailing them.

Hobby – Morden Bog – Mark Wright

Harbour Update – posted 20/05/22

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

A drizzly start to the day, but it brightened up in the end. From our School Bird Boat this morning, the highlights including 2 Spoonbill seen on the Brownsea lagoon, along with the bustling activity from the Sandwich and Common Terns.

It’s been nice to have some hirundine activity reported today, with small numbers of Swallows and House Martins over Arne, as well as 23 House Martin over Upton Heath. Lows numbers of Swift were also reported over Arne, though it’s a common misconception that Swifts fall into the hirundine family. Swifts instead have their own taxonomic family, Apodidae, of which there is only one species native to the UK. They are not closely related to Swallows and Martins, only being superficially similar rather than genetically; a lovely example of convergent evolution!

We’ve also released a new Osprey blog this morning, with an update about the incubation and identifying the difference in facial markings between 022 and CJ7. You can read the blog here.

Photo of a male Redstart taken on our Morden Bog ID Course yesterday – Andy Collyer

Identification illustrations of CJ7 and 022 from our recent blog

Harbour Update – posted 19/05/22

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

A perfect visit to end our series of Morden Bog Dawn Chorus ID Courses this morning with 2 Nightjar logged in broad daylight. A few sequences of the churring song were followed by brief flight views of a male and female coupled with the distinctive co-ick flight calls, probably flushed by a nearby cow. The species-rich visit also enjoyed singing Woodlark, the squeaky song of Common Snipe delivered from a tree, 2 Common Redstart singing & carrying food, 2 vocal Tree Pipit, 2 Yellowhammer and a healthy population of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Stonechats and Dartford Warblers. A female Marsh Harrier and single Crossbill also passed overhead to the song of several Cuckoo. There are still 4 dark-bellied Brent Geese in Brands Bay, which will almost certainly now be staying for the summer given the late date. In recent years 1-2 have stayed each summer, possibly due to ill health, but regardless, it’s interesting to see them on blazing warm days rather than on a cold, dark January day. The Brownsea Lagoon had c50 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Avocet, c50 Oystercatcher, 3 Spoonbill and 4 Dunlin. 

Redstart (male and female) carrying food – Morden Bog Dawn Chorus ID Course

Harbour Update – posted 18/05/22

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

Unfortunate circumstances, but we have just been notified of an impressive movement of a Woodcock we ringed with Stour Ringing Group at the new Dorset Wildlife Trust site Wild Woodbury on 27th Jan 2022 that was shot at Mashino, Tosnenskiy district, RUSSIA — a mere 2,200 km away(!) on 25th April 2022.

Turning to today’s sightings, top of the bill goes to a Golden Oriole singing around 6.30am near the Brownsea Island Villa. A great May bird! The island also featured 4 Spoonbill, c35 Bar-tailed Godwit, c65 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Red Kite over. While a tern sp. got pulses racing at Lytchett Fields, viewed briefly over the Fields before drifting towards the Holton tree line and heading towards the Wareham Channel. A candidate for Gull-billed Tern, showing short, dark bill, prominent dark trailing edge to primaries and short tail, hopefully the bird will re-appear and an ID can be clinched! Nearby, a calling Coot offered a surprisingly scarce site record. Not quite Poole Harbour, but a slender ringtail harrier species was logged east past Spyway Farm, Langton Matravers mid-afternoon. Montagu’s Harrier certainly worth keeping on the radar at the moment. If you add todays sightings to the Squacco Heron, Black-winged Stilts and Bee-eaters that have all been seen elsewhere in Dorset in the last 24 hours, then there’s certainly a Mediterranean vibe going on at the moment.

Peregrine food pass – Barclay’s Building, Poole – @twamers

Woodcock ringing recovery

Harbour Update – posted 17/05/22

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

Today brought a brilliant record of a singing Nightingale near RSPB Arne, the first to be reported there since 1997. 1 Spoonbill was also reported from Arne, feeding in the Wareham Channel. It was another fine morning for a Morden Bog Dawn Chorus ID Course. Three singing Cuckoo kicked off the event strong, accompanied by a couple of Yellowhammer, Spotted Flycatcher and Dartford Warbler song flights, while Skylark song was near-constant throughout. Two singing Tree Pipits then quickly followed suit, before the group enjoyed wonderful views of singing a Woodlark, 3 Redstart carrying food and a second Spotted Flycatcher! Our last Morden Bog ID Course is taking place this Thursday, and there’s still a couple of places available… more info available here.

A sea watch from Branksome Chine produced 1 Little Tern, several Common Scoter flocks, one of 22 and one of 3 and 1 single Velvet Scoter along with 4 Black Tern that passed quite close in. There were also 40 Sandwich and 30 Common Terns fishing off shore and 2 Dunlin flew west with a Peregrine huntoing out over the sea/beach too.  There were 2 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon and there are now over 100 Common Tern nests on the lagoon too.

Dartford Warbler – Morden Bog Dawn Chorus ID Course

Redstart (male) – Morden Bog Dawn Chorus ID Course

Woodlark – Morden Bog Dawn Chorus ID Course

Harbour Update – posted 16/05/22

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

Thanks to everyone who took part in our Big Poole Harbour Spring Bird Count yesterday. We’re now beginning to start going through eBird and Bird Track lists, emails and social media posts from counts carried out from the day. So, if you did brave the weather and manage to cover an area or site around the harbour, please send all your data asap so we can collate it and make sure it’s included within the final totals.

Sightings from today involved a Pied Flycatcher in a Poole Garden, a Spotted Flycatcher and Cuckoo along Slough Lane, Upton and 2 Little Ringed Plover on Lytchett Fields. Swifts were gathering over Poole Town with the stormy, unsettled  weather. There were 4 Marsh Harrier in the Wareham Channel and there were 3 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon with the first 10 Shelduck ducklings of the season. With such a high tide all day, not many waders were on Lytchett Fields until this evening when a single Redshank and winter plumage Sanderling appeared.

Also, last week during one of our ID courses at Morden Bog, the early start saw the group hear a series of Common Snipe calls, followed by a brief view of one sat in a tree, suggesting there could be birds on territory. We recently placed a recorder out there to see if we could log any drumming birds, and low and behold, a whole series of calls were logged, including several drumming and singing individuals too. This is great to have logged as they’re a massively under recorded breeding species here in Dorset.

Turnstone – Redhorn Quay – Aidan Brown

Harbour Update – posted 15/05/22

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

Despite the forecast, it seems there were still plenty of people out, dodging the showers and hopefully trying to gather some data for our Big Poole Harbour spring count. Rain for parts of the day hampered a percentage of coverage, but dry spells certainly seemed productive. There were 13 Cattle Egret in the Frome Valley, 1 Great White Egret in the Wareham Channel and of course multiple Little Egret, meaning the ‘egret hat-rick’ was completed for the count. Cuckoo were calling on Slepe Heath (2), at Swineham (2), in the Frome Valley (1) and at Greenlands Farm (1). Up the Frome Valley and around Bog Lane the female Mandarin was seen and there was a female type Marsh Harrier too, along with 1 Hobby and c50 Swift with c100 Swallow and Sand Martin. In Shell Bay, Studland a Great Northern Diver circled the bay and there were also 2 Gannet and also 14 Sanderling on the beach. At Swineham 5 Common Sandpiper were around the edge of the main gravel pit and there were 4 Marsh Harrier off the end of the point. From our ‘Up with the Lark’ cruise this morning 6 Bearded Tit were counted in the mouth of the Frome, plus 2 Wheatear, several Bar-tailed Godwit and c30 Dunlin on the Brownsea Lagoon. The 3 Brent Geese in Brands Bay were a welcome addition to the day list, as were all the local breeding/singing records of Woodlark, Skylark, Tree Pipit, Blackcap, Reed and Sedge Warbler, Water Rail, Redshank, Lapwing and even potentially 2 Curlew nests too. The Peregrines on Barclays were active on and off throughout the day and it also looks as if female White-tailed Eagle, G801 may be on her way back south (to the harbour)? having ventured up to Yorkshire and Cleveland. Other new passerine arrivals included a Spotted Flycatcher in Lytchett Bay, a Lesser Whitethroat in the Frome Valley and Wareham high street had 11 Swift bombing up and down this evening.

Spotted Flycatcher – Lytchett Bay – Shaun Robson

Harbour Update – posted 14/05/22

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

Stunning day with good birds. Pulses were racing briefly from our Up with the lark cruise this AM when a ‘ringtail’ harrier was seen flying along Arne Moors, but only distantly before it disappeared. The date suggested it was likely to have been Montagu’s Harrier, but fortunately it re-appeared several minutes later high over Bestwall and showed all features of a ringtail Hen Harrier. There were also 4 Wheatear on the sea wall off Poole Quay. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were c50 Dunlin, 3 Avocet, c150 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover and 3 Knot. In the mid- Frome Valley there were 12 Cattle Egret and also 2 Curlew were heard possibly suggesting breeding. There were 2 Hobby over Slepe Heath, one over Middlebere and 1 over Holme Lane. In Middlebere there were 4 Spoonbill and on Lytchett Fields there were 9 migrant Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover and a Whimbrel. There was a Red Kite over Upton and a pair of Mandarin around Bog Lane.

Mandarin Duck (female) – Bog Lane – OTBT Birder (Twitter – @BirderOtbt)

Harbour Update – posted 13/05/22

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

There was another decent arrival of Swift with good numbers now over Corfe, Wareham and Swineham, with decent sized groups moving high up the river valleys throughout the day. At the top of the Wareham Channel 2 Marsh Harrier were moving about and 2 Hobby were over Swineham GP. On the Swineham Pools there were 6 Ringed Plover this evening and a Cuckoo was calling. On Slepe Heath last night there were a minimum of 3 Nightjar and also 3 Cuckoo calling and moving about too. At East Holme 2 Spotted Flycatcher were logged and there was another at Greenlands Farm.

Spotted Flycatcher – East Holme – Rob Johnson

Harbour Update – posted 12/05/22

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

Another magical morning out on Morden Bog for our ID Course opened with singing Cuckoo and male Goshawk overhead before we’d even left the car park. Two pairs of Yellowhammer welcomed us onto the heath as Meadow Pipit and Skylark song flights dominated the skies. Ambling around the heath soon picked up numerous Dartford Warbler – at one point we enjoyed close views of the bird photographed below carrying food to the chorus of Tree Pipit and Cuckoo in the background it was hard to know which direction to look! Two Tree Pipits gave good views and even better vocalisations, offering brilliant comparisons between Meadow and Tree Pipits. A female Marsh Harrier made a couple of appearances during the walk which made for an unexpected, but welcome surprise! Throw in singing Willow Warbler, Blackcap, fly-by Raven, Swift, Swallow, Sand Martin, Stonechats feeding recently fledged young that narrowly missed a Sparrowhawk(!) and confiding Siskin, and the morning ended on quite the species list. We added more dates to the Morden Bog courses as the sold out in record time and you can browse our last remaining tickets here.

Elsewhere around the harbour, yesterdays Red-necked Phalarope sadly seemed to move on over night but there were still 98 Sanderling on Studland Beach with a few Dunlin. Swift, Swallow and House Martin seemed to be arriving with decent groups passing high overhead and there was an Osprey later in the afternoon over Morden Bog.

Morden Bog Dawn Chorus ID Course

Dartford Warbler – Morden Bog Dawn Chorus ID Course


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