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 August, 2022

Harbour Update – posted 31/08/22

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

More northerly winds today seemed to see a few more Osprey leave on migration, but there were at least still 3 around today including the notch-winged individual which was hunting in the Wareham Channel this morning before then having a pop at White-tailed Eagle G801. Then, this afternoon another White-tailed Eagle appeared in the harbour, male G816 which was briefly over Lytchett Bay before heading to the Wareham Channel. This morning Wigeon, Pintail, Teal and a few Shoveler were all arriving in small numbers in the Wareham Channel and at first light 1 Goshawk, 4 Marsh Harrier and 1 Hobby were over Arne. In Holes Bay north a juv Osprey was hunting and a Red Kite was over Hydes Heath. In Brands Bay there were 4 Brent Geese, 1  Pintail, 9 Little Egret, 24 Ringed Plover, 5 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 97 Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Turnstone, 5 Sandwich Tern, 1 Wheatear and 1 Whinchat. The Brownsea Lagoon had 36 Spoonbill, 7 Avocet, 3 Knot, 75 Redshank, 16 Greenshank, 9 Curlew and 21 Sandwich Tern.

Harbour Update – posted 30/08/22

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

With the wind swinging north this morning and clear sky’s it was always possible that the last weeks build up of Ospreys may push south today, and by mid-morning it was evident that quite a few had departed. We still managed several individuals from our 2 Osprey cruises today, including the long staying individual with the missing primary tips on the left wing, plus what looked like a juvenile Osprey catching a fish from this afternoons boat. However, the northerly wind also delivered another White-tailed Eagle, although he, and ever-present female G801 stayed elusive until later this afternoon when both were seen over Lytchett Bay. G801 was seen out over the EWareham Channel this morning though from this mornings Osprey cruise. Also logged from todays boat trips were a single Spoonbill roosting with c25 Little egret and c50 sinensis Cormorant on the Keysworth shoreline, a single Marsh Harrier, with 2 Hobby hunting (one catching a Swallow) and a Wheatear almost landing on the boat. Other Osprey sightings were logged in Holes Bay south, Lytchett Bay and Middlebere and male 022 was logged on a different harbour platform at 8:30am, but it wouldn’t surprise us if CJ7 and perhaps even 5H1 departed today . Elsewhere the autumns first Curlew Sandpiper was off Redhorn Quay near Brands Bay with 3 juvenile Sanderling. In Holes Bay, ‘winter birds’ are building with 1 Pintail, 9 Wigeon, c80 Teal with a Common Sandpiper too. On Hartland yesterday afternoon there were 4 Wheatear, 3 Whinchat, 5 Willow Warbler, singles of Whitethroat and Spotted Flycatcher, at least 15 Stonechat as well as two Woodlark. Middlebere had a flock of 8 Avocet, also 2 Pintail and a Marsh Harrier. This evening a Cattle Egret was in the approach field at Lytchett Fields and an Osprey/White-tailed Eagle battle commenced with the eagle chasing an Osprey for it’s fish, which it dropped and neither bird returned to pick it up!

Curlew Sandpiper – Redhorn Quay, Brands Bay – OTBT Birder (Twitter @BirderOtbt)

Arrival of Wigeon at Holes Bay – Martin Adams

Cattle Egret – Lytchett Fields – Mark Wright

Osprey and White-tailed Eagle – Lytchett Bay – Mark Wright

Harbour Update – posted 29/08/22

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

A very different feeling out on the water today with a strong north-easterly wind through which 9 Osprey were battling to hunt (with varying success) in the Wareham and Middlebere Channels. Such a strong migratory tailwind appeared to prompt a big ‘clear out’ however, and by the afternoon only three individuals could be found. No doubt these departing females will quickly be replaced by more juveniles and males as they also leave the breeding grounds and begin their journey south, so there should be no shortage of sightings on our remaining few Osprey Cruises. Tickets are selling out fast so be sure to book a place here.

Highlights from our cruises today (besides the Ospreys) were a very distant Honey Buzzard over Holton Heath, 3 Hobby over Arne, two colour-ringed Curlew in the mouth of the Frome (T6 & T8), and a suspected juvenile Cuckoo on the Keysworth shoreline, where young female White-tailed Eagle G801 also put in appearance after spending the morning in Lytchett Bay.

Ospreys weren’t the only species departing: Swallows were gathering in their hundreds across the harbour, along with dozens of Sand Martins. All the while winter arrivals continue with 2 Shoveler in Lytchett Bay, and on Brownsea Lagoon the Spoonbill flock grew to 34 strong. In Holes Bay there were 2 Common Sandpiper on the railway embankment, and 14 Dunlin and 1 Knot in front of stone bench, along with 3 Spotted Flycatcher in the surrounding trees and fields and 2 Wheatear along the main road.

In Brands Bay a juvenile Peregrine was causing considerable disturbance around the marsh, though 20 Great-crested Grebe, 110 Teal, 1 Pintail, 7 Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper, 3 Dunlin, 2 Knot, and 51 Black-tailed Godwit were still present on the mud and the water. Also active on the Studland peninsula were 1 Whitethroat, 4 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Pied Flycatcher.

Wareham Common hosted its first 1 Lesser Whitethroat of the year, alongside 2 Common Whitethroat, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 9 Yellow Wagtail with the cattle, and 13 Reed Bunting along the river Piddle along with 14 Stonechat. The western end of Hartland Moor was also busy with migrants including 4 Wheatear, 3 Whinchat, 5 Willow Warbler, singles of Whitethroat and Spotted Flycatcher, at least 15 Stonechat and 28 Swallow, as well as 2 Woodlark.

Osprey & cruise in the Wareham Channel – Hydes Heath – Alison Copland

Colour-ringed Curlew (T8) – Wareham Channel – Simon Kidner

White-tailed Eagle G801 – Wareham Channel – Ian Drain

Harbour Update – posted 28/08/22

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

This morning’s boat enjoyed no less than 8 Ospreys, including breeding male 022, with activity concentrated around the Wareham Channel. It was had to know where to look at times with activity in all directions, and added interest from Spoonbill, Marsh Harrier and Common Seal. This flurry of Osprey activity likely included our chick 5H1, who was seen practice fishing over the Middlebere Channel. This is brilliant news as she is gaining confidence, exploring the harbour and honing in those important fishing skills. The morning trip was also treated to flight and perched views and White-tailed Eagle G801 along the Arne Peninsula. The afternoon cruise departed the Quay at 1pm and didn’t take long to catch up on the action with a Peregrine relentlessly mobbing an Osprey as soon as we entered the Wareham Channel, later followed by two more birds circling high over the Keysworth shoreline, as well lovely views of Kestrels, Spoonbill and mobile Hobby. It was also great to see the new Ham Common Viewpoint crowded with groups using the new lookout through the day! The raptor fest continued across the harbour, with Lytchett Bay also picking up Goshawk, Peregrine, Marsh Harrier and White-tailed Eagle. Elsewhere, Hartland Moor picked up a few migrants with c.10 Yellow Wagtail and a single Whinchat. Common Sandpiper were logged across the harbour fringes, including individuals at Poole Quay, Arne shoreline and Holes Bay SE.

Poole Harbour Osprey chick 5H1 – Middlebere Channel  – Kate PlaterWhite-tailed Eagle – taken from Osprey Cruise – Mark WrightOsprey – taken from Osprey Cruise – Mark Wright

Male Osprey 022 – taken from Osprey Cruise – Mark Wright

Harbour Update – posted 27/08/22

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

Another day of Osprey Cruises did not disappoint, with birds active through the day. The conditions were super still, and the morning’s charter set out into the blazing sun – ideal hunting conditions, or so we thought?! We made a beeline for the Wareham Channel and were quickly met by a (hopeless) hunting Osprey. The glare of the sun off the water must have made fishing a real challenge and we were treated to prolonged views of over a dozen failed attempts before the bird finally gave up, taking a rest along the Arne peninsula! The afternoon enjoyed a successful fishing attempt, alongside Marsh Harrier, 2 close fly-by Hobby, 2 Common Sandpiper and 2 1st-winter Spoonbill. Poole Quay also featured a Wheatear and Kingfisher as we returned by from the trips. A juvenile Osprey was also out testing out and fine tuning their new fishing skills over the Wareham Channel, likely our fledged young 5H1. At Lytchett Bay, a juvenile Little Ringed Plover was of note on the Fields and White-tailed Eagle G801 briefly perched up in an oak tree in the Bay. A single Cattle Egret flew over the Bay late afternoon, and a Wheatear perched on the gate by French’s Cattle trough. Middlebere Channel featured 2 Spotted Redshank this morning, while Brownsea Lagoon enjoyed 2 Curlew Sandpiper and 32 Spoonbill.

Un-ringed Osprey – Lytchett Bay – Mark Wright

 Landscape featuring Osprey hunting over the Wareham Channel with Corfe Castle in the backdrop
Taken from Osprey Cruise – Ian Laidlaw (Twitter: @SaturdayKids)

Harbour Update – posted 26/08/22

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

Lots of activity from the boat trips again today, with an interesting sighting of 8 Shoveler flying over the boat in from the South. 2 juvenile Spoonbill were present at the top of the Wareham Channel again, seen on both trips. There has been a constant stream of Osprey activity through out the day, with c.5-6 birds hunting between the Wareham and Middlebere Channels throughout the day. The young White-tailed Eagle has been soaring over Arne intermittently through the day, as well as 2 Hobby active over the Wareham Channel. At Lytchett Fields, 1 Spotted Redshank was present, as well 1 Redstart and the first flock of approximately 15 Yellow Wagtail putting in an appearance. A count at Holes Bay this afternoon produced 798 Black-tailed Godwit, 96 Redshank, 3 Common Gull, 18 Teal and a single Wigeon.

Shoveler – Wareham Channel – Mark Wright




Harbour Update – posted 24 & 25/08/22

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

Firstly, we apologise for no sightings yesterday, we had a website ‘back end’ issue, which we won’t go into now, but it’s all sorted! We’ll update sightings from the last couple of days during the course of this evening but initially we’ll do an update on the Osprey cruises from the last couple of days. The last four Osprey cruises have been fascinating with multiple Osprey logged across all four trips. Yesterday we had no less than 7 different Osprey, but most amazingly of all, we had the first views of Poole chick 5H1 flying over and practice hunting over the harbour. This was a historic moment, and one we’re so glad we were able to share with a whole boat full of guests. Not only that, during our afternoon cruise both CJ7 and 022 did the courteous thing and also flew close to the boat which is the first time they’ve been seen together out over the harbour since April! White-tailed Eagle G801 also put on some fantastic displays, passing over the boat and even settling in trees close by, not to mention the fly over Hobby’s, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine and Marsh Harriers. It’s been an absolute raptor-fest. On todays boat, weirdest sighting of the day was a Common Scoter in the Wareham Channel along with the more standard 2 Spoonbill and c300 Black-tailed Godwit. There are still plenty of tickets for this weekends and next weeks cruises so if you want to book on then please do by CLICKING HERE.

Passerines have been pushing through with the mist and murk downing quite a few birds. Pied Flycatchers were at Ballard and the Lower Piddle Valley, with Ballard also clocking 1 Redstart 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Reed Warbler, 6 Tree Pipit, 1 Wheatear, 7 Willow Warbler, 10 Blackcap and 10 Whitethroat. At Lytchett Fields the Glossy Ibis was seen again and the 2 Little Stint were still present plus there was a late(ish) Swift, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 14 Common Sandpiper, 7 Ringed Plover, 3 Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Whimbrel. One of the White-tailed Eagles also flew low over the fields first thing. Spoonbill numbers are increasing with 26 now present including 5 colour-ringed birds. Along Soldiers Road there was a Pied Flycatcher (yesterday), and this evening a Whinchat, 1 Redstart, 4 Wheatear and 2 Spotted Flycatcher, with another 6 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Pied Flycatcher on the edge of Rempstone. This evening there were 3 Spotted Redshank, 4 Avocet and 489 Black-tailed Godwit.

Osprey chick 5H1 over the harbour yesterday from our Osprey cruise – Paula and John Thorpe

Harbour Update – posted 23/08/22

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

Another busy day across the harbour, full of highlights. Both Osprey cruises were busy with multiple Osprey across the Wareham Channel area. This afternoon male Osprey 022 flew straight over the boat whilst 3 others circled over Arne, whilst this morning White-tailed Eagle G801 had another run in with a migrant Osprey as they tussled over Keysworth. Both trips logged no less than 3-5 Osprey on each trip with other highlights including 3 different Marsh Harrier (2 sub-adult males and a juv), 2 Hobby, 3 Swift, 2 Spoonbill, c200 Black-tailed Godwit, lots of Curlew and Oystercatcher moving around and 1 Common Seal. Other Osprey sightings were logged in Middlebere, Morden Bog, Lytchett Bay and off Shipstal again. At Lytchett Bay, a Glossy Ibis arrived on to the fields late afternoon and there were 2 fresh new Little Stint on the fields with 2 Spotted Redshank. An adult Honey Buzzard passed over the Lower Piddle Valley along with 1 Marsh Tit, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Tree Pipit and a late-singing Firecrest and weird record of the day goes to 2 Spoonbill out on the wet bog at Morden Bog. In Brands Bay the 4 over-summering Brent Geese were still present and will surely be looking forward to some more company in the next few weeks as the first over-wintering Brents begin to arrive. Also in Brands Bay were 9 Ringed Plover, 1 Sanderling, 37 Dunlin, 212 Black-tailed Godwit and 92 Curlew. Along Soldiers Road (edge of Slepe heath) there was a Pied Flycatcher with a Spotted Flycatcher, plus a Wheatear in one of the fields, and on Stoborough Heath there was a Redstart and a flock of 5 Woodlark. On Brownsea there were 22 Spoonbill and 1 Little Stint. 

Osprey and White-tailed Eagle tussle over Keysworth from Osprey Cruise – Stephen Laycock

Male Osprey 022 over Osprey Cruise – Stephen Laycock

White-tailed Eagle tover Keysworth from Osprey Cruise – Stephen Laycock

Harbour Update – posted 22/08/22

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

We can’t remember a day when it was last cloudy all day, with frequent rain showers. As much needed a sit was it made our Osprey cruises more challenging than normal, however on this mornings cruise there were 2 Osprey and the White-tailed Eagle on the edge of the Wareham Channel, however, this afternoons trip, despite the rain produced an amazing bit of behaviour when a migrant Osprey took a persistent disliking to the eagle and spent a good 20 minutes dive bombing it, and even chased it around the SW corner of the Wareham Channel for a period of time. There were also 5 other different Osprey over the northern edge of the Wareham Channel stretched between the mouth of the River Piddle and Lytchett Bay. In the Ballard Gap this morning there were 6 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 1 Whinchat, 1 Wheatear, 15 Stonechat and 3 Whitethroat. The autumns first Merlin of the season was in Middlebere, chasing Meadow Pipits and a lone Spoonbill was over the Piddle. In the Lower Piddle Valley at Swineham the Wood Sandpiper was still on the Swineham Point pool and at Lytchett Fields there was a Yellow Wagtail, 5 Common Sandpiper, 8 Greenshank. In Holes Bay there was Great White Egret as well as 548 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Knot, 4 Ringed Plover and 1 Wigeon and 1 Shoveler. At Middlebere there were 7 Spotted Redshanks, 4 Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpiper, 3 Spotted Flycatcher and an adult Yellow-legged Gull. Other Osprey sightings were logged at Middlebere, Lytchett Bay, Shipstal Point and over Swineham. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 20 Spoonbill, 1 Little Stint and 9 Avocet. 

Green Sandpiper – Middlebere – Rob Johnson

Harbour Update – posted 21/08/22

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

The third day into our back-to-back Osprey Cruises was a real raptor fest, with 3 different Ospreys seen in the morning and 2 on the second trip as well as good Marsh Harrier views, Hobby and Kestrel all showing. The 1 year-old female White-tailed Eagle G801 graced the skies in the morning but remained elusive in the afternoon, hunkering down in a strand of trees near Lytchett Bay! Sandwich Terns were very vocal, offering great comparisons of adult and juvenile calls while Common Seals gave nice views throughout. A low tide visit to Brands Bay late morning produced 18 Great Crested Grebe, the 4 over-summering Brent Geese, singles of Lapwing and Whimbrel and 14 Ringed Plover along with small flocks of Teal, Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwit. A ringing session at Lytchett Bay produced quite a few common migrants including a Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Tree Pipit and an adult male Redstart the previous evening. At Lytchett Fields this evening there were 26 juvenile Black-tailed Godwit plus 10 Greenshank and 10 Common Sandpiper.

Osprey – taken from Osprey Cruise – Gerry Shilham (@gerryshilham1)


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