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 20/08/22

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

Day Two of our Osprey Cruise extravaganza saw 4-5 Ospreys active around the Wareham Channel and Lytchett Bay. The morning’s trip included quartering Marsh Harriers and was topped by outrageous views of White-tailed Eagle G801, at first seen feeding on the mud and later gracing the skies with a close fly-by of the boat! The afternoon boat enjoy prolonged views of an Osprey hunting in the Wareham Channel, eventually catching on its 7th attempt(!). At one point, a Hobby briefly interacted with the migrant Osprey before returning to the Arne peninsula. Common Seals were seen throughout, glistening in the sunshine. Elsewhere, a Wood Sandpiper remained on Swineham Point Pools until flushed by a Marsh Harrier and 7 Green Sandpiper were along the Piddle Valley floods. A Spotted Flycatcher occupied North Bestwall and Holes Bay clocked up 233 Black-tailed Godwit, 100+ Redshank, 9 Dunlin, 27 Curlew, 33 Teal and a 1 Little Grebe. Brand’s Bay featured similar numbers of Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Teal, with Mediterranean Gull numbers steadily reaching 31 ahead of the high tide roost. A Spotted Redshank was still on the Fields at Lytchett Bay and a Grasshopper Warbler was seen briefly along the ditch in Approach Field. Brownsea Lagoon enjoyed a Little Stint and 13 Spoonbill, with a further 2 spending some time around the Middlebere Channel.

White-tailed Eagle – taken from Osprey Cruise – Alison Copland

Osprey (unringed) – Lytchett Bay – Mark Wright

Harbour Update – posted 19/08/22

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

It was a perfect August day to start our series of 30 Osprey cruises. Well, not too perfect with lots of rain at dawn. However, it soon broke away by 9am leaving great conditions for migrant (and local) Ospreys to be interacting during the morning and afternoon cruises. In total there must be a minimum of 6-7 Osprey present in the harbour today. Both our Osprey cruises were rewarded with excellent views close to the boat plus lots of other activity with birds moving around the Wareham Channel and Lytchett Bay areas. This morning 022 was displaying to another Osprey over Keysworth whilst another hunted close to the boat, whilst this afternoon 2 un-ringed individuals were in pursuit of each other, also passing close to the boat with 3 over Lytchett Bay at the same time. Also, this morning 2 White-tailed Eagles were seen with one along the Arne shoreline and another out on Shag Looe Point. Other sightings included 1 Peregrine, 2 Hobby, 1 Marsh Harrier and a Buzzard. At Lytchett Fields today a juvenile Golden Plover was logged which is a great August harbour record. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 18 Spoonbill, 1 Little Stint, 14 Greenshank, 23 Ringed Plover and 1 Grey Plover with Grey Plover also seen in Lytchett Bay. at South Haven, Studland there were 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Whinchat and 1 Garden Warbler. At Swineham this evening there was a Wood Sandpiper and 2 Green Sandpiper on the Swineham Point pools. At Lytchett Bay what was assumed to one of the Wareham Channel eagles flew over the Turlin shoreline around lunchtime and there was also a pale phase Honey Buzzard over too with 2 Spotted Redshank on Lytchett Fields.

We still have places on some of our later Osprey Cruises, so if you want a chance of seeing some of the species mentioned about then you can BOOK HERE

White-tailed Eagle – Wareham Channel, from AM Osprey Cruise – Clare Slade

White-tailed Eagle – Wareham Channel, from PM Osprey Cruise – Clare Slade

Osprey – Wareham Channel, from Osprey Cruise – Kieron Hobbs

Harbour Update – posted 18/08/22

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

There were some big low tides today which attracted in some waders into ‘unusual’ areas including a summer plumaged Grey Plover in Holes Bay and another in Brands Bay. Also in Brands Bay were 20 Great Crested Grebe, 4 dark-bellied Brent Geese, 100+ Teal, 1 juv Marsh Harrier, 80+ Curlew, 24 Redshank and 215 Black-tailed Godwit, there was also a Grasshopper Warbler on Sandy Point, Studland. At the top end of the Wareham Channel there were c200 Black-tailed Godwit and c100 Curlew with 3-4 Osprey in the Wareham Channel area and 1-2 White-tailed Eagles also seen in the Wareham Channel with one flying over Rockley holiday park. The 3 Osprey that were seen over the Wareham Channel were then soon seen over Middlebere. At the PCW Drain at the north end of Holes Bay there was a decent number of migrants including 3 Garden Warbler, 1 Redstart, 1 Whitethroat, 10+ Blackcap, 10+ Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler as well as 1 Kingfisher and 4 Gadwall over. Other Osprey sightings included 1 catching a fish in Lytchett Bay, 1 over Morden Bog and 1 seen off Shipstal, Arne. On Stoborough heath there was a single Whinchat and 2 Wheatear, 2 Redstart and 3 Whitethroat were on Slepe Heath.

Wheatear – Slepe Heath 

Juvenile Black-tailed Godwit – Lytchett Fields



Harbour Update – posted 17/08/22

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

Along with 1 Wheatear, there was an interesting report of 2 Grey Partridge at Hartland Moor this morning; an uncommon occurrence in Poole Harbour in recent years. A quick count on Brownsea Lagoon on the low tide produce 19 Spoonbill, 10 Avocet, 72+ Ringed Plover, 3 Sanderling, 226 Dunlin, 1 Little Stint, 2 Grey Plover, 14 Greenshank, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Common Sandpiper. There were 4 adult Yellow-legged Gull on the Swineham Scrape and the juvenile Spotted Redshank was still present on French’s Poole at Lytchett Fields at first light this morning, along with 9 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, Green Sandpiper and 15 Common Sandpiper. Later in the morning, 1 Osprey was seen from Lytchett Fields on the low tide, adding to the raptor activity with 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Buzzard and 1 Marsh Harrier. A second Osprey was also seen over Lytchett Bay, as well as a White-tailed Eagle visible over Holton Lee. The stream of Osprey coming through has really picked up, with another seen on the Middlebere platform from Coombe Heath this AM. We’re looking forward to the start of our Osprey Cruises this Friday, where we hope to be able to get an idea of how many birds are currently using the area, which will only continue to increase over the next two weeks. If you want to join us, tickets can be booked here.

White-tailed Eagle – over Holton Lee from Lytchett Bay – René Goad

Harbour Update – posted 16/08/22

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

Refreshing weather today with the much-needed rain finally moving through. 1 Cattle Egret was seen amongst the cows in Whimbrel Field at Lytchett Fields this morning. Also seen from a count at Lytchett Fields were 12 Greenshank, 38 Redshank, 2 Whimbrel, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Ringed Plover, 3 Common Sandpiper, 3 Green Sandpiper, Lapwing and 2 Spotted Redshank (1 adult winter, 1 juvenile). Across the bay, 1 Green Sandpiper was also reported on Holton Pools.

Wader counts continued over on Brownsea Lagoon, with the highlight of 1 Little Stint amongst 286 Dunlin, 143 Ringed Plover, 18 Greenshank, 111 Redshank and 20 Spoonbill. On Brownsea last night, 4 Nightjar were ringed, included 3 juveniles and one adult male.  In Brands Bay, the first Bar-tailed Godwit of the autumn were reported along with 4 Brent Geese, 5 Teal, 6 Ringed Plover, 113 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel, 5 Common Gull, 15 Mediterranean Gull and 1 Wheatear. Finally, one unringed female Osprey was seen from Coombe Heath at Arne this morning, moving from the dead trees to one of the T-perches in the Middlebere Channel at midday.

Nightjar Ringing – Brownsea Island – Nicki Tutton

Osprey – Middlebere Channel – Nicholas Galley


Harbour Update – posted 15/08/22

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

A foggy start to the morning put a damper on recent ringing efforts within the harbour, but still produced 3 Grasshopper Warblers at Lytchett Heath, a species that seems slow off the mark this year following a recording-breaking tally last season. Scoping Lytchett Bay early doors picked up 2 Spotted Redshank and a quartering Marsh Harrier over Otter Island.  An Osprey made an appearance later in the morning, perched in pine behind Sherford Pools, Lytchett Fields while a Whinchat associated with the Stonechats in Approach Field. Brands Bay, Studland clocked Lapwing and 2 Common Sandpiper, along with a Whimbrel, 46 Black-tailed Godwit, smaller numbers of Redshank and a couple of Sandwich Terns while the nearby Houseboats at South Haven featured 21 Common Terns.

A White-tailed Eagle flushed 3 Ospreys off the northern shoreline of the Wareham Channel late afternoon, setting the scene for our jam-packed Osprey Cruises taking place from this Friday! Brownsea Lagoon featured 18 Spoonbill,  a Cattle Egret and good numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plover. Plenty of gulls on the dry scrapes at Swineham look prime to pull in a Little Gull. Adult and juvenile Marsh Harrier were very active over the western reedbeds.

Osprey – Lytchett Bay (yesterday) – Mark Wright

Harbour Update – posted 14/08/22

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

Today’s highlight was the appearance of 2 Corn Bunting in the stubble fields at Ballard Down, Studland. Once abundant, they suffered dramatic declines locally and nationally in the second half of the 20th century with changing farming practices. Though they have persisted and even begun to recover at several sites throughout Dorset, they are now considered a very scarce visitor to Poole Harbour. To see them using the habitat locally is thus an encouraging sign and shows the potential for such sites to support them once again in the future.

Also present at Ballard were 1 Whitethroat, 4 Wheatear and 5 Stonechat, whilst in Studland village there were 6 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Garden Warbler. Slightly further west, Rempstone was also busy with migrants with 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Redstart and 20+ Willow Warbler present early this morning, along with a young Tawny Owl. Meanwhile in Holes Bay a couple of ‘winter’ species were present in the form of Whimbrel and Common Gull.

The Lytchett Bay airspace was a hive of activity this morning with 6 Swallow, 5 House Martin, 2 Sand Martin along with 1 Peregrine, 4 Marsh Harrier, and two hunting migrant Osprey. Its fantastic to see numbers of the latter building considerably now, ahead of our Osprey Cruises which start at the end of this week and run until the first week of September!

Migrant Osprey fishing – Lytchett Bay – Mark Wright

Tawny Owl – Rempstone – Rob Johnson (@RobJohn72810618)

Harbour Update – posted 13/08/22

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

We’ve been dreaming of these sort of easterly winds in August for years! It seemed impossible to disappoint and sure enough today saw the Aquatic Warbler count double in under an hour, with a further 2 trapped and ringed at Lytchett Bay after yesterday’s success. These four birds (3 at Lytchett Bay and 1 at Longham Lakes) are the only UK records this year!

Migrant Osprey are becoming more prominent by the day, with unringed individuals logged at Middlebere and Lytchett Bay. The Wytch juvenile Pied Flycatcher has continued its stay for another day,  having arrived on Monday and a White-tailed Eagle was seen overhead at Morden Bog this morning.

The big question now is what will tomorrow bring?!

Spotted Flycatcher – Middlebere – Mark Wright

Aquatic Warbler – Lytchett Bay – Shaun Robson

Harbour Update – posted 12/08/22

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

Great coverage of the harbour today despite the sweltering heat. Lytchett Bay struck gold early morning during a ringing session, processing the second Aquatic Warbler for the UK and Dorset this year. And with these easterlies continuing into the weekend, could we see more before the week’s end? The Bay also clocked up 12 Ringed Plover, 26 Dunlin, 4 Whimbrel, 12 Greenshank and fishing Osprey causing a commotion among the gulls.

An un-ringed adult Osprey dropped ono the Middlebere nest platform at 10:40am, bringing in a fish at 11am. A couple of Yellow Wagtails graced Wareham Common early morning along with two flyover Tree Pipit and abundant Willow Warbler as Holes Bay featured Spotted Redshank and early Wigeon, viewed from the Stone Bench. A visit to Studland House Boats turned up a Turnstone, 9 Common and a Sandwich Tern while Brand’s Bay received notable visits from Marsh Harrier and Snipe among the 4 over-summering Dark-bellied Brent Goose 113 strong Curlew flock and 2 Ringed Plover. A single Spoonbill flew past train station roundabout early doors.

Un-ringed migrant Osprey – Middlebere Platform camera

Harbour Update – posted 11/08/22

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

Brownsea Lagoon is embracing autumn nicely with increase to 12 Spoonbill alongside 80 Redshank, 50 Black-tailed Godwit and a hunting Peregrine. Holes Bay also saw increases, with Black-tailed Godwits currently at 636, 100 Redshank and smaller numbers of Dunlin and a single Common Sandpiper. Greenlands Farm featured a nice suite of migrants including 2 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, and 8 Willow Warbler. Finally, 2 White Stork circled low over Upton Roundabout just before 3pm. Later in the day 2 White Stork passed over Upton.

Spoonbill – Brownsea Lagoon – Seb Haggett


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