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 September, 2022

Harbour Update – posted 30/09/22

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

Autumn arrived with a ‘zeet’ this morning as the first 2 Redwing of the season were heard and seen flying over Poole, near Fleetsbridge. Plus, one was also night sound recorded over Upton last night too, and with this, they should now become a frequent sound on autumn evening as we progress through October, especially the latter part of October. Before the dregs set in this afternoon 2 White-tailed Eagles were interacting over Lytchett Bay, females G801 and G318. Meadow Pipit were also on the move with c50 ringed in Lytchett Bay and a minimum of c200 moving across the Slepe Heath, Arne area. A Goshawk was seen off Slepe Heath.


Harbour Update – posted 29/09/22

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

Another day with lots more decent mid-Autumn birds. The day started off well with 10 Cattle Egret on the Swineham floodplain with the cattle and 2 White-tailed Eagle (females G801 and G318) in the Wareham Channel. Lytchett Fields saw a site record breaking 13 Curlew Sandpiper plus a whole suit of other waders including 1 Little Stint, 1 Ruff, 1 Grey Plover, 2 Spotted Redshank, 351 Dunlin, 89 Redshank, 79 Black-tailed Godwit, 45 Lapwing, 15 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpiper and 4 Common Snipe. This morning 11 Marsh Harrier came out of the west harbour roost and a Goshawk was seen over Slepe Heath. There were lots and lots of Chiffchaff and Blackcap passing through again this morning and last night, some Common Crane were heard calling over Poole. The Piddle floods had 4 Ruff, 1 Wood Sandpiper and 2 Marsh Harrier over with the Pectoral Sandpiper only being seen earlier in the day.

Dunlin (above) and Little Stint (below) – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 28/09/22

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

The day started pretty much the same as it ended yesterday, with the 8 Common Crane that were seen arriving late yesterday evening being found from our Autumn Safari Cruise over on the private Keysworth Estate. For a brief magical moment, female White-tailed Eagle G801 flew low over the cranes, to which they took no notice. Also from our Autumn Safari were 3 different Marsh Harrier (9 came out of the west harbour roost this AM) around Swineham, and later in the day a full adult male Marsh Harrier was active in the mouth of the Piddle near Swineham. There 5 Bearded Tit off Swineham Point and the sinensis Cormorant flock in the Wareham Channel has grown considerably to c350 birds. The Brownsea Lagoon had 72 Spoonbill, 38 Avocet, 8 Grey Plover, 11 Greenshank, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 12 Knot, 22 Ringed Plover and 5 Sanderling. Lytchett Fields didn’t see too much change from yesterday but it was still amazing with 2 Little Stint, 8+ Curlew Sandpiper, c200 Dunlin, 2 Spotted Redshank, 7 Greenshank, c80 Black-tailed Godwit, 100+ Common Redshank and 1 Ruff. Out in Lytchett Bay a Peregrine took a Redshank and in Holes Bay north a Common Sandpiper was near the PCW outflow. In Poole Town centre a male Common Redstart was in a tree just outside the Barclays building. Chiffchaff’s were once again on the move with decent numbers (20+) in the PCW Drain and 70+ ringed at Lytchett Bay. Another White-tailed Eagle arrived this afternoon around 16:30 with the 3-year old female G318 being seen over Rockley Park. An Osprey was hunting in the Wareham Channel mid-morning but soon disappeared. The Pectoral Sandpiper was on the Piddle floods again, north of Swineham GP.

Marsh Harrier – Swineham, from Autumn Safari Cruise – Mark Wright

Common Cranes – Wareham Channel, from Autumn Safari Cruise – Mark Wright

Common Cranes – Wareham Channel, from Autumn Safari Cruise – Mark Wright


Harbour Update – posted 27/09/22

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

More good birds today, with 8 Common Crane, which were first seen heading west over Stanpit, Christchurch late afternoon, eventually made it into Poole Harbour airspace by around 17:15 where they were seen over Lytchett Fields before then heading off low towards the Wareham Channel, looking like they may had settled somewhere for the evening. Lytchett fields was also super busy on the high tide this morning with 15 species of wader alone, including c330 Dunlin, 9 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stint, 1 Spotted Redshank, 2 Knot, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Ruff, 130 Redshank, 10 Greenshank as well as several each of Lapwing, Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper and Black-tailed Godwit. At Swineham there were 5 Ruff split between the point and the Piddle floods and the Pectoral Sandpiper was also still there. The autumns first dark-bellied Brent Goose arrived, joining the 4 that were already here having over-summered. There was an Osprey in Holes Bay as well as one in Middlebere.

Wader flock feeding on high tide – Lytchett Fields – Shaun Robson

Harbour Update – posted 26/09/22

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

Bird of the day was a late find Pectoral Sandpiper which was on the open pools in the Lower Piddle, north of the gravel pits along with 1 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, and a scattering of Wigeon, Teal and Gadwall. Lytchett Fields looked incredible this morning with 244 Dunlin, 9 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stint, 24 Greenshank, 1 Ruff, 1 Knot, 4 Spotted Redshank, 8 Ringed Plover, 4 Green Sandpiper and c60 Common Redshank. The Brownsea Lagoon Spoonbill flock looks to be static for the time being at 72 and an Osprey flew down the Middlebere Channel. Although roughly c150 Avocet are currently back in the harbour a few ventured into Holes Bay for the first time yesterday with 4 in the NW sector. Chiffchaff and Blackcap were really active after the rain this morning with many areas around the harbour seeing good numbers moving through various hedgerows. Off Swineham Point there were 3 Marsh Harrier yesterday a Merlin was on Hartland.

Autumnal Avocet – Brownsea Lagoon 



Harbour Update – posted 25/09/22

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

We’ve been so lucky with weather this year, with most trips drenched in warm sunshine and clear sky’s, and todays autumn Safari was no different. It’s amazing how many Osprey are still around with a minimum of 2 seen from the cruise this morning, with another 2 juveniles in Holes Bay north this afternoon and another hunting in Brands Bay this afternoon. Also from our cruise this morning were 3 Marsh Harrier, 3 Sparrowhawk, a decent passage of Swallow and House Martin over the harbour, c70 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon, 3 Sanderling on the lagoon beach, c50 Avocet on the lagoon along with c25 Dunlin, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Curlew Sandpiper and 8 Greenshank. At Lytchett Fields there were 2 Little Stint, 6 Curlew Sandpiper (including the colour ringed individual), 1 Ruff, 3 Spotted Redshank, 3 Ringed Plover, 10 Greenshank, 150 Dunlin and 40 Lapwing. Although not seen from the boat this AM, female White-tailed Eagle G801 was in the Wareham Channel all day, moving around the area

Spoonbill flock – Brownsea – Mark Wright

Sandwich Tern – Wareham Channel – Mark Wright

Harbour Update – posted 24/09/22

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

Another 20 degree day, and as we push towards the end of September there seems to still be no shortage of Osprey with 2 hunting in Holes Bay today, including a blue ringed left leg individual, plus at least another 2 or 3 around the Middlebere/Wareham Channel area. Although remaining elusive today, 3 different White-tailed Eagles paid the harbour a visit touring between Arne, the Wareham Channel and Lytchett Bay. At Lytchett Fields there were 5 Curlew Sandpiper including the Norwegian ringed bird and 1 juv Little Stint. At Holes Bay north the Wigeon numbers pushed up to over 530 and on the Brownsea Lagoon there were 72 Spoonbill which is a fantastic record. We’re now getting reports that Rock Pipit are now being seen at traditional wintering sites such as the Haven Hotel area and South Haven at Studland which is another indicator that winter is not that far away. A vis-mig (visible migration) count from South Haven produced 242 Meadow Pipit, 121 Linnet and 49 Goldfinch all heading north along with 333 House Martin. At Lytchett Bay, a whopping 111 Chiffchaff were ringed this morning along with 22 Blackcap, 7 Sedge Warbler and 1 Whitethroat. There were Firecrests at the PCW Drain, in Upton CP, Swineham and Arne.

Rock Pipit – Sandbanks slipway – Nick Gadenne


Harbour Update – posted 23/09/22

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

Marsh Tit are a species that has all but vanished from the harbour landscape in recent years, so an individual at Holton Lee today was an excellent and encouraging find. Osprey continue to be present in the harbour was we progress into late September, with sightings of an adult (successfully fishing) and juvenile both viewed from Hyde’s Heath, Arne. Moving closer towards to town centre picked up 28 Turnstone, 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Rock Pipit, 2 Sandwich Tern and 4 Wheatear on Baiter Park first thing. Lytchett Bay continues to deliver, fully embracing autumn passage with visits from a couple of colour-ringed birds over last two days. Yesterday saw a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull on the Fields, originally ringed in the Camargue, France while today welcomed a Norwegian colour-ringed  Curlew Sandpiper that had only been ringed 13 days ago and seen in Holland 10 days ago! The site featured a total of 4 Curlew Sandpiper, as well as a Little Stint among the 154 strong Dunlin flock.

Norwegian colour-ringed juv. Curlew Sandpiper – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 22/09/22

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

It was another Osprey-fest from Coombe Heath, Arne today with 3-4 individuals moving around the channel and over towards the Wareham Channel plus a fly-over of White-tailed Eagle G318. There were still c65 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon with 1 Curlew Sandpiper c180 Avocet. In the Wareham Channel on the low tide up to 4 Curlew Sandpiper were feeding and 3 Ruff flew down the Piddle and headed over Swineham. There were 2 Marsh Harrier over Giggers with another in Middlebere and at Holes Bay up to c350 Wigeon are now present. There were 4 Yellow-legged Gulls on the ‘Stilt Pools’ at Swineham and there are still several of Hobby around with individuals seen over Middlebere, Slepe Heath, the Piddle Valley and Arne. The Wood Sandpiper was on the Lower Piddle Valley pools, north of Swineham GP.

Northern Pintail – Middlebere – Mark Wright

Hobby – Middlebere – Mark Wright

Harbour Update – posted 21/09/22

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

Afternoon! Sorry for the late post, but our website has been updating over the last 24 hours, and we’ve only been able to access it again now. Yesterday morning we hosted another Autumn Safari Cruise which didn’t see a breath of wind all morning. Our group were treated to excellent views of female White-tailed Eagle G801 as she was initially sat in a tree on the edge of the Wareham Channel, but then decided to fly out past us as she crossed the Wareham Channel. Further up ahead another White-tailed Eagle, male G812 obviously saw her and also crossed the channel, tracking her over towards Lytchett Bay. At the same time we had an adult female Osprey ‘perch fishing’ from a tree on the edge of the Wareham Channel, a behaviour we rarely see in Poole Harbour. The Brownsea Lagoon hosted c60 Spoonbill which was an incredible sight, mainly because nearly all 60 had their heads out of their armpits, all looking pristine and ready for the winter. By the end of the day the flock total had reached 67. Could this be a record breaking year? At Swineham during the evening there were 3 Ruff, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint, 1 Common and 1 Green Sandpiper. A Great White Egret was at Lytchett Fields and at Middlebere a Honey Buzzard and Goshawk were reported passing over. Osprey sightings included 3-4 individuals around the Middlebere, Arne, Wareham Channel area with another on Pergins Island. Around the fringes of the harbour in the north, Turnstone and Ringed Plover numbers are building with 18 Turnstone and and 14 Ringed Plover on Baiter Beach and in Holes Bay there are now up to 284 Wigeon. A full morning count of the Brownsea Lagoon produced 78 Teal, 7 Wigeon, 1 Shoveler, 133 Avocet, 94 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Knot, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 114 Dunlin, 64 Redshank and 9 Greenshank. Marsh Harrier were active in Middlebere (2) and the mouth of the Frome (2) with another at Lytchett Bay where there were also 2 Curlew Sandpiper.

Turnstone – Baiter – John Newman

White-tailed Eagle – Wareham Channel from Autumn Safari Cruise – John Thorpe




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