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 October, 2022

Harbour Update – posted 31/10/22

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

And in a blink of an eye, that was October done! With the day starting with blue sky’s and a lighter wind, there were the first hints of Wood Pigeon migration over the harbour with small flocks of 20-50 going over for an hour or so. The next few weeks will see numbers build but will rely on another crystal clear morning for the really big numbers to depart, however looking at the current forecast, that may not be for quite some while!!

Elsewhere around the harbour there was the welcome sight of 2 White-tailed Eagles again in the Wareham Channel, having been absent for several days. At Lytchett Bay, the Yellow-browed Warbler was calling again next to the new Rock Lea viewpoint and 2 Marsh Harrier  were seen from there too. At South beach and Middle Beach an excellent count of 12 Firecrest and 17 Chiffchaff, but sadly not the hoped for Pallas’s or Yellow-browed. Also 2 Brambling over there too. In Holes Bay Wigeon numbers hit 1138 with a Spotted Redshank in the Holes Bay NE sector. There was also a Spotted Redshank in Brands Bay and still 2 Curlew Sandpiper at Lytchett Fields. A ringtail Hen Harrier was seen in the Middlebere Channel and on Friday an adult male Hen Harrier was photographed at Swineham. Other bits and pieces included a Common Sandpiper at Holes Bay NE, 2 Common Scoter and 2 Black-necked Grebe off Middle Beach with 3 Ring-necked Parakeets in the trees at South Beach. Merlin were logged at Greenlands Farm, Hartland and Middlebere, 36 Spoonbill were on Brownsea, a Red Kite was over Arne and a flock of 50 Fieldfare were near Corfe Castle in the Corfe River Valley.

Adult male Hen Harrier – Swineham (Friday last week) – @NaturehawkPhoto (Twitter)

Harbour Update – posted 30/10/22

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

This morning welcomed our final Autumn Safari Cruise of the season! It certainly felt autumnal with intermittent showers and a growing cast of winter visitors, but our perseverance certainly paid off, enjoying views of a Merlin carrying prey, abundant Marsh Harrier action (including the striking adult male), a flyby Peregrine and a hunting Sandwich Tern as we explored the Wareham Channel. Continuing up the River Frome added good numbers of Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Teal and Shoveler all from the recently flooded Wareham Water Meadows and a couple of passes of the Brownsea Lagoon to conclude the cruise revealed 47 Spoonbill, small carpets of Dunlin and Ringed Plover, as well as a slight increase numbers of Greenshank, Grey Plover, Avocet and Black-tailed Godwit. Merlin action was as logged at Greenland’s Farm and Hartland Moor while Lytchett Bay received good coverage logging 2 Firecrest along the new path to Rock Lea View. Counts from the new watchpoint totalling 568 Wigeon, 2 Golden Plover and a vocal Yellow-browed Warbler while the Fields continued to hold the 2 Curlew Sandpiper in with 331 Dunlin and a Spotted Redshank.

Birding Brownsea Lagoon – from Autumn Safari Cruise

Rainbow over Poole – from Autumn Safari Cruise – Mark Wright

Harbour Update – posted 29/10/22

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

There’s so many great raptors around at the moment and in good numbers too. This increase of birds of prey (both breeding and over-wintering) is a real asset to the current status of the harbour. Having good numbers of top down predators in a landscape indicates the quality of a dynamic and complex eco-system, where there’s plenty of food and habitat available to cater for our growing raptor population. There’s no denying that some of these birds of prey will be feeding on other important species (for example, a few years ago the Arne Kestrels fed on a mixed diet of Lapwing chicks and Sand Lizards), but that doesn’t mean we need to frown upon Kestrels, it means that Poole Harbours eco-system is thriving and developing. And long may it continue!

Today, once again there was a  4 Marsh Harrier, 1 White-tailed Eagle, 1 Hen Harrier, 1 Peregrine and 2 Kestrel around the Wareham Channel, a Goshawk at an undisclosed site and 3 Merlin around Hartland and 2 Peregrine around Lytchett Bay and Arne. On the Brownesea Lagoon today there were 54 Spoonbill, 1 Cattle Egret, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Spotted Redshank. There were also 8 Spotted Redshank from the Middlebere hide and at Lytchett Fields 2 Curlew Sandpiper and 1 Spotted Redshank. There were huge numbers of geese at Swineham with massive numbers of Canada Geese and smaller flocks of Greylag Geese, but in amongst them were 1 Barnacle Goose and 7 Egyptian Geese, but surely there’s a good chance of them attracting in some scarcer goose species? The roving sinensis Cormorant flock was out in force again with c500 between Brownsea and Holes Bay. There were more Black Redstart on the menu with 1 along the Middlebere track and 2 on the Arne farm roof buildings. There were 949 Wigeon in Holes Bay and Fieldfare and Redwing were once again passing over in small numbers for most of the day.

Goshawk – Undisclosed site – Mark Wright 

Black Redstart – Middlebere – Mark Wright 

Harbour Update – posted 28/10/22

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

Firstly, we’d like to give our sincere apologies for not being able to update our sightings page over the last 2 weeks. We recently upgraded our server and in doing so ‘a glitch’ occurred preventing us from accessing our sightings page to be able to update it each day. We’ve now finally got to the bottom of the issue (for now), and still have a couple bugs to sort out, but at least we can now access the site and do all the updates needed to get us going again!!

Right…back to the birds. It’s a real raptor-fest at the moment with good numbers of birds of prey around. Several watches around the south of the harbour today resulted in 4 Merlin (1 on off the sea at Middle Beach, 1 over Godlingston, 1 on Arne Moors and 1 on Hartland), 1 Goshawk over Godlingston, 4 Marsh Harrier at Swineham, 2 Hen Harrier around Swineham and Middlebere, 1 Red Kite over the Wareham Channel and 1 White-tailed Eagle over Hydes Heath, Arne. Add in the Common Buzzards, Sparrowhawks, Kestrels and (not-logged today) Peregrines, then there’s a great mix of raptors to connect with currently. A sea watch off Branksome chine produced 1 Black-throated Diver, 2 Common Scoter, 4 Sandwich Tern, 5+ Kittiwake, 10+ Gannet and 20+ auk sp (mainly Razorbill). From the Studland Road viewpoint a Swallow headed SW and there was a slow, but steady passage of Linnet, Siskin, Skylark and Pied Wagtail going on above the harbour for most of the day. There were 5 different Black Redstart around with 2 on the Knoll Beach cafe roof with 2 more on the NT office roofs in the Ulwell Gap, plus 1 more on the Shell Bay ferry toll buildings. A whopping 708 sinensis Cormorant were counted on Brownsea before they all headed off, out to feed in the harbour. At Lytchett Fields there were 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Ruff and 2 Green Sandpiper. Finally, on Brownsea there were 54 Spoonbill and a single Black-necked Grebe was off Jerry’s Point.

Greenshank – Brownsea Lagoon – Martin Adams

Harbour Update – posted 27/10/22

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

Harbour Update – posted 26/10/22

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

Harbour Update – posted 25/10/22

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

Harbour Update – posted 24/10/22

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

Harbour Update – posted 23/10/22

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

Harbour Update – posted 22/10/22

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

Despite the exceedingly mild temperatures, numbers of wintering species are starting to gain traction in the harbour with 46 Red-breasted Merganser, 53 Great Crested Grebe and 3 Black-necked Grebe in South Deep off Brownsea this morning, 28 freshly arrived Brent Geese on Blue Lagoon, and the first Red-throated Diver of the season off Middle Beach at Studland. There was plenty of activity at Middlebere this morning too, with large passage flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare on the move overhead and a hunting White-tailed Eagle in the channel below, which actually manage to catch a wader for breakfast! Raptor activity was similarly high at Swineham with Marsh Harrier, Buzzard and Hobby all recorded. Lytchett field still held at least 3 Curlew Sandpiper in amongst the 200+ Dunlin, Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit, and the single Ruff was still present on the pools by the viewpoint along with colour-ringed Water Pipit ‘1K’.


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