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 November, 2022

Harbour Update – posted 30/11/22

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

Despite the gloomy start to the morning, we had a stunning winter safari cruise, which kicked off to a promising start with 3 Great Northern Diver just off the north shoreline of Brownsea Island. Scanning the lagoon, 250 Avocet, 200 Black-tailed Godwit, 27 Bar-tailed Godwit, 12 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 1 Grey Plover, 50 Wigeon, 30 Teal and 8 Shoveler.  Continuing round to the south side of the island we logged 1 Sandwich Tern, a flyover of c.40 Black-tailed Godwit, as well as 3 Great Northern Diver and a single male Goldeneye near Redhorn.  Around Ower and Newton Bay, number of Brent Geese also appeared to have inflated, with around 150 seen, along with high numbers of Oystercatcher and 25 Lapwing. As we approached the Central Harbour around the back of the islands, numbers of Red-Breasted Merganser appeared significantly higher than previous boats, with c.120 seen. Excitingly, the 3 Eider (including 1 adult male) were also present in the Central Harbour, with a flyby Spoonbill making it’s way to join the roosting flock of c.30 birds at Shipstal. As we made our way to the top end of the Wareham Channel, it was eerily quiet considering the large numbers of Marsh Harriers counted in the roost this week. However, once the White-tailed Eagle that we managed to distantly clocked on the Arne shoreline took to flight across the channel, at least 3 Marsh Harrier lifted out of the reeds at Keysworth, pursuing and mobbing the eagle until it landed. A further 2 Great Northern Diver were then logged near the entrance to Lytchett Bay, as well as 1 Sandwich Tern feeding in the entrance to the Wareham Channel, just before the finale of a Red-throated Diver in the Central Harbour as we made our way back to the Quay.

In Holes Bay, a count included 350+ Dunlin, 1000+ Wigeon, 200+ Avocet and 300+ Black-tailed Godwit. A single Spoonbill was seen feeding off Otter Point in Lytchett Bay. 2 Great Northern Diver, potentially the same that were seen near the entrance to Lytchett Bay were also reported, along with 3 Red-breasted Merganser.

Great Northern Diver – Hamworthy Park – @nikodogtwite

Harbour Update – posted 29/11/22

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

With things set to get colder, we could see a decent arrival of more winter birds, which could complement the already decent building list of recent arrivals. Yesterdays 7 Goosander were again in Shell Bay this morning and headed into the harbour somewhere. Then, later this afternoon 2 Velvet Scoter joined the Common Scoter flock distantly out in Studland Bay. There were also 7 Black-necked Grebe in Studland Bay. Off Hamworthy Beach there were singles of Red-throated Diver and Great Northern Diver. The 3 Eider were just off the Brownsea SE shore late afternoon and another 2 Great Northern Diver were off Jerry’s Point. At Lytchett Fields highlights included 282 Dunlin, 4 Greenshank, 2 Spotted Redshank and the Grey Plover. Water Pipit ‘1K’ was also seen on Lytchett Fields yesterday.

Harbour Update – posted 28/11/22

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

A decent day with some decent birds! This morning there were 7 Goosander on the water in Shell Bay before heading off into the harbour. There were also 3 Eider which were logged yesterday out in central harbour and then seen again round the back of Brownsea. On Brownsea 28 Spoonbill were roosting during the high tide. A Great White Egret was in the Lower Piddle Valley with 3 logged there yesterday. For a second day in a row Avocet were out feeding on French’s Fields at Lytchett Fields and there were 288 Dunlin and a Grey Plover. A late Swallow flew over Stoborough and at Baiter there were 122 Brent Geese. On Holme lane Gravel Pit a single Pochard was in amongst 21 Gadwall, 11 Wigeon and 14 Tufted Duck.

Eider Ducks – Central Harbour – Don Williams

Wood Duck – Creekmoor Ponds – John Newman

Harbour Update – posted 27/11/22

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

Calmer conditions after those we’ve become accustomed to these past few weeks made for an excellent Winter Safari Cruise this morning, with at least 8 different Great Northern Diver scattered across the harbour from Hamworthy to Brands Bay (a new peak count for this winter) along with 1 Red-throated Diver.  The scrapes at Swineham were indiscernible below a considerable layer of water which covered the majority of the fields and played host to plenty of Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, a few Curlew, Snipe, Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler, along with 1 Common Redshank and 2 Spotted Redshank. There were at least 4 Marsh Harrier in the Wareham Channel, and we were lucky to catch one of the White-tailed Eagles as it flew between Arne to Rempstone. On Brownsea Lagoon there were 35 Spoonbill, 100’s each of Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin, dozens of RedshankGrey Plover and Ringed Plover along with 20+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 15+ Greenshank, and plenty of Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler and Shelduck.

Elsewhere, visitors to the Rock Lea viewpoint in Lytchett Bay were treated to 94 Avocet, 1 Green Sandpiper, Grey Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Teal, Red-breasted Merganser and close views of 1 Great Northern Diver. Also in the area were 3 Marsh Harrier, Grey Wagtail, and 1 colour-ringed Water Pipit (1K). Holes Bay held 1100 Wigeon, 257 Avocet, 87 Shoveler, 31 Pintail and 1 Common Sandpiper.

At the other end of the harbour off Jerry’s Point were 6 Black-necked Grebe, 7 Goldeneye, 1 Red-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver, 16 Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, 27 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Common Scoter. Off Middle Beach at Studland were a further 5 Black-necked Grebe and a single Eider. Three more Eider were also photographed off Furzey Island and a watch of the harbour from Baiter Park offered 2 Great Northern Diver and 1 Razorbill still present, along with a single Kittiwake which flew across to settle on the water along the Brownsea Shoreline.

Great Northern Diver – Winter Safari Cruise – Alex King

Eider – South Deep – Don Williams

Harbour Update – posted 26/11/22

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

The importance of the harbour as a stopover and wintering site for raptors was demonstrated once again this morning, with a new record count of 31 Marsh Harrier emerging from roost sites in the western reaches (a target species for tomorrow’s Winter Safari Cruise)! One White-tailed Eagle was also present. Big movements of Cormorants have been reported across the harbour and the surrounding area today, likely to be more birds arriving from the continent to overwinter. Just beyond the harbour entrance in Studland Bay there was one female-type Eider, along with 7 Black-necked Grebe, 9 Common Scoter, 1 Great Northern Diver and 1 Red-throated Diver. A further 3 Black-necked Grebe were also present off Jerry’s Point. Passerine reports were much thinner on the ground today, but the Black Redstart was spotted again and photographed on the barn roof at Middlebere.

Black Redstart – Middlebere – Aidan Brown (@aidanjb118)

Harbour Update – posted 25/11/22

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

A bit of a break in the wind and rain today made for a great school bird boat this morning, with highlights include 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver and 1 Common Scoter in the South Deep area, as well as 3 Sandwich Tern. Just off Baiter Park, a further 2 Great Northern Diver were present, in addition to a Razorbill just a few feet off the shore. Another Great Northern Diver was reported in Lytchett Bay this morning, along with the first 2 Red-breasted Merganser of the season in the bay. Over at Lytchett Fields, the highlight was a Great White Egret. On Brownsea Lagoon, 33 Spoonbill were present today, along with the usual high numbers of Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwit, as well as Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit and a few Brent Geese. Our two new webcams on Brownsea Lagoon are already proving their worth, with great footage of the Spoonbill flock earlier in the day. You can find the webcams here:

Razorbill – Baiter – Martin Adams

Harbour Update – posted 24/11/22

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

Woodcock have definitely arrived back into the harbour in numbers with a good count logged as we surveyed Sunnyside Farm during a busy winter wader ringing demonstration last night – a session which saw 5 Woodcock, 3 Jack Snipe and singles of Common Snipe Meadow Pipit and Redwing ringed. Turning our attention to today, the harbour mouth featured a moulting adult Great Northern Diver, with a Red-throated Diver entering the harbour and a sinensis Cormorant flock several hundred strong feeding offshore. Holes Bay supported 181 Avocet across the northern sectors, double figures of Common Snipe and a Kingfisher while Swineham Point offered views of 7 quartering Marsh Harrier mid-morning. A spot of colour-ring reading at Shore Road picked up a Dutch Black-headed Gull (EFN1), observer awaiting further details from the scheme.

Adult Great Northern Diver – Harbour Entrance – OTBT Birder

Winter Wader Ringing Demo – Jack Snipe, Woodcock and Common Snipe (left to right)

A bustling Brownsea Lagoon – Nicki Tutton
Check out our Brownsea Lagoon Livecams here

Harbour Update – posted 23/11/22

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

It’s been a bit of windy day, and the sunshine this morning has quickly descended into a rainy afternoon. We managed to make the most of the sunshine on the safari boat this morning, which turned out to be a rewarding trip. The Brownsea Lagoon was busy, with 300+ Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover, 300+ Avocet, 250+ Black-tailed Godwit, 35 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Greenshank, 6 Spoonbill and 12 Curlew. As we made our way around the south shore of Brownsea Island, we were treated to great views of a juvenile Red-throated Diver, with a second Red-throated Diver and a single Great Northern Diver also briefly seen in that area. At the top-end of the Wareham Channel, 4+ Marsh Harrier were seen, as well as a burst of excitement with 1 White Tailed Eagle over Hyde’s Heath. On Arne Moors, c.200 Lapwing were making the most of the standing water, with 2 Green Sandpiper on the Swineham fields with a whole host of species feeding on the floodplain including Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew and c30 Starling.

A count of Holes Bay this morning included 150+ Cormorants, 100+ Avocet, 42 Oystercatcher and 1 Common Sandpiper. At Lytchett Bay, 3 Marsh Harrier and a late Swallow were seen this afternoon, as well as the juv. Curlew Sandpiper still present at Lytchett Fields. Highlights from Middlebere today included 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine, 1 Sparrowhawk, c.120 Avocet, c.50 Dunlin and an adult Yellow-Legged Gull. On Shipstal Point there were 34 Spoonbill and 2 Marsh Harrier were in Lytchett Bay. Finally, it seemed three different Marsh Harrier roosts came togther this AM as a max of 27 were logged around the Wareham Channel at dawn!

Lytchett Bay – Luke Westacott


Harbour Update – posted 22/11/22

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

Plenty going on today with 2 White-tailed Eagle in the Wareham Channel again this morning along with 7 Marsh Harrier. We received some late news of 2 Little Gull that were in Middlebere yesterday morning (an adult and 1st winter), with another seen in the harbour mouth today. At Shell Bay, there were 2 Great Northern Diver and a fly by Black-throated Diver, plus 124 Shag entered the harbour mouth at dawn. At Brands Bay there was a Great Northern Diver, two female Common Scoter, three Black-necked Grebes, 321 Wigeon, 26 Pintail and 6 Avocet. Later off Middle Beach, there was a Great Northern Diver, three Black-necked Grebes, two male Common Scoter and a Sandwich Tern. A Black Redstart was on a house roof in Canford Cliffs and 15 Spoonbill visited the Brownsea Lagoon. A poorly looking adult Kittiwake was sat on rocks in Holes Bay near the PCW Drain outflow.

Harbour Update – posted 21/11/22

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

Not surprising that most birding was rained off today, however, amazingly, data from the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation showed that there were 3 White-tailed Eagles back in the harbour again, the 3-year old G466 and two 2-year olds G801 and G486. They really seem to like decent weather and with these two sunny days we’ve had over the weekend, they obviously fancied a move about and come back to whats fast becoming one of their favourite areas on the south coast! A sea watch from Branksome Chine produced 4 adult Little Gull and 1 Black-throated Diver. For many years a Magpie roost has gathered at Hatch Pond during the winter and this evening Ian Ballam logged 184. At Baiter the first adult male Goldeneye of the winter was just off shore and there was an adult male Red-breasted Merganser on the main Poole Park lake. Other bits and bobs included a Black-necked Grebe in the harbour mouth, 7 Spoonbill on Brownsea and 5 at Shipstal Point, Arne. A Black Redstart has been on the roof of the Middlebere Barn over the last couple of days.

Finally, we started our Winter Safari series of boat trips a few weeks ago and they have started off with a bang, with a whole range of great birds seen during the trips including White-tailed Eagles, multiple Marsh Harrier, Eider ducks, Great Northern and Red-throated Divers, Spoonbills, masses of Avocets, godwits and Brent Geese, plus a whole load more. We’re hosting roughly 2 trips per week between now and the end of February, so if you want a chance to see and learn about the riches of the harbour, why not book on and join us. Our next trip is this coming Wednesday, November 23rd at 9am. We’re averaging between 50-60 species per trip so there’s a great chance to see and learn something new. To book, click HERE – https://www.birdsofpooleharbourbookings.co.uk/event/winter-safari

Grey Plover – Studland – Mark Wright

Ringed Plover – Studland – Mark Wright



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