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 March, 2023

Harbour Update – posted 31/03/23

Posted on: March 31st, 2023 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Well March disappeared as quickly as it arrived! We’re now approaching April with not one, not two but THREE Ospreys interested in the Poole Harbour nest platform thanks to the safe and welcome return of CJ7 early this morning. It’s fantastic to see last year’s breeding female (and local celebrity) back on the nest, but it seems the intruding female is not going to give up without a fight – very interesting hours, days and weeks ahead! Elsewhere, the harbour received limited coverage with the weather providing little inspiration to venture out! A high tide count on Brownsea Lagoon featured 102 Avocet, 58 Bar-tailed Godwit, 176 Black-tailed Godwit, 18 Dunlin, 2 Spoonbill, 6 Mediterranean Gull and a surprising 27 Lesser Black-backed Gull exploiting the site’s shelter and Lytchett Fields enjoyed a Willow Warbler along Arable Field hedgerow.

Poole Harbour Osprey Nest Cam (left to right: 022, unringed female, CJ7)

Close up of CJ7 on the nest platform

Harbour Update – posted 30/03/23

Posted on: March 30th, 2023 by Birds of Poole Harbour

When are we going to see some decent sunshine and warmth? I think we’ve all had enough of this blowy wet weather. It certainly hasn’t delivered too much, other than a lot of Sand Martin at Swineham with c600 there yesterday with 20 Swallow. There was one exciting encounter today when an Osprey and White-tailed Eagle had a minor dispute over the Wareham Channel this morning, a sight that we saw a few times last summer but seemed to have a bit more aggression tagged to it today. In this instance, it seemed the Osprey won! At the nest site today, there were actually 3 different Osprey interacting, possibly suggesting CJ7 had arrived back, although it turned out just to be a passing visitor which was soon  seen off. At Lytchett Fields a Little Ringed Plover was on the fields and 3 Wheatear were on site.

Osprey seeing of White-tailed Eagle – Wareham Channel – John Thorp

Harbour Update – posted 29/03/23

Posted on: March 29th, 2023 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another windy and wet day but with plenty of birdsong in the air nonetheless. A count at Holes Bay produced 660 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Avocet, 3 Brent Geese, 79 Shelduck, 261 Teal, 59 Wigeon, 8 Mallard, 8 Shoveler, 5 Pintail and 25 Mute Swan. Activity on the Osprey nest has stepped up a gear, with both 022 and the unringed female bringing in nesting material and making at least 3 mating attempts today. There are still a few days to go until CJ7’s typical return date, which is usually in the first week of April, so it will be interesting to see what unfolds before then. It is very positive to have another female interested in breeding in Poole Harbour, regardless of whether CJ7 returns in the next week and the events that follow. Hopefully a sign of the exciting season to come!

Unringed female and 022 Mating Attempt 

022 on Nestcam




Harbour Update – posted 28/03/23

Posted on: March 28th, 2023 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Back to the wet stuff today, added with some pretty blowy conditions. Not ideal for our ‘spring’ cruise this AM, but a whole suit of Marsh Harriers put on a good show, plus there were 50+ Sand Martin over Swineham GP with 2 Swallow. On the Brownsea Lagoon a single Spoonbill was hiding from the wind, plus there were 9 Sanderling, c30 Grey Plover, c40 Avocet, 1 Greenshank, c30 Bar-tailed Godwit, 100+ Black-tailed Godwit and 8 Sandwich Tern. There were still at least c100 dark-bellied Brent Geese spread across the area and c20 Red-breasted Merganser. Elsewhere a Hoopoe was reported from a private Poole garden, at Lytchett Fields there were 2 Little Ringed Plover and a Spotted Redshank plus another Little Ringed Plover at Sunnyside. There were 2 Cattle Egret in the Frome Valley near the Wareham bypass causeway and our male Osprey 022 was yet again joined by the flirtatious un-ringed female on the nest cam. The White-tailed Eagles were off Shag Loo spit in the Wareham Channel at dawn and moved to Arne Bay later in the afternoon.

Finally, although our trip around the harbour this morning was only a few hours in total, the good news is that we saw little initial evidence of birds that have been impacted by the oil spill. The Brownsea team did report 15 stained/discoloured birds on the lagoon this morning, so there certainly has been some contact made. The harbour-wide survey we’re conducting on Sunday afternoon will hopefully begin to build a better picture of the true scale of this issue.

Harbour Update – posted 27/03/23

Posted on: March 27th, 2023 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Firstly, we’d like to thank everyone for their kind words of support over the last 24 hours, it’s been incredibly heart-warming. The full extent of what’s happened is still unclear, but internally we’re working on plans to start assessing the initial impacts by organising an emergency WeBS (Wetland bird Survey) count this coming Sunday. This will assess current bird totals, but will also identify where birds are spending their time and if any birds have been physically impacted by the spill. This will provide an initial baseline of the situation, one that we hope doesn’t highlight too many issues. Although we’ll just have to wait and see.

Back to the more positive news, it was actually a great day for birds across the harbour including no less than 4 different Osprey present. When male 022 and an un-ringed individual were on the nest cam, 2 others were present out in the Wareham Channel. At lytchett Fields the harbours first Willow Warbler of the spring was logged and there were 3 Little Ringed Plover on Lytchett Fields. Also at the fields were a summer plumaged Water Pipit, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Red Kite and 2 White-tailed Eagles. Swineham was decent too with the drake Garganey still on the Stilt Pool, a Willow Warbler was near Ridge Wharf boat yard, a Pochard was on the pit and there were 45 Sand Martin and 4 Swallow over the pit. Our male Osprey 022 half-heartedly tried to start nest building but was distracted by what looked like 2 different individuals landing on his nest over the course of the day. CJ7 had better hurry up! There were 3 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon and at the harbour entrance 3 Brambling passed over with another feeding below the feeders at Arne. In Shell Bay 3 Eider were still just off Pilots Point and a Goshawk flew through Middlebere.

Road testing the new ‘zooooooom’ function on our new Osprey Nest Cam.

Male Osprey 022 looking ready!

Two different un-ringed Osprey on the nest cam during the course of the day?

Harbour Update – posted 26/03/23

Posted on: March 26th, 2023 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The day kicked off in the most magical way, with the return of our breeding male Osprey 022!! He landed on the livestream nest just after 7 am this morning, much to everyone’s jubilation, indicating that he likely arrived some time yesterday! That would make him a full 17 days ahead of his return date from last year (April 10th), but this isn’t entirely unexpected: as a young male he has yet to settle into a regular pattern on migration and has consistently shown an advanced timings for a bird of his age. His successful breeding season here last year will likely have spurred him on to return early to defend his territory. The biggest surprise though came less than a minute later, when he was joined on the camera by a mystery un-ringed female! She’s probably a passage bird that followed him back to the nest, and given how early she has arrived herself may be on her way back to her own nest somewhere further north. It will be interesting to see whether she sticks around until CJ7 returns!

The pair departed the nest in quick succession around 9:30 am and headed towards the Wareham Channel, where our Spring Safari Cruise attendees were already stationed watching 2 White-tailed Eagle on the Keysworth shoreline. 022 began hunting in the mouth of the River Frome before heading towards Lytchett Bay, where he caught a Flounder and returned with it to the nest. The female followed a similar route, and was soon lost from view, but our boat-goers were already distracted by Marsh Harrier displaying over Gigger’s island. We then continued upstream to look into the Swineham Stilt Pools, where yesterday’s male Garganey was once again present amongst the Teal, Shoveler and Gadwall. It was around again in the evening, along with 3 Swallow over Swineham Point.

A quick look into Brownsea Lagoon before the end of the boat delivered good numbers of Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Avocet and Sanderling. Other highlights were 30 Brent Geese in the Wareham Channel, an abundance of recently arrived Sandwich Tern commuting past us as we moved through the harbour, one of the Peregrine on the crane on Poole Quay as we departed, and a Great White Egret overhead shortly beforehand – presumably the same bird that was seen over Lytchett Bay not long later. Also present here were 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Spotted Redshank and 2 Sand Martin over the fields.

022 and un-ringed female Osprey land on Livestream nest for first time in 2023

022 photographed from Spring Safari Cruise – Wareham Channel – Alison Copland

Harbour Update – posted 25/03/23

Posted on: March 25th, 2023 by Birds of Poole Harbour

March stepped up a notch today with more decent birds arriving. The first drake Garganey of the spring was on the Swineham scrapes this morning and was soon followed by an Osprey which was seen hunting out in the Wareham Channel around 10am. Also at Swineham was 1 Swallow with 4 Sand Martin and a Merlin was hunting over Swineham Point. At roughly the same time 2 White-tailed Eagles were over Lytchett Bay and headed out towards the Wareham Channel. A Red Kite was also over Lytchett Bay and a male Goshawk was in Middlebere. Later this afternoon another Osprey was seen over Wareham Common and this evening the 3 Cattle Egret were again off Rock Lea View, Lytchett Bay with a Spotted Redshank and 1 Water Pipit on Lytchett Fields. Amazingly a Hobby was also over Hartland this afternoon and this morning 9 Marsh Harrier came out of the west harbour roost.

Distant Osprey over Wareham Channel from Hydes Heath, RSPB Arne – John Thorpe

Harbour Update – posted 24/03/23

Posted on: March 24th, 2023 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Still no sign of this wind letting up, although early next week looks good for some more migrant arrivals. Today sightings were pretty thin on the ground but did included 2 Spoonbill and a Little Ringed Plover on Brownsea, 1 Water Pipit at Lytchett Bay, 2 White-tailed Eagle in the Wareham Channel, 1 Swallow at Lytchett Bay and 3 Marsh Harrier at Swineham.

Also, now that our new Osprey cameras are up and running and being live streamed in goodness knows how many houses, offices and classrooms across the country, we thought it would be a nice idea to provide an overview of last year’s events, providing significant dates relating to various milestones during the season. To complement this information, our volunteer Alison Copland has compiled a wonderful video which features multiple heart-warming, funny (and some not so funny) sequences that have been clipped from last year’s live stream.

We estimate it’s only between 10-15 days until our pair could return back, possibly even sooner considering how strong the winds have been coming up from southern Europe over the next week. These strong winds could provide perfect migrating conditions for many migrating birds, not just Ospreys, as they use the tail wind to travel across larger than normal areas on route back to breeding grounds. In fact, we even heard today, that a female Osprey that nests up on the borders returned 9 days early today!

Having watched the video multiple times since Alison sent it to us, it’s easy to forget just how eventful, exciting and fascinating last seasons escapades were. We hope you enjoy the video and are keeping everything crossed for another (even better) successful year.

For reference, below the video is a list of significant dates from last year’s breeding season.

Poole Osprey Season 2022 Overview Film

Poole Osprey Season 2022 Overview

  • April 5th – CJ7 arrives back and lands on her new nest platform
  • April 10th – 022 arrives back and joins CJ7 on new nest platform
  • April 23rd – 1st egg is laid
  • April 26th 2nd egg is laid
  • April 29th – 3rd egg is laid
  • 31st May – 1st egg hatches
  • June 3rd – 2nd egg hatches
  • July 4th – chicks are ringed
  • July 23rd – chick 5H1 fledges
  • July 25th – chick 5H2 fledges
  • Aug 3rd – un-ringed Osprey ‘notch-wing’ lands on the nest for the first time
  • August 5th – Goshawk attack on chick 5H2
  • August 8th – chick 5H2 sadly died
  • August 24th  – 5H1 migrated
  • August 28th – CJ7 migrated
  • Sept 10th – 022 migrated

Harbour Update – posted 23/03/23

Posted on: March 23rd, 2023 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A rather uninspiring day with most birding taken place gazing out the window! An Osprey through Hampshire a reminder that spring is slowly unravelling, however little to report locally. A Spotted Redshank is still present at Lytchett Bay along with 800+ Black-tailed Godwit. A White-tailed Eagle was also over the Bay airspace and an early Hobby was reported over Ferndown Common. Chiffchaff passage continues, and a metal ringed individual with a pollen horn in the Piddle Valley was a clear sign of spring migration. At Holes Bay, a Sandwich Tern and Common Snipe were the highlights in the SW sector. The super high tide saw salt marshes inundated across the harbour, and Swineham Point was no different enjoying Merlin, 2 Marsh Harrier and vocal Cetti’s Warblers. Late report of 3 House Martin over Brand’s Bay.

Harbour Update – posted 22/03/23

Posted on: March 22nd, 2023 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With possibly only a week or two left until the main bulk of Ospreys start arriving back into the UK, we were thrilled to be able to re-launch our Osprey nest cam(s) today with several improvements on last year, including two new camera angles and now sound as well! All we need now is some Ospreys. These new angles should give us all the views we need to be able to see and hear all of this years comings and goings, including the hatching, raising and fledging of more wild Osprey chicks later in the year. Here’s a blog giving an overview of the new camera set ups, including an update on the status of the old nest cam – New Osprey Nest Cam Blog

The weather today once again didn’t fill many birders with joy as strong winds bellowed across the harbour. Highlights including 2 House Martin in off the sea at Middle Beach, Studland with 2 summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe still out in Studland Bay. A Little Ringed Plover was at Lytchett Fields, at Swineham 3 Swallow, 19 Sand Martin and a drake Pochard were on and over the gravel pit and the White-tailed Eagle pair were in the Wareham Channel again this morning.


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