Poole Harbour sightings blog

A record of all interesting and notable sightings from around the harbour throughout the year.

Latest Sightings

Archive for April, 2023

Harbour Update – posted 30/04/23

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

Despite no rain being forecast for this morning, a steady band slowly passed on through, depositing multiple hirundines along the way with Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin gathering in numbers around Swineham and Arne Moors, along with 5-10 Common Swift. The Forster’s Tern was on the Brownsea Lagoon again by midday along with decent numbers of Common Tern and Sandwich Tern now on their breeding islands, courting, displaying and mating. Around the Swineham/Arne Moors area there was a minimum of 3 Great White Egret and a Marsh Harrier was over Swineham Point. A White-tailed Eagle was in the Wareham Channel, sat out on Shag Looe spit and a mixed flock of c100 Black-tailed Godwit, c30 Dunlin, 4 Grey Plover and 1 Whimbrel were in the mouth of the Frome. Around Hartland both Cuckoo and Hobby were seen, there was a single Yellow Wagtail on the Stilt Pools at Swineham.

Forster’s Tern – Brownsea Lagoon from Spring Safari – Alison Copland

Great White Egret – Swineham from Spring Safari – Alison Copland

Whimbrel – Swineham from Spring Safari – Alison Copland

Harbour Update – posted 29/04/23

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

What a stunner of a day, despite the thick fog early doors. Best of the day was the Forster’s Tern being seen again on the Brownsea Lagoon, although it wasn’t located at any other site during the course of the day. A Garden Warbler was in the PCW Drain, there were 8 Reed Warblers singing around Holes Bay this morning and a total of 7 Whimbrel and a Common Sandpiper by Twin Sails Bridge. An Osprey was seen in Lytchett Bay this morning, a Great White Egret flew past the Ham Common viewpoint and there were 12 Whimbrel in Middlebere. Yesterday 4 different Great White Egret were present by late evening with 1 on Arne Moors and 3 in the Frome Valley. Swifts were passing over in small numbers during the course of the day, the White-tailed Eagle pair were in the Wareham Channel for a few hours after sunrise.

Garden Warbler – PCW Drain, Fleetsbridge – David Foster

Harbour Update – posted 28/04/23

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

Another eventful day with yesterdays murk melting away over night. It was great to see the Forster’s Tern re-appear this morning with news it had been seen in Middlebere, then off Shipstal point, Arne and then back on the Brownsea Lagoon again by late afternoon. Chances are it just went undetected during yesterdays foul weather. A check of the gull islands this morning for signs of bird flu highlight that for now, all is well, and in fact, the islands currently look well stocked with Mediterranean Gulls. We’ll be out on the morning of May 7th surveying the gull islands under licence, with the aim of establishing a full breeding total for both Black-headed Gull and Med Gull. A quick count this morning logged 135 Med Gull spread across the three islands. Also in the Wareham Channel the White-tailed Eagle pair looked settled out on Shag Looe spit, before taking off around 10am, gaining height and drifting off towards the coast. This afternoon a big push of Swallow and House Martin came through with several hundred passing over on a broad front, in with them were 11 Swift. This morning a Glossy Ibis crossed Arne Bay, heading towards Poole, and at Lytchett Bay this morning 19 Whimbrel headed off north and 4 Wheatear were across the site. In Brands Bay there were still 2 dark-bellied Brent Geese and there were also 10 Whimbrel. 

However, the best (and now almost predictable news) today was that one of our 2-year old Ospreys from our 2021 translocation returned back to the UK for the first time. This is incredibly early with most 2-year olds not arriving back until later in May or even June! The twist is like twice before, this female, known as 372, didn’t return here to Poole, but in fact dropped in briefly on a nest site in Wales…..just like 014 and 019 have done in previous years. We were sent a screen grab today from John Williams of 372 briefly landing on a nest cam at the Llyn Clwedog site. This is great as it means the 2-year olds are now on their way, although it would be nice if a few more ‘Poole Males’ dropped by…..we’re sure they will over time. All great stuff though!!

A now typical scene with White-tailed Eagle pair G463 and G466 in Wareham Channel this AM

Harbour Update – posted 27/04/23

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

It was a day of ‘general’ sightings today, but still a mix of spring and winter birds. There seemed to have been a mini fall with 8+ Common Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Sedge Warbler, c5 Blackcap, 5 Swallow and 1 male Wigeon in the PCW Drain and in Holes Bay NE this evening 3 Common Sandpiper. At Whitley Lake, Sandbanks there were still 48 Bar-tailed Godwit feeding on the low tide with a Wheatear there. Off Middle Beach, Studland there was 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Eider and 1 Common Scoter with 1 Yellow Wagtail and 1 Tree Pipit over there. At Swineham there were 3 Common Swift over the gravel pit and there seemed to be an increase in Reed and Sedge Warbler around the the site and a Cuckoo calling and 3 Little Ringed Plover on the Piddle Valley scrape. The White-tailed Eagle pair were in the Wareham Channel and there were Osprey sightings both in the Wareham Channel and Lytchett Bay. At Hatch Pond there were 4 Reed Warbler singing and 1 Common Sandpiper. There was no sign of the Forster’s Tern anywhere today, but on the plus side, female Osprey CJ7 did lay a 3rd egg this afternoon around 16:18. Now we just need to wait until the end of May to hopefully see the first chick hatch.

Female Osprey CJ7 and her 3 eggs in the rain!

Harbour Update – posted 26/04/23

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

We couldn’t have asked for a better Spring Safari Cruise this morning, with the Forster’s Tern giving us close fly-bys at the end of the Wareham Channel after being active in Lytchett Bay shortly beforehand. A confiding Little Tern added to the excitement, also in the Wareham Channel near Gigger’s Island, while we had a close-up view of a Hobby catching a passerine over the boat! 3 Marsh Harrier were also active in the area, as well as 2 White-tailed Eagle on Shag Looe Head. Other highlights included c.60 Sand Martin and 10 Swallow feeding over the gravel pit at Swineham and 3 Whimbrel were foraging on the shoreline of Arne. Brownsea Lagoon featured numbers of 15 Avocet, 150 Black-tailed Godwit, 50 Bar-tailed Godwit, 30 Dunlin and 1 Dark-bellied Brent Geese. c.100 Sandwich Tern and 30 Common Tern were also active on and around the Lagoon. 1 Osprey was seen hunting in Lytchett Bay at around midday. At South Haven, 1 male Black Redstart was reported this morning, as well as a late Great Northern Diver flying in high over the harbour entrance.

Hobby – Wareham Channel, from Spring Safari Cruise – Robin Morrison

Harbour Update – posted 25/04/23

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

Another decent day, with yesterdays Forster’s Tern doing the right thing and reappearing in Lytchett Bay early doors, before then departing back to Brownsea for an afternoon rest, before then heading back to Lytchett Bay this evening briefly according to the bird info services and then settling on Brownsea tonight in the tern roost. There was a sweet cherry on top of the Forster’s Tern shaped cake for some birders when a Red-rumped Swallow whizzed by with Barn Swallow on the west side of Lytchett Bay this morning. From our School Bird Boat this AM, it was a sheer joy to show the group the White-tailed Eagle pair soaring over Arne.

Forster’s Tern – Lytchett Bay – Clive Hargrave

Harbour Update – posted 24/04/23

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

Wow, plenty of excitement today. With yesterdays Forster’s Tern known to have roosted on the Brownsea Lagoon last night it was a case of covering all bases this morning to see if anyone could track it down. There were birders at the harbour entrance, the Brownsea lagoon, off the Hamworthy shoreline and waiting in Lytchett Bay, just in case on the off chance it decided to venture back after yesterdays short jaunt there. It was all quiet for the first hour of day light, that was until the bird was miraculously found sitting on a marker buoy off Hamworthy Beach around 8am. It soon lifted and headed straight back to Lytchett Bay where an eager group were waiting in hope that there was a repeat of yesterdays performance. And perform it did. For several hours it toured Lytchett Bay giving great views to the various people who had traveled to see it and who waited patiently and different viewpoints. It was gone by mid-afternoon but just like last night, it appeared on the Brownsea Lagoon webcam this evening possibly suggesting it could be on show for a third day tomorrow. We’re sure the Lytchett Bay crew will be covering all bases again tomorrow and will make it known if it re-appears during the morning. Whilst watching the tern, multiple other birds were seen with an Osprey fishing in the bay, 2 White-tailed Eagle over the Wareham Channel, a Red Kite and a Hobby over Lytchett Fields and 3 Common Ringed Plover and 3 Little Ringed Plover on Lytchett Fields. On Brownsea 5 Common Sandpiper were along the eastern shoreline, there were c70 Common Tern on the lagoon with c20 Avocet. At the harbour entrance 2 Yellow Wagtail flew over.

This evening female Osprey CJ7 laid her 2nd egg of the season which is great news. Not so great is the fact that the male then brought in another big lump of plastic which is now hanging over the side of the nest. Hopefully it will dry out and blow away in due course.

Forster’s Tern – Lytchett Bay – Ian Ballam

Common Ringed Plover and Little Ringed Plover – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 23/04/23

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

A fantastic record at Lytchett Bay this afternoon, with a winter plumage Forster’s Tern reported from Rock Lea Viewpoint, last seen near the Sherford mouth. Interestingly, the description matches that of a tern seen by one of the crew members on our Spring Safari Cruise this morning on a buoy off Hamworthy beach, so we’re very keen to receive any photos of terns seen from the boat today. Then, later this evening, just as it was getting totally dark, it appeared on our Brownsea Lagoon webcam in amongst the tern roost. What a Poole Harbour record!

2 Common Sandpiper on the Quay also made for a nice start to the cruise this morning, with the harbour bustling with activity. Aerial interactions between Osprey 022 and two White-tailed Eagles over Arne as we tracked down the Wareham Channel were an undeniable highlight, as well as a distant Hobby over Arne Moors. At least 3 Marsh Harrier were active over Keysworth and Swineham, and 1 Red Kite flew south over Arne Moors. 20+ Swallow and 10 Sand Martin were over Swineham, with vocalisations of Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, 3+ Cetti’s Warbler and Reed Bunting adding to the spring atmosphere. Brownsea Lagoon was busy, with 40+ Sandwich Tern and at least 20 Common Tern present, as well as 2 Greenshank, 60 Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Avocet, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Dunlin and 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose. There were 3 Wheatear seen on Brownsea sea wall, and 7 Sanderling on the beach. Elsewhere, more warbler activity at Lytchett Bay View this morning, including 1 Garden Warbler, 3+ Reed Warbler, 2 Willow Warbler and 1 Sedge Warbler. Also in Lytchett Bay, 1 unringed Osprey was seen hunting this afternoon, with 10 Whimbrel, 3 Greenshank and couple of early Swift amongst the hirundines. At Morden Bog, 5 Woodlark and 1 Wheatear were seen, as well as 1 Cuckoo heard.

Today was also the last day at BoPH for our brilliant Events Manager Joe, who will be heading over to Lundy Island for his new position as the Bird Observatory Warden in a few weeks time. He’s been an absolute asset to the charity over the last 3 and a half years, and we wish him the best of luck in his new role – Lundy are lucky to have him!

Flat-calm conditions in the Wareham Channel this morning


Harbour Update – posted 22/04/23

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

After the laying of Osprey pair CJ7’s and 022’s first egg yesterday evening, the pair got straight down to business today, sharing incubation duties on and off throughout the day. All seems in good shape for another laying in the next couple of days. The White-tailed Eagle pair were also around today too, with G466 and G463 seen flying over Coombe Heath, RSPB Arne. Near Godlingdston Heath 2 Tree Pipit were singing, 4 Wheatear were at Greenlands Farm, the Barnacle Goose was still at Swineham, a Cuckoo was calling on Slepe Heath and there were singles of Whinchat, Whitethroat and Wheatear on Hartland.

White-tailed Eagle G466 – Over Coombe Heath – Mark Wright

White-tailed Eagle G463 – Over Coombe Heath – Mark Wright

Male Osprey 022 incubating on the nest

Harbour Update – posted 21/04/23

Posted on: April 21st, 2023 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Well, she kept us waiting, but female Osprey CJ7 finally laid her first egg of the season this evening, and what better time to do it than a Friday tea time when hundreds of people could tune in. Luckily for us we were watching at the time and were able to send the link out via social media, but between the two cameras we reckon around 300 people watched the moment live. Although CJ7 arrived on March 31st, it seems her natural laying cycle tends to be around now, with her first egg being on April 23rd last year. Anyway, all being well we should see a second egg around Monday and hopefully a third (and who knows……a fourth) next week some time. Incubation will now be around 37 days, and during that time both CJ7 and 022 will adopt incubation duties. So, lets all keep everything crossed for a successful season ahead. Of course, 1 pair doesn’t constitute the reestablishment of a population, so we’re now also looking forward the return of of some of our 2021 youngsters that were released as part of the reintroduction, which all being well will return in May and June.

Elsewhere around the harbour House Martin have really arrived in numbers with several hundred moving through during the course of the day. At Lytchett Bay an adult male Common Redstart was in scrub at at South Beach, Studland a female Pied Flycatcher was in scrub. At Swineham a Ruff was on the Stilt Pools along with 4 Little Ringed Plover and a Yellow Wagtail. A White-tailed Eagle flew over Wareham train station this afternoon, in Holes Bay south there were 4 Whimbrel and at Morden Bog 2 Cuckoo were calling and 3 Tree Pipit were singing. A Ring Ouzel was in the Ulwell Gap, an Osprey passed over Brownsea where the last remaining Avocet seemed to be courting.




Call 01202 641 003