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 May, 2023

Harbour Update – posted 30/05/23

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

The clear blue skies are perfect for birds of prey, with 4 Red Kite seen over Fleetsbridge this morning, and 1 near Lytchett Fields later on. Also at Lytchett Fields, one male Little Ringed Plover was present today on French’s Pool. In Lytchett Bay, 1 Osprey (likely 022) was reported as well as 1 Marsh Harrier and 2 Common Tern. Not quite in the Poole Harbour area, but a Squacco Heron was also reported near Wool this afternoon flying west along the River Frome – wouldn’t it be nice if it flew back towards the harbour?!

Very exciting update from the Osprey nest, as the first chick hatched shortly after 10pm last night, and the second early this afternoon. We’ve been treated to close up views of the first feeds today through our livestream webcams and hopefully it won’t be long before we see signs of hatching on egg number three!

Two chicks getting fed by CJ7 and 022 this afternoon

Harbour Update – posted 29/05/23

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

It’s an extremely exciting time to be watching the Poole Harbour Osprey webcam, as today we have two(!) eggs starting the hatching process! One chick is further along, regularly showing its beak out of a large hole in the egg which first appeared mid-morning, whereas the second is currently showing a small crack from the early afternoon. The typical incubation window for Osprey is 36-40 days (though there can be exceptions), and today marks day 38 for egg number one, and 35 days for egg number 2. Hatching can be a lengthy process, sometimes taking more than a day, but hopefully it won’t be too long until we see the first chick out of the egg, with the second not far behind. Our two webcams show different views of the nest, and the aerial cam is now coming into its own, giving us clear views of the progress when there is a break in incubation. You can WATCH BOTH OSPREY WEBCAM VIEWS HERE.

Our windy Spring Safari Cruise this morning delivered some great sightings, the highlight being a Black Tern in the Wareham Channel over the gull islands – unfortunately only seen by a few lucky people on the boat! Other highlights included Osprey 022 catching a fish in the Wareham Channel before quickly returning to the nest and at least 3 Hobby seen during the trip, firstly over Swineham Gravel Pit, a second high over RSPB Arne and the third putting on a good display over the north Brownsea shoreline while it hunted on the wing. There were 2 Little Ringed Plover on the scrapes at Swineham. Around 200 Black-tailed Godwit were feeding on the exposed mud near Gigger’s Island, where 1 Marsh Harrier was also active. Interestingly, 14 Avocet were logged on the Brownsea Lagoon, having only been 1 present over the last month or so, which could well be failed breeders from elsewhere who are now using the lagoon as an optimal feeding spot. Alongside the breeding Common and Sandwich Tern were 26 Bar-tailed Godwit, the 2 Dark-bellied Brent Geese that are seemingly over-summering. 1 White-tailed Eagle was also reported over Wareham this afternoon, heading in the direction of Sandford.

Osprey nest with 022 feeding on a fish. Egg number 1 is at the rear, with number 2 on the front right.

Harbour Update – posted 28/05/23

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

There was certainly a lot more going on today than yesterday! The continued warm weather obviously got the White-tailed Eagles going with sightings of individuals over Wareham Common, Sandford and the Wareham Channel. There was also Red Kite on the move again with 7 over Carey, 5 over Lytchett Bay, 1 over Fleetsbridge and 2 over RSPB Arne. The Poole Peregrine chick(s) have finally come into view with the first sighting of a chick precariously walking along the balcony edge of the nesting ledge. It’s not known whether there’s more than one yet but a group of keen watchers are visiting daily currently to keep an eye on them. On the Brownsea Lagoon there was a small number of waders including 28 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Dunlin, 1 Redshank, 1 Avocet and 1 Grey Plover as well as 2 dark-bellied Brent Geese. Yesterday a Great White Egret headed down the Piddle Valley.

Finally, we had some really exciting news today. Huge thanks to Tim Mackrill for speedy news and photographer Robert Lewis for allowing us to share this exciting picture, which appears to show an Osprey with blue ring 374. The photo was taken on May 13th in SW Wiltshire by Robert who recently shared the photo with Tim. The reason it’s so exciting is because blue 374 is one of our 2021 males, which is of course another great step for the project, because like male 022, it’s the males that eventually set up the territories in their natal area. In this case, Poole Harbour. Being two-years old 374 will probably spend the summer exploring the south coast, hence why he went to Wiltshire, but will hopefully return to the harbour area in July or August and begin looking for potential future nest sites in this area. There’s a high probability that he’s already visited the harbour upon his arrival, but just sneaked through un-seen. In fact on May 12th (the day before he was in Wiltshire) an Osprey was seen near the nest site with 022 briefly, which could easily have been him. This is fantastic news, and who knows, maybe the un-ringed female from earlier in the year may eventually find a mate and settle in Poole Harbour after all. Let’s just hope he doesn’t end up in Wales!

Male Osprey 374 – Wiltshire on May 13th – Robert Lewis

Peregrine on Barclays Balcony –

Harbour Update – posted 27/05/23

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

A quiet Saturday on the whole, but good to see more Hobby around now having been absent for most of May! Our Osprey watch point this afternoon logged a couple feeding high over the Frome and Piddle Valley and they were also logged at Morden Bog, Hartland and Middlebere. A few more Red Kite were moving with 3 over Fleetsbridge, 1 over the Piddle Valley, 1 Morden Bog and 1 over Lytchett Bay. There was a single Cuckoo at Hydes Heath, RSPB Arne and a Spotted Flycatcher on the edge of the woodland.

Harbour Update – posted 26/05/23

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

It was another scorcher across the harbour today, especially by mid-afternoon. It’s getting to that time of year when other interesting focuses can easily distract you from the birds but don’t get too distracted as there’s still plenty to find. In recent years we’ve been made aware of up to 3 Nightingale territories around the harbour area and in recent weeks we’ve a found Grasshopper Warbler on territory. With this in mind, it highlights that these species are out there and likely under recorded. The interesting thing about the ‘Gropper’ is that it’s only singing at night, meaning others could be out there in suitable habitat but just not being heard. Therefore we’d be really keen to know if anyone has any other interesting reports of possible territories of Nightingale, Grasshopper Warbler or anything else for that matter. Even species like Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher and Garden Warbler are all scarce breeders around the harbour, so information of potential breeding sites would be helpful to know. For the welfare of the birds, please don’t publish the locations on social media, but instead either email (sightings@birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk) or ‘DM’ us on Twitter or Facebook.

Back to today, it was mainly the raptors keeping things going again. with 2 Red Kite over Brownsea, 1 over Lytchett Bay/Upton and 1 over Arne. The 2 White-tailed Eagles were in the Wareham Channel first thing before heading off north, we a had a stunning adult Hobby over the Osprey viewing platform today and 2 Marsh Harrier were in the Wareham Channel. A Spoonbill was on Brownsea first thing, along with 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Avocet, 2 Grey Plover, 5 Dunlin and 1 Redshank. 

Harbour Update – posted 25/05/23

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

Only a handful of sightings today, despite the decent weather… Monitoring reports from the Peregrine nest on the old Barclays building in Poole showed the first evidence that there are at least two chicks within the nest. We expect it will be around a month until the young show signs of fledging, and hopefully soon it will be confirmed whether there is a third chick present. Today also marks 34 days since the first Osprey egg was laid on the Carey nest, which means hatching could begin from this weekend. Incubation typically lasts 36-40 days, making Saturday the start of the hatching window.

Additional to yesterday’s sightings, the two Eider (female and immature male) were present again in Shell bay, roosting on a rock not far from the beach.

Eider – Shell Bay – Seb Haggett

Harbour Update – posted 24/05/23

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

Summer is really kicking in now with the car dashboard temp reaching 24 degrees today, meaning the Osprey pair were panting pretty much non-stop all day on the nest cam, as they attempted to stay cool. This evening 3 Great White Egret flew in high over Wareham Common, circled a few times and headed off NW. Then this evening a Cattle Egret roosted on the Brownsea Lagoon. There were 3 White-tailed Eagle in and around the Wareham Channel for most of the day. A Spoonbill was also on the Brownsea Lagoon today with 3 Avocet, 2 dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Greenshank and 6 Bar-tailed Godwit.

Great White Egret – Wareham Common – Trevor Warwick

Harbour Update – posted 23/05/23

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

Another stunning day across the harbour. The White-tailed Eagles put on a good show for our Spring Safari Cruise this AM with male G463 flying in from the south over Swineham and settling on the edge of the Wareham Channel and his mate G466 soaring high over RSPB Arne being mobbed by a minute Buzzard! There were Marsh Harrier active in and around the top end of the Wareham Channel and a male Goshawk was high over Slepe Heath. On the Swineham scrapes c40 winter plumaged Black-tailed Godwit were feed and a few Common Redshank were displaying. A few Lapwing, Swift and Swallow were moving around and 5 Cetti’s Warbler were along the river. On Brownsea a lone Spoonbill was roosting on the lagoon and there were 3 passage Sanderling and 9 Dunlin with 8 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 dark-bellied Brent Geese. At Studland the 2 Eider (1 female and 1 juv male) were still out in Shell Bay, Studland.

Common Seal – Wareham Channel – Alison Copland

White-tailed Eagle – Wareham Channel – Alison Copland

Harbour Update – posted 22/05/23

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

A blanket of low cloud and a cold northerly wind was all in needed to see a decent push of Swift arrive in off the sea with small parties pulsing through on a broad front. There seemed to be a corridor of birds that were following a line over South Haven, Studland which headed NE over Brownsea and continued on. In a short watch c151 were logged with roughly another 100 further south over Ballard. Also over South Haven were 3 Spotted Flycatcher which seems insignificant compared to to c200 that came in off the sea at Portland this morning. Later in the day there were 3 Spotted Flycatcher at Wareham Walls, and 4 along the Middlebere track. At Lytchett Bay there were 6 Sanderling in the bay and there were 2 White-tailed Eagle in the Wareham Channel area. A Red Kite was over Upton, 2 Hobby were at Slepe Heath.

Harbour Update – posted 21/05/23

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

Stunning weather for our Spring Safari Cruise this morning immediately produced 2 White-tailed Eagles on the saltmarsh at Holton opposite Rockley Point and a hunting Osprey soaring along the shoreline behind them. Further up the Wareham Channel we were treated to a Hobby right over the boat whilst watching the 200+ Black-tailed Godwit on the Stilt Pools at Swineham. Other highlights from that area were 4 Cetti’s Warbler, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Barnacle Goose, and on Brownsea Lagoon 2 Brent Geese, 2 Avocet, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, plus plenty of Sandwich and Common Tern.

It was a good day for raptors all round with White-tailed Eagles also seen at Arne and Lytchett Bay, as many as 7 Hobby seen over Slepe Heath (plus Cuckoo heard), and Red Kites reported on the move once again in several locations.

White-tailed Eagle – Middlebere – Kate Plater


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