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 July, 2023

Harbour Update – posted 31/07/23

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

July didn’t really deliver the weather, but it certainly provided some decent early autumn birding and migration, and with August landing tomorrow, there’s a whole lot more on the way! Today, despite the rain, the Forster’s Tern was showing again briefly off Shipstal Beach, RSPB Arne and in Middlebere a Wood Sandpiper was seen then headed off over Arne and there were 10 Spoonbill in Middlebere this morning too. Having gone missing for 2-3 weeks, male Osprey 374 made a brief appearance on a harbour nest platform this evening. Hopefully he’ll stick around now and try to ‘whoo’ a female over the coming weeks and maybe ‘adopt’ a nest platform somewhere? Waders at Lytchett Fields this morning saw 97 Redshank, 33 Dunlin, 33 Black-tailed Godwit,12 Green Sandpiper, 5 Greenshank, 2 Curlew, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Oystercatcher, 1 Whimbrel and a juv Little Ringed Plover and this afternoon an Osprey flew in low over the bay before being seen off by gulls. Both White-tailed Eagles were in the harbour this morning before male G463 went off for a wander around the Purbeck’s before coming back to the Wareham Channel this evening.

Male Osprey 374 on harbour nest platform briefly this evening


Harbour Update – posted 30/07/23

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

Despite the foul weather today, the weather held off for our Sunset Safari Cruise this evening and the rewards for heading out were well worth it with good views of the Forster’s Tern fishing off the side of the boat in the Wareham Channel, soon followed by a decent flying show of the White-tailed Eagle pair before they drifted off over RSPB Arne. An adult female Marsh Harrier flew close by near Giggers Island and c20 Swift were still around as the bombed off west over Swineham. The Brownsea north shore held c10 Common Sandpiper and 2 Turnstone and there were 4 Turnstone near the Hamworthy shore. On Brownsea the Avocet family were looking good and c40 Dunlin were feeding, plus the dark-bellied Brent Goose was still present and big numbers of gulls and terns were roosting on the lagoon. Elsewhere today the Pied Flycatcher was still at Shell Beach, next to the boardwalk, the Wood Sandpiper was at Sunnyside again, there were 2 more Turnstone on Lytchett Fields (the first for the Lytchett Bay area this year) and the Forster’s Tern spent most of the day off Shipstal Beach at RSPB Arne where there was also 1 Knot and a juv Yellow-legged Gull with 2 more on the Swineham Scrapes. At Holme Lane the Barnacle Goose was still there.

Wood Sandpiper – Sunnyside Scrape (yesterday) – Peter Moore

Harbour Update – posted 29/07/23

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

A really nice range of birds were logged from around the harbour today. New in were a Wood Sandpiper on the Sunnyside scrape and at Lytchett Bay an adult un-ringed Osprey caught a fish and headed off SW. The Forster’s Tern was giving decent pre-longed views off Shipstal Point, RSPB Arne today much to the delight of numerous birders who’d missed it on previous occasions. In Middlebere there were 8 Spoonbill this morning along with 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper and 2 Whimbrel. At Lytchett Fields this evening there were 6 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpiper and 1 Whimbrel. The White-tailed Eagle pair are becoming a bit more active again having spent the last 2 months not really leaving the Wareham Channel, but today they were over RSPB and Lytchett Bay. At Holme Lane GP the Barnacle Goose was still hanging out with some Egyptian Geese and a Common Sandpiper was on the pit edge.

Forster’s Tern – Shipstal Beach, RSPB Arne – Peter Moore

Harbour Update – posted 28/07/23

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

Today the Forster’s Tern was again off Shipstal Beach, RSPB Arne and was joined by 11 Bar-tailed Godwit and a single Knot on the salt marsh. In Brands Bay a White-tailed Eagle drifted over and a lone dark-bellied Brent Goose was was out in front of the hide. There was a report of a Curlew Sandpiper on the Brownsea Lagoon a Marsh Harrier visited the Osprey nest site and at Lytchett Heath a ringing session logged 5 Grasshopper Warbler, 15 Sedge Warbler and 7 Willow Warbler migrating through.

Harbour Update – posted 27/07/23

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

Good news for anyone looking to connect with the Forster’s Tern, it seems to be spending time on the salt marsh around Shipstal Beach RSPB Arne in between feeds. It also seems to be feeding in the channel off Shipstal Beach, so some time spent in that area could pay off. Please don’t go beyond the rope barrier at the end of Shipstal Beach that leads onto the salt marsh. There was also another Pied Flycatcher, this time at South Haven, Studland along with a passage Garden Warbler. At Lytchett Fields there was 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 39 Black-tailed Godwit, 71 Redshank, 24 Dunlin, 4 Greenshank, 4 Whimbrel, 4 Green Sandpiper and 2 Curlew. In Middlebere there were 7 Spoonbill with 1 Knot, 11 Bar-tailed Godwit and c50 Black-tailed Godwit. The 2 over-summering Eider were off Pilots Point, Studland and the Barnacle Goose and a Common Sandpiper were still at Holme Lane GP.

Forster’s Tern – Shipstal Beach, RSPB Arne – Garry Hayman

Harbour Update – posted 26/07/23

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

Things started off promising, but by late afternoon the day had finished off as a damp squib! That said, the Forster’s Tern was once again seen off Shipstal Beach, RSPB Arne this morning, and there was a nice record of a Great White Egret in Holes Bay NE. At Lytchett Fields there was a Whimbrel and the first decent pulse of Sedge Warblers with around 15 in scrub around the fields. Female Osprey CJ7 went fishing in the Wareham Channel again this afternoon, so any Osprey sightings in that area from now on could either be 022 or CJ7. Although with Osprey migration due to start any day now, sightings of multiple Osprey aren’t far away. There are good numbers of hirundines on the wing now with lots of juveniles in the various flocks. Over the Piddle Valley today c400 Sand Martin, Swallow and House Martin fed over the floodplain which drew in a Hobby. In Middlebere there were 5 Spoonbill.

Harbour Update – posted 25/07/23

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

There was a nice early record of a female/juv type Pied Flycatcher on Brownsea today. Early August tends to see the main passage begin for ‘Pied Flys’ but a few early ones often occur. Several years ago there was a record from the PCW Drain of one being ringed on July 27th. Elsewhere, this evening saw a White-tailed Eagle on the Shag Looe spit in the Wareham Channel, and another flew over Hydes Heath, an Osprey (presumed 022) caught a fish near Giggers Island, but it could also be CJ7 who is also now visiting the harbour again and there were 3 Spoonbill on Brownsea with 1 in Middlebere. On the Swineham scrapes there were 2 Yellow-legged Gull. At Lytchett Fields the first Ringed plover of the autumn appeared and there were 14 Dunlin, 5 Greenshank, 5 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Whimbrel, 53 Lapwing, 21 Black-tailed Godwit and 69 Redshank. There was also an intruder Osprey at the nest site this evening around 19:15, although we’ve received no photos from other nest platforms so are unsure as to who it was.

Female Osprey CJ7 away from the nest site! – Alison Copland

Harbour Update – posted 24/07/23

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

Despite all having fledged successfully last week, the Osprey family were all back on the nest at intermittent times during the day, mostly when 022 arrived back with a fish, but each are doing brilliantly and settling into the local landscape. They’re not currently traveling far from the nest but over the next few weeks they’ll be exploring further and it won’t be long until we seem them appear down in the harbour all being well. The Forster’s Tern was seen once again off Shipstal Beach, RSPB Arne, over towards Round island roosting with Sandwich Terns. At Lytchett Fields there was a marked increase of waders with 11 Green Sandpiper and 3 Common Sandpiper, also 4 Greenshank, 50+ Redshank, c20 Black-tailed Godwit and c20 Lapwing. In Holes Bay SE there were 4 Common Sandpiper including 1 braving the cycle path. At Holme Lane GP the Barnacle Goose was still hanging out with the Egyptian Geese and there were 2 Common Sandpiper. Male Osprey 022 was seen flying over Ridge with a fish before returning to the nest site and White-tailed Eagle pair G466 and G463 were on the gull islands in the Wareham Channel briefly this morning. The Avocet family are also doing well, with all 3 chicks now looking very much like their parents. We’ll need to double check but we this this may be the first ever successful breeding of Avocet in Dorset, with several failed previous attempts.

Avocet chick (left) and parent on Brownsea Lagoon (from boat trip last week) – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 23/07/23

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

The Forster’s Tern was seen from Shipstal beach at Arne this morning, landing briefly with a mixed flock of Gulls, Waders and other Terns, before departing off up the Middlebere Channel. A ringed Osprey with a fish was seen flying in the same direction a few hours later carrying a fish. Though we missed both from our morning Summer Safari Cruise, we were still treated to great views of Marsh Harrier, White-tailed Eagle, 4 Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 150+ Black-tailed Godwit and plenty of Swift overhead in the Wareham Channel. Meanwhile on the Brownsea Lagoon highlights were 5 Spoonbill, 8 Dunlin, and the 3 Avocet chicks along with raucous of Sandwich and Common Tern activity. Elsewhere, in Lytchett Bay, a juvenile Sedge Warbler was present in the hedgerows, and on the rising tide there were 14 Dunlin, 4 Whimbrel, 4 Greenshank, 31 Curlew, 75 Black-tailed Godwit, 75 Redshank, 3 Oystercatcher and 1 Green Sandpiper, plus 1 Little Ringed Plover on Whimbrel Field.

Forster’s Tern – Shipstal, Arne – Sam Levy

Harbour Update – posted 22/07/23

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

Happily it seems few people managed to get out and spot some birds before the rain set in this morning! At Holme Lane Gravel Pit there was 1 Barnacle Goose, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, and 1 Yellow Legged Gull, the latter of which there was another in Lytchett Bay. At Middlebere on the rising tide there were 2 Spotted Redshank rapidly losing their summer plumage, 2 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Green Sandpiper, 6 Common Tern & a distant Great Great White Egret. In Holes Bay NW there were 2 Whimbrel present alongside a Curlew for helpful comparison, alongside 120+ Black-tailed Godwit. On Brownsea Lagoon the 3 Avocet chicks were still present, along with 4 Spoonbill, building numbers of Dunlin and Redshank, and an encouraging 25 Sandwich Tern and 60+ Common Tern fledglings. Speaking of which the third and final Osprey chick (female 5H5) fledged this morning, copying her two younger brothers by flying up to the camera perch, but quickly returning to the nest when the next feeding opportunity arrived. A Goshawk was also seen distantly over the nest site.

Curlew (left) and Whimbrel (right) – Holes Bay NW – Holes Bay Nature (@bayholes on Twitter)


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