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 August, 2023

Harbour Update – posted 31/08/23

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

A bit of a damp squib to end the month, but what a month it’s been with loads of great birds and plenty of variety. Despite the rain for the most part, the latter part of the day saw some birding take place with Osprey sightings in Lytchett Bay (2), Holes Bay (1), the Wareham Channel (2), 2 caught fish in Brands Bay and there were 2 near the nest site, one of which was male 022 who was home improvements. In Brands Bay 2 Ruff appeared and a White-tailed Eagle was in Lytchett Bay. There were 2 Curlew Sandpiper on the Brownsea Lagoon a Spotted Redshank on Lytchett Fields, the Forster’s Tern was on Shipstal Beach, RSPB Arne, 31 Spoonbill were on Brownsea with 12 Knot and 40+ Ringed Plover and there were 2 Knot in Holes Bay north and a juvenile Peregrine was on the Asda flats.

Harbour Update – posted 30/08/23

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

Each year, on a select few days, the stars seem to align (or could it be tonights Super Moon)? when everything comes together and the birding around Poole Harbour seems a world a way from years gone by. Today was one of those days when the birding felt celebratory. Perhaps it was? As we now believe all of our Osprey youngsters have now departed on their migration with 5H3 leaving yesterday by the looks of it. Male Osprey 022 is still around and was on the nest by him self this afternoon. He may not go for another week or so yet, but it felt like we were being rewarded for such a successful season with a mouth watering array of birds from our two Osprey cruises today. A real highlight was the White-tailed Eagles actively hunting fish in the Wareham Channel, a behaviour we’ve not witnessed before, as they patrolled the Arne shoreline, often stopping to hover, before then dropping down into the water. The most active was female G466, and although she didn’t catch anything, it shows they’re looking to exploit the rich bounty of Grey Mullet in the Wareham Channel. All the while, male G463 was circling above her watching her every move and half heartedly gave it a go himself. Although Osprey sightings were a bit limited this afternoon, there were 5+ active around the Wareham Channel this morning with 3-4 hunting along the Holton shoreline and 2+ off Giggers Island. High over RSPB Arne a Goshawk was circling (distantly) and 2-3 Hobby were hunting over Arne Hill. There were also some great interactions with a Peregrine mobbing an Osprey, only for an Osprey to then start mobbing a White-tailed Eagle! Off Swineham Point, an adult female Marsh Harrier flew towards Arne Moors and with Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel also logged, we managed a clean sweep of raptors. Another sign of the times was the fact we logged 2 Great White Egret in the Wareham Channel, including the summer plumaged individual, with another orange-billed individual flying towards Lytchett Bay, and on the ‘Stilt Pools’ at Swineham there were 2 Cattle Egret where there was also 1 Wood Sandpiper and 4 Yellow Wagtail. A quick whizz around to Shipstal Point allowed us to find the Forster’s Tern on this mornings boat, then this afternoon 2 Little Tern were seen on the Brownsea Lagoon along with 34 Spoonbill, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 dark-bellied Brent Goose and 3 Greenshank. Another Curlew Sandpiper was in the Wareham Channel on the low tide. Scarce gulls included an adult Little Gull in the Wareham Channel, an adult Yellow-legged Gull at Swineham and a few lingering Mediterranean Gulls in central harbour. A group of 14 Turnstone were back on a jetty off Hamworthy Beach and a few Kingfisher were logged bombing along various shorelines. When you ‘add in’ all the general sightings of things like Sandwich and Common Terns flying around the harbour, passing hirundines, 300+ feeding Black-tailed Godwit, rafts of feeding Cormorants etc, it makes for a pretty wholesome days birding.

Separate sightings away from our cruises included a decent tally of birds from Brownsea during the high tide this AM, including c10 Teal, 8 Gadwall, 4 Avocet, 60+ Ringed Plover, 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 31 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 127 Redshank, 13 Greenshank, 127 Dunlin, 15 Knot and 16 Turnstone. At Shell Bay, Studland the 2 Eider were still off shore and on the beach there were 9 Ringed Plover and 8 Sanderling. In Brands Bay this evening there were 3 Curlew Sandpiper, which are assumed to be the same as the Brownsea 3 along with 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Whimbrel and 9 Grey Plover. Around the tracks of Middlebere and Hartland there were 2 Wheatear, 4 Spotted Flycatcher and 6 Redstart and the PCW Drain in Poole produced the goods with plenty of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, 1 Redstart, 1 Common Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler and 1 Spotted Flycatcher. Up on Ballard there were a further 3 Spotted Flycatcher and at Lytchett Fields/Bay there were separate Osprey sightings of 3+ individuals, 1 Spotted Redshank, 10 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper and 2 Green Sandpiper. 

White-tailed Eagle and fishing boat from Osprey cruise this AM – Wareham Channel – Jeremy McClements

White-tailed Eagle and Great White Egret from Osprey cruise this AM – Wareham Channel – Jeremy McClements

Forster’s Tern (below) from Osprey cruise this AM – Shipstal Point, RSPB Arne – Jeremy McClements

Harbour Update – posted 29/08/23

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

Well, we think we may have had our first departures of our Osprey family with no sign of juveniles 5H4 or 5H5 today and CJ7 last being seen yesterday afternoon. If this is the case we wish them all well, however last year we thought CJ7 had left about 5 times, only then to show up randomly several days later on a harbour nest platform, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Male 022 didn’t leave until well into September last year, so we may still be seeing him over the next few weeks. From our Osprey cruises today there was a minimum of 5 different Osprey floating about the Wareham Channel and Lytchett Bay area with other sightings at Middlebere and Swineham. White-tailed Eagle pair G466 and G463 did an early morning visit to Brownsea today and would have been visible from Poole Quay (with a scope) if we’d known sooner! They then lifted and headed off over central harbour back towards the Wareham Channel. There were lots of bonus birds from from cruises today including 36 Spoonbill, 1 Cattle Egret, c30 Ringed Plover, c80 Dunlin, c20 Avocet, 4 Sanderling and 3 Wheatear on the Brownsea Lagoon, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Hobby, 1 Marsh Harrier and c150 Black-tailed Godwit at Swineham and 15 Great Crested Grebe in South Deep. Extra reports from around the harbour included 3 Curlew Sandpiper in Brands Bay, 1 Cuckoo at Swineham, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank and 2 Cattle Egret at Lytchett Fields, 400+ Black-tailed Godwit and 100+ Redshank in Holes Bay, 3 Spotted Redshank in Middlebere, the Forster’s Tern at Shipstal, RSPB Arne, 1 Honey Buzzard over Coombe Heath,  and at Greenlands Farm, Studland 4 Redstart, 1 Whinchat, 6 Wheatear and 5 Yellow Wagtail. 

Honey Buzzard – Coombe Heath, RSPB Arne – Kate Plater

Harbour Update – posted 28/08/23

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

The first ringed migrant Osprey of the year was photographed in Lytchett Bay today, a juvenile Scottish bird ringed 5E0. There were at least five other individuals around the harbour throughout the course of the day, including an unringed juvenile in Holes Bay and several in the Wareham Channel alongside both White-tailed Eagles, with the female G466 sat right on the shore incredibly close to our afternoon Osprey Cruise! Other highlights included 1 Cattle Egret on the Keysworth Shore, Hobby and Marsh Harrier over Arne, a family of 6 Buzzard together over Brownsea, 33 Spoonbill on the lagoon plus 1 Sanderling amongst a flock of Ringed Plover & Dunlin, and a flock of 15+ Turnstone off Hamworthy. Key sightings from elsewhere were 9 Spotted Redshank and 15 Knot in the Middlebere Channel and Forster’s Tern off Shipstal.

Unringed Scottish Juvenile Osprey 5E0 – Lytchett Bay – Pete Corbin

Harbour Update – posted 27/08/23

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

Species interactions were the order of the day on today’s Osprey Cruises. On the morning trip we were privileged to see the two White-tailed Eagles cooperatively hunting, diving successively in an attempt to exhaust and catch a single Cormorant on the Holton Shore. Then in the afternoon we arrived in the top of the Wareham Channel to find one of the White-tailed Eagles being dive bombed by an Osprey as it attempted to gain height and circle over the harbour! Shortly afterwards the Osprey got a taste of its own medicine though, when it was trying to carry off a freshly caught fish and was heavily bombarded by a Hobby! Other highlights were a single Ruff on the Stilt Pools at Swineham and 2 Wood Sandpiper on Arne Moors, plus 32 Spoonbill, 5 Avocet and 3 Wheatear on Brownsea Lagoon. The Forster’s Tern was once again reported at Shipstal, and at Lytchett Fields there was 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Wheatear and 6 Yellow Wagtail.

White-tailed Eagles, Little Egret and Common Seals – Shag Looe, Wareham Channel – Derek Bell

Harbour Update – posted 26/08/23

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

There were at least 6 Osprey active in the harbour this morning, with 3 interacting over Shipstal Point at RSPB Arne and 3-4 over Lytchett Bay and the Holton Heath shoreline of the Wareham Channel. White-tailed Eagles G466 and G463 gave us spectacular views from the Osprey Cruises today, also active over the channel. Numbers of Spoonbill peaked on the Brownsea Lagoon this morning, with 36 counted along with 30 Ringed Plover, 11 Avocet, 2 Greenshank, 5 Sanderling and 4 Wheatear. There was a count of 1 Teal, 4 Grey Plover, 4 Ringed Plover, 108 Black-tailed Godwit, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, 73 Curlew, 56 Dunlin and 1 Whimbrel in Brands Bay. 2 further Whimbrel were in the Wareham Channel this morning, with c.600 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Marsh Harrier. 1 juvenile Ruff was at Lytchett Fields today, as well as 5 Green Sandpiper, 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank, 10 Greenshank and 20 Redshank. There were 5 Yellow Wagtail and 3 Little Ringed Plover at Sunnyside this evening.

White-tailed Eagles – Wareham Channel – Mark Wright (@markwright12002 on Twitter)

Harbour Update – posted 25/08/23

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

Perfect conditions meant for a fantastic Osprey Cruise this morning, starting with 2 White-tailed Eagle feeding on the RSPB Arne shoreline and juvenile Osprey 5H5 perched on a dead tree nearby. 2 further Osprey were seen over the Wareham Channel during the course of the morning, along with 2 Hobby hunting migrating Swallows as they passed over the boat. Brownsea Lagoon proved productive with 29 Spoonbill, c.50 Ringed Plover, 30 Dunlin, 12 Avocet, 2 Greenshank and 40+ Redshank. On the low tide this morning in Brands Bay were 56 Teal, 11 Grey Plover, 32 Ringed PLover, 116 Black-tailed Godwit, 17 Bar-tailed Godwit, 103 Dunlin and 16 Knot. 3 Wood Sandpiper were present on the pools at Bestwall meadows near Swineham. There were around 640 Black-tailed Godwit in the Wareham Channel on the remaining exposed mudflat in the afternoon, and 2 Marsh Harrier active over the reedbeds at Swineham. 1 Little Ringed Plover was present on Sunnyside Scrapes this afternoon. Lytchett Bay proved successful for raptors this PM, with 1 White-tailed Eagle, 2 Osprey and 1 Marsh Harrier reported. The Forster’s Tern was also present again at Shipstal Point and 1 Ruff was reported from Middlebere.

White-tailed Eagle – RSPB Arne Shoreline from Wareham Channel – John Dadds

Harbour Update – posted 24/08/23

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

It felt like there could be a torrential down pour at any moment today, but thankfully it never materialised, apart from a brief shower at lunch time. The cloud cover did drop some new waders into the Wareham Channel though with a flock of 15 Ringed Plover, 3 Turnstone, 3 Dunlin and 1 Curlew Sandpiper on the mud in the mouth of the Frome in the Wareham Channel and several Common Snipe dropping in from height into Swineham. There was a good selection of terns on offer with 3 Black Tern and the Forster’s Tern at Shipstal Beach, RSPB Arne and 3 random Little Tern off Poole Quay at lunch time, as well as moderate numbers of Common and Sandwich Tern still spread across the area. A stunning full adult male Marsh Harrier was quartering along the Swineham shoreline and an adult female was over Giggers Island. The White-tailed Eagle pair were on Shag Looe spit this morning and Osprey activity saw 3-4 birds active around the Wareham Channel and Lytchett Bay including what looked like a new arrival in over Poole Quay/Hamworthy early this evening as we returned from this afternoons Osprey Cruise. A few nights sound recording in Stoborough by Nick Hopper returned 3 Pied Flycatcher, 10 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 48 Tree Pipit, 2 Whimbrel flocks, 1 Green Sandpiper and 2 Common Sandpiper (Wed and Thurs night). At Swineham 3 Wood Sandpiper were on a pool west of the ‘Stilt Pools’ along the Frome. At Lytchett Fields there were 11 Ringed Plover, 11 Snipe, 8 Greenshank and the Spotted Redshank on French’s Pool. Other ‘bits and pieces’ include 10+ Yellow Wagtail at Swineham with the cattle, 3 Hobby over Hyde’s Heath, RSPB Arne and 2 Spotted Flycatcher at Rock Lea view, Lytchett Bay.

Harbour Update – posted 23/08/23

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

Plenty going on in the harbour today, with clear blue skies adding to the enjoyment of today’s boat trips. A summer-plumage Great White Egret was present on the Arne shoreline of the Wareham Channel on the low-tide this morning, as well as 1 Cattle Egret up at Swineham. Feeding on the exposed mud were c.800 Black-tailed Godwit, as well as 6 Greenshank and 1 Spotted Redshank. Around 5 Osprey were active over the channel through the morning, with 2 Marsh Harrier patrolling the reedbeds. Similar Osprey activity in the Wareham Channel through the afternoon, with a persistent juvenile attempting to hunt near Gigger’s Island, along with two adults. There was a high count of 24 Spoonbill on Brownsea Lagoon today, with 5 Avocet, 50 Dunlin and 40 Ringed Plover. 3 Osprey were hunting over Lytchett Bay this morning, and 1 was also seen over Holes Bay just after midday. Also at Holes Bay today were 2 Wigeon, 22 Teal, 250+ Black-tailed Godwit and 100+ Redshank. Highlights at Sunnyside included 1 Redstart and 1 Green Sandpiper. At Swineham in the early evening another Green Sandpiper was present, along with 9 Yellow Wagtail moving through. The Forster’s Tern was reported again at from Shipstal at RSPB Arne, along with 3 Black Tern.

Osprey CJ7 with freshly caught fish – Wareham Channel – Robin Morrison

Harbour Update – posted 22/08/23

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

As is standard during this phase in August, and especially with this afternoons clear conditions, there were more Osprey arrivals today with the seasons first juvenile arriving into the harbour from elsewhere in the form of an un-ringed individual in Lytchett Bay this afternoon. From our Osprey Cruise this afternoon (and this morning) there was a period of about an hour (3pm-4pm) when there seemed to be Osprey over each shoreline of the Wareham Channel with CJ7 catching a fish mid-channel, followed by the arrival of 2 down the Piddle Valley (including one of our juvs from the local nest) followed by another 2, one of which then caught a fish off Arne as the other drifted off over Shipstal. It’s hard to say how many were present across the harbour today but a minimum of 8 or 9 wouldn’t be a bad guess with other sightings logged in Middlebere and at Lytchett Fields. From both trips today the White-tailed Eagles were active in the Wareham Channel and this morning 2 un-ringed adult Osprey and CJ7 gave close fly by’s. There were 3 Hobby active over Arne, 3 migrant Knot flew over Swineham Point and c500 Black-tailed Godwit were feeding across the Wareham Channel. On the Swineham Scrapes this evening 2 Wood Sandpiper were back, this time with a Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper and 3 Yellow Wagtail were with the cattle there. On the Brownsea Lagoon today 31 Spoonbill were still on the Tamrisk Island, along with c30 Ringed Plover, 4 Sanderling, 5 Avocet, 3 Greenshank and c50 Dunlin. The Forster’s Tern was seen from Shipstal Point, Arne today and there were 3 different Marsh Harrier logged at Swineham including a new adult male. Great White Egrets were seen (possibly relating to the same individual) in the Wareham Channel, Swineham and Lytchett Fields. Finally, huge thanks to Sue Ketteridge, a guest on this AM’s Osprey Cruise, for sharing some of her photos from this mornings trip, giving a great insight into the types of views we’re currently experiencing. The photo’s below show female Osprey CJ7 having just caught a fish, and 2 different adult Osprey that flew past close to the boat. There are still spaces on next weeks trips so to book CLICK HERE:

Female Osprey CJ7 having just caught her breakfast – Sue Ketteridge

Female Osprey CJ7 sorting out her catch – Sue Ketteridge

Female Osprey CJ7 heading back to the nest site – Sue Ketteridge

Adult un-ringed Osprey gives a close fly past – Sue Ketteridge

A second adult un-ringed Osprey gives a close fly past – Sue Ketteridge



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