Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Archive for October, 2023

Harbour Update – posted 31/10/23

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

A fairly wet Halloween this year but still plenty of good birds around. 1 male Ring Ouzel was still at Godlingston Hill. Lots of sightings of White-tailed Eagle as well with 1 being seen first thing in the morning at Lytchett Heath along with 2 Marsh Harrier and then the pair later on at Middlebere.

The high tides in the harbour are continuing and with plenty of floodwater a lot of waders are being pushed out of some of their usual sites. Holes Bay had very few Black-tailed Godwit but there were 714 Wigeon, 40 Dunlin and 3 Common Snipe and at Middle Beach, Studland, 3 Razorbills were out at sea. The high tide in the Middlebere Channel produced 2 Great White Egret, Spotted Redshank, 4 Grey Plover, 1550 Black-tailed Godwit, 350 Avocet, Pintail and 7 Red-breasted Merganser. Cattle Egret was still present at Holmebridge amongst several Little Egret.

Finally the Brownsea Lagoon had some very impressive counts of waders including 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 1420 Dunlin, Sanderling, 28 Knot, 620 Avocet, Spotted Redshank, 18 Greenshank, 2470 Black-tailed Godwit, 39 Bar-tailed Godwit and 25 Spoonbill.

Curlew Sandpiper – Brownsea Lagoon – Hamish Murray

Harbour Update – posted 30/10/23

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

It was slim pickings today, despite the decent weather in the end, especially compared to whats forecast later in the week! That said, there were a few nice bits and bobs, including 1 late Northern Wheatear up at Old Harry along with 5 Crossbill, 14 Redpoll, 1 Yellowhammer, lots of Chiffchaff and a few Firecrest up on Ballard. This evening, around the Frome and Piddle river mouths there were 7 Marsh Harrier, 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Hen Harrier and 1 Merlin. Around Studland it was much of the same with 1 Red-throated Diver off Middle Beach along with 1 Black-necked Grebe and a late Swallow. In Brands Bay there were 42 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 12 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Common Scoter and 10 dark-bellied Brent Geese. 

Harbour Update – posted 29/10/23

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

Several torrential downpours and an exceptionally high tide made for a slightly wet final Autumn Safari of the year this morning to say the least, but none of that could dampen our spirits when we were rewarded during the dry spells with 1 Great White Egret, 1 Cattle Egret, 2 White-Tailed Eagle, and 3 Marsh Harrier in the Wareham Channel, 3 Red-breasted Merganser in the central harbour, plus 27 Spoonbill, 300 Avocet, 500 Dunlin, 5 Rock Pipit on the Brownsea Lagoon. Great White Egret were also reported elsewhere with two over Lytchett Fields first thing and one over Middlebere early afternoon along with 2 Spotted Redshank. Cattle Egret were present at Holmebridge once again with 6 mixed in amongst 10 Little Egret. At Brands Bay this afternoon there were 5 Brent Geese, 131 Wigeon, 14 Pintail, 7 Avocet, 7 Grey Plover, 131 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 139 Redshank, 3 Knot, 88 Dunlin and 2 Sandwich Tern. And in Holes Bay there were nearly 1000 Wigeon, over 100 Teal and doubles figures of Shoveler and Pintail, 500 Black-tailed Godwit, 100 Redshank and few each of Oystercatcher and Curlew. In the Ulwell gap 3 Ring Ouzel were still feeding on berries and there were 3 Firecrest up on Ballard Down.

Cattle Egret – Holmebridge – Mark Wright


Harbour Update – posted 28/10/23

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

The on/off down pours made it difficult to get out birding today for long periods but there were several highlights including a very late juv Common Tern which was flying around the Brownsea Quay. If both the Arctic Tern from the last few days and this Common Tern hang around for a few days more, then there’s the ridiculous possibility of having 3 tern species (possibly 4 if the Forster’s Tern is still about) still present in the harbour into November as there were also 5 Sandwich Tern in Poole Park this morning. Also on Brownsea was 1 winter plumage Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Spotted Redshank, 17 Greenshank, 35 Grey Plover and 12 Knot, with a Brambling there yesterday too. The Red-throated Diver flew into the harbour early doors and an amazing 18 Marsh Harrier left the west harbour roost. A Ringtail Hen Harrier was over the mouth of the River Piddle in the Wareham Channel and 4 Cattle Egret were with 6 Little Egret up at Holmebridge. Finally, there were 5 Spoonbill in the mouth of Wytch Mouth this evening.

Spoonbill – Wytch Lake

Harbour Update – posted 27/10/23

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

There are some nice totals building in the harbour as autumn progresses with more and more winter birds arriving. A high tide count on the Brownsea Lagoon this morning produced a whopping 19 Greenshank, along with 440 Dunlin, 32 Grey Plover, 281 Avocet, 138 Redshank, 21 Bar-tailed Godwit and 25 Spoonbill also logged. In the Wareham Channel this evening, yesterdays Arctic Tern was still around, hunting in the mouth of the River Frome and a ringtail Hen Harrier was active in the mouth of the River Piddle. The White-tailed Eagle pair were chilling out on the edge of the Wareham Channel this evening in the dimming light. Off Jerry’s Point the Common Scoter was still present and there were 19 Great Crested Grebe and 3 Red-breasted Merganser. In Lytchett Bay this morning 6 Little Grebe were across the bay, 6 Lesser Redpoll flew over and a Marsh Harrier was over Otter Island. In Middlebere 2 Great White Egret were feeding on the high tide, a Merlin was on Hartland and the Red-throated Diver was seen flying into the harbour at dawn.

Double Rainbow over Wareham Channel from Slepe Heath

Harbour Update – posted 26/10/23

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

There was a real wintery vibe across the harbour today, especially from our Low-Tide Cruise this afternoon. And although the tide didn’t drop as much as predicted due to the low pressure, there was still plenty to enjoy. There was 1 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Common Scoter off Jerry’s Point with 6 Great Crested Grebe. In Central Harbour 3 Eider were loafing with 7 Red-breasted Merganser and a Red-throated Diver was off the SW corner of Brownsea. A surprise, late Arctic Tern was in the Wareham Channel and 3 Marsh Harrier were at Swineham in the mouth of the Frome where there were also 3 Greenshank, 1 Ruff and 11 Lapwing. The Brownsea Lagoon had 17 Spoonbill, 3 Rock Pipit, 1 Kingfisher and a large gull roost this evening. Across the low tide in the harbour there was a typical late October total of common waders and wildfowl with moderate numbers of Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Oystercatcher and dark-bellied Brent Geese. The rising tide in Lytchett Bay tonight saw 1 Spotted Redshank, 6 Greenshank, 7 Little Grebe, 200 Dunlin and 160 Redshank and a Water Pipit was logged at Lytchett Fields. This morning in the PCW Drain, behind KFC there were still 7 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 2 Firecrest, 1 Kingfisher and 4 Goldcrest. A Spotted Redshank was in Middlebere, the White-tailed Eagle pair were on Brownsea this morning and a ringtail Hen Harrier was also at Middlebere. An (over-wintering?) Common Sandpiper was on the Brownsea north shore.

Arctic Tern – Wareham Channel, from Low-Tide Cruise – Harry McBride

Harbour Update – posted 25/10/23

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

The rain soon gave way this morning leaving a really calm day ahead. Off Old Harry this morning a Goshawk, a White-tailed Eagle, 3 Brambling, 112 Swallow, 2 Sand Martin, a mega late Tree Pipit, 6 Chiffchaff and 5 Firecrest. Sunnyside was flooded out and as a result attracted in 1 Greenshank, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Green Sandpiper and best of all, a Sunnyside tick in the form of a Spotted Redshank. At Holes Bay a Red Kite drifted through and a Wheatear was still along the cycle path. There were at least 3 Ring Ouzel still in the Ulwell Gap and a Spotted Redshank was at Lytchett Fields. There was a minor arrival of Redwing after the rain stopped, but the next few days look like it could deliver more, and by the looks of things further east, we could even have Waxwings by Christmas!

Red Kite – Holes Bay – Rene Goad

Birdguides map highlighting the latest Waxwing sightings from today across the country. next stop…Poole!

Harbour Update – posted 24/10/23

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

Another grey day today in the harbour but the Ring Ouzel are still passing through with 7 being seen at Ulwell Gap. Curlew Sandpiper have also been spotted in the harbour today with 1 at Middlebere and 2 on the Brownsea Lagoon, mixed in with flocks of Dunlin as well as 24 Spoonbill on the Lagoon. Also in the Middlebere Channel were c320 Avocet, 6 Spotted Redshank and 1 female Merlin. On Hartland Moor 1 male Merlin was chasing Meadow Pipit in the late afternoon. In Lytchett Bay there were 1 Spotted Redshank, Pintail, Marsh Harrier and 1 Peregrine. Holes Bay saw 1300+ Jackdaw leave the roost from Pergins Island this morning as well as 1 Cattle Egret, Avocet, 260+ Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Pintail being present in the bay.

Male Pintail with Eurasian Teal – Holes Bay – Tony Furnell

Harbour Update – posted 23/10/23

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

The high tides in the harbour continued today pushing water and birds up into every bay and inlet. At Lytchett Fields 1 juvenile Little Gull was seen before flying off north-east. Also present were 1 Peregrine, Green Sandpiper, Common Snipe and 1 Marsh Harrier as well as, from Rock Lea View, 1 Spotted Redshank and 5 Greenshank. The high tides brought the male White-tailed Eagle G463 into view where it was seen from the Ham Common Viewpoint around the Gull Islands, then flying over Arne and another White-tailed Eagle probably G466 was seen over Middlebere. In the Middlebere Channel there were 70 Avocet, Spotted Redshank, Knot, Curlew Sandpiper, Pintail, Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Great White Egret and 1 Marsh Harrier. Ring Ouzels were still at Godlingston Hill, feeding in the hawthorn bushes and 1 Peregrine was seen in Poole Town Centre.

Curlew Sandpiper – Middlebere Channel – @jeremymcclemen1 on Twitter

White-tailed Eagle probably G466 – Middlebere Channel –  @jeremymcclemen1 on Twitter

Harbour Update – posted 22/10/23

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

Today’s most notable sighting came in the form of 3 Corn Bunting over Stoborough: an unusually scarce species for Poole Harbour! A few late summer migrants were also on the move including 15 Swallow and 1 Wheatear at Ballard Down. There appears to have been another small arrival of Brent Geese with 25 seen from Sandbanks and another 20 off Middle Beach at Studland. At Jerry’s Point there were 15 Turnstone, 5 Oystercatcher, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Sanderling, 20 Dunlin. Highlights from Lytchett Bay were 1 Cattle Egret, 2 Marsh Harrier, 4 Avocet, 10 Bearded Tit and 15 Redwing. And in the Wareham Channel both White-tailed Eagles were present, with one actively hunting Black-headed Gulls.

Common Redshank – Rock Lea View, Lytchett Bay – Pete Corbin


Call 01202 641 003