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 January, 2024

Harbour Update – posted 31/01/24

Posted on: January 31st, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A watch of the harbour entrance at North haven this morning counted 6 Great Northern Diver, 15 Red-breasted Merganser and 47 Shag into the harbour. Scanning the Brownsea Lagoon from our school bird boat this morning were highlights 70 Bar-tailed Godwit, 40 Curlew, 2 Greenshank, 5 Sanderling and 50 Dark-bellied Brent Geese. 1 Marsh Harrier was seen over Swineham, causing 400+ Lapwing to flush. 1 Spotted Redshank, 3 Pintail, 100+ Avocet and 100 Lapwing were seen in Lytchett Bay in the early Afternoon, with 1 Spotted Redshank and 1 Greenshank seen amongst 30 Redshank at Lytchett Fields. The 8 Waxwing were this morning in Upton and seen again late this afternoon in the Asda Canford Heath carpark.

Harbour Update – posted 30/01/23

Posted on: January 30th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A fantastic morning for our Winter Cruise today, with a great array of birds across the harbour. Male White-tailed Eagle, G463 put on a great show in the Wareham Channel, first perched and then soaring as the sun came out. Also in the Wareham Channel was 1 female-type Greater Scaup still, as well as 4 Marsh Harrier, and 1 Peregrine hunting in a flock of c300 Lapwing. 10 Spoonbill were on Shipstal point and at least 7 Great Northern Diver were spread across the harbour. 3 Black-necked Grebes were in South Deep and c150 Avocet and c70 Bar-tailed Godwit on the Brownsea Lagoon.

Also off Jerry’s Point today were 1 Slavonian Grebe and 3 Great Northern Diver. At Middle Beach, Studland there were 1 Slavonian Grebe and 5 Black-necked Grebe offshore. At Lytchett Fields, 1 Water Pipit was seen as well as 1 grey male Hen Harrier, 2 Marsh Harrier and 1 Spotted Redshank. The Waxwing action is still ongoing with the group of 8 seemingly moving between Dacombe Drive, Upton and the trees behind Asda, Canford heath. They have been hard to pin down when moving between sites and were briefly spooked up today by a Sparrowhawk.


1 of 8 Waxwing this morning – Upton, Dacombe Drive

Harbour Update – posted 29/01/23

Posted on: January 29th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

We’re not quite sure that such a thick bank of fog was forecast for this morning, but for the most part of today, a damp, horrid, grey blanket of yuk bedded in and didn’t seem to want to budge. Thankfully the Canford Asda Waxwings were giving close views this morning, so the fog wasn’t an issue and they eventually relocated back to Upton again to the Mistletoe tree in Dacolme Drive. It’s such a fascinating behaviour to have actively selected just two bushes in the whole of Poole to feed from, that are (as the Waxwing fly’s) almost 3 miles apart! They may pit stop somewhere, but it’s been a consistent commute for several days now, with a rough estimate of 10-15 minutes to travel from A to B (or B to A depending in which way they’re flying). The other curious thing is that we know there are some well stocked berry bush’s in-between these two sites that look far better suited (to a human eye), but is their knowledge far greater than ours? and is there something specific about these two berry choices in terms of their exact needs? Who knows, but it’s great to have some ‘local’ Waxwings. Other than this, there was a Water Pipit and Spotted Redshank at Lytchett Fields.

The current Waxwing commute. Upton to Canford 

Harbour Update – posted 28/01/24

Posted on: January 28th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

We can’t believe it’s already the end of the last weekend of January and by Thursday we’ll be head first into February. It really felt mild again out of the southerly breeze and there were more Brimstone Butterflies seen across the harbour today with 1 in the Piddle Valley and another near Hartland. It became evident today that the two Waxwing flocks that have been seen in Upton and at Canford Heath are almost the same 5 commuting between the two sites during the course of the day. For most of the morning and early afternoon they were at the Canford Heath Asda site, but by late afternoon they’d redeployed over to Upton. This evening a team of us were carrying out a Poole Harbour winter gull roost survey which is a national survey monitoring important UK gull roost sites. We’re yet to collate the data but whilst out surveying there was a roost of 6 Great Northern Diver and 1 Black-throated Diver out in central harbour, with another roost of 6 in Parkstone Bay. There were 2 Slavonian Grebe off Jerry’s Point and 6 Black-necked Grebe between Brands Bay and central harbour. An adult male Hen Harrier was in Middlebere and a ringtail was in Lytchett Bay. An un-ringed Water Pipit was on Lytchett Fields, 2 White-tailed Eagle were over Godlingston Heath, a Merlin was at Greenlands Farm and a Goshawk was seen in Middlebere again. Spoonbill were spread between Shipstal at RSPB Arne and Middlebere. Lytchett Fields also had 2 Green Sandpiper.

Green Sandpiper – Lytchett Fields 

Harbour Update – posted 27/01/23

Posted on: January 27th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The Waxwing invasion picked up pace a bit more this morning when 5 new birds were found in the Asda car park at Canford Heath. They only stayed for a short while but were then seen briefly at Fleetsbridge before then being seen again at Asda about 16:00. All the while the Upton Waxwings made intermittent appearances at Dacolme Drive in the same tree. At Lytchett Fields this morning 2 Water Pipit were on the fields and there was a Spotted Redshank there too. This morning the Black-throated Diver flew in through the harbour entrance as did 3 Great Northern Diver, with 2 more in Shell Bay and an impressive 83 Pintail. The Slavonian Grebe was still off Jerry’s Point with 2 Black-necked Grebe. 

Waxwing – Asda, Canford Heath – Paul Kirby

Harbour Update – posted 26/01/24

Posted on: January 26th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

There was plenty going on today, which is unsurprising considering how glorious it in the (very, very) early spring sunshine! The Upton Waxwings made a welcome return for a couple of hours, feasting in the same mistletoe tree in Dacolme Drive. The Black-throated Diver was again in Holes Bay south and at the PCW Drain 10+ Chiffchaff were counted. There were 2 Spotted Redshank on Lytchett Fields and another in Holes Bay. On Wareham Common 11 Cattle Egret were at the northern edge and both White-tailed Eagles were seen over RSPB Arne and then Ballard Down. A decent sea watch from Branksome Chine this morning produced 14 Red-throated Diver, 8 Great Northern Diver, 1000+ auks (mostly Razorbill by the looks of things), 52 Pintail, 19 Shoveler and 4 Red-breasted Merganser. Off Jerry’s Point there were 2 Slavonian Grebe, 4 Black-necked Grebe and 3 Goldeneye. Off Middle Beach, Studland there was 1 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Great Northern Diver.

Waxwing – Upton – Alison Copland

Sunset over the Wareham Channel this evening from the Ham Common Viewpoint

Harbour Update – posted 25/01/24

Posted on: January 25th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With the newly arrived mild weather, more and more birds are beginning to strengthen their voice, building up for the up and coming breeding season. In the PCW Drain this morning there were c18 Chiffchaff, two of which were almost belting out a full song…..and it’s only January. Song Thrush and Great Tit were also joining in, and there was even a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker at Arne this morning. Best bird of the day though was an adult Little Gull, found in Lytchett Bay this evening. The Black-throated Diver was in Holes Bay south again, and was also clocked entering the harbour entrance this morning. A White-tailed Eagle was in the Wareham Channel, as were 4 Marsh Harrier. On Wareham Common this evening there were 20 Cattle Egret with a decent flock of c300 Redwing and there was a single Great White Egret at Swineham where 3 Pochard were still present.

Harbour Update – posted 24/01/24

Posted on: January 24th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Very much the calm after the storm today with much nicer conditions and signs of spring throughout the harbour. 7 Cattle Egret were still on Wareham Common this morning. 1 White-tailed Eagle was in Lytchett Bay, along with 2 Marsh Harrier and 120 Avocet and 1 Water Pipit in Approach Fields. The Holes Bay Black-throated Diver is back, south of the railway line.

An impressive selection from Jerry’s Point, Studland on the low tide with an influx of birds clearly sheltering after the storm – 6 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 6 Great Northern Diver, 1 Greenshank and 12 Sanderling. Brands Bay also had 36 Grey Plover and 1150+ Dunlin.

Similarly good numbers on the Brownsea Lagoon now that it has thawed after the cold weather last week with 152 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 250+ Avocet and 1150+ Dunlin.

Dark-bellied Brent Geese – Baiter Park


Harbour Update – posted 23/01/24

Posted on: January 23rd, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A very blustery and wet day today meaning sightings were limited, but we still managed to brave the conditions and run a successful Low-tide Cruise with some nice sightings along the way. The 1 male Common Scoter was still off the baiter shoreline and numerous Great Northern Diver were still distributed throughout the harbour totalling at least 11 birds. 1 Black-necked Grebe was in South Deep and  6 Spoonbill in Newton Bay and the Wareham Channel. There was plenty of mud in the Wareham Channel meaning a good number of waders were out feeding, including c300 Dunlin, c150 Curlew and a few Grey Plover. The female Greater Scaup was still present as well.

The Waxwing were not seen at Dacombe Drive, Upton today but hopefully more will keep arriving in Dorset soon.


The view from our blustery Low-tide Cruise this afternoon!

Harbour Update – posted 22/01/23

Posted on: January 22nd, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Much of the same today but good to see that at least 2 Waxwing are still visiting the Mistletoe in Dacombe Drive and hadn’t been blown away during the night, with sporadic visits throughout the day. There were Hen Harriers seen at Middlebere, Lytchett Bay and the Lower Piddle Valley. A Spotted Redshank was at Lytchett Fields, 6 Spoonbill were in Middlebere, 3 Black-necked Grebe were in Studland Bay, 3 Great Northern Diver were off Shipstal and up to 16 Cattle Egret were around Wareham Common.

Waxwing – Upton, Poole



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