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 March, 2024

Harbour Update – posted 31/03/24

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

Thanks March, you’ve been great. Wet and windy, but great. Plenty of good birds, early migrants, a returning rarity and our Osprey pair back safely. Now lets wait and see what April holds? Hopefully an upward trajectory of good birds and improving weather. The month ended with a good flurry of Osprey’s including 2-3 around Morden Bog today, 1 north over West Morden, Beaky in Middlebere, plus singles tracking north both east (Longham) and west (Langton Herring) of the harbour. The Forster’s Tern was familiarising it’s self with the harbour today, being located on the Brownsea Lagoon and off Shipstal again. The seasons first Common Terns were also seen with 1 off Shipstal Point and 2 off the Chain Ferry. A Little Gull was on the floods in the Lower Piddle valley, just north of Swineham GP. There were 19 Cattle Egret ‘summering up’ nicely in the Frome Valley, near Worgret, and at Morden Bog the Great Grey Shrike and a Short-eared Owl were seen.

Harbour Update – posted 30/03/24

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

Finaly some Spring-like weather today in the harbour, with the birds certainly responding, and you never know what’s going to turn up at this time of year! The Forster’s Tern is back! Having wintered over in Brittany, France we think, it was spotted this morning off Shipstal Point on it’s favourite post next to the beach. It’s still in it’s winter plumage making identification a little easier with the characteristic eye mask. However, if it stays in the harbour long enough and moults into it’s breeding plumage, it will be nearly impossible to tell apart from the Common Terns.

The Forster’s made a great addition to our action-packed Spring Safari this morning which felt like everything was getting active and ready for the breeding season. We had 3 Osprey throughout the trip, with one fishing in the Wareham Channel (likely Beaky who was photographed catching another enormous fish) as well as two more in the Wareham Channel. One bird, an unringed female, was actively hunting while 022 our resident male was seeing her off and alarm calling! Not something you get to see let alone hear that often. We also had male White-tailed Eagle, G463 in the Wareham Channel as well as c400 Black-tailed Godwit flying overhead and 4 Marsh Harrier, including skydancing and loads of interaction. Elsewhere in the harbour we had 5 Great Northern Diver spread around the north shore of Brownsea and Ball’s Lake. On the Brownsea Lagoon to top of the trip were 3 Spoonbill, c20 Grey Plover, c20 Sanderling, c20 Sandwich Tern and c20 Bar-tailed Godwit. One of the strangest sightings we had for the time of year was a Guillemot on the north shore of Brownsea. All in all, making for a fantastic Spring Safari!

In Lytchett Bay 2 House Martin went through, 1 Willow Warbler was singing on Slough Lane and 1 Spotted Redshank were on the Fields. The 1 Bar-headed Goose is still at Holme Lane gravel pit along with 1 Barnacle Goose. At Holmbridge 16 Cattle Egrets were on the flooded fields.


Forster’s Tern – Shipstal Point – @BirderJB on Twitter

Male Osprey 022 – Wareham Channel from our Spring Safari Cruise – Rene Goad

Guillemot – North shore of Brownsea from our Spring Safari Cruise – Alison Copland

Harbour Update – posted 29/03/24

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

Well, it seems most of the harbour is still in one piece after yesterdays battering and down pours. In fact by the end of today it started to feel spring-like again! There wasn’t too much in the way of spring migrants today but an adult Little Gull on the Brownsea Lagoon was one of several across South Dorset today. Out off Jerry’s Point/Redhorn Quay there were still 5 Great Northern Diver out on the water and a Black-necked Grebe was in Studland Bay. On the Brownsea Lagoon a massive arrival of c3400 Black-tailed Godwit settled, perhaps now because the Avon Valley in ‘too’ flooded. They’re very fickle these birds, unable to decide whether they like it ‘west-side or east-side’. However we do like it when they’re here because the plumage of these late March individuals is just stunning. Up on the top of Wareham Common/Worgret 17 Cattle Egret were feeding with cattle behind the sports centre. Late this evening a welcome visitor arrived and settled in her favourite spot in the Middlebere Channel. It was of course female Osprey ‘Beaky’ who we affectionally named several years ago when she began staging here on her migration north. Her pattern is exactly the same each year. She arrives late March/early April, stays for a few days and feeds up on the Middlebere nest platform, and then departs. Then in mid-August she arrives again, stays for a few days and feeds up on the Middlebere nest platform, and then departs. She’s almost certainly a northern breeder, perhaps Scottish and obviously loves the fish supply here, as she notoriously catches huge fish during her short stays in Middlebere. She’ll be around for a few days, and without doubt the best place to try and see her will be from Coombe Heath, at RSPB Arne. Our breeding pair weren’t up to much today other than carrying out nest repairs and upgrades after yesterdays storm. We did see 3 successful mating attempts which hopefully bodes well for an earlier than normal laying of eggs this spring.

Black-tailed Godwit – Brownsea Lagoon – Martin Adams

Migrant female Osprey ‘Beaky’ arriving on Middlebere nest platform late this evening – Middlebere

Harbour Update – posted 28/03/24

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

Was today the worst day of the winter/spring so far? Quite possibly, with torrential rain and and strong winds for almost the entire duration of the day. There were certain moments where we weren’t even sure our Osprey nest tree would be standing by the end of the day. Pretty grim! To add to the weather drama, there was Osprey drama on the nest cam this morning around 8:30am when a visiting un-ringed female Osprey dropped down briefly onto the nest. 022’s instant reaction was to try and ‘court’ her, but CJ7 couldn’t have been too far away as they soon both scarpered after a brief ‘interaction’ with one another. Looking at the plumage of todays new female, we’re pretty sure it’s the same female that caused trouble on the nest this time last year, and was (unfairly?) nick-named Jolene! Despite her interruption today, it’s good that she’s returned as all being well, last summers newly returned male single ‘374’ should be back soon, and she’d be a perfect match for him. Lets hope that a) she sticks around, and b) 374 arrives back soon! Despite the weather, there was also another arriving Osprey logged with one over Holes Bay heading north. Out in Poole Bay 8 Great Northern Diver were counted, on Wareham Common 21 Cattle Egret were still present and both Peregrines were on the Asda building.

Male Osprey 022 having brief ‘fling’ with visiting un-ringed female

Harbour Update – posted 27/03/24

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

After all the excitement of the last few days, things settled down pretty quickly with Osprey pair CJ7 and 022 settling down to a staggered routine  already, with several fish deliveries carried out throughout the day, along with some more nest prep and nest building fulfilled. Elsewhere there was a Red-necked Grebe found out in Studland Bay off South Beach late afternoon. Sand Martin seemed to be pushing through in small numbers all day up the Frome and Piddle Valley.

Harbour Update – posted 26/03/24

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

It was another eventful start to the day, after male Osprey 022’s arrival yesterday morning when his mate, breeding female CJ7, suddenly appeared on the camera at 05:58, catching us all by surprise. This is the earliest she’s ever been back (even taking into account the Leap Year), which means we could see an early breeding season this year with eggs potentially being laid mid-April? We’ll just have to wait and see how that pans out, but the fact they’re both back safely and have been getting down to business already is just the start to the season we were hoping for. This evening we saw the first fish hand over of the season during a snippet of sunset and CJ7 spent most of the day sitting on the perch above the camera and then the one opposite the camera this evening allowing for some neat camera work to catch these moments. There was a lot of Marsh Harrier activity around Swineham this morning, later this afternoon the White-tailed Eagle pair were out in the Wareham Channel, a Green Sandpiper was at Swineham and 2 Swallow went through there. There were still 4 Great Northern Diver still out on in central harbour, the Brownsea Lagoon was pretty busy with c30 Sanderling, c40 Grey Plover, c50 Bar-tailed Godwit, 300 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Avocet, 20 Knot and c20 Sandwich Tern.


Harbour Update – posted 25/03/23

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

He’s back! 022 arrived back on the Careys Secret Garden nest early this morning at 5:40am. He has since been showing well on the camera both in the nest and then catching a sea bass at about 10:30am which he then ate very slowly on another tree in view from the camera. He was still eating the fish at 4:30pm! Incredibly this is exactly the same day he arrived last year, taking into account that it is a leap year. We now await CJ7’s return who is due back on 30th March. You can watch the LIVE webcams here:

Elsewhere in the harbour there were Red Kite sightings over Fleetsbridge and Hatch Pond today and a Goshawk over Lytchett Fields. Osprey were seen in the Wareham Channel and Brands Bay this morning, including catching fish with the bird in the Wareham Channel likely being 022. The Great Grey Shrike is still present in the same spot, just north-west of Woolsbarrow Fort in Wareham Forest.


022 back on the nest this morning!

Harbour Update – posted 24/03/23

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

With improved weather conditions there were more arrivals today including a hat-trick of Osprey with one in Holes Bay this afternoon which was then seen drifting north over Fleetsbridge, then this evening one was fishing in the Wareham Channel whilst another arrived in over Studland and caught a fish in Brands Bay. There was a Little Ringed Plover on the Stilt Pools at Swineham, along with 2 Cattle Egret. The Poole Peregrines were seen mating this morning, so maybe there is still a chance they could nest this year? Especially with a nice new nesting box on the Asda building! At Swineham this morning there was a Swallow, both White-tailed Eagles flew over Swineham Point, 4 Marsh Harrier were active and Bearded Tit were calling in the reed beds. At Middlebere there were 2 Spotted Redshank, Red Kites passed over Lytchett Bay, the Wareham Channel, Stoborough and Brands Bay and 3 Wheatear were out on Greenalands Farm.

Harbour Update – posted 23/03/24

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

A day of mixed weather, starting off feeling very spring-like this morning but the hail and rain certainly put a dampener on our Spring Safari Cruise this afternoon. Nevertheless, we had 4 distant sightings of White-tailed Eagle during the trip, which were determined to evade us. 2 White-tailed Eagle were also seen this morning high over Corfe at later over Poole Town. At least 2 Great Northern Diver were present in the Central Harbour this afternoon, as well as a third in the North Channel. The Long-tailed Duck was still present off Jerry’s Point throughout the Day, as well as 1 Slavonian Grebe and 1 Great Northern Diver. The spring arrivals are still pushing through with 1 Wheatear also at Jerry’s Point, and 175 Sand Martin gathering pre-roost at Swineham this evening. At least 2 Osprey were using the harbour today, with one catching a fish in Lytchett Bay during the early afternoon, and a second seen over Poole Town shortly after. Both Peregrines were seen again today moving between the Barclays and the Asda building in Poole Town. A Garganey was reported ‘at Wareham’ which was possibly at Swineham, but couldn’t be re-located, but there was a Willow Warbler at Swineham.

White-tailed Eagles – Poole Town – Daniel Nash (@DanielNash1987)



Harbour Update – posted 22/03/24

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

A cold, nippy spring day, starting of grey, but ending with a stunning sunset, and in fact a day that provided plenty of ‘odds and sods’ right across the area. Starting off with best bird of the day which came in the shape of an Alpine Swift that flew in over over Studland Heath and out towards Brands Bay, but unfortunately it couldn’t be relocated. The springs second Osprey of the season was fishing in Middlebere and off Shipstal and was photographed as it patrolled up and down the channel. Over Swineham GP c50 Sand Martin were feeding this evening, there were singles of Swallow over RSPB Hydes Heath and another over Ham Common viewpoint. Out on Wareham Common a Little Ringed Plover was flushed by a Peregrine and there were 18 Cattle Egret and 2 Mandarin Duck. There was a Wheatear at Baiter, 3 at Holes Bay and 3 at Greenlands Farm. The White-tailed Eagle pair were doing the rounds, first sitting out on the gulls islands this morning before being seen heading south and then circling over Brands Bay late afternoon. There were 4 Spoonbill flying around Brands Bay this afternoon and this evening 5 seemed to come down behind Swineham GP. A Spotted Redshank crossed Lytchett Bay this morning and there were 2 Red Kite over Middlebere this afternoon.

Osprey – Middlebere – Kate Plater

Female Northern Wheatear – Holes Bay – Rene Goad


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