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 April, 2024

Harbour Update – posted 16/04/24

Posted on: April 16th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Still pretty windy, and from the NW too, which seems to have knocked last weeks decent migration on the head. At least much of the wind is due to die off over the next few days, and all being well things will pick up again. There was late news of a Grasshopper Warbler at Wareham Rugby Club on Sunday morning, there was a Lesser Whitethroat at Middlebere yesterday evening. The Forster’s Tern was on Brownsea this morning, there were 3 Spotted Redshank and 5 passage Ringed Plover at Lytchett Fields and a couple of Reed Warbler back in Holes Bay north, with 1 Whimbrel and a Red Kite there too. A Little Gull was on the Bestwall floods this afternoon. Female White-tailed Eagle G801 was still hanging around in the Wareham Channel and female G466 weirdly didn’t seem to mind?!

Great Northern Diver with Flounder – Central Harbour. (Sunday) – John Thorpe


Harbour Update – posted 15/04/24

Posted on: April 15th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Some good news today in that our Osprey pair laid their first egg of the season. This is six days earlier than last year, and the earliest they’ve laid in the three years since they established. The hope is that CJ7 will lay another two (possibly 3?) over the coming week meaning we should see the first egg hatch around the 22nd or 23rd of May. Now the long incubation period begins, so lets hope that like last year, it’s smooth sailing to the hatching phase. It was quite a surprise to us that she decided to lay right in the middle of a gale, but hey…why not?

It was a return of the wind and rain today, making it feel like late October rather than mid-April, however a Tree Pipit powered through over Lytchett Bay, where another Little Gull appeared (the sites 7th of the year). Just after CJ7 laid her egg, a wandering Osprey came and inspected the goings on, but was soon seen off by the pair. In Brands Bay there were 2 Whimbrel, there was a visit from younger White-tailed Eagle G801 who spent the day in the Wareham Channel area and there was late news of a dead Bee-eater found dead in a Swanage garden yesterday. Although this isn’t Poole Harbour, the fact we’ve already recorded Hoopoe and Purple Heron this spring, Bee-eater should be on everyones radar over the next month or two, so learn their calls!

Female Osprey CJ7 with her first egg

Female Osprey CJ7 laying her first egg at 15:40 today

Harbour Update – posted 14/04/24

Posted on: April 14th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A singing Cirl Bunting at Glebelands above Studland was the major highlight from today: a scarce species for the harbour and one we certainly hope to see increasing in the coming years! Just over the other side of the ridge at Ballard Down the first Whitethroat of the year was also recorded. Signs of spring were also notable on our Spring Safari Cruise this morning with 1 Common Sandpiper, 4 Swallow and 3 Reed Warbler all seen or heard along the River Frome. Other trip highlights were the White-tailed Eagle pair, 3 Marsh Harriers and 1 Goshawk all in the Wareham Channel, 4 Great Northern Diver in the central harbour, Sandwich Terns constantly diving and calling around the boat throughout, and a Wheatear on the sea wall of the Brownsea Lagoon. The latter also played host once again to the Forster’s Tern for the majority of the day.

Common Sandpiper – Wareham Channel, Spring Safari Cruise – Alison Copland

Harbour Update – posted 13/04/24

Posted on: April 13th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Good to have another report of Hobby today, this time over Lytchett Bay. There was also an Osprey fishing in Lytchett Bay early in the morning. The Forster’s Tern was back on Brownsea Lagoon again, on the “boomberang” island. A nice count of 5 Wheatear we present at Greenlands Farm at Studland. Over in Brands Bay was a count of 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 dark-bellied Brent Goose, 9 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Grey Plover, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Dunlin, 4 Turnstone and 2 Whimbrel. A single Greenshank was reported in the Middlebere Channel.


Forster’s Tern amongst Sandwich Terns on Brownsea Lagoon – Nicki Tutton

Harbour Update – posted 12/04/24

Posted on: April 12th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Great report of a Purple Heron over Little Sea and South Haven at Studland early this morning, which unfortunately hasn’t been refound later in the day. In 2018 a Purple Heron stayed at Little Sea for an extended period of time during July and again in August, and the most recent report in the Poole Harbour area was back in 2018 with an individual seen in flight over Stoborough.

Other highlights today included the Forster’s Tern on the Brownsea Lagoon this morning. An Osprey was seen over Lytchett Bay before it moved into the Wareham Channel. 2 White-tailed Eagle were seen mid-afternoon high over Poole Town / Holes Bay area. In Brands Bay, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Great Northern Diver, 6 Red-breasted Merganser and 8 Brent Geese were still present.

Harbour Update – posted 11/04/24

Posted on: April 11th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The Hoopoe was seen again this morning although flighty, just north-east of Little Sea, Studland, along the track towards Knoll Beach. In Lytchett Bay there was 1 adult Yellow-legged Gull. On the Brownsea Lagoon the number of Spoonbill has increased to 4 and the Forster’s Tern was still present this morning.

In other news we are excited to announce we have now launched our Carey Osprey tours!

These 2-hour sessions between 8am-2pm will give a fantastic opportunity to see the only nesting pair of Ospreys on the south coast of England from an exclusive viewing platform, led by our Birds of Poole Harbour team in partnership with Careys Secret Garden.
Please make sure to book in advance as there are only 12 tickets available per session and there is no alternative access onsite for viewing the nest.
Please help us protect the birds by not turning up to Careys Secret Garden without booking, and not straying away from the permitted areas to try and view the Ospreys. The nest site is incredibly sensitive and Ospreys are a Schedule 1 species which means they are protected by law. We therefore ask that you are mindful not to disturb the birds and avoid attempting to get closer to the nest as this will risk the success of this very important nesting pair. We’re privileged to be able to now share this space with these birds, and ensuring their safety is our top priority.
We’ll be releasing the tickets in batches, month by month, so keep an eye on our website and newsletter for updates on more tickets being available.
To find out more and book online, please click here.

Harbour Update – posted 10/04/24

Posted on: April 10th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Don’t be put off by the weather! April is always an exciting month and the rain can sometimes help by stopping birds from passing straight through during spring migration. We certainly made the most of the birds on our Spring Safari this morning with lots of action in the Wareham Channel including 1 White-tailed Eagle who, looking at the data, was the female G466 soaring high and then heading North. We also had the first winter Little Gull still on the Swineham floods and showing well, 2 Marsh Harrier in the vicinity and 1 Spotted Redshank over Arne Moors. We also had the first Sedge Warbler of the year singing at Swineham along with 1 Reed Warbler. As we left the Wareham Channel 1 Osprey, which looked to be a migrant unringed female, was hunting along the shorelines. Incredibly high spring tides in the harbour today with the gull islands almost completely disappearing, which is slightly worrying for the nesting Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls. 4 Great Northern Diver were still showing well with 2 in Ball’s Lake and 2 on the north shore of Brownsea. Finally 3 Spoonbill, 1 Common Tern, 5 Avocet, 1 Sanderling, 2 Turnstone, c50 summer-plumage Black-tailed Godwit and c20 Bar-tailed Godwit on the Brownsea Lagoon made for a nice finish on a wet but very successful trip!

The first Hoopoe of the year was reported from this morning at Little Sea, Studland. A bizarre sighting first thing this morning from Lytchett Bay, with 2 Red-breasted Geese flying over and heading towards the Wareham Channel. They may have just pushed through but it’s worth keeping an eye out in the flooded valleys locally. Also 2 Spotted Redshank and 2 Whimbrel flew past from the Rock Lea View in Lytchett Bay. Some more spring migration starting to take place with early morning visible migration on Ballard Down providing 2 Tree Pipit, 2 Swallow and 1 Wheatear as well as some finch migration. 2 Common Sandpiper were in Holes Bay, although flighty. The Forster’s Tern was on the Brownsea Lagoon this morning although it evaded us on our boat trip.


Common Redshank and Black-headed Gull – Middlebere Channel – Phyl England

Harbour Update – posted 09/04/24

Posted on: April 9th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The highlight of today’s sightings was the Little Gull present at Swineham, moving between the mouth of the River Frome and over RSPB Arne Moors. The movement of Swallow has continued over Swineham, with 1 Marsh Harrier also reported. 1 Barnacle Goose was present at Holme Lane Gravel Pit this morning, along with 2 Egyptian Geese with goslings. At Lytchett Bay, 1 Common Sandpiper was reported near the Rock Lea Viewpoint.

In Osprey news, CJ7 is spending increasing amounts of time close to the nest and rejecting 022’s advances, which has previously indicated that she is getting close to laying. Fingers crossed that we may see the first egg in the next couple of days! You can watch the webcams here.



Harbour Update – posted 08/04/24

Posted on: April 8th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

More spring migrants are beginning to turn up with single Reed Warbler singing at both Swineham, River Frome and Lytchett Fields (whimbrel field). Also in Lytchett Bay was 1 Green Sandpiper in Pools Field. Plenty of migrant Osprey activity still throughout the harbour with two in the Middlebere Channel including ‘Beaky’ giving stunning views while catching another enormous sea bass. Another unringed Osprey was still in Morden Bog as well. 1 Spotted Redshank in the Middlebere Channel is starting to come into it’s summer plumage and the Forster’s Tern was still showing well on Shipstal Point.


Migrant Osprey ‘Beaky’ carrying off large sea bass – Middlebere Channel – Aidan Brown

Harbour Update – posted 07/04/24

Posted on: April 7th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A thoroughly enjoyable boat in the sunshine this morning despite the strong winds, the highlights being 3 Marsh Harrier, 4 Great Northern Diver, 2 Spoonbill, 2 Common Tern, 2 Swallow and a single Little Gull amongst Black-headed Gulls as they flew rapidly past in the central harbour. The Forster’s Tern managed to evade us but was seen by others on the Brownsea Lagoon, and later in the Middlebere Channel, where 2 Osprey were also present with fish this morning. Two firsts for the year were also recorded elsewhere: a female Whinchat at Sunnyside Farm, and a Reed Warbler at Swineham, plus a dark-phase Arctic Skua was on the water off Branksome Chine

Summer plumage Black-tailed Godwits – Brownsea Lagoon, Spring Safari Cruise – Alison Copland


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