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 July, 2024

Harbour update – posted 12/07/24

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

There was still no fledging today by any of our Osprey chicks, despite several ‘fake’ lift off’s, as they took it in turns to hover just out of view on the webcam before settling back down again. Surely one will have fledged by the time the weekend is out? Around the harbour is was much of the same, with 9 Greenshank on Lytchett Fields and 2 on the Brownsea Lagoon where there was also 5 Dunlin and 3 Avocet, including what looked to be a newly arrived juv from elsewhere? A Marsh Harrier was quartering over Swineham, both White-tailed Eagles upped and left the Wareham Channel about 11am, heading off high SW. Many Sandwich and Common Tern families are still commuting up and down the Brownsea shorelines as the youngsters build in confidence, and parents lead them out exploring new areas. Swift families/colonies seem to be quite active now with c50 over Rockley Road in Hamworthy, c25 up and down Wareham Town Centre and 21 over Upper Parkstone. There have been between 3-5 Spoonbill in Middlebere the last few days and a Great White Egret was over RSPB Arne Moors.

Spoonbill – Middlebere – Mark Wright

Common Swift – Middlebere – Mark Wright

Harbour Update – posted 11/07/24

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

Beautifully settled today and nice and warm. Not too much to report other than the 5 Little Ringed Plover still on the Stilt Pools at Swineham with 4 adult Yellow-legged Gulls. The first dispersing Woodlark was heard flying south over Wareham Common and a Hobby went over there too. Holes Bay saw 101 Redshank this morning with 48 Black-tailed Godwit, 25+ Curlew & 1 Whimbrel plus 1 Teal. The White-tailed Eagle pair were in the Wareham Channel all day and male Osprey 022 caught fish in Middlebere and in the Wareham Channel and in Brands Bay on the low-tide 1 Whimbrel and 58 Curlew were feeding with 9 Common Sandpiper around the fringes of the bay.

We also got a nice reminder on our Facebook page this morning that 7 years ago this today we received our first batch of Osprey chicks for our translocation project. It was pouring with rain and freezing cold that day! Amazing to see how things have progressed from Osprey chicks in their rearing pens in 2017, to a family of six on a wild nest here in Poole Harbour.

Osprey chicks settling in to their new pens on July 11th 2017

Roll forward 7 years….and a family of six on a Poole Harbour nest

Harbour Update – posted 10/07/24

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

Another cold, breezy day with just as many wooly hats on our ‘Summer’ Cruise this AM as there were sunglasses! The low-tide produced a big number of Black-tailed Godwits in the Wareham Channel with c500 present along with 5 Spotted Redshank in the mouth of the River Frome, Swineham and 8 Common Sandpiper there too. Female White-tailed Eagle G466 was sat distantly on the RSPB Arne shoreline and there were good numbers of Common Swift flying over Swineham GP. Later in the day 4 Little Ringed Plover were on the Stilt Pools at Swineham as were 3 adult Yellow-legged Gull. Male Osprey 022 was seen hunting this afternoon three times in the Wareham Channel. A Roseate Tern was seen departing the harbour through the entrance this morning, and from our boat trip there were clouds of adult and young Sandwich and Common Tern flying around off the Brownsea sea wall. A high tide wader count on Brownsea this afternoon produced 1 Avocet, 1 Curlew, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 23 Redshank, 14 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling, 7 Common Sandpiper and 16 Turnstone. Holes Bay is seeing an increase in Black-tailed Godwit too with 45 there this morning along with 4 Common Sandpiper and in Lytchett Bay 6 Greenshank were feeding on the low tide this AM. Both Peregrine Falcons were on the Asda flats and up to 5 Spoonbill were recorded at RSPB Arne.

Harbour Update – posted 09/07/24

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

More signs of autumn passage this evening with 3 Spotted Redshank gathered in front of the Middlebere hide along with 2 Spoonbill. A Great White Egret was feeding in a pool on Hartland Moor and a Marsh Harrier went over there too. Wader numbers are building on Lytchett Fields as they tend to do this time of year with 171 Redshank, 48 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Dunlin, 3 Green Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank , 2 Curlew, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Turnstone and 1 Little Ringed Plover. Male Osprey 022 was doing the rounds this evening, being seen on several other nest platforms around the harbour including both that are viewable from Middlebere and both White-tailed Eagles were in the Wareham Channel. in Holes Bay SE there were 2 Common Sandpiper and 2 Whimbrel. 

Nice size comparison of Whimbrel (left) and Curlew (right) – Holes Bay – Andy (Twitter @nikodogtwite)

Male Osprey 022 from Sunday’s Sunset Safari on Sunday – John Thorpe

Male White-tailed Eagle G463 from Sundays’ Sunset Safari on Sunday – John Thorpe

Moulting Spotted Redshank – Middlebere – James Leaver

Harbour Update – posted 08/07/24

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

Despite the wet, autumn like conditions, there were a few folk out today. At Swineham there were 5 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Yellow-legged Gull at 1 Common Sandpiper. In Middlebere this afternoon, male Osprey 022 caught 2 fish and delivered them both back to the nest within 50 minutes and there were also 2 Spoonbill and 1 Green Sandpiper at Middlebere. In Brands Bay this evening there were a further 2 Common Sandpiper. 

Little Ringed Plover – Stilt Pools, Swineham

Hobby – Hydes Heath

Harbour Update – posted 07/07/24

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

With many young birds fledging right across the harbour now, we’d like to thank Ian Ballam for this nice comparison set of photos of fresh juvenile Black-headed Gull and Mediterranean Gull, both of which would have fledged from the ‘Gull Islands’ in the Wareham Channel recently. There’s already beginning to be a big movement of Common Sandpiper with c30 at Abbotsbury Swannery yesterday meaning the usual Poole Harbour haunts (Seymours on Brownsea north shore, Swineham and Lytchett Fields) could start seeing good numbers now. Yesterday there were 4 Great White Egret on RSPB Arne Moors and this evening from our Sunset Safari we had 2 Osprey, 12 Common Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank and 1 Marsh Harrier.

Juvenile Black-headed Gull – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 06/07/24

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

We were made aware of some interesting news today, that the Forster’s Tern which frequented the harbour back in the spring, and what was considered to be the same individual as last year has recently been re-found in NE Ireland at Soldiers Point, Dundalk. This confirmation was made by bird ID expert Killian Mullarney, who lives in Ireland by comparing photos of when the bird was with us in April and photos that were taken yesterday in Dundalk. This is a remarkable piece of identification, but lets hope it ventures it’s way south again soon, just like it did last year. Interestingly, in a strange twist of this story, a/the Forster’s Tern was reported off Shipstal Beach this evening, although the sighting wasn’t confirmed.

Elsewhere a Little Tern, 2 Spoonbill and a White-tailed Eagle were in/over Middlebere, a Marsh Harrier was at Holme Lane GP. The Wood Duck that was seen at Creekmoor Ponds a few years ago has reappeared, and seems to be going through a moult.

Comparison analysis of Ireland/Poole Harbour Forster’s Tern by Killian Mullarney

Little Tern – Middlebere – Mark Wright

Harbour Update – posted 05/07/24

Posted on: July 5th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Pretty grim today with not very much getting reported other than 3 Little Ringed Plover still on the Stilt Pools at Swineham. The White-tailed Eagle pair were in the Wareham Channel as was male Osprey 022. The colour-ringed Greenshank thats now been returning to Lytchett Fields for the last 8 years was back again. It was 1st seen at Lytchett Bay in April 2016 it has returned every autumn/winter since. It was ringed as a juvenile in Montrose, Scotland in Sept 2015 so is now 9 years old.

3 Greenshank (colour-ringed bird on right) – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 04/06/24

Posted on: July 4th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A bit of a mixture today weather-wise, but the building wind seemed to keep birding heads low. There was White-tailed Eagle high over Coombe Heath, RSPB Arne, an Osprey was on the Middlebere nest perch and a Marsh Harrier was in Middlebere. There were just 3 Little Ringed Plover on the Stilt Pools at Swineham along with 1 Yellow-legged Gull. Last night 61 Little Egret went into the Pergins Island roost. In Brands Bay the first Common Gull of the autumn was present along with 1 Whimbrel, 55 Curlew and 4 Common Redshank. At Lytchett Fields the sites first 2 Common Snipe of the autumn arrived along with 3 Greenshank. 

White-tailed Eagle – Coombe Heath – Kate Plater

Crowded Osprey nest with all 4 chicks active this evening

Harbour Update – posted 03/07/24

Posted on: July 3rd, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Things continue to build nicely with more arrivals dropping in in small numbers. This morning during our Summer Safari we logged a number of passage waders including the first Common Snipe of the autumn on the Stilt Pools at Swineham along with 4 Little Ringed Plover, 4 Shoveler and 1 Common Sandpiper. In the Wareham Channel male Osprey 022 caught a fish during the trip, both White-tailed Eagles were out on private land at Keysworth and a female Marsh Harrier was over Giggers Island. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were good numbers of newly fledged Sandwich Terns testing life on the wing, plus 1 Avocet, 1 Dunlin and 1 Turnstone the only passage waders. Yesterday evening in Middlebere there were 2 Spoonbill, 1 Yellow-legged Gull and an Osprey (likely 022) was on the Middlebere nest platform. There were also 3 Great White Egret in the mouth of the Piddle Valley yesterday evening along with 2 Marsh Harrier. Today on Lytchett Fields there were 24 Redshank, 2 Curlew, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpiper, 30+ Lapwing, an adult Med Gull and 51 juvenile Black-headed Gulls.

Juvenile and adult Sandwich Terns resting on Brownsea Lagoon

Freshly fledged Stonechat – Slepe Heath



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