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Job Advert: Birds of Poole Harbour Events Assistant

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

Birds of Poole Harbour is a Dorset-based charity with a local community focus, committed to conserving and interpreting the important birdlife in the Poole Harbour area. We deliver a range of exciting events and projects, and are looking for an enthusiastic Events Assistant to support our team in delivering our public engagement offer through the Spring and Summer of 2024.

Position: Events Assistant

Hours: 32 hours per week, 15th April – 15th September 2024. Due to the nature of our events, regular weekend and occasional early morning/evening working hours are required.

Salary: £8053.76 (FTE: £23,795.20 per annum)

Location: Poole and Wareham-based, with travel to events around Poole Harbour

Annual Leave: 9.5 days, inclusive of bank holidays

Essential Criteria:

Desirable Skills and Experience:

What you’ll be working on:

You’ll be helping our team to deliver an ambitious events schedule through the spring and summer, including our Carey Osprey Tours led in partnership with Careys Secret Garden, as well as our guided walks and cruises. This role will be well-suited to an aspiring and enthusiastic ornithologist with excellent communication skills and a good knowledge of British birds.

Full training will be provided and more detail on our project work and events can be found here: Please note that this position will be offered subject to the successful return of the nesting pair of Osprey to Careys Secret Garden, and that we will be unable to fulfil the role if they do not return.

If you would like to apply, please email our Operations Manager Laura at with a CV (2 pages maximum) and a PDF with answers to the following questions:

Interviews commencing W/B 4th March with the option for online interviews available. Please note that the interview will involve a UK bird species identification test.

Closing date: 9am on 26th February 2024

If you have any questions or queries about the role or application process, please contact our Charity Manager Liv via Birds of Poole Harbour are an equal opportunities employer and are happy to provide additional information or accommodations within our hiring practices to support applicants.

Job Advert: Osprey Project Assistant

Posted on: June 12th, 2023 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Role Description

An exciting role assisting on the landmark Poole Harbour Osprey Translocation Project, led by Birds of Poole Harbour and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation has come available. The role will include husbandry and monitoring of translocated chicks pre- and post-release. The position is ideally suited to an early career conservationist or student who is looking for a short-term role over the summer period.


Assist with the translocation of Osprey chicks from mid-July to mid-September, including the following responsibilities:


Duration: 2 month temporary contract, running from 10th July – 10th September 2023

Working Hours: Full-time (40 hours per week) including weekend, early morning and evening hours. Regular shifts typically run from 6am-2pm or 12-8pm on a rotating basis.

Pay: Living Wage salary equivalent to £10.42 per hour

Reports to: Osprey Project Manager, BoPH Manager, Operations Manager, Charity Trustees

Additional Information: This role requires a full, clean driving licence and access to a vehicle. Physical fitness is also important to this role due to the nature of the monitoring period. The position is based near Wareham, Dorset.



Person Specification

Full training will be provided for this role including food preparation, feeding, behavioural monitoring via CCTV and telemetry (yagi) and data recording.

Personal Attributes:

Skills and Experience:





How to Apply

To apply please send your CV (max. 2 pages) to, along with supporting document providing short answers (<300 words each) to the following questions:

The deadline for applications is 9am on Monday 19th June with interviews being held on Monday 26th June.

Please note that this position will be offered subject to the translocation going ahead this year. In the unlikely event that the translocation is unable to go ahead, we will unfortunately no longer be able to fulfil this role.

Job Advert: Birds of Poole Harbour Events Officer

Posted on: April 3rd, 2023 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Full-time position – Permanent 

Start Date: ASAP

Deadline: 15/04/2023

Salary:  £24,000 pa
Hours: Full-time (40 hours per week)

Job Base: Wareham, Dorset

Background: Dorset is without doubt one of the most important and pristine counties in the country when it comes to its birdlife. Nestled centrally on the south Dorset coast is Poole Harbour, a thriving landscape with a whole host of protections and designations attached to it. The harbour is both nationally and internationally important for a suit of species, and its surrounding landscapes provide a mouth-watering opportunity to see, experience and learn about birds right the way through the year.

Southern Britain and especially the Purbeck and Poole Harbour area is also fast becoming a recognised species and landscape recovery focal point, showcasing a range of high-profile nature restoration projects including the Poole Harbour Osprey translocation project and the Isle of Wight White-tailed Eagle translocation.

We’re seeking someone to join our small but driven team to help us continue building and developing our education and people engagement program throughout the year.

Job description: Our Birds of Poole Harbour charity is only 10 years old, but since it’s creation, we’ve worked hard at developing and delivering a range of high standard and high impact events and experiences for the public and local community to enjoy. The successful applicant will be a vital and busy member of the team, working hard to help us build our people engagement schedule as well as delivering and hosting many of the events themselves. This will include commentating on both our public and school bird boat programs, hosting and delivering guided walks and ID courses and supporting and coordinating customer bookings and enquiries. A big part of the role will be to inspire and ignite excitement in the public by showcasing birds such as wild Ospreys and White-tailed Eagles, whilst educating and explaining to people some of the big conservation issues that the charity holds dear to its heart.


The role and key duties:

  1. Help develop and deliver our wide range of public engagement and educational events.
  2. Lead events commentary for bird boat trips and guided events including our School Bird Boat program
  3. Support on and deliver highest standards of customer service and public engagement
  4. Provide additional support at bird ringing demos and ID courses.
  5. Help maintaining website and social media presence
  6. Promote and interpret our projects and key messages, including the Osprey Translocation Project
  7. Undertake other duties to support on all aspects of the charity’s objectives


Additional information: Birds of Poole Harbour is a registered charity dedicated to boosting the profile of bird conservation, observation and education across the Poole Harbour area. As a charity we fundraise and invest in conservation projects ranging from the installation of public infrastructure and habitat creation, to hosting our popular School Bird Boat initiative and delivering the flagship Osprey project.

Reports to: BoPH Trustees

Person Specification: This is a perfect role for an aspiring and enthusiastic ornithologist with excellent communication skills and a good knowledge of British birds. We’re only a small team, so the successful applicant will need to be able to work as part of a busy team, but also use initiative to make things happen.

Criteria Attribute
Personal Attributes Friendly and warm interpersonal style
Proactive and self-motivated attitude
Ability to work in a busy team
Skills Excellent verbal and written communications skills
Creative initiative
Full driving licence and access to a vehicle
Knowledge Good knowledge of Poole Harbour birding sites
Good bird identification skills

Full training will be provided, including event content and delivery structure, managing the booking systems, charity history, customer service and future plans. More detail on our project work can be found here:

If you think you could help us build the charity with your enthusiasm interpreting Poole Harbour’s birdlife and local wildlife conservation efforts, please email Paul on with a CV and one-page cover letter explaining why you think you’re suitable for this role.

BoPH Statement: Poole Harbour Oil Spill

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

Although we don’t know the full extent of yesterday’s spill yet, the fact it’s happened right in the middle of such an environmentally important area is incredibly worrying. Poole Harbour hosts nationally and internationally important numbers of wetland birds each winter and equally important numbers of other species including Sandwich and Common Terns which nest on Brownsea each summer. Right now we’re in that important transition period where our winter birds are leaving, and our summer birds are arriving, many of which use the southern shore of the harbour for feeding, nesting and hunting. Each month we conduct Wetland Bird Surveys across the harbour to monitor populations of over-wintering birds. The last survey which was conducted on March 5th logged 5450 birds along the southern shore in the spill area.

The local community have an incredibly strong attachment to the harbour and it’s environment which was highlighted yesterday morning when our male Osprey arrived back safely from West Africa, exciting thousands of people as he landed on the nest seen via a camera we installed this winter. His mate is expected to arrive back in early April after they bred for the first time in 2022, becoming the first pair to do so following an absence of nearly 200 years. The elation of the male’s safe return home yesterday morning was soon dashed by late afternoon when news of the oil spill was announced. Ospreys exclusively eat fish, and our pair hunt in the harbour about 95% of the time during the spring and summer season feeding on Grey Mullet, Flounder and Bass.

Over the next few weeks both Sandwich and Common Tern will be arriving back from their wintering grounds to nest on Brownsea, and will be reliant on fishing in the harbour to feed their young. Breeding waders have just begun courtship with Oystercatcher and Redshank currently settling on the beaches of Poole Harbours islands and salt marsh. Right now huge numbers of birds are on the move, having over-wintered further south and will soon be using Poole Harbour as a service station to feed up before continuing north. When it comes to an issue like this there are several areas of concern. One is that any birds that come into physical contact with this substance can see their feathers damaged and become less water resistant. The substance will also encourage any effected birds to preen constantly, meaning they could ingest the hazardous liquid. The other unknown is how much of the oil will settle on the mud and harbour shorelines and what impact will that have on marine invertebrates. There are so many unanswered questions currently, although thankfully, as of yet there have been no confirmed reports of any birds showing signs of distress as a result of the incident, although it is still early days.

We will be in constant communication with local partners and the community over the coming days to ensure we’re able to support where we can. We ask that the public remain vigilant and report any birds that look in distress to a local wildlife rescue centres, which can be found through this directory. You can also keep us informed via email on to help us understand the scale of the impact and provide support when needed. We will also be coordinating the local WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) volunteers in the meantime to arrange an additional survey of the harbour and assess any impacts to birdlife as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Team BoPH

Winter Big Poole Harbour Bird Count

Posted on: January 3rd, 2023 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The Big Poole Harbour Bird Count is a quarterly, harbour-wide, community-birding project that encourages everyone to get out and record the birdlife across the local area. With your help, we have surveyed every corner of the harbour during through the seasons and generated valuable community-science led data. This all helps us build a better understanding of the ecology and trends of Poole Harbour’s birdlide throughout the year. You can explore the results and data from our previous counts on our interactive webpage.

How to get involved

It’s simple, go birding in Poole Harbour on Sunday 29th January and record what you see! This could be a nearby park, urban space, nature reserve, or even your own back garden (please ensure you have permission to be there first). If you’re not sure where to go, why not head to our Go Birding webpage for inspiration? Once you’re out and about, make a note of the species you identify and the total number of individuals of each species you count. Please also document the name/s of those taking part (this information will not be shared), the location where you were birdwatching and what times you were there.

To make submitting your records as simple as possible we’ve created a species recording sheet, available to download below. Once completed, please email to

Big Bird Count Recording Sheet – Winter 2023

Alternatively, you can submit your sightings via eBird or BirdTrack. Please note, any sensitive records (e.g. rare breeding birds) will not appear publicly in BirdTrack or eBird checklists, so please share any sensitive records with us directly by email. Our Big Bird Count data output will also restrict these sensitive records publicly to protect the species whilst helping to inform research and conservation efforts for the species.

When you head out we recommend bringing a pair of binoculars with you as this will help you spot and identify the birds you encounter. But don’t worry if not, or even if you only see a few birds: all sightings are valuable so please share them with us! January is a bustling month as the total number and abundance of overwintering species reaches its peak, so there should be plenty to spot.

Want to get involved but not sure where to start? Join the Birds of Poole Harbour team out in the field between 11AM and 1PM at various sites across the harbour. We’ll be covering as much of the harbour as possible with members of the team stationed for free pop-up watches at Jerry’s Point (Studland), Holes Bay Hide (Upton Country Park) and Rock Lea Viewpoint (Lytchett Bay).

Osprey chick hatches in Poole Harbour: The first in Southern Britain for nearly 200 years

Posted on: June 2nd, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A pair of wild Ospreys have hatched young at a secret nest site in Poole Harbour, which is the first to hatch in southern Britain for nearly 200 years. The successful hatching is a result of an Osprey reintroduction program that’s being carried out by Dorset based charity Birds of Poole Harbour and conservation organisation the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation.

The reintroduction which began in 2017 is aimed at restoring a population of Osprey to Southern Britain after it was historically eradicated across much of Western Europe. The large, fish eating bird of prey is a summer migrant that returns to the UK each spring having over-wintered in West Africa.

The adult pair of Poole Osprey known as female CJ7 and male 022 first met in Poole Harbour in May 2021 and instantly made a connection. CJ7 had already established a nest the previous year, but had no mate to try and breed with, meaning she spent the whole of 2020 on her own. Once met in 2021 their partnership grew in strength with continuous nest building and pair bonding over the summer, but breeding was never likely as the male was too young. With no breeding in 2021 the pair both left on migration in September that year.

The Osprey project team, as well as members of the public were on tenterhooks in the early spring of this year, eagerly awaiting the safe return of both CJ7 and 022 and after a long and agonising wait, the pair arrived back in early April and got straight down to business.

Paul Morton from the Birds of Poole Harbour charity explained:

“Words don’t even began to describe what this means to us, and of course Osprey conservation in Western Europe. We started our licence application in 2015, and the actual reintroduction in 2017, and the prospect of actually having wild hatched chicks in a nest always felt so far away. But here we are, with an official birthday of June 1st 2022, and we now have the first wild Osprey chick for Southern Britain in 200 years, right here in Poole Harbour’

The Osprey pair had originally shown interest in a different nest in the harbour during 2020 and 2021, so when they decided to change sites to somewhere else in the harbour this spring it took the project team completely by surprise. Luckily, they had the foresight to put a makeshift webcam on the new nest a few weeks previously just in case, so all the action and this historic moment could be watched live. The pair have been thriving since their arrival back this spring, favouring species such as Grey Mullet and Flounder to feed on.

It’s thought that the pair laid three eggs in the nest during April, meaning the other two should hopefully hatch over the Bank Holiday Jubilee weekend. It’s predicted that once all three chicks have hatched safely, male 022 will become sole provider of fish until the chicks fledge after about 50 days. The chicks will stay low in the nest for the first few weeks, but by mid-June should be visible on the webcam as they grow and build in strength. Once fledged the chicks will stay for several more weeks, flying around and imprinting on the local area, learning that Poole Harbour is home, before instinct then kicks in and they’ll leave on migration. After two years, pending their safe migration down to West Africa and back the youngsters should then return to Dorset and begin thinking about starting families of their own, therefore seeing the beginnings of a new colony in Southern Britain.

‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ concluded:

‘The restoration of lost species and biodiversity takes time, and don’t forget, if humans hadn’t got rid of Ospreys in the first place, we wouldn’t have even needed to do a reintroduction. Now these birds are back, and successfully breeding, we hope that they can continue to build in strength as a population here on the south coast and be enjoyed by generations to come. It’s been a huge team effort getting to this point, and everyone within the project is ecstatic and the public response has been just superb. It feels great to actually have some positive news when it comes to raptor conservation here in Dorset”

CJ7 feeds chick for the first time

Nature Heals Project: Applications Open for 16-25 Year Olds

Posted on: May 25th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour
We have 30 places available on our workshop series, which consists of 3 different workshops on weekends in June and July. Each of our sessions has a unique focus, with a range of exciting activities from bird ringing to boat trip around Poole Harbour, designed to help better understand nature and how it impacts our mental and physical health. We’re therefore looking for applicants who would find our workshops beneficial to their mental health, and people who haven’t had the opportunity to experience nature on their doorstep before. The workshops are based either in Wareham at Careys Secret Garden or from Poole Quay. You can find out more about the workshops through our information poster . The dates are as follows:
  • Workshop 1: Saturday 4th June, 9am-1pm, based at Careys Secret Garden
  • Workshop 2: Saturday 18th June, 9am-1pm, based at Careys Secret Garden
  • Workshop 3: Sunday 3rd July, 9am-11:30am, harbour boat trip from Poole Quay

Attendance to the workshops is completely free of charge, with lunch provided on session 1 and 2, as well as free coach travel from Poole Quay to the site of our workshops at Careys Secret Garden in Wareham if it is required. All we ask is for you to complete a short application form to let us know a bit more about you, and ensure that you can get the most from the workshops. The deadline for applying is by midnight on Sunday 29th May. You can complete the application form here:

IMPORTANT: Please note, because of the limited number of spaces, applying doesn’t guarantee a space on the course. 

We’ll be in touch via email by the end of Monday 30th May to let you know whether you have received a place on our workshops and to send through further information. If you have any difficulties completing the form or have any questions, we’re happy to chat with you over the phone on weekdays from 9am-5pm and can be reached on 01202 641003 or through email on

Spring Big Poole Harbour Bird Count

Posted on: May 4th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The Big Poole Harbour Bird Count is a quarterly, harbour-wide, citizen-birding project that encourages the community to get out and record the birdlife across the local area. With your help, we have surveyed every corner of the harbour during the winter and autumn seasons and generated valuable community science data. This all helps us build a better understanding of the ecology and trends of birds using Poole Harbour throughout the year. You can explore the results and data from our previous counts on our interactive webpage.

How to get involved:

It’s simple, go birding on Sunday 15th May and record what you see! This could be a nearby park, urban space, nature reserve, or even your own back garden (please ensure you have permission to be there first). If you’re not sure where to go, why not head to our Go Birding webpage to look for inspiration. Once you’re out and about, make a note of the species you identify and the total number of individuals of each species you count. Please also document the names of those taking part (this information will not be shared), the location where you were birdwatching and what times you were there.



To make submitting your records as easy as possible we’ve created a species recording sheet, available to download below. Once completed, please email to

Big Bird Count Recording Sheet – Spring 2022

Alternatively you can submit your sightings via eBird or BirdTrack. Please note, any sensitive records (e.g. rare breeding birds) will not appear in Bird Track or eBird checklists, so please share any sensitive records with us directly by email. The Big Bird Count data output will also restrict these “sensitive species” to protect the species from exploitation and still help inform research and conservation for the species.

When you head out we recommend taking some binoculars with you as this will help you identify the birds that you see. But don’t worry if not, or even if you only see a few birds: all sightings are valuable so please share them with us! May is a magical month as summer migrants arrive en masse to claim breeding territories, so there should be plenty to spot.

Want to hit the ground running? We’re running an Up With The Lark Cruise 7AM to 10AM on the morning of the Big Bird Count. Help us survey the harbour on the 3-hr cruise while learning bird songs and calls in the process!

Posted on: April 26th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour
A pair of Osprey have laid an egg at a secret nest site in the Poole Harbour area, making it the first nesting attempt in southern Britain in nearly 200 years. The striking bird of prey was once widespread across Western Europe, but was routinely persecuted until they became extinct in the early 1800s. The nesting attempt is the result of an Osprey reintroduction project which began in 2017, carried out by the charities Birds of Poole Harbour and Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation in an effort to restore a population across its historic range.
The pair, known as CJ7 and 022, first met last spring having made their migration back to Poole Harbour from their wintering grounds in West Africa. The female, CJ7, first visited Poole Harbour in 2017 during the first year of the reintroduction project, but has shown interest in nesting here every year since, visiting purpose-built nesting platforms installed to attract Ospreys to breed. The male, 022, was released as part of the reintroduction programme during 2019, before making his first migration and spending two years maturing in his wintering grounds. He then returned for the first time on the 18th May 2021 which is when he first met CJ7, although he was too young to breed at the time. The couple spent the summer of 2021 pair bonding and establishing nesting territories, indicating that they were keen on breeding here in the future. Both left Poole Harbour in early September 2021 and those involved in the project kept everything crossed for their safe return this spring.
Paul Morton from the Birds of Poole Harbour charity explained:
“When 022 and CJ7 left on migration last autumn, we then had an anxious time waiting 7 months to see if they had survived the journey. Flying from Britain to West Africa and back again is incredibly dangerous, with the birds facing many challenges along the way including the Sahara Desert, adverse weather conditions and illegal hunting. Luckily they both returned safely earlier this month, with CJ7 arriving on April 5th and 022 a few days later on April 10th. Having spent the whole of last summer together their instincts to breed this summer kicked in straight away and the pair settled on a nest, which is exactly what we were hoping to see.”
The diet of Ospreys consists solely of fish, which is one of the reasons Poole Harbour was selected for the reintroduction project. Ospreys that breed in Scotland and Northern England pass through the harbour on migration each spring and autumn, feeding on species like Grey Mullet and Flounder, before continuing on their journey. With the harbour’s large shallow channels and bays, Ospreys find hunting in here incredibly easy. 022 can now regularly be seen hunting in the harbour. Should the breeding attempt be successful, he will be responsible for providing fish for the whole family throughout the rest of the season. 
It’s hoped that CJ7 could lay two more eggs over the next week, which will then see a 35-40 day incubation period begin. If all goes to plan, the team hopes for a hatching date of around late May. Paul Morton concluded:
“To know there’s now an Osprey egg in a Poole Harbour nest is just amazing. This is the culmination of seven years hard work. Projects like this are always going to take time, but it’s such a great feeling to know that the birds have reached this important milestone, and to see CJ7 incubating her first egg is stunning. There’s still a lot for them both to learn as new parents, and breeding success is certainly not guaranteed. However, everything we’re seeing at the moment is looking really positive, and hopefully by late May we’ll begin to see them feeding their newly hatched fledglings.”
Anticipating this historic moment, Birds of Poole Harbour installed a livestream camera on a favoured nest platform over the winter to be able to capture these moments. The charity didn’t, however, anticipate that the camera view would be slightly altered, thanks to several mating attempts from the Ospreys over the last two weeks on top of the camera. The livestream camera can be watched on the Birds of Poole Harbour website and YouTube channel, which means that the public can now tune in and watch the story unfold from their own homes

Reintroduction programme working: Historic Osprey & White-tailed Eagle projects bring education and eco-tourism opportunities to Dorset

Posted on: April 12th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The recent arrival of a pair of Ospreys and several White-tailed Eagles into Dorset – specifically Poole Harbour – has seen new, exciting environmental education and eco-tourism opportunities arise which are set to benefit schools and the local economy.

Ospreys, which haven’t bred in Southern Britain for nearly 200 years, are on the brink of returning thanks to a reintroduction program which began in Poole Harbour in 2017.  Whilst White-tailed Eagles, which haven’t bred in England for nearly 250 years, began regularly appearing in Poole Harbour in September last year with a young male called G461 who began exploring and making the harbour his home. The eagles, which have an 8ft wingspan, originated from the Isle of Wight reintroduction program that’s being hosted by The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and Forestry England.

The Poole Harbour Osprey reintroduction program, which is being carried out by local charity Birds of Poole Harbour and The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, received a boost this week when a male and female Osprey arrived back safely on their migration from West Africa and settled on a nest platform at a secret location in the area. The pair known as CJ7 and 022 first met last summer, although the male was too young to breed. However, they’ve now both retuned early enough meaning there’s a good chance the pair will attempt to breed this summer, which will be a historic moment for Dorset.

During the latter months of 2021, a male White-tailed Eagle known as G461 spent his days touring the harbour, being seen regularly at sites like RSPB Arne, Brownsea Island and from public bird boat tours. Local school Longfleet Primary also had a special encounter, whilst taking part in the School Bird Boat project, an initiative run by the Birds of Poole Harbour charity.  They saw the massive lumbering giant over the Brownsea Lagoon, providing a nature experience never to forget.

Longfleet School Children on School Bird Boat Project

Eco-tourism opportunities predicted to soar

As a result of the reintroductions of both White-tailed Eagles and Ospreys in southern Britain, it’s predicted that both species will establish breeding populations on the south coast over the coming years, which will not only help re-establish the species across their native range, but bring significant economic benefits too.

A recent study called the “The Economic Impact of White-Tailed Eagles on the Isle of Mull”, published by RSPB Scotland, has revealed the scale of the economic benefits that White-tailed Eagles have in that area.  Tourism inspired by these majestic birds of prey accounts for between £4.9 million and £8 million of spend every year on Mull with the money supporting between 98 and 160 full time jobs on the island, and between £2.1 million and £3.5 million of local income annually.  It’s hoped that the South Coast will benefit in a similar way, with evidence already emerging that the eagles are beginning to have a positive impact in the area.

In recent weeks several other White-tailed Eagles have found their way into Poole Harbour, including two regularly visiting females known as G801 and G318.  Their presence has seen excitement build even more with visits to nature reserves and bird boat bookings increasing as a result.

There are also now plans through different initiatives to use the eagle’s and Osprey’s presence as a platform to engage local schools in educating students about the process of nature recovery, reintroductions and restoration. Live webcams have been installed on several of the Osprey nests so schools and members of the public can hopefully watch this historical moment.

White-tailed Eagle – Brownsea Lagoon and Poole Quay – Alison Copland

Paul Morton from the Birds of Poole Harbour charity stated;

‘It’s been a fascinating last 6 months. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever think we’d regularly be seeing White-tailed Eagles in Poole Harbour, but here we are, thanks to the hard work and persistence of multiple teams, that dream has become a reality. Also, to now have a pair of Osprey back in the harbour looking to set up territory is a perfect scenario.

One of the highlights of my career was the school bird boat last year when we saw male eagle G461 with Longfleet School.  It was a really significant moment as it highlighted how far we’ve come as a society in our understanding, acceptance and knowledge in taking on ‘big’ projects like this. It’s not just eagles either. We’re of course currently carrying out our Osprey reintroduction right here in Poole Harbour, another species that hasn’t bred here for nearly 200 years due to human persecution, and with both ‘CJ7 and 022’ now safely back, we’re on the brink of seeing them back where they should be. 

We’ve seen a real increased desire from the public to learn about and experience these reintroduction stories. On our Spring Safari Cruises recently we’ve been seeing the female White-tailed Eagles from the boat and most recently displaying Osprey too. It’s just magical. It was without doubt one of the most incredible moments of my career.  To witness and share these moments with like-minded people was truly special, as it symbolised hope, progress and willingness to make things better.  It was a hugely positive experience, something we all need at the moment’.

The Poole Harbour Osprey reintroduction has also shown the positive economic impacts these kinds of projects have on an area with the Birds of Poole Harbour charity seeing an increase in the number Osprey boat tours they’re now hosting each year. When the reintroduction project started in 2017 they hosted just three boat tours, however, this coming August and early September they’re hosting thirty. The team have now also begun twice weekly tours to cater for the demand in interest.

White-tailed Eagle – Middlebere – Kate Plater

Challenges and the need for collaborative partnerships

It’s not all good news as sadly, the male eagle G461 was recently found dead on a private estate in North Dorset having been confirmed by Dorset Police to have ingested high levels of a rat poison called Brodifacoum. Conservationists involved in the project have seen this a tragic loss, but are committed to persevering and completing the reintroduction despite this set back.  This wasn’t only devastating for the team carrying out the project, but also the school children that saw him on their school trip and the members of the public who watched in awe as he made his way around the harbour in late 2021.

To help protect any current or future nesting attempts of Osprey in Poole Harbour, the Dorset Wildlife Crime Team have committed to supporting and advising on keeping the birds safe from disturbance.

Poole Harbour Osprey pair, female CJ7 (left) and male 022 (right)

Paul Morton added; “It’s a really fascinating time for nature conservation. There will always be challenges and the death of the male sea eagle won’t be forgotten, but it’s through close, collaborative partnership working, including with Dorset Police, that we can all make things better. For example, in 2016 we discovered there was a mass-illegal collection of gull eggs from Poole Harbour’s Black-headed and Mediterranean Gull colony. As soon as we found out we contacted Dorset Police who played pivotal role in getting the issue stopped with regular harbour patrols and liaising with us. It was so successful that the story made the national news and even featured on BBC’s Countryfile. Dorset Police have also been hugely supportive in regards to any immediate or future nesting attempts of our Ospreys making sure any nests get the best protection they can. It’s these types of partnerships and positive approaches to tackling these issues which will ultimately see success”

Birds of Poole Harbour has said they’re committed to making sure that the pupils exciting experience last year doesn’t end on a negative, and are keen the children understand efforts are being made to look after the remaining eagles that are currently exploring the UK.  With other White-tailed Eagles from the reintroduction program now beginning to visit Poole Harbour, more opportunities will be arise to see these awe-inspiring birds of prey in a wild setting.

Tim Mackrill from the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation explained;

When we heard last year that the school children had seen the sea eagle from their boat trip it was really exciting because we know that experiences like that can ignite a real passion for natural history and conservation. The fact that other White-tailed Eagles are now visiting the harbour on a regular basis is an extremely encouraging sign for the future and shows what a superb place Poole Harbour is for these amazing birds. I hope that many more people, of all ages, will be able to enjoy the thrill of seeing them here and in other locations along the South Coast for many years to come”

LIVE: Poole Harbour Osprey Nest Cam

Call 01202 641 003