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New Poole Harbour Osprey Nest Cam Goes Live……

Posted on: April 10th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Ok, things have all happened a bit quickly today but we have an exciting update for you……

This is a NEW live webcam of a Poole Harbour Osprey nest platform, which may possibly see the first breeding attempt in Southern Britain for nearly 200 years. We hope to be able to live stream you this historical moment over the coming weeks and months depending on female CJ7’s and male 022’s behaviour. We apologise there’s currently no sound, but should we see a successful breeding attempt this season we’ll of course seek to have a full installation ready to go next year.

As we (and CJ7 and 022) have had so much support from you all over the last few years, we’re thrilled to be able to share these moments with you. Everyone deserves this moment.

There’s no doubt it’s going to be a rollercoaster of a season, and we of course don’t know how it will pan out, or whether they’ll even stick with this nest. But with both CJ7 and 022 back so early there’s every chance we could see a successful nesting attempt this year somewhere in the harbour….finally!

IMPORTANT: The location of this nest will not be announced for the safety and protection of the birds and ask that if anyone learns of it’s location to not share the information publicly or on social media. This is obviously a hugely significant moment for the project and the expansion of the UK Osprey population. The nest will now be receiving constant monitoring and protection from our team and partners, including fantastic support from Dorset Police.

We’ll provide more of an update as things develop and provide the back story of what we’ve been seeing up to this moment…

So, for now, sit back, relax (if you can) and enjoy as hopefully one of the most exciting conservation stories of the year unfolds live in your own homes………


The Big Poole Harbour Bird Count Returns

Posted on: December 13th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Birds of Poole Harbour are hosting our third Big Poole Harbour Bird Count!

Back in 2020, we organised our first two Big Poole Harbour Bird Count events, encouraging everyone to head out and record the birdlife in our local area. Over the course of two days, on 19th January and 25th October, with your help we surveyed every corner of the harbour and collected loads of 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 the first two counts on our interactive webpage.

We’re keen to make this a quarterly tradition, dedicating one day during each season throughout the year to monitoring the birds in and around Poole Harbour. Over the past year restrictions and a very busy schedule have prevented this, but now it seems the time is right to get the ball rolling again. So kick things off, on Sunday 16th January 2022 we will be hosting our third Big Poole Harbour Bird Count and you’re all invited to join in!



How to get involved:

It’s simple, on Sunday 16th January just head out birding in your local area and record what you see. This could be a nearby park, urban space, nature reserve, or even just your own back garden (please just ensure you have permission to be there first). If you’re not sure where to go, why not head to the GO BIRDING page on our website looking for inspiration. Once you’re out and about, make a note of which bird Species you can identify and the Total number of individuals of each species you count. Please also document the Names 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 sightings as easy as possible we’ve created a Recording Sheet (Word Document) which you can download here. Once completed, please send to: Alternatively you can submit your sightings via eBird or BirdTrack.


When you head out we recommend taking some binoculars with you if you have any, 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! January is the peak time in the harbour for our overwintering birds, so there should be plenty to spot.


Things to consider on the day

Sunrise: 08:03 | Sunset: 16:34 | Low tide: 14:30


Coronavirus Safety

All records are important to us, but not as important as the health and safety of yourselves and other members of the public. If you’re heading out to take part please make sure you abide by the most recent government guidelines and rules. Reserves and other public areas may also have their own safety procedures in place, so please ensure you also observe these at all times. Activities outdoors are generally considered to be low risk, so by taking additional measures such as social distancing, and wearing masks in hides or other indoor settings, we can all enjoy birding and help to protect one another at the same time.

Poole Harbour: an important area for overwintering and breeding wetland birds

Posted on: December 7th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

An analysis of Poole Harbour bird populations has highlighted the area’s importance for both breeding and overwintering water birds. Two reports that were carried out by the Birds of Poole Harbour charity, one focusing on breeding waders and the other overwintering water birds, have just been published and highlight which species are doing well across the Poole Harbour area and which ones show cause for concern.

Poole Harbour is a designated Special Protection Area (SPA) due to the volume of certain species that visit each year. One report is an analysis of nearly 50 years of Poole Harbour Wetland Bird Survey data, These surveys are organised centrally by the British Trust of Ornithology but carried out by trained local volunteers each month throughout the winter and are aimed at assessing long and short-term trends in bird populations in specific areas of Poole Harbour. The results from these surveys are incredibly important as they form the decisions that are made as to what protection Poole Harbour is afforded.

The analysis of the data has highlighted that several of our best-loved species are out-performing relative to populations across Great Britain. The charismatic Spoonbill, a bird that doesn’t breed in Dorset, has now become the second most important overwintering site in the country with on average c50 individuals residing at RSPB Arne between October and March each winter. The hardy dark-bellied Brent Goose, a visitor from Arctic Russia is now doing incredibly well in Poole Harbour having been almost completely absent in the area during the early 1970s with on average c1,700 frequenting the southern shores of the harbour as well as a small group of c200 that regularly feed on the open grassy area of Baiter Park. Wintering numbers of the elegant Avocet have boomed over the last 50 years with Poole Harbour now the 4th most important site in the UK. These stunning pied waders were once restricted to single figures visiting each winter, but as breeding populations recovered elsewhere in the UK and mainland Europe, numbers increased here with c1,500 now present each winter. Although a tiny number of Avocet stay for the summer each year and attempt to breed on the Brownsea Lagoon, none have successfully raised chicks over the last 10 years. Poole Harbour is internationally important for Black-tailed Godwit, a wader that visits from Iceland each winter. On a low tide during the winter between 3,500-6,500 feed predominately on the mudflats of Holes Bay, Lytchett Bay and the Wareham Channel with many choosing to roost at the top end of Middlebere during the high tide. In total, the report identifies twelve species where winter populations have increased more strongly in Poole Harbour over the past 20 years than in Great Britain as a whole.

Despite the increases of some species, the analysis has also highlighted that there are several over-wintering birds that aren’t faring so well. Dunlin, a small sparrow-sized wader, no longer arrives here in the numbers they used to with numbers dropping from c7,000 to now only c2,000 per winter. Shelduck, which Poole Harbour is nationally important for, is also on a downward trend, with only c1,000 present between October and March compared to c4,000 in the late 1990s. One of the most dramatic declines is Pochard, a duck that used to over-winter in good numbers on Little Sea, Studland and saw peak counts of c1,300 25 years ago. However, the average peak count over the last five years was only three individuals per winter. In total, the report identifies thirteen species where winter populations have declined more severely in Poole Harbour over the past 20 years than in Great Britain as a whole

The second report published was a full ‘Breeding Waders of Poole Harbour’ study. This report specifically focused on nesting Redshank, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Curlew, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover and Avocet. An assessment of all suitable breeding habitat for each species was carried out and found that, by far, the most numerous breeding wader in Poole Harbour was Oystercatcher. In total the survey found 80 nesting pairs which not only makes it one of the most important sites in the region for breeding Oystercatcher, but is also considerably higher than previous estimated totals of c35 pairs. Brownsea Island was found to be the most important site with 31 pairs while other birds opted for the safety of urban rooftops including pairs on Parkstone Yacht Club, Purbeck Sports Centre and Poole Port.

A 1979 RSPB survey highlighted that 85% of nesting Redshank in Dorset were using wet flooded meadows during the summer. That number is now barely 5% with most now dependent on the health of Poole Harbours saltmarsh. The survey logged 60 pairs of nesting Redshank, which is only slightly down from 69 pairs logged during a 2004 survey. Lapwing, also known as the ‘Peewit’, have had a mixed history in Poole Harbour as a breeding species. Nationally their populations have declined by 80% since the 1960s and that decline is reflected in the recent Poole Harbour survey with only 12 pairs found including 11 pairs on one site in the west of the harbour. One of the saddest stories is that of the Curlew. Although abundant in winter, with migrant birds settling here from further afield, their breeding status in Poole Harbour and Dorset is precarious to say the least. Nationally, breeding Curlew populations have declined by 50% over the past 20 years. Like the Lapwing, it’s thought that the intensification of farming practices has significantly contributed to these steep declines. During the recent Poole Harbour survey just a single pair of Curlew were found; however, their breeding attempt sadly failed due to possible fox predation.

It’s hoped that these publications will raise awareness about Poole Harbours significance as an important functioning eco-system for a whole range of bird species during the course of the year, as well as acting as an up to date reference point for local stakeholders and decision makers when assessing impacts of current and future Poole Harbour plans. It’s also important to begin understanding why some species are faring better than others, but with the data now publicly available those stories can now begin to unfold.

The full reports can be read in their entirety by following the below links 

Breeding Waders of Poole Harbour – Spring and Summer 2021

Overwintering Birds of Poole Harbour – An Analysis of Poole Harbour WeBS Data 1975 – 2021

Photo Credits 

Grey Plover – Birds of Poole Harbour

Lapwing – Birds of Poole Harbour

Contact – Birds of Poole Harbour

Tel – 01202 641003

Email –

Eagle-eyed school children experience incredible wildlife spectacle

Posted on: December 2nd, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A group of children from Longfleet Church of England School in Poole were recently treated to a life changing wildlife spectacle whilst out on a school trip, when their group saw a White-tailed Eagle flying over Brownsea Island, a species that hasn’t been permanent in Southern Britain for nearly three centuries.

The children were taking part in the School Bird Boat Project which is carried out annually by local charity Birds of Poole Harbour and which are funded by Poole-based company LUSH, when the ginormous eagle flew out over the Brownsea Lagoon past the school group. The eagle, known as G461 is a two-year old male and was released onto the Isle of Wight in 2020 as part of a pioneering reintroduction program hosted by the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and Forestry England in a bid to try and restore a population of these huge birds of prey.

White-tailed Eagles, which have adopted the nickname ‘flying barn doors’ because of their broad eight-foot wingspan, haven’t been present as a breeding species in England for almost three hundred years despite previously being wide-spread. The cause of their demise was down to human persecution and they sadly never recovered. However, it’s hoped that with new the reintroduction program underway which began in 2019, there’s now every chance these majestic birds will soon become a regular sight over Dorset sky’s over the coming years as the project progresses and the eagles start to breed. Evidence from the project has highlighted the released eagles are feeding on things like wild rabbits, mullet, squid, waterfowl such as wild ducks and geese and quite a lot of  carrion too.

White-tailed Eagle G461 – Brownsea Lagoon – Stuart Pentland

Sea Eagles don’t reach sexual maturity until four or five years old so it’s unknown whether G461 is currently favouring Poole Harbour because of the abundance of food, or whether he’s potentially seeking out a future breeding territory. Regardless, his presence has certainly got people excited about the future with more sightings of his presence logged over the weekend around the Arne area.

Paul Morton from the Birds of Poole Harbour charity explained:

“there’s no words to express how significant that experience was for the children. They may not know it now, but they’ve witnessed history being made and the beginnings of something really special. Only a few years ago, the thought of seeing a White-tailed Eagle over Poole Harbour was just a pipe dream, let alone the chance of experiencing it with a whole boat full of school children. But here we are in 2021 and that pipe dream has now become a reality with everyone from school children, locals and visitors to the area soon able to witness and experience this remarkable recovery”

Male White-tailed Eagle G461 was collected under licence from a wild nest in Scotland in mid-2020 before being flown to Southern England where he was raised and then released on the Isle of Wight later that summer. After his release G461 spent a few months on the Isle of Wight before then going off on his first exploratory flights which saw him visit numerous sites along the south coast and even venturing up to Norfolk before then returning to the south coast in mid-September this year. Since then G461 has been visiting Poole Harbour on a near weekly basis often favouring areas like Middlebere, the Wareham Channel and Brownsea Island.

Longfleet School site manager Robin Heawood added:

“The children and us as staff were so lucky to see the UK’s largest bird of prey on our trip. This is something I’m sure they’ll never forget. Sea eagles have not been seen locally for hundreds of years.  We were extremely fortunate to have witnessed it”

Whilst year 6 pupil Nikolai Poate stated:

“I think it’s amazing that there’s a sea eagle in Poole Harbour and that we saw it. I never knew there was such a big eagle in the UK”

Tim Mackrill from the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation concluded:

“This is just brilliant. We’re so glad to hear a school group got to experience this. Of course the primary focus is to re-establish a breeding population of White-tailed Eagles on the South Coast, but if seeing the eagles also inspires the next generation of conservationists then even better”

Overwintering Birds of Poole Harbour – An Analysis of Poole Harbour WeBS Data 1975 – 2021

Posted on: October 14th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Poole Harbour is an important over-wintering site for a whole range of different wetland bird species. This comprises of numerous wader, wildfowl and long-legged water birds like Grey Heron and Spoonbill, as well multiple gull species too. To assess the ever shifting population trends of these birds, Wetland Bird Surveys (WeBS counts), which are managed centrally by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) have been carried out in Poole Harbour since 1975. These surveys assess all wetland species during the course of the winter which in turn provides data on which birds are present in nationally and internationally important numbers, which are increasing and which are decreasing as well as comparing local trends with national trends. It’s the results of these surveys that also determine whether a site is afforded special protection or needs to be designated.

Poole Harbour is a Special Protection Area (SPA), with its bird life forming several features of that SPA. These include the regular over-wintering numbers of  Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Shelduck, Spoonbill and Little Egret as well as breeding Mediterranean Gull, Sandwich and Common Terns in the summer. The combined total of all over-wintering wetland birds (winter bird assemblage) also form part of the Poole Harbour SPA.

The data from these surveys is incredibly helpful to see where species thrive in the harbour, how well a species is doing or not over a period of time and when peak arrival, population and departure times are. The BTO’s WeBS reporting website provides an excellent overview of all Poole Harbour data, as well as other sites across the UK, but knowing where specific species priorities for feeding is not highlighted within their webpages, nor can all data be viewed in one place so visually.

With thanks to some incredible volunteers and our BoPH team, we’re now able to publish a full Overwintering Birds of Poole Harbour – An Analysis of Poole Harbour WeBS Data 1975 – 2021 report which breaks down, consolidates and interprets data from the last 45 years of Poole Harbour WeBS counts.

The purpose of this publication is to bring together an analysis of that data for 43 of the main winter species, the trends in numbers over the long-term, how they compare with national numbers, their seasonality, and where the birds are distributed around the harbour during the winter months. It is a ‘fact-based’ analysis of the importance of Poole Harbour for wintering birds, which we hope will stimulate public interest and further research and discussions to protect and enhance this very special place.

With special thanks we’d like to extend our immense gratitude to several volunteers for this report. These include Patrick Redshaw for the data analysis and presentation of all 45 years worth of WeBS data in this publication. To Jol Mitchell and Patrick Redshaw for the data collection and organising of all historic and present day WeBS data. Rod Brummitt who for 10 years has received, collated, entered and submitted all WeBS count data to the BTO and of course, to our valiant team of 33 WeBS counters who head out each month, come rain or shine, to count Poole Harbours amazing winter bird life. Also, a huge thank you to Brittany Maxted and Liv Cooper from our BoPH team for their incredible and ongoing editing, interpreting and design input throughout the whole process. Plus, a big thank you must go out to all previous WeBS counters and organisers who started gathering WeBS data in the early days and especially Brian Pickess and John Day from the Poole Harbour Study Group who’s early work and analysis on Poole Harbour WeBS helped form part of this report. Without any of these people, this document simply wouldn’t be possible.

Equally as important, we’d also like to thank all landowners who grant us access permission so that WeBS counters can access difficult to reach areas, meaning count accuracy is much higher. Without their support, the data would certainly suffer and degrade.

We hope you enjoy reading this new report – Overwintering Birds of Poole Harbour – An Analysis of Poole Harbour WeBS Data 1975 – 2021

New era heralds exciting eco-tourism opportunities for South Dorset

Posted on: September 22nd, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A series of inspiring environmental initiatives that are being carried out across the south coast could provide multiple eco-tourism opportunities for the Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and Purbeck area over the coming years. The last 18 months has seen a huge spike in the number of people wishing to not only connect with nature, but to learn about its functionality and backstory too. Over the last decade social media and mainstream news channels have often highlighted the worst and most catastrophic environmental stories from across the globe. However, here in Dorset and along the south coast a new era of positive environmental change seems to be emerging, focussing on nature and species recovery, and the positive impacts are already becoming evident.

Within the last ten years, several high profile projects have begun along the south coast with the aim of restoring lost habitats and species. These include the Poole Harbour Osprey translocation project carried out by local charity Birds of Poole Harbour, the White-tailed Sea Eagle reintroduction on the Isle of Wight carried out by the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and Forestry England, and the White Stork reintroduction in Sussex and Surrey run by the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, Cotswold Wildlife Park, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and Warsaw Zoo. Last year also saw the launch of the new groundbreaking Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve, a joint partnership project between Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Forestry England, National Trust, Natural England, Rempstone Estate and the RSPB, and recently the Dorset Wildlife Trust obtained a new 170 hectare area of land south-east of Bere Regis which will focus on Rewilding the large previously farmed area. Plus, the National Trust currently have a licence application underway to undertake a wild Beaver reintroduction in the Little Sea area of Studland, with Beavers being renowned natural, dynamic eco-engineers that vastly improve ecosystems. Collectively, all these projects place south Dorset in a unique position to not only improve and accelerate species and ecosystem recovery, but to also attract and establish a growing eco-tourism audience.

Paul Morton from the Birds of Poole Harbour charity explained;
Over the last four years we’ve been reintroducing Osprey to Poole Harbour, in an effort to try and restore a breeding population having been absent for nearly 200 years. This summer we saw a pair form and we witnessed the male displaying high over his nest site: a behaviour that’s not been seen in southern Britain for two centuries. Although they didn’t end up breeding, this is the beginnings of re-colonisation. Then, a series of events in Sept 2021 blew my mind. Firstly, on Sept 16th an incredible sight of 36 White Stork migrated over the harbour, a scenario that probably hasn’t been seen here for nearly 400 years. Then, on the following day, one of the Isle of Wight sea eagles decided to pay us a visit, firstly hanging out briefly on the lagoon on Brownsea Island before relocating to Middlebere near RSPB Arne the following day where crowds of people got to enjoy watching this huge majestic bird of prey with its 8ft wingspan, before it alighted and headed off north. This was then followed by several other sightings of another of the projects eagles as another drifted over the Wareham Channel and Arne. To think that these birds will soon become a regular sight again having been missing from our landscape for so long and hopefully be breeding in the harbour over the coming years is just breathtaking. If anyone had said to me ten years ago that in the space of a week we’d see displaying Osprey, migrating White Storks and hunting White-tailed Sea Eagle in Poole Harbour I would have literally laughed in their face and walked off. It was all dreamland stuff ten years ago, but here we are a decade later and it’s actually happening

White-tailed Eagle – Middlebere – Kate Plater

Back in 2017, when Birds of Poole Harbour began their Osprey Translocation Project they hosted a single boat trip to show and talk to people about the project. Due to demand that year they had to put on an extra two trips. Then in 2018 they hosted eight trips, in 2019 ten trips and now, in 2021 the charity hosted fifteen cruises, all of which sold out with both locals and visitors to the area wanting to see and learn about Osprey conservation. On the Isle of Mull in Scotland, where White-tailed Sea Eagles were reintroduced in 1975, it’s now estimated that sea eagles bring in around £5 million to the local economy, highlighting the potential for when sea eagles first nest along the south coast over the coming years.

White Storks over Brands Bay – Aidan Brown
Paul Morton added;
It’s not just conservation NGO’s that are doing their bit, the councils have been doing a great job too, enhancing and improving eco-systems through schemes like their wild verges scheme. Even changing streetlights to LED lights has a positive impact on the environment. Councils should not underestimate how valuable and important schemes like the wild verges/areas scheme is for the environment and how appreciated they are by the public. Although it can sometimes feel or seem contentious, it’s this kind of progressive forward thinking to nature recovery adopted by councils that fits perfectly into the much bigger picture of what’s happening locally. The new Purbeck Heaths National Nature reserve along the south of the harbour is a vital landscape scale rewilding project, which is going to have a huge positive impact on our local environment. Gone are the days where postage stamp-sized nature reserves are managed for specific species: the future is in connecting areas of land and allowing natural processes to evolve. That’s quite easy to do in rural areas with landowner cooperation, but much harder to do in urban ones, so councils need to be bold in their approach and see what positive role they can have year after year. I’ve lived in the Poole Harbour area my whole life, and never have I been so excited and optimistic about the area’s future. There’s so much to be downhearted about in the modern world, but everyone should take great pride in what’s happening locally, embrace it, immerse themselves in it and make sure we carry on with this trajectory. Many areas would be begging to have just one of these types of projects on their doorsteps to benefit from, but the fact here in South Dorset we have six or seven says to me that we’ve got a great opportunity in the future to make great strides both environmentally and economically”.

Many areas of south Dorset are protected sites, with Poole Harbour recognised as a Special Protection Area and the Jurassic Coast being a famous UNESCO world heritage site, both of which already attract large numbers of tourists to the area. Conservationists hope that with the recovery and enhancement of ecosystems and large tracts of land across the south coast, as well as seeing the recovery of keystone species such as Sea Eagles, Beavers and Ospreys, that both locals and visitors, new and old will all get to benefit from this new and exciting environmental dynamic.
Male Osprey 022 and female CJ7 on Poole Harbour nest cam

Birds of Poole Harbour and Poole Museum form new collaborative partnership after visitor centre closure

Posted on: September 9th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Local conservation charity Birds of Poole Harbour and popular visitor attraction Poole Museum are forming a new collaborative partnership to help interpret and highlight the harbours important birdlife and natural heritage. The partnership will see Birds of Poole Harbour initially utilise part of the Museum’s gallery and exhibition space by transferring some of their popular interactive and informative displays from their engagement centre on Poole Quay, which is due to close at the end of September.

The Poole based conservation charity has spent the last 10-years developing a series of people engagement and education initiatives including their popular School Bird Boat project, as well as working on multiple conservation projects including their pioneering Osprey reintroduction within the Poole Harbour area. In 2018 they opened their new visitors centre on Poole Quay which aimed to interpret and popularise bird conservation in and around Poole and was deemed a great success. But after a year of Covid, the charity has re-evaluated it’s focus and priorities and will be closing the exhibition space this autumn.

Paul Morton from the Birds of Poole Harbour charity explained;

“this is such a new and exciting opportunity for our charity, allowing us to expand, deliver and communicate our stories much more effectively and to a much larger audience. Poole Museum has a great reputation for bringing Poole’s history to life and we hope that by including information about it’s wildlife too, it provides an extra learning journey for visitors to the museum. Like all businesses, the last 18 months has really allowed us to carefully assess where we’re most effective as a charity, what our priorities are, how we can have the biggest impact whilst remaining dynamic and influential in our local area. We’re now looking to be a lot more active out around the harbour, hosting many more events throughout the year, building on our education work and forming new partnerships to really get people excited about conservation in this incredible area.”

Plans are also currently in place to transform Poole Museum creating a major cultural quayside heritage attraction for local communities and tourists. Poole Museum’s important historic buildings will be conserved and opened-up for more people to enjoy, more of the time. The plans include creating three brand new maritime displays with the community. Volunteers, local people and visitors will all contribute to and become part of a shared history of Poole.

Plans will improve the visitor experience as well as revitalising the Lower High Street and Quay, increasing visitors to museum and local area. With the support of funders and the public it’s hoped the plans will transform the Museum to a regional scale attraction at the heart of a rejuvenated, vibrant, cultural ‘Quay Quarter’.

The Poole ‘Our Museum’ project was recently awarded an initial grant of £352,000 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) to develop future plans for our museum. This funding allowed the museum team to carry out creative consultation and collaboration with wide range of visitors, residents, partners and community groups, as well as enabling them to work with a team of professional architects and exhibition designers.

Councillor Mohan Iyengar, Portfolio Holder for Poole Museum added;

“I am pleased that Birds of Poole Harbour and Poole Museum have come together to offer even more to our visitors. We’ve collaborated in the past and the museum has already benefited from the knowledge and passion of the charity’s team in delivering public talks and in refreshing the popular bird hide display. I hope that residents take the chance to visit again and engage with the team of ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ while they’re in residence, and at the same time find out more about Poole’s unique natural history.”

Paul Morton concluded;

“We’re at a really interesting crossroads locally with multiple exciting, new and bold conservation projects either taking place already or being planned for the future. All of which seek to restore habitats, increase biodiversity and educate the public on the richness of Poole Harbour. With Poole Museum’s perfect location combined with their long term plans, this new partnership provides a great base to continue telling these stories right in the heart of town”

The Poole Harbour Osprey reintroduction project is one of several stories the new partnership aims to tell and promote

Popular Poole school bird boats set to return

Posted on: July 12th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Our popular school environmental education program is set to return this winter after COVID prevented the project from taking place last year. The School Bird Boat project, run by us, Birds of Poole Harbour, will start taking school children from around the Poole Harbour area out on boat trips this coming winter, teaching them about the importance of their local environment and the role the harbour plays in peoples day to day lives.

The trips, which will be funded by Poole based business LUSH this year, have been organised and hosted by Birds of Poole Harbour for nearly 10 years and sees on average 1200 local school children benefit from the project each year.

Poole Harbour is a nationally and internationally important site for winter birds with up to 25,000 waders and wildfowl taking refuge in the large, sheltered, shallow harbour. During the peak of the winter up to 1200 Avocet, 2500 Black-tailed Godwit, 5000 Wigeon and 50 Spoonbill all call Poole Harbour home, along with a whole range of other important and unique species.

Paul Morton from the Birds of Poole Harbour charity explained;

“It’s fantastic that we’re able to start organising these trips again. It’s so important that local children get to get out on the water and experience Poole Harbour from this unique perspective. These children will be the harbours custodians in future years, so inspiring them now will hopefully plant the seed and see them want to protect it as they get older. We can’t thank LUSH enough for kindly funding the trips this year, it’s a massive boost as it means we’re able to offer the trips for free, including transport, meaning the schools, the parents or the pupils don’t have to pay a penny towards the project.

The main focus of the trips is to provide school children the opportunity to connect with their local environment, and understand the relationship between how the harbour is managed for nature, but also it’s function and importance for people to earn a living.

Paul added:

“The harbour is vitally important for both wildlife and people, with some of the children’s parents probably working out and around the harbour, whether it be in the fishing industry, for the RNLI, the Marines, the port etc. So highlighting how all this fits together is an important and key message. Plus, it’s likely nearly all the children will use the harbour recreationally over the coming years, so understanding where the sensitive sites are, the impacts different activities have and how to protect the harbour are all crucial topics to discuss”

 The trips, which historically have always been hosted during the winter will run from October 2021 to March 2022 and will focus on the harbours rich winter bird life. However, the Birds of Poole harbour charity are also carrying out a pioneering Osprey reintroduction program in Poole Harbour, looking to restore a population of these incredible birds of prey to the south coast after a 200 year absence, and it’s hoped that the charities schools education work will be able to extend and broaden its focus when Ospreys begin nesting here in the coming years.

Mark Constantine, Lush Co-Founder, MD and bird sound expert comments:

“It’s a privilege to be able to fund this initiative, as we know how important it is that children have good access to nature. As a business our journey started here in Poole, so it’s important to us to be able to have a direct impact on local school children’s environmental education and also the harbours long-term protection”. 


Register for The Reintroduction & Rewilding Summit!

Posted on: March 23rd, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The event will be streamed LIVE on YouTube through the Self-Isolating Bird Club channel, starting at 10am. Find out more about The Reintroduction & Rewilding Summit here!

The Reintroduction & Rewilding Summit

Posted on: January 28th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour


In 2021, it cannot be denied that our planet is at an ecological tipping point. Whether we’re discussing the climate crisis or extreme declines in biodiversity, taking appropriate action to remedy these problems is still not a priority for many of those with power. In the past year especially, nature has proven its worth 100 times over, with millions of us finding comfort and solace within it. At Birds of Poole Harbour, we are not content with letting the opportunity to restore and conserve our natural heritage slip through our fingers, and we’re not alone. We are a small part of a mighty network of people and organisations striving to make positive change for nature, exploring novel ways of doing so and educating the public as we go.

As a charity, with our involvement in the Poole Harbour Osprey Translocation Project, we’re particularly inspired by the uptake of wildlife restoration projects through reintroductions and rewilding, and we know that many other people are just as engaged and enthused as we are. We therefore decided to launch a new event, bringing these projects together to showcase them to the public: The Reintroduction & Rewilding Summit.

The R & R Summit is a virtual event which you will be able to stream live from home on Saturday 10th April 2021. The day will be hosted by the brilliant Self-Isolating Bird Club, with presenters Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin, and will be jam-packed full of content from different projects, conservationists and science communicators talking all about reintroductions and nature restoration. The event will raise the discussion of a multitude of questions, from whether reintroductions are the best way to re-establish native species,  to how beavers can shape our landscape, and whether rewilding has become an overused buzzword or is it actually the answer to reverse biodiversity decline? But most importantly, we hope the day will fill you with much-needed hope and excitement for the future of wildlife restoration and will inspire you to discover more about these projects. Speakers will include the likes of conservation hero Roy Dennis, Beaver expert Derek Gow, ‘Rebirding’ author Benedict Macdonald and The White Stork Project. The event will be livestreamed on 10th April through the Self-Isolating Bird Club and Birds of Poole Harbour’s YouTube Channels, and you can sign-up to register your interest and be sent the link to the event here.

In the meantime…

The R&R Summit Insight Podcasts

Over the next 10-weeks leading up to the event, guest podcaster Charlie Moores will be interviewing a series of reintroduction and rewilding project leaders, discussing the details, aims and inspiration behind each scheme. With many of these topics or ideas sometimes being considered controversial, these open discussions aim to lay all cards on the table, allowing listeners to hear about the processes, practicalities and outcomes of each of the projects and how they fit into a wider context of conservation.


Podcast 1 – Poole Harbour Osprey Translocation Project

In 2017, Dorset-based charity Birds of Poole Harbour began a 5-year Osprey translocation project in an effort to restore a south coast breeding population having been absent for nearly 200 years. In this first podcast, Charlie discusses with some of the Osprey project team the reasoning behind the reintroduction, their aspirations moving forward and the project’s place within a wider nature restoration framework.

Podcast 2 – The White Stork Project

Join Charlie as he chats with Lucy Groves, a project officer for The White Stork Project. Discover the motivations behind the project, the progress already made and what we can hope to see by 2030, as well as the impacts they have already had in engaging the public with the wildlife…

Find out more about The White Stork Project here:


Podcast 3 – Celtic Reptile & Amphibian

Charlie chats with Harvey Tweats and Tom Whitehurst of Celtic Reptile & Amphibian to dive deeper into understanding their ambitions, how they see themselves fitting into the bigger conservation picture, and what they’ve taken on board since attracting national attention.

Find out more about Celtic Reptile & Amphibian here:


Podcast 4 – Rewilding Britain

In this episode, Charlie talks to Sara King from Rewilding Britain, who is the Rewilding Network Lead. They delve into the world of rewilding on a larger landscape scale, discuss the possibilities of marine rewilding, and the benefits of having a network of rewilding projects.

To find out more about Rewilding Britain and their Network, explore their website:


Podcast 5 – Vulture Conservation Foundation

This week, Charlie got to grips with the scale of the efforts made to conserve vultures across Europe. Talking with José Tavares, the Director of Vulture Conservation Foundation, they discuss what’s needed to make reintroductions successful, how they go hand in hand with other conservation techniques, and the important role that vultures play in their landscape.

To find out more about Vulture Conservation Foundation, head to their website:

Podcast 6 – Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation

This episode Charlie chats with Roy Dennis MBE and Dr Tim Mackrill of the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation. They discuss the recent updates from the White-tailed Eagle translocation on the Isle of Wight, the hurdles to overcome when planning a reintroduction project, and how translocations will continue to be a key player in conservation in the future.

To find out more about the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, you can go to their website:

Podcast 7 – Isabella Tree (Knepp Wildland)

In this episode, Charlie talks with Isabella Tree, who has been largely responsible for bringing rewilding to public attention through her brilliant book “Wilding”. They discuss the progress and influence of the Knepp Estate, the fantastic array of people who have been through its doors, and how to find balance between managing land and letting nature take the reigns…

If you want to learn more about Knepp Wildland, you can find their website here:

You can also find all the episodes on Spotify: HERE


We hope you enjoy the podcast!



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