An official account of all species that have been recorded and reported by birdwatchers and naturalists in the Poole Harbour area since records began.

The data for this list has been extracted from various sources, but George Greens 'The Birds of Dorset', Mansel-Pleydell's Birds of Dorsetshire, Naylor’s reference manual of rare birds and the back catalogue of Dorset bird reports have provided most information. Data is currently still being researched and records will be updated accordingly.

You can view this information in two different ways. Our alphabetical list provides information on the status of each species within the harbour, finder dates and names, photos and favoured locations. By clicking on the Systematic List button you will be presented the full Poole Harbour systematic list which includes status of species, pending records and historical accounts.

To date, 333 species have occurred and have been accepted within the Birds of Poole Harbour boundaries. A further 11 distinct subspecies have also been seen. In addition, we have two species/subspecies which have been recorded, but are awaiting acceptance by the appropriate records panel.

There are a handful of historical records, for which there is currently insufficient information to allow their inclusion onto the Poole Harbour list, but are believed to be genuine records. They are listed at the end of the list.

Finally, there are a number of feral or escaped species that have been recorded within the Birds of Poole Harbour boundaries. They are included for completeness, but are not included on the Poole Harbour list.

We would be interested in hearing details of any species that do not appeared on this list.

The Birds of Poole Harbour systematic list is a PDF which you can view by clicking on the button below. It was last updated on December 2019.

Full Poole Harbour Systematic List

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Iceland Gull

Latin Name

Larus glaucoides


Scarce Winter Visitor

Site And Records Information

Very rare winter visitor. Most Dorset records occur between Feb and May. In 1984 there were 22 Dorset records and in 1998 and 2000 there were at least 15. Having become almost annual in the 1990’s and after 4 in 2000, there have been only 8 birds in the harbour in the last 15 years!

1 in 1893 in “Poole Harbour” was the first record for Dorset (GPG2004)
1 on 1st May 1970 on Brownsea Lagoon
Ad from 18th May – 6th Jun 1981 at Brownsea Lagoon
1stW from 8th -10th Feb 1984 at Canford Heath tip.
1s W on 23rd Feb and 31st Mar 1984 at Brownsea (presumed same as above)
2ndW on 19th Feb and 31st Mar 1984 at Little Sea, Studland
2ndW on 6th Mar 1988 in Redhorn Bay, Studland
Imm on 9th Feb 1991 in Holes Bay
Imm on 14th and 20th Feb in Poole Park (presumed same as above)
2ndW on 10th Mar at Studland
Ad on 8th Feb 1992 at Shell Bay
Ad on 14th Feb 1993 at Holes Bay
Imm on 30th Apr 1995 in Poole Bay
1stW on 23rd Mar 1996 in Poole Park
1stW on 15th Mar 1997 in Lytchett Bay
1stW on 7th Mar 1998 in Lytchett Bay
1stW on 15th Mar 1998 in Holes Bay (presumed same as above)
1stW on 16th Apr 1998 at Poole Quay
1stS on 17th Jun 1999 at Kerry Foods, Holes Bay
1stW on 1st Jan 2000 at Swineham Point
1stW on 4th and 29th Jan 2000 on Brownsea Lagoon
1stW on 6th Jan 2000 at Sandbanks (presumed same as above)
1stW on 20th Jan 2000 at Corfe Mullen Tip
1stW on 20th and 22nd Jan 2000 at Hatch Pond (presumed same as above)
1stW on 29th Jan 2000 at Poole Park (presumed same as above)
1stS on 28th – 29th May 2000 on Brownsea lagoon
Imm on 16th Mar 2001 over Hatch Pond
2 (1stW and 1stS) between 5th – 23rd Mar 2002 at Corfe Mullen Tip and Lytchett Bay
Imm on 16th Jan 2005 at Bestwall, Wareham
Juv from 16th -29th Mar 2008 at Lytchett Bay
Juv on 24th Apr 2008 at Sandbanks
Juv on 6th – 8th Mar 2009 at Holes Bay
Juv on 2nd March at Holes Bay
Juv on 3rd – 4th Mar 2014 at Poole Park
2CY on 21st Feb 2016 at Brownsea Island
2CY on 11th Apr 2016 at Upton CP (R.Webb et al.)

Kumliens Gull Larus glaucoides kumlieni
This darker winged race of Iceland Gull breeds from SW Baffin Island to NW Quebec has only occurred in Dorset on 2 occasions (2 more recent records pending). There is one record from the harbour, this record was the first to have been seen alive in the County.

2CY on 11th Apr 2001 at Corfe Mullen Tip (J.Lidster et al.)

Icterine Warbler

Latin Name

Hippolais icterina



Site And Records Information

This species is a declining rare migrant to Dorset. In the peak years of the 80’s and 90’s 10 – 12 might be seen in the County in a year. However it has become much rarer since the turn of century with 6 blank years already. 80% of the county’s records are on Portland. The bird is truly rare in the harbour. There have been 6 records.

1 on 9th Sep 1962 on Studland Heath
1 on 1st Aug 1977 at Little Sea
1 on 31st Aug – 1st Sep 1979 on Brownsea
1 on 2nd Sep 1997 at Ballard Down (J.Lidster et al)
1 on 5th – 6th Sep 1997 at Ballard Down (C.Conroy et al)
1 on 12th Aug 2003 at Greenlands Farm, Studland (I.Prophet et al)

Call 01202 641 003