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

Filter our birds:

All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y

Velvet Scoter

Latin Name

Melanitta fusca


Scarce Passage Migrant & Winter Visitor

Site And Records Information

Rather like Long-tailed Duck, Velvet Scoter can appear in ones and twos at sites like Studland, South Deep and Brands Bay. They can sometimes appear off Arne and in the Wareham Channel too. The harbour maximum is 15 – 20 on March 25th 1958  amongst Common Scoter, plus 15 were logged on 30th December 1990 in Studland Bay.

A few examples of personal accounts from local birders include records of a maximum is five whilst standing by the Shell Bay cafe on 5th January 1992. Passage birds passed Branksome on 24th August 1996 and are near annual in late October early November. December and January are more typical months to find a settled bird.

Velvet Scoter can ‘drop in’ and appear at any time during the winter, especially during and after periods of bad weather.


Call 01202 641 003