Donate

Poole Harbour List

The Poole Harbour list is an official account of all species that have been recorded and reported by birdwatchers and naturalists 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 favored 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, 329 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 escape 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 blue boarded button below. It was last updated on January 27th 2016.

List image

Search by A-Z

Alpine Swift
Latin Name
Apus melba
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour. With only 5 records, none of which were twitchable, a long stayer would be widely appreciated.

Site and Records Information

1 on 29th May 1950 at Wareham (BB47;354)
1 on 1st May 1987 at Godlingston Heath, Studland (I.M.Lewis, J.A.Lewis, S.J.Morrison)
1 on 26th Apr 1992 Over Branksome Chine (J.H.Blackburn)
1 on 31st Mar 2002 at Studland (N.Hopper)
1 on 5th Mar 2003 over Allington Rd, Poole (P.Robinson)
There is an un-submitted and unpublished report of 1 on Ballard Down on June 5th 1999. We would be pleased to receive further details on this bird.

There is an un-submitted and unpublished report of 1 on Ballard Down on June 5th 1999. We would be pleased to receive further details on this bird.

Click To Enlarge
American Herring Gull, Corfe Mullen Tip, March 2002 James Lidster
American Herring Gull
Latin Name
Larus smithsonianus
Status

Extreme vagrant to the UK with only 27 records to end of 2013. This is the first and only record for Dorset.

Site and Records Information

1 from 4th Mar to 6th May 2002 at Corfe Mullen tip (J.Lidster et al).
1 on 18th Mar at Lytchett Bay (D.Fairhurst) (same as above)

At the time its discovery American Herring Gull was treat as a race of Herring Gull rather than as a full species in its own right. Interest in it was high and it was widely twitched. However there are some who wish that they had put more effort into seeing it at Lytchett Bay on what was presumably its nightly commute to roost in the Wareham Channel!

American Robin
Latin Name
Turdus migratorius
Status

Vagrant to the UK with 27 records to the end of 2013. This bird remains the only Dorset record.

Site and Records Information

1 on 15th – 16th Jan 1966 in Brands Bay (T.Haysom et al). Then relocated in a Canford Cliffs garden, Poole from the 18th Jan to the 10th Mar 1966 (M.Crosby et al).

American Wigeon
Latin Name
Anas americana
Status

Vagrant. Poole Harbour has faired poorly compared to the rest of Dorset with only a single record.

Site and Records Information

A 1st W male at Brownsea Lagoon on 4th – 5th May 1987 (M.Cade, P.S.Read et al). This bird was also seen at Stanpit, Christchurch Harbour, on 2nd – 3rd May.

There have been 13 Dorset records involving c11 individuals. That said there have been none since the 5th Dec 2000 at Abbotsbury. This contrasts with the British status of this species which is described as stable, averaging c15 per annum over the last 25 years. Surely one to look for. Is Holes Bay the most likely location given the large flocks of Eurasian Wigeon which congregate there to feed on the algal matts?

Click To Enlarge
Aquatic Warbler - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
Aquatic Warbler
Latin Name
Acrocephalus paludicola
Status

Very rare autumn passage migrant, as of Jan 1st 2015 all records are now assessed by BBRC.

Site and Records Information

This RED Listed species breeds in Eastern Europe. It’s regular migration pattern takes a route west through the low countries, through France to the Atlantic coast, where it turns south. It then continues to its wintering grounds in West Africa. When weather systems are suitable small numbers of birds are drifted to the UK, mainly along the south coast.

There is considerable conjecture as to why numbers of birds in Dorset (and indeed Great Britain) have declined so much since 1997. There is no doubt that the decline is real and not due to a change in effort by ringers. Ringing data from sites in France is not reflecting the decline in the UK. Whilst numbers recorded each year do vary (no doubt due to weather conditions and ringing effort) numbers have remained broadly stable between 1998 and 2007. In 2009 and 2010 concerted effort in a single study covering 44 ringing sites produced ringing totals of 874 and 636 birds respectively. Applying statistical methods it was demonstrated that the number birds passing through France on autumn migration was between 24,000 and 30,000. One potential reason therefore for the decline in British records is that the light south-easterly winds in August needed to bring them here are now occurring much less frequently. Bird ringing at Lytchett Bay has shown that when the weather is right this species does still occur with some regularity.

Aquatic Warbler prefers damp rush and sedge beds. It is a hard bird to find “in the field” and as a consequence many are only recorded when they are mist netted for the purpose of ringing. Ringing activity was intense at Keysworth from 1991 to 2000. An average of 11 birds were ringed per year. Once this activity ended the focus shifted to Lytchett Bay. The coverage here is much less intensive and less frequent.

All Poole Harbour records:

1 on 26th Jul 1976 at Brownsea
1 on 22nd Aug 1983 at Lytchett Bay (trapped) (I.M.Lewis)
1991 – 21 trapped at Keysworth between 17th Aug and 10th Sep. (Stour Ringing Group)
1992 – 12 trapped at Keysworth between 7th and 14th Aug. Inc 4 on 14th. 1 additional bird on 18th Sep (Stour Ringing Group)
1993 – 7 trapped at Keysworth between 10th Aug and 6th Sep. (Stour Ringing Group)
1994 – 17 trapped at Keysworth between 2nd Aug and 5th Sep. (Stour Ringing Group)
1995 – 5 trapped at Keysworth between 6th Aug and 21st Aug. (Stour Ringing Group)
1996 – 4 trapped at Keysworth between 8th Aug and 15th Aug. Coverage much reduced cp earlier years (Stour Ringing Group)
1997 – 11 trapped at Keysworth between 10th Aug and 20th Aug. Inc 3 on 11th. (Stour Ringing Group)
2000 – 4 trapped at Keysworth between 5th Aug and 10th Aug. Inc 3 on 5th. (Stour Ringing Group)
1 on 31st Aug 2002 at Keysworth (H.Wood-Homer)
1 “in September” 2003 at The Moors, Ridge (M.Slater)
1 singing on 16th Aug 2005 at Lytchett Bay (R.Gifford, S.Robson)
1 on 20th Aug 2011 at Lytchett Bay (trapped) (T.Elborn, S.Robson et al)
2 on 18th Aug 2012 at Lytchett Bay (trapped) (S.Breeze, R.Gifford, S.Robson et al)
1 on 25th Jul 2014 at Lytchett Bay (trapped) (K.E.Lane, S.Robson et al). This adult was the earliest ever in Dorset.
1 on 31st Aug – 1st Sep 2016 at Lytchett Bay. Photographed in the field (I.Ballam et al)

Arctic redpoll
Latin Name
Carduelis hornemanni
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

1 on 20th February 1996 at Studland Heath (Steve Morrison)
1 on 24th – 26th Mar 1996 at Studland Heath (Mark Constantine et al)

These records were accepted as two different birds and occurred as part of a massive eruption which brought more than 230 to Great Britain. They were of the race C.h.exilipes, now known as Coues’ Arctic Redpoll

Arctic Skua
Latin Name
Stercorarius parasiticus
Status

Passage migrant

Site and Records Information

The most common of the four Skuas with ones and twos seen in spring, summer or autumn in Poole Bay, off Branksome, or in Studland Bay. 5 have been recorded in a single day on a small number occasions. The earliest sighting of the year has been on 4th March twice, but most passage is from mid-April onwards. The best way to see Arctic Skua is to be at Branksome Chine between eight and ten on a spring or autumn morning with force five to six on-shore SSE winds and scan. Birds are normally migrating but sometimes they will sit on the water, in between bouts of harassing gulls or terns for food. There are a number of sightings from inside the harbour including from Brownsea, Middlebere, Lytchett Bay and over the RSPB Arne car park!

Click To Enlarge
Arctic Tern - Swineham GP, Aidan Brown
Arctic Tern
Latin Name
Sterna paradisaea
Status

Scarce but annual passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Majority of reports relate to 1st year birds heading west in the autumn out in Poole Bay from Branksome Chine.They do get recorded inside the harbour, mainly on the Brownsea lagoon but also at Swineham GP too.

Click To Enlarge
Avocet - Brownsea Lagoon
Avocet
Latin Name
Recurvirostra avosetta
Status

Increasing winter visitor

Site and Records Information

A great success story with numbers rising from 25 to almost 2000 in just 30 years. These numbers exceed the threshold for international importance, (700) and the harbour is now the most important British wintering site with over 40% of the UK population. By far the best spots are the Brownsea lagoon on a high tide with almost the entire wintering flock in one roost, and the Middlebere Channel mid tide November to February with around 500 feeding all along the channel. Other feeding areas include Lytchett Bay, Holes Bay and Arne bay.

Balearic Shearwater
Latin Name
Puffinus mauretanicus
Status

Very scarce annual passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Almost all records are from Branksome Chine of birds passing out in Poole Bay, but can also be seen off the Studland beaches in the right wind/weather conditions.

Click To Enlarge
Bar-tailed Godwit - Shore Road, Aidan Brown
Bar-tailed Godwit
Latin Name
Limosa lapponica
Status

Winter visitor and passage migrant.

Site and Records Information

Nowhere near as common as Black-tailed Godwit, but still reliably seen feeding or roosting on the mud off shore road, moving to Brownsea if disturbed by windsurfers or bait diggers. Average totals of 60-100 with birds frequenting the shores of Furzey, Middlebere and Arne through the winter. Obvious passage can be observed out in Poole Bay during April with birds heading back to their breeding grounds. The birds passing in spring are a different race to the birds that winter in the harbour.

Click To Enlarge
Barn Owl - Middlebere, Aidan Brown
Barn Owl
Latin Name
Tyto alba
Status

Scarce breeding resident

Site and Records Information

Bred recently at Arne and Middlebere, but during severely cold winter birds from further afield can occur anywhere around the harbour in the search for food. Unfortunately it has declined as a breeding species with up to 5 pairs around 10-15 years ago. A bird that was ringed as a chick at Shapwick in 2011 was recently re-seen at Sunnyside farm in the west of the harbour.

Click To Enlarge
Barnacle Geese - Lytchett Bay
Barnacle Goose
Latin Name
Branta leucopsis
Status

Feral and scarce wild winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Most sightings in the harbour relate to feral individuals that mix with Canada Geese. In 2014, 2 were with a flock visiting sites in the north of the harbour. There are recent good examples of birds that were considered to be wild.
In Dec 2010 a very cold spell of snowy weather drew a flock of 42 to Brands Bay on 6th. They remained until 8th before deciding that the fields of Lytchett Bay were a far more attractive proposition. They remained here from 12th Dec until 14th Jan 2011.
In Dec 2011 12 flew through Lytchett Bay on 17th, before 13 were found at Middlebere on the 18th. 4 continued to be seen until 21st Feb 2012 at various sites in the southern harbour. It is likely that remainder of these birds moved on to join the wintering flock at The Fleet which was established at the time.
On 17th Feb 2013 20 flew NE over Lytchett Bay at dusk. It was considered that these were from the wintering flock in the Fleet at the beginning of their return migration.
On 20th November 2015 25 flew east over Littlesea, Studland
On 24th November 2016 24 were settled in Lytchett Bay during the morning

Click To Enlarge
Tundra Bean Geese - Arne Moors - 07/12/14 - Joe Mitchell
Bean Goose
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

5 “secured for eating” on 24th Nov 1876, site unspecified
1 on 11th Dec 1976 in Poole Park
1 from 31st Dec 1982 to 27th Feb 1983 at Swineham
2 on 30th Jan 1994 at Little Sea, Studland then Keysworth. These birds were confirmed as Tundra Bean Geese (A.f.rossicus).
14 on 6th Dec 2004 at Wareham Meadows (D.Liley et al). The following day they were seen at Middlebere. These birds were confirmed as Tundra Bean Geese (A.f.rossicus).
2 on 6th – 8th Dec 2014 at Swineham (P.Morton, M.J.Lawson et al) moving briefly to Arne Moors on 7th. These birds were confirmed as Tundra Bean Geese (A.f.rossicus).

Click To Enlarge
Bearded Tit - Swineham, Peter Moore
Bearded Tit
Latin Name
Panurus biarmicus
Status

Scarce breeding resident and winter visitor.

Site and Records Information

First colonised the harbour in the mid 70’s. Most regularly recorded from Lytchett Bay and Swineham. Breeding has been confirmed at Lytchett Bay, Holten Heath and Arne. Can be eruptive, “A massive immigration in the second half of October 1972” with a maximum of 44 on 17th at Arne. 20- 25 regularly present thereafter to the end of the year. Migrants have been confirmed with 2 Dutch ringed birds controlled at Arne in 1972.

Bee-eater
Latin Name
Merops apiaster
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour. Records of this species in Britain are steadily increasing. Hopefully we can look forward to a twitchable bird in the harbour soon. May looks like the best month!

Site and Records Information

6 on 7th May 1988 at Brands Ford
1 on 9th May 1998 on Ballard Down
3 on 24th May 2009 flew SE over a Broadstone garden (K.E.Lane)

Click To Enlarge
Bewick's Swan - Wareham Water Meadows - 02/01/14 - Paul Morton
Bewick's Swan
Latin Name
Cygnus columbianus
Status

Uncommon winter visitor. Once a regular winter visitor to the Frome Valley, has declined significantly since late 90’s.

Site and Records Information

The fly way population of Bewick’s Swans declined by 27% between 1995 and 2005. The occurrence of the species in southern England has been further effected by mild winters and the species preference to winter in eastern England. Numbers are now very low and appear to depend on the severity of the weather. A wild swan in Poole Harbour is now just as likely to be a Whooper as it is a Bewick’s.

This species used to be regular at Little Sea in the 60's, since then the water meadows at East Holme has become the most reliable place to see this species with occasional birds wandering to Bestwall at Wareham. A maximum of 40 was seen on 2nd Mar 1980. Whilst 27 were seen flying to roost on the Wareham water meadows with seventeen White-fronted Geese in balmy weather in the evening of Sat 8th Feb 1982.

Records this century:
4 on 13th Feb 2000 at Wareham Water Meadows
4 on 1st Jan 2001 at East Holme
2 on 15th Dec 2002 at East Holme
Up to 14 between 4th Jan and the end Feb 2004 at various sites in the Frome and at Arne
2 from 22nd Jan – 3rd Feb 2006 in the Wareham area
2 on 20th Nov and 1 from 15th Dec 2007 to 2008 at East Holme
1 (the bird above) remained at East Holme until 1st Feb 2008. 1 was then seen at the same site 14th -16th Dec.
4 from 10th – 14th Jan, increasing to 5 on 17th Jan 2010 at East Holme. A single at Middlebere on 10th Jan 2010.
2 on 2nd – 4th Jan 2014 at Wareham Water Meadows.

Click To Enlarge
Bittern -  Hatch Pond, Aidan Brown
Bittern
Latin Name
Botaurus stellaris
Status

Increasingly frequent winter visitor

Site and Records Information

In 1997, at the start of the EU LIFE Bittern project, only 11 booming males were found in the UK at seven sites. By 2014, there were 140 ‘boomers’ across 61 sites. This has increased again to 150 in 2015. This species is one of Britain’s conservation success stories. The birds visiting Poole Harbour come from far afield. The species does not yet breed in Dorset. The British wintering population is estimated to be c600 with the indigenous population supplemented by migrants from the continent.
Hatch Pond is included in the Poole Harbour recording area and between 1997 and 2013 this species was present every winter. It was relatively easy to see with up to 4 birds regularly over wintering at this very urban site. However for reasons unknown no birds returned in the winter of 2013-14 or 14-15 and to date none have been seen in the winter of 15-16.
Sightings from the rest of the harbour have increased too. Swineham, Middlebere, Arne and Lytchett Bay all have produced records in the last 3 years.
Watching reed beds at dusk as birds move to roost provides the best chance of seeing this elusive species. They can often turn up in unusual locations during cold weather.

Black Brant
Latin Name
Branta bernicla nigricans
Status

Vagrant to the harbour.

Site and Records Information

This distinctive race breeds in eastern Siberia and western Canada. They are increasingly found with Brent Geese flocks in Britain. As of 30th June 2005 records of this species were no longer reviewed by BBRC.

1 from 10th Feb - 14th Mar 2003 at Middlebere (J.Lidster, B.Spencer et al)
1 on 10th and 17th Nov 2005 at Studland (J. Lidster)
1 from 5th Feb – 27th Mar 2006 at Middlebere (many observers)
1 from 19th Nov until 21st Feb 2007 at Middlebere (T.Elborn, J.Phillips et al ). This bird was also seen at Wytch and Arne. (Presumed returning adult from above)
1 from 16th Jan – 1st Mar 2009 in Studland area (G.Armstrong et al)
There is one additional undocumented record of 1 on 10th – 14th Jan 2004 at Middlebere. This record was noted as pended in 2004 DBR, we would welcome further details on this report.

Click To Enlarge
Black Guillemot - Harbour Mouth - Peter Hancock
Black Guillemot
Latin Name
Cepphus grylle
Status

Vagrant to the harbour, All bar one of the recent records have been in the vicinity of the harbour mouth, unsurprisingly.

Site and Records Information

1 on 4th Feb 1933 in “Poole Harbour”
1 on 27th Dec 1999 in Studland Bay (J.F.Phillips, S. Woolley)
1 from 3rd to 25th Oct 2001 at the harbour mouth (many observers)
1 on 19th to 22nd Nov 2010 nr Furzey Island, Brands Bay and Studland Bay (H.G.Wood-Homer et al)
1 from 13th Dec 2014 to 8th Feb 2015 at the harbour mouth (many observers)
1 on 14th – 23rd Dec 2015 off Brownsea (P.Morton et al). Last winters’ returning bird?

Black Kite
Latin Name
Milvus migrans
Status

Vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

1 on 12th and 14th Apr 1981 at Corfe Castle (M.Read, E.Read, R.E.Scott, E.A.Scott et al)

1 on 31st Aug 2014 over Slepe Heath, headed SE towards the harbour mouth (P.Morton)

There have been 29 accepted records for Dorset up to 2012 but only 2 accepted record in Poole Harbour. This species ceased to be classed as a national rarity by BBRC in 2005. Records are now assessed by the DRP.

Click To Enlarge
Black Redstart - Upton Country Park, Jane Adams
Black Redstart
Latin Name
Phoenicurus ochruros
Status

Scarce passage migrant and winter visitor. Has bred on two occasions.

Site and Records Information

Ballard Down is the premier site with regular sightings in early spring and late autumn. Other favoured sites include the Knoll/Middle beach area, Arne Farm, Middlebere, Poole Quay and Sterte/Holes Bay but it can, and does, turn up almost anywhere.

Click To Enlarge
Black Stork (with 3 Spoonbill) - Wytch Lake - Aidan Brown - 08/08/15
Black Stork
Latin Name
Ciconia nigra
Status

Vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

Middlebere has 80% of all harbour records for this species. There have only been 11 Dorset records.

1 historic report of one shot on 22nd Nov 1839 at Middlebere with another shot there in Nov 1849
1 on 28th May 1977 at Middlebere
1 on 16th Jul 1988 at Arne/Middlebere (A.Gouldstone, C.Kitchen et al)
1 on 1st May 2011 at Lytchett Bay (S.Robson)
1 on 8th - 9th Aug 2015 in Middlebere/Wytch Lake area (many observers)

Click To Enlarge
Black Tern - Swineham GP, Aidan Brown
Black Tern
Latin Name
Chlidonias niger
Status

Scarce passage migrant, seen annually usually in very small numbers.

Site and Records Information

Usually at least one or two records each year mostly in autumn. An average of 4-5 birds per year 2008-2012. However the range was large, from 12 in 2008 to 0 in 2009. Brownsea is a favoured stop off point. More recently Swineham GP has proven attractive. Seawatching from Branksome also offers opportunities in early May. Larger groups can rarely occur with flocks of 10-20 birds in the records at Studland and Holes Bay. An incredible record on the 18th August 1952 saw 1000+ Black Terns arrive in Studland Bay, "these were assembled on the beach at Studland Bay, and at the time consisted of the largest concentration ever recorded in the British Isles”

Black-eared Wheatear
Latin Name
Oenanthe hispanica
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

1 on 25th - 26th Jun 2000 at Upton Heath (many observers). This record of a 1st summer male was accepted as the eastern Mediterranean race O.h.melanoleuca. To some this adjudication remains in dispute and in their minds the case that it was the nominate western race remains open.
There have only been 4 Dorset records of the stunning wheatear. All between 16th May and 26th Jun.

Click To Enlarge
Black-headed Gull - Poole Park
Black-headed Gull
Latin Name
Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Status

Common breeding resident

Site and Records Information

Probably one of the most numerous birds in the harbour. Can be encountered on any habitat at any time of year. Large breeding flock of about 6000 pairs off the Holton shore.

Click To Enlarge
Black-necked Grebe - Shell Bay, Aidan Brown
Black-necked Grebe
Latin Name
Podiceps nigricollis
Status

Annual winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Poole Harbour hosts nationally important numbers of this species. By far the best place to watch is Studland Bay and Shell Bay with numbers reaching as many as 80 in 2010. It is the most important wintering site in UK. Small groups do move in to the harbour, with the body of water between Brands Bay and Brownsea worth checking as birds swim into roost in the evenings.

Click To Enlarge
Black-tailed godwit - Brownsea Lagoon
Black-tailed Godwit
Latin Name
Limosa limosa
Status

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Poole Harbour is an internationally important site for Black-tailed Godwit. With harbour counts exceeding 2000 it makes them an easily seeable bird in many of the bays and water meadows. Middlebere holds around 300-400 mid winter as does the Brownsea lagoon. Other large flocks can be found in Brands Bay, Lytchett Bay, Holes Bay and Arne Bay. Also found on the water meadows and fields of Bestwall and Swineham all the way up to East Stoke ! There is a regular small flock of summering birds now.

Click To Enlarge
Black-throated Diver - Baiter, Aidan Brown
Black-throated Diver
Latin Name
Gavia arctica
Status

Scarce annual winter visitor

Site and Records Information

The least common of the three Divers, they can arrive and spend time in the bays outside the harbour mouth during the winter. They are scarcely recorded in the inner harbour apart from most recently when a bird was seen off Parkstone Yacht Club on New Years day 2013.

Click To Enlarge
Black-winged Stilts at Swineham 12/04/14
Black-winged Stilt
Latin Name
Himantopus himantopus
Status

Vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

There are 16 Dorset records. The pattern of occurrence is interesting. There are 2 records from the 19th century. Next there were 3 records between 1956 and 1960. 25 years passed before the next (1985) but there were a further 5 by 1990. Another 21 years (2011) passed before the County then enjoyed another 6 records up to the end 2014. 4 harbour records.

1 on 3rd Aug - 6th Sep 1960 at Wareham sewage works
1 on 7th Jun 1978 on Brownsea Lagoon
2 on 12th-13th Apr 2014 on flooded fields at Swineham/Bestwall (P.Morton et al)
3 from 21st - 25th May 2014 at Lytchett Fields (I.Ballam et al)
1 on 11th -14th May 2016 at Lytchett Fields (D.Jones et al)

Click To Enlarge
Blackbird - Wareham, Peter Moore
Blackbird
Latin Name
Turdus merula
Status

Common breeding resident, passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Common throughout the harbour with numbers rising especially during hard weather. South Haven is a good spot to watch migrating Blackbirds.

Click To Enlarge
Blackcap - Lytchett Bay
Blackcap
Latin Name
Sylvia atricapilla
Status

Common summer breeding visitor, passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Territories are found throughout the woodland bordering the harbour. Poole Park, Upton Country Park, Lytchett Bay, Arne and Studland are regular spots with passage birds flooding through the area in September and October.

Click To Enlarge
Blue Tit - Arne RSPB reserve
Blue tit
Latin Name
Cyanistes caeruleus
Status

Common breeding resident

Site and Records Information

Found in gardens, parks, woodland, urban and rural areas across the harbour.

Click To Enlarge
Bluethroat - Lytchett Bay - Steve Smith
Bluethroat
Latin Name
Luscinia svecica
Status

Vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

This is a scarce species in Dorset, it does not occur annually. All of the Poole Harbour records are believed to refer to the red-spotted race L.s.svecica. In recent years, early spring influxes of the white-spotted race L.s.cycanecula have occurred, particularly around Portland. The first of these for Poole Harbour is a very realistic prize for local rarity searchers.

1 on 22nd Sep 1960 at Baiter Point
1 on 13th Apr 1968 in Serpentine Road, Poole
1 from 26th to 29th Sep 1971 in the north-west corner of Lytchett Bay
1 (male) on 14th Oct 1984 at Little Sea, Studland
1 on 29th May 1989 at Arne
1 trapped and ringed on 27th Aug 1993 at Keysworth (R.Gifford)
1 trapped and ringed on 29th Aug 2015 at Lytchett Fields, Lytchett Bay (R.Gifford et al)

Bonaparte's Gull
Latin Name
Chroicocephalus philadelphia
Status

Vagrant. A long anticipated addition to Harbour list with 229 British records (up to the end of 2015) and 7 previous Dorset records.

Site and Records Information

One at Brownsea Island was re-identified several hours later from a photograph taken on the afternoon of 30th July 2017 (per Rare Bird Alert). Thankfully it was still present the following morning when it was found feeding on the lagoon (N.Hopper et al). It was still present at the time of writing (2nd Aug) and is thought to have been a 2nd calander year bird. 

Bonaparte's Gull - Brownsea Lagoon - Shaun Robson

 

Bonelli's Warbler (sp)
Latin Name
Phylloscopus bonelli/orientalis
Status

Extreme Vagrant. One record.

Site and Records Information

Bonelli's Warbler was split into two species in 1997. Western Bonelli's P.bonelli  and Eastern Bonelli's or Balkan Warbler P. orientalis. Separation of the two species in the field is difficult and relies largely on differences in call. Consequently records of each and “either or's” are considered by BBRC.

To the end of 2015 there have been 7 Western's, only one of the much rarer Eastern and 3 Bonelli's Sp in Dorset.

A Bonelli's Warbler Sp on 19th Aug 1974 at Brownsea Island. It has not been possible to identify this bird to one of the “new” species.

Click To Enlarge
Male Brambling - Arne RSPB Reserve
Brambling
Latin Name
Fringilla montifringilla
Status

Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant

Site and Records Information

No longer a guaranteed over winterer but definitely a regular passage bird in October and November again from 'Vis Mig' sites like South Haven, Ballard and Glebelands. Quite often found in amongst over wintering Chaffinch at sites like Arne, Middlebere and Greenlands Farm. An impressive 300-500 birds over wintered at Arne in 2003/04.

Click To Enlarge
Dark-bellied Brent Geese - Brands Bay, Aidan Brown
Brent Goose
Latin Name
Branta bernicla
Status

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Poole harbour is a nationally important site for these geese. During the 90’s the mean winter peak population was 1495 birds. The Middlebere Channel and fields can host up to 800 birds mid to late winter. The saltmarsh in front of the Shipstal hide at Arne also holds large numbers. Baiter Park allows good close views as long as there aren't too many dogs. Studland Bay hosts early returning birds in October.

Click To Enlarge
Buff-breasted Sandpiper - Brownsea Lagoon - Nick Hopper
Buff-breasted Sandpiper
Latin Name
Tryngites subruficollis
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour. There have been 14 Dorset records but only one un-twitchable bird in the harbour. A lingering bird would be very popular.

Site and Records Information

1 on 12th Sep 2011 on Brownsea Lagoon (N.Hopper)
1 on 15th June 2017 on Lytchett Fields (I.Ballam)

Click To Enlarge
Bullfinch - Upton CP
Bullfinch
Latin Name
Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Status

Breeding resident, occasional passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Breeds in urban and rural areas of the harbor favoring areas with thick hedge rows and fruit trees. Frequent at Upton House, Lytchett Bay, Holton Lee, Studland and Swineham. Movements and birds in odd places are also detected at times of passage and are usually mainly local birds dispersing, however in some years genuine migration does occur. This was most noticable in 1987 when a flock of 40-60 birds were recorded at Studland coinciding with an autumn influx of birds into the county the previous October. Other notable counts have been 30 at Parkstone in Dec 1974 and 40 at Holten Heath on 18th Nov 1984

Click To Enlarge
Buzzard - Arne RSPB Reserve
Buzzard
Latin Name
Buteo buteo
Status

Common breeding resident, relative breeding abundance has increased significantly over the last 40 years.

Site and Records Information

Buzzards are commonly seen and heard all around the Harbour area. They are most likely to be seen over the wetlands, the heaths and the conifer plantations but can appear even above urban conurbations to the north and east, perhaps thermalling individually or in groups on warm days or in transit low over the roofs.

During spring up to 20 Buzzards may be seen soaring over open areas from a high vantage point and display often then occurs over suitable nesting sites. They become less conspicuous during the nesting season though can still be encountered soaring singly or carrying prey to young in the nest. In late summer and autumn juveniles can be located by their loud food-soliciting squeals. In winter, the species is often seen on roadside perches such as telegraph poles, presumably waiting for road kill.

Click To Enlarge
Canada Geese - Poole Park
Canada Goose
Latin Name
Branta canadensis
Status

Common reeding resident.

Site and Records Information

Poole Park has a healthy feral population. Middlebere late summer can host up to 200 birds with other large gatherings at Arne, Brownsea Island, Swineham, Greenland's Farm and Brands Bay.

Click To Enlarge
Carrion Crow - Baiter, Quincey
Carrion crow
Latin Name
Corvus corone
Status

Breeding resident

Site and Records Information

Found right across the harbour in rural areas. Winter flocks of up to 600 birds have been observed.

Click To Enlarge
Caspian Gull - Corfe Mullen tip - James Lidster 19th Feb 2003
Caspian Gull
Latin Name
Larus cachinnans
Status

Vagrant. At the time of writing there is only 1 accepted record for the harbour. Up to the end of 2012 there were only 8 accepted records for Dorset. Quite remarkable given the high frequency of records of this species north of the Thames Valley.

Site and Records Information

A 1st S was present briefly on 19th Feb 2003 at Corfe Mullen tip (J.Lidster)

Click To Enlarge
Caspian Tern - Brownsea Lagoon - Chris Thain
Caspian Tern
Latin Name
Hydroprogne caspia
Status

Vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

There have been 19 Dorset records but only 3 in the harbour. News of the next one will have birders dashing to their cars.

1 killed in Jul 1872 at Wareham
1 on 28th Jul 1984 off Brownsea Island (M.A.Hallett, R.Newton)
1 on 6th Jul 2012 on Brownsea Lagoon at dusk. (C.Thain).

One recent record has not yet been assessed. Consequently it does not yet form part of the official record.
1 photographed at Brownsea on 3rd Aug 2011. Effort is now being made to trace the photos and submit this record to BBRC.

Click To Enlarge
Cattle Egret - Lytchett Bay, Aiden Brown
Cattle Egret
Latin Name
Bubulcus ibis
Status

Rare visitor to the harbour.

Site and Records Information

This species was rare in Britain and Dorset until 2006. A large influx occurred in late 2007. By 2009 it had been removed from the BBRC list. However the influx was not sustained and there has not been a
record in the harbour for more than 3 years (up to Nov 2015).
1 on 26th Aug – 31st Dec 1996 at Ower (N.Symes et al). Also seen at Studland in the roost.
1 on 30th Jul 2001 at Middlebere (E.Thorpe et al)
3 on 2nd Nov 2007 at Arne (M.Singleton et al) then Bestwall on 4th – 12th Nov (B.Spencer et al)
4 flew north on 3rd Nov 2007 at Lytchett Bay (M.Gould, S.Robson et al)
1 on 27th Nov – 6th Dec 2007 at Upton Country Park (L.Kirton et al)
1 from 22nd Feb -18th Mar 2008 East Holme Water Meadows (D.Liley et al)
1 on 19th Apr – 1st Jun 2008 at Lytchett Bay (S.Robson et al)
1 on 10th Aug 2008 at Ower (S.Robson, M.Smith) and the at various places in the southern harbour until 27th August (S.W. Smith et al)
1 on 18th Oct – 1st Nov 2008 at Ballard Down (S.W.Smith et al)
1 on 25th Oct 2008 at Lytchett Bay (S.Robson, M.Smith)
1 on 3rd Jan 2009 at East Holme (K.Lane)
1 from 7th Mar 2009, joined by second from 11th Apr, at Wareham Water Meadows (J.Mitchell, I Pillow et al). Also seen Swineham & the Slepe/Arne Heronry. Last seen 9th May. No breeding attempted.
1 on 27th Mar – 8th Apr 2010 at Wareham Water Meadows (J.Mitchell et al)
1 on 20th – 23rd Dec 2011 at East Holme (I.Lewis et al)
1 on 10th - 13th Apr 2012 at Lytchett Bay (P. Morton et al)
1 on 11th - 28th Dec 2016 in cattle fields along Holme Lane (N.Hopper et al)
1 on 13th March 2017 on central island at Swineham GP (P.Morton and O.Slessor)

Click To Enlarge
Cetti's Warbler - Swineham GP, Aidan Brown
Cetti's Warbler
Latin Name
Cettia cetti
Status

Breeding resident

Site and Records Information

The first record for the harbour was a spring bird on Brownsea in April 1976 which was actually rejected by BBRC. Swineham, Lytchett Bay and Keysworth host breeding birds now and a third of Dorsets breeding birds are in Poole harbour.

Click To Enlarge
Male Chaffinch - Upton Country Park
Chaffinch
Latin Name
Fringilla coelebs
Status

Breeding resident, passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Breeds right across the harbour in urban and rural areas. Large numbers can be viewed during visible migration watches at South Haven, Ballard and Glebelands. Large winter flocks of up to 300 birds have been recorded at places such as Arne, Swineham and Soldiers Road.

Click To Enlarge
Chiffchaff - Lytchett Bay
Chiffchaff
Latin Name
Phylloscopus collybita
Status

Common summer breeding resident, passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Found right across the harbour during the breeding season. Any woodland habitat will hold good numbers of Chiffchaff. Passes through in large numbers on autumn migration Sept-Oct. Winters in mild sheltered areas with available food such as the Lytchett Bay sewage works and the drainage channel at Holes Bay.

Cirl Bunting
Latin Name
Emberiza cirlus
Status

Extinct breeding species. No records since 1968

Site and Records Information

Used to breed widely across Dorset. Declined dramatically from early 50’s to its extinction around 1974. Was still breeding in the harbour in 1968 with the last singing males at Scotland Farm and Greenland’s Farm in March 1968. No harbour records since, however with populations growing just next door in Devon we can at least dream of seeing see this stunning bird back one day. West Dorset recently experienced a mini influx.

Click To Enlarge
Coal Tit - Arne RSPB Reserve
Coal Tit
Latin Name
Periparus ater
Status

Common breeding resident

Site and Records Information

This bird loves conifer plantations, of which Poole Harbour has plenty. Breeds throughout the area. Can often be seen feeding with Goldcrest in autumn and winter.

Click To Enlarge
Collard Dove - Upton
Collared Dove
Latin Name
Streptopelia decaocto
Status

Common breeding resident. This species did not reach Dorset until 1961. Singles were noted flying in off the sea! By the time of the 1968-72 BTO Atlas the species was widespread. It probably reached its peak in the late 70’s.

Site and Records Information

Breeds in rural and urban areas around the harbour, and very common in parks and gardens. Large flocks have occurred with 57 at Poole Park on 24th October 2004.

Collared Pratincole
Latin Name
Glareola pratincola
Status

Extreme Vagrant to the harbour. There have only been 4 recent Dorset records. All one-day birds between 3rd May and 7th June.

Site and Records Information

1 on 24th May 1977 at Holes Bay

Common (Mealy) Redpoll
Status

Very rare winter visitor

Site and Records Information

The taxonomic status and identification of this species is clouded with overlap and mystery. Currently this northern race of Redpoll is described as a separate species. Quite how long that position remains is open to doubt. Nonetheless the majority of individuals are identifiable to race. All known records listed.

1 on 31st Oct 1985 at Studland
1 on 21st Dec 1995 at Studland
5-10 from 20th Feb to 6th Mar 1996, and 3 on 26th Mar at Studland (S.J Morrison, M.Constantine et al) (This flock also held Dorset’s only ever Arctic Redpolls)
2-3 from 1st Jan through to early March 2002 at Studland (H.G Wood-Homer et al). Verbal reports at the time suggested that up to 7 birds were present but only 3 were officially published as accepted.
1 on 13th – 14th Feb 2003 at Arne (I.Prophet, H.G.Wood-Homer)
1 on 5th Feb 2005 at Arne (I.M.Lewis)
1 on 28th Feb 2006 at Poole Park (G.J.Armstrong)
1 on 5th Apr 2008 at Greenlands Farm (N.Hopper)

Click To Enlarge
Common Gull - Brands Bay, Aiden Brown
Common Gull
Latin Name
Larus canus
Status

Scarce resident and regular winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Numbers build up again through the autumn starting in October and increasing towards December. Otherwise present all year in the harbour in tens rather than thousands, with less records from May to July. The Wareham channel, Poole Park, Lytchett B ayand Holes Bay on a low tide hold good numbers in the winter. The winter roost in Wareham channel can be huge as large numbers build up then pass through the harbour in February and March on their way to Norway and Sweden.

Common Nighthawk
Latin Name
Chordeiles minor
Status

Extreme vagrant. This was only the 2nd British mainland record ever at the time. There are still only 22 British records in total.

Site and Records Information

1 at 11 a.m. on 23rd Oct 1983 at Studland Village (M.Massey, K.Massey, M.Howard). BB mistakenly published the date as the 25th Oct.

Click To Enlarge
Common Rosefinch - Broadstone - Ewan Brodie
Common Rosefinch
Latin Name
Carpodacus erythrinus
Status

Only one record in the harbour. A surprisingly scarce bird in Dorset with only 45 records since the first in 1967 and up to 2012. Portland accounts for 73% of these, Christchurch Harbour 15% and Durlston 8%. Up to March 2013 there were only 3 records away from these sites.

Site and Records Information

1 from 28th Jan to at least 10th Apr 2013 in a Broadstone garden (E. Brodie et al). A remarkable first Poole Harbour record, feeding in an urban garden on sunflower hearts and mixed seed. 

Click To Enlarge
Common Sandpiper - Studland Bay, Aidan Brown
Common Sandpiper
Latin Name
Actitis hypoleucos
Status

Passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Birds pass through the harbour in spring and autumn. Autumn passage actually begins during mid summer with the Brownsea lagoon and Holes Bay being hotspots, its also at this time that the maximum site count of 27 was at Studland on 29th July 1988 and the harbour maximum of 47 was in August 1990. Birds can be found at any quiet tidal bay or creek but Lytchett Bay, Brands Bay, Middlebere and Swineham all host birds.

Click To Enlarge
Common Scoter - Holes Bay - Ian Ballam
Common Scoter
Latin Name
Melanitta nigra
Status

Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Numbers used to reach around 100 birds out in Poole Bay during the 1950's, but in the late 1990’s around 20 birds was a more typical count. Now only single figures of settled birds can be found. Out in Shell Bay and off Knoll and Middle beach are worth a look. Out in the center of the Harbour viewed from Shipstal Point too can produce birds. Small flocks can be seen passing out in Poole Bay in spring.

Click To Enlarge
Shelduck - Middlebere
Common Shelduck
Latin Name
Tadorna tadorna
Status

Declining breeding resident and common winter visitor

Site and Records Information

One of the easiest birds to find on the western side of the harbour, and is evident in most other areas. Check the Middlebere Channel in late summer for large creches sometimes containing up to 30 juvenile birds with only two adults, with the record being 192 juveniles with just two adults in 1992. Numbers rise in October with birds returning from Germany with peak counts reaching up to 2000 birds.

Click To Enlarge
Common Tern - Brownsea Island
Common Tern
Latin Name
Sterna hirundo
Status

Summer breeding migrant

Site and Records Information

Brownsea is the only breeding site in the harbour for Common Tern. They outnumber the Sandwich Tern but both can be seen heading out of the harbour mouth to feed amonst the swimmers and yacht's. Common Terns first bred in the harbour in 1951 and immediatley populated the Dorset National Trusts tern islands when they were built in 1963. Eight pairs bred then and this built to 90 pairs in 1970. Numbers continued to rise and in 1990 when the Brownsea breeding colony reached 130 pairs and was classified of National importance. In 1997 pairs on nests reached 173 but heavy rain caused damage. In 2012 pairs bred, but only 1 chick fledged! There was a remarkable ringing recovery in 2000 involving a bird ringed at Brownsea in 1999 and found in Cape Province, South Africa after being hit by a train along with 45 other terns.

Coot
Latin Name
Fulica atra
Status

Breeding resident and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Breeds at certain sites like Hatch Pond, Little Sea and Swineham. Numbers can swell during the winter with many birds at Poole Park, but can remain very scarce in certain areas throughout the harbour.

Click To Enlarge
Cormorant - Brownsea Island
Cormorant
Latin Name
Phalacrocorax carbo
Status

Breeding resident and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Poole Harbour is nationally important passage and wintering area for 'carbo' Cormorant with over 3% of the British population. Breeding takes place on the cliffs of Ballard Down. This species is common at many sites around the harbour but numbers increase in autumn and winter with large rafts of up to 400 birds feeding birds in the deep channels off Shipstal, Brownsea and the Wareham Channel.
'Sinensis' Cormorant are known to be more migratory than 'carbo' with juveniles dispersing long distances within two months of fledging in June, and what appear to be juvenile sinensis are in large numbers on Brownsea in August and September.

Corn Bunting
Latin Name
Miliaria calandra
Status

Previously bred but now a rare vagrant to the harbour. Only 3 records in the last 25 years.

Site and Records Information

The 1968-72 Atlas found that the species was widely distributed across Dorset including parts of Poole Harbour. In Jan 1963 up to 17 were attracted to corn put out for waterfowl at One Acre Pool, Studland. This was during the prolonged freeze in that famous winter. A significant decline began in the 1970’s and continued until the mid-90’s. Looks like the best hope now is a fly-over during a visible-migration watch or just may be one in a winter finch and bunting flock?

1 male singing near Old Harry in spring 1991 (DBR91)
1n on 22nd Oct 2005 at South Haven, Studland (G.Armstrong, M.Constantine)
2n on 12th Oct 2010 at Glebelands, Ballard Down (N.Hopper)

Corncrake
Latin Name
Crex crex
Status

Extinct breeder. Now a vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

Like the rest of the country, Corncrake was at one time a common summer resident but started to disappear around 1900. By 1950 it had virtually ceased to breed in Dorset. Since then only migrants have been found. There are 9 records since 1958 but none for 19 years. Most recently.....
1, possibly 2, on 16th Apr 1970 calling at Fitzworth Creek, Corfe River.
1 found dead on 10th Sep 1970 at Studland
1 on 25th Sep 1996 at Lytchett Bay was seen in flight as it was flushed from rank grass (S.Robson)

Cough
Latin Name
Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
Status

An extinct resident in Dorset. One confirmed old harbour record.

Site and Records Information

Future records are not impossible. In 2001 there were a series of records in the Portland/Weymouth area and in 2003 one spent 4 days at St Aldhelm’s Head in Purbeck.

A pair in Apr 1887 at Studland

Click To Enlarge
Crane - Stoborough - Nick Hopper
Crane
Latin Name
Grus grus
Status

Vagrant to the harbour. In addition to 3 records from the 19th Century there have been 5 since 1975.

Site and Records Information

1 on 16th Aug 1975 at Lytchett Bay
6 on 2nd Dec 1978 at Brands Bay
1 19th & 22nd Sep and 3rd & 10th Oct 1999 at Lytchett Bay (S.Robson et al)
1 on 13th Oct 2004 on the Brownsea Lagoon (many observers)
3 on 11th Apr 2014 over Stoborough (N.Hopper)
2 on 5th March 2016 over Holton Lee and Lytchett Bay (P.Morton)
1 on 3rd June 2016 over A35 (Poole Harbour boundary), Lytchett Minster (P.Morton)
4 on 8th November over the Ower at the Rempstone Estate, later seen over the Fleet at Portland.

There are various outstanding reports of between 1 and 4 Cranes at Holes Bay and/or Arne in Jan and/or Oct 2012. We would be pleased to receive any further details on these reports.

Click To Enlarge
Crossbill - Hartland Moor, Aidan Brown
Crossbill
Latin Name
Loxia curvirostra
Status

Uncommon breeding resident, passage migrant and winter visitor.

Site and Records Information

Numbers of Crossbill around Poole harbour are very much dependent on invasions. The actual underlying population which is centered around Rempstone heath is quite low, however irruptions are frequent and in those years they can be very common. In addition birds can also stay in the area for several years sometimes until the next invasion. Arne frequently hosts Crossbill in and around it's pine areas. During August, parties of Crossbill are on the move and can frequently be observed passing over head any habitat, but learning their contact/social calls in vital to their ID.

Click To Enlarge
Cuckoo - Middlebere
Cuckoo
Latin Name
Cuculus canorus
Status

Declining breeding summer visitor

Site and Records Information

Normally arrive mid to late April. The heathlands around the west of the harbour are good sites such as Coombe Heath (Arne), Middlebere, Stoborough Heath, Hartland Moor and Godlingston Heath. They can be heard through the day and night, especially moonlit nights until around late June and the adults are still around until mid July although harder to spot once they stop calling. The large number of nesting Reed Warblers would suggest that the harbour is a good breeding area however records of juveniles only occur once or twice a year.

Click To Enlarge
Curlew - Brands Bay, Aidan brown
Curlew
Latin Name
Numenius arquata
Status

Resident and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Common throughout the harbour, especially during the winter. Large gatherings of up to 300 birds can be seen from the RSPB hide at Shipstal. Harbour maximums can reach up to 2000 with an almost equal spread throughout the southern and western bays. There has been proved breeding on Upton Heath in 1981 and 82 and they have been heard singing on Hartland Moor in breeding season too. Ringing recoveries show most of our wintering birds are from either, Sweden, Finland, Germany or the Netherlands.

Click To Enlarge
Curlew Sandpiper - RSPB Lytchett Fields 25/08/14 - Shaun Robson
Curlew Sandpiper
Latin Name
Calidris ferruginea
Status

Autumn passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Most reliably seen on Brownsea lagoon in September when small numbers of juveniles move through. The harbour maximum is 75 on Brownsea on 31st August 1969, and 60 there on 4th Sept 1986. Large flocks have also been seen on Baiter with a notable count of 47 on 12th-15th Sept 1993. Numbers like this are very rare nowadays but always worth keeping a eye out for small groups. In recent years (since 2013) the newly created wet fields at Lytchett Bay have become a regular site for this species each autumn and with the new visitor infrastructure at RSPB Lytchett Fields, views of this species have become a lot easier.

Click To Enlarge
Dartford Warbler - Lytchett Heath - Ian Ballam
Dartford Warbler
Latin Name
Sylvia undata
Status

Breeding resident

Site and Records Information

The last national survey conducted in 2006 found that Dorset had more Dartfords’ than any other county with 754 pairs. Key Poole Harbour sites were Studland and Godlingston (46) and Arne (39). Despite a very cold winter in 10/11 a survey at Arne in 2011 produced 52 pairs. Active heathland management has improved the quality of habitat for this species and thereby supports survival during harsh weather. Theoretically, all patches of heathland around the harbour should host Dartford Warbler, and many now do.

Click To Enlarge
Desert Wheatear - Knoll Beach, Studland
Desert Wheatear
Latin Name
Oenanthe deserti
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour. There are three records for Dorset, all between 1991 and 1997, the other two were at Portland.

Site and Records Information

1 from 5th to 6th Mar 1997 at Knoll Beach, Studland (S.J.Morrison et al)

Dipper
Latin Name
Cinclus cinclus
Status

Vagrant to the harbour. 2 recent records. Breeds on most rivers west of a line between Weymouth and Dorchester.

Site and Records Information

Formally bred in the early 1900's, including at Wareham in 1913, this is now (along with Puffin) a highly sought after Poole Harbour bird. Possible places would be around the Frome Valley and the Corfe Valley.

1 on 6th Mar 1997 at Corfe Castle (N.Grace)
1 on 20th Mar 2011 on The Piddle at Wareham seen during a kayaking trip (I.Alexander)

Dotterel
Latin Name
Charadrius morinellus
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour. There are less than 75 records in Dorset between 1953 and 2015. The species is not annual and is declining. The harbour has not hosted one for more than 50 years. Let’s hope that we don’t have to wait another 50?

Site and Records Information

1 on 28th May 1953 at Shell Bay, Studland
1 on 12th Feb 1961 in 'the inner harbour'. This bird might have overwintered as the date is too early for a returning migrant?

Click To Enlarge
Dunlin - Shore Road
Dunlin
Latin Name
Calidris alpina
Status

Common winter visitor and passage migrant. Poole Harbour remains the premier area in Dorset during winter.

Site and Records Information

The numbers of Dunlin wintering in Britain have been declining since the mid 90’s. Whereas the threshold for any one site being national importance was 5300, it is now 3500. The decrease in the UK has been matched with an increase in the Netherlands, probably as a result of climate change. This species is amber listed as a result of this decline.

Dunlin remains a common wader in the winter.

Numbers wintering in the harbour increased during the second part of the 20th century. 10 year average peak counts were 3692 in the 70’s, 4080 in the 80’s and 6403 in the 90’s. A county maxima of 8,300 at the famous Pilots Point roost occurred on 24th Nov 1991.

Peaks remained around the 6-7000 figure until 2003 when a significant decline occurred. Other than 2005 when the peak was 7026, no other year in the first decade of the 21st century exceeded a peak count of 4120. Overall this produced an average peak for the decade of 4087.

Not only was the peak decreasing but the arrival dates in autumn were getting later and the departure dates earlier.

Since 2010 numbers the decline has continued and average peak WEBS counts to 2013-14 being 2424. The decline is such that the harbour is no longer recognised as being nationally important for this species.

The location of roosts has also now changed. The Studland roost ceased being significant around the end of 20th century, this is largely thought to be due to increased recreational use of the beach. Brownsea Lagoon, Arne, various yacht club mariner walls and more recently Lytchett Fields are proving more popular.

Numbers during migration rarely exceed “low hundreds” in the whole harbour on any one date.

Click To Enlarge
Dunnock - Arne RSPB reserve
Dunnock
Latin Name
Prunella modularis
Status

Common resident

Site and Records Information

An abundant species throughout the harbour found in any woodland, garden, scrub, coastal, heathland habitat.

Eagle sp
Status

 

 

 

Site and Records Information

1 record

A large Eagle sp, thought most likely to have been a White-tailed Eagle (Halliaeetus albicilla) flew high over Hartland Moor on 9th May 2008 (N.Hopper).

The bird was also reported over Swineham GP on the same afternoon, though sadly a description was never forth coming.

This record is not as preposterous as it might first seem. A colour-ringed Finnish juvenile had spent the winter 7 miles SW of Andover, Hampshire and was last seen there on 24th March 2008.

Click To Enlarge
Egyptian Geese - Middlebere, Aidan Brown
Egyptian Goose
Latin Name
Alopochen aegyptiacus
Status

Feral visitor from out of county populations

Site and Records Information

Could potentially turn up anywhere, but Lytchett Bay, Middlebere, the Frome Valley and Swineham all hold records. Could become more regular with numbers rising in the Avon Valley.

Click To Enlarge
Eider Duck - Brownsea Island, Peter Moore
Eider
Latin Name
Somateria mollissima
Status

Regular winter visitor. Declining after increase in 20th century.

Site and Records Information

Winter visitor, though 20 summered at Pilots Point in 1983. Tends to prefer staying around Studland Bay, the harbour mouth and the inner bays with Brands Bay, Bramble Bush Bay and the body of water looking across to Goathorn from South Haven Point.
The 10 year average peak counts 1950 – 2010 are as follows. 1950’s – 7, 1960’s – 22, 1970’s – 28, 1980’s – 39, 1990’s – 14, 2000’s – 8 (However this figure would be half this were it not for the large flock which gathered in the winter of 2002-03. From 18 in Dec 02 , it peaked at 27 in early 03).
Since then peak counts have been 2010 – 14, 2011 – 6 and 2012 – 2.
2 off Arne NR on 14th Nov 2007 is a rare recent record from the inner harbour.

Click To Enlarge
Elegant Tern
Latin Name
halasseus elegans
Status

1 Adult on Brownsea Lagoon 21/0617 (H.Murry)

A colour-ringed individual which had originally been ringed in France, with DNA analysis also being carried out confirming the bird was indeed 100% Elegant Tern, and hadn’t hybridised with Sandwich Tern.

Feral Pigeon
Latin Name
Columba livia
Status

Common breeding resident

Site and Records Information

Common in and around the urban areas in the north of the harbour. Poole Quay, Poole High Street and Poole Park. Surprisingly rare on the southern shores.

Ferruginous Duck
Latin Name
Aythya nyroca
Status

Extreme vagrant to the Harbour

Site and Records Information

1 female on the 24th Aug 1977 at Middlebere
1 female on 8th Jan 1979 at Poole Park
1 female on 21st Apr 1981 at Little Sea, Studland
1 adult male on 4th – 6th Jan 2003 at Little Sea, Studland (G. Walbridge et al). This bird was a regular feature at Morden Park Lake in winter from 1997. It had first been seen there in 1994. This was its first and only foray in to Poole Harbour.
1 male on 13th Oct 2006 at Little Sea, Studland (G. Armstrong, I. Prophet).

Click To Enlarge
Fieldfare - Hartland Moor, Aidan Brown
Fieldfare
Latin Name
Turdus pilaris
Status

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Fieldfare begin to arrive in mid-October, increasing in numbers into November. The favoured sites are Soldiers Road, Upton Country Park, Arne, Bestwall, in fact anywhere with large fields for them to feed in. Cold weather movements can occur with counts of 20,000+ birds being reported flying over the harbour in a single day. Any records after March are unusual.

Click To Enlarge
Firecrest - Middlebere, Aidan Brown
Firecrest
Latin Name
Regulus ignicapillus
Status

Scarce breeding resident, winter visitor and passage migrant. Records have increased significantly since the turn of the century.

Site and Records Information

Most easily found in March and October/November when breeding population supplemented by migrants. Studland, Arne and the southern-most areas’ of the harbour seem to be popular. Can now be found across the harbour during winter. Holly and ivy being a favoured habitat. Recent breeding success at Arne and Brownsea Island in 2012.

Franklins Gull
Latin Name
Leucophaeus pipixcan
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

Up to the end of 2014 there have been 72 British records of this attractive Nearctic species. 5 of these have been in Dorset but only 1 in the harbour. How long before we can add the closely related Laughing Gull to the harbour’s list? It occurs almost 3 times as frequently in Britain.

A 2nd W on 17th Jan 2008 off Holton Lee in the large evening gull roost in the Wareham Channel (J.Lidster, N.Hopper). See page 197 of DBR 2008 for full write up.

Click To Enlarge
Fulmar - Old Harry, Aidan Brown
Fulmar
Latin Name
Fulmarus glacialis
Status

Summer breeding visitor and passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Present throughout the breeding season, can be seen anywhere from Old Harry to Ballard Point. Regular passage bird out in Poole Bay. Fulmars first arrived in Dorset prospecting for nest sites in the 1940’s, with the first records for them settled on Ballard in 1982. More unusual sightings involve a bird flying high west over Stoborough on 17th June 1978 and one found grounded on a pavement in Wareham after a heavy hailstorm on 25th April 1991.

Click To Enlarge
Gadwall - Swineham, Peter Moore
Gadwall
Latin Name
Anas strepera
Status

Scarce breeding resident and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Before 1968 it was thought to be about as common as Velvet Scoter, with only two or three records per year, then a regular flock built up on Little Sea and flocks are now found regularly on Hatch Pond, Little Sea and Brownsea. Hatch Pond and Swineham GP host breeding birds as well as wintering birds, whilst Holes Bay, Lytchett Bay and Little Sea are worth a look too.

Gannet
Latin Name
Morus bassanus
Status

Passage Migrant

Site and Records Information

Can be seen fishing in Poole Bay throughout the summer in flocks of up to twenty birds. Can also be seen passing Branksome Chine and Old Harry in onshore winds from March to November. Rarely enters the harbour but do occasionally feeding in and around the harbour mouth.

Click To Enlarge
Garden Warbler - Arne RSPB Reserve
Garden Warbler
Latin Name
Sylvia borin
Status

Summer visitor and passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Can be seen on passage at Ballard, Greenlands Farm, Studland, Arne, Lytchett Bay and other sites with suitable habitat. Very sporadic breeder with records from Corfe river valley and Lytchett Bay

Click To Enlarge
Garganey - Hatch pond, Aidan Brown
Garganey
Latin Name
Anas querquedula
Status

Scarce passage migrant, has bred

Site and Records Information

Our only summer migrant waterfowl “Summer Teal” occurs annually in very small numbers mainly in spring with fewer in autumn. Can arrive very early and March records are not unusual.
Records come from many sites but well vegetated fresh water locations are favoured. Swineham and Bestwall, Middlebere, Arne, Upton CP, Hatch Pond and Lytchett Bay have all produced records in recent years.

Click To Enlarge
Glaucous Gull
Latin Name
Larus hyperboreus
Status

Rare winter visitor. 21 records in the last 33 years, only 4 prior to that. Very rare away from the Studland/Brownsea area.

Site and Records Information

1 on 29th Aug 1940 at “Poole Harbour” (per GPG2004)
1 from 24th Jan – 22nd Mar 1952 at Poole Quay
1 on 1st Oct 1956 at Poole Harbour entrance
1 on 18th Apr 1964 at Little Sea
Ad on 27th Jan 1982 at Flaghead Chine
1st W on 22nd Jan 1983 at Little Sea
1st W on 10th Feb 1984 at Canford Heath Tip
1 on 20th Dec and 28th - 29th Dec 1986 at Studland Bay / Little Sea
1 on 31st Jan 1987 at Studland
2nd yr on 22nd Oct 1988 at Brownsea
Two 2nd W on 28th Dec 1988 at Little Sea
2nd W on 31st Jan 1989 on Littlesea (presumably one of the above birds)
1 on 24th Feb 1991 in “Poole Harbour” (per DBR1991)
1st W on 12th Jan and 29th Mar 1992 at Little Sea
1st W on 12th Feb 1995 at Brands Bay
1st W on 6th and 14th Jan 1996 in Brands Bay
Ad on 5th Dec 1996 at Studland
1st W on 14th Mar 1998 at Brands Bay
1st W on 25th Nov 2000 on Brownsea Island
1st W on 29th Mar 2001 on Brownsea Island
1st S on 10th Mar 2002 at Ower and Brownsea Island and through harbour mouth on 12th.
1 on 10th Dec 2006 and at Arne (Unusual amongst recent records in that it was unaged (per DBR2006)
Imm on 28th Feb 2009 in Bramble Bush Bay
Ad on 1st Mar 2009 in Brownsea Roads
1st W on 19th Feb 2014 on Brownsea lagoon - discovered via the Brownsea webcam!

Click To Enlarge
Glossy Ibis - Swineham, Peter Moore
Glossy Ibis
Latin Name
Plegadis falcinellus
Status

Vagrant to the harbour. 8 records, 3 since 2010

Site and Records Information

After 5 records involving 15 birds in the 19th century we had to wait more than 130 years for the next. Despite the resurgence in Glossy Ibis records in Dorset and the UK since 2010 the species still does not occur in the harbour as often as one would expect.

1 shot in 1839 in “Poole Harbour” (per LGRE94)
2 shot in Aug 1842 at Lytchett Bay
1 shot in 1857 at Wareham (per LGRE94)
7 “obtained” in late Sep 1857 in “Poole Harbour” (per GPG2004)
4 in 1877 in “Poole Harbour” (per LGRE94)
1 on 13th Aug 2010 at Holes Bay (R.Collier)
1 from 12th – 26th Feb 2012 was seen around Wareham, Bestwall and Swineham (N.Gartshore et al). It originated from Coto Donana, Spain where it was colour ringed on 12th May 2004. It was seen at Oued Massa, Morocco on 29th Apr 2005.
1 on 30th Nov 2013 at Middlebere (M.Wright)
1 on 11th -13th May 2016 at Lytchett Fields (Ian Ballam et al)

We would welcome any further information about 1 on 25th Sep 2010 at Middlebere. This was reported to the information services but no further details are available.

Click To Enlarge
Goldcrest - Middlebere, Aidan Brown
Goldcrest
Latin Name
Regulus regulus
Status

Common breeding resident and passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Breeds in any suitable habitat throughout the harbour, particulary in the large strands of coniferous forest near the southern and western shores. Breeds at Arne, Upton Country Park, Canford Heath, Sandbanks, Studland, Middlebere and Lytchett Bay. Good numbers can be evident in the woodlands and hedgerows around the harbour during October mixing with various warbler and tit species.

Golden Oriole
Latin Name
Oriolus oriolus
Status

Vagrant to the harbour, only 2 records in the last 25 years. Declining as a migrant in Dorset and Britain as a whole. 2010 was the first blank year in the county since 1978.

Site and Records Information

1 noisy male on 4th June 1960 on Studland Heath
1 male on 14th May 1967 at Studland
1 on the 1st July 1967 at Arne
2 on 23rd May 1968 near Arne
2 males on 23rd May 1977 at Brownsea
1 calling on the 1st -3rd June 1977 at Shipstal/Arne
1 on 11th June 1979 at Swineham
Singing male on 20th - 21st May 1981 at Arne
Singing male on 20th May 1993 at Lytchett Bay (E.Brodie)
Singing male on 3rd Jun 2004 at Studland (I.Prophet, G.Armstrong)
1 male on 18th May 2017 on the edge of Hartland Moor (R.Webb)
1 male on 19th May 2017 on 7th Hole of Purbeck Golf Club (H.Murry)

Golden Pheasant
Latin Name
Chrysolophus pictus
Status

Breeding resident

Site and Records Information

Only found on Brownsea and Furzey Island. They're not easy to see, these birds are sometimes visible at great distance from the mainland at Studland, or learn the call and hang around the old vinery in the centre of Brownsea and listen for the strangled Jay like sounds to give it away.

Click To Enlarge
Golden Plover - Bestwall
Golden Plover
Latin Name
Pluvialis apricaria
Status

Irregular winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Sporadic in it's appearances around the harbour, the fields around Bestwall and Swineham are usually the best places to look as they 'hang out' with Lapwing. Some passage does occur with records over Ballard and Studland in October. The Harbour maximum is over 300 at Bestwall but birds are erratic in their appearance, some years they can be ever present on the meadows at Bestwall but the following year barely recorded at all. Passage birds are occasionally recorded.

Click To Enlarge
Goldeneye - Poole Park, Aidan Brown
Goldeneye
Latin Name
Bucephala clangula
Status

Regular winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Poole Harbour is a nationally important site in winter and holds over 80% of the counties birds. Numbers have increased over the last sixty years with a maximum estimate for the harbour of 500 in 1963 and an actual count of 405 in February 1998. Often witnessed tossing their heads back and displaying they are easily seen anywhere across the whole of the open water of the harbour, however from Shipstal Point at Arne and out in Brands Bay good numbers can be viewed.

Click To Enlarge
Goldfinch - Middlebere, Aiden Brown
Goldfinch
Latin Name
Carduelis tristis
Status

Increasing breeding resident, passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Easily now one of the most common birds in urban and rural gardens around the harbour. Easily monitored on migration during October and November at sites like South Haven, Ballard and Glebelands.

Click To Enlarge
Goosander - Poole Park, Aidan Brown
Goosander
Latin Name
Mergus merganser
Status

Annual winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Another bird drawn in by extreme cold weather. Check the warmer waters of Holes Bay during a big freeze or the Swineham GP. Birds have also been recorded off Arne, Hamworthy beach, Lytchett Bay and the Holton shoreline. Goosander is a regular annual vistor to the harbour mostly during late autumn passage. They usually only stay around for a day or two and move on. Best place to look is Little Sea. The closest wintering birds are up the river Frome and the Piddle. Occasionally these birds stray downstream to get in the recording area (R. Frome). Saturday is a good day to look for them within the harbour as this is the day most duck shooting occurs and they are flushed downstream into the Wareham Channel.

Pages

Web Design by Beetleweb