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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, 330 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 September 25th 2017.

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Oystercatcher - Baiter Park
Oystercatcher
Latin Name
Haematopus ostralegus
Status

Breeding resident, passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Poole Harbour is the premier area in Dorset for this species. Can often be seen feeding on any mudflat or shingle beach around the harbour. The main high tide roost is on Brownsea lagoon. Large gatherings of up to 300-400 can be viewed on the shingle bank at Shipstal. Feeding also takes place on the Baiter Park, the football pitches at Whitecliff despite many dogs and on the sports pitches on the south side of Lytchett Bay. Poole Harbour is the main breeding area in Dorset with the bulk of the population nesting on Brownsea. Numbers have fluctuated considerably from year to year with a maximum of c40 pairs in 1978, However the numbers of pairs have been in decline in recent years, with a range of 5 – 26 per year since 2006.

A county record was broken with a count of 2034 in Dec 1999. Since then peak numbers have declined and the mean peak count between 2006 - 2015 was 1123, max 1365 in Sep 2011. This reflects a recent trend whereby numbers peak on autumn migration rather than in winter.

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Pale-bellied Brent Geese - Shell Bay
Pale-bellied Brent Goose
Latin Name
Branta bernicla hrota
Status

Scarce passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

This is the scarcer Alaskan subspecies of our more regular dark-bellied Brent Goose. The first record of this taxa was five in Brands Bay in 1994. Birds have also been recorded at Middlebere, Shell Bay, Baiter and Brownsea. Small groups can be seen passing by out in Poole Bay on migration during April.

Pallas's Sandgrouse
Latin Name
Syrrhaptes paradoxus
Status

Extreme vagrant to Britain and Poole Harbour

Site and Records Information

Both 1863 and 1888 saw an incredible irruptions of these birds from central Asia. Many thousands occurred in western Europe particularly during 1888. There have only been 6 records in Britain in the last 100 years. The last on Shetland in 1990. There were no Dorset records in 1863 but there were 2 in 1888 and one in Jan 1889. One which was in the harbour.....

6 on 28th May 1888 at Wareham (per Field 09/06/1888)

Pallas's Warbler
Latin Name
Phylloscopus proregulus
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

You’ll have to wait until late October and there’s no doubt where the best place is to try and see one (Studland), but with only 3 Poole Harbour records Pallas’s Warbler remains a very rare Poole Harbour bird. If only they could become as frequent as Yellow-browed Warblers.

1 on October 25th  1999 at Pilot's Point, Studland (Mark Constantine)

1 on October 24th – 26th 2007 at South Beach, Studland (Nick Hopper et al)  

1 on October 24th  2013 South Beach, Studland (Nick Hopper et al)

 

                                              

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Pectoral Sandpiper - RSPB Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
Pectoral Sandpiper
Latin Name
Calidris melanotos
Status

Vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

Pectoral Sandpiper is the most regular of the rare American waders that occur in Dorset. With most records occurring in September there is now ample amount of habitat for more to be found with Brownsea Lagoon, Lytchett Fields, Holton Pools and Sunnyside Pools looking like the best sites. To date there have been 10 Poole Harbour records.

1 on 22nd Sep 1935 at Swineham Point (BB:29;217)
1 on 24th Sep1967 at Wareham Sewage Works
1 on 11th Sep1992 at Lytchett Bay (E.Brodie et al)
2 on 20th Sep 1992, 1 remaining until 22nd at Swineham Pools, Swineham (S Morrison)
1 on 14th Sep 2003 at Middlebere (T.Elborn et al)
1 on 17th – 20th Jul 2008 at Swineham GP (K.Lane et al)
1 on 11th Sep 2011 on Arne Moors (P.Morton et al)
1 on 16th Sep 2012 on Brownsea Lagoon (A.Mears)
1 on 3rd-6th Oct 2014 at Lytchett Bay (R.Webb et al)

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Penduline Tit - Lytchett Bay, Turlin Shore - Malcolm Penn
Penduline Tit
Latin Name
Remiz pendulinus
Status

11 Dorset records to the end of 2015 involving 14 individuals. Extreme vagrant to the harbour, all records so far have been in winter.

Site and Records Information

There have been 11 Dorset records to the end of 2015 involving 14 individuals. Extreme vagrant to the harbour and all records so far have been in winter.

1 on 10th Jan 1989 at Swineham, seen briefly before it flew off. (P. Williams). 2nd Dorset record.
1 from 20th Jan - 13th Feb 1998 on the Turlin Moor shore at Lytchett Bay (N.Douglas, C.Whitborne et al) photo.
2 on 22nd Nov 2015 flew north east over Lytchett Bay View calling (S.Robson). 4 hours later they were found at Longham Lakes!

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Peregrine Falcon - Old Harry - Nick Hopper
Peregrine Falcon
Latin Name
Falco peregrinus
Status

Scarce breeding resident and regular winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Peregrines can be encountered anywhere in the harbour, certainly during winter and even over adjacent urban areas. They are most easily seen in the winter months when there could be half a dozen or more at times as they take advantage of an abundant food source that includes waders, wildfowl and even smaller gulls. They are less obvious during summer but may still visit the Harbour on occasions to catch prey which is then taken to feed young in nests on nearby coastal cliffs or in Wareham Forest. Some youngsters from these nests may relocate to the Harbour once fledged where they can be heard soliciting loudly for food and even receiving prey items from a parent during early autumn.

The best locations to see Peregrines generally occur where there are the highest densities of prey species such as Brownsea Island, Middlebere, Wareham Channel, Holes Bay, Brands Bay, Lytchett Bay and around the Arne peninsula. They breed on the cliffs at Ballard to and are conspicuous through the summer.

Pheasant
Latin Name
Phasianus colchicus
Status

Common breeding resident

Site and Records Information

Breeds in most rural habitats around the harbour and is still released annually as game for shooting. Each autumn up to 40 million pheasant are released into the UK with no true knowledge of the scale of impact it has on our native wildlife. As pretty as Common Pheasant are its surely time to start learning about the the true scale of disruption these birds have on our native wildlife.

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Pied Flycatcher - Fleets Corner - Paul Morton
Pied Flycatcher
Latin Name
Ficedula hypoleuca
Status

Scarce spring but regular autumn passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Can realistically turn up anywhere with suitable habitat, but Studland and Ballard have had noteworthy counts in Spring. Autumn passage is stronger from early August to mid September with Arne, Ridge, Middlebere, Fleets Corner, Studland, Ballard, Swineham, Corfe and even 3 in a small Parkstone garden in August 2004.

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Pied Wagtail - Lytchett Bay
Pied Wagtail
Latin Name
Motacilla alba
Status

Common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Breeds throughout the whole harbour but more obvious in autumn and winter when large flocks congregate to roost in Poole Town Centre, Poole Park and other urban sites around the harbour. Also roosts in the reed beds around the harbour such as Lytchett Bay and Swineham. In October 2012 up to 500 were coming into roost at Lytchett Bay. Also often running down Poole High Street ahead of busy walkers feet as they look for crumbs in the street cracks. Also recorded in Poole Harbour each year is the continental sub-species White Wagtail.

Pied-billed Grebe
Latin Name
Podilymbus podiceps
Status

Extreme Nearctic vagrant to the harbour. At the time of this record it was the 7th for Britain and Ireland. Up to the end of 2015 there have now been 56 records but no others in Dorset.

Site and Records Information

1 from the 10th February – 24th May 1980 on Little Sea, Studland from the triangle hide (A.I. and Iain Prophet et al). It later transpired that it was the same bird that had been found at Radipole Lake on 25th Jan. It was in winter plumage when it arrived but attained full breeding plumage during its stay. It was frequently seen displaying and heard calling.

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Pink-footed Goose - Holme Bridge - Kevin Lane
Pink-footed Goose
Latin Name
Anser brachyrhynchus
Status

Very rare winter visitor.

Site and Records Information

Whilst this species might be abundant in Norfolk (50,000+), it is very rare in Dorset (12 records in the whole county between 1950 and 1979!). Despite having been seen in several locations it seems the Frome Valley and Holmebridge have been favourite sites in recent years.

5 on 17th Dec 1961 at Brands Bay
24 on 29th Dec 1981 over Lytchett Bay (P. Harvey). These birds had previously been seen on the Stour at Merley.
75 from 17th Jan 1982 to early Mar at Arne/Wareham Water Meadows was unprecedented cold weather influx unlike anything noted before or since.
1 on 7th Nov 1993 at Hatch Pond
2 from the 31st Jan - 2nd Feb 2000 at Middlebere (G.J.Armstrong)
3 on 23rd Dec 2003 at Middlebere (C.Cottrell)
1 on 24th Dec 2007 at Keysworth (G.J.Armstrong) with 17 White-fronted Geese.
1 from 14th – 19th Jan 2008 at Swineham (G.J.Armstrong, J.A.Lidster et al), presumed same as above.
1 from 21st Dec 2012 – 30th Jan 2013 at East Holme (S.W.Smith et al)
1 on 6th Oct 2016 over Hatch Pond was adjudicated by DRP as being either this species or Tundra Bean Goose.
1 on 9th-10th October 2017 at East Holme (N.Hopper)

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Pintail - Studland Bay, Aidan Brown
Pintail
Latin Name
Anas acuta
Status

Fairly common winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Poole Harbour holds nationally important numbers of Pintail. Little Sea and Newton's Bay used to be the best places but Arne Bay, Brands Bay and Holes Bay now hold most numbers. Maximum counts of up 200 can be seen in hard weather off Shipstal Point, Arne. Pintail arrive back from mid September and peak in January.

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Pochard - Holes Bay, Aidan brown
Pochard
Latin Name
Aythya ferina
Status

Winter visitor, has bred.

Site and Records Information

Poole Harbour was formally a nationally important site for Pochard, their numbers have dropped from their wintering stronghold of Little Sea where around 600 used to spend the winter. In hard weather Poole Park, Hatch Pond, Swineham and Holes Bay hold recent records, but is by no means an easy bird to see in the harbour anymore.

Pomarine Skua
Latin Name
Stercorarius pomarinus
Status

Very scarce spring/autumn passage migrant.

Site and Records Information

A sea watch from Branksome or any of the Studland beaches during May or Oct/Nov with a strong on-shore wind offers the best chance. That said the best record occurred on a dry sunny evening. 6 Ad sat on the sea on 26th May 2002 off Branksome Chine (I.M.Stanley, J.A.Lidster, N.Hopper). 5 took off and flew inland along the Corfe Ridge. Surely one of the all-time Poole Harbour birding experiences?

All other records:

1 shot on 16th Oct 1879 from a flock in Poole Harbour
1 on 25th Oct 1909 in Poole Harbour
Ad in on 17th Oct 1961 Studland Bay (H.G.Alexander). HGA retired to Swanage so he could seawatch more often. He was rewarded with the Harbours 1st modern record.
Ad on 28th May 1963 in Shell Bay, Studland chasing terns (H.G.Alexander)
1 flushed on 2nd May 1970 from the beach in Shell Bay, Studland (L.Howells)
1 on 27th Sep 1982 off Canford Cliffs
1 on 2nd Oct 1983 at Arne
1 on 11th Sep 1986 flew out of Poole Harbour entrance
1 on 14th Sep 1986 in Studland Bay
2 on 18th Oct 1987 flew south in Studland Bay, following the Great Storm
1 on 22nd Sep 1994 from the Haven Hotel, Sandbanks (J.Hull, N.Hull, R.White)
1w on 11th May 1997 off Branksome Chine (S.Robson)
A dark phased juv on 25th Nov 2000 off Branksome Chine (M.Constantine, Mo Constantine)
1 on 14thMay 2003 in Studland Bay (I.Prophet)
1 on 22nd Oct 2004 at Branksome Chine
1 on 29th Oct 2005 at South Haven, Studland
1 on 3rd May 2008 at Branksome Chine (M.Constantine, Mo Constantine, S.Robson)
Ad on 25th Jan 2009 at Branksome Chine is our only winter record.
1 on 30th Aug 2009 at Studland Bay
2 on 20th Oct 2009 at Branksome Chine
1 on 1st Nov 2009 at Branksome Chine
1e on 25th Apr 2010 at Studland Bay
2 on 30th Oct 2010 in Poole Bay
1 on 30th Apr 2012 at Branksome Chine
2 on 6th Oct 2014 at Branksome Chine
1 on 6th Nov 2014 at Branksome Chine
4 on 8th Nov 2014 at Branksome Chine

Puffin
Latin Name
Fratercula arctica
Status

Vagrant to the harbour, only 3-4 pairs breed in Dorset at Dancing Ledge.

Site and Records Information

Vagrant to the harbour and only 3-4 pairs breeding in Dorset at Dancing Ledge. Probably the most sought after 'common' bird in Poole Harbour with only about five records since records began. Most records involve birds shot in Poole Bay during 1800's or birds found dead on Studland beach during the 1960's. It was also stated that Puffin were once common place on the cliffs of Studland and Old Harry where around 300 could be knocked off the cliffs with a stick in a single morning!

There is only one record in recent times.

1 on 12th Feb 2014 at Branksome Chine (G.J.Armstrong). This bird occurred following very stormy weather in the western approaches which also produced c35 birds around the same time along the Dorset coast. Many of these were already dead or exhausted.

Purple Heron
Latin Name
Ardea purpurea
Status

Vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

A rare bird with only 3 records in the harbour, the most bizarre being one at Hatch Pond in 1999 for three days. It can’t be that often that a rare southern European heron turns up on an industrial estate pond in the centre of town. The long-staying bird at Little Sea in 2018 was another well watched bird too.
A second summer from 8th – 15th April 1992 at Lytchett Bay (Graham Armstrong et al)
A juvenile from the 27th August – 29th September 1999 at Hatch Pond (George Dunquin et al)
A juvenile from July 16th - Sept 1st 2018 at Little Sea, Studland (Steve Smith)

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Purple Sandpiper - North Haven
Purple Sandpiper
Latin Name
Calidris maritima
Status

Winter visitor in small numbers mainly at North Haven around the ferry landing or on nearby groynes. Less frequently seen on the rocks at South Haven, Pilots Point and the Training Bank

Site and Records Information

The maximum count is 11 in Feb 2008, Nov 2009, Jan 2010 and Jan 2011. Other interesting records include: 7 at Poole Quay on 8th Jan 1983; 8 at Arne on 8th Nov 1984; 3 at Hamworthy beach on 17th Mar 1996; After high winds, one walking along the road towards Swan Lake in Poole Park on 18th Jan 1987; 1 on Brownsea on 31st Oct 2012;
Birds are sometimes seen passing Branksome chine as they, interchange with nearby birds along the coast at Hengistbury Head.
Earliest record is 1 at Arne on 23rd Aug 1966 and the latest is 1e at Branksome Chine on 28th Apr 2003. One was even found on a pavement in Poole Park one winter during a a particularly bad rain storm.

Quail
Latin Name
Coturnix coturnix
Status

Rare visitor to the harbour. This species is prone to large variations in its annual occurrence in Britain. Whilst annual in Dorset there has not been a Poole Harbour record for more than 20 years. Modern harbour “listers” eagerly await the next. Hopefully a spring singing male!

Site and Records Information

Rare visitor to the harbour. This species is prone to large variations in its annual occurrence in Britain. Whilst annual in Dorset there has not been a Poole Harbour record for more than 20 years. Modern harbour “listers” eagerly await the next. Hopefully a spring singing male will reveal its self soon.

Reportedly the species used to breed many years ago.
1 in spring 1970 at Hartland Moor for 9 days.
1 on 25th July 1987 at Keysworth
1 on 15th Aug 1988 at Studland
4 calling males in 1989 at 4 sites in the “Poole Basin”. It is impossible to know now if these were actually in the Poole Harbour recording area. 1989 was the best ever year for this species in the County.
1 on 28th Sep 1992 at Goathorn
1 on 15th Jun 1993 at Hartland Moor
1 on July 6th 2019 sound recorded flying over the Piddle Valley at night (P.Morton)

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Raven - Hartland Moor
Raven
Latin Name
Corvus corax
Status

Uncommon but increasing breeding resident

Site and Records Information

Numbers have steadily grown over the last decade. Birds now nest at Arne, Corfe Castle, Brownsea, Ballard and Middlebere/Hartland area and their load 'cronking' calls can be heard overhead at many sites, especially in the west of the harbour.

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Razorbill - Poole Bay, Aidan Brown
Razorbill
Latin Name
Alca torda
Status

Winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Like Guillemot, small numbers occur during the winter but tend to stay near the harbour mouth and don't tend to venture into the inner harbour. A maximum count of 248 Razorbills flew past Old Harry on 24th January 2008, and on 26th there were 120 Razorbills sitting on the water with twelve Guillemot out in Poole Bay.

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Red Kite - Over the harbour from Middlebere
Red Kite
Latin Name
Milvus milvus
Status

Scarse spring/summer passage migrant

Site and Records Information

With populations ever growing in the north of the country this species has become a much more regular sight in the harbour with at least 20-30 sightings each year. Pretty much anywhere with a good vantage point could be successful for passing Red Kite especially in spring from March through to June. Recently birds have passed over South Haven, Brownsea, Lytchett Bay, Arne and Middlebere.

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Red-backed Shrike - Holton Lee - Nick Hopper
Red-backed Shrike
Latin Name
Lanius collurio
Status

Vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

Until the 1950’s this species could be found on most heathlands of east Dorset... but a decline started in 1951 and was complete by 1962. Now a rare vagrant mainly in spring and Autumn.

1 on 19th May 1961 at Holton Heath
1 on 27th Sept 1962 at Arne
1 on 11th Sept 1963 at Arne
1 male calling on 21st June 1975 on Studland Heath
1 on 31st October 1984 at East Stoke
1 on 5th June 1988 at Lytchett Bay (GP Green)
1 female on 6th July 2012 at Holton Lee (P.Morton et al)
1 on 11th September 2015 at Greenland's Farm (SW.Smith)
1 female on 24th May 2016 Hartland Moor (R&D.Dyer et al)

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Red-breasted Goose - Baiter, Aidan Brown
Red-breasted Goose
Latin Name
Branta ruficollis
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

Either an extremely rare vagrant, or feral wanderer for escaped populations. There is still debate as to whether any/many Dorset or UK records relate to true wild birds but with many records consisting of birds associating with wild Brent Geese flocks and acting/behaving in a truly wild way it seems 100% wild Red-breasted Goose are actually more regular than people may assume.

1 (1st W) on 12th November 2003 at Shell Bay (C. Cottrell)

1 (Adult) 18th November 2006 – 25th January 2007. It was found at Middlebere but then frequented various sites. (T.Hill et al)

1 (Adult) 24th March at Middlebere and 30th March 2014 at Fitzworth (K.E.Lane et al)

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Red-breasted Merganser - Brands Bay, Aidan Brown
Red-breasted Merganser
Latin Name
Mergus serrator
Status

Common winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Dorset hosts the largest wintering population outside of Scotland with The Fleet and Weymouth now holding slightly more than Poole Harbour. Large rafts of these 'punk rockers' can be seen loafing out on any body of water in the Harbour. A great way to see them is from a bird boat winter tour. A large evening roost can be seen in-between Furzey Island and Round Island mixing with Goldeneye and Great Crested Grebe. Brands Bay, Bramble Bush Bay and in the outer bays of the harbour will all see reasonable numbers during the winter.

The maximum count is of 535 in 16th December 1979, though this has reduced in recent years. The Harbour WEBS mean peak 2011 - 2016 is 240, max 299 in 14/15. An interesting trait that RBM previously was their habit of flying in and out of the harbour at dawn and dusk, possibly an inherited survival technique from ancestors who were shot at when wildfowling was rife 100 years ago. Thankfully the Harbour is a much safer place these days and many birds now roost near Furzey Island. Sadly from the perspective of a unique birding spectacle the 'fly-out' is now a shadow of what it was 25 years ago.

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Red-crested Pochard - Little Sea, Aidan Brown
Red-crested Pochard
Latin Name
Netta rufina
Status

Rare winter Visitor

Site and Records Information

The largest feral population in the country exists at Cotswold Water Park in Wiltshire and this may certainly account for many of the records in the last 25 years although sightings have dropped off considerately over the last decade. Little Sea and Swineham have seen the most recent records.

1 on 24th - 25th Dec 1950 at Little Sea where a male was present and again 15th Jan 1951.
1 on several dates in April also 30th - 31st May 1963 on Brownsea
A male on 14th Dec 1963 at Studland
1 27th to 31st Dec 1982 at Little Sea
1 on the 10th Nov 1984 in Holes Bay
1 from 9th Mar to 12th May 1989 at moved between Brownsea and Luscombe Valley.
A drake from 11th - 20th Nov in Poole Park, moved to Hatch Pond on 28th Dec 1989 was thought to be the same bird as above.
1 in late Dec 1993 at Little Sea
1 on 1st Jan 1997 at Little Sea
A drake on 23rd Mar 2006 at Little Sea
Up to 6 between 9th – 23rd Jan 2010 at Brands Bay/Little Sea during very harsh weather
A drake between 28th Nov 2010 and 23rd Apr 2011 at Little Sea (present on and off)
A drake on 10 dates between 24th Apr and 19th Jul 2011 at Swineham GP (presumed to be the same as above)
A drake from 8th – 13th Nov 2012 at Swineham GP
1 on 25th Sep 2013 at Creekmoor Ponds

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Red-footed Falcon - Wareham Water Meadows 20th May 2015
Red-footed Falcon
Latin Name
Falco vespertinus
Status

Vagrant to the Harbour from SE Europe. Mainly in late spring. There were 37 Dorset records up to end 2015.

Site and Records Information

A vagrant to the Harbour from SE Europe. Mainly in late spring. There were 37 Dorset records up to end 2015 but it has now increased considerably with records each year in Dorset from 2013 to 2018. Poole Harbour has 7 records including an amazing account of a pair that stayed for over a week in 1989.

A pair 4th - 12th June 1989 on Hartland Moor (T.Russell et al). A male and female were watched together with up to 12 Hobby's, feeding on large numbers of newly hatched insects. The Hobby numbers declined after the first few days, and the female was last seen on the 12th. The warden at the time decided that the news should not be released and that the record shouldn’t even be submitted to the British Birds Rarities Committee. A photograph of the female sitting on a post was taken. With the passing of the other observers we are grateful that Tasie has now been able to reveal the full story of this amazing event.

7 records ranging from 13th May to 6th August.
1 shot on 19th May 1904 near Wareham
1 on 27th Jul 1963 'was observed at close range near Wareham' (H.G.& W.B.Alexander)
A male on 6th Aug 1978 at Arne (D.Bishop, M.Rowbottom, C.Unsworth)
A male on 13th, 16th and 24th May 1987 at Studland (S.J.Morrison, G.Dutson et al)

A female on 3rd – 4th Jun 1995 on Ballard Down (E.S Brodie, T.Elborn et al)
A female on 20th - 26th May 2015 Wareham Water Meadows - a popular and widely twitched bird.

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Red-legged Partridge - Hamworthy - Colin Moyes
Red-legged Partridge
Latin Name
Alectoris rufa
Status

Scarce resident breeder

Site and Records Information

Not an easy bird to see in the harbour now, with occasional birds up on Ballard Down and recent sightings at Arne, Soldiers Road and Ridge. Populations just outside the recording area will no doubt find their way to the various farms and scrubland in the west of the harbour. Still releases en mass each autumn across the UK but for some reason not locally within the harbour or surrounding area.

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Red-necked Grebe - Shell Bay, Aidan Brown
Red-necked Grebe
Latin Name
Podiceps grisegena
Status

Scarce winter visitor

Site and Records Information

The rarest of the winter grebes, but at least one can be found each winter either out in Shell Bay or Studland Bay, also Just off Pilots Point, inside the harbour mouth or off the southern shores of Brownsea. Amazingly there was a maximum of 18 in Poole Bay during December 1988 and again 18 off Branksome Chine on the unusually late date of 15 April 1996. Recently Shell Bay and the Studland Beaches seem the best places to look with another off Shipstal Beach in December 2012.

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 Red-necked Phalarope - Central Harbour - Katie Horrocks
Red-necked Phalarope
Latin Name
Phalaropus lobatus
Status

Vagrant to the harbour.

Site and Records Information

A vagrant to the harbour. Typically there around 30 non-breeding records of this attractive wader in the UK each year but it is rare in Dorset.There are only 5 Poole Harbour records including an amazing occurrence on Arne Moors during Sept 2017 when one shared a small pool with a Grey Phalarope for several days.

1 adult in summer plumage off Shipstal Point was watched for over an hour in May 1962 (A. Bromby).
A juv from 17th-19th Aug 1989 on Brownsea.
A juv on 26th Aug 2011 on Brownsea (ES Brodie et al)
A juv on 25th Aug 2017, 300m off Shipstal Beach, Arne seen at close quarters by a public Osprey bird boat (S. Emmerson et al)
A juv from 21st-26th Sept 2017 on small pool in NW corner of Arne Moors (J. MItchell et al) sharing a pool with a Grey Phalarope – one of the all-time harbour “best birding experiences”.

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Red-rumped Swallow - Bestwall, Wareham
Red-rumped Swallow
Latin Name
Hirundo daurica
Status

This species is an annual visitor to Dorset yet remains an incredibly, and unfathomably, rare visitor to the Harbour

Site and Records Information

With only 4 records, a lingering bird would attract a good crowd. How long will we have to wait?

1 on 19th April 1987 at Arne (W Fletcher, S Roantree)

1 on 4th April 2011 sat on telephone wires at Bestwall, Wareham (P.Morton et al) photo, later over Swineham GP

1 on 3rd May 2002 at Bushey

1 on 14th Sep 2013 at Middlebere

 

 

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Red-throated Diver - Studland Bay, Aidan Brown.
Red-throated Diver
Latin Name
Gavia stellata
Status

Annual winter visitor and passage migrant.

Site and Records Information

In winter most regularly seen in Poole Bay and Studland Bay where numbers are generally between 1-4 birds. Higher counts can occur during periods of bad weather as they move around to find more sheltered areas. In the winter best places to look are out in Poole Bay, Shell Bay and Studland Bay with occasional inner harbour records at places like Brands Bay and even Holes Bay and Lytchett Bay. Passage birds move through Poole Bay in an easterly direction in the spring and on days of strong passage up to 20 birds can be logged.

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Redshank - Brownsea Lagoon
Redshank
Latin Name
Tringa totanus
Status

Declining breeding resident and regular winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Often called the 'Warden of the Marsh' due to their habit of patrolling every creek, channel and mudlflat in the harbour. Winter counts rise to almost 1000 with pretty much the whole harbour seeing decent sized flocks. The wintering birds in the harbour are British, Icelandic and Scandinavian breeding birds, however breeding in the harbour seems to have declined, meaning a small decline in winter numbers.

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Redstart - Middlebere, Aidan Brown
Redstart
Latin Name
Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Status

Very rare breeding species. Regular passage migrant more so in autumn

Site and Records Information

Seen more so in the autumn with the Middlebere approach track, Sunnyside Farm, Slepe heath, Soldiers Road, Hartland and Arne peninsular reporting good numbers, but can turn up anywhere from early August to late September. Spring passage less obvious but Ballard and Greenland's Farm being worthy site. Recent breeding attempts have been at recorded at Slepe Copse and Arne.

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Redwing - Arne RSPB Reserve
Redwing
Latin Name
Turdus iliacus
Status

Winter visitor and passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Redwing migrate at night and birds can be heard arriving from the north as they migrate from mid October onwards. Listen out for their high pitch 'zeeeee' by standing out in your garden at night. Lytchett Bay, Soldiers Road, Upton Country Park, Arne, Bestwall, Upton Heath, anywhere with large fields or fruit bearing bushes for them to feed on a good places to look. Cold weather movements can occur with South Haven at dawn being a great place to witness large movements. A typical cold weather movement can consist of 6000 -10,000 birds! A recent study has shown that at the end of October over 3000 birds can pass over Poole Town centre in a single night.

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Lytchett Bay
Reed Bunting
Latin Name
Emberiza schoeniclus
Status

Breeding resident, passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Found anywhere with decent thick reed bed habitat such as Swineham/Bestwall, Lytchett Bay, Arne/Middlebere also found on Brownsea, Hatch Pond and Upton Country Park. Small winter flocks of around 10-15 birds can occur in open reed bed areas around the harbour with past maximum counts of up to 300 being recorded. They are also autumn passage migrants and can be seen/heard mixing in with Goldfinch, Siskin and Linnet on October mornings passing coastal watch points like Ballard and South Haven.

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Reed Warbler - Swineham, Peter Moore
Reed Warbler
Latin Name
Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Status

Breeding summer resident and passage migrant, widely present between mid-April and mid-September.

Site and Records Information

Breeds commonly in all suitable reed beds. Surveys in the eighties revealed 200 pairs at Keysworth in 1986, 60 pairs at Lytchett Bay in 1984 and 30 pairs at Arne in 1986. It is possible that damage to the reed beds caused by grazing Sika Deer may have a small impact on numbers but a survey at Lytchett Bay in 2011 found 84 singing males. This would suggest that the species is still doing well.
Autumn passage, like Sedge Warbler, is rife through Poole Harbour reed beds, though distinguishing the scale of this due to the presence of young local birds is very difficult.

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Richards Pipit - Greenlands Farm - Steve Smith
Richards Pipit
Latin Name
Anthus richardi
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

Annual but very scarce migrant to Dorset, mainly in autumn, but it remains an extreme vagrant to the harbour

1 on 10th October 2001 Pilot Point, Studland (Mk Constantine)

1 on 24th April 2014 at Greenlands Farm, Studland (G.Armstrong et al) photo and sound recording 

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Ring Ouzel - Glebelands
Ring Ouzel
Latin Name
Turdus torquatus
Status

Scarce passage migrant and occasional winter visitor

Site and Records Information

 

The most reliable site is on Ballard Down just north of Glebelands on autumn migration in October. Birds also annually reported from the Greenlands Farm area at Studland. Arne, Hartland, Slepe Heath, Lytchett Bay and Ham Common all hold recent records, but unfortunately it's not an easy bird to catch up with in the field. Spring passage is less evident with birds sporadically turning up at places with suitable habitat. The autumn of 2016 saw a huge number passing through the UK and Ring ouzel were even turning up at urban sites in Poole including the Fleets Corner PC World Drain!

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Ring-billed Gull - Poole Park, Peter Moore
Ring-billed Gull
Latin Name
Larus delawarensis
Status

Vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

Ring-billed Gulls are more a feat of identification than detection. Birders checking Common Gulls for the identification criteria is probably more responsible for their distribution than the reality of their presence. They have become rarer in recent years but almost certainly many go un-found in amongst the many thousands of Common Gull that roost in the Wareham Channel each day during the winter

1 Ad on 25th Jan 1984 at Poole Park (P Harvey)
1 Ad on 3rd – 6th Apr at Holes Bay (ES Brodie et al)
1 Ad on 6th and 9th Apr 1994 at Lytchett Bay (S Robson et al, same bird as above)
1 2nd W on 16th Jan 1995 at Poole Park (S Robson)
1 2nd S on 19th – 20th Apr 1996 at Lytchett Bay (S Robson)
1 2nd W on 19th – 20th Sep 1997 at Lytchett Bay (S Robson, JA Lidster, T Elborn)
1 1st W on 29th Dec 1997 at Little Sea (MkConstantine, JA Lidster)
1 2nd W New Years Day 1998 at Branksome Chine (N Symes)
1 Ad on 21st Mar 1999 at Lytchett Bay (S Robson, T Elborn)
1 Ad on 21st Feb 2000 at Swineham (GJ Armstrong)
1 2nd W on 23rd Feb 2002 at Lytchett Bay (S Robson, SF Smith)
1 Ad on 5th - 15th Mar 2002 at Corfe Mullen Tip (JA Lidster et al)
1 Ad on 3rd Feb – 6th Mar 2003 at Corfe Mullen Tip (JA Lidster et al)
2, a 1st winter and an Adult on 16th Mar 2003, with 1st W still present next day, at Lytchett Bay (GJ Armstrong, S Robson, I Prophet)
1 2nd W on 30th Jul 2005 at Baiter, 2nd Jul record in Dorset (RJ Taylor)
1 Ad on 16th Nov 2006 at Swineham GP (D Liley)
1 Ad on 28th Feb 2007 in the Wareham Channel (JA Lidster)
1 Ad on 20th Mar 2008 at Lytchett Bay (S Robson)
1 Ad on 27th Mar 2008 at Swineham Point (D Chown)
1 Ad on 20th Feb 2009 at Swineham Point (GJ Armstrong)
1 Ad on 8th Mar 2009 at Lytchett Bay (S Robson et al)
1 1stW on 5th Feb – 28th Mar 2011 at Poole Park (L Fuller et al)
1 Ad on 17th Dec 2013 at Poole Harbour entrance (L. Chappell)
1st W on 17th Dec 2013 at Swineham GP (MJ Lawson)
Ad on 30th Nov 2014 at Swineham Point (MJ Lawson)
1 Ad on 26th & 27th Feb 2017 in Lytchett Bay (S Robson et al)
1 Ad on 28th Feb 2017 in Lytchett Bay (different to previous days bird) (N Hopper, S Robson)
1 Ad on 12th March 2017 in Wareham Channel (J Potter)

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Ring-necked Duck - Swineham, April 2009
Ring-necked Duck
Latin Name
Aythya collaris
Status

Extreme vagrant to the Harbour

Site and Records Information

A very rare duck with only 4 Poole Harbour records. However always checking open fresh water bodies such as Swineham, Little Sea, Hatch Pond and Poole Park Lake you never know when the next one might be found.

1 male 7th Oct 1989 on Little Sea, Studland (R.S. & V Papps et al) then presumed same visited Poole Park on 20th Nov - 13th Dec.

1 male 10th Nov – 14th Dec 1990 at Poole Park (J.V.Bale, G.P. Green et al) then Little Sea, Studland 16th -17th Dec, before returning to Poole Park 18th – 30th Dec. All presumed to be returning 1989 bird.

1 male 11th Nov – 31st Dec 1995 at Poole Park (E.S.Brodie et al). This bird also strayed to Little Sea, Studland on several dates. It became more settled here in the early part of 1996 when it was present from 13th Jan – 11th Feb. Interestingly the possibility of it being the same bird as 1989 -1990 bird was not ruled out. A male had spent the intervening winters at Timsbury GP in Hampshire.

1 female 7th – 21st Dec 2008 at Swineham GP (K.E.Lane et al) then presumed same at Little Sea, Studland 23rd Feb – 4th Mar, before returning to Swineham GP from 20th Mar – 3rd May 2009.

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Ring-necked Parakeet - Studland, Aidan Brown
Ring-necked Parakeet
Latin Name
Psittacula krameri
Status

Introduced breeding resident

Site and Records Information

Introduced into a Studland garden in 1990, the owner then moved and the birds have supported themselves, with a little help at local bird feeders. Most years birds are seen entering and leaving nest holes bred in the paddocks opposite the Banks Arms at Studland village. Max 12 in 1996 - 8 in 1998. Breeding is restricted to the Studland area where numbers have risen and fallen over the last 20 years. Nowadays only three or four can now be seen around the Bank's Arms area but breeding was likely to have taken place in 2010.

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Ringed Plover - Shell Bay, Aidan brown
Ringed Plover
Latin Name
Charadrius hiaticula
Status

Passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Used to be a scarce breeder, but now only occurs in small numbers on passage and in winter. Very rarely autumn passage can actually bring sizeable counts on the Brownsea Lagoon but they don't stay for long. The shoreline at Shell Bay and Studland beach before the dogs arrive can be good for Ringed Plover, along with the Hamworthy and Baiter shorelines. Other than those sites the Brownsea Lagoon and Lytchett Fields during migration season are the only other hotspot .In winter a flock of 10-20 spend their days on the sea wall of Fishermans Dock, Poole Quay during the high tide before then heading to feed on Baiter Beach on the low tide.

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Robin - Studland Beach
Robin
Latin Name
Erithacus rubecula
Status

Common resident, passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

An abundant species throughout the harbour found in any woodland, garden, scrub, heathland habitat. Numbers rise in the winter with birds moving from the north of the UK, plus some continental birds arrive in October.

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Rock Pipit - Holes Bay, Peter Moore
Rock Pipit
Latin Name
Anthus petrosus
Status

Resident nominate population greatly increased by winter visitors and spring passage migrants from Scandinavia

Site and Records Information

Breeds on cliffs around Ballard Down where it can be seen throughout the year in small numbers. Recorded widely during winter on the saltings all around the harbour, sometimes in large numbers e.g. 60 at Swineham on 26th Nov 1989, 50 at Lytchett Bay on 18th Dec 2005. In spring when these birds start to attain summer plumage it's apparent that many, if not all, are in fact Scandinavian Rock Pipits e.g. 8 in spring plumage were seen at Lytchett Bay on 22nd Feb 2016. Ringing at Lytchett Bay has now gone some way to confirming this belief with two birds being trapped, one with a Norwegian ring and the other with a Belgian ring (ringed on migration from Scandinavia to the UK).

Roller
Latin Name
Coracias garrulus
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour with just 1 record. There have been 4 Dorset records.121 British records between 1950 and 2015.

Site and Records Information

1 on the 8th June 1967 on telephone wires near Slepe Farm, on the edge of Hartland Moor (B Pickess, B Teagle, Mrs Teagle). It remained in the area for half-an-hour then flew in the Rempstone direction. Bryan P (having been reprimanded by Mrs Teagle for his language) rushed off to spread the news.

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Rook, Ridge, October 2017 © Marcus Lawson
Rook
Latin Name
Corvus frugilegus
Status

Breeding resident and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Easily seen in rural areas of the harbour with Rookery's occurring at Lytchett Bay, Swineham, Corfe and Whitecliff. Large winter roosts of up to 2000 aren't uncommon.

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Rose-coloured Starling - Greenlands Farm - Kevin Lane
Rose-coloured Starling
Latin Name
Sturnus roseus
Status

Vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

An annual but very scarce migrant to Dorset, mainly in autumn, but it remains an extreme vagrant to the Harbour with only 4 records. Checking post breeding flock of Common Starling from August to October is your best cahnce of tracking down a Rose-coloured Starling in Poole Harbour.

A juvenile moulting into adult plumage from Oct 1983 to early March 1984 in a Poole Garden was published in DBR 1984 as “submitted to British Birds” but the record never appeared in their reports?
A juvenile on the 17th Oct 1995 near the Priory in Wareham (N.Gartshore, RJ Taylor)
A juvenile on 10th Sept 2008 at Lytchett Bay (S Robson) photo
A juvenile on 3rd – 4th Oct 2010 at Greenlands Farm, Studland (SW Smith et al) photo

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Roseate Tern - Brownsea Lagoon, Peter Moore
Roseate Tern
Latin Name
Sterna dougallii
Status

Previously a regular summer visitor which has bred twice at Brownsea Lagoon. More recently a scarce summer visitor. Rare away from this site.

Site and Records Information

Pairs summered on Brownsea Lagoon in the late 60’s and between 1978-91 and again in 1995, 1996 and 1999. Display was noted on several occasions but only in 1985 did a pair actually breed. Sadly the nest was deserted. After increasing records during 2007 and 2008, a pair bred in 2009, making this the first successful pair to raise young in the county since 1988.

Records since 2000. At Brownsea Lagoon unless otherwise stated.
2000 – singles on 4 dates in June and July.
2001 – seen on 10 dates, max 3 on 17th June.
2002 – seen on 6 dates, max 2 on 29th May.
2003 – seen on 16 dates, max 2. One had been ringed at Rockabill, Ireland.
2004 – Between 1 -5 adults 9th May to 9th Aug, one ringed at Rockabill, Ireland in 1999. Nest scraping and display noted. 1 at Branksome Chine on 23rd
Aug.
2005 – seen on 15 dates, max 2 on 18th Jul. 1 at South Haven, Studland on 14th Jun.
2006 – seen on 2 dates, max 2 on 24th Jun. 1 at Poole Quay on 25th Jun.
2007 – seen regularly between 12th May and 15th Jul, max 2. 1 in Poole Bay on 16th Jul.
2008 – seen regularly between 13th Jun and 23rd Aug, max 4 in late Jul. 1 at Branksome Chine on 4th May. 1 in Studland Bay on 29th Apr.
2009 – a pair raised 1 chick.
2010 – seen on 13 dates, max 2.
2011 – seen regularly 22nd May to 9th Jul, max 3 on 23rd May.
2012 – seen on 2 dates, max 3 on 20th May.
2013 – seen regularly between 19th May and 20th Jul, max 3 on 16th June. Display noted.
2014 – no records.
2015 – seen on 3 dates, max 3 on 10th May.
2016 – seen on at least 4 dates.
2017 – seen regularly, max 3 on 19th Jul.

Rough-legged Buzzard
Latin Name
Buteo lagopus
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

Scarce winter migrant to the UK averaging c7 birds per year. It is very rare in Dorset and Poole Harbour only has 6 records all between October and April

1 shot in 1862 at Rempstone                                                  

1 on 28th March 1908 at Middlebere Heath                                                    

An immature was found in a weakened state at Sandford, after care it was released at Arne on 9th December 1978 and seen again on the 11th and 13th also seen at Studland NNR on 17th                             

1 on 12th and 14th February 1979 at Corfe Castle                                                       

1 on 25th April 1982 at Arne

1 on 16th Oct 2005 at Lytchett Bay  (T Elborn, R Gifford, S Robson)                                                      

 

Ruddy Duck
Latin Name
Oxyura jamaicensis
Status

Very scarce winter visitor

Site and Records Information

First occurred in the area in early 1979 at Poole Park. Since then there were been around 30-40 records up until around 2008. Good places to look used to be Poole Park during a cold snap, but the best place to see Ruddy Duck by far was Swineham gravel pits. Was also occasionally seen at Little Sea but no recent sightings have been had due to the rise in culling activity of this species and its likely they'll soon be extinct in the UK over the next decade.

Ruddy Shelduck
Latin Name
Tadorna ferruginea
Status

Non-native birds introduced on the Swiss-German border have established a moult migration to the Netherlands. Evidence is strong that birds readily cross the North Sea to GB. For this reason the species is not on category A of the British list.

Site and Records Information

Recent records
1 on 12th March 1986 in Holes Bay.
1 on 23rd July 1987 on Brownsea Lagoon.
1 on 31st August 1992 in Holes Bay and Little Sea
2 on 12th December 1993 in the Wareham Channel.
1 on 11th August 1994 at Sandbanks
1 on 9th June 1995 on Brownsea Lagoon
2 on 19th November 1995 in Brands Bay.
1 on 6th June then 16th June-15th July at Poole Park
1 Female 12th-27th July 1998 at Poole Park
1 on 6th August -31st December 2002 on Swineham GP
2 throughout November 2012 at Middlebere
1 on 29th-30th October 2017 at Brownsea Lagoon

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Ruff - Swineham flood fields, Ian Ballam
Ruff
Latin Name
Philomachus pugnax
Status

Irregular winter visitor and passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Occurs in small numbers mostly in Autumn (Aug- Oct) at Lytchett Fields, Bestwall, Wareham Meadows, Swineham and Middlebere. In cold winters they can turn up in anywhere even ice skating on Poole Park lake!

Flocks of 40-100 were common on the Wareham water meadows in the late 1960's with a maximum of 186 on 24th February 1976, however despite much of the area being conserved, numbers in fact declined quite rapidly and since 1980 it has become rather an irregular visitor.

Sabine's Gull
Latin Name
Larus sabini
Status

Vagrant to the harbour usually associated with very strong southerly gales in autumn.

Site and Records Information

Rare but almost annual visitor to Dorset. It’s a rare vagrant to the harbour usually associated with very strong southerly gales in autumn. Most records consist of juvenile birds in autumn, but out of the 10 Poole Harbour records there is 1 mid-summer record from Brownsea. 

Two 19th century records. The first at Wareham in 1867, and the other in October 1891.  A 70 year wait ensued before the next.                                                      

1 on 18th June 1961 at Brownsea (H Brotherton, A Bull) had been seen at Peverill Point for the 5 previous days.

A Juv on 16th Sep 1969 on Brownsea was “well described”.

2 on 5th Sep 1987 off Fitzworth
1 on 18th Oct 1987 on Little Sea
1 on 17th Oct 1997 at Branksome Chine (M&M Constantine)

A Juv on 7th Oct 2008 at Branksome Chine (G Armstrong, I Prophet)

A Juv on 10th Sep 2011 at Middlebere (N Hopper, SW Smith)

 

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Sand Martin - Swineham, Peter Moore
Sand Martin
Latin Name
Riparia riparia
Status

Declining breeding summer visitor and common passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Mainly encountered as a passage bird with large gatherings over Swineham GP in late Summer. They arrive in early-mid March, but unfortunately breeding sites have been getting more and more scarce with no confirmed breeding within the harbour in 2012. Poole Park boating lake and Swineham GP tend to see the first arriving birds back in the spring.

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Sanderling - Shell Bay, Aidan brown
Sanderling
Latin Name
Calidris alba
Status

Passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Never really occurs in large numbers. Winter flocks of around 10-20 usually feed along the beach at Shell Bay all the way up to Pilot's Point, sometimes roosting in Bramble Bush Bay if the beach is too busy. They also feed just off the sea wall at Brownsea. On spring passage May is the best time with past harbour maximums of 150 at Studland in 1976, whilst in the autumn August is the best month. In recent years a flock of 40 -50 have taken to feeding in amongst the Bar-tailed Godwit in Whitley Lake, Sandbanks during December and January. Also look on the inner shoreline of Bramble Bush Bay during the winter in Studland Beach is busy.

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Sandwich Tern - Brownsea Island
Sandwich Tern
Latin Name
Sterna sandvicensis
Status

Regular summer breeder and over-winterer

Site and Records Information

A great harbour success story with now over 100 pairs breeding on the Brownsea lagoon giving great views from the hides. Spring migrants arrive back from mid-March and nesting begins in late April. Seen sporadically around the harbour during the nesting period with birds keeping nearer the harbour mouth as they go out and feed. In recent years birds have been over-wintering with a count of eleven in the Wareham Channel December 2011. In winter 2018 they were found to be roosting in Poole Park on the reedy islands.

Savi's Warbler
Latin Name
Locustella luscinioides
Status

Past breeder but now very rare vagrant.

Site and Records Information

Amazingly Savi’s Warbler was a regular breeder in Poole Harbour for a few years during the early eighties. Sadly those birds disappeared and no Savi’s Warbler have been seen or heard of since. The first account of breeding was of 3 singing males along the Holton shoreline in 1981 (D.Godfrey et al), then the following year 2 pairs were observed nesting in the same location but breeding success was unknown.

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Scaup - Off Baiter, Peter Moore
Scaup
Latin Name
Aythya marila
Status

Scarce winter visitor, occasional passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Little Sea, Studland used to be the best place to see these with a winter maximum of 233 in 1970. Now only found in single figures with Swineham GP, and out on the water in areas like off Shipstal and off Goathorn being good places to look. Could potentially turn up anywhere in extreme cold weather such as Poole Park, Holes Bay and Hatch Pond hosting birds in the past

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Sedge Warbler - Ballard Down
Sedge Warbler
Latin Name
Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Status

Summer visitor and passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Historic records of ringing at Keysworth and Lytchett Bay have revealed the true extent of Sedge Warbler passage through the harbour in autumn, with a possible 1000 - 3000 passing through each year. In 7 autumns from 1991-1997 a total of 15,413 birds were trapped with a high count of 4,327 in the autumn of 1994. Best day total was a staggering 500 birds on 6th Aug 1995. See totals below....
1991 - 3444
1992 - 1903
1993 - 2659
1994 – 4327
1995 –1808
1996 – 679
1997 – 593
Ringing activity is much lower now but over 500 were still ringed at Lytchett Bay in 2011. Breeding has declined with no recent records from Little Sea/Studland, Brownsea, RiverFrome/Piddle.

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Semipalmated Sandpiper - Brownsea Lagoon
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Latin Name
Calidris pusilla
Status

Extreme Vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

 

A very rare bird in Dorset and only 1 Poole Harbour record. Like many rare sandpipers the Brownsea Lagoon was an obvious place for this harbour 1st to occur.

1 on the Brownsea Lagoon 2nd -3rd September 2013 (Birds of Poole Habour et al)

Serin
Latin Name
Serinus serinus
Status

A Rare visitor to the Harbour that remains very hard to “pin down”. There has not been a twitchable bird in the last 30 years.

Site and Records Information

A scarce but annual visitor to Dorset. But a rare visitor to the Harbour that remains very hard to “pin down”. There has not been a twitchable bird in the last 30 years. Suggestions in the late 60's that Serin might colonise southern Britain were fuelled by several breeding records. These included probable breeding in Parkstone 1969 (BTO Atlas 1968-1972). Whilst records in Dorset continued to increase, including in 1985, when near Wareham a pair were present during the breeding season and mating was observed on at least one occasion (Birds of Dorset), records in recent years have declined and the colonisation now looks unlikely.

The 1969 record above was the first for the Harbour. All known records since then are listed below.
1 over on 5th April 1977 at Brownsea Villa
Pair in 1985 at Wareham (see above)
Singing male 19th Feb 1988 at Wareham
1 in early May 1992 at Sandford (A Marsh)
1 in June 2000 at Norden (DBR 2000)
1 on 4th April 2004 on Brownsea Island
A male on 1st June 2004 on Brownsea Island
A singing male on 2nd June 2004 at Studland (perhaps the same as above?)
1 on 1st Nov 2004 over South Haven
A singing male (unseen) on 7th June 2009 at Hamworthy Park
A singing male (unseen) on 18th April 2010 at Brownsea Island
A singing male on 4th April 2015 at Corfe Castle

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Shag - Studland Bay, Peter Moore
Shag
Latin Name
Phalacrocorax aristotelis
Status

Resident local breeder

Site and Records Information

Favoured feeding areas inside the harbour include the deep-water channel between Brownsea Island and Sandbanks and adjoining water, the northern part of Brands Bay, the deep water channel off Poole Quay and Hamworthy and the Brownsea northern shore. The harbour mouth is another favoured feeding spot with birds quite often sitting on the marker buoys just outside the harbour mouth. Breeding occurs on the cliffs of Old Harry but only small numbers.

Shore Lark
Latin Name
Eremophila alpestris
Status

A winter visitor to north-east Britain but very rare on the south coast. The Poole Harbour records coincided with a series of records over consecutive winters at other Dorset sites. There have only been 3 Dorset records this century.

Site and Records Information

The first Poole Harbour record was at Whitley Bay on 2nd December 1940.
The only other records relate to series of sightings in 1973 and 1974.
One seen at Studland beach area was first spotted on 18th February 1973 (Dr D Godfrey). It was still present on 18th March (Dr D Godfrey, P Hawkins, JR Cox).
The following winter two were seen at Brownsea Lagoon (A Wise) on 15th December 1973. Mr and Mrs Moore saw one at Studland on 15th December and it was seen again on 29th December (BJ Frampton). On 2nd January 1974 it was found feeding with four Snow Buntings (P R Knight) and was watched by at least 10 observers until 23rd February when it was seen in company with five Reed Buntings, to which it was aggressive and drove them off with open bill.
A more recent addition to the list would be most welcome!

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Short-eared Owl - Swineham, Peter Moore
Short-eared Owl
Latin Name
Asio flammeus
Status

Uncommon winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Although autumn and winter are the traditional months for recording Short eared Owls there are many records from March and April which would indicate a certain amount of spring passage through the harbour. Middlebere, Swineham, Bestwall, Slepe Heath and Hartland Moor have all held birds in the last few winters. Studland Heath, Godlingston are also traditional hot spots. Numbers vary each year with some winters seeing none and others up to four or five. In winter 2016 a roost of 3 birds was found on Slepe Heath.

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Short-toed Eagle - Arne RSPB reserve - James Hunt
Short-toed Eagle
Latin Name
Circaetus gallicus
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

An incredible encounter of 1 over Coombe Heath, Arne RSPB reserve on May 31st 2014 (J Hunt), ten minutes after it had originally been discovered at Morden Bog, Wareham Forest. This is only the 3rd ever for Britain and a very welcome addition to the Poole Harbour list.

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Shoveler - Swineham, Peter Moore
Shoveler
Latin Name
Anas clypeata
Status

Winter visitor, has bred

Site and Records Information

Poole Harbour was a nationally important wintering area for this species. Little Sea used to be 'the' hotspot with up to 300 birds present most winters, however the Brownsea Lagoon, Holes Bay, Upton CP and Hatch Pond are more reliable sites with Little Sea seeing none now! When the Frome Valley floods, large water pools can attract good numbers of Shoveler, especially if its a cold winter.

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Siberian Chiffchaff - PC World drainage ditch, Marcus lawson
Siberian Chiffchaff
Latin Name
Phylloscopus collybita tristis
Status

Scarce, but seemingly increasing, winter visitor

Site and Records Information

As Common Chiffchaff have increased as a winter visitor to Dorset so has the occurrence of Siberian Chiffchaff. The first was found at Studland on 22nd Nov 1998 and remained there for the winter (S Robson et al). Gradually during the last 20 years this race has now been found to be a scarce but regular winter visitor. Identification of some has been proven by analysis of sound recordings and DNA analysis. Birds can occur anywhere but locations that are close to water and are sheltered seem to be favoured.

The PC World drainage channel at Holes Bay, Lytchett Bay, Norden sewage works and Swineham are the favoured locations. 3 have been seen together on several occasions. Listen out for the flatter piping note as opposed to the Common Chiffchaff ascending note.

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Siskin - Canford Heath, Aidan Brown
Siskin
Latin Name
Carduelis spinus
Status

Increasing breeding resident, passage migrant and winter visitor.

Site and Records Information

No longer do you have to put out red netted bags of peanuts to get siskin in your garden. Breeds across the harbor in moderate numbers with areas of pine woodland being even more popular. The ever increasing breeding status of Siskin has made it easy to see them in summer as well as winter with adults bringing their young to niger seed feeders around the harbour. Large numbers of up to 500+ can be counted on passage during the autumn from South Haven passing the harbour mouth in the early morning.

Skylark
Latin Name
Alauda arvensis
Status

Breeding resident and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Breeds at Godlingston, Arne Moors, Wareham Water meadows, Hartland Moor and some of the other heathland sites. Can be encountered in large numbers during cold weather with records of over 200 birds passing over Brownsea, Arne, Studland and a whopping 10,000 seen flying west over Poole Bay on December 31st 1961. Passage birds occur fairly frequently from suitable vantage spots like South Haven, Ballard and Glebeland's in October and November.

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Slavonian Grebe - Swineham GP, Aidan Brown
Slavonian Grebe
Latin Name
Podiceps auritus
Status

Annual winter visitor, recently declined from 1980’s peak

Site and Records Information

Poole Harbour hosted nationally important numbers of this species until the late 90’s. The maximum count is 42 on 15th Feb 1981 in Studland Bay. Whilst the number of birds wintering in the UK is broadly stable in the range 100-125, the number visiting the harbour have reduced significantly in recent years. Currently it is quite a hard bird to find.
Maximum winter counts: *exceptional number significantly above decade average.
1950’s – 1 to 23*
1960’s – 1 to 16
1970’s – 9 to 30*
1980’s – 16 to 42*
1990’s – 9 to 20
2000’s – 3 to 8
2010’s – 2 to 12*

Away from the favoured areas around Studland there have been frequent records from Swineham GP’s and occasional records from other parts of the open harbour.
The earliest record is 16th Aug 1998 at Brands Bay and the latest come from late April when birds have frequently been seen in full breeding plumage.

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Smew - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam
Smew
Latin Name
Mergellus albellus
Status

Scarce winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Massive decline in wintering numbers with the Wareham Channel often hosting 60-80 birds in the 1950's. However regular wintering stopped after 1962/3 and numbers declined rapidly. Now it seems only extreme cold weather brings birds to the harbour with Swineham GP, Holes Bay and the Wareham Channel being good places to look. Also possible at Poole Park. The best time to find to try and find Smew is between December and March and the earliest date for the harbour is the 7th November 1976 and the latest on 16th March 1958. A redhead Smew has been present for the last three winter periods with one in Lytchett Bay and on Lytchett Fields during 2013/14, one in Holes Bay during 2014/15 and another in Holes Bay during Dec 2015. These could possibly all relate to the same bird. Records from the open parts of the harbour are possible too with an adult male off Baiter on the evening of Dec 31st 2008.

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Snipe - Middlebere, Aidan Brown
Snipe
Latin Name
Gallinago gallinago
Status

Scarce breeding resident, regular winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Any of the wet heathland and water meadows bordering the harbour hold Snipe in the winter. Large flocks of up to 200-300 used to be frequent but now most sites hold around 10-30 birds with numbers rising in extreme cold weather. Sunnyside Farm, Wareham Water Meadows, Lytchett Fields, Middlebere and the Frome Valley all hold good numbers in the winter. Migrants begin to appear back in mid August with peaks occurring in December and January. Breeding may still occur on Hartland Moor with drumming last heard in spring 2015.

Snow Bunting
Latin Name
Plectrophenax nivalis
Status

Sporadic/Rare winter visitor

Site and Records Information

By far the best chance of seeing Snow Bunting is in and around the dune systems of Studland during cold winters. Birds have been recorded elsewhere in the harbour at Arne, Lytchett Bay, Poole Quay, Parkstone and Brownsea.

Studland Records.....
3 from 17th Dec-3rd Feb 1961-62
4 from 28th Dec-16th March 1968/9
3 31st Dec -14th March 1970/71
4 from 25th Nov-14th March 1973/74
2 -3 on 10th Nov –14th Dec 1975/6
4 from 8th Nov - 19th Feb 1991/92
1 from 19th to 20th November 2001
1 on 23rd October 2005
1 on 5th November 2005
1 on 5th November 2008
1 on 24th October 2009
1 between 1st - 3rd March 2010
1 on October 1st 2015 over South Haven, Studland
1 between 1st February - 12th March 2017 at Shell Bay, Studland

Other Sites
2 on 17th October 1971 on the Brownsea sea wall
1 on 11th April 1976 at Swineham
1 on the 23rd December 1993 at Lytchett Bay
1 on 26th October 1996 over Ballard Down
1 on 24th November 2000 at Middlebere associating with Chaffinch
1 on 22nd November 2001 at Arne
1 on 6th January 2003 at the Rockley viewpoint car park
1 from late Dec 2009 until 25th March 2010 at Poole Docks
1 on 5th November 2012 at Swineham
1 on 21st November 2015 at Arne
1 on 22nd October 2016 on Poole Docks

Sociable Lapwing
Latin Name
Vanellus gregarius
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

1 on 18th October 1995 in Brands Bay. A stunning record considering this is a critically endangered species. The bird was originally found at Warmwell with a flock of Lapwing and was witnessed by most Dorset birders. However it was only observed by two people in Poole Harbour, gripping off many die hard Poole Harbour listers.

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Song Thrush - Upton Country Park
Song Thrush
Latin Name
Turdus philomelos
Status

Resident, passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Fairly common in most habitats around the harbour with large cold weather movements sometimes occurring, noticeably 6205 birds dropping in to South Haven on the 16th October 2005. Song Thrush are a regular and common night migrant over the harbour during October and November when their 'tic' call can be heard in amongst the Redwing and Fieldfare.

Sooty Shearwater
Latin Name
Puffinus griseus
Status

Vagrant to the harbour, scarce passage migrant at Portland Bill. A strong south south easterly and influx of birds in to the Channel seem to offer the best chance.

Site and Records Information

A historical record of one caught alive in Poole harbour 8th June 1877 was the first record and there were no further sightings for 133 years.
2 on 28th Oct 2000 from Branksome Chine (J Lidster). These were part of what was, at the time, a record year for Dorset.
1 on 7th Oct 2008 from Branksome Chine (I Prophet)

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Sparrowhawk - Upton
Sparrowhawk
Latin Name
Accipiter nisus
Status

Common breeding resident

Site and Records Information

A steady perhaps increasing breeding resident, they can be encountered in most places around the harbour. Potentially 20 -35 pairs regularly hunt and display throughout the whole harbour area, which compared to 1962 when only 6 pairs could be suspected of breeding in Dorset! Sparrowhawk are frequently viewed at point blank range taking small birds off the feeders at Arne. Lytchett Bay, Middlebere, Holton Lee, Upton Heath and the urban areas of Poole are all regular sites.

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Spoonbill - Brownsea Lagoon
Spoonbill
Latin Name
Platalea leucorodia
Status

Regular winter visitor and passage migrant. Has over summered

Site and Records Information

Without a doubt the best places to see Spoonbill is on the Brownsea Lagoon, Shipstal Point, Arne and in the Middlebere Channel depending on the tide. A harbour maximum of 28 in October 2011 was an incredible sight with 15 over wintering. However, in the last 5 years numbers have increased greatly with autumn migrants arriving from the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Germany. In October 2014 a record 49 Spoonbill were roosting on the Brownsea Lagoon with roughly 30 over-wintering, then in October 2015 another record of 60 Spoonbill arrived, again choosing to roost on the Brownsea Lagoon on the high tide. Then in 2017, 75 were counted!! The sand spit from Shipstal hide is always a good spot along with the warmer waters of Holes Bay in severe cold weather.

When are they going to breed?

Spotted Crake
Latin Name
Porzana porzana
Status

Very rare passage migrant which become rarer in Britain during the last 25 years.

Site and Records Information

A nest was found near Wareham in 1868, this the only record of breeding in the harbour.
1 on 3rd Jan 1954 at South Haven, Studland (H Brotherton). The notes read…“at close range and in good light” when her dog flushed it from a ditch alongside the ferry road at South Haven, “it disappeared into gorse at the waters edge and could not be flushed again”
1 on 12th February 1961 at Round Island (H Brotherton)
1 – 2 intermittently between on 25th September 1969 and 5th January 1970 on Brownsea
1 on 26th May 1971 at Little Sea, Studland ( P Hawkins)
2 on March 5th 1972 on Brownsea
1 singing on 3rd July 1973 at Arne Moors (SPW Corbett)
1 on 27th August 1974 on Brownsea
1 on 27th October 1979 on Brownsea
1 on 22nd October 1983 at Lytchett Bay (G Dutson)
1 on 10th September 1988 on Brownsea
1 trapped on 18th Aug 1991 at Keysworth . Another present 22nd August – 14th September, trapped on first date (per SRG)
1 on 19th April 1992 at Lytchett Bay (G Armstrong)
1 singing on 31st July 1994 at Keysworth (S Robson et al)
1 on 28th August – 6th September 1994 at Keysworth, trapped on both dates (per SRG)
1 on 27th August 1996 at Keysworth, trapped (DS Dicker, R Gifford)
1 singing 11th – 14th May 2006 at Arne Moors (Ma Constantine, N Hopper, M Robb et al) sound recorded.
1 singing 25th – 27th May 2009 at Brownsea (N Hopper, C Thain)
1 singing and sound recorded on 5th - 6th May 2014 in the area of Bestwall (P Morton and N Hopper)
1 from 20th July to 1st August 2014 at Lytchett Bay (I Ballam et al)
1 on 19th September 2016 at Lytchett Bay (I Ballam, S Robson)

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Arne RSPB Reserve
Spotted Flycatcher
Latin Name
Muscicapa striata
Status

Uncommon summer breeding resident and passage migrant

Site and Records Information

A late(ish) spring migrant with birds being recorded from late April as they breed sporadically around the harbour with 5-10 pairs in total. Most recently at Arne, Ridge, Slepe and Middlebere. More evident in autumn, from mid-August with Ballard, Sunnyside Farm, Slepe, Middlebere, Lytchett Fields, and the Greenland's area being notable hot spots. During August and September can found in small groups of 2-10 birds.

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Spotted Redshank - Holes bay
Spotted Redshank
Latin Name
Tringa erythropus
Status

Passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

The north-east corner of Holes Bay has become an almost traditional wintering site now with at least two each winter, also the Brownsea Island lagoon from October through to March can hold between 5-15 birds. Birds on passage can turn up anywhere with Middlebere, Brands Bay and Arne Bay holding stunning summer plumaged individuals. Lytchett Bay used to be another Spotted Redshank mega spot but numbers from this site have dwindled down to almost none.

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Squacco Heron, Little Sea, Gwenda Yeomans
Squacco Heron
Latin Name
Ardeola ralloides
Status

Extreme vagrant to the Harbour

Site and Records Information

1 present for a very short time on 21st Septemeber 2011 at Little Sea, Studland. Only one observor saw the bird and thankfully it was photographed. A real gripper of a bird and surely another is due soon?

1 present for a very short time on 21st Septemeber 2011 at Little Sea, Studland

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Starlings - Lytchett Bay
Starling
Latin Name
Sturnus vulgaris
Status

Breeding resident, passage migrant and winter visitor

Site and Records Information

Breeds right across the harbour, but by far the most recent spectacular occurrence was during the hard winter when up to 80,000 birds could be seen wheeling above the Holes Bay/Sterte area of Poole. This flock consisted of post breeding local birds, mainly juveniles and then as the autumn/winter progresses these birds are joined by larger flocks off the continent. However winter flock sizes do seem to vary greatly each year with another murmuration forming at South Haven, Studland during the winter of 2016/17 where a flock of c15,000 Starling attracted a crowd nearly 1000 people by the end of the winter.

Stilt Sandpiper
Latin Name
Calidris himantopus
Status

Rare vagrant from the Nearctic, 35 British records up to the end of 2016.

Site and Records Information

A rare vagrant from the Nearctic, which has seen only 35 British records up to the end of 2016. There have only been 2 Poole Harbour records, however one spent almost two and a half months in the harbour having origiannly being found at Lytchett Fields before spending some time at Middlebere before finally ending up on Brownsea until it left on Dec 6th 2017 only to then be found at Christchurch harbour.  

Ad on  12th – 21st Aug 2006 at Brownsea Lagoon (G Armstrong et al). The first Dorset record.

Juv on 21st Sept 2017 at Lytchett Fields (I Ballam, S Robson et al). This bird was discovered during an incredible run of rare waders across Dorset. Seen subsequently on 2nd and 7th Oct at same site.

Juv on 24th Sep 2017 – 2nd Nov 2017 at Middlebere Same as above

Juv on 24th Nov – 6th Dec 2017 (at least) at Brownsea (MJ Lawson et al). Same as above.

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Stock Dove - Middlebere, Aidan Brown
Stock Dove
Latin Name
Columba oenas
Status

Regular breeding resident

Site and Records Information

Although quite shy, they are fairly regular around most of the harbour where they breed in open, rural areas. A large flock of around 40-50 birds historically spent the winter in and around the Arne/Middlebere area, but has not been for around ten years. The pools field at Lytchett Bay recently has up to 8 birds in late summer, with Upton Country Park, Studland and Hatch Pond having regular reports. Swineham GP and Holton Lee have also become very good for this species in recent years and in early November large numbers migrate across the harbour, often in tow of even larger numbers of Woodpigeon.

Stone Curlew
Latin Name
Burhinus oedicnemus
Status

Vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

A very difficult bird to catch up with in the harbour with most records consisting mainly of historic sightings, but there are some nice recent records too. With a good population breeding just north of Dorset in Wiltshire it’s amazing this species isn't encountered more.
1 shot 10th Dec 1873 at Sandbanks
1 on 31st October 1948 on Newton Heath
1 on 3rd August 1958 over Ower and then landed on the heath
1 on 12th May 1985 over Brands Bog and towards Greenland's Farm
2 on on 29th of October 1997 at Greenlands Farm flying in with Curlew
1 on 3rd May 1998 heard calling on the Arne approach road
1 on the 26th April 2004 on Broadstone Golf Course

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Stonechat - Arne RSPB Reserve
Stonechat
Latin Name
Saxicola torquata
Status

Breeding resident and passage migarnt.

Site and Records Information

More than 50% of the counties breeding birds used to be based in the harbour. Breeding sites include Studland Heath, Stoborough Heath , Arne, Upton Heath, Canford Heath, Hartland Moor, Holton Lee, Grange Heath and Godlingston. Passage birds occur from September onwards as birds move from various heathland sites further afield. In October small groups of between 2-10 Stonechat can be found together in rough scrub habitats with Hartland Moor, Slepe Heath, Arne the Frome Valley seeing recent feeding groups.

Storm Petrel
Latin Name
Hydrobates pelagicus
Status

Scarce summer/autumn passage migrant

Site and Records Information

South-easterly storms during May and July are best for driving Storm Petrels into Poole Bay, and occasionally into the harbour itself. Mostly recorded from Branksome Chine, out in Poole Bay where birds can be watched lingering offshore, in high seas viewing is best achieved from Branksome Dene Chine which has a higher elevation. High counts from Branksome include 7 west on 23rd May 1996, 10 on 12th July 1998.

Subalpine Warbler
Latin Name
Sylvia cantillans
Status

Extreme vagrant to the Harbour

Site and Records Information

 

Mostly reported during the spring, Subalpine Warbler are almost annual nowadays up on Portland Bill. However, they’re an exceptionally rare vagrant in Poole Harbour with only 1 incredible record of one in the PC World drain, behind Wessex Gate retail Park in the centre of Poole in April 2013.

1 on 19th April 2013 at the PC World outflow drain, eastern end.

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Surf Scoter - Brands Bay 07/11/13
Surf Scoter
Latin Name
Melanitta perspicillata
Status

Extreme Vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

 

An extreme vagrant to the harbour with only 2 records, this rare open sea duck could appear in any winter, especially after a stormy period with more now being disovered at sites further north in the UK.  

2 present in Studland Bay Dec 2008 (N.Hopper)

1 female/1st year - Brands Bay on 07/11/13 then over-wintered into 2014 (P.Morton et al)

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Swallow at nest site - Arne RSPB Reserve
Swallow
Latin Name
Hirundo rustica
Status

Common summer breeding resident and passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Breeds all around the harbour with Arne, Upton Country Park, Studland, Lytchett Bay, Ridge and Slepe being regular sites. On passage large roosts of up to 10,000 have been recorded roosting in Poole Harbour reedbeds, but 500-1000 is more usual. Autumn passage runs all the way through September and October and sometimes into November. A Swallow seen from a public bird boat feeding over the Brownsea Quay on December 15th 2015 was pretty amazing. Upon arrival in spring, Swineham GP and the Poole Park Boating lake seem to see the first arriving Swallows as they feed up on flies before moving on.

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Common Swift - Poole Park
Swift
Latin Name
Apus apus
Status

Declining breeding summer visitor, common passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Once common in large numbers above Old Town Poole and Wareham, now seen in much smaller numbers. Large groups of up to c200 birds can still be seen feeding above Swineham GP and Wareham Water Meadows on passage. Recently in June 2012, 750+ Swift were recorded feeding over Poole Park lakes. Their screaming calls over Old Town Poole in mid-summer are always a welcome sound.

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Tawny Owl - Upton CP, Peter Moore
Tawny Owl
Latin Name
Strix aluco
Status

Breeding resident

Site and Records Information

Found throughout the harbour, recent breeding sites include Lytchett Bay, Arne, Upton CP, Upton Heath, Lytchett Minster, Stoborough, Studland and Brownsea, but this only paints a tiny picture of their true numbers around the harbour. Most calling activity begins in September and builds through the autumn and early winter. Young can frequently be heard calling from various woodlands through June and July.

Tawny Pipit
Latin Name
Anthus campestris
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

Nationally Tawny Pipit has become a much scarcer bird in the UK compared to 10 years ago. Records across Dorset are now very rare and Poole Harbour has only two records. They’re more likely to occur during August and September but there are some Dorset spring records. Learning their flight call will help identify Tawny Pipit as this is often how it gives its presence away.

1 on 6th August 2000 at Ower
1 on 14th September 2017 flew along the Brownsea quay and then the sea wall, heading towards Baiter. Calling and flying low heading north (M&M Constantine)

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Teal - Holes Bay, Aidan Brown
Teal
Latin Name
Anas crecca
Status

Common winter visitor and scarce breeder

Site and Records Information

Holes Bay, Arne Bay, Lytchett Fields, Upton CP, Brands Bay and Middlebere all hold large numbers in winter. Common throughout the whole Harbour in winter with January and February seeing peak counts at some sites of over 2300 birds. Breeding of this species in the harbour is very secretive and not very easy to witness, although small numbers do hang on to have young.

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Temmincks Stint - Lytchett Bay - Paul Morton
Temminck's Stint
Latin Name
Calidris temminckii
Status

Extreme vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

 

Should be more regular than it is with only 3 Poole Harbour records. Temminck's Stint are an annual spring migrant in the east of the country, with c15 records per year, so all we need is an easterly air flow during May and we could see more arrive at sites like Lytchett Fields, Holton Pools, Sunnyside Pools and the Brownsea Lagoon. 

1on 14th September 1995 on the Brownsea Lagoon

2 on15th May 2004 on Swineham GP

1 on 17th May 2014 at Lytchet Bay                                             

Terek Sandpiper
Latin Name
Xenus cinereus
Status

Exteme vagrant to the harbour

Site and Records Information

A much sought after bird in Dorset and Poole Harbour with only one record from 1974. This 'funky' looking wader would make any birders spring.

1 from 6th May to 9th May 1974 on Brownsea Island

Tree Pipit
Latin Name
Anthus trivialis
Status

Scarce breeding summer visitor and passage migrant

Site and Records Information

Once a wide spread breeding bird, it is now very much localised to only a few sites. Arne, Stoborough, Slepe Heath, Grange and Holton Lee have all had recent breeding records. Regularly seen as an autumn passage bird as it lets out a thin high pitched 'szeeet' as they fly high overhead early in the morning. Being a night migrant, during peak passage in late August several hundred can fly over Poole Harbour in a single night.

Tree Sparrow
Latin Name
Passer montanus
Status

Rare passage migrant and inter visitor

Site and Records Information

Probably best to try a good 'vis mig' site such as South Haven, Ballard or Glebelands. Birds have occasionally settled at sites like Studland, East Stoke and Swineham. There was a county wide influx in the early 1960's comprising of over 100 birds within the boundaries. Sadly it's now an extinct breeding bird but efforts to try and restore the breeding populations will hopefully see it return within our Poole Harbour boundary.

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