Poole Harbour is made up of many different habitats, which in turn provides a stunning variety of bird life throughout the entire year.

This is an interactive guide to help you learn when and where the best places are to watch birds. Poole Harbour is made up of many different habitats, which in turn provides a stunning variety of bird life throughout the entire year.

View Poole Harbour Boundary

View locations on map...

Filter our reserves:

All B C G H L M N P S U W

Lytchett Bay Nature Reserve

This small accessible heath forms part of Lytchett Bay Nature Reserve and is owned by the Dorset Wildlife Trust and jointly managed with Amphibian & Reptile Conservation. The area is special in that it provides a smooth gradation from dry heath to wet heath to reedbed and then saltmarsh.

Consequently, this small area hosts a very wide diversity of special species. Dartford Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler and Bearded Tit can all be found here. A dusk visit in summer provides a very good opportunity to hear and see Nightjar as the male delivers his “churring” song.

Its position on one of the most northern shores of Poole Harbour makes it a good area for migrants both grounded and overhead. Wryneck, Yellow-browed Warbler, Woodlark and Lapland Bunting are all on the site’s list. The small ditch that borders the southern edge often hosts Kingfisher and in spring the loud burst of Cetti’s Warbler song is often heard.

Despite the small size of Lytchett Bay Heath, on August mornings good numbers of passage migrants can pass through the area. The site is also very good for reptiles and Sand Lizards can often be seen. Access to this site is from Sandy Lane and the entrance gate is clearly marked “Lytchett Bay Nature Reserve” with an interpretive board and map just beyond the gate.

Birding Info

Lytchett Heath is only a small section of heath but is well worth a walk around certainly between April and September. It was recently discovered that in August and September good numbers of common migrants pass through the site and an early morning visit could provide a variety of warblers and chats.

A Guide to Birding in Lytchett Bay

Facilities

Cycling your way round all the Lytchett Bay sites is a great way to explore the area. Lytchett Bay viewing mound, Lytchett Heath and Lytchett Fields are all within easy cycling distance from one another. There are no toilet or eating facilities at any of the Lytchett Bay sites. Lytchett Heath forms part of the Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Great Heath Living Landscapes initiative and is jointly managed by the Dorset Wildlife Trust and Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. Please keep to the small but well-established network of footpaths around the site.

Parking

There is limited parking along Sandy Lane BH16 5LU. The main access to the site is situated along Sandy Lane just 50m west beyond Otter Close. The site is accessed via a residential area so please park sensibly and don’t block local residents driveways.

Spring

Cetti's Warbler, Blackcap, Dartford Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Reed Bunting

Summer

Nightjar, Stonechat, Reed Warbler, Dartford Warbler and Bearded Tit

Autumn

Kingfisher, Redstart, Cetti's Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest and Bearded Tit

Winter

Water Rail, Kingfisher, Cetti's Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Goldcrest, Firecrest and Bearded Tit

Lytchett Bay View

Lytchett Bay View is managed by the local parish council and the Borough of Poole and is much more than its name suggests. Yes, there is a fabulous view of Lytchett Bay, but it is also the gateway to the Turlin Moor shoreline and at its heart a green space that includes a good diversity of trees and shrubs together with a lush summer meadow.

It is also Lytchett Bay’s premier visible-migration site. The view of the Bay has recently been enhanced by the provision of a perfectly placed raised viewing platform. This can be good at any time of day and on any tide, but a telescope is essential to see the more distant birds.

Whilst autumn, winter and spring provide the biggest diversity, a summer surprise such as a feeding Osprey is not unusual. In the reeds and scrub that surround the viewpoint the soundscape is always diverse. Water Rail, Cetti’s Warbler, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler and Bearded Tit can all be heard or seen in season.

Whilst the viewpoint is a popular place to enjoy the sunset make sure you scan through 360 degrees. Birds commute between Lytchett Bay and Holes Bay, especially Black-tailed Godwit and Little Egret. The movement of these flocks provides a great spectacle.

When a north wind blows in autumn hundreds of thrushes pass over the site and on those crystal cold mornings the sky can shimmer with large flocks of migrating Woodpigeon. Interest in the wider site often pays dividends with warblers, crests and the occasional surprise such as Pied Flycatcher, Brambling, Yellow-browed Warbler or Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. The wildflower meadow attracts a wide range of butterflies and dragonflies in season as well as lots of botanical interest.

Birding Info

The Lytchett Bay viewing mound is wheelchair accessible and only a 80m from Border Drive. Its best to view during a low or rising tide and mornings offer better light with the sun rising behind you to the east.

A Guide to Birding in Lytchett Bay

Facilities

Cycling your way round all the Lytchett Bay sites is a great way to explore the area. Lytchett Bay viewing mound, Lytchett Heath and Lytchett Fields are all within easy cycling distance from one another. There are no toilet or eating facilities at any of the Lytchett Bay sites. The Lytchett Bay viewing mound was formed in partnership between Lytchett Minster and Upton Town Council, Birds of Poole Harbour and the Borough of Poole.

Parking

There is a limited amount of parking along Border Drive at BH16 5SB. Once parked take the short footpath south towards Chads Copse and the new Lytchett Bay viewing mound is on your right hand side.

Spring

Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Greenshank, Redshank, Redstart, Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler

Summer

Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaff

Autumn

Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Pintail, Shoveler, Spoonbill, Woodpigeon and Song Thrush

Winter

Brent Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Merlin, Water Rail, Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and Bearded Tit

Call 01202 641 003