Latest Sightings

Harbour Update - posted 20/02/19

As you may have seen last week, we’ve been deploying a camera trap/trail cam at a site along the River Frome, just outside Wareham out of pure interest to see what ‘tales from the riverbank’ we can capture on film. This last week we left it deployed without checking the memory card as to give us the best chance of capturing as many species as possible on film. We struck lucky again with the Otter family terrorising our camera and giving it a good sniff, as well as the ‘dog’ Otter strutting on past again, spraying as he went. We also caught footage of a Wood Mouse, Brown Rat, Grey Wagtail, Moorhen, Mute Swan and then a largeish, bulky, very furry creature which didn’t show its face, but the profile gave it away. After a few discussions we were happy we’d caught footage of a Mink, an aggressive species which can cause numerous issues along our river banks, especially for Water Voles. However, after some discussions on it sounds as if Otter normally ‘trump’ Mink in the aggression and territorial disputes, so maybe this lone mink is just a passer through the area due to the more regular presence of the Otters we’ve been filming.

Mink - River Frome, outside Wareham - 19/02/19

Bird wise, the Sand Martin was still feeding over the River Piddle at dawn and a Green Sandpiper in Holes Bay NE near the Upton CP boundary outflow was a rare sight, and the 2 over-wintering Coot in Holes Bay NE were still near the bridge. Mediterranean Gulls continue to arrive into the harbour, some of which were night-sound recorded entering the harbour coming down the Piddle Valley. At Swineham, better views of the White-fronted Goose were obtained suggesting that it is the same bird from earlier in the winter, but having now obtained more of its ‘white front’. A Ruff was off Swineham Point, the gravel pits held 9 Pochard and 48 Coot but there seemed to have been a clear out of Shoveler. There were still 6 Cattle Egret in fields along Nutcrack Lane at midday.

Harbour Update - posted 19/02/19

It was due to get a lot warmer this week, but although we’re seeing signs of spring in terms of new birds arriving (and departing) and numerous birds beginning to sing etc, there’s still a blimmin chilly wind taking over. This is due to settle down by the end of the week and then some south-easterlies are due to kick in, when we could begin to see even more signs of spring. Perhaps the first Wheatears, Garganey or Little ringed Plover? After all, March 1st is only 8 days away. This is a stark contrast to this time last year when the beast from the east had already hit us hard once, and was then prepping for another dumping of snow in early March. We can do without that this year please….the birds really didn’t like it! A vigil from the north Wareham Walls mid-morning to look for displaying raptors produced the Sparrowhawk pair again several Common Buzzard, along with a thermalling Marsh Harrier above the Piddle Valley. A Sand Martin was also actively feeding over the River Piddle too with a Grey Wagtail singing  near the bridge. At Swineham, there was another Sand Martin and Marsh Harrier there too and the White-fronted Goose was seen on the gravel pits.

Harbour Update - posted 18/02/19

That spring feeling continued when 2 Sand Martin flew in over Swineham at dusk, possibly having just arrived in to the harbour. The male Black Redstart was still behind the Thistle Hotel and a Great Northern Diver was off Baiter. We’ve also been carrying out some night monitoring work in the Piddle Valley and have been recording numerous Common Snipe, Coot, Little Grebe and Teal moving up (and out)? of the harbour.

 Little Grebe - Night migrating trill call - Piddle Valley 16/02/19 @ 23:07

Harbour Update - posted 17/02/19

What a mix of a day. It began bright, still and calm but then a building SSW wind built and by the end of the day it was a tad chilly. However, there were some remarkable sightings, including the springs first Swallow! This is in line with a small arrival of both Swallow and House Martin in to the UK at the end of last week due to the high pressure and southerly airflow that’s currently coming up from southern Europe and North Africa. We wouldn’t normally expect to see the fist until at least the third week of March but hey….we’re not complaining! Hopefully this has now opened the floodgates and we’ll be littered with summer migrants by March 1st! The Glossy Ibis that was seen briefly at dusk on Friday was again seen, this time at dawn (07:10) flying from the Swineham direction over towards Arne Moors. Despite numerous search’s from Slepe Heath it sadly couldn’t be relocated. A single Ruff was in the lower Frome Valley next to Bestwall and in the Piddle Valley a pair of Sparrowhawk displayed beautifully at around 7:30am. At Bestwall a White-fronted Goose was found feeding which looks to be a different bird than the juv present late last year and early into this year with todays individual showing a full ‘white-front’.  Ringtail Hen Harrier were logged at Swineham, Middlebere and Lytchett Fields. Spoonbill were logged feeding in Middlebere, off Shipstal, in the Wareham Channel and Lytchett Bay. The adult Black Redstart was still behind the Thistle Hotel and a Great White Egret was at Little Sea, Studland. Cattle Egret commuted between Holme Lane (6 in the morning) and Nutcrack Lane (5 in the afternoon). An adult Black Brant was logged during the Poole Harbour WeBS count off the Green Island shoreline, 2 Crossbill flew over Slepe Heath, 1 Yellowhammer flew over Soldiers Road (good record for here) and at Holton Lee a Lesser Redpoll was on the feeders. A semi-respectable count of 4 Marsh Harrier left the west harbour roost at dawn and at Swineham GP 4 Pochard, 24 Shoveler, 2 Bearded Tit and 3 Rock Pipit. At Poole Park, as well as a large lorry stuck in the mud, the Mandarin looked on in amusement as did the 2 newly arrived Black Swans and there were 122 Black-tailed Godwit, 79 Oystercatcher, 13 Redshank and 3 Little Egret. Med Gull numbers continue to build with several birds heard calling at sites around the harbour on the low tide. In Parkstone Bay 4 Goldeneye and 7 Great Crested Grebe were off the beach. 

White-fronted Goose - Bestwall - Trevor Warrick

Goldeneye - Parkstone Bay - Rene Goad


Harbour Update - posted 16/02/19

Today we hosted our first ever low-tide cruise, which saw us venture up the Wareham Channel towards the mouth of the Frome, before then making our way out across the rest of the harbour. Without wanting to blow our own trumpet, it’s safe to say it was a resounding success. One of the first birds seen was a ringtail Hen Harrier over gold Point, Arne before another (or possibly the same) gave us a great flying display over Arne Moors. We were then treated to several fly by’s of up to 4 Marsh Harrier and 10 Spoonbill which were originally in a distant channel came and settled really close to the boat feeding. Strangely a Common Scoter was settled in the west of the Wareham Channel, suggesting that some have begun their inland migration north already (peak is usually March). Along the mudflats Dunlin, Lapwing, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits and a few Grey Plover fed happily and in the shallows both Red-breasted Merganser and a few Great Crested Grebe were feeding. Out in South Deep a Great Northern Diver settled close to the boat and 2 Black-necked Grebe were off the west end of Brownsea. The Brownsea Lagoon hosted 3 Greenshank, c300 Avocet, c100 Bar-tailed Godwit and smaller numbers of the more regular species. The male Black Redstart was still in the courtyard behind the Thistle Hotel and at Lytchett Fields there were 2 Water Pipit, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine, 3 Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpiper and 1 Spotted Redshank. Along Holme Lane 5 Cattle Egret were in the cattle field at dawn but soon moved to the fields along Nutcrack Lane by mid-morning and 2 Egyptian Geese were in fields along the Wareham bypass.

Spoonbill - Wareahm Channel - Derek Morgan

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