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Harbour Update - posted 21/06/17

Yep, today was one of those days. If the blazing sun wasn’t enough to get us hot under the collar then the days birding surely would. What started fairly routine with our regular checking of the moth trap which in its self bursting with goodies flowed into a filming piece we carried out at Arne with BBC South Today to discuss the Osprey translocation piece (link available soon). This in its self was eventful enough as 2 Osprey came and circled over us whilst we were filming before heading out into the Wareham Channel. We also saw and heard Hobby, Dartford Warbler and 1 Woodlark, all whilst stood in one place! Heading back to Poole, we decided to check an area that’s usually good for reptiles and low and behold found a stunning Nightjar hunkered up on an exposed log, tucked up in some bracken. Personally, this is always my ultimate find each summer, and a goal I don’t very often achieve. This is only the 3rd Nightjar I’ve ever found that hasn’t then been spooked and actually stayed in one place upon the discovery. It quite happily sat there as I took a series of photos and video before I quietly retreated and left it to its sunbathing. Then….we got the call, Elegant Tern on Brownsea!!!!! A mad dash to the Brownsea Ferry and a run to the Mac hide saw several of us get to see this beauty, with its long, orange bill and ridiculously spikey crown. It flirted for a while with some of the local Sandwich Terns before moving off and leaving the harbour mouth possibly never to be seen again. However, a chance check on our Brownsea Lagoon webcam at around 19:30 saw him back again and which is where he then stayed until darkness fell and he roosted on the Brownsea Lagoon. The best bit was around 20:00 when we checked and around 150 people were logged on watching him on one camera and 5 Spoonbill on the other….talk about being spoilt! 

Nightjar - Arne Road

 

Elegant Tern - Brownsea Lagoon - Paul Morton

Elegant Tern - Brownsea Lagoon Webcam

Nightjar - Arne Road - Paul Morton

Spoonbill - Brownsea Lagoon - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 20/06/17

Today we announced some exciting news which stated that this summer we’ll be beginning a 5 year Osprey translocation project here in Poole Harbour. This will be a joint project between us, The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and local wildlife camera business Wildlife Windows. The project will involve translocating juvenile Ospreys from healthy sustainable populations up in Scotland and bringing them down to Poole this July in a bid to try and restore a population here on the south coast. Osprey were once wide-spread across the whole of Western Europe during the 1600 & 1700’s but were sadly wiped out during the 1800’s almost entirely due to human interference such as persecution, DDT poisoning, egg collecting and taxidermy. Although Osprey have since done well in northern Europe they are still extremely scarce in Western Europe with just a handful of tiny fragmented populations dotted through the region. The plan is to hopefully establish a colony here on the south coast which will then act as a stepping stone for UK and French  populations to start interacting with one another. There has only ever been one other Osprey translocation carried out in the UK before and that was at Rutland Water during the late 1990’s. The Rutland population is now (as of this year) a self sustained population of 8 pairs which is made up entirely of non-translocated birds which is great. We’re also thrilled to have Roy Dennis and Dr Tim Makrill as our partners in the project who are arguably two of the highest regarded Osprey experts in Europe and who were involved in setting up and running the Rutland Project from the start. The juvenile Ospreys will be arriving in mid-July and will be held in specially designed holding pens at a confidential spot in Poole Harbour for only two-three weeks before they are then released again out into the wild before they make their long migration back down to Africa. We then don’t  expect to start seeing them return again until spring/summer 2019 and it could be several more years after that before they start breeding. So, in terms of time-scale this is a long term project which we hope the whole community will get behind and with other wild Osprey beginning to summer in the area this year it looks as if Osprey will soon become a welcome, regular and familiar sight in Poole Harbour/Dorset for the foreseeable future. You can read our official press release about the story HERE. 

Maybe Osprey S1 has heard the good news which is why he’s sticking around but true to recent form, he was up on the Middlebere perching post this AM eating a fish with another (perhaps the recent female) seen feeding in the Wareham Channel before heading off to Wareham Forest. The 5 Spoonbill were still on the Brownsea Lagoon. In the Wareham Channel two non-breeding female Marsh Harriers were still kicking around and a Hobby was over the Arne Road. At Lytchett Fields a Green Sandpiper was on the pools again. 

Osprey S1 - Middlebere - Olly Slessor

Harbour Update - posted 19/06/17

Today was another blisteringly hot day which kept many birds low and hidden in the shade. A Red Kite drifted over Arne at around 1pm heading NW and an Osprey was sat on the perching post early morning feeding on a fish. There were also Hobby at Arne, out over the Middlebere Marsh and a Marsh Harrier was in the Wareham Channel.  On the Brownsea Lagoon the 5 Spoonbill were still present with 3 Avocet and a few more Redshank appearing too. On Lytchett Fields there was 1 Green Sandpiper, 17 Redshank and a single drake Teal.

Harbour Update - posted 18/06/17

Too hot for anything today really. The male Osprey was seen again on the perching post early morning and at Lytchett Fields. 2 Hobby were over the Arne Road and most interesting record of the day goes to (what’s likely to be a failed breeder) Nightingale in a suburban garden in Poole, providing short bursts of song mid-morning. Just outside the recording area a female Red-footed Falcon was found at Morden Bog. 

Harbour Update - posted 17/06/17

This evening we carried out the commentary on a Brownsea Island Ferries led boat tour to go and see the Puffins over at Dancing Ledge, and although this is well outside our Poole Harbour recording area it was great to meet so many new people and be able to discuss our work with them. Plus, with the boat leaving from and returning to Poole Quay, for more than 50% of the trip we were within our Poole Harbour recording area any, plus….we just wanted to see some Puffins! And why not? It was a stunning evening and we had some great birds too. As we passed the Brownsea Lagoon the 5 Spoonbill were an added mid-summer bonus as Sandwich and Common Terns hawked past the boat. Out in Poole Bay several Gannet showed well, one right over our boat and a single adult Kittiwake headed west. Up on Old Harry, we were able to locate the Peregrine nest which still had 2 not quite, but very nearly fledged chicks in it, with one of the adults standing guard not too far away. Then, as we approached Durlston the Guillemot colony came into view as birds dashed back and fourth low across the water. And then finally, the grand finale welcomed us as we approached Dancing Ledge with several Puffin sat on the water and a few up on the cliffs too. In total we must have seen a minimum of 7-8 birds…just stunning. There were also several sightings of Osprey around the harbour with birds seen over Lytchett Bay, Middlebere and the Frome Valley, almost certainly all involving the 2 birds that have been around these last few weeks. There were more signs of autumn passage getting underway with 3 newly arrived Green Sandpiper on Lytchett Fields and a really early returning Snipe, also 32 Lapwing, 18 Black-tailed Godwit and 9 Redshank all out on the fields. Finally, there was a slightly odd record of a Little Tern on the Brownsea Lagoon, which is only odd due to the time of year as this species is more frequent during peak passage times in spring and autumn. 

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