January 2013


Another school bird boat went out this morning with a true spectacle to behold. As we were approaching the Brownsea Lagoon we noticed a flock of about 50-100 Black-tailed Godwit flying in off the sea over Sandbanks heading for the lagoon, and then another 100 and another and another until we had squadrons on Black-tailed Godwit flying over us like Spitfires returning home after a long term away from home. In total around 1000 Black-tailed Godwit, which we presume were the birds arriving back from the Avon Valley, came and landed on the lagoon, only to be instantly disturbed by a Peregrine. Another great spectacle was the Sterte Starling flock at about 17:15pm wheeling and twisting about the town. The flock consisted of several thousand birds, so if your in the area, its well worth a look. Other sightings from today include several Marsh Tit sightings from Rempstone, Little Sea and South Haven. Middle Beach had 1 Great Northern Diver and 8 Black-necked Grebe. A Golden Pheasant was seen on the slipway of Furzey Island. Holmbridge recorded the Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Goose and 3 Goosander at High Tor. 13 Spoonbill were on Shipstal Point.


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  • Dunlin - Holes Bay
29/01/12 - Oystercatcher

With a howling gale blowing for most of the day many birds were sensibly keeping their heads down. A school bird boat ventured out around the harbour mid morning and was rewarded with 3 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 10+ Spoonbill, 100+ Red-breasted Merganser, 10+ Goldeneye, as well as all the Brownsea Lagoon usuals, Avocet, Bar-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Knot, Dunlin, Greenshank, Turnstone and Redshank. The Studland area received some coverage with South Haven seeing 4 Great Northern Diver, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Black-necked Grebe, 28 Sanderling and 3 Kittiwake and at Middle Beach 7+ Black-necked Grebe, 15+ Gannet, 2 Common Scoter, 1 Peregrine, 5 Kittiwake, 4 Razorbill and 1 Guillemot. Baiter Park was a haven for sheltering/feeding birds with 250+ Brent Geese, 8 Turnstone, 100+ Oystercatcher (including the very pale backed bird reported a week ago), 1 Med Gull plus many Herring, Black-headed and Great Black Backed Gull. Well worth scanning the gull flocks for potential Glaucous or Iceland Gulls this time of year.

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  • Oystercatcher (pale backed individual) - Baiter Park, Kevin Lane

The Hoopoe was a bit more obliging today being seen intermittently throughout the day around Dawkins/Galloway Road area of Hamworthy. A report of a Wheatear was submitted at Holes Bay which if confirmed would be the earliest ever 'spring' record for Dorset. Bittern have been a bit tough to catch up with this winter at Hatch Pond but this evening at least 1 bird, possibly 2 were seen at various places around reedbed. There was a single Sandwich Tern at Shore Road. Holton Lee received some attention today providing interest with Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Peregrine, 1 Kingfisher and 5 Siskin. Just 8 Chiffchaff in the PC World drain today and the Starling roost at Sterte is providing a truly magnificent spectacle at dusk. A quick stop off at Middle Beach, Studland produced 2 Great Northern Diver, 7 Great Crested Grebe and 2 Black-necked Grebe.

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  • Common Buzzard - Holes Bay, Will Bown

The Hoopoe made a very brief appearance this evening in Carters Avenue, Hamworthy for only one lucky observer. Out of the 40 or so individuals that have attempted to see this bird on three occasions only about five people have actually seen it so far! The Brownsea Lagoon webcam was very busy this morning giving fantastic views of 4 Greenshank, 4 Spotted Redshank, 200 Avocet and 3 Turnstone. At Holmebridge the Whooper Swan was still there with 600+ Lapwing and 2 Chiffchaff. Swineham had a Red-throated Diver in the Wareham Channel, 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 15 Snipe, 2 Pintail, 24 Pochard, 1 Chiffchaff and 1 Cetti's Warbler. The Starling flock over Sterte (near Poole train station) is beginning to look quite spectacular. Interestingly there were 8 different Hen Harrier recorded in county today with at least 3 of them in Poole Harbour.

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  • Hoopoe - Hamworthy, Peter Moore

After 3 days of searching the elusive Hamworthy Hoopoe was re-found on Turlin Moor for around twenty minutes before disappearing never to be seen again. A School bird boat was out on the water this morning, which recorded both Razorbill and Guillemot off Poole Quay, 5 Great Northern Diver scattered around the main channels, 2 Spoonbill feeding off Arne, 1 Long-tailed Duck between Arne and Brownsea, the Brownsea Lagoon had a Peregrine sat on the seawall over looking the Knot, Dunlin, Avocet and Grey Plover, there were also still many Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser out on the water.

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  • Hoopoe - Turlin Moor, Nick Hull

Many birds from the cold weather movement still hanging around with 6 Golden Plover on Baiter and an amazing 34 on Hartland Moor with 200 Lapwing, 2000+ Fieldfare and 500+ Redwing. There are still many thousands of Redwing, Fieldfare and Lapwing in nearly every field surround the harbour, and even venturing into many gardens. There was a count of 20+ Waxwing in Symes Road, Hamworthy. Best of Lytchett Bay was 104 Avocet, 3 Water Rail , 4 Tufted Duck (surprisingly scares there), 148 Lapwing and a good scattering of Fieldfare and Redwing. Coverage at Swineham produced 83 Gadwall, 72 Shoveler, 8 Cetti’s Warbler, 9 Water Rail, 25 Pochard, 26 Golden Plover (overhead), 140 Avocet, 7 Spoonbill, 1 Barn Owl, 1 male Hen Harrier, 2 female Marsh Harrier and 1 Spotted Redshank.

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  • Fieldfare - Swineham, Marcus Lawson

Over the last two weeks there have been various reports of a Hoopoe touring the Upton/Hamworthy area, but with mixed descriptions, no-one was really sure if it was a Hoopoe, a Waxwing or even just Jay? That is until today the bird was spotted on a grass verge in the middle of an industrial estate in Hamworthy and then subsequently photographed about an hour later. This is a very peculiar record as Hoopoe in Dorset is more normally associated with being a scares spring and even scarcer autumn passage migrant at coastal sites. What one is doing in the middle of Hamworthy, in the middle of winter in the snow is anybody’s guess! However this isn’t the first winter visit from a Hoopoe in Dorset, individuals have also been found in Bournemouth and at Longham Lakes in the last 7 years during very cold snaps. Rest of today’s sightings included the very obliging Black Redstart at Upton CP. There were 6 Golden Plover at Baiter, 1 at Greenland’s Farm, 2 at Fitzworth and 1 at Upton CP. 2 Woodlark flew over Lytchett Bay. From the houseboats at South Haven there was 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Slavonian Grebe and 3 Avocet. There are still at least 6 Ruff about with 4 at Fitzworth and 2 at Upton CP. The Bestwall/Swineham held 2 Brambling, 3 Marsh Harrier, 2 Hen Harrier and a Barn Owl. Holes Bay held 14 Spoonbill.

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  • Record shot of the Hamworthy Hoopoe, Steve Davis

Coverage over the last two days came from various places starting with Lytchett Bay yesterday, which first had a report of 8 White-fronted Geese fly over. Also there a Spoonbill, 3 Goldeneye, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 8 Golden Plover, 60 Snipe, 1 Jack Snipe, 200 Fieldfare and 2 Brambling. The Pink-footed goose was still at Holmebridge. Also 5 Golden Plover at Baiter and the mass Fieldfare, Redwing and Lapwing movement continued, with Fieldfare and Redwing probably in their tens of thousands . There was 2 Golden Plover in fields at Rempstone and a total of 7 Ruff in the harbour with the 2 at Upton CP, 1 at Greenland's and another 4 at Fitzworth. The Black Redstart was still at Upton CP. Just outside the area 31 Waxwing were counted in Lytchett Matravers.

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  • Golden Plover - Rempstone, Nick Hopper

Well, apologise first of all for the lack of news, but the arrival of a new family member has taken up all of my time since Wednesday. While I’ve been nice and warm inside the weather has taken an obvious turn for the birds since Friday providing some excellent cold weather movements. This report is an overview of the last five days.
16th – 17th - Middle Beach, Studland had 9 Black-necked Grebe, whilst Rempstone Forest saw 1 Firecrest and 2 Red-legged Partridge. A Woodcock was at Ridge at eight Woodlark flew over High Tor, Wareham. Holes Bay had one Common Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail. An excellent record for Swineham came in the shape of a Red-throated Diver, also there a Sandwich Tern, 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Chiffchaff, 17 Pochard, 2 Goldeneye, 6 Cetti’s Warbler and 4 Water Rail. There was also a report of a Hoopoe in Upton, later reported in Hamworthy on Saturday 19th.
On Friday 18th we saw significant snowfall in many areas of Poole Harbour resulting in the movement of many birds. Many hundreds (if not thousands) of Fieldfare, Redwing, Golden Plover, Skylark and Lapwing were recorded in many parts of the harbour looking for better feeding grounds having been displaced form other areas of the county/country. A Waxwing was reported in the Lytchett Bay area. Hen Harriers were recorded at Middlebere and Swineham. Middle Beach, Studland had 26 Black-necked Grebe, 9 Great Crested Grebe with Brands Bay counting 4 Black-necked grebe, 46 Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Knot and 15 Great Crested Grebe.
Saturday 19th – The arrival and movement of many birds was still evident today with Golden Plover, Skylark, Lapwing, Fieldfare and Redwing most numerous. Holes Bay had 16 Spoonbill, 80 Avocet, 1 Spotted Redshank, 2 Goldeneye and a Kingfisher. Around Swineham a Barn Owl was at Swineham Point, also 3-4 Marsh Harrier, 5 Water Rail a Goldeneye and 4 Snipe. Lytchett Bay had a great record of a first winter Little Gull, 10 Golden Plover, 3 green Sandpiper, 1 Brambling, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine and a Spotted Redshank. 2 Ruff were in a field just east of Upton CP with Golden Plover and Lapwing. A Firecrest was in Lytchett Bay along with 3 Woodlark, 2 Marsh Harrier and 2 Spotted Redshank. Shore Road, Sandbanks still held at least 35 Sanderling along 80 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Turnstone and a Med Gull.
Sunday 20th – A nice surprise of Black Redstart in the Upton CP car park first thing along with the remaining Ruff. The16 Spoonbill were feeding in Holes Bay and also there 800 Dunlin, 2 Spotted redshank, 6 Chiffchaff (in the PC drain), 1 Common Sandpiper and a Grey Wagtail. Lytchett Bay counted 1 Jack Snipe, Grey Plover, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 3 Goldeneye and 141 Avocet. Newton’s Bay received coverage today and counted 300 Shelduck, 15 Grey Plover, 19 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Pintail, 11 Goldeneye and 7 Great Crested Grebe. Swineham area saw 5 Brambling, 8 Snipe, 1 Jack Snipe, a Merlin, 2 Egyptian Geese, Water Pipit, 1 Barn Owl and a Kestrel. On the Swineham GP 160 Teal, 60 Shoveler, 21 Pochard, 43 Gadwall, 12 Wigeon, 15 Tufted duck and 2 Cetti’s Warbler. Most impressive was todays Fieldfare movement with a total of around 3000-4000 either migrating west of feeding in the surrounding fields. A lone Spoonbill was in Brands Bay, and at Greenland’s Farm 5 Golden Plover and a Ruff. 2 Sandwich Tern were in Lytchett Bay along with a male Hen Harrier and a Starling flock consisting of several thousand birds heading for Poole Town centre. 23 Black-necked Grebe at Middle Beach, 3 Waxwing in Sandford, 9 Woodlark in Brands Bay and Tawny Owls very vocal around the whole harbour.

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  • Black Redstart - Upton Country Park, Jane Adams

An incredible 10 bird of prey species seen in the harbour today…….
Hen Harrier – Sunnyside Farm,
Marsh Harrier – Soldiers Road,
Peregrine Falcon – Lytchett Bay,
Kestrel – Soldiers Road,
Merlin Sunnyside Farm,
Sparrowhawk - Ridge,
Buzzard – Soldiers Road,
Barn Owl – Swineham,
Tawny Owl – Soldiers Road,
Short-eared Owl – Hartland Moor,
Also today, Baiter saw 1 Great Northern Diver, 5 Turnstone and 300+ Dunlin. Sandbanks had 1 Purple Sandpiper, 7 Black-necked Grebe, 43 Sanderling, 1 Razorbill. Middlebere had 558 Brent Geese, 19 Wigeon, 327 Teal, 388 Avocet, 220 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover and 47 Redshank. Also a Whopper Swan was 1km east of Holmebridge. A ringing session also took place in the north of the harbour today to try and ring some of our over wintering Chiffchaff. Because the over-wintering of Chiffchaff in the UK is a fairly knew occurrence it is important we understand more about where they’ve come from and where they’re going, today 10 were ringed at just one site! A full session report will be written soon.

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  • Hen Harrier - Sunnyside Farm

Not great conditions to start the day but 3 Sandwich Tern off Baiter were a welcome surprise at 08:30am along with 2 Goldeneye and 9 Turnstone. An RSPB School bird boat left Poole Quay at 10am with highlights being a Great Northern Diver, 20+ Goldeneye, 50+ Re-breasted Merganser, 200+ Avocet, 600-700 Dunlin also Grey Plover, Greenshank, 200+ Oystercatcher and several Turnstone. At Shore Road this evening 33 Sanderling fed very close to the cycle path and there were 123 Bar-tailed Godwit also there.

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  • Sandwich Tern - Baiter Park

A perfect winters day with some good coverage, including sightings from out on the water. Starting of with Middlebere there were 2 Ring-tail Hen Harrier and 1 adult male along with a single marsh Harrier and large Avocet flock on the high tide. Holes Bay counted 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Pintail, 17 Oystercatcher, 66 Avocet, 3 Lapwing and 2 Spotted Redshank. At the PC World drainage ditch 1 Kingfisher, 1 Grey Wagtail, 6+ Chiffchaff, and 2 Siberian types. The Wytch Channel held 750 Avocet and a Peregrine. At Holmebridge the Pink-footed Goose remained. An evening watch from Soldiers Road turned up 5 different Marsh Harrier and a Short-eared Owl over Swineham. There was an RSPB bird boat out in the harbour today packed full of lucky spectators who got to see 5 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, 1 Long-tailed duck, 200 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Green Shank, 15 Turnstone, 15+ Black-necked Grebe, 250+ Grey Plover, 1 Peregrine, 1 Merlin and 15 Spoonbill. There was also a Merlin at Sunnyside Farm. The Wytch Causeway saw at least 1 Water Pipit, a Ringtail Hen Harrier, 1 Green Sandpiper and a Merlin. Still at least 20 Waxwing in Lytchett Matravers.

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  • Turnstone - Baiter Park

With a south easterly wind flowing there was the possibility of some good birding however rain made viewing difficult, but still a few areas covered. A morning sea watch at Branksome produced 6 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 9 Common Scoter, 25 Shelduck, 35 Brent Geese, 35 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Gannet, 20 Razorbill and a Guillemot. Lytchett Bay Pools hosted 2 Spotted Redshank. Middle Beach, Studand counted 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver, 20 Black-necked Grebe, 6 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 1 Gannet, 1 Common Scoter, 4 Razorbill, 1 Kittiwake. At Holmebridge 2 Egyptian Geese and a Merlin at Soldiers Road. Still 27 Waxwing in Lytchett Matravers.

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  • Lapwing - Middlebere

Lots of areas covered today, starting with Holes Bay. 92 Avocet, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Spotted Redshank, 1 Pintail, a single Brent Goose and interestingly just as many Bar-tailed Godwit as there were Black-tailed Godwit, the first being quite scarce in this area. The drainage ditch that runs into Holes Bay had 1 Kingfisher, 1 Grey Wagtail, 10+ Chiffchaff (2 in full song) and 1 possibly 2 Siberian Chiffchaff. There were at least 4 Yellow-legged gulls on Kerry Foods roof. Out towards the harbour mouth, South Haven had 3 Great Northern Diver, 8 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Razorbill. From Sandbanks 2 Great Northern Diver a Black-throated Diver were inside the harbour towards Evening Hill, 15 Ringed Plover, 29 Sanderling and 3 Dunlin on the groynes. Middle Beach had 18 Black-necked Grebe and a Razorbill. Holmebridge still has the Pink-footed Goose and 2 Goosander were at West Holme. In the Swineham area there were at least 5 different Marsh Harrier and 2 juvenile Hen Harrier. There are also 2 male Hen Harrier that have been seen in the same area recently. A Short-eared Owl was seen flying off towards Arne from Holton Heath. A Sandwich Tern passed Baiter this morning and 2 Blackcap were at Longfleet School. Just outside the boundary still at least 27 Waxwing in Lytchett Matravers.

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  • Spotted Redshank - Hole Bay

Coverage today included Holes Bay SW which saw 2 Spotted Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper and an Avocet along with a Siberian Chiffchaff (Tristis) and at least 7 Common Chiffchaff (collybita) along the banks of the drainage ditch behind PC World at Wessex Gate retail park. Brownsea Island had 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 200+ Avocet, 500+ Dunlin, Grey Plover, Knot a Peregrine. A Purple Sandpiper was again on the North Haven sea wall. Off Baiter this morning 3 Goldeneye, 8 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Great crested Grebe and a Great Northern Diver. 14 Spoonbill were feeding off Swineham Point and a male Hen Harrier flew along the far shoreline at Arne. There are still currently 20 Waxwing just outside the harbour boundary in Lytchett Matravers.

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  • Siberian Chiffchaff - PC World drainage ditch, Marcus lawson

Not many areas covered today. Baiter Park had 1 Great Northern Diver, 4 Goldeneye, 6 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Great Crested Grebe and 27 Brent Geese on the patch of water in-between the beach and Parkstone Yacht Club. The female Long-tailed Duck is still off Shipstal Point Arne. An interesting record has come to light of 49 Sanderling on January 6th 2013 at Shore Road Sandbanks. This may not seem significant but considering the record count for Sanderling in Poole Harbour during the winter is 57 which occurred in the 1939-40 winter, this makes this recent count of 49 the second highest ever winter record. The spring record is 112 in May 1953 (Shell Bay). There also seems to be a vast increase of Snipe in Dorset with many wetland areas counting larger than normal totals. For example Lytchett Bay alone counted 132 on Monday 7th Jan in just a few hours.


A good selection of areas covered today with South Haven 
hosting 1 Great Northern Diver at the houseboats, 10 Black-necked Grebe, 2 shell Bay, 8 houseboats
, 1 Razorbill in Shell Bay and 9 
Bullfinch. Arne saw 5 
Black-necked Grebe, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 1 
Firecrest, 2 
Crossbill and 1
 Common Seal. Holmebridge still has 1 
Pink-footed Goose, also there 1 
Yellow Legged Gull. Holes Bay/PC world ditch
 saw 90 Avocet, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1
 Grey Wagtail, 3 Chiffchaff. Soldiers Road had a ringtail
 Hen Harrier. The Brownsea Island lagoon counted 5 Spotted Redshank, 4 Greenshank, 150+ Avocet, Shoveler, Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Turnstone and a Peregrine. After the camera launch on Brownsea 4 Divers were spotted in a tight loafing group out towards the Royal Motor Yacht Club, they were confirmed as 3 Great Northern Diver and a Black-throated Diver. A Purple Sandpiper was on seaweed covered concrete shelf at North Haven.


A quick stop off at one of my favourite vantage points this morning, Shipstal Point, Arne produced some nice birds. A female Long-tailed Duck was feeding with Goldeneye in Arne Bay. 3 Great Northern Diver were out on the open water along with 5 Black-necked Grebe, 20+ Great Crested grebe, 30+ Red-breasted Merganser, 15+ Goldeneye, 11 Pintail and 2 Seal. Down towards Middlebere a rising tide pushed up 200+ Avocet, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, 100+ Brent Geese, Shelduck, Oystercatcher a few Grey Plover, Curlew and Dunlin. 15 Spoonbill were roosting up out in front of the Shipstal hide and a Peregrine dashed over the farm.

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  • Black-necked Grebe - off Shipstal Point

A great first day of the year with many species of bird found around the harbour. A bird boat left Poole Quay this morning and produced 5 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 9 Black-Necked Grebe, 2 Slavonian Grebe, 20+ Goldeneye, 70+ Red-breasted Merganser, 16 Spoonbill, 400+ Avocet, 50+ Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Knot, Black-tailed Godwit, Turnstone, Razorbill, Guillemot, Peregrine Falcon, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard plus the commoner species. Swineham GP this morning hosted Shoveler, Pochard, Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Coot, Cetti's Warbler, Water Rail, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Kestrel, Siskin and Great-spotted Woodpecker. There were 2 Bittern at Hatch Pond this morning too.

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  • Great Northern Diver - Off Brownsea
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