November 2013

Glossy and bright - posted 30/11/13

What a stunner of a day, the sun shone and the birds appeared. By far the best sighting of the day was of a Glossy Ibis spotted in the Middlebere Channel. Unfortunately there is no further information other than it was seen flying east towards the centre of the harbour. Glossy Ibis are a very rare bird to the harbour with only a handful of previous records. However, there seems to be an annual migratory increase across the country of this species with a handful of birds over-wintering, which could provide more local sightings.  The ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ field trip came up trumps with visits to Brands Bay, Bramble Bush Bay and Shell Bay. Sightings included the Surf Scoter, 3 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, 1 Eider, numerous Red-breasted Merganser, Great Crested Grebe, Lapwing, Pintail and a Marsh Harrier. In Holes Bay 9 Spoonbill were present this morning along with 2 Spotted Redshank and 150+ Avocet. Some late news from last night of 6 Jack Snipe being caught and ringed by the Stour Ringing Group at a site near Soldiers Road.

NOTICE - It was discovered yesterday that the wind farm developers 'Navitus Bay' were advertising 'Birds of Poole Harbour' events on twitter completely unprompted by us. If anyone saw this, we wish to announce that we are in no way affiliated with Navitus and DO NOT support their current proposal.

Out on the water - posted 29/11/13

The open bodies of water are well worth checking this time of year, as you never know what might be bobbing along in amongst the Mergansers and Cormorants. December is a classic time for species like Long-tailed Duck and Red-necked Grebe to arrive in the harbour, and depending on severity of the weather species like Smew sometimes get found in the odd bay. Scanning back and forth out towards the centre of the harbour off Baiter Park or Shipstal can produce good numbers of birds, likewise if scanning from South Haven and Redhorn Quay. Today from a School bird boat trip it was the open water species that stole the show. 4 Eider Duck were off Jerry’s point with a Black-throated and Great Northern Diver just meters away from them. Another Black-throated Diver was off Gold Point, Arne and a Scaup was out in central harbour. Goldeneye numbers seemed low with only about 10 birds seen, but Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe still pulled strong. The Surf Scoter is still off Redhorn, Brands Bay and 3 Black-necked Grebe there too. On Brownsea Lagoon the 26 Spoonbill were present and Shoveler, Avocet, Knot, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover and Dunlin were all present in good numbers. 4 Spoonbill were also present in Holes Bay. Finally an incredible 52 Black-necked Grebe were out in Studland Bay

Three Bay Bumble - Don't Miss It

Don't miss the next 'Birds of Poole Harbour' field trip around the inner and outer bays of the Studland Penninsular. There are plenty of birds on offer at the moment with all 3 species of Diver present at the moment, Black-necked and Slavonian Grebe, Eider and even the long staying Surf Scoter should be on the tick list.

For full details follow this link and to book on either....

Email us at -

Tel - 01202 641003

Winter Raptors - posted 28/11/13

The western and side of Poole Harbour is a real draw for over-wintering birds of prey. The lowland heathland and moor-like habitats provide excellent hunting and roosting grounds for a number of species. There are currently 5 different Marsh Harrier frequenting the mouth of the Wareham Channel, best viewed from the end of the footpath at Swineham, also two Hen Harrier (one male and one female) commuting between Sunnyside and Hartland Moor along with a Merlin at the latter site. This time of year can be great for Short-eared Owl, however from the numbers seen elsewhere in the UK, it doesn’t look like its going to be a bumper SEO winter, well worth looking out for if out around dawn or dusk. I’d like to be proved wrong. The current 27 over-wintering Spoonbill seem to have mixed taste of feeding areas. Whilst all 27 can be located on the sand spit at Arne on a high tide, they all disperse to various feeding zones across the harbour with Holes Bay, Lytchett Bay, the Frome/Piddle Mouth and Middlebere all seeing feeding birds on a low tide. Also in Holes Bay up to 20 Pintail and a handful of Shoveler from the stone bench at Upton CP.  Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye numbers continue to rise slowly, with two’s and three’s of each species now viewable off Baiter car park, and many more out in central harbour.

Click To Enlarge
  • Pintail - Holes Bay, Ian Ballam
  • Spoonbill - Holes Bay, Ian Ballam
  • Marsh Harrier - Middlebere, Ian Ballam
Dark and Grey isn't that bad - posted 27/11/13

Although yesterday was a stunning winter scene, darker grey sky’s are back and forecast for the foreseeable future. However, the discovery of a Great Grey Shrike out on Hartland Moor certainly brightens things up quite a lot. These are scarce, but almost annual winter visitors with one or two being discovered on the heathlands surrounding Poole Harbour each winter. They can be easily located (sometimes) by scanning the very tops of small pine trees and gorse bushes. A Peregrine flew over Holes Bay early yesterday morning with some prey. If you get the chance to visit Lytchett Bay on a low tide then I can highly recommend it, as it is filled with hundreds of waders and wildfowl including Avocet, Dunlin, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Teal, Wigeon, Shelduck and Brent Geese. There were only 4 Spoonbill in Holes Bay yesterday morning and another count of 7, possibly 10 Woodcock came out of their roost near Soldiers Road again last night. Off Knoll Beach, Studland there were 2 Slavonian Grebe, 23 Black-necked Grebe and 7 Common Scoter. The Surf Scoter remains in Brands Bay.

Follow this link for a Tranquil Scene at Lytchett Bay

Click To Enlarge
  • Sun-set over Lytchett Bay
  • Setting winter sun through reed bed
  • Colour-ringed Avocet - Lytchett Bay

Don't miss the next 'Birds of Poole Harbour' field trip around the inner and outer bays of the Studland Penninsular. There are plenty of birds on offer at the moment with all 3 species of Diver present at the moment, Black-necked and Slavonian Grebe, Eider and even the long staying Surf Scoter should be on the tick list.

For full details follow this link and to book on either....

Email us at -

Tel - 01202 641003

Harbour Round Up - 25/11/13

Here is a brief round up from around the harbour today. 8 Woodcock were counted coming out from their daytime roosts near Soldiers Road also a Jack Snipe and 2 Common Snipe. This is a great time of year to look for Woodcock flying out of woodlands onto open fields to feed, literally 10-20 minuets before total darkness. At Lytchett Bay a male Marsh Harrier flew through, 159 Avocet, 152 Dunlin, 192 Lapwing plus good numbers of Curlew, Shelduck, Teal, Wigeon, Redshank and Oystercatcher also 1 Redpoll and 300+ Wood Pigeon overhead. The Surf Scoter was still out in Brands Bay and Great Northern Diver were present near the harbour mouth and off Brownsea. Off Baiter 2 Goldeneye, 4 Red-breasted Merganser and 5 Great Crested Grebe.

Click To Enlarge
  • Hen Harrier - Middlebere, Phyl England
  • Avocet - Brownsea Lagoon
  • Ringed Plover - Baiter Park
Birds a plenty - posted 24/11/13

Today saw an RSPB birdboat leave Poole Quay at 10:30 this morning, with a top deck full of people hoping and waiting for a birding extravaganza. I’m pleased to say we weren’t disappointed as near perfect conditions provided us with a total of 52 species. We left the quay and headed for the Brownsea Lagoon where a host of volunteers set up base in the hides getting scopes onto the thousands of birds present. The lagoon Species list included Spoonbill, Avocet, Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Knot, Dunlin, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Little Egret and 3 Buzzards. The tour then led us around the harbour backwaters where we were treated to exquisite views of Great Northern and Black-throated Diver, Eider Duck, Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe. Goldeneye were present in good numbers too and the supporting cast of Brent Geese, Shelduck, Cormorant, Shag, Common Gull, Little Grebe and Lapwing made for an excellent days bird watching. At Shore Road a total of 43 Sanderling were feeding on the tide line along with 111 Bar-tailed Godwit. Only 7 Spoonbill in Holes Bay this morning but 25 there yesterday! Out over Swineham yesterday 5 Marsh Harrier were lingering together late afternoon and a male Hen Harrier dashed over Arne Moors. Numbers of various species seem to be increasing right across the harbour as Lytchett Bay saw an increase of 152 Avocet, 268 Dunlin, and 109 Shelduck. There were 6 Ringed-necked Parakeet at Studland and 11 Sanderling in Shell Bay. The Surf Scoter is still present in Brands Bay (although not seen from the Birdboat). Finally from Swineham a Jack Snipe at the point, 3 Spoonbill, 3 Marsh Harrier, 1 Tawny Owl, 4 Cetti's Warbler, 5 Water Rail, 26 Siskin, 24 Pochard and 54 Gadwall.

Click To Enlarge
  • Avocet, Dunlin, Knot and Grey Plover - Brownsea Lagoon Digi-scoped using a Swarovski ATX 85mm
  • Bar-tailed Godwit - Shore Road, Sandbanks Digi-scoped using a Swarovski ATX 85mm
  • Grey Plover and Avocet - Brownsea Lagoon Digi-scoped using a Swarovski ATX 85mm
Ringed Plover Return - posted 22/11/13

You don’t necessarily have to travel to the back of beyond to experience good birds and good wildlife in Poole Harbour. Areas like Holes Bay and Baiter can be real hotspots during the cold winter months, often being able to park or walk just meters before you witness some excellent birds.  At Baiter this morning the winter flock of Ringed Plover were feeding along the low tide line with 23 in total along with 11 Turnstone and 2 Dunlin. These birds are often feeding just meters from the cycle path providing excellent views with the naked eye, and even better views with some binoculars. Ringed Plover are an uncommon winter visitor each winter with totals barely reaching over 100.

In Lytchett Bay 15 Spoonbill were feeding in the entrance channel, and there were excellent totals of the regular low tide species with just over 100 Curlew, 40 Avocet, 150+ Dunlin, 150+ Redshank, 190 Lapwing and 200+ each of Wigeon and Teal. Holes Bay hosted 7 Spoonbill yesterday afternoon along with 7 Avocet and 149 Dunlin and 27 Spoonbill this afternoon. 


Spoonbill - Lytchett Bay, Shaun Robson

The Surf Scoter is still out in Brands Bay, also there good numbers of Pintail, Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Curlew, Turnstone and Little Egret. At Shore road 13 Sanderling were feeding near the sea wall along with a few Bar-tailed Godwit. At Middlebere the ringtail Hen Harrier put in an appearance and a Kingfisher was dipping into the pool in front of the NT hide.

Click HERE for some film footage of a Turnstone on Baiter Beach this morning 

Click To Enlarge
  • Ringed Plover - Baiter  Digi-scoped using a Swarovski ATX 85mm
  • Low winter sun over the Purbecks from Baiter
  • Dunlin - Baiter Beach  Digi-scoped using a Swarovski ATX 85mm
Brass Monkeys - posted 20/11/13

A cold northerly wind picked up last night and continued throughout the day making my fingers very very cold when trying to hold my binoculars. This could potentially be good for blowing a few oddities down this way such as Geese species like White-fronted, Barnacle or Pink Footed Goose. Likewise, Bewick’s and Whooper Swan should be popping up at various places around Dorset very soon, so no reason why they won’t appear in the harbour somewhere. The Frome Valley used to be a hotspot for Bewick’s Swan, but unfortunately they’re no longer regular winter visitors. However, it’s still well worth checking through the many Mute Swans that spend the winter in the valley, as there’s always a possibility either Bewick’s or Whooper Swan could appear.

Now back to birds that are actually here, a Great White Egret was spotted in the Middlebere Channel this morning and was subsequently seen out over Swineham and Arne Moors flying east. An RSPB/Birds of Poole Harbour’ school bird boat went out yesterday and had the Surf Scoter very close to the boat off Goathorn Quay. Also spotted were 20+ Spoonbill off Shipstal, Arne, a Scaup in central harbour, 1 Great Northern Diver near Brands Bay, 100+ Avocet on the Brownsea Lagoon and 150+ each of both Great Crested Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser dotted around the harbour. At Lytchett Bay a single Crossbill over, 1 male Hen Harrier, 121 Lapwing, 64 Shelduck, 52 Cormorant, 32 Snipe, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Kingfisher, 3 Rock Pipit and 2 Water Rail. At Middlebere both a male and female Hen Harrier this morning along with 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine, 295 Avocet, 600+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank, 3 Pintail and good numbers of Fieldfare, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Bullfinch, Chaffinch and Goldfinch along the lane. Sandwich Terns were feeding in Holes Bay and off Baiter. 

Click To Enlarge
  • Hen Harrier - Middlebere, Ian Ballam
  • Marsh Harrier - Middlebere, Ian Ballam
  • Cormorant - Holes Bay, Paul Morton - Digi-scoped using a Swarovski ATX 85mm
Back to the dark ages – posted 18/11/13

‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ were kindly invited to come and speak at the New Networks for Nature’ ( event up in Stamford at the weekend to talk about the importance of social media and technology in promoting conservation and nature. It was a fantastic event full of fascinating debates, intellectual ideas and thought provoking concepts. If you get the chance to visit next year then you should really try and make the effort. However, as I stupidly forgot to book into a hotel room with internet and with very, very limited 3G coverage I felt like I was flung back to the dark ages as the internet had no part in my life for three days! Hence the lack of updates.

So, what’s been happening? Well, much of the same really. The Surf Scoter is still settled in Brands Bay often giving great views of Redhorn Quay, also in the area there still 3 Great Northern Diver, 4 Black-necked Grebe, a great count of 20+ Goldeneye, 80+ Red-breasted Merganser and 64 Great Crested Grebe. At Knoll Beach (14th Nov) 2 Swallow struggled into the cold northerly wind. There was still some ‘Pig Mig’ (a Wood Pigeon equivalent to Vis Mig) with flocks of 2000 over Lytchett Bay and 3000 over Evening Hill. There is currently both a male and female Hen Harrier using the Hartland/Middlebere area for hunting along with 2-3 Marsh Harrier, also in Middlebere 295 Avocet, 600 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Green Sandpiper. Out off Middle Beach 21 Black-necked Grebe and 4 Common Scoter and in Studland Bay 3 Great Northern Diver, 2 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Sanderling. From South Haven 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, 4 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Ringed Plover, 11 Sanderling, 1 Grey Wagtail, and 1 Chiffchaff

Don't miss out on these up and coming events......

RSPB Birdboat Poole Harbour Tourwith Brownsea Landing

Three Bay Bumble - A look around all the bays of the Studland Penninsular looking for Grebes, Sea Duck (including the Surf Scoter) Divers, Waders, Wildfowl -

 RSPB 20 year Anniversery Birdboat - A crusise around Poole Harbour and the Wareham Channel looking for Sea Ducks, Grebes, Diver, Waders and Raptors -

Monday Blue(sky's) at Arne - A mid afternnon stroll around Arne (hopefully) in the soft, low mid-winter sun -




Click To Enlarge
  • Grey Plover - Brands Bay, Ian Ballam
  • Spoonbill - Holes Bay, Ian Ballam
  • Kingfisher - Middlebere, Ian Ballam
What a Dive - posted 13/11/13

There has been a big arrival of Great Northern Diver in the last week. There are currently around 5-8 birds dotted around the various bays at Studland with 3 in Brands Bay, singles in Studland Bay, Shell Bay, 2 out in central Harbour plus a Black-throated Diver off Long Island at midday. Black-necked Grebe are also on the rise with an evening roost count of 29 off Middle/Knoll Beach, Studland. The Surf Scoter is still hanging around Brands Bay and Merganser and Great Crested Grebe numbers continue to rise right across the harbour. The Scaup was still out in central harbour along with 2 Goldeneye.  

Wood Pigeon Spectacle - posted 10/11/13

As stated yesterday, the conditions looked favourable for a Wood Pigeon movement this morning and we certainly weren’t let down. An incredible 72,665 birds passed over the harbour between 7:00 –10am. Birds were moving in large flocks containing between 500-1500 individuals, with most passing west over the northern shores of the harbour. During the Wood Pigeon watch a Red Kite was also seen drifting over Brownsea Island, also heading west.

Today was also the November Poole Harbour WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey). This meant the whole harbour was being watched at 9:00am this morning with a stunning variety of birds being recorded. The Surf Scoter was still out in Brands Bay showing well off Redhorn Point. All 3 species of Diver were recorded with 5 Great Northern Diver spread across Brands Bay, Central Harbour and Studland Bay, a Red-throated Diver in Studland Bay and a Black-throated Diver off the southern shore of Brownsea. Also in Brands Bay 2 Slavonian Grebe and 2 Black-necked Grebe with another 21 Black-necked grebe in Studland Bay. Other open-water species reported included 100+ Great Crested Grebe, 100+ Red-breasted Merganser and 11 Goldeneye. An amazing 15 species of wader were recorded with Redshank, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Knot, Grey Plover, Lapwing, and Avocet all recorded. There were some big duck counts too with Teal, Wigeon, Pintail and Shoveler all recorded in triple figures. At Arne 27 Spoonbill were still off Shipstal and 3 Firecrest were reported from the Studland area.

Finally some interesting ringing information with news that a Chiffchaff first ringed in January 2012 is back at a traditional over-wintering site in the harbour for its third year proving winter site fidelity for this species. And finally, thanks to Peter Moore for researching the incredible movements of a colour ringed Black-tailed Godwit seen on the flood meadows in Wareham on the 02/11/13, see the below history….Pretty amazing!

LG-RO 27.06.02 Langhús, Fljót, N Iceland

LG-RO 12.01.03 Avon Valley, Hampshire, S England

LG-RO 03.04.03 Poole Harbour, Dorset, S England

LG-RO 26.06.03 Langhús, Fljót, N Iceland
LG-RO 30.07.03 Humber estuary, Lincolnshire, E England

LG-RO 08.02.04 Poole Harbour, Dorset, S England

LG-RO 04.10.04 Poole Harbour, Dorset, S England

LG-RO 03.11.04 Humber estuary, Lincolnshire, E England

LG-RO 24.04.06 Lytchett Bay, Dorset, S England

LG-RO 26.11.06 Mont-Saint-Michel, Manche, W France

LG-RO 02.03.07 Avon Valley, Hampshire

LG-RO 06.04.07 Lytchett Bay, Dorset

LG-RO 10.10.07 Arne Bay - Poole Harbour - Dorset, 

LG-RO 10.11.07 Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, Dorset

LG-RO 01.01.08 Tejo Estuary, Setúbal, W Portugal

LG-RO 06.04.08 Lytchett Bay, Dorset, S. England

LG-RO 08.04.08 Lytchett Bay, Dorset, S. England

LG-RO 30.04.08 Höfn, Hornafjörður, E Iceland

LG-RO 01.05.08 Stekká, Höfn, Hornafjörður, E Iceland

LG-RO 14.09.08 Middlebere, Poole Harbour, Dorset

LG-RO 01.02.09 Buckenham Marshes RSPB, Norfolk

LG-RO 19.02.09 Hucklesbrook, Avon Valley, Hampshire

LG-RO 01.10.09 Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, Dorset

LG-RO 22.08.10 Middlebere, Poole Harbour, Dorset

LG-RO 16.07.11 Llanelli WWT, Carmarthenshire, Wales, UK

LG-RO 20.10.11 Pontorson(Ardevon), Normandy, NW France

LG-RO 30.08.12 Lytchett Bay, Dorset, S England

LG-RO 12.10.12 Wareham, Poole Harbour, Dorset

LG-RO 12.01.13 Bisterne, Avon Valley, Hampshire

LG-RO 08.08.13 Lytchett Bay, Dorset, S England

LG-RO 2.11.13 Wareham, Poole Harbour, Dorset, S England  

Wood Pigeons on the move – posted 09/11/13

This morning saw the very start of what could potentially be a huge Wood Pigeon movement along the south coast.  A handful of flocks containing 300-400 birds were noted over the harbour, and 20,000 were counted over at Christchurch. The ideal conditions for Wood Pigeon migration involve a clear sky and a light northerly wind which tomorrow morning has both of. If you see any large flocks whilst out tomorrow please report your sightings to us. In November 2010 a whopping 160,000 were counted over the harbour in one morning!

The Surf Scoter was again in Brands Bay with 3 Great Northern Diver  2 Black-necked Grebe and 2 Razorbill.

Out from Middle Beach, Studland was 1 Great Northern Diver, 14 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Guillemot and 2 Ring-necked Parakeet.

Out in Lytchett Bay 1 juv Marsh Harrier, 10 Brent Geese, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 150 Dunlin, 100 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Cetti’s Warbler and a Kingfisher.  

Surf Scoter stays for second day - posted 08/11/13

The rain set back in today which meant the Surf Scoter didn’t fancy leaving anytime soon, so spent a second day in Brands Bay happily feeding out in the deep water channel. Past Dorset records of this species have included individuals that have stayed for a number of weeks, so we’ll see how long this bird decides to holiday in the harbour. Here are a selection of photos that have kindly been sent to us by local birders.

   Surf Scoter - Ian Ballam Surf Scoter - Steve Smith

Also in Brands Bay at least 4 Great Northern Diver, 30+ Great Crested Grebe, 2 Black-necked Grebe and 20+ Red-breasted Merganser.

Out in Studland Bay another 3 Great Northern Diver were present.

On Baiter 2 Sandwich Tern were present and a small gathering on Brent Geese are starting to build with 21 birds feeding on the field.

A wet and cold school bird boat ventured out at 10am, but was rewarded with a Brownsea Lagoon packed with birds. With around 500 Avocet, 400 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Spoonbill, 200 Oystercatcher, 200 Dunlin plus the usual Redshank, Turnstone, Greenshank, Shoveler, Teal, Little Egret, Knot, Grey Plover and a Peregrine.

Out in the harbour the Scaup was still present and 23 Spoonbill out on Shipstal Point.

Click To Enlarge
  • Great Northern Diver - Brands Bay, Ian Ballam
  • Great Crested Grebe - Brands Bay, Ian Ballam
  • Red-breasted Merganser - Brands Bay, Ian Ballam
Bumper Bird Arrival – posted 07/11/13

Finally some still calm conditions welcomed us this morning, which made harbour watching an absolute joy. My favourite conditions to view the harbour are overcast sky’s and zero wind, this makes the birds easier to find out on the water.  I was taking a colleague on a trip around the harbour having already show cased the wonders of Studland as Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Redwing, Song Thrush and Meadow Pipit were all present in good numbers. A harbour watch from Jerry’s Point, Studland was already producing some cracking birds with 2 Great Northern Diver just yards off shore, also a Red-throated Diver, 1 Razorbill, 4 Black-necked Grebe and 4 Goldeneye when a dark, medium sized duck way out in Brands Bay caught my eye. It was obviously a Scoter, but too ‘chunky’ and not the right head pattern for Common Scoter. The bird showed the characteristics of being either a 1st year Velvet Scoter, a species seen in the harbour many times before, or a 1st year Surf Scoter, a species only ever recorded once before in the harbour way back in 2007. The clincher would be if it showed a white wing panel when it flapped its wings…white wing panel = Velvet Scoter, no white wing panel = Surf Scoter. After an hour or so the bird finally decided to flap and no white could be seen. Excellent, Surf Scoter, a rare vagrant from Canada, Alaska and North America. Also in Brands Bay 30+ of both Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe.

Elsewhere, out in Studland Bay there was a Long-tailed Duck, 3 Common Scoter and 7 Black-necked Grebe.

Out from Shipstal Point, Arne there were 25 Spoonbill, a Scaup, 3 Goldeneye, 1 Great Northern Diver, 20 Brent Geese, 8 Red-breasted Merganser and 11 Great Crested Grebe.

Out over Swineham and Bestwall there were 3 Marsh Harrier and an incredible ‘mega flock’ of Black-tailed Godwit as around 3000 flew down the Wareham Channel towards Arne.

At Middlebere the male Hen Harrier was seen several times and 2 Yellow-legged Gull were present.

Click To Enlarge
  • Surf Scoter - Brands Bay, Digi-scoped using a Swarovski ATX 85mm
  • Yellow-legged Gull - Middlebere, Digi-scoped using a Swarovski ATX 85mm
  • Black-headed Gull roost on flood - Lytchett Bay, Digi-scoped using a Swarovski ATX 85mm
Hide tides flood harbour – posted 06/11/13

The tides this week have been huge! Many of the flood plains have been under water for much of the week creating excellent feeding areas for waders and wildfowl that have been forced out from their normal high tide roosts.

There is still a large group of between 1000-1500 Black-tailed Godwit feeding out on the Stoborough Causeway flood with around 200 Lapwing.

The floods at Lytchett Bay produced 123 Redshank, 31 Dunlin, 17 Lapwing, 1 Spotted Redshank, 83 Wigeon, 4 Shoveler, 5 Green Sandpiper, 432 Teal, 183 Wigeon and a Peregrine Falcon.

At Holes Bay 502 Wigeon, 213 Teal, 410 Black-headed Gull, 1 Pintail, 1 Spotted Redshank, 10 Little Grebe, 2 Spoonbill, 1 Kingfisher and a Water Rail.

My favourite sighting of the week goes to a Black Redstart that was seen near Asda at Holes Bay. Not an easy bird to find in Poole Harbour.

At Arne, still 24 Spoonbill off Shipstal, also a Common Scoter and small parties of Siskin with the odd Redpoll.

There were 10 Black-necked Grebe off Middle Beach, Studland also 2 Common Scoter and 1 Red-breasted Merganser.

There were 4 Marsh Harrier ‘playing’ over the Swineham area early evening, the male Hen Harrier dashed across Arne Moors as did a Merlin and a Barn Owl was out hunting at Arne. 

Don’t forget to book on to the next ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ Field Trip – 3 Bay Bumble, a gentle amble looking at the bays of the western harbour in seach of waders, wildfowl sea ducks, grebes and geese. For more information and to book on click on HERE 


Click To Enlarge
  • Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit - Lytchett Bay, Ian Ballam
  • Stonechat - Lytchett Bay, Ian Ballam
  • Green Sandpiper - Lytchett Bay, Ian Ballam
Cold and Crisp - posted 04/11/13

Autumn tactics crept in today with a day of glorious sunshine, sandwiched in-between two days of wind and rain.  No two days are the same at the moment, but with this mornings northerly breeze and clear sky’s it seemed some passage could be on the cards. Despite a few decent sized groups of Wood Pigeon, the migration never picked up and a flock of 300 was the maximum over Lytchett Bay and South Haven.

A School Birdboat trip that left the quay at 10am were spoilt with a whole manner of decent birds. 26 Spoonbill are always an incredible sight, a Long-tailed Duck flew down passed Brownsea, settled on the water for a couple of seconds and then headed down towards Arne. Both Peregrine and a female Merlin were upsetting the Brownsea Lagoon regulars as 300+ Avocet, 200+ Black-tailed Godwit, 200+ Oystercatcher, Redshank, Dunlin, Knot, Grey Plover, a few Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and Spotted Redshank all had to dive foe cover more than once. To complete the trip two Seals made an appearance off Shipstal point, Arne.

A ‘vis-mig’ session at South Haven, Studland produced 10 Crossbill, 23 Siskin, 6 Redpoll, 23 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, 19 Goldfinch, 1 Linnet, 2 Bullfinch, 3 Meadow Pipit, 9 Reed Bunting, 4 Greenfinch, 9 Starling and 2 Fieldfare as-well as a stunning male Merlin and 300+ Wood Pigeon.

A short ringing session a Holton Lee produced 2 Marsh Tit. This species is becoming increasingly rare in the harbour and it now seems that Holton Lee and Slepe Copse are the only reliable places to see them. They’re not even regular at Arne any more. Also there a Barn Owl hunting over the marsh.

Click To Enlarge
  • Marsh Tit - Holton Lee
  • Curlew - Swineham
  • Wigeon flock - Holes Bay, Digi-scoped using a Swarovski ATX 85mm
Cold and slow - posted 03/11/13

No, the title isn’t a self-assessment of recent days, but a comment on how things have seemed to slow up a bit bird wise.  Updates from various sites include –

Hatch Pond where an Oystercatcher was present, also 2 Wigeon, 1 Pochard, 7 Shoveler, 17 Teal, 3 Great Crested Grebe and 5 Snipe.

Holes Bay saw another 3 Spoonbill feeding on the falling tide.

Both the male and juvenile Hen Harrier were seen hunting together over the mouth of the Frome.

At Lytchett Bay 7 Brent Geese, 6 Green Sandpiper, 55 Lapwing, 38 Dunlin and 2 Stonechat.

Around Swineham and Bestwall, 2 Marsh Harrier were playing/fighting together, 1000+ Black-tailed Godwit were still feeding on the flood at Bestwall with 300 Lapwing.  On the pits 100+ Teal, 20 Tufted Duck, 14 Wigeon, 1 Pochard, 1 Pintail and a Peregrine over.

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