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September 2014

Harbour Update - posted 28/09/14

Incredible news today in that there was a new Great White Egret at Littlesea, Studland, meaning that there are now two birds choosing to roost in the Little Egret colony on a high tide. Both were seen together this morning, but weren’t seen again for the rest of the day, however chances are that they’ll hopefully be back again tomorrow…. maybe even choosing to over-winter? We’ll have to wait and see. I mentioned Jays yesterday, well this morning I had a loose group of 21 high over my house in Lytchett Matravers in the space of a few minuets. Firstly a flock of 4, then 11, then 3 and then 3 again. On your way to work tomorrow, before you get in the car, just take a minute to look up and see if any are flying over your house. A Hobby was hunting over Arne Moors in amongst many, many hundreds of Swallow and House Martin

Harbour Update - posted 27/09/14

A ringing demo took place at Lytchett Heath, Lytchet Bay this morning which was joint event hosted by Dorset Wildlife Trust and carried out by Stour Ringing Group, of which I am a member of. The event was a brilliant success with all 30 places fully booked and superb range of species caught to show to the interested party. The species list consisted of Grasshopper Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, 4 Bearded Tit, Stonechat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting and Blue Tit. Over in Brands Bay the Great White Egret was found again before relocating to Littlesea to roost, also in Brands Bay 1 Osprey, 1 Hen Harrier, 20 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Pintail and 18 Little Egret. At Swineham, good numbers of Chiffchaff and Blackcap plus a few small parties of Bearded Tit. Jays are becoming quite obvious at the moment with numerous birds passing overhead at a number of places, consisting of either local movements or possible migrants from the continent. 

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  • Bearded Tit - Lytchett Bay ringing demo
  • Cetti's Warbler - Lytchett Bay ringing demo
  • Stonechat - Lytchett Bay
Harbour Update - posted 26/09/14

Middlebere was the place to be this morning for raptors with the harbours first Merlin of the autumn putting in an appearance, also the ringtail Hen Harrier along with Kestrel, Peregrine, Buzzard and Marsh Harrier. There was also a Hobby hunting over Arne Moors and a Sparrowhawk hassling hirundines making that pretty much a full sweep of likely raptors for this time of year.  The Great White Egret was seen briefly at Middlebere along with 2 Sand Marin and 2 Green Sandpiper. Lytchett Bay seemed quiet with just 9 Greenshank, 1 Dunlin and 1 Grey Wagtail, but a flock of 10 Jay was nice to see. Yesterday at South Haven saw 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 25 Chiffchaff and 10 Goldcrest while at Brands Bay there were 2 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Knot and 1 Whinchat.

Harbour Update - posted 24/09/14

Fairly quiet from the last few days but still some nice sightings. South Haven saw 1 Redstart, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Common Whitethroat, 1 Tree Pipit, 7 Blackcap, 50 Chiffchaff plus at least 3 Brent Geese entering the Harbour mouth. At Lytchett Bay 4 Bearded Tit, 1 Ruff, 4 Green Sandpiper, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Stonechat, 5 Sedge Warbler, 3 Reed Warbler, 2 Grey Wagtail, 1 Yellow Wagtail and a whopping 917 Teal.  An Osprey was over Coombe Heath, Arne. 

Harbour Update posted 21/09/14

The vis-mig (visible migration) season is now certainly upon us with a decent flurry of birds recorded from the top of Glebelands, Ballard today as our ‘BoPH’ surveyor Nick Hopper monitored migrating birds overhead. The definite highlights were a Lapland Bunting and then a male Ring Ouzel. Other birds from the overhead count included 1 Ringed Plover, 6 Grey Wagtail, 27 alba Wagtail, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 224 House Martin, 8 Sand Martin, 595 Swallow, 87 Linnet, 26 Chaffinch, 28 Goldfinch and 7 Skylark. On the ground 1 Whinchat and 4 Wheatear were present. At Lytchett Bay 9 Greenshank, 2 Spotted Redshank, 1 Little Stint, 5 Green Sandpiper, 40+ Snipe, 1 Dunlin, 7 Redshank, 1 Peregrine, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Grey Wagtail. Holes Bay is now picking up too as the autumn progresses with 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank, 289 Redshank, 183 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Wigeon, 1 Common Tern and 1 Little Grebe. Brownsea is also looking great at the moment with 20 Spoonbill, 1 female Pintail (rare here) 10 Wigeon, 330 Avocet, 13 Spotted Redshank, 12 Greenshank, 8 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Great Black-backed Gull eating a Teal. The Great White Egret was again in and around the Brands Bay/Littlesea area. 

 

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  • Great White Egret - Brands Bay - Steve Smith
  • Great White Egret - Littlesea - Steve Smith
  • Greenshank - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - posted 19/09/14

More autumn delight are starting to creep through with a lovely male Firecrest in a garden in the center of Poole yesterday. From now and into October is by far the best time to find these little beauties as they often hang out in Holly bushes to feed, sometimes hovering as they pick off insects from the underside of the leaves. Goldcrest numbers will also start to rise this time of year so try and teach yourself the differences between their two calls which will almost certainly be the best way of tracking them down. Below are two records of both an autumn migrant Firecrest and an autumn migrant Goldcrest featured in publication The Sound Approach to Birding.

Firecrest – Two autumn migrants – The Sound Approach to Birding

Goldcrest – Autumn migrant – The Sound Approach to Birding 

Elsewhere the Great White Egret is still playing around in the Little Sea/ Brands Bay area where there was also 260 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 109 Redshank, 9 Dunlin, 1 Osprey, 10 Pintail and 1 Kingfisher. Also at Studland a Pied Flycatcher was at Knoll Beach with a few Chiffchaff and Blackcap and 2 Sanderling were at the House Boats. At Lytchett Bay still 2 Little Stint, 1 Ruff, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 6 Greenshank and 5 Spotted Flycatcher. At Middlebere there was 1 Osprey plus 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 14 Knot, 3 Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 180 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Peregrine, 1 Shoveler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Yellow-legged gull.

Harbour Update - posted 15/09/14

We’re now half way through the month and the goodies keep on coming. Apologies for the lack of reports from the weekend, but I didn’t have access to a computer. Bird of the weekend has to go to the Melodious Warbler that was found at Greenlands Farm on Saturday afternoon. This is the 6th Poole harbour record and the 3rd for Studland and a bird I’m desperate to see in the harbour, but unfortunately it didn’t hang around…surely there’s another one out there somewhere?  The Great White Egret is also still hanging around the Littlesea/ Studland area, which makes it almost a week the bird has been present. There are still plenty of migrants around with 2 Redstart, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Tree Pipit, 4 Whitethroat, 3 Pintail and 2 Dartford Warbler along the western track of Littlesea. At Greenlands Farm there were also 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whinchat, 2 Wheatear, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 8 Chiffchaff and 1 Willow Warbler whilst in brands Bay 38 Great Crested Grebe and 14 Knot were present. More signs of winter with the first Black-necked Grebe being found off Middle Beach. At Lytchett Bay 2 Little Stint, 1 Ruff, 250 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Spotted flycatcher, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 15 Yellow Wagtail, 10 Blackcap, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 Little Grebe. In Middlebere 1 Osprey, 2 Marsh Harrier, 10 Redshank, plenty of Blackcap and Whitethroat, 1 Wheatear and 1 Green Sandpiper. On the Brownsea Lagoon a stunning 18 Spoonbill, also 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint, 350 Avocet and 650+ Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Spotted Redshank, 21 Greenshank, 1 Grey Plover and 28 Bar-tailed Godwit. At Swineham 2 Ruff were on the flooded pool next to the GP, also 1 Whinchat and a Pintail. At Holes Bay 2 Spotted Redshank. 2 Brent Geese were at South Studland. 

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  • Wheatear - Keith Rawling - Middlebere
  • Dartford Warbler - Studland
  • Ruff - Swineham - Peter Moore
Harbour Update posted 12/09/14

More signs of autumn progressing as 3 Brent Geese arrived in the harbour and circled the Brownsea Lagoon.  This is particularly early but seeming as they’ve had a decent tail wind up their chuff for the last few weeks, maybe its speeded them on a bit? Also on Brownsea today there were 17 Spoonbill, 1 Lapwing (odd for Brownsea), 374 Avocet, 164 Dunlin, 21 Curlew, 19 Knot, 1 Little Stint. 4 Curlew Sandpiper, 13 Greenshank, 8 Spotted Redshank, 640 Black-tailed Godwit and 31 Bat-tailed Godwit. An Osprey was over Arne and a Hobby hunted over Arne Moors. Along Soldiers Road there were 3 Spotted Flycatcher and a Whinchat and 3 Woodlark over head. In Middlebere counts included 477 Teal, 3 Pintail, 36 Wigeon, 1 Spoonbill, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Redstart, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 1 Reed Warbler.  Three Osprey remained in the Wareham Channel and Marsh Harrier totals increased to three. 

Harbour Update - posted 10/09/14

If you can get out at the moment, then I highly recommend it as many more migrants are currently passing through, and Poole harbour is also now starting to see some scarcities. The Great White Egret was showing well in the Little Egret roost on Little Sea, Studland and I even managed to get some pretty dire heat hazy video footage, which you can view HERE. Thanks Steve Smith (http://birdingpooleharbourandbeyond.blogspot.co.uk/) for the photo of the bird in flight showing a peculiar orange tinge to the wing coverts, possibly pointing to it being a juvenile? It seems this bird is fairly settled and may hang around a while, so to try and view it scan from the High Hide which is up the track, opposite the entrance to Greenland’s Farm, or like today out in Brands Bay where it spent some time. Another stunning bird from today was Poole Harbours second White-winged Black Tern in two years! Seeming as there has only ever been one previous Poole Harbour record going back to 1961, this is quite something. It was found feeding by Graham Armstrong along the Brownsea shoreline, viewed from the House Boats at Studland where it quite happily fed for around an hour before heading up over Brownsea Castle and then disappearing towards Shore Road. I also hosted a guided walk this morning for Dorset Bird Week around the Soldiers Road, Slepe/Hartland area where my group and I were treated to a real migrant spectacle. The focus was migrants of Purbeck and they certainly didn’t let us down with 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, 1 Wheatear, 3 Whitethroat, 1 Whinchat, 1 Tree Pipit, 5 Woodlark, 6 Dartford Warbler, 100’s of Swallow, 100’s of Meadow Pipit and to top it off 2 Osprey feeding out in the Wareham Channel with one getting mobbed by a Peregrine. At Little Sea, Studland there were 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 2 Whitethroat and 5 Stonechat. At Lytchett Bay 7 Wigeon were present also 2 Ruff, 50 Yellow Wagtail, 77 Black-tailed Godwit and 6 Green Sandpiper.

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  • Great White Egret - Little Sea - Steve Smith
  • Wigeon - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam
  • Meadow Pipit - Lytchett Bay
Harbour Update - posted 08/09/14

Highlight from yesterday was a Great White Egret that was found in front of the Harrier Hide that looks out across the Wytch Channel, along the Middlebere track. This discovery managed to break the record for longest saying Great White Egret ever found in Poole Harbour, breaking the previous record of 2.4 seconds! Thankfully this bird stayed a good couple of hours and was enjoyed by a handful of birders, where it then took off and was relocated to Little Sea, Studland where it probably roosted for the night. Where will it turn up next? It was very birdy elsewhere in the harbour starting at Brownsea where there were 22 Spoonbill, 57 Little Egret, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Knot, 2 Little Stint, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Curlew Sandpiper, 9 Spotted Redshank, 10 Greenshank, 13 Curlew, 53 Dunlin, 20+ Ringed Plover, 3 Wheatear and 1 Yellow-legged Gull. The BoPH guided walk at Middlebere produced 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whitethroat, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Osprey, 5 Greenshank, 1 Marsh Harrier, 10+ Yellow Wagtail, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Sparrowhawk and a handful of Blackcap. There was a minimum of 4 Osprey in the harbour with 3 in and around the Wareham Channel during the morning and at the same time one in Brands Bay. Also during the Arne Raptor Weekend, Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine and Sparrowhawk were all recorded. At Lytchett Bay there was a Pied Flycatcher with 4 Spotted Flycatcher, also 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whinchat, 1 Redstart, 150+ Yellow Wagtail, 2 Little Stint, 4 Ruff, 2 Ringed Plover, 19 Knot, 1 Whimbrel and 9 Greenshank. Down at Swineham there was group of 6 Bearded Tit, also there, 1 Hobby, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Wheatear, 9 Chiffchaff and 4 Cetti’s Warbler. Up on Hartland there were 3 Whinchat with 8 Stonechat. A juvenile Cuckoo was seen in Middlebere, with another at Swineham.

 

Harbour Update - posted 04/09/14

With these easterlies setting in over the coming days, the opportunity to find nice birds continues. That has certainly been the case with common migrants popping up at all the usual sites. There has also been the arrival of the first winter duck in a few places. In Brands Bay there were 16 Pintail, 8 Wigeon, 18 Teal, 270+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank, 1 Dunlin and an Osprey fishing. There were also still 3 Osprey commuting between Middlebere and the Wareham Channel, and another (or one of the three) fishing in Lytchett Bay. It seems there is currently only 1 Marsh Harrier at the moment, but I’m sure that total will rise over the coming weeks. Middlebere and Hartland have seen good numbers of Whinchat and Redstart with at least 5 of the former near the Hart Hide and 3 of the latter along the track. South Haven and Greenlands has been receiving some nice coverage recently with just reward too, consisting of 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Grey Wagtail, 5 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 4 Wheatear. Up on Old Harry there were 2 Redstart, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Reed Warbler, and at Studland Church Yard, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Redstart and several Blackcap and Willow/Chiff. Out in Lytchett Bay there were 5 Little Stint and 3 Ruff. On Brownsea there were 2 Little Stint, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 100+ Avocet and 4 Spotted Redshank.

Harbour Update - posted 01/09/14

It’s certainly a good time to be out birding at the moment, as it seems there is something of interest in every bush or passing overhead.  Migration is in full swing and by visiting your local patch, or some area of the harbour you can be rewarded with a little gem such as Redstart or Whinchat as it busily feeds up. Overhead passage currently consists of Swallow and House Martin in good numbers. Tree Pipit and Yellow Wagtail are other classic September migrants and identifying them by sound as the pass overhead is a great way of honing in on your listening skills. Below are two recordings of both Tree Pipit and Yellow Wagtail, so take a listen and see if you can pick out any whilst you’re out birding. I’ve even had several Tree Pipit pass over my garden within the last week. I have also included Meadow Pipit calls for comparison.

Tree Pipit - calls of a migrating flock - Catching the Bug

Meadow Pipit - calls of migarting flock for comparison

Yellow Wagtail - flight calls - Catching the Bug

 

There are still currently 3 Osprey around with 2 in the Wareham Channel and 1 in Lytchett Bay.  At Swineham there were 17 Spoonbill off the point, which is encouraging for another large autumn arrival, also there 37 Chiffchaff, 6 Willow Warbler, 11 Sedge Warbler, 19 Reed Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 5 Cetti’s Warbler, 1 Whinchat, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Hobby, 1 Whimbrel and 48 Yellow-legged Gull out in the Wareham Channel. Out in Lytchett Bay today there were 3 Ruff, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Little Stint, 1 Knot, 6 Greenshank and 3 Green Sandpiper. A flock of 17 Yellow Wagtail were up on Hartland Stud. Before the Black Kite excitement yesterday, from Slepe/Hartland other raptors counted included 2 Hobby, 1 Peregrine, 1 Marsh Harrier, several Buzzard, 2 Kestrel and 2 Sparrowhawk. Elsewhere around the harbour, Redstart, Whinchat, Wheatear, Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Willow Warbler and Blackcap are all being reported in good numbers.

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