August 2015

Harbour Update - posted 30/08/15

Today a Poole Harbour Bird Race was held, involving six teams of two people competing against each other to see who can see the most species of bird in a day. Not only can this provide an incredible list of birds, but it also means almost the entire harbour is covered from dawn til dusk, providing highlights from the entire area. The boundaries we use for the Poole Harbour bird race are that of the Map section on our website which provides a great range and variation of habitats. The forecast looked set to offer some good birdy opportunities with a bit of rain through the night, clearing at dawn and a light north-easterly breeze early morning, fading away through the afternoon. With enthusiasm and anticipation bursting from the seams the 15-hour ‘birdathon’ was on.

With most teams starting around 4am Nightjar were seen/heard at Arne and Studland whilst both the Arne and Middlebere Barn Owls were seen too by some teams. A favoured spot at dawn appeared to be the Ballard/Old Harry area with almost all teams appearing there at first light, and a wise decision it proved to be. Redstart, Whinchat, Wheatear, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Chiffchaff, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Sedge Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Yellow Wagtail, Dartford Warbler, Yellowhammer, Crossbill, Common Scoter, Fulmar and Gannet were clocked between the teams. However, whilst that was going on, another team jammed in on a Wryneck at Greenlands Farm….by far one of the best birds of the day.

Wryneck - Greenlands Farm - Peter Moore

RSPB Lytchett Fields provided a mouth watering opportunity for anyone wanting to bump up their day (or year) list with 2 Wood Sandpiper, 4 Ruff, 2 Little Stint, 10 Knot and numerous Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Snipe, Lapwing and Teal. The other hotspot seemed to be Brownsea where Spoonbill numbers have now hit 17 and the lagoon was filled with at least 15 Greenshank, 4 Spotted Redshank, 1 Sanderling, 10 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Tern, 40+ Sandwich Tern, 50+ Common Tern and all the usual other waders. Whilst away from the lagoon on Brownsea both Pied and Spotted Flycatcher were near the Villa and Firecrest were seen just beyond the villa. One of the main features of the day was Osprey with numerous sightings from almost every site. There were 3 in Brands Bay alone at dawn, not to mention the 2 birds seen in the Wareham Channel around the same time. We even had one low over the lagoon mid-afternoon flushing EVERYTHING off the lagoon in one foul swoop.

Osprey - Brands Bay - Peter Moore

Another incredible feature of the day was just simply how many migrants there were around; it seemed every fence post around Old Harry, Ballard, Greenland’s Farm or Arne had either a Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, Whinchat or Wheatear sat on it….just incredible.

Whinchat - Greenlands Farm - Peter Moore

Plus, if you throw all the ‘regular stuff’ that was ticked into the mix, such as Hobby (Arne), Bearded Tit (Swineham), Woodlark (Soldiers Road), Marsh Harrier (Wareham Channel) etc, the day was probably one of the most productive days the harbour has seen for many many years. In fact, the winning team (no gloating allowed) logged an incredible 130 species during the course of the day (FULL LIST HERE), beating the previous total of 123 by seven species. A total combined list from all participating teams is being compiled as we speak, and I will publish this when I have it.

My message to anyone wanting to go our birding in Poole Harbour is GO NOW. The range of species is staggering, the scenery beautiful and the birding community a sheer joy to be with. Look forward to seeing you out in the field soon. 


Harbour Update - posted 29/08/15

Undoubtedly the bird of the day was a stunning Bluethroat that was trapped and ringed in Lytchett Bay. Unfortunately, the bird was never seen again after being released, so we hope you enjoy these gorgeous ‘in the hand’ photos. Also ringed at Lytchett Bay today were 6 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Whinchat, 1 Dartford Warbler, 1 Common Sandpiper and a mix of commoner migrants. Its likely there are currently 6 Osprey in then harbour with 4 seen together in the Wareham Channel early morning with others seen in Lytchett Bay and Brands Bay around the same time. Also at RSPB Lytchett Fields 2 Wood Sandpiper, 4 Ruff, 1 Little Stint, 1 juv Cuckoo, 7 Knot, several Green and Common Sandpiper plus 3 Spotted Flycatcher and a Whinchat. At Middlebere this morning a juv Marsh Harrier, 2 Hobby, 3 Greenshank, 2 Spotted flycatcher, 2 Tree Pipit and 1 Redstart were noted. On the Brownsea Lagoon this afternoon 1 juv Curlew Sandpiper, 1 juv Garganey, 7 Spotted Redshank, 19 Knot and a Firecrest were logged

Click To Enlarge
  • Bluethroat - Lytchett Bay - Steve Smith
  • Woodlark - Soldiers Road - Peter Moore
  • Cuckoo - RSPB Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - posted 28/08/15

RSPB Lytchett Fields continued to hold good numbers of birds with 4 Wood Sandpiper, 4 Ruff, 2 Little Stint, 1 Greenshank, 50+ Dunlin, 8 Common Sandpiper, 6 Green  Sandpiper, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Whitethroat, 10 Willow Warbler and 1 Whinchat. A Black Tern made a brief appearance at Swineham GP. At Baiter there were 9 Ringed plover, 4 Dunlin, and 6 Oystercatcher. Greenlands Farm saw 1 Hobby, 11 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Tree Pipit, 3 Wheatear, 3 Redstart, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Garden Warbler, 5 Blackcap and 12 Willow Warbler. 2 Osprey were circling above Brands Bay in the morning, also there 1 Hobby, 1 Knot and 2 Greenshank. Late news from Middlebere on Wednesday included 10 Spoonbill, 1 Osprey, 3 Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Redstart, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Bullfinch and 12 Mistle Thrush. Brands Bay saw 1 Pintail (eclipse drake), 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 5 Sanderling and 20 Med Gulls. Along Soldiers Road 3 Woodlark, 1 Wheatear, and a Hobby. 

Click To Enlarge
  • Green Sandpiper - Middlebere - Peter Moore
  • Black Tern - Swineham GP - Peter Moore
  • Marsh Harrier - Middlebere - Peter Moore
Harbour Update - posted 27/08/15

At South Haven there were 3 Gannet, 16 Ringed Plover, 4 Sanderling, 1 Common Sandpiper and 100 Med Gull. At RSPB Lytchett Fields 81 Dunlin, 1, Little Stint, 4 Ruff, 3 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Knot, plus the usual Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Black-tailed godwit, Redshank etc. In the Wareham Channel 4 different Marsh Harrier came out of the roost. A juvenile Osprey was roosting at the back of Brands Bay. 

Harbour Update - posted 26/08/15

Today a horrid rainy morning eventually gave way to sunshine by mid afternoon, and despite the wind a good selection of birds were seen. Out on RSPB Lytchett Fields there were 68 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover, 5 Ruff, 2 Little Stint, 3 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank good numbers of Yellow Wagtail and a handful of Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Sedge Warbler. Looking out across Arne moors from Slepe Heath produced 2 Osprey over the Arne Peninsular, one carrying a fish, plus 2 hunting Hobby. At least 6 Whinchat were out in the short grass on the moors with 11 Stonechat. The top north-west corner of the moors was flooded out and hosted an incredible 80-100 Yellow Wagtails, 3 juvenile Ruff, 3 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, and 1 Spotted Redshank. In scrub along the Arne Road a mixed flock of migrants contained 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, several Willow Warbler and a Blackcap.

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  • Wood Sandpiper - RSPB Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
  • Med Gull - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam
  • Little Stint - RSPB Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - posted 25/08/15

More Osprey around today with 1 viewed from the Houseboats towards Newton and Brands Bay and another 2 (possibly including the bird seen from the Houseboats) seen over Brands Bay/Goathorn. There seems to be a good number of Osprey in the harbour, and don’t forget we’re after ALL YOUR OSPREY SIGHTINGS from around the harbour, so for more information please CLICK HERE. Also from the Studland area there were 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Sanderling, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Hobby, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 8 Whitethroat, 8 Willow Warbler and a Sedge Warbler at South Haven. From the Houseboats, 1 Common Sandpiper and a Kingfisher whilst in Brands Bay 42 Teal, 135 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshank and 4 Knot were logged. On Brownsea the Spoonbill total reached 15 by the end of the day. In Poole Park a Greenshank was seen out n the cricket pitch amongst gulls and geese which was a bit odd and on RSPB Lytchett Fields there were 2 Little Stint, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 51 Dunlin, 17 Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank and a juvenile Med Gull

Harbour Update - posted 24/08/15

RSPB Lytchett Fields still seems the place to be with good counts of waders still including 2 Little Stint, 17 Ringed Plover, 2 Little Stint, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Common Sandpiper, 5 Green Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank and the usual Redshank, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe etc. At South Haven 1 Turnstone, 6 Sanderling and 9 Ringed Plover were counted with another 10 Ringed Plover at the Houseboats. In Brands Bay there were 63 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshank, 3 Turnstone, 79 Dunlin and 3 Knot.

Harbour Update - posted 23/08/15

It’s a great time to be out birding in the harbour at present, with birds of many species turning up right across the area. Highlights from the last 4 days include….

Thursday 20th August

Four Osprey were feeding in the Wareham Channel which seemed to consist of three adults and one juvenile. A Knot arrived on RSPB Lytchett Fields and joined 5 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Ruff, 20 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 41 Dunlin, 6 Greenshank, 8 Common Sandpiper, 10 Green Sandpiper, 42 Lapwing and 10 Snipe, plus 2 Osprey were out in the Bay. Off Pilots Point, Studland a Balearic Shearwater was a great record also there 15+ Gannet, 4 Common Scoter, 3 Whitethroat and 7 Ringed Plover. From the House Boats looking towards Middlebere revealed an Osprey and 1 Spoonbill, whilst in Brands Bay 10 Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank, 1 Knot and 3 Turnstone were the highlights. There was also a Balearic Shearwater noted from Branksome. At Middlebere there were 8 Spoonbill, 1 Osprey, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Spotted flycatcher, 2 Spotted Redshank,, 1 Greenshank and 2 Yellow-legged gull.


Friday 21st August

4 Osprey were again noted in the Middlebere channel at dawn along with a whopping count of 47 Little Egret. Three Marsh Harrier were also counted coming out of their roost. Another Osprey was seen fishing out near Newton Bay and another Balearic Shearwater was noted from Pilots Point, along with an Arctic Skua. RSPB Lytchett Fields had 4 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Ruff, 17 Ringed Plover, 45 Dunlin and 1 Knot, also 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 Hobby.


Saturday 22st August

On RSPB Lytchett Fields 4 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Ruff, 1 Knot, 40 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 8 Green Sandpiper, 6 Common Sandpiper, 15 Snipe and 2 Greenshank. 3 Osprey were again in the Wareham Channel plus a new Marsh Harrier came out of the roost, which has involved 6 different birds over the last month. On the Brownsea Lagoon the Spoonbill total rose to 11 and there were 5 Spotted Redshank. Middlebere saw a good range of birds too with 2 Osprey, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hobby and 2 Kestrel, wader-wise 1 Whimbrel, 4 Knot, 1 Ruff, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Green Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 5 Spotted Redshank and a good count of 12 Yellow-legged Gull.


Sunday 23rd August

Sunday saw the arrival of the first 2 Little Stint on Lytchett Fields, also 4 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 1 Knot, 11 Green Sandpiper, 6 Common Sandpiper and 4 Yellow-Wagtail. A ringing session here also saw 8 Grasshopper Warbler. A Pied Flycatcher was in a private garden in Upton and a Garden Warbler and Hobby were seen from Lytchett Bay view. 

Harbour Update - posted 23/008/15

Over the last few days the harbour has seen some excellent bird counts from a variety of species. A full account will be written up tomorrow, but highlights have included still at least 4 Osprey in the harbour, most visible out in the Wareham Channel, and also the dead trees at Middlebere, and one even over at South Haven. The 4 Wood Sandpipers remain at Lytchett Fields, and are now joined by 2 Little Stint which were feeding together along with 3 Ruff, 17 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover and a wonderful selection of other waders. If you haven’t been to Lytchett Fields I suggest you try and get down as soon as possible. For directions click HERE and click on the Lytchett Bay section  of the map. On Brownsea the Spoonbill total has now swelled to 11 birds.  Yesterday evening, Middlebere was another hot spot yesterday with a Wood Sandpiper, 2 Osprey, 3 Spoonbill and good numbers of other waders. 

Harbour Update - posted 19/08/15

Five seemed to be the magic number today, even though the rain set in, and tried to ruin the day. It started off when 5 Osprey were reported in and around the Arne peninsular, with 3 even roosting in one tree during the rain, whilst another was fishing in the Wareham Channel and another was over in Middlebere. Don’t forget we’re after your Osprey sightings. For more information READ HERE. At RSPB fields the 5 Wood Sandpiper were present again along with 2 Ruff and a good spread of regular waders.

Harbour Update - posted 18/08/15

Lytchett Bays Wood Sandpiper record lasted one day, when 5 were counted in the morning, a fantastic total for the harbour. With the Wood Sands were 3 juv Ruff still, 12 Ringed Plover, 23 Dunlin, 10 Common Sandpiper, 6 Green Sandpiper, 16 Snipe, 28 Lapwing, 50+ Redshank and an influx of 98 Teal, 2 Whinchat and 3 Yellow Wagtail. On Brownsea there are now 8 Spoonbill, and this total is likely to increase week by week until late October. Last year we reached a maximum of 49….can we see 50 this year? An Osprey put on a good show in the Middlebere Channel, repeatedly fishing until finally in caught a fish and flew off towards Wytch. Ballard hosted 23 Whitethroat, 2 Redstart and 1 Spotted Flycatcher. In Brands Bay a Ruff, 2 Whimbrel and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit were counted and there was a Spotted Flycatcher at Littlesea. The scrub around Holes Bay north saw 1 Redstart, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Garden Warbler and a Reed Warbler.  

Harbour Update - posted 17/08/15

An incredible total of 4 Wood Sandpiper were counted on RSPB Lytchett Fields yesterday morning, which has to be close to a Dorset record for this species in one place at one time. This coincided with a site record of 13 Common Sandpiper spread across both sets of fields plus 3 juvenile Ruff, 7 Ringed Plover, 20 Dunlin, 9 Green Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, lots of Redshank, Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Common Snipe and 2 Whinchat. The scrub at the top of Holes Bay north saw 1 Redstart, 3 Garden Warbler, 8 Blackcap, plenty of Willow Warbler as well as a Common Sandpiper by the outflow channel.  At South Haven there were 8 Sanderling and 1 Common Sandpiper and in Brands Bay 21 Teal, 1 Whimbrel, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Yellow Wagtail. On Brownsea 3 Spotted Redshank, 2 Spoonbill, 18 Avocet and 2 Ringed Plover were noted on the lagoon webcam.

I also mentioned yesterday that I would post three types of passerine calls which I recorded during a night sound recording session from my garden on the 15/08/15. Now I’m not going to pretend I know what these are, but from having had several conversations with friends and colleagues it’s suggested that these calls could be of either, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher and even Robin. Which is which to me is a total unknown at present but we’re working on finding out a lot more about these types of calls and will hopefully one day (soon) be able to assign them to a specific species. For now I’ll just lable them Passerine call 1, 2 and 3. The reason for showing them is to illustrate the fact that even though they sound the same, on the sonagram they are in fact quite different, possibly suggesting that each is a different species.

Passerine call 1 - slight downward inflection


Passerine call 2 - sharp rising inflection


Passerine call 3 - slight rising inflection

Harbour Update - posted 16/08/15


Yet again waders were the main feature, especially at RSPB Lytchett Fields where the viewpoints offered great views of a whole range of species including 2 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Ruff, 7 Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpiper, 12 Dunlin, 77 Redshank, 7 Ringed Plover, 90 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Snipe, 20 Lapwing as well as 7 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and good numbers of Willow-chiff. Up around Old Harry and Ballard migrants included 1 Yellow Wagtail, 35+ Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 13 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Wheatear, 1 Redstart and 2 Spotted Flycatcher. At Greenland’s Farm, Studland there was 1 Hobby, 7 Willow Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Wheatear, 4 Redstart and 2 Spotted Flycatcher.

I’ve finally got round to doing some more night recording sessions to which I’ll carry out from my garden and the lower Frome Valley over the following weeks. Last night I set up in my garden and had 1 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Water Rail, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Grey Heron plus a series of six different passerine calls over the course of the night comprising of possibly Pied or Spotted Flycatcher and even Robin. There were three examples which seem quite different to one another which I’ll post tomorrow, but in the mean time here is the Ringed Plover passing over my house at around 2:30am


Ringed Plover - calls of a night time migrant - Lytchett Matravers


Harbour Update - posted 15/08/15

Today was another good day busy with birds, but this time in slightly more enjoyable weather. Starting off at Studland where 2 Black Tern were found feeding in a mixed tern flock off the houseboats, also in the area 9 Ringed Plover, 7 Common Sandpiper and a Yellow Wagtail and good numbers of common warblers. At Lytchett Bay a Wood Sandpiper appeared and a juv Ruff was still present, also 5 Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpiper and 20+ Dunlin, 1 Whinchat, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Firecrest. Just across the bay a ringing session at Lytchett Heath produced almost 200 birds including 6 Grasshopper Warbler and 2 Tree Pipit amongst the many many Sedge Warbler. An Osprey drifted over Fleetsbridge late afternoon heading towards Poole Town Centre. The scrub around the northern section of Holes Bay held 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 4 Garden Warbler, 1 Whitethroat and a Reed Warbler.

Click To Enlarge
  • Osprey - Fleetsbridge, Poole
  • Sedge Warbler - RSPB Lytchett Fields
  • Lots of Willow/Chiffs around at the moment too
Harbour Update - 14/08/15

The dire weather ‘downed’ a lot of birds as they tried to take shelter whilst feeding at the same time. A likely Melodious Warbler was seen at RSPB Lytchett Fields first thing in amongst a mixture of Willow Warbler and a Garden Warbler. On the fields were 15 Ringed Plover, 5 Common Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 1 juv Little Ringed Plover, 15 Dunlin, 3 Green Sandpiper, 3 Kingfisher, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Hobby over, and good numbers of the usual Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing. At Swineham a Caspian Gull was reported from Swineham Point, also present was 1 Pied Flycatcher, 9 Willow Warbler, 7 Reed Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Wheatear, 1 Hobby, 3 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper and a Ringed Plover. At Upton CP 6 Spotted Flycatcher and a Pied Flycatcher were near the cattle trough in the field near the park entrance, also a male Redstart. On Brownsea 3 Spotted Redshank, 2 Spoonbill and 8 Greenshank were present. Brands Bay saw 1 Knot, 1 Arctic Tern, 1 Spoonbill and 2 Common Sandpiper, whilst at South Haven there were 11 Sanderling, 11 Ringed Plover and 1 Dunlin.

Harbour Update - 13/08/15

A ringing session at Lytchett Bay highlight a big movement of Sedge Warbler through the harbour with 186 ringed in a few hours, along with 4 Grasshopper Warbler and a Kingfisher.  On RSPB Lytchett Fields there were 10 Ringed Plover, 2 juv Ruff, 7 Green Sandpiper, 15 Dunlin, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Yellow Wagtail and 3 Greenshank. Redstarts were noted in gardens today in north Poole and Upton. A couple of Pied Flycatchers have occurred in the Arne car park this week with a mix of common migrants. On Brownsea there were 3 Spotted Redshank and 18 Avocet. Holes Bay north held 3 Common Sandpiper, 6 adult Yellow-legged Gull and 117 Black-tailed Godwit. In Brands Bay there were 2 Ringed Plover, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 180 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank, 25 Dunlin and 1 Common Sandpiper. At South Haven 10 Ringed Plover, 3+ Sanderling, and 2 Turnstone made up a nice wader flock on the beach. At Littlesea a Spoonbill passed over-head and a Common Sandpiper was noted. At Upton CP there were 4 Spotted Flycatcher and a Garden Warbler around the paddocks.


Harbour Update - 11/08/15

Today was another cracking day for birds in the harbour with plenty to feast your eyes on. Firstly, a Melodious Warbler was found at South Haven, Studland first thing and was seen only a handful of times throughout the rest of the day. This is a good record, and from what I believe only the 7th record for the harbour. Also at South Haven 3 Common Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Garden Warbler and 1 Swift. On RSPB Lytchett Fields a Wood Sandpiper was present for its second day with 2 Ruff, 3 Ringed Plover, 4 Snipe, 13 Dunlin, 18 Green Sandpiper and a Hobby chasing after hirundines. At Lytchett Heath there was 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 30+ Willow Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Nightjar, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Cetti’s Warbler. Brownsea was busy with 7 Greenshank, 18 Avocet, 2 Spotted Redshank, 1 Whimbrel, good numbers of Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Redshank, 1 Spoonbill, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Kingfisher. At Holton Lee 2 Tree Pipit passed over.

Wood Sandpiper - RSPB Lytchett Fields


Harbour Update - posted 09/08/15

Today was the second ever Hen Harrier Day, an event that brings like-minded people together who want to see change in the way our uplands are managed and the protection of our birds of prey increased. All in all there were six events held right across the country, and ours was held at the wonderful Arne RSPB reserve. Last year the event in the south was at the RSPB Radipole reserve and attract 30 people (a good effort for a first attempt in the pouring rain), this year 150 people their way to Arne to show their support. You may ask why host an event in the south, when the issue is predominantly in the north? Well, every winter, Poole Harbour and the south coast in general sees Hen Harriers arrive from the north and we know this due to some satellite tagging and leg ring recovery data we have received. So, if Hen Harriers disappear in the north, they’ll disappear here too. All in all it was a great event and well organised by the hen Harrier south team. A huge thanks must go to RSPB Arne for hosting the event and lets hope that the pressure that is getting applied right across the county allows us to see some change some time soon. Coincidentally, 2015 is said to be the best breeding year for Hen Harriers in five years with six pairs and 18 fledged young.

Bird news from today included the BLACK STORK, which was seen in the Wytch Lake again early morning but was later seen circling high and drifting off west over Middlebere just before lunch time (seconds after the Hen Harrier event had just finished). Also at Wytch Lake 2 Tree Pipit over, 1 Marsh Harrier and a Spotted Flycatcher. RSPB Lytchett Fields was looking good again with a juv Ruff, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Oystercatcher and good numbers of Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing. At Middlebere there was 1 Spoonbill, 1 Whitethroat, 8 Yellow-legged Gull, 26 Little Egret, 3 Green Sandpiper, 10 Black-tailed Godwit and a number of newly fledged Swallow and Sand Martin. 

There was also a great example of RIDICULOUS parking at in Slough Lane Lytchett Bay. This wasn’t necessarily a birder,  but Just to remind anyone visiting RSPB Lytchett Fields, there is strictly NO PARKING along the lane, especially not half way across an access gate that large Wessex Water tankers need access to 24 hours a day. Many Thanks

Harbour Update - 08/08/15

What a great day it was to have a Pimms or two (or three or four). Not so good when you get a phone call at 17:30 saying a BLACK STORK had just been photographed flying low over the Arne Road, and I’m stuck at home unable to drive. However, the search was on and local birders Steve Smith and Nick Hopper took on the challenge. A good vantage point was needed to see if the bird was flying between sites and eventually after about 30 minutes it was seen flying over Arne and dipping into the Middlebere area. Another search proved fruitless until it was then seen flying over Middlebere towards the Wytch Channel where it eventually settled and was joined by 3 Spoonbill. This was the 6th Poole Harbour record, which includes two historical reports of birds shot in 1839 and 1849 with all six records bar one coming from Middlebere, the other being at Lytchett Bay in May 2011. Migrants along the Middlebere track this morning included 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Sedge Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, numerous Willow Warbler and Blackcap, the Barn Own was seen briefly and 2 Green Sandpiper were out in the channel. On RSPB Lytchett Fields there was 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 13 Dunlin, 1 juv Marsh Harrier, 111 Black-tailed Godwit, 61 Redshank, 5 Greenshank, 11 Green Sandpiper and 2 adult Yellow-legged Gull.

Black Stork with 3 Spoonbill - Wytch Lake (near Middlebere) Aidan Brown

Harbour Update - posted 07/08/15

Today was definitely the first real migrant day of the spring with many areas seeing a good range of common migrants. At South Haven there were 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 Dartford Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 3 Sanderling and 5 Ringed Plover. In Brands Bay 1 Teal, 125 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank and 1 Whitethroat were counted. At RSPB Lytchett Fields Sherford Pools held most birds with 1 Common Sandpiper, 4 Green Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 1 Snipe, 100 Black-tailed Godwit, 50 Redshank, 15 Dunlin and 10 Lapwing were all roosting/feeding. On Brownsea today there were 11 Avocet, 2 Spoonbill and 200 Black-tailed Godwit. Middlebere saw 1 Redstart. Finally, a mega mornings birding/ringing at Lytchett Heath saw 6 Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Garden Warbler, 7 Bearded Tit, 26 Willow Warbler, 1 Redstart, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Common Whitethroat, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 120+ Sedge Warbler and 30+ Reed Warbler. Apart from the totals, the most amazing thing about this mornings ringing session was we caught four controls! A French Sedge Warbler and BTO ringed Garden Warbler, Blackcap and Bearded Tit. You can often go months without catching a control so to get four in one session is unprecedented.   

Harbour Update - posted 05/08/15

More waders are beginning to appear with 3 Ruff (1 adult and 2 juveniles) turning up on RSPB Lytchett Fields along with the standard Redshank, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit and a handful of Snipe. A ringing session in Poole Harbour north saw another Garden Warbler ringed along with the first Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat for the site this year. On the Brownsea Lagoon 8 Avocet were present, 2 Spoonbill, 11 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank and a Common Sandpiper were counted.

Harbour Update - posted 03/08/15

RSPB Lytchett Fields has been looking superb over the last couple of days as the recent high tides has totally wetted the site again, creating a whole myriad of pools and scrapes of water. Yesterday saw more birds on site than I think I’ve ever seen before with Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Dunlin, Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Whimbrel, Curlew, Green Sandpiper, Little Egret, Spoonbill, Shelduck, 500 Black-headed Gull, Yellow and Pied Wagtail all noted on the high tide….just incredible. On the Brownsea Lagoon, there were 8 Avocet, 3 Spoonbill, 40 Dunlin, 2 Spotted Redshank and 8 Greenshank.

Please don’t forget to attend this weekends Hen Harrier Day event at Arne RSPB reserve if you can make it. The weather forecast is looking good, so come and add your voice and show your support for one of our countries rarest breeding bird species. After all, we know for a fact that the birds that spend the winter in Poole Harbour come from Scotland and northern England.

There are also still a couple of places left on our Early Migrants at Middlebere walk on saturday, so if you fancy an enjoyable morning out (hopefully) seeing a nice selection of migrants that BOOK ON HERE.


Harbour Update - posted 02/08/15

Don’t forget that it is the Hen Harrier South Day this coming Sunday (August 9th), so come and show your support and for British Hen Harriers and be apart of a real force for nature conservation. See below poster.

Sightings for RSPB Lytchett Fields included 82 Redshank, 54 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Lapwing, 7 Dunlin, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank and the first Yellow Wagtail of the season. Just round the corner on Lytchett Heath another juvenile Redstart was seen, which is a strange coincidence seeming as we ringed another there a few days ago. Are we seeing early migrants or have they bred locally? Who knows? On Brownsea 2 Spoonbill were still present and 7 Avocet arrived back. 



Harbour Update - posted 01/08/15

The 1st of the month was a busy day for birds. The Brownsea Lagoon had an Osprey pass over, spooking everything a number of times. Wader-wise the lagoon held 16 Greenshank, 3 Spotted Redshank, 16 Common Sandpiper, 4 Avocet and 3 Spoonbill. At South Haven there was a Lesser Whitethroat and at Brands Bay a group of 24 Crossbill went over towards Goathorn, also at Brands 2 Whimbrel and an arrival of some Common Gulls. RSPB Lytchett Fields were busy too with 70+ Redshank, 50+ Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Dunlin, 4 Snipe, 4 Green Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 2 Little Ringed Plover and 1 Yellow-legged Gull.

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