September 2015

Harbour Update - posted 29/09/15

Another day and yes….more Spoonbills! There were 42 on the Brownsea Lagoon today and there are plenty more along the south coast at present hopefully making their way here. I would love to see 50 by the end of the week….fingers crossed. There were a minimum of 4 Bearded Tit along footpath 12, Lytchett Bay and at Lytchett Fields there were still 2 Whinchat, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Wheatear. The fields were generally quiet with 30+ Dunlin, 4 Greenshank and 4 Green Sandpiper. Two Kingfisher have been reported from Poole Park over the last couple of days, apparently showing very little fear of people and perching up on posts just yards from the general public. Great photo opportunities, especially with this late evening sun we’ve been getting.

Below are a couple more sounds from recent recording sessions up at Glebelands, Ballard. The first is a party of Siskin that passed very low overhead. Both Siskin and Goldfinch seem to be moving in big numbers at present so learning the Siskins chattering and tiu calls will alert you to their presence as they pass over in small groups.

Siskins – Calls of a migrating party over Glebelands, Ballard – 28/09/15

The second recording isn’t actually a migrating call, but in fact an alarm call from a Blackcap. This bird was in a bush behind and obviously didn’t like me standing where I was. This can be a common sound in scrubby habitats at this time of year so well worth knowing if you’re out and about.

Blackcap – Alarm calls of a male at Glebelands, Ballard – 28/09/15

Harbour Update - posted 28/09/15

The Spoonbill total on Brownsea seems to be going up day by day with 37 counted on the lagoon. Last year, when the British record was broken for the largest flock ever gathered in the UK (49) numbers were still growing in late October. So considering we’re already on 37 and its not even October yet, I would hazard a guess we could see another record-breaking year for this species. Also on Brownsea were 2 Firecrest, 1 Hobby, 200+ Avocet and 2 Sandwich Tern. On Hartland Moor a female Merlin is still present, harassing Meadow Pipits and it looks as if there are now 6 Marsh Harrier in the west Poole Harbour roost. The lower part of Studland was quiet with a single Cetti’s Warbler at South Haven (very rare here) and reasonable numbers Goldfinch, Linnet, Siskin, Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipit passing overhead. In Studland Bay there are already 4 Black-necked Grebe back and they were joined by 1 male Common Scoter. A sound recording session up Glebelands, Ballard was well worth the effort with many birds on the move including 1 Crossbill, 1 Yellowhammer, 8 Yellow Wagtail, 22 Pied Wagtail, 5 Grey Wagtail, 20+ Siskin, 40+ Redpoll, 500+ Linnet and Goldfinch, 500+ Meadow Pipit and 10+ Skylark. It also seems Song Thrush are now on the move with several passing over in the dark just before sunrise. When will the first Redwing be heard?

With several visits to Glebelands recently we have a few more sound recording to upload. The first is Lesser Redpoll a species that will move right the way through October and in to November too. This recording gives nice examples of both the che-che-che and pyuee call that they do.

Lesser Redpoll – Flight calls of an autumn migrant – Glebelands, Ballard – 28/09/15

The second recording is of a migrating Yellowhammer. Not always thought of as a migrant, Yellowhammer will move around singularly or in small flocks looking for feeding areas. This was my first migrant Yellowhammer of the autumn and it’s p-lick sounding call can be heard at 9, 11, 15, 19 and 23 seconds.

Yellowhammer – Flight calls of an autumn migrant– Glebelands, Ballard – 28/09/15

Harbour Update - posted 27/09/15

Very quiet around with only birds of note being 4 Pintail at Lytchett Bay, 3 Brent Geese arriving at Whitecliff and the Spoonbill flock on Brownsea reaching 35. A vis mig session at South Haven, Studland produced 18 Chaffinch, 11 Greenfinch, 9 Lesser Redpoll, 32 Linnet, 309 Goldfinch, 119 Siskin, 19 Pied Wagtail, 13 Meadow Pipit 14 Swallow, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Stock Dove, 1 Merlin and 1 Sparrowhawk. There were 5 Yellowhammer at Brands Bay. General birding around the harbour at present is still very rewarding with good numbers of common waders and wildfowl now back and especially with this gorgeous late summer sun, making migrant birds active. 


Click To Enlarge
  • Goldcrest - Swineham - Keith Rawling
  • Chiffchaff - Swineham - Keith Rawling
  • Pintail - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - posted 26/09/15

A vis-mig session was held up on Ballard at first light, and although the conditions looked good for birds to move, it never really got going beyond a slow trickle. However, whilst listening to passing migrants the song of a Woodlark was picked up distantly from one of the farm fields, a really odd record for Ballard and after a bit of tracking down 2 were actually discovered. These were only the second and third record for the Studland peninsular all year. Also noted during the session were 4 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Crossbill, 11 Lesser Redpoll, 9 Skylark, 50+ each of Linnet and Goldfinch and 70+ Meadow Pipit. Also seen on Ballard were good numbers of Chiffchaff and Stonechat along 1 Peregrine, 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Buzzard. The 2 Firecrest were at Middlebere again near the cottages, also 5 Goldcrest, 2 Blackcap, 20 Chiffchaff, 1 Whinchat, 1 Whitethroat, 16 Stonechat, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 Sparrowhawk. In the channel were 6 Spoonbill, 1600 Black-tailed Godwit and a few Wigeon. From Slepe Heath a Hobby was seen chasing some of the many, many Swallow that were passing through all day and 1 Woodlark on the heath. 

Harbour Update - posted 25/09/15

The Great White Egret was sat on the sea wall of the Brownsea Lagoon first thing, and there were 31 Spoonbill on the lagoon along with a minimum of 14 Spotted Redshank and 100 Avocet. On RSPB Lytchett Fields the Little Stint was still present, also 60 Dunlin, 6 Greenshank, 7 Green Sandpiper and 2 Little Grebe in the bay. Migrant wise, things are quieting down a bit now but there were still 6 Wheatear, 30 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 20 Blackcap and 1 Grey Wagtail were at Greenland’s Farm, double figures of Wigeon and Pintail in Brands Bay and at Middlebere 9 Pintail, 1165 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank, 49 Dunlin, 3 Chiffchaff and 2 Firecrest.

Firecrests - Middlebere - Peter Moore

Harbour Update - posted 24/09/15

Another day, another Great White Egret sighting this time from Shipstal hide, Arne. On the rough ground next to the Twin Sails bridge there were 5 Wheatear, 11 Meadow Pipit, 1 Chiffchaff and Grey Wagtail. A new arrival at Lytchett Fields came in the shape of a Little Stint that was hanging out with several Dunlin, also 4 Greenshank and 4 Green Sandpiper there. Brownsea saw 31 Spoonbill and a great count of 17 Spotted Redshank, also 72 Common Redshank present and a Peregrine sat at the back of the lagoon.

Harbour Update - posted 23/09/15

Its been hard to pin down exactly how many Spoonbill there are in the harbour this week, but we were sent a message yesterday afternoon stating there were 7 at Middlebere and knowing there were some on the Brownsea webcam we did a count (several times to be sure) and arrived at 23, so it seems there are currently a minimum of 30, with still the rest of September and the whole of October for the flock size to grow. Also at Middlebere were 122 Avocet, 1100+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Pintail and 1 Peregrine Falcon.  On Brownsea there were 14 Spotted Redshank, still a few Common Tern and Sandwich Tern using the lagoon as a resting spot, 2 Turnstone, 5 Ringed Plover and the usual Black-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Redshank, Dunlin and Oystercatchers. At Baiter 1 Wheatear was on the beach, also 30 Ringed Plover and 1 Dunlin. AtRSPB Lytchett Fields it seems both the Curlew and Wood Sandpiper have moved on as the fields only held a few Redshank, Snipe and Lapwing. There was plenty of Chiffchaff around the site too.

Two species that are commonplace migrating over our coastal areas of Poole Harbour in the autumn are Greenfinch and Bullfinch. Both can form large flocks as they pass overhead with peak numbers passing by from mid October to early November. Greenfinches have a fast repetitive call that rarely changes in pitch.

Greenfinch – Calls of an autumn migrant over Ballard Down 19/09/15


Whereas Bullfinch do their lovely soft piping ‘piu’ call as they pass overhead, so when a flock of 20+ all pass over calling it’s quite a sound. In this recording it’s only a couple of individuals, we’ll hopefully get some examples of these bigger movements.

Bullfinch – Calls of a couple of autumn migrants passing over Ballard Down 19/09/15

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  • Spoonbill - Middlebere - Ian Ballam
  • Ringed Plover - Baiter - Clive Hargrave
Harbour Update - posted 22/09/15

Winter continues to press on with the first Merlin seen dashing across Hartland Moor whilst at roughly the same time 5 Marsh Harrier left the west harbour roost. On Brownsea the (one of the) Great White Egrets was on the Lagoon at dawn along with 16 Spoonbill and a good number of Little Egret. There was also a Great White Egret sighting in Middlebere around mid-morning too. We’re still trying to determine how many Great White Egret there are in the harbour at present. It could just be the same bird flying around from location to location, although there seems to be a list of sightings which show a site faithfulness to the Arne Peninsular (both western and eastern shoreline), then another list of sightings which show allegiance to Brands Bay, Brownsea, Goathorn etc. However, I guess we won’t really know until either two are seen together, or simultaneously seen at two different locations at the same time. Also on the Brownsea Lagoon today 15 Spotted Redshank, 1 Hobby, 1 Peregrine, 2 Kingfisher, 1 Turnstone, building numbers of Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank and decent numbers Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler. There were also 3 Wheatear around the sea wall. At RSPB Lytchett Fields the Wood Sandpiper and Curlew Sandpiper are still there, and incredibly a Little Tern arrived to fish in the bay with both Sandwich and Common Terns.

Another commonly heard sound this time of year is the sound of Chiffchaff as they move through the bushes feeding, quite often in groups. Up on Ballard on Saturday morning there had been an obvious fall of Chiffchaff with birds continuously calling from every hawthorn and gorse bush on the headland. Their autumn call isn’t the same as the well-know chiff chaff chiff chaff, but instead a far carrying whoweet call.

Common Chiffchaff – Calls of several autumn migrants on Ballard Down 19/09/15


Probably the most numerous migrant moving at the moment is the Swallow. There are currently thousands moving each day, some heading south and some staying put and feeding in big groups. The Swallows in this recording were passing over my head and heading out to sea, saying goodbye to another British summer. A rude Goldfinch tries to steal the show at the beginning of the recording though.

Swallows heading out to sea as they migrate south – Ballard Down 19/09/15

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  • Great White Egret - Middlebere - Clive Hargrave
  • Little Tern - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam
  • Lytchett Bay at Dawn - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - posted 21/09/15

Today sightings were few and far between with a single Little Tern in Brands Bay briefly and the Curlew Sandpiper and Wood Sandpiper still present at RSPB Lytchett Fields along with good numbers of Dunlin, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing. Spoonbills continue to commute between Brownsea and Arne with a steady group of 28 so far. Last year numbers really built up in October, so with 28 already present are we going to see the British record of 49 (held by Brownsea last year) get smashed? It was also observed that the first Redwings of the autumn arrived on the east coast this week. We don’t normally see ours until early October but do occasionally get some earlier during late September vis-mig watches.

Talking of vis-mig, below are a couple more sound recordings from the session up on Ballard last Saturday. The first is quite special. It was thought at the time that we had recorded an Ortolan Bunting but we wanted to double check with the guys at the Sound Approach who kindly confirmed it’s definitely an Ortolan. Its quite tricky to hear but the three diagnostic calls can be heard at 4.5, 10 and 20 seconds. To illustrate why they’re Ortolan Bunting calls I’ve included cut outs from the recordings sonagram showing the peaked ‘n’ shape type call they do, which the Sound Approach describe in Catching the Bug, referring to migrating Ortolan Buntings as “showing much variation in pitch, calls are typically single notes spaced well apart, plucked from different strings of the same instrument”

Ortolan Bunting migrating over Ballard Down on 19/09/15 - 6:09am


Secondly, here are a flock of Linnet passing close by over the cliff top. Linnets will be one of the numerous species encountered during autumn vis-mig watches, but its worth familiarising your self with these calls as they can sound similar to other species such as Goldfinch, but as the Sound Approach state, “their twittering averages lower-pitched (than Goldfinch) and has far less range between the higher and lower notes.

Linnet flock migrating over Ballard Down – 19/09/15 

Harbour Update - posted 20/09/15

What started off as a blanket of thick fog covering the harbour, eventually gave way to a stunning late summers day. The only draw back was that the first Poole Harbour WeBS (Wetland birds Survey) count of the winter was due to start at 9am, which the think fog hampered for about 45 minutes but eventually cleared. Highlights included a Great White Egret in Brands Bay and then another (or the same) viewed from the Wytch Causeway. At Lytchett Fields the Wood and Curlew Sandpiper remained also there 635 Teal, 313 Redshank, 4 Knot, 5 Green Sandpiper, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Kingfisher and 22 Little Egret. There’s certainly no shortage of Little Egret at the moment with 36 counted from the Shipstal Hide at Arne and many others around the harbour too. 23 Spoonbill were seen near Wytch and then flew towards Arne. 3 Lesser Redpoll passed over Shipstal Point. There were masses of Hirundines, mainly Swallow taking advantage of the warm weather and presumed abundance of flying insects. A scan across any skyline would result on hundreds (likely) thousands of birds all busily feeding. Other than that wildfowl numbers are slowly increasing as Teal and Wigeon can now be seen at most of the usual haunts and the lone Brent Goose was again at Shore Road. A Whinchat was on Hartland Moor

Between now November, vis-mig (visible migration) can be encountered at several coastal spots along the harbour such as Ballard Down and South Haven. This movement occurs every year and involves species such as wagtails, finches, pipits, larks and hirundines. Durlston CP is one of the best places in the country to experience this, but many of the birds that pass over Durlston then come and pass over the harbour (especially in a NE wind). Identifying these birds by sight is almost impossible as they pass over-head, often in large flocks so the only other way to identify them is by sound. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting sound recordings on this blog of some of the species you can see and hear pass over-head during the vis-mig season, which will hopefully help you be able to identify them on your own out in the field.

We’ll start with some easy ones. Meadow Pipits pass in big numbers every autumn and have a distinctive high-pitched call which they make continously as they fly over.

Meadow Pipit – Flight calls of a flock of 20+ passing over Ballard Down on 19/09/15

Another good one to try and pick out is Grey Wagtail. These also move in reasonable numbers through out the autumn and have a distinctive double note call as they pass over-head. Grey Wagtail will migrate either individually, in two’s, threes or sometime’s in larger groups.

Grey Wagtail – Flight calls of a migrant passing over Ballard Down on 19/09/15 

Harbour Update - posted 19/09/15

A moderate NE breeze blew across the harbour in the very early hours, prompting a sound recording session up on Ballard Down and the chance of some decent vis-mig (visible migration) totals. Although the breeze eased off pretty quickly (by 8:30am), the time in between (5:30am – 8:30) proved very productive. With a big push of 100+ Meadow Pipit and roughly double of numbers Swallow too. Other birds on the move early included 76 Linnet, 15 Goldfinch, 11 Siskin, 8 Greenfinch, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Tree Pipit and 6 Grey Wagtail. I’ll be uploading a few recordings over the coming days of migrants on the move. Grounded migrants up on Ballard included 30+ each of both Chiffchaff and Blackcap, 10+ Whitethroat, 2 Wheatear, 1 Redstart, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Dartford Warbler, 10+ Goldcrest also 2 Peregrine, 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Buzzard all present. At Greenland’s Farm 2 Tree Pipit passed overhead and present in the bushes were 8 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, 1 Whinchat and a Spotted Flycatcher.  At Holes Bay there were large numbers of hirundines feeding above Upton CP, also a Dartford Warbler near the railway line (very rare here), 4 adult Yellow-legged Gulls in the bay, also c280 Black-tailed Godwit and c200 Wigeon.  At Lytchett Fields the Wood Sandpiper and Curlew Sandpiper remained. 

Harbour Update - posted 18/09/15

First up, a Wryneck was discovered along the Middlebere track during the morning, which showed well for a couple of viewers but then disappeared never to be seen again unfortunately. However the track also saw 3 Whinchat, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, and a female Bullfinch and from the hide 3 Spotted Redshank and a Greenshank were noted. At RSPB Lytchett Fields another scares Woodpecker showed its self when a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker flew across the fields, settled for a short while and then moved on. Lesser-spots do occasionally move with the tit flocks during the autumn so well work keeping an eye out for them. It was also a big Chiff/Willow morning at Lytchett Bay with a combined total of around 150 birds, also 6 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Whitethroat, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Whinchat, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Ruff all present. A count at Brands Bay saw 170 Teal, 9 Wigeon, 12 Pintail, 6 Greenshank, 49 Dunlin, 2 Common Tern, 2 Sandwich Tern and a surprise single Black Tern

Click To Enlarge
  • Cetti's Warbler - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
  • Marsh Harrier - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
  • Spotted Flycatcher - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - posted 17/09/15

Another vis-mig session at South Haven this morning unfortunately didn’t reap the same rewards as yesterday, and in fact Steve Smiths new UK day record for Siskins lasted only one day with Sandwich Bay, in Kent seeing 4520 Siskin yesterday morning! A meager 62 were noted at South Haven, along with 5 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Wheatear. On the Turlin Moor shore of Lytchett Bay there were 2 each of Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher, and Whitethroat also 15+ Blackcap a few Chiffchaff and plenty of Swallows streaming by. Elsewhere around the site were Stonechat a few Reed Buntings, 2 Cetti’s Warbler, a Kingfisher, 1 Common Sandpiper a few Siskin over and an Osprey high over the bay. On the Brownsea Lagoon 14 Spoonbill, 9 Spotted Redshank, 18 Greenshank, 250+ Avocet and 4 Knot were counted. 

Harbour Update - posted 16/09/15

Today saw an excellent vis-mig movement across the coastal areas of Poole Harbour with concentrated counts made at South Haven, Brownsea Quay and to a lesser extent Baiter Park. It started around 9am when local birder Steve Smith started his count from South Haven and began to note big numbers of Siskin moving along with several other species too. He informed Mark Constantine who was on the Quay at Brownsea Island who was also experiencing movement overhead with birds passing over north. Mark then called us in our office and we hurried down to Baiter to see if we could catch any of the passage coming over which to my delight we did. The conditions seemed perfect with a large front moving up from the SW and a steady NE breeze for the birds to fly into. Any wind with north is can get birds moving but a NE tends to be the most productive for numbers and variety of birds. In the end Steve managed to count a whopping 2423 Siskin at South Haven, a new UK Siskin day record! Also counted during Steve’s South Haven count included 10 Sand Martin, 1232 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 9 Tree Pipit, 291 Meadow Pipit, 15 Grey Wagtail, 6 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldfinch, 4 Linnet and 17 Lesser Redpoll….all heading north. You can read Steve’s account of his mornings count HERE. Marks count from Brownsea was almost equally impressive with 585 Siskin, 20 Goldfinch, 26 Greenfinch, 14 Chaffinch, 1 Redpoll, 1 Skylark, 406 Swallow, 15 Sand Martin, 10 House martin, 86 Meadow Pipit, 18 Tree Pipit, 1 Grey Wagtail, 3 Pied Wagtail, 1 Whimbrel and 1 ad female Sparrowhawk……again, all north. From Baiter, Hirundines were streaming in off the water, all following a very defined channel across the water, hitting the corner of Baiter and passing right over our heads. Interestingly though, no finches were making their way to Baiter….just plenty of Hirundines, Meadow Pipit and Grey Wagtail. In Brands Bay the Great White Egret put on a good show, and a Grasshopper Warbler was seen next to the hide.  At RSPB Lytchett Fields a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was found, also the Wood Sandpiper remained with 2 Ruff, 22 Knot (a Bay record), 46 Dunlin, 9 Green Sandpiper, 5 Greenshank, 51 Redshank, 79 Black-tailed godwit, 2 Ringed Plover, 435 Teal, 5 Whinchat, 1 Osprey fishing in the bay and good numbers of Hirundines passing through. Holton Lee saw 1 Whinchat, 1 Osprey, 12 Goldcrest and 6 Chiffchaff. Late news from Monday when a Poole Harbour MEGA was reported…a Little Owl at Arne, sat on one of the farm buildings.

We have also just published our latest survey, carried out by Nick Hopper, which is titled

Pied Wagtails of Poole Harbour – A winter roost survey 2014/15.

Nick provides a fascinating insight into the pre and post roosting activities of our over-wintering Pied Wagtails here in the harbour.

Click To Enlarge
  • Siskins - South Haven - Steve Smith
  • Chiffchaff - South Haven - Steve Smith
  • Tree Pipit- South Haven - Steve Smith
Harbour Update - posted 15/09/15

This morning a Poole Harbour raptor count included 4 Marsh Harrier out of the roost, including 2 sub adult males, 2 Osprey out in the Wareahm Channel including the individual that’s been faithful to the Keysworth fence posts for about a month, 1 Hobby over the Moors, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrel and 4 Buzzards. No Merlin have been seen yet, but like with Hen Harrier, it should be any day now that we see our firsts of the winter. There were 7 Woodlark calling over Soldiers Road.

A high tide count at RSPB Lytchett Fields today saw a whopping 1181 birds using the site. This is an incredible total for a couple of soggy fields and although admittedly the majority were Teal and Black-headed Gulls it highlights how important the site is on a large high tide during peak migration time. The counts from  the 2 public viewpoints consisted of..........


Field 3 & 4 combined – Sherford Pools

236 Teal

1 Wood Sandpiper

1 Moorhen

5 Greenshank

1 Ruff

21 Redshank

9 BT Godwit

29 Dunlin

3 Snipe

6 Little Egret

1 Kingfisher

5 Lapwing

27 BH Gull

1 Green Sandpiper

1 Herring Gull


Field 5 – Frenche’s Pools

1 Curlew

3 Greenshank

256 Teal

2 Moorhen

63 BT Godwit

1 Knot

27 Lapwing

4 Snipe

18 Dunlin

3 Little Egret

27 Redshank

71 BH Gull

1 Ringed Plover

1 Green Sandpiper

5 Wigeon



Harbour Update - posted 14/09/15

Autumn really kicked in today with strong winds and heavy rain through out most of the afternoon, and did the predicted Sabine’s Gull or Grey Phalarope turn up….did it heck, but there’s still plenty of time for that. On Brownsea there were 28 Spoonbill, a newly arrived Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint, a minimum of 7 Spotted Redshank, 250+ Avocet and an increase in Wigeon numbers. At RSPB Lytchett Fields 1 Wood Sandpiper remained, also 2 Ruff, 3 Ringed Plover, 44 Dunlin, 8 Green Sandpiper, 20+ each of Lapwing, Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Whinchat, 1 Peregrine Falcon, 514 Teal and several Chiffchaff. Baiter saw some birds hunkered down during the strong winds, including 6 Sandwich Tern out on the playing field, also on the low tide 33 Ringed Plover, 8 Turnstone and 1 Dunlin.  

Last week we carried out our Dorset Discovery Autumn tour, our third tour this year in partnership with the Dorset RSPB team. The trip was a huge success and you can read the full trip report and species list HERE. We'll be uploading information on next years tours in the next couple days, so watch this space.


Wood Sandpiper - RSPB Lytchett Fields

To watch in HD click on the cogged shaped symbol and select 1080HD

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  • Curlew Sandpiper on the Brownsea webcam
  • Ruff - RSPB Lytchett Fields
  • Whinchat - RSPB Lytchett Fields
Harbour Update - posted 13/09/15

The forecast for the coming week looks very tasty indeed with strong SW winds on Monday and Tuesday with the wind then swing SE on Wednesday. Always the optimist, these conditions are classic for species such as Sabine’s Gull and Grey Phalarope, so be sure to check any gull flocks or muddy pools for a wandering migrant. Back to the real world, RSPB Lytchett Fields was back to ists best this morning with 2 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Ruff, 7 Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper, 43 Dunlin, 5 Greenshank and 20+ of each Redshank, Snipe and Lapwing. Also around the site were 3 WillowChiff, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Whinchat and several Blackcap. On Brownsea yesterday there were 3 Ruff, 2 Little Stint, 28 Spoonbill, 1 Knot, 250 Avocet, 220 Dunlin and good numbers of both Green and Spotted Redshank. An Osprey was sat in a dead tree at Rempstone. 2 Redstart were seen along Soldiers Road. 

Harbour Update - posted 11/09/15

Poole Harbours purple patch continued today with a Red-backed Shrike that was discovered at Greenland’s Farm mid-afternoon. Unfortunately it didn’t hang around long and couldn’t be relocated after five hours searching. This is only the second record of this species since 2012. Also along Studland there were 10 Pintail, 16 Wigeon, 154 Teal, 1 Great White Egret, 3 Avocet, 4 Greenshank, 23 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling, 2 Turnstone, 5 Yellow Wagtail and 1 Wheatear at Brands Bay, whilst at South Haven there were 7 Sanderling. Late news of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at Sandford Heath earlier this week. An Osprey was seen catching a fish in Holes Bay north mid morning and there were still 4 Spotted Flycatcher on the Upton CP boarder and now up to 100 Wigeon there too. There were 4 Knot near the Holes Bay outflow. The Brownsea Lagoon now has 25 Spoonbill roosting on the high tide and at least 5 Spotted Redshank and 10 Greenshank. At RSPB Lytchett Fields there was still 1 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Ruff, 2 Knot, 1 Curlew, 21 Dunlin, 4 Greenshank, 8 Green Sandpiper, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Peregrine, 1 Marsh Harrier, 3 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Whinchat.

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  • Red-backed Shrike - Greenland's Farm - Steve Smith
  • Lesser-spotted Woodpecker - Sandford Heath - Clive Hargrave
  • Ruff - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - posted 09/09/15

We’ve just ended our three day Dorset Discovery autumn tour for which I will write a trip report for soon, but sightings from the final day included 18 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Osprey, 1 Redstart, 1 Whimbrel and plenty of Siskins over at Greenlands Farm. At Brands Bay there were 3 Pintail and more Siskins over. The Brownsea Lagoon looked wonderful with 2 Little Stint feeding with Dunlin, 24 Spoonbill, 7 Spotted Redshank, 11 Greenshank, 200+ Avocet, 17 Ringed Plover, 5 Wigeon, Common Tern chicks still being fed and 3 Turnstone. On Shell Beach a Little Tern was resting with Sandwich Terns and there was also 6 Sanderling. Finally, at Challow Hill, Corfe we connected with 1 Hobby, 1 Whinchat, 2 Dartford and again…..Siskins overhead. This movement of Siskin coincided with a big passage at South Haven, Studland where a total of 888 were counted in a few hours at dawn. Other species noted during the vis-mig watch included 1 Pied and 1 Grey Wagtail, 92 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 18 Sand Martin and 4 Goldfinch. At RSPB Lytchett Fields 3 Ruff, 8 Green Sandpiper, 44 Snipe, 3 Ringed Plover, 5 Greenshank, 1 Wood Sandpiper and 3 Knot were noted. 

Harbour Update – posted 08/09/15

A promising easterly wind started to blow throughout the day bringing in an adult Little Tern to the harbour mouth that was fishing first thing this morning. Also at South Haven a single Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler. Up on Old Harry 16 Siskin headed NE and migrant wise 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 11 Whitethroat and 7 Blackcap were noted. In Brands Bay, no Osprey but 2 Pintail, 7 Wigeon, 1 Wheatear and 25 Siskin north. On RSPB Lytchett Fields 1 Wood Sandpiper, 9 Green Sandpiper, 3 Ruff, 27 Dunlin, 2 Knot, 4 Greenshank, 2 Ringed Plover, 15 Snipe and 1 Redstart. The (A) Great White Egret was seen out in the Wareham Channel a couple of times, favouring to hug the Arne Moors boarder where 4 Hobby were feeding. 2 Spotted Flycatcher were at Holton Lee with 1 Marsh Tit and 40+ Yellow Wagtail were on top of Hartland Moor with cattle. 


Harbour Update – posted 07/09/15

Migrants are still popping up everywhere with 4 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Spotted flycatcher, 2 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat, 2 Redstart, 3 Whitethroat, 10 Blackcap and a good mix of Willow/Chiff all at Greenlands Farm. In Brands Bay there were 8 Pintail, 1 Osprey 1 Whimbrel, 90 Black-tailed godwit, 1 Greenshank and 12 Dunlin. On RSPB Lytchett Fields there were 3 Ruff, 10 Green Sandpiper, 45 Snipe, 3+ Knot, 2 Ringed Plover and 38 Dunlin. Ane was busy with 4 Curlew Sandpiper in the Middlebere Channel from the viewing screen on Coombe Heath, 11 Knot from the same spot, 1 Osprey, 2 Hobby, 1 Peregrine, 3 Redstart, 1 Whinchat, 10+ Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Whitethroat and 2 Greenshank. 


Harbour Update – posted 06/09/15

RSPB Lytchett Fields was flavour of the month again with 1 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 33 Dunlin, 2 Knot, 6 Green Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 1 Ringed Plover, 20+ Yellow Wagtail and 1 Sedge Warbler. At South Haven 8 Shoveler flew into the harbour, also 3 Ringed pLover present, 2 Sanderling, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 1 Wheatear and a handful of Willow/Chiff. In Brands Bay 7 Wigeon have now arrived, 2 Pintail, 2 Osprey, 14 Spoonbill (distantly) 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Hobby, 1 Ringed plover, 81 Black-tailed godwit, 1 Greenshank, 89 Redshank, 1 Wheatear and 1 Kingfisher. 1 Curlew Sandpiper was in Middlebere and 3 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Redstart and numerous Dartford Warbler and Stonechat present. 


Harbour Update - posted 05/09/15

The low cloud and still conditions allowed a few migrants to feed, especially around Slepe Heath where our monthly Birds of Poole Harbour field trip took place. Highlights from the walk included 1 juvenile Cuckoo, a flock of 12 Woodlark, 5+ Redstart, 5+ Spotted Flycatcher, 5+ Whinchat, 2 Wheatear, 2 Whitethroat, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 50+ Siskin in a single flock, 1 Osprey in the Wareham Channel plus good numbers of Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Dartford Warbler, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat and a Kestrel. At RSPB Lytchett Fields there were 2 Ruff, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 32 Dunlin, 3 Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpiper, 1 Knot and only a few Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank and Lapwing.

Harbour Update - posted 04/09/15

The Osprey theme continued with 2 more in the Wareham Channel first thing along with 4 Marsh Harrier leave the roost and 13 Spoonbill flying up channel and then back east. A ringing session at Lytchett Heath produced 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Whinchat and a definite increase in Blackcap and Chiffchaff along with a few Sedge and Reed Warbler. At RSPB Lytchett Fields were 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 2 Wheatear, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Greenshank. At Upton CP there were 16 Knot, 300+       Black-tailed Godwit and 50+ Wigeon. Across the Studland area three were 5 Gannet, 2 Common Scoter and 1 Lesser Whitethroat at South Haven. At Brands Bay 3 Osprey were milling around (2 adults and 1 juv), 115 Teal, 5 Pintail, 11 Ringed Plover, 95 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Greenshank and 36 Dunlin.

Click To Enlarge
  • Whinchat - Lytchett Heath
  • Blackcap and Chiffchaff- Lytchett Heath
  • Greenshank - RSPB Lytchett fields
Harbour Update - posted 03/09/15

More goodies today when a Great White Egret arrived at Studland, finally settling in Brands Bay for most of the morning. A co-ordinated Osprey count was conducted this morning too and it was found that are no less than 4 at present with 3 seen over Middlebere at once, with another in Brands Bay at the same time. One even sat on the Middlebere nesting platform for 30 minutes this afternoon, which is the first time an Osprey has sat on that platform since being transformed from the original perching post. Other Ospreys noted included a bird fishing out in the Wareham Channel and two sightings of birds over the Arne Road. Also at Arne today 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 5 Whitethroat, 2 Redstart, 1 sub-adult Marsh Harrier, 1 Hobby and 1 Sparrowhawk. At RSPB Lytchett Fields today 2 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 22 Dunlin, 15 Snipe, 3 Ringed Plover, 15 Knot, 1 Redstart, 2 Yellow Wagtail and 1 Whinchat. Up on Old Harry 3 Whinchat, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Yellow Wagtail were counted. At Greenlands Farm there were 8 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Wheatear on Ballard. Late news of a Cuckoo at Arne on saturday.  

Great White Egret - Brands Bay - Steve Smith

Click To Enlarge
  • Whinchat - Lytchett Fileds - Ian Ballam
  • Osprey - Middlebere - Paul Morton
  • Cuckoo - Coombe Heath, Arne - Pete Daniels
Harbour Update - posted 02/09/15

The super high tides this week have put a bit of a dampener on RSPB Lytchett Fields (no pun intended) by flooding the site and moving many of the birds on. However, the site is still holding 2 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 20 Dunlin and the usual Lapwing, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit etc. Migrant wise, its seems to be doing much better with 30+ Willow Warbler, 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 6 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 10+ Chiffchaff. At South Haven there were 11 Sanderling, 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Knot, 1 Wheatear and 1 Garden Warbler. In Brands Bay 200+ Black-tailed Godwit were counted before the long staying juvenile Osprey put them up, also 4 Pintail, 2 Wigeon, and 2 Yellow Wagtail. At Greenland Farm there were 4 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat, 7 Yellow Wagtail, 8 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Garden Warbler, 4 Whitethroat ad 12 Willow Warbler. Middlebere saw 1 distant Osprey, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Marsh Harrier and 4 Wigeon. Also a Lanner Falcon wearing jesses was harassing birds in the Middlebere Channel late evening!

Harbour Update - posted 01/09/15

The 1st of the month got off to a flyer when a juvenile Kentish Plover was found on the Brownsea Lagoon mid afternoon. These are a rare Poole Harbour bird with the last record being in 1992 at Studland. Also on Brownsea 17 Spoonbill, 1 Little Stint, 20+ Ringed Plover, 100 Avocet, 5 Spotted Redshank and 15+ Greenshank. An Osprey was again in Brands Bay early morning with 2 Greenshank and 110 Teal. At RSPB Lytchett Fields 4 Ruff, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 15 Dunlin, 1 Osprey, 4 Whinchat, 3 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Redstart, and 1 Spotted Flycatcher. At Upton CP 12 Knot flew in (rare here) and a Spotted Redshank

Harbour Update - posted 31/08/15

After all the excitement of the Bird Race things quietened down and reports from Bank Holiday Monday were few and far between…mainly because the weather was so dire! However new arrivals included 2 moulting adult Curlew Sandpiper along which joined the long staying 5 Ruff, 3 Wood Sandpiper, 15 Ringed Plover, 2 Little Stint, 6 Green Sandpiper, 7 Knot, 32 Snipe, 4 Greenshank, Marsh Harrier and 150 Teal.  Osprey, were noted at Arne and in the Wareham Channel, whilst 17 Spoonbill, 5 Spotted Redshank and 15 Knot remained on Brownsea.

With the popularity of RSPB Lytchett Fields increasing, we would also like to take the opportunity to remind visitors to the site that there is strictly no parking in Slogh Lane. A few cars have been photographed parking right inf ront of the access gate for Wessex Water where their large tankers (see photo) need access through and past the gate 24 hours a day. Parking for this site should be along either Sandy Lane or Sea View Road. Many thanks for your cooperation. 


Wessex Water Tanker - Keep Slogh Lane Clear at ALL TIMES - Thank You

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