October 2015

harbour Update - posted 31/10/15

Today was the Arne Forage Festival and we (along with the Stour Ringing Group) were invited to host a ringing demonstration for the public. The event was a huge success, not only because we ringed over 100 birds, but because the public engagement element of the demo worked brilliantly with visitors oooing and ahhhing at the range of species on show. Highlights were 2 Firecrest, 4 Redwing, 3 Nuthatch, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and a good mix of common woodland/garden species. Also on the reserve were 19 Spoonbill at Shipstal, a brief Yellow-browed Warbler in the car park along with similarly brief Brambling behind the visitors centre and 2 Black Redstart around the Farm Buildings. There was surprise Yellowhammer at Arne yesterday, the first in quite some years There are now 3 different Hen Harrier in the harbour, 2 ringtails and a grey male, which were seen around the Hartland area. There were 5 Marsh Harrier in and around the Wareham Channel.  At RSPB Lytchett Fields there were over 1000 Teal gathered on all fields with 4 Spotted Redshank there yesterday. There was an impressive 1200+ waders and wildfowl on all fields today with good numbers of Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe, Lapwing, Dunlin and Black-headed Gulls along with 2 Green Sandpiper and a Peregrine being a menace. Off Knoll/Middle Beach 14 Black-necked Grebe gathered in the evening roost with 3 Common Scoter. At Studland (Knoll) car park 2 Firecrest were present with another 4 at Greenland’s Farm. Vis-mig over Greenlands consisted of 46 Skylark, 6 Bullfinch, 5 Linnet, 138 Fieldfare, 4 Redpoll and a Brambling that settled for a short while. A Short-eared Owl was seen at dusk along the Arne Road.

Click To Enlarge
  • Firecrest - Barbara Bisset - Arne
  • Peregrine - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
  • Brambling - Arne car park
Harbour Update - posted 29/10/15

Ergh! A wet, rainy day that didn’t produce very much….at all! Highlights were a minimum of 5 Brambling outside the Arne visitors center again and 2 Firecrest elsewhere in the car park. 31 Spoonbill were on Brownsea and a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen briefly in Middlebere with another (or the same) seen out over Slepe Heath with a late Hobby.

Saturday 31st October – Arne Forage Festival at Arne RSPB Reserve

Our Birds of Poole Harbour charity will be there discussing our work and we’ll also hosting a ringing demo in partnership with the Stour Ringing Group from 10am to 2pm. Our marquee is the first on the left as you enter the field.

Harbour Update - posted 28/10/15

The 6 Brambling at Arne remained settled behind the Visitor Centre. They rarely show all at the same time but are present for most of the day, feeding in amongst the Chaffinch and Greenfinch, but all the finches seem particularly flighty, rarely staying on the ground for longer than a few seconds. It was a Black Redstart day too with one at French’s Farm, Lytchett Bay, 1 briefly at Arne Farm and two at South Haven, Studland. There were also 3 Black-necked Grebe out in Shell Bay. There is a good number of Greylag and Canada Goose appearing on Lytchett Fields at the moment, which could in turn attract in a wandering White-fronted or Pink-footed Goose. There were again 2 Firecrest in the Arne car park and a Barn Owl was seen out hunting along the Arne Road at dusk. A Great White Egret flew along the Wareham Channel at dusk towards the main Poole Harbour egret roost and 6 Marsh Harrier came into roost. The 32 Spoonbill remained on Brownsea along with 12 Spotted Redshank. There are good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing arriving now with flocks of various sizes passing overhead at dawn in many places. 

Harbour Update - posted 27/10/15

There’s no sign of this ‘big freeze’ the papers keep referring too, in fact the words overly mild seem more appropriate. On Brownsea the pretty sedentary 32 Spoonbill remained along with a Great White Egret early morning and 12 Spotted Redshank. The 2 Common Scoter were again in Holes Bay and they were joined by a Common Sandpiper on the railway bridge. In Brands Bay a Short-eared Owl was hunting and there were finally a few Grey Plover with 5 present along with 5 Red-breasted Merganser, 96 Brent Geese 39 Avocet. There was another Short-eared Owl hunting on Otter Island in Lytchett Bay. There was another Black Redstart on the roof of the farm buildings at Arne, and no less than 4 Brambling were underneath the feeders outside the visitors center. A ringtail Hen Harrier was seen in Middlebere and another (or the same) out over Swineham. There was a minimum of 5 Marsh Harrier in and around the Wareham Channel area.

The full moon that occurs during this time period is also known as the Woodcock moon, for the obvious reason that Woodcock start to arrive in bigger numbers during this period, but its not only Woodcock that advantage of the bright clear nights at the end of October. We could also see bigger numbers of Red-breasted Merganser arriving and the first Goldeneyes of the winter too.

ARNE FORGARE FESTIVAL – This Saturday, October 31st is the sixth Arne Forage Festival to be held at Arne RSPB Reserve. The festival starts at 11am (although get there early for parking) and finishes at 4pm. We’ll be there hosting a ringing demo in partnership with The Stour Ringing Group from 10am – 2pm, so come along and see some of our most familiar garden and woodland birds up close for a fascinating insight in to their lives.

Click To Enlarge
  • Common Scoter - Holes Bay - Ian Ballam
  • Common Sandpiper - Holes Bay - Ian Ballam
  • Meadow Pipit - Holes Bay - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - posted 26/10/15

The Arne Brambling fest continued with a whopping 6 now feeding under the feeders outside the visitors centre. The word whopping may sound a little over kill but considering the last largest count was back in 2010 which consisted of 2 for twenty minutes, then a party of 6 is well and truly whopping! A Great White Egret was in Middlebere again and there were 8 Spoonbill on Shipstal Point with  another 22 on Brownsea. There are now 7 Marsh Harrier in west Poole Harbour and a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen in Middlebere and along Arne Moors. Firecrests were at Knoll Beach, Studland, Arne car park and PC World. A Black Redstart was on the Farm Building roofs at Arne Farm.

Harbour Update - posted 25/10/15

Today was one of those classic late autumn days with the low autumn sun illuminating the yellows, oranges and browns of various different tree species…. certainly a contrast from yesterday. The two male Common Scoter were again in Holes Bay south along with a rise in Wigeon numbers to 625. From Poole Quay there were 3 Diver sp, two of which were Red-throated Diver but the other remained unidentified. The two Great White Egret were noted in different areas of the harbour with one in Middlebere and the other at Littlesea, Studland. A Firecrest was in Upton CP with another 3 in the car park at Arne. A Short-eared Owl was hunting over in the Wytch Channel and there was also 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Water Pipit and 4 Crossbill that area too. 

Harbour Update - posted 24/10/15

There was an interesting discovery of two male Common Scoter in Holes Bay, close into the footpath in the southern section of the bay. Although they’re regular out in central harbour and Studland bay each winter I can’t think of any previous records from Holes Bay. Normally an occurrence like this is down to adverse weather conditions and birds wanting to take refuge but we can’t really say there has been much adverse weather so maybe they just fancied a change of scenery? At RSPB Lytchett Fields the Ruff was still present along with 2 Greenshank, 18 Dunlin, 67 Lapwing, 35 Redshank, lots of Snipe and Teal and a good number of Rock Pipit are beginning to appear. There were 3 Marsh Harrier out in the Wareham Channel mid afternoon and a Peregrine passed over Slepe Heath. Brownsea hosted 21 Spoonbill and 6 Red-breasted Merganser were off the sea wall. A few more Brent Geese are now arriving with a conservative estimate of 300 in the harbour. 

Two male Common Scoter in Holes Bay south - Paul White

Harbour Update - posted 23/10/15

A fairly quiet day with a ringing session at Lytchett Heath providing a bit of interest with several Redwing ringed along with only the 2ndWater Rail at Lytchett Bay in the last 10 years. At dawn there was an obvious but limited thrush movement with Redwing and Song Thrush passing in over but numbers soon fizzled out at dawn. There were a minimum of 5 Bearded Tit in the reed beds there too and Blackcap and Chiffchaff were present to. A Ruff at Lytchett Fields was the first ‘different’ wader in a while in amongst the standard Snipe, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank and Teal.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION -  We Received information of a suspicious looking white transit van touring the back roads of Hartland Moor, Middlebere and Soldiers Road with the passenger of the vehicle getting out approaching parked cars and trying door handles to check if the cars were locked or not. Unfortunately a number plate wasn’t obtained but the van was said to be scruffy looking with a lot of foliage on it, plus ‘ladders and boards on it’


Harbour Update - posted 22/10/15

The arrival of more Short-eared Owls is perhaps an indicator of things to come weather wise with 3 in the harbour today. One was out across Arne Moors, another was seen to leave the marshy area of Littlesea, Studland at dusk and another spent the day at Lytchett Bay being spotted high over the bay at dawn and then hunting out across the marsh at dusk, even landing on our net poles just before dark while we were out ringing Pied Wagtail roosts. The ringtail Hen Harrier was over Slepe Heath and then went out across Arne Moors whilst both Peregrine and Marsh Harrier were settled on posts out on Hartland Moor when a Merlin dashed in between the two. At Lytchett Bay there was also a Marsh Harrier, 4 Skylark in the Arable Field and several Goldcrest and Chiffchaff. Another (or possibly the same) ringtail Hen Harrier was seen out across Greenlands Farm and a Great White Egret was on Littlesea whilst another was at Shipstal, Arne. A new Brambling was at the feeding station in the Arne car park and still a few Firecrest there too. 

Harbour Update - posted 21/10/15

There was a bizarre occurrence today when a guided walk at Arne RSPB reserve quite literally bumped into a Great White Egret in the woods near the Shipstal Hide. It was during a period of heavy rain so it could be that the bird was sheltering in woods to keep dry, but the group was able to approach very close (within 30m) which is odd for Great White Egret as they’re normally very shy birds. It casually just wandered off into the woods and out onto the marsh and wasn’t seen again. Injured? Or just disliked the rain? Other than the usual suspects there wasn’t much else reported due to the rain. 17 Spoonbill were on Brownsea, Marsh Harriers were noted at Lytchett Bay and Middlebere. There are still a minimum of 2 Firecrest in the Arne car park and the ringtail Hen Harrier flew up the Middlebere Channel where there was also a reasonable passage of Fieldfare and Redwing overhead.

We have just uploaded our latest survey, carried out by and titled – Corvids of Poole Harbour. This is a revised study that Nick carried out back during the 2007/08 winter period but also incorporates his recent winter Magpie roost survey which was carried out during the 2014/15 winter period.

Read the survey here - CORVIDS OF POOLE HARBOUR

We’ve also recently been building relationships with another local landowner to allow us to put up more Barn Owl boxes. With some of the funds raised from our monthly field trip program we purchased two more Barn Owl boxes and put them up at a site near Ridge, just outside Wareham. The boxes were erected two weeks by Jason Fathers from Wildlife Windows and we’ll be checking them in the following weeks to see if any wandering birds have taken to them yet. Keeping fingers crossed!

Jason Fathers from Wildlife Windows and our new Barn Owl boxes

Harbour Update - posted 20/10/15

Another vis-mig session was held up on Glebelands, Ballard where 3 Brambling, 6 Crossbill, 11 Yellowhammer, 21 Bullfinch, 54 Fieldfare, 88 Redwing, 40 Skylark, 50c House Martin, 20c Swallow and a steadyish passage of Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Redpoll, alba Wagtails and Meadow Pipits were passing over head and a female Merlin and 2 Peregrine were also seen.  From Middlebere a ringtail Hen Harrier was finally photographed and more Fieldfare were seen arriving overhead. From the Arne side it was also noted that there were 2 Great White Egret present again in the Middlebere Channel. On Brownsea there were 27 Spoonbill, 42 Dunlin, only 3 Spotted Redshank, 4 Greenshank, 2 Grey Plover, 1 Turnstone, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine and 2 Firecrest. The best at Studland was a female Marsh Harrier hunting over the South Haven pool. 

Click To Enlarge
  • Fieldfare - Middlebere - Clive Hargrave
  • Hen Harrier - Middlebere - Clive Hargrave
  • Stonechat - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - posted 19/10/15

Today proved you don’t have to be at a coastal site to get good vis-mig birds when a Lapland Bunting passed over Lytchett Heath at 8:30am calling low overhead and passing off to the NW. Also over the Lytchett Bay area were 2 Crossbill, 2 Egyptian Geese, 1 Rock Pipit, 5 Fieldfare and 6 Redwing. A Yellowhammer at Lytchett Fields the previous day was the first since November 210! At Arne a Hawfinch passed over the car park calling and 2 Firecrest and the Brambling were still viewable in the car park area. A Short-eared Owl flew over Slepe Heath and out across Arne Moors towards Swineham at 5pm and 3 Marsh Harrier, including a sub-adult male were present there too. A first year Cetti’s Warbler was singing in Poole Park and a Red-throated Diver was out off Fisherman’s dock. A flock of c200 sinensis Cormorant flew out across Whitecliff/Baiter towards the harbour mouth. 

Harbour Update - posted 18/10/15

There was a good report of not one but two Great White Egret in Middlebere during the morning, potentially confirming what we thought may be the case that there were in fact two separate birds. Another Short-eared Owl was seen out hunting over Arne moors, whilst harassing a couple of the 7 Marsh Harrier. The two Brambling at the Arne VC were present again feeding in amongst Chaffinch and House Sparrows whilst up to 3 Firecrest can still be seen in and around the car park. Several flocks of Fieldfare were seen passing over the Middlebere track heading north. The Spoonbill flock remained separate with birds both on Brownsea and Shipstal Point, Arne. 

Harbour Update - posted 17/10/15

The male Brambling at Arne was joined by a female and could be viewed on and off from the visitors centre window in the car park where there were also several Firecrest too. A Merlin flew in through the harbour mouth with another seen at Arne and 3 Red-breasted Merganser were sat off Furzey. There were 32 Spoonbill with 20 At Arne and 12 on Brownsea. Our monthly BoPH field trip at Greenlands Farm/Brands Bay area scored well with 4 Crossbill, 1 Ring Ouzel, 6 Lesser Redpoll, 100+ Fieldfare, 300+ Redwing, 1 Peregrine, 1 Marsh Harrier, 4 Dartford Warbler, 4 Stonechat and the Great White Egret was on Little Sea. Overhead Chaffinch, Siskin, Reed Bunting, Swallow and a few flocks of Wood Pigeon all passed north and out in Brands Bay there were 20+ Pintail, 400+ Black-tailed Godwit along with the usual Redshank, Curlew, Teal, Wigeon etc. Also on Brownsea were 10 Spotted Redshank, 12 Greenshank, 100+ Avocet, 200+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Sandwich Tern, 15 Little Egret, 1 Turnstone, 5 Swallow, 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Kingfisher and a Red Kite passed overhead.

Harbour Update - posted 15/10/15

One of my personal highlights from the last few days is a male Brambling that’s taken up semi-residence at the feeders out the back of the Arne visitor’s center. Although not a rare bird by any stretch of the imagination, they can often be extremely difficult to see and catch up with in the harbour each winter, sometimes with no birds over-wintering at all, just a few migrants during the autumn. Out in the Wareham Channel 3 Marsh Harrier were gliding about before going into roost and 4 Woodlark, 6 Crossbill and a Peregrine passed over Slepe Heath with the female Merlin still present there. There was a small movement of thrush’s at dawn with around 100 Redwing a similar number of Song Thrush and a handful of Fieldfare. Spoonbill totals were split between Brownsea and Shipstal combining at 31 birds and 14 Spotted Redshank, 350 Avocet and 9 Greenshank were also on the lagoon.

There has been a bit of an influx of Short-eared Owls this week with 7 on Portland and 2 at Durlston. Its well worth keeping an eye out around Arne, Hartland Moor, Slepe Heath, Soldiers Road etc at dusk and dawn as these sites have historically always been good places for this species. Ring Ouzels, Firecrests, Black Redstarts and more Brambling will all be around somewhere and are all classic mid to late autumn birds. And where are those Yellow-browed Warblers??????

Harbour Update - posted 13/10/15

Some exciting news came to light today when a recording of a mystery Pipit from yesterdays Glebeland’s vis-mig session was analysed to show it to be an Olive-backed Pipit. The recording has been submitted to the DRC (Dorset Rarities Committee) along with a description and an annotated sonagram created by Magnus Robb explaining his conclusion. If accepted it will be a first record for Poole Harbour and coincidently came a day before one was trapped and ringed on Portland!

 Olive-backed Pipit - Glebelands, Studalnd 12/10/15

At Middlebere 6 Crossbill passed north along the track along with a few Siskin, 1 Skylark, 3 Bullfinch and Goldcrest were calling from every bush. From the hide there were 200 Avocet, 300 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Pintail, 1 Peregrine, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 Kestrel. Thrush passage at Lytchett Bay consisted of 152 Redwing/Song Thrush north whilst at South Haven, Studland 18 Redpoll, 315 Siskin, 253 Linnet, 273 Goldfinch, 161 Chaffinch, 2 Mistle Thrush, 23 Song Thrush, 19 Redwing, 90 Meadow Pipit, 25 Swallow, 11 House Martin and a Sparrowhawk all passed the across the harbour mouth. On Brownsea there were 16 Spoonbill, 18 Spotted Redshank and a Peregrine. A ringtail Hen Harrier was seen at Arne and the Marsh Harrier roost has stayed consistent with 7 birds.

Harbour Update - posted 12/10/15

The conditions couldn’t have been any better today for visible migration along the Poole Harbour coastal areas and with two vis-mig sessions taking place at the usual spots, Glebelands and South Haven. At Glebelands the sheer number of birds passing up and over the ridge was staggering, a true migration spectacle. It started around 6:30am when a few Redwing and Song Thrush were noted passing overhead and by 7am the first Goldfinches started to pass by. Over the next hour Linnet, Goldfinch, Siskin and Chaffinch all started going by in flocks of between 10-50 every few seconds and that continued right up until 9am. Redpoll were also present in good numbers moving over every 5 minuets in 4 or 5s and a total of 13 Crossbill were reached with flocks of 7, 3 and 3. Another highlight was potentially 4 Tree Sparrow that traveled with a flock of Chaffinch and there were also 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Yellowhammer and a constant stream alba Wagtails, Meadow Pipit and to a lesser extent Hirundines. No definitive counts were made as we were trying to work out flight lines for all birds passing by and in total 3 definitive lines were found. One that the finches were following, then one further west that finches, alba wagtails and Skylark were following and another further west again that only thrushes were following. A Ring Ouzel was even discovered in the valley beneath the thrush line. At South Haven a coordinated count was made with 3 Reed Bunting, 3 Bullfinch, 323 Goldfinch, 116 Linnet, 271 Siskin, 13 Redpoll, 74 Chaffinch, 2 Tree Sparrow, 5 Fieldfare, 41 Redwing, 41 Song Thrush, 63 Meadow Pipit, 49 Pied Wagtails, 2 Skylark, 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker all moving across the harbour mouth. There were 277 Cormorant all fishing in a feeding flock just in the harbour mouth. A session at Boarder Road, Lytchett Bay produced 21 Song Thrush, 4 Redwing, 4 Fieldfare and 2 Blackbird all north with a further 157 Thrush sp

Harbour Update - posted 11/10/15

More vis-mig totals but before those 7 Marsh Harrier were counted coming out of the west Poole Harbour roost and a Hobby and Merlin were observed around the Arne Moors/Hartland area. A Woodcock was sat out on French’s pools, Lytchett Fields first thing. At Glebelands, Ballard vis-mig counts included 15 Crossbill, 302 alba Wagtails, 276 Meadow Pipit, 253 Linnet, 113 Siskin, 120 Goldfinch and 3 Redpoll.  At South Haven there were 15 Crossbill, 85 Linnet, 657 Siskin, 128 Goldfinch, 32 Chaffinch, 11 Redwing/Song Thrush, 32 alba Wagtail, 2 Sparrowhawk and 12 Pintail. The Spoonbill 50+  are still commuting between the Brownsea Lagoon and Shipstal Point, Arne and the Great White Egret was at Shipstal too. 

Harbour Update - posted 10/10/15

Vis-mig is certainly the order of the week with NE winds forecast for the next week or so. With this in mind vis-mig session were conducted at both Glebelands end of Ballard and at South Haven. At Glebelands the highlight was 42 Crossbill that passed over early on in five separate parties of 6, 7, 23, 4 and 2 all heading east along the ridge. There was also a big movement of alba Wagtails with c200 passing by, along with big numbers of Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Goldfinch, Siskin, Chaffinch, several Greenfinch, Lesser Redpoll, 3 Yellowhammer, 1 Tree Pipit and 6 Skylark. At dawn Song Thrush were passing in good numbers and Goldcrests seemed to be calling from every bush. At South Haven, more signs of winter with the first 2 Red-breasted Merganser through the harbour mouth along with 8 Redwing, 519 Siskin, 587 Goldfinch, 200 Linnet, 37 Redpoll, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker all north across the harbour mouth. At Lytchett Bay, a Red Kite was an odd mid October record whilst Chiffchaff and Goldcrest were common-place around much of the area.

The recording below is of the largest flock of Crossbill that passed over Glebelands this morning which happened to give snippets of song in amongst their normal flight calls

Flock of 23 Crossbill over Glebelands, Ballard 10/10/15 - Flight calls and snippets of song

Harbour Update - posted 09/10/15

A mundane Friday burst into life at fist light when a Short-eared Owl was seen high over Arne Moors getting harassed by corvids whilst at roughly the same time, the first Hen Harrier of the winter passed over Lytchett Heath in the form of an adult female. If that wasn’t enough there were 53 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon mid-morning with the Great White Egret feeding in amongst them. A Firecrest, 10 Chiffchaff and 8 Blackcap were at the PC World drain. At RSPB Lytchett Fields there were 2 settled Lesser Redpoll, 6 Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpiper and 60+ Reed Bunting. A ringing session at Lytchett Heath saw good numbers of Chiffchaff ringed along with 2 Cetti’s Warbler and an adult male Dartford Warbler. There were 3 Sandwich Tern out in the harbour and 3 Black-necked Grebe in Studland Bay.

Click To Enlarge
  • Dartford Warbler - Lytchett Heath - Shaun Robson
  • Lesser Redpoll - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
  • Great White Egret - Brownsea Lagoon - Via webcam
Harbour Update - posted 08/10/15

Today a coordinated count took place in an effort to obtain an accurate total of Spoonbill with a count at Arne and a count on the Brownsea Lagoon using the Birds of Poole Harbour Brownsea Lagoon webcam. The outcome was quite staggering. Arne held 28 birds and Brownsea Lagoon held 32 meaning there was a minimum of 60 in the harbour. We say minimum, as who’s to say there weren’t others elsewhere in the harbour feeding or roosting. We’ll try and coordinate more counts over the next week or two to obtain an accurate total before some birds depart further into the south-west. At RSPB Lytchett Fields there were still big numbers of Teal and Redshank, also 40+ Dunlin, 6 Greenshank, 7 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 1 Wheatear and 5 Goldcrest. Despite the calm weather there was a small pulse of vis-mig at South Haven, Studland with 61 Redpoll, 23 Siskin, 19 Linnet, 20 Greenfinch, 66 Chaffinch, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 5 Skylark and 18 House Martin, all north. In brands Bay 356 Teal, 58 Pintail, 72 Wigeon, 1 Grey Plover, 106 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank and 28 Dunlin were counted. Off Knoll Beach 8 Black-necked Grebe were on the water. 

Click To Enlarge
  • Lesser Redpoll - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam
  • Stonechat - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - posted 07/10/15

A blustery day with reports few and far between. The Spoonbill flock of 54 birds was again at Arne before splitting and 22 arriving back on Brownsea. Also at Arne 3 Woodlark passed over the car park and 2 Firecrest were next to the visitors center. In Studland Bay just 2 Black-necked Grebe could be seen also 4 Brent Geese passed out in the bay. At Lytchett Bay there was a definite arrival of Goldcrest with a minimum of 25 around different parts of the bay with 2 Lesser Redpoll passing overhead too. At Middlebere 2 Marsh Harrier were out in front of the hide for a short while and a Spotted Redshank was feeding with 2 Greenshank. On RSPB Lytchett Fields Teal, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe and Lapwing can all be found in good numbers from the viewing areas.

I have already started to receive photos of colour-ringed Spoonbill so as soon as we have any info back regarding the origin of each bird we’ll post it right away.

Colour-ringed Spoonbill - Sarah Morrison - Brownsea Island

Harbour Update - posted 06/10/15

It was only a matter of time, but today saw the Poole Harbour Spoonbill flock reach 53 (possibly 55) birds, breaking last year’s British record of 49. All 53 were gathered on Shipstal Point , Arne on the high tide and there is still another few weeks for the flock size to potentially grow. There are a minimum of 7 ringed birds in amongst the flock so if anyone manages to get good photos or views of the colour rings then please email them to us at

Ringing records from last year’s birds showed that we have Dutch, German, Belgium and French ringed Spoonbill visiting us. Another big surprise this afternoon came when a Hawfinch settled at the top of an Oak in the Arne car park for a short while before flying off north. The first ‘urban’ Yellow-browed Warbler was also found this morning with a bird calling away in Broadstone in private gardens near Dunyeats Road. On Brownsea there were 10 Spotted Redshank, c450 Avocet, 2 Hobby and 2 Spoonbill (possibly additional birds to the Arne flock). A sea watch from Branksome produced 1 Arctic Skua, 1 Gannet, 2 Brent Geese and 5 Sandwich Tern.

Harbour Update - posted 05/10/15

A wet yucky day with not much to report other than c500 Teal, 150 Redshank, 100 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Greenshank, 1 Peregrine and a handful of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest at RSPB Lytchett Fields. Avocet numbers on the Brownsea Lagoon grew to about 400 and there were 11 Spotted Redshank and 12 Spoonbill.


Harbour Update - posted 04/10/15

A brisk easterly wind soon picked up making birding difficult but the Ring Ouzel at Middlebere stayed for its third day making the most of the berry laden Rowan Tree where it was feeding quite happily with several Mistle Thrush and Song Thrush. 18 of the harbour’s 47 Spoonbill came and settled in the Middlebere Channel. The Arne car park had a stormer of a day with a Yellow-browed Warbler in the over-flow car park, 24 Crossbill over with a few settled at the top of a Fir Tree, no less than 4 Firecrests around the visitors center and a Continental Coal Tit. RSPB Lytchett Fields was a bit quiet with 7 Greenshank, 60 Lapwing and a Peregrine the highlights. Several Marsh Harrier were out in the Wareham Channel viewed from Slepe Heath and 6 calling Woodlark went over at dusk.

Yellow-browed Warbler Alert – This autumn the country has seen an almighty influx of these once rare tiny little warblers and Dorset has already seen its fair share with birds popping up at several coastal spots. We’re asking people to keep an eye out for these stunning little birds in their gardens, local parks whilst out on walks etc as it would be great to get a scope on the true scale of this influx in the Poole Harbour area as we think there are probably a great deal more birds out there than are being found. Yellow-browed Warblers will often associate with tit flocks and are big fans of Sycamore trees. They’re busy little birds and can sometimes be quite hard to get a good view of (certainly whilst there are lots of leaves still on trees), but when they do show they’re fairly easy to ID with a bright yellow eye stripe and an obvious yellow wing bar. Be careful though as there are plenty of Chiffchaff around at present which also have a yellow eye stripe, but are plaine olive green all over with no yellow wing bar.Their call is also very recognisable. Below is a recording we made at Knoll beach, Studland last year of a bird that was moving through the scrub with a flock of Long-tailed Tits. Please report all Poole Harbour Yellow-browed Warbler sightings (and any other sightings) to

Yellow-browed Warbler – Knoll Beach, Studland – 31/10/14

Click To Enlarge
  • Yellow-browed Warbler - Arne car park - Joe Stockwell
  • Crossbills - Arne car park - Joe Stockwell
  • Firecrest - Arne car park - Joe Stockwell
Harbour Update - posted 03/10/15

Another fine still early autumn day which produced a bit of fog and mist, but the sun soon burnt that off. A ringing session at Lytchett Heath saw a good mix of species including 4 late Sedge Warbler and 1 Reed Warbler along with good numbers of Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Goldcrest, 2 Bearded Tit (four more present in the reeds) and 1 lone Lesser Redpoll. There was a bit of vis-mig whilst ringing too which saw 8+ Lesser Redpoll, 6 Crossbill, 2 Woodlark, 1 Redwing, several Siskin and a high flying Bullfinch. At South Haven 17 Crossbill passed over the harbour mouth with 2 Yellow Wagtail and a handful of Chiffchaff and 5 Brent Geese arrived. The Ring Ouzel (possibly 2) was again feeding in the Rowan Tree at Middlebere much to the delight of several photographers. Also at Middlebere 22 Brent Geese came down and settled in the channel and there were big numbers of Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Wigeon and Teal present. On RSPB Lytchett Fields there were 3 Green Sandpiper, 1 Ringed Plover, 3 Greenshank and a Firecrest was along the lane. The Great White Egret was on the Brownsea Lagoon for most of the morning and the harbour Spoonbill flock reached 47…almost breaking the 50 mark!, also there 29 Little Egret, 16 Spotted Redshank, 355 Teal, 55 Wigeon and 83 Dunlin.

Click To Enlarge
  • Great White Egret - Brands Bay - Simon Kidner
  • Ring Ouzel - Middlebere Track - Peter Moore
  • Mistle Thrush- Middlebere Track - Peter Moore
Harbour Update - posted 02/10/15

Autumn goodies came thick and fast this morning starting with a Ring Ouzel feeding in Rowan Trees with Mistle Thrush along the track at Middlebere, then news came in of the harbours first Yellow-browed Warbler at South Haven. Then, whilst a vis-mig count was being conducted a Hawfinch passed by calling, a true harbour rarity. Also noted during the vis-mig session was 254 Swallow, 12 Alba Wagtail, 1 Grey and 1 Grey Yellow Wagtail, 13 Meadow Pipit, 20 Chiffchaff, 95 Siskin, 16 Linnet, 21 Redpoll, 16 Greenfinch, 165 Goldfinch, 49 Chaffinch and 1 Mistle Thrush. A Cetti’s Warbler was also at South Haven with 20+ Goldcrest. At Lytchett Bay there were 2 Bearded Tit at the end of footpath 12 with numerous Blackcap and Goldcrest. At Lytchett Fields there were 8 Stonechat and 1 Whinchat, 50 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Greenshank and 6 Green Sandpiper.

Harbour Update - posted 01/10/15

There was a nice surprise at South Haven when a Snow Bunting passed across the harbour mouth at first light. Snow Bunting are really tricky to catch up with in the harbour with individuals only turning up once every few years. Studland is certainly the place to look with majority of sightings. Also at South Haven Studland 17 Crossbill with 247 Swallow, 1 Grey Wagtail, 40 Alba Wagtail, 41 Meadow Pipit, 1 Tree Pipit, 5 Song Thrush, 441 Goldfinch, 305 Siskin, 108 Linnet, 24 Redpoll, 28 Chaffinch all north and 3 Spoonbill across the harbour mouth. At Greenlands Farm there were 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Wheatear, 13+ Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat and 10 Chiffchaff. There are still 6 Marsh Harrier making up the west harbour roost and a Merlin was seen on Coombe Heath, Arne.

Harbour Update - posted 30/09/15

There was a nice bit of coverage from around the harbour today, starting of at Glebelands, Ballard where another vis-mig recording session was held. It took a while for birds to get moving, but when they did they just kept on coming. If you get a chance to experience this its well worth the effort as at times parties of birds were migrating just feet above our heads. Totals included 8 Crossbill, 8 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Yellowhammer, c500 Siskin, c700 Goldfinch, c100 Alba Wagtail, 4 Grey Wagtail, 17 Lesser Redpoll, c50 Linnet, 14 Chaffinch, c400 Swallow, 2 Sand Martin, 9 Skylark as well as 1 female Merlin, 1 Peregrine and 1 Kestrel. In the bushes on top of Glebelands Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Stonechat were present in moderate numbers and a late Whitethroat was noted too. Out in Studland Bay 7 Common Scoter, 4 Black-necked Grebe and 11 Brent Geese were out on the water and the Great White Egret was roosting at Littlesea. At Greenlands Farm 2 Wheatear and 3 Yellow Wagtail were on the open pasture. At Middlebere a reasonably late Pied Flycatcher was around the barns with 2 Spotted Flycatcher and from the hide the tide was perfect for holding lots of birds at the top of the Middlebere channel with 525 Avocet, 644 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Knot, c50 Redshank, 11 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpiper, c200 Wigeon, 8 Pintail, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 Peregrine. At Lytchett Bay View 6 Crossbill went over and an adult Yellow-legged Gull was present. Lytchett Fields held a pretty standard set of waders including Dunlin, Greenshank, Redshank, Lapwing, Snipe etc and a Marsh Harrier passed over too. The female Merlin is still present on Hartland and 6 Marsh Harrier left the west Poole Harbour roost. On Brownsea the Spoonbill total remained at 42 today.

Below are two recordings from this mornings session up on Glebelands, Ballard. The first is of the party of 8 Crossbill, which were migrating with several Goldfinches. These birds passed just feet above our heads giving a great opportunity to record their lovely yip yip call.

Crossbill – Party of 8 autumn migrants passing over Gleblands, Ballard – 30/09/15

There are a heard of 10 cattle on the top of Glebelands which act as an excellent Yellow Wagtail magnet. Any passing Yellow Wagtails instantly get drawn in by the small insects around the feet of the cows and often call the whole time they’re there. The birds in this recording literally fell out of the sky as they were migrating to stop off and take advantage of the cows.

Yellow Wagtails – Several birds stopping off to feed as they passed over Glebelands, Ballard – 30/09/15

Web Design by Beetleweb