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December 2015

HArbour Update - 31/12/15

We can’t believe its the end of another year…..they seem to be vanishing way WAY to quickly. From all of us here at Birds of Poole Harbour we wish you all a Happy New Year and look forward to seeing what 2016 brings our way. What ever it may be, we strive to continue to promote and popularise bird conservation, preservation and observation in and around Poole Harbour for you learn from and enjoy. Please continue to send us your sightings, photos (ID mysteries too please), videos and questions, as we love to see and hear what people are up to in the harbour and where you enjoy to go birding.

So to end 2015, more wind and rain hit for most of the day but gave way to a clear, crisp cold night sky meaning we could see in 2016 with some sun…that would be novel! Once again, most of the action came from the Studland area with a handful of Med Gulls around the beaches, 33 Sanderling on Shell Beach, 2 Great Northern Diver of Jerry’s Point and 2 Sandwich Tern were feeding in the harbour mouth. There were 30 Spoonbill off Shipstal, Arne and 2 in Middlebere. At Holton Lee a Marsh Harrier drifted by the shoreline. 

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  • Med Gull - Studland - Paul Boult
  • Sanderling - Studland - Paul Boult
  • Shag - Harbour Mouth - Paul Boult
Harbour Update - 30/12/15

We knew it wouldn’t last long. Yesterday’s sun gave way to 40mph winds and heavy rain today but it didn’t stop the die-hard Studland faithful’s from attempting to notch up a few last minute species for their annual lists. Despite the wind there weren’t many sea birds on the move with a Great Skua the best from a South Haven sea watch, also from there 7 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 10+ Ringed Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 23 Sanderling, 70+ Dunlin, 1 Turnstone, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Kittiwake and 2 Sandwich Tern. From Brands Bay 1 Great Northern Diver, 15 Black-necked Grebe and the Great White Egret flew in at lunchtime. From Middle Beach there were 2 more Great Northern Diver (bringing the Studland day total to 10), 5 Black-necked Grebe, 8 Gannet and 4 Common Scoter. At RSPB Lytchett Fields there was a good spread of Lapwing, Dunlin and a few Redshank and at Holton Lee a Marsh Harrier passed the NW end. At Baiter Park there were 6 Turnstone feeding on the beach with 300+ Brent Geese on the playing field. 

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  • 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit - Baiter park - Ian Ballam
  • Green Sandpiper - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
  • Stonechat - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - 29/12/15

Finally another bright day with warm sunshine to kick things off, which finally gave way to wind and rain….obviously! We shouldn’t expect anything less these days. Whilst the sun was out many birds made the most of it with both Song and Mistle Thrush in full voice at Holton Lee with Marsh Tit, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Nuthatch and plenty of common woodland species around the feeders there. Out across the Wareham Channel 4 Marsh Harrier came out of the main roost and singles of Merlin, Peregrine and Hen Harrier all dashed over Arne Moors. A flock of 5 Woodlark passed over Stoborough Heath calling. From the Raptor hide at Arne a male Marsh Harrier gave supurb close views, with another 1-2 putting up the many hundreds of Avocet, Brent Geese and Black-tailed Godwits in the Middlebere Channel.

Harbour Update - 28/12/15

A busy day today with plenty about and some fine weather. The Great Northern Diver is still showing exceptionally well off Baiter, at one time swimming with a dog 2 feet away! From Soldiers Road there were 2-3 Marsh Harrier viewed over the Wareham Channel. Off Middle Beach there was 1 Black-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver, 5 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Common Scoter and 1 Great Skua. In Shell Bay there was just 1 Great Northern Diver and 1 Black-necked Grebe. A scan form the Houseboats towards Brownsea produced 6 Great Northern Diver and 1 Slavonian Grebe. In Brands Bay 8 Sandwich Tern were fishing, 1 Great White Egret, 5+ Black-necked Grebe, 1 Merlin and a Peregrine. A high tide count at Lytchett Fields produced some good totals including 300+ Lapwing, 279 Dunlin, 4 Water Pipit, 200+ Teal, 30 Shelduck, 27 Redshank, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 ringtail Hen Harrier. 

Harbour Update - 27/12/15

The Christmas come down seemed to be in full effect today with (more) foul weather and not many reports other than the Great Northern Diver feeding again just a few meters off Baiter Beach, Spoonbills on both Brownsea and Arne and both Marsh and Hen Harriers viewed from the Middlebere hide. 

Harbour Update - 26/12/15

Today another count on Brownsea produced 828 Avocet, 642 Black-tailed Godwit, 66 Bar-tailed Godwit, 139 Grey Plover, 140 Teal, 36 Wigeon and 68 Gadwall. News from Brownsea is that duck numbers have really tailed off in the last week. In Brands Bay a sub-adult male Eider Duck was found with a Red-throated Diver, 6 Black-necked Grebe, 9 Spoonbill, 8 Shoveler, 55 Avocet, 500+ Dunlin, 1 Sandwich Tern and the usual wildfowl. From the Houseboats there was 1 Great Northern Diver and 3 Spoonbill. From Shell Bay (where the new boardwalk opened today) there was 1 Great Northern Diver, 20 Gannet and 22 Ringed Plover. And finally, from Middle Beach 2 Great Northern Diver, 11 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 4 Common Scoter and 1 Fulmar south. 

Harbour Update - Christmas Day

From all of us here at ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ we want to wish you all a very merry Christmas and want to thank you all for your support and enthusiasm for all our work over the year. We’re looking forward to an exciting 2016 and look forward to a bird filled year. There were a few sightings from the festive day which included the male and ringtail Hen Harriers at Middlebere again. On the Brownsea lagoon there were 847 Avocet (an exact same total from the previous days count), 419 Black-tailed Godwit, 81 Bar-tailed Godwit (including the retiring summer plumaged bird), 141 Grey Plover, c870 Dunlin, 6 Pintail (real Brownsea rarities), 3 Spoonbill and 240 Oystercatcher.

Harbour Update - posted 24/12/15

With the Christmas rush, here are the brief highlights from Christmas Eve. The Smew was in Holes Bay south again. The Great Northern Diver was off the Baiter shoreline again very close in and in Middlebere there were male and female Hen Harriers, 2 Marsh Harrier and 2 Raven. From Middle Beach there was 1 Great Northern Diver, 11 Black-necked Grebe and stag Sika Deer swimming 30 off shore! In Brands Bay there were 20 Black-necked Grebe in the evening roost, 13 Spoonbill, 28 Avocet and an Owl species likely to be a Short-eared Owl flew across the road near the Greenland’s Farm track. 

Harbour Update - posted 23/12/15

Today was our first ever Family Bird Boat trip which is an extension of our existing School Bird Boat project. This saw 75 eager members of the public book onto the trip for free, with the aim of us showcasing the best Poole Harbour has to offer in terms of scenery, tranquillity and of course birds. We’re not quite sure who was looking down on us (but its seems we’d certainly been on Santa’s good list) as the weather was a pure picture. As the sun poked its head over Sandbanks we departed from Poole Quay ready for a 2.5 hour tour around some of the harbours most beautiful areas. We visited the Brownsea Lagoon first which was at its absolute best as 500+ Dunlin, 300+ Avocet, 100+ Grey Plover as well as Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Greenshank, Curlew, Redshank and a handful of Knot all sat, sunning themselves in peace. That was until a female Merlin came down a spooked the whole lot, resulting in an incredible and dramatic scene of chaos for a while until everything settled back down again. There was also a single Spoonbill on the lagoon and plenty of winter duck. As we made our way around a Black-throated Diver was off the Brownsea SE corner and Red-breasted Merganser, Goldeneye and Great Crested Grebe were kept the interest up as we made our way to Arne. There was a minimum of 5 Sandwich Tern feeding in between Arne and Green Island and a Great Northern Diver was off Shipstal Beach, and eventually came really close to the boat. Finally the other 30+ Spoonbill were on Shipstal Point, Arne and kindly took to the air for a short while for us and settled again in the morning sun. All in all it was a near perfect trip (made not totally perfect by missing the Black Guillemot which was seen off Brownsea about 30 minutes after the tour finished)! We are running 3 of these trips this winter, which are all currently fully booked, however it proved such a well received event we’ll almost certainly do it again next winter. Elsewhere in the harbour there was 1 Great Northern Diver, 7 Black-necked Grebe and 3 Common Scoter off Middle Beach, Studland. From South Haven, 1 Great Northern Diver with another in Brands Bay and 3 Black-necked Grebe. In Middlebere 2 Marsh Harrier and a ringtail Hen Harrier played together in the afternoon wind from the Raptor Hide and the 2 Great Northern Diver were again close in at Baiter with the Guillemot and several Red-breasted Mergansers close in to Fisherman’s Dock again. 

Harbour Update - posted 22/12/15

Unsurprisingly there was little reported today with strong SW winds and driving rain at times. The best came from Baiter where now 2 Great Northern Diver have taken up to feeding just a few meters off the beach at Baiter and a Guillemot was again within the Fisherman’s dock end of Baiter. Out on the playing fields 300+ Brent Geese continue to feed with good numbers of Oystercatcher and a few Black-tailed Godwit.

Harbour Update - Posted 21/12/15

Another yucky wet and windy day with sightings few and far between. The Great Northern Diver was still feeding just meters off the beach at Baiter near the Fisherman’s Dock end and a Guillemot was seen again within the seawall. 12 Turnstone and 8 Ringed Plover were on the beach there. There were 21 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon, 6 Spotted Redshank and 400 Avocet.

Harbour Update - Posted 20/12/15

Today saw the harbour receive coverage from almost all corners as the WeBS counts (Wetland Bird Survey) took place. The low pressure system that has been bringing wind and rain for weeks was also playing havoc with the tides too as there was very little movement at low tide, resulting in much of the mud staying under water. From Shipstal Point, Arne a Great Northern Diver was off the beach with 14 Goldeneye, 22 Great Crested Grebe and 40 Red-breasted Merganser with 8 Spoonbill further up in Wytch Lake. From Coombe Heath there was a good spread of raptors with 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 ringtail Hen Harrier, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 2 Kestrel, 1 Short-eared Owl and 18 Little Egret went into roost. From Swineham Point 740 Dunlin were feeding and 17 Spoonbill were feeding further up the Wareham Channel. From Goathorn there was another Spoonbill, 33 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Goldeneye and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit. In the Wytch Channel there were another 9 Spoonbill, 3 Knot, 2 Turnstone and a ringtail Hen Harrier went through. In Brands Bay, Studland the Great White Egret reappeared, there were 4 Spoonbill, 1 Red-throated Diver, 3 Great Northern Diver and 2 Sandwich Tern. The Smew was again in Holes Bay south with 3 male Goldeneye.

Harbour Update - Posted 19/12/15

Today we hosted a joint partnership field trip with the Dorset Wildlife Trust around the Holes Bay Nature Park, starting at Upton CP and walking round to Holes Bay NE. This walk provides wonderfully close views to a whole range of winter species. Our group managed to gather quite a list and some of the views were spectacular.  From ‘the stone bench’ out the outskirts of Upton CP we saw 500+ Black-tailed Godwit, 200+ Avocet, 25 Dunlin, 200+ Teal, 200+ Wigeon, 11 Pintail, 5 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall plus Redshank, Curlew, Little Egret, Shelduck and Grey Heron. As we walked through the woods along to Holes Bay the Black-tailed Godwits made their way to feed into one of the fields behind us with 150+ Canada Geese and 2 Mistle Thrush. Up in Holes Bay NE it was more of the same plus 1 adult Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Med Gull, 1 female Goldeneye and 2 Great Crested Grebe. Studland received some good coverage again today. A seawatch from South Haven saw 4 Red-throated Diver, 23 Gannet and 10 Auk sp south and in the bay 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 3 Black-necked Grebe (2 at the Housboats with 13 Sanderling) and 1 Razorbill. In Brands Bay there were 9 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Spoonbill, 1 Marsh Harrier and c200 Black-tailed Godwit. And from Middle Beach 4 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 14 Black-necked Grebe and 2 Common Scoter. Of minor interest, during a ringing session at Holton Lee a Blue Tit was caught that had originally been ringed as an adult on the 13/11/10 making the bird a minimum of six years old…….hardy little thing! Also 1 Lesser Redpoll and 4 Nuthatch were ringed. 

Harbour Update - Posted 18/12/15

A few bits and pieces reported today, mostly from around Studland. From Jerry’s Point there was 1 Great Northern and 1 Black-throated Diver. Off Middle Beach there were 8 Black-necked Grebe and 8 Med Gulls. In Shell Bay there were 18 Sanderling and 2 Sandwich Tern and a Firecrest was near the Rees Cox hide on Littlesea. From Baiter the Great Northern Diver was again close inshore at the Fishermans Dock end with a Guillemot, Little Grebe and 3 Red-breasted Merganser. At North Haven, Sandbanks there were 2 Purple Sandpiper on the rocks with 20 Ringed Plover and 8 Sanderling

Harbour Update - Posted 17/12/15

At the Fishermans Dock end of Baiter the Great Northern Diver was again feeding close into the shoreline with a Guillemot in tow and 3 Red-breasted Merganser and a Little Grebe. The Pale-belled Brent Goose was still in the Brent Goose flock and the Turnstone and Ringed Plover flock were again on the eastern Baiter Beach tide line. There were several raptor battles today with a Merlin dive bombing a ringtail Hen Harrier out in the Wareham Channel, a Short-eared Owl and Marsh Harrier also seen having a ding-dong and then towards the end of the day two ringtail Hen Harrier had a bit of a spat near Slepe Heath. Also a grey male Hen Harrier was seen out over Arne Moors. The Red-necked Grebe remained off Middle Beach, Studland and a Great Northern Diver was off Jerry’s point. 

Harbour Update - Posted 16/12/15

The brisk SW wind blew a few birds over to the northern shores including a Great Northern Diver that was at times feeding six feet off the beach at Baiter giving excellent views. Also at Baiter a Pale-belled Brent Goose in the main Brent flock, 10 Turnstones on the beach, 8 Ringed Plover, 2 Rock Pipit, 4 Great Crested Grebe and 4 Red-breasted Merganser. There were a further 2 Great Northern Diver off Brownsea and the Red-necked Grebe was still off Middle Beach, Studland. On the Brownsea Lagoon the 22 Spoonbill remained also there 1700 Herring Gull, 16 Greenshank, 8 Spotted Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper (on the north shore), 1024 Dunlin, 154 Grey Plover and 300+ Avocet. Lytchett Bay was a bit of a raptorfest today with 2 Peregrine and 2 Marsh Harrier all feeding in and around Lytchett Fields at the same time, also a male Hen Harrier went through the bay with Kestrel, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk all present too. There are still several Firecrest in the Arne car park and a Merlin was out on the Moors at dawn. 

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  • Great Northern Diver - Baiter Beach - Paul Morton
  • Pale-belled Brent Goose - Baiter Park - Paul Morton
  • Marsh Harrier and Peregrine hunting together at RSPB Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - Posted 15/12/15

With the SE wind a sea watch was attempted from Branksome Chine early morning, but visibility soon decreased to 200m and the watch had to stop. From 8am to 9am 2 Common Scoter, 1 Red-throated Diver, 11 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Razorbill, 9 Brent Geese and 4 Shelduck were noted. In Middlebere a male Merlin was sat on a post in front of the hide, plus there was at least 1 Marsh Harrier, 500+ Avocet, 350+ Lapwing and 10 Spotted Redshank. There were finally 3 Purple Sandpiper back on the rocks in front of the Haven Hotel, Sandbanks. In Holes Bay the Smew was still in Holes Bay south and a Common Sandpiper was near the out flow in HB north. On Baiter Beach both Turnstone and Ringed Plover were feeding on the low tide near Fishermas Dock. 

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  • Purple Sandpiper - North Haven, Sandbanks - Ian Ballam
  • Turnstone - Baiter Park - Paul Morton
  • Common Sandpiper - Holes Bay - Paul Morton
Harbour Update - Posted 14/12/15

There was a lovely selection of birds in the harbour today including the discovery of a Black Guillemot off the SE corner of Brownsea Island. It was in exactly the same spot as the bird from the 20114/15 winter period so more than likely it’s the same bird. There was a Great White Egret on Round Island which then later moved to Long Island (viewed from Arne) with a Great Northern Diver off Shipstal too. The Smew was again in Holes Bay south near the railway bridge. On the Brownsea Lagoon 34 Spoonbill huddled together to shelter from the SE wind. A new grey male Hen Harrier joined the harrier party at dusk with a Short-eared owl hunting on Arne Moors and only 3 Marsh Harrier in the west harbour roost. From South Haven there were 6 Great Northern Diver, 3 Sandwich Tern and an auk sp. In Brands Bay there were 12 Black-necked Grebe and an adult Yellow-legged Gull and 7 Gannet out from Middle Beach. A Black Redstart was having a ding dong with a Robin above the entrance to Salterns Marina, Poole mid afternoon. 

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  • Black Guillemot - Brownsea shoreline - Paul Morton
  • Woodcock - Sunnyside Farm - Dave Jones
  • Great White Egret - Long Island - Joe Stockwell
Harbour Update - Posted 13/12/15

Finally a calm, still day and overcast which actually makes watching the harbour a bit easier. At Lytchett Bay there were still 2 Water Pipit on the Poole Field and 2 Green Sandpiper there too.  In Brands Bay the Great White Egret reappeared and there was also a Spoonbill there too. The ‘inner’ Poole Harbour evening Black-necked Grebe roost was off Jerry’s Point and was comprised of 24 individuals with another 14 off Knoll Beach in the ‘outer’ Poole Harbour Black-necked Grebe roost, also a Slavonian Grebe off Knoll Beach too and the Red-necked Grebe remained. In the north of the harbour another Woodcock was ringed by the Stour Ringing group and a Firecrest was ringed in Upton. Today also saw the first joint partnership bird boat trip between the National Trust and RSPB. A good day was had by all with 5 Great Northern Diver, 2 Black-necked Grebe, plenty of Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser and 32 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon. There were another 3 Great Northern Diver in Studland Bay. The Smew was in Holes Bay again with a Common Sandpiper and a Sandwich Tern was near the harbour mouth.

Harbour Update - Posted 12/12/15

There was a male Lesser-spotted Woodpecker in Chads Copse, Boarder Road in Lytchett Bay in the morning.  A Great Northern Diver was off Shore Road, Whitley Lake and another off Baiter. The Spoonbill flock was mostly on Brownsea and a Merlin dashed by there. A Short-eared Owl was again along the Arne Road at dusk and 2 Woodcock were flushed from Slepe Heath. In Holes Bay there were 10+ Pintail, 100+ Avocet and 200+ Black-tailed Godwit.

Harbour Update - Posted 11/12/15

Another quiet day in terms of birds reported, but there’s plenty out there to see!  It seems the Christmas rush has taken over priorities at present with not many birds being reported, but that’s not to say there isn’t much about. Winter in the harbour is an exceptionally busy time of year and on the low tides, big numbers of waders can be seen out feeding from places like Arne, Brands Bay, Middlebere, Holes Bay and Lytchett Bay. We’ve recently published the WeBS data (Wetland Bird Survey) from Poole Harbour which shows peak counts of each wetland bird species from 2009-2014, highlighting the importance of the harbour for a number of key wetland species. The heathlands and harbour fringes can seem quiet without the buzzing of bees and songs of grasshoppers but Dartford Warbler, Woodlark and Stonechat are all super active this time of year and birds of prey such as Merlin, Peregrine, Kestrel, Buzzard, Marsh Harrier and Hen Harrier are all real possibilities. Visiting a local feeding station can be great fun too at places like Holton Lee, the Arne car park, Corfe Castle visitors center where you can great views of species such as Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Marsh Tit, Lesser Redpoll and Siskin. So why not just get out over Christmas and explore. You’ll almost certainly experience or learn something you never knew before!

Harbour Update - Posted 10/12/15

Not much to report from today other than 18 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon, 2 Marsh Harrier in Middlebere and 200 Brent Geese out on Baiter Park with 2 Turnstone and 20+ Ringed Plover also in the vicinity. 

Harbour Update - Posted 09/12/15

For a second day in a row a school bird boat disembarked from Poole Quay taking students out Kingston Maurward College. In terms of birds seen it wasn’t too dissimilar for Tuesdays trip but the Red-throated Diver was again off Shipstal Beach, Arne with 3 Great Northern Diver dotted around (1 off Brownsea, 1 near the harbour mouth and 1 centrail harbour). There were 34 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon and a great full supporting cast of Avocet, Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and Spotted Redshank. A Peregrine passed over Long Island and the harbour saw good numbers of Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser. The Smew had moved from Holes Bay south to north. Up on Hartland Moor a male Merlin was buzzing around and a was hunting on Slepe Heath at dusk. Up to 5 Marsh Harrier are now roosting again and only a single ringtail Hen Harrier was noted. 

Harbour Update - Posted 08/12/15

Today we ventured out on a school bird boat and we were rewarded with a Red-throated Diver feeding just off Shipstal Beach, Arne plus 3 Great Northern Diver out in central harbour. There were a minimum of 25 Spoonbill on Shipstal Point, Arne and out in central harbour, Goldeneye, Red-breasted merganser and Great Crested Grebe numbers continue to grow. A Merlin was being harassed out in Brands Bay by a crow and 3 Marsh Harrier came out of the west Poole Harbour roost. The redhead Smew was again present in Holes Bay south with 3 Goldeneye. A male Merlin zoomed past Middlebere and at Lytchett Pools there was still a minimum of 2 Water Pipit with 1 Green Sandpiper and a Marsh Harrier passed over. 

Smew - Holes Bay North - Ian Ballm

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  • male Merlin - Middlebere - Simon Kidner
  • Red-throated Diver - Shipstal Beach - Paul Morton
  • Goldeneye - Holes Bay - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - Posted 07/12/15

Finally some sun and light winds meant some birds could be found today, a real novelty! Starting with some good news that there are still at least 2 Short-eared Owls alive and well with one hunting out over Arne Moors at dusk with another around the Middlebere Farm entrance track. A good count of 7 Marsh Harrier went into the west harbour roost and there are still 2 ringtail Hen Harrier booting around the Middlebere/Arne area. From Studland the Red-necked Grebe was still off Middle Beach with 10+ Black-necked Grebe and in Studland Bay the 7 Common Scoter were still present with 3 Great Northern Diver.  The family of 5 pale-bellied Brent Geese has now been reduced to 4 with one unfortunately found dead off Middle Beach early morning and out past Old Harry 20+ Kittiwake, 3 Razorbill and several Auk sp past south. A Smew was found in Holes Bay south (just near the railway bridge) which was the same place as last years bird (possibly even the same bird)?.  On the Littlesea Nature Trail there were 2 Chiffchaff and 1 Firecrest. Brands Bay held 2 Great Northern Diver, 4 Black-necked Grebe, 164 Wigeon, 83 Pintail, 76 Grey Plover, 161 Lapwing, 16 Turnstone and 1. Sandwich Tern

Harbour Update - Posted 06/12/15

Still no let up in the weather but singles of Slavonian Grebe, Black-necked Grebe Great Northern Diver and Chiffchaff were counted at South Haven, Studland with 22 Sanderling on the beach. And from on the water from Middle Beach there were 3 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 6+ Black-necked Grebe, 5 pale-belled Brent Geese, 7 Common Scoter with another 2 Common Scoter, 19 Kittiwake and 9 Razorbill passing south past Old Harry. A Marsh Tit was feeding at the Corfe NT car park feeding station. Up to 35 Spoonbills were again off Shipstal (they seem to have deserted Brownsea all together now) and were seen feeding in the Wareham Channel and in Middlebere. 

Harbour Update - Posted 05/12/15

Very few reports today other than the Red-necked Grebe, 6 Black-necked Grebe, 5 pale-belled Brent Geese and 7 Common Scoter viewable from Middle Beach, Studland

Harbour Update - Posted 04/12/15

It was slim pickings from around the harbour today, but a slight break in the weather early morning allowed for some quick pleasant birding before the wind and rain set in……again! From the Middle Beach car park there were 7 Common Scoter, 5 pale-bellied Brent Geese, 3 Great Northern Diver, 5 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Red-necked Grebe and 1 Sandwich Tern. In Brands Bay just 3 Black-necked Grebe were counted and the first Slavonian Grebe of the winter appeared in Shell Bay with 4 Great Northern Diver and another Black-necked Grebe. A Firecrest and Redpoll were at Boarder Road, Lytchett Bay and there were 4 Green Sandpiper at RSPB Lytchett Fields with a good number of Lapwing, Dunlin and Snipe

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  • Red-necked Grebe (left) with Great Crested Grebe - Middle Beach - Peter Moore
  • Pale-belled Brent Goose - Middle Beach - Peter Moore
  • Pale-belled Brent Goose - Middle Beach - Peter Moore
Harbour Update - Posted 03/12/15

In driving rain and strong winds a small team from Stour Ring Group went out to ring Woodcock around the Hartland/Slepe area and despite the conditions it was a successful session with 5 new birds ringed and a re-trap that had been ringed in February this year. In total 15-20 Woodcock were seen with 10+ Common Snipe. In Middlebere there were 4 Spotted Redshank. At Shell Bay 1 Chiffchaff and 10 Lesser Redpoll were in the trees around the boardwalk and 25 Sanderling were on the beach. Whilst out in the bay a Little Auk passed south from Middle Beach with 6 Razorbill and 7 Kittiwake in tow and on the water 3 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 7 Common Scoter, 5 pale-bellied Brent Geese and 2 Razorbill were noted with 17 Black-necked Grebe in the evening Middle Beach roost. 

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  • Woodcock - Hartland area
  • Oystercatchers and Black-headed Gulls - Poole Park
  • Sanderling - Shore Road
Harbour Update - Posted 02/12/15

A few bits and pieces from across the harbour today included 1 Great Northern Diver off Baiter Park with 17 Ringed Plover and 11 Turnstone there too. At Lytchett Bay there were 2 Red-breasted Merganser out in the Bay with 14 Brent Geese, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Peregrine over and 12 Fieldfare and 2 Water Pipit on the Pools Field. From South Haven there were 5 Great Northern Diver, 5 pale-bellied Brent Geese, 2 Sandwich Tern and 2 Razorbill. In Brands Bay 3 Black-necked Grebe, 57 Grey Plover, 12 Knot and 1 Greenshank were counted whilst from Middle Beach the Red-necked Grebe remained with 7 Common Scoter and 10+ Black-necked Grebe. There now seems to be only 3 or 4 Marsh Harrier roosting in the west harbour roost now and a single ringtail Hen Harrier remains, with no sign of the grey male. Finally a male Merlin was seen dashing across Hartland at dawn. 

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  • Chiffchaff -  PC World
  • Greenshank - Brownsea Lagoon
  • Red-breastd Merganser - Central Harbour
Harbour Update - Posted 01/12/15

Much of the same today, however the discovery of a freshly dead Short-eared Owl at RSPB Lytchett Fields was a sorry find. The bird appeared to be a first year male and was very thin with its breast-bone sticking out, indicating likely cause of death…starvation. The recent weather has not been kind to hunting owls, birds that rely almost 100% on hearing the quietest of rustles or squeaks in amongst the grass. With wind and rain hampering their hunting efforts, plus the likely hood of having just arrived exhausted possibly from continental Europe, its no surprise one of these poor, yet beautiful birds perished. We just hope all the others that have arrived here in Dorset over the last month are doing slightly better. Although, having talked to some colleagues up in Buckton, East Yorkshire today, in the last couple of days they’ve found dead Short-eared and Long-eared Owls both having starved. On a slightly more cheery note, there seem to still be 3 Hen Harrier in the harbour with the grey male seen at Middlebere midday and a ringtail in Middlebere. In Brands Bay there was a Red-throated Diver, 4 Black-necked Grebe and 2 Sandwich Terns. Off Middle Beach 5 Great Northern Diver, 8 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 7 Common Scoter and 6 Razorbill were counted. And from South Haven another 3 Great Northern Diver, 5 pale-bellied Brent Geese and 1 Sandwich Tern. There were 35+ Spoonbill at Shipstal Point, Arne and 1 on the Brownsea Lagoon. Whilst out in central harbour plenty of Red-breasted Merganser can now be found in loose flocks and there were a minimum of 10 Goldeneye present. 11 Sanderlings were seen at Shore road with a Great Northern Diver out in Whitley Lake. 

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  • Short-eared Owl - Lytchett Fields
  • Short-eared Owl - Lytchett Fields
Harbour Update - Posted 30/11/15

A dedicated count at RSPB Lytchett Fields produced 192 Dunlin, 112 Black-tailed Godwit, 289 Lapwing, 1 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 Kestrel whilst out in the bay there were 5 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Brent Geese and 52 Avocet. There was also a minimum of 6 Water Pipit still on Lytchett Pools. At the harbour mouth a good count of 8 possibly 9 Great Northern Diver was noted with 4 entering the harbour at dawn and 4-5 in and around the Shell Bay area. Also in Shell Bay was a Red-throated Diver a few meters off the beach, 2 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Razorbill. From Middle Beach, Studland 1 Black-throated Diver, 14 Black-necked Grebe and a Razorbill were counted with another 16 Black-necked Grebe in Brands Bay. The water levels in Poole Park have been lowered slightly with a few Black-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Dunlin and Redshank taking advantage, also 7 Goldeneye, 1 Brent Goose and a Kingfisher out in the deeper parts. 

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