January 2016

Harbour Update - Posted 28/01/16

A school bird boat was out this morning and the Black Guillemot once again showed well off the Brownsea SE corner. Also out on the water were 3 Great Northern Diver, c15 Goldeneye and 15 Spoonbill on Shipstal Spit. The Brownsea Lagoon was fairly flooded but still held reasonable numbers of Grey Plover, Dunlin, Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, several Greenshank, 4 Spotted Redshank and a few Knot. There were 4 different ringtail Hen Harrier in the west of the harbour including an individual that was first noted back in late October last year but not seen since. Marsh Harrier showed only slightly better totals with 5 present, but encouragingly two were seen talon locking a couple of days ago. Just playing? Its also getting close to spring migration time and you may remember last year we held a number of night migration sound recording sessions from the Frome Valley area (and my garden), well this year we have a new monitoring site in the Old Town Poole area. So far this year we’ve conducted three night recording sessions, specifically set up to monitor what’s moving around/through the harbour whilst we’re all in slumber land. On Wednesday night we had 2 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Teal, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Dunlin, 1 Grey Heron and 2 Wigeon over our listening station between 8pm and 4am.

Black Guillemot - Brownsea SE - Paul Morton 



Black Guillemot - Brownsea SE - Paul Morton



Dunlin Flock - Poole Quay - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - Posted 27/01/16

The storm had well and truly set in over-night and didn’t let up until late afternoon. During the peak of the grotty weather a Sandwich Tern was hunkering down on the playing fields with 2 Ringed Plover, 4 Turnstone, 2 Redshank and 3 ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit. At Holton lee 4 Spoonbill flew over towards the Wareham Channel and at Poole Park 2 Goldeneye were riding the waves on the main lake. 

Harbour Update - Posted 26/01/16

As the wind and rain swept in Baiter became the normal manky weather refuge for a range of birds. Out on the playing fields were 4 Ringed Plover, 8 Turnstone, 100+ Black-tailed Godwit, 50+ Dunlin and 50+ Oystercatcher. There was an incredible gathering of gulls out on the Brownsea Lagoon at dusk, all sheltering from the storm. There was somewhere in the region of 2000-3000 birds in total, all mostly Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls with a few Lesser Black-backed in there too. In the Arne car park 3 Firecrest were present and off Shipstal, Arne was 1 Slavonian Grebe and 20 Spoonbill.

Gull roost at dusk during storm - Brownsea Lagoon



Gull roost at dusk during storm - Brownsea Lagoon (different view)

Harbour Update - Posted 25/01/16

There was little to report today other than the 2 Firecrest were behind PC World again with several Chiffchaff. In Poole Park the Goldeneye group were showing off again at close range and a few Red-breasted Merganser joined them. Off Shipstal 20 Spoonbill were roosting and in Middlebere a male Hen Harrier, 1 Spotted Redshank and 1 adult Yellow-legged Gull were noted. 

Goldeneye - male on Poole Park Lake - Ian Ballam


Goldeneye - female on Poole Park Lake - Ian Ballam


Red-breasted Merganser - Poole Park Lake - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - Posted 24/01/16

The mist and murk really set in this morning and didn’t really lift until mid-late afternoon. On RSPB Lytchett Fields it seems yesterdays single Avocet went and told his mates about how great this new site is a 8 were present there today, also around the site 4 Water Pipit, 1 Spotted Redshank and 2 Greenshank whilst 8 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Goldeneye, 2 Little Grebe and 4 Gadwall were out in the Bay. A Woodcock ringing session near Arne saw 2 birds but none ringed, along with 2 Jack Snipe and plenty of Common Snipe. Late news from Jan 22nd where 18 Common Snipe were out on the cut area of reedbed and 4 pairs of Gadwall and a single Shoveler were logged. At Arne the Great White Egret was seen off Shipsatl Point and the Black Guillemot was off the Brownsea SE corner again.

Goldeneye - Poole Park - Ian Julian


Avocet - RSPB Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam


Little Egret - Holes Bay - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - Posted 23/01/16

Today our second ever Family Bird Boat left Poole Quay with a group of excited and intrepid members of the public, wondering what Poole Harbour had in store for them. This project is an extension of our popular School Bird Boat program and although all trips this year have fully booked, its likely we’ll run them next winter too, so keep an eye out for more information in the near future. The trip didn’t disappoint and once again the weather was on our side. There were 6+ Great Northern Diver including ‘the Baiter bird’ which has now taken up residence off Poole Quay it seems, with more off the Brownsea north shore, South Deep and out in central harbour. The 1st winter drake Eider was also out in central harbour and the Black Guillemot was again off the Brownsea SE corner.  Spoonbills were on the Brownsea Lagoon and Shipstal Point and 2 Black-necked Grebe were off Goathorn Point. A Razorbill was off the Brownsea seawall with 50+ Bar-tailed Godwit on the seawall beach. In total 57 species were logged during the tour. Out on the main lake of Poole Park 4-5 Goldeneye were feeding. Around Hartland 2 ringtail and a male Hen Harrier were noted again and the Bittern was once again seen out flying across the reedbeds towards Swineham. A Woodlark was in full voice at Shipstal Point, Arne where 21 Spoonbill were on the Shipsatl sandbar. During the low tide late afternoon a gull watch was conducted in the Wareahm Channel from the Holton Lee side where huge numbers of gulls were coming in to roost and feed on the exposed mud. Although most were Black-headed and Herring Gull, this time of year (heading into March) is a great time to start looking out for species such as Ring-billed, Iceland and Glaucous Gull, all real Poole Harbour goodies if you can get them. Also out in the channel of note (in a Wareham Channel context) were 11 Spoonbill feeding, 18 Pintail, 17 Gadwall and a flock of 32 Great Crested Grebe huddled together in a shallow channel. Out on RSPB Lytchett Fields a single Avocet was seen out roosting on the fields, a rare sight in these parts, despite them feeding out in the bay every day on the low tides. Also on the fields were 2 Green Sandpiper, 17 Dunlin and 185 Lapwing.

Harbour Update - Posted 22/01/16

There was some really great news today when it was announced that Natural England have put in an application to extend the Poole Harbour SPA (Special Protection Area) to almost the whole of the harbour, including the mud below the mean low water mark. An SPA is a piece of European legislation carried out under the Birds Directive, a set of laws created to protect birds across Europe and that all countries within the EU must adhere to. The harbour currently has several areas already designated as SPA’s, these include the heathlands around the harbour fringes and the wetlands and water meadows that boarder the river valley’s of the Frome and the Piddle. The proposal is out for public consultation now and you can read the full proposal HERE.

There was a real winter scene late afternoon around the Hartland/Slepe Heath area with a male Hen Harrier and male Marsh Harrier out hunting soon followed by a Short-eared Owl, whilst out towards Arne Moors and Swineham the Bittern was again seen flying over the reedbeds with another 3 Marsh Harrier, male and female Hen Harriers and a Peregrine sat on a post. From Middlebere the Barn Owl was out hunting in front of the hide as were a male and female Hen Harrier and a single Marsh Harrier. After the rain cleared 2 Firecrest were busy feeding behind PC World along with several Chiffchaff. In Holes Bay north 1 Spotted Redshank was at the outflow. 

Harbour Update - Posted 21/01/16

Today was another fine day today with plenty about. Finally this winter, Poole Harbour sees a Bittern. To be honest it’s probably been around a little while but it was seen flying from Swineham towards Arne Moors at dusk, viewed from Slepe Heath. A raptor watch in the west of the harbour produced 5 Marsh Harrier, 2 ringtail Hen Harrier and 1 Merlin. Local raptor watcher Peter Hadrill has been tallying total sightings of raptors since January 1st from his watch point and the winner by far is Marsh Harrier with a total of 92 sightings since the beginning of the year, with 32 Hen Harrier sightings, 30 Buzzard and 35 Kestrel. In Holes Bay the Smew was still in the southern section near the railway bridge and there were lots of Avocet, some really close to the foot/cycle paths. In the northern section 2 Spotted Redshank were in the outflow channel along with 2 Spoonbill briefly. Behind PC World 2 Firecrest were active with several Common (collybita) Chiffchaff and 1 Siberian (tristis) ChiffchaffSpoonbills were out on Shipstal  Point and in the Middlebere Channel. 

Harbour Update - Posted 20/01/16

The cold crisp weather continued to impress with the most incredible sunrise as everything was dusted white with frost. There was what seemed to be a mini thrush arrival with good numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare at places like Holton Lee, Upton CP and Arne. The Brownsea Black Guillemot decided to leave its favored spot off the Brownsea SE corner and bravely ventured 200m east and sat in and around the harbour mouth mid morning with a Common Guillemot replacing it by the afternoon. The Smew was still present in Holes Bay south with 4 Goldeneye, 4 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Kingfisher and on the railway embankment its self were 93 Oystercatcher, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Turnstone and 23 Little Egret. At Holton Lee Great Spotted Woodpecker started drumming and there was what seemed to be a mini thrush arrival with a decent Fieldfare and Redwing flock out in the fields (decent in comparison with recent totals at least). Out in the Wareham Channel there was 1 Great Northern Diver, 3 Goldeneye and good numbers off Great Crested Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser. At PC World at least 2 Firecrest were in the scrub with 10+ Chiffchaff and at Norden Sewage Works the 2 Firecrest continue to show really well on the filter beds and surrounding scrub. Off Baiter there were 2 distant Great Northern Diver, 6 Shoveler off the Brownsea north shore, 13 Turnstone and 4 Dunlin on the sea wall. 

Harbour Update - Posted 19/01/16

Last night saw the coldest night of the year (apparently), and the frost on the ground was a welcome change from the familiar thudding and splashing of torrential rain. There were some nice highlights including now 2 grey male Hen Harriers seen in and around the Middlebere/Hartland Moor area along with a Short-eared Owl. At Studland there were 14 Black-necked Grebe (11 Middle Beach and 3 off the Houseboats), 1 Great Northern Diver off Middle Beach, 1 Common Scoter, 1 Merlin from the houseboats and a Kingfisher, 1 Spoonbill, 31 Sanderling and 2 Great Northern Diver in Brands Bay. From the Middlebere hide were 2 adult Yellow-legged Gull, 10 Spoonbill, 1 Peregrine, 1 Green Sandpiper and a flyover Crossbill. At Swineham were 1 Chiffchaff and 2 Marsh Harrier with another 2 Marsh Harrier over Wytch Lake. At the Holes Bay outflow a single Spoonbill and 2 Spotted Redshank were feeding with plenty of Avocet, whilst behind PC World there were 2 Firecrest and a single Siberian Chiffchaff with a minimum of 10 Common Chiffchaff

Spotted Redshank - Holes Bay outflow - Ian Ballam


Rock Pipit - Holes Bay outflow - Ian Ballam



Avocet - Holes Bay outflow - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - Posted 18/01/16

Not much to report from today other than the Smew in Holes Bay south and 2 Spotted Redshank and 3 Spoonbill in Holes Bay north at the outflow channel. Off Baiter there were 2 distant Great Northern Diver and a Guillemot. At Shore Road, Sandbanks there were 129 Bar-tailed Godwit on the low tide including the returning summer plumaged bird which has been arriving in Poole Harbour in this plumage for many years now. 

Bar-tailed Godwits - Shore Road, Sandbanks - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - Posted 17/01/16

It was always on the cards, but I was expecting our ‘break in the weather’ to last a bit longer than just a day, but as we looked out of the window this morning it was situation normal with wind and rain back on the agenda! However, all was not lost as it was the Poole Harbour WeBS count (Wetland Bird Survey) today and the recent cold snap showed signs that there may have been a bit of an arrival of wildfowl into the harbour. Holes Bay north held a minimum of 2000 birds with 2 Spotted Redshank, 550+ Dunlin, 120+ Avocet, 180+ Redshank, 140+ Black-tailed Godwit, 450+ Wigeon, 400+ Teal and 8 Pintail. There was also a report of a Great White Egret near the railway bridge in Holes Bay north and a Kingfisher there too.  There seem to be several Blackcaps now entering people gardens feeding on fat blocks around the harbour with birds in Upton, Poole, Creekmoor and Hamworthy. WeBS count totals from the southern shores of Poole Harbour produced roughly 3000 birds with 744 Brent Geese in the mouth of the Wytch Channel, 77 Grey Plover, 271 Avocet, 3 Spoonbill, 1 Spotted Redshank, 227 Shelduck, 42 Red-breasted Merganser and reasonable numbers of common wader. The 2 Firecrest at Norden Sewage works were still showing brilliantly next to the fence and another was in a Wareham garden mid-morning. From Brands Bay there was 1 Spoonbill, 1 Great Northern Diver. The Brownsea Lagoon was tough going on the low tide with 232 Shoveler Duck, 4 Spoonbill, 1 Greenshank and 1 Spotted Redshank. At Lytchett Bay a ringtail Hen Harrier was present again, with 176 Avocet out on the mud, 2 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Water Pipit and 7 Scandinavian Rock Pipit. From the Raptor Hide at Arne there were 2 Marsh Harrier at dusk with1 Barn Owl.

Harbour Update - Posted 16/01/16

Today we led our monthly field trip at Swineham with the hope of witnessing a perfect Poole Harbour sunrise. When the walk was first advertised a few months ago we’d seen nothing but wind and rain for quite some time, so the title of the walk ‘sunrise at Swineham’ was quite tongue in cheek. However we did experience one of the most spectacular sunrises so far this winter with a ground frost and still calm conditions to boot. Highlights included 3-4 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine, 2-3 Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, several Cetti’s Warbler calling, 2 Chiffchaff, c20 Shoveler, c10 Tufted Duck, 4 Gadwall, 3-4 Kingfisher, c20 Redwing, 2 Fieldfare and several Reed Bunting. At Norden Sewage Works the 2 Firecrest were still showing brilliantly next to the fence. Out in the Wareham Channel there was 1 Great Northern Diver, 14 Goldeneye, 1 Sandwich Tern and 2 Woodcock were seen at Holton Lee the night before. At Lytchett Bay 8 Egyptian Geese flew overhead towards the Wareham Channel (still surprisingly scarce here) and a ringtail Hen Harrier hunted out over the fields. There was also a remarkable find at Arne of what is almost certainly a Great White Egret skull, down near the Shipstal Hide. This may sound bizarre (which it is), but this coincides with a report of a sickly looking Great White Egret down in that area back in October last year, when a group from a guided walk were able to approach a GWE at quite close quarters as it just stood on the footpath looking back at them. The Brownsea Lagoon was counted and totals included 22 Knot, 10 Spotted Redshank, 2 Lapwing, 80 Grey Plover, 70 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Turnstone, 5 Greenshank, 600 Dunlin and 2 Kingfisher. There were also 2 Firecrest near the Villa on Brownsea with 24 Siskin and a pair of Bullfinch. From the Pottery Pier end of Brownsea looking west there were 7 Black-necked Grebe, the 1st winter drake Eider, 17 Spoonbill at Arne, 4 Great Northern Diver and 1 Razorbill near Castle Quay. In Holes Bay north 2-Spotted Redshank were feeing in the outflow channel and 8 Spoonbill came in to feed there too. 

Presumed Great White Egret skull - Found at Shipstal, Arne - Joe Stockwell

Click To Enlarge
  • Spoonbill - Holes Bay outflow channel - Ian Ballam
  • Goldcrest - Norden Sewage Works - Phyl England
  • Spotted Redshank - Holes Bay outflow channel - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - Posted 15/01/16

A few more sightings today which included a ringtail Hen Harrier over Giggers Island in the Wareham Channel with 4-5 Marsh Harrier in the area too, also 8 Spoonbill feeding out in the Channel and good numbers of common waders. In Holes Bay NE a Spoonbill was feeding in the outflow channel at low tide with a Spotted Redshank. In Middlebere there were 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine and a singing Dartford Warbler. At Arne a male Hen Harrier was seen, 2 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Black-necked Grebe and a Great Northern Diver were off Shipstal Point and there were 29 Spoonbill asleep. Avocet were in plentiful supply at both Middlebere and Shipstal. There were 2 Firecrest, 4 Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff at Norden Sewage Works and a Merlin along Soldiers Road.

Harbour Update - Posted 14/01/16

Not much to report from today other than only two Hen Harrier went into roost in the west of the harbour and 4-5 Marsh Harrier. So here are a selection of photos from the last few days to make up for the lack of sightings….

Wigeon - Holes Bay - Keith Rawling


Turnstone - Baiter Park Keith Rawling


Great Crested Grebe - baiter Park - Keith Rawling


Great Northern Diver - Baiter Park - Keith Rawling



Harbour Update - Posted 13/01/16

Today was the third and final day of our Dorset Discovery Wildlife Tour, and what a day. With a visit to Brownsea, a harbour tour and a scout about the Studland Peninsular we were on to a good thing….and the harbour didn’t disappoint. Off Middle Beach at dawn there were 7 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Common Scoter and a single Great Northern Diver. From the Chain Ferry a single Sandwich Tern passed by. Brownsea Lagoon was looking amazing with a single Spoonbill, 1 female Merlin, 7 Spotted Redshank, 5 Greenshank, 6 Turnstone, 1 Snipe plus good counts of Dunlin, Grey Plover, Knot, Avocet, Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon and what seemed like hundreds of Red Squirrels. There were also 2 Firecrest near the Villa on Brownsea. Out on the water the Black Guillemot showed brilliantly off the SE corner of Brownsea, as did 7 Great Northern Diver. There was a first-winter male Eider off the west end of Brownsea with a Black-necked Grebe. On Shell Beach 22 Sanderling were counted and at Norden Sewage Works there was a single Chiffchaff and Firecrest.

Harbour Update - Posted 12/01/16

After a perfect still day and evening last night, the icy wind kicked in out of nowhere today putting a rather uncomfortable chill on the days birding attempts. Out on the Moors, Marsh Harriers became active just after sunrise and a surprise Crossbill passed overhead and at dusk a ringtail Hen Harrier passed by and 1 Woodcock and 1 Snipe flew out at dusk to go and feed. In Middlebere there was an adult Yellow-legged Gull, c300 Black-tailed Godwit, c50 Avocet, 25 Lapwing, c200 Dunlin, 800 Brent Geese, 1 Little Grebe and several Curlew. At Hatch Pond there were 60+ Common Snipe in the cut reedbed. On Lytchett Pools there was a single Green Sandpiper and a Bullfinch. The Baiter Great Northern Diver was still present with 6 Goldeneye off shore. At Arne, 30+ Spoonbill were roosting off Shipstal with 26 Pintail and 25 Avocet. The redhead Smew was again in Holes Bay south and 2 Bearded Tit were in the reedbedwith the long boardwalk through it. 

Harbour Update - Posted 11/01/16

Today was the first day of our Dorset Discovery wildlife tour, in partnership with the Dorset RSPB Team. This is an event we started in January 2015 and was set up to showcase the best Dorset has to offer. Each year we host a three day winter, spring, summer and autumn tour with Poole Harbour at the very center of our expeditions. A full write up for our Winter 2016 tour will be available soon but highlights today from Arne included 2 Marsh Harrier in Middlebere, 3 Dartford Warbler on Coombe Heath, c200 Avocet in Middlebere, 1 Great Northern Diver off Shipstal, 1 Peregrine over Wytch Lake, Water Rails from the Raptor Hide and a nice mix of woodland species. Elsewhere 6 Great Northern Diver flew in to the harbour mouth at dawn with 1 Red-throated Diver, 86 Shag, 6 Red-breasted Merganser and a single Great Crested Grebe. There was also a single Purple Sandpiper on the Sandbanks groynes. There was a great find of a Great Grey Shrike on Upton Heath, just south of the Urban Wildlife center. Out on Arne moors there was a Short-eared Owl and several Marsh Harrier. The Baiter Great Northern Diver has now given up completely being scared of humans or dogs and can now be seen swimming and feeding quite happily in between ball chewing Spaniels and Labradors! Finally at Creekmoor Ponds a Firecrest was in the holly at Northmead Drive. 

Harbour Update - Posted 10/01/16

Today was one of those classic winter days in the harbour. There seemed to be plenty of birders and birds about which included of 85 happy campers on one the National Trust/RSPB Poole Harbour Bird Boats, of which we were doing the commentary on.  In total 65 species were seen, with the full list viewable HERE. However, there were plenty of highlights to talk about. Firstly, the harbour record for Great Northern Diver was broken with a minimum of 16 counted  between Poole Quay and Brands Bay. As only around 70% of the harbour was covered today, it’s quite feasible that there were up to twenty within the harbour today, not to mention birds seen in the outer bays.  The tame Baiter bird even had the courtesy to come and swim along to Poole Quay just as everyone was boarding. A Red-throated Diver also gave great views off the end of Goathorn Point. The Black Guillemot was again showing nicely off the Brownsea SE corner. Spoonbill were on Brownsea (2) and Shipstal, Arne (30+). A Common Scoter was off the Brownsea north shore and three Black-necked Grebe off the southern shore. Peregrines were seen on Brownsea and out in central harbour. The Brownsea Lagoon was looking superb with 743 Black-tailed Godwit, 97 Bar-tailed Godwit, 182 Grey Plover, 341 Avocet and 253 Shoveler, not to mention the Knot, Dunlin, Spotted Redshank and Greenshank. Out in central harbour there were 3 Sandwich Tern, plenty of Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe.  At Arne, the Great White Egret performed well all morning in Middlebere and a drake Goosander was reported at the top of Middlebere. There were 3 different ringtail Hen Harrier at dusk with two females and a young male and between 6-7 Marsh Harrier went into roost. No Short-eared Owls have been seen in and around the Arne/Slepe area for over a week now, which is a shame. The Smew was again in Holes Bay south and a Merlin was at Lytchett Fields. 

Great Northern Diver - Poole Quay - 10/01/16

Click To Enlarge
  • Crowd On Poole Harbour Bird Boat
  • Black Guillemot - Brownsea SE shore
  • Turnstone - Baiter Park
Harbour Update - Posted 09/01/16

The Smew was in Holes Bay south today, but no sign of the Scaup. There was also a dead Redshank on the cycle path at Holes Bay and 100 Redwing at Upton CP.  A male Dartford Warbler was noted along the cycle path at Holes Bay near the first outflow channel and several Pintail were present. At Shell Bay, Studland there were 2 Great Northern Diver, 23 Sanderling, lots of Med Gulls, 1 Black-necked Grebe and a Lesser Redpoll. There were 3 Purple Sandpiper at South Haven with 6+ Ringed Plover and a few Dunlin. From Middle Beach there were 4 Common Scoter and 3 Great Northern Diver with another 3 Great Northern Diver out in South Deep. Out in the Wareham Channel, viewed from Holton Lee was 1 Razorbill, 2 Great Northern Diver, 2 Goldeneye, 6 Great Crested Grebe and 8 Red-breasted Merganser

Harbour Update - Posted 08/01/16

The Black Guillemot was again off the Brownsea SE corner mid morning, viewed on a School bird boat. If anyone wishes to try and see it, it is ‘scopable’ from the Sandbanks Quay looking towards Brownsea, also from the Studland side too, but calm water is pretty helpful. It was also questioned as to whether it was a different bird to the one seen back on December 12th 2015, and looking at photos taken of the birds, they do seem to look different. However, after closer inspection thaks to Weymouth birder Brett Spencer, a tiny detail which can be seen in both photos (a small white hook on the white wing patch) indicates its almost certainly the same bird, its just that todays bird had its white patch covered by flank feathers.

Black Guillemot - Brownsea SE 12/12/15 

Black Guillemot Brownsea SE 08/01/16

There was a minimum of 7 Great Northern Diver out in central harbour, with the Baiter bird also still giving close views. A Common Scoter was out in South Deep and there were 4 Spoonbill on Brownsea with another 30 at Shipstal, Arne. A Razorbill was off the Brownsea seawall and a Guillemot off Poole Quay. The female Scaup was in Holes Bay north along with the Smew. At Studland there were 3 Red-throated Diver, 2 fly by’s in Studland Bay, and one in Brands Bay. Also at Studland 5 Great Northern Diver, 14 Black-necked Grebe, 3 Common Scoter and in Brands Bay on the low tide, 10 Knot and a few Bar-tailed Godwit with 16 Sanderling in Shell Bay. 

Harbour Update - Posted 07/01/16

After a days absence the female Scaup reappeared this time in Holes Bay north, along with the redhead Smew.  On the low tide at Holes Bay Avocet, numbers were reasonable with around 150 close to the cycle path. Spoonbills were again at Arne and Middlebere with a Short-eared Owl out on the Moors briefly.  Marsh Harriers commuted between the Wareham Channel and Middlebere with a ringtail Hen Harrier zipping past Shipstal late afternoon. Out on the water Great Northern Divers are pretty conspicuous with several viewable from various beaches and Black-necked Grebes were viewable from Middle Beach and Brands Bay. 

Harbour Update - Posted 06/01/16

Today was another lovely morning with still waters and clear sky. We finally made some time to go and get some video footage of the Baiter Great Northern Diver which just happened to almost be practically walking along the beach when we arrived at 8am.

Great Northern Diver – Baiter Beach

To watch in HD click on cog shaped symbol and select 1080

 Also from Baiter were 4 Goldeneye, 6 Red-breasted Merganser and 7 Great Crested Grebe. At Norden Sewage Works there were 1-2 Firecrest and Grey Wagtail there too. Middlebere saw 1 Peregrine sat on the Osprey nest, 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Merlin, 1 Barn Owl and 3 singing Dartford Warbler. In the west of the harbour 6 Marsh Harrier came out of the roost and 1 ringtail Hen Harrier went in (3 were present yesterday). On Brownsea 5 Spotted Redshank and 4 Greenshank were on the webcam with 200+ Black-tailed Godwit and 100+ Avocet. At Shipstal, Arne 30 Spoonbill were on the point. The Great Northern Diver, Smew and 3 Goldeneye were all still in Holes Bay south.

Harbour Update - Posted 05/01/16

Flat calm waters, crisp, clear, blue sky. What was going on? Who cares, but it made for perfect harbour watching. Holes Bay was the place to be at dawn with a female Scaup, redhead Smew, Great Northern Diver, Shag, 6 Goldeneye, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Great Crested Grebe and a Kingfisher all in Holes Bay south. Off Baiter the Great Northern Diver was still feeding off shore with another further out, 3 Goldeneye and 7 Red-breasted Merganser. A late night ringing session near Slepe Heath resulted in 11 Woodcock seen also 1 Barn Owl and plenty of Tawny’s calling. In Middlebere a ringtail Hen Harrier, 1 Merlin and 2 Marsh Harrier all put in an appearance as did 4 Spoonbill and 300 Avocet. On Brownsea there were 6 Spotted Redshank and 8 Greenshank viewed on the webcam. In Poole Park main lake there were 4 Goldeneye, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Little Grebe and 1 Kingfisher. 

Click To Enlarge
  • Scaup - Holes Bay - Paul Morton
  • Spotted Redshank - Brownsea webcam
  • Shag - Holes Bay - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - Posted 04/01/16

Well Christmas and New Year are over and everyone is back to work, just as it looks as if the weather is going to get better! Typical, but at least the nights are already getting lighter now. The Smew was in Holes Bay north today sheltering from the wind, the adult Little Gull was seen again in Lytchett Bay briefly with Peregrine, Green Sandpiper and 5 Red-breasted Merganser in the Bay too. A late night ringing session at Lytchett Bay produced 2 Woodcock ringed and a Jack Snipe seen. 

Click To Enlarge
  • Woodcock No 1 - Adult ringed at Lytchett Bay - Paul Morton
  • Woodcock No 2 - Adult ringed at Lytchett Bay - Paul Morton
  • Sotted Redshank - Lytchett Pools - Ian Ballam
Harbour Update - Posted 03/01/16

Quick rundown of today’s highlights included 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 27 Curlew, 100+ Dunlin, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Water Pipit all mostly on the pools field at Lytchett Bay with an adult Little Gull briefly out in the Bay. Out in Holes Bay south there were 7 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Smew and 2 Goldeneye. Out around the Studland area the Black Guillemot was half way between South Haven and Brownsea, 3 Great Northern Diver out on South Deep, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Slavonian Grebe, 3 Purple Sandpiper on the South Haven slip way and a Lesser Redpoll in trees at Shell Bay. Studland Bay was pretty quiet with 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-necked Grebe and a fly by Great Skua. From Slepe Heath there were 2 ringtail Hen Harrier, 1 Short-eared Owl and 3 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine and 1 Merlin distantly towards Keysworth.

Click To Enlarge
  • Great Northern Diver - Baiter Beach - Ian Julian
  • Great Northern Diver - Baiter Beach - Ian Julian
  • Oystercatcher - Baiter - Ian Julian
Harbour Update - 02/01/16

Upton CP and Holes Bay are still two great urban sites to visit on a low tide with great close views of most of the harbour’s wader species with 100 Avocet, c150 Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Oystercatcher and Redshank, also in the woodland around the edges were c20 Siskin, 4 Bullfinch and several Goldcrest. The Smew was also in Holes Bay north. At North Haven there were 2 Purple Sandpiper on the steps near the Ferry, 3 Great Northern Diver just inside the harbour and another in Shell Bay. Also in Shell Bay 1 adult winter Little Gull, 24 Sanderling, 1 Kingfisher and a Lesser Redpoll. In Studland Bay there were 4 Common Scoter and 2 Great Northern Diver. In Brands Bay there were 4 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Slavonian Grebe and 14 Pintail with 2 Sandwich Tern in Bramble Bush Bay. There was a Lytchett Bay MEGA in the shape of a drake Tufted Duck with 4 Shoveler (also scarce here). Also at Lytchett Bay there were 2 Spotted Redshank on the Pools Field with 3 on Lytchett Fields later in the day and 2 Water Pipit, 1 Green Sandpiper and 3 Greenshank also on the Pools Field. Out in the Bay a Spoonbill dropped in and a Peregrine had a ding-dong with a Marsh Harrier whilst 2 Raven watched on. 

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  • Green Woodpecker - Holton Lee - Paul Morton
  • Siskin - Holton Lee - Paul Morton
  • Lesser Redpoll - Holton Lee - Paul Morton
Harbour Update - 01/01/16

Another year and another focus to try and find great birds in the harbour. New Years day got of to a corker with a minimum of 10 Great Northern Diver in the harbour including the super close bird off Baiter, 2 off the Brownsea north shore, 2 off Green Island and several out in central harbour. There were 32 (possibly 35) Spoonbill roosting at Shipstal, Arne mid afternoon but this morning they were feeding in the Wareham Channel and 3 in Lytchett Bay. From South Haven there was 1 Purple Sandpiper on the Chain Ferry slipway, 4+ Great Northern Diver between the harbour entrance and Jerry’s Point with the Slavonian Grebe there too. In Holes Bay the Smew remained near the railway bridge and there were 40 Avocet there too. There were 3 Chiffchaff and a Firecrest behind PC World, Poole. At Holton Lee there was 1 Lesser Redpoll and 1 Marsh Tit at the feeders, 1 Chiffchaff in scrub outside the hide, 1 Peregrine, 3 Marsh Harrier (viewed distantly over Swineham) and a male Goldeneye out in the Wareham Channel. From Middle Beach, Studland the Red-necked Grebe remains also several Black-necked Grebe and Med Gulls, 1 Great Northern Diver and a Firecrest in some brambles. At Lytchett Bay there was at least 1 Water Pipit on Lytchett Pools, 5 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Goldeneye and 8 Shoveler out in the Bay and good numbers of Lapwing, Dunlin and Redshank out on the fields. 

Great Northen Diver - Baiter Beach - Peter Moore

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  • Black-necked Grebe - South Deep - Peter Moore
  • Guillemot - Poole Quay - Peter Moore
  • Red-breasted Merganser - central harbour - Peter Moore
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