February 2016

Harbour Update - posted 28/02/16

Another fairly quiet day with 2 female Goldeneye, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 10 Pintail and 2 Spotted Redshank in Holes Bay. At Lytchett Bay 2 Spoonbill were feeding and on the pools field 8 Water Pipit remained with a Firecrest in bushes next to the Waterworks. The diminishing flock of Spoonbill (now only 8 birds it seems) were on Shipstal briefly before the low tide. Interestingly, one (which has been several times over the last few days) is almost in full adult breeding plumage, with a fine crest and bright yellow throat and dark black bill. It will most likely move off soon, but worth watching out for if viewing any of the Poole Harbour Spoonbills over the coming weeks. 

Harbour Update - posted 27/02/16

They’re coming! A Little Ringed Plover was found up in the Midlands today providing us with a taste of things to come. Although not quite there yet, March tends to provide the first flurry of summer migrants with species such as Little Ringed Plover, Sand Martin, Ring Ouzel, Chiffchaff and Wheatear all appearing first before the next big wave of arrives throughout April. Certainly from mid-March onwards keep an eye out for all the species mentioned above in suitable habitats. Lytchett Fields will most likely host the first Little Ringed Plover, whilst places such as Greenland’s Farm, Hartland Moor, Holton Lee fields and the Holes Bay/Baiter shorelines could all see Wheatear over the coming 4 weeks. Chiffchaff can literally turn up anywhere, Sand Martins will arrive and start feeding over open bodies of fresh water such as Poole Park lakes and Swineham Gravel Pits, whilst the secretive Ring Ouzel may be found at places such as Hartland Stud, Challow Hill, Corfe or on the short open pasture along Soldiers Road. Basically…keep your eyes peeled everywhere as we’re now entering the beginning of the exciting spring migration season.

Sightings from today are a bit thin on the ground (all the more reason for spring to roll on) with just the 10 Water Pipit and a Merlin reported from Lytchett Fields. As the Avon Valley in the east is currently drying up we’ve seen an increase in Black-tailed Godwits arriving back onto the Brownsea Lagoon and a ringed Herring Gull (F-161) that was seen at Hamworthy Beach in the morning has been traced back to Flat Holm Island, Cardiff. It was ringed as a chick on the 5th July 2014.

Herring Gull - Hamworthy Beach - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 26/02/16

Much of the same today, although we were able to get a sound recording of the Redwing flock at Holton Lee early morning. The recording consists of a flock of around 100 birds carrying out ‘Community Song’ which is comprised of a whole host of sounds including song, contact call, social calls, flight calls and general chatter. It’s a sound you’ll only ever really hear in Dorset late in Feb or early March before the Redwing move off, but when you come across it, the sound really hits you. You can even hear the moment when a raptor (possibly a Sparrowhawk or Buzzard) fly’s over and the whole flock respond by going silent. Other species that carry out this Community Song this time of year include Siskin and Starling. Also at Holton Lee 2 Woodlark and again plenty of Siskin around. Spoonbills were at Arne and Lytchett Bay with 2 Marsh Harrier also at Lytchett Bay.

Redwing – Community Song – Holton Lee 26/02/16

Harbour Update - posted 25/02/16

A (or the) redhead Smew was seen off Knoll Beach, Studland, feeding 30m just off the beach. Smew in this area of the harbour are extremely rare, perhaps one final feed before heading off back home? There were also 2 Black Redstart reported between the Banks Arms and Old Harry, Studland. At Baiter late afternoon the Med Gull numbers were again fairy large with 100+ scattered along the shoreline and settled on the water. 

Harbour Update - posted 24/02/16

Today was another beautiful early spring day and news was received that there is now 4 Hen Harrier in the harbour with 2 ringtails, 1 juvenile female and a grey male present around the mouth of the Wareham Channel and Hartland area late afternoon. There haven’t been many reports of the grey male from around the harbour its self, so when news was received that one had been seen hunting at Morden Bog on Monday it could be that he is deciding to hunt inland rather that around the harbour fringes. A female Merlin was also on Hartland mid-morning. From Baiter late evening, the low tide saw a mass of gulls again with Med Gull present almost every 10 meters along the shoreline, and constantly calling. The low tides and calm waters make it really easy to look for open water species and its evident that there are still plenty of Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe about but not so many Goldeneye. There were 2 Sandwich Tern again at Baiter too. At PCW the Chiffchaff are still enjoying the sun with several in song again. In Old Town Poole a female type Black Redstart was on the roof of Pizza Express and a night recording session from Old Town Poole picked up a flock of Redwing migrating back to their breeding grounds around midnight. At Shell Bay there were 22 Sanderling along the beach. 

Harbour Update - posted 23/02/16

It was a beautiful day today, with plenty of opportunity for some scenic photography. Calm waters and golden sunshine made everything seem very spring like and the birds certainly thought so too. At Holton Lee four species of thrush were in full voice as Blackbird, Song and Mistle Thrush belted out their familiar repertoires, as a flock of 50+ Redwing took it in turns to test out their voices out in unfamiliar surroundings. At Holton Lee Woodlark were back on territory and male Reed Buntings were also singing from the reedbeds, some in their summer finery. At Baiter late afternoon, Med Gulls were everywhere and 2 Sandwich Tern were feeding along the shore. Bar-tailed Godwit could be seen feeding over towards Sandbanks. At PCW a few of the over-wintering Chiffchaff were singing away and a Kingfisher dashed by. At Sandford Heath, 2 Woodlark were also singing and several Dartford Warbler were active. At RSPB Lytchett Fields a Merlin, Spoonbill, Spotted Redshank and an Avocet were the best of the bunch. 

Sunset over the Frome Valley - Paul Morton



Sunset over Hamworthy Beach - Michelle Collier



Grey Heron flock - Wareham Channel - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 22/02/16

Today was our last school bird boat of the winter and we welcomed special guests Chris Packham and Lucy McRobert from the AFON group on board as we made our way around what was initially a yucky wet trip, but it soon cleared we were treated to calm waters and a good number of birds. There are still a minimum of 4 Great Northern Diver in the harbour and the 10 Spoonbill were again on Shipstal. An evening watch from the harbour mouth during the low tide saw a huge number of birds taking advantage of the exposed sand bars and shingle banks. Although the majority of birds were made up of Herring and Common Gull, there was also a great mix of other species including 4 Common Scoter in Studland Bay, 9 Black-necked Grebe in and around the harbour mouth, 3 Great Northern Diver in South Deep, 1 Spoonbill in Brands Bay, 11 Ringed Plover in Bramble Bush Bay, 15+ Sanderling on Shell Beach, 1 Sandwich Tern through the harbour mouth, 52 Red-breasted Merganser dotted around, 24 Great Crested Grebe, 300+ Brent Geese, 8 Goldeneye, 1 Rock Pipit, 4 Med Gulls and 4 Turnstone. At Lytchett Pools there were a whopping 10 Water Pipit and 8 Scandinavian Rock Pipit with another 2 Water Pipit near French’s Pools. There were 8 Med Gulls dotted around the Lytchett Fields site and 1 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpiper and 1 Marsh Harrier were also recorded. 

School Bird Boat with Chris Packham



School Bird Boat with Chris Packham

Harbour Update - posted 21/02/16

Today was the Poole Harbour WeBS and despite the wind a great variety of birds were counted. Highlight was a 1st winter Iceland Gull that landed on Brownsea as the gull roost assembled. Unfortunately a Buzzard passed over and flushed it before we could get it on the camera. Also on the lagoon were just 1 Spoonbill and a Spotted Redshank. In Holes Bay, the Smew was again just south of the railway line with 3 Goldeneye, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 21 Avocet, 1 Yellow-legged Gull and 2 Med Gull. Out in the Wareham Channel 7 Spoonbill were feeding, also 15 Grey Heron out on the mud, also 1 ringtail Hen Harrier and 2 Marsh Harrier seen. At Swineham a female Goldeneye was on the pits and 350 Lapwing and a single Spotted Redshank were in in the mouth of the River Piddle. Lytchett Bay saw 1 Spotted Redshank, 4 Greenshank and 1 Marsh Harrier. The Great White Egret made a reappearance at Littlesea, Studland and out in Brands Bay there were 2 Spoonbill, 5 Greenshank, 3 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver, a few (almost) summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe and a single Red-necked Grebe. On Lytchett Pools a nice selection of Pipits included 3 Water Pipit, several Rock Pipit (1 presumed littoralis) and a few Meadow Pipit offering good comparison opportunities.

Water Pipit - Lytchett Pools - Peter Moore



Rock Pipit - Lytchett Pools - Peter Moore



Meadow Pipit - Lytchett Pools - Peter Moore

Harbour Update - posted 20/02/16

Today was our third and final Family Bird Boat of the winter, which has seen us run three free trips for families to get out and enjoy their local environment together. Over the three trips we’ve taken out around 225 people and have been able to show them some great wildlife spectacles. Todays was no different and although its obvious that a fair number od waders and wildfowl have moved off already for the spring, there was still plenty to keep everyone entertained on a blustery Saturday morning. Highlights included 3 Great Northern Diver, 3 Black-necked Grebe, 10 Spoonbill, 1 Guillemot, 80+ Red-breasted Merganser, 15+ Goldeneye, 1 Sandwich Tern, 5 Med Gulls, c50 Avocet, c20 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Yellow-legged Gull and a small mixed flock of Dunlin, Grey Plover and Knot.  AT Lytchett Fields there were 7 Water Pipit back on the Pools Field with 1 Rock Pipit and 43 Redwing, also 3 Sandwich Tern out in the Bay with 271 Dunlin. At Holton Lee 7 Green Sandpiper were on Holton Pools, a really great winter count.

Many thanks to local wildlife photographer Peter Moore who accompanied us on our Bird Boat today and has provided a wonderful set of photos for us to show you.


Bar-tailed Godwits - Shore Road - Peter Moore 



Great Northen Diver - Central Harbour - Peter Moore


Goldeneye - Central Harbour - Peter Moore


Red-breasted Merganser - Central Harbour - Peter Moore


Red-breasted Merganser - Central Harbour - Peter Moore


Shag - Central Harbour - Peter Moore

Harbour Update - posted 19/02/16

Fairly quiet today with only 1 Guillemot, 3 Great Northern Diver, 1 Sandwich Tern and 5 Turnstone reported off Baiter. In Poole Park there were 5 Goldeneye still displaying. A Firecrest was in Upton CP.

Harbour Update - posted 18/02/16

Spring like sums up today and very pleasant it was too, warm, dry and hopefully a sign of things to come. The Black Guillemot was again viewable from the mainland, out towards the Brownsea SE shore. At North Haven, Sandbanks 4 Purple Sandpiper were on the groynes around the corner from the Haven Hotel. A raptor watch from Soldiers Road saw plenty enjoying the sun, mainly Buzzard with 20+ noted also 2 Kestrel, 1 Merlin on Hartland, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine, 4 Marsh Harrier and a ringtail Hen Harrier flew along Arne Moors. In Holes Bay a single Spotted Redshank was seen along with the over-wintering Common Sandpiper and at least 2 Firecrest were at Norden Sewage Works still. At Arne a decent flock of 15+ Siskin are coming to the feeders and singing quite happily in the sunshine. The 15 Spoonbill are still off Shipstal Point, Arne. 

Purple Sandpiper - Sandbanks - Ian Ballam



Rock Pipit - Sandbanks - Ian Ballam



Long-tailed Tit - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam

harbour Update - posted 17/02/16

A ringtail Hen Harrier was hunting over the reedbed’s of Lytchett Heath, Lytchett Bay early morning. A Woodcock ringing session between Holton Lee and Lytchett Bay saw six birds seen and 2 ringed. A Ringed Plover calling over Lytchett Bay was a notable winter record. Other than that, all the usual’s were holding strong with Firecrests at Norden, Spoonbills at Arne, 1-2 Spotted Redshank in Holes Bay and Marsh Harrier in the Wareham Channel. Come on spring migrants hurry up….it’s all getting a bit samey! 

Spotted Redshank - Holes Bay - Jaqui Taylor



Red-breasted Merganser and Common Gull - Moriconium Quay - Michelle Collier



Starlings - Holton Lee - Paul Morton


Harbour Update - posted 16/02/16

Firstly, the 2015 Lytchett Bay report is now available to read via our survey page. Follow the link below and scroll to the very bottom of that page, this is where you’ll be able to download the new report. Shaun Robson has done another exceptional job in interpreting the data from what was another record-breaking year for the site in terms of numbers of species seen and total bird days for some pretty exceptional species. The site seems to be going from strength to strength and with spring just around the corner who knows what will turn up at Lytchett Bay this year -

Bird wise, there’s not much change and in fact there seems to be quite a decline in the numbers of waders and wildfowl over the last week with birds moving off already. In Holes Bay the Smew was still there with 2 Goldeneye. At Lytchett Bay there was a Firecrest near Beech Road. Out in Lytchett Bay a Spoonbill was on the point of Otter Island and 7 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Gadwall were on the water. A Red Kite passing over Sandy Lane, Upton was a sign spring is on its way and the 2 Firecrest were still at Norden Sewage Works. A Hen Harrier was seen in Middlebere and 3-4 Marsh Harrier were around the Wareham Channel. 

Little Egrets in tree - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam


Med Gull on Ice - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam


Harbour Update - posted 15/02/16

We’ll start off with some non-birdy news which is that a Seal pup was photographed on Studland beach yesterday, it seemed very obliging apparently! Although we regularly see Common Seals in and around the Shipstal area, we’ve never seen a young pup before. Holes Bay was again looking great early morning on the low tide with 1 Spotted Redshank by the outflow, 64 Avocet, 200+ Dunlin and 100+ Black-tailed Godwit very close to the cycle paths. In the PCW Drain a ringed Firecrest was seen and 3 Chiffchaff. A female type Black Redstart was photographed in a back garden in central Oakdale, feeding on mealworms. In Lytchett Bay, raptors consisted of 1 each of Peregrine, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel with a Spotted Redshank off the Black Pipe. A Woodcock was caught by Stour Ringing Group on Sunday night at Sunnyside Farm that had first been ringed by the group at the same location on 30/11/13. There were another 2 Woodcock seen on Lytchett Fields too. At Swineham Point, 3 Jack Snipe were flushed along the footpath.

Harbour Update - posted 14/02/16

A fairly standard affair with the usual’s still clinging on. Firecrest were still at Norden Sewage Works (2), with another 2 in the Arne car park and one in a garden in Wareham. The Smew was still in Holes Bay south/north. Out on Lytchett Fields there were 2 Avocet, 1 Greenshank, 28 Lapwing, 3 Snipe, 1 Kestrel and 1 Buzzard. 14 Spoonbill were out on Shipstal and a grey male Hen Harrier and 2 ringtail were around the Slepe Heath/Hartland area however one ringtail gained great height (6-700m or so) before it turned into a speck of dust and then vanished! An evacuee saying goodbye? There are still several Marsh Harrier about too around the Wareham Channel area. 

Harbour Update - Posted 13/02/16

The day started off cold and icy with our February field trip, which we’ll mention in a minute, but we were soon warmed up to boiling point when news came in late afternoon that a potential White-tailed Eagle had passed over Poole Harbour at 11am on Wednesday morning. A local observer was working over at Parkstone Yacht Club when he noticed ‘a huge, slow flapping, wide winged’ bird fly over from over Brownsea towards Whitecliffe. The observer stated…..

On Wed at 11am (ish) I saw huge, slow flapping, wide winged bird, rising, circling / drifting South, single bird high above the habour between Whitecliff & B'sea. Silhouetted. Had no binocs. For me it said Eagle.

I used the word “huge” because that was the first thing that caused a sharp intake of breath. Living in Bere Regis I’m accustomed to Buzzards, Ravens and it was clearly significantly bigger. Next, the flight was neither soaring nor steady, it was slow flapping, gliding a bit, flap a few times again. Generally circling and drifting slowly and without obvious purpose towards Brownsea from off Parkstone YC where I was working. Very broad wings were obvious and dominating and maybe raised a bit rather than flat during the gliding. It was almost difficult to see either head or tail, so dominant were the wings. That made me think for a minute of Vulture (which again I am very familiar with from Pyrenees and Andalucia.)

Now, this initial statement was made on Wednesday but unfortunately without a photo or any other observers it seemed this mystery bird would go unidentified. However, in Hampshire today, a White-tailed Eagle was seen heading north over Cliddesden mid morning. Although the two sightings could be completely un-related, the strength of the observers account over Poole Harbour on Wednesday strongly suggests it could have been the same bird. This is also not the first time this  situation has occurred in Poole Harbour when on May 9th 2008 a large Eagle species was seen flying over Hartland Moor (also thought to have been a White-tailed Eagle) being mobbed by Buzzards, whilst a first year WT Eagle had been over-wintering in Hants only a few weeks prior to the sighting.

Bird news from today included a good haul of sightings from our field trip around the bays of Studland despite the cold icy winds. Out in Brands Bay were 8 Black-necked Grebe, 10+ Pintail and 2 Great Crested Grebe. In Bramble Bush Bay 2 Great Northern Diver, 2 Goldeneye, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Ringed Plover and 2 Turnstone were counted with another 2 Great Northern Diver out in Studland Bay. At Norden Sewage Works a Firecrest was still present feeding on the filter beds with 2 Chiffchaff, 5+ Goldcrest and 1 Grey Wagtail. On a public bird boat the Black Guillemot was found nearer to the Sandbanks side and the Smew holds strong in Holes Bay. At dusk the Bittern was again seen flying over the Moors and a grey male Hen Harrier was seen at Hartland. 

harbour Update - Posted 12/02/16

Firstly, an interesting observation was made by SRG (Stour Ringing Group) this week when a control Chiffchaff was caught in the north of the harbour, which was first ringed on November 3rd 2015 in Southampton. This is interesting as it highlights the first proven winter movement for this species to Poole Harbour. We’re currently unaware of other documented winter movements of Chiffchaff from elsewhere in the country as typically birds seem to tend to arrive at an over-wintering site and remain for the duration of the winter. The date this bird was first ringed could suggest it was still on its autumn migration though as some Chiffchaff can still be seen migrating well in to late October. SRG also had a great control of an Oystercatcher first ringed on Brownsea on Oct 2nd 2011 and was seen in Leidschendam, The Netherlands on Feb 8th 2016.

Todays birds included the Barn Owl again at RSPB Lytchett Fields with 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank and 4 Med Gulls. There certainly seems to be a lot more Med Gull around now with good numbers coming into roost in the evenings and they’re generally a bit more obvious around the harbour fringes now. A single Spoonbill flew over Lytchett Bay and 15 were out on Shipstal. At Holton Lee, Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming rapidly this morning and a (relatively) large flock of c80 Redwing were on the Horse Fields. Out in the Wareham Channel, 11 Great Crested Grebe, 9 Goldeneye and 1 Great Northern Diver seemed to form a loose roost at dusk and a Woodcock flew over the approach track. Siskins are very conspicuous at the moment with small groups and larger flocks feeding in numerous Alder trees, with behind PC World, Holton Lee and Poole Park being good places to look. A single possible northern race Long-tailed Tit passed through a garden in Stoborough mid-afternoon.

Harbour Update - Posted 11/02/16

We really hit the Jackpot today with sunshine and blue sky. As a result a nice selection of sightings came through. The best being a double owl encounter at RSPB Lytchett Fields when a Short-eared Owl and Barn Owl were flying around together in the approach field to the viewpoints, both real scarcities at this site, also there a Jack Snipe and good numbers of Lapwing, Dunlin, Redshank and 3 Greenshank. The Smew was still in Holes Bay with a Knot (rare here), Common Sandpiper and Turnstone. The Black Guillemot was viewable from the mainland today due to the flat calm water, out off the corner of Brownsea. A Bittern flew across Arne Moors at dusk and 18 Spoonbill were out on Shipstal Point, Arne. 

Harbour Update - Posted 10/02/16

Another fine sunny day (we could get used to this) obviously got a few birds moving about. There was a recent high of 7 Marsh Harrier in the west of the harbour early evening, including a newly arrived spanking adult male. There were also still 2 ringtail Hen Harrier in the same area as the Marsh Harrier. The Black Guillemot was tucked into the Brownsea shoreline mid-morning and still at least 5 Great Northern Diver around the Brownsea and the inner harbour. The 10-15 Spoonbill were again on Shipstal and the Smew was still in Holes Bay north/south. At PC World there were 2 Firecrest, 18 Chiffchaff, including a Siberian (tristis) type and c15 Siskin. A high tide count at RSPB Lytchett Fields saw a whopping 873 birds with highlights being 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 478 Lapwing, 300+ Dunlin, 1 Med Gull, 5 Greenshank and good numbers of other common waders and wildfowl. 

Harbour Update - posted 09/06/14

The storm blew its self out over night and gave way to calm seas and some warm sunshine by this morning.  A school bird boat trip produced the Black Guillemot off the Brownsea SE corner again in its usual spot, c10 Spoonbill on Shipstal Point, Arne, at least 5 Great Northern Diver around the Brownsea shoreline, 2 Black-necked Grebe out in between South Deep and Bramble Bush Bay, plenty of Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe, but what seemed like a decline in Goldeneye totals. Firecrests were in the Arne car park and at the PC World drain and the Smew was again in Holes Bay south/north. 

Harbour Update - posted 08/06/14

Storm Imogen hit with force today and the harbour looked spectacular. The open bodies of water went from looking rough to actually being blown flat again due to the strength of the wind. Needless to say not many reports came in, although efforts at Poole Park, Baiter and holes Bay were made to try and conjure up some decent sightings, but best that could be mustered was  a single Mediterranean Gull out on Baiter. That was quite literally it! Well, not quite, out on Poole Park Lakes the showy Goldeneye continue to impress and the redhead Smew was still in Holes Bay south/north. 

Smew - Holes Bay - Peter Moore

Goldeneye (male) - Poole Park - Peter Moore

Goldeneye (female) - Poole Park - Peter Moore

Harbour Update - posted 07/06/14

Luckily the rain held off until late afternoon, which meant a few reports came in. The female Smew was still in Holes Bay north…how long will she stay around for? Out over Arne Moors (viewed from Soldiers Road) a Short-eared Owl, 4 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine and a single Hen Harrier high overhead were noted.

Harbour Update - Posted 06/01/16

Yet another blustery day with rain setting in during the afternoon leaving only the morning for some quick dash birding. At Holton Lee 5 Green Sandpiper were on one of the pools on the northern perimeter. Off Baiter 2 Sandwich Tern were fishing and on Whitecliffe, several Med Gulls were feeding with Black-headed Gulls

Harbour Update - Posted 05/01/16

Waves of mist and murk kept rolling in, but managed to say mostly clear for our school bird boat in the morning. A choppy sea made it difficult to see but still 3 Great Northern Diver were out around the Brownsea shore line and the Peregrine causing havoc on the Brownsea Lagoon and a single Spoonbill on there too. A Woodcock survey/ringing session late evening saw c30 Woodcock in a set of fields in the SW of the harbour with a single Jack Snipe seen too. At Holton Lee a Water Rail was showing well from the feeder hide. 

Water Rail - Holton Lee - Clive Hargrave

Harbour Update - Posted 03 and 04/01/16

Both Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th were very quite with not much to report other than a Woodlark singing on Slepe Heath, 20+ Spoonbill on Shipstal, 1 Short-eared Owl on Coombe Heath, Arne, 2 Firecrest in the Arne car park, 1500+ Brent Geese in Middelbere with a Marsh Harrier, 1 Merlin at Shipstal the Smew in Holes Bay.

Tufted Duck - Poole Park - Keith Rawling

Goldeneye - Poole Park - Keith Rawling

Pintail - Upton CP - Keith Rawling

Harbour Update - Posted 02/02/16

RSPB Lytchett Fields and Lytchett Bay saw most coverage today with 2 Bearded Tit in a reedbed just behind the Waterworks, 1 Spoonbill, 4 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 8 Red-breasted Merganser and 1 Goldeneye out in the Bay and 332 Lapwing, 15 Little Egret and a Kingfisher out on the fields. On the Pools Field at Lytchett Bay there was 1 Water Pipit, but several of the ‘Scandinavian’ Rock Pipit are starting to moult into their spring plumage, which will be nice to see if they hang around until their moult is complete. In Poole Harbour west a Peregrine spooked a flock of 500 Lapwing and a Hen Harrier worked its way across the Wareham Channel north shore. A Marsh Harrier was seen at Upton Country Park.

Harbour Update - Posted 01/02/16

A quiet Monday with just the Holes Bay Smew, 20+ Shipstal Spoonbill and a ringtail Hen Harrier in Middlebere being the only birds reported. 

Harbour Update - Posted 31/01/16

Sightings were few and far between today with not much change from recent days. There were 20+ Spoonbill out at Shipstal and 3 Great Northern Diver on the open water. The Smew was still in Holes Bay south and both Marsh and Hen Harrier were noted in Poole Harbour west.

Public Talk

Birds of Poole Harbour will be hosting a talk at Holton Lee on Feb 17th about the charities work and the birds and wildlife of Holton Lee/ Lytchett Bay. The event is a booked event so to book on please call Holton Lee on 01202 625562.

Harbour Update - Posted 30/01/16

Today we were invited by NT, DWT and RSPB to host the commentary on the Poole Harbour public bird boat, an invitation we can never refuse! This new public bird boat partnership between NT, DWT and RSPB only began this winter and saw them trying a new ‘double boat’ option, meaning that two tours were carried out back to back throughout the day. As a trial trip it was a great experience and with a few logistical tweaks could be a great success in winters to come. Seeing good birds always helps and although the cold wind blew the birds certainly performed. Most notably a female Merlin which spent most of the day hunting and spooking waders on the Brownsea Lagoon with a Peregrine occasionally chipping in too. A 2015/16 winter record count of 112 Bar-tailed Godwit was also noted with 7 Greenshank, 6 Spotted Redshank, 2 Spoonbill, 12 Turnstone, 1 Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Med Gull and 8 Pintail all of note on the lagoon with Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Dunlin, Grey Plover and Knot all adding to the spectacle. In total a 68 species were recorded from the boat and harbour tour. Out on the water the Black Guillemot showed well for one group but then totally disappeared for the other, but up to 6 Great Northern Diver, 2 Black-necked Grebe, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebes made for an enjoyable trip with 15 Spoonbill on Shipstal too. At Lytchett Fields the ringtail Hen Harrier again passed over the fields and reeds on the western edge of the bay. Despite much searching from the Bird Boat we saw no Golden Pheasant on Furzey Island, however 5 were ‘scoped’ from South Haven on the slipway of Furzy, including 2 males. This is the highest count of this species in the harbour for quite some time. Out in Studland Bay were 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Slavonian Grebe and 3 Black-necked Grebe. The Smew was still feeding out in Holes Bay south near the railway bridge.

Harbour Update - Posted 29/01/16

A morning watch from the Holton Lee shoreline out across the Wareham Channel saw of note….3 Sandwich Tern, 4 Spoonbill, 2 Goldeneye, 3 Grey Plover and 2 Pintail as well as the usual assemblage of common waders and wildfowl. At RSPB Lytchett Fields a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen over the fields and on Sherford Pools a Green Sandpiper was seen. 

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