April 2016

Harbour Update - posted 29/04/16

There were 3 Little Tern in Middlebere again, but no sign of the Osprey, however a Red kite drifted over there and 2 Whimbrel were in the channel. At the PC World drain a Spotted Flycatcher was feeding in the treeline, also 2 Garden Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 8 Blackcap and 2 Willow Warbler there. At South Haven 14 Pale-bellied Brent Geese passed and a Cuckoo was calling. At Lytchett Fields 61 Whimbrel passed over also on site 154 Shelduck a late Snipe, 3 White Wagtail, 30+ Pied Wagtail and 1 Yellow Wagtail.

Spotted Flycatcher - PC World Drain - Paul Morton


Whimbrel - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 28/04/16

Yesterdays Osprey was again seen in Middlebere in the usual dead trees, where there was also 3 Little Tern and a summer plumaged Grey Plover. At Lytchett Fields there was a single Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat, 1 Wheatear and the sites first Swift of the year, also 18+ Whimbrel over the bay where 4 Whimbrel were feeding with 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank and 160+ Black-tailed Godwit. There was Cuckoo at Arne early morning. Up on Hartland a small flock of 8 Wheatear were on the fields. 

Wheatear - Hartland Fields - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 27/04/16

More mixed weather, more cold winds, more heavy rain, more glorious sunshine, more confused birds! A late returning Osprey was circling above Brands Bay around 8am, heading towards Goathorn Point. Maybe it may stick around with these northerly winds? A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling at Lytchett Fields at dawn but waders were thin on the ground with just 14 Black-tailed Godwit present and still only 3 Reed Warbler are back on territory. Also at Lytchett Fields 68 Shelduck and 8 Gadwall. The ringtail Hen Harrier was seen over Swineham and a single Spoonbill was on Brownsea. 

Song Thrush - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam


Harbour Update - posted 26/04/16

I think we experienced pretty much every type of weather you could possibly think of in just one day today from snow (yes snow), to hail, to thunder, to strong winds to glorious warm sunshine…what’s going on?? Despite this several areas were covered starting at Challow Hill where the Nightingale showed briefly, also present were 5+ Whitethroat, 2 Dartford Warbler, 5+ Yellowhammer, 2 Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler. Up on Hartland Moor a Cuckoo showed briefly with 5 Wheatear out on the open pasture. In Middlebere 16 Ringed Plover dropped in 12 Dunlin, 1 Whimbrel and c10 Black-tailed Godwit. In the lower Frome Valley 8 Ringed Plover dropped on to Arne Moors with a Little Ringed Plover, 3 Swift dashed overhead and the ringtail, Hen Harrier passed over, heading towards Hartland before having a bit of a one-two with a Hobby. On Lytchett Fields a Yellow Wagtail was on one of the pools with a Spotted Redshank. On Brownsea it was fairly quiet with highlights being 2 Greenshank, 1 Common Tern, 1 Golden Pheasant, 3 Avocet and 2 Brent Geese.

Yellowhammer - Challow Hill - Paul Morton


Yellow Wagtail - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 25/04/16

The NW wind built throughout the day, but in sheltered areas it was actually quite pleasant. A nice surprise came in the shape of 2 Little Tern in Middlebere mid-afternoon along with 4 Ringed Plover, 1 summer plumaged Grey Plover, 1 Knot, 40+ Dunlin and 4 Wheatear and a Woodlark on Coombe Heath. At Lytchett Fields waders were again the main feature with 3 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel and 4 Spotted Redshank with 1 Wheatear, 4 Reed Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 1 Sedge Warbler also seen. At Swineham 2 Swift were over the Gravel Pits and on Hartland the ringtail Hen Harrier was seen again. 

Whimbrel - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam


Harbour Update - posted 24/04/16

The cold NNW wind started creeping up on us today which looks as though it will be with us for quite some time, potentially killing off any migration for northbound birds. However, although it seems passerines are struggling to get through at present, waders continue to show up at regular sites. At Lytchett Fields there was 1 Common Sandpiper, 4 Greenshank, 2 Dunlin, 2 Spotted Redshank , 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 Whimbrel with another Red Kite over and a Wheatear in the Arable field. At the Wytch Causeway 2 Spotted Redshank were in the marsh with a Greenshank. Off Sandbanks there was a single partial summer plumaged Great Northern Diver.

Reed Warbler - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 23/04/16

This morning was our monthly field trip, this month hosted at Challow Hill, near Corfe Castle. Despite the cold NE wind, the Challow Ridge provided shelter and a good range of species including 1 Nightingale, 2 Whinchat, 1 Wheatear, 3-4 Dartford Warbler, 5+ Yellowhammer, 5+ Whitethroat, 1 Blackcap and several Chiffchaff, House Martin and Swallow. At Swineham GP a summer plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit had settled on the newly cleared area with a Common Sandpiper and Greenshank also there. Around the pits several species of warbler were counted including 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler and 6 Cetti’s Warbler. On Lytchett Fields 2 Dunlin and 2 Ringed Plover flew in together, also 2 Greenshank and 5 Spotted Redshank were observed with 1 Whitethroat and 1 Cetti’s Warbler. Local Harrier water Peter Hadrill has confirmed that a pair of Marsh Harrier have been courting all spring with the female now on eggs in the west of Poole Harbour. 

Bar-tailed Godwit - Swineham - Peter Moore


Lesser Whitethroat - Swineham - Peter Moore


Common Sandpiper - Swineham - Peter Moore


Birds of Poole Harbour Field Trip - Challow Hill - Barbara Bisset

Harbour Update - posted 22/04/16

Constant drizzle all day would be a standard day of misery for many but for birders in spring, these are very much welcomed conditions, providing an opportunity to see ground migrants as they shelter from the rain. Evidence of this situation was prominent at the PCW Drain where a Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Common Whitethroat, 10+ Blackcap and 2 Willow Warbler were feeding and tucked away. Out on Lytchett Fields there were 3 Spotted Redshank, 11 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel and 110 Black-tailed Godwit. At Middlebere a Cuckoo called early morning and a Tree Pipit called overhead. On Brownsea 5 Spotted Redshank were on the lagoon with numbers of Sandwich Tern still building slowly. 

Reed Warbler - Swineham - Peter Moore


Cetti's Warbler - Swineham - Peter Moore

Harbour Update - posted 21/04/16

Migrants are still trickling through but not in any great numbers. A fine male Whinchat was at Lytchett Fields with 6 Whitethroat and a Red Kite drifted low over the fields. Out in Lytchett Bay there were 2 Whimbrel. At Upton CP 3 Whimbrel were near the stone bench and a female Redstart was in the field behind. At Arne a Redstart, several Whitethroat, 2 Woodlark, Swallows and plenty of Dartford Warbler were present. At Swineham there was single Sedge Warbler with a showy Cetti’s Warbler. At Holton Lee, what was we assume the same Red Kite at the Lytchett Fields bird drifted over the heath, also still Tree Pipit singing, Whitethroat, Woodlark, Dartford Warbler, Chiffchaff and Linnet all out on the heathland. 

Cetti's Warbler - Swineham - Clive Hargrave


Sedge Warbler - Swineham - Clive Hargrave 


Red Kite - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam


Whitethroat - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 20/04/16

Lytchett Fields seems to be getting a lot of attention at the moment and today the rewards came in the shape of 3 Little Ringed Plover, 1 male and 1 female Redstart, 1 Red-legged Partridge (rare here), 1 Wheatear, 1 Whimbrel and a Green Sandpiper. There were 2 Wheatear along Baiter late afternoon. At Holton Lee a Cuckoo was seen near the bird hide and a Wheatear was in the field behind. A night recording session in the Lower Frome Valley picked up 1 night migrating Little Ringed Plover, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 1 Little Grebe and 1 Common Snipe

 Little Ringed Plover - Call of a night time migrant - Arne Moors 


Spotted Redshank - Call of a night time migrant - Arne Moors


Little Grebe - Call of a night time migrant - Arne Moors 19/04/16


Greenshank - Call of a night time migrant - Arne Moors - 19/04/16


Redstart - Lytchett Fileds - Ian Ballam


Cuckoo - Holton Lee - Richard Stephenson

Harbour Update - posted 19/04/16

A nice light easterly breeze saw a few more migrants make landfall, and waders are now trickling through. At Swineham GP a nice mixed flock of 17 summer plumaged Dunlin and Ringed Plover settled on the newly cleared area. This little patch looks as though it has the potential to attract a few more waders in? Also at Swineham were 2 Wheatear and a Sedge Warbler. At the PCW Drain a Common Sandpiper and 10+ Blackcap were present with a handful of Willow Warbler. Still not many Terns on Brownsea, however 2 Knot, 7 Spotted Redshank, 35 Dunlin, 1 Spoonbill, 1 Grey Plover, 3 Turnstone, 3 Greenshank, 3 Avocet, several Med Gulls and a Reed Warbler made up for that. At Lytchett Fields a stunning male Redstart was in hedges on the approach track to the viewing areas, also 2 Wheatear, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel and a Greenshank. On Stoborough Heath there was a great count of 25 Wheatear

Redstart - Lytchett Fields - Paul Morton


Dunlin and Ringed Plover - Swineham GP - Richard Stephenson


Dunlin and Ringed Plover - Swineham GP - Richard Stephenson



Harbour Update - posted 18/04/16

What started off as a stunning still (but cold) spring morning, with frost on the ground turned into an even colder and chilly rest of the day, with birds few and far between. Best bird of the day (although you still can’t count them) was a Great Bustard that flew low over Sea View Road, Upton and headed towards Lytchett Minster. This will almost certainly be one of the birds from the Salisbury Plain reintroduction scheme, possibly making its way back to the site for the summer. The harbour’s first Lesser Whitethroat was heard in Boarder Road, Lytchett Bay. There was a nice record of a Common Sandpiper at Hatch Pond with another in the PCW Drain. At Arne, a Cuckoo was calling at dawn and there were 3 Whimbrel in the mouth of Middlebere plus a constant trickle of Swallow, House and Sand Martin overhead all day with 2 Tree Pipit and a Peregrine. A Hen Harrier was in Poole Harbour west at dawn and a Ring Ouzel was on Stoborough Heath. Common migrants are still passing through each day with Blackcap and Willow Warbler arriving on territory as each day passes. Its well worth keeping your eye out in the garden as migrants will often pass through, feeding along the way.

Blackcap - Holes Bay  - Colin Moyes

harbour Update - posted 17/04/16

Today was a super still day that saw Hirundines on the move all day, pulsing over, some at great height in waves. A few waders arrived too with a Common Sandpiper at Lytchett Fields also 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 female Redstart, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Sedge Warbler, 3 Reed Warbler and 20+ Blackcap. It was also noted that a ringed Reed Warbler which was ringed as an adult at Lytchett Bay in June 2012 is now back again for its 5th year in a row singing from exactly the same bush as where it was originally photographed in 2014, a pretty mean feat for such a tiny bird. At Studland there were 4 Yellow Wagtail at Greenlands Farm, 6+ Wheatear and c100 Swallow north and in Brands Bay a Great Northern Diver was still present with 177 Black-tailed Godwit. At Arne Woodlark and Dartford Warbler continue to display out on the heathland and another Cuckoo was heard along the Arne Road. A Red Kite was seen drifting over north. 

'Old Faithful' Reed Warbler - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam


Yellow Wagtail - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam


Common Sandpiper - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 16/04/16

With Portland going through a bit of a purple patch there was hope in the harbour for some similarly good finds. With so much decent habitat around the harbour finding rarities can take some time but we’re sure there are some out there somewhere.  Around mid morning an Osprey drifted in to the harbour via Studland, across over Brownsea and drifted towards Arne. 7 Spoonbill were seen to fly on to the Brownsea Lagoon. There have been several reports and sightings of Peregrine hunting over Poole Town Centre in recent weeks, sometimes carrying prey. We would like to gather as many Peregrine sightings as we can from in and around Poole Town to try and pin down a possible breeding location. They do breed outside the harbour (Wareham Forest, Old harry/Ballard) but not actually within the town….as far as we know! At Swineham there were 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 Willow Warbler, 4 Cetti’s Warbler, Whimbrel and 200+ Hirundines. On Brownsea there were singles of Spotted Redshank and Knot. At Challow hill, Corfe a Nightingale was back on territory, also there 4 Dartford Warbler, 6 Yellowhammer, several Willow Warbler and Stonechat. In Holes Bay North, a small fall of Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Whitethroat appeared in the PCW Drain along with a single Sedge Warbler. There was another Little Ringed Plover at Lytcehtt Fields and in Middlbere 2 Spotted Redshank, 6 Ringed Plover and a ringtail Hen Harrier.

Willow Warbler - Fleets Corner - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 15/04/16

Although the grim wet weather put most birding attempts to bed for most of the day, after it cleared around 3pm migrants were turning up left right and centre, hoping to grab a quick snack before moving on. The waste ground next to the Twin Sails Bridge saw 15+ Wheatear and a Whitethroat feeding on the short- cropped grass. At the PC World Drain a Sedge Warbler, 5 Whitethroat, 10 Blackcap and several Willow Warbler. At Lytchett Fields 4 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Wheatear, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 50+ Swallow, 2 Reed Warbler and 3 Greenshank were present. At Middlebere 42 summer plumaged Dunlin were out from the hide, also 1 sub-adult female Marsh Harrier and 200+ Black-tailed Godwit. A Whinchat and Cuckoo were on Canford Heath. 

Wheatears - Twin Sails Bridge




Blackcap - Lytchett Fields 


Sedge Warbler - PC World Drain


Yellow Wagtails - Lytchett Fields



Harbour Update - posted 14/04/16

This morning another Osprey was found, this one sat in a tree on the edge of the Holton Lee site eating a fish, viewed from Lytchett Fields. It then went back to Lytchett Bay, caught another fish and then flew off NW high carrying its brunch along the way. Also see out on Lytchett Fields were the 2 summer plumaged Water Pipit, a summer plumaged Spotted Redshank and the sites first Reed Warbler of the year. Another different Hen Harrier buzzed through the harbour this AM, this one a compact juvenile male which was seen high above Swineham before making its way back towards Arne. The harbours first Whitethroat appeared at the PCW Drain along with 3 each of Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. A Ruff was also noted in Holes Bay NE with a Common Sandpiper and a Peregrine passed over. In Middlebere there were 4 Spotted Redshank (2 summer plumaged), c40 summer plumaged Dunlin, c200 summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit and a single Spoonbill. Cuckoo’s are now popping up here and there with one on Canford Heath and another on Hartland Moor.

Osprey - Holton Lee (viewed from Lytchett Fields) - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 13/04/16

Todays highlight was a Siberian Chiffchaff singing at South Haven, Studland near the boardwalk. Also through there, a Yellow Wagtail, Whimbrel and small passage of finches, Swallows and Corvids. A ringing session in the north of the harbour saw the first 4 Blackcap of the spring ringed including a male from a pervious year which we’re checking the date on now.  Second to our lovely night recording of a Cuckoo passing over Poole in the darkness on Monday night, several ‘daytime’ sightings have now begun to occur with one calling in Rempstone, one on Hartland and one near Arne. At Lytchett Bay there are still 2 summer plumaged Water Pipit plus a summer plumaged Spotted Redshank


Male and female Blackcap - Poole Harbour North


Little Ringed Plover - Arne moors (yesterday) 


Linnet - Holton Lee 

Harbour Update - posted 12/04/16

A foggy start gave way to a beauty of a day, bringing with it a nice selection of birds. At South Haven a reeve Ruff flew down the beach after being flushed from the flooded area, a great patch record and not an easy bird to catch up with at Studland let alone anywhere during the spring in Poole Harbour. Also at South Haven were 4 Wheatear and plenty of med Gull moving about. What seemed to be a migrant (passing) Hen Harrier appeared over Hartland briefly before taking out some aggression on an unsuspecting Peregrine. What should have been the harbour’s first Cuckoo was heard calling distantly from Hartland mid-morning…more about that later! Brownsea Lagoon numbers were moderate to say the least but over the coming weeks more and more Sandwich Tern and Common Tern will be arriving making it the summer-hive of activity we’re all familiar with. Today numbers consisted of 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 4 Turnstone, 2 Brent Geese, 6 Avocet and still good numbers of Black-tailed Godwit. Out on Arne Moors (viewed from Ridge Wharf) were 5 Little Ringed Plover on a flooded patch but they had gone by late afternoon. Another Osprey slowly drifted over Canford Heath mid morning and a single Red-legged Partridge at Holton Lee was the first in quite some time. 

From our Listening Station in Old Town Poole, we encountered something quite unexpected on Monday night. When night recording for night migrants, the excitement always comes from never knowing what species you’re going to encounter next. On Monday night when analysing the nights recording we heard something familiar. Incredibly at 00:18am a Cuckoo flew over calling just twice before disappearing into the night! A real turn up for the books. Also encountered that night was a passing Common Snipe and 3 Song Thrush calls.

Cuckoo – Cuckoo - Call of night time migrant - Old Town Poole Listening Station


Common Snipe - Common Snipe - Calls of night time migrant - Old Town Poole, Listening Station

Harbour Update - posted 11/04/16

Like the rest of the county, spring migration really seemed to arrive in the harbour today, although best bird of the day doesn’t sound too spring-like. An Iceland Gull found out on the mud of Upton CP was a nice find, sat amongst Herring Gulls and 22 Med Gulls, including a green colour-ringed bird. After the rain passed mid morning a good passage of hirundines travelled through the harbour with Swallow and Sand Martin most prominent and a few House Martin in tow. There were 2 Little Ringed Plover on pools in the lower Frome Valley near Swineham and a minimum of 10 Cetti’s Warbler singing. At the PCW drain 15+ Blackcap had arrived and 4-5 Willow Warbler were singing. Out on Lytchett Fields a summer plumaged Dunlin had arrived indicating that they are now on the move too, plus a Whimbrel was in the Bay and 2 straggling Brent Geese dropped in too, alos 1 remaining summer plumaged Water Pipit.  In Middlebere the summer-plumaged Spotted Redshank was still feeding and a female/juv type Marsh Harrier was circling over the Piddle Valley. 

Iceland Gull (right)- Upton CP - Ian Ballam


Black-tailed Godwit - Middlebere - Roger Hewitt

Harbour Update - posted 10/04/16

A strong easterly wind seemed to keep the birds heads low today, at risk of being blown into next week! A Whimbrel appeared in Holes Bay mid morning and the harbour’s first Yellow Wagtail of the spring was in Upton CP. A summer plumaged Water Pipit was again at Lytchett Fields. A night recording session from our listening station in Old Town Poole produced a single Ringed Plover and a flock of Sandwich Tern passing over at 1:40am.

Harbour Update - posted 09/04/16

Nice to hear Poole Harbour finally get its share of Redstarts with one at the Middlebere Cottages this morning and another up on Ballard. In the Middlebere Channel a summer plumaged Spotted Redshank was feeding with another out in Lytchett Bay. It seemed Blackcap had arrived back on territory in several places such as Holton Lee, Arne and Soldiers Road. The ringtail Hen Harrier is still holding on, refusing to budge and disappear back to a breeding site somewhere else…maybe she’s heard what happens to Hen Harriers when they arrive back to their breeding grounds on Grouse Moors! At Lytchett Fields a stunning summer plumaged Water Pipit was still present, also there a Wheatear was in the Arable Field along Slough Lane and 14 Willow Warbler were present.

Wheatear - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam



Willow Warbler - Lytchett Fileds - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 08/04/16

There was no sign of the Arne Osprey today suggesting its probably moved off now after spending three days in the harbour.  Its now been seven years since attempts to try and entice them to breed in the harbour began, by erecting 10+ decoy nests at specific sites. Since then there have been a handful of occasions of birds lingering for a week or more during the spring, always eventually moving off. Will this year be the year?

Elsewhere, bird reports were fairly thin on the ground with 4 Willow Warbler, 5 Swallow and a Whimbrel around the Coombe Heath area. At Lytchett Fields, 5 Whimbrel were a good early spring record, also present 123 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 20 Redshank, 1 Wigeon, 16 Little Egret and 88 Teal. At Holton Lee, it was much of the same with Tree Pipit and Woodlark singing. Med Gull numbers on the Brownsea Lagoon seem to be increasing, perhaps with more attempting to breed this year after 3 pairs successfully raised young last year.

With all this talk of spring migration, we understand not everyone gets to be outside as much as others, so we thought we’d provide a bit of spring song for you to enjoy.

Willow Warbler - Arne RSPB Reserve - 08/04/16


Common Chiffchaff - Arne RSPB Reserve - 08/04/16

Harbour Update - posted 07/04/16

There were encouraging signs that the Osprey was again in Middlebere mid-morning, and was seen again heading over towards the Wareham Channel around 11:30am, presumably to go fishing? At Lytchett Fields a Marsh Harrier was hunting over both sets of fields and the colour-ringed Greenshank was again present with 100+ Black-tailed Godwit, also 3 Swallow and 8 Blackcap present. At Holton Lee Willow Warbler and Blackcap were also evident near the Little Mead area and 2 Tree Pipit were on the heath. 

Harbour Update - posted 06/04/16

Today one of yesterdays Ospreys lingered around the Arne Peninsular for its second day, chilling out mostly in the dead trees at Middlebere but occasionally heading out to the Wareham Channel to catch a fish before returning. Ospreys can often stay in the harbour for a couple of days during the spring, especially if foul weather prevents them from moving on, but we’ll certainly be keeping an eye out to see how long this individual sticks around for. Also in Middlebere were 2 Spoonbill, 2 Grey Plover, 384 Black-tailed Godwit and a good number of displaying Redshank. The ringtail Hen Harrier is still being spotted occasionally, mostly around the Hartland/Wareham Channel area. At Lytchett Fileds a Little Ringed Plover was seen briefly.

Little Ringed Plover - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 05/04/16

Isn’t it funny that when discussing the lack of Osprey, three come along at once….well, three sightings at least. Around mid morning one was seen circling above Lytchett Bay only then to disappear off west, heading towards Wareham Forest. Then, in the early afternoon another (the same?) was seen sat in the normal dead trees over at Middlebere. Whilst this bird was being watched one of the Arne wardens was watching one feed on a fish off the bottom of Grip Heath. Now that we have birds arriving in the harbour, it would be great to receive all sightings where and when possible to monitor how long they’re hanging around for. Brittany Maxted who carried last years autumn Osprey study (which will be published soon) has independently set up a new online Osprey recording form. Please report all your Poole Harbour Osprey sightings over the coming year HERE.

Elsewhere there were a scattering of Migrants with a Wheatear up on Hartland Stud and 2 Willow Warbler along Soldiers Road. At the PCW Drain 5 Willow Warbler were in song along with 10+ Chiffchaff and 5 Blackcap were present. At Holton Lee 2 Tree Pipit, 10+ Chiffchaff, 2 Green Sandpiper and 2 Greenshank were noted. On Brownsea, Sandwich Tern totals had increased to 33 with 3 Brent Geese still present on the lagoon with 2 Spotted Redshank and 2 Greenshank with both Chiffchaff and Blackcap singing in the wood. At Lytchett Bay a male Brambling was seen with a colour-ringed Greenshank, 39 Sand Martin, a male White Wagtail, 2 Blackcap and 200+ Black-tailed Godwit. At Holes Bay 2 Knot were in amongst 519 Black-tailed Godwit. Whilst collecting in our sound equipment from our listening station before the rain set in a modest passage of Swallow, Sand and House Martin passed over. Highlights from Monday nights recording session included our first Water Rail and Greenshank of the spring, also 1 Moorhen, 1 Redshank, 3 lateish Redwing calls, 7 Song Thrush calls and numerous Oystercatcher and Curlew calls. 

Water Rail - calls of a night time migrant - Listening Station, Old Town Poole - 05/04/16

Not a Water Rail night call we experience that often. Below is a more typical call you’d expect from a Water Rail whilst migrating at night. 

Water Rail - Flight calls of a night time migrant - Lytchett Matravers

Osprey - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam



Green Sandpiper - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam



Tree Pipit - Holton Lee - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 04/04/16

With only one Osprey sighting so far this spring, its been left to the other raptor species to keep up the show with the ringtail Hen Harrier once again being seen out around the Wareham Channel with a single Merlin. The three Marsh Harrier are still busy as the bonded pair actively showing interest in one another, whilst the second female is struggling to gain the males attention. At Lytchett Bay/Fields a Sandwich Tern was in the Bay, a single Willow Warbler and several Chiffchaff were in the field fringes and on the fields were 2 Greenshank, 108 Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Sand Martin over and a single Wigeon. Out on Poole Park Lake were 2 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Great Crested Grebe. At the PC World Drain 5 Blackcap were present including a few singing males, also 4 Willow Warbler and 5+ Chiffchaff. At Holton Lee a Tree Pipit was singing with a Woodlark, also 10+ Chiffchaff, 7 Linnet and 2 each of Green Sandpiper and Greenshank on Holton Pools. At Baiter 9 Turnstone were feeding on the shoreline.

Harbour Update - posted 03/04/16

Dorset saw a good range of species arrive today but could the harbour produce the goods too. The years first Hobby was seen circling high above Arne Moors around midday and there were also 3 Marsh Harrier present around the Wareham Channel area and the ringtail Hen Harrier was seen again on Hartland. At South Haven, Studland a single Great Northern Diver was near the harbour mouth along with 4 Sandwich Tern. At Swineham migrants included 7 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, 1 Swallow and several Sand Martin, whilst resident birds were represented by 16 singing Cetti’s Warbler, 3 pairs of Great Crested Grebe and 1 Marsh Harrier over the point. At Holton Lee 10+ Chiffchaff were singing in surrounding woodland and on the heath Dartford Warbler were again active. 

Chiffchaff - Holton Lee - Richard Stephenson



Meadow Pipit - Arne RSPB Reserve - Keith Rawling



Great Crested Grebe - Swineham - Keith Rawling

Harbour Update - posted 02/04/16

Today was fine spring day with the surprise appearance of a Short-eared Owl over Arne moors at dawn, the first in quite some time. At Lytchett Fields there was a single Wheatear 5+ Willow Warbler, 20+ Chiffchaff, 1 Red-breasted Merganser in the Bay, 2 Greenshank and a Water Pipit on the Pools Field. In Middlebere 4 Spoonbill were feeding and a minimum of 5 Swallow dashed through past the hide. Off Baiter a single Great Northern Diver was seen off the Brownsea shoreline and at least 10 Red-breasted Merganser were out in central harbour. In the Arne car park 2 Firecrest were still present and along the Arne Road a Merlin was seen. At Holton Lee a single Wheatear was present, also 2 Woodlark and good numbers of Dartford Warbler. 

Dartford Warbler - Holton Lee - Sarah Jane Spinney

Harbour Update - posted 01/04/16

Today was another quiet day in terms of sightings reported with just 1 Water Pipit at Lytchett Pools and 2 Greenshank and 2 Green Sandpiper on Lytchett Fields at a Willow Warbler in surrounding hedges. At Poole Park Lake 15 Sand Martin were still feeding over the lake and a Swallow dashed over too. Night recording on wednesday and thursday night was very quiet with just a total of 7 Redwing, 1 Blackbird and 1 Curlew over the two nights!

Harbour Update - posted 31/03/16

Amazingly the Black Guillemot was seen off the SE corner of Brownsea again having gone missing/not ben seen for over a month. Another re-appearing bird was a ringtail Hen Harrier that’s been see on and off at dusk over the last week. Still not many summer migrants but a female Brambling and 3 Redwing north at South Haven were signs that winter migrants were still passing through. A female Merlin was up on Hartland.

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