June 2016

Harbour Update - posted 29/06/16

An Osprey seen drifting over the A35 near the Bakers Arms, heading towards Lytchett Bay was the presumed spring/summer lingerer that’s been around since late April, but its possible it could be a newly arrived bird as non-breeders can and have arrived in the harbour as early as late June and early July. At Lytchett Bay the summer plumaged Ruff was still present and a newly arrived Greenshank turned up, also 43 Black-tailed Godwit and 26 Redshank were present. On Lytchett Heath a juvenile Kingfisher was the first of the autumn and an adult Whitethroat was a presumed migrant there. 

Greenshank - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Ruff - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 28/06/16

A beautiful still morning gave way to a band of wind and rain by mid afternoon. A morning watch from the Hamworthy Beach shoreline saw several Redshank and  Curlew feeding over on the Arne peninsular and both Common Tern and Sandwich Tern were taking advantage of a large ‘bait ball’ of whitebait just off the beach. The Marsh Harrier nest is still giving no sign as to how many chicks have fledged with only one present/viewable at anyone time. How many more are lurking down in the reedbeds? Before the rain set in 2 Hobby there were over Slepe Heath/Arne moors area. A Cuckoo was seen again on Slepe Heath and there was late news of a Short-eared Owl sat on the Brownsea seawall 2 weeks ago, which is certainly the first June record for this species we’ve ever heard about. 

We still have several spaces left on our Nightjar walk this coming saturday in partnership with Arne RSPB Reserve. To book on and for full information CLICK HERE

Harbour Update - posted 27/06/16

More wader passage today with a gorgeous summer plumaged male Ruff out on Lytchett Fields. We rarely see them in this plumage, as most of our birds tend to be fresh juveniles in the autumn. Out in Holes Bay north there were 5 Curlew, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 2 Common Tern.

Ruff - Lytchett Fields - Shaun Robson

Harbour Update - posted 26/06/16

Without a doubt, best bird of the day was a Little Ringed Plover that turned up on a bridleway on Stoborough Heath, which is bizarre enough in its self, however this bird was a completely fresh juvenile suggesting it could have been raised locally? If it hadn’t then I can’t believe it had come from too far afield but who knows. There are certainly waders on the move already and this was evident with the first Greenshank of the autumn out in Brands Bay and 2 Green Sandpiper out on Lytchett Fields. 

Little Ringed Plover - Stoborough Heath - Jackie Broadhouse


Harbour Update - posted 25/06/16

Crossbill’s are beginning to move about now with 4 passing over the Arne car park and likely Osprey distantly soaring over the Wytch Channel. Late June and throughout July is a good time to hear local Crossbills as they begin to move about in parties containing anything from 2-20 birds. They’re call is very unique as they pass over, so we’ve included a recording of a group of Crossbill passing over Ballard Down last year so you can familiarise yourself with their calls. 

23 Crossbill over Glebelands, Ballard 10/10/15

Harbour Update - posted 24/06/16

On a what could turn out to be a sad day for the environment, we hope that what ever happens from here on in our partners, our friends and our followers will do what ever they can to help support and fight for the protection our wildlife needs now and in the future, not just in Poole Harbour but across the whole country too. Certain areas of environmental protection sit under European law such as SPA’s (Special Protection Areas) and SAC’s (Special Area of Conservation) of which Poole Harbour has several of including the rich and vibrant heathlands and sand dune systems of Studland. No one knows what will happen when (if) we leave EU, but what is clear is that our environment will need us more than ever over the coming years so please get out and enjoy, monitor and help protect our local heritage.

Not much bird news to report today other than a Roseate tern was on Brownsea again briefly. 

Harbour Update - posted 23/06/16

evening visit saw 17 Curlew feeding in the top end and Redshank still displaying out on the Spartina. Little Egrets were continuously flying over the Arne peninsular into roost over in the Wareham Channel with a minimum of 20 just before dusk. Parties of Swift were also heading back to Wareham at dusk, feeding frantically in the twilight. Nightjars at Arne were again on good form, with several seen along Soldiers Road too. Juvenile Tawny Owls are now beginning to be heard with one at Arne and one at Holton Lee. At Lytchett Fields the Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing and Redshank numbers remained roughly the same as yesterday. A male Cuckoo was on wires above Slepe Heath along the Arne Road. 

Reed Warbler - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 22/06/16

The wader numbers on Lytchett Fields continues to grow with 40+ Redshank, 100+ Black-tailed Godwit and 40+ Lapwing. On Brownsea there were 18 Redshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and a Roseate Tern dropped onto the lagoon late afternoon. The tern situation on the lagoon is a bit fragile as the Med Gulls work their way through the Common Tern chicks but thankfully the Sandwich Tern chicks are now big enough to not be gobbled. A Hobby was over the top of Hartland moor and the Firecrest is still singing in the Arne car park. 

Harbour Update - posted 21/06/16

Great news today as it was reported that the first (and maybe only) Marsh Harrier chick semi-fledged today in Poole Harbour west with the female luring it out by dropping food on the ground. It will be fascinating to see how many bob their heads above the reedbed’s in the coming days. Will it be one, two, three or possibly even four like one the 2014 pairs raised? At Lytchett Fields a newly arrived winter plumaged Dunlin was found which for mid June is odd in its self, showing no sign of any black on the belly at all. Up on Hartland a Hobby was hunting briefly and at Arne, despite the mist and murk Nightjars were out in force again. On Brownsea there was a single summer plumaged Spotted Redshank

Harbour Update - posted 20/06/16

Today was the beginning of our first ever Dorset Discovery Summer Tour in partnership with the Dorset RSPB team. We’ll produce a full write up in the coming days but highlights from Arne included great views of Dartford Warbler, Firecrest, Stonechat, Grass Snake and Slow Worm, as well as an unbelievable display from a minimum of 6 Nightjar just before dark. There was also a late report of an Osprey in the Wytch Channel yesterday afternoon. At Lytchett Fields there was another Green Sandpiper and at Hatch Pond the Great Crested Grebes now have young. 

Harbour Update - posted 19/06/16

Not much to report today other than wader numbers are building nicely on Lytchett Fields with 50+ Black-tailed Godwit, 17 Redshank, 16 Lapwing and 1 Green Sandpiper from the viewpoints. 

Harbour Update - posted 18/06/16

There were several large flocks of Swifts assembling at different locations around the harbour, taking advantage of the warm, still, muggy weather and abundance of insects. Over Harland Moor 100+ gathered with another 50+ over Challow Hill, whilst over near Poole Park another 100+ fed over the Baiter, Whitecliff area. At Challow Hill 4 Whitethroat were still singing along with 2 Yellowhammer and 2 Blackcap. On the Brownsea Lagoon, the Med Gulls are causing a bit of mischief amongst the Terns, but as the Tern chicks get bigger the Med’s should become less of an issue. Also on Brownsea the first returning Redshanks arrived with 2. At Lytchett Fields there was a single Green Sandpiper and c20 Black-tailed Godwit

Harbour Update - posted 17/06/16

Today saw some more evidence of early wader passage at Lytchett Fields with 2 newly arrived Ringed Plover and a Little Ringed Plover, all three of the adults with another Green Sandpiper and the first young Reed Warblers are beginning to fledge along with Reed Buntings too. 

Little Ringed Plover - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Ringed Plover - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Newly fledged Reed Warbler - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 16/06/16

Today saw a really nice mix of birds (for mid-summer at least). Highlight was a Honey Buzzard that drifted over Godlingston Heath mid afternoon. At Lytchett Fields there were clear signs autumn migration was just around the corner with the first returning Green Sandpiper with 3 present. These are most likely first year, failed breeders it being so early in the season but as June turns into July more and more Green Sandpiper will arrive with peak usually around early August of up to 15 birds. Also on site was 1 juv Stonechat, presumably venturing away from Holton Lee, 11 Lapwing, 10 Teal and 50+ Black-tailed Godwit. In Poole Town a Ring-necked Parakeet flew over calling and a Red Kite drifted over Sandy Lane, Upton. From Hamworthy Park, looking out across to Arne 4 1st summer Med Gulls were on the water and central harbour was busy with feeding Common and Sandwich Terns.

First returning Green Sandpiper - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Black-tailed Godwits - Lytchett Fileds - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 15/06/16

Lytchett Fields is still building interest with 30-40 Black-tailed Godwits now present, 10 Lapwing flitting between Holton Pools and Lytchett Fields and 4 Redshank. At Arne a Spotted Flycatcher was near the main car park and the Firecrest was still singing there. 2 Hobby were over Hartland again and the Marsh Harrier pair still doing well feeding their young in Poole Harbour west. 

Harbour Update - posted 14/06/16

A Barn Owl was seen flying along the Upton bypass up near Policeman’s Lane. On Lytchett Fields up to 30 Black-tailed Godwit and 10 Lapwing were the only birds of note. At Arne the Redstart was again on Coombe heath and the Firecrest was in the car park. 

Harbour Update - posted 13/06/16

Nightjar were out in force last night with Arne seeing a good deal of action, as well as Hartland Moor and the Soldiers Road area. At this time of year males will be defending territories so listen out for their charismatic coo-ick type calls as they move from song post to song post as well as there their more familiar churring. A quick dash around the harbour highlighted several Willow Warbler still singing on territory at Soldiers Road, Slepe Copse, South Haven and Swineham. A Hobby was over the Arne Road again, and a female Marsh Harrer was seen in Middlebere.  

Harbour Update - posted 12/06/16

At Lytchett Fields up to 20 Lapwing were seen lifting off Holton Pools suggesting more return/early movement passage of failed breeders. However it won’t be long before the first fresh juvenile birds start arriving too. This year we’re also conducting a full Poole Harbour breeding gull census and today whilst trying to survey the Old Town end of Poole we were dive bombed and splattered by protective parents as almost all Herring Gull chicks have now hatched and can be seen scrabbling around on numerous roof tops. At Arne a female Marsh Harrier was seen off Coombe with a Tree Pipit, Redstart and several Dartford Warbler family parties. 

Herring Gull chick - Old Town Poole

Woodlark - Poole Harbour Heathland

Harbour Update - posted 11/06/16

Not much change in the theme with a Hobby over Slepe Heath, a Redstart at Arne and plenty of action out on the local heathlands as resident breeders busy themselves by feeding young. It’s also a great time of year to look out for other wildlife especially butterflies, dragonflies and reptiles. Expanding your knowledge base to try and ID these types of fauna is a great challenge, so as June and July tend to be a bit quieter for bird species why not try and get your head around some of these too.

Green Hairstreak - Holton Lee 

Common Lizard - Stoborough Heath

Harbour Update - posted 10/06/16

The low tides around the harbour can seem a bit sparse at present, but look long and hard enough and snippets of interest do appear. Shelduck ducklings are now common-place around the southern shores and quiet bays of the harbour with the parents leading out their young across the mudflats as they keep a wary eye out for hungry Great Black-backed Gulls. There are still a few Black-tailed Godwit are still lingering with a handful in Holes Bay. At Lytchett Fields Teal numbers have started to rise already with 13 present. A Barn Owl was out hunting at Middlebere and a Cuckoo was again near the Middlebere Hide. In the Arne car park the singing Firecrest is still present and learning its song is well worth it as you could easily find your own elsewhere around the harbour as we have recently at 2 previously unknown sites in the north and NW of the harbour. 

Nuthatch - Holton lee - Paul Morton

Juvenile Stonechat - Holton Lee - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 09/06/16

A Cuckoo was seen briefly at Middlebere mid afternoon. 2 Hobby were over Hartland and a Peregrine was over Poole Town Centre. 

Harbour Update - posted 08/06/16

Reports show it could be shaping up to be a good Hobby year with another 5 hunting over the Slepe Heath/Hartland Moor area whilst the Marsh Harrier pair continue to feed young in Poole Harbour west. 

Harbour Update - posted 07/06/16

Another quiet early summer day with breeding birds being the only birds of note. Many birds are now fledging young with Dartford Warbler, Stonechat, Chiffchaff, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Meadow Pipit and most tit species all fledging young in recent days. Common and Sandwich Terns are using the bays in the north of the harbour to feed with Lytchett and Holes Bay seeing both species. Around Poole Town center young Herring Gull chicks are beginning to hatch up on the roofs. And if you haven’t looked already, our Poole Harbour Sandwich Tern colony can be watched live via our Brownsea webcam. The chicks have just recently started hatching so you’ll be able to watch all the comings and goings of these charismatic sea birds. 

Sandwich Terns and newly hatched chick - Brownsea webcam

Harbour Update - posted 06/06/16

June Ospreys are pretty scarce in Poole harbour, however one was seen this morning circling and hunting above the Wareham Channel before being driven off by one of the local Marsh Harriers.

Harbour Update - posted 05/06/16

Today seemed as if it had the potential to produce something rare somewhere but to such luck. The Marsh Harrier pair in Poole Harbour west seem to be doing well with the male currently doing all the work. The female has barely left the nest to help with parental duties yet, relying on the male to feed the chicks and her….not a bad life if you can work it out that way! 

Harbour Update - posted 04/06/16

This morning was our June field trip which was hosted at Holton Lee courtesy of Livability, the charity that runs the site. Holton Lee is a wonderful reserve however it is a private site which you gain access too simply by becoming a friend of Holton Lee. It holds a good-sized piece of heathland, mixed woodland, reed beds, great views of Lytchett bay and the Wareham Channel as well as open pasture and mixed scrub habitats. Highlights from our trip included 2 Woodlark, 2 Tree Pipit, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Whitethroat, 5 Dartford Warbler, 5 Stonechat, 1 Hobby, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 7 Mistle Thrush, 1 Marsh Tit, family parties of Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch. On Lytchett Fields a single Curlew, 2 Redshank, 5 Teal and 26 Gadwall were recorded. A night recording session around the harbour produced nothing more than several Nightjar, although one did literally come down and practically sit on top of one of our microphones!

Nightjar - Churring of male - Arne Road - 04/06/16

Cuckoo - Holton Lee - Paul Morton


Holton Lee Field Trip - Barbara Bisset

Harbour Update - posted 03/06/16

Finally a bit of quality delivered its self today when a Common Crane drifted high over the A35 heading north. A male Marsh Harrier arrived at Lytchett Fields for a short while causing a bit of mischief. The Firecrest in the Arne car park is still singing frequently and a male Common Whitethroat seemed to be on territory at South Haven, Studland which doesn’t seem to be a regular occurrence. There was a large haul of Swift hawking over Poole Town and Baiter. 

Firecrest - Arne car park - Song of male - 01/06/16

Common Whitethroat - South Haven, Studland. Song and display flight of male 01/06/16

Harbour Update - posted 02/06/16

The Red Kite passage was in evidence again today when one drifted low over Canford Heath heading towards Poole Crematorium. A Spotted Flycatcher was at Arne along with a Redstart still. There are several Great Crested Grebe about with 6 still on Littlesea, 2 in Holes Bay and 2 in the Wareham Channel, whether they’re breeding or not we’re not sure as its not typical breeding behaviour or in some cases even habitat but we’ll keep an eye out. 

Harbour Update - posted 01/06/16

There was a report of a Quail calling in the lower Frome Valley mid morning, although despite some listening efforts it couldn’t be relocated or heard. Not much else to report other than a Nightjar passing low over Lytchett Way, Upton. Presumably one from Lytchett Heath just up the road? At Arne, the Nightjar walk saw an intense amount of activity at dusk with males really chasing hard and plenty of wing clapping.

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