December 2016

Harbour Update - posted 29/12/16

Its great when the harbour gets so much coverage as it allows us to paint a bigger and better picture as to what’s going and what’s about.  Amazingly today 3 different Great Grey Shrikes were seen within the harbour area with one on Godlingston Heath, another on Hartland and the Canford Heath bird. For a scarce winter migrant that’s a pretty incredible total! Holes Bay north was busy again, mostly on the Upton CP side with 300+ Avocet, 400+ Dunlin, 600+ Black-tailed Godwit and the Ruff was still in the field just north of the stone bench. On Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal were still present with a Marsh Harrier over. The Cattle Egret was along Holme Lane again and on Littlesea, Studland the Great White Egret was present again and on the Brownsea Lagoon 22 Spoonbill were present with 3 Spotted Redshank. Off Jerry’s Point a Great Northern Diver and 4 Goldeneye were feeding. Another Woodcock ringing session up near Hartland saw 5 new birds ringed and we also caught a re-trap that was originally ringed in February 2014. 

Woodcock - Hartland - re-caught tonight but originally ringed in Feb 2014

Harbour Update - posted 28/12/16

We’re going through a spell of incredible post Christmas weather with calm waters and still conditions making for perfect mid winter walks. There are plenty of places to visit and still lots of good birds about. The Cattle Egret is still along Holme Lane, feeding with up to 12 Little Egret. After a slight lull in numbers there are now up to 7 Marsh Harrier and 2 Hen Harrier frequenting Poole Harbour west with a Merlin on Slepe Heath and Peregrines on Brownsea and Hartland Moor. The Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal were still on Lytchett Fields. A Great White Egret was on Littlesea, Studland and after an absence of several weeks there are now 3 Purple Sandpiper at North Haven. The recent cold snap has seen a moving off of Woodcock from favoured haunts with just 1 seen at Arne Farm (usually 8-10 present). Along Slough Lane, Lytchett Bay there was a Firecrest with another at the PC World Drain. At Poole Park boating Lake up to 6 Goldeneye were still displaying. 

Harbour Update - posted 27/12/16

 Today was a perfect Poole Harbour day, cold crisp and perfectly still. Plenty reported to us, starting with the Studland area where 29 Black-necked Grebe were counted in the Knoll Beach evening roost with another 4 off Jerry’s point. Also 4 Great Northern Diver in the area with 2 off Jerry’s Point and 2 off Middle Beach. Also in the area was a Marsh Harrier near Brands Bay, 36 Sanderling and 16 Ringed Plover off the Houseboats and 100+ Lapwing in Brands Bay. At Lytchett Fields the Green-winged Teal was on French’s Pools and the Lesser Yellowlegs was on Sherford Pools with a Water Pipit on the Pools Field along Slogh Lane and a Woodcock and Firecrest along there too. This evening a Great White Egret flew towards Arne and the Cattle Egret was still along Holme lane. There was also a report of a Cattle Egret at Upton CP ‘with cattle’ which is worth checking up on and near the ‘Stone Bench’ just on the outskirts of Upton CP 11 drake Pintail were close to the wooden bridge with Avocet, Redshank and Wigeon. In the harbour entrance there were 3 Razorbill feeding. At Arne 15 Spoonbill were on Shipstal and a decent sized raft of Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser were out in central harbour late afternoon/early evening. 

Red-breasted Merganser - Baiter - Keith Rawling

Razorbill - Poole Harbour entrance - Nicky & Larry Sweetland

 Turnstone - Sandbanks - John Pick

Harbour Update - posted 26/12/16

The Boxing Day blues can easily be blown away with a brisk walk out around the harbour and with so many good birds about you could be mistaken for still thinking its Christmas Day! The Lytchett Fields Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal and the Holme Lane Cattle Egret are all still present and correct and should hopefully be three nice ‘list boosters’ for anyone looking to start a year list on Jan 1st. At Lytchett Bay 22 Barnacle Geese passed over before looking as if they were heading back to Swineham. At Arne there were 18 Spoonbill out on Shipstal and Marsh Harriers were in Middlebere, Lytchett Bay and out in the Wareham Channel. Out on Hartland a Peregrine was on one of the obvious posts and a Merlin was seen along Soldier Road. The rising tide at Middlebere saw c400 Avocet and c350 Brent Geese. At Lytchett Fields there were 2 Green Sandpiper. Finally, there was a report on Rare Bird Alert of a 1st winter Caspian Gull at Poole Park Lake. If anyone has any further information about this sighting we’d be really keen to get some details.


MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE and many thanks for all your support in 2016. We’re really looking forward to an exciting and full 2017 and hope you can join us along the way!

And, what better way to spend christmas morning than to get out early and see some great birds, with Middlebere producing 4 different Marsh Harrier, the ringtail Hen Harrier, 1 Peregrine, a Black Brant in amongst the c140 Brent Geese next to the hide and 200 Lapwing. Along Holme Lane the Cattle Egret was still there with 12 Little Egret and at Arne 17 Spoonbill were on Shipstal. 

 Marsh Harrier - Middlebere - Simon Kidner

Harbour Update - posted 24/12/16

A few people seemed to be out for pre-Christmas birding walks today with a good variety reported to us, starting at Lytchett Fields where the Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal were both present. At Holme Lane, the Cattle Egret was in the next cattle field along from its usual field, where 6 Woodlark, 2 Firecrest and c40 Redwing were present. Up on Slepe Heath a Merlin was perched on a dead tree stump and 3 Marsh Harrier were out hunting over Arne Moors. From Middlebere another 3 Marsh Harrier were lazily bouncing in the wind and c400 Avocet followed up the tide in the late afternoon. At Arne, 21 Spoonbill were on Shipstal Point and there were apparently 2 Eider in Lytchett Bay too, which would be a site ‘tick’. The 6 Poole Park Goldeneye were also still showing off all day.

Goldeneye - Poole Park - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 23/12/16

Very quiet from reports of around the harbour today, we assume everyone is gearing up for festive activities. The only news reported to us was of 2 Marsh Harrier at Middlebere and 11 Spoonbill on Shipstal Point, Arne. There were also 2 small Starling murmurations over the Hamworthy area with flocks of 200 and 300 finally gathering together and settling down behind Co-op. That’s not to say there isn’t stacks of great birds to go and see as there certainly are! You just need to go and find them ;-)

Harbour Update - posted 22/12/16

Another great today with not one but two Great Grey Shrikes present with one on Hartland Moor again and the Canford Heath bird also seen. Bird of prey totals have dwindled somewhat with only 3 Marsh Harrier coming into roost in Poole Harbour west and just a single Hen Harrier with at least 2 Merlin still present on Hartland. The Brownsea Lagoon was fully surveyed today with highlights being 8 Spoonbill, 51 Knot, 7 Spotted Redshank, 123 Grey Plover, 6 Greenshank, 138 Bar-tailed Godwit and a pre-roost of 1500+ Herring Gull that came in before dusk. Also on Brownsea was a female Merlin, 3 Firecrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 80 Siskin and a male Golden Pheasant. On Poole Park Lake there were 7 Goldeneye, most displaying wonderfully close to the edges of the lake. The Lesser Yellowlegs was still on Lytchett Fields. 

Goldeneye - Poole Park Lake 

Harbour Update - posted 21/12/16

The Arne Wednesday walk was productive today, although sadly last weeks Great Grey Shrike didn’t reappear. A male Merlin dashed through Middlebere and 2 Marsh Harrier were out hunting again. From Coombe Fields at Arne c20 Spoonbill were feeding and there were at least c340 Brent Geese and c350 Avocet. Up on Coombe Heath its self, Dartford Warbler and Bullfinch were seen. Out in Shell bay there were singles of Great Northern Diver and Black-necked Grebe. Out in Bramble Bush Bay a good count of 41 Sanderling were noted with 10 Turnstone, 16 Ringed Plover, 2 Goldeneye and a small (but distant) flock of Black-necked Grebe. A late night lamping session saw 9 Woodcock at Arne Farm with 2 new birds ringed and c20 Woodcock seen in the Lower Frome Valley with 3 new birds ringed. Also 2 Jack Snipe were seen. ‘Urban Kingfishers’ have recently been seen on Poole Park boating lake, along the Holes Bay cycle path, off Poole Quay and in the PC Word Drain.

Kingfisher - Holes Bay - John Pick

Harbour Update - posted 20/12/16

Not much change today with the Cattle Egret still along Holme Lane and the Lesser Yellowlegs at Lytchett Fields. At Arne 2 Marsh Harrier were seen along with 14 Spoonbill on Shipstal. The Ruff on the outskirts of Upton country park was still in the field to the north of the stone bench and a good number of Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, Pintail and Shelduck on the Spartina marsh just in front of the bench. Off Baiter looking out towards Parkstone Bay 6 Goldeneye were courting and several Red-breasted Merganser were also feeding. Near the harbour entrance 2 Great Northern Diver were seen from North Haven and 6 Black-necked Grebe were off Jerry’s Point.  

Harbour Update - posted 19/12/16

Today we hosted our annual free Family Bird Boat trip which is an extension to our hugely popular school bird boat project. The family trip which is hosted every December and titled ‘birding for beginners’ is open to anyone eager enough to come and learn a bit about their local environment. The trip is free and bookings are done on a first come first serve basis, so if you missed out this winter then please keep an eye out for our next one in December 2017! However, if you can’t wait that long we are carrying out our two new public bird boat tours in early 2017 and spaces are filling up fast! For more information CLICK HERE.

Highlights from the trip today included 4 Great Northern Diver off Brownsea, 2 Common Scoter off Goathorn, 12 Black-necked Grebe in central harbour and 3 in South Deep. On Shipstal there were c15 Spoonbill and the Brownsea Lagoon was packed with plenty of Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall and Shoveler along with decent sized flocks of Avocet, Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Grey Plover, several Greenshank and 2 Spotted Redshank. At Lytchett Fields the Green-winged Teal and Lesser Yellowlegs were still present, the Cattle Egret was still along Holme Lane and a Great Grey Shrike was seen on Hartland Moor, which potentially could be the same bird seen at Arne on Wednesday last week. In Holes Bay north there was a good mix of birds with a Ruff being an exceptional find in one of the fields to the north in amongst 630 Black-tailed Godwit, also 14 Knot and 435 Dunlin on the mud with 21 Shoveler, 10 Pintail and good numbers of Curlew, Avocet, Redshank, Gadwall, Teal and Wigeon.

Harbour Update - posted 18/12/16

Today saw another good spread of birds around the harbour which included the obligatory Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal at Lytchett Fields with 500 Dunlin. Out on Arne Moors the 22 Barnacle Geese were feeding again with 100+ Canada and Greylag Geese as 2 Marsh Harrier and a ringtail Hen Harrier passed over…all viewed from Slepe Heath, looking north out across the Moors and a Jack Snipe was flushed off Slepe Heath too. The Cattle Egret was still in the cattle field along Holme Lane. The Great Grey Shrike was seen again on Canford Heath and off Hamworthy Beach a single Great Northern Diver and 4 Black-necked Grebe. Off Jerry’s Point, Studland there was another 2 Great Northern Diver and 6 Black-necked Grebe

Harbour Update - posted 17/12/16

 With more thick fog set in early morning it wasn’t until midday until sightings began to be reported. Of significance today an over-wintering Yellow-browed Warbler was seen near the villa on Brownsea Island. At Lytchett Bay the Green-winged Teal was seen out in the actual bay for the first time since its discovery, the Lesser Yellowlegs was out on Lytchett Fields with c600 Dunlin and c220 Lapwing. A ringtail Hen Harrier was seen out across Hartland Moor and the Cattle Egret was still in the cattle fields along Holme Lane. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 3 Spotted Redshank and 10 Spoonbill. In Rempstone Forest a flock of 7-8 Crossbill were seen, a good find seeing as they’ve been pretty scarce this autumn/winter.Don’t forget that this list of birds is just a selection ofhighlights from throughout the day, there is still plenty of other species to see that we don’t mention on a regular basis, such as Dartford Warblers on all the local heathlands, big numbers of Avocet in the Middlebere Channel, Fieldfares and Redwings in local fields, great numbers of wildfowl in Holes Bay NE not to mention ‘overlooked’ species such as Nuthatches, Siskins, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Marsh Tit at feeding stations at places like Holton Lee and Arne whilst at the harbour mouth Shags, Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Grey Plover are all easy to find on the low tides. For any info on the harbour and its bird life then by all means contact us anytime.

Crossbill - Rempstone - Phyl England

Goldeneye - Poole park - Ian Ballam

harbour Update - posted 16/12/16

After going missing for a day the Cattle Egret was back again at Holme Lane and the 22 Barnacle Geese landed out on the fields of Arne Moors at around 9:10am, again, only viewable from Slepe Heath. The Lesser Yellowlegs and 3 Water Pipit were still at Lytchett Fields and the was a combined total of c1000 waders and waterfowl on Sherford Pools alone! The 8 Goldeneye were still on Poole Park Lake and 2 Kingfishers at Poole Quay. The ringtail Hen Harrier keeps putting in brief appearances at places like Middlebere and Hartland and there are still a minimum of 5 Marsh Harrier in the harbour. 

Harbour Update - posted 15/12/16

The Holme Lane Cattle Egret did a disappearing act today, in fact out of all of yesterdays goodies only the Lesser Yellowlegs was seen again today out on Lytchett Fields. The 22 Barnacle Geese were out feeding again on Arne Moors which could be viewed from the top edge of Slepe Heath looking north. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 33 Spoonbill and at the PC World Drain just 2 Chiffchaff still. At Sandbanks there was just a single Purple Sandpiper on the groynes. At Lytchett Fields there were 3 Water Pipit and a Marsh Harrier. Finally, we’ve had all data back from our December WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) and an incredible 26,007 birds were counted with highlights being 1710 Avocet, 5606 Wigeon, 1000+ Brent Geese and 2000+ Black-tailed Godwit.

Harbour Update - posted 14/12/16

Poole Harbour does well for scarce and rare species over the course of the year, with most (as you’d expect) occurring during peak migration times. What you wouldn’t necessarily expect is to have four cracking rare/scarce birds in the harbour the week before Christmas! For a brief moment today both the Green-winged Teal and Lesser Yellowlegs could be seen in one scope view on Lytchett Fields, with both birds hanging around the site all day. At Holme Lane the Cattle Egret was again feeding in the cattle field half way along the road and during the weekly ‘Wednesday walk’ at Arne RSPB reserve a Great Grey Shrike was seen. 

Cattle Egret - Holme Lane

Great Grey Shrike - Arne RSPB Reserve 

Today we also hosted a school bird boat trip, which was actually fairly quiet, probably due to the enormous high tide which allowed birds to venture elsewhere and spread out. Highlights included 24 Spoonbill out on Shipstal Point, 2 Common Scoter in Brands Bay, 1 Great Northern Diver flying over the Hamworthy shoreline and big numbers of waders on the Brownsea Lagoon. At Holme Lane up to 5 Woodlark were feeding in the same field as the Cattle Egret and at least 2 Firecrest were still in the woods on the left. In Middlebere a female Marsh Harrier passed by and up to 400 Avocet were at the top end of the channel. Dartford Warbler were out enjoying the winter sun on Coombe Heath, Arne as were 2 Red Admiral Butterfly. At Bramble Bush Bay, Studland there were 40 Sanderling, 20 Ringed Plover and 1 Goldeneye. At Poole Park Lake there were still 8 Goldeneye out on the main lake and a female Red-breasted Merganser. The 22 Barnacle Geese were seen again on Swineham GP. 

Green-winged Teal - Lytchett Fields - Shaun Robson

Cattle Egret - Holme Lane - Paul Morton

Great Grey Shrike - Arne RSPB Reserve - Paul Morton

Lesser Yellowlegs - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 13/12/16

The Cattle Egret that was found late yesterday evening was found first thing in the cattle field on your right as you head down Holme Lane from the Springfield Hotel end. It was feeding with 12 Little Egret before moving off to the next field along feeding amongst and on the cattle (as photographed excellently by Ian Ballam). Within the same first field a flock of c10 Woodlark were feeding with a large Chaffinch flock and 2 Firecrest were in the woods next to the field. Another night ringing session in the Lower Frome Valley near Swineham produced 5 new Woodcock ringed and c20 seen along with 3 Jack Snipe. At the PC World Drain 3 collybita Chiffchaff were feeding on the waterline, there has to be either a tristis or Yellow-browed Warbler over-wintering in there somewhere! At Arne 21 Spoonbill were on Shipstal and a Great Northern Diver was off Shipstal Beach with Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser.

Cattle Egret - Holme Lane - Paul Morton

Cattle Egret - Holme Lane - Ian Ballam

Woodcock - Frome Valley - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 12/12/16

There was a nice selection of scarcities around today starting off with a newly found Cattle Egret along Holme Lane, near the Springfield Hotel. There’s been a mini influx of this species into the UK this autumn/winter and it was just a matter of time before one was found within our harbour boundaries. It was feeding with 12 Little Egret, but easily distinguishable with its smaller structure and short, thick orange bill. On Canford Heath the Great Grey Shrike was seen again in its favored area and at Lytchett Fields the Green-winged Teal rooting up on one of the newly created islands. More general sightings came in the form of a Great Northern Diver off Baiter, 3 Marsh Harrier in the lower Frome Valley, 2 Water Pipit at Holton Lee and 15 Black-necked Grebe off Middle Beach.  

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Green-winged Teal - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 11/12/16

What a great day to be out around the harbour, which although was hampered by fog first thing, it soon cleared giving way to another picture perfect day. There was plenty of coverage today as we led the commentary of an RSPB/NT bird boat, plus it was the Poole Harbour WeBS in the afternoon too. Starting with off with the bird boat where highlights included 23 Spoonbill (15 on Brownsea and 8 on Shipstal), 4 Common Scoter, 5 Great Northern Diver, 3 Black-necked Grebe, c100 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Common Seals, 1 Goosander (in Fishermans dock Poole Quay), 2 Spotted Redshank and 4 Greenshank on the Brownsea (Full species list for the trip can be FOUND HERE). Off Middle Beach, Studland there were 35 Black-necked Grebe and off Jerry’s Point 2 Great Northern Diver and 22 Sanderling with 1 Sandwich Tern in Brands Bay and a Merlin near the hide. In Holes Bay south-east, 2 pale-bellied Brent Geese were a surprise. At Swineham the 22 Barnacle Geese were back on the main pit again with 244 Canada Geese and 17 Greylag Geese. Also around the Swineham area was a Jack Snipe off the point with 14 Common Snipe, 2 Bearded Tit and 11 Skylark. At Swineham Farm there is an over-wintering Chiffchaff and on the pit 104 Gadwall, 198 Coot and 25 Shoveler with 2 Marsh Harrier in the Frome Valley. At Lytchett Bay the Lesser Yellowlegs was recorded in the WeBS count for a 4th month in a row, also a ringtail Hen Harrier there too. Along the southern shore there were a minimum of 1330 Avocet in the mouth of both Wytch Lake and the Middlebere Channel, mostly viewable from the Arne side, also a ringtail Hen Harrier over and 2 Marsh Harrier over Wytch Lake with several Water Pipit present. Along Shore Road, Sandbanks there were 71 Bar-tailed Godwit and in Blue Lagoon 48 Ringed Plover and 19 Turnstone. Off Fitzworth Point the over-wintering Whimbrel was seen again and there were 71 Red-breasted Merganser, 60 Great Crested Grebe and 33 Goldeneye and on the Wytch Causeway 6 Water Pipit. On Poole Park Lake there were 8 Goldeneye including 6 drakes. Finally, two night ringing sessions in the lower Frome Valley produced 2 Woodcock and 2 Jack Snipe.  

Jack Snipe - Lower Frome Valley - Terry Elborn

Harbour Update - posted 10/12/16

A bit grim today but some decent birds reported to us. Around the Studland area there were c25 Sanderling, 1 Great Northern Diver and c150 Brent Geese off Pilots point. Both Merlin and Peregrine were seen near Brands Bay. Bramble Bush Bay was busy with another Great Northern Diver, more Sanderling and both Ringed and Grey Plover present. Off Middle Beach there were 25 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Razorbill, 14 Common Scoter, 1 Great Northern Diver and several Med Gulls.

Harbour Update - posted 09/12/16

On Canford Heath the Great Grey Shrike was seen again in its favored area (SZ03190 95529 see map below). At Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs was still present with a single Avocet also on the fields which was notable. Off Hamworthy Beach a single Great Northern Diver was feeding and on Shipstal 11 Spoonbill.

Map showing location on Great Grey Shrike location just NW of Tower Park - SZ03190 95529

Harbour Update - posted 08/12/16

Today was pretty quiet on what was a really very gloomy, yucky day in the harbour. The Lesser Yellowlegs was out on at Lytchett Fields and 21 Black-necked Grebe were photographed off Middle Beach, Studland with a possible smaller additional flock suggesting possibly up to 30 birds present. In Holes Bay NE, the rising tide again offered opportunities to see good birds close up as groups of Avocet, Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew, Wigeon, Teal and a Spotted Redshank all fed really close to the path. 

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Harbour Update - posted 07/12/16

After going missing for a day the Green-winged Teal reappeared on Lytchett Fields showing really well on Sherford Pools mid-morning and the Lesser Yellowlegs was again feeding out in Lytchett Bay on the low tide with 2 Spoonbill and a Marsh Harrier there. At Middlebere a ringtail Hen Harrier past the hide several times where it was superbly photographed by local photographer Simon Kidner. At Arne 2 Merlin were seen dashing about in Middlebere and a male Marsh Harrier was also present. At the mouth end the Middlebere Chanel up to 1000 Avocet were feeding in a single flock with Grey Plover, Black-tailed godwit, Dunlin and Curlew also feeding. Off Middlebere 11 Black-necked Grebe were in a single flock. 

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Hen Harrier - Middlbere - Simon Kidner

Harbour Update - posted 06/12/16

The Green-winged Teal couldn’t be relocated today but efforts to find it were rewarded when a Great White Egret passed over-head going north and a high count of 7 Water Pipit on the fields. The Lesser Yellowlegs was again off the Black Pipe in Lytchett Bay and a Jack Snipe was flushed from the path. A Marsh Harrier and ringtail Hen Harrier flew by the Middlebere hide mid-morning but there was no sign of the Black Brant that was reported yesterday. There was a (re)sighting of the Great Grey Shrike on Canford Heath again on Saturday and the below map shows the area its been favoring since its stay. Thanks Terry Elborn for the map. At Arne, Firecrests can still be found (with a bit of searching) in the car park and there seem to be good numbers of Dartford Warbler visible around the paths on Coombe Heath.

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Lesser Yellowlegs - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam 


Map of favored Great Grey Shrike area on Canford Heath just NW of Tower Park

Harbour Update - posted 05/12/16

For a drab, foggy Monday morning, the harbour was bustling with birds today. You could be mistaken for thinking Lytchett Fields was in fact some marshy wetland in North America when not one but two North American visitors were on site with the long staying Lesser Yellowlegs and a new find of a Green-winged Teal, a close relative of our Teal. Hidden in amongst the resident flock of Teal on Sherford Pools it could have been present for quite some time but it wasn’t until sharp-eyed patch watcher Ian Ballam picked out the cream vertical lines that run either side from the Teals shoulder down its flank that it could be picked out and separated from the rest of the flock. There was also a report of another North American visitor toady when a Black Brant was seen at Middlebere, this being a very close relative of our dark-bellied Brent Goose. Our school bird boat trip was busy too with a redhead Goosander off Hamworthy beach, 3 Great Northern Diver in central harbour, 2 Black-necked Grebe off Jerry’s Point, 4 Common Scoter in South Deep (near Brands Bay), 8 Spoonbill on Shipstal and 1 on the Brownsea Lagoon, c30 Goldeneye in central harbour and roughly equal numbers Great Crested Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser of c100 of each. Out in Shell Bay a Slavonian Grebe was feeding and there were 17 Black-necked Grebe off Middle Beach. As to be expected in early December, Holes Bay on this mornings rising tide provided great views of a whole range of species including Avocet, Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Pintail and 2 Tufted Duck all just meters away from the cycle path in the NE corner. 

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Green-winged Teal - Lytchett Fields - Nick Hull

Red-breasted Merganser - Central Harbour - Paul Morton

Common Scoter - South Deep (near Brands Bay) - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 04/12/16

It’s been a quiet Short-eared Owl autumn/winter this year compared to last year but finally one was seen out from Shipstal Hide today at Arne. In Holes Bay 4 Spoonbill were feeding by the out flow along with a single Spotted Redshank with another 20 Spoonbill at Arne. Looking out across the Wareham Channel from Slepe Heath 4 Marsh Harrier were counted.

Spoonbill - Holes Bay - Ian Ballam


Harbour Update - posted 03/12/16

Winter has a nice habit of throwing up the odd oddity here and there and this morning 2 Common Crane seen heading west up the Frome Valley near Wareham was a good start to the day. A (the) flock of 22 Barnacle Geese ended up on Swineham GP again mid afternoon with 3 Marsh Harrier seen in the general area there too. At Middlebere 2 Woodcock were seen heading out at dusk with a Firecrest calling outside the hide and out in the channel c350 Avocet were sat hunkered down out of the wind on the rising tide. At Arne, apart from the 2500 people there for their now famous ‘Pull a Pine’ event a male Merlin, 3 Spoonbill and a Firecrest were seen. Off Jerry’s Point there were 16 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Goldeneye, 16 Grey Plover along with several Turnstone and Sanderling. Out in Lytchett Bay the Lesser Yellowlegs was off the black pipe and there were 199 Avocet out in the bay. Out in Brands Bay there were 4 Common Scoter and a Peregrine whilst out from Middle Beach a minimum of 5 Black-necked Grebe were noted, although choppy sea made counting difficult. 

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Lesser Yellowlegs - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 02/12/16

Today was a perfect winter day. Cold, still, overcast then bright, biting, icy and with loads of good birds. Our school bird boat began with a bit of drama when an ‘unexploded ordinate’ was found near Poole Quay which almost prevent us boarding our school bird boat, but we boarded quickly and were off. Only to find out the bomb was in fact a piece of scrap metal. Anyway, the trip produced the goods with 1 Eider, 5 Common Scoter, 2 Great Northern Diver, c50 Goldeneye, c100 Red-breasted Merganser, c100 Great Crested Grebe, 23 Spoonbill, 1 Kingfisher, c75 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Sandwich Tern. There was a Great White Egret in Bramble Bush Bay and the same or another at Arne and 3 Great Northern Diver off Pilots Point. The Lesser Yellowlegs was again on Lytchett Fields. There was also some late news of a Great Grey Shrike on Coombe heath, Arne on Nov 30th. Finally a night survey at Holton Lee resulted in 5 Woodcock, 4 Snipe, c50 Lapwing and a Barn Owl.

Harbour Update - posted 01/12/16

Today it was foggy and most reports we received were of thick fog from everywhere around the harbour. The only real news was of 20+ Spoonbill at Arne and 1 in Holes Bay. 

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