January 2017

Harbour Update - posted 28/01/17

Today we hosted our first ever Birds of Poole Harbour public bird boat. All previous trips we’ve done have always been in partnership with RSPB, DWT, NT etc so it was nice to see so many people happily coming to support ‘us smaller guys’ too. The trip was great consider the weather of previous days and highlights included 2 Great Northern Diver off the Brownsea SE shore, 14 Barnacle Geese on Rempstone fields along the southern shore, several Black-necked Grebe in central harbour and South Deep, 11 Spoonbill on Shipstal and 3 on Brownsea Lagoon, a Marsh Harrier near Long Island as well as good numbers of Red-breasted Merganser, Goldeneye and Great Crested Grebe. The lagoon was looking fab with 3 Spotted Redshank, 4 Greenshank, 199 Grey Plover, 34 Knot, 181 Bar-tailed Godwit, 291 Avocet, 5 Pintail, 41 Shoveler, 57 Gadwall, 16 Brent Geese, 1 Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Sandwich Tern, 3 Med Gulls, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Sparrowhawk and a Buzzard as well as the commoner waders and wildfowl. In the Wareham Channel, 2 Marsh Harrier went into roost and 2 ringtail Hen Harrier were in the Arne Moors/Bestwall area. 3 Woodcock were seen flying out to feed at dusk along Slepe Moor. The Lesser Yellowlegs was on French’s Pools, Lytchett Fields and there was a single Black-necked Grebe in Shell Bay. At Greenlands Farm, Studland there was a flock of 13 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Firecrest and a single Crossbill. The Smew was still in Holes Bay north. There were another 2 Great Northern Diver on the seaward side of Studland and finally, a night ringing session near Sunnyside Farm produced 1 Jack Snipe, 2 Common Snipe and a single Woodcock seen. 

Brent Geese over the harbour - Simon Kidner

Common Scoter - North Channel - Simon Kidner

Great Northern Diver - South Deep, near Brownsea SE - Simon Kidner

Harbour Update - posted 27/01/17

A slightly warmer day with the sun poking its head out and another school bird boat group eager to get out. With a calmer sea it made things far more pleasant in the end with the highlights being 14 Barnacle Geese on Rempstone, 1 Great Northern Diver off Brownsea, 4 Spoonbill on Brownsea, 1 Black-necked Grebe in central harbour and 3 Seals (2 Common, 1 Grey). A sea watch from Branksome Chine produced a great total of 44 Red-throated Diver past , also 28 auk sp likely to be Razorbill considering the numbers passing Portland at present), 1 Common Scoter, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and 8 Great Crested Grebe. The Yellow-browed Warbler at Cabot Lane was seen again and there were still c30 Chiffchaff in the PC World drain and c20 at Norden Sewage Works. The Smew was still in Holes Bay north and the Lesser Yellowlegs on French’s Pools, Lytchett Fields. 

Redhead Smew - Holes Bay north east - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 26/01/17

No Fog but a cold ESE wind sent a chill right through our bones this morning as a hardy group from Heatherland’s Primary School gritted their teeth and ‘enjoyed’ a whole variety of species from todays school bird boat including 14 Barnacle Geese near Green Island, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Common Scoter, 1 Hen Harrier, c50 Goldeneye, c200 Red-breasted Merganser and 10 Spoonbill, including 8 next to Robo-Spoony! Along Holes Bay 2 Jack Snipe were flushed from long grass verges near the cycle path and the redhead Smew was in Holes Bay NE trying to disguise its self as a Wigeon. Yet another Yellow-browed Warbler was found this AM feeding on a grass verge on Cabot Lane, Poole. How many more will get found this winter? On Lytchett Fields there were 4 Spoonbill and the Lesser Yellowlegs whilst a male Marsh Harrier passed over the site. Of Old Harry Rocks a flock of 9 Red-throated Diver passed east with a good run of Razorbill, Gannet, several Kittiwake and Fulmar noted too. 

Redhead Smew - Holes Bay - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 25/01/17

Well it only took 3 days but the fog finally cleared around midday providing a couple of hours birding time before it got dark. Not much reported other than a high number of Chiffchaff now in the PC World Drain as c30 birds fed on small insect along with a ringed Firecrest. From Hamworthy Beach the usual open water species were loafing around with rafts of Red-breasted Merganser, Goldeneye and Great Crested Grebe all together. There were 4 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon where we now have not one but TWO webcams including a new HD stream. At Lytchett Bay a Barn Owl was out hunting off Otter Point and the Lesser Yellowlegs was feeding in the bay. A night ringing session in the Lower Frome Valley saw c20 Woodcock (4 ringed), 3 Jack Snipe (1 ringed) and plenty of Common Snipe.

Jack Snipe - Lower Frome Valley - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 24/01/17

Not that we thought it was possible but today was even foggier with almost zero visability. There was a possible penguin out in central harbour, but then again it could have been Robin?

Harbour Update - posted 23/01/17

Today there was fog…and lots of it. The only known highlights were a Merlin seen chasing a Meadow Pipit at Holton Lee and 2 Spoonbill and a Spotted Redshank in Holes Bay

So with the total lack of any birding opportunities we’ve provided two short write ups relating to areas recently featured on Winterwatch. The first is a look into the current Starling murmuration and its history at Studland and the second is a a delve into the Woodcock research we’re currently conducting in Poole Harbour with the Stour Ringing Group.


Harbour Update - posted 22/01/17

Wow, what a run of great weather we’re experiencing at the moment. If there was ever a day to be out then today would have been it. Vigils from Slepe Heath saw a Hen Harrier, 4 Marsh Harrier and a Bittern out over Arne moors and the Piddle Valley. At Lytchett Bay/Fields there were singles of Jack Snipe, Spotted Redshank, Green Sandpiper and the Lesser Yellowlegs was out in the bay. At Swineham there were 2 Jack Snipe off the point, 1 Marsh Harrier and up to 16 Bearded Tit in the reedbeds. At Norden Sewage Works the Siberian Chiffchaff was again on the filter beds with 15 Common Chiffchaff and a Firecrest was in the near by park and ride car park. Over Arne Moors, viewed from Slepe Heath a ringtail Hen Harrier and a Marsh Harrier were seen near dusk. Our first proper Woodcock ringing session of 2017 saw c20 birds present at our site near Hartland Moor but only 3 were caught and ringed. The redhead Smew is still in Holes Bay SE and there were 13 Spoonbill on Shipstal Point, Arne. The Starling murmurations at Studland attracted a crowd of up to 300+ people. Interestingly, this is a historic Starling roosting site with totals varying year on year. Thanks to Phyl England for her photo of a murmuration that took place during the winter period of 2006/07. At Arne up to 10 Firecrest have been reported around the reserve. Out in Ower Bay the 14 Barnacle Geese still seem to be happy hanging out with the Canada Geese.

Historical Starling murmuration FEB 2007 at Shell Bay, Studland - Phyl England

Harbour Update - posted 21/01/17

Conditions today were perfect for a good trudge around the harbour with open water species being a particular focus. A really great count of 4 Slavonian Grebe off Ower Point resembles counts of years gone by for this bird and it was joined by 6 Black-necked Grebe with and 12 off Middle beach, Studland. There were also 3 Great Northern Diver off the Brownsea southern shores along with 1 Common Scoter, 100+ Red-breasted Merganser, 60+ Goldeneye and 45+ Great Crested Grebe. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 3 Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank and 3 Pintail but due to a mostly frozen lagoon numbers of other waders and wildfowl were really low.  Also on Brownsea 1 Woodcock, 3 Firecrest, 60+ Siskin and a pair of Raven. At Fleets Corner an incredible 21 Chiffchaff were ringed including a Siberian Chiffchaff and a Firecrest. This site has historically been good for over-wintering Chiffchaff but for some reason, mid-January (certainly over the last 2 years) has seen a spike in numbers from just a few birds present to 20+. This phenomena was also represented at Norden Sewage Works where recently only 4-5 Chiffchaff have been present, yet today there were 18 on the filter beds. In Lytchett Bay 5 Spoonbill were roosting and the Lesser Yellowlegs was in the bay on the low tide. The Smew was still out in Holes Bay SE and late news from yesterday at Swineham Point 6 Jack Snipe were flushed and several Bearded Tit were calling. At Arne 15 Spoonbill were on Shipstal Point. 

Lesser Yellowlegs - Lytchett Bay - 19/01/17 

Redhead Smew - Holes Bay - Chrys Mellor

Harbour Update - posted 20/01/17

The cold crisp winter mornings continue to impress with a stunning sunrise over the Purbecks today. As the blanket of gold spread out across the Frome and Piddle valleys both Marsh and Hen Harrier were stirring as the fleeted over the moors and out towards Swine. 4 Raven ‘cronked’ low over Slepe Heath and Dartford Warbler warmed up along Soldiers Road by seeking sheltered, frost free sun-spots. On calm waters the redhead Smew was easy to find in Holes Bay NW and then SE and at the PC World Drain 4 Chiffchaff and a Firecrest were feeding. At Lytchett Bay the Lesser Yellowlegs was feeding just off the black pipe again. At Arne, a wonderful spectacle of a Merlin utilising a ringtail Hen Harrier as she flushed Meadow Pipits from the ground was observed as a Marsh Harrier then joined in. The Starling murmuration at Studland is now causing quite a stir with roughly 250 people enjoying the show now. 

Sunrise over Slepe Heath - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 19/01/17

Today was picture perfect day in all respects with a vibrant energetic sunrise and a glowing magical sunset. Finally a Short-eared Owl turned up in the harbour with one along the Keysworth shoreline briefly. A remarkable sighting of a Goshawk over Slepe Heath/Arne Moors was a good record as this species is still incredibly rare in Dorset despite populations outside the county increasing. In Lytchett Bay a ringtail Hen Harrier was hunting at dusk and the Lesser Yellowlegs was in the Bay. The redhead Smew is still in Holes Bay NW and at the PC World drain a Siberian Chiffchaff and Firecrest were seen. At Arne, there were 14 Spoonbill late afternoon and 5 in Lytchett Bay in the morning. On Hartland a Merlin was sat on a post. Firecrests were in the car park at Arne and off Shipstal Point 7 Black-necked Grebe were in central harbour. 

Harbour Update - posted 18/01/17

We’ve been fairly lucky this winter with weather and coinciding our school bird boats with cold, crisp still winter days. Unlike it winters gone by in recent years when storm after storm threatened every trip we had planned throughout the whole winter. Well today we needn’t worry about that as millpond like conditions allowed for easy birding and great birds. Highlights included 13 Barnacle Geese sat on the water off Ower Bay with c400 Brent Geese, 1 Great Northern Diver in South Deep, 4 Common Scoter, 3 in Brands Bay and 1 off Shipstal, c10 Black-necked Grebe in central harbour, c50 Goldeneye, c 150 Red-breasted Merganser and c50 Great Crested Grebe around all bodies of open water. There were 24 Spoonbill flying over and around Shipstal Point and the lagoon was partly frozen so only several hundred Avocet were present. The Smew was feeding in both Holes Bay NW and NE over the course of the morning. The Lesser Yellowlegs was at Lytchett Fields and at the PC World drain 3 Chiffchaff were feeding and a Firecrest was seen. At Arne a ringtail Hen Harrier passed the Raptor Hide and 2 Marsh Harrier were in Middlebere with a Merlin seen dashing through. 

Goldeneye - Poole Park boating lake - Paul Morton

Barnacle Geese - Ower Bay - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 17/01/17

Winter sea watches can often go one of two ways…very productive or more often than not….a total waste of time. Today however a seawatch from Branksome Chine was well worth the effort as an easterly wind kept passing birds close to the shore. Divers were the main highlight with all 3 regular species seen including 1 Great Northern Diver settled on the water and another heading west. Then 6 Red-throated Diver flew in from the west, settled on the water for several minuets before continuing east whilst another 5 Red-throated Diver and a Black-throated Diver fed as a group before they then upped and headed east with then another 3 Red-throated Diver passing east further out. Also seen were 2 Common Scoter east, 1 Kittiwake east, 5 Gannet west, 1 dark-bellied Brent Goose west and 2 Med Gulls east. It was also fairly busy with Razorbill with c30 heading east and another 14 settled on the water with 8 Great Crested Grebe. There was a report of 3 Slavonian Grebe from Ower Bay and also 2 Black-necked Grebe with 9 Crossbill on Rempstone Heath. From Middle Beach, Studland 14 Common Scoter passed and a few Gannet were ‘milling around’ with only 6 Black-necked Grebe present. A single pale-bellied Brent Goose was in amongst c500 dark-bellied Brents near Middlebere. At Norden Sewage works near Corfe 10 Chiffchaff, 1 Siberian Chiffchaff and a Firecrest were on the filter beds. The Starling murmuation at Shell Beach was again enjoyed by good numbers of people and a Merlin was on the post in front of the Middlebere hide. Finally the Smew was in Holes Bay SE. Sadly there was no sign yesterdays Waxwing from Canford Heath. 

Waxwing - Canford Heath garden - David Ayrton (16/01/18)

Harbour Update - posted 16/01/17

Finally, FINALLY a Waxwing was reported within the harbour with one in a private garden on Canford Heath. One of the last big Waxwing eruptions Dorset experienced was also at Canford Heath back in 2008 with several hundred birds present. We know, we know, but at least 1 single bird is a start! Just keep an eye out on those treetops on your drive to work…you just never know…there could be one on a street near YOU! Elsewhere around the harbour, reports were pretty quiet with 17 Spoonbill on Shipstal, Arne, the Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal at Lytchett Fields and 2 Great Northern Diver near the harbour mouth. 

Harbour Update - posted 15/01/17

There was a nice mix of species in the harbour today starting at Hartland Moor where the Great Grey Shrike was close to the road along Soldiers Road then viewed out across the Moors 14 Barnacle Geese and a Marsh Harrier were counted and an unusual record of a Golden Plover flew over Hartland heading west calling. At Middlebere there was 4 Spotted Redshank and a Marsh Harrier and in Shell Bay 2 Sandwich Tern, 2 Black-necked Grebe, 15 Sanderling and a few Gannet moving east. There was a single Firecrest in the middle Beach car park. At Arne 22 Spoonbill were in Shipstal Point and from an RSPB bird boat 3 Common Scoter, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 8 Black-necked Grebe, 3 Great Northern Diver and a Merlin on Brownsea. In the Wareham Channel a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen from the train and at Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal were still present. The redhead Smew was also still in Holes Bay south. The Starling murmuration at Shell Beach, Studland still had the crowds wowed with what seems to be an increasing rather than decreasing sized flock. 

Starlings - Shell Beach, Studland - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 14/01/17

With calmer seas birds were easier to pick up out on the water and at around midday a Little Auk was reported from the harbour entrance for around 15 minuets. This news only reached us third hand via an info service so if anyone has any more info on this or even better, some photos we’d really appreciate seeing them. There was plenty more on offer around the harbour today with up to 4 Great Northern Diver (2 in the harbour entrance and 2 off Jerry’s Point), a male Merlin was in the Frome Valley and 3 Marsh Harrier were over the Moors. In Shell Bay there were just 2 Black-necked Grebe. At Middlebere the single Black Brant was with c700 dark-bellied Brent Geese at lunch time. At South Haven a Jack Snipe flew over and 13 Sanderling were on the beach. The Starling murmuration over Shell Beach car park at dusk was rumoured to be the best yet!!! So get down there while the going is still good. At Lytchett Fields both Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal were found. Off the southern shore of Brownsea 7 Black-necked Grebe were bobbing about and on the lagoon were c125 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Spotted Redshank and 6 Greenshank. In Middlebere c500 Avocet were roosting on the high tide and on Shipstal the Spoonbill were still glamming themselves up. A female Crossbill was on Canford Heath.  

Lesser Yellowlegs - Lytcehtt Pools Field - Peter Moore

Sandwich Tern - Baiter - Peter Moore

Harbour Update - posted 13/01/17

A strong built throughout the day making ant type of outing tricky, and we even had to postpone one of our school bird boats with 40 knot winds predicted. However by late afternoon things had settled again and a few snippets of info made it our way. In the Frome Valley a redhead Goosander was downstream of Holme Bridge with 2 Green Sandpiper in the valley and 3 Firecrest in woods bordering the river. At South Beach there was a single pale-bellied Brent Goose, 2 Sandwich Tern, 2 Gannet and a Firecrest. In Old Town Poole a Black Redstart was on the roofs of the high street. At Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal were still present with usual good numbers of Dunlin, Redshank, Snipe, Lapwing and Teal on the high tide. At Whitley Lake, Sandbanks the ‘reverse plumaged’ Bar-tailed Godwit was seen again for the first time this winter and in Holes Bay south the redhead Smew was still feeding. At Arne the Spoonbills are prepping for their limelight as Winter Watch prepares to catapult them into stardom and in the Wareham Channel still at least 3 Marsh Harrier are present.  

Bar-tailed Godwits - Shore Road, Sandbanks - Peter Moore

Black-tailed Godwit - Poole Park - Peter Moore

Harbour Update - posted 12/01/17

Ergh!!! There’s foul and then there’s foul. A really yucky day in the end with sleet even pelting down briefly as dusk approached. The Smew was still in Holes Bay south feeding further along the bay towards ASDA. At Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs was forced off its usual area due to the high tide and the Green-winged Teal was on French’s Pool and a harbour tick in the shape of 4 Egyptian Geese passed over Lytchett Bay.  

Harbour Update - posted 11/01/17

The weather can’t make its mind up at the moment. We all love a cold crisp winters day, but when a cold NW 20mph wind gets going the draw of a warm fire and hot coffee seems to take over. However, we were still out covering much of the harbour today with our Dorset Discovery winter tour group which saw us visit Brownsea Island, followed by a boat tour around the harbour. Brownsea was busy with the Merlin terrorising all the Grey Plover and Dunlin, 9 Spoonbill were on the northern edge of the lagoon and 2 Spotted Redshank and 2 Greenshank were in front of the Lower Hide.  The lagoon was also holding good numbers Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher and c100 Bar-tailed Godwit. The strong wind made viewing tricky on our boat tour but 2 Great Northern Diver, 2 Common Scoter and good numbers of Red-breasted Merganser were the highlights. At Holes Bay the Smew was still in Holes Bay SE and at Lytchett Fields the Green-winged Teal and Lesser Yellowlegs were on Sherford and French’s pools.  At Middlebere a ringtail Hen Harrier was photographed by local photographer Simon Kidner which has to be one of the best photos ever taken of this species within the harbour….bravo Simon!! At Holes Bay NW the Ruff was back in the cattle field with c1000 Black-tailed Godwit. Out in the Wareham Channel 2 Marsh Harrier were hunting and the Starling murmuration at South Haven, Studland was still going strong.  

Hen Harrier - Middlebere - Simon Kidner

Smew - Holes Bay - Ian Ballam

Ruff - Holes Bay NW - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 10/01/17

Thankfully the scuzzy weather from yesterday had subsided and a welcome calm had settled across the harbour. What is likely to be the same Smew that was found on Sunday reappeared in Holes Bay south, the same location one has been present the last 3 winters. Off Middle Beach 21 Black-necked Grebe and a Great Northern Diver were feeding just before the roost formed and off Bramble Bush Bay 22 Sanderling, 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Great Northern Diver and 9 Goldeneye were feeding on the low tide. The Starling roost which still consists of roughly 12,000 birds was made even more dramatic when a Merlin penetrated its way through the center of the flock and grabbing a single Starling in amongst the chaos. At Lytchett Fields the Green-winged Teal and Lesser Yellowlegs was still present with Peregrine and Marsh Harrier there too and at Holes Bay a Marsh Harrier passed over the bypass which is quite a rarity in this part of the harbour. We’ve also been getting several calls about a wacky looking wader in Holes Bay hiding in amongst the Black-tailed Godwit flock which was finally photographed and it looks to be a partial albino/leucistic Black-tailed Godwit with a honking great orange bill. Finally, yet another over-wintering Yellow-browed Warbler was found this time in East Holme in the Frome Valley. 

Starling murmuration - South Haven, Studland - Paul Morton

Partial albino Black-tailed Godwit - Holes Bay - Ian Ballam

Smew with Goldeneye - Holes Bay - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 09/01/17

Despite the deluge that kicked in around 2pm some decent birds were seen around the Arne area with a ringtail Hen Harrier and 3 Marsh Harrier over Middlebere, a male Merlin off Shipstal, 7 Spoonbill feeding off Long Island, 400-500 Avocet feeding in the Wytch Channel and good numbers of common waders and wildfowl in the Middlebere Channel. At Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal were still present and out over Swineham 2 Marsh Harrier were hunting. A male and female Scaup were seen up off the north shore of Arne. 

Harbour Update - posted 08/01/17

Sometimes, perhaps just once maybe twice if you’re lucky you hit on a birding day that’s so good it defies belief. Today a team of us from BoPH went out and surveyed the entire harbour trying to get a grip on where birds are roosting, feeding and as well as seeing what we could find along the way. The day started at 5am where we were trying out a new piece of thermal imaging equipment which allowed us to spot Woodcock in almost every field we checked along the southern shores. We amazing also managed to find the 2 Purple Sandpiper at North Haven and a Black Redstart at Baiter too using this gear. A boat survey took us straight past a redhead Smew which was tucked in with the now good numbers of Goldeneye out in central harbour with the Black Brant also found in amongst the Brent Geese, with 2 Common Scoter, 2 Great Northern Diver and 2 Black-necked Grebe near the harbour entrance. Spoonbills were on the Brownsea Lagoon and Shipstal, Arne. There were 2 Blackcap in a private garden in Poole too. At Poole Park boating lake a Jack Snipe passed over and a Pochard was on the main lake with 6 Goldeneye. Lytchett Fields produced the Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal as well as a Water Pipit and Spotted Redshank. At Lytchett Heath a Yellow-browed Warbler was found with 2 Firecrest. At the PC World Drain 5 Common Chiffchaff were seen along with a Siberian Chiffchaff. A single Marsh Tit was at Holton Lee. Up near the Worgret Manor Hotel a flock of 9 Woodlark were found in a stubble field with 10+ Fieldfare (currently pretty scarce). Above Slepe Heath a stunning adult male Hen Harrier was seen dashing by and the Great Grey Shrike was on Hartland. Out on the moors just a single Barnacle Goose was feeding with Canada Geese. At Glebelands Farm a large flock of 20 Yellowhammer were sat in the tops of the trees and at Littlesea, Studland the Great White Egret was present. Off Middle beach 12 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver and 15 Red-breasted Merganser were in the roost. At Bramble Bush Bay Sanderling and Ringed Plover were present and to top the day off we watched the phenomenal Starling murmuration at Shell Bay Studland. In total we logged 122 (including the sibe Chiffchaff and Black Brant) and we missed some pretty easy things too such as Skylark, Linnet, Gannet! Additional birds seen not by our team included 2 ringtail Hen Harrier over Swineham Point, 1 Bittern over Arne Moors, 1 Slavonian Grebe off Middle Beach, 1 Scaup at Gold Point, 41 Sanderling at Blue Lagoon near Sandbanks, 2 Bearded Tits at Lytchett Heath, 1 Merlin at Lytchett Fields, 1 Whimbrel in Newton Bay and 3 Water Pipit on the Wytch Causeway.

Harbour Update - posted 07/01/17

Today we hosted our monthly field trip, which today took us along the northern fringes of the Holes Bay Nature Park. The site is owned and managed by the Dorset Wildlife Trust and can be one of the most productive sites in the whole harbour during winter. Through Upton CP Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Redwing and Goldcrest were all present and in the NW section of Holes Bay Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Pintail and Shelduck were all close to the stone bench, unfortunately there was no sign of yesterdays reported American Wigeon. The Ruff was back in the field with Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit on the SW perimeter of Upton CP. In the NE section of Holes Bay Knot, Spotted Redshank, Avocet, Dunlin, Common Redshank, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Pochard and good numbers of commoner wildfowl were seen from the cycle path next to the outflow. Out on Arne Moors a Bittern was seen flying over and the Great Grey Shrike on the Slepe Heath/Hartland Boarder with 2 Hen Harrier hunting in Poole Harbour west mid-afternoon. At Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal were still present and at Studland 11 Black-necked Grebe were in the evening roost off Middle Beach with 17 Red-breasted Merganser. Finally, yesterdays reported Starling murmuration over South Haven, Studland was in full flow with 10-12,000 birds present putting on one hell of a show. The best place to park is in the Shell Beach car park and just stand and watch from 4pm onwards. The noise is one thing but the visuals were out of this world!!!


Harbour Update - posted 06/01/17

Despite the cold, some people were out and that resulted in the exciting report of an American Wigeon hidden in amongst the Eurasian Wigeon off Upton CP. This would only constitute the second ever Poole Harbour record, but despite a mass search it couldn’t be re-found. The Lesser Yellowlegs was on Lytchett Fields, 18 Spoonbill were on Shipstal and 2 Great Northern Diver were off the house boats, Studland. Finally a large Starling murmuration has been forming over South Haven, Studland over the last few nights with around 5-7000 performing magically over the Shell Beach car park around 4pm. 

Lesser Yellowlegs - Lytchett Bay - Shaun Robson


Harbour Update - posted 05/01/17

Another day and another ‘goodie’ is reported, this time a Yellow-browed Warbler at Greenland’s Farm, Studland. With literally thousands across the UK this autumn and Poole Harbour seeing its best ever autumn for this species in 2016 its no surprise one or two over-winter birds are being discovered. We received some worrying news of a photographer set up out in the open way too close to a well know Hen Harrier roost in Poole Harbour this evening. Can photographers and all wildlife watchers please consider the birds welfare when watching and enjoying the harbours rare and important birdlife, especially during the winter when energy levels and reserves are vital to birds survival.

Pintail, Wigeon, Shoveler off 'the stone bench' - Upton CP - Peter Moore

Harbour Update - posted 04/01/17

Todays School Bird Boat was a belter with 2 Common Scoter off Goathorn, 2 Great Northern Diver in South Deep, 2 Spoonbill on Brownsea and 20 on Shipstal, 2 Purple Sandpiper on the North Haven slipway, 5 Black-necked Grebe in central harbour, 50+ Goldeneye and the usual spread of Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe. At Swineham the 14 Barnacle Geese at Swineham were still present. There was a report of a Great White Egret over Lytchett Fields where the Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal were still present.

Common Seals - Shipstal, Arne

Goldeneye - central harbour 

Common Scoter - Goathorn

Harbour Update - posted 03/01/17

Wow, what a morning! No, it hadn’t quite snowed, but it certainly looked like it with everything tinged and sketched white. Early doors saw 12 Barnacle Geese fly from Swineham out on to Arne Moors which could be viewed from Slepe Heath, with a Marsh Harrier also passing over there. A ringtail Hen Harrier was seen passing Middlebere. At Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal were seen and 8 Crossbill passed overhead with a male Merlin and ringtail Hen Harrier also seen. At Littlesea, Studland the Great White Egret was present and in Bramble Bush Bay 45 Sanderling were feeding. At the PC World Drain there were 4 Chiffchaff and a Firecrest. Finally there were 11 Black-necked Grebe in Studland Bay.

Colour-ringed Sanderling (awaiting details) - Sandbanks - Peter Moore

Colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit - Upton CP - Peter Moore

Originally ringed 18/01/15 on the Axe Estuary

Harbour Update - posted 02/01/17

The scuzzy weather that hit hard over night passed through quickly and gave way to a clear crisp, if not slightly chilly morning. A new year survey boat went out and covered most of the harbour with highlights being 3 Great Northern Diver near the harbour entrance, 16 Black-necked Grebe off Goathorn, 8 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon with another 15 on Shipstal, Arne, 2 Razorbill one off North Haven and another off Brownsea as well as plenty of Red-breasted Merganser, Goldeneye and Great Crested Grebe. On the Brownsea Lagoon the water level was higher than usual but Gadwall, Shoveler, Teal Wigeon, Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, a handful of Spotted Redshank, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Knot and Avocet were all recorded and a Peregrine passed over. At Lytchett Bay the Lesser Yellowlegs was out in the Bay and later found on French’s Pool with a Spotted Redshank there too. An amazing sight of 6 Red Kite drifting low over Upton CP mid-morning, not only is this note worthy due to the time of year (normally seen during spring passage) but rarely do we ever see more than 2 together, suggesting they may have roosted locally somewhere? Also noteworthy was the find of 2 Pochard at Hatch Pond. This may not seem significant in a wider context, but so far this winter Poole Harbour has only seen one individual, which was at Swineham in mid December. Also at Hatch Pond a roost of 102 Magpie went in to trees around the edge of the pond. It seems gone are the days where stable wintering flocks occurred at places like Poole Park, Littlesea and Swineham. In Poole Harbour west 3 Hen Harrier were seen with a possible fourth and in the Wareham Channel 4 Marsh Harrier were counted. At the PC World drain up to 4 Chiffchaff were feeding in the scrub and tide-line. 

Chiffchaff - PC World Drain

Harbour Update - posted 01/01/17

Well, with a New Year there often comes new plans, new ideas and new aims. One thing we know many of you do is a year list, a simple concept to see how many bird species you can see in a single year. You can choose to do this in your own garden, your favourite nature reserve or create your own ‘patch’. Not only does this really get you looking and understanding an area a lot better it also provides motivation to just get out and explore. People have been ‘year listing’ for…well…years, but it seems there are many of you out there who have never taken up the challenge. It doesn’t have to be competitive, you can keep it a secret list, but either way year lists are really great fun (if not a little addictive) and you’re sure to see and discover species you’d not perhaps see otherwise……Why not give it a go?

As with most ‘year listers’, Jan 1st is always a busy day and sightings came in thick and fast. Starting off at Lytchett Fields where the Green-winged Teal and Lesser Yellowlegs were ticked off quickly with a Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank c400 Dunlin c30 Snipe, a Green Sandpiper and a Marsh Harrier. Only the Canford Heath Great Grey Shrike was found today but almost certainly the Hartland (and Godlingston) birds will be around somewhere. In Poole Park 11 Goldeneye were on the Boating Lake with a Kingfisher, 21 Tufted Duck and 2 Little Grebe. Along footpath 12 at Lytchett Bay Bearded Tits could be heard pinging away with Avocet and Red-breasted Merganser feeding out in the Bay. At Swineham only 14 of the 22 Barnacle Geese were present. At South Haven, Studland there were 4 Great Northern Diver, 5 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Eider (Shell Bay), 28 Sanderling, 1 Peregrine and 2 Razorbill. In Brands Bay 1 Great Northern Diver and 1 pale-bellied Brent Goose and off Middle Beach another Great Northern Diver and 19 Black-necked Grebe. In the mouth of the Frome Valley a Great White Egret was feeding with 2 Spoonbill and there were 2 ringtail Hen Harrier and 5 Marsh Harrier in Poole Harbour west with a male Merlin on Stoborough Heath. At Arne there were 2 Firecrest in the car park and finally a flock of 12 Goosander were seen off Baiter before flying off towards Holes Bay. 


Harbour Update - posted 31/12/16

Yet more fog made things really difficult today and only the Lesser Yellowlegs at Lytchett Fields gave its self away at Lytchett Fields and a potential Great Grey Shrike was seen along the Arne Road.

Well, 2016 has been another great year for us here at Birds of Poole Harbour and it wouldn’t be made possible without the support many of you have given us over the years . So with the a new year on the horizon we’d like to wish you all a very Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you and working with you in 2017, which we hope to be our busiest and best yet!


Harbour Update - posted 30/12/16

Sightings wise it was fairly quiet today with highlights being the Lesser Yellowlegs at Lytchett Fields with 1 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank and 400+ Dunlin. In the Bramble Bush Bay area there was 1 Razorbill, 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Sandwich Tern, 15 Ringed Plover, 43 Sanderling and 1 Greenshank. At Upton CP there were 16 Knot and 120+ Avocet.

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