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February 2017

Harbour Update - posted 26/02/17

Today was the February Poole Harbour WeBS count which always produces good counts of birds and occasionally a goodie here or there. Today it was Lytchett Bays turn to report ‘find of the day’ in the shape of an adult Ring-billed Gull, which was settled in the bay briefly before lifting off and headed towards the Wareham Channel. It was gulls galore in the harbour on today’s low tide with literally thousands littering the mudflats around the entire harbour, mostly Common Gull by the looks of things with a good spread of Black-headed, Herring, Great Black-backed, Lesser Black-backed and lesser numbers of Mediterranean Gull. There were also Yellow-legged Gulls in Wytch Lake (1) and on the Brownsea Lagoon (3). There’s no better time to try and find scarcer gull species and with so many gulls visiting the harbour each day hopefully it’s a case of when rather than if we see the likes of Iceland and Glaucous Gulls starting to appear, or perhaps even another Ring-billed Gull or two. Equally unexpected was a group of 5 Slavonian Grebe off the houseboats at South Haven, a species that’s seen big declines over the last 5-10 years. Also off the houseboats was a single Great Northern Diver and a Merlin was on Studland Heath. On the main Poole park boating lake was 1 Kingfisher, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Goldeneye. At Norden sewage works 1 Firecrest was present and up to 6 Chiffchaff were feeding/singing. The Lesser Yellowlegs was on Lytchett Fields early morning and Spoonbills were on Shipstal, Brownsea and in Wytch Lake and the Wareham Channel. At Swineham 11 Barnacle Geese were on the main pit. There was also a report of a ‘brown owl’ flying over the marsh at Middlebere on Friday evening. 

Harbour Update - posted 25/02/17

A blustery and blowy day, over cast sky and damp in the air…not quite the glorious early spring day we had last weekend, but still, its best not to rush and will the spring away, remember, it is still only February! Which in turn means there’s still plenty of a good winter birds to try and catch up with. Day by day the Poole Harbour Black-necked Grebes are transforming more and more into their much more attractive summer plumage and even the Great Northern Diver that are frequenting the harbour mouth area are moulting and changing ever so slightly. There are still lots of Great Crested Grebe across the open bodies of water in the harbour, all at various different stages of moult, some also in full summer finery and some still as dull as dish water (bit harsh we know). Many of the Reed Bunting that are frequenting the Holton Lee/Lytchett Bay area are also mostly half way through their abrasion process, where the tips of their winter plumage wear away revealing summer breeding plumage underneath. The Holton Lee feeding station is a good place to see examples of this as several males are currently feeding below the feeders. At Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs was on French’s Pools. At Poole Park there was no sign of the Goosander but 3 Goldeneye, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Kingfisher and 4 Little Grebe were all out on the main boating lake. 

Harbour Update - posted 24/02/17

There was a nice mix of birds today as the weather settled and provided us with a calm and still evening. At the harbour mouth early evening a Great Northern Diver and 4 Red-breasted Merganser flew out to roost, the Eider was off Pilots Point again, a Sandwich Tern was fishing in Poole Bay and a Razorbill was settled off one of the Sandbanks Groynes. In Poole Park the drake Goosander was still present with 4 Little Grebe, 3 Goldeneye, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, a Kingfisher and a Water Rail. In Holes Bay north there were still 20 Pintail, 100 Dunlin, 1 Knot and the Smew was in Holes Bay NE. At Lytchett Bay a Jack Snipe, 2 Marsh Harrier, a Peregrine the Lesser Yellowlegs and the Greenshank were all noted across the site. An amazing encounter of a Gannet flying over the mouth of the River Frome, near Swineham took local birder Nick Hopper by surprise. Black-necked Grebes were in Studland and Shell Bay as well as South Deep. At Arne 14 Spoonbill were on Shipstal and the Great Grey Shrike was seen again along Soldiers Road. One thing we forgot to mention was that a couple of grey male Hen Harriers joined our regular 4 in the west of the harbour on Wednesday morning. The Corfe Mullen Waxwing were again at Hanahm Road with 4 present. 

Harbour Update - posted 23/02/17

The tides are currently good for gull watching as they come into the harbour to roost for the night. Low tides an hour prior and during sunset attract large numbers of gulls to come and settle which in turn may attract in scarcer species such as Iceland and Glaucous Gulls. Late February and into March is the best time to Look for rarer gull species so its well worth swatting up on ID features. Sadly, no such gulls were found in amongst the several thousand Black-headed Gulls that came into pre-roost at Lytchett Bay, although c20 Med Gulls were still nice to see. The Lesser Yellowlegs was out in the bay feeding with a group of Redshank and a single Greenshank hugged the marsh. Out in the Turlin Channel 4 Red-breasted Merganser and 1 Great Crested Grebe were feeding. Over Holton Lee a Green Sandpiper went over with a Marsh Harrier following after. The 4 Corfe Mullun Waxwing were seen again at the end of Hanham Road but only briefly. A fine drake Goosander was swimming around on Poole Park boating lake with 3 Goldeneye, 3 Red-breasted Merganser and 3 Little Grebe.  

Harbour Update - posted 22/02/17

Fairly quiet today with just a few snippets of news. The Smew was still in Holes Bay NE, just 3 Black-necked Grebe were seen in Studland Bay a Firecrest was at Upton CP, 15 Spoonbill and a Peregrine were at Shipstal, Arne. At Shore Road 81 Bar-tailed Godwit were feeding in the inner harbour, on Poole Park boating lake 3 Red-breasted Merganser and a Goldeneye were feeding and at Whitecliff 5 Turnstone and 2 Rock Pipit were on the sea wall. At Holton Lee a Green Sandpiper and a likely Water Pipit flew over there too. 

Bar-tailed Godwit - Shore Road - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 21/02/17

Literally just meters outside the harbour boundary, some of the Corfe Mullen Waxwing re-appeared today with 4 originally on the corner of Hanham Road, but later flew south towards Springdale Road where they then disappeared up Heckford Road. We managed to snatch a magical couple of minutes as the 4 Waxwing sat in a tree just outside the Lesley Shand funeral directors (a bit macabre we know), with the birds only 10 feet above us calling away, allowing us to get a semi-decent sound recording of their characteristic sweet trill. At North Haven the elusive 4 Purple Sandpiper weren’t that elusive for once and off Pilots Point, Studland a 1w male Eider was preening. Up on Branksome cliff top a Firecrest was in scrub, 2 Egyptian Geese passed over Lytchett Bay and in Holes Bay the Smew, 1 Spotted Redshank and a single Knot were still present. At Swineham 11 Barnacle Geese were on the pits, on Hartland the Great Grey Shrike was still along the Soldiers Road area and in Middlebere a single Spoonbill was present with 7 on Shipstal and a Crossbill passed over Middlebere. On the groynes at Sandbanks Ringed Plover and Dunlin were roosting together and in Poole Bay 11 Great Crested Grebe were still feeding in a tight flock. At Norden sewage works c10 Chiffchaff were still present. Across the way in Christchurch Harbour a Northern Wheatear was reported yesterday so keep your eyes peeled for any early returners.

 Waxwings 21/02/17 - Calls of 4 perched birds Corfe Mullen, Poole 14:47

Waxwing - Corfe Mullen 

Purple Sandpiper - Sandbanks - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 20/02/17

It turned mild again today, turning thoughts to Sand Martins and Swallows swooping in off the sea, but as always, we get over excited with a little touch of impatience this time of year and no such ‘swooping’ took place….but still, it won’t be long before there is! There was however a good total of 29 Black-necked Grebe in Studland Bay with 2 Common Scoter, 17 Med Gull and 4 Great Crested Grebe. At Holme Bridge a Goosander flew low over, heading towards the harbour. Off Branksome Beach, viewing from the cliff top and calm and sheltered Poole Bay produced 1 settled Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Razorbill, 2 Guillemot, 31 Great Crested Grebe and 2 Red-breasted Merganser. On Hartland Moor the Great Grey Shrike re-appeared along Soldiers Road and up until Feb 19th, 4 Hen Harrier were seen dotted around the Poole Harbour west area.  In Holes Bay the Smew was still feeding off the outflow with 9 Knot also seen and a Spotted Redshank. The Spoonbill are yep….you guessed it…still on Shipstal and in Middlebere 2 Marsh Harrier were active for quite a while. In Bramble Bush Bay 3 Goldeneye were feeding close to the shore and 9 Sanderling were feeding near the houseboats. 

Spotted Redshank - Holes Bay NE - Ian Ballam

Knot hiding in amongst Wigeon - Holes Bay NE - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 19/02/17

A bit colder and grimmer today but still pleasant nonetheless. Another night recording session produced another high count of Redwing with up to 400 calls between 7pm and midnight. However singing Robins and Blackbirds took over at 00:30 making the analysing of sonagrams almost impossible. Also several Blackbird, Song Thrush and Fieldfare along with a flock of Brent Geese at 23:30. At Lytchett Bay 2 Spoonbill were on the fields with both Marsh and Hen Harrier seen. There was also a Firecrest near the Slough Lane allotments and Med Gull numbers are increasing on a daily basis. The Lesser Yellowlegs although was missing for most of the day, turned up later in the day. At Studland there was a single pale-bellied Brent Goose near Old Harry, 1 Black-throated Diver past Old Harry, there were 12 Black-necked Grebe in Studland Bay and 1 in Shell Bay, 10 Sanderling in Bramble bush Bay and at Norden sewage works 2 Firecrest and c10 Chiffchaff. A ringing session at a site on Canford Heath, carried out by SRG saw an amazing 9 different Bullfinch ringed, bringing the total for that site alone to 27 in just a few sessions. At Arne 16 Spoonbill were on Shipstal and a Firecrest was in the car park.

Harbour Update - posted 18/02/17

Now that’s what we call an early spring day. One of those perfect warm February days that feels it could produce a spring migrant around every corner before you quickly realise it’s still only mid Feb and in fact there is still a good couple of weeks before the first true spring migrants arrive. That said, Meadow Pipit and alba wagtails were seen passing overhead at Greenland’s Farm, suggesting the early passage of both these species is underway. Woodlark were still singing away at heathland sites around the harbour and Dartford Warbler seemed to be active on every gorse stack and heather clump. Sadly there was no news of yesterday Snow Bunting up on Old Harry, but 18 Black-necked Grebe is Studland bay, 2 of which were in full summer plumage already were a welcome surprise. Also 2 Common Scoter and 3 Great Crested Grebe out in the bay too. On Shell Beach and later near the house boats up to 40 Sanderling were feeding and off Bramble bush Bay a Great Northern Diver was easy to pick out on calm waters. On Brownsea, wader numbers seem to be decreasing but there was still 1 Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 1 Sandwich Tern and an adult Yellow-legged Gull. Mediterranean Gulls are now becoming more frequent around the shores of the harbour and 40 came into roost on Brownsea. Through February and March their calls are easily distinguishable as they pass overhead moving back and forth between inland feeding areas and roosting sites. At Whitley Lake, Sandbanks c100 Bar-tailed Godwit were feeding and 10m off shore 12 Red-breasted Merganser were chasing fish. Marsh Harrier have been frequent at Arne, Lytchett Bay and Swineham but Hen Harrier seem to have become quite scarce now. Its seems to have been another good Firecrest winter with 1 today at Norden SW, Upton CP and 2 in the Arne car park. 

Harbour Update - posted 17/02/17

Spring continues to spring into action and the warm weather is a welcome sign that change is on the way. Its not only us that can tell spring is on its way as our first night recording session of 2017 from our listening station in Old Town Poole picked up the first northward passage of thrushes with 112 Redwing, 11 Song Thrush and 5 Fieldfare calls as well as a Wigeon flock (possibly moving back north or just moving within the harbour) and several Curlew. The (or a) Snow Bunting was re-discovered up on Old Harry which showed nicely for an hour at least before going missing. At Fleets corner the Siberian Chiffchaff was present again and at Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs and a Marsh Harrier were present. A night ringing session in the Lower Frome Valley saw 8 Woodcock (1 ringed), 4 roosting Skylark, 11 Lapwing (1 ringed) and a Barn Owl

 Wigeon Flock 16/02/17 @ 19: 39 Calls of night time passage over Old Town Poole Listening Station

Skylark - Lower Frome Valley

Woodcock - Lower Frome Valley

Lapwing - Lower Frome Valley

Harbour Update - posted 16/02/17

Although we were welcomed by another dawn of thick fog, it was a heavenly surprise when stepping onto one of the heathlands in Poole Harbour north, as two singing Woodlark were dueting with one another through the silence of the fog. This once rare, but now increasing heathland species becomes very vocal at this time of year with their sweet descending notes ringing out across the flowing gorse. Its not only the Woodlark that are now getting going, you may have noticed that Song Thrush, Robin, Dunnock and Wren are all now adding to the increased volume at dawn and in areas where Chiffchaff over-winter such as the Norden Sewage works, their familiar summer song can be a welcome treat on cold February morning. The weather for next week is to remain settled, mild and dry so why not get out to try and listen to hear as many different song types as you can. In February, the songs are not always as full or as crystalised as they will be a bit later on in the spring but it’s certainly a welcome sign that spring is just a matter of weeks away.  By visiting different habitats you’ll increase the variety of different songs you can hear so why not start off in the Woodland areas of Upton CP listening to Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker whilst out on the heaths Dartford Warbler, Woodlark and Linnet will all be warming up for the months ahead. At Lytchett Heath, the Bearded Tits were vocal in the reedbeds at the end of the heath and Dartford Warbler were just about making a silhouette on top of the gorse through the fog. At Upton CP a Firecrest was in scrub in front of the house and the Smew was still in Holes Bay NE. At Arne there were 17 Spoonbill on Shipstal Point and around the reserve Redpoll and Siskin were busy toing and froing in some Alders.  The Lesser Yellowlegs was in Lytchett Bay again and the Starling murmurations is still going strong at Shell Bay, Studland. 

Woodlark song - Heathland, Poole Harbour north - 16/02/ 17 @ 08:23

Harbour Update - posted 15/02/17

Today we conducted the commentary on a DWT public bird boat which gave us a great excuse to be out on the water for a couple of hours, something we can never really ever turn down. Although a band rain hampered viewing for a short while a good range of species kept the crowds entertained with 2 Great Northern Diver, one in South Deep and the other off the NW corner of Brownsea, 19 Black-necked Grebe including a flock of 15 in central harbour, 16 Spoonbill on Shipstal Point Arne, 21 Goldeneye and plenty of Mergs and Great Crested Grebe. The lagoon was really busy with good numbers of Wigeon, Gadwall, Shoveler, Teal and a couple of Pintail whilst a single Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, c70 Grey Plover an adult Yellow-legged Gull, c50 Bar-tailed Godwit including the summer plumaged bird, 1 Merlin and a single Firecrest near the villa. At Lytchett Fields the Lesser Yellowlegs was still there and a Hen Harrier was still hunting in the area and 6 Sandwich Tern were in the Whitley Lake, Sandbanks area. 

Harbour Update - posted 14/02/17

Although milder, a strong easterly wind was still blowing making a Studland bay watch a little tricky. Still, from Middle beach there were still 2 Black-necked Grebe bobbing about with 5 Common Scoter and 1 Great Northern Diver plus 2 Fulmar out over the water. In Shell Bay there was another Great Northern Diver with a Red-throated Diver going east and a single Black-necked Grebe in the bay. At Poole Park, on the main boating lake some areas are still nice and muddy which attracted in 1 Greenshank, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and numerous Oystercatcher with 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Little Grebe and 2 Goldeneye feeding in the shallows. At Lytchett Bay the Lesser Yellowlegs was still present with a Hen Harrier hunting along the northern shore of the bay and at South Haven, Studland 44 Sanderling were on the rocks. At Arne 16 Spoonbill were still on Shiptstal, Arne and Just outside the Poole Harbour boundary in Corfe Mullen 6 Waxwing were found in a Beech Tree on Hanham Road. On Hartland Moor a ringtail Hen Harrier caught some prey at the top end of the Moor and out in South Deep, off Brownsea a single Slavonian Grebe, 7 Black-necked Grebe and 5 Goldeneye were feeding. 

Harbour Update - posted 13/02/17

Today was fairly quite, but being a windy Monday morning its not much surprise! The filter bed at Norden Sewage works was literally hopping with Chiffchaff including a Siberian Chiffchaff, also 1 Goldcrest and 1 Grey Wagtail. Along Holme Lane 3 Little Egret were with the cattle, surely its calling out for a returning Cattle Egret soon? If going past that area its well worth checking. At Swineham the 11 Barnacle Geese were still on the main pit and at Arne 12 Spoonbill were on Shipstal with 1 Firecrest in the car park, c800 Avocet and c800 Brent Geese in Middlebere. At Whitley Lake, Sandbanks late afternoon the windy conditions and big low tide attracted masses of gulls into the bay with an adult Yellow-legged Gull and 24 Mediterranean Gull the highlights with 72 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Greenshank also feeding near the Sandbanks marina. 

Finally, it was sad to hear that the dolphin seen swimming out off Goathorn last week was found washed up on the southern shore of Brownsea. It was initially thought that it was Bottle-nosed Dolphin, but distant views made ID difficult. Upon closer inspection it was actually a Common Dolphin, which contradictory to its name is an extremely rare occurrence in Poole Harbour. 

Potential Siberian (tristis) Chiffchaff - Norden Sewage Works

Harbour Update - posted 12/02/17

There have already been a good number of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker sightings this ‘spring’ and today produced another likely sighting at Lytchett Fields in the same area one was photographed this time last year. Between now and the end of March is a great time to try and find this now very scarce woodpecker, and by listening to their distinct drumming sound is a good way to try track them down in large old mature deciduous woodlands. At Swineham the 11 Barnacle Geese were on the main pit and in Poole Harbour mouth a Great Northern Diver was feeding with a Razorbill near by.  At Lytchett Fields a nice sight of 12 Spoonbill out on the fields was slightly out of the blue and a Hen Harrier hunted quite actively around the site for part of the day with Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Lesser Yellowlegs and Greenshank all in the bay on the low tide. 

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Drumming - Poole Harbour - Mark Constantine & The Sound Approach 

Harbour Update - posted 11/02/17

After being away for a week it was nice to return today and host our second ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ public bird boat. A fully booked trip saw us head out in snow and finish with numb fingers and toes but that certainly didn’t hamper our enjoyment. A strange sight of a Sandwich Tern through dollops of snow got the trip underway and we were soon in to numerous Red-breasted Merganser and a few Great Crested Grebe. The lagoon was fairly busy giving good views of Avocet, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Shoveler, Wigeon, Gadwall and Brent Geese. Near the harbour mouth 2 Great Northern Diver passed close and then a fly by Common Scoter zoomed by. Round the back of all the islands more Mergansers and Brent Geese were feeding and in central harbour 5 Black-necked Grebe were bobbing around on the choppy waters. At Shipstal the over-wintering Spoonbill flock of 16 remained faithful to their usual spot and in the mouth of Middlebere Curlew, Avocet, Grey Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin were feeding in the draining channels. In Holes Bay the redhead Smew remained faithful to the NE corner and the Lesser Yellowlegs was out in Lytchett Bay on the low tide. At Greenland’s Farm a Firecrest was at the end of the track and on the drained Poole Park boating lake Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit and a Turnstone were feeding close to the road on the mud.

Full species list from BoPH bird boat trip

Harbour Update - posted 10/02/17

 

Waxwing x 9 – Briefly at Rossmore Road but not seen after 9:30am

Smew x 1 redhead – Holes Bay

Lesser Yellowlegs – Lytchett Bay

Spoonbill x 10 – Shipstal Point, Arne

Common Scoter x 1 – Brands Bay

Black-necked Grebe x 12 – Central Harbour

Harbour Update - posted 09/02/17

 

Waxwing x 9 – Rossmore Road, Poole

Smew x 1 redhead, Holes Bay

Great White Egret x 1 Lytchett Bay

Ruff  x 1 – Upton CP

Spotted Redshank x 1 - Holes Bay

Woodcock – Lytchett Bay & Hartland Moor

Waxwing - Rossmore Road, Poole - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 08/02/17

 

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker – Corfe River Valley

Woodlark – Corfe River Valley

Marsh Harrier – Corfe River Valley

Harbour Update - posted 07/02/17

 

Firecrest x 1 – Upton CP

Purple Sandpiper x 2 – North Haven

Sanderling x 45 – Shell Bay, Studland

Great Northern Diver x 2 near harbour mouth

Sandwich Tern x 6 – Shore Road, Sandbanks

Spotted Redshank – Holes Bay

Spotted Redshank - Holes Bay - Nick Mudge

Harbour Update - posted 06/02/17

 

Long-eared Owl – Canford Heath

Spotted Redshank – Holes Bay

Spoonbill x 14 – Shipstal, Arne

Firecrest – PC World Drain

NEWS COMING…….

We apologise for the lack of updates on the website, however we’ve been away all week. We’re now back and will do a catch up of sightings from the last 5 days a bit later tonight.

Harbour Update - posted 05/02/17

Another nice day ended with a surprise when a Bottle-nosed Dolphin was found swimming around within the harbour off Jerry’s Point, half way between the point and Furzey Island. Dolphins outside the harbour are a pretty regular affair nowadays, but to see one within the harbour is exceptionally rare and we’re just hoping it’s ok and not injured or ill in any way. If anyone see its within the harbour over the next couple of days and think it looks distressed then please contact the British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765546 or 07787433412. Bird wise, it was much of the same with the Smew still in Holes Bay NE, the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker in the Upton CP wooded area to the north of the reserve, both the Lesser Yellowlegs and Green-winged Teal back at Lytchett Fields with 1 Water Pipit and 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Great Northern Diver off Middle Beach with 6 Black-necked Grebe, 14 Spoonbill on Shipstal Point, Arne, 3 Purple Sandpiper on the Sandbanks slipway, 2 Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 1 Spoonbill, 1 Peregrine, 26 Grey Plover and good numbers of Avocet on the Brownsea Lagoon, 16 Chiffchaff at the PC World Drain and both Merlin and Hen Harrier in Poole Harbour west. 

Green-winged Teal - Lytchett Fields - Brett Spencer

Harbour Update - posted 04/02/17

Well the storm passed pretty quickly leaving behind it a settled enjoyable day with some good birds. At the PC World drain a Siberian Chiffchaff was fairly vocal and several of the over-wintering Common Chiffchaff were in full song giving a lovely early spring vibe. It was also a day of re-discoveries as the Great Grey Shrike reappeared on Slepe Heath and at Lytchett Fields the Green-winged Teal was back too. In Lytchett Bay a Goosander was out feeding and there were Great Northern Divers in Shell Bay, off Middle Beach and in South Deep and Black-necked Grebes were spread across Middle beach (4), Shell Bay (2) and Bramble Bush Bay (1). Spoonbills were at Arne with 14 there and 2 in the Frome mouth. In Poole Harbour west Hen Harriers were seen near Swineham Point and Arne, a male Merlin was on Hartland and Marsh Harrier totals are now back up to 5. There have also been good counts of Lapwing in some of the flooded areas with 600 in the lower Frome Valley and Middlebere which in turn attracted the attention of Peregrine at both sites. The 14 Barnacle Geese were back on Swineham GP. We also received a photo of a Snow Bunting on Studland Beach from January 24th which we assume is the same bird that flew over the same area just a few days ago, indicating that it had been around for at least a week. 

Snow Bunting - Studland Beach - 24/01/17 - John Linfoot

Harbour Update - posted 03/02/17

As the stormy winds blew, a sea watch at Branksome proved fruitful with c50 Red-throated Diver most passing west, also 7-8 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, c10 Gannet, 5 Common Scoter, 3 Fulmar, c20 Brent Geese, 3 Med Gulls, 1 Shelduck and plenty of auks (looked most to be Razorbill). Only other news from a blowy wet day was the Lesser Yellowlegs was on Lytchett Fields and the Kingfishers in Poole Park continue to impress. 

Kingfisher - Poole Park

Harbour Update - posted 02/02/17

A few snippets of interest with a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker seen and heard near the car park at Upton CP, 9 Black-necked Grebe and a Slavonian Grebe off Middle beach, 3 ringtail Hen Harrier in Poole harbour west a Red-throated Diver in Studland Bay. Off Branksome Chine 187 Great Crested Grebe were in several flocks with 5 Razorbill, 6 Red-throated Diver, 1 Common Scoter and a Sandwich Tern passing.  

Harbour Update - posted 01/02/17

A lull in the weather saw some good coverage a really great Poole Harbour find. A Snow Bunting was found near Studland Bay before disappearing north around 10:30am. Snow Bunting can be incredibly tricky to catch up with in Poole Harbour so its hoped it could have come down again somewhere within the harbour, perhaps Shell Bay/South Haven area? Apparently it had also been noted in the Brands Bay diary for last week too? Out in Brands Bay just a single Greenshank, 50+ Curlew and 336 Shelduck were of note. In Shell Bay, 3 Slavonian Grebe, 1 male Common Scoter, 1 Great Northern Diver and 40-50 Sanderling were counted whilst off Middle Beach just a single Red-breasted Merganser was seen. At Norden Sewage Works 2 Siberian Chiffchaff were with c15 Common Chiffchaff and a Firecrest feeding on the filter beds. At Middlebere 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine, 1 Spotted Redshank and c500 Avocet were present and at Swineham/Bestwall there was 1 Marsh Harrier, 2 Spoonbill feeding in mouth of the Frome, 14 Barnacle Geese were on the pits, and a good number of Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin are still enjoying the flooded areas of the Lower Frome Valley. The Poole Park Boating Lake is still semi-drained and a Kingfisher was seen with several Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher all on the mud. At Lytchett Bay a ringtail Hen Harrier flew through and Skylarks were singing in the Arable Field. At the end of Lytchett Heath, Bearded Tits were calling from the reedbed and on the heath Dartford Warbler were active and a big increase of Lapwing was noted on Lytchett Fields with 473 counted also the Lesser Yellowlegs, 1 Marsh Harrier, 2 Water Pipit, 609 Dunlin and 4 Greenshank present. There were 3 different ringtail Hen Harrier in Poole Harbour west late in the afternoon. 

Water Rail feeding with Blackbird - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 31/01/17

As the rain continued to fall, the river valley’s continued to fill and it attracted many birds. On Arne Moors (viewed from Slepe Heath) up to 700 Lapwing, c200 Curlew, c300 Black-tailed Godwit, 100+ Dunlin, 1 Spotted Redshank, 14 Barnacle Geese, 30+ Shoveler, 20+ Gadwall, 200+ Teal and 10+ Wigeon. At 8:30am what looked like 80% of the Studland Starling flock all passed low over Holme Bridge, heading west before settling in some flooded fields to drink, before upping and leaving again. Along Holme Lane, there are now 12 Little Egret back in the cattle fields, but no Cattle Egret. There is however a decent sized finch flock with a few hundred Chaffinch and Goldfinch, well worth scanning through for Brambling or Yellowhammer in the coming weeks. The Lesser Yellowlegs was still on French’s Pools and the Smew was in Holes Bay NE with a male Goldeneye. Tonight we also went around the urban areas of Poole looking at the wet open grass areas to see what feeds here during the night. At Baiter Park, 2 Jack Snipe were feeding on the edges of some large pools with 2 Dunlin and at Hamworthy Park 2 Ringed Plover were feeding on the main field. 

Harbour Update - posted 30/01/17

Yet more fog and straining of eyes to try and find some decent birds, but interestingly fog on the southern shores cleared quite quickly allowing a count of 16 Black-necked Grebe to be made of South Beach. The Poole Park boating lake held 5 Redshank, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, several Oystercatcher, 1 Greenshank, 10 Dunlin, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Goldeneye and 4 Little Grebe. On the Brownsea Lagoon 3 Spoonbill were feeding close to our cameras and at Upton CP the Ruff was still feeding with 800+ Black-tailed Godwit on the eastern end of the park. Once the fog cleared 3 Woodlark broke out into song at Arne. At Lytchett Fields there was a strange sight of 22 Avocet swimming around on French’s Pools. A Sandwich Tern was on Hamworthy Park and at the PC World Drain still at least 30 Chiffchaff were along the length of the channel, including the ringed Siberian Chiffchaff. At Greenlands Farm, Studland a good number of Lapwing, Curlew, Oystercatcher and Redshank were on the flooded fields. The Lesser Yellowlegs was also on Lytchett Fields. A night ringing session in the Lower Frome Valley saw a big increase in Jack Snipe with 10+ seen and a few ringed, along with 8 Woodcock seen. 

Harbour Update - posted 29/01/17

Its felt like a while since we’ve had a good spout of rain and todays down pour did a good job at topping up the river valley’s and open grassy areas, making pools and scrapes available for birds to paddle about in. It will be well worth checking these areas over the coming days to see what get drawn to them. Sightings from today were fairly limited with a ringtail Hen Harrier at Lytchett Bay, the redhead Smew still at Holes Bay NE and the boating Lake at Poole Park begging to host good numbers of birds as its been drained. The gull roost on Brownsea is well worth a watch on our new HD Brownsea webcam, surely, SURELY a Glaucouse or Iceland Gull will put on a performance in the next few weeks??

Screen grab of Gull roost on the Brownsea Lagoon 

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