May 2017

Harbour Update - posted 30/05/17

There was a welcome return this afternoon of the Arne cafe Nightjar which was found in a different tree to last year but still viewable from the café terrace. The Arne staff no doubt will have telescopes trained on the bird if re-found tomorrow. It seemed to be in a more open spot to last year too, giving great views. Other than the Nightjar, just Hobby and Marsh Harrier were noted over the Wareham Channel and Spotted Flycatcher were seen at Arne and Upton House. 

Harbour Update - posted 29/05/17

Today produced a decent count of birds, mainly thanks to a full Brownsea Lagoon count from James Phillips which included 3 Spoonbill, 3 Avocet, 1 Greenshank, 6 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, 39 Black-tailed Godwit, 113 Oystercatcher, 5 Teal, 7 Gadwall, 170 Shelduck and 8 Med Gulls. There were also some newly fledged Firecrests near the Villa. Around the Arne/Hartland area there was 1 Cuckoo, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hobby, 1 Grey Plover and a Woodlark. This evening we also carried out a Nightjar ringing session in Poole Harbour north which was fairly successful with a 1st summer female and full adult male caught, the latter being a re-trap from 2 years ago. We also managed to jam in and ring a Tawny Owl which flew into the net just as we were packing up. 

Nightjar - Poole Harbour north

Harbour Update - posted 28/05/17

Very few reports today, other than a Red Kite just south of Corfe Castle, Hobby over Arne and Hartland Moor and Cuckoo on Slepe Heath and Holton Lee. 

Harbour Update - posted 27/05/17

This morning 2 beautiful adult, crisp Roseate Terns were on the Brownsea Lagoon ‘boomerang’, out in front of the Lower Hide. They remained there on and off throughout the day and were joined by the 3 Spoonbill again. 

Harbour Update - posted 25/05/17

The high pressure, easterly wind and warm temperatures obviously got a few birds moving about today with several good birds to report. Firstly 3 Spoonbill dropped down and appeared on the Brownsea Lagoon mid-morning. Although Poole Harbour is famous for its over-wintering population, birds during the summer months are much scarcer. Sometimes over-wintering birds will hang around into the summer but our last over-wintering Spoonbill departed in early April. Todays 3 are likely to be 1st summer birds (juveniles from last year) just touring around and enjoying their ‘gap year’, and who knows, perhaps scoping out suitable breeding areas for when they themselves are ready to breed? An Osprey was seen in the Wareham Channel, which again, for the time of year is interesting. Its possible that this is a 2nd summer Osprey (a juvenile 2 years ago) which has returned to the UK for the first time since fledging the nest. When juvenile Osprey migrate south down into West Africa for the first time, they remain their for the following summer and don’t migrate north again until the following summer after that. When they do return in that 2nd summer they don’t breed and can be extremely mobile, sometimes covering vast distances looking at areas other osprey are nesting in, as well as visiting good fishing sites. In the Lower Frome Valley there was a Cattle Egret, which was seen briefly between Arne Moors and Bestwall.  After yesterday’s Red Kite movement it was inevitable one would appear in the harbour and a couple did, with one high above Holes Bay mid-morning with another over Sandford. 

Harbour Update - posted 24/05/17

Pretty quiet today but as things warm, other interests begin to evolve. Bird-wise just a few waders were reported on Lytchett Fields with 50 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Lapwing 2 Dunlin and 1 Grey Plover. At Swineham GP the pale-headed Egyptian Goose was on the main pit. Swifts have now taken up residence over old Town Poole and can be heard screaming away. Although none were reported within our Poole Harbour area today, the county saw several Red Kites passing through and with the high pressure forecast to continue its worth keeping an eye out for Red Kite passing overhead. We actually received late news of one passing over Poole on May 22nd. As May ends and June begins, Dragonflies and Moths can be a welcome distraction from what can often seem a ‘birdless’ month. RSPB Arne often hosts Moth Trap demo’s which are well worth taking a look at. As a charity we (Birds of Poole Harbour) are also at the very beginnings of carrying out a two-year Moths and Butterflies of Poole Harbour study. More on this in the coming weeks, but it will almost certainly involve some Moth Trap demo’s for people to attend. Gaging and monitoring the health of moth and butterfly populations within the harbour is just as important as monitoring the birds as this will indicate how and where eco-systems and populations are flourishing which will of course in turn benefit the birds. 

Harbour Update - posted 23/05/17

This morning we went out and re-surveyed Gull Islands after it became obvious whilst surveying two weeks ago that the season hadn’t really got going yet. Well, on the whole the survey proved positive with a fairly decent recovery of the colony after last years issues. Our team counted just under 6000 Black-headed Gull nests (5736) and we feel that if the breeding season hadn’t of been late then this total would have actually been well over 6000 nests. The point is this, that after a spring of publicity and awareness raising it seems the colony has been able to make a fairly decent step forward top recovering and a big thanks has to go out to Dorset Police Marine Division and the local community who helped keep an eye on the islands during this critical time. You can read our press release HERE. Our survey only returned 33 Mediterranean Gull nests which is frustrating as our visit to gull islands earlier in May suggested that many more Med’s were looking to settle. One suggestion for the lower than expected number of Meds is that the exceptionally dry spring prevented Med Gulls from being able to feed properly, therefore not allowing them to get into full breeding condition in time. Both Med Gull and Black-headed Gull venture far in land to feed on invertebrates on farm fields prior and during the breeding season and with bone dry soil, finding worms and other invertebrates to feed on would have been very difficult. We’ll continue to survey the islands year on year to a) make sure the islands remain a safe haven for breeding gulls and b) to monitor long term trends of nesting Med Gulls and to analyse factors that may be affecting their breeding success.

Other sightings from around the harbour included a Red Kite through the harbour mouth at 9:15am with a Nightjar still churring 8:00am! On Lytchett Fields there were a pair of Teal, 70 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Grey Plover and 2 Dunlin. On Hartland 2 Common Redshank were sat on phone wires, pretending to be Swallows. On Brownsea the usual Nightjar is back in its favourite spot in front of the woodland hide. Hobby were at Arne, Holmebridge and Greenland’s Farm. Dartford Warbler seem to be having a really great season with many heathland sites ‘dripping’ with Darties. The first brood of fledged Dartford chicks will be out and about soon (if not already) so there should be plenty to see and enjoy. 

Common Redshank - Hartland Moor

Harbour Update - posted 22/05/17

This morning we were out early recceing the ‘Gull Islands’ to see how far along the colony was after it was discovered during our survey two weeks ago that the breeding season seemed to have been late. By early May most Black-headed Gull nests should have been full and the Med Gulls should have also been beginning to lay, however during our survey on May 7th and 8th it was clear that many gulls of both species hadn’t started laying yet. Luckily, it was also clear during that survey in early May that there were no signs of egg collecting as not a single footprint was found on any of the islands. Our recce this morning proved successful with not a single empty nest seen and the first chick found meaning that almost all the eggs would now be beyond ‘the picking stage’, rendering them useless to restaurants. Our team will be out first thing tomorrow morning to re-survey all three of the islands and we’re hoping the colony of Black-headed Gulls will be back up to around the 6000 nests mark. Who knows how many Mediterranean Gulls we’ll find but 9 Med nests were seen during the recce this morning. On Hartland (May 21st) there were 3 Hobby hawking over the heath with 1 Cuckoo, 2 Wheatear and a Spotted Flycatcher also in the Hartland area with 4 Nightjar calling on Coombe Heath, Arne. Hobby were also again over the Arne Road/Slepe heath area. At Lytchett Fields there was a single Grey Plover and 88 Black-tailed Godwit. At Holton Pools 2 Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting, 1 Greenshank and a flock of 15 House Martin were viewed from the new hide. With many birds in summer plumage and staying put for long periods of time in a certain area, late May and early June provide a great opportunity to watch, listen and study birds properly. Learning a birds behavior, sounds and daily routine can really enhance your ID skills and bettering and enhancing your field craft will without a doubt provide you with better birding experiences. Also, as we crawl into June, not wanting spring migration to come to an end we can already begin to think about the autumn with June often hosting the first returning Green Sandpipers heading south. 

Harbour Update - posted 21/05/17

The steady SE wind which kicked in by midday felt like it could bring in some eastern promise, perhaps a Honey Buzzard or Black Kite? Alas, it wasn’t to be, but there was a good showing of Raptors in the SW of the harbour with 2 Hobby over Arne Moors, 2 Marsh Harrier over the Wareham Channel, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Peregrine all circling over and around Slepe Heath. Cuckoo’s were calling at dawn again at Swineham, Greenlands’s Farm and Arne. Common Swift can be seen and heard bombing up and down the main high street in Wareham which is always one of our summer highlights, however not many have been seen over Old Town Poole yet. Along the track at Middlebere the song of Redshank can be heard early morning and before dark with other birds displaying at Lytchett Fields, Wareham Water Meadows and Keysworth. There are still 2 Avocet on Brownsea and Nightjars were heard calling on and singing on Coombe Heath, Arne with another roosting in its usual place on Brownsea Island. 

Harbour Update - posted 20/05/17

As the breeding season progresses its good to get a grip on totals of breeding species in certain areas and a check along the Frome Valley by local birder Peter Moore produced an excellent 60 Reed Warbler between Wareham and Swineham, also 23 Cetti’s Warbler, 9 Sedge Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 5 Reed Bunting, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Cuckoo, as well as the usual Swift, Swallow and Sand Martin over the flood meadows. Although a fraction outside our Poole Harbour recording area we hosted a public walk at Morden Bog this AM which produced a c10 Dartford Warbler, 2 Woodlark, 2 Redstart, 3-4 Tree Pipit, 1 Cuckoo, 2 Yellowhammer, plenty of Stonechat and 4-5 Mistle Thrush. At Arne there were 2 Whimbrel, 5 Grey Plover, c20 Dunlin and c40 Black-tailed Godwit in the Middlebere Channel. Nightjars are now on many of the heathlands around the harbour and on the Brownsea Lagoon there were 120 Black-tailed Godwit, 95 Dunlin and 2 Sanderling with reasonable numbers of Sandwich Tern back breeding on their traditional island in front of the Mac Hide. 

Harbour Update - posted 19/05/17

This morning another or possibly the same as yesterdays Golden Oriole was seen at the 7th holes of the Purbeck Golf Course, along the Corfe to Studland Road. It sang very briefly before flying off north towards Studland Heath. In the search for the Oriole later in the day a Hobby was seen over Greenland’s Farm, Tree Pipits were singing on Rempstone, Cuckoo’s were on Hartland, Studland, Rempstone and Whitethroat were singing at Greenland’s and Studland Heath. On the beach at Shell Bay 47 Sanderling, many in summer plumage were present with a single late Wheatear. Late afternoon there were 2 Hobby hawking over Arne Moors and the pale-headed Egyptian Goose was on Swineham GP. 

Harbour Update - posted 18/05/17

It was good to finally get into the spring action today although today’s top bird was only seen by one individual. A Golden Oriole was seen in woods in the SE corner of Hartland Moor at around midday but despite much searching it couldn’t be re-found. There were several Spotted Flycatcher found in that area though during the search. At Holton Lee 2 Whimbrel flew over Lytchett Bay and on Lytchett Fields there were 5 Ringed Plover, 4 Dunlin, 1 Whimbrel and usual waders. At Arne a Marsh Harrier was in Middlebere, a Hobby was over Coombe Heath and Peregrines were over Old Harry and Hartland. 

Great Spotted Woodpecker - Holton Lee - Connie Leicester

Goldfinch - Holton Lee - Connie Leicester

Harbour Update - posted 17/05/17

Summer doldrums beginning already with 5 Lapwing, 3 Whimbrel and 15 Black-tailed Godwit reported from Holton Pools and 30 Dunlin, 13 Ringed Plover and 40+ Black-tailed Godwit at Lytchett Fields. There are now lots of juvenile’s around of many different species with the first fledged Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Starlings, Long-tailed Tits and Blackcaps bringing the woodlands and hedgerows to life with the sounds of new life.

Harbour Update - posted 16/05/17

A few months ago we, 'Birds of Poole Harbour' began a small project at Holton Lee which involved re-furbing an existing hide, adding some screening and improving the habitat out in front of the hide. The project is now almost complete with just a few minor finishing touches to carry out. The owners of the site, national charity 'Livability' have kindly stated that birders are welcome to use the site and new hide facility and request that anyone visiting to please use the new car park situated outside the main buildings at the end of the access road. Please do not park on road verges anywhere along the access road at any time. To be honest, the main car park gives you quickest access to the hide anyway. Anyone finding themselves visiting regularly should also consider becoming a 'Friend of Holton Lee' which is a small annual fee which goes into the running of the site. You can enquire about joining and donating in the main reception building. 

Huge thanks to Livability for allowing us to carry out this project and we hope it proves to be a successful new site for birds and birders. Through the development process we have already had Greenshank, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, Grey Plover and Green Sandpiper on the new scrapes so hopefully in autumn it will attract a few goodies too. We will be christening it 'Holton Pools'! Please let us know what you think in the sightings log that’s been placed in the hide. A map guiding to the hide can be found below.

Sightings from today were again few and far between, indicating that spring migration is now nearly up, however an Osprey along the southern shores near Arne was a bit of a surprise. With Marsh Harriers at Keysworth and Wytch Lake. With all the newly felled areas of conifer plantation around the harbour it seems to have had a positive increase on the Poole Harbour Tree Pipit population. There was a Cuckoo in Ashley Cross. 


Harbour Update - posted 15/05/17

This mornings strong southerly breeze and murky weather seemed perfect for a sea watch so several hours were put in watching Poole Bay from Shore Road. Highlights included 1 Pomarine Skua, 73 Manx Shearwater, 3 Fulmar, 50 Gannet, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Gadwall, 1 Common Scoter, c50 Commic Tern, 2 Med Gull and 4 Swallow. On Lytchett Fields there were 96 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Ringed Plover and 2 Whimbrel and a Cattle Egret flew out across the bay. Another Cattle Egret was reported flying out into Poole Harbour from the mouth of the Frome. Common Tern numbers on the Brownsea lagoon are building nicely but it seems some of the early nesting Sandwich Terns have already lost their eggs sadly. 

Harbour Update - posted 14/05/17

Very windy today and still pretty cold. Cuckoo’s were at Canford heath, Arne and Slepe Heath. Hobby were over Middlebere and Arne Moors. Waders were few and far between with just 3 Whimbrel in Brands Bay and a handful of Grey Plover in Middlebere. There was a Spotted Flycatcher at Arne. 

Harbour Update - posted 13/05/17

Today was our first ever ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ Spring bird boat tour which saw us take a group up the Wareham River, into the mouth of the River Frome and head up towards Redcliff. This was a really unique experience, offering views out across the river valley’s which aren’t normally accessible from the mainland. Obviously all our winter species have now departed so the focus was spring birds and Cetti’s, Reed, and Sedge Warbler, Chiffchaff, Swift, Swallow, Sand Martin, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Marsh Harrier, Sandwich Tern and Kestrel, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Great Crested Grebe and Med Gull were all enjoyed as well as spectacular scenery keeping us entertained for the full 2.5 hours. Sadly we have no more running this spring but we’ll certainly be putting more on next year. On Lytchett Fields there were 138 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Dunlin

Spring Bird Boat Tour - Barbara Bissett

Harbour Update - posted 12/05/17

The Cattle Egret run continued with an absolute corker in summer plumage at Lytchett Fields. Whether any are nesting in the UK after this winters influx into SW Britain is still unknown but with many turning up around the region looking like the below bird, its hard to believe they’re not nesting somewhere. Also at Lytchett Fields 7 Grey Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Ruff, Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 3 Greenshank, 1 Lapwing, 100+ Black-tailed Godwit and a Whimbrel. Up the Frome Valley good numbers of Sedge Warbler still seem to be on territory with a Cuckoo being seen off by several Reed Warbler. Also plenty of Swift and Hirundines over Swineham GP. Up on the Hartland road 2 Spotted Flycatcher were feeding in the treeline and a Cuckoo was singing. 

Cattle Egret - Lytchett Fields - Shaun Robson

Spotted Flycatcher - Hartland - Ian Ballam



Harbour Update - posted 11/05/17

Just a few reports today with summer plumaged Grey Plover, 9 Ringed Plover, 4 Dunlin and 3 Greenshank at Lytchett Fields. Cuckoo’s at Arne and Hartland. Avocets at Middlebere and Brownsea Lagoon.

Harbour Update - posted 10/05/17

There was a nice scattering of common migrants across the harbour with Spotted Flycatcher along the Arne Road, at Arne and Middlebere. At Lytchett Bay a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling. A Garden Warbler and 2 Common Whitethroat were reported along the Hartland Road. Swifts were still passing through in three’s and four’s but there seemed to be fewer Swallow and House Martin. There was a Hobby at Arne, 2 over Slepe Heath and 1-2 reported over Hartland. Cuckoo’s were calling at Studland, Hartland and Upton Heath. At Lytchett Fields there were 10 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 1 male Ruff, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Avocet, 1 Spotted Redshank calling over the bay, 145 Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Greenshank. With the full moon rising over clear sky’s last night too and the wind dropping right off it seemed perfect for our first venture out of the summer to listen to Nightjars and sure enough at around 9:15pm between 3-4 males started ‘churring’ at Arne, giving great if not brief views. We also saw Barn Owls at Arne, Middlebere and Swineham too. 

A perfect Nightjar night - Arne RSPB

Nightjar - Song of male - Arne RSPB - 10/05/17 @ 21:02 

 Grasshopper Warbler - Song of male - Lytchett Bay - 10/05/17 @ 8:50am

Harbour Update - posted 09/05/17

A very quiet day today with Lytchett Fields seeing 9 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 8 Greenshank, 1 late Snipe, 3 Dunlin and 83 Black-tailed Godwit. A full count was made on Brownsea and comprised of 94 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Greenshank, 6 Avocet, 3 sum plum Grey Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 10+ Teal, 2 Shoveler, 2 Wigeon, 4 Redshank, 2 Curlew, 1 Sanderling, 1 Turnstone, 5 Med Gull, 1 Yellow-legged Gull, plenty of Sandwich Tern but still fairly short of Common Tern. Also 12 Swift through with good numbers of House Martin today, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Garden Warbler and a Nightjar ‘churring’ at dusk. 

Little Ringed Plover (left) and Ringed Plover (right) - Lytchett Fieds - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 08/05/17

Today we completed our survey of ‘Gull Islands’ and despite no evidence of egging which we’re thrilled about, the number of nests counted was still very low. However, having spoken to other wardens on the south coast of Britain who are monitoring other Black-headed Gull and Med Gull colonies, the general consensus seems to be that the breeding season is a minimum of 2 weeks late, which would add up from what we’ve counted over the last couple of days. With this in mind we’re considering a re-survey in a couple of weeks time to hopefully get a more accurate count. The Hen Harrier was again out over towards Swineham.  There were several reports of Spotted Flycatcher today with birds on Upton Heath, Arne, Slepe Heath, Middlebere and South Haven. At Lytchett Fields the wader count consisted of 6 Dunlin, 9 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, 108 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Swift. The warm weather got Hobby active again hunting high above Arne Moors, Arne RSPB reserve and Slepe Heath. A single Whinchat was on Hartland. Cuckoo’s were heard and seen at Swineham, Hartland, Slepe Heath and Upton Heath. 

Harbour Update - posted 07/05/17

This morning we had a team out surveying ‘Gull Islands’ in the Wareham Channel to see what impact last years egg thefts had had on the colony. Early indications show there has been zero evidence off egg collecting this spring so far which is great, however productivity still seems very low, most likely due to the cold, dry spring, meaning birds haven’t been able to feed properly. The largest island had very good numbers of Med Gulls on it, but only returned 11 Med Gull nests with eggs. We’ll be completing the survey tomorrow and will report our findings then. Other sightings from around the harbour included yesterdays Hen Harrier again out over Hartland and towards Swineham. There was again a huge push of Swallows going through with a likely final total of many thousands over the course of the day. Interestingly the flocks contained several Sand Martin and Swift but no House Martin. With the high number of hirundines going through it was sure to draw the attention of Hobby and sure enough over Arne, Slepe Heath, Swineham and Middlebere there was a minimum of 8 hawking after flying insects and the odd hirundine. At Lytchett Fields there was 1 Ruff, 7 Ringed Plover, 5 Greenshank, 45 Black-tailed Godwit and the Grasshopper Warbler was having a burst of song again. 

Approaching 'Gull Islands' for our annual survey

Harbour Update - posted 06/05/17

Today saw a stiff NE wind to begin with which eased off and swung around to the SW by late afternoon. The east in the wind early doors provided good lift for migrating birds throughout the day as hundreds (if not thousands) of Swallow  arrived in through the harbour from the south which were joined by Sand Martin and to a lesser extent Swift but strangely no House Martin.  A ringtail harrier seen at distance over Swineham/Keysworth was initially thought to be a Montagu’s Harrier, however it was later found out over Arne Moors and was confirmed to be ringtail Hen Harrier, a really late Poole Harbour record. There were a minimum of 5 Hobby between Slepe Heath and Arne with Tree Pipits also at the former site. At Lytchett Fields the Grasshopper Warbler that was found along Slogh Lane as still singing suggesting its on territory whilst out on the fields there were 2 Grey Plover, one in full summer plumage, 6+ Greenshank, 5 Ringed Plover, 12 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Wheatear with a Red Kite also over Holton Lee. Middlebere was also busy with 1 Spoonbill (the first in quite a while), 5 Ringed Plover, 50+ Grey Plover, 250+ Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 summer plumaged Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, c40 Knot and 300+ Dunlin.

Hen Harrier - Arne Road - Nick Hopper

Hen Harrier - Arne Road - Nick Hopper

Grasshopper Warbler - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 05/05/17

A pretty quiet day with just a few reports from Lytchett Fields which consisted of 4 Greenshank, 2 Grey Plover, 1 Redshank and 8 Black-tailed Godwit. Swift continued to pulse through in good numbers. At Arne there were reports of Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Whimbrel, Knot, Ringed Plover, Yellow Wagtail and Garden Warbler. There was also a report of a Black Kite over Brownsea Island today too. 

Grey Plover - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 04/05/17

There was a big arrival of Swift today with good numbers over Poole Town, Lytchett Fields, Swineham and Arne. At Lytchett Fields there were both male and female Ruff, 14 Dunlin, 3 Greenshank and 1 Marsh Harrier. At Sunnyside, near Ridge there were 2 Whinchat. Our HD camera on the Brownsea Lagoon is beaming some great footage of the nesting Sandwich Terns at the moment so its well worth tuning in if you have a spare minute of ten! 

Sandwich Terns on the Brownsea Lagoon HD webcam

Harbour Update - posted 03/05/17

We’ve got a few exciting projects on the go around the harbour at the moment, some we’ll be able to update you on shortly, but its also great to see how other organisations locally are doing their bit to help interpret the harbour and provide better visitor access. The Borough of Poole and team at Upton CP have recently completed and installed new cycle paths around the park, providing a really excellent new viewing and visitor experience. They really help open the site up and with even bigger plans further down the line Upton CP could really become a great hub to learn about and experience our local natural heritage. Top work!

New paths at Upton CP 

Sightings today indicated a fall of chats around the harbour with Redstarts at Hartland, Arne and Slepe Heath. Wheatears were at Hartland, Greenlands Farm and Swineham and a Whinchat was along the Corfe to Studland Road. A Red Kite drifted low over Old Town Poole late afternoon and what’s likely to be our only record for the year (as sad as it sounds) of a Turtle Dove came from one dashing over a Poole Garden late afternoon. If anyone see’s, photographs or hears Turtle Dove within our Poole Harbour area then please let us know, this is nowadays an extremely rare species and to only have one record per year is criminal. At Lytchett Fields there were 2 Ruff, 10 Dunlin and 4 Ringed Plover. At Holton Pools (more about this site next week) a Little Ringed Plover was on the new scrapes with a single Greenshank and a Yellow Wagtail flew over. At Slepe Heath a Hobby was hawking over the eastern end and at Middlebere Dunlin, Grey Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and a single Common Sandpiper were out in front of the hide. 

Female Whinchat - Corfe Road - Paul Morton

Little Ringed Plover - Holton Pools - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 02/05/17

This winter (in partnership with the Stour Ringing Group) we really upped the amount of Woodcock monitoring and ringing we did around the harbour in comparison to previous years. We finished up ringing c70 new Woodcock, between Oct 16 and Mar 17 and also re-caught over-wintering birds from previous years. Today we received info back from the BTO that a Woodcock ringed by SRG back in 2015 near Middlebere was recently shot 480km north of Moscow in Semenkovo, Russia on 31 March 2017. This is our second Russian shot Woodcock recovery from Poole Harbour, the last one being ringed at Lytchett Bay and shot 500 miles east of Moscow back in 2009. Why they have to shoot them instead of just catching them like us is any ones guess. Seems very sad to fly 2500kn to then only get shot! Map and full details below.


Sightings-wise there was a Lesser Whitethroat along the track at Middlebere, a Grasshopper Warbler at Lytchett Fields, with all 3 Ruff again, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel and 40+ Black-tailed Godwit. Cuckoos were at Middlebere, Hartland and Arne. Swift numbers were building slightly with 15 over Swineham GP. At Upton CP 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Whimbrel were out on the mud and a Firecrest was singing in the CP grounds. 

Harbour Update - posted 01/05/17

This morning several local birders tried another sea watch from Branksome chine but it just went to show that to produce the goods, you really need that strong SE wind. Totals today included 8 Shelduck, 1 Common Scoter, 2 Gannet, several Common and Sandwich Tern, several Med Gulls and 1 Peregrine. In Poole Harbour mouth the low tide saw a small group of 12 Common Tern feeding around one of the exposed islands. Amazingly the Hartland Great Grey Shrike is still there, this has to be potentially one of the latest Great Grey Shrikes the harbour’s ever had. At Greenlands Farm there were 7 Wheatear, 3 Stonechat, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser-spotted Woodpecker (slightly further west) and several Blackcap singing. At Lytchett Fields a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling near the waterworks, a Cuckoo was calling over towards Holton Lee but later made its way near French’s Farm, on the fields there was a male Ruff, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank, 4 Whimbrel in the bay and a Marsh Harrier over. At Lytchett Heath Bearded Tit were calling from the reedbeds at the end of the heath.

Below are a few recordings we made yesterday whilst trying to sound record the Grasshopper Warbler at Lytchett Bay which annoyingly shut up once we got our gear out. However this Reed Warbler was far more obliging, the Cetti’s Warbler also wanted in on the action whilst this female Bullfinch was producing a range of calls rarely heard unless listened to at close quarters. 

 Reed Warbler - Song of male - Lytchett Bay - 01/05/17 @ 08:42


Bullfinch - Calls of a female - Lytchett Bay - 01/05/17 @ 09:04 


 Cetti's Warbler - Outburst of song - Lytchett Bay - 01/05/17 @ 08:48

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