July 2017

Harbour Update - posted 30/07/17

Its not everyday a Poole Harbour first occurs but two within a month of one another and from the same bird hide seemed quite unlikely, however from the Mac Hide today, where last months Elegant Tern was found Poole Harbour’s first Bonaparte’s Gull was photographed as it bobbed around in the shallows around 2:30pm before disappearing off. Sadly it was only seen by the finder, so there’s hope it stays around as long as the Longham bird did a few weeks ago…maybe making an impromptu stop off at Poole Park to feed on bread? Here’s hoping! An Osprey was in the dead trees at Middlebere and 5 Spoonbill fed on the falling tide mid morning. 

Bonaparte's Gull - Brownsea Lagoon - Lorne Bissell

Harbour Update - posted 29/07/17

The day started off fairly fine but ended as grim as the night before. Some ringing and monitoring during the hours of sunshine were productive though with 18 Sedge Warbler and 12 Reed Warbler ringed during a session at Lytchett Bay, 13 Willow Warbler counted at Holton Lee with Greenshank, Tawny Owl and Nightjar noted during a short night sound survey and on the Brownsea Lagoon a full survey saw 7 Greenshank, 76 Redshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, 7 Curlew, 9 Avocet, 34 Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Dunlin, 1 Turnstone, 154 Oystercatcher, 7 Little Egret, 1 juv Yellow-legged Gull, triple figures of both Common and Sandwich Tern, 11 Gadwall, 26 Teal and 1 Peregrine. There was also a flock of 14 Common Sandpiper at Seymers Marsh on Brownsea. An Osprey was in Middlebere mid morning. 

Pot of gold in the Wareham Channel


Harbour Update - posted 28/07/17

Today saw the first returning Wheatear of the autumn drop down onto Lytchett Fields mid morning with 1 Little Ringed Plover, c10 Green Sandpiper, and the usual cohort of Redshank, Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwit out on the fields. On Brownsea 2 Spotted Redshank were still present and 4 Spoonbill were feeding in the Wareham Channel on the low tide. The Arne Hobby chicks seem to be doing well and there seem to be plenty of Whimbrel and to a lesser extent Grey Plover in the far reaches of various creeks and channels with Middlebere, Wytch, Brands and Redhorn all seeing returning birds.

Osprey Translocation Update

A quick check on the birds this evening before the afternoon shift finished saw 6 of the 8 all perched and almost ready to go. We’re just giving them a few days to get used to eating larger sections of fish before ‘the big off’ as we’ll continue to place large (and even whole) fish on the feeding platforms out in front of the pens after they’re released. We took a quick snap through one of our spy holes this evening too, just because we couldn’t resist. 

Barn Owl - Arne Farm - Ian Brown

Wheatear - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Osprey LS1 - Look mean and keen

Kingfisher - Middlebere - Ian Brown


Harbour Update - posted 27/07/17

An interesting report came from a sighting several hundred miles north of Poole Harbour today, when it was confirmed that the male Osprey S1 which has been at Arne/Poole Harbour all summer has ventured back north again to his natal area of Rutland Water. Moving north for the autumn seems a strange behaviour for an Osprey but an identical situation occurred last year when another Rutland 2nd summer male over-summered in the New Forest, only to leave on July 26th and arrive back at Rutland on July 27th. It seems they can’t stay away from their natal areas and was perhaps interested to see what had happened on his home patch this summer before venturing back south again properly for the winter? On Brownsea there were 2 Spotted Redshank and 2 more Garden Warbler ringed at Fleets Corner, near Holes Bay. At Lytchett Fields there were 28 Dunlin, 4 Common Sandpiper, 17 Green Sandpiper and an adult Yellow-legged Gull in the bay. The 2 dark-bellied Brent Geese that were in the Wytch Channel earlier in the month are still there and more signs of autumn included 16 Common Gull back in Brands Bay with 13 Whimbrel and 1 Greenshank. In Bramble Bush Bay there were 2 Common Sandpiper and 2 Whimbrel. In Middlebere there were 2 Spotted Redshank and 5 Greenshank

Garden Warbler - Fleets Corner - Olly Slessor 


Harbour Update - posted 26/07/17

Another yucky summers day, just prime for the summer holidays! At Arne an Osprey was sat in the dead trees at Middlebere early morning. At Lytchett Fields there were 22 Dunlin, 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Little Ringed Plover and 17 Green Sandpiper. A very wet and windy boat trip around the harbour saw plenty of newly fledged Common Tern out feeding near the harbour entrance, a fresh juv Peregrine Falcon was up to no good on the Brownsea Lagoon, although its obvious lack of any kind of hunting skills made it quite clear all waders and terns were safe. Several Great Crested Grebe were out in central harbour and a Kingfisher was in Holes Bay.

Osprey Translocation Update

We’re now up to six birds using the perching posts on and off and its looking like a release next week some time is on the cards. Some foul weather over the coming weekend may delay things slightly but we’re hoping to at least get everything set up and in place ready for the big day(s). 

LS0 and LS1 enjoying the Poole Harbour sunset


Harbour Update - posted 25/07/17

August is slowly but surely creeping up on us…the month of true variety. It tends to be that you can see more species of bird in Poole Habour during August than any other month in the year and signs are already showing it could be a busy month. Waders are already flowing through with 8 Common Sandpiper feeding on the Holton shoreline, good numbers of Whimbrel feeding in numerous bays around the harbour, 2 Spotted Redshank on the Brownsea Lagoon, and Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin numbers on the increase. In the Wareham Channel 5 Spoonbill were feeding on the low tide with around 80 Little Egret in the area. At Holton Pools the colour-ringed Greenshank that first appeared at Lytchett Fields last year was close enough for a decent photo, and at Lytchett Fields there were c20 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, c50 Redshank, c60 Black-tailed Godwit and 9 Dunlin on the fields with a Woodlark flushed there too. At Arne there was another Osprey, this one a tatty looking individual which doesn’t seem to be S1 the 2-year old male that’s spent all summer at Arne.

Colour-ringed Greenshank - Holton Pools - Ian Ballam


Hen Harrier Day 2017


Harbour Update - posted 24/07/17

It was another good day for birds today with a bit of an autumn/winter vibe. The first returning Wigeon of the autumn popped up in Lytchett Bay early morning, which is a pretty early date. Normally we’d expect the first to return around mid to late August, so whether this bird has really returned from the far north of Europe or from somewhere a bit closer to home we’ll never know. Continuing with the wintery theme a raft of 8 Common Scoter were out in central harbour with 2 males and 6 females bobbing along off Arne. 5 Spoonbill were roosting up on the Keysworth shoreline on the high tide, which may explain why they’ve gone missing from Brownsea recently and over Swineham a Hobby was hunting over recently cut hay fields. This could be one of the pair from Arne or one a pair from further up the Frome Valley. There were some signs of passerine passage this morning with 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Willow Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler, several Chiffchaff and 4 Blackcap ringed at Fleets Corner in Poole Harbour north. Lytchett Fields was busy again with Green Sandpiper with 21 counted along with 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Common Snipe and 9 Dunlin out on the fields. Out over the Wareham Channel 2 Osprey were circling together in the wind before drifting off towards Arne with 2 Marsh Harrier seen in and around the mouth of the river Frome, near Swineham. Along the Studland Road at the Corfe end a large gathering of c100 Swift were actively feeding.

Garden Warbler - Fleets Corner


Osprey Translocation Update

We now have up to five of the chicks using the perching bars at the front of the pens with LS2 having a bit of a go today too but then promptly flapped and fell off. Not a bad effort, but must try harder! We were testing out the tiny tail mounted tracking tags today too which we’ll be fitting to the birds in the coming days ready for when they’re released. Being able to locate, monitor and track the birds after they’ve been released is essential and these tiny receivers will allow us to know roughly at anyone time which direction each bird is and close they are. They will only allow us to track the birds whilst they’re in the harbour and once they leave we’ll lose signal and the tags will moult out with the feathers in several weeks. We’re also beginning to up the size of fish pieces the birds are getting as each now seems to be using their talons to tear bits of meat to eat, rather than eating the smaller chunks we’ve been providing. The plan is to get them seeing and eating larger pieces now to the point we can just place out whole fish for them to enjoy. They don’t even know how lucky they are! 


Harbour Update - posted 23/07/17

It was nice to have some variety today with more migrants beginning to appear, although we have to start with the bad news, which is that sadly (and almost inevitably) all 4 of the Avocet chicks have disappeared. A vigil across the Brownsea Lagoon today retuned no sightings of our most recent arrivals, and it’s looking as if we’re going to have to wait another year before the most elegant of waders successfully breeds on Brownsea. Give it time and we’re sure they will, but you can’t help but feel for the poor parents after investing so much time in incubating and hatching them. There were 11 adult Avocet on the lagoon today with 3 Spotted Redshank, 1 Turnstone, 2 Common Sandpiper and most amazingly of all, a family of Shoveler duck. This species is rarely ever confirmed as a breeder in Dorset so to see a row of ducklings following their mother was a real treat for the observers. Lytchett Fields was busy with 70+ Reed Warbler, 25+ Sedge Warbler, 2 Willow Warbler, 10 Greenshank, 9 Dunlin, 8 Common Sandpiper and 16 Green Sandpiper across the site. South Haven at Studland saw the autumns first Garden Warbler moving through with a family of Spotted Flycatcher (1 adult, 2 juvs), 1 Sedge Warbler and 3 Willow Warbler. Finally, the Hobby nest cam in the Arne visitors centre is an absolute must to go and see. Crystal clear images of one of the most spectacular birds EVER, feeding their young.......just stunning!

Photo of the TV screen at Arne showing adult Hobby feeding chicks.


In Other (we mean Osprey) news, all pretty much the same at the moment with the birds happily gazing out across Poole Harbour whilst being fed plenty of the best local fish possible. All are now really strong in the wing and we estimate 5-6 days before all are perched up on their perching bars at the front of their pens ready to be released. We’re beginning to look at long-term weather forecasts so we can give our birds the best possible chances upon release. Foul weather and wind is a big no-no, so we’re looking for a decent gap in the weather for when we open the pens, and fortunately its not looking too bad in the near future!


Harbour Update - posted 22/07/17

As of this morning there are now 3 Osprey chicks perched up in their pens with more to surely follow in the coming days. LS6 has joined LS0 and LS1 in being part of the hierarchy as they look down on their fellow ‘pen partners’ from above. Each of the 8 Osprey chicks are still feeding brilliantly and their plumages are looking fresh and perfect and we can’t wait for the moment we’re finally able to open the pens where each bird will become a true asset to the harbour. In the mean time our volunteers continue to work hard in monitoring and feeding the birds and we can’t thank them enough….they’ve done a truly sterling job. 

Sightings were pretty quite today with a tough breeze blowing over the recording area. At Swineham there were still Sedge Warbler feeding young and good numbers of Reed Warbler along the river edge. At Lytchett Fields a Spotted Redshank was out on the fields with c40 Common Redshank, 2 Common Sandpiper and 5 Green Sandpiper, although there were probably more. Within the next week passerines as well as waders will begin passing through in bigger numbers with warblers, chats and flycatchers pulsing through and we’re always really keen to hear about where people are seeing different species. So please email, tweet or Facebook us with your sightings from around the harbour. 

Sedge Warbler - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam


Harbour Update - posted 21/07/17

It’s these kind of days where you’re better off tucked up inside with a good book or decent film as the July rain outside lashes against the window. West Dorset was boasting a stupendous list of birds, with Cory’s and Great Shearwaters seen off Portland, which then prompted us to venture down to Middle Beach, Studland to have a precautionary look to make sure we weren’t missing out on these Dorset mega’s. As it transpired….we weren’t. Rain kept making viewing difficult but 8 Gannet and 8 Common Scoter were the best we could muster plus 37 Med Gulls in Studland Bay which included 11 fresh juveniles too. At Arne a Hobby was active chasing down Swallows in between rain showers. At Lytchett Fields a small flock of 16 Dunlin, including 1 juvenile were new in with 3 each of Common Sandpiper and Greenshank.

Today the Osprey chicks stayed pretty inactive as rain lashed down but both LS0 and LS1 are now using the front perching posts continuously. Apart from some irregular wing flapping there’s not much change in the other 2 pens.


Harbour Update - posted 20/07/17

Last night we set our night recording gear up for the first time this autumn, and seeing that big(ish) numbers of waders are already on the move across the UK it could have been a productive night. Sadly…it wasn’t! Well, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Curlew, 1 Whimbrel and several Grey Heron were the best of it, but being as its still only mid/late July there’s plenty of time left to scan our sky’s at night for all those passing birds. In Middlebere an Osprey was seen briefly with 2 potentially seen over the Wareham Channel from Lytchett Bay.

This evening both our Osprey chicks LS0 and LS1 took to their perching bar, which is a good indication they’re beginning to think about their first flights. Tim Mackrill will be coming down next week to take a look at all eight birds where we’ll then go on to make a plan for all of their releases in the coming days/weeks. 

Common Sandpiper calls of night time migrant & Sika squeaks, Piddle Valley - 20/07/19 @ 03:31 

Harbour Update - posted 19/07/17

It seems our Osprey chicks are getting just as excited about the autumn as we are, with both us and them soon to be thinking about nothing else other migration, migration, migration. For us, it’s a leisurely experience as we sit back and enjoy the many species of bird that pass through Poole Harbour in their droves all heading south for the winter. The passage of warblers, chats, hirundines, waders and finches of many different species will see us all with binoculars permanently glued to our eye sockets for the foreseeable future whilst we also begin our autumn nocturnal listening study too. This audible study began two years ago as a bit of a test to see what’s migrating over our head’s as we’re all tucked up in bed. Within a year we’d already helped make quite a remarkable discovery in partnership with The Sound Approach, which was that from mid August through to mid September Ortolan Bunting, a very rare and scarce bird in a Poole Harbour/Dorset context is/was in fact a regular night migrant over Poole. You can read about the discovery HERE. With big numbers of waders already moving across the UK, we’ll be putting our recording equipment out for the first time this autumn tonight. We’ll let you know how we get on.  The Osprey chicks on the other hand have got their own migration to consider and they won’t have the luxury of being able to watch from the sidelines. As you can see from our most recent monitoring footage, some are really now getting strong in the wing flying/hopping from perch to post and back again. Currently its LS0 and LS1 who are the most advanced but hopefully within the next 5 days the others will be at the same stage and we can begin to think out the opening of the pens. We’ll be meeting with our partners in the project, The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation early next week to discuss the exciting next phase.

Today in the harbour there were 3 Roseate Tern on the Brownsea Lagoon again, with 2 on the Common Tern nesting island and 1 on the ‘Boomerang’. The Avocet family struck another blow as it now looks as if they’re down from 4 chicks to 2. This was always going to be a precarious situation with so many gulls about but hey…that’s nature. All we can hope is that Avocet breeding attempts rise over the coming years and the potential for successful fledging increases. Also on Brownsea were 6 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Ringed Plover, 22 Dunlin, 4 Curlew, 2 Whimbrel, 8 Common Sandpiper, 11 Avocet, 118 Redshank, 55 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit on the north shore. At Lytchett Fields there was a record count of 24 Green Sandpiper with 4 Spoonbill, 4 Common Sandpiper, 112 Redshank, 67 Lapwing, 66 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Dunlin, 4 Greenshank and 3 Whimbrel in the bay. On the southern edge of the Wareham Channel 4 Spoonbill roosted with 83 Dunlin and c100 Black-tailed Godwit as 48 Little Egret flew into roost. 

The flying begins! LS0 looking really strong on the wing

Harbour Update - posted 18/07/17

With a dark rumbling sky approaching from the south it looked like we were about to experience our first drop rain for a whole week, and sure enough by 7pm the wind had built and the rain had begun, but it wasn’t until around midnight the real light show kicked off. Our first concern was the Osprey chicks and how they’d fare but you soon remember that these are wild birds who have to put up with all sorts out in the depths of wildest Scotland, and sure enough a 5:30am check on site for the first feed saw them all right as rain (and wet as rain too) eager for their next feed. Such hardy birds as well beautiful. LS0 is definitely the most advanced and is now flapping/flying from nest, to perching stump to perching bar showing real character and passion to explore its new area. That’s not to say it doesn’t often spend large parts of the day lounging about with legs stretched out as if playing the part of an ‘extra’ in Baywatch! We’ll be receiving some more footage from our CCTV monitoring system and will embed it on our sightings blog over the coming the days. In the mean time, enjoy these additional photos we’ve received from Ruth Peacey who helped out when the birds arrived last week.

Locally fledged birds are beginning to move around now and today juvenile Lesser Whitethroat and Spotted Flycatcher were seen on some of the heaths near Hartland. Two Willow Warbler were along the track down to Middlebere and at Arne an Osprey was in the dead trees at Middlebere. At Lytchett Fields there were 7 Spoonbill, 15 Green Sandpiper, 8 Common Sandpiper, 3 Dunlin, 91 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Greenshank, 109 Redshank and 87 Lapwing. On Brownsea the 3 Avocet chicks were all present and correct with 8 adults on the lagoon now too, 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Curlew, 1 Greenshank and ‘large numbers’ of Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit

Osprey chick LS2 upon arrival last week - Ruth Peacey

Spoonbill over Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam


Harbour Update - posted 17/07/17

We can’t believe the osprey chicks have been with us a week already and to see the change in their size, structure and behaviour in such a short space of time has been amazing. We don’t want to count our chickens before they hatch but each of the eight has really taken to Dorset life. It’s certainly been a lot warmer this last week and compared to what they’ve been used to up in Scotland so as long as we’re not turning them into southern ‘beach bum’ softies we’re on course for a late July release. LS0 has began fly-hopping around its pen and today even took off for a very short while all the others are still wolfing down food and are visibly getting stronger by the day. With slightly unsettled weather approaching from the south in the coming days a nice bit of the ‘wet stuff’ my bring them back down to earth with a bump after a week of sun, sea and salmon.

Sightings from around the harbour included a good haul of waders at Lytchett Fields including 6 Dunlin, 6 Common Sandpiper, 9 Green Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank, 85 Black-tailed Godwit, 50 Lapwing and 30 Redshank along with 6 Spoonbill. The 4 Avocet chicks are now already down to 3! Although the parents were keeping a really good eye on them today and it seems the 7thSpoonbill was favouring Brownsea rather Lytchett Fields with its mates. An Osprey settled on the Middlebere nesting platform early doors and there was 2 Whimbrel on the mud there at low tide. At Slepe Heath and Sunnyside Farm a few juvenile Willow Warbler were in scrub, but these could simply account for local fledged birds rather than passing migrants. There was some exciting news that Cattle Egret bred in Dorset this summer (not in Poole Harbour), but it will be well worth watching out for any more that could be returning to the harbour area in post breeding flocks along with Great White Egret too. 


Harbour Update - posted 16/07/17

The good news is that the 4 Avocet chicks have survived their first few days and are being watched over closely by their parents. The gull pressure this year has eased slightly with the sad news that the UK’s only pure breeding pair on Yellow-legged Gulls were unsuccessful with only one of the adults turning up to breed. This single pair of Yellow-legged Gull made them one of the UK’s rarest breeding birds and they’ve been successfully breeding on Brownsea for over 20 years. There’s a possibility one of the adults could have sadly died, meaning a replacement isn’t likely anytime soon. Breeding Med Gulls were also in short supply on Brownsea this year, possibly down to the protection and improved monitoring of  ‘Gull Islands’ in the Wareham Channel meaning most Med Gulls remained there to breed. The DWT are keeping a close eye on the Avocet chicks but as is standard in these situations, nature will take its course in whichever direction it fancies. The other exciting news today was that the Hobby on the Arne VC camera have hatched young! It will be a fascinating few weeks watching this pair deliver food to their new offspring and we highly recommend heading down there to take a look…the image quality is great and then after you’ve watched those for a while you can go and head out and see Osprey which was also present in Middlebere again. In Poole Harbour west local raptor watcher Peter Hadrill noted the first juvenile Marsh Harrier coming into the area to roost. It’s thought that this would be a juvenile from further afield rather than a local fledgling as there was no nest site confirmed within the harbour this year, although a niggling part of us still wonders that with regular Marsh Harrier activity during the summer, whether this could still potentially be a locally fledged bird from an unknown nest site? At Lytchett Fields there were 4 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin, 1 Kingfisher, 1 juv Willow Warbler and 1 Great Crested Grebe in Lytchett Bay.

Finally, we’ve been able to extract some footage from our CCTV within the pens which shows two of the Osprey chicks feeding and wing flapping quite vigorously. Our team have been constantly monitoring this behaviour since their arrival almost a week ago now. Over time the wing flapping will grow stronger and once we’re happy they’ve grown enough strength in their wings we’ll open up the fronts of the enclosures. We’re still a little way away from that yet but things are currently looking really positive. 


Please follow this link too for a write up from the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation about their involvment in the project up in Scotland -

Osprey chicks feeding and wing flapping 16/07/17

Harbour Update - posted 15/07/17

Its been a busy year for rare breeders across the UK with Cattle Egrets, Black-winged Stilts, Spoonbills, Little Bittern and Bee-eaters all wowing the crowds and paving the way for the future landscape of British breeding birds. However what may be common to some counties as a breeding species can still be rare for others. Take Avocet for example where good numbers breed at sites like Minsmere and other east coat sites but in Dorset Avocet are (were) a non-existent breeder despite over-wintering totals of over 1500. The Brownsea Lagoon has always looked right for breeding Avocet and in 1999 two pairs did hatch young which were sadly predated after a day. So, it was welcome news today when we heard that three and then four young Avocet chicks had hatched on the lagoon. A pair were seen swapping nest duties about 3 weeks ago and a close eye have been kept on them ever since. Then, today 3 chicks were spotted on the far side of the lagoon which was a welcome sight. Lets just keep everything crossed those hungry gulls stay away in the mean time. The ‘autumns’ first Great White Egret appeared today too with one in the Wareham Channel early morning feeding with Little Egrets. Breeding totals on the Somerset Levels are soaring so its no surprise we’re seeing an increase in wandering, passing, visiting GWE year on year with September and October now the peak months to see this species arrive. An Osprey was again on the Middlebere pole early morning and Spoonbill totals have now reached 7, all of which were on the Brownsea Lagoon along with 11 Common Sandpiper.  On Lytchett Fields there were 15 Green Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 2 Dunlin and 1 Little Ringed Plover.

Harbour Update - posted 14/07/17

 After going missing for several days an Osprey turned back up again on the Middlebere post early morning. There were 5 Spoonbill on Lytchett Fields with 5 Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Kingfisher and an adult Yellow-legged Gull again. A ringing session on Lytchett Heath saw the first Sedge Warbler of the autumn passing through with 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 15 Reed Warbler and 2 Blackcap also ringed. In Middlebere late evening there were 4 Greenshank, 1 Barn Owl and c150 Black-tailed Godwit.

Osprey Translocation update

Not much change today, all birds doing well with LS4 eating a whopping 23 pieces of fish in 8 minutes! 

Spoonbill - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam

 Juv Willow Warbler - ringed at Fleets Corner (12th July)

Sedge Warbler - Lytchett Heath 

Harbour Update - posted 13/07/17

The Osprey chicks are doing really well with some guzzling food back like there’s no tomorrow! Our team now has a flowing process which sees the birds fed 3 times a day, with food that’s to be eaten as well as un-eaten weighed out so we can gage how much the birds are taking on board. The coming weeks will see us providing the chicks with as much food as they need as to get them in peak condition, ready for fledging. We still don’t know when that will be just yet but the end of July/beginning of August is a good benchmark. We’ll try and get some video footage from the pens shortly so we can introduce you to each of the 8 chicks. We were hoping to take photographs and provide a profile for each bird when they arrived but it was raining so hard that we just wanted to get them into the safety and security of their pens as quickly as possible.

Monitoring HQ

Sightings from around the harbour consisted of 6 Spoonbill on Lytchett Fields with 2 Dunlin, 5 Greenshank, 6 Common Sandpiper, 8 Green Sandpiper, 1 Whimbrel and 1 adult Yellow-legged Gull. The Hobby on the Arne camera in the main visitors centre is well worth a visit to watch. In Middlebere there were 2 Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper. On the Brownsea Lagoon an excellent 110 Common Tern chicks were counted with many beginning to fledge already. 

Spoonbill - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 12/07/17

We’ll do a longer blog soon we promise! But the last few days have been a bit full on, getting our new arrivals all settled in and our set up running smoothly. So in the mean time, just enjoy this screen grab taken today from our CCTV monitoring system, which shows two of our birds happy and settled into their temporary new homes. All 8 have been feeding well again today and already some are beginning to wing-flap quite hard.

Screen grab of Osprey Pen CCTV 


Sightings from today included the first juv Willow Warbler of the autumn ringed in Poole harbour north with this surely the first of many thousands over the coming weeks to push through the harbour. At Lytchett Fields the 6 Spoonbill were on French’s Pools and there were 2 Dunlin, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank and 1 Whimbrel. On Brownsea there were 3+ Roseate Tern which were viewable on one of our Brownsea Webcams. 

Harbour Update - posted 11/07/17

Normally on wet, windy, miserable days like this there isn’t much to shout about and certainly not often much to get excited about. However, today was a momentous day as our first 8 Osprey chicks arrived safe and sound here in Poole Harbour after a long 630-mile trip from Scotland. After weeks of sun and sweltering heat the weather took on a traditional Scottish feel today to welcome our new visitors and within an hour of their arrival they were snuggling up in their new 5 star holding pens and chowing down on some top grade salmon and trout…not a bad welcome present. The chicks were split into our three holding pens based on those that were stronger and could feed them selves more efficiently. Each of our chicks is ringed with a blue ring on the right leg with white lettering with Osprey number one wearing LS0 and the last LS7 (with LS1, LS2, LS3, LS4, LS5 and L6 in between).  A write up of their arrival can be read HERE. There’s obviously going to be a lot to update you all on over the coming weeks but at least they’re here now and we can keep a close eye on them.

Elsewhere in the murk the 6 Spoonbill were again on the Brownsea Lagoon with 2 Spotted Redshank and 1 Common Sandpiper. On Lytchett Fields a whopping 20 Green Sandpiper were recorded with 5 Common Sandpiper and 1 Common Tern fishing over the fields. At Swineham there was a single juvenile Little Ringed Plover and an adult male Yellow Wagtail. Maybe some more birds will appear after the dross clears away tomorrow morning?

Freshly arrived Osprey chicks in Poole Harbour for translocation project


Harbour Update - posted 10/07/17

As July progresses, more signs of migration begin to emerge with an adult Willow Warbler ringed this morning in Poole Harbour north at a site they definitely don’t breed at. It could have come from somewhere fairly local seeing as it was in heavy wing moult but it does show that some passerines are already on the move. At the same site near Holes Bay north a decent total of 42 juvenile Blackcap have been ringed too over just three mornings. These will be a mixture of fledged juveniles from the site plus other birds that have moved in to the area because of rich food sources. After an absence of several weeks, 3 Cattle Egret were seen briefly on the Wareham Channel side of Arne Moors with 16 Little Egret. An Osprey was yet again in the Middlebere Channel and on Brownsea 6 Spoonbill came in late evening. At Lytchett Fields there was a nice mix of common waders again with Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank and Lapwing all present with a roosting Common Tern on one of the islands, which is slightly out of character.  

Osprey Translocation Update

Not much to say other than……NOT LONG NOW!


Harbour Update - posted 09/07/17

The final preparations are getting underway for our Osprey chicks arrival mid week and it looks as if they’ll be bringing some classic Scottish weather with them! Despite the rain forecast, it hopefully won’t dampen the mood or sprits of this exciting arrival to Poole Harbour and we’re really looking forward to giving you some positive news upon their safe arrival. By all accounts they’re feeding well, each is very strong and they’re in really good hands so its all looking good. There has been a huge amount of work gone in to this project so far, and it hasn’t really even began yet. The real hard work starts this coming week, attending to, feeding and monitoring our eight new arrivals, making sure we give them the best possible start before release in a few weeks. As we said yesterday, we’ll be updating you as much as we can on the project over the coming weeks but don’t worry…we won’t just get lost in Ospreys…..the full force of autumn migration is just around the corner so we can’t wait to hear about all the great birds you see around the harbour over the coming weeks with plenty sure to be on offer no matter where you go.

Today was another hot one with a Roseate Tern and 3 Spotted Redshank again on the Brownsea Lagoon, an Osprey (S1) in Middlebere, at Lytchett Fields 14 Green Sandpiper, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank and 1 Whimbrel were recorded. A Red Kite drifted over Ridge and then Arne. 

Harbour Update - posted 08/07/17

As we mentioned yesterday our partners in the Poole Harbour Osprey translocation project, The Roy Dennis Wildlife foundation have been busy up in Scotland this weekend collecting chicks ready to bring down next week. We’re so close now and we can’t wait to meet our new arrivals soon. We’ll get a final update tomorrow as to how they’ve done and whether the team have managed to get all eight chicks for the project but as things stand its looking promising. We’ll be keeping you up to date with all the developments this coming week so make sure not to miss anything! As a reminder, Roy has written a detailed overview of the project on the Foundations website which will provide you with much of the reason behind the project and our collective objectives for the species. Poole Harbour Osprey Project – Roy Dennis

Elsewhere around the harbour the beginnings of autumn migration continued to bubble along and Lytchett Fields saw a decent total of 14 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 3 Greenshank, 96 Redshank, 65 Black-tailed Godwit, 51 Lapwing and 1 Little Ringed Plover. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were definitely 2 Roseate Tern which were seen together. In Middlebere an Osprey was in the dead trees mid morning. A female type Marsh Harrier was floating around the mouth of Middlebere/Wytch Lake late afternoon and Hobby were over Arne, Hartland Middlebere. 


Harbour Update - posted 07/07/17

With the Sandwich Terns now beginning to fledge on Brownsea and the Common Terns to follow shortly, its safe to say it’s been a bumper year for both species. Rough counts of chicks for Sandwich Tern is said to be around c60 and Common Tern came in at around 101! This is great news seeing they’ve struggled in recent years. The Avocet is still sitting tight at her nest site, although things are getting a little late. Will the pair pull it out of the bag and hatch the first Avocet young in Dorset for many years or will this story have a sadder ending? There’s still time for a happy ending so we’re all still keeping fingers well and truly crossed. A Roseate Tern was on the lagoon again as were the 6 Spoonbill. At Arne there were 2 Osprey again around the Middlebere area and the Hobby camera was getting a lot of attention in the visitors centre. There was also a Turtle Dove reported from a private garden near Studland. 

Osprey Translocation Update

It’s been a couple of weeks now since we announced the exciting news we’re helping facilitate an Osprey translocation project here in Poole Harbour. Our partners in the project include Jason Fathers from Wildlife Technology Company Wildlife Windows, and Jason has been slogging away over the last month getting everything in place ready for the chick’s arrival. Our other partners are the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and this week they’ve been busy assessing nest sites up in Scotland and even began collecting chicks today ready to bring down to Poole. Depending on how the next couple of days go we are hoping to see ‘the class of 17’ arrive early next week, which is beyond exciting. As we hope you’ll understand, the location of the holding pens has to remain confidential but we’ll be blogging and providing updates on the chicks progress, and as they’re only in the holding pens for a couple of weeks, it won’t hopefully be long until they’ll be flying free around the harbour. Today we received some photos from Tim Makrill and Roy Dennis, which provide the first images of the two of our eight Poole bound Osprey chicks. More to follow over the coming days and next week will certainly be worth waiting for.

Roy Dennis with two Poole bound Osprey chicks for the Poole Harbour translocation project



Harbour Update - posted 06/07/17

Things were pretty quiet today with just a couple of Little Ringed Plover on Lytchett Fields along with a Common Sandpiper and the colour ringed Greenshank. On Brownsea a Roseate Tern was reported again with a single Spotted Redshank, 6 Spoonbill and 40+ Redshank also present. In Middlebere an Osprey was on the pole again. Not that you need an excuse to visit Arne but there is even more of a reason as they now have a live stream running into their visitors centre of a Hobby nest out on the reserve. Technology and forward thinking conservation is a great combination, and when they do combine great things happen. Just like the decoy Osprey nests the RSPB/Wildlife Windows put up several years ago they also did exactly the same for Hobby, with Jason Fathers from Wildlife Widows building several Hobby nests out of hanging baskets and placing them in suitable areas around the reserve. After several frustrating years its now paid off and you can enjoy all the comings and goings of this spectacular species when you visit Arne. 

Hobby nest cam - RSPB Arne - Arne Team

Harbour Update - posted 05/07/17

There seems to be a couple of Roseate Terns on Brownsea currently with two likely to be present on the ‘Boomerang’ today along with the 6 Spoonbill again and a gradual but continued rise in wader numbers with 2 Spotted Redshank again.  On Lytchett Fields there were 8 Little Ringed Plover, 8 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper and the colour ringed Greenshank is back again for its third year. At Middlebere there were two Ospreymid-morning with one hunting in the Wareham Channel later in the afternoon. In Middlebere a single Grey Plover and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit were feeding on the falling tide with c60 Black-tailed Godwit.

Harbour Update - posted 04/07/17

Today was mostly about Brownsea, which saw the first 2 returning Spotted Redshank of the autumn along with 8 Avocet, 6 Spoonbill, 1 Roseate Tern, 25 Little Egret and a good number of Black-tailed Godwit and 18 Redshank. There were 3 Osprey in the Wareham Channel this evening, one of which was S1 another looked to be a female type but the third couldn’t be sexed, hopefully it will stick around for a few days. At Lytchett Fields there were 6 Little Ringed Plover today with 3 Common Tern fishing out over the fields and in the ditches which seemed unusual for the site. At Arne, a Hobby was out over Shipstal and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit were in Middlebere. As mentioned earlier in the week, there seem to be good numbers of juvenile birds around and there was a report of the first juv Willow Warbler of the autumn heard calling near Wallisdown Road, Poole….and give it a few weeks and there will plenty of gems moving through as  their soft ‘woowheet’ gives away their presence. 

Harbour Update - posted 03/07/17

The 6 Spoonbill spent early morning on Lytchett Fields before returning to Brownsea Island where wader numbers were creeping up slowly. Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank numbers were up with 5 Avocet on the lagoon too. The Common and Sandwich Tern chicks continue to flourish and it won’t be long before some of the Sandwich Terns begin to make their maiden flights. Back at Lytchett Fields there were 3 Green Sandpiper, a good scattering of Lapwing and Redshank and 6 Little Ringed Plover. In the Wareham Channel this evening there were 2 Osprey fishing which were later seen in Middlebere. 

Moulting male Teal - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Spoonbill - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Green Woodpeckers - Lytchett Heath - Ian Ballam

Sand Lizard - Lytchett Heath - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 02/07/17

It’s always nice when a Roseate Tern drops in unexpected on to the Brownsea Lagoon, which is exactly what happened today around midday. An adult was out on the ‘Boomerang’ in front of the lower hide, which at this time of the year is possibly a failed breeder from further north. A new Spoonbill joined the group of 5, which have been splitting their time between the Brownsea Lagoon and Lytchett Fields with all 6 together on the lagoon mid-morning. In recent years, numbers of returning Spoonbill haven’t begun to arrive back on Brownsea until early to mid August so having 6 back already is a good start to trying to break another UK record total like we saw in 2015 and 2016 where the harbour reached a peak of 60 Spoonbill by mid October. Also on the Lagoon today were singles of Whimbrel, Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwit and Ringed Plover. At Lytchett Fields the Little Ringed Plover total has now risen to 10 which for early July is quite exceptional, there were still also 7 Green Sandpiper on the fields too. Our second Nightjar walk of the weekend at Arne was another wonderful evening with the wind dropping off (along with the temperature), and a wonderful display of several calling males complete with wing clapping and fly-by sightings. The Barn Owl was again hunting over on the opposite side of Middlebere, more Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit and Shelduck were all moving about the channel as Swift, Grey Heron and Little Egret all followed regular flight paths back to their roost sites.

Harbour Update - posted 01/07/17

We mentioned yesterday that birds were beginning to move already with the first signs of autumn passage getting underway. What we weren’t expecting though was a drake Common Scoter to drop into Holes Bay NE at dawn, just off the outflow channel. This was obviously a bird in transit as it only stayed for 30 seconds before flying off SW back over the railway bridge…a very interesting mid-summer record. There was some more interaction between a couple of Osprey at Middlebere with one bird eating a fish on the pole and another coming to harass it. An early fledged juvenile from somewhere, maybe hassling for some food? Or a fish envy altercation between the two birds present since early June? At Lytchett Fields the Little ringed Plover total went up to 7, with 7 Green Sandpiper, the 1stGreenshank of the autumn, 21 Lapwing, 53 Redshank and 5 Spoonbill. Nearby, on Lytchett Heath a short ringing session saw the first juv Reed Warblers of the autumn caught along with 3 Cetti’s Warbler and several Reed Bunting. A quick check at South Haven produced 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Guillemot and a single Gannet off Pilots Point. This evening we hosted one of our mid-summer Nightjar walks at Arne and despite a gentle breeze we were treated to Barn Owl flying around the Middlebere Marsh, Osprey sat in the dead trees, Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit calling and flying into the Middlebere Channel as the tide began to fall, and of course as darkness fell, a chorus of Nightjar, perhaps 5-6 heard along with some active territorial chasing between two males right past our group. 

Kingfisher - Holes Bay north - Olly Slessor

Harbour Update - posted 30/06/17

A better today with more signs of dispersal around the harbour, where a fresh juv Kingfisher was ringed in Holes Bay north. You can ID young Kingfisher quite easily this time of year, especially with a decent view. The tops of their feet are dirty brown and grubby and their overall plumage a duller blue with brown toned fringes to some of the feathers. Both adult and young Kingfisher disperse from their breeding grounds at the end of the summer and head down river to coastal spots which is why you can often encounter Kingfisher at places like Poole Quay, Poole Park and Baiter from now to Feb. The Osprey was again on the perching post in Middlebere for most of the afternoon. At Lytchett Bay a Red Kite drifted over Otter Island towards Turlin Moor and on Lytchett Fields there were 2 Little Ringed Plover and 5 Green Sandpiper. We’ve also had a decent amount of recoveries from a ringing site we’ve been running in the north of the harbour this spring called Fleets Corner. Earlier in the spring (mid-March) we experienced a rush of Chiffchaff, several of them already ringed. Below is the ringing history for those birds. Plus a recovery of one of the birds we ringed at Fleets Corner re-trapped elsewhere.










Web Design by Beetleweb