August 2017

Harbour Update - posted 29/08/17

With the busyness of August bank holiday over with and the roads now a little more easy going, venturing from A to B around the harbour is a bit more bearable! A quick morning dash over to Ballard (from Poole) which would have been rather long winded just two days ago, was in fact a quick and swift process allowing us to squeeze in some birding along the way. Along the Ballard ridge there were 3 Redstart, 1 Whinchat, 3 Whitethroat, c15 Yellow Wagtail, c10 Chiffchaff, 7 Yellowhammer and the Hooded Crow.  On Lytchett Fields there was finally a ‘twitchable’ Wood Sandpiper along with 2 Ruff, 25+ Ringed Plover, 180+ Dunlin, 60+ Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Greenshank and 10+ Yellow Wagtail. At Arne 29 Spoonbill were in Middlebere with 1 Great White Egret, 3 Osprey and a flock of 30+ Yellow Wagtail moving between farm fields on then opposite side of the channel. Yellow Wagtail are pretty prominent around numerous farm fields at the moment, simply look around the feet of cattle out in the farm fields and listen out for their sweet, high pitched descending call and you should be able to locate them pretty easily. Yesterday evening a juvenile Marsh Harrier was giving one of our Osprey juvs a torrid time, chasing and harassing LS0 looking as if it wanted a piece of the fish he was carrying. 

Great White Egret with Little Egrets - Middlebere - Ian Brown

Osprey - Middlebere - Ian Brown

Spoonbill flock - Middlebere - Ian Brown

Harbour Update - posted 28/08/17

There was a really nice selection of birds around the harbour today including several scarcities/rarities. The Bonaparte’s Gull was still on Brownsea Lagoon mid-afternoon, the Hooded Crow was still at Glebelands, Studland, the Great White Egret was still in Middlebere/Wtych Lake area and in Stoborough 2 Ortolan Bunting were sound recorded during a night sound recording session. In the Holes Bay area an earlyish Wigeon was back in the NE corner with 2 Common Sandpiper. At Lytchett Heath, a ringing session produced 7 Grasshopper Warbler, 16 Reed Warbler, 30 Sedge Warbler, 7 Blackcap, 7 Willow Warbler and 13 Chiffchaff, whilst migration through Ballard Down included 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 6 Whitethroat, 1 Redstart and an early moving Reed Bunting. At Swineham 3 Yellow Wagtail were in the paddocks with 1 Wheatear also an Osprey was out over the Wareham Channel and a Garden Warbler was feeding in the garden of Fourfields Barn. Lytchett fields was busy again with the first Ruff of the autumn also 26 Ringed Plover, 189 Dunlin, 6 Greenshank, 80+ Black-tailed Godwit, 140+ Redshank, 20 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper as well as Lapwing, a few Common Snipe and 4 Yellow Wagtail. On Brownsea there were 22 Spoonbill and a single Arctic Tern. Finally a Nightjar was found roosting near Arne. 

Harbour Update - posted 27/08/17

It’s been so busy with birds recently that the thought of a new species being added to the Poole Harbour list for this year could possibly send us into overdrive. Well, today a new species was added to the Poole Harbour list for the year in the shape of a Hooded Crow found by Steve Smith originally near Manor Farm, Studland and then watched feeding in the farm fields near Glebelands. Can you really get excited about Crow? You certainly can! Especially when it looks as great in real life as it does in Peter Moores photo below. Passerine totals through the harbour were lower today but the variety still high with 2 Grasshopper Warbler, Garden Warbler, Reed & Sedge Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Tree Pipit, House & Sand Martin all ringed at Ballard, whilst at Greenlands Farm Yellow Wagtail, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Wheatear and Blackcap were also noted. On Brownsea 26 Spoonbill were roosting, a juvenile Garganey was in the central lagoon and 2-4 Ruff were at the back of the lagoon for a short while along with 1 imm Pintail, 200+ Dunlin, 45+ Ringed Plover, 26 Avocet, 13 Greenshank and 4 Spotted Redshank. At Lytchett Fields/Bay there was a Redstart, 1 Grashopper Warbler, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Osprey (adult), 2 Yellow Wagtail and good numbers of waders. In Brands Bay there was a single Spoonbill with 38+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Greenshank and 35+ Dunlin. Its now very obvious that LS7, one of our Osprey chicks from this years translocation project has left us already! There has been no sight or signal from this bird now since Friday morning. He could even be in southern Spain by now!

Hooded Crow - Glebelands, Studland - Peter Moore

Yellow Wagtail - Greenlands Farm, Studland - Peter Moore

Willow Warbler - Greenlands Farm, Studland - Peter Moore

Common Whitethroat - Greenlands Farm, Studland - Peter Moore

Harbour Update - posted 26/08/17

Today was our third and final Osprey boat trip which after yesterdays excitement was going to be tough to beat. However we like a challenge, so the gauntlet was thrown back down again to see what we could produce for our guests on board. Well, the weather stayed firm and provided a mill pond like setting and sure was sure enough, without fail 3 Osprey were seen with one perched up on an artificial nest on Arne, one out over Arne Moors and one circling high over Arne. A Great White Egret was a nice addition to the boat list  and a Peregrine chase in the mouth of the Frome was spectacular. We also saw 3 different Marsh Harrier, one of which was wing-tagged and believed to be from a site in Norfolk which was then promptly seen off by one of the juv Osprey. In Middlebere there were 7 Spoonbill. Up on Ballard Down our monthly field trip took place which was also busy with birds and included an Osprey heading out over the top of Ballard Down (more on that in a minute), 3 Peregrine, c50 Med Gull, 10 Chiffchaff, 30+ Willow Warbler, 15 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 6 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Redstart, 1 Whinchat, 14 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and 220 Goldfinch. At Lytchett Bay a few migrants were moving too with 6 Whitethroat, 5 Tree Pipit, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Yellow Wagtail and 20 Green Sandpiper, 4 Ringed Plover and 195 Teal all on the fields. On Slepe Heath there were 11 Whitethroat, 1 Whinchat, 14 Stonechat, 7 Dartford Warbler, 1 Wheatear, 1 Redstart and 8 Willow Warbler. On Brownsea the Bonaparte’s Gull was still present with 18 Spoonbill and 1 Little Stint. Finally, we believe one of our Osprey chicks from this years trans-location project has left on migration already! LS7 hasn’t been seen or heard of since Friday morning where it was hanging around by the pen. One of our team went to do the evening feed later that day and didn’t pick up a signal and now being late on Saturday evening, still with no signal its safe to assume its well on its way to Africa. We wish LS7 a safe and event-free journey and look forward to seeing it again in a few years time. 

Greenshank - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 25/08/17

Today was our second Osprey bird boat of three and the conditions today (and the same for tomorrow) looked perfect. But don’t you just hate it when a crowd comes to see you and someone, or in this case something else steals the show? That’s exactly what happened today when the Ospreys were well and truly out-classed (as much as it pains us to say that). We were treated to an excellent flying display of an Osprey along the Arne shoreline down the Wareham Channel, while another flew to the north heading for Lytchett Bay. Common and Sandwich Tern were actively feeding, looking as if they were diving into glass as the harbour was totally motionless. Then it was the turn of the seals with 2-3 seen in the mouth of Middlebere and 3 Common Sandpiper were on the shore of Long Island. Then, out of nowhere, local musician and birder Simon Emmerson shouted out “whats that?? A..a Phalarope”…. and sure enough, not 10 feet from the boat was a tiny, immaculate juvenile Red-necked Phalarope feeding happily as 50+ people stared down on it from a big yellow Brownsea Island Ferry. We watched it for a good 15 minuets as photographers happily snapped away in the mid afternoon sunshine. That wasn’t the only amazing birding event today. Elsewhere an incredible 73 Grasshopper Warbler were ringed on Ballard along with 27 Sedge Warbler, 11 Reed Warbler, 20 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 12 Whitethroat, 1 Redstart and 1 Tree Pipit. A Great White Egret was in Wytch Lake and 11 Spoonbill were in Middlebere. At Lytchett Fields there were 95 Dunlin, 110 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, 8 Greenshank, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Common Sandpiper, 23 Green Sandpiper along with 3 Spotted Flycatcher and 7 Yellow Wagtail. Redstarts were at Greenland’s Farm, South Haven, Hartland Moor and Slepe Heath with Whinchat and Spotted Flycatcher also on Hartland. In Middlebere 4-5 Osprey were present all day. 

Red-necked Phalarope - Central Harbour - Katie Horrocks

Red-necked Phalarope - Central Harbour - Rowena Bird

Harbour Update - posted 24/08/17

It started off fine but cooled down by the afternoon. Passerine migration didn’t really pick up too much other than the odd Whinchat or Redstart on Hartland. Whitethroat and Blackcap are increasing in numbers though and as august gives way to September these two species will increase even more. In Middlebere there were 10 Spoonbill, 5 Osprey, 2 Greenshank and 2 Redstart along the access track. Migration through Ballard was slow with just 6 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Whitethroat and 2 Redstart, although 94 House Martin were ringed and 2 British controlled birds were also caught. At Lytchett Bay there were 115 Dunlin, 21 Green Sandpiper, 10+ Yellow Wagtail, 12 Sedge Warbler and 1 Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher - Lytchett Bay - Shaun Robson

Harbour Update - posted 23/08/17

Apart from the obvious conservation benefit of our most recent Osprey translocation project there is a significant secondary benefit, which is the public benefit. Offering the opportunity for people to come and see these magnificent birds of prey is special in its self but being able to do it within the setting of Poole Harbour whilst watching plenty of other great wildlife truly is special. Today we hosted ours (and the projects) first ever Osprey translocation cruise where we were able to present, discuss and showcase the project to a budding and enthusiastic audience whilst taking in the best the harbour had to offer. We make no secret of the fact that this then provides all organisation involved within the project the opportunity to talk about their wider work, bettering and widening peoples understanding of other conservation issues and topics, which for us is just as important as the Osprey project alone. It was fantastic to see so many new faces and to take questions from everyone on board. It panned out exactly as we had hoped it would, when discussing it all those years ago, when the project was still just an idea rather than a reality. A huge thanks again to everyone on board and we look forward to our next two (Fri & Sat) this week. Thankfully, some (not all) Osprey played ball and our hardy passengers were treated to watching two Osprey fishing out in the Wareham Channel, with one even catching a fish. We also saw another (or the same) two on top of Arne Hill getting mobbed by Ravens. Whilst out on the boat plenty of Common and Sandwich Tern were still out and about feeding and we even had a Wheatear try and land on the boat near the mouth of the Frome. Black-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Shag, Little Egret and a Peregrine were also seen, but the real stars of the show were of course our talon-masked friends. Elsewhere in the harbour a Marsh Tit was ringed up on Ballard Down which is pretty exceptional along with 32 House Martin and 1 Garden Warbler. On Brownsea there were 2 Spoonbill, 1 Little Stint, 1 Spotted Redshank and the Bonaparte’s Gull. Lytchett Fields was mad with birds including 126 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 14 Green Sandpiper, 1 Knot, 8 Greenshank, 126 Redshank, 3 Common Sandpiper and a good sweep of Lapwing, Common Snipe, Shelduck and Black-tailed Godwit as well as 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Whinchat and 7 Yellow Wagtail. We also began night recording again properly a few nights ago and last night was quite busy with birds as 13 Tree Pipit, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin, 2 individual Common Sandpiper and 1 flock, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit flock, 1 small Ringed Plover flock and 1 Common Snipe all passing over our listening station between 9pm and 4:30am.

Common Seals see from Osprey boat trip this AM - Phyl England

All aboard.....Osprey boat trip this AM 

Osprey - Middlebere - Simon Kidner (not photographed from boat trip)

Harbour Update - posted 22/08/17

A dark, dank, misty murky morning welcomed us this morning and it didn’t budge until around 11am, and with a stiff easterly wind it forced a Great Skua into Poole Bay which seemed lost in the fog, until it then cleared and the bird then headed out back south again, along with 9 Common Scoter. Ringing totals near Ballard included just 9 Willow Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 6 Whitethroat and a Redstart. On Brownsea there was still 1 Little Stint and in Middlebere 5 Osprey and 9 Spoonbill were present. Night migration over our listening station in Old Town Poole was pretty slow too with just 3 Tree Pipit, 6 Robin, 3 Common Sandpiper and 1 Ringed Plover.

Juvenile Osprey - Middlebere - Simon Kidner


Juvenile Osprey - Middlebere - Simon Kidner

Harbour Update - posted 21/08/17

Once Sundays ‘yuk’ had moved on through, things improved weather wise and some passage picked up first thing with a good flurry of birds moving through Ballard which included 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, and the standard Blackcap, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler. Sadly, we didn’t experience a stonking American gem like those lucky so and so’s did over at Portland when an American Yellow Warbler turned up at Culverwell, although it just goes to show, you just never ever know what will turn up next! On Brownsea there were good numbers of Black-tailed godwit, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Little Egret, 1 Knot, 1 Little Stint, 2 Kingfisher and several Common and Sandwich Tern still hanging about. Out in the Wareham Channel there were 3-4 Osprey fishing/hunting/soaring with 2 Hobby over Arne Moors and an adult male Marsh Harrier left the dawn roost in Poole harbour west. Spotted Flycatcher are seemingly quite numerous at present with family groups and migrants active on many wooded, heathland edges, enjoying the warm sunshine and late summer insects. At Lytchett Fields there were 12 Yellow-legged Gull out in the whilst on the fields 123 Redshank, 104 Black-tailed Godwit, 91 Dunlin, 54 Lapwing, 12 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 20+ Green Sandpiper, 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Wheatear and 1 Yellow Wagtail all enjoyed the late afternoon high tide. 

Pied Flycatcher - Ballard - Olly Slessor

Redstart - Ballard - Olly Slessor

Harbour Update - posted 20/08/17

This morning the Great White Egret appeared in Middlebere again before flying off north-east towards Round Island. Also in Middlebere were 10 Spoonbill, 3 Osprey, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hobby and 1 Green Sandpiper, c200 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Greenshank. There was also a reliable report of a Goshawk heading over Middlebere mid-morning too, which spooked all the Spoonbill and waders. Confirmed records of ‘Gos’ are less than annual within our Poole Harbour area but with populations increasing elsewhere around the country, dispersing juveniles could well be moving through the area right now. On Brownsea there were 2 juv Little Stint. At Lytchett Fields there were 85 Dunlin, 81 Redshank, 21 Green Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ringed Plover, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and 2 Blackcap. Migration through Ballard Down, Studland included 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Spotted Flycatcher plus several each of Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Whitethroat.

Great White Egret - Middlebere - Phyl England

Spoonbill - Middlebere - Phyl England

Harbour Update - posted 19/08/17

Middlebere again saw a good deal of coverage with 9 Spoonbill, 3-4 Osprey but no sign of the Great White Egret. The first fledged juvenile Hobby of the summer were seen out over Hartland Moor and Marsh Harrier were seen at Lytchett Bay, Middlebere and Wareham Channel. A ringing session at Lytchett Bay produced 55 Sedge Warbler, 17 Reed Warbler, 4 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Tree Pipit and a Cetti’s Warbler whilst out on Lytchett Fields there were 90+ Dunlin, 6 Greenshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Tree Pipit, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Blackcap and 2 Whitethroat. On the Brownsea Lagoon there was a single Little Stint with c200 Dunlin, 15 Avocet, c200 Black-tailed Godwit and 11 Ringed Plover.

Harbour Update - posted 18/08/17

Middlebere is receiving a lot of attention at present, and for good reason too. There were 8 Spoonbill, 3-4 Osprey and 1 Great White Egret, 8 Greenshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 400 Black-tailed Godwit and a Barn Owl there today. An Osprey was also seen leaving high to the south this AM although it was a presumed adult rather than one of our chicks. In the Wareham Channel 2 Marsh Harrier and another Osprey were out near the mouth of the Frome. 

Osprey - Middlebere - Phyl England

Harbour Update - posted 17/08/17

There was no sign of any Great White Egret today but 2 Cattle Egret were seen late yesterday afternoon, suggesting that (at least some of) the eight from yesterday morning were still hanging around. A Pied Flycatcher was seen at Arne and Redstarts were on Hartland and Slepe Heath. Ospreys were seen in Middlebere and off Shipstal Beach, Arne. 

Harbour Update - posted 16/08/17

Today, amazingly was a THREE egret day! Being late summer, good numbers of Little Egret are now back in the harbour and this morning 1 (possibly 2) Great White Egret were seen along the southern edge with one flying in over SW over South Haven towards Brownsea with another (or the same) seen in Middlebere later on. The most incredible report was 3 Cattle Egret flying into Middlebere with 5 Little Egret at 8:30am. However upon closer inspection of the photo the 5 Little Egret were in fact juvenile Cattle Egret meaning 8 flew in together!! This constitutes the largest Poole Harbour gathering of this species and could be a sign of things to come for the coming years? How prominent will they be this autumn and winter? Also in Middlebere were 7 Spoonbill, 4+ Osprey and 8+ Greenshank with a Whinchat along the entrance track. On the Brownsea Lagoon the Bonaparte’s Gull was still present with a Little Stint, 11+ Greenshank, 14 Avocet, 112 Little Egret, 160 Redshank, 3 Spotted Redshank, 110 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Knot, 325 Dunlin, 59 Ringed Plover, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 30 Teal, 1 Osprey, 1 Hobby and 4 Kingfisher

Harbour Update - posted 15/08/17

An early morning stroll to Holton Lee was worth it when a juvenile Cuckoo was found feeding near the car park, in the horse field. It spent much of the morning feeding on worms, seemingly not bothered by us stood 20m away photographing and filming it. At Lytchett Fields there were 104 Dunlin, 64 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Greenshank, 6 Common Sandpiper, 20+ Green Sandpiper, 60+ Redshank and 1 Spoonbill whilst elsewhere in Lytchett Bay a ringing session produced 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 11 Reed Warbler and 14 Sedge Warbler. Migration through Ballard Down consisted of 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 11 Common Whitethroat and several Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 2 Greenshank, 11 Avocet, 60 Redshank, 4 Common Sandpiper and a presumed Razorbill off the Brownsea Quay. Ospreys were seen over Brownsea, Middlebere and Arne. 

Cuckoo - Holton Lee - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 14/08/17

With the increase in breeding totals of Great White Egret elsewhere in the country its no surprise these large white herons are becoming a more regular visitor to the harbour. This morning one went over the southern shores of the harbour and was later seen in the Wareham Channel. The Spoonbill total has now risen to 9 which is typical for early/mid August and we expect that number to continue to increase up until mid October with last year seeing a UK record of 60 Spoonbill in the harbour. Lytchett Fields was busy again with 106 Dunlin, 65 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Greenshank, 27 Little Egret, 80 Redshank, 70 Lapwing, 6 Common Sandpiper and 15+ Green Sandpiper. Migration through Ballard Down included 1 Redstart, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, several Common Whitethroat, 10+ Willow Warbler, a few Blackcap and a juv Great Spotted Woodpecker. All 8 Osprey chicks continue to do well and are now becoming more frequent in other areas of the harbour. Arne and Middlebere are still great places to look but they’ve also started venturing towards the Wareham Channel too which is great news. 

Common Redstart - Ballard Down

Juv (left ) and adult (right) Common Whitethroat - Ballard Down

Grasshopper Warbler - Ballard Down


Harbour Update - posted 13/08/17

Hoorah! Summer is back! For a few days at least. Another nice selection from around the harbour today including 2 male Golden Pheasant on Furzey Island, a species that’s been in much decline on Brownsea over the last few years due to mass Rhododendron removal. Furzey on the other hand has kept vast amounts of this ornamental scrub giving the Golden Pheasant their favourite hiding place.  In Wytch Lake the over-summering 2 Brent Geese were still there with 1 Yellow-legged Gull and 3 Avocet with Yellow and Pied Wagtail over and a Pied Flycatcher at Fitzworth. On Brownsea an Osprey passed over the lagoon where 3 Spotted Redshank were feeding. At Lytchett Fields there were 5 Common Sandpiper, 4 Greenshank, 60+ Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 20+ Willow Warbler, 6 Sedge Warbler and 4 Whitethroat. At Arne 3 Osprey were flying above Coombe Heath together with 6 Spoonbill, 1 Redstart and 4 Greenshank around the Middlebere area and a Barn Owl sat out in broad day light out in front of the Middlebere hide.

Golden Pheasants - Furzey Island - Nick Hopper

Harbour Update - posted 12/08/17

Earlier this week we released our last two chicks, LS2 and LS4. Both have had an excellent five days flying time and have fitted right in with the other six. So, as it stands all eight of this years birds are now flying and doing brilliantly. Already many of them have spent time touring the SW and southern areas of the harbour with Arne/Middlebere being a particularly good place to try and see them. Phew! We're so happy to be at this stage now and to see them all doing so well is just fantastic.

There was another good suit of birds today with the highlight being a Melodious Warbler at Greenland’s Farm, Studland down behind the empty barn at the western end with 1 Pied Flycatcher, 11 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Redstart, 4 Wheatear, 2 Whitethroat and several Willow Warbler. On Brownsea the Bonaparte’s Gull was seen again and the Little Stint was with Dunlin out on the central mud bank also 3 Spotted Redshank, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Firecrest on the island. Migration through Ballard this morning included 2 Grasshopper Warbler (one adult, one juvenile), 10 Willow Warbler, 3 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler and 3 Whitethroat. At Swineham migrants included 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 13 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler, 3 Reed Warbler and an adult male Marsh Harrier. At Lytchett Fields there was evidence Teal had bred on site with a female and 4 young still in tow on Sherford Pools, also 78 Lapwing, 92 Teal and 4 Common Sandpiper.

Pale, worn adult Grasshopper Warbler - Ballard - Olly Slessor

Olive, fresh juvenile Grasshopper Warbler - Ballard - Olly Slessor


Harbour Update - posted 11/08/17

A still dawn with cloud cover just sat off the coast dropped a number of migrants early doors with passage through Ballard including 1 Cuckoo, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 fresh juvenile Firecrest suggesting local breeding, 12 Willow Warbler, 8 Common Whitethroat, 2 Reed Warbler, 4 Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaff. Along the Wytch Channel there were 2 Redstart, 5 Common Whitethroat, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Willow Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler and 4 Stonechat. On Brownsea the Bonaparte’s Gull and Little Stint were seen early doors but not later in the day but 23 Little Egret, 11 Avocet, c45 Dunlin, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Spotted Redshank, 6 Greenshank and 1 Kingfisher put in afternoon appearances. There were 7 Spoonbill in Middlebere and at Lytchett Fields 9 Common Sandpiper were out on the fields with 21 Green Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 2 Snipe, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Kingfisher, 11 Sedge Warbler, 4 Willow Warbler and 2 Whitethroat.

Male Firecrest - Ballard 

Common Whitethroat - Ballard 

Harbour Update - posted 10/08/17

A fairly quiet day today but Brownsea got a good look with the Bonaparte’s Gull seen around lunch time, 1 juv Little Stint, 113 Dunlin, 13 Ringed Plover, 10 Greenshank, 84 Redshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, 228 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Avocet, 549 Oystercatcher, 13 Little Egret, 1 juv Yellow-legged Gull, 3 Med Gull, 1 Shoveler, 12 Teal and 8 Gadwall. In Holes Bay a juv Marsh Harrier passed over the north end during the morning, also 12 Yellow-legged Gull in the southern area of Holes Bay with 5 Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel and 1 Wheatear.

Harbour Update - posted 09/08/17

Another wet day but light enough to bird but consistent enough to down a handful of migrants. On Hartland 2 Redstart, 3 Blackcap, 4 Whitethroat and several Willow Warbler were in a feeding flock near the entrance of Middlebere. On the Brownsea Lagoon the Bonaparte’s Gull reappeared and an adult Little Stint dropped in too. At Lytchett Bay there were 6 Spoonbill, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 130+ Redshank, 70+ Black-tailed Godwit, 20+ Green Sandpiper, 12+ Common Snipe and 4 Common Sandpiper. In Poole harbour west 2 new Marsh Harrier arrived in to the harbour including an adult male and a duller male, making that 5 different birds present over the last week.

The Osprey chicks didn’t do a great deal today other than sit, and sit…….and sit. As we said, the rain wasn’t too bad, and there wasn’t any wind but it was enough rain to make them not want to move very far very fast, and we can’t blame them!

We also spoke to Charlie Moores at Hen Harrier day about what Hen Harriers mean to us southerners here in Poole Harbour and you can listen to that conversation within THIS PODCAST

Harbour Update - posted 08/08/17

It was a good day bird variety wise around the harbour with some good coverage too. Wader passage is really picking up now and the Brownsea Lagoon was busy with a decent increase in Black-tailed Godwit arriving in as 236 are now settled on the lagoon with a supporting cast of 16 Avocet, 18 Curlew, 130 Redshank, 12 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Knot, 2 Whimbrel, 450 Oystercatcher, 18 Curlew, 61 Dunlin, 6 Sanderling, 10 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Turnstone, 1 Yellow-legged Gull and 1 Med Gull with a small fall of migrants across the island which included c30 Willow Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Redstart and 4 Whitethroat and a single Firecrest seen. In Middlebere 8 Spoonbill are now present with a newly arrived and pristine white adult amongst the younger birds, also a decent count of 29 Yellow-legged Gull came into roost, 5 Spotted Redshank were feeding along with 12 Avocet, 5 Greenshank, 2 Ringed Plover and a Green Sandpiper. At Lytchett Fields a Wood Sandpiper was on Sherford Pools along with good numbers of other waders, which included91 Dunlin, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Ringed Plover, 115 Redshank, 6 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpiper, 5+ Green Sandpiper, 12 Snipe and uncounted numbers of Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwit as well as a Hobby over and 2 Spoonbill.

We also had a fascinating encounter today when each of our Osprey chicks were sat minding their own business out on the marsh when LS1 flew up and off over towards Middlebere, near Arne. Ten minuets later it arrived back but with an adult Osprey in tow which then settled down and sat with our clan. It was then quickly observed that the adult Osprey had a blue ring on the right leg and Tim Mackril was able to get the ring number CJ7. A few quick phone calls enabled him to recover the details which told us the adult was in fact a 2nd summer female which was originally ringed as a chick at Rutland in 2015. Her sighting today was the first since she left for Africa back in 2015 and the Rutland team are ecstatic to know she’s still alive and doing well. CJ7 promptly settled down for the night and actually roosted with our chicks near the release site and stayed there until 8am the following morning. What she does from now will be interesting to observe, will she come back and hang out with our chicks once more? Or will she even begin to feed them like one adult female Osprey did up at Rutland in the early stages of their project? 

Adult female Osprey CJ7 - Simon Kidner

Adult female Osprey CJ7 joining our chicks - Simon Kidner


Harbour Update - posted 07/08/17

Looking at the long-range weather forecast it looks as if we’re going to have a ‘westerly’ august! Not conducive for the arrival of species such as Wood Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Little Stint….Aquatic Warbler! Never say never though as these types of weather systems are perfect for landing things like Pectoral, White-rumped or even the harbour’s first Baird’s Sandpiper on to our shoreline. The Brownsea Lagoon, Lytchett Fields and the new Holton Pools are all areas that need constant monitoring through August and September with good numbers of commoner waders arriving in and the added potential excitement of a rarity or two turning up in amongst them. At Lytchett Fields the wader number numbers continue to increase with 23 Green Sandpiper, 87 Dunlin, 5 Greenshank, 3 Ringed Plover, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 6 Greenshank and 1 Whimbrel with a decent Swift flock of c80 birds moving on through. In Middlebere there were 7 Spoonbill and 2 adult Osprey with several of the translocated juveniles venturing over that way a bit more. In the Wareham Channel there are now up to 3 Marsh Harrier roosting together. And finally a ringing session at Fleets Corner, in Poole Harbour north produced 2 Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warbler and 2 Willow Warbler.

Juvenile Black-tailed Godwit - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 06/08/17

Today was Hen Harrier south day, an event that sees conservations and concerned/angry members of the public rally together and campaign against the illegal persecution of Hen Harriers and all other birds of prey on the grouse moors of northern England. Each winter we’re lucky enough to see Hen Harrier here in Poole Harbour, with 2 or 3 maybe 4 if we’re really lucky touring the marshes of the harbour throughout the colder months. Spanning back to the 70s and 80s those numbers were much greater and several roosts containing up to 8-10 birds could be observed. Sadly that wonderful occurrence is no more, and with only 3 nests in England this year it doesn’t seem to be getting any better any time soon. Campaigner and TV presenter Chris Packham was at RSPB Arne yesterday along with RSPB director of England Chris Corrigan, children’s author Gill Lewis and the wonderful Dorset Police Rural Crime Team, who each spoke about the ILLEGAL killing of our wonderful birds of prey. In total around 500-600 people attended, hanging on every word that was being spoken, some who may have already been aware of the issue and some who were not. During his speech, Chris Packham promised we’d win the fight against illegal persecution stating that within the next 5-10 years the Grouse shooting Industry would be a reformed industry with new process in place to ensure a safe future for our birds of prey……we hope he’s right! What was really great through was that we were able to tie in a good news raptor story and at 1pm up on Coombe Heath we did a short talk about our Osprey translocation project. This was really well received and members of the public were able to ask questions whilst stood looking out across what is arguably one of the best views in Poole Harbour.

The Osprey chicks mid-morning were really active with LS5 disappearing almost over Poole Quay before returning and LS1 & LS5 flying off east together to cause mischief, circling over towards Brands Bay before returning 30 minutes later. LS0 and another (we couldn’t see the leg ring) did their first proper dives in the water too, talons out, taking aim and SPLASH! As great as it looked it was all rather half hearted though and were more likely to catch a cold rather than a fish, but hey…at least they’re trying. 2 adult Osprey were again seen near Middlebere and 6 Spoonbill were roosting at the far end of the Middlebere Channel. In the mouth of Middlebere there was 1 Spotted Redshank, 4 Greenshank, 10 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper with 1 Tree Pipit and 3 Yellow Wagtail overhead. At Lytchett Fields a Peregrine flushed a good number of birds off the fields but Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper and 1 Little Ringed Plover made a brave return. 

Crowd gathering to hear Chris Packham speak at Hen Harrier day south, Arne

Birds of Poole Harbour talking about Osprey translocation project at Arne

Chris Packham speaking at Hen Harrier day south, Arne

Harbour Update - posted 05/08/17

The Osprey chicks are still doing great and their confidence is growing day by day. Although much of the day’s are being spent around the pen site some are making longer flights now and are even flying to the feeding area, grabbing half a fish and then flying off to a favour feeding perch to feed, which goes to show they’re advancing all the time. LS7 and LS1 continue to do mini practice dives and are now happy to at least get their toes wet if nothing else! Will we see any catch a fish before they depart? We really really hope so!

Sightings from today included 2 adult Osprey over towards Middlebere. Lytchett Fields was busy with 74 Black-tailed Godwit, 55 Dunlin, 5 Greenshank, 9 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 106 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 15+ Green Sandpiper and 1 Wood Sandpiper later in the evening with a Common Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper on the new Holton Pools. A single Hobby was soaring above the Wareham Channel and 2 Marsh Harrier were near Arne Moors. There were 7 Spotted Redshank on the Brownsea Lagoon with 35 Dunlin, 2 Knot, 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper and just 1 Greenshank. A ringing session at Lytchett Bay was really productive with 40 Willow Warbler, 79 Sedge Warbler, 16 Reed Warbler, 2 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Garden Warbler, 1 Whitethroat and 1 Reed Bunting ringed. 

Osprey chicks eating fish on their favoured feeding posts

2nd winter Bonaparte's Gull - Brownsea Lagoon (yesterday) - James Phillips

Harbour Update - posted 04/08/17

You may have noticed we’d gone a little quiet on the Osprey news, and we apologise for that. It’s not that we’ve lost interest or even that we now want to keep it a secret. The true reason is because at 4am on Monday morning (July 31st) we released our first 6 Osprey chicks and our team were busy watching and monitoring their every move since then. Well, it’s been five days now since release and apart from getting a bit soggy on Wednesday all 6 are doing brilliantly, flying, feeding and even playing out in their new (temporary) home. We currently still have two in pens as they’re not quite ready to fledge yet, but they’ll be released early next week which would mean all 8 of this years arrivals will be out and about mapping and imprinting on the Poole Harbour area.

The release  was an anxious moment as you never quite know what to expect. Would each bird ‘play ball’ and stay within the release area where it’s nice and safe? Hmmmm, well, luckily most of them did but incredibly LS1 flew straight out of the pen and flew across the water to Arne where it promptly landed in a pine tree and sat for several hours. The lure of food and friendly faces soon drew it back though and by later that day he was with his mates again. On Tuesday LS5 made an incredible flight, soring high above the release site on a thermal until she was almost lost to view, however having travelled what looked a good few kilometres away, she calmly banked back around and softly circled lower and lower until she was back down again on one of the nest platforms put out by our team. On Wednesday they all looked miserable, as did we, but by Thursday the sun was back out again and each of the birds continued to grow in confidence flying from perching post to perching post and on Friday LS3 was even beginning to practice dive for fish….admittedly very half heartedly but good on him! We can’t believe we’re already at this stage in our first year, it’s all gone so quickly. Our team are continuing to monitor their every move for now so that we can ensure their long term safety and to make sure we know they’re eating plenty before the disappear for the autumn. For now they’re pretty faithful to the release site area because they know that’s where the food is but within the next week or so they’ll begin making bigger journeys around the harbour and places like Middlebere, Arne, the Wareham Channel and possibly even Lytchett and Holes Bay will be good places to keep an eye out for them. Our thanks go out again to everyone who has supported, helped, donated and advised throughout the project, we can’t express how much that means to us, and here’s looking forward to the next 4 years of the project.

Sightings from today included the Bonaparte’s Gull again on the Brownsea lagoon with video footage confirming it is indeed a 2nd year bird and not an adult unlike first thought. The first Redstart of the autumn was along the Hartland Road and 2 Yellow Wagtail were over Middlebere. An adult Osprey was on the Middlebere nest platform with 6 Spoonbill in the channel too. On Brownsea the wader numbers were down slightly with 1 Spotted Redshank, 7 Greenshank, 27 Redshank, 2 Knot, 26 Dunlin, 4 Common Sandpiper (and a flock of 11 along the north shore), 13 Avocet and 21 Black-tailed Godwit. Near the villa on Brownsea there was a Firecrest with 2 fresh young. At Lytchett Fields there were 40 Dunlin, 3 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Common Tern

First Osprey to leave the pens at 4am on monday morning

LS7 looking happy and healthy the day after release

LS3 looking out across Poole Harbour

Flying lessons for one of the chicks - Simon Kidner

Two's company three's....oh go one then! - Simon Kidner


Harbour Update - posted 03/08/17

Is it really summer? Lashings of rain yesterday and 35mph winds today, not exactly beach weather….unless you’re doing a sea watch of course? The harbour’s first Balearic Shearwater of the year passed Ballard Down in rough conditions along with several Fulmar and c80 Gannet. A Hobby was also hunting Hirundines along the top on Glebelands. At Lytchett Fields there were 23 Dunlin, 3 Common Sandpiper, 7 Green Sandpiper, 1 Whimbrel, 4 Greenshank, 5 Sedge Warbler and 1 Kingfisher. In Middlebere there was still an Osprey in the dead trees and 6 Spoonbill were in Middlebere. The Bonaparte’s Gull is still on Brownsea, seemingly enjoying its self. The channels and creeks around Middlebere, Wytch, Brands Bay and Arne still have lots of Whimbrel and building numbers of Grey Plover.

We also have some exciting news in that our scrape extension work at Holton Pools, Holton Lee is almost complete. We’ve opened the site right up now making more standing water and muddy areas which in turn will hopefully interlink with birds that are using Lytchett Fields. It may take a few weeks/months to bed in and become fully functional, but by opening it up it should make waders, duck and herons feel more comfortable with bigger wider open areas. Please, if you visit this site we’d love to know what you see so please report sightings to us or write in the log book left in the hide. 

New scrapes at Holton Pools, Livability Holton Lee

Harbour Update - posted 02/08/17

Hmmmmm. The less said about today the better. 30mph winds, heavy rain and sodden optics don’t make for good bird watching opportunities. The Bonaparte’s Gull was again on the Brownsea Lagoon for most of the afternoon and 2 Spoonbill were in Middlebere. An Osprey braved it on top of the Middlebere platform. Then everyone went home and had a hot cup of tea. 

Harbour Update - posted 01/08/17

The nice weather continued and it seems more birds are on the move. The first Tree Pipit of the autumn called overhead at dawn near the Wytch Channel and another 10-15 Yellow Wagtail also passed overhead over the course of the day. Yesterdays Sand Martin passage intensified today with an even bigger push of many hundreds going through throughout the day, mostly heading south along the southern shores. Today the Sand Martin were joined by a big pulse of Swift as c300 went through around 11am. There were 2 Osprey again at Arne with both feeding in the dead trees at the back of Middlebere, with 6 Spoonbill again in Middlebere. The Bonaparte’s Gull was present on the Brownsea Lagoon again but for the morning only.  A ringing session at Lytchett Bay produced 21 Sedge Warbler, 17 Reed Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 1 Common Whitethroat, 5 Willow Warbler and a selection of commoner species. 

Harbour Update - posted 31/07/17

Well, as luck would have it yesterdays Bonaparte’s Gull that was found on the Brownsea Lagoon mid-afternoon re-appeared mid-morning today and thankfully stayed around all day for plenty of birders to enjoy. Nestled in amongst the Black-headed Gulls it gave a good comparison and ID opportunity to get to grips with this Poole Harbour first. Then, in late afternoon we received a call that an orange ringtail harrier was spotted over Lytchett Fields. Thankfully it was seen again a couple of times by another birder later in the afternoon who managed to get a clear set of features indicating it was a juvenile Montagu’s Harrier, a real mid-summer treat! At Arne 5 Spoonbill were feeding in the Middlebere Channel mid-morning and 2 Osprey were in the dead tress at the back of the Middlebere marsh. All day there was a good passage of Sand Martin with many hundreds heading south with House Martin and Swallow mixed in, all pulsing along the southern shores of the harbour and heading along the channels of the Wytch and Middlebere channels. At Greenland’s Farm, Studland the first Yellow Wagtails of the autumn were passing over-head with c10 over the course of the day. Waders from around the harbour included good numbers of Whimbrel in all the bays around the harbour with their familiar calls echoing out across the salt marsh. At Lytchett Fields there were 36 Dunlin, 8 Greenshank, 9 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Yellow-legged Gull. At Lytchett Heath a juvenile Nightjar was ringed which was good as it proved breeding at this site this year (unsuccessful last year) and a decent count of 610 Jackdaw went into roost near by.

We also have a week’s worth of work beginning at Holton Pools, which will see the scrapes and pools expanded to create a larger open area for waders. This project began back in March this year and this next phase will hopefully make it more attractive to waders, ducks, gulls, Kingfishers, herons, passerines etc. 


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