December 2017

Harbour update - posted 31/12/17

The final day of the year didn’t yield any great surprises but, as you would expect, did produce some sightings which other areas would be envious of: 2 Great Northern Diver were seen from North Haven and at the opposite end of the harbour a Slavonian Grebe was in Arne Bay. 20 Spoonbill were roosting on Shipstal Point with another 2 feeding in Lytchett Bay where a Peregrine was causing havoc. Single Peregrine and Merlin were seen at Middlebere where 450 Avocet and 650 Black-tailed Godwit were counted. A couple of Spotted Redshank graced Lytchett Bay whilst nearby 2 Water Pipit crept around the Pools Field. Lastly, but by no means least as they are such stunning birds, a Firecrest was at Arne Farm.

A big thank you to all who have contributed during 2017 and without doubt 2018 is shaping up to be absolutely amazing – Happy New Year and good birding to all.

Harbour update - posted 30/12/17

Most of today’s action centred around Arne RSPB where there were 16 Spoonbill out on Shipstal Point, at least 2 ringtail Hen Harrier were seen in the area as were Peregrine & Marsh Harrier. Around the main car park at least 3 Firecrest were in evidence and a Woodcock was seen elsewhere on the reserve. 2 Green Sandpiper were on Lytchett Fields RSPB and in Poole Park there was a tight group of 11 Little Grebe as well as 6 Goldeneye.

Harbour update - posted 29/12/17

After yesterday’s extensive coverage the very changeable weather today clearly deterred people from venturing out for fear of getting drenched. With both Iceland and Glaucous Gull seen further west in the county in recent days we are still hopeful that a “white-winger” gives itself up before the year end especially given the recent weather systems.

The awesome spectacle of last year’s Starling murmuration has yet to be repeated so far this winter but as the winter progresses hopefully the smaller scattered roosts will all come together again to delight the crowds. The only reports received today were of a Greenshank on Holton Lee scrape with the continued presence of the Hawfinch around Priory Farm, East Holme.


Harbour update - posted 28/12/17

The Black Brant was seen again for a short period at Middlebere but remains otherwise elusive. In Holes Bay northeast 20+ Pintail were counted amongst the usual throng of birds feeding here. Poole Park is another good place to see birds close up and today 57 Tufted Duck were present as well as 6 Little Grebe. 3 Common Scoter flew west past Branksome Chine in the morning and another 2 were tucked up in Bramble Bush Bay where the female Velvet Scoter joined them. A single Red-throated Diver flew west past Branksome Chine and 4 Great Northern Diver were off Middle Beach with another in the harbour off Goathorn. The rarer grebe species were better represented today with single Slavonian Grebe off Middle Beach and Ower Bay. Black-necked Grebe numbered 15 off Middle Beach, 6 in Bramble Bush Bay and 2 in Ower Bay. Great White Egret were seen from Coombe viewpoint and along the foreshore at Goathorn. 13 Spoonbill were on Brownsea Lagoon with 22 feeding on Long Island later in the day with another bird present in Lytchett Bay. In the west a male Merlin, 2 Hen Harrier and 2 Marsh Harrier were seen in the afternoon and another 2 Marsh Harrier were watched flying west off Branksome Chine presumably fleeing colder weather elsewhere. Single Merlin and Hen Harrier were also seen at Lytchett Bay. The Stilt Sandpiper was still on Brownsea Lagoon where there was also 4 Spotted Redshank and 10 Greenshank. 30 Knot were counted on the lagoon. Just 1 Ring-necked Parakeet was seen in Studland village, have the rest of them decamped to Swanage where a small group has been seen recently? Along the Wytch Causeway 3 or 4 Water Pipit were present whilst nearby there were 27 Fieldfare along Soldiers Road and at least 10 Chiffchaff were at Norden Sewage Farm. Lastly, a female Hawfinch was again around Priory Farm in East Holme.

Harbour update - posted 27/12/17

With the continued pressure on Hen Harrier elsewhere around the country it is good to know that Poole Harbour provides a safe haven for this magnificent creature with a total of 4 currently using the harbour to feed and roost. Middlebere is still the best place to wait patiently for this species to perform an all too brief fly-past – wrap up warm though! 4 Spoonbill were feeding out on Lytchett Fields and the Spotted Redshank was showing well again in Holes Bay northeast. A Merlin continues to appear late in the day in the west of the harbour and winter thrush numbers swelled with birds moving down from further north.

Harbour update - posted 26/12/17

Holes Bay is always a good place to see birds up close and personal and today a Spotted Redshank was performing admirably just off the PC World Drain outflow. Wigeon, Teal, Black-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Redshank and Dunlin can usually be seen close to the cycle path in the northeast section of the bay as well it being a good spot to see Little Egret and, occasionally in very cold weather, Spoonbill.  At the moment the Spoonbill are a bit spread out around the harbour but haven’t visited Holes Bay much yet this winter, today’s reports were of 9 on Shipstal Point and 2 in the Middlebere Channel. A ringtail Hen Harrier was seen again from the Avocet Hide at Middlebere.

Harbour update - posted 25/12/17

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE and many thanks for all your support in 2017. We’re really looking forward to an exciting and full 2018 and hope you can join us along the way!

All of today’s avian action was at Middlebere where a Black Brant was found amongst 238 (Dark-bellied) Brent Geese. This is presumably last years returning bird which proved quite difficult to track down as most likely its favoured feeding spot is not easily viewable from public areas. The following were also noted in the channel: Teal 248, Yellow-legged Gull 1 1cy (first calendar year), Avocet 488, Spotted Redshank 1, Spoonbill 2, Hen Harrier 1 ringtail and a Peregrine.

Harbour update - posted 24/12/17

Few reports were received today the best of which was 4 Common Scoter off Hamworthy Park as well as a Guillemot in amongst the usual Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe. A lone Spoonbill was feeding out in Lytchett Bay along with 80 Avocet.

Harbour Update - posted 23/12/17

Dark and overcast day today, made brighter with the discovery of 4 Hawfinch in East Holme, at Priory Farm. They were in trees right next to the ford that crosses the road. A large Yew Tree is situated there, which is why we assume the birds are present. In Poole Harbour west 3 Hen Harrier were present late afternoon as were 3 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine and a Kestrel. Spoonbills were on Lytchett Fields (with 1 Spotted Redshank, and 3 Avocet), Shipstal Point, Arne and on Brownsea. 

Harbour Update - posted 22/12/17

Today we hosted our annual Christmas ‘Birding for Beginners’ boat trip around the harbour. Yet again with flat calm waters, viewing was made easy and a great selection of birds encountered. Out on the water there were 3-4 Great Northern Diver off the NE end of Brownsea, off Whitely Lake and in the North Channel. Out in central harbour the Velvet Scoter and a Common Scoter were with several Goldeneye with another c40 Goldeneye present around the rest of the harbour along with 3 Guillemot. Also c150 Red-breasted Merganser and c50 Great Crested Grebe were logged. In total 10 Black-necked Grebe were counted with some in central harbour and more off Jerry’s Point. 15 Spoonbill were gathered on Shipstal Point, Arne with another 15 on the Brownsea Lagoon. At Lytchett Fields there were 3 Water Pipit and several Chiffchaff were recorded around the Lytchett Bay area. Merlin, Marsh and Hen Harrier were all logged from Middlebere and a decent flock of Fieldfare were hanging around on the top of Hartland. 

Harbour Update - posted 21/12/17

It’s all about the open water at the moment. To have such a sustained long period of still weather is pretty rare in December so monitoring the open water bodies of the harbour has been a sheer joy this last week or so. This morning 11 Black-necked Grebe were off Hamworthy Park beach with 13 later counted off Shipstal Point, Arne. Great Northern Divers were off both sites too with another off Baiter. There have been 2 Kingfisher bombing around Poole Quay this last week, often favouring the stone entrance to the marina opposite the Lord Nelson pub. Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser and winter plumaged Great Crested Grebe are all fairly easy to locate now out on the open water, certainly any area west of Brownsea. Spoonbills were roosting on Shipstal, Arne and up to 3 Guillemot have been fishing in between Baiter and the Poole ferry terminal all week. There were even a few signs of spring (yes spring) when a Song Thrush was in full song at Upton CP mid morning, indicating how mild it is.  At least one Siberian Chiffchaff was seen again at the northern end of the PC World drain with 2 Common Chiffchaff and a Firecrest.

Little Egret - PC World drain 

Firecrest - PC World drain 

Harbour Update - posted 20/12/17

Yesterday there was some excellent news in that it was just announced that the British Government had agreed to extend the Poole Harbour SPA (Special Protection Area) by around 44%. This means that nearly 50% more of the Poole Harbour area has this statutory designation, meaning stronger and better protection for the areas within the SPA.  Several new species have been included within the designation too including Spoonbill, Sandwich Tern and Little Egret, meaning that Poole Harbour is nationally and internationally important for these species. This extra protection is a huge asset to the harbour and a real accolade to those who work tirelessly to monitor and protect our local area. Well done to all involved. This evening 2 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver and c20 Red-breasted Merganser were off Hamworthy Park Beach. In Holes Bay NE there were 51 Avocet, c2500 Wigeon, 4 Pintail, c50 Redshank and 1 Peregrine overhead. In Poole Harbour west we’re now up to 3 Hen Harrier which is great news and 5 Marsh Harrier now with a Merlin still arriving in at dusk on Hartland Moor. In Brands Bay a Black Brant was found in amongst 185 Brent Geese and off Middle Beach there were 2 Great Northern Diver and 14 Black-necked Grebe. A Woodcock and 12 Lesser Redpoll were seen along the Littlesea nature trail at dusk. The Stilt Sandpiper was on Brownsea again. At Littlesea, Studland it seems last years Starling murmuration is beginning to form again with c5000 coming in at around 16:30 this evening. Last year this spectacle was a huge crowd pleaser and brought so many people together. We’re hoping the same can happen again this winter with even more people getting to enjoy this natural and breathtaking performance. 

New Poole Harbour SPA designation area

Harbour Update - posted 19/12/17

Today was another fine day, with a good spread of winter birds around the harbour. At Arne 18 Spoonbill were on Shipstal Point and along the Middlebere Channel a ringtail Hen Harrier was present with another present out in the Wareham Channel. A Common Scoter and Great Northern Diver were out in central harbour with 3 Black-necked Grebe and the usual good numbers of Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye. At the Holes Bay NE outflow a Siberian Chiffchaff was feeding in the scrub and out from the channel outflow c40 Avocet, c50 Dunlin, c150 Black-tailed Godwit and c3000 Wigeon were feeding. At Lytchett Fields a Spotted Redshank was present and 2 Spoonbill were out in Lytchett Bay. A Great Northern Diver was off the Brownsea Quay and 2 Guillemot were feeding off Poole Quay.

Black-tailed Godwit - Swineham - Paul Morton

Lapwing - Frome Valley - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 18/12/17

The last Monday before Christmas and the weather is looking mighty fine this week. Perfect for harbour watching. If when out and about around the harbour fringes look out for some of the open water species that feed close to the shoreline such as Red-breasted Merganser, Great Crested Grebe and Great Northern Diver, the latter now seeming here in good numbers, certainly around the Studland Peninsular. Look a bit harder and Black-necked Grebe, Common Scoter and even possible Velvet Scoter and Slavonian Grebe can be found within the inner bays of Studland such as Bramble Bush Bay and off Redhorn. Holes Bay NE and Upton CP have been really busy these last few days with commoner wader and wildfowl species, but regardless of how common they are these areas offer excellent viewing opportunities along the cycle paths boarding each of the sites. Avocet, Redshank, Dunlin, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Teal, Wigeon, Pintail and Shoveler should be looked for with Spoonbill and Peregrine frequent this week too. At Pilots point this AM, 41 Sanderling and 17 Ringed Plover were on the beach and 7 Sandwich Tern flew by with just a single Black-necked Grebe feeding off shore in Shell Bay. At Arne and along Soldiers Road Dartford Warbler were active in the warm yet crisp afternoon soon and on Poole Park boating lake the Goldeneye are showing exceptionally well. 

Sunrise from Poole Quay and Baiter - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 17/12/17

Today we headed out on our first Birds of Poole Harbour Wareham Channel cruise in what were near perfect conditions. Flat calm waters and no wind or rain (initially) made for perfect viewing opportunities. As we headed out a Guillemot, plenty of Red-breasted Merganser, Great Crested Grebe and Shag were seen in the mouth of the Wareham Channel and as we cruised silently up towards the River Frome a large feeding raft of c200 Cormorant made the water look as if it were bubbling hot. A ringtail Hen Harrier had the courtesy of hunting pipits over the Swineham reedbed as we passed and the main Swineham GP help good numbers of over-winter waterfowl such as Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufted Duck and a couple of Pochard. Lapwing moved up and down the two river valley’s as did Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit just as the tide began to shift and a Kingfisher posed handsomely on top of some metal fencing up near Ridge Wharf boat yard. As we exited the River Frome the tide had dropped  slightly meaning some Avocet, Redshank, Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwit had come into feed along with 6 Spoonbill which showed excellently along the Arne shoreline. Out in central harbour c40 Goldeneye were in several flocks, with 4 Black-necked Grebe close to the boat as we headed across Balls Lake along with 1 Common Scoter more ‘Mergs’ and Great Crested Grebe. Up to 6 Sandwich Tern were feeding flying around the harbour and 2 Great Northern Diver were off the Brownsea shoreline. The Brownsea Lagoon was also busy as we cruised past with 3 Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit and more Spoonbill were singled out amongst the good numbers of commoner waders and wildfowl. In total we logged a very respectable 71 species and we’d like to thank everyone who made it on board for making it such an enjoyable and memorable trip.

Elsewhere around the harbour a Velvet Scoter was seen near the harbour mouth with 2 Common Scoter. In Studland bay there were 19 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Great Northern Diver and a Sandwich Tern with 5 Black-necked Grebe in Shell Bay. At the PC World drain 2 Siberian Chiffchaff were present including a returing ringed bird from last witer proving winter site fidelity, along with 2 Little Egret, 2 Kingfisher and 2 Cetti’s Warbler. On Brownsea the Stilt Sandpiper was present still, looking as if its now taken up winter residence here no matter what the tide state is. Will we see it stay until the early spring and moult into summer finery like we saw with the Lytchett Fields Lesser Yellowlegs earlier this year? 

Grey Heron hunting rodents in arable field at Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam

Goldeneye (male) - Poole Park boating lake - Ian Ballam 

Goldeneye (female) - Poole Park boating lake - Ian Ballam

Shoveler, Pintail, Wigeon Upton CP - Rene Goad

Kingfisher - Holton Pools - Rene Goad

Harbour update - 16/12/17

A ringtail Hen Harrier was hunting successfully in Lytchett Bay as was a Peregrine that was seen to take a Teal. Holes Bay north-east is a wonderful place to get up close and personal to a wide variety of species such as Wigeon, Teal, Black-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Redshank and Little Egret to name a few and a Spotted Redshank was seen amongst the throng. Today was the day that the Stilt Sandpiper was finally added to the ever expanding “seen via the webcam list”!

Stilt Sandpiper - Brownsea Lagoon via the webcam

Harbour update - 15/12/17

4 Spoonbill were seen feeding on Long Island off Arne on the very low tide along with a large group of Avocet. In Lytchett Bay a pair of Bearded Tit showed very well in near perfect conditions. An adult male & ringtail Hen Harrier were again in the west of the harbour along with a female Merlin

 Bearded Tit (male) - Lytchett Bay © Ian Ballam

Bearded Tit (female) - Lytchett Bay © Ian Ballam

Harbour update - 14/12/17

Studland Bay still held 1 Great Northern Diver although no Black-necked Grebe were seen but Red-breasted Merganser increased in number to 38. Mediterranean Gulls were prevalent in Studland Bay with at least 50 birds present some of which were attaining their black heads of breeding plumage.

The Stilt Sandpiper was seen from the school bird boat in its usual spot near the seawall on Brownsea Lagoon. Squally weather conditions for this morning’s school bird boat made any attempts at sensible counts challenging especially as birds were scattered far and wide around the harbour. That said, birds appeared to be everywhere and Brent Geese in particular seemed to have increased in number over the past week or so to several hundred birds. Thankfully, Spoonbill are nice and obvious to see and there were 7 on Brownsea Lagoon, 2 on Patchins Point and about 15 roosting on Shipstal Point with another 2 on Lytchett Fields. A single Guillemot sought relative sanctuary just outside of Poole Quay.

Harbour update - 13/12/17

Having bemoaned the lack of rare grebes yesterday it was good to hear of 21 Black-necked Grebe off Middle Beach along with 2 Great Northern Diver and 22 Red-breasted Merganser. The latter of these are numbering over 100 within the harbour but the other two are still conspicuous by the absence. Spoonbill are dotted around the harbour with 2 on Lytchett Fields having dropped onto Holton Lee scrape earlier in the day and another 7 were on Brownsea Lagoon. The trio of Great White Egret were reunited in the Middlebere channel viewed from Coombe Heath but more of a surprise was a Bittern which flew along there towards Shipstal. One or two Sandwich Tern were seen from Poole Quay but there are undoubtedly more in the harbour than this. The Stilt Sandpiper remains on Brownsea Lagoon but continues to avoid our webcam for the time being. Grey Plover are still much in evidence on the lagoon with a healthy count of 230. There seems to be lots of Redwing arriving at the moment after the freezing weather elsewhere in the country and there was a nice mixed flock of Redwing and Fieldfare in the Pools Field at Lytchett. If you want to try and entice these beautiful thrushes into your garden try putting out some overripe apples. Lastly, there was at least 1 Water Pipit on Lytchett Fields.

Harbour update - 12/11/17

Once again 2 Great White Egret were feeding in the Middlebere channel best viewed from Coombe Heath as was at least 1 Spoonbill. Another Spoonbill was off the black pipe in Lytchett Bay. The rarer grebes have been exactly that so far this winter so it was pleasing to hear of a Slavonian Grebe off Jerry’s Point in the company of a Black-necked Grebe with 3 more of the latter in Studland Bay.

36 Sanderling could be found sheltering in Shell Bay and the dunes there held at least 17 Linnet. Numbers of Ringed Plover in the harbour continue to fall year on year and the Houseboats in Bramble Bush Bay is probably the most reliable site to see them with 6 present today. 75 Bar-tailed Godwit were in their usual feeding spot along Shore Road. In the west of the harbour 3 Hen Harrier were still present including an adult male and at least 5 Marsh Harrier were in the same area.

Sparrowhawk - Poole Harbour © Mark Wright

Goldeneye (drake) - Poole Park © Ian Ballam

Goldeneye (female) - Poole Park © Ian Ballam

Harbour update - 11/12/17

2 Great White Egret could still be viewed from the Coombe Heath viewpoint but otherwise there was very little else reported from around the harbour. 28 Pintail were counted amongst the usual throng of birds in Holes Bay from the stone bench in Upton CP and nearby a was in a private Upton garden.

Brambling - Upton garden - Ian Ballam

Bullfinch - Upton garden - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 10/12/17

Today was grim, grim, grim and in amongst it all were the Poole Harbour WEBS counters trying their best to log the harbour’s wader and wildfowl totals. No easy task in 30mph winds and driving rain, but carry on regardless they did and managed to muster a Red-throated Diver into the harbour through the harbour mouth, 200 Brent Geese on Baiter and 5 Goldeneye in Poole Park, with 2 Sandwich Tern in Parkstone Bay. Because much of the harbour failed to drain away on the low tide, wader numbers were fairly spare with c220 Avocet feeding in the Wareham Channel and only a handful in the mouth of Middlebere and Wytch Lake, whereas further up the river valley’s Good numbers of Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew were feeding on flooded areas such as Arne Moors and Bestwall. In Middlebere a Great White Egret was feeding late afternoon and Spoonbills were spread across Arne Bay, Holes Bat NE, Lytchett Bay and the Brownsea Lagoon.  There was some fascinating news from Sunnyside, just next to Ridge where The Stour Ringing Group re-caught a Jack Snipe that was first ringed in November 2013, proving winter site fidelity of this species at this specific site. We’re not sure how often this has been proven of this species anywhere in the UK, plus the bird was an adult when it was first ringed four years ago so it’s a hardy little thing too. 

 Black-tailed Godwits - Holes Bay - Simon Buckell

Harbour Update - posted 09/12/17

Today, the harbour was calm enough to get a decent count of open water species logged, which included 1 Great Northern Diver, 15 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Common Scoter, 1 Guillemot, c200 Red-breasted Merganser and 50 Goldeneye, c75 Great Crested Grebe. On the Brownsea Lagoon the Stilt Sandpiper was still present and there were 10 Spotted Redshank. At Arne 8 Spoonbill were on Shipstal, and 7 were in Holes Bay. At Lytchett Bay a Merlin, ringtail Hen Harrier and Marsh Harrier were recorded mid-morning. At Middlebere 2 Great White Egret were in with Little Egrets, also c500 Avocet, 1 ringtail Hen Harrier were seen from the Middlebere Hide. There seemed to be a moderate arrival of winter thrush such as Redwing and Fieldfare with more visible than in recent weeks, likely due to the worsening weather further north. 

Brent Geese - Baiter Park - Ian Ballam

Spoonbills - Holes Bay NE - Ian Ballam


Harbour update - 08/12/17

Single Black-necked Grebe and Guillemot were seen from the harbour mouth this morning with a Purple Sandpiper nearby on North Haven. 2 Great White Egret were still in the Middlebere channel where there was also a ringtail Hen Harrier. A male Merlin was once again on Hartland Moor in the late evening. In Arne Bay a female Common Scoter was present and c25 Spoonbill huddled together on Shipstal Point sheltering from the biting wind. The Stilt Sandpiper was still on Brownsea Lagoon yesterday whilst there were 32 Sanderling on Pilot’s Point and 22 Spoonbill in Lytchett Bay. With the freezing weather further north perhaps we may see some cold weather movement over the weekend?

Harbour update - 06/12/17

The Stilt Sandpiper was again on Brownsea Lagoon - could it still be getting out into the Middlebere channel occasionally? 3 Great White Egret were still in the harbour and are best viewed from Coombe Heath on Arne RSPB. A couple of Great Northern Diver were off Brownsea quay as was a Black-necked Grebe and there’s a good chance that numbers of both may increase after Storm Caroline has passed through. During the day there were 23 Spoonbill on Brownsea Lagoon with 22 in the Wareham Channel as dusk fell. 3 different Hen Harrier were seen in the west of the harbour late afternoon. A large number of Dunlin totalling 2,490 were on Brownsea Lagoon which will disperse to other areas of the harbour to feed during low tides such as Holes Bay/Upton CP where they can be viewed close to the cycle paths. Likewise, there was a high count of 225 Grey Plover on the lagoon that probably head out to Brand’s Bay to feed. 2 Golden Plover on Lytchett Fields RSPB was a rare sight there and just across the river a Green Sandpiper was in front of the Holton Lee hide. A Water Pipit was also seen at Holton Lee with at least 1 still on the Pools Fields at Lytchett Bay RSPB. 23 Lesser Redpoll were voraciously feeding in trees directly behind the new hide at Holton Lee.  A single Hawfinchwas seen on Brownsea near the church so be sure to check your local churchyard! An early evening Woodcock survey at Arne Farm saw 4 birds logged and two new birds ringed, both of which were 1st winter birds. 


Harbour update - 05/12/17

An early morning survey boat out through the Wareham Channel and up the River Frome as far as Redcliffe yielded some interesting sightings. Most unusual was the large number of Brent Geese heading east out of the channel not long after dawn totalling 420. In the fields around Bestwall two flocks of Curlew numbered 33 and 42 whilst there were around 100 Lapwing. The leucistic Egyptian Goose has returned for a second winter joining the Canada Goose flock on Arne Moors. At least 2 Water Pipit were at the mouth of the River Frome as were c10 Bearded Tit and a Marsh Harrier. The Great Northern Diver was still in the middle of the harbour, 1 Hawfinch was still at Arne Farm and 4 Water Pipit were still at Lytchett Fields RSPB on the Pools Fields. In the west there was a juvenile male and female Hen Harrier in the later afternoon.

Late news for the 4th: A Bittern was seen flying over Poole Quay in the evening.


Harbour update - posted 04/12/17

The Stilt Sandpiper was seen from the School Bird Boat this morning in its now usual feeding spot on Brownsea Lagoon. The lagoon also hosted half a dozen Spoonbill with a further 20 birds roosting out on Shipstal Point. Other good sightings from the bird boat included a Great Northern Diver, 3 Common Scoter, 4 Black-necked Grebe, c150 Red-breasted Merganser and c50 Goldeneye. 4 Sanderling feeding on the beach on the south side of Brownsea Island was unusual. The lone Hawfinch was seen again around Frenches Farm whilst on the nearby Pools Field 4 Water Pipit were still present. Whilst we have known that there have been up to 3 different Great White Egret in the harbour this winter it was great to hear of 3 together from the Coombe Heath viewpoint today.


Harbour Update - posted 03/12/17

Today we hosted our first winter bird boat of the 2017/18 winter period. Departing at 10am the weather stayed fair (although turned rather chilly by the end) and our guests were treated to a nice selection of species out on the water as well as the Brownsea Lagoon. Highlights included a showy Great White Egret on the Brownsea Lagoon along with the Stilt Sandpiper, which was conveniently feeding close to lagoon sea wall allowing us to peer down on to it and 9 Spoonbill. The lagoon was also busy with Avocet, Grey Plover, Bar and Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Teal, Gadwall, Shoveler and a couple of Pintail. Out on the water a Great Northern Diver was in Whitley Lake off Sandbanks, a flock of c30 Goldeneye were in central harbour and 3 Common Scoter and 2 Black-necked Grebe were near the harbour entrance. There were 15 Spoonbill at Shipstal tool with a Peregrine briefly causing a bit of chaos. Red-breasted Merganser, Brent Geese and Great Crested Grebe were plentiful as were Shag and a large raft of feeding sinensis Cormorant. There was a report that 2 Great White Egret were seen from Shipstal and then later in the day one settled in Lytchett Bay briefly before moving to Lytchett Fields. Also in Lytchett Bay was 1 ringtail Hen Harrier and 3 Spoonbill were on Lytchett Fields. 

Great White Egret - Lytchett Bay - Shaun Robson

Spoonbill - Lytchett Fields - Shaun Robson

Harbour Update - posted 02/12/17

From Evening Hill, as the tide dropped mid-afternoon 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Goldeneye, 7 Red-breasted Merganser and 58 Bar-tailed Godwit were in Whitley Lake. From the top of Cliff Drive, in Canford Cliffs, looking out across a flat calm Poole Bay only 1 Great Northern Diver and 7 Common Scoter were logged. At Lytchett Bay, 5 Water Pipit were on the Pools Field along Slough Lane and the Merlin was on its perching post out in the bay. Spoonbills were in Holes Bay, Middlebere and Lytchett Bay. Middlebere was busy with birds, showing off with 1 Hen Harrier, 2 Marsh Harrier, male and female Merlin, 1 Great White Egret, 19 Spoonbill, c100 Avocet, 1 Barn Owl and a Firecrest along the track. 

Harbour Update - posted 01/12/17

Today a male Hen Harrier was back in the harbour again, seen bombing around with the ringtail female in the Wareham Channel area, also c250 Avocet were feeding in the Wareham Channel. At Lytchett Bay there were 2 Water Pipit near the viewpoints at Lytchett Fields, several Bearded Tit were seen from Lytchett Bay viewing mound and a male Merlin was out on a plucking post in the bay its self. Another male Merlin was at the Middlebere layby at dusk. Our first chance to properly survey Arne Farm this winter for Woodcock produced 3 new birds ringed and 6-7 individuals seen. From a school bird boat a drake Goosander was seen in Newton Bay. In the Arne car park 2 Firecrest were seen well near the visitors hut. Spoonbills are still showing nicely in Holes Bay NE on the low tide. 

One of three Woodcock ringed - Arne Farm - Paul Morton

Bearded Tit - Lytchett Bay view - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 30/11/17

Spoonbill were scattered around the harbour this afternoon on the low tide with 7 in Lytchett Bay, which then headed to Holes Bay. There were 3 in Middlebere and 12 in the Wareham Channel. Also at Middlebere the Water Pipit was in front of the hide again along with a fly by ringtail Hen Harrier. In Holes Bay, with the Spoonbill were good numbers of Avocet again close to the cycle path. At Littlesea a Great White Egret was on the main lake and in Brands Bay there were 41 Pintail, 141 Shelduck and 10 Avocet with c30 Fieldfare in Holly Bushes before the hide. 

Spoonbills from Holes Bay NE cycle path - Ian Ballam

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