January 2018

Harbour update - 30/01/18

The Great Northern Diver was still in Poole Park but seems to be sticking more to the centre of the main lake, also there were 6 Goldeneye. Two Great Northern Diver and 3 Black-necked Grebe were in Shell Bay with a further 3 of the latter in the centre of the harbour and 7 more in Studland Bay where a Red-throated Diver was seen. At least 6 Great Northern Diver were scattered around the harbour with a Black-throated Diver seen off the Houseboats where the female Velvet Scoter was still in the company of 2 female Common Scoter. Lytchett Fields RSPB held singles of Spoonbill, Greenshank and Green Sandpiper. With water levels beginning to drop on Brownsea Lagoon a few more waders are starting to appear and at least 7 Greenshank and a Spotted Redshank were seen from the school bird boat. An adult Caspian Gull spent a few minutes loafing around in Poole docks viewed from the office window on the quay – fingers crossed it reappears!

Harbour update - 29/01/18

The juvenile Great Northern Diver was still in residence in Poole Park with 6 Goldeneye and 4 Red-breasted Merganser. There were 16 Spoonbill on Shipstal Point with 2 still on Lytchett Fields RSPB. 2 Black-necked Grebe were off Hamworthy Park with 3 off Middle Beach, 4 in Shell Bay and 2 in Bramble Bush Bay where the Velvet Scoter was still with 2 Common Scoter and a Black-throated Diver. Mediterranean Gull are starting to reappear in the harbour with several seen in Ower Bay and then moving west through the harbour in the evening.

Harbour update - 28/01/18

Between Round Island and Green Island the Red-necked Grebe was seen again as well as 54 Goldeneye and along the shoreline were 964 Brent Geese, 64 Bar-tailed Godwit and 20 Spoonbill. In the Warehan Channel there was also good numbers of birds such as: 5 Spoonbill, 1,300 Lapwing, 370 Teal, 114 Grey Plover, 128 Curlew, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Spotted Redshank. A Black-throated Diver was seen off Hamworthy Park along with 3 Black-necked Grebe and the Great Northern Diver was still in Poole Park. Lytchett Bay still held 1 Spoonbill in addition to 3 Greenshank. Wytch Causeway is a traditional site for wintering Water Pipit and sure enough there was at least 1 bird seen there today. Single Hawfinch were seen near Newton Bay and again near Norden Sewage Works where there was also a Firecrest and at least 6 Chiffchaff. A Marsh Tit was again on feeders in the NT car park at Corfe Castle and the Hooded Crow was still at Manor Farm, Studland.

Harbour update - 27/01/18

Today’s undoubted highlight for one lucky observer was of 2 Crane watched flying over Stoborough Heath. A Spotted Redshank was still present in Lytchett Bay and at Norden sewage works there was 1 Firecrest, 5 Goldcrest, 2 Grey Wagtail but there was no sign of the 2 Hawfinch just north of there. 

Harbour update - 26/01/18

The 1st-winter Great Northern Diver is still in Poole Park and at Lytchett Bay there was a ringtail Hen Harrier early morning plus 1 Spoonbill. Arne Bay held 9 Black-necked Grebe with just 3 Spoonbill on Shipstal Point. The number of Purple Sandpiper has doubled (!) at North Haven with 2 seen today in front of the Sandbanks beach office. A Marsh Tit was on feeders in the NT car park at Corfe Castle which is just inside our harbour boundary. Lastly, the Hooded Crow was seen again at Manor Farm, Studland.

Harbour update - 25/01/18

The Great Northern Diver continues to delight visitors to Poole Park along with 5 Goldeneye and 4 Red-breasted Merganser. 1 Spoonbill was feeding in Lytchett Bay whilst there were another 2 on nearby French’s Pools. After a bit of an absence a Great White Egret was seen on East Lake, Studland. A single Spotted Redshank was present in Lytchett Bay. The Hooded Crow made another appearance at Manor Farm, Studland. 2 Crossbill flew over Salterns Copse, Arne, and 2 Hawfinch were seen again in trees to the north of Norden sewage works. 

Harbour update - 24/01/18

As yet another wet and wild winter storm hit these parts it was perhaps unsurprising that nobody appeared to venture out and consequently no records were received.

Harbour update - 23/01/18

The resident Great Northern Diver was still in Poole Park along with 6 Goldeneye and a pair of Red-breasted Merganser. In Lytchett Bay there were 3 Spoonbill whilst a ringtail Hen Harrier quartered the reedbed at the far side from Turlin Moor and nearby 2 Lesser Redpoll were along Lytchett Way. An adult white-winged gull was also seen heading south over Arne Moors mid morning bust sadly a confimred ID couldn't be had.

We also had an incredible piece of news this evening from our project partners in the Poole Harbour Osprey translocation project. Tim Mackrill received news from a warden friend of his in Western Senegal that one of our chicks from the 2017 release, LS7, has been seen safe and well in the Sine-Saloum Delta. This is just brilliant. This area is a well know Osprey over-wintering hot spot that Tim has visited before in which he states “you couldn’t choose to be anywhere better during the winter if you’re an Osprey than there…LS7 has chosen well”

The worry and mystery we felt after all 8 of our chicks left Poole Harbour during August and September last year was so intence, not knowing how they were going to fare. To know one is safe and well and in an good over-wintering spot fills the project with so much promise. We’d like to thank Adama Lene for getting the news to us quickly from Africa and we hope for more reports and sightings like this of other Poole harbour chicks over the coming years. Tim Mackrill will be writing a blog post about LS7 and its over-wintering spot which will be available tomorrow. TOP WORK LS7!!!!!

LS7's original UK and current African location


Harbour update - 22/01/18

The adult Black Brant again paid a brief visit to Middlebere but coinciding a visit for when it is in view remains a lottery. From today’s School Bird Boat the Velvet Scoter, 2 Common Scoter, 3 Black-necked Grebe and a Great Northern Diver were all seen in Bramble Bush Bay. The resident Great Northern Diver remains in Poole Park now gaining local celebrity status. Spoonbill were in their usual haunts around the harbour with 20 on Shipstal Point, 2 on Brownsea Lagoon and 1 still on Lytchett Fields RSPB. The lone Purple Sandpiper was again on the groynes and small outcrops at North Haven with 25 Sanderling in attendance. At Holton Lee a couple of Woodlark were seen as well as 1 Common Crossbill, 5 Lesser Redpoll and 45 Siskin. The scrape there held singles of Green Sandpiper and Greenshank whilst a Marsh Harrier patrolled the reeds.

Purple Sandpiper - North Haven - Ian Ballam

Dunlin in amongst Sanderling - North Haven - Ian Ballam

Harbour update - 21/01/18

It may have been a rather damp and miserable day but that didn’t deter the enthusiasm on today’s public bird boat and we were duly rewarded for our efforts. Undoubted highlights were a Red-necked Grebe out in the middle of the harbour and as we returned to the quay an adult Little Gull flew between the boat and Brownsea heading towards the Wareham Channel. At least 7 Great Northern Diver were dotted around the harbour but just 1 Black-necked Grebe was seen. Brownsea Lagoon was busy with 20+ Pintail and good numbers of Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal and Gadwall in addition to 70+ Bar-tailed Godwit including the breeding-plumaged bird. Other waders on the lagoon included a couple of Greenshank, 3 Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit and plenty of Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Curlew and Avocet3 Spoonbill were tucked up in the far corner of the lagoon and a further 15 birds were in their usual spot on Shipstal Point. A single Razorbill was bombing around between Brownsea and Brand’s Bay and 2 Guillemot were off Poole Quay. Rafts of Red-breasted Merganser were a delight to see so close to the boat and probably numbered around 150 with lesser numbers (c20) of Goldeneye. Lastly, a Peregrine was seen over the boat near the docks and c10 Ringed Plover were on the quay wall.

Starling - Baiter - Ian Ballam

Great Northern Diver - Central Harbour - Paul Morton

Harbour update - 20/01/18

The Velvet Scoter and Common Scoter were off the houseboats again along with 1 Great Northern Diver and 3 Black-necked Grebe. Just around the corner in Shell Bay there were 2 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Great Northern Diver and 30 Sanderling and further along in Studland Bay were 4 Common Scoter, 1 Slavonian Grebe and 8 Black-necked Grebe off Knoll Beach car park. Two Spoonbill were in Lytchett Bay and in the west of the harbour there was an adult male Hen Harrier with two ringtails and 2 Merlin.

Harbour update - 19/01/18

2 Egyptian Geese were again near East Holme from Holmebridge. The friendly Great Northern Diver was still in Poole Park with 3 more in Bramble Bush Bay and a further 3 in Middle Beach where there was also 3 Common Scoter and 2 Black-necked Grebe. Inside the harbour there was a Slavonian Grebe off Green Island and 6 Black-necked Grebe were seen from Shipstal Point first thing where there was also c20 Spoonbill, 1 Hen Harrier and 2 Common Crossbill. At North Haven there was just the 1 Purple Sandpiper with 5 Ringed Plover.

Harbour update - 18/01/18

The Black Brant was seen again amongst 200 or so Brent Geese from the Coombe Heath Hide. Nearby 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-necked Grebe and 3 Black-necked Grebe were viewable in Arne Bay from Shipstal Point and the Poole Park Great Northern Diver is still in residence. The only report of Spoonbill today was of 1 in Brand’s Bay. Middlebere continues to be the most reliable site to see Hen Harrier in the habour where a ringtail was seen in the afternoon. Single Spotted Redshank were on Lytchett Fields and in Holes Bay. Lastly, 2 Water Pipit were on Lytchett Fields.

Harbour Update - 17/01/18

The current bitingly cold wind seems to be keeping people indoors as well as pushing birds into the more sheltered inaccessible parts of the harbour. 3 Spoonbill were again in Lytchett Bay near Otter Point. A Slavonian Grebe was seen off Middle Beach in Studland Bay where 47 Sanderling were counted on Knoll Beach. Nearby the Hooded Crow was still hanging around Manor Farm in Studland village.

Harbour Update - 16/01/18

The Black Brant was seen again at Middlebere associating with 380 (Dark-bellied) Brent Geese. Single Velvet Scoter and Common Scoter were still in Bramble Bush Bay where a Razorbill was just a bit further in to the west. Two Great Northern Diver were in Shell Bay plus 2 in Bramble Bush Bay, 1 in Arne Bay whilst the confiding individual was still present in Poole Park. A Red-necked Grebe was seen from Shipstal Point out in Arne Bay where there was also 10 Black-necked Grebe. c20 Spoonbill were on their usual roosting spot at Shipstal Point. A ringtail Hen Harrier was observed flying over the track between the Middlebere cottages and the farm buildings and the adult male continues to be seen at various spots in the west of the harbour. From the Avocet Hide a Peregrine was watched unsuccessfully chasing after the massed ranks (1,000+) of Avocet in the Middlebere Channel where there was also 5 Spotted Redshank. Shell Bay held 2 Black-necked Grebe, 43 Sanderling, 34 Grey Plover, 5 Mediterranean Gull, 1 Sandwich Tern and 20+ Linnet. In Holes Bay there was a good count of 14 Little Grebe as well as 1 Spotted Redshank and in the nearby PC World Drain there were 2 Grey Wagtail and a Water Rail. One lucky observer inadvertently disturbed a Jack Snipe from a small pool in the Studland area and you have to wonder just how many of these secretive little waders are lurking around the harbour? Arne RSPB car park is still proving to be a reliable site to see Firecrest with at least 1 being seen there today.

Harbour Update - 15/01/18

In very changeable conditions today observations were somewhat limited. Up to 5 Great Northern Diver were seen from the school bird boat between Brownsea and Brand’s Bay whilst c500 Brent Geese were along the foreshore between Ower and Fitzworth. Spoonbill were spread around the harbour with 10 at Shipstal Point, 4 at Fitzworth, 2 in Lytchett Bay and 1 on Brownsea Lagoon.

There was no news either way on the Poole Park Great Northern Diver but here are some lovely photos of the bird taken on 12th January:

Great Northern Diver - Poole Park © Nick Mudge

Great Northern Diver - Poole Park © Nick Mudge


Great Northern Diver - Poole Park © Nick Mudge 



Harbour Update - 14/01/18

The Velvet Scoter was still in Bramble Bush Bay and is best viewed from near the House Boats. Also in that area were 3 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Great Northern Diver, 47 Sanderling and 8 Ringed Plover. The Great Northern Diver is still performing for the cameras in Poole Park, most of the time. A Great White Egret was in the Middlebere Channel in addition to 5 Spoonbill. The male Hen Harrier was hunting once more over Arne Moors. In Brand’s Bay there were 89 Grey Plover, 15 Knot and 249 Brent Geese. The Hooded Crow put in another appearance around Studland village.

Harbour update - 13/01/18

The immature female Velvet Scoter was still in Bramble Bush Bay whilst the confiding 1st winter Great Northern Diver continues in Poole Park with a further 3 in Shell Bay and 4 elsewhere around the harbour. 5 Black-necked Grebe were seen in the centre of the harbour with another 6 in Studland Bay where there was also 5 Common Scoter. 15 Spoonbill were roosting off Shipstal Point with 2 at Middlebere and 1 at Brand’s Bay. 2 ringtail Hen Harrier and a male Merlin were seen from the Avocet Hide at Middlebere late afternoon. A couple of Razorbill were around the harbour mouth and an adult Yellow-legged Gull was briefly off The House Boats. The Spotted Redshank was still in Holes Bay NE by the outflow. A single Hawfinch was seen in trees near Norden Station and at the nearby sewage works there were at least 12 Chiffchaff.

Harbour update - 12/01/18

The adult Black Brant was seen again from Coombe Screen in the Middlebere Channel although once again wasn’t on view for long. However, the immature female Velvet Scoter seems to have become quite settled in Bramble Bush Bay were there was also 2 Great Northern Diver. The confiding 1st winter Great Northern Diver was still in Poole Park. 8 Black-necked Grebe were in the centre of the harbour as well as around 20 Goldeneye and 120 Red-breasted Merganser. 15 Ringed Plover were on the shore near The House Boats (South Haven) with single Spotted Redshank on Sherford Pools and Holes Bay NE by the outflow. There seems to be a few more Redwing on the move at the moment and a flock of 25 in a Lilliput garden must have been a nice sight. A Brambling was seen at Lytchett Bay View.

Harbour update - 11/01/18

Numbers of Egyptian Geese continue to rise in the harbour area with 9 to the east of Holmebridge with another flying north over Lytchett Bay. Bramble Bush Bay still held the immature female Velvet Scoter as well as 5 Great Northern Diver and 1 Black-necked Grebe. The Poole Park Great Northern Diver was still in attendance catching crabs on the main boating lake. Four Spoonbill were on Brownsea Lagoon with another 5 on the foreshore in the Fitzworth area and a lone bird on Lytchett Fields. A Spotted Redshank was on Sherford Pools in addition to 3 Greenshank. A single Sandwich Tern was buzzing around Newton Bay where good numbers of Red-breasted Merganser (50+) were present. At Swineham a Bittern flew from the direction of Arne Moors and appeared to drop near Lakeview and in the nearby fields were 250 Black-tailed Godwit, 55+ Curlew and 40 Lapwing. A Dartford Warbler at the far end of Swineham GPs probably represents the first site record.

Harbour update - 10/01/18

A welcome bit of sunshine resulted in more reports today – thank you! Studland Bay held 320 Brent Geese, 3 Common Scoter, 2 Great Northern Diver, 6 Black-necked Grebe, 44 Sanderling and in the village 3 Ring-necked Parakeet. Bramble Bush Bay was also productive with 2 Common Scoter, 1 Velvet Scoter, 3 Great Northern Diver, 9 Black-necked Grebe, 5 Sanderling and a Kingfisher. With water levels on Brownsea Lagoon still higher than normal Knot have been quite hard to locate recently so it was pleasing to hear of 38 in Brand’s Bay. In Poole Park the Great Northern Diver was still in attendance as well as several Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser with the drakes displaying in the glorious sunshine. Two Spoonbill were still on Otter Island in Lytchett Bay and at least 11 were seen from Shipstal Point in the afternoon. The adult male Hen Harrier continues to dart around various sites in the west of the harbour. At Swineham a Firecrest was seen and several pinging Bearded Tit remained resolutely hidden in the reeds although a Grass Snake lured out by the winter sun was more cooperative.

Harbour Update - 9/01/18

The Great Northern Diver was still in Poole Park on the main boating lake and at least one was seen off Poole Quay. 1 Great White Egret was in the Middlebere area as well as a Spoonbill with another of the latter over in Lytchett Bay. A male Hen Harrier is still roaming the harbour and the best place to try and see this majestic species is from the Avocet hide at Middlebere. A Greenshank was with the Bar-tailed Godwit flock in Whitley Bay with 3 Sandwich Tern nearby at ED sailing club.

Harbour Update - posted 08/01/18

A freezing cold School Bird Boat this morning was productive in that the number of Great Northern Diver seen from it increased to 8, the highest count so far this winter. Also seen were at least 7 Black-necked Grebe and about 15 Spoonbill hunkered down on Patchins Point. Lytchett Bay still held 3 Spoonbill and the ringtail Hen Harrier was seen there once again. The Great Northern Diver was still on the main boating lake in Poole Park but was stubbornly staying out in the middle. At least two Guillemot were still bobbing around just off Poole Quay with one of them venturing in quite close to the wall. A Siberian Chiffchaff  (Phylloscopus collybita tristis) was seen in amongst the Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita collybita) at Norden Sewage Works.

Harbour update - posted 07/01/18

The Great Northern Diver continued to show well off the model boat area of Poole Park where there was also 16 Goldeneye on the main lake. The only Spoonbill recorded today was in Lytchett Bay where a ringtail Hen Harrier flew over heading towards the Wareham Channel where the male was seen again too. Just one Purple Sandpiper was present in North Haven. The over-wintering Spotted Redshank was still in Holes Bay just off the outflow from the PC World Drain. Lastly, the Hooded Crow put in a reappearancec in Studland village around Manor Farm.

Great Northern Diver - Poole Park © Peter Moore

Velvet Scoter (6th Jan) - Poole Harbour © Peter Moore

Harbour update - posted 06/01/18

Four Scaup were seen in the harbour between Brownsea and Arne in addition to the now regular female Velvet Scoter with a female Common Scoter. Up to 4 Great Northern Diver and several Guillemot were scattered around the harbour with 2 more of the former in Studland Bay and unusually one was in Poole Park. Water levels are still high on Brownsea Lagoon but it still held 4 Spotted Redshank, 5 Greenshank and several Knot and Grey Plover. A single Spotted Redshank was in Holes Bay again showing well near the outflow. In the Middlebere Channel a Great White Egret was seen again and a Barn Owl put in an early appearance around 2pm. A few Siskin and Redpoll were seen around Rempstone but no Crossbill could be located.

Harbour update - posted 05/01/18

The Combination of a very high spring tide and low pressure meant that there wasn’t any mud on show in the harbour anywhere during the two-hour school bird boat this morning. Subsequently most birds were pushed up onto the fields surrounding the harbour but one of the few species which appeared to be present in higher than usual numbers was Brent Goose of which at least 500 were seen in the Middlebere Channel. 6 Egyptian Geese were seen on floods in the East Holme area. In Poole Park there was no sign of yesterday’s group of Pochard but there were 12 Goldeneye and 7 Red-breasted Merganser. The female Velvet Scoter was seen again with 2 female Common Scoter between Brownsea Island and Goathorn and just 1 Black-necked Grebe was seen from the boat in choppy waters. 28 Spoonbill huddled together on a small newly formed island on Shipstal Point with another 2 on Lytchett Fields. 20 Little Egret up at East Holme were probably displaced by the high water in the harbour. A single Siberian Chiffchaff was still present in the PC World Drain viewed from the car park by KFC. The Hawfinch was seen again at Priory Farm, East Stoke, where 43 Chaffinch were counted.

Harbour update - posted 04/01/18

Once again the blustery conditions limited the number of reports received. It was good to hear though of a small flock of 6 Pochard in Poole Park in amongst the Coot and other assorted wildfowl. A single Great Northern Diver was off Poole Quay where 2 Guillemot were also seen. Higher than usual water levels pushed the regular roost of Spoonbill onto Gold Point where 28 were present with another 3 on Lytchett Fields. A total of 4 Hen Harrier were scattered around the west of the harbour.

Harbour update - posted 03/01/18

The relative shelter of Studland Bay was where most of the action was today with 2 Common Scoter, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 7 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Great Northern Diver, c220 Mediterranean Gull with single Chiffchaff and Firecrest in Middle Beach car park. A short watch from the harbour mouth at lunchtime produced 6 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill and 1 Great Northern Diver. On Arne Moors 2 Hen Harrier were seen as were at least 3 Water Pipit.

Harbour update - posted 02/01/18

Very stormy conditions meant there was little in the way of records today but the Hawfinch was seen again around Arne Farm and church though it remains elusive. Don’t forget if the weather is too bad to get out then you can always watch the new Feeder Cam at Holton Lee from the comfort of your own home here

Harbour update - posted 01/01/18


In spite of the persistent drizzle throughout the morning a very successful boat trip around the harbour yielded 95 species of bird setting a new record from the boat – can’t be long before we break the 100 barrier! Highlights from the trip included: Egyptian Goose 4 (Bestwall), Pochard 2 (Swineham), Common Scoter 3, Velvet Scoter 1 (Bramble Bush Bay), Great Northern Diver 4 (2 of which were close in off South Haven), Spoonbill 23 (21 Shipstal, 2 Fitzworth Point), Slavonian Grebe 1 (Fitzworth Point), Black-necked Grebe 21, Hen Harrier 2 (male and female Arne Moors), Spotted Redshank 1 (Arne Moors), Guillemot 1, Sandwich Tern 3 and a Mediterranean Gull. There was also a flock of several hundred Lapwing in the Keysworth area but no Golden Plover could be located amongst them. After the recent heavy rains very little mud was exposed on Brownsea Lagoon resulting in hardly any small waders being present so the Stilt Sandpiper couldn’t be added to the year list just yet.

Elsewhere in the harbour a Great White Egret was again in Middlebere and a Barn Owl and Firecrest were seen in the Arne area.

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