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February 2018

Harbour update - 27/02/18

Yep, its certainly getting colder and with just one more day to go until our new Birds of Poole Harbour visitor HQ opens, will we see a total white out before the big day? Who knows, but regardless of sun, snow or storms we’ll be opening at midday on March 1st, to celebrate the unofficial start of spring…and we really mean ‘unofficial’!

Despite the cold today a nice list of birds emerged including 2 Great Northern Diver and 2 Black-necked Grebe in Shell Bay, with another Black-necked Grebe flying through the harbour mouth early evening. In Bramble Bush Bay were 4 Ringed Plover, 32 Sanderling, 1 Greenshank and a Lesser Redpoll. At Littlesea the Great White Egret was seen (also seen from Coombe Heath) and there were 60+ Grey Plover in Brands Bay. At Whitley Lake on the low tide c120 Med Gulls gathered and there were 40 Sanderling and a single Sandwich Tern. At Norden sewage works there was a single Firecrest 3 Chiffchaff and 2 Hawfinch at Norden park and ride. 3 Crossbill flew over Poole Town and Blackcaps seem to be visiting more gardens than normal In Holes bay NE c10 Pintail, 2 Spotted Redshank and c20 Avocet were present. From Lytchett Bay view this AM, 5 Spoonbill were on Otter island and a female Merlin zipped over the marsh. There were 3 Hen Harrier still in the west of the harbour late afternoon and 2 Marsh Harrier in the Wareham Channel with c50 Bar-tailed Godwit which is unusual. On Lytchett Fields a single Spoonbill was feeding and there were 3 Water Pipit.

As we mentioned, our new engagement HQ opens on March 1st, but if you can’t make it then, we’ll be open over the weekend too. For a full overview of the project you can read our recent press release HERE. 

Cold bleak scene at Poole Park - Paul Morton

Snow descending on Old Harry and Ballard Down - Paul Morton

Harbour update - 26/02/18

At Lytchett Bay late afternoon a decent-ish gull roost formed in the bay on the rising tide, consisting mostly of Black-headed and Common Gull. 6 Med Gulls also dropped in but despite constant scanning in minus 1 degree nothing ‘juicer’ could be found. It seems Weymouth is currently hogging all the good gulls. 76 Avocet were feeding in the bay and just 3 Red-breasted Merganser could be seen. In Holes Bay NE another c50 Avocet were feeding in the channel, 11 Pintail were in amongst the Wigeon and Teal, the Spotted Redshank was in its usual place by the outflow and a Peregrine was on Pergins Island briefly. A quick scan off Baiter couldn’t relocate yesterdays reported Red-necked Grebe but 8 Great Crested Grebe, 11 Red-breasted Merganser and 5 Med Gulls were just off the beach. In Lytchett Minster, 2 Hawfinch were settled in trees by the church briefly. There were also 3 Spoonbill in Lytchett Bay, 2 on Holton Pools with a Water Pipit there too. In Poole Park Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye were showing superbly down to a few meters, allowing close study of plumage detail and features. 

Red-breasted Merganser - Poole Park - Ian Ballam

Harbour update - 25/02/18

The beast from the east is building slowly but the clear sky is allowing the sun to generate some minor warmth in sheltered areas and you can see birds taking advantage of this by sheltering on the leeward side of Spartina banks and muddy fringes. The cold wind is stall making viewing difficult but a Red-necked Grebe was reported off Baiter/Parkstone Bay and a Golden Plover was seen heading west over Holmebridge, indicating the possible beginnings of a cold weather movement. Also in the frome Valley near Holmebridge were 2 Egyptian Geese, 1 Spoonbill and 4 Little Egret. There was also a report of a possible Common Crane see flying over Organford late afternoon. 

Harbour Update - posted 24/02/18

With most people over Weymouth way twitching the (immaculate and stunningly cute) adult Ross’s Gull it seemed, reports from around the harbour were thinly spread. So, we’ll just provide a series of photos taken by local birder Ian Ballam, that highlights just how approachable the birds are along the Holes Bay cycle path and what an incredible place it is to hone in on your ID skills. These photos were taken early morning too when the light is best for Holes Bay NE.

Spotted Redshank - Holes Bay NE - Ian Ballam

Common Redshank - Holes Bay NE - Ian Ballam

Wigeon - Holes Bay NE - Ian Ballam

Little Egret - Holes Bay NE - Ian Ballam

Rock Pipit - Holes Bay NE - Ian Ballam

 

Harbour Update - posted 23/02/18

The beast from the east really had set in today and 2 degrees felt like minus 22 degrees in the wind. A survey at dawn produced 11 Spoonbill in the Wareham Channel, with one then heading out onto Bestwall. Three were then seen heading up the Wareham Channel late afternoon having passed over Sunnyside Farm. Five Hawfinch were seen with 2 at Lytchett Minster church on the outskirts of Upton, another single at French’s Farm, Lytchett Fields and 2 at Norden park and ride. Two Marsh Harrier were seen grappling very briefly which seemed encouraging however it was so brief that it could have just been a bit of playful/territorial banter. A single Great Northern Diver was in the mouth of the Wareham Channel and a Peregrine was sat on ‘gull islands’. 

Spoonbills - Wareham Channel - Paul Morton

Spoonbills - Wareham Channel - Paul Morton

Hawfinch - Norden park and ride - Keith Rawling

Harbour Update - posted 22/02/18

Very little reported today with just 2 Purple Sandpiper at North Haven, 3 Firecrest in the Arne car park, Med Gull numbers building along Baiter Beach and the standard spread of wader and wildfowl across the low tide. 

Firecrest - Arne RSPB car park - Keith Rawling

Med Gull - Fishermans Dock, Poole Quay - P Brown

Harbour update - 21/02/18

The harbour and surrounding area is looking just superb at the moment with these cold, crisp mornings and the sun glowing like a large orange balloon as it rises on the horizon. Mistle and Song Thrush can be heard singing through the still morning air, Dunnock are getting frisky in people’s gardens and singing contently from shed roofs and Great Spotted Woodpeckers are drumming their way to success in cold, shadow filled woodlands. There was a great variety of birds logged today including 2 Hawfinch that were in the top of trees opposite the Norden park and ride. Along Holme Lane, 2 Egyptian Geese were in ‘the egret field’ at the eastern end of the road with 14 Little Egret in there too and a Woodlark sub-singing nearby. Off of Middle Beach, Studland the Velvet Scoter was with 3 Common Scoter and there was a single partial summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe. From the houseboats at South Haven 2 Great Northern Diver were off the beach as were 4 Black-necked Grebe and a Common Guillemot. In Whitley Lake, Sandbanks a Black Brant was found in amongst the small Brent Goose flock and in Poole Park 6 Goldeneye (3 male and 3 female) were still courting. There were c15 Spoonbill on Shipstal, Arne and 3 on the Brownsea Lagoon where 5 Greenshank and c50 Avocet were also present. Med Gulls are now entering the harbour in good numbers on the low tide giving good comparison opportunities as they settle down with Black-headed Gulls.

Common Guillemot - Brownsea shoreline - Marcus Lawson

Hawfinch - Norden park and ride - Paul Morton

 Med Gull and Black-headed Gull - Shore Road, Sandbanks - Paul Morton

Black Brant - Shore Road, Sandbanks - Paul Morton

 

Harbour update - 20/02/18

With a nice bit of high pressure sat over southern England this AM and the sun shining it obviously got some Red Kite moving. February through to the end of April is a great time to try and see Red Kite in Poole Harbour as migrant birds depart over-wintering grounds (often in central and southern Europe) before returning north to breeding grounds. Some populations in England are sedentary and don’t move off very far, but the birds we see and experience on migration during the spring are birds that have moved south for the winter. They’re still a pretty scarce bird in Poole Harbour but in the right conditions good numbers can move through the county in a single day. Today was a good example of this with individuals seen heading north over Poole Quay, Lytchett Fields, Upton and Sandford over the course of the day. Only a very small number breed in Dorset, mostly in the north of the county so watching this stunning birds of prey as they glide overhead (often very low) is a very welcome spring sight. Out in Studland Bay, off Middle Beach the Velvet Scoter was with three Common Scoter, Spoonbill were on Shipstal, Lytchett Fields and the Brownsea Lagoon, the male Merlin came into his usual roosting post on Hartland and 2 Hen Harrier were seen around Middlebere and Arne during the day. 

Red Kite - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour update - 19/02/18

A dank mist sat over the area for most of the morning but flat calm waters made viewing open water species easier. 1 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Great Northern Diver were off the Brownsea north shore.  The high-tide count at Lytchett Fields included c200 Lapwing, c150 Dunlin, 1 Avocet, 1 Spoonbill, 1 Green Sandpiper, 4 Greenshank, 1 Water Pipit and a good number of Snipe, Redshank, Teal, Shelduck and Black-tailed Godwit, whilst close by at Holton Pools were 1 Spoonbill, 1 Greenshank, 1 Avocet and 62 Lapwing. In Holes Bay NE the Spotted Redshank was near the PC World outflow and a single Med Gull was with Black-headed Gulls. Med Gull numbers continue to grow near the harbour mouth and northern shores, especially on the lower tides. Poole Harbour is in desperate need of a good gull too! With the west of the county seeing regular Glaucous and recent Iceland Gulls and Blashford to the East hosting  Ring-billed, Caspian and Thayer’s Gull there just has to be a goody in the harbour somewhere! 

Spoonbill - Holton Pools - Trevor Wilkinson

Harbour update - 18/02/18

A perfect Poole Harbour day today with a warm early spring sunshine beating down across the area. Whether it lasts into the end of the month is a different question all together, with what looks like a pretty exceptional cold spell on its way. Still, places like Arne were busy with a good selection birds including the Black Brant again in Middlebere with 1 Great White Egret, 1 Hen Harrier and off Shipstal were 20 Spoonbill, 2 Great Northern Diver and 8 Black-necked Grebe. Off North Haven late afternoon/early evening 5 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver and a Sandwich Tern were in South Deep. A HUGE number of gulls were feeing along the southern shores too on the early evening low tide consisting mostly of Common and Herring Gull but also a build in numbers of Mediterranean Gull, many of which are now in almost near full breeding plumage. Firecrest were at Upton CP, Arne car park and Norden Sewage Works. There were even several over-wintering Chiffchaff that had been fooled into thinking spring really had arrived with one or two in full song at the PC World outflow. 

Water Pipit - Holton Pools - Mark Wright (Twitter @markwright12002)

Harbour update - 17/02/18

A perfect Poole Harbour day today with a warm early spring sunshine beating down across the area. Whether it lasts into the end of the month is a different question all together, with what looks like a pretty exceptional cold spell on its way. Still, places like Arne were busy with a good selection birds including the Black Brant again in Middlebere with 1 Great White Egret, 1 Hen Harrier and off Shipstal were 20 Spoonbill, 2 Great Northern Diver and 8 Black-necked Grebe. Off North Haven late afternoon/early evening 5 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver and a Sandwich Tern were in South Deep. A HUGE number of gulls were feeing along the southern shores too on the early evening low tide consisting mostly of Common and Herring Gull but also a build in numbers of Mediterranean Gull, many of which are now in almost near full breeding plumage. Firecrest were at Upton CP, Arne car park and Norden Sewage Works. There were even several over-wintering Chiffchaff that had been fooled into thinking spring really had arrived with one or two in full song at the PC World outflow. 

Harbour update - 16/02/18

Today was a busy day with a good mix of species dotted around the harbour. Highlight was a report of a Black Guillemot off the SE corner of Brownsea, which frustratingly flew off towards Furzey before being conformed. At Lytchett Fields a Water Pipit, 1 Merlin and 3 Spoonbill were seen from the viewpoints and a ringtail Hen Harrier flew past Holton Pools. From Arne the Black Brant was still in the Brent Goose flock at Middlebere with a single pale-bellied Brent too, also 2 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver, 16 Spoonbill and 7 Black-necked Grebe were of Shipstal Point, Arne. On the southern shores near the Wytch Channel a Great White Egret was feeding, a ringtail Hen Harrier flew through and in Bramble Bush Bay there were 4 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Common Scoter, 3 Great Northern Diver and a single Spoonbill. In Shell Bay, Studland a further 3 Black-necked Grebe and 2 Great Northern Diver were logged. At Norden sewage works there were 3 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest and 1 Firecrest.

Harbour update - 15/02/18

What a difference a day makes! Glorious spring like sunshine today resulted in a few more sightings. A single Spoonbill was still on Lytchett Fields and just across the river (Sherford) a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen again from the new hide at Holton Lee where a Greenshank also showed well. This new hide is always a great place to observe Kingfisher up close and personal and today was no exception – well worth a visit. Just 1 Black-necked Grebe was seen in the Shell Bay area today and at least 30 Sanderling were still on the groynes by the Haven Hotel. Two Spoonbill were in the Middlebere Channel in addition to 4 Spotted Redshank.

Harbour update - 14/02/18

An even wetter and windier day than yesterday but don’t worry spring is just around the corner and we’ll be heralding the first returning Wheatear in no time! A Guillemot in Poole Quay viewable from the office window was perhaps unsurprisingly the only bird of interest noted today.

Request for content:

As I’m sure you’re aware we are opening our Birds of Poole Harbour Engagement Base (HQ) on the 1st of March and we need your help: Do you have any old bird’s nests, feathers, bird’s bones etc which we can feature in our display? If so please email info@birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk and we will be more than happy to come and collect them. Thank you.

Harbour update - 13/02/18

Another wet day resulting in little birding activity with the only reports coming from Studland Bay where a single Great Northern Diver, 12 Black-necked Grebe, 31 Mediterranean Gull and a Sandwich Tern were all seen from Middle Beach.

Harbour update - 12/02/18

Five Common Scoter were off Middle Beach along with 2 Great Northern Diver and 13 Black-necked Grebe with 5 of the latter in Shell Bay. Just over the peninsula there was another Great Northern Diver with 2 Black-necked Grebe in Brand’s Bay where there was also 2 Common Scoter and 2 Sandwich Tern. In the Lytchett Bay area 4 Spoonbill were toing and froing whilst at least 1 Green Sandpiper was on the Fields. 2 Purple Sandpiper are still managing to feed unobtrusively on groynes at Sandbanks in addition to 29 Sanderling. A Hawfinch was seen again flying over Norden Sewage Works and a Firecrest was still foraging on the filter beds in the company of several Chiffchaff and Goldcrest.

Harbour update - 11/02/18

Clear but windy conditions meant that choppy waters in the harbour made it difficult to count birds on the water for today’s WeBS count. Brand’s Bay highlights included singles of Red-necked Grebe, Whimbrel, Greenshank and Peregrine as well as 45 Knot, 8 Sanderling and 7 Turnstone. In Lytchett Bay there were 4 Spoonbill, 1 Water Pipit and 1 Green Sandpiper whilst a ringtail Hen Harrier was still touring the general area also being seen at Holton Lee. A Great Northern Diver was slightly unusual so far up the harbour in Holes Bay opposite the Premier Inn. At Sunnyside there was a Green Sandpiper with good numbers of Redwing in the area. 2 Hawfinch were seen flying over Policemans Lane at the extreme west of Upton and 1 was seen again near Norden Sewage Works where there was also a Marsh Tit, 3 Chiffchaff and about 15 Siskin.

Harbour update - posted 10/02/18

With wet miserable weather for most of the day birding opportunities were somewhat limited. 3 Spoonbill were still on Lytchett Fields RSPB and in the early morning, before the rain set in, a ringing session at a site in north Poole yielded an adult male Brambling and several Siskin. At Norden park and ride car park 3 Hawfinch were seen whilst on the nearby sewage works were a Firecrest and 7 Chiffchaff.

Harbour update - 09/02/18

The first winter drake Velvet Scoter was off Middle Beach with 3 Common Scoter as well as a Great Northern Diver and 14 Black-necked Grebe. A single Spoonbill was on Lytchett Fields and 4 were at Middlebere where a ringtail Hen Harrier was also seen.

Birds of Poole Harbour Volunteer Opportunities :

Passionate about Poole Harbour and its bird life? Like talking to people about the beauty of Poole Harbour and the surrounding area? You could be just who we're looking for to help volunteer in our new Birds of Poole Harbour HQ which opens on March 1st 2018. We're looking for a small team of enthusiastic, knowledgable and dedicated volunteers to help build our charity presence around Poole Harbour with volunteer roles in our new HQ on Poole Quay. If you're interested and think this could be for you please email us at info@birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk and we'll get a volunteer role specification form out to you right away!

Harbour update - 08/02/18

A nice selection of waders were in Brand’s Bay this morning and included 2 Greenshank, 3 Grey Plover, 12 Ringed Plover and 30 Sanderling amongst the usual throng. 2 Spoonbill were again in Lytchett Bay and a lone bird was on Lytchett Fields before relocating to the Holton Lee scrape. Raptors are still featuring strongly and there are at least 6 Hen Harrier in and around the harbour as well as 4 Marsh Harrier and 2 Merlin in addition to several Peregrine. A Hawfinch was seen again in trees just behind Norden Sewage Works where there were 4 Chiffchaff and a Firecrest was nearby along Holme Lane.

Harbour update - 07/02/18

4 Black-necked Grebe were in Shell Bay as well as a couple of Sandwich Tern whilst nearby a female Marsh Harrier was seen around Little Sea. 30 Spoonbill were gathered together on Shipstal Point with a lone bird still on Lytchett Fields RSPB where there was also at least 1 Green Sandpiper. Arne RSPB, as ever, produced some good birds with both Hen and Marsh Harrier being seen in addition to Firecrest and Lesser Redpoll. A Black Redstart was reported at Shipstal yesterday but could not be relocated today. In Holes Bay the overwintering Spotted Redshank was again just off the outflow and a Peregrine was buzzing around in search of prey.

Nuthatch - Upton CP © Ian Ballam

 

Black-tailed Godwit and Spotted Redshank - Holes Bay © Ian Ballam

 


Green Sandpiper - Lytchett Fields RSPB © Ian Ballam

 


Teal - Lytchett Fields RSPB © Ian Ballam

 

 

Birds of Poole Harbour Volunteer Opportunities :

Passionate about Poole Harbour and its bird life? Like talking to people about the beauty of Poole Harbour and the surrounding area? You could be just who we're looking for to help volunteer in our new Birds of Poole Harbour HQ which opens on March 1st 2018. We're looking for a small team of enthusiastic, knowledgable and dedicated volunteers to help build our charity presence around Poole Harbour with volunteer roles in our new HQ on Poole Quay. If you're interested and think this could be for you please email us at info@birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk and we'll get a volunteer role specification form out to you right away!

Harbour update - 06/02/18

The Velvet Scoter was seen again from the School Bird Boat today in the company of two female Common Scoter and better views in good conditions allowed us to determine that this individual is a 1st winter male and thus a different bird to the 1st winter female which was present in the harbour towards the end of last year. These three birds seem quite faithful to the area in between Brownsea and Goathorn but sadly are nearer to the island and are consequently difficult to see from land but could be viewed distantly from Jerry’s Point. Also seen from the boat were at least 3 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-necked Grebe whilst around 15 Spoonbill were on Patchins Point with 2 more on Shipstal and a further 4 on Lytchett Fields RSPB. At first light around 600 Brent Geese were roosting on the east side of Green Island on the exposed mud over the very low tide. At least 25 Goldeneye were on the main boating lake in Poole Park which is the highest count of the winter there so far. Single Peregrine were seen over Brownsea Island as well as in the Middlebere Channel. At least 7 Greenshank were on Brownsea Lagoon and a Spotted Redshank was again on Lytchett Fields RSPB. There are currently 6 Hen Harrier in and around the harbour at the moment with the increase probably due to the hard weather further north. The best places to try and see these majestic creatures are the viewpoints at Arne RSPB, the Avocet hide at Middlebere or in Lytchett Bay.

Common Redshank - Holes Bay - John Pick Grendon

Spotted Redshank - Holes Bay - John Pick Grendon

Harbour update - 05/02/18

A Great Northern Diver and 2 Black-necked Grebe were seen in Bramble Bush Bay, best viewed from near the House Boats. Over on Lytchett Fields RSPB 2 Spoonbill were once again feeding there as was a Water Pipit whilst a ringtail Hen Harrier hunted around the Bay. At Hatch Pond numbers of Snipe are starting to build again with at least 50 in “Elborn’s Cut” which is the section of cut reeds that can be observed from the viewing area in the conifers towards the north of the pond. The Sunnyside Tramway (near Ridge) held a Lesser Redpoll as well as several Greenfinch and Bullfinch.

Snipe at Elborn's Cut, Hatch Pond © Ian Ballam


Turnstone at Hamworthy Park © Ian Ballam

Birds of Poole Harbour HQ Volunteering Opportunity......

Passionate about Poole Harbour and its bird life? Like talking to people about the beauty of Poole Harbour and the surrounding area? You could be just who we're looking for to help volunteer in our new Birds of Poole Harbour HQ which opens on March 1st 2018. We're looking for a small team of enthusiastic, knowledgable and dedicated volunteers to help build our charity presence around Poole Harbour with volunteer roles in our new HQ on Poole Quay. If you're interested and think this could be for you please email us at info@birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk and we'll get a volunteer role specification form out to you right away!

Harbour Update - posted 04/02/18

Enthusiasm is often a key driver when it comes to watching birds. So is being slightly mad, and both attributes were needed today when our public bird boat went out in clear bright sky’s but almost sub-zero temperatures. A brisker than brisk north-east wind ripped across the harbour but our valiant guests on board stuck it out and were treated to a nice variety of birds despite watery eyes turning to icicles! Up to 6 Great Northern Diver were dotted around the harbour, 1 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Slavonian Grebe were off Green Island. The Velvet Scoter was still out in South Deep with 2 Common Scoter. In the Wareham Channel a Marsh Harrier settled on Gigger’s Island and a Hen Harrier was seen but only very briefly hassling a flock of Avocet. On the Brownsea Lagoon Avocet, Bar and Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Shoveler and Gadwall all added to the tally and standard harbour species such as Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Great Crested Grebe, Shag and Cormorant were all well represented. Off Hamworthy 2 Sandwich Tern passed the beach and singles of both Razorbill and Guillemot were off Evening Hill. At Middlebere 3 Spoonbill and a feeding Merlin were photographed. 

If you fancy a slightly warmer trip or think you’d like to try one of our super ‘cool’ winter boat trips later in the year then our full boat trip schedule for 2018 can now be found HERE

Harbour Update - posted 03/02/18

Constant monitoring will always pay reward and today local harrier watcher Peter Hadrill observed three different grey male Hen Harrier bombing around the west of the harbour with a juvenile male and female ringtail in tow. This is a great early February total and possibly indicates one of the highest gatherings in southern England currently. Although we need to keep roost sites a secret, observing them during the day just requires a bit of patients and waiting at sites like Swineham GP, Middlebere and Coombe Heath, Arne will eventually reward you with a sighting or two. The male Merlin was again on Hartland late afternoon and up to 3 Marsh Harrier were in the mouth of the Frome. We’ve also been notified of gardens hosting Brambling over the course of the winter at places like Ridge and just outside our recording area in Bloxworth. Brambling are regular passage migrant in autumn but very scarce over-winterers so if you do currently have Brambling visiting your feeders and have so for the last few months we’d love to know about it. 

Great Crested Grebe - Hamworthy Beach - Ian Ballam

Great Crested Grebe - Shell Bay - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 02/02/18

Despite the cold wind a great variety of birds were seen around the harbour today. At Arne, off Shipstal a Merlin and Hen Harrier were hunting together, chasing Meadow Pipits off Shipstal c30 Spoonbill were present, a minimum of 7 Great Northern Diver were dotted around Central Harbour with a few near the harbour mouth too and the single still in Poole Park and single of Red-throated and Black-throated Diver were off Hamworthy Beach. Two Common Scoter were in South Deep and a Slavonian Grebe was off the southern end of Green Island. A Hawfinch was in trees on the southern edge of Wareham Town centre just west of the Stoborough Causeway. In the Arne car park a single Firecrest was in Holly, at North Haven, Sandbanks 2 Purple Sandpiper were on Groynes on the eastern side of the peninsular with several Sanderling and Ringed Plover and Dunlin. A Red Kite also drifted low over Arne. Around the rest of the harbour good numbers of Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe continue to be seen and wader numbers are still high at low-tide sites so all in all it’s a great time to be out looking! We also began a small nocturnal bio-acoustic monitoring study looking/listening out for Long-eared Owl activity at suitable sites around the harbour. This likely once common bird is extremely rare now so listening acoustically in remote areas of the harbour during the dead of night is a great way to listen out for the calls and songs they’d be carrying out at this time of year. So far we’ve picked up both Tawny and Barn Owl within our recordings but no Long-eared Owls yet!

Barn Owl - Swineham GP - 03/02/18 @ 04:45 Perennial Screech

Harbour Update - posted 01/02/18

The day started off grotty but improved and by the end of the day a calm had descended across the harbour. A Great White Egret was seen in Middlebere, the first for a while. Both ringtail and a grey male Hen Harrier were seen at Middlebere. As the sun set, a mass of gulls began to feed on the Baiter/Parkstone Bay shoreline but with only a handful (8) of Med Gulls logged, its an indication that spring is just around the corner but winter still has a grip on us for now. By the end of Feb and into early March, the Baiter shoreline can see up to and over 100 summer plumaged Med Gulls on evening low tides…a spectacle well worth seeing. Great Northern Divers were still out in central harbour with the single still on Poole Park boating lake and the Velvet Scoter was still out in South Deep with 2 Common Scoter and 4 Black-necked Grebe.

Harbour update - 31/01/18

The Velvet Scoter was still in the company of 2 Common Scoter on the south side of Brownsea Island viewable distantly from The Houseboats as was a Black-throated Diver briefly. Elsewhere dotted around the harbour were at least 6 Great Northern Diver, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Black-necked Grebe and the usual 20 or so Spoonbill were roosting on Shipstal Point. In Shell Bay there were 2 Great Northern Diver and 3 Black-necked Grebe whilst the Great Northern Diver continues its sojourn in Poole Park. Singles of Green Sandpiper and Greenshank were seen at both Holton Lee and Lytchett Fields RSPB, the latter site holding at least 1 Water Pipit. 2 Purple Sandpiper were again on groynes further east along the beach from North Haven and the wintering Spotted Redshank was seen again in Holes Bay.  

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