May 2018

Harbour Update - posted 29/05/18

Things are still feeling as if they could ‘kick off’ again migration wise, and with another nice area of high-pressure coming in from the east we could see more waders arrive and passerines passing through. A few more waders appeared on Lytchett Fields today with 2 Turnstone fresh in also 23 Ringed Plover, 15 Dunlin, 210 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Oystercatcher present. However the highlight was when an Arctic Tern came bouncing across the fields, hawking and hovering for a short while before moving off back towards the bay. A female Marsh Harrier was present in the west of the harbour at dawn and apparently a dark male was seen over the Wareham causeway yesterday too. Its good to hear that Lapwing have fledged young at RSPB Arne, a species that seems to struggle around most parts of the harbour as a breeding species.

Harbour Update - posted 28/05/18

This July we’ll be entering the second phase of our Osprey translocation project here in Poole Harbour with 14 new chicks arriving in early July. Over the next two weeks we have one of the nesting/feeding platforms from the project set up in our BoPH HQ on Poole Quay so your own little chicks can come and have a sit in a real life Osprey nest before it gets put in place ready for the real deal later in July. Come down and meet our team and learn about this years project and where the best places will be to try and see them. Don’t forget we also have our Osprey cruises heading out this summer (Aug 22nd-29th) so why not book on to one of those for a full overview of the project and the chance of seeing this years youngsters or any passage Osprey before they head off down to West Africa this winter.

Talking of Osprey there was one at Arne again having been absent for several days. At Lytchett Fields it seemed a few of the waders had moved off with only 23 Ringed Plover and 11 Dunlin left over. Also a Cuckoo was calling near the sewage works at Lytchett Bay along Slough Lane.

Osprey nest installation - BoPH HQ, Poole Quay

Harbour Update - posted 27/05/18

It seemed to have all gone quiet on the Osprey front these last few days but one was seen flying over Lytchett Bay getting mobbed by gulls mid-morning and a Cuckoo was calling near Lytchett waterworks. On Upton Heath a Hobby was noteworthy and a decent number of House Martin mud gathering on a muddy pool was a welcome sight considering the very low numbers that have (or haven’t as the case may be) arrived back yet. Also on Upton Heath were 2 Buzzrad including one with what looked like a shot wing, 2 Whitethroat and 12 Stonechat including several newly fledged young. On Lytchett Fields, yet another Sanderling was present, and there were still plenty of Ringed Plover, several Grey Plover and c30 Dunlin.

Hobby - Upton Heath - Rene Goad

Harbour Update - posted 26/05/18

When waders begin passing through there tends to be nowhere better than the Brownsea Lagoon or more recently now, Lytchett Fields. Today the latter site saw 49 Ringed Plover arrive along with a summer plumaged Knot, 29 Dunlin, 8 Grey Plover, 248 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Oystercatcher along with a freshly arrived Arctic Tern hawking in Lytchett Bay. On the Brownsea Lagoon a freshly arrived Black Tern also hawked over the area for a short while before exiting the harbour mid-morning and there was another decent showing of Sanderling with c30 present on the lagoon. At South Haven a Little Tern was out feeding with 65 Common Tern near the harbour mouth, also there a Cuckoo, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and a modest passage of Swift and House Martin.

Sanderling - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Grey Plover - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Knot - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 25/05/18

Wader totals increased again today with 44 Ringed Plover on Lytchett Fields along with 24 Dunlin, 4 Greenshank, 242 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Redshank. On the Brownsea Lagoon 26 Sanderling were now present with c50 Dunlin and 8 Grey Plover again. A Marsh Harrier drifted over the west of the harbour near Swineham and a Red Kite drifted over Lytchett Minster. At Sunnyside a late Wheatear was present as was a Sedge Warbler and a Reed Warbler was singing in the Arne overflow car park suggesting some passerine passage had also taken place today. There were also 2 Cuckoo at Middlebere.

Reed Warbler - Swineham - Keith Rawling

Reed Bunting - Swineham - Keith Rawling

Cuckoo - Middlebere - Keith Rawling

Harbour Update - posted 24/05/18

Finally there’s been a shift in the circumstances and waders seem to be getting through a bit now with 1 Sanderling (very rare here), 23 Ringed Plover on Lytchett Fields along with 8 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel, 213 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Oystercatcher and 1 Redshank. On the brownsea Lagoon there were 17 Sanderling with 36 Dunlin along with 5 Grey Plover. Here’s hoping more come through over the coming days.

Sanderling - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 23/05/18

As we mentioned the other day this spring has been one of the best in recent years for migrating Osprey through Poole Harbour, with birds beginning to pass through from early April and here we are in late May and there are still birds using the harbour on migration. We mentioned that this ‘bodes well’ for when our translocated Osprey chicks that were released in 2017 begin to arrive back in the spring of 2019 as they will hopefully encourage some of these passage birds to hang around a bit longer and eventually stay to breed. There are several possibilities when it comes to Osprey beginning to nest in and around Poole Harbour as a result of our translocation project. The first is obviously that some of our translocated birds arrive back and begin nesting at some point over the coming years. This will with out doubt happen at some point down the line. However, by releasing Osprey chicks into the harbour each year over the coming four years it can totally change the dynamics of how passage/migrating Osprey see the area. When migrating Osprey pass through the harbour in autumn and begin seeing lots of newly fledged (released) youngsters in the harbour, some of these migrating birds will very quickly get drawn to this area as an obvious successful place to raise young. Last year when our first eight chicks were released an unpaired two-year old ringed migrant Osprey called CJ7 who was originally born and hatched at Rutland turned up in the harbour and for just under a week began associating her self very closely with our translocated chicks, often feeding and once even roosting with them. She was clearly happy to see them and liked what she saw in terms of habitat and friendly faces. This last week two Osprey have been present in the harbour but frustratingly they’ve not been close enough to see if any had rings on their legs. Then, finally today we managed to track one of the two down, only to find it was CJ7 back again! She’s obviously been drawn to Poole Harbour again, perhaps looking to see if there are any other chicks or nesting birds around this year, as Osprey are semi-colonial and like nesting in areas where other Osprey are nesting. Now, its way too early to get excited but its very significant that CJ7 has returned to Poole Harbour as it could be the beginnings of her taking a liking to the area and hoping/waiting for a male, perhaps one of our returning chicks next year to settle down with? Or, she could just as simply head off back to Rutland and we never see her again. Either way we’ll be watching things very carefully from here on in.

Elsewhere around the harbour today there were 2 newly arrived Ruff on Lytchett Fields and another on Brownsea. Also on Lytchett Fields were 181 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, 4 Dunlin and 1 Greenshank. At Arne 3 Cuckoo were calling, one at Shipstal, one at Middlebere and one on Arne Hill and a Red Kite drifted over Coombe Heath. With the heat attracting insects up into the stratosphere Hobby were again active over Slepe Heath and the western end of Middlebere.

 Osprey CJ7 having a good preen at Arne

Harbour Update - posted 22/05/18

Yet again Red Kites were active with individuals passing over Canford Heath/Hatch Pond, Parkstone, Upton and Slepe Heath. At Lytchett Fields there were 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank, 1 Dunlin and c130 Black-tailed Godwit. Again, Nightjar activity was pretty intense last night, certainly on some of the heathlands along the southern and south-western shores with the end of May seeing peak activity as males arrive on territory and begin to court females. There were Hobby over Slepe Heath and Wareham Water Meadows and 1-2 Osprey were around Middlebere and the Wareham Channel.

We’d also like to bring to your attention an issue that relates to two species we mention frequently on our sightings blog. In recent weeks Red Kite have become a regular feature for us here in Poole Harbour and during the winter Hen Harriers are one of star species, providing immense excitement for those lucky enough to see one quartering over the spartina saltmarsh. However, both species are ruthlessly under attack and today the RSPB investigations team issued a press release relating to three more sat-tagged Hen Harriers that have gone missing in suspicious circumstances in northern England. Likewise, at least half a dozen Red Kite have been found trapped, poisoned or shot at various sites in the north of England in recent months. You can read about the Hen Harrier issue HERE and the latest Red Kite issue HERE. Now, we don’t know about you but we’re getting sick of reading these stories which seem to be almost daily now. It seems illegal persecution of birds of prey is occurring systematically on or near shooting estates in the UK and if something isn’t done about it now then it won’t be long before they’re gone for good. Please read the articles and show your support for getting these heinous crimes stopped.

Nuthatch - Upton CP - John Pick

Blackbird - Upton CP - John Pick

Harbour Update - posted 21/05/18

With this long period of good weather it was inevitable that a heathland fire would occur somewhere around the harbour, but we weren’t quite expecting it to be Arne. Despite the number of visitors that visit the Arne peninsular each summer, fires here are (thankfully) very rare and it usually tends to be the urban heathlands of Poole Harbour north that suffer this time of year. Regardless, please remember that having any kind of small camp fire or BBQ creates an extreme high fire risk, so to reduce that risk simply don’t have one and certainly not on, in or near any heathland sites. Luckily fire crews were able to get on top of it and extinguish the flames fairly quickly, but a few avian casualties were found sadly. On a slightly happier note, 2 Osprey were seen again over the Arne peninsular. At Lytchett Fields there were 6 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin and 37 Black-tailed Godwit. Nightjar are certainly back in numbers with birds vocal at all traditional breeding sites, including on Lytchett Heath where their presence has been a bit sporadic over recent years.

Fire damage at RSPB Arne today - Photos RSPB Arne team

Harbour Update - posted 20/05/18

A really productive day today and fine weather to boot and lots of birds now with young. Up on Hartland Moor there were 3 Cuckoo calling also Mistle Thrush with newly fledged young. At Challow Hill, Yellowhammer, Common Whitethroat and Red-legged Partridge were along the main track and on the top ridge.  At Ower a single Crossbill, 6 Tree Pipit, 4 Cuckoo, Siskin, Linnet, Woodlark and another 3-4 Cuckoo calling. On Shell Beach, Studland there were still a few Sanderling, most of which were in full breeding plumage. At Lytchett Fields a Cuckoo was calling near the waterworks at the end of Slough Lane and out on the fields were 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin and c70 Black-tailed Godwit. Over Slepe Heath and the Arne road area 5 Hobby were hunting/displaying with what looked like 2 pairs and a singleton. There were also 2 Osprey over the Wareham Channel and then Arne for most part of the day. This has to have been one of the best springs in recent memory for passage Osprey in Poole Harbour with birds present/passing through most days from the beginning of April. This alone bodes well for when the chicks from our Poole Harbour Osprey translocation project begin to arrive back next spring (2019) and start prospecting for new breeding sites.

Reed Warbler - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Common Whitethroat - Upton Heath - Rene Goad

 Stonechat - Upton Heath - Rene Goad

Harbour Update - posted 19/05/18

Today we had a selection of Moths in our HQ on Poole Quay which had been caught, collected and recorded from Holton Lee as part of our on going moths of Poole Harbour study. Each Saturday (when weather permits) we’ll be showcasing a selection of species that are common (and some not so common) place in gardens and sites around Poole Harbour. Its not only until you start learning about the variety of species you can find and then begin looking at them in detail that you realise just how incredible and interesting moths are. Moth trapping has become incredibly popular and it’s a great way of carrying out your own piece of citizen science by catching, recording and then reporting the species you catch in your very own garden. There are numerous sites you can buy equipment from but we’ve found ASL Anglian Lepidopterist Supplies very good and efficient and have found Robinson Traps the most effective. With the weather warming up but the nights still cold catches are still pretty slim but towards the end of May and into June and July ‘bumper hauls’ of moths can be common place and a fascinating challenge for any beginners taking up this hobby. Bird-wise today 130 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit on Brownsea were logged. With the sun beaming down across the harbour Dartford Warbler were widely reported and very active across the heathlands and Sand Lizard were very conspicuous on heathland path edges. At Lytchett Fields a single Cuckoo was calling and there were 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin and 7 Black-tailed Godwit. Two more Red Kite drifted over Upton headed towards Upton Heath and Nightjar were churring at Sunnyside, Arne, Hartland and Studland.

Eyed Hawkmoth - BoPH HQ

Moth selection - BoPH HQ

Harbour Update - posted 18/05/18

With spring now leading into summer and migration now tailing off (not that its really got started this year) the drive is just to be out and to enjoy Poole Harbour’s spectacular scenery and diversity. There are still plenty of good birds to see and a visit to any of our local heathlands at dusk will reward you with ‘churring’ Nightjar and up until the end of May calling Cuckoo still too. Common and Sandwich Terns are now well established on some of their islands on Brownsea, most of which are now on eggs. There has also been a call out from the BTO asking for House Martin sightings over the coming weeks. There’s been a big decline in the number of House Martin reported this year, along with several other summer migrants and the  RSPB and BTO are asking for information on any House Martin that are now settled and breeding at traditional or new sites. For mor information or if you see or know of any within our Poole Harbour recording area (or beyond) then please report them HERE.

Harbour Update - posted 17/05/18

Today we carried out our annual gull census on ‘Gull Islands’ in Poole Harbour. Its fair to say the colony has had its ups and downs over the last few years with a mass illegal harvest of eggs in 2016, flooding in 2015 and a cold late spring in 2017. Not quite sure what to expect we headed out and were pleased to find that we arrived just in time as some of the chicks were just beginning to hatch out of their eggs. Since the first survey in 2008 where 87 Med Gull nests were found we’ve always struggled to better that total and have in fact seen a year on year decline of Med’s on the islands. However, this year felt different and one of the islands was definitely ‘Med Heavy’, which was proven in the overall totals with 155 Med Gull nests located, which is an incredible total. Although we saw no signs of illegal activity/egging Black-headed Gull nests were down to 4115 but we think this was down to a set of natural causes and could well be in part down to the increase of Med Gull which have a habit of bullying and often predating gull (and tern) nests.

Mediterranean Gull nest totals

2008 - 87

2015 - 64

2016 - 38

2017 - 33

2018 - 155

Black-headed Gull nest totals

2008 - 8951

2015 - 6400

2016 - 2589 (illegal harvesting of eggs occurred)

2017 - 5736

2018 – 4115

Elsewhere around the harbour today an Osprey was again in the Wareham Channel although only seen this afternoon so could have been a new migrant passing through? On Brownsea a Nightjar was visible from the heathland hide, up behind the villa, which is always nice to see before the bracken takes over. In the Corfe River Valley leading down to Wytch Lake 2 Cuckoo were calling. On Lytchett Fields a Spoonbill appeared out of nowhere! With no reports for a week or two it’s good to know that maybe one is trying to over-summer? Around midday a few Red Kite passed over too (they’re almost becoming to common to even mention now) with birds over the Arne Road and Slepe Heath and Lytchett Minster. At Hatch Pond 2 Common Sandpiper flew across the lake indicating some kind of wader passage had taken place if nowhere else showed signs of this! Along Hartland Moor Cuckoo and Woodlark were singing and a Hobby was over central Hartland.

Different stages of Black-headed Gull hatching on 'Gull Island' 2018 survey

Harbour Update - posted 16/05/18

At Lytchett Fields there were 200+ Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank, 3 drake Shoveler and 3 Gadwall. Over Swineham GP 2 Hobby were hunting, 4 Egyptian Geese were on the flood and there was some Bearded Tit activity off Swineham Point with birds calling and moving about in the reeds. An Osprey drifted over the western part of the Wareham Channel mid afternoon and a Red Kite was over Wareham.

Harbour Update - posted 15/05/18

The main highlight today was another good passage of Red Kite through the county, most in the west near Weymouth but the harbour saw its fair share with birds over Brownsea, Upton Heath, Lytchett Minster, Lytchett fields, Wareham, Canford Heath and Arne. We were also sent a photo of some Red-eared Terrapin sun-bathing in Poole Park Lake. We weren’t aware they were present there but apparently they’ve been there for quite some time. We also received news of a Marsh tit on Brownsea Island which would be the first record on Brownsea for quite some time which is great.

Red-eared Terraprin - Poole Park - Clare Slade

Harbour Update - posted 14/05/18

With more high pressure and clear skies there were more Red Kites moving today with birds over Canford Heath, Lytchett Matravers, Morden Bog, Sandford and Greenland’s Farm. A Wood Warbler was a great find in a private garden in central Poole and at Holton Pools a Little Ringed Plover was on the scrapes before the high tide set in. On Lytchett Fields there were just c30 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 4 Redshank and 4 Ringed Plover.

Little Egret - Holton Pools - John Pick

Harbour Update - posted 13/05/18

Today we hosted what was going to be our last Spring boat tour of the season, however they’ve been so well received that we’re planning to run several late spring and some summer tours now too so please keep an eye out on the website for more details. Todays trip was idyllic in terms of setting…..bright sunshine, calm waters and a great crew of guests. Highlights included an Osprey circling high over Arne, a Marsh Harrier was over Giggers Island briefly and out on Arne moors (not viewable from the main land) 4 Lapwing, 5 Redshank and a skulky male Ruff were on a flooded pool. Over Swineham Swifts were swooping over the boat and Reed (44) and Cetti’s Warblers (20) were really vocal in the reed beds a Cuckoo was calling near the B&B and several Reed Bunting were on territory along the northern river bank with 3 Bearded Tit at Swineham Point and a Kingfisher. Out on the water there were still several Great Crested Grebe lingering on from the winter although they’re now all in their summer finery. On the Brownsea Lagoon  there were 11 Bar-tailed Godwit and 211 Black-tailed Godwit, c40 Oystercatcher, c10 Dunlin, c100 Sandwich Tern and c100 Common Tern with 2 summer plumaged Turnstone on the Brownsea Quay. Elsewhere up to 7 Hobby were active commuting between Hartland, Slepe Heath and Arne. Over Wareham a Red Kite drifted low over the town. At Lytchett Fields there were 98 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Ringed Plover, 6 Dunlin, 4 Redshank and 2 Whimbrel.

Up with the lark public bird boat - Swineham

Kingfisher - Swineham - Peter Moore

 Reed Bunting - Swineham - Peter Moore

Harbour Update - posted 12/05/18

It was another great day to be out, as although it was overcast there was zero wind making looking and listening for birds a sheer delight and much easier. We were keeping an eye on the Brownsea Lagoon all day as it felt like the kind of day when birds could just ‘drop in’ and sure enough early morning saw a mixed flock of 30 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling and 1 Ringed Plover settle on the ‘boomerang’ all day before heading out to feed on the afternoons low tide. By mid afternoon it was worrying to see that no Common Tern were settled on the main breeding island on the lagoon although several were there in the morning. Its possible they only went out to feed and breeding evidence may evolve over the coming week but several Canada Geese and Graylags are also making the islands a regular dinner and supper spot it seems so are we seeing a level of disturbance that’s preventing the terns from settling? At Lytchett Fields there were just shy of 100 Black-tailed Godwit (98) feeding all bar three were still in winter plumage, also 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin and 2 Whimbrel there.

Oystercatcher - Baiter - John Pick

Harbour Update - posted 11/05/18

Pretty quiet today but last night our surveyor Nick Hopper was out doing some night-time wanderings having a listen for any night singers that could well be going un-noticed. Surveying at night opens up a whole new world and you often experience things you wouldn’t see or hear during the day. Last night Nick managed to sound record a migrant Dunlin that actually began giving sections of song out on Arne Moors. Now Dunlin definitely don’t breed in Poole Harbour but you’ll often get birds that give bursts of song whilst on migration practicing and warming up for when they arrive on territory much further north. At Lytchett Fields today a single winter-plumaged Grey Plover was on French’s Pools along with c150 Black-tailed Godwit before a Peregrine flushed them off. On Upton Heath a Whinchat was photographed and on Slepe Heath 3 Hobby were overhead.


Dunlin singing - Arne Moors - Nick Hopper

Grey Plover - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 10/05/18

With a bit of a chill in the air, birds were keeping their heads a little lower than of late and as the wind built over the course of the day it was certainly reminiscent of the good old days i.e the spring so far! Still, there were Cuckoo calling at Holmebridge, Slepe heath, Swineham and Godlingston. An Osprey was fishing mid-morning in the Wareham Channel but wasn’t seen later in the day at any of the usual hang-out spots. Small parties of Swift were still very active above Swineham GP and small flocks of Sand Martin were feeding in amongst them. A single Red Kite was over Bourne Valley nature reserve in Poole. Despite the cold it seems there’s been a great increase in the number of displaying Tree Pipit and Woodlark with plenty of new and suitable habitat having been created on the southern shores of the harbour in recent years. As both are red data list species we can’t say exactly where they are but by learning their song you can teach your self how to locate these tuneful songsters with Tree Pipit offering a lovely varied and mixed set of notes in an excited and rather chaotic manner whilst Woodlark offer a slightly more melodic, descending set of notes….just perfect for listening to when out on a Poole Harbour heathland this spring and summer.


Tree Pipit - Poole harbour southern shores 

 Tree Pipit song - 13/05/14 - Poole Harbour, southern shores.

 Woodlark, Meadow Pipit And Great Spotted Woodpecker - May 2014 - Near Arne, Poole Harbour

Harbour Update - posted 09/05/18

Today was another fine spring morning, despite the forecast of degrading conditions. Swifts and Swallow were swooping low over Swineham and a Little Ringed Plover was on the flooded pools there. An Osprey was circling high above Arne by mid morning and was later seen in the Wareham Channel with another (or the same) resting up at Morden Bog for most of the afternoon. In the Corfe River Valley near Wytch Farm 2 Cuckoo were calling and there were plenty of common spring migrants such as Chiffchaff and Blackcap singing. Dartford Warbler and Stonechat were in fine voice on Slepe Heath and on Godlingston a single Wheatear and 2 Cuckoo. Near the chain ferry at South Haven a single White Wagtail was logged. On the Brownsea Lagoon a full high tide count was conducted and it seems there has finally been a big clear out of waders with only 6 Avocet, 1 Greenshank, 2 Common Redshanks, 105 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstone, 1 Whimbrel, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 50 Oystercatcher and 1 Common Sandpiper however Tern numbers had built with 145+ Sandwich Tern and 82+ Common Tern. The terns are however late back on to their breeding islands and although some have settled we’d thought more would be nest building/on eggs by now.

Chaffinch - Holton Lee - John Pick

Little Egret - Whitecliff- John Pick


Oystercatcher - Whitecliff - John Pick

Harbour Update - posted 08/05/18

The day got off to a cracking start when a drake Garganey was first found on the small pools just south of Swineham GP where the Glossy Ibis then also suddenly appeared for a brief preen before moving off NE towards the gravel pits. Also at Swineham were 2 singing Cuckoo's, 4 Reed Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, c10 Swift, 1, 1 Red Kite and 6 Gadwall. At Arne there was another Cuckoo, 2 Osprey and 4 Whimbrel. At Lytchett Fields there were just singles of Spoonbill, Ringed Plover, Whimbrel and Dunlin. There were 2 Hobby active again above HartlandThere was also a report of a Black Kite over Hartland Moor kid afternoon, if anyone has any info or photos that relate to this bird we'd be really interested in hearing about it.

Harbour update - 07/05/18

Today provided another day in paradise as Bank Holiday record-breaking temperatures hit the headlines. The birds, well, they didn’t mind at all and with lots of insect life now on the wing species such as Hobby took full advantage as dragonflies began emerging from heathland ponds. There were 3 Hobby over Hartland, 1 over Middlebere and another over Wareham water meadows near the bypass bridge. Red Kite were again on the move with 3 over Wareham Common, 5 over Lytchett Matravers, 1 over Sandford and 1 over Studland. Its no surprise that with these stunning summer sunsets over the Bank Holiday weekend that Nightjars suddenly began to sing at dusk with birds back at Arne and on Brownsea. There was also the first spring arrival of Ruff with a single at Lytchett Fields and 3 on the Brownsea Lagoon. An Osprey was seen fishing in the Wareham Channel and then 2 were seen early evening at Morden Bog. On Brownsea Sandwich Tern numbers are building very slowly with only one of the islands in front of the Mac Hide being used and its worrying to see that next to no Common Terns have settled yet on the other islands…are the Canada Geese imposing too much?

Sandwich Tern - Brownsea Lagoon - Rene Goad

Mute Swan - Poole Park - Johm Pick Grendon

Harbour Update - posted 06/05/18

What a bank holiday weekend it’s turning out to be! Absolute scorchio. This big area of high pressure certainly prompted birds of prey to move with Red Kites being the most notable. Across the whole county many were seen drifting over with 1 over Baiter, 3 over Arne, 8 over Lytchett Matravers, 2 over Slepe Heath and 1 over Studland.  The Glossy Ibis that was seen earlier in the week (and presumed gone) reappeared heading low east over Swineham GP this morning but couldn’t be relocated, however its good to know its still around and will be well worth checking the pools and fields in that area. The River Frome walk produced an excellent total of warblers including 21 Cetti’s Warbler, 46 Reed Warbler, 3 Sedge Warbler (well down on last year), 4 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff and 1 Common Whitethroat along with 2 Bearded Tit, 10 Reed Bunting and 2 Raven.  At Lytchett Fields/Bay there was just a single passage Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, c30 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Egyptian Geese and 2 Common Whitethroat. At Arne the Osprey was again in Middlebere with 20 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Curlew, 5 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin in the channel and 2 Wheatear were on Coombe Heath. 

Red Kite - Slepe Heath 

Harbour Update - posted 05/05/18

This morning we hosted our dawn chorus walk at Challow Hill, Corfe. Although a bit cold to begin with, as soon as the sun peaked above the crest of the hill we were treated to a perfect early May day. On the edge of Challow Hill, 8 Common Whitethroat, c10 Yellowhammer, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Stonechat, 1 Dartford Warbler and c5 Linnet were logged and on top of the hill several Skylark were in full song and a Cuckoo flew along the ridge. Elsewhere around the harbour, over Slepe heath/Arne Moors 6 Hobby were actively feeding together, a Red Kite over Ridge, a Marsh Harrier was in the Wareham Channel and an Osprey was in Middlebere. On Slepe Heath there was a single Tree Pipit, several Dartford Warbler and We also found a singing male Common Redstart on the eastern edge of Hartland Moor which gave us a good opportunity to sound record its song. Common Redstart are excellent mimics and we’ve cut some sections of this birds song allowing you to hear the its amazing mimicry. Each strophe starts the same with a single call, then four ‘buzzier’ calls then the final section is the imitation, apart from the final example we’ve provided where the bird gives up totally on its own song and completely steals another’s! 

Common Redstart mimicking Green Sandpiper - East Hartland - 05/05/18

Common Redstart mimicking Chaffinch - East Hartland - 05/05/18

 Common Redstart mimicking Siskin - East Hartland - 05/05/18

Common Redstart mimicking Blackbird - East Hartland - 05/05/18

Dawn Chorus Walk - Challow Hill - Barbara Bisset

Harbour Update - posted 04/05/18

This was exactly how a May bank holiday should begin, with warm sunshine, clear sky and a gentle easterly breeze full of eastern promise. It was great conditions for finding and seeing birds today and lots of sightings were reported from around the harbour. At dawn, Cuckoo’s were calling along the Arne Road, Soldiers Road and at Swineham. Later in the day there were numerous Hobby around Slepe Heath and Hartland area with one perching up regularly on the northern boundary of Slepe Heath. There was a single Spoonbill on Giggers Island in the Wareham Channel and in the river Frome 3 Common Sandpiper were on the exposed mud with another 2 on the Brownsea shoreline. Whimbrel were much in evidence around the harbour in numerous fields and wet pastures. At Sunnyside Farm 8 Wheatear and a male Yellow Wagtail were on the open fields. Highlights of the day though go to a Wood Warbler that was in the Arne car park briefly and a male Goshawk that drifted up over the Wareham Channel whilst an almost equally good sighting was a Marsh Harrier in the mouth of the Frome (a rare sight in May now). At Lytchett Fields there was a Lesser Whitethroat, 1 ad Yellow-legged Gull and 6 Whimbrel.

Hobby - Slepe Heath 

Stonechat - Slepe Heath 

Harbour Update - posted 03/05/18

A chance encounter at 7:50am of an Osprey flying over the Sherford Bridge road heading towards the harbour allowed us to track it all the way to the Wareham Channel and then finally to Arne where a good enough view was obtained to see it was un-ringed. There was also a gathering of 6 Hobby over the Arne Road, Slepe Heath area at midday. At Swineham there were 23 Whimbrel in the fields behind ‘Curlews cottage’ and a Cuckoo was calling next to the B&B. At Lytchett Bay a Grasshopper Warbler was singing behind the waterworks at the end of Slough Lane and 5 Whimbrel were on Lytchett Fields. On the Brownsea Lagoon the Common Terns have finally taken to the breeding islands in front of the hides giving us a great opportunity to stream live footage in to our Birds of Poole Harbour HQ on Poole Quay.

Common Terns displaying on the Brownsea Lagoon via our BoPH HQ webcam on Poole Quay

Harbour Update - posted 02/05/18

Much of the same today with an Osprey over Arne and the Wareham Channel, 4 Hobby over Arne and 2 over Hartland, 1 Spoonbill in Middlebere, 6 Wheatear at Sunnyside and 2 at Middlebere.  

Harbour Update - posted 01/05/18

What a great start to the month! After a pretty dire April, May began with a bang as a hat-trick of great birds were found in the harbour today. It started off with a White Stork that was first seen heading SW over Canford Heath before then being spotted several minuets later over Stoborough heading west up the Frome Valley, making this only the 11th Poole Harbour record. Then, about 30 minuets later Richard Howe’s found Poole Harbours twentieth Glossy Ibis, although out of those twenty only five have been in recorded in the last ten years and the other fifteen dating pre-1877 making Glossy Ibis a very rare bird within the harbour. Then, around midday a summer plumaged Cattle Egret was found at Swineham in amongst cattle on the north side of the River Frome. Sadly it upped and left west into the Frome Valley but there’s a good chance its still around with plenty of good habitat locally with grazing cattle. There was also a great supporting cast with a Spoonbill in Middlebere, 19 Whimbrel and 12 Wheatear at Greenlands Farm and a single Yellowhammer at South Haven (very scarce here). Hobby were seen over the Lytchett Fields, Wareham bypass and Greenland’s Farm with Cuckoo also at Greenland’s and another at Swineham. In Poole Harbour mouth 60 Common Tern were feeding in the tidal race on the morning tidal run and a Spotted Flycatcher was on Brownsea. At Lytchett Fields there were 196 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 4 Whimbrel, 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 Little Ringed Plover. In Holes Bay NE there were also 4 Whimbrel. In the PCW Drain a single Willow Warbler was singing and there were 3 Blackcap and 1 Whitethroat. An Osprey was hunting in the Wareham Channel mid afternoon and early evening and a passage Marsh Harrier passed through the west of the harbour. 

Glossy Ibis - Lytchett Fields - Richard Howe's

Harbour update - 30/04/18

Well, that’s April over and done with. Sadly it didn’t end on a warm or even remotely mild high. In fact we had to have the heating on in our office it was that cold. Still, May is on its way and things can only get better…right? It seemed today that there were a few hangers on (new arrivals)? From yesteday’s migrant fest with 2 Whinchat and 10 Wheatear at Sunnyside Farm, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Whitethroat, 1 Wheatear, 1 Garden Warbler and a Red Kite at Lytchett Bay and another (or the same) Red Kite over the Bakers Arms early Morning and 2 over Studland Bay. On the Asda building in Poole Holes Bay, the 1st year male Peregrine was again resting on the eastern side. 


Spotted Flycatcher - Lytchett Bay - Ian Ballam


Peregrine Falcon - Asda, Holes Bay

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