December 2018

Harbour Update - posted 31/12/18

As the year draws to an end we look back at another incredible year for our charity, which now seems to have come on such a long way from the simple beginnings back in 2012. Our environment needs us more than ever, and our New Years resolution is to tackle as much as we can head on, but in the most positive and effective manner possible, with the aim of making things better for both birds and people right across the harbour working with other NGO’s, landowners, farmers, councils and the public. So, here’s wishing you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR and lets make 2019 a flipping good one.

To see us out, there were no last minute surprises today but a nice selection of species that have kept us entertained during the latter part of the year. The Black Redstart that was along Elms Avenue, Whitecliff was seen again along Pearce Avenue. The drake Mandarin was on the small pond at Poole Park with several Goldeneye and Merganser on the main lake. and off Middle Beach, Studland there were 17 Black-necked Grebe. Along Holme Lane 10 Cattle Egret were in fields on the opposite side of Hog Lane and from Baiter Beach there were 3 Sandwich Tern, 1 Great Northern Diver, 11 Goldeneye, 11 Great Crested Grebe and 52 Red-breasted Merganser. In Brands Bay a pale-belled Brent Goose was with the dark-bellied Brent flock and there were 95 Grey Plover. The juvenile White-fronted Goose was still in fields behind Curlews cottage, Swineham and 2 different Hen Harrier were seen heading towards Middlebere late afternoon.

Harbour Update - posted 30/12/18

Today was Poole Harbour WeBS day, and as always increased coverage provided higher than usual sightings. Starting the day off with a dawn watch from Shipstal Point, Arne saw 1 Slavonian Grebe, 6 Black-necked Grebe, 3 Great Northern Diver, 23 Goldeneye, 21 Spoonbill, 63 Red-breasted Merganser, 27 Great Crested Grebe and 2 Common Seal. From Middle Beach, looking out into Studland bay there were 21 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver and 7 Red-breasted Merganser and 7 Great Crested Grebe. Out from Bramble Bush Bay there was another single Great Northern Diver with another in Brands Bay, 17 Sanderling and another 4 Black-necked Grebe meaning there were a minimum f31 in and around the harbour today. A Marsh Harrier entered the harbour mouth as did a small flock of Lapwing and Little Sea was looking healthier with a decent sized group of Wigeon and Teal. At Bestwall the White-fronted Goose was still with Greylags and off Swineham Point there were 934 Lapwing and 3 Bearded Tit in the reedbeds and a single Pochard was on the main pit. At dawn 2 Marsh Harrier stirred in the mouth of the From and a pre-dawn walk on Hartland saw several Woodcock out feeding using our night-sight equipment. At Norden Sewage Works there were 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest, c50 Redwing and just 1 Fieldfare, 2 Bullfinch and 6 Red-legged Partridge on the road. Along Holme Lane there were 10 Cattle Egret today with another7 in fields below the Worgret Manor Hotel along with 2 Egyptian Geese. The Mandarin Duck is still in Poole Park and grabbing the attention away from the more handsome Goldeneye.

Harbour Update - posted 29/12/18

Not a huge amount reported to us today other than 15 Black-necked Grebe out in Studland Bay!

Harbour Update - posted 28/12/18

With all this calm weather it’s made watching areas of open water and counting birds much easier. Out from Shipstal Point, Arne 25 Spoonbill, 10 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Slavonian Grebe were logged. Out in Studland Bay there were 15 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver, 5 Red-breasted Merganser and 4 Great Crested Grebe. From Jerry’s Point, Studland 5 Great Northern Diver were logged off the southern Brownsea shoreline. Some of the Cattle Egret flock (10) moved back to Nutcrack Lane whilst there were 5 along Holme Lane. Merlin were reported from Middlebere and Hartland and there were 2 different Short-eared Owl hunting with one on Slepe Heath whilst another was out at Swineham Point. The White-fronted Goose was still at Bestwall with the Greylag flock. With the still weather and warm sun its got plenty of Song Thrush on the go with numerous birds in full song around the harbour and species such as Dunnock and Great Tit have even begun to think its spring. However the longer term forecast looks as if cold weather sets back in by the end of January so enjoy this early snippet of spring while it lasts.

Harbour Update - posted 27/12/18

With a near perfect dawn we headed out and did a quick dash around the harbour this AM, checking numerous water bodies. Prior to dawn breaking we had 4 Woodcock on Hartland Stud and a Barn Owl at Middlebere. From Jerry’s Point there were 2 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver, 7 Red-breasted Merganser and 12 Grey Plover with 18 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Great Northern Diver off Middle Beach and a Firecrest in the car park and 5 Black-necked Grebe, 7 Goldeneye and 10 Spoonbill of Shipstal Point, Arne. Along Holme Lane there were 10 Cattle Egret and at Swineham 9 Bearded Tit were at the end of the footpath  along with a Marsh Harrier and a Short-eared Owl was seen again over Hartland Moor. At Holmebridge a single Ruff was on the floods along with 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine and 3 Egyptian Geese. A Lesser-spotted Woodpecker was seen along Bog Lane.

Firecrest - Middle Beach car park - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 26/12/18

Well, we hope you had a great Christmas. However, now that’s out of the way you can start thinking about your 2019 year lists and how you’re going to maximise on the number of species you hope/plan to see this year. Doing a year list is always good fun, and it just so happens we’ve recently just published our new 2019 BoPH tick list, so if you do fancy keeping track on all your records this year, pop into our BoPH HQ on the Quay and grab one! It seems there were a few people walking off their xmas lunch’s today as we revived a few sightings including 9 Egyptian Geese at Holmebridge, along with a good selection of other waterfowl including Pintail, Shelduck and Gadwall with the 10 Cattle Egret just up the road along Holme Lane. From the Coombe Viewpoint at Arne c700 Lapwing were logged plus c1000 Avocet (quite a sight). At Bestwall the White-fronted Goose was still with the Greylag flock. In Bramble Bush Bay the Red-necked Grebe was present and in Brands Bay there were 2 Great Northern Diver. On Hartland the Merlin was on its usual post at dusk and from Shipstal 23 Spoonbill were present. A Great White Egret was logged at East Holme again.

Harbour Update - posted 25/12/18

A very Merry Christmas to all our supporters and friends. It’s been an incredible 2018, but looking forward to 2019, we hope for it to be an even bigger and better year. We love what we do and can’t thank everyone enough for their kind words, donations and support, so whilst you all keep showing an interest in our work, we’ll keep plugging away for you, aiming to make things better for both birds and people around the harbour. A few sightings from today included 8 Cattle Egret along Holme Lane and at Middlebere there 4 Spotted Redshank, 846 Avocet, 1 Golden Plover, 474 Lapwing, 32 Grey Plover, 130 Dunlin, 1014 Teal and 68 Wigeon.

Harbour Update - posted 24/12/18

With conditions calming down now and a high-pressure system setting in, this is a great opportunity to get out and do some great winter birding over the Christmas period.  Highlights today included the Red-necked Grebe in Brands Bay and then near the harbour mouth, with 3 Great Northern Diver and 3 Black-necked Grebe there and 3 more Black-necked Grebe and a Slavonian Grebe in Shell Bay. There were several Fieldfare on Hartland Stud (they’re been pretty scarce this winter so far), c10 Grey Plover in Bramble Bush Bay. Along Holme Lane there were 10 Cattle Egret, with a Great White Egret down at East Holme and another at Little Sea, Studland.

Grey Plover, Dunlin and Oystercatcher - Bramble Bush Bay - Paul Swann

Red-necked Grebe - Studland - Paul Swann

Harbour Update - posted 23/12/18

Today we hosted our last public bird boat of 2019 which really productive despite being a bit yuk to begin with. The Red-necked Grebe was in Bramble Bush Bay, there were singles of Great Northern Diver in the harbour mouth and North Channel, 8 Black-necked Grebe in central harbour and the White-fronted Goose was at Bestwall with Greylags. There were also 2 different Marsh Harrier in the mouth of the Frome and c15 Spoonbill flew across Arne Bay. Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe were spread thinly across the harbour and we didn't log a single Goldeneye in 3.5 hours! The Browsnea Lagoon was fairly full of water but still good numbers of Avocet, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Grey Plover were on there with only 3 Greenshank. Peregrine were seen over Rempstone and a flock of c200 Lapwing were continuously unsettled over Swineham. Elsewhere a Great Northern Diver was again close into the shoreline along the Baiter cycle path and 3 Goldeneye were in Parkstone Bay. There was a slight increase in Marsh Harriers present with 5 seen in the west of the harbour along with 2 Hen Harrier around Swineham/Keysworth and the Short-eared Owl was being pretty elusive again, showing briefly at dawn. Along Holme Lane, 10 Cattle Egret were still present with 12 Little Egret.

Great Northern Diver - Baiter Beach - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 22/12/18

A quick round up today with the Red-necked Grebe still off Baiter with 2 Great Northern Diver, 3 Goldeneye and 7 Red-breasted Merganser, although all were cleared out by a Kite Surfer which became active by mid-morning. One of the Great Northern Divers moved close in again to the cycle path at Parkstone Bay. In Bramble Bush Bay there were 2 Eider. On Shipstal there were c20 Spoonbill and in the PC World Drain 4 Chiffchaff were in the scrub. At Lytchett Heath 4 Bearded Tit were in the reed beds at the end of the heath and a single Firecrest was along the top footpath.

Harbour Update - posted 21/12/18

The White-fronted Goose relocated to Bestwall today, still with the Greylag flock but in a more visible and accessible place from the Wareham to Stoborough causeway. The Red-necked Grebe was still off Baiter as were 2 Great Northern Diver in Parkstone Bay. The Mandarin was in Poole Park still with 2 Goldeneye and 4 Red-breasted Merganser on the main boating lake. Along Holme Lane 4 Cattle Egret were still in the fields to the west of the Springdale Hotel.

Harbour Update - posted 20/12/18

The wind had built during the course of the morning making viewing open water species a tad tricky. Saying that, there were 2 Great Northern Diver off Hamworthy Beach and another 2 off Baiter along with the Red-necked Grebe near the house on stilts structure. Although its likely they’ve been present the whole time, the Cattle Egrets hadn’t been reported for a while, so it was nice to see 8 still along Holme Lane. On Shipstal 18 Spoonbill were present and there were 2 Eider in Bramble Bush Bay. Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye totals seem to be way down this winter, with only small groups out in open bodies of the harbour. Across the whole harbour yesterday we only counted around 10 and mergansers were around 75-100. At Middlebere a male Hen Harrier flew across in front of the hide and the ringtail was again seen out from Swineham Point.

Great Northern Diver - Off Baiter - Simon Kidner

Harbour Update - posted 19/12/18

With the wind and the rain heaving down over night it was a pleasure to see the wind ease off at dawn for our School bird boat. It was one of the most productive of the year so far with 7 Great Northern Diver (2 off Baiter, 1 central harbour, 1 off Goathorn and 3 near the harbour mouth), the Red-necked Grebe at one point wasjust 10ft off the side of the boat at one point, next to the old flying boat control structure which would be visible from Baiter, also 4 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Eider, c15 Goldeneye, c75 Red-breasted Merganser, c15 Spoonbill and a good selection of waders on the Brownsea Lagoon. The Slavonian Grebe was still in Parkstone Bay and there were 3 Goldeneye and 2 Red-breasted Merganser on Poole Park boating lake. There were both adult male and female Hen Harrier in the harbour today sighted around the Swineham area.

Harbour Update - posted 18/12/18

Another wet and wild day as it seems the jet stream is sat right over southern Britain currently, although we hear on the grape vine that post Christmas we could begin to see the beginnings of a beast from the east….media gossip? Or metrological fact?  Lest wait and see. With 30mph winds and heavy rain, it was a surprise when it was reported to us that the Slavonian Grebe was out in Parkstone Bay, but when we learnt it was local birder Ian Ballam that had reported it we weren’t that surprised at all! Interestingly the playing fields at Baiter were relatively quite all day with just a few gulls, some Black-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher, but when we checked after work in the dark, using our thermal imaging camera there were around 400 Dunlin feeding out on the fields which shows these large areas of grass in the centre of town can play an important role after sunset.

Harbour Update - posted 17/12/18

It was a blissful start to the day with no breeze and flat calm waters. As a result it made viewing open bodies of water across the harbour easy and pleasant. Determined to find the Red-necked Grebe that had been seen entering the harbour several times over the last couple of weeks, we scanned several sights before finally finding it off Baiter, feeding around the standings of the old flying boat terminal structure. It was present with 2 Great Northern Diver and 6 Red-breasted Merganser too and in searching for the grebe we also found a Black Redstart along Pearce Avenue, Poole. In Parkstone Bay off Baiter the Slavonian Grebe was present for a second day and was feeding with 3 Goldeneye and 4 Great Crested Grebe. Out in Poole Bay, a scan out from the top of Cliff Drive produced 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, 1 Razorbill and 8 Great Crested Grebe. In Lytchett Bay there were 44 Brent Geese, at dawn the flock of 18 Cattle Egret were seen heading up the Frome Valley and there were 3 Marsh Harrier and the ringtail Hen Harrier seen in the mouth of the Frome off Swineham.

Slavonian Grebe - Baiter Park - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 16/12/18

Finally a break in the weather and some good birding was to be had around the harbour. Many of the bays were busy with waders and wildfowl especially in Holes Bay and Lytchett Bay. We hosted the practical session of our Winter Waders of Poole Harbour ID course today in Holes Bay and we’re glad we did as it was ‘stuffed’ with birds. From the Stone Bench at Upton CP there were c20 Pintail, c200 Wigeon, c20 Shoveler, 3 Gadwall, 11 Avocet, c300 Black-tailed Godwit and 6 Little Grebe under the railway line. In Holes Bay north east there was even more including 2 Knot, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, c50 Avocet, c400 Black-tailed Godwit, c600 Dunlin, c400 Wigeon, c200 Teal, 1 Peregrine and 1 Sparrowhawk. In the SW sector of Holes Bay there were 4 Goldeneye. There were also 2 Firecrest next to Upton House. At dawn the Red-necked Grebe flew into the harbour mouth again and headed north around Brownsea. Also through at dawn were 2 Great Northern Diver, 6 Eider, 3 Sandwich Tern and 35 Grey Plover.  Lytchett Bay was busy and saw 6 Spoonbill, 235 Avocet, 546 Wigeon, 8 Gadwall, 79 Shelduck and Bearded Tit at the Turlin Moor screen.

Winter Waders ID Course Group - Holes Bay - Debbie Parker

Bar-tailed Godwit - Holes Bay NE - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 15/12/18

The less said about today the better! Although a 1st winter Kittiwake hunkering down on Baiter was certainly noteable. On the plus side, with so much water sitting in the river valley’s and on the farm fields, it could end up attracting a number of birds in.

1st winter Kittiwake - Baiter Park - Ian Ballam

1st winter Kittiwake - Baiter Park - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 14/12/18

It was slightly calmer today (and certainly the calm before the storm forecast for tomorrow). This allowed for a grebe roost count in Studland Bay which saw 18+ Black-necked Grebe also 85 Med Gulls, 15 Sanderling and 323 Brent Geese were logged. In Brands Bay there were 3 Great Northern Diver, 3 Black-necked Grebe, 380 Wigeon, 57 Pintail, 31 Grey Plover, 1 Greenshank, 3 Knot and 300+ Dunlin. Along Holme Lane there were 18 Cattle Egret and a Merlin was seen on Upton Heath. In the mouth of the Frome there were 7 Spoonbill and 3 Marsh Harrier. In Poole Park the Mandarin was on the main boating lake and the Guillemot was still off Poole Quay. Off the south shore of Brownsea there were singles of Great Northern Diver, Red-throated Diver and Eider and the Brownsea Lagoon saw 208 Avocet, 60 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshank and 124 Dunlin.

Harbour Update - posted 13/12/18

Again, windy conditions made things tricky but in Lytchett Bay there were 8 Spoonbill, 78 Brent Geese, 10 Red-breasted Merganser, 414 Black-tailed Godwit, 100+ Avocet, 2 Greenshank, 1 Peregrine and 1 Blackcap. There were also 30+ Spoonbill on Shipstal Point. 2 Crossbill passed over Challow Hill and there were 2 Chiffchaff and 1 Firecrest at Norden sewage works, Corfe.

Harbour Update - posted 12/12/18

A few species of note reported to us today including 17+ Cattle Egret along Holme Lane in the co field to the north, a ringtail Hen Harrier over Swineham Point, the 1st winter White-fronted Goose at Swineham, 1 Black Brant still in Lytchett Bay, the Mandarin Duck was at Poole Park, 6 Black-necked Grebe in Studland Bay 2 Great Northern Diver off Bramble Bush Bay

Harbour Update - posted 11/12/18

Today we hosted our first private bespoke bird boat tour which was a great success and is something we’d like to role out to a wider audience. If you have a group of between 30-40 people and would like your own personal boat cruise around the harbour then get in contact with us on 01202 641003 for more details. Todays trip saw 3 Great Northern Diver (1 off Hamworthy Beach, 1 in central harbour and 1 in Bramble Bush Bay), also 2 Eider in Bramble Bush Bay, 2 Black-necked Grebe in central harbour and a Slavonian Grebe in South Deep. On Shipstal there were c25 Spoonbill, in the mouth of the Frome there were 2 Marsh Harrier and a Kingfisher was off Hamworthy. In Lytchett Bay the sites first record of Black Brant was found along with 145 Avocet, 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 Water Pipit. Along Holme Lane 15 Cattle Egret were still in the field near the Springfield Hotel and the Mandarin was still in Poole Park. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 710 Avocet, 2850 Dunlin, 3 Spotted Redshank, 3 Knot, 70 Bar-tailed Godwit 14 Greenshank, 2 Sanderling, 184 Grey Plover, 1 Jack Snipe, 1 Kingfisher and 1 Water Rail. A Great White Egret roosted on Little Sea, Studland and the White-fronted Goose was still commuting between Swineham GP and Arne Moors.

Harbour Update - posted 10/12/18

More windy, troublesome weather making birding a bit tricky. Not much reported to us today other than 2 Marsh Harrier at Swineham and 1 Great Northern Diver in Bramble Bush Bay.

Harbour Update - posted 09/12/18

This morning we hosted our second public bird boat of the winter, which saw us venture up towards Wareham on the River Frome and then around the rest of the harbour. It was a tad windy but we still managed a good haul of species including the White-fronted Goose up at Swineham, 7 Little Grebe, c30 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Black-necked Grebe near the harbour mouth along with 6 Eider, 100+ Red-breasted Merganser, 10 Goldeneye, 2 Egyptian Geese, c300 Brent Geese, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine, 1 Kestrel, 35 Spoonbill, c1500 Dunlin, c200 Avocet, c40 Bar-tailed Godwit and c20 Curlew plus all the usual harbour cohort of Redshank, Shelduck, Shag, Pintail, Wigeon, Raven etc. An adult male Black Redstart was seen in the Skinner Street area which is the first to be reported this winter period. The Mandarin Duck was showing off outside in front of the café at Poole Park for most of the day and there were 8 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Goldeneye, 61 Coot and 24 Mute Swan on the main lake too. The 18 Cattle Egret were in the Holme Lane fields again and a ringed Black-headed Gull that was photographed in Poole Park this week is known (thanks to the details sent by BTO) to be at least 22 years old! In Middlebere several hundred Avocet were still out in front of the hide and a Peregrine buzzed on through.

Shag - Brownsea shoreline - Rene Goad

White-fronted Goose - Swineham - Rene Goad

22-year old Black-headed Gull - Poole Park - Dorothy Widnall

Harbour Update - posted 08/12/18

Not sure we quite fancy a goose for Christmas, but we certainly appreciate a goose at Christmas. Scarce geese is something we’ve struggled with in the harbour in recent years but today a White-fronted Goose was found in amongst a Greylag flock on a flooded pool next to Swineham. Other than six that flew straight through the harbour 2-weeks ago, it was the fist settled record of this species in Poole harbour since 2013. From a public bird boat there were 2 Great Northern Diver, 5 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Common Scoter spotted off the south shore of Brownsea and on Shipstal. The full flock of Cattle Egret hadn’t been reported for a while so it was nice to see 18 back at Holme Lane again. Raptors in the harbour consisted of a ringtail Hen Harrier at Middlebere, an adult male briefly from Swineham Point, both male and female Merlin at Slepe Heath and only 3 Marsh Harrier out of the west harbour roost.

Harbour Update - posted 07/12/18

One of the best vantage points to scour the open, central areas of Poole Harbour in on the cliff top at Shipstal Beach, Arne. We say cliff top, its only around 20m high but gives a great view out across to Long Island and beyond, as well as a decent perspective of Arne Bay. During December, January and February these areas can be really productive and there’s a chance any open water species could drop in ranging from Long-tailed Duck, Velvet Scoter or Red-necked Grebe. Today, it was a Slavonian Grebe that was giving great views just off Shipstal Beach and in calm water made viewing all the more enjoyable. Also logged from there this AM was 1 Great Northern Diver, 12 Goldeneye, 25 Red-breasted Merganser, 17 Great Crested Grebe, 27 Spoonbill and 1 Peregrine. Along Holme Lane there was a minimum of 8 Cattle Egret. At the PC World Drain there were 7 collybita Chiffchaff with again one singing. In Lytchett Bay there were 11 Spoonbill feeding on the low tide plus 130+ Avocet and 19 Red-breasted Merganser.

Slavonian Grebe - Shipstal Beach, Arne - Paul Morton 

Slavonian Grebe - Shipstal Beach, Arne - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 06/12/18

We had a rescheduled school bird boat today which was luckily squeezed in-between another front coming through! There was another good mix of birds that would have been visible from the shoreline including 6 Eider, 1 Great Northern Diver and 1 Common Scoter off Bramble Bush Bay, another Great Northern Diver off Shipstal, 27 Spoonbill actually on Shipstal Spit, 50+ Red-breasted Merganser across the harbour along with 10 Goldeneye, 20+ Great Crested Grebe and 1 Guillemot off Poole Quay. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 300+ Avocet, 1500+ Dunlin and 40+ Bar-tailed Godwit. A Peregrine flew across the harbour mouth with another over Shipstal. At Lytchett Bay the ringtail Hen Harrier was seen and a male was seen briefly near Swineham. Also at Lytchett Bay was 1 Water Pipit and 1 Green Sandpiper. Our ‘Birds of Urban Poole’ guided walk this morning started off with a cracking Kingfisher on the quay along with 5 Goldeneye and 7 Red-breasted Merganser in Poole Park. Also all the usual Brent Geese, Turnstone, Ringed Plover etc along Baiter. An evening count at Brands Bay produced 7 Black-necked Grebe, 73 Red-breasted Merganser, 156 Pintail, 7 Grey Plover, 27 Avocet and 1 Greenshank.

Harbour Update - posted 05/12/18

Ergh! The weather closed in again today making birding conditions almost impossible. Being sat in a hide was a winning tactic and in Brands Bay a flock of 100 Brent Geese and 12+ Pintail. In Bramble Bush Bay 20+ Sanderling and in Shell Bay a single Eider Duck. Middlebere was saw c300 each of Avocet, Lapwing, and Black-tailed Godwit. Up on Old Harry the Black Redstart was seen again and there was a sad discovery of a dead Great Northern Diver on the southern Brownsea Shore which when inspected looked to have died of starvation. It showed almost no muscle or fat on the breastbone and an inspection of its stomach (dissected professionally), to check for plastic found nothing other than the tips of a few crab claws so it was obviously hungry. Poor thing! A night ringing session at Lytchett Bay saw 2 new Woodcock ringed and a Fieldfare.

Great Northern Diver washed up on Brownsea Beach - Rob Farrington

Woodcock and Fieldfare ringed at Lytchett Bay - Paul Morton


Harbour Update - posted 04/12/18

Well, that was the break in the weather we needed. Flat calm waters and bright sunshine allowed for some excellent birding around the harbour today with plenty seen. Several highlights included a Red-necked Grebe which entered the harbour at dawn along with 3 Eider, 16 Red-breasted Merganser and 76 Shag with 255 Brent Geese counted leaving the harbour. From our school bird boat which toured the whole harbour pretty much we had 2 Great Northern Diver (1 Brands Bay and 1 over Hamworthy Beach), 6 Black-necked Grebe (central harbour and South Deep), 1 Slavonian Grebe (South Deep), c150 Great Crested Grebe, c150 Red-breasted Merganser, c50 Goldeneye, 34 Spoonbill (Shipstal), 3 Sandwich Tern, c400 Avocet, c60 Bar-tailed Godwit and c1500 Dunlin on the Brownsea Lagoon. Later in the day 6 Eider were counted off the Houseboats at Bramble Bush Bay with 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver, 6 Black-necked Grebe, 25 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Goldeneye and 2 Common Scoter. Off Middle Beach, Studland there were 23 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver and 2 Common Scoter and on Shell Beach there were 32 Sanderling with 3 Black-necked Grebe in the bay. At Lytchett Bay/Heath a really late Reed Warbler was seen which is without doubt the latest Poole Harbour record and in the reeds at the end of Lytchett Heath were c15 Bearded Tit. There was a Short-eared Owl out on Hartland at dusk and a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen on Slepe Heath. At the PC World drain there were a minimum of 8 collybita Chiffchaff, again one in full song. In Brands Bay there was a Great White Egret with the same or potentially another at Little Sea, Studland and 2 more Great Northern Diver. And finally in Poole Park there were 5 Goldeneye, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Kingfisher and 7 Little Grebe meaning we had a full suit of winter grebes in the harbour today. Finally a piece of passerine news, there was a Black Redstart up at Old Harry this morning. A great winter birding day!

Sanderling - Shell Beach - Ian Ballam

Red-breasted Merganser - Poole Park - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 03/12/18

Sighting of the day has to go to a Great White Egret on the main Poole Park boating lake this morning. Admittedly they’ve become a regular species across the county in the last couple of years, but for them now to just be ‘turning up’ in the centre of Poole is quite incredible. It didn’t stay too long and soon flew up and off towards Holes Bay. At Holton Lee there was a Marsh Harrier and on Holton Pools 1 Green Sandpiper and 4 Black-tailed Godwit. Off Poole Quay a Common Guillemot was bobbing around on the water and in Bramble Bush Bay there was 5 Eider, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Black-necked Grebe, 28 Red-breasted Merganser, 10 Ringed Plover and a Peregrine. There was a report of a Long-eared Owl flying around at twilight on top of Hartland which if confirmed would be the first for the harbour since April 2013! In Lytchett Bay there were 100+ Avocet along with good numbers of Teal and Wigeon with a Green Sandpiper and 40+ Lapwing on Lytchett Fields.

Common Guillemot - Poole Quay - P Brown

Great White Egret - Poole Park - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 02/12/18

Another grey blustery day, but the discovery of a Yellow-browed Warbler in Broadstone in Twin Oakes Close was a surprise. They weren’t as conspicuous this autumn as they have been in recent years, but it’s still no surprise that the odd one or two still choose to over winter here on the south coast. In Bramble Bush Bay 5 Eider were just off the beach and there were 11 Black-necked Grebe off Middle Beach, Studland. There were 10 Cattle Egret down towards Holmebridge which we think is the furthest west they’ve been noted and there were another 5 in the field with cattle at the top end of Holme Lane. At Lytchett Fields there were c100 Lapwing and a Marsh Harrier, in Poole Park 7 Goldeneye, 6 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Sandwich Tern and 7 Redwing and along Baiter 4 Ringed Plover, 5 Turnstone, 1 Kingfisher, 68 Brent Geese, 14 Dunlin and 2 Great Crested Grebe. Holes Bay north was still rammed with mainly Wigeon and Black-tailed Godwit.

Common Buzzard - Holes Bay - John Pick

Harbour Update - posted 01/12/18

Today was another wash out, but with all this wind surely its blown plenty into the harbour? After the constant winds and storms of 2013/14 we ended up with a harbour maximum count of 16 Great Northern Diver around the harbour. Ok, it hasn’t quite been that bad, and it is only December 1st but its well worth getting out checking every nook and cranny of the harbour for a sheltering Red-necked Grebe, a secretive Surf Scoter or perhaps a mis-placed Murrelet!! In our dreams. Through the wind and the rain the 15 Cattle Egret at Holme Lane were still present, there were 2 Egyptian Geese at Sunnyside Farm. Poole Park still held 7 Goldeneye and 2 Red-breasted Merganser.

Harbour Update - posted 30/11/18

Winter is great for high totals and with the weather clearing today it allowed for some proper counting to be done. Lytchett Bay/Fields was brimming with birds with totals of 561 Lapwing on the fields and in the bay 1345 Teal, 521 Wigeon, 255 Black-tailed Godwit, 132 Avocet, 85 Oystercatcher, 80 Redshank, 60 Dunlin, 56 Brent Geese, 55 Curlew, 6 Red-breasted Merganser and 9 Gadwall. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 2000+ Dunlin, 4 Knot, 60+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Spotted Redshank, 500+ Avocet and 14 Greenshank. In Middlebere a single Spoonbill was feeding with 30 on Shipstal Point, Arne and at the top end of Middlebere, its still an Avocet fest with a flock of 500+ still wowing the crowds at Arne. The Cattle Egret flock were mostly along Holme Lane today (15 of them). In Poole Park there were 10 Goldeneye, 3 Red-breasted Merganser and 1 Mandarin Duck and there was finally a Great Northern Diver in the harbour with one off Baiter Park. 

Harbour Update - posted 29/11/18

The less said about today the better! All the harbour ‘regulars’ would have been out there somewhere but due to the dodgy weather not a lot was reported. For views it seems Poole Park and Upton CP seem favoured spots with birders as some smart winter species such as Goldeneye, Pintail, Red-breasted Merganser, Shoveler and Pochard have all been on show at close quarters. We’re hoping once all this foul weather blows on through then the harbour will have a good mix of open water species such as Great Northern Divers, Scoters and perhaps more Long-tailed Duck or two!

Northern Pintail - Holes Bay - Rene Goad

Eurasian Teal - Holes Bay - Rene Goad

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