April 2019

Harbour Update - posted 29/04/19

There seemed to be a nice scattering of downed migrants across the harbour today with 5 Wheatear, 2 Common Whitethroat, 1 Cuckoo and a small passage of Swallow across Greenland’s Farm. At Lytchett Fields there were 4 Little Ringed Plover again, also 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Blackcap and 1 Greenshank. At Holton Pools there were 2 Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Shelduck. Osprey activity seemed to ramp up a bit, although it may have just involved our two (currently resident) females ‘CJ7’ and ‘Beaky’. At dawn CJ7 was on a nest platform in the west of the harbour and Beaky was on the Middlebere platform for most of the day. Then at around midday 2 were seen circling high together over Round Island whilst another was seen out over the Wareham Channel. At Lytchett Fields, Stonechat fledged young for the first time in several years and the first fledged Robins are beginning to be seen at various sites too. In the Middlebere channel a single Spoonbill was feeding and Hobby were over Godlingston and Slepe Heath. In the Frome Valley only 6 Cattle Egret were counted. The summers first Nightjar of the summer was heard singing half-heartedly from a south harbour heathland and some night migration  recording in the Piddle Valley logged a drumming Common Snipe and a few small parties of Whimbrel moving through.

Harbour Update - posted 28/04/19

Hoorah! Today we saw a return of Osprey CJ7 as she had gone missing for a couple of days. She didn’t return to her favoured Middlebere platform, but instead opted for another vacant nest near Arne. It could have been because the large un-ringed female Osprey that’s now been around for a week or so was still taking up residence on the Middlebere platform, eating large Mullet. 

There was plenty more on offer today too with 3 Hobby hawking up and down the Arne road and on the edge of Slepe Heath. At Swineham/River Frome a count of 44 Reed Warbler, 6 Sedge Warbler, 19 Cetti’s Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Cuckoo, Whimbrel, 1 Swift and 50 Sand/House Martin were over the gravel pit. At Middlebere there were 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat, 1 Willow Warbler, 5 Reed Warbler, 1 Cuckoo and c10 Swallow. At Holton Lee a Cuckoo flew over Holton Pools and there were 4 Reed Warbler and 1 Whimbrel was in the bay. Away from nest platforms, Osprey were also reported over the Wareham Channel and near Ower Bay, but these relate to the 2 females that are present and a Marsh Harrier was in the mouth of the Frome. On the Brownsea Lagoon the Sandwich Terns have now begun moving onto the breeding islands and can be watched live HERE via our Brownsea webcam which was installed back in 2013 in partnership with Dorset Wildlife Trust and National Trust. On Baiter a decent small flock of waders consisting of 1 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover and 12 Turnstone were feeding along the low tide line.

Ringed Plover - Baiter Beach - Ian Ballam

Turnstone - Baiter Beach - Ian Ballam

Dunlin - Baiter Beach - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 27/04/19

Storm Hannah came and went last night and left a bright but breezy day ahead. Sadly there wee no signs of any Osprey on our nest platforms today which is the first time since April 1st. With the arrival of the un-ringed female a couple of days ago it could just be that CJ7 is off exploring currently, so lets hope she re-appears again soon. Sightings today were limited with 6 Reed Warbler in the Holton reedbed along with a Peregrine over and plenty of Med Gulls over head. In the Frome Valley 4 Cattle Egret and 10 Little Egret were feeding with the cows and a Hobby was seen flying along Poole Park lake which is a good central town record. There’s still a distinct lack of any hirundines coming through with only a handful of Swallow, Sand Martin and House Martin logged across the harbour. At Lytchett Fields there was a single Marsh Harrier and at Baiter there were 8 Turnstone, 1 Ringed Plover and 59 Oystercatcher including a colour-ringed individual from the Axe Estuary.

Harbour Update - posted 26/04/19

There was no sign of CJ7 today, but the un-ringed Osprey arrived really on the Middlebere nest (3:57am) and then spent most of the morning sat motionless before heading out to catch a fish, and then proceeded to devour it on the nest platform. The Cattle Egret group of 12 birds were again in the Frome Valley, just west of the Wareham bypass. At Arne, 5 late Brent Geese were off Shipstal and at Swineham GP the harbours first 2 Swift of the year were over the lake along with a handful of Swallow and Sand Martin, and the Red-necked Grebe was hiding away, tucked up at the western end of the pit.

Harbour Update - posted 25/04/19

A quick over-view today with 14 Cattle Egret seen heading up the Frome Valley at dawn, an Osprey was over the Wareham Channel mid-morning, 2 Spoonbill also flew west at dawn up the Wareham Channel and a lone Marsh Harrier was seen near Swineham. No sign of CJ7 today but an un-ringed female landed on the nest and ate a fish mid-morning. At Lytchett Bay 10 Whimbrel were out on the mud, a Peregrine passed over at dawn and a single Greenshank was logged.

Harbour Update - posted 24/04/19

There were 2 different Osprey on the Middlebere nest platform today with CJ7 doing her usual morning visit at dawn, with a bit of house keeping at sun-rise before moving off, then later in the afternoon a new un-ringed female arrived with a huge great big bill and long legs, giving her a very distinctive look. There was also a nice find of 12 Cattle Egret pre-roosting at Swineham GP with a single Great White Egret over too good numbers of Sand Martin, House Martin and  Swallow over the lake with a single Cuckoo too. Lytchett Fields was busy with waders today and included yesterdays Curlew Sandpiper, 6 Grey Plover, 4 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank plus the usual Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Oystercatcher etc. A short sea watch from Branksome produced 3 Fulmar, 1 Common Scoter and 1 Brent Goose.

Harbour Update - posted 23/04/19

With a bit of rain today it was nice to see a new wader arrive in the shape of a spring Curlew Sandpiper on Lytchett Fields. Although present in autumn, these are very scarce in Dorset/Poole Harbour during the spring. At Swineham GP the Red-necked Grebe was still present on the lake with a Cuckoo there too and in the Frome Valley 9 Cattle Egret were feeding again to the west of the bypass. Osprey CJ7 was (as usual) on the Middlebere platform this AM.

Harbour Update - posted 22/04/19

The Swineham White-fronted Goose re-appeared today in full adult plumage now, but as to why its still here is a bit of a mystery as it should be on its way back to Russia by now. Also at Swineham the Red-necked Grebe was found again, 26 Cetti’s Warbler territories were logged, also 4 Whimbrel, 5 Sedge Warbler, 2 Cuckoo, 4 Skylark and 7 Reed Bunting. Up on Hartland there were 2 Wheatear, 1 Red Kite passed over and Dartford Warbler were very vocal. Female Osprey CJ7 was back and fourth at the Middlebere nest platform for most of the morning but disappeared by the afternoon and a Cuckoo was on Coombe Heath, Arne. At Lytchett Fields there were 2 Spotted Redshank, 4 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank, 2 Lapwing and 25 Med Gulls. On Baiter Beach 15 Turnstone were feeding, some in almost full summer plumage.

Harbour Update - posted 21/04/19

It wasn’t the bird song of spring that woke may a people up this morning but in fact a hard core drum and base rave, booming out across Middlebere! Having started at around midnight in continued into dawn and carried on all day. Despite the booming rhythm, Osprey CJ7 sat tight on the Middlebere nest, even bobbing her head in time with the music occasionally too! In front of the hide 6 Whimbrel and 4 Grey Plover were out on the mud. Amazingly the Swineham White-fronted Goose was re-found today, having not departed north yet. Is it injured/sick? Or just not as wild as we had all originally assumed? Also, on the Swineham Pools a single Little Ringed Plover was present and along the Frome Valley a minimum of 24 Reed Warbler. Up on Ballard there were 3 Willow Warbler at the start of the South Coast path plus 3 Peregrine out near Old Harry and a scattering of Whitethroat including a couple that look to be back on territory. On Brownsea there was a single Spoonbill still and 12 Avocet. Cuckoo’s were calling at Arne, Swineham and Lytchett Fields and 7 Cattle Egret were in the Frome Valley near the Worgret Manor Hotel. At Sunnyside Scrape 2 Little Ringed Plover dropped onto the pool and a Red Kite drifted over. On Lytchett Fields there were 130+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Spotted Redshank and 2 Little Ringed Plover.

Harbour Update - posted 20/04/19

Today we hosted our first ‘Up with the Lark’ Poole Harbour bird boat of the year which saw a great range of species in a stunning sun-soaked Wareham Channel. As we cruised up the Wareham Channel numerous Sandwich Tern were fishing close to the boat as both Mediterranean Gulls and Black-headed Gulls busily ventured back and fourth from the nesting colony of the Holton shoreline. A flock of 12 Brent Geese also departed the Wareham Channel having likely just settled there for the morning as we now understand may birds use the channel as a staging site in late April. As we made our way up the river good numbers of Reed Warbler and a coupe of Sedge Warbler were singing and 5-10 Cetti’s Warbler were blasting out songs close to the boat. Sadly we missed 2 Osprey by a matter of minuets, one being CJ7 and the second being an un-ringed individual which then went on to pass over Lytchett Bay as it headed north. On the Brownsea lagoon there was a single Spoonbill, 12 Avocet, 12 Grey Plover including 3 summer-plumaged individuals, 1 Knot, 17 Dunlin, c20 Bar-tailed Godwit, 24 Common Tern and c100 Sandwich Tern, 1 Greenshank and c30 Med Gulls. At Lytchett Bay a Red Kite passed over and on the fields were 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Spotted Redshank and c30 Black-tailed Godwit. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was photographed on a house roof in Parkstone and more Cuckoo reports came from Stoborough Heath, Arne, Swineham and Godlingston.

Yellow-legged Gull - Parkstone - Pete Smith

Harbour Update - posted 19/04/19

With a shimmering heat sitting low to the ground the Brownsea Lagoon was looking like a Spanish salt-pan today and primed for some decent birds to arrive. Some good coverage produced 16 Grey Plover, 1 Knot, 12 Avocet, 1 Spoonbill, 21 Dunlin, 12 Common Tern, c70 Sandwich Tern, c50 Med Gulls, 1 Greenshank and c150 Black-tailed Godwit. Still CJ7 continues to bring nesting material to the Middlebere platform with a good number of grass gathering missions made this AM. There were also 4 Whimbrel in Middlebere and a male Common Redstart on the edge of Hartland Moor. Again Cuckoo were calling at Swineham, Lytchett Bay and Hartland. At Lytchett Fields 4 Little Ringed Plover appeared out of nowhere and 6 Cattle Egret were in fields just north of Worgret Manor.

Black-tailed Godwit - Brownsea Lagoon - Rene Goad

Grey Plover - Brownsea Lagoon - Rene Goad

Osprey CJ7 carrying nest material - Middlebere


Harbour Update - posted 18/04/19

Its really beginning to warm up and it looks set to be a scorcher over the weekend. A few more passerines dropped into the harbour today with Wheatear, Whitethroat and Reed Warbler at Lytchett Bay, a scattering of Blackcap and Wheatear across Upton Heath and Willow Warblers at Challow Hill and Greenlands Farm. In Middlebere there were 4 Whimbrel and 2 Grey Plover with both female Osprey CJ7 and another un-ringed bird which moved up the channel. In Brands 12 Grey Plover and 1 Whimbrel were present. In Poole, near Dunyeates Hill a reeling Grasshopper Warbler was on the ARC nature reserve and Cuckoo’s were calling on Hartland, Swineham and at Morden Bog. Red Kites were over Keysworth and Candford Heath.

Harbour Update - posted 17/04/19

Mid April is always a great time of year, and if the conditions provide, then the birds will appear and today they did! A great suit of birds were logged across the harbour as the fog lifted, then dropped, then lifted again throughout the day. The day started off as usual with Osprey CJ7 bringing more nesting material to the Middlebere platform when a 2nd (un-ringed) female then decided to do a fly by of the Middlebere hide. A potential 3rdOsprey was then also seen out in Wareham Channel at roughly the same time. Willow Warblers and Blackcap arrived in good numbers for the fist time this spring with records of Willow Warbler at Sunnyside Farm, Soldiers Road, PCW Drain and Hartland, and Blackcaps up on Ballard in reasonable numbers in the scrub. At Lytchett Fields, the first Redstart of the spring popped up near the car park and out on the fields them selves were a grounded Yellow Wagtail, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Spotted Redshank and 2 Common Sandpiper.  On the Brownsea Lagoon the first 2 Common Tern of the spring appeared in amongst the Sandwich Tern and in Stoborough 2 Hobby were circling over the river valley. At Holme Lane 6 Cattle Egret were still feeding in the fields and are now looking rather spring-like and there were 3 freshly arrived Cuckoo with 1 at Swineham, 1 in Stoborough and another at Studland. A steady trickle of Swallow pulsed through for most of the day and 2 Red Kites drifted over the harbour, one at Candford Heath, the second at Sandford. Night sound recording in the Piddle Valley produced a small party of Common Sandpiper leaving the harbour at around 9pm and 2 small parties of Whimbrel just after dark and and hour before sunrise.

Common Sandpiper - Calls of night migrants - Piddle Valley 17/04/19 @ 2103

Yellow Wagtail - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 16/04/19

Some rain through the night and a sill morning produced a nice fall of birds around the harbour including a Nightingale which was singing at the northern side of Upton Heath mid-morning. Nightingale have seen a dramatic decline in the UK and there are now NONE breeding within our Poole Harbour recording area. Our only opportunity to hear these spring songsters nowadays is if you’re lucky enough to ‘bump’ in to one on spring migration. At Lytchett Fields a new spring record count of 9 Little Ringed Plover was observed along with 2 Whimbrel, 2 Spotted Redshank (including 1 summer plumaged bird), 1 Greenshank and 159 Black-tailed Godwit. At Swineham 3 Sedge Warbler were singing along with 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Cuckoo and c20 Sand Martin. In Middlebere there were 10 Grey Plover and 66 Shelduck and at Sunnyside 3 Wheatear were on the scrape. On the tall section of the Asda building a female Peregrine was sitting out the rain mid-morning and as it warmed and dried up later in the day Dartford Warbler were very active on the local heaths with plenty of display flying. Osprey CJ7 was very active at the Middlebere nest platform again during the morning but there was a surprise appearance from a new female bird today which was also colour-ringed, albeit on the left leg. We could make out the letters PA (and we think 2) which makes it a 3-year old female from Scotland, hatched in 2016 near Loch Lomond. She’s obviously a non-breeder like CJ7, but shows that the non-breeding cohort are now arriving and making their way through the area now….so hopefully not long before we may see one of our LS birds arrive. We’ve re-started doing quite a bit of night sound recording again, and last night had a flock of Dunlin depart the harbour and head up the Piddle Valley just after sunset.

 Dunlin flock - calls of night time migrants - Piddle Valley - 16/04/19 @20:57

 Peregrine Falcon - Asda, Holes Bay, Poole

Harbour Update - posted 15/04/19

Today a blasting SE ripped across the harbour, and a sea watch should really have been undertaken, having seen all the goodies that were passing Chesil and Portland Bill mid morning. But sadly we couldn’t get down to Branksome but still, we saw Osprey CJ7 very briefly at the Middlebere nest again bringing some nest material to the platform. A few more waders were reported with 2 new Common Sandpiper fresh in at Lytchett Fields along with 2 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel and 4 late Wigeon. On the Brownsea Lagoon a very small number of Avocet were displaying and pairing up and 2 Spoonbill were present. At Sunnyside 4 Wheatear were near the scrapes but only a single Little Ringed Plover was there.

Harbour Update - posted 14/04/19

After yesterday’s busyness of nest prepping, female Osprey CJ7 ramped it up a gear this morning and was really active around the Middlebere platform, bringing sticks and moss to the nest for a good hour or so before drifting off high NW not to be seen again for the rest of the day! The NE wind had really picked up by midday and it was FFFreeeeeezing when not in a sheltered spot, but other sightings of Swallow pulsing through, 2 Little Ringed Plover at Sunnyside, a Common Whitethroat at the PC World drain, 2 Wheatear at Middlebere and the springs first Whimbrel in Lytchett Bay still tried to make it slightly spring like today. Other reports came in the shape of 3 Spoonbill at Shipstal, Arne, another Osprey (or possibly CJ7) drifted over Lytchett Bay and also the Corfe Road and on Lytchett Fields 1 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Green Sandpiper and 1 Greenshank were present.

Osprey CJ7 in the Middlebere nest platform - Barbara Bisset

Harbour Update - posted 13/04/19

We’ve been making a lot of comment on Osprey behaviour and sightings from around the harbour in recent weeks, with CJ7 receiving most attention. We’ve had a team out monitoring her activities and we’ve noted some interesting behaviour on some of the nest platforms and today we got some nice photos of her nest prepping and stick carrying at the Middlebere platform. This was the first time we’d logged this behaviour on this particular platform and it’s truly an exciting development in the hoped for re-colonisation of Osprey here on the south coast for the first time in a few hundred years. All we’re hoping for now is that one of our male Osprey chicks from 2017 returns to the harbour over the coming weeks and strikes up a bond with CJ7 in preparation for possible breeding to take place next spring.

It also felt  very spring like out on the heathlands with the springs first Cuckoo calling out at Morden Bog, Wareham Forest. At Lytchett Fields 1 Yellow Wagtail flew over and there were 4 Little Ringed Plover and 2 Spotted Redshank on the fields.

Female Osprey CJ7 nest prepping on Middlebere Platform

Harbour Update - posted 12/04/19

It’s still very cold, and the ENE wind is due to build by the weekend but the sun shone and we were thrilled to have a visit to our BoPH HQ by the Biotope UK team who were visiting in regards to an exciting project we’re helping with at RSPB Arne later in the year. Although we can’t say too much now, it was great to see the Biotope team, and I’m sure the RSPB Dorset team will be releasing more info about this exciting project in the coming weeks/months which is scheduled for Autumn 2019.

Sightings today were limited to CJ7’s standard morning visit to the Middlebere platform where she sat and pondered for a while. Red Kites were logged over Poole Park and Holton Pools. A Little Ringed Plover flew over Morden Bog which is quite an exceptional record, at Lytchett Fields there were just 2 Green Sandpiper and at Baiter there were still 12 Turnstone feeding on the beach.

Harbour Update - posted 11/04/19

This cold ENE wind is slowing migration right up, with not much getting through currently other than another small trickle of Osprey with at least three different birds in and around the harbour this AM. As is currently usual, CJ7 spent the early part of the morning on the Middlebere platform, whilst in the Piddle Valley, just north of Wareham, two different Osprey (one male, one female) were seen low heading towards the harbour. At Lytchett Fields there was just a single Little Ringed Plover with 54 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Spotted Redshank but the sites 1st Common Ringed Plover of the spring was the most noteworthy sighting. A Tree Pipit was heard over Middlebere, singles of Willow Warbler were at Greenlands Farm, Swineham and Hartland and 3 Wheatear were on Hartland Stud with another 2 on Greenlands Farm. A few Swallow and Sand Martin are now arriving back at nesting sites, but there are still plenty more yet to arrive. Blackcap seem to be everywhere already, despite it only being early/mid April. Although we’re sure some have arrived from the south, is it the case that in fact some of our over-wintering birds and now staying as breeding residents?

Swallows - Stoborough 

Harbour Update - posted 10/04/19

Today saw the harbours second Yellow Wagtail of the spring, this time passing over Poole Park, where the lagoon has now filled up considerably and only held 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Redshank and a few Oystercatcher. Ten tardy Fieldfare were in the Piddle Valley and at Lytchett Fields an Egyptian Goose flew over and on the fields was 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Little Ringed Plover and 2 Green Sandpiper. An Osprey was high over Coombe Heath and another Hobby dashed through, this time at Greenlands Farm where there were also 2 Wheatear, several Chiffchaff and Blackcap and 7 Swallow through overhead.

Harbour Update - posted 09/04/19

There’s nothing quite like an April shower with a gentle easterly breeze, as this combination can often result in a downing of passing migrants and there was certainly some evidence of that this afternoon with 3 new Little Ringed Plover on the Sunnyside scrape and another 5 at Lytchett Fields, with 2 Greenshank and 2 Green Sandpiper whilst the springs 1stYellow Wagtail also flew overhead there and at Swineham GP c150 Sand Martin, c50 Swallow and c20 House Martin all hawked in close proximity low over the water, dodging the rain drops. The springs 1stHobby of the year was also forced low as it hung around the eastern end of Arne Moors and Marsh Harriers were seen over Giggers Island, Sunnyside and Swineham. Three Peregrine stoops were witnessed with one dropping down onto Black-tailed Godwits at Swineham, a second along the Arne approach road and a third at Sunnyside Farm as the local Lapwing breathed a sigh of relief as the ‘Peg’ only made one half hearted attempt. On the Browsnea Lagoon 2 Spoonbill remain faithful to the site and remaining waders included a few Avocet (hopefully remaining breeders), c20 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Greenshank.

The only Osprey news from today came from CJ7 being sat on the Middlebere nest platform for an hour or so, gazing in to the yonder, pondering when her Romeo may turn up. Don’t worry CJ7….there’s an Osprey for for everyone, just be patient!

  Freshly arrived Little Ringed Plover - Sunnyside Scrape

Osprey CJ7 looking into the distance, waiting for 'her/a man'!!


Harbour Update - posted 08/04/19

It was so warm today that heat haze even became a bit of an issue, and whilst we were carrying out an Osprey monitoring session we clocked three different individuals around the Arne penninsuer. One was obviously CJ7 busily touring the Middlebere/Arne area, the second was a left leg blue-ringed female which looked to read AX8 on the ring, which is the now three-year bird that first visited Poole Harbour almost exactly a year ago today, and was originally ringed as a chick near Inverness in 2016. The third Osprey was a migrating fly over individual which cruised high north over Rockley whilst being mobbed by a few gulls. At the Sunnyside scrape, a single Little Ringed Plover was present as were 2 Lapwing and 4 Teal. At Hatch Pond a newly hatched Great Crested Grebe family have been attracting a crowd with the humbug-headed youngsters often coming close enough for good photo opportunities.

Osprey AX8 feeding at Arne

Great Crested Grebe family - Hatch Pond - Phyl England

Harbour Update - posted 07/04/19

Despite the nice conditions, birding was fairly slow today with female Osprey CJ7 settling on the Middlebere platform briefly in the morning, catching a fish in Middlebere and then heading off towards the Wareham Channel. A Marsh Harrier flew over Middlebere too along with several Swallows. Up around Hartland Dartford Warbler were enjoying the sun with 23 seen across the area, along with 2 Wheatear a fly over Marsh Harrier and plenty Stonechat back on territory having been mostly absent across the harbour this winter. At Lytchett Fields the 3 Little Ringed Plover were still there as was 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 Spotted Redshank. The Red-necked Grebe was on Swineham GP with 2 Reed Warbler singing along the Frome River walk, c50 Sand Martin over the gravel pit, 2 Bearded Tit were calling down near Swineham Point and a large female Peregrine was hunting Black-tailed Godwit over Bestwall.

Harbour Update - posted 06/04/19

A dawn visit to Swineham produced the Red-necked Grebe out in the centre of the gravel pit where c150 Sand Martin and a few Swallow left the reed beds and ‘buzzed/chirruped’ over head, heading north. In the reeds the harbours first Sedge Warbler of the spring was singing along with 3 Reed Warbler and a Willow Warbler was singing. At Arne Moors 7 Cattle Egret flew over heading towards Swineham. At Lytchett Fields 3 Little Ringed Plover were on the fields along with 163 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank and 1 Wheatear. There wasn’t much Osprey activity around the nesting platforms today with CJ76 only making a brief visit to the Middlebere platform but one (and then possibly 2 others) were seen high over Brownsea, heading north and getting mobbed by gulls and another went over Lytchett Bay.

Harbour Update - posted 05/04/19

With it being the start of April and the forecast showing a strong SE wind, there was only one choice…..sea watching. Well, not for us as we had a School Bird Boat which produced 2 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon along with c30 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank and just 2 Avocet. The sea watch retuned some good species from Branksome Chine including 1 Great Skua, 5 Manx Shearwater, 1 Kittiwake, 3 Arctic Tern, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Eider, 34 Common Scoter, 39 Med Gulls and several Gannet. At Lytchett Fields, up to 5 Little Ringed Plover were logged, along with 1 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpiper, 114 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 tardy Wigeon. At Poole Park the Knot was still present with 1 Greenshank, 324 Black-tailed Godwit, 20+ Redshank and 15 Med Gull and it was nice to hear 2 migrant Willow Warbler in the park too.

Osprey news saw 2 out in the Wareham Channel mid morning, despite the wind and rain, and a female, again, assumed to be CJ7 was on the Middlebere nest platform early doors.

Little Ringed Plover - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Med Gulls - Poole Park - Ian Ballam

 Osprey having a morning stretch - Middlebere

Osprey - Middlebere nest platform


Harbour Update - posted 04/04/19

Errrm. Where’s spring gone? Today was reminiscent of the stormy days of winter, not the hoped for glorious spring sunshine. Therefor it was no surprise that sightings were of a limited selection today. After only a few sporadic sightings, female Osprey CJ7 came and landed on the Middlebere nest platform late afternoon/early evening but only for a short period. Also in Middlebere 2 Spoonbill were feeding, 17 Grey Plover and 1 Marsh Harrier. At Lytchett Fields there were 3 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Ruff, 82 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Green Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank and 3 Gadwall whilst at Poole Park the Knot was still feeding with c300 Black-tailed Godwit.  

Harbour Update - posted 03/04/19

Female Osprey CJ7 was seen around the harbour again today at several sites, and an Osprey was seen at Morden Bog too which could have been her, or possibly a second individual? With the Red-necked Grebe showing well at Swineham, it was good to hear birders visiting the site and reporting other birds of note including a Hobby that dashed through the site and c100 Sand Martin, 4 House Martin and 3 Swallow with 1 Willow Warbler singing there too. At Sunnyside Farm the springs first Tree Pipit was settled and another was reported at Upton Heath singing too. In Poole Park 2 Willow Warbler were singing again, along with 1 Blackcap and out on the lagoon there were c280 Black-tailed Godwit and c20 Redshank. 

Harbour Update - posted 02/04/19

After yesterday exciting news, who we believe to be Osprey CJ7 reappeared on a foggy Middlebere nest early this morning. She spent the cold, grey part of the morning hunched up on the platform, only to then move off at 10am and wasn’t seen for the rest of the day. With only a few days until the Poole Park lagoon is refilled another decent count of birds was made which included 294 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Knot, 16 Oystercatcher, 2 Dunlin, 17 Redshank, 17 Med Gulls, 6 Shelduck and there were also 2 Willow Warbler and a Swallow in the park too. At Middlebere, despite the Osprey going missing mid-morning, there were 14 Grey Plover, 2 Ringed Plover and 2 Swallow through. A Swift was reported over Creekmoor and at Lytchett Fields there were 40 Redshank, 4 Green Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank, 92 Black-tailed Godwit and a Marsh Harrier.

We also heard on the grapevine that our partners in our Osprey Translocation project today received the exciting news that they have been granted a licence to carry out a 5-year White-tailed Sea Eagle translocation on the Isle of Wight. The Roy Dennis Wildlife foundation have been working on the application for the last year or so and were given the good news some time this morning. We’re particularly excited as juvenile Sea Eagles tend to have a c100-c200km post fledging range, which means over the nest few years we could begin to see them over Poole Harbour airspace!!!!


Harbour Update - posted 01/04/19

Well, today was a good day for a whole range of reasons. Being April 1st it was a day of pulling peoples legs, and online a good range of random birds were reported to have been seen around the UK, getting heads in a real spin before people quickly (and some not so quickly) realised it was April fools day!

Secondly, we’re proud to announce the launch of our new Birds of Poole Harbour iPhone App which provides the public with the tools and information necessary to help self guide their way around new areas of the harbour whilst also giving you the opportunity to report your important bird sightings to our charity. For download info and a full overview read our News Blog Here.

Secondly, we had an exciting encounter this morning with an Osprey landing on our new Middlebere nesting platform and triggering our camera trap. Seeing an Osprey was exciting in its self, but when we saw the ring read CJ7 our pulses started to rise. To find out why read our News Blog Here.

Also, a good harbour spring bird turned up on Slepe Heath in the shape of a male Ring Ouzel, a real touch species to catch up with in the harbour during the spring. The Red-necked Grebe was still on Swineham all day and 150 Sand Martin with a single House Martin were logged too. At Lytchett Fields 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Spotted Redshank and a White Wagtail were logged. At Sunnyside Farm a migrating flock of 50 Fieldfare were seen with 2 Willow Warbler singing and 2 Wheatear were on Stoborough Heath. A Red Kite drifted over Hatch Pond and previously over Poole. Apart from Middlebere an Osprey was also seen over Lytchett Bay with 100+ Med Gulls.

White Wagtail - Lytchett Fields - Shaun Robson

Ring Ouzel - Slepe Heath - Brittany Maxted

Female Osprey CJ7 - Middlebere Camera Trap

Harbour Update - posted 31/03/19

Not much of a turnover of birds at the moment with just a small trickle of Sand Martin and Swallow pulsing through and small parties of Meadow Pipit. With April kicking in tomorrow we should begin to start seeing some numbers of birds arrive, hopefully in the shape of Pied Flyctacher or Nightingale, both of which a really, really tough birds to get in Poole Harbour in spring. But as April progresses species such as Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat, Swift and Spotted Flycatcher should become evident and of course, the odd rarity or two wouldn’t go down too badly either. Today the main sightings consisted of the Red-necked Grebe still at Swineham, 6 Cattle Egret at Bog Lane, 1 Osprey (and possibly a second) over the Wareham Channel, 1 Little Ringed Plover at Swineham and 21 Sandwich Tern back on Brownsea.

Harbour Update - posted 30/03/19

Yesterdays Garganey wasn’t seen during the day but gave its self away by calling at dusk somewhere around the Swineham GP area. The Red-necked Grebe was still present and c200 Sand Martin came into feed. Also in the Wareham Channel area 1 female Marsh Harrier, 1 Osprey and 1 Peregrine. In Poole Park there were still c150 Black-tailed Godwit present with 10+ Redshank and at Baiter a Peregrine went over north and a lone Sand Martin dashed over the quay. At Lytchett Fields 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Ruff and 240 Black-tailed Godwit were on the fields and at Greenland’s Farm 5 Wheatear, 1 White Wagtail and 2 Willow Warbler were logged.

Harbour Update - posted 29/03/19

There was a nice pair of species together on Swineham GP when the Red-necked Grebe was joined by a drake Garganey for most of the day. Not a pair of birds you’d expect to see bobbing about next to one another! There was also a nice mini fall of Little Ringed Plover with 4-5 present at Lytchett Fields along with 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Ruff and 1 Spotted Redshank with 2 Spoonbill also out in the bay. There were still 6 Cattle Egret in fields at Bog Lane which is a good early spring sign that they might just hang on into the breeding season. At Swineham there were 2 Swallow with 20 Sand Martin and 3 Swallow went through Middlebere. Along the PC World Drain 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap and 4 Chiffchaff were singing.

Little Ringed Plover - Lytchett Fields - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 28/03/19

We apologise for the late posts, but have been down in Majorca enjoying a bit of spring birding. Now we’re fully refreshed and primed for the Med arrival of Black-winged Stilts, Kentish Plovers and Woodchat Shrikes into the harbour…….if only. Still, it was nice to see the Red-necked Grebe still on Swineham GP with a handful of Sand Martin and 3 Swallow there too. Up on Slepe Heath a late-ish pair of Merlin zipped by the top of the ridge and an Osprey was seen over the Wareham Channel later in the day. At Lytchett Fields a Little Ringed Plover was calling at dawn in the fog, but was later found on the fields.

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