May 2019

Harbour Update - posted 31/05/19

A nice smattering of sightings from across the harbour today. A short sea watch at Branksome Chine produced 3 Sanderling west, with 1 Gannet, 11 Sandwich Tern and c20 Common Tern. On Brands Heath a Cuckoo was still calling and in Brands Bay 2 Curlew were the only birds of note. At Arne female Osprey CJ7 was seen first over Coombe Heath and then later over at Hydes Heath. On the Brownsea Lagoon 14 Dunlin, 2 Sanderling and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit were feeding and a night sound recording session in the Corfe Gap produced 1 Little Grebe, 1 Dunlin, 1 Moorhen and several calling Tawny Owl and an active Barn Owl.

Harbour Update - posted 30/05/2019

While it has been lovely and sunny, it has been relatively quiet on the birding front today. The highlight being one, two even possibly three Osprey, with one over Branksome Chine mid-morning, one over the Arne Raptor Trail in the mid-afternoon and a third heading NW over Lulworth. These could well be the same bird though looking at the timings of the sightings. The Sandwich Tern chicks continue to hatch on Brownsea Lagoon, though we have recorded two incidents of Black-headed gulls predating them today. Black-headed gull numbers are now up to 150, with 24 chicks, while the sarnies are at 102 adults and the Common terns are at 130.  In slightly less grim news, 20 Shelduck ducklings were seen along with 105 adults. Swifts have been heard on the Quay, fingers crossed they’ll start using our newly installed nest boxes! Over at Holton Lee, the Great spotted woodpeckers have been showing nicely on our feeder cam. On Slepe Heath 4 Nightjar were heard and seen and from Coombe Heath a Spoonbill was seen feeding in the Middlebere Channel and both Dartford Warbler and Woodlark were logged. 

Harbour Sighting - posted 29/05/19

A dreary cold day with highs of 15°C have seen the Sandwich Tern chicks on Brownsea Lagoon being kept warm and dry under their parents, so only a few glimpses of them seen today! The Common Tern have also been hunkered down on their eggs with not a lot of movement. There have also been some Shelduck ducklings whizzing around in the water with their parents who don’t seem to be phased by the rain. With weather conditions hampering the distance the cameras could focus, only 4 Avocet, 2 Dunlin and the 4 Spoonbill were spotted. Over at Holten Lee 6 Goldfinch, a Great-spotted Woodpecker were seen and a Wheatear was seen at Coombe Heath. Over at Hatch Pond a Juvenile Great Crested Grebe was photographed preening itself. 

Raven Family - Corfe Castle - 29/05/19 @ 05:15

Harbour Update - posted 28/05/19

Passage is easing up a bit now, with many birds having already fledged their first broods. Right across the harbour the calls of Long-tailed Tit parties can be heard and the first Chiffchaff youngsters have been logged, as have Blackcaps at the PC World drain. Incredibly, species such as Blue Tit and Great Tit usually only have one brood per year, so to think that many have now completed a successful breeding season already, and it’s only the end of May is a bit sad really. It won’t be long before we turn our thoughts to Autumn migration (which normally starts end of June/early July) when our Long-tailed Tits will be joined by the likes of young Willow Warbler, Whitethroat and Spotted Flycatchers. At Morden Bog, despite being just outside our recording area it has also seen a decent fledge rate of regular species for the site including young Dartford Warbler, Yellowhammer and Woodlark already logged. Also at Morden Bog, 2 Cuckoo, 2 Hobby, 3 Common Whitethroat, 2 pairs of Spotted Flycatcher and plenty of Siskin. On the Brownsea Lagoon 4 Spoonbill appeared at around midday and a few more Sandwich Tern chicks hatched as well. Also present were 6 Avocet, 14 Dunlin, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit and a fly over Hobby.

Harbour Update - posted 27/05/19

Today the first Sandwich Tern chicks hatched on the Brownsea Lagoon, which is excellent news. With 228 sitting pairs counted on Saturday, and the only pair of Med Gulls vacating a few weeks ago (which often eat tern chicks), it looks as if Sarnie Terns could have a bumper summer this year. Also on the lagoon were the first Shelduck ducklings of the year. Each year one (sometimes two) pairs of Nightjar breed on Brownsea and can often be seen bombing around at dusk up near the lake hide. Well today one of them was discovered roosting right in front of the Lake Hide providing excellent photo opportunities. At Upton CP a singing Garden Warbler was a good find as was a Firecrest with good numbers of Reed Warbler and Blackcap along the fringes of the park and harbour shoreline.

Nightjar - Brownsea Island - Peter Moore

Newly hatched Sandwich Tern chick - Brownsea Island - Peter Moore

Harbour Update - posted 26/05/19

After yesterdays high from the Puffin boat, there wasn’t the need for too many good birds today, with the smattering of spring regulars doing just enough to top us up! At Swineham there were a minimum of 3 Cuckoo calling with another 2 on Hartland. Swift totals around Poole are a bit sporadic currently with only a small handful over Poole Old Town, but 13 reported over the Lake road area of Hamworthy, which is a usual breeding area too. A Peregrine Falcon dashed over Fleetsbridge towards Upton Heath and a reed bed survey at Lytchett Bay noted stable totals of breeding Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting compared to the last full 2011 count. At Sunnyside Farm there were 2 Egyptian Geese, 2 Lapwing and a couple of newly fledged Stonechat. On Upton Heath 5 different Common Whitethroat were heard singing which is actually (and sadly) a ‘high’ count for the harbour.

Common Whitethroat - Upton Heath - Rene Goad

Harbour Update - posted 25/05/2019

Quiet day in terms of sighting reports. Poole park had usually wildfowl with lots of juv’s, Mute Swan 4 cygnets, Mallard 14 ducklings, Coot 3 young, Greylag 9 gosling, Canada Geese 3 gosling and Cormorant. Dartford Warblers seen with young over Hartland Moor. Behind the Brownsea webcams we have counted c267 Black-headed Gull on the islands with c48 chicks, there were more than this out of view no doubt! Also on the lagoon were Shelduck, Gadwall, 6 Avocet, Oystercatcher, 14 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Sanderling, 2 Knot, 52 Dunlin, 2 Mediterranean Gull, Herring Gull, 36 Great Black-backed Gull, 228 sitting Sandwich Tern (no eggs hatched yet but expecting next week!), Common Tern colonies have started nesting this week, 18 Cormorant, Grey Heron, 2 Spoonbill, and toward the end of the day 2 Little Tern were seen on the islands with Sandwich Tern flocks.

First Puffin Boat Cruise

Phew… What an amazing bird boat! We started with the list seen above at Brownsea Lagoon, catching sight of the 2 Little Terns seen an hour before the trip on the webcams as well as a Buzzard being mobbed by corvids over Brownsea. Five minutes after we left the harbour we had astonishing views of a beautiful summer plumage Arctic Skua chasing and harassing gulls and terns, just 100 yards off the boat! We had a few good minutes observing the light phase skua steal fish from other birds, before it flew off high north. Just breathtaking!

Before we left our Poole Harbour recording boundary, we managed to observe some early Gannet, Guillemot, Razorbill and Fulmar. We also saw Swallow, flocks House Martin, 1 Peregrine perched on the cliffs at Old Harry’s and unusually a Little Egret. On our return trip past Old Harry's we recieved a beautiful sunset over the harbour, and some Med Gulls in the Studland Bay area. From Durlston to Dancing Ledge we saw good (Dorset) numbers of Shag, Common Guillemot, Razorbill, Fulmar, 22 Kittiwake and finally 5 Puffin at the end as well as some Rock Pipit, Swift, Swallow. All with decent close view from the boat. An all round happy boat!!! 

Harbour Update - posted 24/05/19

Westerly winds today brought a welcomed sighting of an Osprey at 09.25 over at Arne thismorning. An Iberian Chiffchaff was reported at Corfe Castle, 300m up the path to the hill, west side of the castle, but sadly a further search couldn't find/relocate it.  Another interesting find was a Yellow-legged Gull at Lytchett Fields which also hosted 40 Ringed Plover, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank, 12 Lapwing.

Over at Brownsea Lagoon c321 Sandwich Tern and c155 Common Tern are still busy nesting with no reports of chicks. The Great Black-backed Gull populations are healthy at c33 individuals, along with the Oystercatcher numbers with 71 spotted today. 4 Gadwall, 4 Avocet, c5 Bar-tailed Godwit, c10 Black-tailed Godwit, c2 Ruddy Turnstone, c2 Knot, c5 Dunlin, 2 Mediterranean Gull and 2 Spoonbill were also counted.

Harbour Update - posted 23/05/19

Having not been on any of our nest platforms for 10 days, it was good to see female Osprey CJ7 on one this AM. She spent about 15 minuets on the platform before two Buzzard then took umbrage and saw her off. She was then later seen with a fish which was interesting as a second ‘fishless’ bird was then seen about 15 minutes later, suggesting 2 different birds were in the area at the same time. Another revelation came today in the form of a second Nightingale being discovered to be singing in the Piddle Valley. Our recent recordings of the 1st bird (which were always from quite some distance away) made it sound like that the same bird was moving about the area. It wasn’t until sound recordists Mark Constantine and Magnus Robb took a listen and pointed out that the difference in sound level was due to the fact a second bird was singing further away. They still remain a frustrating pair to hear with both birds only singing during the hours of darkness. There is a reason for this though, and that’s because they’re un-paired. According to Mark and Magnus, un-paired birds sing through the night, whereas birds on territory with a female will sing during both the day and night. So it sounds like these poor lads won’t be fulfilling their summer dreams this year as we move closer to June, but lets hope they return next year and try try again.

Harbour Update - posted 22/05/19

Southerly winds have brought some relief from the warm weather we are experiencing in the harbour today. The Tern colonies are still exhibiting healthy numbers of breeding pairs with c153 Common Terns and c153 Sandwich Terns, eggs are not far off hatching now! 3 Gadwall,Bar-tailed Godwit, 14 Black-tailed Godwit,Sanderling,Grey Heron, c50 Oystercatcher,Spoonbill and 2 Avocet were busy wading across the Lagoon. Over in the Piddle Valley a Tree Pipit called overhead on night migration, Nightjar was heard churring and the (night only) singing Nightingale was singing perfectly at 3am! Over at Lytchett Fields, with the lack of rain, it was a lovely sight to see Alison Copland’s video of a flock of House Martin collecting mud for their nests. This is a positive sign for the Upton House Martin population and the wider UK population and has given us inspiration to research Poole Harbour’s population later this year. The best record of the week only reached us today sadly, and that was of a Turtle Dove seen and photographed at Greenland’s Farm, Studland by NT Ranger Ben Cooke. And these days, there’s only one thing rarer than a Turtle Dove in Poole Harbour and that’s a photo of one in Poole Harbour, so thanks to ben Cooke for sending this through.

Turtle Dove - Greenlands Farm - Ben Cooke

Harbour Update 21/05/19

A gorgeous sunny day has heard reports of a Hoopoe around the Oakdale area, but no confirmed sightings yet. Brownsea Lagoon has stable numbers of Sandwich Tern with c154 seen and Common Tern with c127 seen over on the islands with 48 Oystercatcher, some of which were showing signs of nesting on the islands. c168 Black-headed Gull have 7 chicks hatched between them so far. c132 Shelduck have been joined by 32 Godwit Sp. seen at a distance, 1 Avocet, 2 Spoonbill, 2 knot and 3 Dunlin. Lytchett Fields have also seen 5 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin.

Harbour Update - posted 20/05/19

Today we gave the harbour some good coverage by taking a survey boat up and down and across the harbour. There were still signs of passage with some respectable numbers of waders on the lagoon including 7 Knot, 21 Bar-tailed Godwit, 43 Black-tailed Godwit, 27 Dunlin, 1 Grey Plover and 1 Turnstone. Birds now settled on the lagoon included 2 Spoonbill, 7 Avocet, c150 Common Tern, c200 Sandwich Tern and up to 3 pairs of Oystercatcher seemed to be nesting along the Seymers shoreline. On the southern shores a lone Barnacle Goose was in the Rempstone Fields and up at Swineham a male and female Cuckoo were plotting against the local Reed Warblers of which 29 were present along with 9 Sedge Warbler, 4 Reed Bunting, c40 Swift, c50 Swallow, c30 House Martin and a pair of Bearded Tit. On the edge of the Wareham Channel an amazing count of 110 Mute Swan were gathered, all assumed to be 1-2 year old non-breeding birds. We see this happen each summer but believe it to be our highest count in recent years but there were 219 on the 16th August 1999. At Lytchett Fields there was s ingle Grey Plover in the bay with the rising tide.

As we’ve spoken about many times before, we’re really keen on learning about which birds are migrating or moving about out and around the harbour at night. Last night, just north of the harbour we recorded this Nightjar over the rural village of Lytchett Matravers. Now it’s not unusual to hear these calls at night, as after all, Nightjar are nocturnal. However, hearing these calls away from the heathlands is quite rare so this particular bird could either be a migrant passing through the area, or a foraging individual moving off from the heath to feed before making it’s way back again.

Nightjar - Call of migrant/foraging bird - Lytchett Matravers - 20/05/19 @ 01:05

Cuckoo - Swineham - Keith Rawling

Yellowhammer - Challow Hill, Corfe - Keith Rawling

Harbour Update 19/05/19

reasonably dry morning has been followed by heavy downpours this afternoon putting a stop to the busy nesting activity seen by the terns over at Brownsea Lagoon today, with continued high numbers of c188 Sandwich Tern and c104 Common Tern but still no chicks to be seen. High numbers of Oystercatcher and Shelduck, 59 and c50 respectively, are also present, along with 2 Knot, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, c18 Bar-tailed Godwit, 14 Dunlin, 7 Gadwall and the resident 6 Avocet and 2 Spoonbill were also seen.

At Middlebere 2 Egyptian Geese were caught on camera commandeering the Osprey nest and a Cuckoo was also seen. 5 Swift and 5 House Martin were reported over Poole and Parkstone with 5 Tufted Duck also spotted in Poole Park. 1 Greenshank, 2 Ringed Plover, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Oystercatcher and a juvenile Pied Wagtail seen at Lytchett Bay.

Up on Hartland 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whinchat and Hobby were near Scotland Farm. Around Slepe  Heath at dawn 4 Cuckoo were calling and an Osprey and 3 Hobby were over the Wareham Channel mid-afternoon. At Lytchett Fields mid-afternoon a Cuckoo was dropping into the reedbed between the fields and Holton Pools and on the fields were 2 Little Ringed Plover, 9 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Med Gull. There have been loads of newly fledged Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit and Great Tit at numerous sites, giving mid-May a very autumn feel as the zee zee zee their way through the hedgerows. We also recently found a juvenile Tawny Owl in woods just outside Wareham, drawn to it by it’s distinctive contact call.

 Tawny Owl Juv's - Wareham - 17/05/19 @ 01:42

 Little ringed Plover - Lytchett Fields

Harbour Update 18/05/19

It has been busy today in the harbour with South East to South Westerly winds and mild temperatures. Brownsea Lagoon provided a haven for c40 Dunlin, c16 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 2 Gadwall, 8 Ringed Plover, c16 Black-tailed Godwit, 21 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Redshank, 2 Avocet and 2 Spoonbill, along with the usual high numbers of Terns with c75 pairs of Common Tern and c170 pairs of Sandwich Tern sitting on eggs.

There have been plentiful Cuckoo sightings around the Harbour including 1 at Lytchett Fields, 2 at Hartland Moor, 1 at Swineham and 2 at Arne. Here at the HQ and along the Quay the highlights have been SwiftPied Wagtail c5 Sandwich Tern, 2 Common Tern and an Oystercatcher.  

Lytchett Bay hosted 14 Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Plover (1 still in winter plumage and one in summer plumage), a Common Sandpiper, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Little Ringed Plover and a Red Kite drifting NE. Another Red Kite was also spotted over Upton Heath.

 Grey Plover - Spring migrant at Lytchett Fields

Harbour Update 17/05/19

A change in wind direction to a Northerly has seen some still calm conditions with a drizzly end to the afternoon. This hasn’t deterred the birds at Brownsea Lagoon with the terns still busy breeding over on the islands; c142 Common Tern and c154 nesting Sandwich Tern along with 2 Spoonbill. The second batch of Black-headed Gull chicks have also hatched. The nesting Mediterranean Gull was spending a lot of time off her nest today and an additional 1st summer plumage individual was also seen.

At Baiter Park, 15 Oystercatcher and 5 Turnstone were seen and Holten Lee webcam has caught a Great spotted Woodpecker, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Nuthatch, Coal Tit and Great Tit. Over at Lytchett Bay there were 2 Grey Plover (1 in summer plumage and 1 in winter plumage), a Red Kite flying over Lytchett Fields and a Common Sandpiper.

Harbour Update 16/05/19

Sadly, the Bee-eaters didn’t visit us in the harbour as they moved on with their migration, hopefully it won’t be long before they visit us again.

Easterly winds have continued today with some Northerly gusts creeping with a high of 15°C. Brownsea Lagoon is seeing high numbers of Shelduck and Oystercatcher with c100 and c80 respectively. These have been joined by numerous other waders including c40 Black-tailed Godwit, c25 Dunlin, Gadwall, Greenshank and the resident 2 Spoonbill and 5 Avocet. Over on the Tern breeding colony we are still seeing high numbers of Common Tern and Sandwich Tern building nests and incubating eggs, but no chicks yet for a few weeks yet.

Lytchett Bay accommodated 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover and a Redshank and Baiter Park saw Little EgretCommon Tern and Sandwich TernTurnstoneOystercatcherMediterranean Gull and notably a Garden Warbler! A Common Crane few over Middlebere, coming in from the NW and heading South over to the Purbecks. 2 Red kite were spotted at Wareham Forest.



Harbour Update 15/05/19

With 7 Bee-eater turning up at Durlston today, it finally looks as if the easterly promise is delivering some goods! Although vey rare in the harbour, they have occurred with 6 near Brands Bay in 1988, 1 on Ballard in 1998 and 3 over a Broadstone garden in 2009, so its about time we’re due for some more….or at least another!

Despite the lack of Bee-eaters, it was another busy, beautiful sunny day for birdlife in the harbour today with the first Black-headed Gull chicks hatching over on Brownsea Island. With c100 adults seen today it looks like there will be plenty more chicks joining them soon. In amongst these are c75 pairs of Sandwich Terns and c100 pairs of Common terns, most of which are eagerly incubating eggs, along with 1 nesting Mediterranean Gull. 2 Spoonbill and 2 Avocet are also present. Several Swift have been seen today with c5 spotted in Poole Town and 1 in Lychett Bay. A Sparrowhawk was seen chasing 2 Long-tailed Tits at Lytchett Bay whilst Holten Lee saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker.  Dartford Warbler were preening along with Siskin, Linnet, Green Woodpecker, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Buzzard, Little Egret and Heron were seen at Coombe Heath with the backing vocals of a ChiffchaffAt Lytchett Fields late this evening 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank and 4 Teal were on the fields. Nightjar were a bit more vocal on the local heaths with 2 heard on Slepe Heath, 2 at Arne and 1 near Middlebere. On Stoborough Heath there were singing Woodlark and Skylark, 4 Willow Warbler, 1 Cuckoo and juveniles of Siskin, Stonechat and Meadow Pipit logged.

Harbour Update 14/05/19

A warm day with a high of 19°C saw some strong South Easterly gusts bringing in a variety of species into the Harbour. An Osprey was seen fishing at 08.45 at Middlebere Channel and later on possibly 2 different individuals were seen fishing over the Wareham Channel.  Brownsea Lagoon is still hosting a variety of nesting Terns and Gulls with c100 pairs of Sandwich Tern, c75pairs of Common Tern, c100 Black-headed Gull and a pair of Mediterranean Gull. c50 Shelduck have been joined by a Grey Plover in stunning summer plumage, c10 Oystercatcher and 2 Greylag Geese. 3 Sandwich Tern and 14 Common Tern were seen leaving the harbour mouth. Holes Bay didn’t disappoint, with a Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 3 Grey Plover, 3 Ringed Plover, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Curlew, a Redshank and an Oystercatcher. The tunes of Reed WarblerCetti’s Warbler, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff were heard along the Holes Bay shoreline. Along the Wareham 2 rivers walk a Marsh Harrier and 2 Hobby were spotted flying high and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Egyptian GeeseSwift, Sand Martin, Cetti’s Warbler, Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting were seen on and over the River Piddle mud Banks.



Harbour Update - posted 13/05/19

Things are hotting up now, and mid week is supposed to reach peak warmth! Combined with an easterly air flow we could be treated to a bit of eastern promise. A Bee-eater or the odd Golden Oriole wouldn’t go a miss?

Well, today we needed to make do with an epic Hobby chase over Swineham which saw 3 Hobby hunt as a pack to try and take down a single Swift…something we’d never experienced before. The Swift got away but the chase lasted for a good minute or two…truly breathe taking. There was a big gathering of Swift right across the sky from Wareham to Swineham with plenty more on the coast too. On top of Hartland a Lesser Whitethroat was singing and a Red Kite drifted over Sunnyside. At Lytchett Fields there were 3 Ringed Plover, 9 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Greenshank with a single Hobby over Holton Lee. Good old Osprey CJ7 was seen again briefly at dawn on the Middlebere platform at dawn. Strangely a Barnacle Goose appeared at Bestwall with 2 Egyptian Geese and late news from yesterday saw a male and female Garganey at Swineham GP. A group of 3 Spoonbill commuted between Middlebere and Brownsea and on the lagoon 4 Knot, 1 Turnstone, 9 Avocet, 91 Dunlin, 34 Black-tailed Godwit, 24 Bar-tailed Godwit and 178+ sitting Sandwich Tern were logged yesterday.

Harbour Update - posted 12/05/19

Gentle easterlies breeze today, hoping for some interesting species to be brought in. Here in the HQ we had views of 8 Swallows passing over and c10 Sandwich Terns foraging in the harbour. Other than the usual wildfowl, Poole Park had some interesting birds including singing Whitethroat and Reed Warbler. Brownsea lagoon was quiet in the morning visited by more waders in the afternoon; 4 Knot, 74 Dunlin, c16 Black-tailed Godwit, c12 Bar-tailed Godwit, as well as 2 Spoonbill, 200+ Sandwich Tern, 100+ Common Tern. Rockley had views of Peregrine Falcon, Buzzard, Dartford Warbler, Little Egret and Shelduck. Lytchett Fields hosted 18 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Ringed Plover, 4 Dunlin and an Oystercatcher this morning. In Osprey news, we had a blue ringed Osprey checking in to some of our nests including the Middlebere nest – potentially CJ7 visiting again! 

Blue -ringed Osprey on the Middlebere platform this AM - CJ7 again?

Harbour Update - posted 11/05/19

The harbour has enjoyed a beautifully sunny, calm day with the occasional Northerly gust. Today we are celebrating World Migratory Bird Day and we have seen a few migratory species along with some interesting residents. At Brownsea Lagoon we are still seeing high numbers of breeding Sandwich Terns with c75 pairs nesting alongside c20 pairs of Common Terns. The lonely Spoonbill is not so lonely, having been joined by another individual, likely to be a juvenile. 3 pairs of Avocet, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, c5 Gadwall, 2 Grey Heron, c30 Dunlin and 1 Knot were amongst todays visitors. Down at Baiter Park, 6 Turnstone, 1 Little Egret, 10 Oystercatcher and 2 Swallow were seen. 2 Cuckoo were spotted down at Swineham Gravel Pits while Poole Park hosted 6 Tufted Ducks. Holton Lee Camera caught glimpses of Dunnock, Nuthatch and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Harbour Update - Posted 10/05/19

With a gentle Southerly breeze Brownsea Lagoon has been busy providing shelter for a wide number of species. Over c60 Oystercatcher, c150 Common Tern, c200 Sandwich Tern and c100 Black-headed Gull have been busy nesting on the Islands. The lonely Spoonbill is still present, along with 2 knot, 1 Redshank and 1 Greenshank. Swineham Gravel Pit has had 4 Great-crested Grebe, a Cuckoo and Gadwall. There were 5 Turnstone feeding at Baiter Park. Lytchett Fields saw 20 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper and an Oystercatcher. Visitors to the feeder at Holton Lee have been Chaffinch, Starling and Goldfinch. There have been 2 Hobby feeding high over the Piddle Valley and 3 hobby interacting over Middlebere that were joined by a drifting Osprey. At Lytchett Fields a flock of 41 Whimbrel circled high above the bay and on the fields there were 23 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Little Ringed Plover. 

Harbour Update - posted 09/05/19

The mid-week doldrums were in full affect today. Luckily the weather looks to be settling down over the coming days with a few easterlies, so will we see any eastern treats over the weekend? We could really do with just one (or maybe 6) good birds this weekend. It would be worth keeping at eye out for Black Tern at sites like Swineham GP with the big arrival that took place this week. The only birds of note this AM at Swineham were c70 Swift, 1 Cuckoo, c10 Reed Warbler, 4 Sedge Warbler, 1 Bearded Tit and at dusk a flock of 10 Cattle Egret flew east. At Lytchett Bay just 3 each of Black-tailed Godwit and Whimbrel were out on the mud and on the fields were 7 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Greenshank.  At Bog Lane 3 Cattle Egret were seen flying towards the cows at dawn and a Hobby was high over Arne Moors. There were no sign of any Osprey today but Peregrine were logged at Holes Bay and Arne. On the Brownsea Lagoon c80 Dunlin were feeding out on the Boomerang and 4 Sanderling were out over towards the Tamerisk island. There was still an element of winter with a drake Wigeon on Littlesea, Studland and a Brent Goose in Brands Bay. In Middlebere there were 24 Dunlin, 5 Grey Plover, 1 Whimbrel and a fly over Cuckoo. 

Harbour Update - Posted 08/05/19

A cool breezy day has produced some interesting species. Brownsea Lagoon is filling up with nesting Sandwich Terns with an estimated count of over 200 individuals. 30 Black-tailed Godwit, 80 Dunlin, 6 Common Tern, 1 Little Tern, 5 Avocet, 2 Knot, 20 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Oystercatcher, and 4 Redshank. Canada Geese have hatched Goslings on the lagoon today. 1 lonely Spoonbill is still hanging on. Lytchett Bay has seen 6 Greenshank, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Dunlin, and 2 Ringed Plover. 11 Cattle Egret have been hanging out at Bog Lane/River Frome flood Fields. Down at Holten Lee a Great Spotted Woodpecker visited the bird feeder for a quick snack as well as a few Chaffinch still and several Goldfinch. At Swineham GP this AM c200 Sand Martin and c50 Swift were hawking above it this AM and a Cuckoo calling whilst a short sea watch at Branksome produced 9 Gannet, 1 Fulmar, 1 Common Scoter and plenty of Sandwich and Common Terns. At Holton Lee a Whinchat was out on the heathland as was a single Woodlark.

Harbour Update - posted 07/05/19

Today we hosted a boat trip for several council representatives and local businesses with the aim of discussing possible future opportunities in promoting Poole Harbour and its birdlife. This is always made easier of course when an Osprey decides to sit in a tree close to the shoreline, filling up on a fairly large fish, before then lazily lifting off and circling right above the boat, which then drew in the attention of a Hobby which then mobbed it several minutes! We were also fortunate to pass/visit the Brownsea lagoon which yet again proved that an arrival of waders had entered the harbour last night including c80 Dunlin, 2 Knot, 3 Sanderling, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Turnstone, 8 Avocet, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank and 1 Spoonbill plus 3 Little Tern arrived later in the day. Up the River Frome both Reed and Sedge Warbler seemed quitter compared to recent mornings, but seeing as the trip was later in the day compared to our recent excursions could explain the reduction in song. Later in the day big numbers of Swift had arrived with the building storm but no Black Tern Sadly, also 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Marsh Harrier. In Lytchett Bay there were 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Whimbrel, 25 Dunlin, 5 Ringed Plover and 1 Greenshank with a Cuckoo and 1 Spotted Flycatcher around Lytchett Fields. 

Harbour Update - posted 06/05/19

A fine day finished off the bank holiday weekend and was exceptionally mild compared to the icy start the welcomed us on Saturday morning. With the fine weather came a nice run of migrants including 3 Whinchat, 2 Wheatear, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 1 Lapwing at Sunnyside Farm. At Lytchett Fields there were 8 Ringed Plover, 6 Dunlin, 6 Whimbrel, 84 Lapwing, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Little Ringed Plover and 1 Wheatear. At Holton Pools there were 5 Reed Warbler around the edge of the scrape and 2 Greenshank on the pool. Kings Wood, along the top of the Corfe Ridge saw 1 Marsh Tit, 1 Cuckoo, 3 Whinchat (near Purbeck Golf Club), 1 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Yellowhammer. At the Wareham by pass a single Cattle Egret was on the back of a cow and a Garden Warbler was singing in scrub near the edge of the road. At Swineham an Osprey was viewed circling out over the Wareham Channel. A few Swift were over the main pit and an obliging Bearded Tit was food carrying at the end of the footpath at Swineham Point.

Harbour Update - posted 05/05/19

The wind had calmed down this morning and our second ‘Up with the Lark’ public bird boat enjoyed calm and settled conditions as we made our way up the River Frome. Without doubt the highlight was Osprey CJ7 hunting and catching a fish close to our vessel, before moving across low over the water and heading towards Arne. At Swineham Swifts, Swallows and Sand Martins welcomed us over the gravel pit and numerous Reed (57) and Sedge Warbler (10) were singing away in the reedbed and 20 Cetti’s Warbler  were logged from local birder Peter Moore with a Marsh Harrier and Bearded Tit also present. Also at Swineham were 2 Cuckoo and 6 Reed Bunting. The first signs of wader passage the night before came in the shape of 26 Whimbrel feed out at Bestwall. Around Greenlands Farm there was 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Cuckoo, 5 Crossbill over and 1 Willow Warbler whilst at Middlebere there were another 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Cuckoo, 3 Willow Warbler and 1 Whinchat. There was more signs of wader passage on Brownsea with c30 freshly arrived Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, c30 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel and the Spoonbill and a Wheatear were also on the lagoon. Sandwich Tern and Common Tern were back and fourth from the lagoon and a few Med Gulls were also dropping in. Next to the Wareham bypass 7 Cattle Egret were with the cattle again and from Slepe Heath 2 Hobby were logged.

Harbour Update - posted 04/05/19

An icy blast met our public bird boat this AM, but despite the cold wind a good selection of birds were logged. The Gull Islands were busy with thousands of Black-headed Gulls and several Med Gulls. 3 Hobby were zipping along the top of Arne Hill and in the mouth of the Frome, a Peregrine harassed a Lapwing for a good 5 minutes as 2 Marsh Harrier watched on, seemingly enjoying the Lapwings struggle. Over Swineham GP c10 Swift, c40 Sand Martin and a handful of House Martin and Swallow were feeding and in the reed beds both Reed and Sedge Warbler were singing. On the floodplain a couple of Whimbrel were up near Wareham. On the Brownsea Lagoon wader numbers were low but a single Spoonbill was present with c15 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Avocet, 2 Common Redshank and c30 Black-tailed Godwit. At Arne today 7 Brent Geese were still present and Osprey CJ7 was seen in Middlebere having been keeping a low profile recently, but with ‘Beaky’ now gone will she return to nest building? Cuckoo’s were at Middlebere, Hartland and Slepe Heath and 3 Swift were seen over Poole Old Town. At Lytchett Fields singles of Hobby and Swift were logged along with 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Ringed Plover and 1 Greenshank.

Harbour Update - posted 03/05/19

Things are set to get cold tomorrow but with the Bank Holiday now underway we’re hoping people will still get out and about and get some birding done. Sadly, it seems there will be one noticeable absence over the weekend and that’s Osprey ‘Beaky’! Having filled up on fish early doors, she lifted off the Middlebere nest platform, only to be seen drifting off high SW never to be seen again…..well, for the rest of the day at least….will she come back tomorrow?  Sightings from today included 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Lapwing and 2 Greenshank at Lytchett Fields. At Swineham 2 Cuckoo were calling and 3 Swift were over the main gravel pit.

Harbour Update - posted 01/05/19

Well, April didn’t produce any of our Osprey youngsters from 2017, but will we see any during May? Both the (currently) resident females are hoping so as they stay faithful to the two nesting platforms with the un-ringed bird (Beaky) only ever leaving the Middlebere platform to catch a fish before always quickly returning and then CJ7 making random visits to another harbour platform to just check in and see what’s going on? Along Bog Lane, 7 Cattle Egret were again in fields to the north. Passerines on migration have been relatively thin on the ground this spring so it was good to see a few warblers at Lytchett Fields including 1 Garden Warbler, both Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Sedge and Reed Warbler and 1 Common Whitethroat. There was also a mixed flock of 9 Ringed Plover and Dunlin, also 1 Greenshank and 1 Whimbrel. Holton Pools held 1 Greenshank, 2 Greenshank, 2 Redshank and 3 Shelduck. On the Brownsea Lagoon the Sandwich Terns are now moved on to the breeding islands and have begun nest scraping but the Common Tern that have arrived are still mostly flying about and prospecting. Also on the Brownsea Lagoon is 1 Spoonbill still, 2 Greenshank, 17 Bar-tailed Godwit and 5 Grey Plover.

Harbour Update - posted 30/04/19

Fairly quiet today with just a scattering of the usual’s including the un-ringed Osprey on the Middlebere platform for most of the day and 2 Cuckoo, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Wheatear and a pulse of Swallow through  Middlebere throughout the day. At Wareham Water Meadows a male Common Redstart and another Cuckoo were logged and 3 Swift were over Swineham GP.

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