December 2019

Harbour Update - posted 13/12/19

A Great Northern Diver frequented Holes Bay South throughout the day and was still present at dusk. Merlin continue to show regularly near Middlebere lay-by, this evening saw a hunting male. Notable records from Shipstal Point, Arne include 22 Spoonbill, 2 Sandwich Tern, 3 Red-breasted Merganser and 1 Goldeneye. A ringtail Hen Harrier was also observed over Arne. Nearby, Middlebere channel held 3 Spotted Redshank, both Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwit, c200 Lapwing and c350 Avocet. Holton Pools saw Redshank, Greenshank and Kingfisher.

Harbour Update - posted 12/12/19

Regular visitors to the sightings page may remember the excellent November WeBS survey back on the 24th. Totals from the harbour wide count have been collated totalling an impressive 21527 birds from 58 species. This is the highest November count over the past five years! Two WeBS species total records were broken this time. These were 390 Pintail (the previous highest number was 341) and 2 Long-tailed Duck (previously only one recorded). Other less common species recorded in November included 1 Red-throated Diver, 9 Great Northern Diver, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Common Scoter, 2 Green Sandpiper, 25 Black-necked Grebe.

Returning to today’s sightings, Baiter Park held 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Turnstones, c150 Brent Goose and 1 Greenshank. Some great totals were recorded on Brownsea Lagoon with 172 Grey Plover, 39 Knot and 1805 Black-tailed Godwit of note. Other Lagoon totals worth a mention include 194 Avocet, 90 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Sanderling and singles of Ringed Plover, Spotted Redshank and Snipe.  Swineham late afternoon produced 2 Woodcock along Bestwall road, Water Rail squealing on the flood meadows, a Tawny Owl in the pines and as the rain showers fizzled out, 5 Marsh Harrier were quartering around the west Harbour.

Harbour Update - posted 11/12/19

Today’s Poole Town Walk was brilliant. The weather was a bit all over the place, but the birding was top notch. Turnstones greeted us along the Quay as we worked though roosting Cormorant and Shag. Approaching Baiter Car Park we were spoilt by very close views of a Great Northern Diver fishing just meters from the beach. Another Great Northern Diver was also present at Baiter in the morning before heading into Parkstone Bay where we caught up with the bird on our guided walk. A Red-throated Diver was also seen slightly further out from Baiter, along with 7 Great Crested Grebe. Hidden amongst the feeding Oystercatchers on Baiter Park included 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Black-tailed Godwit. As we continued along the walk, we enjoyed close views of a Sandwich Tern fly past before joining Poole Park which held 2 Goldeneye and a Common Gull. Skirting Baiter to complete the circular walk produced c120 Brent Goose settling briefly on the Park. Nearby, looking out from the Beach Huts at Hamworthy Park offered 4 Black-necked Grebe, 11 Goldeneye, 56 Red-breasted Merganser, 28 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Sandwich Tern and 15 Turnstone roosting on pier.

The next Poole Town Birding Walk takes place on Thursday 19th December, 10am to 1pm. We also have a Holes Bay Guided Walk coming up on Friday 20th December, 10am to 12.30pm. You can find a full list of our guided walks and events programme below.

A high tide at Shipstal this morning featured 23 Spoonbill, 1 Great Norther Diver, 12 Goldeneye, c300 Brent Goose, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 25 Pintail, c200 Wigeon, c100 Tealc100 Curlew, 4 Avocet, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Dartford Warbler and 1 Merlin. A evening open-water species roost count from Shipstal Point totalled 28 Goldeneye, 38 Great Crested Grebe, 51 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Great Northern Diver, 4 Black-necked Grebe, along with 2 Spoonbill, c200 Avocet and 1 Dartford Warbler.

Great Northern Diver - Baiter Beach 

Harbour Update - posted 10/12/19

Wow, we haven’t seen a good storm like this for a while. Well, not for at least a few weeks!

The birding that was carried out today seemed to have been from the comfort of a hide or car it seems. At Baiter there were 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank, 11 Turnstone, 114 Brent Geese and 92 Oystercatcher. From Branksome Chine a very brief sea watched produced 1 Common Scoter, 1 Gannet and 4 Brent Geese all flew east. On the main Poole Park boating lake there were 4 Goldeneye (3 males and 1 female). From the hide at Brands Bay, Studland there were 62 Pintail, 74 Shelduck, 160 Brent Geese, 2 Goldeneye, 47 Great Crested Grebe, 300+ Wigeon, 8 Red-breasted Merganser, 8 Grey Plover, 5 Avocet, 4 Common Gull, 11 Great Black-backed Gull, 65 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Knot.

As soon as things calm down a bit over the next 12-48 hours it would be well worth scanning the harbour for any blown in waif and strays such as Little Auk, more sea duck such as Long-tailed Duck, Velvet Scoter and Eider. Plus we could see higher than normal totals of species such as Great Northern Diver and even the odd Black-throated or Red-throated Diver.

Greenshank - Baiter - Paul Morton

Harbour Update - posted 09/12/19

It seems that today is the calm before the storm, with strong winds and heavy rain forecast tomorrow. On a cold crisp day across the harbour another good variety of species were logged with the Yellow-browed Warbler still in Chads Copse at Lytchett Bay along with 2 Chiffchaff there too. At the PCW Drain at Holes Bay 2 Cetti’s Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff and a Firecrest were still present along the drain, visible from KFC. At Shell Bay, Studland there were 27 Sanderling, 8 Ringed Plover, 1 Great Northern Diver and 3 Black-necked Grebe. The ringtail Hen Harrier was seen at both Lytchett Bay and Swineham. At Morden Bog the Great Grey Shrike was just west of the decoy pond. Out in central harbour 3 Sandwich Tern were actively hunting and a Merlin was on its favoured roosting pole on Hartland. On Poole park boating Lake 2 Goldeneye were present.

Goldeneye - Poole Park - Ian Ballam

Habour Update - posted 08/12/19

A lone Great White Egret was present in Newton Bay today. Jerry’s Point boasted 5 Great Northern Diver and 3 Black-necked Grebe. Notable sightings from Brands Bay include c45 Pintail, 15 Grey Plover and 13 Knot. Coombe Viewpoint produced a flock of Lapwing and from the raptor screen a Marsh Harrier flushed c250 Avocet and large number of Wigeon and Teal. 7 Marsh Harrier and a ringtail Hen Harrier occurred within the Wareham Channel area this morning. Middlebere again featured a Merlin. In the Wareham Channel 7 Marsh Harrier and the ringtail Hen Harrier were logged.

Harbour Update - posted 07/12/19

Two Long-tailed Duck and a Great Northern Diver were visible from the house boats at Brand’s Bay today. A Merlin flew over the cottages at Middlebere, a top spot (along with Hartland Moor) to see Britain’s smallest bird of prey. Bramble Bush Bay featured a Great White Egret flying briefly as it flew over ESE and Knoll Beach boasted 18 Black-necked Grebe this afternoon. The Lytchett Bay Yellow-browed Warbler remained present around the pump house at Chads Copse.

A Black Brant was observed south of Shipstal point, Arne. A subspecies of the Brent Goose, this distinctive race breeds in eastern Siberia and western Canada and are increasingly found with Brent Geese flocks in Britain.The Spoonbill flock at Shipstal Point remained at 15 birds and a late Swallow out over Arne Bay was of note.

Outside of the recording area, the Great Grey Shrikewas still present near pylons at west end of Hyde Bog.

A survey boat departed the quay in the afternoon, covering much of the harbour. Brownsea lagoon held 730 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 35 Redshank 37 Avocet, 45 Shelduck, 127 Wigeon, 72 Shoveller and 32 Teal. Brands Bay featured 2 Long-tailed Ducks, 1 Great-northern Diver, 10 Goldeneye, 20 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Great Crested Grebe and 6 Black-necked Grebe. A Slavonian Grebe remained in the harbour west of Green Island, along with 2 Black-necked Grebe and 6 Great Crested Grebe. A total of 5 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine, 610 Dunlin, 159 Black-tailed Godwit, 70 Grey Plover, 135 Redshank, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, 45 Redshank and 1 Kingfisher were observed in the Wareham Channel. Large number of Gulls roosting at dusk including 6000 Black-headed Gull and 4000 Common Gull.

Harbour Update - posted 06/12/19

Knoll beach at midday featured 4 Black-necked Grebe and a Great Northern Diver offshore accompanied by a loose flock of Brent Goose and a scattering of Great Crested Grebes. An unseasonal Swallow over was also notable! A flock of Sanderling were also feeding along the beach.

Wednesday’s Yellow-browed Warbler was still present at Chad's Copse, hopefully the bird will stick around and over-winter! Wintering Spoonbill numbers are currently at 15 individuals from Shipstal Point.

Harbour update - posted 05/12/19

No Marsh Harrier were seen to leave roost across west Poole Harbour this morning. To compensate, the best was the female Hen Harrier on an Arne Moors - Swineham hunting circuit in the afternoon. A visit to Wareham Forest to search for the recent Great Grey Shrike this morning was unsuccessful but redeemed with a stunning male Hen Harrier flying east towards Woolsbarrow Fort.

A watch from Jerry’s Point at low tide produced 2 Slavonian Grebe, feeding separately. Further along, Middle Beach offered 10 Common Scoter and 9 Black-necked Grebe offshore. The Arable/Approach Field hedgerow at Lytchett Fields held 3 Firecrest in a Holly. 

Last night saw the most recent instalment of our new Winter Ringing Demonstrations in partnership with Stour Ringing Group. The evening produced a superb haul of 6 Jack Snipe, 3 Common Snipe & 1 Woodcock ringed whilst sharing conservation stories. All three species were in the hand at the same time, offering a unique opportunity to compare and learn about these rarely observed nocturnal feeders. To add to the excitement, one of the Jack Snipe seen yesterday was a retrap originally caught in March 2017 in the exact same field, continuing to prove winter site fidelity of these hardy little migrants. Jack Snipe breeding range extends from north-eastern Europe to eastern Siberia. Their arrival here takes place from mid-September onwards, with numbers peaking in October and November. Hard-weather movements can provide further influxes during the winter. For an exclusive opportunity to learn about and see these wonderful nocturnal feeders follow the link below for our full programme this winter.

The next demo on December 18th is already fully booked. However, spaces currently remain 8th & 22nd January and 5th Feb & 26th Feb 2020. Don’t miss out!

Woodcock - Sunnyside Ringing Demo

Jack Snipe - Sunnyside Ringing Demo

Jack Snipe in the hand - Sunnyside Ringing Demonstration

Harbour update - posted 04/11/19

Today’s highlight was the Yellow-browed Warbler along Chad’s Copse Path at Lytchett Bay View. Nearby, the returning French ringed Black-tailed Godwit was in Lytchett Bay (Orange flag over Lime on left, Black over white on right) and a Firecrest was ringed in a Lytchett garden early morning.

PC World Drain featured several Chiffchaff and a Kingfisher, and a pair of Blackcap were observed in an Upton garden feeding on the berries.

The 5 Spotted Redshank remain present along Middlebere Channel, meanwhile Swineham saw singles of Marsh Harrier, Green Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Kingfisher, Water Rail, Nuthatch, Treecreeper; Twos and Threes of Cettis Warbler, Reed Bunting, Bearded Tit; 7 Greylag, 100 Shoveler, and more than 20 Blackbird in the holly and apple trees.

Yellow-browed Warbler - Chad's Copse - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 03/12/19

We’re loving these cold, still days. It’s making watching the harbour an absolute treat. Highlights today included 3 Cetti’s Warbler, 1 Firecrest and 8 Chiffchaff at the PCW Drain. Holes Bay NE looked INCREDIBLE and was full of birds with 700+ Wigeon, 400+ Teal, 4 Pintail, 2 Tufted Duck, 3 Coot (odd in Holes Bay), 300+ Dunlin, 132 Avocet, plenty of Redshank, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher, 2 Rock Pipit and a party of c40 Redwing over. At Lytchett Bay 181 Avocet were logged along with 40+ Dunlin and 1 Greenshank. Off Middle Beach 6 Black-necked grebe and 1 Great Northern Diver were feeding and the Long-tailed Duck was off Jerry’s Point again.

Common Chiffchaff - PCW Drain - Ian Ballam

Harbour Update - posted 02/12/19

Blimey it was cold today! Starting off at -4 degrees, we weren’t quite sure how our school bird boat trip would go down with the kids from Winchelsea School, but they braved the elements and were an excellent group. The light made things tricky but on Shipstal Point, Arne 21 Spoonbill were on their usual spit. A Great Northern Diver as in South Deep and the 2 Velvet Scoter were split up with one off Gold Point, Arne and another off Jerry’s Point with a single Slavonian Grebe and 5 Black-necked Grebe. The Cattle Egret was seen flying up the Frome Valley past Holmebridge with a Peregrine and Marsh Harrier there too. At a frozen Holton Pools another Marsh Harrier as hunting and a Kingfisher fed from the perching posts with another 2 Kingfisher active in Holes Bay NE and SE. In the Frome mouth near Swineham 4 Bearded Tit were active and in Upton CP a Firecrest was in the SE corner of the park along with good numbers of Pintail, Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, 300+ Dunlin and 300+ Black-tailed Godwit. Finally another Hen Harrier has appeared with a ringtail out hunting in the Frome Mouth plus there were 2 Merlin around Middlebere and Hartland and 4 Marsh Harrier scattered around. It seems there are 2 Great Grey Shrikein Wareham Forest with one at Morden Bog today and another at Sugar Hill. 

Shell Bay; 2 Black necked Grebes.

Bramble Bush Bay; 18 Turnstones, 21 Sanderling, 17 Oystercatchers, 1 Grey Plover, 8 Great crested Grebes, 2 Red breasted Mergansers.

Jerry’s Point; 19 Great crested Grebes, 5 Black necked Grebes, 5 Red breasted Mergansers, 1 Common Scoter, 1 juvenile Long tailed Duck, 26 Oystercatchers, 1 Slavonian Grebe.

Brands Bay; 6 Redwings, 2 Little Egrets, 208 Black tailed Godwits, 3 Avocets, 123 Wigeon, 26 Dunlin, 42 Shelduck, 151 Brent Geese, 42 Curlew, 4 Red breasted Mergansers, 5 Great crested Grebes.

Off Middle Beach; 3 Black necked Grebes, 80 Brent Geese.

Corfe Sewage Works, Norden; 2 Goldcrests, 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Grey Wagtail.

Middlebere; 22 Lapwing, 15 Curlew, 5 Oystercatchers, 183 Avocets, 1 Marsh Harrier, 177 Teal, 4 Spotted Redshanks, 33 Common Redshank, 4 Dunlin, 4 Grey Plover, 1 Little Egret,  2 Snipe, 44 Wigeon, 6 Mallard

Slavonian Grebe - Jerry's Point - Rene Goad

Long-tailed Duck - Jerry's Point - Rene Goad (28/11/19)

Habour update - posted 01/12/19

A loose flock of 26 Red-breasted Mergansers (of which 13 male and 13 female) could be seen out over Whitley Lake, Sandbanks today. The groynes along Sandbanks beach saw up to 17 Sanderling. A Great Northern Diver was visible between Salterns & Parkstone Yacht Club during the afternoon. Another Great Northern Diver was observed from Jerry’s Point, as well as 4 Black-necked Grebe and 20+ Red-breasted Merganser.

Coombe viewpoint, Arne offered views of several birds of prey throughout the morning. A Merlin was hassling the Dunlin flock out on Middlebere channel while 2 Marsh Harrier were quartering. A Peregrine proceeded to make an appearance too shortly afterwards. Middlebere also held flocks of Lapwing, Avocet and Teal, as well as smaller numbers of Brent Goose, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank and Wigeon. A Sparrowhawk flushed the waders and wildfowl frequenting Holes Bay and the Little Grebe was still on Sunnyside scrape despite a drop in water levels.

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