Poole Harbour sightings blog

A record of all interesting and notable sightings from around the harbour throughout the year.

Latest Sightings

Harbour Update – posted 18/09/21

Posted on: September 18th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Well, after 2 years of evasiveness from the IoW reintroduced White-tailed Eagles, we have finally been treated to some good views. The eagle that arrived onto Brownsea Lagoon yesterday afternoon, having been seen drifting in over Canford Cliffs, roosted on private land overnight and then was seen again this morning, viewed from Coombe Heath viewing screen. The eagle could be seen from Coombe in a dead tree amongst several Little Egret, Grey Heron and 1 Great White Egret. It departed at around 10:40am, heading in the direction of the Wareham Channel, with only sporadic views into the rest of the day. Shortly after, the Eagle appeared over the Wareham Channel, interacting with a hunting Osprey, before crossing over to the Keysworth shore and settling by the water. This individual is a 2 year-old, ringed G461, released on the Isle of Wight in 2019 as part of the project. G461 briefly visited Poole Harbour earlier in the year in June, so appears to be checking out the area again, which could be a good sign!

In addition to the eagle excitement today, there was a sighting of a blue-ringed Osprey (UV/VU), a 2014 male from Kielder Forest, with an upside down leg ring. He was reported flying over the Middlebere Channel with a fish this morning, heading towards Hartland Moor. The Middlebere Channel provided plenty of other activity, with c.500 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Spoonbill, 30 Avocet, 11 Greenshank, 20 Dunlin, 1 Green Sandpiper, c.40 Redshank, 4 Pintail and a Hobby. Elsewhere, the 2 Little Stint and 2 Ruff were still present on Sherford Pools at Lytchett Fields this afternoon. Another Little Stint was reported alongside the Ringed Plover at Redhorn Point.

White-tailed Eagle – Middlebere Channel – Kate Plater

Spoonbill – Middlebere Channel – Alison Copland

Harbour update – posted 17/09/21

Posted on: September 17th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Wow, we mentioned yesterday that times were changing, and today highlighted and proved that point to the max. After yesterdays 36 White Stork which migrated over the harbour (and then back again), today saw another of the IOW White-tailed Sea Eagle settle in the harbour, this time one which actually landed on the Brownsea Lagoon and was photographed by Brownsea volunteer Martin Adams. To have these two occurrences one day apart is just staggering, and to the fact we had displaying Osprey this summer and Beavers (hopefully) soon, the landscape and fabric of the harbour is changing rapidly, and for once……for the better! Bring on the next 10 years. Elsewhere there were still 2 Little Stint and 2 Ruff at Lytchett Fields and another Little Stint was in Brands Bay. A Black Swan appeared out of nowhere in the Wareham Channel and there were 3 Whinchat and 4 Wheatear at Greenlands Farm and a Whinchat at Lytchett Fields.

White-tailed Sea Eagle – Brownsea Lagoon – Martin Adams

Harbour Update – posted 16/09/21

Posted on: September 16th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It seems we (as in birders) are experiencing new and exciting birding spectacles more these days. This summer we’ve had displaying Osprey in the harbour for the first time in nearly 200 years, earlier this spring we had 3 of the IOW White-tailed Sea Eagles visit the harbour (an occurrence thats sure to increase over the years) and today a migrating flock 0f 36 White Stork passed over the harbour, circled above Brands Bay and drifted off south over the Nine Barrow Down towards Swanage. If you’d said to us even 10 years ago this would have all occurred in the harbour within a single year, then we would never have believed you, but here we are in 2021 and things are looking bright. Todays White Stork flock probably consisted of recently released individuals from the White Stork project in Sussex, as well as recently fledged juveniles from some of the wild nests in that area and quite possible one or two wild individuals from European populations. Regardless of their origin, the spectacle was quite something and considering flocks of migrating White Stork haven’t regularly been seen over Dorset air-space for nearly 400 years, it seems we really are entering a new era for species recovery along the southern British coast. Lytchett Fields was also looking incredible this morning with 2 Ruff, 2 Little Stint, 1 Spotted Redshank, c30 Dunlin, 5 Ringed Plover, c50 Common Redshank, 6 Greenshank, 4 Common Snipe, c200 Teal, 3 Pintail and 2 Kingfisher. In Holes Bay there were there were 3 Kingfisher, 37 Little Egret, 3 Grey Heron, 415 Black-tailed Godwit, 69 Redshank, 4 Dunlin, just 3 Curlew and 2 Oystercatcher along with 192 Wigeon, 70 Teal, 9 Shoveler and 2 Pintail. At Sunnyside 20 Yellow Wagtail were with Cattle and to end a nice day of sightings a Honey Buzzard was seen over Northmoor, Wareham.

White Stork flock over Brands Bay – Aidan Brown

White Stork flock over Brands Bay – Aidan Brown

Little Stint – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 15/09/21

Posted on: September 15th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A private charter harbour cruise this AM was packed with raptor sightings, with an adult Osprey making a catch in the Wareham Channel, shortly followed by a juvenile circling high over the channel, along with a Marsh Harrier and a Kestrel. As well as another Marsh Harrier sighting over Gigger’s Island, a juvenile Peregrine gave us a close flyover as we passed by Hamworthy pier. The raptor-fest continued at Coombe Heath, with another Marsh Harrier seen, as well as 2 Hobby, a Sparrowhawk and 2 Buzzard, one of which was a stunning pale morph. Also seen at Coombe Heath were 2 Great White Egret and a Wheatear. Elsewhere, the 2 Little Stint and 2 Ruff were still present at Lytchett Fields this morning. From the Stone Bench looking into Holes Bay, 2 Egyptian Geese, 1 Kingfisher and 1 Greenshank were present. This afternoon it seemed there was a strong hirundine movement with big numbers of Swallow and House Martin passing over with a few Sand Martin too.

Pale morph Buzzard – Coombe Heath – Kate Plater

Great White Egret – Coombe Heath – Alison Copland



Harbour Update – posted 14/09/21

Posted on: September 14th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A drizzly start to the morning, but a check of the pools at Lytchett Fields before the RSPB work party got start saw that the Little Stint and 2 Ruff were still present. A high count of 8 Sandwich Tern were seen in Holes Bay South. The female Peregrine was also present on the Barclays Building in Poole Town this morning. There was a single Curlew Sandpiper present on Brownsea Lagoon this morning, amongst the Redshank, Greenshank and Dunlin.

With the Osprey Cruises now done and dusted, we’re looking forward to getting started with our winter events, especially with the steady stream of autumn migrants coming through and overwintering numbers of waders and wildfowl beginning to build. Our new upcoming Bearded Tit Ringing Demonstrations have now sold out, but we are pleased to be partnering with Careys Secret Garden to deliver a new event at the gardens – an Intro to Birds & Birding Course. The events will feature an educational introduction to Poole Harbour birding, followed by a ringing demonstration and private tour around the Carey Estate, aimed to improve ID techniques and skills. We’ll be running two sessions to begin with, with the first date on Tuesday 12th October and the second on Tuesday 19th October. Bookings are made through the Careys Secret Garden website here. To find the dates for our winter events, including our popular Low Tide and Wareham Channel Cruises, visit our bookings website.

Ruff – Sherford Pools, Lytchett Fields – OTBT birder

Harbour Update – posted 13/09/21

Posted on: September 14th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Fewer sightings today, although Lytchett Fields continued to provide wader interest this morning, with 1 Little Stint, 2 Ruff, 3 Ringed Plover and 1 Spotted Redshank reported. On Holme Lane Gravel Pit, 2 Pochard were still present this AM, but the Garganey reported yesterday was no longer visible. On Baiter, 1 Wheatear, 23 Turnstone, 18 Oystercatcher and 3 Little Egret were counted.

There have been no further sightings of any of this year’s translocated Osprey cohort, or of any migrants in the harbour today. Over the next month, we expect there to be continued activity from migrant juveniles using the harbour as a stopover to practise their fishing skills, so it’s not the end of the season yet. In the last few years, Holes Bay has been a hotspot for young Ospreys in late September into October, which we’re hoping to seen again this year. We’ve previously run Pop-Up Osprey Watches during this time at Holes Bay, so keep an eye on our social media and sightings if we get another Osprey influx in the next couple of weeks.

Little Stint – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Ruff – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 12/09/21

Posted on: September 12th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Wintering birds continued to build in numbers today, with the peak high-tide count in North Holes Bay amounting to 120+ Wigeon, 500+ Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Pintail and 5 Shoveler, in addition to 40+ Little Egret. The 2 Pochard were still present on the Holme Lane Gravel Pit, alongside a newly arrived female type Garganey. On the second high-tide this evening Lytchett Fields held a nice variety which included singles of Little Stint, Ruff, and Knot, alongside 5 Ringed Plover and 70+ Dunlin.

Autumn migrants also continue to push through, and this morning the 100th Grasshopper Warbler of the season was ringed at Lytchett Bay (more than double the usual average)! At the eastern end of Hartland Moor at least 7 Wheatear and 1 Whinchat were present this afternoon. And on the south eastern shore of Holes Bay a single Whitethroat was present in the bushes alongside the Asda building (where both Peregrine could be seen throughout the day).

We also think that our final remaining translocated Osprey chick, 371 (aka Wee Nippy), may have departed in this morning’s clear weather window! Despite the undeniable empty nest syndrome, it’s always such a relief to see the last member of a batch leave in such good physical condition. We wish him well on his journey and hope to see him and the rest of his cohort back in two years time!


Grasshopper Warbler – Lytchett Heath – Shaun Robson

Harbour Update – posted 11/09/21

Posted on: September 11th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Highlights from today’s sightings include 2 Curlew Sandpiper amongst the Greenshank, Redshank, Dunlin and Teal on Brownsea Lagoon this morning. At Holme Lane Gravel Pit early this AM were 2 Mandarin Duck and 2 Pochard.Over at Studland, a Great White Egret was reported on the north side of Jerry’s Point, as well as a male Redstart, 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Whitethroat and several Willow Warbler at Greenlands Farm later in the morning. Osprey sightings have been fewer and further between this week, though one was seen catching a fish in Lytchett Bay and then flew towards Holton Lee, and a further 2 were seen in the Wareham Channel being mobbed by 2 Hobby this afternoon.

On Baiter this morning, there was a count of 2 Wheatear, 20 Turnstone, 18 Oystercatcher, 9 Great Black-backed Gulls and 1 Sandwich Tern. The adult Peregrines have been visible again on the Asda Building next to Holes Bay. Just outside of the Poole Harbour boundary, but certainly worth mentioning was a Honey Buzzard sighting over a garden in Wimborne, soaring south towards Poole this afternoon. And finally… an exciting(!) appearance for a few local birders this morning of a young Coot in Lytchett Bay – a rare sighting for the patch!

Wheatear – Baiter Park – Martin Adams


Harbour Update – posted 10/09/21

Posted on: September 11th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A better day today, with the news that the harbours first Ortolan Bunting of the autumn was sound recorded on the night of Sept 4th-5th during a night sound recording session by local birder Nick Hull. This once very rare autumn migrant has now become an expected passer by each year now with a minimum of one or two records of passage migrants at night. There were 2 different Osprey around Middlebere and there were 30 Spoonbill at Shipstal already. Will we see another record breaking year? In Holes Bay there were 120+ Wigeon and 48 Little Egret were roosting on the railway bank. At Lytchett Fields there was a Ruff along with 1 Whinchat and 1 Lesser Whitethroat.


Harbour Update – posted 09/09/21

Posted on: September 9th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Finally some rain that seemed to drop a few new arrivals onto Brownsea including 3 Little Stint and a juv Curlew Sandpiper but not much else was logged today. There was an Osprey off Swineham Point and a Marsh Harrier there too, with a Marsh Harrier at Lytchett Bay too. At Holton Lee there was a Whinchat and 43 Little Egret were roosting on the bank and in trees near the Holes Bay railway bridge

Whinchat – Holton Lee – TF Photography

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