Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Harbour update – posted 05/08/20

Posted on: August 5th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A chillier day with a building SW wind meant migration seemed to be halted. The female Osprey was again at Morden Bog south of the decoy pond. Another Osprey was seen over Lytchett Bay where there was also 14 Little Egret, 154 Black-tailed Godwit, 17 Lapwing, 1 Avocet, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper and a Yellow Wagtail. There was a whopping count of 65 Little Egret at Holes Bay north along with 342 Black-tailed Godwit.

Harbour Update – posted 04/08/20

Posted on: August 4th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

This morning we carried out a coordinated count, to try and find out how many Osprey were present in the harbour due to yesterdays high number of sightings. With thanks to several members of the public and some of our team we managed to track down 3 definite different birds with a potential 4th seen too. CJ7 was on her nest cam pole at 8am whilst another un-ringed bird was at Morden Bog. Then, a bit later birders at Lytchett Fields had an un-ringed bird in the dead trees at the back of the field whilst the Morden bird was still present. Reports of another out over the Wareham Channel were received indicating a possible 4th, but by then it could have been any of the other 3 so it was hard to say. Also present out in the Wareham Channel were an adult female Marsh Harrier, an adult male and what looked to be a fresh juvenile. In Lytchett Bay the first Grey Plover of the autumn appeared and on the fields were 3 Common Sandpiper, 200+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Little Ringed Plover and 2 Greenshank. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 3 Spoonbill and c25 Dunlin. A ringing session at Lytchett Heath carried out by Stour Ringing Group saw 5 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 20 Willow Warbler, 35 Sedge Warbler and 12 Reed Warbler. At RSPB Arne, the main overflow car park produced some goodies this evening in the form of 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2-3 Spotted Flycatcher and 3 Willow Warbler.


Harbour Update – posted 03/08/20

Posted on: August 3rd, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today was the first ‘Osprey’ day of the autumn with multiple sightings during the peak time of between 9am and 11am. There was almost certainly 3 different individuals and possibly more with 2 seen over Lytchett Bay together and singles observed at Ridge, Middlebere, Morden Bog, Holton Lee and Brands By. How many bird were actually involved was hard to say, but a coordinated count early tomorrow morning may shed some light on that question. Migrants continued to push through with 2 Whinchat, 4 Wheatear, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 12 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap and 2 Whitethroat at Ballard. At Middlebere there were 2 Peregrines (over Hartland Moor, 1 adult, 1 hungry juvenile), 4 Chiffchaff, 5 Shelduck, 4 Little Egret, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Common Gull, 3 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 37 Black-tailed Godwit & a steady stream of Swallow, with 1 Sand Martin. At Lytchett Fields there were 246 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Common Sandpiper. A Nightjar count on Slepe Heath saw only 3 individuals and very limited song, providing sad evidence that the Nightjar season is almost over and before long all the adults would have left although juveniles will linger on into September.

Un-ringed female Osprey – Morden Bog

Harbour Update – posted 1st & 2nd August 2020

Posted on: August 2nd, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Here we are…August, the month of giving. Quite literally a time of year where anything could turn up in terms of passage migrants with all the expected passerines already on the move with species such as Pied Flycatcher, Garden Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Yellow Wagtail and Redstart already on the move. Plus, August is THE month to find some good waders with Little Stint, Curlew and Wood Sand piper on everyone’s radar. Of course, its also Osprey season plus a great time to find a scarcity or two with Wryneck, Melodious Warbler or Red-backed Shrike all possibilities! Over the weekend the fine weather saw the/a un-ringed female Osprey fly over Lytchett Fields and it’s thought that the same bird is heading to Wareham Forest/Morden Bog to feed as one was seen there late afternoon. There were a minimum of 3 Marsh Harrier in the west of the harbour along with 3 Hobby and 3 Peregrine too. Slepe Heath saw the first Wheatear of the autumn and Willow Warbler are appearing in good numbers in scrubby fringes of the harbour each morning currently. At Lytchett Fields there were 150+ Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Common Sandpiper, 6 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 4 Green Sandpiper and 1 Yellow-legged Gull. At Upton CP from the Stone Bench wader numbers are building nicely there too with 130+ Black-tailed Godwit, 50+ Redshank, 8 Curlew, 15 Little Egret and c10 Curlew. In the PC World Drain there were 8 Willow Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler and 4 Blackcap. There are still Crossbill moving about with a group of 3 over Stoborough Heath and small parties of 5-10 on the edges of Wareham and Rempstone Forest. Female Osprey CJ7 is still making semi regular visits to her nest to nest prep and tidy and with this new female hanging about, we wonder if all this female presence in the harbour will be enough for a male to stay around….just for a day or two??!!

Un-ringed female Osprey – Lytchett Fields – Alison Copland

Harbour Update – posted 30/07/20

Posted on: July 30th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Autumn definitely landed today with the first migrant Osprey of the season arriving into the harbour. Thankfully it wasn’t a distant speck out over the Wareham Channel but in fact was a visitor to our Poole Harbour Osprey nest cam, much to the disgust of CJ7 who quickly arrived and made the new arrival (who we believe to be a female) feel rather uncomfortable, so much so that she soon left the nest. That said, it was great to see two Osprey on the nest cam again, we just hope an unattached male bumbles along some time over the next week or so and CJ7 isn’t so hostile next time! August is the best month for Osprey migration through Poole Harbour so there should be more on the way any day now. Other birds of prey in the harbour this AM included 4 Marsh Harrier out of the west Poole Harbour roost and what looked like a Hobby family out over Arne Moors, viewed from Hydes Heath. Willow Warbler filtered through much of the harbour today with a peak between 7am and 10am. A high tide count on the Brownsea Lagoon saw 4 Spoonbill, 6 Greenshank, 170 Dunlin, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 92 Common Redshank, 2 Avocet but very low numbers of tern remain with just 18 Common and 4 Sandwich Tern.

Harbour Update – posted 28th & 29th July 2020

Posted on: July 30th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It looks as if the wet weather is now well and truly behind us with a scorcher of a weekend on the cards. With hot days often come cold mornings and these colder early mornings are great for getting out early to look for early returning migrants pulsing through the hedgerows. Willow Warbler migration is now well underway and will build over the next two weeks, as they flit and flick through the bushes, often accompanying Long-tailed Tit whilst getting ‘agro’ with a chat or flycatcher. There were 30+ Willow Warbler across Lytchett Bay, 20+ across Slepe Heath/Hartland Moor and a handful in the PCW Drain. At Lytchett Fields there were 14 Green Sandpiper, 4 Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, 97 Curlew, 1 Kingfisher and 1 Peregrine. 1 Little Ringed Plover and 1 Spotted Redshank. Holes Bay NE saw 1 Common Sandpiper and our Nightjar walk on Tuesday evening saw 5 Crossbill fly over Slepe Heath along with 1 Woodlark and just after dusk (just after we’d finishing watching 1-2 Nightjar) we heard both Greenshank and Common Sandpiper fly over in the darkness. On Brownsea 1 Spoonbill was seen briefly and 4 Common Sandpiper were on the lagoon. Passerine migrants seen around the harbour included 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Common Whitethroat and a flyover Yellow Wagtail at Greenland’s Farm. At Ballard 7 Common Whitethroat and 6 Willow Warbler were counted.

Willow Warbler – Lytchett Heath – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 27/07/20

Posted on: July 28th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another day of rain was just what we needed to see some water get added to the dried up set of pools at Swineham, although we could do with quite a bit more to really make them productive again. That said a Common Sandpiper and a Yellow Wagtail were drawn to them post the downpour. Lytchett Fields doesn’t need to worry about the rain to fill it up as the spring high tides are currently doing a good job of that and saw 23 Green Sandpiper on there along with 2 Little Ringed Plover, 7 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank and 1 Common Sandpiper. The Cattle Egret was again on the gravel pit island atr Swineham with 7 Little Egret. Other than this……the rain kept most birds and birders at bay!!! There was also late news of the harbours first Pied Flycatcher which was photographed on a fence near the main Arne car park last week.

Linnet – Brands Bay 

Harbour Update – posted July 25th & 26th weekend

Posted on: July 26th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It was great to be back out on the water again today as we hosted our first public bird boat since lockdown. With a much reduced guest list to allow for social distancing we headed out on the big low-tide this morning in search of passage waders and early returning over-winter species. The harbour was looking great with birds of interest across the whole area. Starting on the Brownsea north shore, 7 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank and 1 Whimbrel were feeding on the tide line. On the Brownsea Lagoon there was 1 Spoonbill, 7 Avocet, c100 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank and plenty of Common and Sandwich Tern. In fact both species were very prominent right across the harbour. The mud flats held good numbers of Curlew and Little Egret were abundant in each small, shallow channel. It seems Great Crested Grebe are arriving now for the winter, or at least are transiting as two different small flocks flew past close to the boat. A strange sight seeming flying groups of Great Crested Grebe mid-summer! As we made our way up the Wareham Channel we found where the Black-tailed Godwits had been hiding with c300 in the mouth of the Frome along with 3 more Common Sandpiper. Swineham GP produced a nice surprise in the form of a full summer plumaged Cattle Egret roosting in the trees in the centre of the gravel pit. There were also 3 Common Seal in the mouth of the Piddle hauled up on the mud, just as female Osprey CJ7 made an appearance over the Wareham Channel before drifting off high SE towards the Middlebere Channel. The autumns first Common Gulls were back already and a couple of Swift were seen over Arne Moors. All in all an excellent trip that I hope we can do more of in the very near future! At Lytchett Fields there were good totals of 23 Green Sandpiper, 10 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 80+ Redshank and 21 Black-tailed Godwit. Female Osprey CJ7 was on the nest cam briefly this morning and was later seen over Lytchett Bay too. In Holes Bay there were 7 Whimbrel and 35 Redshank.

Cattle Egret – Swineham GP – Brittany Maxted

Black-tailed Godwit – Wareham Channel – Clare Slade

Harbour Update – posted 23/07/20

Posted on: July 24th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With the country trying to get back to ‘normal’ it was great to see that Brownsea Island was now open again to visitors. Their set up is now slightly different and pre-bookings must be made (which you can make HERE) to be able to enter the island, but there’s no doubt that after such a strange and troubling spring and summer, a trip to Brownsea would be good for anyones soul. Thanks too to DWT Brownsea warden Luke Johns for providing us with a high-tide count on the lagoon which produced Avocet 14, Black-Tailed Godwit 11, Dunlin 147, Redshank 122, Greenshank 10, Oystercatcher 189 (including 3 fledgling young), Common Sandpiper 1, Moorhen 7, Canada Geese 8, Greylag Geese 9, Shoveler 4, Mallard 6, Teal 5, Shelduck 15 Black-headed Gull 46, Great Black-backed Gull (25 adults 19 fledgling young), Herring Gull 1, Common Tern 181, Sandwich Tern 52, Little Tern 1 (turned up briefly on the sandbar near the wading pool), Meadow Pipit 1 and Cormorant 38. The Holme lane GP had 14 Egyptian Geese on it and a ringing session in the Lower Piddle produced 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 5 Willow Warbler and 2 Tree Pipit flew over. Off Swineham at least 1 Marsh Harrier was still present.

Marsh Harrier – Swineham

Harbour Update – posted 22/07/20

Posted on: July 23rd, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today was a much quieter day with a very hot sun beating down onto the harbour. Any migration had tailed off by 9am but a male Cuckoo on the edge of Wareham Forest was noteworthy. An Osprey flew over Arne Moors, viewed from Slepe Heath, as it seemed to drop down and pick something up from the ground which was odd, before then flying off towards Arne. A Marsh Harrier was at Lytchett Bay along with a good suit of waders still including 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank, 2 Little ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 42 Redshank, 48 Lapwing, 4 Green Sandpiper, 9 Dunlin, 3 Greenshank and 4 Green Sandpiper.

Also, if you haven’t seen yet, we’ve refined and reorganised our Osprey cruises that occur in late August by reducing the number of trips we’re doing as well as guest capacity. This means our timetable is much reduced and we’re now only carrying out trips on August 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd. There are still tickets available though so if you’re keen to join us and get out in the fresh air then please visit our bookings page for more information.

Dartford Warbler – Upton Heath – Clare Slade

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