Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Harbour Update – posted 28/05/24

Posted on: May 28th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It’s been a bit of a murky day, with sightings few and far between. There were close views of a Gannet hunting near North Haven this morning. Also of interest was a drake Mandarin Duck present at Poole Park. A male Marsh Harrier was reported hunting over Lytchett Fields in the late afternoon.

Mandarin Duck – Poole Park – Paul Sutton

Harbour Update – posted 27/05/24

Posted on: May 27th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The third Osprey chick hatched this morning at 2:13am, and seems to be keeping up well with it’s older siblings! An adult bird was also seen over Lytchett Bay at 9:45am. At Swineham there were 182 Black-tailed Godwit, along with 2 Redshank and a Greenshank on the flooded fields.

Three Poole Harbour Osprey Chicks

Harbour Update – posted 26/05/24

Posted on: May 26th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Highlights from a breezy but bright Spring Safari Cruise this morning were a Little Gull on the Brownsea Lagoon, 1 Greenshank in amongst 40 Black-tailed Godwit on the flooded fields at Swineham, an 80+ strong flock of Swift feeding together in the Frome Valley, and in the Wareham Channel 2 Marsh Harrier plus male Osprey 022 who caught a Bass and quickly delivered it to the nest. An Osprey was seen earlier in the morning in Lytchett Bay, and nearby at Frenches Farm the House Martins could be seen gathering mud for nest building! A separate count on the Brownsea Lagoon by Dorset Wildlife Trust staff also produced an extra Little Gull and 2 Roseate Tern.

House Martins gathering mud – French’s Farm, Lytchett Bay – Annabel Sharpe on Twitter

Harbour Update – posted 25/05/24

Posted on: May 25th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Highlights from today’s sightings all seemed to be focused on Brownsea Lagoon, which has been particularly productive recently. The Roseate Tern, the 1st-summer Little Gull were present again this morning, and there was also an unusual sighting of a Kittiwake this afternoon.

Harbour Update – posted 24/05/24

Posted on: May 24th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another day, another Osprey chick, this time an afternoon hatch, about 15:00. Sadly and frustratingly male 022 also brought in a large bit of plastic bale wrap this morning which has worked it’s way into the nest. It’s not caused a problem yet, but with two fresh chicks in the nest and two eggs still due to hatch, it’s not ideal having this material moving around the structure of the nest platform. All we can hope is that it works its way up to the sides of the nest over the next 24 hours, and blows away at some point. Fingers crossed! This morning there were c75 Swift at Swineham, both White-tailed Eagles were on Shag Looe Spit/Bar this morning and a Marsh Harrier was at Swineham. On the Brownsea Lagoon 7 Turnstone were on the lagoon beach, a Spoonbill was on the lagoon and there were was a decent gull feeding flock off Baiter which had c400 Black-headed Gull, c300 Herring Gull and 2 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull within the frenzy.

Harbour Update – posted 23/05/24

Posted on: May 23rd, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Very slow migration wise today, but there was excitement none the less when our first Osprey chick of the season hatched out at 07:44 this morning. After battling its way out of the egg for a few hours, CJ7 helped with the final tricky section by knocking the top of the egg off, revealing its head and bewildered expression as it took it’s first look at the world. During the course of the day it had several good, but small feeds, but as we know from previous years, their growth is rapid and they won’t stay this adorable for too long. Then, at around 17:30 this evening a second egg started hatching and by 20:00 the chick had managed to chip it’s self a nice sized hole which will likely result in it’s full hatching sometime tonight. Elsewhere there were Osprey sightings in Lytchett Bay, confirmed as an un-ringed male, and another off Jerry’s Point this afternoon which headed towards Ower Bay.

First feeding of Osprey chick 2024

Harbour Update – posted 22/05/24

Posted on: May 22nd, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The forecast downpours for this morning thankfully never came to fruition, meaning our Spring Safari Cruise this AM delivered on both birds and fine weather. The Brownsea Lagoon held 1 1st summer Little Gull, 6 Sanderling, c80 Dunlin, 5 Turnstone, 4 Avocet, c300 Sandwich Tern and c100 Common Tern. In the Wareham Channel male White-tailed Eagle G466 was out on Shag Looe Spit, and then flew off up over Swineham, where a drake Garganey was on the floods south of the gravel pit, a Hobby almost landed on the boat, twisting at the last second before hitting one of our guests, a magical c250 Common Swift were bombing about with Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin and a Great White Egret flew up briefly from Keysworth. Later this afternoon a Little Tern was on the lagoon, 3 Little Ringed Plover and 1 Spoonbill were on the Lower Piddle Floods and an un-ringed Osprey was in Lytchett Bay. The family party of Woodlark that fledged at Carey Secret Garden recently are still active and were viewed from an Osprey monitoring session late afternoon.

Woodlark – Carey Secret Garden

Harbour Update – posted 21/05/24

Posted on: May 21st, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With the discovery of Poole Harbours 6th Temminck’s Stint on the Lower Piddle Floods yesterday, which led to us to discussing the benefits of newly ‘flushed’ wetlands only yesterday on our sightings blog, it was quite astonishing to hear that the very same wet area this morning managed to produce something even more incredible. Local birder Rob Johnson, who was up early to try and re-find yesterdays Temminck’s Stint couldn’t believe his eyes when the stint had been replaced by a plover, and not just any old plover. Poole Harbours second only ever American Golden Plover! Not only that, but it wasn’t just a plain autumn juvenile, but instead a stonking full adult summer plumaged individual. Sadly it only stuck around for 20 minutes before disappearing off, and couldn’t be re-found for the rest of the day. However, with Poole Harbour being so vast, there’s a chance it could still be around somewhere, so it would be worth keeping an eye out in all the good wader spots over the next few days. Sadly the Temminck’s Stint couldn’t be re-found either but compensation came in the form of 1 Little Gull, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Garganey, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 White-tailed Eagle. This afternoon a wandering Osprey came and visited the nest site and settled in nearby trees which sent our male 022 into displaying frenzy as he began skydancing for well over 10 minutes. We’re not sure who the bird was, or whether it was ringed, but it soon up’ed and left, and headed back towards the harbour. Also over the nest site in the Piddle Valley today were 2 Red Kite and 1 Hobby. 

American Golden Plover – Lower Piddle Floods – Rob Johnson

Male Osprey 022 displaying over nest site to intruding visiting Osprey – Alison Copland

Harbour Update – posted 20/05/24

Posted on: May 20th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another day, and yet again, another decent bird was found on the Lower Piddle Floods, at Swineham. This time in the form of a Temminck’s Stint. This scarce wader is an annual passage migrant in the UK, but mainly along the east coast, with May undoubtedly being the best time for them. However, todays bird constituted only the 6th record for Poole Harbour, with 50% of previous records also being found at Swineham. The Lower Piddle Floods have really delivered this spring, with an incredible range of species and some decent spring totals too. It’s amazing what a damaged drainage valve can produce! There is a theory though as to why new areas of fresh water wetland often out perform more ‘mature’ wetland sites, and it’s to do with a sudden rush of new food that evolves/establishes in a very short period of time, making it the perfect feeding ground birds such as waders. Highlights from this small patch of water this spring have included 3-4 Wood Sandpiper, 5 Ruff, 1 Temminck’s Stint, 2-3 Little Ringed Plover, 5 Spotted Redshank, 8 Greenshank, 5 Grey Plover, 3 Knot, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Garganey, 1 Bonaparte’s Gull and 2 Little Gull. Good bye Lytchett Fields, hello Lower Piddle Floods….for now.

Elsewhere the White-tailed Eagle pair were in the Wareham Channel for most of the day, a small handful of Red Kite passed over, probably joining the 518 that were over Lands End, Cornwall this AM!! A Pied Flycatcher was logged on Upton Heath and a drake Garganey was also on the Lower Piddle Floods.

Harbour Update – posted 19/05/24

Posted on: May 20th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

First of all, we apologise for the website going down over the last 24 hours. Our server hosts ran an update over the weekend which didn’t fully complete, hence the radio silence. Anyway, all’s well and is restored, so lets get back to it. It was a chilly start to the day, where multiple bobble hats and pairs of gloves were worn on our Spring Safari Cruise this AM, despite it being mid-May. However, by mid-day the sun was blazing which got more Red Kite moving again with 4 over Studland, 1 over Swineham, 1 over Brownsea, 2 over Corfe, 2 over Hartland, 1 over Upton and 2 over Lytchett Minster. From our Spring Safari trip this AM, the White-tailed Eagle pair were active in the Wareham Channel with male G463 giving us a stunning fly by close to the boat. The male Marsh Harrier was hunting at Swineham and both (Poole) Peregrines were hawking/hunting over Poole Quay. The Brownsea Lagoon still held a nice variety despite heading towards the end of May with 1 Spoonbill, 4 Sanderling, 2 Knot, 8 Dunlin, 5 Avocet, 5 Turnstone and good numbers of Sandwich and Common Tern, although the Roseate Tern evaded us, as it was hunting near the harbour entrance. Frustratingly, 2 ‘new’ Osprey also evaded us, with 2 birds interacting out in the Wareham Channel later in the morning. The reason we say ‘new’ is because it was neither of our Osprey pair, because they were both at the nest site, so possibly transiting individuals. There were no sightings of them on other nest platforms, so we don’t know who they were?! A Honey Buzzard flew east over Church Knowle, which despite not being in our recording area, the fact it was flying east would suggest it may have flown into Poole Harbour airspace, unless it veered off and moved south again. Regardless, it’s defintely the time of year to be keeping an eye out for more passage/arriving Honey Buzzard.

Male White-tailed Eagle G463 passing by Spring Safari Cruise – John Thorpe


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