Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Harbour Update – posted 16/08/22

Posted on: August 16th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Refreshing weather today with the much-needed rain finally moving through. 1 Cattle Egret was seen amongst the cows in Whimbrel Field at Lytchett Fields this morning. Also seen from a count at Lytchett Fields were 12 Greenshank, 38 Redshank, 2 Whimbrel, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Ringed Plover, 3 Common Sandpiper, 3 Green Sandpiper, Lapwing and 2 Spotted Redshank (1 adult winter, 1 juvenile). Across the bay, 1 Green Sandpiper was also reported on Holton Pools.

Wader counts continued over on Brownsea Lagoon, with the highlight of 1 Little Stint amongst 286 Dunlin, 143 Ringed Plover, 18 Greenshank, 111 Redshank and 20 Spoonbill. On Brownsea last night, 4 Nightjar were ringed, included 3 juveniles and one adult male.  In Brands Bay, the first Bar-tailed Godwit of the autumn were reported along with 4 Brent Geese, 5 Teal, 6 Ringed Plover, 113 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel, 5 Common Gull, 15 Mediterranean Gull and 1 Wheatear. Finally, one unringed female Osprey was seen from Coombe Heath at Arne this morning, moving from the dead trees to one of the T-perches in the Middlebere Channel at midday.

Nightjar Ringing – Brownsea Island – Nicki Tutton

Osprey – Middlebere Channel – Nicholas Galley


Harbour Update – posted 15/08/22

Posted on: August 15th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A foggy start to the morning put a damper on recent ringing efforts within the harbour, but still produced 3 Grasshopper Warblers at Lytchett Heath, a species that seems slow off the mark this year following a recording-breaking tally last season. Scoping Lytchett Bay early doors picked up 2 Spotted Redshank and a quartering Marsh Harrier over Otter Island.  An Osprey made an appearance later in the morning, perched in pine behind Sherford Pools, Lytchett Fields while a Whinchat associated with the Stonechats in Approach Field. Brands Bay, Studland clocked Lapwing and 2 Common Sandpiper, along with a Whimbrel, 46 Black-tailed Godwit, smaller numbers of Redshank and a couple of Sandwich Terns while the nearby Houseboats at South Haven featured 21 Common Terns.

A White-tailed Eagle flushed 3 Ospreys off the northern shoreline of the Wareham Channel late afternoon, setting the scene for our jam-packed Osprey Cruises taking place from this Friday! Brownsea Lagoon featured 18 Spoonbill,  a Cattle Egret and good numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plover. Plenty of gulls on the dry scrapes at Swineham look prime to pull in a Little Gull. Adult and juvenile Marsh Harrier were very active over the western reedbeds.

Osprey – Lytchett Bay (yesterday) – Mark Wright

Harbour Update – posted 14/08/22

Posted on: August 14th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today’s highlight was the appearance of 2 Corn Bunting in the stubble fields at Ballard Down, Studland. Once abundant, they suffered dramatic declines locally and nationally in the second half of the 20th century with changing farming practices. Though they have persisted and even begun to recover at several sites throughout Dorset, they are now considered a very scarce visitor to Poole Harbour. To see them using the habitat locally is thus an encouraging sign and shows the potential for such sites to support them once again in the future.

Also present at Ballard were 1 Whitethroat, 4 Wheatear and 5 Stonechat, whilst in Studland village there were 6 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Garden Warbler. Slightly further west, Rempstone was also busy with migrants with 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Redstart and 20+ Willow Warbler present early this morning, along with a young Tawny Owl. Meanwhile in Holes Bay a couple of ‘winter’ species were present in the form of Whimbrel and Common Gull.

The Lytchett Bay airspace was a hive of activity this morning with 6 Swallow, 5 House Martin, 2 Sand Martin along with 1 Peregrine, 4 Marsh Harrier, and two hunting migrant Osprey. Its fantastic to see numbers of the latter building considerably now, ahead of our Osprey Cruises which start at the end of this week and run until the first week of September!

Migrant Osprey fishing – Lytchett Bay – Mark Wright

Tawny Owl – Rempstone – Rob Johnson (@RobJohn72810618)

Harbour Update – posted 13/08/22

Posted on: August 13th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

We’ve been dreaming of these sort of easterly winds in August for years! It seemed impossible to disappoint and sure enough today saw the Aquatic Warbler count double in under an hour, with a further 2 trapped and ringed at Lytchett Bay after yesterday’s success. These four birds (3 at Lytchett Bay and 1 at Longham Lakes) are the only UK records this year!

Migrant Osprey are becoming more prominent by the day, with unringed individuals logged at Middlebere and Lytchett Bay. The Wytch juvenile Pied Flycatcher has continued its stay for another day,  having arrived on Monday and a White-tailed Eagle was seen overhead at Morden Bog this morning.

The big question now is what will tomorrow bring?!

Spotted Flycatcher – Middlebere – Mark Wright

Aquatic Warbler – Lytchett Bay – Shaun Robson

Harbour Update – posted 12/08/22

Posted on: August 12th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Great coverage of the harbour today despite the sweltering heat. Lytchett Bay struck gold early morning during a ringing session, processing the second Aquatic Warbler for the UK and Dorset this year. And with these easterlies continuing into the weekend, could we see more before the week’s end? The Bay also clocked up 12 Ringed Plover, 26 Dunlin, 4 Whimbrel, 12 Greenshank and fishing Osprey causing a commotion among the gulls.

An un-ringed adult Osprey dropped ono the Middlebere nest platform at 10:40am, bringing in a fish at 11am. A couple of Yellow Wagtails graced Wareham Common early morning along with two flyover Tree Pipit and abundant Willow Warbler as Holes Bay featured Spotted Redshank and early Wigeon, viewed from the Stone Bench. A visit to Studland House Boats turned up a Turnstone, 9 Common and a Sandwich Tern while Brand’s Bay received notable visits from Marsh Harrier and Snipe among the 4 over-summering Dark-bellied Brent Goose 113 strong Curlew flock and 2 Ringed Plover. A single Spoonbill flew past train station roundabout early doors.

Un-ringed migrant Osprey – Middlebere Platform camera

Harbour Update – posted 11/08/22

Posted on: August 11th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Brownsea Lagoon is embracing autumn nicely with increase to 12 Spoonbill alongside 80 Redshank, 50 Black-tailed Godwit and a hunting Peregrine. Holes Bay also saw increases, with Black-tailed Godwits currently at 636, 100 Redshank and smaller numbers of Dunlin and a single Common Sandpiper. Greenlands Farm featured a nice suite of migrants including 2 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, and 8 Willow Warbler. Finally, 2 White Stork circled low over Upton Roundabout just before 3pm.

Spoonbill – Brownsea Lagoon – Seb Haggett

Harbour Update – posted 10/08/22

Posted on: August 10th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Still sweltering, but the heat provided perfect thermaling conditions for two Honey Buzzard to drift over the Piddle Valley mid-morning. The Brownsea Lagoon saw decent numbers of waders building with 7 Avocet, 1 Grey Plover, 22 Ringed Plover, 1 Knot, 227 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper, 200 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Spotted Redshank, 14 Greenshank, 148 Redshank, 7 Curlew, 1 Shoveler and 17 Spoonbill. More migrants were on the move and a ringing session early doors in the Piddle Valley produced a single Garden Warbler, 3 Cetti’s Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler plus small pulses of Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler and an early morning Nightjar. At Arne there was a single Wheatear in the overflow car park and there were several Spotted Flycatcher up on the Coombe Heath walk. At Greenlands Farm there were singles of Wheatear and a Yellow Wagtail went over. At Lytchett Fields there were 47 Redshank, 12 Ringed Plover, 12 Greenshank, 10 Dunlin and 3 Whimbrel on French’s Pool, plus there were 11 Common Sandpiper and 4 Green Sandpiper on Sherford Pools.

One of two Honey Buzzard over the Piddle Valley – Alison Copland


Harbour Update – posted 09/08/22

Posted on: August 9th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It sounded like there were some more migrant Osprey arrivals today with 2 seen over Middlebere, 1 over the Wareham Channel, 1 at Morden Bog and 1 over Lytchett Bay. Some of these sightings could be the same bird, but Osprey sightings are definitely increasing. A White-tailed Eagle was at Lytchett Fields and seen to fly low over the fields. Also at Lytchett Fields there were 10 Common Sandpiper, 11 Greenshank, 42 Redshank and 4 Green Sandpiper. Yesterday there was a Black Redstart calling near Poole Quay and there were 16 Spoonbill on the Brownsea Lagoon. Ringing activities across the harbour were a bit slower today but did return a couple of Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Nightjar, 20+ Sedge Warbler, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Whitethroat and a few Willow Warbler. The rare sight this year of 3 Crossbill passed over Wareham Common and a Honey Buzzard was seen to drift north over the west of the harbour. The male and female Peregrines were back on the Barclays building and the first Shoveler of the autumn was back in Holes Bay with 2 Common Sandpiper, 219 Black-tailed Godwit and 97 Redshank. 

Nice comparison of juv (above) and adult (below) Grasshopper Warbler

Harbour Update – posted 08/08/22

Posted on: August 9th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

This morning we received the news we had kind of been expecting (but hoping wouldn’t materialise) which was that sadly Osprey chick 5H2 died due to her injuries. We’ve written a short separate blog about her situation which you can read HERE. 

Sightings wise it was quite productive today with White-tailed Eagle G801 seen over the Wareham Channel and then over Brownsea. Osprey parents CJ7 and 022 were both active hunting in the mouth of the Frome during the evening and there were 3 Marsh Harrier present around Swineham/Keysworth. At dawn 3 Great White Egret flew down the Frome Valley on straight through the harbour, leaving east which suggested they were just migrants passing through. There were at least still 5 Swift high over the Wareham Channel and on the Brownsea Lagoon there were c100 Dunlin, 25 Ringed Plover, 78 Redshank, 11 Spoonbill and 4 Greenshank. On the dried out Swineham Scrape there was a minimum of 5 Yellow-legged Gulls. A Hobby was hunting high over Hydes Heath and there were c200 Black-tailed Godwit roosting in the mouth of the Frome. There was also a minimum of 20 Common Sandpiper along various shorelines of the harbour during the evening and Turnstones were back along the Hamworthy shoreline and Brownsea Quay. There are still plenty of Common and Sandwich Tern family parties feeding off the Brownsea shorelines and there was a decent scattering of newly Willow Warbler across the harbour with a single Wheatear on the edge of Swineham/Arne Moors.

Harbour Update – posted 07/08/22

Posted on: August 7th, 2022 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Firstly, we have a minor update on the condition and progress of Osprey chick ‘5H2’ which you can read about HERE. Thankfully, CJ7, 022 and 5H1 have all been back on the nest all day today without incident, so hopefully the juvenile Goshawk has moved on.

There were a couple of sightings of White-tailed Eagles in the Wareham Channel area today, but at the moment we’re unsure which ones they were. More migrants were passing through with Wheatears at Brands Bay and up on Ballard with the first migrant Tree Pipit of the autumn over there too. Also on Ballard were 10+ Willow Warbler, 5 Common Whitethroat and a Sedge Warbler. In Brands Bay there were still 4 Brent Geese along with 127 Curlew and 2 Whimbrel. 

Wheatear – Brands Bay – Garry Hayman

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