Harbour (and Osprey) Update – posted 08/04/20

Well, today was the day we’d been waiting and hoping for, but more of that in a minute. General birding sightings consisted of 2 Spotted Redshank (including a sum plum individual), 5 Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpiper, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Wheatear, 7 Swallow, 1 Sedge Warbler and 1 Red Kite at Lytchett Fields along with late/migrating Pintail & Avocet. It was another Red Kite day today with 2 over Ballard, 1 over Canford Heath, 1 over Studland and 1 up the Piddle Valley.

Now, as many of you will know from our social media posts, last week, on April 2nd at 11:11am, CJ7 touched down in the harbour having returned from Africa for her fourth year in a row. For those that don’t know, CJ7 is (now) a 5-year-old female originally from Rutland Water, who has shown real intent in settling here in the harbour over the last 4-years. Last summer, she paired up with one of our translocated males, LS7, who was back in the UK for the first time since being raised and released here back in 2017. As he returned later back to the UK, as most young Ospreys do, they were unable to breed last year, so the couple spent the summer pair bonding and solidifying their relationship on numerous nest platforms around the harbour.

So, her return last week was a welcome sign of things to come. Now she has appeared on the livestream webcam and has made herself busy with prepping the nest, we hope that she will continue to spend time on this nest, awaiting the return of a male. Here’s this clip of CJ7 appearing on the nest for the first time:

With regards to the webcam, we want to make sure we communicate with viewers well and that we are able to answer any burning questions you may have. While we are always keeping one eye on the nest, we do have other things going on too, so please help us out by following these guidelines:

  • Please help us keep the nest protected by not disclosing or discussing the location of this nest (or other nests on private sites).
  • On weekdays (excluding bank holidays) one of the staff team will be available to answer questions in the Youtube chat between 10-11am. If you have general enquires about the project or the Ospreys, please use this time to get in touch and ask us, so that everyone can see the response, rather than calling us. Emails regarding the webcam can be sent to Please contact us by phone about the nest in urgent cases (for example, if the nest is at risk) on 01202 641003.
  • We aim to post a short summary each weekday about Osprey activity on our website (under the “Osprey Project” tab). We will keep you updated with any major developments, including bird arrivals, laying or hatching, at weekends too. Make sure to look for these summaries for anything you want to keep up to date with the comings and goings. Know that, while we will record as much info as possible, sometimes less significant activities may slip through the net!

Harbour Activity Update

Several people following our updates realised that CJ7 went somewhat incognito for a few days after her brief spell on a nest platform last week. Concerned for her whereabouts and keen to know if she was active anywhere else, Birds of Poole Harbour staff were given permission by the Dorset Police Rural Crime Team to carry out monitoring of Osprey activity in the harbour under strict guidelines, in order that we can detect any breeding activity and put in place necessary protections. On the morning of April 6th, a small team of four of us carried out a co-ordinated survey to look for activity. Literally within 10 minutes we logged Osprey activity in an area we hadn’t previously considered, but sadly the bird gave us the slip before we could confirm who it was. So, yesterday morning one of our team ventured back out and sure enough the Osprey were there again, only to discover it was CJ7 looking safe, well and happy in her new location. Little did we know that only 24 hours later, she would be on the livestream webcam!

Meanwhile, an un-ringed Osprey suddenly appeared on one of our camera traps on the morning of April 5th that we thought we recognised. Since then, this particular bird has been visiting a nest platform in the harbour which has allowed us to analyse the plumage, and we’re pretty sure it’s ‘Beaky’ (a ridiculous nickname that was given to her (by us) in a thoughtless moment that has sadly now stuck)! She’s only been present for a couple of days now, but it’s great news she’s back and looking settled, bringing in huge fish to the nesting platform each day. Last year she only stayed for 10 days in the spring before leaving for the summer, only to return again in August. This year she’s back much earlier, indicating she too may want to give Poole Harbour a try for her first nesting attempt?

We’d like to say a huge thanks to the Dorset Police Rural Crime Team for their co-operation and support. With their help we’ll continue to monitor when and where we can and keep an eye on things as they progress, with the intent of protecting any nesting attempts. We’d like to remind everyone that disturbing any bird on a nest, not just Osprey, during the breeding season is a criminal offence so please help us help them by keeping our distance (we’ve had enough practice!) this spring if you’re lucky enough to see an Osprey whilst out on your health walk. 

Thanks again to everyone for following this story, your support in funding the webcam, help and kind words over the last few months. We hope everyone is staying safe and well and we look forward to keeping you updated. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this short video from this morning of CJ7 bringing in nest material.


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