Harbour Update – posted 01/10/23

Despite slightly duller skies today’s conditions made for some cracking sightings! On our Autumn Safari Cruise this morning we were treated to not one but two incredible encounters with the White-tailed Eagle pair. On the first occasion at the start of the trip we were drifting leisurely past the Brownsea Lagoon, enjoying views of 55 Spoonbill, 160 Black-tailed Godwit, 200 Oystercatcher, 30 Avocet, 9 Knot, 1 Grey Plover, and a Kingfisher on the sea wall, when almost every bird present suddenly took to the sky! Looking through the cloud of hundreds of birds we saw a White-tailed Eagle approaching over the treeline being mobbed by Jackdaws, who’s efforts were having little perceivable impact on the Eagle’s trajectory. Only when a pair of Raven joined the fray did the Eagle turn tail and head off west. We quickly followed suit, but unable to relocate it we headed first to Shiptal where the tide was too high for most of the birds that usually roost along the shore. We then proceeded to the Wareham Channel where we were treated to lots of Marsh Harrier activity, plus 4 Snipe overhead as we sailed up the River Frome and plenty of Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Shoveler and 2 Green Sandpiper on the scrapes at Swineham. Keen to have one last search for the White-tailed Eagles before returning Poole Quay, began the journey back towards Brownsea where we knew they had recently been thanks to Tim Mackrill from the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation who we were privileged to have on board and was able to inspect their satellite tracking data. No sooner had we rounded the Arne peninsula however when we spotted one of the pair in flight heading straight towards us! He landed right on the tip of the point, no doubt drawn in by the larger female who we quickly realised was already sitting just 20 metres away on top of the shingle bank. Both birds provided excellent views for all onboard and the perfect end to a thrilling trip.

Though we weren’t fortunate enough to see any from the boat, there were still migrant Osprey present today, including Scottish ringed male 511 who seen in the Middlebere Channel this morning, in addition to the Forster’s Tern, 1 Hobby, 8 Spotted Redshank, 48 Avocet, and 300 Black-tailed Godwit. Nearby on Hartland there was also 1 Merlin, 3 Whinchat and 1 Wheatear. And in Lytchett Bay the highlights were 5 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Spotted Redshank and 21 Greenshank.
Male White-tailed Eagle G463 – Patchins Point, Arne – @twamers on Twitter
Spotted Redshank – Middlebere – Mark Wright

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