Harbour Update – posted 01/11/23

It’s always promising when the first (unofficial) day of winter starts with a raging storm. So while we sit and wait to see what Storm Ciaran blows in tomorrow, here’s todays limited highlights. A sea watch at South Beach, Studland produced 16 Kittiwake and this morning 2 diver flew into the harbour, 1 definitely a Red-throated Diver and the other unidentified. There were 12 Spoonbill at RSPB Arne, 4 Marsh Harrier at Swineham and 7 Red-breasted Merganser off Hamworty Beach. Talking of which………

How great is this. Yesterday morning we got an excited email from a member of the public who contacted us to say she was sat at traffic lights at the Civic Centre roundabout in Poole Town Centre and saw 2 White-tailed Eagles flying over the roundabout. So, we checked with Tim Mackrill from the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation to see which eagles it was and sure enough it was the Poole Harbour pair G466 (female) and G463 (male) going for a morning wander!! It’s very unusual for them to venture over the town, perhaps they were just looking to stretch their wings? And with an 8ft wingspan, who can blame them.
Then, if that wasn’t cool enough. Later in the afternoon, the data shows us that male G463 was hunting just 130m off the Hamworthy Park beach, almost certainly looking to steal fish from the large Cormorant flock thats been active in that area for the last month. It’s amazing to think that in the space of just a few years we’ve gone from zero White-tailed Eagles in the whole of England, to people now seeing them whilst sat at traffic lights in town! Thats not to say they’re common. They’re really not, and this is the only pair in Poole Harbour, and they usually do their best to keep themselves to themselves.
Although these two birds are now definitely a pair, they’re still slightly too young to breed, but will hopefully begin to start thinking about nesting over the next few years.
The White-tailed Eagle reintroduction began on the Isle of Wight in 2019 and is a joint partnership project between the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and and Forestry England. These are wild eagles which are released on the Isle of Wight as part of a 5 year reintroduction to try and re-establish an English breeding population having been absent for c280 years.
Below are the tracking maps which show the eagles movements over Poole yesterday morning, and then the male hunting off Hamworthy Beach yesterday afternoon. Please note, the yellow line isn’t the extract route of travel, its the rough (but very close) route the birds flew in-between the data transmissions.
If you want a chance of possibly seeing these amazing birds, you can either join us on one of our up and coming boat trips which you can view HERE –
Or, try visiting the new Ham Common Viewpoint that we installed in partnership with Rockley Holiday Park and BCP Council . Morning visits often provide the best opportunity. These maps have been shared with the permission of the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation.
Male White-tailed Eagle G463 flight over Poole yesterday morning. The pair were viewed by someone sat at traffic lights in the town centre!
Data showing male White-tailed Eagle G463 hunting off Hamworty Beach yesterday afternoon

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