Harbour Update – Posted 01/12/15

Much of the same today, however the discovery of a freshly dead Short-eared Owl at RSPB Lytchett Fields was a sorry find. The bird appeared to be a first year male and was very thin with its breast-bone sticking out, indicating likely cause of death…starvation. The recent weather has not been kind to hunting owls, birds that rely almost 100% on hearing the quietest of rustles or squeaks in amongst the grass. With wind and rain hampering their hunting efforts, plus the likely hood of having just arrived exhausted possibly from continental Europe, its no surprise one of these poor, yet beautiful birds perished. We just hope all the others that have arrived here in Dorset over the last month are doing slightly better. Although, having talked to some colleagues up in Buckton, East Yorkshire today, in the last couple of days they’ve found dead Short-eared and Long-eared Owls both having starved. On a slightly more cheery note, there seem to still be 3 Hen Harrier in the harbour with the grey male seen at Middlebere midday and a ringtail in Middlebere. In Brands Bay there was a Red-throated Diver, 4 Black-necked Grebe and 2 Sandwich Terns. Off Middle Beach 5 Great Northern Diver, 8 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 7 Common Scoter and 6 Razorbill were counted. And from South Haven another 3 Great Northern Diver, 5 pale-bellied Brent Geese and 1 Sandwich Tern. There were 35+ Spoonbill at Shipstal Point, Arne and 1 on the Brownsea Lagoon. Whilst out in central harbour plenty of Red-breasted Merganser can now be found in loose flocks and there were a minimum of 10 Goldeneye present. 11 Sanderlings were seen at Shore road with a Great Northern Diver out in Whitley Lake. 

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