Harbour Update – posted 02/10/22

It’s a wonderful thing, to go birding with no expectations. It makes each and every species encounter all the more thrilling. When the attendees of our Autumn Safari Cruise arrived on Poole Quay in the pouring rain this morning, I doubt a single one was sparing a thought for any ‘target’ species, rather pre-occupied instead with trying to find the driest seat on the boat. But as we departed the quay the skies began to clear and, as though a great weight had lifted from the landscape, the birds began to emerge in their hundreds.

The first of these to be encountered were the dozens of migrating passerines, dominated by Meadow Pipits and Swallows, bouncing and skimming their way across the Arne Peninsula. The second, by contrast, was White-tailed Eagle G801, hauling her hulking great frame across the Wareham channel and alighting atop a small tree on the shoreline, adopting a stance not dissimilar to that of the Cormorants roosting on nearby buoys, drying our their rain-sodden wings. With a little of the low tide lingering at the top of the channel, we were able to catch the 60+ Spoonbill as they made one last round of the mudflats, before drifting serenely past on their way to higher ground. Also scurrying across the quickly vanishing mud was a mass of 100+ Black-tailed Godwit, 50+ Dunlin, 5 Redshank, 2 Greenshank and 40+ Black-headed Gull.

Quartering over the reedbeds at the mouth of the Frome were at least 4 different Marsh Harrier, the still air around them punctuated with the clear ‘pings’ of a whole flock of Bearded Tit flitting between stems along the channel’s edge and the sweet trill of a Kingfisher darting by. Swineham Pools and the freshly wetted surrounding fields were peppered with 20+ more Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Lapwing, along with a surprise 3 late Yellow Wagtails dancing around the feet of the grazing cattle with a small flock of Pied Wagtails. Plently of other species were also on the move in large groups, including corvids, with 20 Raven reported circling over Stoborough early afternoon.

Elsewhere Lytchett Fields held 5 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint, 3 Spotted Redshank, 240 Dunlin, and 1 Ruff, another 2 of which were also present on Brownsea Lagoon. Also of note on the island was a Spotted Flycatcher at . Meanwhile in Brands Bay there were 5 Brent, 1 Greylag, 3 Shoveler, 233 Teal, 12 Wigeon, 21 Pintail, 1 Grey Plover, 7 Lapwing, 179 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Knot, 15 Dunlin, 3 Greenshank and 66 Redshank.

White-tailed Eagle (G801) landing – Arne Shoreline – Colin Williams

White-tailed Eagle (G801) drying her wings – Arne Shoreline – Colin Williams

Spoonbills taking off – Wareham Channel – Alison Copland

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