Harbour Update – posted 05/03/24

It’s easy to get put off by foul weather and rain, especially when you’re about to head out onto a boat trip. We’re not going to lie, we felt a little deflated when suddenly a big band of un-forecast heavy rain drifted over the harbour this morning just a few hours before we were due to head off on our Winter Safari. Our stunted mood was short lived though with 3 Great Northern Diver pretty much off the quay, soon followed by a small flock of sinensis Cormorant feeding close by for comparison. Although the rain persisted, the water was flat calm, allowing for views of multiple Great Crested Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser. Frustratingly, we were slow off the mark when a White-tailed Eagle was seen flying off away from us from Shipstal, up, up and away over Arne towards the Wareham Channel. That frustration was short lived though when about an hour later, the same White-tailed Eagle, which turned out to be male G463 decided to fly out from the edge of RSPB Arne and catch a fish out in the middle of the Wareham Channel, snatching it off the surface, before then heading off to Shag Looe to feed. The excitement didn’t end there as his catch was only a small one, meaning no sooner had he finished his snack when all of a sudden he started hunting a lone Cormorant off the side of the boat, much to the delight of the soggy crowd. After a minute or two of swooping and diving to try and catch the diving target, he soon gave up when an posse of Black-headed Gulls started hassling him. Also logged from our winter Safari today were c14 Great Northern Diver in total, 1 Black-throated Diver in the North Channel, off Whitley Lake, Sandbanks, 3 Black-necked Grebe in South Deep, 2 Spoonbill and c100 Avocet on the Brownsea Lagoon, c400 Black-tailed Godwit in the Wareham Channel including some smart newly arrived partial summer plumaged individuals, 3 Marsh Harrier at Swineham, c300 dark-bellied Brent Geese¬†in Ower Bay and 1 Kingfisher on Furzey Island, plus all the usual Wigeon, Shelduck, Dunlin, Oystercatcher,¬†etc. Also logged around the harbour today included a redhead Goosander in Holes Bay north, 1 Slavonian Grebe off Jerry’s Point and a good count of 48 Knot in Brands Bay. Just outside our recording area, the Great Grey Shrike was at Sugar Hill, Wareham Forest again.

Male White-tailed Eagle G463 chasing down Cormorant – Wareham Channel, from Winter Safari Cruise – Harry McBride

Male White-tailed Eagle G463 missing Cormorant – Wareham Channel, from Winter Safari Cruise – Harry McBride

Goosander – Holes Bay north – Tony Furnell

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