Sightings05/05/2024

Harbour Update – posted 05/05/24

A beautiful Spring Safari Cruise late this afternoon provided not one but two fishing Osprey in the Wareham Channel! The first bird appears to have been our breeding male 022, who despite limited shallow water on the low tide was able to expertly catch a medium sized fish and took off quickly in the direction of the nest site. Once the tide had risen a little higher a second bird then appeared, but was seemingly still struggling to catch after five or six failed dives, each of which producing little more than an almighty splash of water as it hit the surface and emerged empty taloned. This apparent inexperience indicates that this was not one of our breeding pair, but rather a newcomer or younger individual. This would also add up with a sighting in Lytchett Bay this morning of a ringed male Osprey hunting whilst 022 was incubating the eggs on the livestream nest. Our hope is that this other male is translocated 3-year-old 374 who arrived back almost three weeks ago but who has not been seen since. Young, unpaired Ospreys are very nomadic and often revisit many of the same sites they frequented in previous years to look for food and potential mates. Given that we know 374 made it as far as East Sussex on his travels last year, perhaps its not unreasonable to think that he has been off exploring all this time and has only just returned to the harbour again. We’ll be keeping close eye out in the coming days for any ringed birds, and if it is him we’re sure he’ll put in another appearance on an artificial nest before long.

Other highlights from the cruise were 2 Marsh Harrier, 5 Swift, 30 Sand Martin, 8 Reed Warbler, 6 Whimbrel, 7 Dunlin, and 200 Black-tailed Godwit in the Wareham Channel, plus 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Knot and 2 Avocet on the Brownsea Lagoon amongst the cacophony of Common Tern, Sandwich Tern and Black-headed Gulls.

Elsewhere the Bonaparte’s Gull was back in the lower Piddle Valley, and on the South Purbeck coast a Pomarine Skua was seen tracking east. There have also been reports of Swifts returning to their nesting sites in parts of Poole: don’t forget to add your nesting Swift sightings to Swift Mapper!

Sandwich Tern – Spring Safari Cruise – Adrian Dutt

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