Sightings06/10/2020

Harbour Update – posted 06/10/20

Wow, what a day…..for numerous reasons. We’ll save the best til last, but we can also start with the ‘best’ as well. At midday, the trail cam we installed on our newly erected Pergin’s Island Osprey platform in Holes Bay transmitted 20 photos to us showing a gorgeous un-ringed Osprey using the platform to feed on. Analysing the photos it looks as if it made three catches in three hours which is really good going. The installation of this platform was inspired by the fact that 2-3 young Osprey began using Holes Bay last autumn on their migration south to a West Africa. We’re thrilled that an Osprey has now stopped off in the harbour and used the new perching platform for several hours to feed on. This is great news and shows that Osprey can be tempted into the urban parts of the harbour with perching/nesting platforms and we’re hoping it sticks around a while and uses the platform over the next few days. If it does our team will be down at Upton CP to keep an eye on its behaviour and set up a ‘Pop Up’ watch point to show any interested passing members of the public. Keep an eye out on our social media channels. What was possibly the same Osprey was also seen over the Brownsea Lagoon. Also in Holes Bay were c500 Black-tailed Godwit, 26 Knot, c30 Dunlin, 8 Pintail, 2 Kingfisher with 3 Kingfisher lots of Chiffchaff and 3 Blackcap in the PCW Drain. There was no sign today of the Long-billed Dowitcher but on Lytchett fields but there were 488 Dunlin, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 6 Greenshank and 1 Marsh Harrier. On the Holme Lane GP were 7 Egyptian Geese, 30 Wigeon, 1 Shoveler and 4 Tufted Duck. At Baiter there were 44 Turnstone and 2 Ringed Plover. A brief sea watch at Branksome produced just a single Brent Goose and 6 Sandwich Tern. At Greenlands Farm there were 14 Wheatear, c10 Stonechat and c40 Meadow Pipit, In Studland Bay the first Black-necked Grebe of the winter was back and there were 8 Med Gulls on the beach. There’s definitely been an arrival of Rock Pipit with 5 along the Studland shoreline and a few now at Baiter.

Now for the ridiculous news. A photo of a ‘downed’ Osprey appeared on Twitter today that had been rescued from Hengistbury beach yesterday afternoon and was now in care. The initial photo that showed a very bedraggled bird of prey did look a bit like an Osprey but numerous features didn’t add up. Several of us sat and looked at the photo, ruling out numerous Osprey features one by one. A few comments also started appearing on Twitter suggesting the bird didn’t look quite right and that features looked better for Short-toed Eagle. Anyway, several minutes later a couple more photos emerged of the bird looking a bit healthier, and without doubt, those photos absolutely showed a Short-toed Eagle in the hands of it’s rescuers. Roll back to yesterday morning, we received a phone call from local birder Jol Mitchell who had at 11:20am seen a large, pale bird of prey being harassed by crows off Studland Beach, heading towards Hengistbury. When discussing the features, Jol very cautiously said that the bird he saw looked quite like a Short-toed Eagle, totally unbeknown of what would be discovered the following day. Considering the magnitude of such a bird (it would only be the UK’s 4th record), Jol made a set of notes and ‘let the bird go’, pondering other possible conclusions such as Marsh Harrier or pale Buzzard, none of which fitted with what he saw. Role on 24 hours and it seems Jol’s instinct could well have been bang on with the eagle being collected off the beach at Hengistbury just 2 hours after having watched it heading in that direction. Wow, what an autumn the harbour is having! This (if accepted) will be Poole Harbours second record of Short-toed Eagle, the first of which was on May 31st 2014 and was only seen (but photographed) by a single observer. Come on October…what other goodies have you got for us??

Juvenile Osprey on Pergins Island platform cam 

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