Harbour Update – posted 08/03/16

We’ve already talked about the excitement of migration, and provided a bit of information of things to come in terms of what should be appearing in the harbour over the next couple weeks, but whilst people are busy scanning headlands and hedgerows, who’s listening to what’s going on over head? Over the last 12 months we’ve been busy trying to figure out what’s happening while we’re tucked up in bed asleep by carrying out a series of night recording sessions each month and analysing the recordings. The results have been fascinating and locally, we’re only at the very tip of the iceberg with our understanding of how and when birds are migrating through the harbour. This year we have a new sound recording station based in Old Town Poole, on top of a large 3 story building which we hope will provide us with a real insight into what’s going on during peak migration times. This calender year we’ve already sound recorded Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Redshank as they move around in the dark back and forth to their feeding grounds and a passing Golden Plover but with the migration season now upon us we’re already beginning to hear birds on passage and Monday night (07/03/16) saw our first decent movement of the spring. Between 7pm and midnight there was an obvious migration of Redwing passing over our listening station and I suspect over most of southern Britain as birds made their way up from the SW and possibly even from the near continent. Totals from the whole nights recording included 102 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 1 Blackbird, 2 Common Gull, 3 Curlew, 6 Oystercatcher and 1 Redshank. The recording below shows just how low some of these birds are migrating with this particular Redwing literally just a few meters above our microphone

Redwing – One of over 100 migrating over Old Town Poole – 07/03/16


Waders are also beginning to move now and although there could be confusion with local waders that are just moving about the harbour to feed, we’re pretty sure the Curlew in the next recording is a migrant as it was one of three that arrived over the course of the night calling from quite high up

Curlew – Passing high over Old Town Poole – 07/03/16


Finally was this Oystercatcher, which is probably the most frequent wader we encounter from the station, due to the fact they’re so vocal and numerous. This bird again passed so close to the microphone that you can even hear its wing beats after the loudest call, and which can be seen within the sonagram.

Oystercatcher – Passing low over listening station – 07/03/16


Elsewhere in the harbour, 2 Spoonbill were on the Brownsea Lagoon with a Spotted Redshank and Sandwich Tern. At the PC World Drain a Firecrest was still present but just 2 Chiffchaff. Off Baiter a Great Northern Diver was distant and nearly all Great Crested Grebes are changing into their summer plumage and good numbers of Red-breasted Merganser remain. In Middlebere there were 4 Spoonbill and at Lytchett Pools 3 Water Pipit were found. At Arne Crossbills have been reported to the VC team over the last few days.

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