Harbour Update – posted 11/10/22

With thrushes, finches, wagtails, pipits and larks all on the move at the moment, a dedicated watch at dawn can be quite spectacular, especially at key sites like South Haven, Studland or Ballard Down. But you don’t have to seek out the remote areas of the harbour for good results and new lookouts like the Ham Common Watchpoint or the Rock Lea Viewpoint, Lytchett Bay could really deliver too! Today opened with a cracking sunrise for a dawn visual migration (vis-mig) stint along the Ballard ridge near Glebelands. There were plenty on the move, but never reaching huge numbers. Totals included c.100 alba Wagtail, c.100 Meadow Pipit, c50 Linnet, c.100 Goldfinch, c50 Skylark, 1 Redwing, smaller numbers of Siskin, Chaffinch, etc. Elsewhere, the first Brambling of the autumn was logged at Wild Woodbury, just outside of the harbour area while a White-tailed Eagle flew along Otter Island, Lytchett Bay and the Fields featured 2 Curlew Sandpiper and a Ruff with c.40 Dunlin. A few Skylark over and 2 Firecrest along Slough Lane completed the notable sightings from the Bay. Nearby, a sizeable corvid roost left Pergin’s Island at first light heading west, hitting 4 figures with 750+ Jackdaw and 200+ Carrion Crows. This evening 2 different Merlin were hunting, 1 out in the mouth of the Frome, the other on Hartland. At the top end of the Wareham Channel there was a minimum of 6 Marsh Harrier including a full adult male plumaged individual, which was joined by a Merlin and began hunting togther, in much the same way we’ve seen Merlin and Hen Harrier do. A juvenile Hobby was still hunting over Hartland this afternoon and 2 adult Goshawk were seen circling at two separate un-disclosed areas of the harbour, one (an adult female) seen circling with an adult male Sparrowhawk, highlighting the colossal size difference between the two.

Here at Birds of Poole Harbour, we recognise the importance and value in getting youngsters out into their local environment, learning about the natural world and our place in it. With this in mind, we work with local primary schools to deliver winter bird boats every year and this season is no different! We kick started our project this week which is set to connect 1,132 local children with the harbour over the next few months and teach them about the local wildlife and industry. Today’s glorious weather made way for stunning up close Common Seal sightings in the Wareham Channel, hunting Sandwich Terns and impressive flocks of Continental Cormorants. Two Red-breasted Merganser flew up the Wareham Channel and a flock of c.50 strong Wigeon showcased the magic of migration in action. And the beautifully settled weather continues into tomorrow, setting the scene for a wonderful Autumn Safari Cruise on Wednesday morning. There’s still places available if you fancy a slice of the action! Check out our event details here… 

Ballard Down at Dawn

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