Harbour Update – posted 12/03/17

The first and second week of March often produces just the first singles of common migrants, however today it was obvious that quite a substantial arrival of Chiffchaff had made landfall with birds singing from pretty much every corner of the harbour. It’s estimated that several hundred were present today, really earmarking the first decent spring fall of the year. Back in 2013 we experienced another big Chiffchaff arrival but that didn’t occur until March 23rd, so todays fall is certainly an early occurrence. Its not only the Chiffchaff arriving early, today we encountered our second Little Ringed Plover of the spring, this time at Lytchett Fields. This beat the previous earliest record of Little Ringed Plover at Lytchett Bay by 8 days! The small flurry of arriving Wheatear continued too with birds making land fall at Studland, Lytchett Fields and Slepe Heath. Again, the Lytchett Bay Wheatears today arrived 3 days earlier than any other previous records for this species at this site and a Blackcap was also seen near Upton CP so it seems things really are getting going early this year. Goodo and long may it continue. The Hartland Great Grey Shrike spent the afternoon on telephone wires up behind Scotland Farm, chomping on Lizards and the Wytch Causeway bird was also seen distantly. 8 Spoonbill were feeding in the Wytch Channel and off Middle Beach, just a single summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe was feeding. The 4 Waxwing were feeding in Northbrook Road again, this time fly-catching from the top of the tall Poplar Trees. At Lytchett Fields the Green-winged Teal was still present and out in the bay, viewed from the Turlin Moor viewing screen the now almost full summer plumaged Lesser Yellowlegs was looking fab. Also around the Lytchett Bay/Fields area  were 4+ Greenshank, c4 Green Sandpiper, 1 Bearded Tit and 1 Marsh Harrier. At Upton CP (Holes Bay NW), The Ruff was still feeding out in front of the stone bench with Black-tailed Godwit.  A ringtail Hen Harrier flew across the Middlebere entrance track early morning and a Goosander was on the main Poole Park boating Lake. There was also some late news of a Ring-billed Gull in the Wareham Channel, seen during a late afternoon WeBS count. 

On the night of March 10th/11th we had our night recording gear out at our Old Town Poole Listening Station. Despite the thick fog, which seemed to hamper most types of movement getting underway we still got two interesting recordings. Firstly, was (a flock?) of Pintail passing over at just gone midnight, a species we’ve never recorded from our listening station before.

Pintail 11/03/17 @ 00:07 – Calls of night time migrants – Old Town Poole Listening Station

Secondly was a call we recorded at 01:33 that we just couldn’t put our fingers on. It was only a single call, but was very defined. Having discussed it with Magnus Robb from the Sound Approach he concluded that it’s most likely a snippet of Common Chiffchaff song. We’ve provided the full call below. With the number of Common Chiffchaff arriving in the harbour over the last couple of days it sounds like a good bet, and another first for our night listing station. 

Chiffchaff – 11/03/17 @ 01:33 – Snippet of song of night migrant – Old Town Poole Listening Station


Wheatear – Shell Bay – Debbie

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