Harbour Update – posted 15/11/23

Apologies for the delay in sightings but we’ve only just finished the first Sunnyside Ringing Demo of the winter season and what a successful session it was! Without a real cold snap yet this winter we weren’t sure how much we would find as we’re still waiting for a big arrival of species like Woodcock. But with some determination all three target nocturnal waders were caught and ringed including, 2 Jack Snipe, Common Snipe and 1 Woodcock as a great comparison of all three similar species for the people watching. A bonus of 1 Skylark and 2 Fieldfare were also nice to find during the demo and plenty of Redwing calling overhead.

We also had a fantastic Winter Safari this afternoon, despite the cold, with a really good wader display at the Brownsea Lagoon to start the trip with c300 Avocet, c400 Black-tailed Godwit, c200 Dunlin, Greenshank, Spoonbill and 10 Grey Plover providing quite the spectacle as the number of wintering waders are slowly building up. Moving into South Deep we had 1 Great Northern Diver (as well as 1 in central harbour and 1 in the Wareham Channel) and plenty of Dark-bellied Brent Geese moving around to find feeding areas as the tide dropped. The 3 Eider (2 juvenile males and 1 female) were again seen in central harbour alongside plenty of Red-breasted Merganser and Great crested Grebes. In the Wareham Channel at least 5 Marsh Harrier were interacting around Swineham and Arne Moors providing great views as well as one distant ringtail Hen Harrier and a Peregrine in the setting sunlight. Just as we were starting to head back we suddenly saw the pair of White-tailed Eagles flying into the channel, setting upon a raft of fishing sinensis Cormorants. They singled one out that didn’t appear to be able to fly and continuously dive-bombed it but, after a couple of minutes of the Cormorant frantically diving to escape, the White-tailed Eagles gave up and settled together on the shoreline close to the boat. This gave stunning views as a finale to an excellent Winter Safari cruise, full of raptors, waders, waterfowl and more.

Elsewhere in the harbour were 5 Black-necked Grebe and 1 Great Northern Diver off Knoll Beach. Also seen earlier in the day on Arne Moors were 2 Great White Egret and an adult male Hen Harrier. Spotted Redshank were in Holes Bay this morning and in Lytchett Bay there was 1 Great Northern Diver still present, as well as 9 Greenshank. At Holmebridge there were 2 Ruff, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Marsh Harrier and flyovers of 5 Crossbill and 2 Redpoll. 


White-tailed Eagle pair G466 (female) and G463 (male) from our Winter Safari Cruise – Mike Gaston


3 Eider (2 males and 1 female) in Central Harbour from our Winter Safari Cruise – Mike Gaston


Fieldfare ringing – Nocturnal Ringing Demo this evening

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