Harbour Update – posted 15th, 16th & 17th May 2020

Well, it was another fine weekend with opportunities to top up your tans! Interests seem to be expanding as they often do this time of year, from birds to reptiles, moths, butterflies, dragonflies etc. As May progresses, the opportunities to learn about this exciting range of fauna that Dorset and Poole Harbour is so famous for becomes easier with more species on the wing or enjoying basking in the sun. A mini reptile foray over the weekend produced all six native species of reptile including numerous pristine male Sand Lizards and a whopper of a Grass Snake Slepe Heath on the edge of a muddy pool. Bird-wise it’s been quite busy with plenty of Swifts now back over established breeding grounds, but more on that later. In the Wareham Channel possible Garganey (2 male and 2 female) flew west up the channel and 22 Little Egret entered the harbour colony at dusk on Sunday suggesting a reasonable number are breeding. The Cattle Egret didn’t show but has been seen in the Frome Valley several times over the last week. Hobby have been numerous with a peak count of 8 over the Arne Road area and singles over Slepe, Hartland and Stoborough Heath. At Lytchett Fields a Little Ringed Plover and 4 Ringed Plover were on the fields. Female Osprey CJ7 has been wandering the harbour a bit more and has been photographed by our trail cams on several more platforms and a migrant Osprey travelled high over the harbour on Sunday afternoon. Out in the Wareham Channel there seems to be an over-summering flock of 11 Great Crested Grebe that are hanging around, which we assume are young non-breeders. Also, on the gull islands, despite there being many hundreds of Med Gulls present only a couple of weeks ago, there seems to be hardly any again now with only a handful spread across the islands. The local Tawny Owl near the Osprey nest cam also came in for a sneaky look last night too to see if any late night supper may be available!

We mentioned Swifts earlier on and the fact they’re now seeming to be pairing up and seeking out old and new breeding sites. Well, we’re glad to say that with the lockdown restrictions having been eased ever so slightly we’ve been able to react quickly and continue our work on the Swift city Project we started last year. You can read our latest update HERE, but essentially we’ve been able to get another 15 boxes up in the last few days both in Wareham and Hamworthy just in time for this breeding season which is great news!

Sand Lizard (female) and Adder – Slepe Heath

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