Harbour Update – posted 18/03/20

Today was all about the staging! We’ve long known Poole Harbour acts as a ‘way marker’ for many a migrant bird during the spring and autumn, but to witness this is first hand is always quite a remarkable moment. There were three great examples of this today when firstly a female Wheatear was found on Baiter Beach, but was soon joined by another individual which came in flying low over the water from the Brownsea direction, only to then land on the rocks next to it’s friend. Both these birds had literally just arrived in Poole Harbour having probably been in Northern France only hours before…..but how many hours? And it surely wouldn’t have been long before they were again soon on their way.

Then, around midday an Osprey was seen flying in low over RSPB Arne, and was soon found to be feeding on a fish on a marker post in the mouth of the River Frome. Once it had finished it’s meal, it quite simply took to the air, circled a few times and then made a bee line north. It was in the harbour for an hour and a half max!

Then, at dusk, our third Swineham Bittern watch of the week got lucky, however, what we witnessed wasn’t the expected departure of a migrating Bittern, but in fact the arrival of one which approached Swineham from the south at 18:40 before dropping into the reedbed at Swineham, indicating that this bird will be staging in the harbour tonight, before likely dispersing tomorrow some time?

So, all in all, a pretty fascinating series of events. Other highlights today included c50 Sand Martin at Swineham, 1 Hen Harrier, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Peregrine and 6 Buzzard over the Wareham Channel, viewed from Slepe Heath and a Red Kite west over Lytchett Bay. There were 4 Wheatear and 2 Egyptian Geese at Sunnyside and another Wheatear in Upton CP. On the Asda building the pair of Peregrines were still present looking down on all us minions. At the PC World Drain, 8 Chiffchaff were singing along the scrub along with a Blackcap. The Great Grey Shrike was still at Morden Bog.

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