Harbour Update – posted 20/03/24

Perhaps our despondent tone in yesterday’s sightings was detected by some birding higher power and they took pity upon us, because the story today couldn’t have been more different! With warm, calm conditions right from the get go raptor activity was high and thermals were evidently abundant as they could be seen kettling in their scores. In the airspace north of the harbour alone this morning there were at least 25+ Buzzard, 1 Peregrine, 1 Red Kite, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Goshawk and 2 White-tailed Eagles! We felt sure that by the end of the day at least one migratory species would be added to that list, and sure enough much to our delight the first Osprey of the season was seen fishing in the Wareham Channel near Rockley Point late afternoon! Other migrant species were turning up all over the place too with Chiffchaff singing right across the harbour, 8 Wheatear at Ballard Down, 2 at Hartland, 2 at Lytchett Fields and 1 on Wareham Common, 2 Willow Warbler at Ballard and another in Lytchett Bay, where there were also 2 Little Ringed Plover. There’s still plenty of winter species hanging around too though, with a single Water Pipit in Lytchett Fields, Long-tailed Duck and 2 Slavonian Grebe of Jerry’s Point, Studland and 2 Great Northern Diver nearby: one each in Bramblebush Bay and Shell Bay. The Great Grey Shrike also back in the same spot in Wareham Forest, just north-west of Woolsbarrow Hillfort, having reappeared yesterday after last been seen on 12th March. Also still present were the 16 Cattle Egret on Wareham Common. Let’s hope these conditions keep up, especially as they may deliver something even rarer, like the Alpine Swift that was seen just along the coast today over Portland!

Wheatear – Ballard Down – Nick Hopper

Long-tailed Duck – Jerry’s Point, David Camp

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