Harbour Update – posted 23/12/15

Today was our first ever Family Bird Boat trip which is an extension of our existing School Bird Boat project. This saw 75 eager members of the public book onto the trip for free, with the aim of us showcasing the best Poole Harbour has to offer in terms of scenery, tranquillity and of course birds. We’re not quite sure who was looking down on us (but its seems we’d certainly been on Santa’s good list) as the weather was a pure picture. As the sun poked its head over Sandbanks we departed from Poole Quay ready for a 2.5 hour tour around some of the harbours most beautiful areas. We visited the Brownsea Lagoon first which was at its absolute best as 500+ Dunlin, 300+ Avocet, 100+ Grey Plover as well as Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Greenshank, Curlew, Redshank and a handful of Knot all sat, sunning themselves in peace. That was until a female Merlin came down a spooked the whole lot, resulting in an incredible and dramatic scene of chaos for a while until everything settled back down again. There was also a single Spoonbill on the lagoon and plenty of winter duck. As we made our way around a Black-throated Diver was off the Brownsea SE corner and Red-breasted Merganser, Goldeneye and Great Crested Grebe were kept the interest up as we made our way to Arne. There was a minimum of 5 Sandwich Tern feeding in between Arne and Green Island and a Great Northern Diver was off Shipstal Beach, and eventually came really close to the boat. Finally the other 30+ Spoonbill were on Shipstal Point, Arne and kindly took to the air for a short while for us and settled again in the morning sun. All in all it was a near perfect trip (made not totally perfect by missing the Black Guillemot which was seen off Brownsea about 30 minutes after the tour finished)! We are running 3 of these trips this winter, which are all currently fully booked, however it proved such a well received event we’ll almost certainly do it again next winter. Elsewhere in the harbour there was 1 Great Northern Diver, 7 Black-necked Grebe and 3 Common Scoter off Middle Beach, Studland. From South Haven, 1 Great Northern Diver with another in Brands Bay and 3 Black-necked Grebe. In Middlebere 2 Marsh Harrier and a ringtail Hen Harrier played together in the afternoon wind from the Raptor Hide and the 2 Great Northern Diver were again close in at Baiter with the Guillemot and several Red-breasted Mergansers close in to Fisherman’s Dock again. 

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