Harbour Update – posted 23/12/23

All quiet on the western (and southern, and eastern and northern) front today! It seems that last ditch Christmas shopping took president with sightings few and far between. The only main highlights that were logged were c600 Avocet and 12 Spoonbill in Middlebere, 1 Spotted Redshank in Holes Bay, the White-tailed Eagle pair were back in the Wareham Channel, a Hen Harrier was at Shipstal and a decent count of 115 dark-bellied Brent Geese on the Brownsea Lagoon.

Of course, each day there are thousands of regular wetland species that occur around the harbour that we don’t report on because they’re considered ‘common’. That doesn’t mean they’re not important and each month they’re all counted as part of the important monthly ‘Wetland Bird Surveys (WeBS), a census some of our team have managed since 2011. For interest below are the totals for our latest survey which was carried out on Dec 10th which logged an incredible 23,649 waterbirds.

Species of Poole Harbour importance: Dec10th total and our max count since 2011 in brackets.

  • dark-bellied Brent Goose – 1001 (2442)
  • Shelduck – 572 (1826)
  • Wigeon – 4467 (5606)
  • Pintail – 359 (443)
  • Red-breasted Merganser – 147 (299)
  • Avocet – 1485 (1829)
  • Black-tailed Godwit – 2838 (5156)
  • Spoonbill – 33 (66)
  • Little Egret – 46 (242)

Harbour WeBS Records: On Dec 10th, no less than four post Nov 2011 records were broken (previous record in brackets)

  • Dunlin – 3139 (2850)
  • Great Black Backed Gull – 211 (207)
  • Great Northern Diver – 16 (12)
  • Eider – 6 (4)

Diving/Open water species Species: Other than Great Northern Diver, Eider and Red Breasted Merganser, diving species numbers were low during the Dec 10th WeBS due to the choppy water, but a good variety was reported, as follows:

  • Great Crested Grebe x 139
  • Goldeneye x 15
  • Black-necked Grebe x 3
  • Red Throated Diver x 2
  • Slavonian Grebe x 2
  • Black Throated Diver x 1
  • Long Tailed Duck x 1
  • Common Scoter x 1

Many thanks to Rod Brummit for consolidating and bringing this info together.

Avocet flock – Middlebere – John Thorpe

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