Harbour Update – posted 27/09/23

It was real day of hirundine migration with what must of been tens, if not hundreds of thousands passing through and over the harbour (and Dorset) during the course of the day. At Lytchett Fields alone an estimated c5,300 went through during an hour period this morning meaning if the passage rate remained the same during the course of the day then c47,700 could have passed over Lytchett Fields today. They were still passing through and over many areas up until about 18:00, so the combined area total today would have been huge. Interestingly the majority were Swallows, then followed by House Martin, with only 1 lonely Sand Martin logged over Swineham! Meadow Pipit were also moving this AM, but far, far fewer with just a few hundred logged, mostly over Swineham and Arne Moors. The White-tailed Eagles put on an incredible show in the Wareham Channel as they powered out, low across the water, initially looking as if they were going to try and hunt one of the c275 Cormorant that were feeding in a large raft. However, having spoken to Tim Mackrill, he’s explained to us that they were almost certainly looking to steal fish from the Cormorants, therefore acquiring an easy meal rather than having to hunt their own. What made it even more spectacular was it all happened off the side of our Autumn Safari Cruise this AM, which then produced 3 Osprey, one of which flew directly over the boat, eye-balling everyone on board. The Brownsea Lagoon seemed quite quiet, although 61 Spoonbill were still present along with 21 Avocet, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 186 Black-tailed Godwit, 332 Oystercatcher and 211 Redshank. Weirdly there were no Ringed Plover, Knot or Grey Plover on there today. A Garganey was found by Brownsea vols on the lagoon today and another was seen on the wet pools at Swineham where there was a Ruff on the ‘Stilt Pools’. At Lytchett Fields there was 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Ruff and 1 Spotted Redshank. Off Middle Beach, Studland 4 Common Scoter flew west and off Shell Beach another 8 flew west. A Peregrine was hunting over Poole Quay and out between Brownsea and Baiter. An Osprey was seen hunting in Holes Bay and the Greenland Wheatear was still along the Holes Bay cycle path and there were another 2 Osprey in Lytchett Bay. The 2 over-summering Eider were in Bramble Bush Bay, Studland. Finally, a Wryneck was in the Ulwell Gap, leading to Swanage and the Forster’s Tern was seen again off Shipstal Beach, RSPB Arne.

‘Pirate’ White-tailed Eagle chasing down Cormorant flock for an easy meal from Autumn Safari cruise this AM – Rob Chace

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