Harbour Update – posted 28/10/17

Each autumn we wait impatiently for ‘Pigeon Day’…yes…Pigeon Day.  Each year at the end of October or early November when the weather conditions are suitable we see huge numbers of Woodpigeon migrating across and over Poole Harbour. The conditions need to be bright and clear from dawn with a NE wind ideally. They start arriving from the east, having left the New Forest area earlier in the morning, coming over the top of Evening Hill and crossing over the top of Brownsea heading SW. They’re often so high that if you’re not looking for them then you can easily miss them, despite being in their thousands. This morning 50,536 travelled over the harbour in just a few hours. Whilst monitoring the Pigeons a surprise Honey Buzzard also drifted over central Poole. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 9 Spoonbill, 20 Grey Plover, 300+ Avocet and 15 Spotted Redshank with a further 40 Spoonbill at Shipstal, Arne. A late Hobby was out over Arne Moors and in Middlebere a Hen Harrier and Merlin were seen. At dawn two new/different Hen Harrier left their west harbour roost having only arrived the day before and promptly lifted higher and higher, heading off south…presumably leaving. Incidentally these were the 5th and 6th different Hen Harrier to visit the harbour this autumn. Some vis-mig at Lytchett Bay view produced a single Brambling, 2664 Woodpigeon, 19 Chaffinch and 3 Bullfinch. On Lytchett Fields there were 4 Ruff, and 1 Curlew Sandpiper and in Lytchett Bay 2 Spoonbill and 2 Brent Geese. Ringing up on Ballard was a bit slower today but the first Fieldfare of the autumn was ringed along with a new Dartford Warbler, 14 Lesser Redpoll, 19 Goldcrest, 1 Blackcap, and 36 Goldfinch. A Brambling was back at the Arne feeders. A night sound recording session from our Old Town Poole Listening station produced an impressive 5 Hawfinch, the first notable wave of Fieldfare, 1077 Redwing calls, 468 Blackbird calls and 412 Song Thrush calls. 

Woodpigeon migration – Lytchett Bay – Ian Ballam

 Hawfinch – Call of a night time migrant – Old Town Poole Listening Station 28/10/17 @ 00:42

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