Harbour Update – posted 29/08/22

A very different feeling out on the water today with a strong north-easterly wind through which 9 Osprey were battling to hunt (with varying success) in the Wareham and Middlebere Channels. Such a strong migratory tailwind appeared to prompt a big ‘clear out’ however, and by the afternoon only three individuals could be found. No doubt these departing females will quickly be replaced by more juveniles and males as they also leave the breeding grounds and begin their journey south, so there should be no shortage of sightings on our remaining few Osprey Cruises. Tickets are selling out fast so be sure to book a place here.

Highlights from our cruises today (besides the Ospreys) were a very distant Honey Buzzard over Holton Heath, 3 Hobby over Arne, two colour-ringed Curlew in the mouth of the Frome (T6 & T8), and a suspected juvenile Cuckoo on the Keysworth shoreline, where young female White-tailed Eagle G801 also put in appearance after spending the morning in Lytchett Bay.

Ospreys weren’t the only species departing: Swallows were gathering in their hundreds across the harbour, along with dozens of Sand Martins. All the while winter arrivals continue with 2 Shoveler in Lytchett Bay, and on Brownsea Lagoon the Spoonbill flock grew to 34 strong. In Holes Bay there were 2 Common Sandpiper on the railway embankment, and 14 Dunlin and 1 Knot in front of stone bench, along with 3 Spotted Flycatcher in the surrounding trees and fields and 2 Wheatear along the main road.

In Brands Bay a juvenile Peregrine was causing considerable disturbance around the marsh, though 20 Great-crested Grebe, 110 Teal, 1 Pintail, 7 Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper, 3 Dunlin, 2 Knot, and 51 Black-tailed Godwit were still present on the mud and the water. Also active on the Studland peninsula were 1 Whitethroat, 4 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Pied Flycatcher.

Wareham Common hosted its first 1 Lesser Whitethroat of the year, alongside 2 Common Whitethroat, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 9 Yellow Wagtail with the cattle, and 13 Reed Bunting along the river Piddle along with 14 Stonechat. The western end of Hartland Moor was also busy with migrants including 4 Wheatear, 3 Whinchat, 5 Willow Warbler, singles of Whitethroat and Spotted Flycatcher, at least 15 Stonechat and 28 Swallow, as well as 2 Woodlark.

Osprey & cruise in the Wareham Channel – Hydes Heath – Alison Copland

Colour-ringed Curlew (T8) – Wareham Channel – Simon Kidner

White-tailed Eagle G801 – Wareham Channel – Ian Drain

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