Sightings01/02/2016

Harbour Update – Posted 30/01/16

Today we were invited by NT, DWT and RSPB to host the commentary on the Poole Harbour public bird boat, an invitation we can never refuse! This new public bird boat partnership between NT, DWT and RSPB only began this winter and saw them trying a new ‘double boat’ option, meaning that two tours were carried out back to back throughout the day. As a trial trip it was a great experience and with a few logistical tweaks could be a great success in winters to come. Seeing good birds always helps and although the cold wind blew the birds certainly performed. Most notably a female Merlin which spent most of the day hunting and spooking waders on the Brownsea Lagoon with a Peregrine occasionally chipping in too. A 2015/16 winter record count of 112 Bar-tailed Godwit was also noted with 7 Greenshank, 6 Spotted Redshank, 2 Spoonbill, 12 Turnstone, 1 Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Med Gull and 8 Pintail all of note on the lagoon with Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Dunlin, Grey Plover and Knot all adding to the spectacle. In total a 68 species were recorded from the boat and harbour tour. Out on the water the Black Guillemot showed well for one group but then totally disappeared for the other, but up to 6 Great Northern Diver, 2 Black-necked Grebe, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebes made for an enjoyable trip with 15 Spoonbill on Shipstal too. At Lytchett Fields the ringtail Hen Harrier again passed over the fields and reeds on the western edge of the bay. Despite much searching from the Bird Boat we saw no Golden Pheasant on Furzey Island, however 5 were ‘scoped’ from South Haven on the slipway of Furzy, including 2 males. This is the highest count of this species in the harbour for quite some time. Out in Studland Bay were 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Slavonian Grebe and 3 Black-necked Grebe. The Smew was still feeding out in Holes Bay south near the railway bridge.

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