Harbour Update – posted 31/08/16

Today was one of those really special autumn days that seem to come around only once or twice a year. It started of when local patch birder Ian Ballam found an ‘in the field’ Aquatic Warbler at Lytchett Fields. The bird its self is rare enough, but with almost all observations of this species in the UK consisting of mist netted individuals, to get such high quality photos of one not in someone’s hand was a job well done. Unfortunately it flew and wasn’t seen for the rest of the day. The status of Aquatic Warbler in a global context is that it is now classed as critically endangered mainly due to loss of suitable breeding habitat in eastern Europe, and as a result it has become equally rare as an autumn migrant in the UK. CLICK HERE to view the status of Aquatic Warbler in a Poole Harbour context.

Aquatic Warbler – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Aquatic Warbler – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

Aquatic Warbler – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

There was another special and historic moment today when one of the juvenile Middlebere Osprey’s landed on the converted nesting platform for the first time ever, where it quite happily fed on a fish for several hours. This is significant as it means the birds are possibly identifying and recognising the platform as a nest and see it as a safe place to eat. This in turn could mean they remember this on their return journey north in a few years and may wish to stay and breed? There are obviously many if’s and but’s but it’s a very positive response to the man made structure.

Osprey – Middlebere nesting platform – Jason Fathers

Osprey – Middlebere nesting platform – Barbara Bisset

Whilst the 2 Middlebere Osprey chilled out and ate fish it seemed a third was causing havoc over in the Holes Bay/Upton CP area, upsetting the 250+ roosting Black-tailed Godwits and 1 Common Sandpiper. At Lytchett Fields a supporting cast of 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint, 4 Ruff, 43 Dunlin, 40+ Redshank, 300+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank, 1 Knot, 3 Ringed Plover, 15+ Green Sandpiper, 1 adult Yellow-legged Gull and a Peregrine Falcon. Up on Ballard Down a night sound recording session was held from 1am – 5:30am in the hope of trying to piece together this Ortolan Bunting phenomenon, which unfortunately didn’t come to fruition as the only birds sound recorded going over in the dark were 2 Tree Pipit, 2 Robins and 1 Ringed Plover. However, birding around Ballard at dawn was more productive with 9 Tree Pipit, 3 Wheatear, 1 Redstart, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Whitethroat, 10 Yellow Wagtail and 10+ Chiffchaff. However, there was more news from Nick Hopper who was night sound recording from Stoborough, near Arne and he had another 2 Ortolan Bunting over the course of the night! We’re definitely just at the tip of the iceberg with this bizarre discovery at the moment but as we mentioned a few days ago, we aim to try and link all this data up with field observations too and more night monitoring. 

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