Poole Harbour sightings blog

A record of all interesting and notable sightings from around the harbour throughout the year.

Latest Sightings

Harbour Update – posted 18/02/21

Posted on: February 18th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A ringtail Hen Harrier patrolled the Lytchett Bay reedbeds this morning. Redhorn Quay and Jerry’s Point clocked up 1 Scaup, 4 Great Northern Diver, 3 Slavonian Grebe, 5 Black-necked Grebe, 18 Goldeneye, 26 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Common Scoter and a solitary Bar-tailed Godwit. A Great White Egret continues to frequent Little Sea, Studland. Before opening the photo, the thumbnail preview of this pale Common Buzzard on one of our Osprey platforms raised heartrates! With the earliest confirmed Osprey in the harbour recorded on March 16th last year (& March 13th in 2019), we’re into the last 4 week countdown until our first Ospreys of the spring!

Common Buzzard

Bar-tailed Godwit – Jerry’s Point – Garry Hayman


Harbour Update – posted 17/02/21

Posted on: February 17th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Miserable weather saw limited coverage across the harbour today with short weather windows keeping daily exercise brief. Of note was an Egyptian Goose that dropped down onto Bestwall rugby pitch. The Ring-necked Duck remained present on the Gravel Pit, a Merlin chasing Skylark in the area and the flood plain logged 76 Curlew and 55 Lapwing. Full summer plumage Mediterranean Gull are always a treat, and calling birds from the Stone Bench, Holes Bay are a welcome sign that spring is just around the corner. Both Holes Bay Peregrine were present on the highrise ASDA block mid-morning.

Sparrowhawk – Creekmoor Garden – Twitter: @TanglewoodSteve


Harbour Update – posted 16/02/21

Posted on: February 16th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A day of reports with both of the harbour’s northern bays receiving special attention, released within a matter of minutes of each other. The 29th consecutive Lytchett Bay annual report documents the strong year for the site. And if that was exciting enough, the Holes Bay Nature team have put together the superb first Holes Bay wildlife report – hopefully the first of many for years to come!

Lytchett Bay 2020 annual report »

Holes Bay 2020 annual report »

So you’d better fill that kettle right up and get reading! The reports provide the perfect inspiration before we welcome a series of big lows from the west, drawing in winds from as far south as North Africa over the next 10 days. The same happened in 2019 and delivered Swallow, Sand and House Martin in Dorset between Feb 22nd and 28th…

As for today’s sightings, the River Frome Red-throated Diver continued to show this morning.

Red-throated Diver – River Frome – Clive Hargrave


Harbour Update – posted 15/02/20

Posted on: February 16th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Ten Great Northern Diver were logged across Studland in all, 5 off Old Harry’s, 1 from Shell Bay and a further 4 off Jerry’s Point. A female Scaup reappeared with 4 Common Scoter at Jerry’s Point. Two Long-Tail Duck, 4 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Black-necked Grebe, 11 Goldeneye and 9 Red-breasted Merganser made up to supporting cast. South Beach, Studland featured 1 Common Scoter, 2 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Ring-necked Parakeet. Swineham Gravel Pit attracted the Red-throated Diver as well as one of the female Ring-necked Duck. A male Marsh Harrier and Peregrine made appearances through the day, along with Kingfisher, 40 Lapwing on the flood plain and 2 Spoonbill that dropped into the Wareham Channel. A Marsh Harrier was also observed doing the rounds at Holton Pools in the morning. Highlights at Wareham Common included a pair of Goosander on the River Piddle, a male Merlin, 1 Firecrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 17 Common Gull, 7 Common Snipe, 1 Skylark and 10 Bullfinch. A Goldeneye made a welcome appearance on the Holme Lane pit and a single Red-legged Partridge in the field east of the railway line.

Join Birds of Poole Harbour on virtual adventure around Whitley Lake & Surrounding Area, one of the harbour’s urban birding gems. The large, shallow area is a hotspot for kite and wind surfers on a high tide, but transforms as the tide recedes, exposing vast, nutrient-rich mudflats to be exploited… The latest episode draws on footage from our archives, supplemented with new content captured whilst out and about on our daily exercise. With continued limitations on our ability to enjoy the harbour and its birdlife, hopefully this latest instalment will offer a virtual connection to nature that we are all craving. As always, please adhere to and follow all current government advice, rules and guidelines when exercising locally.

Marsh Harrier – Holton Pools – Tony Furnell

Scaup & Common Scaup – Jerry’s Point – Garry Hayman


Harbour Update – posted 14/02/21

Posted on: February 14th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A grim day, but another good find in the Swineham area with a Red-throated Diver on the River Frome along the Two-Rivers walk. Why it didn’t settle on the gravel pits is a bit of a mystery, but instead opted for the fast flowing water of the river but it stayed in the general area all day between Redcliff and Ridge Wharf boat yard. One of the female Ring-necked Ducks was still on the main pit at Swineham and at Holes Bay the Spotted Redshank was showing well in the mouth of the PCW Drain as was the Common Sandpiper. It’s good to see a Spotted Redshank back in this area as it used to be THE winter spot to see them during low tides, but they haven’t been seen there for a few years now, so its good that one is back! There were 6 Spoonbill in Middlebere and a Merlin off Swineham Point. Several Kingfisher continue to be seen along the Holes Bay shoreline at close range.

We’ve also just published our third podcast in our Rewilding and Reintroduction Summit which can be listed to on the player below.

Podcast 3 – Celtic Reptile & Amphibian

Charlie chats with Harvey Tweats and Tom Whitehurst of Celtic Reptile & Amphibian to dive deeper into understanding their ambitions, how they see themselves fitting into the bigger conservation picture, and what they’ve taken on board since attracting national attention.

Red-throated Diver – River Frome, Nr Redcliff – Peter Moore


Harbour Update – posted 13/02/21

Posted on: February 13th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another bitterly cold day, but with a result as the two Ring-necked Ducks that were located further up the Piddle Valley a few weeks ago have relocated to Swineham GP. These are the first since 2008 and it’s good that they’ve been relocated since Trevor Warwick found one on the smaller pit at Swineham earlier in the week. A Jack Snipe was also flushed off the end of Swineham Point. At Organford, the Golden Plover flock was still present with at least c15 still there. At Jerry’s Point there were 2 Long-tailed Duck, 4 Slavonian Grebe and on Littlesea the Great White Egret was present still. Holes Bay saw a Spotted Redshank and the mouth of the drain with up to 3 Kingfisher present in the area too. The PCW Drain logged the Siberian Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest and 1 Kingfisher.

Ring-necked Duck – Swineham GP – Peter Moore


Harbour Update – posted 12/02/21

Posted on: February 12th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The highlight from today’s sightings was a great finding of 22 Golden Plover near Holton Heath Industrial Estate, the first reported since the drop in temperature this week. At PC World Drain, a single Spotted Redshank was seen this afternoon. A count from Ower Quay produced 225 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 41 Grey Plover, 113 Dunlin, 55 Lapwing, 17 Red-breasted Merganser and 8 Black-necked Grebes. At Studland, from Jerry’s Point and Redhorn, 2 Long-tailed Duck, 3 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Black-necked Grebe, 21 Goldeneye,  2 Great Northern Diver, c.20 Red-breasted Merganser, as well as 4 Common Scoter and the single Pale-bellied Brent Goose were reported. Over at Whitley lake this afternoon, 100 Bar-tailed Godwit, along with 14 Sanderling were counted. A male Merlin was also reported hunting at Hartland Moor.

This Sunday evening, we will be releasing the next episode in our Reintroduction & Rewilding podcast, created by Charlie Moores. This week, he chatted with Harvey Tweats and Tom Whitehurst from Celtic Reptile & Amphibian, after their project has sparked much debate amongst conservationists. Charlie got to grips with the motivations behind the project, how the team have reacted to criticism of their work, and how they believe their project sits in the future of conservation. An episode not to be missed, catch a quick preview here:

Golden Plover – Organford – Trevor Warwick


Harbour Update – posted 11/02/21

Posted on: February 11th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It was a bitterly cold day today. One of those days where you just want to watch the birds in your garden with a hot cup of tea in hand. A few brave souls did head out on their daily excersise. At Studland there was 1 Long-tailed Duck, 5 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Common Scoter, 1 pale-bellied Brent Goose and the Great White Egret was still at Little Sea, Studland. The Common Sandpiper was seen again at Holes Bay and there were 3 Chiffchaff at the PCW Drain. Middlebere looked like the Arctic tundra with just a Bar-tailed Godwit and some Lapwing the only rewards. On the whole, birds mostly looked cold and miserable and the sooner this cold spell disappears the better and we can all get our minds back on spring again!

Redwing – Fleetsbridge – Rene Goad

Shoveler – Holes Bay – Rene Goad


Harbour Update – posted 10/02/21

Posted on: February 10th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A few nice sightings from Studland today, with the highlight of a Barnacle Goose amongst Dark-Bellied Brent Geese feeding at Goathorn Farm. From Redhorn, the Pale-Bellied Brent Goose was present, as well as 2 Slavonian Grebe, 3 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Common Scoter and 27 Bar-tailed Godwit. 1 Great White Egret was also reported from Littlesea. Elsewhere, a flock of c.150 Redwing were reported from Upton Country Park.

Barnacle Goose – Goathorn Farm – Garry Hayman


Harbour Update – posted 09/02/21

Posted on: February 9th, 2021 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Best bird of the day goes to the female Ring-necked Duck found at Swineham this evening, presumably one of the individuals that was up the Piddle river valley a few weeks ago. The Glaucous Gull came into roost again on the Brownsea Lagoon this evening. A Great White Egret graced Little Sea, Studland along with 3 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret, 17 Shoveler, 10 Teal, 3 Cormorant and 2 Pintail. A Greenshank was observed in the small lagoon off Bramble Bush Bay. A further 2 Great White Egret made an appearance over the Stoborough Causeway near Wareham, heading east towards Swineham. Jerry’s Point produced 1 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver, 4 Common Scoter, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 9 Goldeneye, 12 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Greenshank, along with Turnstone, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Great Crested Grebe and Shelduck. Lytchett Fields offered 5 Stonechat and 100+ Linnet in arable field and 15 Redwing in NE corner of approach field. A Marsh Harrier passed over Sunnyside this morning. Poole Bay featured 3 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Diver, 4 diver sp.  4 Common Scoter , 6 Teal, 3 Wigeon, 10 auk sp., c.50 Brent Goose east a and 10 Great Crested Grebe.

Greenshank – Bramble Bush Bay – Garry Hayman

Female Ring-necked Duck – Swineham GP – Trevor Warrick


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