Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Harbour Update – posted 12/09/20

Posted on: September 12th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A few Osprey sightings this morning, with one hunting over the Middlebere Channel and another over Lytchett Fields. A single Spoonbill was also reported from the Middlebere Channel, as well as a count of 23 on Brownsea Lagoon. A count from Holes Bay North this morning reported 148 Wigeon, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Pintail, 30 Teal, 3 Knot, 4 Dunlin, 100+ Redshank and 250+ Black-tailed Godwit. 1 Cattle Egret was reported on the Swineham Gravel Pits this morning. Unfortunately, the Pectoral Sandpiper not seen at Arne Moors.

Spoonbill – Middlebere Channel – Kate Plater


Harbour Update – posted 11/09/20

Posted on: September 11th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The pace picked up again today with the Pectoral Sandpiper being seen on Arne Moors during the afternoon but relocating to a watchable spot on the scrapes at Swineham with a Ruff. Also at Swineham GP was a migratory Black-necked Grebe which is one of the earliest autumn harbour records. At Lytchett Fields a surprise Great White Egret was found which sadly only stayed for several seconds before disappearing off over the Bakers Arms roundabout. In Middlebere there were 6 Pintail, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 13 Redshank, 9 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Hobby, 2 Whitethroat, several Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff and 10+ Stonechat. At Holton Lee there were 30+ Yellow Wagtail in with the cattle and a Hobby. In Middlebere 2 Curlew Sandpiper joined 60 Avocet, 80 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Spotted Redshank, 34 Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 Grey Plover, 36 Dunlin, 4 Knot and 6 Pintail plus an Osprey caught a fish in the channel.

Great White Egret – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam


Harbour Update – posted 10/09/20

Posted on: September 11th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It was a quieter day that finished with a decent find of a Pectoral Sandpiper on Arne Moors. Sadly viewing is hard, and was viewed from the footpath at Swineham, looking back east. There seemed to be a huge movement of hirundines today with Swallow, House Martin and a few Sand Martin moving west all day up the river valleys with many thousands estimated of Swallow and House Martin. An Osprey was seen sat in a tree at Lytchett Fields which was then harassed by a Buzzard but none were reported hunting during the course of the day. Other bits and pieces included 1 Whinchat and 10 Yellow Wagtail at Lytchett Fields, 1 Marsh Harrier at Holton Lee, 20 Egyptian Geese, 3 Little Grebe and 4 Tufted Duck were on the Holme Lane GP and there was a nice mix of waders and wildfowl in Middlebere with 9 Pintail, 3 Spotted Redshank, 5 Knot and 36 Avocet along with 2 Wheatear and 1 Redstart. In Brands Bay wader totals were low but did host 1 Peregrine, 37 Curlew, 16 Redshank, 41 Great Crested Grebe, and c30 Teal.


Harbour Update – posted 09/09/20

Posted on: September 9th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The cold start seemed promising for migrants but they were few and far between. The highest count of the autumn for Yellow Wagtail were logged just north of Wareham on the common. Holes Bay north broke the 1000 mark of Black-tailed Godwit with 1073 counted which is a superb September count (well done Martin Adams), also the Wigeon flock hit the century with 107 plus c15 Knot, 49 Curlew, 39 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 1 Kingfisher and a Cetti’s Warbler. At Middlebere there was 1 Marsh Harrier, c30 Avocet, a small group of Spoonbill, 2 Spotted Redshank, plus 1 Ruff and several Knot. At Lytchett Fields an Osprey was seen out in the bay and a Whinchat was on the approach fields. An Osprey was also out hunting over the Wareham Channel and a Marsh Harrier was in the Piddle Valley.


Harbour Update – posted 08/09/20

Posted on: September 8th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Steady today with a good mix right across the harbour. Starting off on the urban side of the harbour in Holes Bay NE where Wigeon almost peaked at 100 although not quite with 97 out on the water, also 30 Curlew, 49 Redshank, 3 Dunlin, 14 Little Egret but only 63 Black-tailed Godwit feeding until c200 arrived in with the rising tide. In the Middlebere channel today there were 80 Avocet, 40 Dunlin, 125 Black-tailed Godwit, 28 Redshank, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 male Marsh Harrier and 1 juvenile, 6 Little Egret and 1 Greenshank. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 4+ Curlew Sandpiper and Osprey sightings today came from Lytchett Bay (2), the Wareham Channel (1) and Middlebere (1).

Late news from Middlebere yesterday saw 43 Avocet, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, c200 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Curlew, 20 Dunlin, 6 Greenshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 4 Knot, 1 Ringed Plover, 5 Spotted Redshank, 30 Redshank.

Wheatear – Middlebere


Harbour Update – posted 07/09/20

Posted on: September 7th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

For a Monday, there were a good range of sightings today spread right across the harbour. The Brownsea Lagoon was busy and saw c400 Dunlin, c90 Redshank, 29 Spoonbill, c80 Ringed Plover, c400 Oystercatcher, 15 Sanderling, 17 Knot, 9 Greenshank, 2 Spotted Redshank, 13 Curlew, 2+ Curlew Sandpiper, 5 Avocet and 15 Shoveler. Holes Bay NE looked good on the low-tide this AM and saw 83 Wigeon, 2 Pintail, 1 Common Sandpiper, 500+ Black-tailed Godwit and 40+ Redshank. There was a green surprise at Lytchett Bay with a Ring-necked Parakeet flying around French’s Farm, also a Woodlark flew over Lytchett Fields where there was also 3 Ruff, 2 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat and a good raptor mix of 2 Osprey, 1 Peregrine, 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Hobby and 1 Kestrel. Osprey sightings increased today with sightings of 2 over the Rockley area, 1 out over the Wareham Channel and 1 at Middlebere. Also at Middlebere were c300 Black-tailed Godwit, 70 Avocet, 1 Hobby and 1 Marsh Harrier. An arrival of c100 sinensis Cormorant was witnessed over Lytchett Bay, a sight we’ll see more of as September progresses with the Poole Harbour flock often reaching c700 individuals by October. Finally, some exciting news in that it seems a juvenile White-tailed Sea Eagle flew over Wareham mid-morning heading towards Wareham Forest. Sadly it was only seen by one observer but we’re hoping to get some info from the Roy Dennis Wildlife foundation to see if it’s any of the birds from their reintroduction.

Hobby – Slepe Heath

Meadow Pipit – Hartland Moor


Harbour Update – posted 06/09/20

Posted on: September 6th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Autumn (to winter) ramped up a notch today with reports that the first skeins of Pink-footed Geese were arriving along the NE coast and the first American wader of the season was tracked down at Kimmeridge in the shape of a gorgeous juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper. These milestones were equalled by a sad fact that it seems that quite a few of the recent Osprey seemed to move on either yesterday afternoon or first thing this AM with only single sightings of birds at Middlebere, Lytchett Bay and a couple of sightings in the Wareham Channel. The chill in the air this AM certainly made it feel like change is coming and the fact the harbour now has even more Pintail and Wigeon highlights this. A ringing session in the west of the harbour in the lower Piddle Valley produced 1 adult male Redstart, 2 Tree Pipit, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 9 Chiffchaff and 1 Willow Warbler. At Swineham GP and on the scrapes there was 1 Hobby, 1 Cattle Egret, 136 Coot, 14 Gadwall, 13 Little Egret (on the pit island), 14 Lapwing, 1 adult Yellow-legged Gull and 1 Black-tailed Godwit with 3 different Marsh Harrier around too. At a low-tide Baiter there were good counts of 28 Oystercatcher, 1 juv Greenshank, 11 Turnstone, 23 Ringed Plover, 1 Tree Pipit (over) 2 Yellow Wagtail and 116 Starling. Lytchett Bay saw 316 Teal, 4 Wigeon, 6 Knot, 2 Spotted Redshank and 1 Yellow-legged Gull. Holes Bay NE had 98 Redshank, 2 Pintail, 775 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Water Rail, 53 Wigeon and 83 Teal. In the Wareham Channel from our Osprey watch point 19 Spoonbill were feeding on the low-tide. There were 2 Hobby over Middlebere.

Common Redstart – Lower Piddle


Harbour Update – posted 05/09/20

Posted on: September 6th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another really busy day and another great Osprey day, with a max count of 4 over Lytchett Bay and birds seen out over the Wareham Channel, Middlebere, Hamworthy and 1 was seen again in Brands Bay. At Lytchett Fields there was 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Whinchat, 1 Wheatear and 1 Hobby. In Brands Bay 150 Black-tailed Godwit were feeding along with c120 Dunlin, 80 Redshank, 41 Great Crested Grebe, 60 Curlew and 11 Little Egret. In Middlebere a group of 46 Avocet were regularly ‘duffing up’ any passing Osprey with 2 hunting together mid-afternoon in the Wytch Channel area. Middlebere saw 2 different Marsh Harrier including a gorgeous juvenile at close range. In Holes north Black-tailed Godwit numbers peaked at 980 with 78 Wigeon, 1 Shoveler and 35 Redshank.

Shoveler – Holes Bay – Rene Goad


Harbour Update – posted 04/09/20

Posted on: September 4th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It was really autumnal across the harbour today with a real sense of coming and going. We’re currently in that amazing transition period of birds moving through in all directions, pit-stopping off in the harbour before then moving on again, or, as we experienced this AM, birds making landfall for the winter having probably commuted several hundred miles. The harbour today was quite literally a sheer delight. Highlights included 3-4 Osprey with most sightings around the Lytchett Bay/Holton shoreline with one at Middlebere, one was fishing in the Wareham Channel and one in Brands Bay. At the top end of the Wareham Channel a Ruff was feeding on the mud with 800+ Black-tailed Godwit. In the Lower Frome Valley there was another Ruff and a Wood Sandpiper on pools at Arne Moors (viewed from a boat) and on the Swineham scrapes there were 4 Wigeon and 1 Shoveler. Swineham GP was busy with 1 Pochard, 1 Tufted Duck, 90+ Coot, 5 Wigeon, 10+ Gadwall plus good numbers of Sand Martin, Swallow and House Martin with a single Swift. A small party of Bearded Tit were in the reed beds off Swineham Point and 2 Marsh Harrier were in that area. There were still both a handful of Sandwich and Common Tern feeding and a group of 38 Turnstone were on Hamworthy beach. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 24 Spoonbill, 4 Curlew Sandpiper, 8+ Greenshank, 50+ Ringed Plover, 250+ Dunlin, 20+ Knot, 6 Sanderling, 31 Avocet, 7 Wigeon, 12 Shoveler and 50+ Redshank. In Holes Bay NE Wigeon numbers increased to 73 and there were 2 Common Sandpiper there too. It was also fantastic to witness Wigeon arriving in from the north as a party of 8 came from high above the Frome Valley before settling towards Middlebere. There were a scattering of Wheatear with 4 at Arne and 4 on the Brownsea sea wall. Chiffchaff numbers are really building and are beginning to take over Willow Warbler totals. This evening a new Osprey was seen on the webcam, just before 18:00, this time a juvenile from Scotland. We know this as it had a blue ring on the left leg but frustratingly we couldn’t quite read it. Hopefully it will come back again tomorrow. Other late news included 2 Redstart and 30+ Yellow Wagtail on top of Hartland early this evening and 5 Marsh Harrier out of the west harbour roost this morning.

Spoonbills – Brownsea Lagoon

Redstart – Hartland Moor

Newly arrived juvenile Scottish Osprey – On nest cam


Harbour Update – posted 03/09/20

Posted on: September 4th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It was a bit quieter today with sightings reported to us, but once again there was no shortage of Osprey seen carry monster sized Mullet over Lytchett Bay and Middlebere, with roughly 3-4 seen today, but the early morning murk didn’t help things too much. A sea watch from Branksome produced a single Arctic Skua and several Gannet. In Holes Bay north there were an impressive 760+ Black-tailed Godwit with 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and an increase of Wigeon to 38 and 2 returning Shoveler. The first Wigeon for Lytchett Bay appeared today too with 10 counted also 2 Ruff on Lytchett fields, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Spotted Redshank, 4 Knot and 13 Dunlin.

Osprey – Lytchett Bay – Alison Copland


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