Poole Harbour sightings blog

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

Latest Sightings

Harbour Update – posted 23/05/24

Posted on: May 23rd, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Very slow migration wise today, but there was excitement none the less when our first Osprey chick of the season hatched out at 07:44 this morning. After battling its way out of the egg for a few hours, CJ7 helped with the final tricky section by knocking the top of the egg off, revealing its head and bewildered expression as it took it’s first look at the world. During the course of the day it had several good, but small feeds, but as we know from previous years, their growth is rapid and they won’t stay this adorable for too long. Then, at around 17:30 this evening a second egg started hatching and by 20:00 the chick had managed to chip it’s self a nice sized hole which will likely result in it’s full hatching sometime tonight. Elsewhere there were Osprey sightings in Lytchett Bay, confirmed as an un-ringed male, and another off Jerry’s Point this afternoon which headed towards Ower Bay.

First feeding of Osprey chick 2024

Harbour Update – posted 22/05/24

Posted on: May 22nd, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The forecast downpours for this morning thankfully never came to fruition, meaning our Spring Safari Cruise this AM delivered on both birds and fine weather. The Brownsea Lagoon held 1 1st summer Little Gull, 6 Sanderling, c80 Dunlin, 5 Turnstone, 4 Avocet, c300 Sandwich Tern and c100 Common Tern. In the Wareham Channel male White-tailed Eagle G466 was out on Shag Looe Spit, and then flew off up over Swineham, where a drake Garganey was on the floods south of the gravel pit, a Hobby almost landed on the boat, twisting at the last second before hitting one of our guests, a magical c250 Common Swift were bombing about with Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin and a Great White Egret flew up briefly from Keysworth. Later this afternoon a Little Tern was on the lagoon, 3 Little Ringed Plover and 1 Spoonbill were on the Lower Piddle Floods and an un-ringed Osprey was in Lytchett Bay. The family party of Woodlark that fledged at Carey Secret Garden recently are still active and were viewed from an Osprey monitoring session late afternoon.

Woodlark – Carey Secret Garden

Harbour Update – posted 21/05/24

Posted on: May 21st, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With the discovery of Poole Harbours 6th Temminck’s Stint on the Lower Piddle Floods yesterday, which led to us to discussing the benefits of newly ‘flushed’ wetlands only yesterday on our sightings blog, it was quite astonishing to hear that the very same wet area this morning managed to produce something even more incredible. Local birder Rob Johnson, who was up early to try and re-find yesterdays Temminck’s Stint couldn’t believe his eyes when the stint had been replaced by a plover, and not just any old plover. Poole Harbours second only ever American Golden Plover! Not only that, but it wasn’t just a plain autumn juvenile, but instead a stonking full adult summer plumaged individual. Sadly it only stuck around for 20 minutes before disappearing off, and couldn’t be re-found for the rest of the day. However, with Poole Harbour being so vast, there’s a chance it could still be around somewhere, so it would be worth keeping an eye out in all the good wader spots over the next few days. Sadly the Temminck’s Stint couldn’t be re-found either but compensation came in the form of 1 Little Gull, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Garganey, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 White-tailed Eagle. This afternoon a wandering Osprey came and visited the nest site and settled in nearby trees which sent our male 022 into displaying frenzy as he began skydancing for well over 10 minutes. We’re not sure who the bird was, or whether it was ringed, but it soon up’ed and left, and headed back towards the harbour. Also over the nest site in the Piddle Valley today were 2 Red Kite and 1 Hobby.¬†

American Golden Plover – Lower Piddle Floods – Rob Johnson

Male Osprey 022 displaying over nest site to intruding visiting Osprey – Alison Copland

Harbour Update – posted 20/05/24

Posted on: May 20th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another day, and yet again, another decent bird was found on the Lower Piddle Floods, at Swineham. This time in the form of a Temminck’s Stint. This scarce wader is an annual passage migrant in the UK, but mainly along the east coast, with May undoubtedly being the best time for them. However, todays bird constituted only the 6th record for Poole Harbour, with 50% of previous records also being found at Swineham. The Lower Piddle Floods have really delivered this spring, with an incredible range of species and some decent spring totals too. It’s amazing what a damaged drainage valve can produce! There is a theory though as to why new areas of fresh water wetland often out perform more ‘mature’ wetland sites, and it’s to do with a sudden rush of new food that evolves/establishes in a very short period of time, making it the perfect feeding ground birds such as waders. Highlights from this small patch of water this spring have included 3-4 Wood Sandpiper, 5 Ruff, 1 Temminck’s Stint, 2-3 Little Ringed Plover, 5 Spotted Redshank, 8 Greenshank, 5 Grey Plover, 3 Knot, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Garganey, 1 Bonaparte’s Gull and 2 Little Gull. Good bye Lytchett Fields, hello Lower Piddle Floods….for now.

Elsewhere the White-tailed Eagle pair were in the Wareham Channel for most of the day, a small handful of Red Kite passed over, probably joining the 518 that were over Lands End, Cornwall this AM!! A Pied Flycatcher was logged on Upton Heath and a drake Garganey was also on the Lower Piddle Floods.

Harbour Update – posted 19/05/24

Posted on: May 20th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

First of all, we apologise for the website going down over the last 24 hours. Our server hosts ran an update over the weekend which didn’t fully complete, hence the radio silence. Anyway, all’s well and is restored, so lets get back to it. It was a chilly start to the day, where multiple bobble hats and pairs of gloves were worn on our Spring Safari Cruise this AM, despite it being mid-May. However, by mid-day the sun was blazing which got more Red Kite¬†moving again with 4 over Studland, 1 over Swineham, 1 over Brownsea, 2 over Corfe, 2 over Hartland, 1 over Upton and 2 over Lytchett Minster. From our Spring Safari trip this AM, the White-tailed Eagle pair were active in the Wareham Channel with male G463 giving us a stunning fly by close to the boat. The male Marsh Harrier was hunting at Swineham and both (Poole) Peregrines were hawking/hunting over Poole Quay. The Brownsea Lagoon still held a nice variety despite heading towards the end of May with 1 Spoonbill, 4 Sanderling, 2 Knot, 8 Dunlin, 5 Avocet, 5 Turnstone¬†and good numbers of Sandwich and Common Tern, although the Roseate Tern evaded us, as it was hunting near the harbour entrance. Frustratingly, 2 ‘new’ Osprey also evaded us, with 2 birds interacting out in the Wareham Channel later in the morning. The reason we say ‘new’ is because it was neither of our Osprey pair, because they were both at the nest site, so possibly transiting individuals. There were no sightings of them on other nest platforms, so we don’t know who they were?! A Honey Buzzard flew east over Church Knowle, which despite not being in our recording area, the fact it was flying east would suggest it may have flown into Poole Harbour airspace, unless it veered off and moved south again. Regardless, it’s defintely the time of year to be keeping an eye out for more passage/arriving Honey Buzzard.

Male White-tailed Eagle G463 passing by Spring Safari Cruise – John Thorpe

Harbour Update – posted 18/05/24

Posted on: May 18th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

A few unexpected rain showers today but a real highlight of 1 Roseate Tern on the Brownsea Lagoon on the boomerang this morning. It was seen later fishing with Common Terns and Sandwich Terns off South Haven, before heading back to Brownsea. It’ll be interesting to see how long it sticks around! There was also 1 Spoonbill present on the lagoon and 1 Great White Egret flew from Lytchett Bay, up the Sherford River. At Coombe Heath, RSPB Arne, 1 Peregrine was hunting along with 1 Marsh Harrier and Spotted Flycatcher also being present.

Reed Warbler – Wareham – Roger Backway on X

Harbour Update – posted 17/05/24

Posted on: May 17th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another stunning day in the harbour once the bank of fog burned off this morning. This gave great, still conditions for another of our Morden Bog ID courses. Plenty of good birds to see and hear with 1 Cuckoo, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Nightjar ‘churring’ in the daylight, 1 male Redstart, 2 Yellowhammer and plenty of Darford Warbler spread across the site. Lots of White-tailed Eagle activity in the harbour with multiple sightings of the pair enjoying the thermals today including at Wareham, Ridge and Ham Common. 1 Osprey was in Lytchett Bay this morning.

More news from 5H1, the first returning wild fledged Osprey chick from the south coast population. She was captured on camera on a nest in the Usk Valley, south Wales at 12:48pm today. Another of our female Ospreys that has ended up in Wales! She is still a young bird and so this is quite typical behaviour, exploring far and wide and interacting with other Osprey populations that she may come across. Let’s hope she carries on travelling and makes it back to Poole Harbour!

Female Osprey 5H1 landing on a nest in the Usk Valley


Harbour Update – posted 16/05/24

Posted on: May 16th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Interesting record of a male Nightjar churring during the day on Lytchett Heath this morning. Nice to see Nightjar activity picking up – by early June it will be the perfect time to get out at dusk to listen to their displays on the nearby heathlands. 1 White-tailed Eagle was seen soaring high over Lytchett Bay, and there was also 1 Whimbrel reported in the bay.

We’ve just released our final batch of tickets for our Carey Osprey Tours in partnership with Careys Secret Garden, now running up until mid-July. You can find out more information and booking details here.

Harbour Update – posted 15/05/24

Posted on: May 15th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Absolutely fantastic Spring Safari Cruise this morning with the 2 White-tailed Eagles (G466 & G463) hunting in the Wareham Channel and successfully catching a Grey Mullet. While rising on the thermals, G466 was also mobbed by 2 Common Buzzard and 1 Red Kite, giving an awesome size comparison between the three species. The pair of Marsh Harrier were also active in the channel, and c.100 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Whimbrel were making use of the exposed mudflats near Swineham on the low tide. Over on Brownsea Lagoon, along with the high numbers of Sandwich and Common Tern highlights included 15 Bar-tailed Godwit, 80 Oystercatcher and 2 Avocet. Also a nice sighting of a Yellow Wagtail on the Sherford Pools at Lytchett Fields this morning.

White-tailed Eagle G463 – Wareham Channel – Kate Plater

Harbour Update – posted 14/05/24

Posted on: May 14th, 2024 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Momentous news today with 5H1, the first wild fledged Osprey chick from a nest on the south coast of England for 180 years, successfully returning for the first time! She was photographed this morning at 6:06am, meeting up with her father 022 on the Middlebere Nest Platform, which amazingly was the last place she was seen in 2022 before she left on migration. This is such fantastic news and now all we need is 374, another male from our translocation project to meet up with her. He was seen at Fishlake Meadows, Romsey on Saturday.

Plenty of Osprey action in the harbour with 1 bird possibly 5H1 being seen off Swineham Point later in the morning and an unringed Osprey in Brands Bay, Studland eating a fish on the muddy island with 5 Whimbrel also present. 3 Grey Plover were still in the lower Piddle Valley, north of Swineham gravel pit as well as c100 Black-tailed Godwit and a flock of c20 Dunlin and Ringed Plover. The Boneparte’s Gull was seen higher up the Frome Valley today at Holmebridge on the floods. There were 17 Bar-tailed Godwit at Whitley Lake.

5H1 and 022 (her father) on the Middlebere nest platform this morning!

Closeup of 5H1’s Leg Ring



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