Winter at it’s best – posted 03/12/13

The harbour is a joy to watch at anytime of year, but there is something truly magical about winter. Dramatic scenery drenched in peace and calm spreads out across the Purbeck Hills towards Studland as more and more birds arrive for the cold winter months. The last two days have show-cased the variety of birdlife currently in the harbour brilliantly. Starting off with Birds of prey. Finally, two male Hen Harrier were seen together (Wareham Channel) proving that there are indeed currently two individuals patrolling the harbour along with a ringtail Hen Harrier. They seem to wander far and wide, as they have been reported from Middlebere, Swineham, Wareham Channel and Lytchett Bay all within the last 24 hours! There are also currently SIX different Marsh Harrier frequentingthe Swineham/Wareham Channel area with birds also visiting Brands Bay, Middlebere and Lytchett Bay. Out on water the number of species and birds are building day by day, providing a real spectacle. Today from a School Birdboat tour around the harbour the following birds were seen. The Surf Scoter, 5 Eider Duck off Goathorn, 3 Great Northern Diver, 90+ Goldeneye, 200+ Red-breasted Merganser, 26 Spoonbill (6 Arne, 20 Brownsea), 70+ Great Crested Grebe, 340 Brent Geese, 300 Oystercatcher, 200 Avocet, 12 Greenshank, 50+ Grey Plover, 500+ Dunlin, 200+ Redshank, 50 Lapwing, a male Hen Harrier (Middlebere), and a Common Seal. Off Middle beach, Studland the Black-necked Grebe count seems to hover between 25-40 birds as they spread themselves along the bay in small parties. A flock of 24 Ringed Plover were seen at Baiter.

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