It was great to be back out on the water again today as we hosted our first public bird boat since lockdown. With a much reduced guest list to allow for social distancing we headed out on the big low-tide this morning in search of passage waders and early returning over-winter species. The harbour was looking great with birds of interest across the whole area. Starting on the Brownsea north shore, 7 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank and 1 Whimbrel were feeding on the tide line. On the Brownsea Lagoon there was 1 Spoonbill, 7 Avocet, c100 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank and plenty of Common and Sandwich Tern. In fact both species were very prominent right across the harbour. The mud flats held good numbers of Curlew and Little Egret were abundant in each small, shallow channel. It seems Great Crested Grebe are arriving now for the winter, or at least are transiting as two different small flocks flew past close to the boat. A strange sight seeming flying groups of Great Crested Grebe mid-summer! As we made our way up the Wareham Channel we found where the Black-tailed Godwits had been hiding with c300 in the mouth of the Frome along with 3 more Common Sandpiper. Swineham GP produced a nice surprise in the form of a full summer plumaged Cattle Egret roosting in the trees in the centre of the gravel pit. There were also 3 Common Seal in the mouth of the Piddle hauled up on the mud, just as female Osprey CJ7 made an appearance over the Wareham Channel before drifting off high SE towards the Middlebere Channel. The autumns first Common Gulls were back already and a couple of Swift were seen over Arne Moors. All in all an excellent trip that I hope we can do more of in the very near future! At Lytchett Fields there were good totals of 23 Green Sandpiper, 10 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 80+ Redshank and 21 Black-tailed Godwit. Female Osprey CJ7 was on the nest cam briefly this morning and was later seen over Lytchett Bay too. In Holes Bay there were 7 Whimbrel and 35 Redshank.
Cattle Egret – Swineham GP – Brittany Maxted
Black-tailed Godwit – Wareham Channel – Clare Slade
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