1. Harbour Update – posted July 25th & 26th weekend

    Sightings Archive - Birds of Poole Harbour

    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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  2. Harbour Update – posted 8th & 9th July 2020

    Sightings Archive - Birds of Poole Harbour

    The unsettled weather dropped a few more birds onto Lytchett Fields including a site record total of 15 Little Ringed Plover, also there over the last couple of days have been 17 Green Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 30+ Common Redshank, 40+ Lapwing, 50+ Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Curlew, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hobby, 1 Peregrine and 1 Yellow-legged Gull. At Swineham there were 2 Common Sandpiper on the main gravel pit island and 2 Hobby were active over the Slepe Heath, Arne Moors area. Swallow numbers seem very very low around the Poole Harbour area with hardly any being noted in traditional sites, with only 6 individuals logged at Redcliff Yacht Club at Bestwall. There were 26 Common Redshank back on the Brownsea Lagoon today too, which are the first of the autumn returners. A blue ringed Osprey was seen in the dead trees at Middlebere which was assumed to be CJ7 but, we’re all on the look out for our 2018 female 014 who was only in Devon a couple of days ago and has since gone missing from there, along with 200+ Black-tailed Godwit also in Middlebere and a Marsh Harrier yesterday. We also had a lovely encounter on our Osprey nest cam last night when 3 Nightjar (2 males and 1 female) courted on the perching post of the nest, providing a great insight to this normally invisible behaviour.



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  3. Harbour Update – posted 7th & 8th June 2020

    Sightings Archive - Birds of Poole Harbour

    That’s better. The cold wind soon moved off and the blanket of warmth returned. There were plenty of interesting finds and reports from the last couple of days with confirmed breeding of Little Ringed Plover at the Holme Lane GP with a juv and 2 adults seen, along with 11 Egyptian Geese, 4 Lapwing, 2 of which were fledged juveniles and 5 Little Grebe. From Slepe Heath 2 Hobby were seen and there were 2 Cuckoo still calling. On the Brownsea Lagoon there were 3 Spoonbill and up to 5 Avocet are now (potentially) sitting on eggs, which is a great result! Lets hope they can collectively bring some young off. Female Osprey CJ7 was seen at Morden Bog by several people and photographed flying right overhead. The female Marsh Harrier was out over Giggers Island but sadly the male she got friendly with a couple of weeks ago has now moved on. Post breeding groups of Mistle Thrush are now beginning to form with flocks of between 5 and 15 appearing on different heathland sites around the harbour. At Lytchett Fields there’s still 2 Little Ringed Plover, also c15 Lapwing including the first juv of the ‘autumn’ to arrive on site. There was an interesting gathering of 33 Sanderling roosting on the end of Redhorn, which is a late date (and high total) for this species in the harbour. Finally and rather randomly, this handsome Fulvous Whistling Duck has appeared in Poole Park and seems to be attracting a small crowd!

    Fulvous Whistling Duck – Poole Park – Clare Slade



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  4. Harbour Update – posted 5th & 6th June 2020

    Sightings Archive - Birds of Poole Harbour

    Ooof! They weren’t wrong about the temperature drop. Saturday felt like a cold March day with hoodies and jackets needed. The temperature drop and swing in wind direction from the NW, pretty much halted and new, late arrivals/migration from taking place. Even female Osprey CJ7 seems to have given up moving around the harbour and has now taken up semi-residence in the Wareham Channel, although she did make a brief appearance of another harbour nest platform late afternoon. This time of year it’s always good to confirm breeding of rare, scare (or just shy) species and today Gadwall were seen with young in Middlebere which is good news. It’s also thought that at least 3 pairs of Avocet are sitting on eggs on the Brownsea Lagoon, but the best bit is they’ve finally decided to nest somewhere safe! The last few years they’ve nested with 2ft of several Great Black-backed Gulls which sadly normally predate the young Avocet within days. Now that the Avocet have chosen to set on some of the small stony islands there may be a better chance of success! On Friday there was a report of a Turtle Dove in a Wareham garden but no further info. Both the male and female Peregrine were on the Asda building which suggests breeding didn’t occur this summer sadly. Several visits to Lytchett Fields produced 1 Little Ringed Plover, up to 20 Lapwing, 6 Teal and 7 Black-tailed Godwit.

    Little Ringed Plover – Lytchett Fields – Ian Ballam

    CJ7 on ‘other’ harbour nest platform on Saturday evening



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  5. Harbour Update – posted 31/05/20

    Sightings Archive - Birds of Poole Harbour

    It’s nice to end the month with a rarity , especially one that now been around for three days meaning everyone got to enjoy it over the weekend. We’re of course talking about the Marsh Warbler which was still singing (and showing briefly) at Bestwall this morning. The surprise of the day however was a Short-eared Owl that seen at Swineham Point. Traditionally a winter bird here in the harbour, recent BTO tracking data has highlighted that non-breeding individuals and also breeding individuals that have just raised their first brood often go on large migrations around the UK before re-settling to raise a second brood, or even traveling to new countries to try and find a new mate. Today’s bird settled on the saltmarsh at Swineham briefly before being seen off by the local Redshank family that have 3 newly hatched chicks. Also around Swineham were 2 Cuckoo, including a lovely ‘hepatic’ (rufous morph) female that’s been around for several weeks now. On the Swineham Scrapes a single Little Ringed Plover was still present and c20 Swift were over the gravel pit. At Lytchett Fields yesterdays Green Sandpiper was still present along with 15 Lapwing. Up around Slepe Heath 4 different Cuckoo’s were still going for it and out over the Wareham Channel 2 Hobby, 1 Osprey (assumed to be CJ7) and 1 Marsh Harrier were logged.

    Short-eared Owl – Swineham – Peter Moore

    Marsh Warbler – Bestwall – Peter Moore

    Sedge Warbler – Swineham – Peter Moore

    Redshank chicks – Swineham – Peter Moore

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  6. Harbour Update – posted 30/07/20

    Sightings Archive - Birds of Poole Harbour

    Autumn definitely landed today with the first migrant Osprey of the season arriving into the harbour. Thankfully it wasn’t a distant speck out over the Wareham Channel but in fact was a visitor to our Poole Harbour Osprey nest cam, much to the disgust of CJ7 who quickly arrived and made the new arrival (who we believe to be a female) feel rather uncomfortable, so much so that she soon left the nest. That said, it was great to see two Osprey on the nest cam again, we just hope an unattached male bumbles along some time over the next week or so and CJ7 isn’t so hostile next time! August is the best month for Osprey migration through Poole Harbour so there should be more on the way any day now. Other birds of prey in the harbour this AM included 4 Marsh Harrier out of the west Poole Harbour roost and what looked like a Hobby family out over Arne Moors, viewed from Hydes Heath. Willow Warbler filtered through much of the harbour today with a peak between 7am and 10am. A high tide count on the Brownsea Lagoon saw 4 Spoonbill, 6 Greenshank, 170 Dunlin, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 92 Common Redshank, 2 Avocet but very low numbers of tern remain with just 18 Common and 4 Sandwich Tern.



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  7. Harbour Update – Posted 30/05/20

    Sightings Archive - Birds of Poole Harbour

     

    Today was another scorcher, but started off cool with a 4:30am visit back to Bestwall to see if the Marsh Warbler was still there and singing. Thankfully it was, and this time showing really well too. It’s song and mimicry in the still morning air was just breath-taking as it swapped with ease from calls of Blackbird, Goldfinch, Jackdaw, Magpie, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Song Thrush, Whitethroat, Wren, Chiffchaff! Even when it was preening! It was accompanied by 2 Cuckoo which spent the early part of the morning chasing each other around the Marsh Warbler.

    Elsewhere, there were signs that confirmed many peoples worst fears. Yep, autumn is well and truly here with the first Green Sandpiper already arriving at Lytchett Fields. This is rather early (only by several days) with the first Green Sands usually arriving on site in early June with numbers building through the month and then peaking in July. It was likely a failed/non-breeder but it still heralds the first southward movement. Don’t worry though, there’s still plenty of great birds to experience yet this summer before autumn passage really kicks back in in late July/early August. Also at Lytchett Fields were 3 Ringed Plover (heading north), 17 Lapwing (potential local failed breeders), 2 Redshank, 9 Gadwall and a Yellow-legged Gull. Red Kite were on the move again, this time heading north and east with birds over Studland, Upton, Ridge, Swanage, Lytchett and Poole. At East Holme a pair of Spotted Flycatcher were found in the woods. There was good news too at Swineham with Common Redshank chicks photographed off Swineham Point.

     

    Marsh Warbler – Bestwall – Peter Moore

     


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