Monday, 13 January 2014

Poole Harbour and the New Forest

With Jackie having a lie-in this morning I headed for the harbour entrance, my aim was to try and photograph the Purple Sandpipers which hang around the breakwater and groynes in front of the Haven Hotel.  As the sun came up and the local fisherman started out across the bay to their favourite fishing spots I hoped to find the Purple Sandpipers before the rising tide covered their feeding areas but with no luck.  I watched for a while from the harbour mouth to see what was moving in and out of the harbour.  The answer was very little a handful of Red-breasted Merganser, a few Oystercatcher and four Shelduck flew in, otherwise it was the usual gull and a few Shag and Cormorant dotted about inside and outside the harbour entrance.

Fishing boat leaving the harbour at dawn © Nick Hull


So started to head back to Poole Park to see if I could find the Scaup on the park lake but more or less as I arrived my mobile pinged and Ian Ballam text to say Smew on Very Far Field now.  As Smew is a patch tick I headed home and out onto the fields and thanks to Ian, found the redhead Smew in the very place he said.  Unfortunately not in an area where the public can go and see it today but with the floods draining I do not expect it to stay very long before moving to Swineham gravel pits or Poole Park which will be better for viewing.

Female Smew Lytchett Bay © Nick Hull

Later Jackie and I met Poole RSPB members at Brockehill for an afternoon walk. Our aim was to get them Hawfinch, our walk would take us past a regular wintering haunt for this species, we just had to hope they turned up and we were able to see them when they did.  The Ornimental Drive was very quiet with the odd crest, Wren and flyover Siskin, we hunted for Woodpeckers and one or two heard the Great Spotted 'chipping' call.  We found three lovely Bullfinch feeding in Silver Birch and Larch also on the same path we had Siskin, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Stock Dove and Woodpigeon.

In the aboretum we set our scopes and prepared to wait and watch for any Hawfinch but we had   barely set up when I spotted one a nice male sitting atop a fir and most had good views before it flew off.  We continued are vigil and were rewarded with three more sightings of males and a female which all gave good views, Job done.

Our walk back to the cars was fairly uneventful only adding Greenfich to our birdlist but we did have  good views of a very confiding Roe Deer, and as we watched a small herd of Fallow Deer which had a one white individual amongst them came through, a nice comparison.

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