Monday, 2 March 2015

Poole Harbour birding

A sunny but windy start to our birding day, we began by looking over Shell Bay, Studland with some good views of three Black-necked Grebes.  One of these grebes was showing quite extensive summer plumage with golden orange 'ears' and black neck.   By the houseboats overlooking the harbour we had Oystercatchers, Brent Geese and a few Red-breasted Mergansers, then a small flock of ten Sanderling flew past landing further up the beach.  As they were disturbed by a couple of dogs they flew towards us and landed close by where they began to feed busily. 

Looking from the hide over Brands Bay it was very busy with birdlife on the lowered tide.  There a couple of Spoonbill busily feeding with their spatulate bills swishing side to side, a single Little Egret and waders with Curlew, Redshank and Black-tailed Godwits.  Also many Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck and Pintail.  Going on to Middle Beach looking over Studland Bay below us were a couple of Mediterranean Gulls with the more common Black-headeds, a few more Black-necked Grebes and Red-breasted Mergansers.  Then Liz picked out a Long-tailed Duck, rather distant but in the 'scope we managed reasonable views.

After lunch we went on to Norden Sewerage beds, always a treat as it attracts many wintering Chiffchaffs and we weren't disappointed.  As well as these delightful little warblers we had three Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail, Long-tailed Tits, Robin and Wren.  Then on to Middlebere, walking up the slope to look over the Wytch Channel our first Meadow Pipit of the day flew up.   A Dartford Warbler 'scolded' but in the wind wasn't going to sit up for us.  From the Avocet hide overlooking Middlebere Channel a lone Spoonbill, the usual Yellow-legged Gull plus Teal, Wigeon and Mallard close by.  A male Kestrel hovered over the Arne side and in the fields left of the hide were a large number of Brent Geese with a few Canada Geese.

We finished our day at Soldier Road looking over Hartland Moor and just before the rain started a ringtail Hen Harrier flew across, a very fitting end to an excellent days birding.

Brent Geese © Nick Hull

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