Saturday, 2 January 2016

New Year Day's Birding round Poole Harbour

1st January 2016
Our day started with looking over Lytchett Bay from footpath no. 12, with Song Thrush and Robins singing and House Sparrows chirping we walked down the path.  We could hear Curlew calling and a Pheasant and of course the very noisy Jays, plus the usual woodland birds were seen including Coal Tit.

As we came out to the bay there was enough mud exposed for Oystercatchers, Redshank, Curlew and a Greenshank, the latter flew off immediately.  Wigeon were close in though many drifted slowly round the point.  I picked up 8 Shoveler on the far side, not common in the bay, a single male Goldeneye nearby.  We heard there were 3 Spoonbills on the Turlin side so we walked on to the salt marsh for a look, disturbing a Water Pipit and several Rock Pipits but they soon settled again and we did see the Spoonies.
Guillemot off Brownsea Lagoon © Nick Hull
It was time to get down to Poole Quay for the Poole Harbour birdboat and catch up with fellow birders, a great social occasion as well as getting plenty of good birds.  Soon we were finding Great Northern Divers, 10 were seen in total during the 2 hour trip.   On Brownsea Lagoon where we had the usual Avocets, 3 Spoonbill, Grey Plover, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Dunlin and a few Knot.  More unusual were 3 Pintail, along with Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler.  A Kingfisher sat on a post by the cottages and on the cottage feeder was a Red Squirrel and just off the quay was a Guillemot.  Around the rest of the harbour were the usual Black-necked and Great Crested Grebe, Brent Geese, Goldeneye and Red-breasted Mergansers.  It had started to rain fairly heavily and it was downstairs in the dry for soup and cake and a good natter.

In the afternoon we drove round to Middle Beach car park to look over Studland Bay.  Another Great Northern Diver offshore and a Red-necked Grebe, of course the usual Black-necked and Great Crested Grebes were scattered around.  A few Mediterranean Gulls and a Common Gull flew by but the show was then stolen by a Firecrest.  It called which drew our attention to this diminutive beautiful bird right under our noses in the brambles.  We watched him for quite a while working all the brambles, quite delightful.
Great Northern Diver Poole Harbour © Nick Hull
Moving on to Norden sewerage works we had Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Chaffinch and our first raptor of the day with a Common Buzzard.  A quick stop at  Middlebere and Liz picked up a very distant Marsh Harrier, raptor no. 2.  Then on to Soldiers Road and a look across the heath towards Corfe Castle as dusk fell, a Kestrel hovered but then a ring-tailed Hen Harrier came across, raptor no. 4 and saving the best till last.

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