Saturday, 9 January 2016

Poole Harbour

Partial sum/plumage Mediterranean Gull with adult & 2nd/winter at Shell Bay © Nick Hull
Started at South Haven this morning looking out over the bay the usual Shags and Cormorants were quickly seen.  We were early enough to be in place before too many people were out walking the coastal path and there was a good number of Brent, Oystercatcher with the odd Grey Plover and 23 Sanderling on the beach.  Close to the shore a Great Northern Diver surfaced and gave great scope views. A little further out a small grebe was found by Tony, was first thought to be a Slavonian but once good views were had the high crown and slightly upturned bill and rounded bum confirmed it was a Black-necked Grebe.  Another Great Northern Diver off Pilot's Point and there was a good scattering of Mediterranean Gull all along the beach.  Viewing the groins in front of the Haven Hotel and we managed to see Rock Pipits and a small group of birds roosting on one of the groins.  Zooming up the scope it was easy to pick up the Ringed Plovers and as we scanned over the rocks nearby Purple Sandpiper and Dunlin came into view a nice spot though a little distant. 

As we moved to look over the inner harbour one of the group called Linnet but when I got on to it I could see the black face it was Lesser Redpoll which was looking stunning on such a grey day.  

Looking towards Brownsea Quay in the hope that yesterday's Black Guillemot was still in the area,  unfortunately no Guille but from our viewpoint we had 4 more Great Northern Diver,  a scattering of Red-breasted Mergansers, the odd Great Crested Grebe and another Black-necked Grebe.  Looking from the House Boats we didn't add very much except, whilst I was checking out the fourth GND, a small falcon flew through my scope heading low from Brownsea towards Brand's Bay our first BOP and a Merlin at that, great start.  

We moved to the Brand's Bay hide but with the tide being very high the birds were few but we did have good numbers of Common Gull, Shelduck, Wigeon and Curlew, fewer numbers of Redshank, Pintail and a single Yellow-legged Gull.  Then it was off up the road to look over Middle & South Beach, where we added Common Scoter which Tony found out in the middle of the bay, our second BOP with Common Buzzard and a few common woodland species.  We broke for lunch at the NT car park at Corfe Castle and watch the bird feeders.  Here we added Great, Blue, Long-tailed, Coal and our target Marsh Tit.  A slight bonus for a few was one of the visiting Coal Tits had a slaty grey backed resembling P. after - Continental Coal Tit. We also added Great Spotted Woodpecker which popped in just before we left. 
female Great Spotted Woodpecker Corfe Castle © Nick Hull
At the sewage works we did really well for a quick stop, Goldcrest was our first followed quickly by a flock of thirty or so Siskin.  Then a speeding grey flash darted across from right to left and all the Pied Wagtails, some thirty odd birds, scattered in all directions the cause was a Sparrowhawk, a very nippy male which headed off without any prey to harass other birds somewhere else. But before we left Jess picked up a Firecrest which gave brief views and then Jackie found a female Grey Wagtail.   It was at this point the weather began to look really threatening and we headed for Slepe Heath to see if we could add any more bird of prey to our growing list, but by the time we reach our viewpoint the rain was thundering down and very unpleasant and any BOP in its right mind would be in a sheltered spot sitting the weather out, so we called it a day.

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