Thursday, 3 March 2016

Poole Harbour

Last week we thought we would have a look around Poole Harbour to see if it might be a suitable site for a day trip, or even a second half of a day trip with Durlston Head.

We started at the RSPB's reserve at Arne. As soon as you get out of the car you are met by flocks of finches and tits all busily feeding on the many bird feeders. We counted at least 20 siskin here, and at a very short range - great stuff!

We headed off towards Shipstal Point where you can see roosting/feeding waders depending on the state of the tide and a variety of duck and other birds. We soon picked up a few red-breasted merganser and goldeneye, as well as roosting oystercatcher and turnstone.

Male red-breasted merganser
We then headed over to the two-storey hide which has views over another roosting area. As we arrived we spotted a number of very white blobs, a passing marsh harrier woke them up to reveal a flock of 20 spoonbill.

20 spoonbill - managed to fit them all in!

The marsh harrier made another couple of passes, putting everything into the air. flocks of curlew, wigeon, oystercatcher, teal, redshank and brent geese were in the air swirling around - quite a sight! We were lucky to find the brent geese landed right in front of the hide giving us great views of them!

Brent geese
We continued back to the car park picking up Dartford warbler, avocet and crossbill amongst a variety of commoner species on the way. The main mammal to be seen on site is the Sika Deer, we saw around a hundred while walking around, including a very confiding group of bucks.

Well, relatively confiding anyway...
The next destination was the southern edge of the harbour along the Studland Peninsula. Here we soon found black-necked grebe and great northern diver mixed in with the great crested grebe.

There were about 35 sanderling along the beach and a lot of Mediteranean gulls, infact over 100 dotted along the shoreline. They are getting their black hoods now and together with their white wing tips there are very dapper gull.

Med gull (left) and black-headed gull (right)

Adult Med gull showing off its white eyelids and red eye.
 All in all a great trip and an area that will be added to our website next year we think! (NA)

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