13 Aug 2022

10 Aug 22 - A Brownsea Silver-washed Fritillary

One of the highlights of my regular volunteering Wednesday on Brownsea was this Silver-washed Fritillary around the DWT villa garden which I found as myself & the other volunteers were about to head back for the boat off the island.
Silver-washed Fritillary: Unfortunately, it was a bit worn, but still nice to see given it's only the second one I've seen on Brownsea this Summer

12 Aug 2022

10 Aug 22 - A Brownsea Southern Hawker

One of the highlights of my regular volunteering Wednesday on Brownsea was this Southern Hawker which perched briefly over the main reserve track. There was just enough time for a few photos before it was off hunting again.
Southern Hawker

11 Aug 2022

8 Aug 22 - Osprey Taster

There was a private boat trip this evening as an excuse for a number of local Poole Birders to catch up with ex-Poole birder James Lidster while he was in town. We started with a trip up the Wareham Channel & the Frome & we finished off with a late evening visit to overlook the Brownsea lagoon.

The highlight in the Wareham Channel was sightings of the two local breeding Ospreys, CJ7 and later O22, both of whom dropped in briefly for dinner. They are both good at catching fish & didn't hang around. CJ7 came closer to our boat, but still not as close as we would have liked. Like the two private boat trips in July, it was a very enjoyable evening with even better weather than July.
Osprey: Female CJ7
Osprey: Female CJ7
The Birds of Poole Harbour team will be running a lot of their Bird Boats in Aug & early Sep into the Wareham Channel in the expectation of multiple Osprey sightings & the hope of other sightings including White-tailed Sea-eagles. Obviously, the birds seen & the views are always going to be a matter of luck of the day, but hopefully they will get some good sightings on those boats. A full list of the boat trips they will be running & how to book a trip is on their website.

8 Aug 2022

8 Aug 22 - Brownsea's "Roseate" Spoonbills

There was a private boat trip this evening as an excuse for a number of local Poole Birders to catch up with ex-Poole birder James Lidster while he was in town. We started with a trip up the Wareham Channel & the Frome & we finished off with a late evening visit to overlook the Brownsea lagoon. Five of the Spoonbills decided to cooperate & move to the Castle end of the lagoon for a quick snack before returning for a final pre-roost preen. This provided some nice opportunities for some sunset photos. Like the two private boat trips in July, it was a very enjoyable evening with even better weather than July.
Spoonbills: Enjoying a last snack
Spoonbills: A sunset shot posing for the camera. I've not played around with any of the colour settings on these final two photos
Spoonbill
The Birds of Poole Harbour team will be running a lot of their Bird Boats in Aug & early Sep into the Wareham Channel in the expectation of multiple Osprey sightings & the hope of other sightings including White-tailed Sea-eagles. Obviously, the birds seen & the views are always going to be a matter of luck of the day, but hopefully they will get some good sightings on those boats. A full list of the boat trips they will be running & how to book a trip is on their website.

27 Jul 2022

27 Jul 22 - Head & Shoulders

After the success of a private boat trip up the Wareham Channel & the Frome last week, there was an offer of joining another trip this evening. Despite a busy day of volunteering on Brownsea, there is just about enough time to get off Brownsea, make a cuppa of tea & a very quick snack & get back out of the house in time to get to Poole Quay for an 18:00 departure. Like last week, I made the boat with not much more than five minutes to spare.

It was worth it, when one of the other friends on the boat spotted one of the Wareham Channel White-tailed Sea-eagles perched up in a bush at the water's edge. The skipper stopped the boat & for ten minutes it sat there, while the cameras were clicking & we were about sixty metres away. It was quite unconcerned about our presence, in the same way that birds & mammals are often unfazed by people close up in cars. Even though we were walking around in full view on the boat, the White-tailed Sea-eagle seemed to consider us as a boat, rather than a group of people walking close to it. The nice light was a bonus. Finally, it got bored of watching us & disappeared. I will do a longer Blog Post soon.
White-tailed Sea-eagle
The Birds of Poole Harbour team will be running a lot of their Bird Boats in Aug & early Sep into the Wareham Channel in the expectation of multiple Osprey sightings & the hope of other sightings including White-tailed Sea-eagles. Obviously, the birds seen & the views are always going to be a matter of luck of the day, but hopefully they will get some good sightings on those boats. A full list of the boat trips they will be running & how to book a trip is on their website.

21 Jul 2022

19 Jul 22 - Blast From The Past: 12 Years On

In the last few days, Gavin Haig has caught three Orache Moths in West Dorset. This prompted me to write this Blog Post. Back in late Spring to Autumn 2010, I ran my Moth trap most nights. This put a real strain on the Birding as I was having to get up pre-dawn to stop the local Robins, Great Tits & House Sparrows enjoying a Moth breakfast from all the Moths that were sitting on my patio etc. It didn't help that I was also commuting to Portsmouth four days a week and working at home on the Friday. With these early starts I was generally in bed well before it was dark. But I ended up catching some good local Moths with the best being this gorgeous Orache Moth, which was about the tenth Dorset record at the time.
Orache Moth: A good combination of rare, easy to identify & very pretty

17 Jul 2022

9 Jun 22 - The Crossing From Rosslare To Pembroke Dock

The morning for my crossing back from Rosslare to Pembroke Dock started with heavy rain at dawn. Fortunately, the rain had stopped by the time the ferry departed from Rosslare Harbour, but it remained overcast and murky. Light rain started again as the ferry passed the Milford Haven oil terminal. Still at least it was dry enough to allow me to seawatch from the deck. I had hoped to see some Cetaceans, but no joy. There were just under 500 Manx Shearwaters (nearly all in Irish waters), 90+ Puffins and other expected Seabirds including Gannets, Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Razorbills on the crossing to keep it interesting. As we reached Welsh waters the numbers of Guillemots and Razorbills increased, whereas Puffin numbers were similar in both the Irish & Welsh waters. A few Black Guillemots were present around Rosslare Harbour, but I didn't see any after we had left the harbour.
Rosslare Harbour Lighthouse
Black Guillemot: I normally expect to see a few around Rosslare Harbour & wasn't disappointed on this occasion
Manx Shearwater: It's always great to see flocks of Manx Shearwaters rising off the sea as we pass: most were on the Irish side of the crossing
Puffin
Stackrock Fort: The Fort was built between 1850 and 1852 to protect Pembroke Dock