Trip reports

FIELD TRIP REPORT - Poole Harbour Boat Cruise Dorset

FIELD TRIP REPORT - Poole Harbour Boat Cruise Dorset
Peter Basterfield

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

The full Centurion coach with 38 passengers left Bath at 07.45 on a dark overcast morning. However on arrival at Poole, the sky was surprisingly clear, with sunshine and little wind, ideal for watching sea birds on our private chartered boat the with the "Birds of Poole Harbour" organisation around the harbour basin. A lone Guillemot was swimming in the harbour beside us at the start and a Peregrine was seen flying directly overhead. We set off west towards the Wareham channel at about 10.20 on the high tide, with an excellent and informative running commentary from our guide Paul Moreton on the details of birdlife and topographical points of interest.

A Great Northern Diver and several Red Breasted Mergansers were located but some distance from the boat, and other notable birds seen included, Cormorant, Shag, Little Egret, Turnstone and a passing Kingfisher. Groups of Red Breasted Mergansers swam away from us before we entered the narrow twisting Wareham Channel. We saw Reed Buntings in the reed beds and flocks of Lapwing, Black Tailed Godwits, Curlew, Canada Geese and Greylag Geese feeding in the surrounding fields. A single White Fronted Goose was pointed out to us by Paul in a group of flying Canada Geese and a female Marsh Harrier glided over the reed beds. We returned along the Wareham Channel and turned south-east to circle around Brownsea Island. On the way we saw two Black Necked Grebes, distant Spoonbills and Sandwich Terns in flight.

We stopped to look over the seawall at the Brownsea Island lagoon which was full of waders and wildfowl, in particular many Avocets, Dunlin, Redshank, Oystercatchers, Black and Bar Tailed Godwits, Teal and Shoveler. We returned to Poole Harbour after some three hours, and were then invited to visit The Birds of Poole Harbour showroom along the Quay which was very interesting with excellent real time cameras showing bird life in the harbour. We then made our way to Arne RSPB reserve, arriving at 14.30 with only 1 1/2hours available before our due departure time. The group split up to follow various routes around the reserve after watching small birds coming to the feeders. One group walked south on the Coombe trails to Middlebere Lake to see many Avocets, Teal, Wigeon, and Redshank feeding and a distant lone Spoonbill. Others groups visited the café and the woodlands via the Shipstal trails. The coach left at 16.00 and returned to Bath around 18.30. The total bird species count was 76, after a most enjoyable boat safari and short stop at Arne.

Tom Pinckheard (RSPB field trip organiser)