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EATHER: a clear day with a cold breeze, cloud later with light rain.

I drove to Poole Quay in the dark to in readiness to catch a 9am Boat Trip around the Harbour organised by the RSPB and the Dorset Wildlife Trust. The boat left on time and soon we landing on Borwnsea Island having recorded Great Northern Diver and Red-breasted Merganser on the way.

our boat at Poole Quay

The main attarction for birders on the Island is the sheltered lagoon which is a perfect wintering ground for thousands of wader, today it brimming with birds. Once landed I walked to the lagoon stopping to watch a Red Squirrel near a chapel.

The Brownsea Island Lagoon

The lagoon seen from the boat

We had two hours on the island and I spent all of this time scanning the Lagoon from three different hides and sveral vantage points. There were thousands of waders mainly Dunlin but also both Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Pied Avocet, Oystercatchers, Turnstones, Sanderling, Redshank, Greenshank, Grey Plover, Knot, Curlew, Ringed Plover and Common Shelduck. Lots of ducks fed in the shallow brackish water, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Mallard and Gadwall were noted.



Also on the island I saw Moorhen, Cormorant, Shag, Common Buzzard, Carrion Crow and Jackdaw. The only passerineS I saw was a Blackbird, Pied Wagtail and a Meadow Pipit. Before we departed we were served with Soup and a Roll, it was quite warm out of the wind and I saw my first butterfly of the year when a Red Admiral perched on a wall nearby.

Meadow Pipit

Ruddy Turnstone

After our visit to the island we were treated to a trip around the harbour, it got really quite cold when we sailed into the wind but later we turned out of it. We added several species as we slowly made our way around Furze and then Round Island, we also scanned Brand's Bay and the Arne Penninsular. We saw 22 Eurasian Spoonbills, a dozen Goldeneye, lots more Red-breasted Mergansers and three species of geese: Brent, Canada and Greylag.

Soup and a Roll before we boarded the boat for our trip around the Harbour

The trip ended at 1pm it was still bright and sunny so I decided to stop off at Morden Bog in Wareham Forest to look for the over-wintering Great Grey Shrike. I aprked up and walked towards the lake at Morden Bog, I never saw a single bird for about 30 minutes, I fell over twice in the boggy swamp, I got my feet wet and my elbow ached.

first of the year - Red Admiral

I decided to climb a ridge and scan the surrouning open heath and still I saw nothing. Then as I walked down the slope I tripped for the third time, splash I went into the mire. That did it, I began walking back to the car and then I saw a distant light-coloured bird flying towards some trees, it flew just like a Shrike.

record shot of the Great Grey Shrike

After a few minutes I located the bird and it was indeed a Great Grey Shrike, result! I walked back to the car with a spring in my step and squelch in my boots. As I crossed a grass meadow a flock of Fieldfares flew down into the grass, I counted 35 of them and manage a couple of shots as they flew into nearby pines. Common Starlings and two Redwings were also in the flock.


I got home at 4pm, tired, wet and cold with a warm inner glow, it had been a superb day despite the little mishaps in the bog. The Shrike was my 130th siting for my 2020 list.