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An increasingly familar sight in Poole Harbour; larger than the little egret and with a distinctive bill.


Photograph by: 
Ian Ballam

Spoonbill: will they wont they?

Post date: Wednesday, 4 February, 2015 - 00:00

Will they, won't they, start to nest near Poole Harbour?  

I am sure we are all aware of how the little egret has spread as a nesting species in this country in the last twenty or so years and that raises the question; will its cousin, the spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), follow suit? Spoonbills actually nest quite nearby in Holland and a pair have bred in Somerset recently so the prospects are good. 
In Poole we have had wintering birds in recent years spending a lot of time on Brownsea Lagoon and at Middlebere Lake. In 2008 six young birds stayed in the area all year and raised hopes they would start to nest but the following they spring they disappeared.  There now seems to be a small colony almost resident in Poole Harbour and the numbers wintering here continue to grow. So we wait to see if they settle and breed.


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Spoonbill
Scientific Name Platalea leucorodia
Status Restricted
Interest Level
Species Family Herons, Egrets and Bitterns
  • 01 - January
  • 02 - February
  • 03 - March
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
  • 12 - December
Preferred Environment
  • Mudflats
Look for The enormous spoon shaped bill
Additional Identification Notes
  • Poole harbour is now the best place in the UK to see the spoonbill which is certainly increasing in numbers here
  • From a distance might be written off as a little egret but they are bigger, stockier birds
  • The yellowish/orange spoon shaped bill tells it apart from all other species