This blog is about my birding exploits, which mainly take place in the Weymouth/Portland area, in Dorset. Will also include stuff from elsewhere, plus some other critters too. Hope you enjoy. All photographs are © Brett Spencer, unless indicated otherwise. The above image is of a Wallcreeper, taken in Spain in 2010.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Mystery Photograph

The first person to correctly identify the following bird will, I repeat, WILL win a doughnut, with a filling of their choice.

The bird was photographed aboard the HMS Illustrious, which was sailing in the north of the Red Sea on 12th September 2013.

© Chris Patrick/RNBWS

© Chris Patrick/RNBWS

© Chris Patrick/RNBWS

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Friday, 18 September 2015


Always one of my favourites. This one was on Shit Rock. A friend was down today, so I had to make sacrifices. Thank goodness this bird entertained us, as I was feeling sick.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

A great find by Geoff Upton on his local patch at White Nothe today.

Here with 1 of the 11 Ringed Plovers, almost certainly of the race Charadrius hiaticula psammodroma which breeds in Iceland, Greenland and northeast Canada and winters in West Africa, this form is very similar to Charadrius hiaticula tundrae in appearance, which is also a long distance migrant. Compared to the nominate form, they are smaller and slightly more compact in structure, have darker upperparts and have a stubbier bill. The nominate form of Ringed Plover that breeds in Britain is a resident or short range migrant to southwest Europe.  

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Poxy Gull

The other day, shit, what day was it? Ah yes, Saturday 12th, I came across this beasty.

The bird on the left is a 1st-cal yr Herring Gull, but what the fuck is that thing next to it, I thought.

Thanks to both Martin Garner and Chris Gibbins for their input, but it seems this bird is a very worn juvenile Yellow-legged Gull. The cautionary caveat being that this is an extremely tricky individual, so I can't be too hard on myself calling it a Caspian Gull, albeit with a lot of self doubt at the time. Seems my self doubt was well founded. Always learning though, so a good bird to see.

Today, having to pick my daughter up from work at Abbotsbury Tropical Gardens, it was rude not to pop into Abbotsbury Swannery for a lovely Grey Phalarope.

A gorgeous juvenile, just starting it's moult into 1st-winter plumage.

Some other bits and bobs from recent times.

Juvenile Ruffs on Lodmoor. On the lower photo, note the size difference between the ♂ on the left and the ♀ on the right. Wonder if juvenile females are always more saturated with colour?

A few more waders.

Adult Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit, in almost full winter plumage, on Lodmoor.

Juvenile Little Ringed Plover on Lodmoor.

Juvenile Sanderling at Ferrybridge.

Worn summer plumaged male Turnstone at Ferrybridge.

Juvenile Green Sandpiper on Lodmoor.

Other stuff.

1st-cal yr Yellow-legged Gull on Lodmoor.

Above 2 images of another 1st-cal yr Yellow-legged Gull. This one at Ferrybridge.

2nd-cal yr Hobby on Lodmoor.

Crap record shot of a juvenile Great Skua at Ferrybridge.

And finally

Wryneck at Osmington Mills, seen last Friday.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Black Stork & Baird's Sandpiper

The other Saturday evening, whilst ready to go out on the piss, a Black Stork inconveniently turns up in the Middlebere area. It stayed to early the next morning, but I was fucked. Damn and blast I was thinking, to put it politely. Still, it wasn't a Dorset tick, but having only seen one in Britain, a juvenile at Radipole Lake in 1990, it would have been good to see. Then, whilst stuck at work last Tuesday, it decides to fly over Weymouth and Shit Rock, the latter I'm guessing was a foolhardy mistake, as it was soon back over Weymouth. So, I was somewhat gripped by this stage. Thankfully, it went no further than West Bexington that evening and the following morning before work, it allowed me to connect with it. 

Like the Radipole bird of 1990, this too was a juvenile.

Some observers were rather close for comfort me thinks.

Adults, of course, are gorgeous creatures. This one was at Monfrague, Spain in 2006.

Yesterday, a Baird's Sandpiper turned up at Black Hole Marsh, Seaton, in Devon. I hadn't seen one since 1998, so decided to pop down and have a look.

This was my first adult.

Other odds and ends now.

Juvenile Little Gull seen briefly on Lodmoor during the week.

1 of 2 Ruff on Lodmoor yesterday.