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 Siberian Rubythroat, taken in Holland in 2016.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

My Highlights Of 2016 Part 2

Now to bore you with my July to December best bits.

JULY

Great Knot in Norfolk. A new bird for me.

Great White Egret in Somerset.

Little Bittern in Somerset.

AUGUST

Purple Gallinule in Suffolk. Potentially the first for Britain, and as such, a British tick for me.

Caspian Gull in Suffolk.

Garganey at Radipole Lake.

Yellow-legged Gull at Radipole Lake.

SEPTEMBER

Citrine Wagtail at Radipole Lake. A self find and Dorset tick.

Woodchat Shrike on The Fleet.

Ortolan Bunting on The Fleet.

OCTOBER

Siberian Accentor in Yorkshire. A new bird for me and one of the highlights of the year. This individual was part of the ornithological events of our time.

Shore Lark in Yorkshire.

Hen Harrier at Portland Bill.

NOVEMBER

Lapland Bunting on The Fleet.

Bewick's Swans at Radipole Lake.

DECEMBER

Masked Wagtail in Pembrokeshire. A new taxa for me and my personal highlight of the year.

Cattle Egrets at Nottington.

In summary, I've not had the best of years, in fact, I've not enjoyed 2016 one bit. Birding in Dorset has been nothing short of fucking hard work. Only one site seems to be improving in quality and that is Lytchett Fields. I've witnessed the continued deterioration of the Weymouth reserves and The Fleet and Portland aren't much better.

I'd like to be more optimistic about the future, but it's difficult when you live in an area that's nothing short of shit. I, like others, have sat back and watched in envy the news of Shetland and the North Easts Autumn. Locally, it wouldn't have been half bad, if the fucking good stuff stuck around long enough. 

My luck this year was so shit, dipping on various things and not being offered lifts for stuff.

Here's hoping for a better 2017. I'd like to find more goodies. I'd like to get a new job, I'd like there to be a summer, I'd like to spend the end of September and the whole of October in the Spurn area or on Shetland and I want to feel healthier. I'd like to like living a little bit more than hating it.

So, let love be with you folks and goodbye, as this is my last post ever. I will still be putting shit on Twitter, but this blog has had its day.

       THE  END

Saturday, 17 December 2016

My Highlights of 2016 Part 1

The first part covers January to June.

JANUARY

Grey Phalarope on The Fleet.

Great Grey Shrike in Wareham Forest.

FEBRUARY

Scandinavian Herring Gull at Radipole Lake. A classic 1st-winter bird.

Ferruginous Duck in Hampshire.

Glossy Ibis in Devon.

Pallas's Warbler at Portesham.

MARCH

Siberian Rubythroat in Holland. One of my favourite birds of the year.

Pine Bunting in Holland.

Green-winged Teal in Devon.

APRIL

Siberian Chiffchaff at Radipole Lake.

Hoopoe on Portland.

Pied Flycatcher on Portland.

White-spotted Bluethroat on Portland.

MAY

Kentish Plover on The Fleet.

Red-footed Falcon in Wareham Forest.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

Black-winged Stilt on Lodmoor.

Caspian Stonechat in Hampshire. A new taxa for me.

Great Spotted Cuckoo on Portland. A Dorset tick.

Dalmatian Pelican in Cornwall. Potentially, the first record for Britain and a lifer for me.

Honey Buzzards.

JUNE

Red-backed Shrike at Radipole Lake.

Nightjar.

Stone Curlew.

Montagu's Harrier.

Glossy Ibis and Great White Egret in Somerset.

Woodchat Shrike at Martinstown.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Masked Wagtail

Subspecies, form or species. Whatever, it doesn't matter, because Masked Wagtail is a stunning beast.

I was kind of hoping that it would be me who would find the British first, but that privilege fell to a guy in Pembrokeshire, who didn't know exactly what it was, but knew it looked odd. The rest is history, as they say.

Now, I know I've seen a couple of the ultimate Sibes this year, namely Siberian Rubythroat and Siberian Accentor, but Masked Wagtail was a taxon I'd always wanted to see and I wasn't to be disappointed. A complete stunner and for me, is bird of the year.







NOTE: Thanks to Luke Phillips for commenting on the age of this bird. This bird has replaced all it's median and greater coverts and tertials in the post breeding moult and contrasts with the worn primary coverts and rest of the flight feathers, thus this bird is not an adult as I first thought, but a 1st-winter bird. Still, I at least got the easy bit right, which is that this bird is a male. Luke has extensive experience of ringing Pied Wagtails, so his knowledge of ageing these things are greater than mine. Still, it is surprising just how much this bird looks like an adult at first sight and I'd wrongly assumed that the flight feathers on a young bird would be fresh at this time of year, so, lesson learned.

Being only the fourth record for North West Europe, this was a real mega.

I'm off now to find Britain's first Swinhoe's Wagtail. See, there is always a plan B.