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.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

My Highlights of 2012 (Part 1)

For me, it's been a year of finding very little, yet seeing a great deal.  

My highlights of the first half of the year.

JANUARY

2012 started in fine style, with this long staying Richard's Pipit on The Fleet at Littlesea.

The same site also hosted this wintering Hume's Warbler and thus, along with the pipit, attracted a constant stream of admirers.

These stunning drake Ring-necked Ducks were well worth seeing at Chard Junction Gravel Pits. I always think it's worth visiting and finding these out of the way sites, just in case something really important is found at them.    © Jeff Hazell

On the way back from the ducks, it seemed rude not to take a look at the 1st-winter Spotted Sandpiper, that had been loosely associating with the wintering Purple Sandpipers, at Lyme Regis. © Peter Moore

Having never seen this species in Britain before, I couldn't resist going for this dapper male Spanish Sparrow in Hampshire. © Peter Moore

Also, in Hampshire, and on the way back from the sparrow, this 1st-winter male 'Slate-coloured' Dark-eyed Junco was an excellent bonus. © Peter Moore

FEBRUARY

It wasn't long before I was off twitching again. This time, the attraction was my first ever Parrot Crossbill, this female having taken up temporary residence in West Sussex.

On the way back from the crossbill, this wintering Rough-legged Buzzard at Burpham, West Sussex, was an excellent bonus, although it was always distant. © Nick Bond

One of three Iceland Gulls seen during the first part of the year. This and one other at Radipole Lake and one that flew past me whilst seawatching off Chesil Beach from Littlesea.

This stunning 1st-winter male 'CommonYellowthroat in Gwent, south Wales, was a first for me. Without doubt, one of the birds of the year.

Bonus birds on the way back from a twitch, seemed to becoming a bit of a habit, with this Lesser Scaup also being seen in south Wales.

This Cackling Goose in Somerset courted controversy. Was it a truly wild bird from North America, or an escape from a wildfowl collection? It's a bloody good job that I've seen a couple on Islay previous to this individual. Whatever it's origin, it was still good to see it on the way back from the Yellowthroat.

After some correspondence with other birders, it was felt that this 1st-winter Herring Gull at Radipole Lake showed characteristics of the Scandinavian form 'argentatus'. This form is rare in Dorset.

MARCH

Ring Ouzel on The Fleet at Littlesea.

APRIL

One of two Glossy Ibises that were seen at Radipole Lake.

The single Glossy Ibis that remained at Radipole Lake, was joined by a Black-winged Stilt. From a British context, this must surely be quite a unique photo.

Views of the Black-winged Stilt were amazing when it had relocated to The Fleet at Abbotsbury Swannery. A much wanted patch tick.

MAY

A Cattle Egret at Lodmoor.

A Hoopoe on The Fleet at Cloud's Hill. I managed to walk past another one at Littlesea the very same day. Only trouble was, it was the other side of some bushes and as a consequence, I was totally unaware of it's presence, until a photo was produced of it later that day. I never did see the Littlesea bird.

Female Kentish Plover on The Fleet at Ferrybridge.

It came as something of a surprise, finding 5 White Storks flying over whilst walking the dog. This was part of a wide ranging flock. This photo was captured when they later flew over Portland. © Martin Cade

Something of an after work dash was in order for this beauty. I didn't, for one minute, imagine my first Cream-coloured Courser was going to be an adult in spring. The undoubted highlight of the year for me. The Herefordshire countryside was indeed blessed with the presence of this bird.

This Great Reed Warbler at Radipole Lake announced it's presence with it's distinctive croaky song. 

Black-winged Stilts were a bit like buses this year. This one turned up at Lodmoor.

The same day as the one on Lodmoor, this one on The Fleet at Abbotsbury Swannery turned up. Unlike the April bird, this Black-winged Stilt was far more uncooperative for me. 

Roseate Tern at Lodmoor.

JUNE

This Gull-billed Tern graced Lodmoor for one afternoon.

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