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.

Friday, 28 December 2012

My Highlights Of 2012 (Part 2)

My highlights of the second half of the year. I'd like to thank the other photographers that have contributed to this and the last post.


One of the birds of the year, this stunningly beautiful adult White-winged Black Tern graced Lodmoor for 3 days. One of those birds, where you couldn't help going back for more.

The first of 3 male Honey Buzzards seen during the month. This pale morph bird was a real cracker.

This male Honey Buzzard displayed right over my head.

This was the third male Honey Buzzard of the month. All 3 males were watched displaying. For me, watching a Honey Buzzard displaying truly is an awesome experience and it never fails to excite me.


This Buff-breasted Sandpiper on The Fleet at Ferrybridge was a patch tick. Seen in near darkness on it's first day, going back the next day for better photos failed dismally, as it flew off high to the west on arrival. 

This 1st-summer male Woodchat Shrike performed well on The Fleet at Littlesea.

Cattle Egret at Abbotsbury.

This Wryneck on The Fleet at Tidmoor proved quite elusive.


This Short-billed Dowitcher, that turned up at Lodmoor, was a widely appreciated bird, being only the second record for Britain and my first. Here you can see that it has started moulting from juvenile to 1st-winter plumage.

Continuing it's good run, this Wryneck turned up on The Fleet at Littlesea.

Red-backed Shrike on Portland.

Another elusive Wryneck on The Fleet at Tidmoor.


Another good bird on The Fleet at Littlesea, was this very elusive Yellow-browed Warbler© Geoff Rogers

This juvenile Purple Heron spent most of it's time skulking in the reedbeds at Radipole Lake. It would occasionally be seen in flight though.

One of two adult Black Brants that returned to winter on The Fleet.

The major surprise of the year. This Pale-legged Leaf Warbler on Portland was not only the first record for Britain, but also the first for Europe. A quite extroardinary record when one considers how far to the east of us it's normal range is. Not only that, it happened to take up temporary residence in a birders garden. You can just about pick out the pale pink legs and feet in this image.

My second new bird in as many days, this gorgeous adult male 'DaurianIsabelline Shrike on Portland was, for me, bird of the year locally.

Portland struck again with this Siberian Stonechat. DNA analysis confirmed it was of the form 'stejnegeri' and as such, is the first confirmed record for Britain of this form. Portland really was on a roll.

The Subalpine Warbler on Portland.

Long-eared Owl on Portland.


The Great Grey Shrike at Morden Bog.


This seemed to be the month of wonderfully confiding birds. It started with this Snow Bunting on The Fleet at Ferrybridge.

A welcome lifer for me, albeit not the most exciting, was this confiding 'American' Buff-bellied Pipit at Queen Mother Reservoir in Berkshire. Very much a birders bird this and one I'd like to find in Dorset. 

The year ended in fine style, with this stunning 'Hornemann'sArctic Redpoll that pleased the crowds at Aldeburgh, in Suffolk. Having seen several 'Coues's' Arctic Redpolls previously, I wouldn't be exaggerating in saying that this, my first 'Hornemann's', was one of the birds of the year for me. Beauty, rarity and extremely confiding behaviour conspired to make this a real favourite with many and as such, became the most photographed bird of the year.


Anonymous said...

Hi Brett,

I also saw the Siberian stonechat, but am having difficulty with classifying it. Should I put it down as Siberian stonechat 'stejnegeri', or does it qualify as a separate species to be recorded as Stejneger's stonechat?

Any info. would be helpful.
Thanks, J.

Brett said...

It is still classified as Siberian Stonechat. At the moment, it would be jumping the gun to say it is a separate species. Hope this helps. I know research is still ongoing with the various Stonechat forms.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the help, Brett, and happy New Year.