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, 25 May 2014

Seen By The Lucky Few (Part 1)

After the blockers theme, I thought I'd delve into the species that have been recorded in Dorset and only seen by the lucky few.

Ruddy Shelduck - Although birds have been seen in recent years, none are considered of wild origin. The last birds regarded as truly wild were way back in 1892. Because of known feral populations, the likelyhood of seeing a wild bird in Dorset seems remote.

Baikal Teal - The drake caught and ringed on 1st January 1969 on Brownsea is not accepted officially on the British and Dorset list, but is it any different to any recent British records.

King Eider - Just one record, with 1 seen off the Chesil on 27th March 2005. The recent Brunnich's Guillemot gives us hope that there will be another one of these, but this is a mega rarity in England.

Black Grouse - Last seen around the 1925 mark. Bar a reintroduction, there's absolutely no chance of getting this one on our Dorset Lists.

White-billed Diver - 1 record and a recent claim were both flybys. Again, very rare in England, but the recent Devon bird gives us hope we'll get a lingering bird in Dorset soon.

Black-browed Albatross - One record to date. This species will always be for the lucky few. Only the committed seawatcher or a jammy fucking git will connect.

Cory's Shearwater - Again, a birders bird, but at least this species turns up fairly frequently. It's on my list.

Great Shearwater - Inexplicably rare in Dorset. A good run of these in nearby Devon should get you out looking. Maybe seawatching from Golden Cap may be the answer to connecting with this beauty, as they enter and head to exit Lyme Bay perhaps?

Barolo Shearwater - One record in Dorset. As with Black-browed Albatross, same applies.

American Bittern - Two records, the last in 1980, which incredibly and disgustingly had been found shot dead. 

White-tailed Eagle - Two recent records from Hampshire shows that there is still a glimmer of hope with this one. The last record was in 1935.

Marsh Hawk - The occurrence of a beautiful male that passed over Portland on 21st April 2014 inspired me to do this article and that of the blocker articles on my blog. Thanks Peter, you lucky lucky man. See how polite I was there?

Pallid Harrier - Now this one has to fall soon. Just one record, way back in 1938. Probably be a flyby for some lucky git. Maybe those peeps checking the north east of the county may unlock the key?

Gyr Falcon - Just two Dorset records, the last way back in 1912. Oh, to find a beautiful white morph sat somewhere, would be a dream find for any Dorset birder. Recent Devon records gives us hope.

Baillon's Crake - The last record was way back in 1894. Christchurch Harbour for the next one me thinks for this bird.

Allen's Gallinule - Just one person and they're dog can legitimately count this one on their Dorset list, the sensational record of 1 found, sadly, moribund on Portland in 2002. Seems like another one of these in Dorset, especially a healthy one, is nothing but a pipe dream.

Great Bustard - The last record was in 1888. Differentiating a wild bird from a reintroduced one now would be extremely difficult, though probably impossible task.

Cream-coloured Courser - Just one record, way back in 1853. The next one would almost certainly be twitchable, me thinks.

Killdeer - Just one record, the first British record no less, back in 1859. When will the next one turn up?

White-tailed Plover/Lapwing - 1 on The Fleet, at Abbotsbury Swannery on 3rd July 1979. I think this is a species that could turn up again real soon. Lodmoor for the next one is my prediction.

Red-necked Stint - A painful one this. The Ferrybridge bird of 27th August 2010 would have certainly been gettable for locals, but alas, the observer fucked up the identification and it was identified from photos after the bird had departed. It could happen to anybody this, and the painful bit for me is that I didn't check Ferrybridge that day. When at nearby Littlesea, I adjudged the tide too high to go and check, so wandered off to White Nothe to try and find me own Dotterel. Lesson learned. The next one, if we get another, I reckon will be a juvenile and again be identified by photos after the event.

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper - One record only. A spring bird no less, on The Fleet on 2nd April 1978. Every chance of another one of these.

Great Snipe - The last record was way back in 1896. What are the chances of another and where might it turn up?

Upland Sandpiper - One record from Portland in 1976. I think the next will also be on Portland.

Sooty Tern - An incredible record of 2 at Abbotsbury Swannery on 24th May 1935. Brownsea Island, surely, has to be the place to look for any rare tern.

Bridled Tern - One lucky observer of 1 at Lodmoor on 11th July 1984. Get checking those tern colonies.

Lesser Crested Tern - Again, just one record and again, one lucky observer, with the bird at Hengistbury on 25th April 1995. Again, Brownsea has to be the place to look.

Pallas's Sandgrouse - The last one recorded was in 1889. Never say never I guess, but in this case, I think the odds are stacked against it.

Great Spotted Cuckoo - Now, I know I had this in the blockers article, on the basis that we should have seen one of the two Dorset records, but alas, that was suppressed. 1994, the last one and surely we are overdue another. Let's hope the next one sticks.

Whilst on the subject of Blockers, I noticed I had missed off Temminck's Stint. The last truly gettable ones in Dorset were singles on Lodmoor in 1997, an unbelievable 17 years ago. An oversight on my part, so apologies for that. The article has been amended as a result.


Steve Smith said...

Good read Brett. Looking forward to the sequel.

Anonymous said...

Great call on the stint from 1997, you've got your wish