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, 15 June 2014

Hooded Crow

Decided to pop up to Portland this afternoon, to pay homage to the Hooded Crow that has recently taken up residence. This was only the second that I had seen in Dorset, the last as long ago as 1989. So, to some Dorset newbies, the recent fall of blockers like Hooded Crow and Temminck's Stint came as welcome additions to their Dorset lists.






Also from today, another one of...

Corn Bunting.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

A Dorset Tick

Today found me exploring inland Dorset. After a tip off, I checked out a secret site, where one of my Dorset bogey birds finally gave itself up, in the shape of a Goshawk. Sadly, no photos taken as the bird was watched for only a short while as it was carrying food in, presumably for some hungry chicks. Just the one sighting today, but I'll definitely be making a return visit. Also, a Red Kite seen at this site.

Some pics from today.


Corn Buntings.

The only raptors that approached closely today.

Buzzard.

Sparrowhawk.


Tree Pipit. Here caught in song flight.

Portland Provides Me With A Lifer

Julian Thomas found a Thrush Nightingale in the top fields around lunchtime, whilst he was looking in vain for the Hooded Crow that had been seen earlier, the likelihood of seeing it from the reports given seemed like nil. After hearing the sound recording, I thought I'd pop up to the Bill and listen to this songster for myself.

 It was obvious at first that there was no chance of seeing it, with no access allowed into the surrounding fields. As luck would have it though, the owner of one of the fields passed us on her horse and said we were more than welcome to enter the field next to the hedge from where it was singing. This gave me hope. I'd dipped on 3 of this species in Dorset and just thought that this would add to the tally of dips. Being in the field and hearing it singing filled me with pessimism though, as it was singing from deep cover. I really did think that there was no hope of seeing it. Anyway, three observers, one of which was Nevil Fowler, just happened to be in the right place when it popped it's head out, albeit briefly, but enough to note such details as upperpart tone looking very greyish, dark malars and orangey toned tail, the latter as it dived back into the bush. When it was perched, we could only see the head side on, so any details in breast marking was not noted. Sadly, as I reached for the camera, it dived back into thick cover, so couldn't immortalize the beasty for posterity. Still, can't complain, don't get too many lifers in Dorset these days.

Later on, headed out to a sight not too far from home to watch Nightjars. They weren't to disappoint, with some good views to be had.



Sadly, clipped the wingtip off on this shot.



Sunday, 1 June 2014

Short-toed Eagle At Morden Bog

Much better views today and slightly better record shots.







Note the moult contrast in the primaries. Outer and innermost primaries fresh.

The ragged trailing edge to the wings would seem to age this bird as an adult, but the pale head and underparts show that it is not fully mature and with the moult contrast in the primaries, with fresh outer and innermost primaries being fresh, it can be aged as a 3rd-calender year, so in it's second plumage.

Note how Kite-like it appears here




A quality bird.

And while we were there, a Cuckoo flew over our heads.