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.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Update On Previous Post

Well, thoughts are that it is a Herring Gull. An identification I was certainly going for in the end, based on research I had done on current literature and photos available. It has been suggested that it's probably a dark argentatus. Thing is, can a dark argenteus or an intergrade argentatus x argenteus be ruled out? Whatever it's racial identification, it's certainly been an educational and eye opening bird.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Troublesome Large Gull

I photographed this bird late yesterday afternoon at Radipole Lake. A very interesting bird showing some features of American Herring Gull. Question is, is it one? If it isn't, then what the hell is it? A very dark argenteus Herring Gull, an argentatus Herring Gull or maybe a hybrid, say Herring x Lesser Black-backed Gull. What do you think? Any comments are welcome.

Thursday, 23 February 2012


An evening visit to Littlesea, The Fleet showed that the Hume's Warbler was still present. Also, the Black Redstart was still in residence. Otherwise, all the usual suspects, with 3 Grey Plovers the only other birds of note.

Last Saturday, the army got into a bit of bother whilst trying to get over to the Chesil Beach and their sentry points. It happened to be a very low tide. Now whether their little boat thingy wasn't up to the job, or they took a wrong turn I don't know. What I do know is, they got well and truly stuck. Sorry lads, but it did look funny from where me and my mate Fred were stood. I can imagine though, that you were pretty annoyed. Still, I'm sure you can laugh about it now.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Stonking Yellowthroat

Note the rufous wash on the forecrown.

 It was well worth the effort to pay homage to this stunningly beautiful 1st-winter male Common Yellowthroat, that has taken up temporary residence in Wales. Seems a crime to call it a Common Yellowthroat though,when it's only the tenth record for Britain. 

Not too far away, an adult drake Lesser Scaup was also up for grabs.
Note similar size to Tufted Ducks.

Note black on bill tip confined to nail.

Note vermiculated flanks, purple glossed head and lump on rear of head.

 On the way home stopped off at Torr Reservoir, in Somerset to have a look at the Cackling Goose.

Sure, it's origins are probably suspect. Seems very dark breasted compared to individuals I've seen on Islay, Scotland. But it was on the way back and it's damn cute I reckon. Was distant, but you can still see the half white collar at the base of the black neck sock. Also present amongst the Canada Geese were 7 Barnacle Geese and 1 hybrid, the latter of which you can see in the images above.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

One Smew Doesn't Make A Winter

It does when it looks like this.

Drake Smew at Abbotsbury Swannery, Tuesday 14th Feb.

Thanks to a text from my good friend Steve, who's hospitality is always greatly received, this stunning drake Smew was well appreciated. Poor light and distance will be my excuses for the crap photos in this post.

This lovely adult female Marsh Harrier was floating around in the background behind the Smew.

Littlesea, The Fleet, Wednesday 15th Feb.

3 Avocets. Surprisingly scarce on The Fleet.

Good to see there's still a Black Brant amongst the Brent flock. Also a single Pale-bellied Brent was seen.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Tainted Otter?

All the above images of this dog Otter were taken in deepest darkest Dorset. For the purists out there, these images are uncropped. Unbelievably close views down to about 10 feet. But now for a revelation. Why so tame? Well, rumour has it, that the Otters in this area, well, the adults anyway, are rehabilitated orphans that were reared in captivity, then released back into the wild. If true, then totally plastic. Might as well be a zoo, with  Otters nibbling your toenails. 

This afternoon, popped into Radipole Lake and got lucky, as the 2nd-calendar year Iceland Gull that had been around for a while was on view.

Cute isn't it?

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Richard's Pipit

Nice to get some good images of the wintering Richard's Pipit at Littlesea, The Fleet.

I know it's only a Goldfinch, but what a bird.

The wintering Hume's Warbler at Littlesea, The Fleet remains typically elusive. This was the only image I could manage. Crap isn't it.

The Black Redstart was also still present at Littlesea in The Bridging Camp.

Other birds seen today were a Great Northern Diver in Weymouth Bay and singles of Pale-bellied Brent Goose and Slavonian Grebe and 12 Black-necked Grebes, including 1 in summer plumage in Portland Harbour.

Friday, 10 February 2012

It's Just Below You Bob

Yesterday, after work, I decided to go down to Radipole Lake. Hardly any gulls from the centre, but I was tipped off that a Bittern was showing well from Buddleia Loop. Now, first of all, didn't notice you in me pics until I got home Bob.

                                                      Anyways, it's just below you Bob.

 In fairness to Bob, he wouldn't have been able to see it where he was.

                                         The Bittern. Record shot in poor light.

Ah, it's the weekend. Yippeeeee!!!