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, 27 October 2013

Juvenile Sabine's Gull

Yesterday's bird was still lingering off Abbotsbury Beach. It sadly wasn't that close and I was being buffeted somewhat by the strong winds.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Dorset's Bird Of The Month (September)

Goes to the mobile Semipalmated Sandpiper that graced The Fleet and Brownsea Island.  Well done to Steve Groves for bringing it to our attention, though in fairness, it was me who confirmed the identification from photographs. Also, well done to the finder of it in Poole Harbour. Incredibly, this bird headed east to Hampshire, before probably turning up in Kent. It then finally ended up back on Brownsea Island before departing for good.

Ok, it's not been a stand out year in Dorset, but what are the candidates for bird/birds of the year so far? Well, I think the White-spotted Bluethroats, the Black Storks, the Caspian Tern, the Citrine Wagtail and the Semipalmated Sandpiper are all in the running. But, the year is not over yet.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Juvenile Pallid Swift

Decided to twitch the bird at Christchurch today. A very educational bird and bloody difficult to identify on field views. Luckily, camera was in tow and it was the photos that left me happy with the identification. Something of an eye opener this bird, as it was almost certainly an example of either of the races A.p.brehmorum or A.p.illyricus, so not the image of pallid beasts from the field guides. This was a British/Dorset tick for me. Sadly, this bird fell foul to a Sparrowhawk.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

A Portland Bash

Didn't find any rares unfortunately, best I could come up with was a flyover Woodlark. Short-eared Owl, Golden Plover and a couple of Black Redstarts were the best of the rest. Lots of Stonechats were around today, but couldn't find a goody amongst them. A Yellow-browed Warbler, that had been found earlier in the Obs garden, showed for a short while before being trapped and ringed. Lots of flyover activity first thing included some Bramblings, but it was very thin pickings on the ground. Late migrants included 4 Wheatears and a couple of Swallows. On the insect front, I did happen to find a Red-veined Darter.

Short-eared Owl.


A very happy Black Redstart.

Golden Plover.

Yellow-browed Warbler.

Red-veined Darter.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Black Brants And Stuff

Stormy seas greeted me at Chesil Cove this morning. Sadly, I saw bugger all here, it was pants.

This Black Redstart at Chesil Cove was nice though.

Thirsty work with all that salt spray around.

Family party of  Dark-bellied Brent Geese coming into land at Ferrybridge.

And amongst the small gathering of Dark-bellied Brents were 2 Black Brants.

Black Brant number 1. This individual has been returning to The Fleet since 2006. Note the lovely mahogany brown colour on the scapulars and wing coverts. Note in the background, the Dark-bellied has rusty fringes to some of the grey scapulars, this is quite normal at this time of year and how light hits the bird has a lot to do with this. Due to the sheens on the feathers, colouration of the  body plumage of Brent Geese can change markedly.

Due to the sheens on the feathers, note how the appearance changes when it changes angle. Now appearing more black and white.

Note how the neck band changes due to posture. This individual does have a particularly weak neck band.

Here is Black Brant number 2 with it's Dark-bellied relatives. This individual has a much better neck band. This individual has been returning to The Fleet since 2010 at least.

At nearby Radipole Lake, the Garganey was showing well from the visitor centre. Bordered either side by Teal.

And now for something cute, whilst looking in vain for Crossbills.


This baby Sika Deer saw me coming.

So, hid in the long grass by the path. How cute is that? This photo was taken with my phone.

Monday, 21 October 2013


At Lyme Regis today, though light was shocking. My best ever views by far though.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

A Quick Dash Down To Radipole

I was only allowed out to play for a wee while, so decided to pay Radipole Lake a flying visit. The Glossy Ibis duly appeared, plus saw a Hobby and a couple of Green Sandpipers whilst waiting for the Ibis to appear.

Glossy Ibis with Teal.


Green Sandpiper.

Water Rail.

And finally, yesterday's sunset from the bedroom window.

© Tiana Spencer.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Yellow-browed Warbler

The hoped for Thrush Nightingale failed to materialize on Portland today. The continued presence of the very obliging Short-toed Lark and a Yellow-browed Warbler that Nick had found at Reap Lane were the days highlights. Otherwise, Merlin, Ring Ouzel and Redstart were noted.