About this page
This page and the Birding Forum are for the benefit of Club Members and by anyone with an interest in birding in Dorset. They are visible to all but you need to register to post onto the forum. If you would like to register please click on the DBC Google groups link and follow the guidance. We aim to use this page to help all Dorset birders share news and ideas, learn new skills, get involved, and enjoy birding to the full.
The Covid pandemic has shown us all the massive benefit of the internet and social media. In this time of limited social contact birdwatchers, like others with a special interest, have felt a sense of belonging to a community through sharing bird news, information and photos online.
You can enjoy Dorset birds through these media supported by the Bird Club:
Twitter – since March 2020 a small team has tried to keep the Bird Club’s twitter account up to date on a daily (or hourly!) basis, sharing bird news, information and photos. We’ve tried to make it fun, interesting and educational too, such as learning how to tell the Godwits apart and the finer points of identifying Yellow-legged and Caspian Gulls. Follow us on @DorsetBirdClub, and if you want to report something exciting ‘tag’ us in your tweet (by writing ‘@DorsetBirdClub’ in your message).
Facebook – our Facebook group account has been particularly lively during the pandemic, allowing members of the group to share photos, ask for help with identification*, and generally share our interest. Visit Dorset Bird Club facebook group.
*We welcome people requesting help with bird identification. Please post as much information as possible including date seen, location and any photos, taken from different angles if possible, as this will help others with identifying the species involved.
Dorset Bird Club News and Forum – Club members and people who live, work or bird in Dorset can join our news forum. It’s a great way to share bird news and information, and is the Club’s main way to communicate with members. Great for reporting unusual sightings as you’ll be sharing the news with others in the Forum, including the bird information services Rare Bird Alert and BirdGuides, at the same time as getting your record into the daily sightings page and the Club’s database. See the panel on this page (scroll down if using a smart phone) for a link to join.
Dorset Bird Club website and daily sightings page – Anyone can send sightings and photos to our sightings email address: firstname.lastname@example.org The daily sightings blog is compiled each evening, selecting the most interesting records and photos received that day. We might not be able to include every report or photo received, but all sightings will be added to the BirdTrack database and used for production of the annual Dorset Bird Report. The sightings list will include occasional unverified reports, publishing here does not imply confirmed identification.
BirdTrack – This is the way we encourage everyone to report their everyday bird sightings. It’s provided by BTO and sightings can be entered from a laptop, tablet or smartphone. All Dorset sightings records entered into BirdTrack are extracted each year for the annual bird report, and are also used by the BTO to compile invaluable data about bird populations and movements. If you don’t have a BirdTrack account we urge you to set one up – you can get a lot more out of your birding if you start recording thoroughly. Complete lists of all the bird species you see or hear on a walk provide particularly useful data for the BTO, for the Bird Club and for you. And it’s great fun to see how many you can get on a bird walk! https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/birdtrack
eBird –an online database, run by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, of bird observations providing scientists, researchers and amateur naturalists with real-time data about bird distribution and abundance. Many birders find it a simple and convenient way of recording their sightings while in the field. The Bird Club can obtain downloads of all records from Cornell. https://ebird.org/home
BTO Garden Birdwatch – BTO normally charge £17 a year to participate in this but during lockdown you can join this community for free, and contribute to this massive year-round survey that’s been running since 1995. https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/gbw
Self-isolating Bird Club – hatched during the first lockdown and hosted by Chris Packham, this family-friendly group is a “virtual space for wildlife watchers and enthusiasts alike to share their pictures and videos of wildlife” https://www.facebook.com/groups/sibirdclub
Webcams – during lockdown you might particularly enjoy seeing live bird action via these webcams:
· Birds of Poole Harbour webcams (2 at Brownsea Lagoon, 1 at Holton Lee) https://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/webcam/
· Birds of Poole Harbour Osprey camera https://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/osprey/osprey-webcams/
· Cornell Lab Bird Cams (15 bird cams all over the world. The sun is always shining somewhere!) https://www.allaboutbirds.org/cams/
· Alabama bird feeders – hone your skills on southern US birds here: https://www.webcamtaxi.com/en/usa/alabama/birmingham-bird-feeder.html
· Pretoria bird feeders – some familiar birds here along with South African beauties: https://www.webcamtaxi.com/en/south-africa/gauteng/pretoria-allenbird-cam.html
· Los Angeles Hummingbird feeders – hummers year-round here on the warm west coast:https://www.webcamtaxi.com/en/usa/california/hummingbird-feeders.html
· Paton Centre web cams – in the amazing Paton garden in Patagonia, Arizona. Hummingbird activity said to be best in the afternoon (=our late evening): https://tucsonaudubon.org/go-birding/tucson-audubons-paton-center-for-hummingbirds/paton-center-web-cams/
Dorset Bird Club is fully committed to helping everyone with an interest - whether a young or new birder, from an ethnic minority, or with a disability - to get the most out of our wonderful shared interest. We intend to develop this aspect of the Club further as we move forward after Covid-19. In the meantime, there are some things we can pursue now. For example, here is a brilliant new scheme (February 2020) developed by BTO, where you can donate your old binoculars to young people, or apply to request a donated pair:
Some areas have local networks to share news or to support less experienced birders. If there isn’t one in your area, why not set one up? Some groups have found WhatsApp to be a great way to communicate. Let us know if there’s a group you’d like listed.
[details of local networks to follow]
Many of our members are happy to act as mentors for birders who are keen to learn more, or to team up with others to learn together. We are building a register of people willing to be mentors or companions. If you’d like to be involved, please post in the ‘mentors and buddies’ thread in the forum.
[detail of mentors and buddies to follow]
Dorset Bird Club is happy to offer links to organisations, companies and individuals based in Dorset or offering information, goods and services relevant to Dorset that we feel our members may be interested in hearing about. Any links found on this page are taken in good faith and the Club does not endorse any of the products/activities of these organisations/companies/individuals.
Birders’ blogs –this is just a selection of regular blogs by Dorset birders:
· Birding Poole Harbour and Beyond – by Studland-based birder and Dorset Records Panel member Steve Smith
· Not Quite Scilly – Entertaining and informative birdy blog by Gavin Haig, of Bridport (no, it isn’t quite Scilly, is it?) – but he finds some good birds there
· Gryllo’s (aka Ian Lewis’) blog - Well-illustrated, informed and educational blog by leading Dorset birder, ringer, traveller and taxonomic expert. “All things to do with travel, wildlife especially birds and anything else that interests me”. That includes history, culture, science, just about everything else, and above all, birds.
· The Bagsy blog - Full of tales, birding and other, from well-travelled Dorset birder and ex-ship’s captain.
Based in Dorset, Birdfinders offer a range of bird watching holidays to many destination worldwide at competative prices.
Offering better birding through technology. with up-to-the-minute news and views on British and Irish birds, comprehensive online and mobile reference, a huge photo library and the best products for birdwatchers everywhere. Bird records from Dorset are supplied to the Club's database.
Dorset/Yorkshire based small and friendly tour company to destinations worldwide and in the UK. Caters for beginners and more experienced birders alike; in recent years has taken several Dorset birders to Colorado, Cuba and Mongolia for example.
Birds of Poole Harbour
A website dedicated to the birds, birdwatching and conservation of Poole Harbour.
Have a look at their webcams, at Brownsea Lagoon and Holton Lee https://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/webcam/ and the Osprey camera https://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/osprey/osprey-webcams/
And their brilliant series of 'lockdown birding' videos, of which this is the first: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9IfTONtgUg&feature=youtu.be
BoPH are also a field leader in supplying cruelty-free and ethical binoculars and telescopes
Bournemouth Natural Science Society
The Society run a programme of lectures (non-members welcolme) and field trips - check out their website for full details.
British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)
Promotes bird conservation through volunteer-based surveys.
Specialist in out of print Natural History Books covering birds, mammals, flora, invertebrates and general natural history in the UK and worldwide. Books bought & sold. Catalogues issues, full stocklist available on line. Vistors to our stockroom are by appointment only. Also offers a guiding service for individuals and small groups aimed at providing an experience of Dorset's birds, wildlife and landscapes. Tailor-made walks, a guided walk programme, guiding for groups and illustrated wildlife talks can be offered.
Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group (CHOG)
A local group that monitor Hengistbury Head and Christchurch Harbours birdlife.
A massive on-line library of trip reports provided by birders from visits all over the world. Most have photos, full species lists and helpful advice for future visitors. Essential resource for anyone planning a birding holiday, and fascinating reading anyway. Reports tend to be more helpful from individuals than from tour companies.
The sightings page for Devon birds.
Dorset Environmental Records Centre (DERC)
DERC was established in 1976 as an independent organisation to collate information on all of Dorset's wildlife. Works closely with the Dorset Bird Club to maintain a database of bird records going back from the late 1950's to the present day.
Dorset Wildlife Trust
The local county trust who manage many nature reserves in the county for birds and other wildlife. Many initiatives and events are organised throughout the year.
Durlston Country Park
An excellent site for all round nature watching from botany to dolphin watching.
A premier web resource about birds, birding and bird watching for birders at home and abroad - hundreds of pages and thousands of links.
One of the county's hotspots for wetland birds, most of the reserve is accessible from public footpaths or from Abotsbury Swannery (admission charges apply - only open in summer).
A leading supplier of binoculars and telescopes for birders - but see Birds of Poole Harbour's Cruelty-free and Ethical Optics before choosing.
Galerie Bissell Wildlife Art
Lauren Hayes Bissell isn't just a wildlife artist, her website exhibits orginals, prints to greeting cards. The site also has contribution from other artist. The site is well worth a look.
The sightings page for Hampshire birds.
A leading supplier of binoculars and telescopes for birders - but see Birds of Poole Harbour's Cruelty-free and Ethical Optics before choosing.
New Forest Explorers Guide
If you are interested in exploring the New Forest and would like to know where to walk, this is the site for you.
A Hampshire based company supplying large selection of goods to support your garden birds and keep them well fed, some local deliveries made into Dorset.
Chichester-based company specialising in repairing binoculars and telescopes.
Portland Bird Observatory
One of the best sea watching and visual migration watching locations in the south.
The sightings page for Somerset birds.
*Tide times given for Poole Harbour are for Poole Quay. Tides are very variable within the Harbour and high tide may be earlier, or up to 45 minutes later than shown, depending on the location. If you are birding west of Poole Quay add a little time to the high tide prediction. General advice is to get there early!
Two Owls Birding
Providing birdwatching courses for the beginner and the more experienced birder, including weekends away to birding hot spots in the UK & France.
WILDGuides is not-for-profit publishing organisation with a commitment to supporting wildlife conservation. They have produced a series of simple-to-use yet definitive photographic guides on Birds, Butterflies, Dragonflies, Moths, Orchids and Arable Plants.
This forum aims to help us share bird news and bird related discussion in Dorset.
Records posted on this forum will be added to the Dorset Bird Club records database on Bird Track. If you are a Bird Track or e-Bird user please let us know so that we save the Club a little work and do not duplicate your records.
This Group is open to all members of Dorset Bird Club, previous members of the ‘O&A Dorset’ Yahoo Group or anyone else who regularly birds in Dorset.
Please follow the spirit of the guidelines on the forum’s Google Groups webpage and be kind to your fellow Dorset birders.
Good Dorset Birding from all at the Dorset Bird Club.
There are many excellent birding sites in Dorset, both inland as well as along the coast. Most of these are clearly mapped in the annual county bird report, which also has a gazetteer. But there are vast areas of the county where no-one watches on a regular basis and these could well harbour exciting birds such as Goshawk, Hawfinch, Hobby, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Quail or Red Kite depending on the habitat – all birds we would desperately love to hear about! To learn about the top sites we recommend buying the guide by Martin Cade and George Green: Where to watch birds in Dorset Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
Annual site reports are produced for many of the county’s top birding sites. These are available for download here, from 2013 to the most recent. We hope to add pre-2013 reports later.
• Abbotsbury Swannery (2020 only)
• Holes Bay (2020 only)
• Longham Lakes
• Lytchett Bay
• Purbeck Seabird Survey
• West Bexington and Cogden
Other site reports may be available from the organisations that publish them:
• Christchurch Harbour and Lower Avon Valley – ‘The Birds of Christchurch Harbour 1956 – 2019’ available for purchase on USB Memory Stick or on CD, see https://www.chog.org.uk/Pages/USB%20Stick.htm
• Isle of Portland Bird Reports – may be available from Portland Bird Observatory bookshop, see http://www.portlandbirdobs.com/p/the-portland-list.html