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 local birders:
· Birding Poole Harbour and Beyond – by Studland-based birder and Dorset Records Panel member Steve Smith.
· Birdwords - Website of Dorset birder and prolific author Dominic Couzens. Books, bird info, events, trip reports and a log of wildlife activity from his local patch Longham Lakes.
· 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.
· Peter Moore's Wildlife Blog- Since 2021 birder/photographer/ wildlife enthusiast Peter has been doing much of his birding by bike so his epic bike twitches, as well as his tales from closer to home, make a very interesting read.
· The Bagsy blog - full of tales, birding and other, from well-travelled Dorset birder and ex-ship’s captain.
· Wild Woodbury Vlog - capturing progress on rewilding the DWT-owned site near Bere Regis.
Websites - a selection that birders should find interesting and useful:
The UK's youth nature network, with a mission to connect, support and inspire young people aged 16-30 across the UK with an interest in nature and conservation, and provide a voice for the youth conservation movement.
Set up by young conservationist Hendrikus van Hensbergen with a vision that every young person in the UK is moved and empowered to protect the natural world. Young people working in conservation visit schools, talk about what they do and encourage involvement in local groups. With 56% of UK species in decline and 52% of the general public unaware of the threats facing our wildlife, they feel young people's voices can make a difference.
BARI (pronounced Barry!) has been set up to protect the important bird species and habitats covered by the national Special Protection Area (SPA) for Poole Harbour. The SPA spans the whole harbour from Studland to Sandbanks. With a growing population living in Poole Harbour there is a growing pressure on their habitats, but it also means there are more people to champion wildlife friendly adventures and help Harbour birds thrive not just survive! BARI offer regular guided bird walks, pop up viewing sessions with the scope and wildlife friendly watersports sessions, all for free.
Info on the UK's bird observatories, including our own Portland. Their annual newsletter, available for download from the homepage, gives summaries of the year from each observatory with mouth-watering photos of rarities.
Based in Dorset, Birdfinders offer a range of bird watching holidays to many destinations worldwide at competitive 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.
An amazing resource for anyone planning a trip to Europe. More than 3,300 birding sites across Europe were already described here by January 2022 and more are being added all the time, and they are keen for people to add more sites. Birdingplaces is the great online guide for birdwatching in Europe. It is free and made by and for birders. Birdingplaces aims to contribute to the protection of birds by connecting more people to birdwatching.
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/
Watch their Reintroduction and Rewilding Summit, hosted in April 2021 by Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2ABYuhvx6Q
Read their flagship publications on overwintering wetland birds and breeding waders: Overwintering-Birds-of-Poole-Harbour-An-Analysis-of-Poole-Harbour-WeBS-Data-1975-2021.pdf and Breeding-Waders-of-Poole-Harbour-Spring-and-Summer-2021.pdf
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.
A relatively new club, established during the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. Dedicated ornithologists carrying out surveys and bird-related conservation projects in the Bridport and West Bay area of Dorset, supported by Dorset Area of Natural Beauty (AONB) sustainability fund.
Excellent website, with lots of great content on bird science both in the UK and further afield.
British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)
The main national birdwatchers' organisation, operating a huge number of projects to collect bird numbers through volunteer-based surveys, including BirdTrack, the Breeding Bird Survey and Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS). You don't have to be a member to take part in their projects.
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.
One of the county's hotspots for wetland birds, most of the reserve is accessible from public footpaths or from Abbotsbury Swannery (admission charges apply - only open in summer).
Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group (CHOG)
A local group that monitor Hengistbury Head and Christchurch Harbour's 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.
Has the objectives to protect, restore, preserve and support wild bird and other wildlife populations and their habitats; to promote the conservation of biological diversity and the natural environment and to raise awareness and understanding of conservation; and to undertake, support and co-ordinate research and monitoring of wild birds and other wildlife and their environment. Squires Down in Dorset, a voluntary project, is playing its part in safeguarding wildlife habitats.
Massive amounts of worldwide bird resources available free from Cornell University, including brilliant free downloadable apps including for recording, BirdsEye for finding what birds are near you and Merlin for bird identification. You can also subscribe to their Birds of the World which gives you species accounts written by leading ornithologists with detailed information on bird distribution and migration and extensive photos, videos and audio selections. Don't be put off if it looks American - everything works worldwide.
The Trust’s philosophy is that both traditional and innovative farming methods can be made to work profitably and sustainably in conjunction with the protection and restoration of wildlife habitats and precious eco-systems. Read about their 2020 purchase of Bere Marsh Farm in Shillingstone, near Blandford, set to become the Trust’s national showcase for habitat restoration and a dedicated education programme.
Cranborne Chase AONB (Area of Natural Beaty) covers 380 sq miles of countryside overlapping the boundaries of Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset and Wiltshire. See the page on Farming in Cranborne Chase to learn about the new payment schemes and how farmer groups in the area are working together to deliver greater benefits for habitat and landscape.
The sightings page for Devon birds.
Works in partnership with other organisations to make sure that our special landscapes are handed to future generations in good shape. For example, it convened and chaired the partnership for landscape enhancements across the Wild Purbeck Nature Improvement Area and administers the Wytch Farm Landscape and Access Enhancement Fund, as well as supporting wildlife projects in west Dorset .
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.
The Dorset LNP brings together a wide range of partners in public, private and voluntary sectors across Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole. It exists to maximise the benefits to be gained from protecting and enhancing the unique natural assets of the area for people, wildlife and businesses.
Dorset Wildlife Trust
The local county trust which manages 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.
The Dutch Birding Association (DBA) was founded in 1979 with a goal to stimulate birdwatching in a serious and popular scientific manner. The bimonthly journal Dutch Birding has become one of the world's leading birding journals. You can switch the website's language from Dutch to English.
A premier web resource about birds, birding and bird watching for birders at home and abroad - hundreds of pages and thousands of links.
The sightings page for Hampshire birds.
This website created by Javier Caletrío, a birdwatcher based in the northwest of England, aims to contribute to a climate-friendly approach to ornithology, encouraging making an effort to reduce emissions.
A leading supplier of binoculars and telescopes for birders - but see Birds of Poole Harbour's Cruelty-free and Ethical Optics before choosing.
Mapperton Wildlands is Dorset’s most spectacular rewilding project. They are handing 450 acres of marginal farmland back to nature and promoting regenerative agriculture across the rest of Mapperton Estate, as explained in this April 2021 video Call of the Wild - Rewilding Mapperton. Also starting expert-guided nature walks from spring 2022.
It's great to read about good news on the wildlife front. The Martin Down Farmer Cluster lies partly in Dorset and is part of a large 'supecluster' extending into Wiltshire. Wildlife-friendly farming practices have made significant improvements in just four years in populations of Barn Owls, Corn Buntings, Grey Partridges and Turtle Doves as well as Harvest Mice and many butterfly species.
A group of farmers who have come together to champion a way of farming which is sustainable and good for nature. The network is open to farmers and nature lovers alike and there is no cost to join. Has news, blogs and podcasts from farmers, training, events and more.
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 website created in 2020 to provide information about equipment options for nocturnal migration, and give an overview of the processes and pitfalls that can occur.
Chichester-based company specialising in repairing binoculars and telescopes.
Founded in 2018 by conservationist Tim Mackrill to spread the nature conservation message through communities and schools. They are setting up projects in The Gambia and the UK to inspire and support young aspiring conservationists, and planning to expand to other countries on the Osprey migration flyway.
Portland Bird Observatory
One of the best sea watching and visual migration watching locations in the south.
Visit here for everything RSPB-related including campaigning, fundraising, volunteering, and their reserves. There is a local group for South Dorset, centred on Dorchester.
The sightings page for Somerset birds.
An active group that, in normal times, holds indoor meetings - which can be attended by non-members - and field trips. A modest fee is charged for membership and attendance at meetings.
Essentially focussing on using sound to find and identify birds, the Sound Approach team have sparked a revolution in ornithology. Not just about sound though, there is a lot about general fieldcraft and plenty of engaging anecdotes from the Dorset-based members of the team.
See their excellent April 2021 identification paper on Marsh, Blyth's Reed, Eurasian Reed, Melodious and Icterine Warblers
A treasure-trove of interesting and useful materials - books, blogs, courses, day trips, interviews, photos, tours - on the subject of urban birding, not just in the UK but worldwide.
*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.
A new, farmer and landowner-led West Dorset charity taking action for improved biodiversity, healthier land and waterways and improved resilience to climate change. In collaboration with landowners, farmers, regional partners and the local community, their ambitions include rewilding schemes such as reintroding beavers and other native species, promoting regenerative farming and delivering education and public awareness projects.
WILDGuides is a 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.
On the Dorset/Somerset border, Wyke Farm is a farming/conservation project that since 2000 has been transforming an intensive dairy farm into a sustainable business where food grows in harmony with nature. The project seeks help with documenting the wildlife as it changes and grows. The wesbite already has a wealth of detail on all the flora and fauna recorded and you can register a sighting.
Most Dorset birders will already be familiar with Birds of Poole Harbour, Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group and Portland Bird Observatory websites, but we'll try to feature here one or two that people might not know about.
Always interesting and well-illustrated, but particularly relevant while Peter is trying to switch to birding by bike wherever possible - see his latest post here: http://petermooreblog.blogspot.com/. We particularly recommend this post from January 2022 where he describes how he notched up an incredible tally of 224 species by walking or cycling in 2021: Credit Where It's Due
Has info + wildlife news and pics from Abbotsbury Swannery, Chesil Beach, Ferrybridge and the Little Tern colony.
The Sound Approach team sparked a revolution in ornithology with their focus on bird sound, but also plenty about general fieldcraft + engaging anecdotes from Dorset-based Mark Constantine among others. See their free online web books