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Monthly Summary Reports

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A summary of each month's nature activity together with a list of species recorded during each month. Click on 'read more' for the full article, the species list and a selection of charts showing the data in graphical form.

Displaying 1 - 12 of 14
  • January 2018

    Whilst the short, cold days of January are not enough to dampen the enthusiasm of Dorset's nature watchers it can limit their opportunities to get out and about! To be fair, of all the months in the year, January is often the quietest for surprises. Unless there is a dramatic weather event most birds are content to bide their time whilst they sit out the winter. The number of tweeted sighting was at a low point and only twelve species reported could be called really notable.

  • December 2017

    The dark, damp days of December mean the number of reports from birding enthusiasts takes a down turn! This is some what inevitable, partly because opportunities to get out and about are limited and also because people only tend to report their more interesting sightings and these can be few and far between in mid-winter. That said December 2017 still turned up some notable records, mainly in the gull department. There were records of Bonaparte's gull, ringed-bill gull, Iceland gull, glaucous gull, Sabine's gull and little gull. To many of us these are just sea gulls and it takes the specialists to tell them apart.

  • November 2017

    If you put some soil in a jar, add water and shake it up you get a clouded, swirling mass! Leave it for a while and gradually the bits will settle and you will have a much clearer picture. It might seem an odd analogy but that is a reflection of October and November in the countryside. In October a lot happens, especially birds movements, and things can seem clouded. It can be difficult to appreciate what is actually happening but in November things settle and you can see the results of the October chaos.


  • October 2017

    You would be forgiven for thinking that autumn migration is just a mirror image of spring migration; swallows and house martins in in May and out in October. In reality this is far from the case, the two seasons and related bird movements are very different. There are various reasons for this, some simple and some complex. 

  • September 2017

    One word sums up September for the keen nature watcher; SANDPIPER! We expect common sandpipers regularly in autumn as they make their way south and a small number of green sandpipers are always likely to be around. Most years a number of curlew sandpipers are likely and so it was this year but the length of time they stayed here was possibly unusual. Wood sandpipers are far from common but could not be classed as rare and a few were about in September to make the count four. However, I do not think anyone expected the other sandpipers that were going to suddenly appear.

  • August 2017

    As soon as we turn the calendar page over from July to August it seems the days start to shorten faster and there is a definite change to the morning air. If we notice it from the shelter of our warm, lit homes then you can be certain our wildlife does too and for some species of birds it is a sure sign they should be thinking about heading south on their annual migration cycle. Birds we see little of in June and July suddenly start appearing, particularly in coastal locations in early August and the numbers steadily grow during the month.

  • July 2017

    Generally speaking, and I mean generally not specifically, birds set up territories in April, build nests and lay eggs in May, feed their young during June and the young fledge in July. The timing varies by species depending on available food supplies for their young but, as a rule of thumb, it works. July is the month of fledglings and there is plenty of evidence of some notable breeding successes this year.

  • June 2017

    Whilst ospreys are not the rarest bird to visit Dorset by any means they provided the main talking point for June this year; will they or won't they nest in Dorset next year? Some time ago now the RSPB put up platforms on poles on their reserve at Arne to try and attract ospreys to nest there. It seemed an ideal site with an ample food supply at hand in Poole Harbour and ospreys often stop off here during migration for a while, especially in autumn when they leisurely make their way back south to Africa from their breeding grounds further north in Britain.

  • May 2017

    M is for May and May is for movement! Whilst spring is with us and flowers and insects start to emerge it is still birds that dominate the headlines. For the first couple of weeks migration remains in full flow with summer visitors returning to nest, others passing through on their way further north and, inevitably, some vagrants that turn up here lost and bewildered, possibly having been blown off course by storms and adverse weather conditions.

  • April 2017

    After the long and, at times, bleak winter months April raises the spirits of the wildlife watcher! There are still overwintering birds to see before they move off north to their breeding grounds but they are joined by an amazing flow of birds returning to Britain and beyond from further south in Europe and Africa. This would go largely unnoticed if it were not for the meticulous work of dedicated amateur ornithologists who survey and record species seen during this exciting time.

  • March 2017

    A look at the species group chart below shows clearly that March is a month of change; spring may not have arrived but it is obviously just around the corner! The chart shows that birds continue to dominate the sightings which is to be expected and with spring migration movements beginning they remain the most highly visible branch of wildlife. Birds are, of course, the main interest of many wildlife enthusiasts and that will also have a bearing on the predominance of bird records but butterflies and moths begin to appear along with other, more specialist, insect species.