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Nature of Dorset Blog

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19th February 2020: Reflections: Under the weather!

The long-billed dowitcher is a native of north America but it is typical of the sort of vagrant species that can turn up in Dorset after strong westerly winds during migration times (12-04-12)


When I started ‘birding’ it did not take long to understand that the weather was an important factor in determining what one might see at each part of the year; some birds fly south for the winter whilst others come to us for the winter months from much further north. We call this ‘migration’! 



Peter Orchard 21/02/2020 - 21:27
30th January 2020: Reflections: Tick or Freak?

Photo: The Canada goose was introduced into country parks in Victorian times but can now be seen near ponds, lakes and rivers almost anywhere [12-04-12]


Reviewing tweets for nature sightings in Dorset each day to add to my Nature of Dorset database I detect that some birds are treated with a degree of disdain by experienced birders who consider them to be, amongst other printable adjectives, “plastic”. In other words, they are not real birds, they are not real ticks for a list.


I want to say at the outset that I have no problem with birders keeping lists; it is what birders do...

Peter Orchard 21/02/2020 - 21:22
25th January 2020: Reflections: A Winter Warbler Land

A male blackcap feeding on fat balls in our garden [25-01-20]


The presence of a blackcap feeding on fat balls in our garden today set me thinking about why there seem to be so many being reported this winter. Along with chiffchaff rarely a day goes by without reports of these two warblers that in general you would expect to be in Africa by now.


When I first got interested in nature back in the 1970’s the issue of why most blackcap and chiffchaff migrated south for the winter while some chose to remain here was the subject of some speculation. I remember that one theory was that...

Peter Orchard 21/02/2020 - 21:18