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Monthly Summary Reports

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To aid users of mobile devices as well as those with a mouse or laptop finger pad this site uses a simple image-based menu system. Virtually every picture you see (images and photos) are links to more information arranged in a sort of top-down structure. See an image, click or tap on it to open a new page.

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 21
  • September 2018

    Submitted by PeterOrchard on Sat, 01/09/2018 - 18:48

    September turned out to a bit of a storm sandwich! A settled spell with some lovely days suddenly gave way to a week of westerly storms before the calm returned with more sunny skies and gentle breezes. The coming of the autumn storms quickens the pulse of 'twitchers' hoping for a series of exotic stray birds coming in on the strong westerlies but this time it was not to be with just a lesser yellow-legs showing up and staying a while at Lodmoor.

  • August 2018

    Submitted by PeterOrchard on Wed, 01/08/2018 - 16:18

    August turned out to be the proverbial "game of two halves"; the first two weeks saw the baking heatwave continue and then, suddenly, the weather changed, turned cooler and the breeze and cloud returned. Despite the change there remained a serious lack of rain. The first two weeks also saw little bird movement and then, in the second two weeks there were visible signs that the autumn migration was beginning in earnest.

  • July 2018

    Submitted by PeterOrchard on Sun, 01/07/2018 - 11:43

    July turned out to be something of a heatwave; after a timid start the sun really got into full gear by mid-month with temperatures reaching 28 here in Dorset and it was even hotter elsewhere. As far as nature reports went it was like July in mostyears I suspect, quiet on the bird fron but lots of insect records with some being quite notable.

  • June 2018

    Submitted by PeterOrchard on Fri, 01/06/2018 - 13:11

    June was an unsettled month for weather, sometimes cold for the time of the year and then turning more like summer eventually ending quite hot. What becomes apparent from the tweeted nature reports bird activity declines and butterflies and dragonflies start to take centre stage. This June, though, it seemed something was wrong. Migration is over by June with the birds going north to breed long gone but this June there signs of returning birds that would not normally reappear in Dorset until August at the earliest. This was most notable amongst the waders with species like black and bar tailed godwits, whimbrel, grey plover, common sandpiper, even wood sand piper appearing around our coasts, often still in breeding plumage.

  • May 2018

    Submitted by PeterOrchard on Tue, 01/05/2018 - 16:13

    At last the weather improved somewhat in May and the on-off bird migration in April started to pick up with more visible signs of movement. It was the larger birds that were most evident and brought the most reports with the red kite being the stand-out species. Not normally considered a migrant species there were 61 reports of incoming kites this month with large groups coming through together. It seems that being carrion feeders they found the going tough during the 'beast from the east' and some had drifted south into Europe so the improved conditions saw them returning to their home grounds in Wales and the Chilterns.

    On top of the red kite movement a number of ospreys were seen moving north as well as the usual movement of wheatear, whinchat and other smaller passage migrants. Of the local breeding birds there were first reports of nightjar from the heaths and little terns from Chesil beach.

  • April 2018

    Submitted by PeterOrchard on Sun, 01/04/2018 - 08:34

    Dire, dead, dismal - some of the words used by Dorset's wildlife tweeters in April! Normally the beginning of the migration season with reports of incoming passage migrants abounding and yet this year little seemed to be happening. There were a couple of 'spikes' in activity but on the whole it was a very quiet month. The abysmal weather obviously did not help but there is concern that there may be a more serious underlying reason for the lack of activity, something which has yet to come to light when the full picture is known perhaps.

  • March 2018

    Submitted by PeterOrchard on Thu, 01/03/2018 - 09:44

    March started with county (and the whole country) in the grip of the 'beast from the east!'. Most of Britain had an extensive covering of snow and even down here in the soft south conditions were pretty dire for a couple of days. This not only wrought havoc with the human population but threw many ground feeding birds into panic as they tried to escape the sever conditions by flying further south. For many that came south to Dorset there was bad news, it was not good here either and the only option was to head out to sea. Flocks of thousands of birds were seen flying along the Dorset coast heading west in the hope of finding feeding areas rather than actually venture out in to the unknown.

  • February 2018

    Submitted by PeterOrchard on Thu, 01/02/2018 - 08:06

    February was quietly working its way towards spring with some spring-like weather in amongst the usual rainy days and then it all changed! The wind swung round and instead of the normal mild westerlies we get it came in from the east, direct from Siberia. Termed the 'beast from the east' by the popular press it brought sub-zero temperatures for a few days along with the first snowfall in Dorset for a couple of years. This cold snap certainly stirred up the bird activity and also the activity of those who watch them!

  • January 2018

    Submitted by PeterOrchard on Mon, 01/01/2018 - 18:38

    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

    Submitted by PeterOrchard on Sat, 02/12/2017 - 07:50

    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

    Submitted by PeterOrchard on Wed, 01/11/2017 - 08:19

    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

    Submitted by PeterOrchard on Sun, 01/10/2017 - 10:06

    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.