Sunday, 25 December 2016

A look back at 2016 and the highlights

This post is a review of my birding and Patch Watching at Longham Lakes and Lytchett Fields.
As you will see at the start of January 2016 I started a Patch Work Challenge for the two sites mentioned above but as the challenge progressed I picked a target of see a hundred species for each site. This I achieved for the Lytchett Fields patch, but only managed 94 species for the Longham Patch as I do not think I will see another six species before the years is out.
I have really enjoyed doing the challenge as it as made me focus on the sounds and ID features of the birds and along the way I have had some very nice lifers on and off the patches and site first.


Had 6 birding days this month and though no new lifers all the bird spotted were new for the year.
I record 29 species on the 1st at Longham Lakes which was not a bad start, it will be interesting to see how many I see at the start of January 2017.
In contrast at the Lytchett Fields patch on the 3rd I recorded 38 species,though this being estuarine with fields pools and well hedged lanes on the way down to the watch points gives a better scope for more species.
All in all not a bad start to the year and the highlight of the month was a Peregrine
A very poor phone scoped shot of a Peregrine


Had 8 birding days this month between Longham and Lyt
chett, like last month most of it was wet and windy at times,though the birding was good with the usual species for both the sites.
One of the birds I do like to see and also seem to have trouble getting a decent picture of is the Bullfinch
Record shot of the Bullfinch

Watching over Sherford Pools Lytchett.


March was a great month for me with two cracking lifers and site firsts at Longham Lakes and Lytchett Fields.
The first, site 1st was at Longham with 16 Black -tailed Godwits which was a very nice find after 4 hours patch watcning between Lytchett and Longham on the 4th & 5th.
But the best was to come in the next few days as on the 13th ( my wife's birthday) I was walking down the lane at Lytchett towards the fields when I heard a bird call and sound I had not heard before it was a bit like someone squeezing a squeaky dog toy fast. So I looked up at the oak I was standing next to and to my surprise and my word at the the time OMG, I had not only found a lifer but also my site first , I have been hoping to see one for such a long time. It was only a wonderful male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker what a find I was so excited and at the same time I could not believe how small the bird was for a woodpecker, I had read in field guides they were not much bigger than a sparrow, but to see one so close you realise how small these birds are for real.
Male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

What a bird the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is
Then on the 16th I went on a local twitch to see a like Siberian sprit over at Portesham
the sprit was a lovely looking Palla's Warbler.
This little bird  spent at last four maybe five weeks in Dorset so as most likely wintered here for a while. It will not be long be until it takes off on its long flight of 5,000 Km to its breeding grounds.
The photo does not do the bird justice it was a lovely looking bird with a yellow median crown stripe, yellow supercilium and black eye stripe. Two yellow wing bars and a primrose yellow rump with white under parts, just lovely to watch. The bird is only 9-10cm long and about 4-7 grams in weight, it breeds in Siberia, through Northern Mongolia to Northeastern China and winters in subtropical China and in parts of Asia . What a bird and a new lifer
Record Shot of a Palla's Warbler

Palla's Warbler Portesham
I end the month with
63 species for Longham Lakes
76 species for Lytchett Fields
and these two cracking Lifers Lesser Spotted Wood and Palla's Warbler


April seemed a very quite month for birds if my memory serves me right. though I did have a couple of trips over to Corfe Castle to find and listen to one of my favourite song birds the Nightingale
Corfe Castle

After seeing and listing to the Nightingale which is a lovely song so many verses, I watch one of the first spring Wheatears and Whinchats that arrived on a wonderful spring but windy and chilly morning.
Spring Wheatear


What a month May was with two mega lifers for me and again site first for me at both my Patch Work Challenge sites. My first trip of the month was down to one of my favourite places Lytchett Fields were I had six site first for myself and one of the birds was only a third for the site.
One was a wonderful Bar-tailed Godwit in full breeding plumage a stunning bird.
A stunning close view of a Yellow Wagtail
and a site third with a Sanderling.
But May was going to get much better when local patchers watchers found a Black Winged Stilt and a Glossy Ibis birds I very much wanted to see having missed them the last time they appeared in Dorset, but I was stuck at work when I found out about the birds. The afternoon seemed to drag on and on while at work and I kept think hope the bird as not moved on this is the link to the post I made about the trip
Though I did not have good luck through as one late afternoon walk round Longham Lakes I missed for me a very special site first as I rush past some fench post on the last leg a round the lake as I was getting late to be home at the stated time. The bird was ONLY a Nightjar what a bird to miss sitting out in the open.
I will leave off now for a while and will up date again soon.


  1. Great update. Hope you had a good Christmas.

    1. Thanks Darran, yes had a good Christmas hope you did too