Bird Fair, Rutland Water, 21-23 August 2015

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. I am going to the Birdwatching Fair on Friday (pm), Saturday and Sunday and would be delighted to see you there. Please do say hello. This is my programme:

SATURDAY: Lecture Marquee 1, 12.30-12.50pm - Extreme Animals

SATURDAY: Authors’ Forum 3.30-4.15pm - The Crossley ID Guide: Britain and Ireland
Followed by signing at Wildsounds

SUNDAY: Authors’ Forum 11.30-12.15 – Tales of Remarkable Birds – How Birds Stretch Credulity
Followed by signing at Subbuteo

SUNDAY: Events Marquee 3.00-3.45pm. The Wildlife Trusts presents Julia Donaldson’s “The Gruffalo”. A live presentation of the children’s story. Mummy Squirrel (Lucy McRobert) tells of a courageous mouse (Mike Dilger), a sibilant snake (Nick Baker), cunning fox (Rob Lambert) and peckish owl (Dominic Couzens), as they confront the creature living in the deep, dark wood: the Gruffalo (otherwise known as Bill Oddie)!

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Book Now for Autumn Trips

The summer seems to have flown by. Since my last post my wife has a new job (curate), we have moved house, we have been camping and it has been the school holidays. In September, I have to admit that getting back to taking people on field trips will seem tranquil and relaxing. I do hope you can join some. The trips are open to all, but please e-mail to make a booking. For more information on each trip, click under its entry in Events.


10.30am-4.00pm unless stated otherwise. £15 per person per day. Bring packed lunch. Book early – places limited.

Friday 25th September – Pagham Harbour, West Sussex
Thursday 8th October – Hook with Warsash, Hampshire
Friday 16th October – West Wittering, West Sussex
 Thursday 5th November – Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex
Tuesday 17th November – Fleet Pond and Moor Green Lakes
 Friday 27th November – Hayling Island, Hampshire
Tuesday 8th December – Burton Mill Pond, West Sussex
Wednesday 16th December – Wisley and Papercourt, Surrey



Special trips for small groups only. £25 per person.

10.30am-4.00pm. Bring packed lunch. Book early – places limited.

Friday 18th September – Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes, Hampshire
Tuesday 20th October – Thorney Island, West Sussex
 Tuesday 10th November – New Forest Finch Safari
Friday 4th December – Gulls Galore (Weymouth, Dorset)



£8 per person per trip. Open to all. Please book.


23rd September – Lytchett Bay, Upton, Poole
30th September – Hengistbury Head
7th October – Lodmoor
14th October – Longham Lakes, Ferndown, Dorset
21st October – Upton Country Park
4th November – Middlebere, Wareham
11th November – Maiden Castle, Dorchester
18th November – Blashford Lakes, Ringwood
25th November – Studland
2nd December – Poole Park and Baiter


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Coming Soon – Estonia blog

Wood Cow-Wheat (Melampyrum melanosum)

Wood Cow-Wheat (Melampyrum melanosum), Laelatu wooded meadows, Estonia, 12/6/15 (Dominic Couzens)

I have just been fortunate enough to visit Estonia for a few days. The flowers, as well as the birds, mammals, butterflies and dragonflies, were amazing. More details to follow soon.

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Book Now for Summer Trips

My remaining programme of summer trips is outlined below. The trips are open to all, but please e-mail to make a booking. For more information on each trip, click under its entry in Events.

10.30am-4.00pm unless stated otherwise. £15 per person per day. Bring packed lunch. Book early – places limited.

Tuesday 19th May – New Forest off the Beaten Track
Redstart, Wood Warbler, Firecrest, Hawfinch maybe.
Thursday 4th June – Marsh Common, Stockbridge
Warblers abound here, Water Vole.
Friday 19th June – Selborne, Hampshire FULL
Historical setting, variety of normal birds, butterflies.
Friday 10th July – London Wetland Centre (+ entrance fee).
If we get group rate (12+ people) entrance fee is £9.85 (no gift aid), concessions £7.34 (no gift aid), WWT members free entry.
Ducklings, chicks, coffee!

Special trips for small groups only. £25 per person.
10.30am-4.00pm. Bring packed lunch. Book early – places limited.

Thursday 21st May – Cheesefoot Head and Old Winchester Hill, Hampshire FULL
Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, Lesser Whitethroat.
Tuesday 14th July – “Raptor Rapture”, New Forest
Hoping for Honey Buzzard, Goshawk, Hobby.

£8 per person per trip (price rise). Open to all. Please book.

20th May – Dancing Ledge
Chance of Puffin, Linnets, Whitethroats.
3rd June – Tarrant Rushton Airfield
Corn Bunting, other downland stuff.
24th June – Blashford Lakes, Ringwood
Loads of warbers, waders.
1st July – Middlebere, Wareham
Waders, Dartford Warbler
8th July – Stanpit Marsh, Christchurch
Returning waders such as Whimbrel.

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New Factsheets

I have been working on some new factsheets for this website. Do take a tour around them. Did you know that Scops Owls often migrate in families and that Red-legged Partridges double-clutch? If not, have a look at free bird factsheets.

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Wildlife and Travel Blog

Bat-catching on an English autumn night

There are many joys to mammal-watching, but one is undoubtedly a tendency to do peculiar things. Take visiting a cave on a September dusk and placing long nets outside it, and then waiting, chatting in the gloom in the hope that furry animals with wings will fly into the mesh. Take sitting down with bat in gloved hand, extracting measurements by torchlight, fiddling with calipers and fine spring scales, checking the bats’ teeth and private parts, in a manner suggesting that this is normal life. It isn’t normal, but it is classic mammal-watching. While the world sleeps, we have adventures. Continue reading


Garden Surprise

17 May 2014
There are many advantages of playing football in the garden with your children. However, one that I had never thought of was to look up and see a Common Crane circling over to the north – but that’s what happened today. Sorry, the shots aren’t up to much, but it was quite a moment.

Common Crane, Ferndown, 17 May 2014 (Dominic Couzens)

A similar reward for good domestication happened a few years ago. On this occasion I was putting the bins out and happened to hear a Pied Flycatcher in the back garden! That was the first record of several that have turned up here in August.

Meanwhile, another shot of today’s visitor. Incidentally, we also had a Slow Worm on the lawn.


Common Crane, Ferndown 17 May 2014 (Dominic Couzens)

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A Great Summer of Birding

Why don’t you join me on one or two of these terrific field trips this summer? They are open to all, but places go quickly. The quickest way to reserve a place is to e-mail me on You will need to make your way to the meeting place (see Events)

DAY TRIPS (10.30am-4pm) £15 per person (please pre-book)

Thursday 8th May – Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex

Thursday 15th May – Farlington Marshes, Hampshire

Friday 23rd May – Titchfield Haven, Hampshire

Friday 13th June – Devil’s Punchbowl and Thursley Common, Surrey
You can pay £7.50 for each section or come to both.

Friday 27th June – New Forest off the Beaten Track

Tuesday 8th July – Medmerry, West Sussex

Friday 18th July – Selborne, Hampshire

SMALL GROUP TRIPS (10 or less), 10.30am-4pm, £25 per person, please pre-book

Thursday 5th June – Stodmarsh, near Canterbury

Tuesday 17th June – Martin Down and Garston Wood, Wiltshire/Dorset

Thursday 3rd JulyLangford Lakes, Wiltshire

Tuesday 22nd July – Raptor Rapture, New Forest

£7 per person per session. Please pre-book if possible (but spaces likely)

7th May –  Longham Lakes, Ferndown, Dorset
14th May –  Radipole Lake, Weymouth
21st May –  Swineham, Wareham
4th June – Mark  Ash Wood, New Forest
11th June – Badbury Rings
18th June – Blashford  Lakes, Ringwood
25th June – Tarrant  Rushton Airfield (north of Wimborne)
2nd July – Lodmoor,  Weymouth
9th July – Arne
16th July – Blandford (for Otters, Kingfishers and lunch!)

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Penduline Tit at Longham Lakes

Penduline Tit, juvenile, Longham Lakes, Dorset 27/11/13

As of yesterday, there is a Penduline Tit at Longham Lakes, on the bulrushes at the southern end, on the edge of the small pond.

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The Crossley Blog Tour

Welcome to day 9 of the Crossley Blog tour. The idea of this tour is to publicise the new Crossley Guide to Britain are Ireland, written by Richard Crossley and myself. We are very excited, because we think it is revolutionary, and personally I’ve already been very excited by the response, especially of people I have been teaching in the field.

Don’t take my word for it. Instead follow the Blog Tour and see what others have thought – details below.

Meanwhile, here’s the front cover:








And here’s one of my favourite pages, the MEDITERRANEAN GULL:


The page captures the essence of what many perceive to be a tricky species to identify, and there’s no doubt that gulls terrify many birders. However, when you see all the images together of a bird, even a gull such as a Mediterranean Gull, you perceive the features – bruise around the eye, heavy bill, blood red legs and broad, blunt wings – almost without thinking. Hopefully, it will work for many:

This post is part of the Crossley Blog Tour, so to find more reviews and articles please follow the links to other bloggers. Tomorrow it’s:

For a chance to win a signed copy of this fantastic book please visit:

If you wish to see a list of contributing bloggers please visit:

Finally, if you have any questions for either Richard Crossley and me then we are holding a live video call on November 21st on:

The Crossley ID Guide
Britain and Ireland
Paper flexibound. £16.95. ISBN:9780691151946
304 pages. 300+ colour plates. 250 maps.

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