Birding Walks in Dorset

Dartford Warbler, male

Dartford Warbler, male, Hampshire, UK (Dave Kjaer).

£8 per person per trip.
10.00am-12.00pm.

FORTHCOMING WALKS (Meet on-site)

17th May – Radipole Lake, Weymouth
24th May – Ballard Down, Swanage
7th June – Dancing Ledge, Langton Matravers
14th June – Coombe Heath, near Wool
21st June – White Sheet, near Wimborne
28th June – Blashford Lakes, Ringwood
5th July – Fontmell Down, Blandford
12th July – Lodmoor, Weymouth

To book, e-mail me on dominic@birdwords.co.uk

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Champions of the Flyway 2017 – the Media Birders’ race day

COTF-logo-900-2016

CotF Media Birders

The Media Birders 2017 team. Andy Swash (left), Dominic Couzens (middle), Tim Appleton (right).

This year I was fortunate enough to take part in the annual Champions of the Flyway international Bird Race in Israel. 34 teams from around the world assembled to compete in a 24-hour Bird Race on Tuesday 28th March, seeing who could see and hear the most species in a 24 hour period in a defined part of Southern Israel, beginning and ending in Eilat, on the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea.

The following is a detailed account of our race day. It is written to thank our many sponsors and supporters for their help.

The reason behind Champions of the Flyway is to raise money to try to put a stop to the widespread illegal slaughter of migrant birds on the eastern Mediterranean flyway. Incredibly, more than 20 million birds are shot or trapped in various countries along the flyway every year. In 2017 the money raised will go to Birdlife International’s partner in Turkey, Doğa Derneği (Birdlife in Turkey) so that they may focus on halting the illegal killing of birds on migration. For more  information see http://www.champions-of-the-flyway.com/

RACE DAY – THE MEDIA BIRDERS

04.20 – We meet in the lobby of the Agamim Hotel, the starting point for all teams. Birdrace Organisers Dan and Jonathan are there and tell us that most other people are already out – have we blown this already with a late start? Ten minutes earlier a Common Whitethroat had struck the lobby windows, but had recovered from the blow and was released. That delay has cost us; we missed it and didn’t see another all day.

Downtown Eilat (04.30-04.45)
We go into the night of southern Israel; downtown Eilat is our first destination, where there is a roost of White-eyed Gulls by a shopping mall. A House Crow calls and the House Sparrows are well awake, but we cannot see the gulls. Let’s hope this starts to go better…

Then a Striated Heron calls out of the darkness. That’s a good bird.

1- House Crow 2- House Sparrow 3- Striated Heron Continue reading

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Hot off the Press!

Three years in the making, my new field guide to Britain and Ireland’s mammals is finally out!

Britain's Mammals Cover

Fully comprehensive, there are stunning photographs of every mammal recently recorded in Britain, including all 26 bats and 30 cetaceans (whales/dolphins etc).
There are detailed notes on how to identify every species, together with up to date distribution maps and notes on behaviour. It’s a must for every naturalist!

328 pages, 500 colour photos.

Signed copies are available from me on request (postage payable), and other copies can be bought through Amazon, NHBS and, in a few weeks time, from bookshops.
Only £17.95

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New book – out in April

A narrative book, it combines some of my birding experiences with lots of science about how birds live and survive.SOLAW Jacket

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Book Now for Early Spring Field Trips

These are the trips I will be running this early spring. They are open to all and are chosen to showcase the best of the season. Please do book up early to get your place.

To make a booking, please e-mail dominic@birdwords.co.uk. For more information on each trip, click under its entry in Events.

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

Friday 3rd February– Pulborough Brooks RSPB, West Sussex
Wildfowl hotspot with plenty of extra interest

Thursday 9th February– The Burgh, West Sussex FULL
Famous for raptors and owls

Friday 3rd March – Hayling Island, Hampshire FULL
Big wader variety, lots of tame Brent Geese

Thursday 9th March– Thursley and Frensham Common, Surrey FULL
Heathland birds such as possible Dartford Warbler, even Great Grey Shrike

Thursday 14th March– Ebernoe Common, West Sussex FULL
Lots of bird song in this gorgeous, secluded woodland site

Tuesday 21st March – Lower Test Marshes, Hampshire
Lots of bird song, chance of Water Pipit, Green Sandpiper

Thursday 6th April– Pagham Herbour, West Sussex FULL
Should be great for early migrants and much more

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

Friday 24th February- New Forest Finch Safari   1 place left
Potentially 10 species, including Crossbill and Hawfinch

Friday 31st March – Thatcham Reedbeds, Newbury, Berkshire FULL
Great range of birds and spring everywhere

Tuesday 11th April – Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes, Hampshire  1 place left
Expect 70-80 species in migrant hotspot

WEDNESDAY MORNINGS IN DORSET AND HAMPSHIRE
£8 per person per trip. Open to all. Please book. 10.00am-12.00pm.

25th January – Higher Hyde Heath, Wareham
1st February – Moors Valley Country Park, Ashley Heath
8th February – Holme Bridge, Wareham
22nd February – Arne RSPB reserve
1st March – Upton Country Park
8th March – Studland
15th March – Blandford (+ Otters, hopefully)
22nd March – Radipole Lake RSPB
5th April – Hengistbury Head

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Book now for Autumn 2016 Trips

These are the trips I will be running this autumn. They are open to all and are chosen to showcase the best of the season. Please do book up early to get your place.

To make a booking, please e-mail dominic@birdwords.co.uk. For more information on each trip, click under its entry in Events.

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

Tuesday 11th October – Adur Estuary, Shoreham, West Sussex
Good variety of habitats, birds to match

Thursday 20th October – West Wittering, West Sussex FULL
Big wader variety, lots of tame Brent Geese

Friday 11th November – Hook with Warsash, Hampshire FULL
For waders close up

Friday 25th November – Chidham and Cobnor, West Sussex
Great waterbird site, good for Merlin

Thursday 1st December – The Burgh, West Sussex
Famous for raptors and owls

Friday 9th December – Titchfield Haven, Hampshire
Birding in comfort for Avocets, waders, Marsh Harrier

Tuesday 13th December – Wisley and Papercourt, Surrey FULL
Come for half a day (£7.50) or the full one. Good Christmas shopping and birding

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

Tuesday 27th September – Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes, Hampshire
Expect 70-80 species in migrant hotspot

Thursday 3rd November – East Meon, West Sussex
For winter raptors, our first visit at this season

Tuesday 15th November – Thorney Island, West Sussex
Long healthy walk for sensational bird variety

WEDNESDAY MORNINGS IN DORSET AND HAMPSHIRE
£8 per person per trip. Open to all. Please book. 10.00am-12.00pm.

12th October – Longham Lakes, Ferndown, Dorset CANCELLED
19th October – Morden Bog, near Wareham
2nd November – Middlebere
9th November – Crichel Lake, near Wimborne
16th November – Lodmoor
23rd November – Stanpit Marsh, Christchurch
30th November – Durlston Country Park, Swanage
7th December – Poole Park and Baiter

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Birding in Early Spring 2016

The days are already lengthening, the birds are singing more each day, so why not come along on a field trip in the next few weeks. These trips are open to all, but please e-mail dominic@birdwords.co.uk to make a booking. For more information on each trip, click under its entry in Events.

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


Friday 11th March – Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex
Friday 18th March – Climping Beach, West Sussex
Tuesday 22nd March – Fleet Pond and Greywell

SPECIAL TEN-PERSON TRIPS
Special trips for small groups only. £25 per person.
10.30am-4.00pm. Bring packed lunch. Book early – places limited. Meet on site.


Thursday 3rd March – Chidham and Cobnor, West Sussex

WEDNESDAY MORNINGS IN DORSET AND HAMPSHIRE
£8 per person per trip. Open to all. Please book. Meet on site.
10.00am-12.00pm.

2nd March – Hengistbury Head
9th March – Maiden Newton, Dorset
16th March – Middlebere, Wareham

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Merry Christmas, everybody

And here’s to a bird-filled New Year.

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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 dominic@birdwords.co.uk to make a booking. For more information on each trip, click under its entry in Events.

DAY TRIPS

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 TEN-PERSON TRIPS

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)

 

WEDNESDAY MORNINGS IN DORSET AND HAMPSHIRE

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

10.00am-12.00pm. 

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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Estonia

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 in due course.

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