February 2017

Having tracked down some more regular 'tweeters' of wildlife sightings in Dorset the second month of the recording project looks more promising than January! With twice as many records a look at the list of 106 species shows just how remarkable the diversity of birds over wintering in Dorset is. In just one month there were twelve of what I would term rare vagrants that one would not expect to see and a further twenty eight species that are more familiar but still scarce in general terms.

The list of vagrants included the lesser yellow-legs that arrived at Lychett Bay in January and stayed the whole month and which was joined by another American species, a green-winged teal. Cattle egrets turned up in various parts of the county and a couple of great white egrets were at Longham Lakes for quite a while. Gulls are known winter wanderers and the rare Kumliens Gull made a short visit and so too did an Iceland gull and a ring-billed gull. A small number of waxwing appeared around locations in Poole and a rose-coloured starling spent some time on roof tops in Dorchester. Portland is the usual place for real rarities and provided a hume's warbler for the list and Abbotsbury boasted long staying Richard's pipits. A couple of Siberian chiffchaffs were found too.

Out at sea great northern divers were quite frequently seen along with red-throated and black-throated divers. Black-necked and Slavonian grebes were also seen frequently along with common scoter. Two long-tailed ducks stayed for some time at Abbotsbury and a good selection of waders where found at various locations, the most notable species being spotted redshank, purple sandpiper, knot and ruff.

The abundance of wintering birds helped boost the numbers of birds of prey hunting them! Eight raptors were recorded in all with merlin, kestrel, peregrine, buzzard, marsh harrier, hen harrier, short-eared owl and barn owl all making the monthly chart. Not all were feeding on waders of course! Not birds of prey but in a similar vein there were a couple of great grey shrikes seen during the month.

Away from birds there were various mammal sightings, the otters at Blandford continued to entertain the crowds in broad day light and visitors to Brownsea of course saw the delightful resident red squirrels. There were also records of roe deer, red fox and grey squirrel. The record of an adder revealed just how early in the year these snaked can emerge if the weather is mild and hibernating red admirals can also awake if the weather is kind and one was recorded in February, so too were drone flies, Eristalis tenax and, again, like the adders and the red admiral, February seemed very early for them.


The buff-tailed bumblebee is one of the earliest insects to emerge in spring

The records for this month have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Monthly Statistics: 
Total entries for the month of ... February 2017
Total Monthly Tweets 149
Total Monthly Records 196
Total Monthly Species 106
Total Monthly Sites 34
Total Monthly Contributors 28

Diary Section Guidance

This section of the Nature of Dorset enables you to look at records submitted by nature watchers from across the county for each month since January 2017. Records are collected from Twitter daily and are indexed, collated and stored in the Nature of Dorset database of recorded sightings. To make the data more easily digestible it is presented here as reports, maps, charts and photo galleries along with the original tweets from which the various views are generated. By using the SIX icons above you can click/tap to see:

  • REPORTS: There is a single report showing a list if all species for which records were submitted in each month
  • MAPS: There is a single map which shows all of the locations from where records were submitted during the month. You can click on any marker to see what species were seen at that location during the month
  • CHARTS: There are four charts showing the spread of records by species group, the spread of records by location, the spread of records by contributor and the spread of contributions by each day during the month
  • PHOTOS: For those records that were submitted with a photograph the photos are displayed in gallery
  • CALENDAR: If you want to see the detailed records for any days of a certain month you can select that day from the calendar list
  • TWEETS: This is the complete list of tweets collected during the month from which the data on the other pages are derived

On every page there is an option to print what you see if required. Once you have finished with the page you need to use your browsers 'page page' function to return to the month's home page before you can select another option.

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