Once our most common bird of prey but now a cause for concern.
I have led a number of walks in my time and the question I get asked most is than 'What was that?' and it is usually followed by 'How do you know?'. New people to nature watching often place their entire emphasis on plumage colouring and forget all the other factors. For example, we handed over our RSPB credit card with a picture of a kingfisher on it in a local shop recently and the shop assistant said 'My wife saw a kingfisher in our garden recently'. I asked him whether they lived by a river or the coast and the answer was 'No, near Wareham Forest.' I suggested it was a nuthatch rather than a kingfisher and the response was 'How do you know?'
This is obviously a picture of a kestrel, but how do you know? Chestnut brown colouring; mottled plumage underneath; black bars in the tail; but there is something far more obvious, what is it doing? It is hovering; it is hunting; therefore it is a bird of prey and, as the only one that hovers is a kestrel then you do not even need to lift your binoculars to see the plumage markings (by the way buzzards do hover of sorts too).
It is not just about plumage it is about size, shape, posture, movement, activity, location, time of year, time of day, population numbers, instinct, experience, a whole bundle of things. This is not just true for birds but for every facet of wildlife, including flowers and other plants.
This species has been seen at the following sites featured on the Nature of Dorset:
This map shows the nature reserves and 'hot-spots' featured on the Nature of Dorset where this species has been seen. Obviously it will occur in other places too but this is intended to give you a graphical guide as to the species distribution in Dorset. Click any marker to see the name of the site; you can then click again to see more information about that site.
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The Small Print!
This website has been created by, and is the copyright of, Peter Orchard, Wareham, Dorset. The website is run as a hobby and the information is made available free of charge to anyone who finds it useful. No responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions in the data and information supplied. Copyright of all photographs on this website (unless otherwise stated) remains with the publisher or the contributor and they should not be used by others for any purpose without permission.
Please note that the data on this website is not the result of scientific research, it is a collection of random observations made by a very amateur enthusiast. The species database covers everything from mammals to fungi and no one can be an expert in all of these taxa and much of the identification is restricted by the quality of reference material available. One person cannot possibly produce the definitive guide to the nature of Dorset and so species lists will be incomplete and there will be reserves not covered but as time goes by so the database will grow and (depending on health and the weather) the content will become more comprehensive as time passes.
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