You are here


Click the pic!

To aid users of mobile devices as well as those with a mouse or laptop finger pad this site uses a simple image-based menu system. Virtually every picture you see (images and photos) are links to more information arranged in a sort of top-down structure. See an image, click or tap on it to open a new page.

Usually seen only on migration in spring an autumn in Dorset



Photograph by: 
Ian Ballam

Ruff in Dorset: What your tweets tell us ...

Post date: Tuesday, 5 February, 2019 - 18:28

Ruff rank as one of Dorset's less common waders. They nest mainly in Siberia, Scandinavia and northern Europe down as far as Holland and then migrate in winter, some going as far as South Africa. It is not surprising, then, that only a few end up visiting Dorset as passage migrants or, very occasionally, to over winter here. 

The charts show that the numbers reported seem to vary each year, some years seeing far more than others. The number of reports might give the impression they are quite numerous but this is not the case. They are unusual enough here for every sighting to be reported and so what we are seeing is few visits but each visit being well recorded. The weekly chart shows that ruff can be seen all year round but, again, that is distorted by the presence of one or two long staying individuals who did not return to their breeding area in spring or decided Dorset was warm enough without having to go further south for the winter! Clearly, though, the autumn migration season between week 38 and 43 (September/October) is the most likely time to find them here. Certainly September/October 2017 saw a significant passage.

Ruff may be encountered at almost any of the usual wader sites along the Dorset coast but Lytchett Fields was were the 2017 migration peak occurred and a long staying individual was at Lodmoor for the latter part of 2018 and into 2019.

Predicting the best time and place to see ruff in Dorset is impossible; this is very much a species that one might be lucky enough to encounter on the coast in autumn.


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

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Ruff
Scientific Name Philomachus pugnax
Status Scarce
Interest Level
Species Family Plovers
  • 01 - January
  • 02 - February
  • 03 - March
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
  • 12 - December
Preferred Environment
  • Mudflats
Look for Tall, elegant wader with a reddish brown neck and breast
Additional Identification Notes
  • Mainly seen on migration in autumn can be seen in winter and early spring
  • Not common in Dorset with only a small number reported each year
  • Could be mistaken for a godwit but it has a much shorter bill  
Similar Species