The Wildlife Trusts’ 30Days Wild starts today. I’m sort of taking part with Dorset, Hampshire and Isle of Wight jaunts.

If you’ve been here in June before, you’ll have experienced the pure versions of 30DaysWild, with me doing something wild every day. You’ll also have received the summary report on the week in other years. Then I missed a few.

Despite my activity recently being reduced by arthritis in various parts of my body (doesn’t make walking easy), I’m planning to get out a bit more. I’m planning to post about my reactions to a great book I’ve been reading – Where to Watch Birds in Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. So I’ll start with a sort of review today. Then on Tuesdays and Thursdays I’ll write about the places in this book that I know, or knew. I’m hoping that I’ll make a few new visits and give you new photos, but I’m not making any promises.

Where to Watch Birds in Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (fifth edition)

by Keith Betton

Whether you’re seeking Firecrests or Hawfinch in the New Forest, Osprey in Dorset or eagles on the Isle of Wight, this book tells you where to go, what you’ll see and when to see it. Keith Betton’s fully revised and updated fifth edition of Where to Watch Birds in Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight [based on the earlier editions by George C. Green, Martin Cade, Richard Allen] is the essential site guide for any birdwatcher visiting or resident in the area.

This book contains a comprehensive review of the area’s significant birdwatching sites, providing all the information necessary to make the most of each and every trip, whatever the time of year. This edition also incorporates new sites and revised mapping throughout and has notes on access and target species. This book is an indispensable resource for birders in this bird-rich sweep of southern England. [goodreads]

My Review

This is not a book to read through from cover to cover. Despite that, it is exactly what I did. This is, rather, an indispensable reference book for the average person who likes to watch birds and has moved to the area. Or is visiting and would like to have a good chance of seeing nice birds. Lots of birds. And other wild things, in both wild and surprisingly built up areas. It is also indispensable for keen birders who want to add to their annual or life lists, and need to pick up those rarities that just happen to be relatively common in this part of the world. Keen birder = see BirdGirl.

And as I read it from cover to cover–roughly from the west of the area to the east, so it sort of makes sense in reading, too–I found myself rediscovering places I’d forgotten. I wondered why I hadn’t found things close to my new home during lockdown. Actually, the closest site to my home is rather difficult to find without detailed instructions. This has them.

The comprehensive nature of the book includes listing birds that you might be able to find, if you visit at the right time of day (guidance given) in the right season, and in the right place. However, your elusive species might only be seen once a year, but turns up regularly once a year. It might have been a really common bird – once. That story seems to be repeated often. The turn of the century saw a downturn in bird populations as well as variety. Others have increased (Red Kite, Raven, Collared Dove, Egret species). This latest edition of the guide gives the current status of the birds in the area, as well as their history, plus details of car parking, and even potential redevelopment plans.

#jemimasjaunts with a difference

It was one of these specific bird comments that made me think I should make this review into a more personal journey through the area. That’s what I’ll be doing on Tuesdays and Thursday during June. What you may like to know in advance is that my parents (who loved birds) moved to the area in 1970s, when I was finishing university, so I lived here while I was job-hunting. Then I moved to London, and onwards from there. As you can imagine, returning after more than thirty years means things have changed. I hope you come back and enjoy my thoughts on the wild places I’ve been, either now or then. Jemima’s Jaunts with a difference!

#30DaysWild with Jemima’s Dorset, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Jaunts
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