Course: Identifying Birds by Sight and Sound

Dorset Wildlife Trust

Dorchester, Dorset
28th - 29th April 2020 01300320684 Heather Radice

Cost: £190

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology

Whether you're new to birding or have some previous experience, join DWT’s Hamish Murray on a birding exploration around Powerstock Common and Kingcombe Meadows nature reserves.

Late April is a really good time in the birding calendar, as most of our summer visitors will have arrived from the south and resident birds will be in full song as they proclaim their breeding territories. This two-day course is for anyone who is keen to improve their skills in bird identification. It will help you identify common and scarcer species by sight and sound. It is suitable for anyone with an interest in birds whether they're a beginner, improver or more experienced birder.

With the exact balance depending on the weather, there will be a mix of field excursions on Powerstock Common and Kingcombe Meadows, plus some indoor sessions. As you find each bird you’ll discuss how to use all the clues that help identify it, including:

  • Where and when did you see it?
  • What’s characteristic about its movement/size and shape?
  • What are its distinctive colours and markings?
  • Is it on its own – are there lots of them?
  • How is it behaving?
  • Is it making any sounds?
  • How to remember the clues so you’ll recognise it next time.

You will take some time each day to review the birds seen and heard and learn how to distinguish them from their 'lookalikes' and ‘soundalikes’. You’ll also take a few minutes at the end of each day to record your sightings online on the BirdTrack website, so that there’s a permanent record of the species you find.

You’ll explore a variety of techniques and technology to help consolidate your learning. You'll look at what equipment to use, how to make simple field sketches and notes, how to use smartphone apps, cameras and other technology.

Although birds will be the focus, you'll also try and look at look at any other interesting wildlife encountered on your walks.

Note: There will be some walking on both days on footpaths and up and down slopes. This won’t amount to more than three or so miles spread through each day, but a reasonable level of fitness is required.

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