Dorset Bird Club








During the past couple of years, we have been aware that the Dorset Records Panel was not functioning as efficiently as it should have been. Moving forward, we are implementing significant improvements in terms of standards of recording, the speed at which records are assessed and communication with observers. The purpose of this update is to let observers know of how the Panel will operate in the future.


The Panel is now made up of:


•           Dave Foot, Weymouth;

•           Marcus Lawson (Chairman), Poole;

•           Mike Morse, West Bexington;

•           Ian Stanley, Weymouth;

•           Vacant


•           Geoff Upton (Secretary, non-voting).


As well as having a significant depth of birding experience in the UK and abroad, the current Panel has members from the most-birded areas of the county. There are presently no vacancies on the Panel but these will be advertised as they arise. The Panel would like to thank recently retired members Dave Chown and Kevin Lane for their many years of service to the Panel.



List of Species Considered by the Panel:

The list of species & subspecies requiring notes can be found on the DBC Website. There have been some recent changes to this list and for convenience these are listed below. These changes, which were determined at a recent Panel meeting, are intended to reflect the evolving status in the county of the species/subspecies concerned.


Species no longer requiring notes:


•           Black Guillemot in Portland Harbour; and

•           Great White Egret.


Species now requiring notes:


•           Grey Phalarope (non-settled birds only);

•           Iceland Gull;

•           Glaucous Gull;

•           Roseate Tern;

•           Little Auk;

•           Long-eared Owl;

•           Red-backed Shrike;

•           Ortolan Bunting;

•           Serin (except Portland);

•           Hawfinch; and

•           Tree Sparrow.


In addition, the following subspecies will now also require notes:

•           Scandinavian Herring Gull – argentatus;

•           Blue-headed Wagtail – flava; and

•           Continental Coal Tit – ater.


The changes described above will become effective on 1st January 2018.



Submission of Records:

The Panel’s strong preference is for the observer to complete one of the downloadable forms found on the DBC Website and then submit it electronically to recorderATdorsetbirds.org.uk and jolmitchellATbtopenworld.com. Accompanying photographs, regardless of standard, should also be submitted as a separate file, as should any sound-recordings.


If you are unable to use one of these forms, the Panel asks that the following details are included within the submission:


•           a detailed description of the bird;

•           how it was separated from similar species;

•           previous experience of the species being described and any similar species;

•           species present directly alongside;

•           viewing conditions;

•           distance from bird;

•           optical equipment used;

•           time of observation; and

•           duration of observation.


Please note, in an effort to ease the assessment process, the Panel strongly prefers to receive typewritten notes. In exceptional circumstances, legible, hand-written notes may be accepted.



Review Process

There will be two methods of assessing records:


Fast-track: If a bird is well photographed and multi-observed, then three Voting Members will cast their vote. In the event that all three don’t agree, it will be passed on for Full Circulation. Any member can ask that a Fast-track vote be changed to a Full Circulation.


Full Circulation: All other records will be assessed by all five Voting Members and a minimum of four Accept votes is needed for acceptance of the record.


A work-in-progress spreadsheet will be maintained and be available to view on the DBC Website. For records that require discussion, it is intended that the Panel will meet at least twice a year.


If a record is considered by the Panel to be Not Proven, then the observer will be informed prior to the work-in-progress spreadsheet being updated and the observer(s) name(s) withheld.



Dorset Records Panel Constitution:


The recently drafted constitution of the Panel can be found here.


If you have any questions regarding the constitution or this update, please contact the Secretary (jolmitchellATbtopenworld.com).




The Dorset Records Panel