Hampshire Bird Report 2022


  • Hampshire Bird Report 2022 (Hampshire Ornithological Society, 2023).
  • 266 pages.
  • Available for £16.25 including p&p for non-members here.

As soon as I saw the front-cover image of a Dipper on the latest annual report from the Hampshire Ornithological Society (HOS), I was intrigued. I quickly arrived at page 161 to find out more – Dipper, a classically northern and western species in Britain, had bred in the county for the first time since 1992, with careful detective work by local birders resulting in the birds being widely appreciated.

This, for me, encapsulates a lot of what county birding is all about – dedicated local fieldwork, citizen science, a connection with your local area and, of course, the enjoyment of rare birds when they do occasionally come along. As a whole, the Hampshire Bird Report 2022 is testament to the hard work and professionalism of HOS, with more than 250 pages of interesting content produced merely months after the dust had settled on the year in question.

My review of the 2018 report described it as "setting the bar" for county bird reports, and this latest edition is equally as impressive. Much of the clearly laid-out text, charts and tables is taken up by the species accounts, which are well written and easy to digest, and complemented by carefully chosen and high-quality photos. The utter wealth of records available to the compilers of the report is striking – Hampshire birders get top marks for submitting their sightings, which can't be said for all counties. Indeed, the included record-submission guidelines and list of required species is useful and clear.

Beyond the species accounts are a selection of papers, which focus on some of the county's rarer or declining breeders. Each was fascinating, and I particularly enjoyed the deep dive into Hampshire's Lesser Spotted Woodpecker population (one of the most important in Britain, especially in the New Forest) by rare breeding bird supremos Ken and Linda Smith and Rob Clements. And, of course, finder's accounts of rarities make excellent reading, with the 2022 report featuring Alan Lewis's gripping tale of the county's first American Black Duck and vis-mig stalwarts John Clark and Graham Stephenson detailing their ridiculous inland fly-over record of Cory's Shearwater.

As has come to be expected with Hampshire bird reports, this is a brilliant, well-produced trove of information – and it's worth grabbing a copy, which you can do here.

Written by: Ed Stubbs