This is the seventh regional guide to be produced by Buckingham Press, and is arguably overdue given Dorset's reputation as a bird-rich county. At its widest points, Dorset is 50 miles from east-west and 40 miles from north-south, with a coastline (excluding Poole Harbour) of 88 miles.
The book follows the same format as the previous titles, featuring 65 sites that cover all the available habitats. Naturally there is a focus around Poole Harbour and the Portland/Weymouth areas, but sites have been chosen to give most people a location to visit. Each is described in around 500 words with lists of target birds, each of which has percentage rating on your chances of seeing it in each season. Other possible species are listed too, and in addition to very clear maps (often several for bigger areas) there is information on wheelchair access and public transport and useful contacts.
The average annual number of species seen in Dorset over the last ten years is 269 which compares with a county list of 417. All of these are listed with brief notes on status and suggestions of sites to visit. There is an overall introduction with birding tips and background information for all sites and a month-by-month guide for what to expect. Dorset offers good sea watching potential and a chapter explains how to maximise your chances of succeeding. The book includes illustrations by John Davis.