Avon BTO

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Half way

Almost as many tetrads have been done as have yet to be done- and three weeks to go.
Its been a bad week- cold and windy, and unsurprisingly most people have not gone out- though I hope the weekend will have been better, and I expect a lot of people will wait until the next bank holiday.
  • Birds of the week; This is a good time to prove breeding for these species. I list the 10k squares where they dont have proved breeding status.
  • Mute Swan. Not proved to breed yet in ST45, 65, 68, 75 and not even seen in 77.
  • Canada Goose. Not proved in ST 35,36,47,57,75,77.
  • Lapwing- hard to prove, but should have young now; Only proved in ST46, 66, 58, 68. Surely they still nest in 47, perhaps in 36 and 35, perhaps in 56.
  • Herring and LB Gulls are on their nests. Not proved in ST36, ST47, ST65
  • Feral Pigeon- look under any bridge and you will find young being fed. Only porved so far in ST 57, 67, 68, 76.
  • Blackbird- Not yet proved in ST37- Clevedon. Fledglings are about.
  • Young Rooks are being fed in and out of the enst- but not yet proved in ST47 or 66

Monday, May 04, 2009


51 tetrads done, 84 to go, and just over three weeks for it. A lot of people went out over the bank holiday, and there were some nice results- Cuckoos, Sedge and Garden Warblers, and Canada Geese goslings.
Rookeries are now pretty well concealed by leaves, but if there is one in your tetrad please make an estimate. A lot were missed last year. Some young rooks are already out on the branches- so that is FL for the breeding status. Ravens are just fledging too- they are far more elusive. Starlings are feeding young- and always make a beeline for the nest.
Keep working on the breeding status of the less common species- and put in Roving Records for any species anywhere if it helps to bring the status up a notch.
Richard Bland

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

99 to go

36 tetrads done, 99 to go, and five weeks left; no problem.
You will have noticed the nice tips on the Atlas home page about breeding status. Please try to assign a breeding status to every bird you see- not always easy I know, and just pouytting H or S is the easy option. But was the bird singing against another- in which case it is T- or were a male and female present- that is P- or was one bird displaying, or fighting another- that is D. Or is that bird going into its nest site- that could be N, or better still go for the two letter codes- Is that nest occupied- then it is ON. Is that bird collecting food for its young or carrying food in its beak- that is FF. At this time of year that is the best evidence- though there are yoiung in the nests of Ravens- which will fledge in a week or two, and Herons- and there are fledgling Moorhens and Mallard around.
Also please make it clear that when species is not nesting- Curlew should all be U- so should Black-headed Gulls, and all Herons not at a heronry- the sites of which we know- and all Cormorants. And try to distinguish between birds that are clearly Migrants - almosty all Sand Martins at present, Wheatear, Whinchat, Redstartand until the start of May all the migrant warblers too, and Yellow Wagtail.
But wandering Herring Gulls are best left without status, they are just food hunting- but make sure you dont miss the breeding pairs.
Good luck

Monday, April 20, 2009

Watch the map turn yellow

Take a look at the Breeding tetrad map for Avon (go to latest results, and click on Avon, then Tetrads in the breeding season). It is turning yellow as more and more tetrads have their first survey done. So far, this season and last we have covered 267, and this season we have now done 24 , with 110 to go that are electronic.
More people are putting in breediung evidence for their records, which is excellent- of course it is early days, but it is also importnat to put M for a migrant, U for a non breeding summering bird. If you are sure a species is not breeding in your 10km square, like Cormorant or heron, or in some squares Herring Gull, it is important that this is made clear. leaving breeding status blank because you are not sure is fine during the first survey, but every species ought to have some status in the second. And especially in the second survey try to find Proved breeding evidence, which is hard to get on the first survey for most species. And also in June and July check the list of breeding status I sent you, or check the latest results for your 10k square on the website, and put in a roving record for any species that you can prove breeding. We want to raise the statrus aof as many species as possible this year.
Good birding
Richard Bland

Friday, April 17, 2009

Breeding season on the way

Well, I still mean to write this up every Monday- but life has been busy.
So far, three weeks in, and 18 tetrads done, 116 to go.
Potential breeding Siskin and Lesser Redpoll have been seen on Mendip, ST55, and it would be very nice to get proved breeding for them.
Proved breeding for Owls is also very difficult- I am hoping for support from hawk and Owl Trust- last year was a poor one for Tawny's. I have plenty of evidence of presence, but little proving breeding. Crepuscular visits are worth making later in the season.
Validation. I am just about in position to validate lots of rartity records that I have queried, so the tedious little reminder on your screens should vanish, provided the Recorder was happy with the description you sent in. I will be in touch with observers whose rarities have yet to be sorted. And please send in descriptions for any rarity seen in 2009 as soon as it is seen.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I hope all is ready for the second breeding season. I am still short of a few observers in the Bath area, but we will I think get most tetards covered.

The key this season is to get breeding status right for every species in every square. I have sent round summaries of the existing situation to many people- please ask if you have not had one - but the best advice is if you see evidence that confirms that a species is breeding, ie Occupied Nest,(ON) Nest and eggs, (NE) nest and Young, (NY), Feeding Young(FF) or a young Fledgling (FL), put in a Roving Record. There should be at least 60 breeding species in every 10km square.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Winter results

Results from 378 tetrads in, six more paper ones on the way, and six computer ones promised, or 390 of 400 complete- quite a record.
I have calculated the maximum winter counts for each tetrad,and there are a few interesting results, representing minimum population numbers;- Little Egret 81; Buzzard 820; Shelduck 1109; Mute swan 535 ; Canada Geese 836; Rook 9766 ; Crow 9158 ;Raven 250
Average species per tetrad 35.4 Av max total per tetrad 710 Maximum total counted 258,571 ( note this is not the same as all the birds counted. I have yet to calculate that.

Looking ahead There are now 14 tetrads not covered for the breeding season. They are;-
ST35 L S T Y. ST45 Q. ST75 A. ST 76 AFWXY ST 77 ACEK That is S of weston, and the Bath area.
If you can help go to Choose TTV on the website, and type in the appropriate 10k square number- or contact me direct

Finbally i have breeding status lists for every 10k square if anyone who has not had one wants one.
Richard Bland