Avon BTO

Monday, January 26, 2009

Third week

Three weeks in, and 27 tetrads have had their second count, twelve in the past week, and there are 92 to go. Paper returns are also beginning to come in as well. So its looking good, but February is a short monthg, and the weather can be bad, so use all the opportunities that come up.
Ive been beavering away at the very boring validation- and have got 90% done, but that is the easy bit. Checking the things I am bothered about will take time. One person, nameless, put Roving Records in for the wrong 10k square- and there are one or twon Breeding status queries that I have- principally birds that dont breed in the region put down as possible because they were in Habitat where they could. Also one or two July Fledglings who clearly did not breed in the 10km square in which they were recorded- BH is a case in point.
Rareities IDs and descriptions may also take some sorting as they have to be approved by the County recorder.
There will be a lot of chasing up of breeding status to confirm breeding this summer, and I am going to prepare a guide for anyone who wants one.
Good birding

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Second winter counts

Second counts are beginning to roll in- two paper ones now completed, and 13 on-line tetrads. 101 on-line to go. This is a good start, despite the very cold spell, and gales last weekend. Counts have been high as well- though during the freeze up there were some areas that were very empty- birds are forced to concentrate where food is available.
Talking of food, apart from Ivy berries, the hedges are empty of food- its no surprise we have not seen the Waxwings as there are no Rowan or Mountain ash berries left. The Redwings are now out on the fields surviving on in vertebrates- which is fine while temperartures are above freezing.
The average maximum temperature this winter since Dec 1 is still less that 6.0C- a good definition of a cold winter, and we could easily be in for another cold spell. So get the tetrad surveys in when you get a chance!
I have not yet completed the checking process, but have moved on the breeding season records. You may find me asking you to check the breeding status- this may mean that you have put down H for a species that does not actually breed in the area- or that you have failed to do so for one that does!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Second Counts start now

There are still some 22 First winter counters that I think have been done, but not yet entered; now we have to start turning the map (of Avon tetrads covered in winter) from Yellow to Black.
Three down and 111 to go. The first three counts have all been larger than the first ones for the tetrads concerned- but it is the maximum count for any species that is used.
The Validation exercise is going slowly- I have done about half so far- and have done the easy bits first- there are confusions over Pied/white Wagtail. Lesser Redpoll and Herring Gull which I will be writing to those involved about, and I have sent a list of rareities for checking to the Avon Recorder, and I will be following his recommendtions.
I am also checking and validating records as they come in now.
There are a lot of Bird Track and Roving Record results going in which are all very helpful- Keep them coming.
Rooks I have noticed are already gathering around their nests- keep a note of the sites so that when it comes to the summer you can do a proper Communal nesting count.
Good Atlassing in 2009
Richard Bland