Avon BTO

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.