Monday, 31 January 2011

Making the million

With the nightly upload of BirdGuides records to BirdTrack working well (more details here), we finally passed the million mark at the weekend. We now have a whopping 1,000,486 records loaded and available for analysis!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Menzie In A Spin

Warple Mews has been turned into a film set thanks to the arrival of ace US photographer Nick Mann of Touch Press. We have him shooting exuvia. He and Stephen Menzie are also up to something revolting with a suppurating mouse. Hopefully the one that ate Santa's bonce.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Fulmar update

Hopefully you'll have already read our recent article on the monitoring of plastics pollution by IMARES using Fulmar stomachs.

Well the good news is that the Rotterdam Port Authority has now produced a film further highlighting this important work. The film aims to encourage ships to use the available Port Reception Facilities, as most North Sea litter originates from shipping and fisheries. It will be distributed as a DVD to thousands of ships and is also available online. The English version of the film is available on the IMARES site.

Records on the move while we sleep

Having recently loaded pretty much all of our archive of bird records into BirdTrack (all one million of them!), we had more good news this morning. Between the BTO IS Team and our own Dave Dunford, we've now managed to set up a nightly process whereby all of the day's records are automatically grabbed and loaded into BirdTrack, making them available the following day.

This is a great achievement and one that deserves a big 'thank you' to all involved. The only annoyance is that we still haven't quite made the million mark, and as of today, we have a grand total of 998,627 records in our BirdTrack account.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Wanderings of LAOL:RAOM

You may have seen a while ago that we published a summary of the wanderings of a colour-ringed Great White Egret on our webzine - if not, why not register for free right now? The map of its journey back then is below:

View French Great White Egret in a larger map

But this bird popped up again recently when Michael Colquhoun sent us this great photo of the bird, which is currently at Ham Wall RSPB reserve in Somerset. This does seem to be its final stop-off for the winter, and it joins at least another four birds in the area. Considering Great White Egret was still a nationally rare bird as recently as 2006, a wintering FLOCK is quite amazing.

For info, this bird was ringed as a nestling in May 2009 at Besne, in Loire Atlantique, France. LAOL:RAOM is simply its colour-combination (left above, Orange over Lime etc...).

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Next prediction anyone?

A while ago now we canvassed opinion from the News Team (and some luminaries at the BTO) as to what the next first for Britain might be. Last week saw one of these popping up in the form of a crazy-looking Slaty-backed Gull at Rainham landfill in London. Sadly it didn't stay round to long to be appreciated by the masses (all 1,200 of them on Saturday morning), but a great bird nonetheless. So I thought I'd let you in on some of the other predictions and you can dust off your field guides and join the hunt!

Some went straight for the possible fall-out from a good hurricane season, in the form of Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler or White-eyed Vireo. Or perhaps even Willet or Lincoln's Sparrow?

Black Throated Green Warbler

Others looked to the sea, where strange seabird occurrences seem to be the norm these days: Horned Puffin anyone? Or what about Pygmy Cormorant or an acceptable Greater Flamingo from the Continent? From the east, we could look at Middle-spotted Woodpecker, or further afield to Siberian Accentor or Daurian Jackdaw. Many of these wouldn't be firsts for the Western Palaearctic, so are perhaps a good bet.

棕眉山岩鷚 Siberian Accentor

All make for interesting thinking, and certainly the stuff dreams are made of.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Turnstones and Green Sand with bling

I was just thinking of posting something about my colour-ringed Turnstones when an equally interesting story popped up. Having seen a couple of colour-ringed Turnstone way over the wrong side of the harbour at Newlyn at New Year, I finally managed to track them down recently and get a better look. There were two birds sporting rings, above and below the 'knee', though I have a horrible feeling one may have lost a ring. I haven't heard back yet, but think these are Swedish birds, so watch this space...

Of more interest was a Green Sandpiper colour-ringed at Nanjizal, near Land's End, in July 2005. It was sadly found dead in southern Finland recently and is the first of this species to be found there. Not a bad movement and it had managed to avoid being seen for over five years!

View Green sandpiper in a larger map