Friday, 19 July 2013

Cambridgeshire Bird Atlas 2007–2011 now available

Cambridgeshire Bird Atlas 2007–2011
Louise Bacon, Alison Cooper, Hugh Venables
Published by the Cambridgeshire Bird Club, July 2013
ISBN 9780902038271
£15.00 + £2.00 p&p
Available to buy from NHBS and Amazon

The Cambridgeshire Bird Atlas 2007–2011 is now available to buy. It provides a complete and comprehensive overview of the summer and winter distribution and abundance of birds in the county. There are 500 detailed maps which show where 167 bird species can be found breeding or wintering. Facing the maps are expert species accounts interpreting the maps and placing them in historical and national context.

The atlas has been compiled from data collected for the British Trust for Ornithology's national UK Bird Atlas 2007–2011. That project, perhaps one of the largest examples of 'citizen science' ever undertaken, involved over 40,000 enthusiastic volunteer surveyors over four summers and winters.

For this Cambridgeshire Bird Atlas, almost a thousand contributors – from professional ornithologists to ordinary birdwatching members of the public – provided details of the birds they saw, either during timed visits to specific Ordnance Survey squares, or as roving records through the seasons. Species have been mapped at a closer level of detail than for the national atlas – at the 2 km square level; there are just short of one thousand such squares within the county boundary. Records were received from 90% of these squares.

The Atlas highlights the changing fortunes of Cambridgeshire's birds. There have been some winners, particularly among birds of prey; Peregrines, Marsh Harriers, Hobbies, Buzzards and Red Kites are flourishing. Among the rarer breeding birds, Bitterns have returned to a number of the county's nature reserves, which also now have breeding Cranes, Avocets, Little Egrets and Bearded Tits. The washlands of the Ouse and Nene continue to hold very important numbers – in a European context – of wetland wintering and breeding birds.

The Atlas also shows patterns of decline among species of extreme conservation concern. The scarce birds of ancient woodland – Hawfinch, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Woodcock – barely hang on as county breeders; and Tree Pipit, Redstart and Willow Tit have been lost. Once typical farmland birds, for which Cambridgeshire remains an important county – Grey Partridge, Turtle Dove, Corn Bunting, Yellow Wagtail, Yellowhammer – continue their free-fall decline both in the county and across the UK as a whole.

The readable species accounts in the Cambridgeshire Bird Atlas 2007–2011 will be accessible to birdwatchers, or anyone interested in wildlife, at whatever level of expertise.  The Atlas maps and data will also be highly relevant to local government, to schools, and to other agencies, institutions and organisations involved with planning, land-use, ecology, the environment and nature conservation in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

See sample pages:

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