As 2020 draws to a close, most of us will reflect on an extraordinary year and a degree of curtailment of our personal freedom that is likely to persist for many British-based readers as this issue arrives. This month, our regular BB eye slot has been given over to the impact of Covid-19 upon various aspects of British and international ornithology and conservation, although in effect this relates to the initial phase of the pandemic and the spring lockdown. At the time of writing, the second wave of the virus is affecting most of us and the longer-term effects of that, and perhaps subsequent waves, may be even more significant than those of the first wave. Add on the potential effects on the environment – agriculture, marine policy, conservation – of Britain’s exit from the European Union, throw climate change into the mix and it would be a brave soul who made too many predictions for 2021. In such situations, continued monitoring (as far as possible) of our bird populations assumes even greater importance, so it is good to see the 2018 Rare Breeding Birds Panel report appear before the year’s end, and to welcome a new Secretary to that organisation. Two years ago, a short but intense period of cold, late-winter weather (somewhat unfairly dubbed the ‘Beast from the East’) had a notable impact on several breeding species that struggle in hard winters; another severe cold snap this winter would add a further dimension to what the next few months have to offer.
On behalf of everyone at BB, I wish you and your families well for the remainder of the year, and look forward to a new volume in January and to keeping a watching brief on our bird populations – rare, vulnerable and otherwise.
728 BB eye: The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic
733 News and comment Adrian Pitches
737 Rare breeding birds in the UK in 2018 Mark Eaton, Mark Holling and the Rare Breeding Birds Panel
792 An apparent Willow Warbler x Common Chiffchaff hybrid in Warwickshire Tim Marlow
797 Obituaries – Ludwik Tomiałojć
803 Recent reports