British Birds, July 2013

Published on 01 July 2013 in Latest issues

July 2013 cover

BB eye Why birders should tweet

Report on scarce migrant birds in Britain in 2004-2007 – part 1, non-passerines This report presents data on scarce migrant birds in Britain between 2004 and 2007. Sixteen of the 17 species removed from the BBRC list at the end of 2005 are included here for the first time (Ferruginous Duck was treated in this report from 1995 to 1998), while ‘Black Brant’ also makes its first appearance here. Some species appeared in record numbers during this four-year period, while others fared poorly. The long-term trends for several species, in particular waders and several passerines that breed in Europe, show a gradual decline, whereas Nearctic waterfowl and waders, together with passerines from Siberia, are generally increasing. Species doing well included Green-winged Teal, Great White Egret, Black Kite, American Golden Plover and White-rumped Sandpiper. In contrast, Tawny Pipit fared especially poorly while numbers of Ferruginous Ducks, Red-footed Falcons, Red-throated Pipits and Rustic Buntings also fell. Many species in this report have now been monitored for 40 or 50 years, making this a robust and valuable dataset for investigating long-term changes in populations, distribution and movements.

Flight heights of Marsh Harriers in a breeding and wintering area The proliferation of windfarms in Britain in recent years has attracted much attention from conservationists, with particular concerns for large birds of prey. Two large wind turbines were installed on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, in 2013, close to an important breeding and wintering area for Marsh Harriers, and there may be future applications for more turbines in the area. In this study, data on several aspects of the flight behaviour of Marsh Harriers on Sheppey were collected, including the height of flying birds, which is a necessary component in any assessment of collision risk. The results suggest that suggests that during September-February, 85-99% of flights would be below the height of the blades of the current turbines but during the breeding season that figure falls to 52-66%.

Notes Bait-fishing Little Bittern; Treetop hunting by Marsh Harriers; Sharing of prey by female Marsh Harriers; Common Buzzards robbing Marsh Harriers of prey; Attempted predation by Common Kestrel at a House Sparrow nestbox; Black-headed Gull with supernumerary foot; Persistent attacks by Eurasian Sparrowhawk on Eurasian Jays; Crop size and food caching of Eurasian Jay; Male Blackcap singing while incubating; Juvenile European Stonechat feeding sibling

Letters Daylight hunting by Barn Owls – is England a special case? The origins of the vernacular name of Common Scoter

Reviews, News and Recent reports complete the July issue.

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