British Birds, May 2013

Published on 04 May 2013 in Latest issues

May 2013 coverBB eye Introduced species – to tick or not?, by Jeremy Greenwood

The changing status of the Great White Egret in Britain Chas Holt reviews the status of the Great White Egret in Britain. Records have increased significantly in the last 20 years; the species now occurs throughout the year in some parts of the country, and is sufficiently numerous for a population trend based on WeBS Core Counts to be produced. The source of the increase is probably the expanding populations in neighbouring countries, particularly the Netherlands and France. The species’ habitat requirements are reviewed in relation to research findings from the Netherlands and elsewhere. Further breeding attempts in Britain seem likely.

Nesting behaviour of the first breeding Great White Egrets in Britain The first recorded breeding of Great White Egrets in Britain occurred at Shapwick Heath NNR, Somerset, in 2012. Breeding behaviour was first noticed at one site in early April and at a second site nearby in late May. The nest-site, breeding behaviour, feeding rates and diet, and chick development are described in this paper by Kevin Anderson, Simon Clarke and Roger Lucken.

The breeding biology of the Common Buzzard In a long-term study of the Common Buzzard in Avon, Robin Prytherch watched the population in his study area increase from 13 pairs in 1982 to 105 pairs in 2012. Breeding output declined from 1.89 to 0.56 chicks/pair but varied quite widely between years. Nearest neighbour distance and territory size also declined. A density-dependent effect on reproduction was clearly shown, while rainfall in May depressed productivity significantly. Other studies are discussed with a view to determining the reasons behind the extraordinary increase in the national population of Common Buzzards.

Obituary Oscar Merne

Letters Plumage variability in Marsh Harriers; How many Siberian Chiffchaffs are reaching Britain? Statistics, birdwatching and the Hastings Rarities

Notes Egg-dumping by Grey Partridge; Unusual Hen Harrier behaviour; Corvids exploiting Longworth mammal traps; A female ‘Eastern Subalpine Warbler’ on Fair Isle; Nesting Water Rails in the Netherlands; Diet of Common Cuckoos on Scilly; Magpie nest on church spire

BBRC news Olive-backed Pipit removed from the BBRC list

Reviews and Recent reports complete the May issue.

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