British Birds May 2017

Published on 01 May 2017 in Latest issues

BB eye Getting our lists in order, by Jeremy Greenwood

The foraging ecology of Sandwich Terns in north Norfolk The Sandwich Tern is a familiar seabird yet little is known about its foraging ecology. This paper brings together the results from four years of boat-based visual tracking of Sandwich Terns from the UK’s largest breeding colonies, at Blakeney Point and Scolt Head, in Norfolk. Sandwich Tern is something of a ‘super tern’, capable of ranging more than 50 km from the colony and the results of work have contributed to conservation planning for this species.

Great Bird Reserves: Skomer Island Skomer Island has some of the finest seabird colonies in Britain, including the largest colony of Manx Shearwaters in the world, although most visitors come to see Puffins at what is the best site for this species in southern Britain. The monitoring of Skomer’s breeding seabird populations over more than 60 years has made a major contribution to our knowledge of North Atlantic seabirds, and the island has a long history of academic research on seabirds.

Do Willow Warblers ‘chiff-chaff’ when they are cross? Records of Phylloscopus warblers singing a mixture of Willow Warbler P. trochilus and Common Chiffchaff P. collybita songs are not uncommon. Of 11 mixed singers found recently in the Cambridge area, all were found to be Willow Warblers. The birds consistently delivered their Chiffchaff-type song 33% faster than true Chiffchaffs and their response to playback was generally more aggressive than that of Willow Warblers or Chiffchaffs with normal songs. It is suggested that such singing has become an integral part of the Willow Warbler’s repertoire: a second song used by some individuals when they are particularly excited.

Conservation Research News Seeing the Wood Warblers for the trees; Nest survival rates better in dense, regularly managed hedgerows

Notes Further evidence of the subspecies segregation of Brent Geese; Mallard duckling hatched successfully in a Common Buzzard nest

Recent reports and News & comment complete the May issue.

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