On 16th May 2007, in an area of Sweet Chestnut Castanea sativa forest at an altitude of c. 600 m below Mount Olympus, the highest deciduous woodland on the Greek island of Lesvos, I found three counter-singing male Common Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita. The species may breed sporadically in the area (Brooks 1998), although otherwise it is described in BWP as breeding in Greece only in the northern mainland mountains bordering Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria, where there are several hundred pairs of P. c. collybita (hereafter `collybita’). To my ear, it was immediately obvious that these birds’ songs were dissimilar to those of both P. c. abietinus (or at least to birds of that race breeding in Finland, where I have heard them) and collybita, and I recorded details as follows. creamy-coloured. The birds’ plumage seemed to be within the range of variation of abietinus and hinted at some of the features of Mountain Chiffchaff P. sindianus lorenzii. On purely geographical grounds, it would be expected that chiffchaffs breeding on Lesvos would be of the form P. c. brevirostris, described by Kirwan et al. (2008) as endemic to Turkey. That form is not, however, universally accepted as a valid race in its own right, while there is debate over its appearance and variability. Roselaar (1995) speculated that it might not prove separable from collybita, while Watson (1962) suggested that it may represent an intermediate form between abietinus and lorenzii (and Lars Svensson, in Dubois & Duquet 2008, suggested that brevirostris is
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BB 2000 Ltd, the company that owns and publishes British Birds, is run by a board of directors, all of whom are volunteers. The company employs two full time staff – Roger Riddington is the journal’s editor while Hazel Jenner manages subscriptions and administration – and three part-time design/editorial staff.
The company is wholly owned by The British Birds Charitable Trust (BBCT, registered charity no. 1089422). Neither the company directors nor the trustees are paid for their services, providing their time and enthusiasm because they passionately believe in the value of BB. The Company is managed with a view to making a small profit which can be donated to the Trust to help fund its charitable work.
Over the past six years, this, combined with donations from other sources, has enabled the Trust to give almost £70,000 support to a variety of conservation and educational projects ranging from rat eradication on seabird islands to the study of cuckoo migration, as well as assisting young birders develop their interest.
A full list of projects is given here. The Trust is seeking to expand its charitable endeavours and would welcome donations from like-minded organisations and individuals.