Many readers will have played some part, however small, in the vast data-gathering exercise that has culminated in the fourth report from the Avian Population Estimates Panel (see pp. 69–104). The fact that there are so many birdwatchers in the UK, or rather so many who take part in the core survey work that underpins many of these estimates, is an optimistic counterpoint to this winter’s general environmental gloom. Inevitably, the estimate quality is patchy; there are some species which are that much better known than others. The report highlights the desperate need for better information on national seabird populations, with various species estimates still anchored by the counts from Seabird 2000. It seems a very long time since I was squeezing myself into a drysuit for another Zodiac trip to count Shetland’s Fulmars for that survey. It’s even more disconcerting to find that estimates for a handful of familiar winter passerines are still based on data from the Winter Atlas, for which fieldwork was carried out in the mid 1980s. However, at least we know where the weak points are, and it would be unrealistic to expect uniformly excellent coverage. Survey participation is surely one of our national strengths, and if there is any slack in your birding diary, there may be something worthwhile to fill it – visit for ideas. There are lots of vacancies for the Heronries Census – and there must be a realistic chance of Little Egret or something even better lurking unrecorded in some of our neglected heronries.

Roger Riddington

62        BB eye: New Networks for Nature  Laurence Rose 

64        News and comment  Adrian Pitches

69        Population estimates of birds in Great Britain and the United Kingdom  Ian Woodward, Nicholas Aebischer, Daisy Burnell, Mark Eaton, Teresa Frost, Colette Hall, David Stroud and David Noble

105      Water Rails in the UK – an estimate of the breeding population  Ian Francis and the Rare Breeding Birds Panel

110      The tide is turning for lead ammunition  Deborah Pain, John Swift, Rhys Green and Ruth Cromie

119      The BB/BTO Best Bird Book of the Year 2019  Stephen Menzie, Dawn Balmer, Tom Cadwallender, Sarah Harris, Ian Newton and Faye Vogely

121      Obituaries

125      Notes

126      Recent reports

127      My patch

Issue 2
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Roger Riddington
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