In a now-familiar fashion, the first issue in a new volume of BB begins with another significant reshuffling of the species systematic order that the journal follows (and, as most readers will be well aware, we have adopted that provided by the IOC World Bird List). Once upon a time it was the list of vernacular names that caused the headaches, and a bulging editorial postbag, but in the last decade or so the focus has been on the shifting sands of taxonomy. This year, a major reorganisation of the non-passerine families means that the bird reports of many lowland counties will now start with Red-legged Partridge, while nightjars and swifts can be found straight after the sawbills. Many readers, me included, will struggle with this for a while, although past experience suggests that the apparent upheaval will become familiar quickly enough. The changes reflect new knowledge, new studies and new interpretations of how the various bird families fit together in terms of their evolutionary history and relationships. The fact is that we live in an exciting period for ornithology, with new discoveries coming thick and fast. Some birders are uncomfortable with the prospect of being unable to identify some cryptic species in the field (initially at least), and of waiting for DNA results to tell them what they’ve just seen and whether they can tick it; but again history suggests that in a few years’ time most of us will regard it as entirely normal.
2 BB eye: The Delta Birding Festival Tim Birkhead
3 News and comment Adrian Pitches
8 The RSPB Centre for Conservation Science: developing evidence-based solutions to address the biodiversity crisis Richard Gregory
24 Important Bird Areas: The Wash Rob Lucking
44 Falcated Duck in Norfolk: new to Britain John Kemp
46 The Falcated Duck in Britain Andy Stoddart and Chris McInerny
59 Recent reports