It feels good to be signing off with an issue containing such a varied mix of content: a paper on the behaviour of Hen Harriers in winter, illustrated with the sort of photographs that we now take for granted but which add so much to the ability of an author to describe and illustrate bird behaviour; the identification of a species that is not (yet) on the British List but which will certainly be on the radar of rarity finders who work the east coast in late autumn; a little-known seabird, new to Britain; and a variety of notes, book reviews and other short items towards the end. I’m confident that there will be something in here for everyone.
Notwithstanding all the work that has gone into the longer items, I wanted to make special mention of the two two-page contributions that book-end the issue. John Tucker’s BB eye on his long-term project to document the historical ornithological record in his home county of Shropshire has been a mammoth undertaking. It’s not one that anyone would sign up to lightly but almost all other British counties will have similar untapped seams waiting to be mined. And then there is Toby Phelps’ account of his term-time patch, the Tremough 10k. The idea of a local patch being defined by a 10-km circle from home (rather than, say, geographical features or parish boundaries) is a neat one, especially if you want to compare effort between patches, and perhaps also if you’re contemplating a ‘green’ local patch. I really enjoyed it and am toying with the idea of a Virkie 10k for my retirement. In the same way that John’s article shows what industry there is out there in county ornithology, Toby’s piece gives me plenty of encouragement that student birders are doing good things when they’re not in lectures (lockdowns permitting, obviously). It’s a great way to finish the issue.
127 BB eye: The value of historical county records
129 News and comment Adrian Pitches
133 Territorial behaviour of the Hen Harrier in winter Gerold Dobler
148 The identification of Northern Shrike in Europe Aleksi Lehikoinen
166 ‘Mandt’s Black Guillemot’ in Lincolnshire: new to Britain Dave Roberts
167 ‘Mandt’s Black Guillemot’ in Lincolnshire: the BOURC assessment of the first British record Christopher McInerny and Robert McGowan
184 Recent reports
185 My patch