Monday, January 14, 2013

NW BTO Members' Conference

Cost is £23 for the day which includes drinks and buffet lunch. 
Numbers are strictly limited so please book early.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Winter Thrushes

The latest BTO survey is a two-year project to investigate the numbers and use of the landscape by our resident and winter thrushes. It's a simple survey as identification only requires song thrush, mistle thrush, blackbird, redwing, fieldfare and, as options, starling and waxwing. A BTO You-tube exists at: to help if required.
In its briefest form it consists of only one visit - between 27th Dec and 10th Jan - with additional visits either side of this possible if required. There is a fairly simple(ish) on-line element for data entry that is linked to a mapping tool so you can actually map all of your sightings as part of your return. See:
Although individuals can pick their own area for coverage there are some core, randomly selected squares that require coverage. These are: SD3712, SD3313, SD3908, SD3902, SD3819, SD3005, SD4300, SD3905, SD400 and SJ4888, SJ4796, SJ4992, SJ4995, SJ4995, SJ4586, SJ4381.
Coverage of these squares in preference to others would be appreciated. You can register on line but any difficulties get back to me.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Bird Flu papers to publish

The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) has given the go-ahead for Nature and Science to publish two avian influenza papers it had previously recommended censoring, reported The Chronicle of Higher Education. Last December, the NSABB recommended redacting data detailing the mutations that the H5N1 viruses had acquired in lab experiments that conferred ferret-to-ferret transmission through the air. After meeting late last week to review revised versions of the papers, the NSABB reversed this decision, now recommending full publication.
So this should be interesting when they come out.


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

“The things you see when you don’t have a gun”

Pechora Pipit, Fair Isle, Shetland 1925: Jimmy Stout 101 years old today.
If I find a pipit can I live that long?

Monday, March 05, 2012

A welcome present...

I attended the AGM of the Lancashire and Cheshire Fauna Society over the weekend - that organisation that produces the Bird Report each year and is leading on the new Breeding and Wintering Atlas of the Birds of Lancashire and North Merseyside; and who are also doing an Atlas of Dragonflies in the North-West.
As AGM's go it was the usual affair - reports, elections of officers, expenditure and balance sheets, and the future plan for the next twelve months. So not much excitement there!!
What was exciting, but a bit anorachy I know, was that I was given a virtual full set of BTO News - from number 1 in 1964 to the year 2000. What a social history on the BTO Movement and the work it has undertaken over the years. I look forward to reading them, and then passing on little snippets of history.
Thanks Frank - much appreciated.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Breeding Bird Survey Training Day

Apologies for the lack of posts lately but work has been busy.

Saturday 17th March 2012
Merseyside Biobank, Court Hey Park (near the end of the M62).
We are holding a free BBS Training Day for all those of you who have thought about it but never quite taken the plunge. This course will give insight into the methodology and what is required to undertake it. Places are limited so booking is essential. Please drop me a line a.s.a.p. if you want to reserve a place. (harris at

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Otters on the Mersey (well Fiddlers Ferry at least)

Otters have returned to the River Mersey, which was once one of the most polluted areas of water in Europe.
The animals' pawprints have been spotted by Forestry Commission rangers by the river near Fiddlers Ferry.
Rangers have yet to spot an otter on the riverbank and have urged anyone who photographs one to contact them.