Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Formby Magpie clan.

MAGPIES are viciously attacking local wildlife and pets and should be culled, a Formby councillor has said.

Ravenmeols Cllr Barry Griffiths says he has witnessed magpies carry out “sickening” attacks on birds in his garden.
“This year we have pigeons nesting in our leylandii and the chicks are getting quite plump ready to fly the nest,” he told The Champion.
“Two magpies who seem quite territorial have viciously attacked the chicks in the nest. We have had three very badly damaged pigeon chicks fall out of the tree on to the flags. One had both eyes pecked out and its head badly damaged and raw and a huge hole in its side where you could see its guts moving.
“It was still alive making terrible noises. Another hit the flags with its head ripped off bleeding out of its neck. These vicious attacks left us feeling extremely sick."

Sorry for the graphic details but not a great fan of Magpies either. It's not that I don't really like them it's just that I don't like them in a crowd - too much like a set of bully boys.

The full story can be seen at: http://www.champnews.com/html/newsstory.asp?id=5809

Picture taken from: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/andy.holt/digiscope/magpie/magpie.htm


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

BBS 2006

Ironical that you get the results for 2006 just when you’ve finished the field work for 2007. So, what of 2006 – well a record 2,647 volunteers surveyed 3,295 1km squares, counting over a million birds of 223 species.

Of 16 red-listed species, eleven declined significantly on BBS squares between 1994-2006, while four increased – Song Thrush, Grasshopper Warbler, Tree Sparrow and Reed Bunting (I'm presuming for the final one that there was no change).
Willow Tit -69% Starling - 27% Turtle Dove -61% Linnet -24%
Corn Bunting -39% Yellowhammer -16% Grey Partridge -37% Skylark -15% Spotted Flycatcher -29% House Sparrow -6% Bullfinch -28%.

The full report can be found at:
www.bto.org/bbs/results/BBSreport06.pdf
In Wales, that place the other side of the Wirral, House Sparrows are up 107% over the period 1994-2006; while Starling was down 51% and Bullfinch 42%. Stonechat were up 287%. It’s funny but we’ll probably be twitching ‘common’ species before much longer where they have become extinct locally.

Picture taken from: http://rxwildlife.org.uk/

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bird Atlas 2007-11

As most of you will know by now the BTO is running a National Atlas starting this November and running over the next four years. At the same time the Lancashire and Cheshire Fauna Society, working in concert with the BTO, will be collecting data to produce their second breeding and combined first winter atlas.

The whole of the survey is based on tetrads (scaled up to 10km squares for the national atlas) and one can either visit the tetrad and undertake a timed visit in order to produce abundance as well as distributional data, or randomly wander in order to produce a distributional list. It is hoped that all experienced birdwatchers and survey workers will adopt at least a couple of tetrads over the four year period. Tetrads only need one set of summer and winter data before it is finished and done – not visits for four years!

For Lancashire and North Merseyside, in agreement with the respective Bird Clubs, the local BTO Regional Reps are taking the lead in allocating tetrads to volunteers - and so now comes the purpose of this post.

Tetrads essentially are not allocated, you can pick the ones you want to do yourself. Obviously there are some that we would like repeated as they were tetrads covered for previous national atlases. But, that said, no one will be forced to do one – you can pick your own. So, if you feel you would like contribute to this survey work, and want to get first dibs on a tetrad, please let me know because I am already allocating them.