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Looking for Common Birds


Over one hundred and twenty birds have been recorded on Arran over the last two winters.  As part of the work on the national Bird Atlas, volunteers on Arran have been out recording the birds in specific areas.  In addition many people have contributed by sharing their bird sightings with me and these have been entered into BirdAtlas.  A great start has been made collecting data for the local Arran Bird Atlas that the Arran Natural History Society would like to produce for the wintering and for the breeding birds on Arran.  Half way through the four years of this project, I would like to share the findings with you and seek your help.

Some birds like Blackbird, Mallard and Oystercatcher have been recorded in every month of the year while others like Barnacle Goose, Goldeneye and Waxwing have only been recorded in the winter.  Some birds like Black Redstart, Firecrest and Great Crested Grebe have been recorded only once, while others like Buzzard, Robin and Wren have been recorded in many areas around Arran.  

In some areas of Arran, over fifty bird species have been recorded, while in other areas no birds have been recorded.  This may be partly due to remoteness of some areas, but other factors may be at work.

Take one of our more populated places, the areas in and around Lamlash.  Data from the first two years seems to show, that there are more areas around Lamlash containing Long-tailed Tit than containing Blue Tit.  This is just one of many examples where people report the “unusual” to me and overlook and fail to report the “common”.   In addition, in one area in Lamlash, fifty nine species have been recorded and in another area thirteen species have been reported.  The difference in number of species reported may reflect differences in habitat but it may reflect a difference in the enthusiasm of the people for reporting from that area.

There are lots of “gaps”: areas where even common birds have not been reported.  Here is just one example: Collared Dove, the small familiar sandy coloured dove that often visits gardens and farms does not look very widespread from the data collected, but is probably more widespread.

If you would like to see a list of the birds seen in every area in Arran or to check where any bird has been seen on Arran go to this link http://arranbirding.blogware.com/blog/ArranBirdAtlas

The Arran Natural History Society would like to produce an Arran Bird Atlas for the wintering and for the breeding birds on Arran.  No matter what your knowledge is of birds you can help by sending in your bird sightings to me – especially of common birds, such as Robin or Blue Tit.  I would like to hear from you.  This would help to ensure that the records for Arran are as accurate and comprehensive as possible.  Over the coming winter, November – February, please use the information on the website to help fill in the “gaps” and find any “missing species”.

Thank you in anticipation of your help.

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