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Recording Birds This Winter


As we enter the final winter of the national Bird Atlas 2007-2011, I am encouraging you to be out there recording birds and sharing your sightings with me.

Over one hundred and twenty bird species have been recorded on Arran over the last three 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 all been entered into the national BirdAtlas.  The quantity of data collected nationally is huge and when put alongside previous distribution atlases it represents an immensely rich source of information about the changing status of birds in Britain and Ireland.  The final publications will provide a lasting legacy in terms of conservation and research uses.

As well as the contribution to the national atlas, the Arran records are helping towards the production of a local Arran Bird Atlas. The Arran Natural History Society would like to produce documentation and maps on the distribution of every breeding and every wintering species on Arran.  Over the last three winters, a great start has been made collecting data. Some of that data can be seen on the website Winter Data October 2010 http://arranbirding.blogware.com/blog/ArranBirdAtlas/WinterDataOctober2010 with maps on many of the species wintering on Arran available on this link http://arranbirding.blogware.com/blog/ArranBirdAtlas/WinterMapsOctober2010/_archives/2009/9/22/4339253.html

Here is an extract showing where four familiar species, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover have been recorded over the last three winters.  Is Chaffinch really more widespread than Greenfinch?  Is Ringed Plover less widespread than Oystercatcher?  How much does the data reflect where humans are rather than where birds are?   The data may not be complete.   To try to get as accurate an impression of the distribution of every bird species wintering on Arran, the larger the quantity of data collected the better.  Every record, even those of our familiar birds, helps make a contribution to the big picture.  Last winter I received over 1500 records.  This was a 50% increase over the previous winter.  This coming winter I am looking for even more records.

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 send me your bird records.

Thank you in anticipation of your help.

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