13 November 2008

Report time

Got the new Gwentcestershire Bird Report through the other day, and a most beautifully laid out and wonderfully shiny publication it is too (click here if you wanna buy a copy). A few items have caught the eye thus far:
1. I loved the final sentence of the Pink-footed Goose entry; someone has gone to great lengths in an attempt to find the merest shred of a thread of hope to cling to regarding the possibility that this escape once flew unfettered with his wild brethren (A+ for effort on that one).

2. Apparently, there were no Yellow-legged Gulls in Gwent last year, is that strictly true?

3. Equally apparently, there were no Great Northern Divers in Gwent last year, now I know that is not strictly true. In fact I know that's not true at all.

4. And even more apparently, there was a Corn Bunting recorded at Dingestow in 2006. I remember dipping it but I don't remember seeing it in last year's the report.

5. Finally, I noticed that an aythya hybrid I sent in as "Tufted x Ring-necked Duck?" became "Tufted x Ring-necked Duck". All it takes is an errant eroteme or invisible interrogation point and all doubt over the little critter's unholy parentage is whisked away. Shame really, I quite like the uncertainty a hybrid brings to the party.

Points 2-4, and the fact that at least four Arctic Skuas were missing from the report, illustrate the various, probably inevitable, failings in the current records collation process. Some people don't appear to send in records at all, others send in some of what they've seen, some forget to take notes as a county rare flies past (oops, thought they might have gone in as skua sp. at least) and then every now and again something falls through the cracks at the committee stage. All I can say is, we must all try harder.

PS. There appear to be a number of photographers taking photos of Schedule 1 species in suitable breeding habitat during the breeding season. Presumably they weren't causing any disturbance, or have the requisite paperwork. The adult Peregrine looks particularly pissed off.


Anonymous said...

Hi Darryl, I was mystified by the omission of my Corn Bunting from the 2007 report, as it was apparently only omitted from the 2006 report because it was being considered (later accepted & published) by WRAG. I was instructed not to mention the Dingestow Pine Bunting in my article, which was a pain as it slightly deflated my point about the excitement of finding rare buntings on one's patch (ie Corn & Pine, not Corn & Reed). Anyways, the trouble seems to be in the collation in this case, not in the submission of records. Sam

Darryl said...

Hi Sam, I thought I'd seen it in print somewhere, just found it in the 'Scarce and rare birds in Wales 2006'. I've had records 'forgotten' in the past, and have a Great Northern Diver in limbo at this very moment. Mind you, if one of my records is omitted it is usually down to me, I keep forgetting Arctic Skua and Marsh Harrier are county rares. Regarding the Pine Bunting, it shows how things have changed, nowadays you'd have digi-scoped it and that would have been the end of it.

Of course the other thing to mention is that, overall, the report is flipping good, compares favorably with plenty of more birder-populated counties. Albeit, this year's is let down by a crumby article on some dodgy Chiffchaff.