Your Holiday Records Needed

aea06d04-951c-4b77-9548-3ec7ab62723fFieldwork for the European Breeding Bird Atlas 2 concludes this summer.  EBBA2 will map the distribution and abundance of Europe’s 500+ breeding species across more than 50 countries. Huge progress has been made already, but your records are still needed to fill gaps in coverage.

Some of the countries where gaps exist, including Portugal, Greece and Turkey, are regular destinations for UK birders. Others, such as Albania, Armenia and European Russia, are further off the beaten track.

BirdTrack users can help by submitting records – with breeding evidence codes – from wherever they travel in Europe, using the global data entry tool or the new app.

Information on how, and where, birders can help is given on the EBBA2 website.


Atlas Late Breeding Evidence

Yellowhammer | Овсянка by Anatoly Kraynikov, on Flickr
Yellowhammer | Овсянка by Anatoly Kraynikov, on Flickr

With Atlas fieldwork for the timed counts (TTVs) now complete, efforts can now focus on looking for confirmed breeding evidence over the remainder of the season.

Late nesting species like Yellowhammer, Spotted Flycatcher, Bullfinch and House Martin are still breeding so look out for adults carrying food for young, occupied nests or recently fledged young.

Other species such as House Sparrow may be having their second or third broods.

You can help the Atlas process by:

  • submitting your paper forms to BTO via Wayne Morris by 31 August
  • submitting all your data online by 31 December
  • responding to any queries raised through validation by 31 January

Thanks to everyone for supporting the Atlas in East Glamorgan!

Last Orders Please!

Spotted Flycatcher by nickpix2011, on Flickr
Spotted Flycatcher by nickpix2011, on Flickr

We’re now into the final week of field recording for the Bird Atlas, with just one weekend left.

Please make every effort to complete your late breeding season TTVs, and capture Roving Records wherever you may be.

Several species are still actively breeding with late broods, and young fledglings are now out of the nest but still dependent on their parents for food.

Finally, once the survey period closes, please submit your data as soon as you can, and ideally no later than 31 August 2011.

Have You Seen a Quail Recently?

Coturnix coturnix by Jan Svetlík, on Flickr
Coturnix coturnix by Jan Svetlík, on Flickr

Many of you will be thinking that is a silly question.  Quails being famously difficult to spot.

The species is scarce in East Glamorgan, with just two Atlas records from the Vale of Glamorgan so far. Could Quails be more widespread than we think?

Over the last few days, the species has been heard in Cardiff and in neighbouring Gower.  Now may be a good time to get out Roving and explore suitable habitat, listening for their distinctive ‘wet-my-lips’ call.

You never know, you may get lucky and actually see one!

Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix) by Ante Strand from Sweden, xeno-canto

The End is Nigh! Atlas Records Wanted

Hungry Nestling Chicks - The Song Thrush by possumgirl2, on Flickr
Hungry Nestling Chicks - The Song Thrush by possumgirl2, on Flickr

Thanks to all volunteers who’ve helped with the Bird Atlas. We’re now approaching the final few weeks of the survey period.  Nationally we’re in a great position to achieve our target of comprehensive coverage across Britain and Ireland.  We are however, still looking for more records, to plug gaps and get the most complete picture we can for the local atlas organised by out partners, the Glamorgan bird Club.

In these last few weeks out priorities are:

  • Breeding Evidence – now is an excellent time to confirm breeding.  There are still many gaps to be filled, even for common species like Wren, Dunnock and Collared Dove.  You can see where the biggest gaps are,  but it is worth checking 10-km squares where you live or nearby for gaps. There are still some surprising gaps! The easiest way to check is to login to the Bird Atlas and in Data Home click on ‘My Local Gaps’. Remember if in doubt enter the record. It is better to have duplication than a gap.
  • Timed Tetrad Visits – please try to complete all remaining TTVs as soon as possible.  Bird activity gets quieter in July so now is a good time to complete them.  Any problems regarding coverage contact Wayne right away.
  • Roving Records effort – there are still tetrads that need more general birdwatching effort to find new species.  This guide helps you find where they are.

There are a few features in Atlas Data Home (login from the home page) that can help you atlasing:

  • My Local Gaps – gives you a list of species not yet confirmed breeding in a 10-km square
  • Any Square Summary – gives you a species list for any tetrad or 10-km square
  • Priority Squares – suggests species that might be missing from your 10-km square (based on species recorded in surrounding squares – watch out for habitat bias!)

Thanks again for all your help.  If you want any more help in pointing you in the right direction please contact:

Wayne Morris

Confirmed Breeding in ST16

Willow Warbler by Sergey Yeliseev, on Flickr
Willow Warbler by Sergey Yeliseev, on Flickr

Currently 10km square ST16 (Barry and environs) has a low count for the number of species where breeding has been confirmed for the Bird Atlas.

The square has 96 species recording in the breeding season but only 35 of these have been proved to breed there.  Notable species that have yet to be confirmed are Nuthatch, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Can you help plug the gaps in our knowledge?  If you can, please enter your Roving Records via the Atlas website or request paper forms from:

Wayne Morris

Land based tetrads in ST16 are:

Confirmed breeding has not been recorded for the following species in ST16.

  • Gadwall
  • Teal
  • Mallard (domestic)
  • Pochard
  • Tufted Duck
  • Lesser Scaup
  • Pheasant
  • Manx Shearwater
  • Cormorant
  • Little Egret
  • Grey Heron
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Buzzard
  • Kestrel
  • Water Rail
  • Oystercatcher
  • Ringed Plover
  • Grey Plover
  • Dunlin
  • Snipe
  • Whimbrel
  • Curlew
  • Greenshank
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Common Gull
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Feral Pigeon
  • Collared Dove
  • Cuckoo


  • Barn Owl
  • Tawny Owl
  • Kingfisher
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Skylark
  • Sand Martin
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Rock Pipit
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Wheatear
  • Mistle Thrush
  • Cetti’s Warbler
  • Grasshopper Warbler
  • Sedge Warbler
  • Garden Warbler
  • Lesser Whitethroat
  • Chiffchaff
  • Willow Warbler
  • Goldcrest
  • Nuthatch
  • Jay
  • Raven
  • Tree Sparrow
  • Chaffinch
  • Greenfinch
  • Goldfinch
  • Linnet
  • Bullfinch
  • Reed Bunting
  • Black Swan

Night Shift? Your Records Wanted

Moon Sky by garryknight, on Flickr
Moon Sky by garryknight, on Flickr

We are now into the final two months of Bird Atlas 2007-11, and we’re looking to collect as many records of species that are only really active during the latter part of the day.  Evenings on still summer days is an excellent time to prove the presence of Quail, detected by their characteristic call.

Other crepuscular species for which you may be able to gather valuable records at that time of day – if you are out in the right habitat – include Nightjar, Owls, Water Rail and Grasshopper Warbler.

Remember, if you discover any of these species during your visits, please enter a suitable breeding code, even H for Habitat or S for Singing is a valuable record.