Keep Recording with BirdTrack

Swifts are surely high on many people’s list a favourite birds. They typically arrive in the UK in late April and depart in July and August. An all too brief visit to our shores.

Their departure is a timely reminder that there is still great value in recording your bird sightings throughout the year.  Recording breeding activity and counting bird numbers at roosts, water bodies and on our local patches are important of course, but capturing arrival and departure times of our migrant birds is of great value too.

Martinet noir by Max.Bth, on Flickr
Martinet noir by Max.Bth, on Flickr

BirdTrack has its routes in the early 2000s with the Migration Watch initiative. Migration Watch was able to record the timing of arrivals and pattern of migratory spread of summer visitors across Britain and Ireland. BirdTrack expands on this as a year round recording package so that we can also study autumn migration (a much bigger challenge) and other movements and distributions.

As with Migration Watch, BTO are interested in not just when the first birds arrive or the last ones depart, but also want to know when the bulk of the population has arrived or departed (whether summer or winter visitors). Interesting information about passage migrants, such as inland wader movements can be gleaned.

BirdTrack has developed significantly over the years and continues to look at ways of further improving through added features. You can have a say in how it develops by completing a short questionnaire.

Whether you’re new to recording, a dedicated Atlaser looking for a new way to submit your sightings or an existing BirdTrack user, there are very good reasons to keep recording all year round.


Migrants on the Move

Sand Martins by markkilner, on Flickr
Sand Martins by markkilner, on Flickr

The first of this Spring’s migrants are now arriving in our region.  Wheatears and Chiffchaffs have already been reported and it must only be a matter of days before Sand Martins are back with us.  Cardiff Bay is often a good place to see these hirundines in numbers as they hawk prey over the water.

March of course, is a crossover month, with many winter visitors still present.  Purple Sandpipers remain at Ogmore and Black Redstarts are still on show at the Cardiff Bay Barrage. This year has been especially good for Great Grey Shrikes, and we’ve had a small party of Pink-footed Geese at Kenfig and surrounds.  Both are uncommon in East Glamorgan.

Follow our links for Local Bird News to keep up to date with bird sightings in the region.  BirdTrack too, has a range of tools that enable you to track species whereabouts and arrival and departure times.