The State of Birds in Wales, 2012

Drawing heavily on the wide range of BTO surveys undertaken by volunteers in Wales, the latest edition of The State of Birds in Wales has been published.  It marks the milestone of 10 years of reporting the fortunes of our bird populations.

sobiw2012BBS indices for 1995–2010 show that of the 51 native species widespread enough to be reported on individually, 16 had increased significantly, while eight had declined. Changes in the remaining 27 were too small to be statistically significant.  Starlings and curlews grab the headlines for the wrong reasons, but house sparrows and black grouse are fairing relatively well, and great spotted woodpeckers have increased by a remarkable 192% over that time.

Could you take on a BBS square and help improve our data for those 27 species where we have insufficient data?

Guillemots are doing well, feeding on shoals of sprats off our coastlines which is contributing to good survival rates in contrast to other parts of the UK.  Breeding is now 10 days earlier on Skomer than in 1995, which is thought to be a reaction to climate change.  The internationally rare Balearic shearwater is observed in Welsh waters in increasing numbers.

The annual Beached Bird Survey shows a continued decline in dead birds found with no oiled birds noted in the last 3 years.

All this and much more, including section on weather, bird and climate change, golden plovers, devolution  and some commentary on the future make for essential reading for anyone with an interest in birds in Wales.

Copies may be downloaded free of charge in  English and Welsh.


Eastern Glamorgan Bird Report 2010 Published

The latest annual bird report from the Glamorgan Bird Club has been published.

The Eastern Glamorgan Bird Report No 49 (2010) contains eighty two pages reviewing the birding year in our region.
East Glamorgan Bird Report 2010

As ever, the bulk of the report is taken up by the species accounts, commentating on the fortunes of resident, migrant and rare birds observed during the year.  There’s good and bad news.  Goosanders bred in our region for the first time, and the harsh winter weather was good for Bittern watchers.   Tree Sparrow may now be extinct, with just a single record from the Vale, and Dartford Warblers retracted to a single site, having shown signs of a possible expansion from there in the last few years.

A review of the year’s rarities shows that East Glamorgan is not always a barren wasteland for those looking to bump their lists up.  Marsh Warbler was recorded for the first time, while Glossy Ibis and Great White Egret were recorded for only the second and fourth time respectively.

Other features include  a report on the year’s weather, ringing reports, migrant dates, BTO news, the county list and obituaries for two well-known members of the local birding scene, Howard Nicholls and Graham Duff.  Glamorgan Moth Recording Group provide a short item on their year’s highlights, and the report is punctuated with a range of line drawings and photographs from talented local birders.

The Eastern Glamorgan Bird Report is free to all members of the Glamorgan Bird Club.

Copies may be purchased from John Wilson for £7.50 & postage.

John Wilson
Editor of the Eastern Glamorgan Bird Report
122 Westbourne Road
Vale of Glamorgan
CF64 3HH

tel: 02920 339424

Ringing Report 2010 Published

BTO Annual Ringing Report for 2010 has been published today. In Glamorgan, 6028 birds were ringed with 163 birds recovered*. In line, with the UK norm, Blue Tit is the species most ringed with 740.

Recovery data always makes interesting reading, and here’s a few select records:

Bird Ringing - Blue Tit by dawarwickphotography, on Flickr
Bird Ringing - Blue Tit by dawarwickphotography, on Flickr
  • A Knot ringed at Rumney Great Wharf in January, 1997 was caught at Vlieland, the Netherlands in August, 2010
  • Lesser Black-backed Gulls ringed in Cardiff have been observed in Guernsey, France, Portugal and Morocco
  • A Willow Warbler ringed at Kenfig NNR in August 2008 was caught at Tipperary, Ireland in May and June, 2011
  • A Starling ringed at Pentyrch in November 2007 crashed into a window in Juodeikiai, Lithunia in January, 2011
  • Reed Buntings ringed in Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve have been caught at both Ty’n-y-Caeau and Lan farms in the Vale of Glamorgan and at Oxwich Marsh.

The full report for the UK is available from BTO.

*Note, these are ‘working’ totals and are likely to change as more data is received, and/or corrections are made.

BBS 2010 Published

BBS 2010 The annual report of the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) has been published for 2010, and as ever it makes interesting reading.

In Wales, Skylarks, Starlings and Meadow Pipits have fallen to their lowest levels since the survey began.  Positive news is available though.   Stonechats recovered from the harsh winter of 2009, and Redstarts, Blackcaps and House Sparrows have seen their biggest increases since recording began.

Indeed, House Sparrows are bucking the UK trend of decline by showing an 87% increase since 1994.  Now we need to find out why?

Risely, K., Renwick, A.R., Dadam, D., Eaton, M.A., Johnston, A., Baillie, S.R., Musgrove, A.J. & Noble, D.G. (2011) The Breeding Bird Survey 2010. BTO Research Report 597. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford. 

State of Birds in Wales, 2010

The latest edition of the annual report State of Birds in Wales has just been published.  It draws heavily on the wide range of BTO surveys undertaken by volunteers in Wales.
State of Birds in Wales, 7
There’s a wealth of information to discover, with sections on seabirds, wintering waders, rare breeders and widespread breeders.

Population changes for species are outlined.  Golden Plover is now a rare breeder in our country, and both Starling and Swift have seen declines of 50% or more since the mid-1990s.  Notably, Stonechats have doubled in number, which may be just as well, given the harsh winter we’ve just come through.

Mediterranean Gulls look set to follow Little Egrets in becoming a breeding bird in Wales.  That’s probably no surprise to our colleagues in West Glamorgan, who see this species throughout the year, most notably around Bracelet Bay.

Copies may be downloaded free of charge in English and Welsh.