Given that everyone I spoke to was saying how quiet it was at the moment I decided to have two full days devoted to admin work to play catch up!!! I've come to a conclusion it's something I ought to do more regularly!!!
As you know the BTO Atlas Survey is running from 2007-2011 and aims to record the distribution of both wintering and breeding species in Britain and Ireland over that period. We've made a good start on Islay, given the small number of active birdwatchers, but tribute must also be paid to the records received from the many visitors who have been here. It will be a challenge to gain the full coverage required, particularly on Jura, but one not to be fazed about!!!
There are two ways to contribute. One via "Roving Records", that is recording all birds seen both at home and whilst you're travelling around ( on holiday too! ). The other is to complete a "Timed Tetrad Survey", which is most likely close to your home area. A tetrad is an area 2 x 2km around which you plan a route, taking in as many different habitats as possible , recording all the birds you encounter. Records can either be submitted on a form or directly on-line. Have a look at the BTO web site ( www.birdatlas.net ) where there's an absolute wealth of detail.
Would you believe that, for the winter period, 484, 888 records have already been received and 15,754 tetrads surveyed!! Some records are still to be submitted so those totals will rise.
I'm already making arrangements for coverage for next winter and the following breeding season ( yes, I know, this one's not finished yet!! ) so, for those who have been involved, expect a knock on the door!! For those who never started, or who stuttered at the first fence, now is the time to plan ahead and commit!!!!! Seriously, do get in touch with me if you're interested in doing any surveys on Islay or Jura, otherwise the details of your own local regional organizer can be obtained from the web site.
Right, the mist has now lifted so I'm off out birdwatching!