Friday, December 19, 2008

18th December, 2008.

Mixed weather and a not terribly nice day but doubtless better than the one we can anticipate tomorrow!! It was interesting to view the sand/mudflats at Bridgend and see the large amounts of "seaweed" scattered over wide areas, dredged up and then deposited by recent sea conditions. Numerous Shelduck were present, systematically sifting through the larger accumulations of piled up vegetation.

I was surprised to see good numbers of Great Tits at a friends garden bird feeding station at Ballygrant, which contrasted markedley with the virtual absence of these birds in nearby woodland tracts and underscored the obvious conclusion. It also emphasized, for the Winter Atlas Surveys, what one needs to consider as key "habitats" within each tetrad!!!

Up to Dunlossit Estate to collect the "pig box" I'd ordered (actually half a pig ). They raise a variety of breeds and use them, at various stages ,in habitat management work on the Estate. One such project is in the management of areas for Woodcock, alongside which is a research study being carried out by the Game Conservancy Trust relating to the numbers and origin of the birds. A conversation with the Head Keeper suggested that they too had had an influx of birds at the same time as they'd begun to appear in this part of the island. It occurred to me that the results coming through from the BTO Winter Atlas surveys might also give an indication of periods of arrival, distribution and comparative numbers as most field workers comment on them being obvious at this time of year. The fact that surveys are also being carried out in Ireland should add further knowledge and data to that being amassed in Scotland, Wales and England and the timings when they move further west and how weather conditions might influence it all.

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