Friday, February 13, 2009

12th February,2009.

Not much to convey, I'm afraid. Foul weather, foul mood!! Mist and rain until mid-afternoon when it was too late to do anything and, worse still, the forecast suggests a repeat of such conditions for a few days yet!!!

Marshalling some optimism I set in motion arrangements to go over to Jura and complete some Atlas work next week. A "window" has appeared when all involved appear to be available, so all we need is good weather!! It's imperative that we get as many tetrads covered as possible prior to the end of February when the current Winter Survey concludes. And then, in April, the next Breeding Bird Atlas season begins!! The winter has shown that the reasonable conditions we've enjoyed previously can turn "negative" and prevent much from happening and I guess there'll need to be a realistic assessment of what is left and how best we achieve coverage over the final two winters. Whilst I know the work has been done, there's nonetheless quite an amount of data to commit into the system for Islay before we can develop a "game plan" for the future. At the end of the day, given the absolute minimum of volunteer helpers available here, the coverage achieved will be a fitting tribute to Islay's hardy stalwarts and their continuing willingness to support the surveys.
One aspect appears to have changed somewhat markedley this winter. Usually we have a noticeable presence of visiting birders , both at Christmas/New Year and thereafter. Much fewer seem to have been around, less "tour minibuses" and activities generally aren't as obvious. Doubtless this will have an effect on the number of incidental records received too, although I have to say there are "stalwarts" amongst these ranks as well whose contributions each winter, based on their week or fortnight holiday each season, are very much valued. You know who you are ( I've always wanted to write that )!!

And mentioning writing, has anyone ever read any novels by Henning Mankell? I have to admit to being a voracious reader , although I'm not usually drawn towards crime /detective novels. I picked up a book recently, from the library van, by the above author ("Firewall" ) and couldn't put it down! It figures Kurt Wallander, policeman in Ystad, Sweden and is packed with suspense and action from end to end. It also prompts you to lock the door and look under the bed before you retire, so be warned! He's written others involving the same character so I shall be on the lookout!

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