Unfortunately a day of administrative emphasis (a DAE ). Productive and necessary as it happens. It also coincides with the commencement of the third full summer BTO Atlas Survey aimed at establishing the distribution of bird populations in the UK and Ireland. A big "ask" you might think, but immense numbers of volunteers have already contributed records for the preceding winter and breeding seasons and tremendous inroads into the coverage necessary has already been made. With only a small number of resident birders we're beavering away but I'm confident we shall manage more than the minimum coverage required.
I've been thinking about Annual Ornithological Reports, constructed around the convenience of man's calendar as opposed to reflecting the more "natural" elements of our bird populations, their movements, arrival and departure times etc. I've decided to try and produce a report for my recording area which commences at the very end of March ( when most of the winter visitors have gone, except geese!! ), when our summer visitors are arriving, be they from sub saharan Africa or France and Iberia. Our resident and immigrant populations can then be reported on as far as the outcome of their breeding season, the numbers remaining throughout or their progressive departure dates commented on , contrasted against autumn arrivals or passage birds. Full reportage can then be given on our winter visitors , their fluctuations and their eventual departure the following spring. I suppose the system falls down for many areas farther south where summer migrants arrive early and previous to the departure of some winter visitors. At least the general picture holds firm here to a large extent. I do so hate the entries that read, "Smew... the bird reported on in our previous report remained until late February, etc etc". We shall see.....
I was saddened to see a doe Rabbit in the garden suffering from the advanced stages of myxamatosis. Such has cleared out the big warren nearby ( see earlier posts ) and I thought it would have perhaps worked its way through the population by spring , but not so! She evaded capture but doubtless will appear again.
All of a sudden Goldfinch are begining to move through with several pairs or small groups appearing around the feeders at various points during the day.