A rather beautiful autumn day against which my initial intentions were ruined early on by the discovery of a bank transfer I'd made having gone astray. As the day moved on ,the situation got worse in that the money appears to have gone walkabouts!!! So, as you might imagine, more than a little time was spent selecting telephone options within far off telephone facilities and repeating the circumstances in mantra like fashion!! Predictions of when it ought to be found ranged from five days to a month , but I remain sceptical that anybody can predict when something lost will be found, but the assurances kept coming with Biblical confidence!
And so I turned to validating Atlas Survey records!! As many will know the British Trust for Ornithology are conducting a survey between 2007-2011 aimed at mapping the distribution of alll bird species during the winters and breeding seasons within those years. Necessarily the local Regional Representatives for each geographical area ( mine is Islay, Jura and Colonsay ) have to cast an eye over submitted records to ensure their integrity etc. There appears to be very few queries arise in actuality, but all records need to be scrutinized nonetheless. Grid references, computer entry problems and the usual gamut of "human" mistakes throw up a few records requiring amendment. In parallel with all this a few queries arise which lead to debate. For example,presumed non-breeding Great Northern Divers can hang on here until mid-June and then suddenly disappear, presumably northwards, to other areas in which they pass the summer. They breed in neither area and only really summer in one but it raises the question of what staus you afford them whilst they're in our waters!! Wintering Pintail which hang on in April in suitable breeding habitat, and then suddenly "disappear" overnight in good migration conditions, as do Goldeneye, have probably no intention of staying to breed in the first place!!
The bewildering choice of identifying pure Rock Doves that are like some of the Feral Pigeons elswhere, and sometimes act in the same way up here is understandable. Last year a mixture of the few Feral Pigeons in Bowmore, some of which look like Rock Doves , accompanied by a Rose-coloured Starling seeking out the lunch time leftovers in the square was entertaining. They all had a preference for chips!!
The 2009/2010 Winter Atlas commences on 1st November so now is the time to take a look at the BTO Website and see how you might assist. Give it a try as it can turn up various surprises, even in your own home area!!