As you might well imagine after being away a fortnight things like E-mails and correspondence, in addition to "domestic things", dominated the day. Whilst last week had its fair share of good migrants in the UK things seem to have "kicked off" over the weekend with a lot of very good birds being around, e.g Squacco Heron and White-winged Black Tern. Ah well, back to reality where, thankfully, over the past two weeks very litte appears to have got this far other than a Pectoral Sandpiper seen on one afternoon only.
Rare breeding birds seem to abound! Amongst various reports received Purple Herons in southern England are the most extreme newcomers. Hopefully they might yet follow the same pattern as did Little Egret previously!! Reflecting on many of the changes, both locally and in a more wider perspective, some species appear to be in better numbers, in new places and to be consolidating their situation. The results from the BTO Atlas will undoubtedly shed light on what has happened over the past few years and, I suspect, draw new distributions for many species. Iconic species, like White-tailed Eagle continue to thrive and extend their numbers gradually, benefit having been gained from the re-introduction programmes which have been conducted. By contrast, commoner species like Lesser Spotted Woodpecker appear to be at low ebb and attract less attention due, in part, to the greater difficulty of carrying out similar schemes. Again, but by pleasant contrast, the seemingly increased numbers of trans Saharan migrants like Cuckoo and Common Whitethroat, which appear to be in better numbers this year, are a welcome change given the increased knowledge we have about some of the drastic habitat changes in their wintering quarters. In a couple of weeks or so a good friend will be visiting , who also spends time in Gambia, West Africa, and who will no doubt have some commentary available on the continuing changes which are taking place there! As ever, the challenges outweigh the resources available!