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Post Info TOPIC: Tip of the week


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RE: Tip of the week


Atlas update....

Look out for Swifts entering nesting sites (ON) and look for adult Reed Warblers carrying food to the nest (FF). Wren is one species that has been overlooked in many squares - check your tetrad has confirmed breeding.

Use 'My Local Gaps' in Data Home on the BirdAtlas website (login first) to see what gaps in breeding evidence there are in your 10-km square. View breeding codes.

Useful dates:
31 July - complete TTVs (only 9 days to go )

Aug & early Sept - continue roving and look for breeding evidence for late breeders.

Thanks as usual to all atlas contributors - we're nearly there, but don't give up yet

Steve



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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


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Ian McKerchar wrote:

Steve Suttill wrote:

Latest tips (lifted from the BTO website):

Now is a good time to make an evening visit to your 10-km square to listen out for crepuscular and nocturnal species such as owls, Snipe, Woodcock, Grasshopper Warbler and Nightingale.





Perhaps specifically listening out for the latter species in Greater Manchester is ambitious biggrin.gif





Is it not an ambition of yours to hear a Nightingale in Astley Green, Ian? confuse.gif Whilst conducting these "crepuscular listening sessions" you might turn up Nightjar. Almost as ambitious as Nightingale, but I reckon the county must be due a visit soon...

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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


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Steve Suttill wrote:

Latest tips (lifted from the BTO website):

Now is a good time to make an evening visit to your 10-km square to listen out for crepuscular and nocturnal species such as owls, Snipe, Woodcock, Grasshopper Warbler and Nightingale.





Perhaps specifically listening out for the latter species in Greater Manchester is ambitious


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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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Steve Suttill wrote:

Latest tips (lifted from the BTO website):

Lapwing now have young in many areas (FL) so it's a good time to confirm breeding. There are 409 10-km squares in Britain and 113 in Ireland where Lapwing has been recorded as PROBABLE breeding. Can we upgrade these to CONFIRMED?




We can give ourselves a pat on the back in GM as Lapwing has been confirmed in all nineteen 10km squares which are either wholly or partly in GM.

However, as Bill brought to our attention in his recent species in focus piece there are still plenty of tetrads in GM which need upgrading to confirmed.

Steve



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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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Latest tips (lifted from the BTO website):

Lapwing now have young in many areas (FL) so it's a good time to confirm breeding. There are 409 10-km squares in Britain and 113 in Ireland where Lapwing has been recorded as PROBABLE breeding. Can we upgrade these to CONFIRMED?

Stonechat are feeding young (FF) or else holding territory (T). Grey Wagtails are feeding young or have recently fledged young (FL).

Now is a good time to make an evening visit to your 10-km square to listen out for crepuscular and nocturnal species such as owls, Snipe, Woodcock, Grasshopper Warbler and Nightingale. Look on a map for any suitable habitat for these species and arrive around dusk.

When using breeding codes, please ensure birds are in suitable nesting habitat. Regarding migrants - take care to use the appropriate code and consider whether the species may be on passage.

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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


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Atlas update....

(lifted from the new look atlas website: http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/birdatlas)

The snow and freezing conditions are making atlas fieldwork difficult (often impossible) in many areas. We all hope conditions improve soon and we can make our early winter visits to tetrads by the end of December. There are still many 10-km squares that require more Roving to increase the species list (see Roving gaps).

Species such as Barn Owl can become more obvious during snowy conditions as they are forced to hunt in daylight hours.

If you are stuck in the house, now is a good time to catch up on data entry!


-- Edited by Steve Suttill on Friday 10th of December 2010 09:47:44 AM

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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


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Latest post from the Bird atlas website: www.birdatlas.net

We are now busy preparing for the final winter of fieldwork to ensure that species lists in all 10-km squares are as complete as possible and that the minimum requirement for Timed Tetrad Visits is met. Take time to look at winter coverage and take on new tetrads where needed. Look at the new 'Priority Squares' feature in Data Home to help you see what species might be missing from your 10-km square. The Regional Results pages are very helpful when assessing coverage.

If you need any further local info, please contact me.

Thanks to all atlas recorders for all their efforts so far.

Steve


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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


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Quite a few begging juvenile GCGs around the Wigan Flashes yet, Henry.

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Judith Smith __________________________________ Lightshaw hall Flash is sacrosanct - NO paths please!


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Breeding records getting less and less now but a pair of Collared Doves have just begun nesting in my front garden.
More surprising, just over the county border at Tatton Park NT today there was a juvenile Great Crested Grebe still being fed by an adult! BTO Bird Facts do state that this species can take 2-3 months to fledge however.
Henry.

-- Edited by Henry Cook on Tuesday 28th of September 2010 06:35:48 PM

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You are clearly more observant than I am Bill. Amongst the many treasured moments I've had from bird watching over the years, seeing an adult Wood Pigeon regurgitating food down the throat of a juv, is not one of them.biggrin.gif All my records of confirmed breeding for this species are of adults seen sitting on a nest (ON) which can often be quite visible.
I pride myself on being able to identify, by call and song, most species of birds regularly occuring in the UK. However, I can't recall ever hearing the begging call of a juv Woodie. I'll have to listen out for that in the 2011 breeding season.
According to the BTO's Nesting Neighbours nest guide chart Woodies nest from March to November with the core period extending surprisingly from April to October. Our database is showing ON records from 2nd April (SJ98J Offerton Green) to 18th July (SD91K Jubilee). Records for recently fledged young (FL) run from 10th May (SJ89G Southern Cemetery) to 27th July (SD90L Park Bridge).
Last weekend I saw 2 juv Goldfinches begging for food and being fed by an adult on Dock seeds. I agree with Steve's point, that if there has been no sign of a species in a tetrad during the core period of the breeding season, then it is unlikely that a family party seen in September has bred in the tetrad. However, for the more common species, they will probably have been present throughout the breeding season.
In August I saw an adult Twite feeding 2 juvs and asked Nick Wilkinson, RSPB Conservation Scientist, whether they were likely to have bred in the area where I saw them. His answer was yes.
Clearly a thorny issue as to where we draw the cut-off date for confirmed breeding records for the GM Atlas. In an ideal world we would be able to confirm everything during the period April to July. My own view is that it is better to have a late confirmed breeding record for a species in a tetrad than none at all, but late breeding records could be identified on the distribution maps as such, by the use of a different colour.

Steve


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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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Bill certainly is adept at opening cans of worms - must be why the birds all flock to his garden smile.gif

The question of how far dependent juveniles travel from their nest site is a tricky one, but there is an easy answer (for atlas purposes) - almost certainly into the next tetrad!

If the only record of a species in a particular tetrad was of recently fledged young, I would not feel as confident about the record as I would if there had been other records of lesser status (singing male, pair in suitable habitat, etc). However, as we have been asking observers to record the highest level of breeding status, we are going to get quite a few records of this type. For this reason, I would urge observers to use their discretion when submitting records of dependent juveniles at this time of year. It's quite possible that you might see migrating Arctic Terns still feeding their young whilst migrating through the area - but please don't use this as evidence that they bred here no.gif

I'm lucky that I can still hear Goldcrests. Many people of my age (and younger) cannot. However, I would be pushed to differentiate between juvenile begging calls and usual contact calls.

Steve

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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


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Definitely a fascinating subject to discuss Bill.

I've similarly heard Goldcrest juvs making begging calls (near Hale Barns) even this morning. The concern is of course how far away, and when, did they fledge.
To answer this, I've been keeping a close eye on this Goldcrest family in particular. They fledged a few weeks back in trees just across the road and haven't moved around very much throughout; a radius of upto 50m from nest tree but usually less than 20m). The localised habitat seems to provide them with everything they need. So it could be presumed that other Goldcrest families around the county stick close to the nest area for quite a while and therefore begging calls at this late stage could confirm 'recently fledged' status if using my local family as an example? I realise that might not exhaustively be the case with every pair though and individual families, from peripheral habitats or colder areas say, may forage further afield. Probably best to edge on the side of caution now. The family hasn't broken up yet to join tit flocks etc, but the cold weather over the next few days might shake things up.

Henry.

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Henry & Steve,

Firstly, apologies for including this long-winded post on the tip of the week thread but I thought it best that it followed on from the previous two posts.

I read with some interest the two recent posts on "late" breeding Woodpigeons. My own experience is that an adult feeding recently fledged dependent young always appears to take place in trees. I can't recall ever having seen this on the ground, although I would guess it does happen. Adults feeding young perched on a tree branch is in my experience a pretty common sight. I presume the young have actually fledged and not just clambered out of the nest, as they can usually be seen in trees where no nest is obvious. Attention is drawn to these birds in the canopy, usually by the sound on clattering wings as the large juvenile needs to get close to the adult bird to allow it to regurgitate food down its gullet! bleh.gif It is usually accompanied by a low-level, rather unpleasant begging sound from the young bird which is quite distinctive. I am of the opinion that Woodpigeons have a very much extended breeding season and I observed an adult feeding a juvenile in the manner described above in Abney Park, Cheadle on 5th September. Additionally, out of county in Yorkshire I observed a pair of Woodpigeons nest building and/or renovating an existing nest and sitting in the first week of September. It was really interesting to watch as one bird flew off to collect twigs and returned and landed to the rear of the bird sitting on the nest before clambering along its back and passing the twigs over the top of the sitting birds head, which it then took and added to the nest it was occupying. An adult bird was still sitting a week later, when I re-visited - so if this nest is successful then any young may not fledge at the latest until mid to late October, allowing timescales of c17 days for incubation and 29 - 35 before nestlings fledge. I have also recalled seeing and have checked through my notes and recall seeing two adult birds with 2 accompanying but seemingly independent juveniles on grassland near Prestwich Clough on 26th January 2010! Obviously, it is open to debate when these young might have fledged, as I am not at all familiar with the timescales in which juveniles advance into adult plumage and acquire the white neck patch.

Whilst on the subject of late breeding species - I am of the opinion that this occurs, more than might be recognised. Species that immediately spring to my mind as well as the pigeon family include Moorhen, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Bullfinch. At Piethorne in September I have heard and seen small family parties of Greenfinch (13/9) and Goldfinch (15/9) flying at low level over the lower valley. These parties have included young making their begging calls. For Greenfinch I recently came across some information which indicated that the young from their first brood are fed by the adults for a considerably shorter time span than those of a last brood. Birds of the Western Palearctic interactive (BWPi) states "Young of 1st brood fed for less than c. 14 days after leaving nest, those of last brood probably for a good deal longer since observations of dependent young made in late September". Logic might therefore suggest that young that are dependent on adults for a greater length of time might naturally become more conspicuous to us bird watchers and atlasers, than those that get a shortened period of post-fledging attention from their parents. In my opinion, the debate and point of interest might not therefore be on whether these begging birds are recently fledged but actually on how recent is recent and given the apparently longer dependency period for late broods, how far the adults may have actually moved their young from their birthplace during this time? confuse.gif

Continuing on this theme - at Piethorne on 15/9, I am 99% the calls of young begging Goldcrest were being made from their favoured location. I could see adult birds but could not locate any young. I am not concerned for atlas purposes, as this species has already been confirmed as a breeder for this tetrad earlier in the project. A return visit to my BWPi would suggest that this is well outside the recognised breeding time scales for this species but there again I did actually observe adults feeding young Goldcrests at Bruntwood Park, Cheadle on 24th August.....a date which is also outside the generally recognised breeding time frame!

I personally find this to be an interesting topic to discuss. Applying exactly the same set of criteria for the atlas both inside and outside of the "recognised" breeding season would appear to be logical and fair. The recognised sound of begging Goldcrest, Greenfinch or Goldfinch would be a good enough and readily accepted record on any date between 1st April and 31st July to confirm breeding for those species but would it be subject to greater scrutiny if the date was for 15th September for Goldcrest and early September for either of the mentioned finches!? confuse.gif

I realise that for some of the points I have raised there are no easy answers and indeed I'm not expecting any!biggrin.gif.......but have unburdened myself of my observations and opinions anyway! wink.gif

Cheers,

Bill.


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GREATER MANCHESTER NEEDS YOUR BIRD SIGHTINGS!


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I certainly agree with you there Henry. Juv House Martins (2nd brood) fledged from the nest under my eaves this morning. So it's definitely not too late to confirm breeding and help fill in a few gaps in the tetrad maps.

Just a note of caution for anyone submitting September Atlas records. Please make sure that if you are watching a juv bird that it is clearly still dependent on an accompanying adult (FL) or actually still in the nest (NY). See my post of 18th july in the questions & answers thread.

I don't ever recall seeing a fledged Wood Pigeon being fed by an adult or showing signs of dependency, but only last week did hear Wood Pigeons cooing at Watergrove and still clearly on territory.

Steve

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The Watergrove Skyline (January 2010) - before desecration.


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Some species can still be proven breeding at this late stage. This morning I saw a 3rd brood of Swallows being fed on wires and other things like recently fledged Woodpigeons etc. Worth adding any confirmed sightings as Roving records to the atlas at the tetrad level if possible.
Thanks. Henry.

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The formal recording period for the breeding season has finished. In the month of August we still want to receive Roving Records that confirm breeding for the later nesting species.

In the next few weeks take time to look at winter coverage and take on new tetrads where needed and think about priority areas for Roving Recording. The Regional Results pages of the BirdAtlas website (www.birdatlas.net) are very helpful when assessing coverage.


If you want to help with the final year of the Atlas project, but are not sure how to get involved, please contact me or Steve Atkins.

Many thanks to all who have contributed so far.

Steve

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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


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The formal recording period for the breeding season has finished. In the month of August we still want to receive Roving Records that confirm breeding for the later nesting species such as Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting, Swift or those that are multi-brooded and still actively breeding eg Swallow, Reed Warbler.

Thank you for all your help this summer!

In the next few weeks take time to look at winter coverage and take on new tetrads where needed and think about priority areas for Roving Recording. The Regional Results pages are very helpful when assessing coverage.


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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


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... and this week's tip is:

Remember to make your late TTV visits to your tetrad by the end of July. There is still plenty of time to pick up breeding evidence for the later breeding species such as Spotted Flycatcher and Swift. Species like Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting may be having another breeding attempt and back on eggs. Wader passage is underway so take care when recording likes of Green and Common Sandpiper and record them as migrants (M).


Steve

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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


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Tip for this week....

Now is a good time to look for broods of Tufted Duck, the first broods will be appearing anytime now. Broods of Gadwall have been evident for a few weeks. It's also a good time to confirm Swifts breeding. Look out for birds entering nest sites under eaves, accompanied by low level screaming. Remember to make your late TTV visits to your tetrad by the end of July and preferably in the next couple of weeks.

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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


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Tip of the week is featured on the home page of the Atlas website (www.birdatlas.net) and is always worth a look. This week's tip is copied below:

Now is a good time to make evening visits to your 10-km square or tetrad and listen out for the 'squeaky gate' call of young Long-eared Owls (NY or FL). Young Tawny Owls are also calling from the nest. Adult Barn Owls are busy feeding young and can be seen carrying prey to nest sites (FF). Please make a special effort to make an evening visit to record owls, Woodcock, Grasshopper Warbler etc as these are often under-recorded. Remember to make you late TTV visits to your tetrad by the end of July and preferably in the next couple of weeks.

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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"
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