Tag Archives: ornithology

Climate Change effects on our already vulnerable Bird species

Here is an article which recently grabbed my attention, courtesy of BirdLife International. Do have a read through it.

The Messengers: Preview our upcoming climate change report

As with most things in nature, be it climate, birds or otherwise, there is a certain amount of predictability about our knowledge of things but also other aspects remain unchartered waters, so to speak. One thing you can be sure of, is that some species are in dire need of human intervention if they are to sustain their own populations. With frequent flash flooding episodes on the rise, we know for a fact that such events will continue to decimate many vulnerable ground-nesting bird’s broods. Equally, when left unchecked, so too do the rising numbers of egg and chick-raiding predators. These are in reality additional threats over and above those mentioned within the article. I therefore believe that we at least need to mitigate against Climate Change, even if it is the only action most will be willing to take.

naturestimeline Education services – “A conservation professional sharing his personal perspective on breaking news stories from the world of nature alongside his own accounts from the field.”

and

A LinkedIn share from Tony Powell – Migrating Birds of Land and Sea. Sometimes even they, need a rest!

There are a great many Social Media platforms upon which you can be active these days. In this instance, I bring to your attention, one of my published posts as Tony Powell over at LinkedIn concerning the often perilous journeys of Bird Migration.

Migrating Birds of Land and Sea. Sometimes even they, need a rest!

Let us hope the birds made it safely to lands afar and are now stuffing their little bellies full of Autumnal fruits and seeds and whatever their beaks can take. Take care now and enjoy the spectacle, courtesy of Martin Grimm and his Clever & Smarty YouTube channel 

naturestimeline Education services – “A conservation professional sharing his personal perspective on breaking news stories from the world of nature alongside his own accounts from the field.”

and

First proper signs of Autumn in the air

Just the other day I made a concerted effort to go to a networking event which is an unusual thing for me to do but needs must, I guess. In truth, I’m not an overly social being which is quite unlike those nomadic wanderers, Redwings (Turdus iliacus) which always tend to arrive around these parts at this time of the season.

Well, to cut a long-story short, into the wee early hours of Sunday 11th October after the above-mentioned event  I heard some Redwing calling (example calls provided by xeno-canto.org) overhead for the first time this Autumn. In reality I cannot be sure how many, probably only just a couple but they’ve arrived, yippee.

You can see from the chart below that their arrival dates in my patch have been very consistent during recent years.  As this was also at approximately one o’clock in the morning I feel I did quite well to be so observant at such an hour.

First Redwing of Autumn (locally) as of 2015

First Redwing of Autumn (locally) as of 2015

Click on the chart image above in order to access the datasets in full screen.

Best Wishes and Happy Redwing hunting amongst a plethora of other Autumnal delights.

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Bird Science as a career

It is about time this blog received some input, the birding element is actually a huge part of my current career activities. In fact, I’ve been a birder and general naturalist for more years than I care to remember. However, in recent times, I have matured into a more inquisitive individual, always on the search for answers to nature’s riddles.

A fascinating article I recently read was in Animal Conservation from The Zoological Society of London entitled “How can quantitative ecology be attractive to young scientists? Balancing computer/desk work with fieldwork**

*official doi is listed at the bottom of this post, however you can view here for full free access to the above article

Well, I can proudly say I am a keen advocate of both. The recent Bird Atlas is a fine example of data gathering at its very best. Bird Atlas 2007-2011 contained some 19 million observations of 502 bird species recorded as either breeding or wintering within the United Kingdom. As with any Atlas project there were several intriguing accounts, but for me the questions remain, what are the Conservation Professionals to do with all this freshly acquired data? Can you or I, as a result of our data being shared with them, change things for the better for those species already threatened? This clearly is a case of where gathering field observations alongside number-crunching by expert Data Analysts could lead to a better future for our birds and more effective conservation practice. Yes or no!

Bird Atlas courtesy of Phil Slade's http://anotherbirdblog.blogspot.co.uk/

Bird Atlas courtesy of Phil Slade’s anotherbirdblog.blogspot.co.uk/

For a great many bird species these declines continue unabated. The reasons contemplated are wide-ranging and have been discussed at length in journal publications and articles on a global-level. So why are we not making the anticipated progress? In a lot of circumstances I guess public misconception of sound conservation practice and a lack of understanding of population dynamics may well play a part. This has to be an opportunity for “old dogs” to teach upcoming youth “new tricks”. Get out there, observe and learn from nature, pick up those books when back from the field and become the nature detectives and ornithology scientists of the future.

**doi:10.1111/j.1469-1795.2012.00597.x


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A change of direction – cross posted from naturestimeline

Time for a widespread change of direction with this Blog? Maybe, maybe not. See my posting from the other blog – naturestimeline

Please provide your thoughts as to how UKbirdingtimeline could develop.

Over time, this Blog will pick its feet up once again and the intention is make things more interactive.

I will be back.


UKbirdingtimeline – courtesy of Tony William Powell on Google+

Could it be a Waxwing winter?

Anybody with access to the various bird news services will be aware of the increasing numbers of these northern Vikings. As true inhabitants of arctic and subarctic lands, they only descend to our shores, upon failure of their favoured Rowan berry crop. Right now, Bohemian Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus) are thinly spread across the United Kingdom. Should you wish to seek them, one should head to places with a rich abundance of exotic berries, such as Cotoneaster, Pyracanthus and the like. Unsurprisingly then, supermarket car parks are favoured locations, along with your own berry-laden back garden. Waxwings are renowned as voracious eaters and in Birds Britannica, it is quoted that an individual was on record as having eaten approximately 600 to 1000 berries, over the course of one sitting. Consequently, if you wish to see a flock of these delightful birds, you may have to be quick off the blocks.

*As ever, the images represented below, come courtesy of BWPi, published in association with Birdguides.com


UKbirdingtimeline – courtesy of Tony William Powell on Google+

VisMigging time again

Are you a VisMigger, have you ever participated in VisMigging?

VisMigging, short for Visible Migration is where a person/persons sets out to pan the skies overhead for signs of avian life.

As a citizen scientist, whose claim to fame is in being a top ten BirdTracker in 2011, I view this pastime as an extremely useful scientific tool. Any birder with a keen eye and ear will produce valuable findings. With the fresh Autumnal air reinvigorating you, what could be better? As well as the fact, that hundreds and thousands of other folk participate, you are not alone in this.

Looking back at the records elsewhere in 2010, the highlight proved to be the large numbers of Lapland Buntings (Calcarius lapponicus)a true passage migrant.

Lapland Bunting, a non breeding Male

Lapland Bunting, a non breeding Male

Come 2011, the more common miniscule lightweight Finch, the Siskin (Carduelis spinus), was to take the honours.

Siskin, a Summer plumaged female

Siskin, a Summer plumaged female

The latter species was to smash several all-time site records with huge numbers seen or heard, most likely due to lessened availability of their favoured tree seed crop over in Scandinavia.

So what of this year? The prevailing weather conditions are important and add to the general air of anticipation. With the United Kingdom expected to be under a general Northwesterly flow over the coming weeks, it should make things move. Although recently however, quite a few of us Brits have basked in warm sunshine, thanks to a nearby High Pressure cell. Under the influence of this particular climate synoptic, locally, Swallows and House Martins have slowly moved through. Rather oddly, though, I witnessed a late Common Swift on the 3rd September.

Swift

Swift

To assist your own observations, you should gain a good knowledge of the local terrain. Another recommended practice is to follow weather forecasts in the media for opportunities affording weather windows. These are simply gaps between the passing of showery outbreaks or warm or cold fronts. As like us humans, the birds and wildlife in general will react to these everyday nuances. Additionally, Moon Phases play a role and let’s not forget, the diminishing daylight hours as we head towards the Autumn Equinox.

For your information, I have listed below, a select few websites which are dedicated to the science of Visible Migration.

BTO Bird Migration Blog

The Bird Observatories of Britain & Ireland

Trektellen Migration counts in Great Britain

Durlston Country Park Daily Diary

 

Do let us know of any other websites that you become aware of.


 UKbirdingtimeline – courtesy of Tony William Powell on Google+

*As ever, bird images are courtesy of The Birds of the Western Palearctic interactive DVD, produced in association with Birdguides.