British Birds March 2011

The March issue of British Birds is now out and contains the following:

Non-native breeding birds in the United Kingdom in 2006, 2007 and 2008
The ninth report by the Rare Breeding Birds Panel (RBBP) summarising breeding reports of non-native species in the UK. The RBBP has monitored the establishment and status of populations of the rarer non-native bird species since 1996. This report includes details of 24 species breeding or showing indications of breeding during 2006–08. Non-native species occur widely in the UK but the location of breeding (or potentially breeding) pairs of the rarer 24 species considered here is concentrated into relatively few recording areas. The top three areas are: Lancashire & N Merseyside (12 out of 24 species), Hertfordshire (9) and Norfolk (8), but in total records from 53 counties (out of 82) are included in this report. The map shows that most non-native species are concentrated in England, particularly the southeast. The most widely distributed rare non-native breeding bird is the Black Swan Cygnus atratus, with at least probable breeding recorded in 27 counties, although Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis (24) and Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca (21) are close behind. Since 1996, it has become clear that the population of Rose-ringed Parakeets Psittacula krameri has increased significantly. From 2004, this species has been sufficiently numerous to be monitored by the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), occurring in 110 (3%) monitored BBS squares in 2009 (Risely et al. 2010) and will not be included in future RBBP non-native reports.

Seabirds on Lundy: their current status, recent history and prospects for the restoration of a once-important bird area
Once host to some exceptionally important seabird colonies, the island of Lundy, in the Bristol Channel, lost much of its special seabird interest during the twentieth century. However, the eradication of rats (significant predators of seabirds on islands throughout the world) from Lundy in 2003–04 may pave the way for a return of the island’s once-flourishing colonies. This paper sets out, for the record, what is known of seabird population changes on Lundy. While it is too early to formally recognise the start of recovery, Andy Brown and a team of other Lundy aficionados identify some very encouraging signs that the recent eradication has been effective and that the island once again provides conditions in which seabirds are able to flourish.

BTO research update

Dave Leech describes the productive 2010 nesting season for many passerines, as recorded by the Nest Record Scheme. Jacquie Clark discusses Barn Owl mortality, and the effects of the third colder-than-average winter in the trot. Finally, Lucy Wright, Niall Burton and Nigel Clark outline some of the BTO’s work in establishing the potential impacts of tidal power development on the wildlife and habitats of the Severn Estuary.

Continuing correspondence about the Wiltshire Hawk Owl is the primary topic, which develops into some general criteria for assessing historical records. John Eyre and Frank Blackburn bring the letter’s page to a conclusion with photographs and a description of Waxwing goo…

As usual, a range of reviews, news & comment and a summary of recent reports complete the issue.

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