Published this week, the latest annual report takes on a smart new look, along with a format which allows colour reproduction throughout its entire contents. In addition to this, the report welcomes a new County Bird Recorder as Jon Cook has boldly stepped into the role and ended several years of the job being shared by several different committee members. It is not by any means a simple job and entails a lot of time-consuming effort. We should all, as birders interested in the general welfare of our County’s birds, be grateful to Jon and wish him well as he takes up the challenge.
As well as the systematic list, which summarises the records and status of each species occurring in the county in 2019, included this year is an article by Barrie Galpin about the history of the BTO’s Breeding Bird Survey in Northants and some of the local characters who were in at the beginning of this long-running and vital survey. Another important job carried out by volunteers for the BTO is the monthly Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) and there is a need for more surveyors at several sites in the County. Further details are outlined within the pages of the report.
Following serious population declines and diminishing occurrences, the report committee has added several new species and subspecies to the ‘requiring description’ category, these being Red-breasted Merganser, ‘Continental’ Black-tailed Godwit, Turtle Dove, Willow Tit, Wood Warbler and Corn Bunting. These and all other species in this category can be found in the Birds Recorded list on page 46.
It is noticeable that the majority of records received from observers are from a limited number of well-known sites – river valleys, reservoirs etc and this is understandable as a large variety of birds can be seen at these localities. But there are vast areas of the County that are underwatched and whilst perhaps at first sight they are large agricultural wastelands (as far as birds are concerned), tucked here and there are small woods and copses, ponds and damp areas that must hold interesting species and even the large, seemingly barren, cereal fields could be holding birds such as the declining Corn Bunting. Why not explore these places more often, you never know what might turn up!
As always, the 2019 report will be available by post from R W Bullock, 81 Cavendish Drive, Northampton NN3 3HL at a price of £9.00 each, including postage. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Northamptonshire Bird Report’. Back issues from the ‘early seventies’ are also available.
A limited number of copies will also be on sale at the Oundle Bookshop, 13 Market Place, Oundle PE8 4BA from 23rd December.