Ruff. Jack Ashton-Boothe.
This is the front cover illustration of the BTO WeBS Report I received today which I've barely had the chance to flick through. It will obviously have some interesting facts and figures to peruse through and I've picked out one or two 'favourites' which have already grabbed my attention.
The number of Goldeneye present on UK wetlands has been in steady decline for over ten years in Britain, and longer so in N.Ireland. Trends indicate numbers to now be at their lowest ever and this follows a period of consistent increase from the 1970's through to the mid 1990's. Numbers at the most important site in the UK - Loughs Neagh and Beg in N.Ireland- are dramatic evidence of long term decline with annual peaks of more than 13,500 birds in the early 1990's compared to the recent five-year mean of just over 4,500. In local terms the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock probably held in excess of 200 Goldeneye more than any other location in our recording area and beyond on a personal count one day last winter, and it will be interesting to see figures at the end of this coming winter of 2010/11.
The number of wintering Greenshank in Britain has increase over the last 25 years and the peak WeBS count last winter was 25 birds at Chichester Harbour being a site where wintering numbers have increased at a slow but steady rate in recent years epitomising the national trend. I personally think the Greenshank is the next species to join the list of wintering birds at Conder Green and maybe one of the four I saw there yesterday is set to become the first.
Regarding the Common Sandpiper....Loughs Neagh and Beg comes into the reckoning once again with the first ever wintering Common Sandpiper record in N.Ireland from here in 2008/09. In the UK a small but increasing number of birds have over-wintered and during the period December to February c.60 birds were recorded at WeBS sites primarily in the south. In the north a Common Sandpiper has wintered at Conder Green - with others in our area - for the past two years, and again I wonder if one or both birds I saw there yesterday are set to winter here again this year.
Little Stint. SP.
A couple of pics, this one of the juvenile Little Stint at Cockersands recently....
And another one at Cockersands, this of the Whinchat which along with the Little Stint are two of my most favourite birds. Thanks for these SP, much appreciated.