Submitting records for the LDBWS Annual Report
All LDBWS members receive (and hopefully enjoy reading) a copy of the LDBWS Annual Report - 'Birds of Lancaster & District'. The main aim of the report - to provide a comprehensive summary of birds within the LDBWS recording area - is only possible due to the information provided by local birdwatchers. The aim of this short article is to encourage as many observers as possible to submit records for the LDBWS report. The types of records required have been grouped into three main categories and it is perhaps the third category - commoner birds - for which it is most difficult to specify precisely what constitutes a useful record. However, the basic rule of thumb ought to be "if in doubt, submit the record".
Scarcities and rarities
Thanks to the 'Lancaster & District Bird Sightings' website this is the one category for which good information already exists. However, it is likely that news of some scarcities may not have reached the website (eg. the odd fly-over Osprey). Please don't assume that someone else is bound to submit a particular record - duplicated records are easier to deal with than no record at all. In addition, even if you were not the first person to see a long-staying scarcity you might have been the last.
Regular species for which all records are required
For many of these species (eg. many of the seabirds and waders) the individual records allow a summarised species account to be compiled. However, given the scarcity of some of the species listed below (eg. Yellowhammer) it is conceivable that all the records received may go straight into the report.
- Seabirds - Red-throated Diver, Fulmar, Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Guillemot and Razorbill.
- Wildfowl - Bewick's Swan, Whooper Swan, White-fronted Goose (specifying which race if possible), Barnacle Goose, Brent Goose (specifying which race if possible), Garganey, Scaup, Eider, Common Scoter and Ruddy Duck.
- Waders - Little Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Purple Sandpiper, Ruff, Jack Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank and Green Sandpiper.
- Other species - Grey Partridge, Yellow-legged Gull, Barn Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Rock Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Stonechat, Ring Ouzel, Grasshopper Warbler, Tree Sparrow, Brambling, Twite, Hawfinch, Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting. Also all escapes, hybrids etc.
- Distinctive sub-species and races - eg. Continental Cormorant, Tundra Ringed Plover, White Wagtail, Greenland Wheatear, etc.
- Blackcap and Chiffchaff - all wintering birds
Commoner species for which some records are required
- Breeding records - Clearly asking for all records of Blackbird nests or recently fledged young is not really a sensible approach to recording. However for many familiar species information about breeding birds, particularly breeding success is of immense importance. Species for which all breeding records should be submitted include Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler, Pochard, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, all raptors, Grey Partridge, Water Rail, all waders, all gulls including Black-headed Gull (reliable counts of colonies at non-RSPB properties especially), all terns, Cuckoo, all owls, Kingfisher, all woodpeckers, Tree Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Dipper, Redstart, Whinchat, Wheatear, Sedge and Reed Warblers (away from Leighton Moss), Wood Warbler, Spotted and Pied Flycatchers, Nuthatch (especially outside the Arnside & Silverdale AONB), Raven, Siskin, Redpoll and Bullfinch.
- Breeding populations of other common birds - Observers regularly covering a local patch probably have most to offer, particularly if their observations provide a historical assessment of population changes of common (or once common) birds. In this respect the 2001 report included (hopefully useful) data from Warton Crag and Heysham Nature Reserve for species such as Wren, Dunnock and Robin. Do any observers have good information for the number of pairs and/or breeding success of even the commonest species in an area they watch regularly?
- Large flocks - If you think a given count for any species seems notable then please put a record in.
- Arrival and departure dates - In addition to recording first/last dates for summer and winter visitors, what about noting significant arrivals/departures for species such as Swift, Swallow, Sand Martin and House Martin.
- Visible migration - Heysham Nature Reserve, Caton Moor and Hutton Roof received the most coverage, but what about counts from elsewhere? All such counts, however casual, may be of value.
- Extralimital records - Any species well away from its normal habitat and/or breeding areas.
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