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Saturday, 28 December 2013

Lonesome Long-tailed Duck swimming with the Goldeneye at Prestonpans

The bitter Westerly wind was slightly more bearable today so I could stand for a little longer on Prestonpans Beach. The Goldeneye that I had seen a few days before were still there, along with a few Eider. Joining them this time was a lonesome female Long-tailed Duck. She was swimming a little further out and so my iPhone / scope combination was having to reach a bit too far for a clear photo. She was diving continuously so was obviously needing to top-up her energy resources.



Monday, 23 December 2013

Goldeneye: not the Christmas Bond movie.

Standing in the freezing rain and wind on the beach today at Prestonpans, East Lothian, was worth the pain to watch a group of 38 Goldeneye.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Yellowhammer: Identification help from the birding 'twitterati' family.

During a usual dog walk round my local area I came across a bird up in a tree that I couldn't identify but had thought may be a Twite. Seeing that many others had tweeted their photos to the Twitter group 'Wildlife Sightings' through @wildlife_uk, with their many followers providing a wealth of really useful advice, I decided to try this. A fantastic response came flooding in from some of the top twitchers and birders. There were suggestions of Reed Bunting, Twite, and Yellowhammer, until finally the consensus seemed to zero in on the latter - a female Yellowhammer. I looked up this suggestion in my Collins book and the multitude of Google images that are available, and it certainly looked like a great candidate. I hadn't even had this species on my possible list. 
What a fantastic group of dedicated, professional, and above all helpful, birders willing to share their knowledge with us all. Thanks to all of you who tweeted your advice.



Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Three Wrens in one afternoon - like waiting for a bus.

With an estimated 8.6M breeding Wrens in the UK according to the APEP figures it is always surprising that I don't see more of them. Last weekend I tracked three through the bushes and shrubs close to the River Tyne that runs through my patch here in East Lothian. They must be searching for food and therefore becoming more visible, or I'm getting better at spotting them as they dart through the undergrowth. I seemed to be missing their familiar calls which would help finding them.
Trying to get a photo was more difficult especially when my faithful Labrador kept flushing them onwards. Got one half-decent shot although would like the head in the next one..


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Job in Scotland: Senior/Principal Ornithologist (Specialising in Offshore) Edinburgh, Glasgow


Link

The website details:

The RPS Group is a planning and development, energy resources and environmental consultancy with over 4,700 staff worldwide. 

We are the UK's leading provider of specialist ornithological support to the renewables industry, on and offshore. Combined with our work across a wide range of other sectors, we are a strong, diverse and sustainable ecology business, with room to build a long-term career at the forefront of ecological consulting. At RPS, you will have the opportunity to work in a stimulating environment, to deliver some of the most important renewable energy projects in Europe.

Our workload for developers, conservation bodies and government agencies continues to expand and with strong further growth already secured for 2014 and beyond, we are looking to appoint two new colleagues – at Senior/ Principal level. Both posts have an emphasis on the marine environment.

Our ethos requires candidates to be innovative in their approach, with the practical experience to support all clients, whether developers, or regulatory bodies. In return, we provide a competitive salary and benefits package.

Job title: Senior/Principal Ornithologist (Offshore)

Location: UK office (preferably Glasgow/Edinburgh) 

There may be some flexibility in location (including England) for the right candidate/s 

Typical activities will include: 
• Contributing to the technical delivery of our wide range of renewable and other projects;
• Writing/contributing to Environmental Impact Assessments and Habitats Regulation Appraisals; 
• Undertaking data analysis and statistical assessment of bird data, and producing technical reports based on these analyses; 
• Providing high quality technical support to all our clients.
• Liaising with other technical specialists across various UK offices; 

We are keen to hear from motivated and enthusiastic marine ornithologists with a selection of the following technical capabilities: 

• Knowledge of the application and consent process for offshore wind farms in the UK; 
• Knowledge of legislation and policy in relation to the conservation of birds and designated sites for birds;
• Technical writing skills, with experience of writing EIAs and HRAs, particularly for the offshore renewables industry;
• A thorough understanding of bird ecology;
• Practical understanding of relevant literature and guidance on seabird interactions with offshore renewable developments
• Previous experience of conducting ornithological studies and surveys, particularly in relation to seabird species;
• Statistical analysis skills, with a knowledge and ability to interpret and present data appropriately
• Experience of other sectors, away from marine/offshore, would be advantageous; and
• Project management and tendering.

As well as these technical capabilities and expertise, you will also need:
• To be a good team worker, reliable and able to rapidly establish a high degree of trust and rapport with all clients and stakeholders;
• Have strong communications skills; confident and articulate in all communications i.e. face-to-face, telephone and written communications;
• Be self-motivated, self-disciplined with the ability to work to tight deadlines;
• Have good attention to detail; maintaining and enhancing our high standards of delivery, quality and accuracy;
• Be highly computer literate and experienced with standard MS Office applications (MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook);
• A degree in a relevant subject and a post-graduate qualification or equivalent experience.

For enquiries, please contact Martin Scott - scottm@rpsgroup.com

STRICTLY NO AGENCIES PLEASE

We are an equal opportunities employer.



Thursday, 12 December 2013

Puffins on Faraid Head, off the end of Balnakiel Bay, Sutherland.

Just looking back over photos taken at the Puffin colony on Faraid Head, Sutherland, in the Summer of 2013. Worth a great walk along Balnakiel Bay beach.


Pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers in East Linton.

A pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers were busy feeding on any grubs they could find high up in the branches of a tree on the banks of the River Tyne, whilst being harassed by some Rooks. 



Monday, 9 December 2013

Dipper on the River Tyne, East Lothian.

The usually elusive Dipper on my local river stayed for long enough for me to take some photos and a short video. 

YouTube link




Wednesday, 4 December 2013

'Common montane birds are declining in northern Europe' from Journal of Avian Biology 02 Dec 2013

Common montane birds are declining in northern Europe.

Authors:

    Aleksi Lehikoinen, Martin Green, Magne Husby, John Atle Kalas, Ake Lindstrom.
Citation: Lehikoinen, A., Green, M., Husby, M., Kålås, J. A. and Lindström, Å. (2013), Common montane birds are declining in northern Europe. Journal of Avian Biology. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-048X.2013.00177.x

Conclusions

Human activities, including climate change, are gradually modifying our environment. Knowledge about such effects on fauna and flora is crucial for the development of conservation strategies to minimize the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Alpine and arctic habitats are expected to be particularly vulnerable to climate change. The Fennoscandian montane bird indicator presented here gives basic information about faunistic changes in one of the most extreme climatic environments of Europe covering two different habitat types: tundra and birch forest. As such, this indicator can fill an important gap among the already existing continental-wide bird indicators for farmland, forest, climate change, and the several regional European bird indicators produced by the European Bird Census Council. As far as we know, this may be the first large-scale indicator for alpine birds. If the new schemes that started in 2005 and 2006 will continue as planned, data will be available for a high number of sampling sites (about 400) in the coming years. This probably means that data for a few typical montane breeding bird species additional to those included here can be added to the indicator. The indicator presented here suggests that Fennoscandian montane birds have declined substantially during the last 11 yr, which is in line with the predictions based on climatic forecasting suggesting that montane species in Fennoscandia will likely show declining population sizes and reduced range sizes in the future. The fact that long-distance migratory species do not stand out as particularly affected suggests that the main reasons for the decline may be found within the Fennoscandian mountain range itself.
Birds Studied
Willow Ptarmigan, Rock Ptarmigan, Golden Plover, Long-tailed Skua, Meadow Pipit, Bluethroat, Common Redstart, Common Wheatear,  Redwing, Willow Warbler, Brambling, Common Redpoll, Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting.
Study Site Locations: 420 bird monitoring sites in the Fennoscandian mountain range. Black dots are sites with data for at least two years and therefore included in the present study (n = 262). White dots indicate newly established monitoring sites that have not yet been surveyed twice.



Monday, 2 December 2013

Atlantic Puffin Research into Effects of Variation in Herring Population

Annual survival of adult Atlantic Puffins, Fratercula arctica, is positively correlated with Herring, Clupea harengus, availability.

Authors:
ANDRE R. BRETON
Colorado Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
ANTONY W. DIAMOND
Atlantic Laboratory for Avian Research, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada

IBIS Journal Link


Abstract

Atlantic Herring is a keystone species in several marine ecosystems, supporting intensive fisheries as well as many predators including seabirds. Biomass of this stock in eastern North America has declined considerably in recent years, potentially putting at risk populations of its predators. Although adult survival in seabirds is considered robust to moderate changes in food availability, it is also the life-history component most critical to sustaining populations of long-lived birds. To investigate the possibility that Atlantic Puffin survival has been affected by reduced abundance of its main prey, we analysed the encounter histories of 2999 Atlantic Puffins ringed on Machias Seal Island to estimate annual adult survival for the years 1999–2011 and assess trends in survival and the effects of several biological and environmental covariates. Features of Puffin biology and resighting procedures likely to introduce heterogeneity into our resighting probabilities were accounted for and models of survival were assessed using standard methods. We used the variance components procedure in Program MARK and survival estimates from a time-varying model to estimate the process variance (biological variation in survival) accounted for by suspected covariates of survival. Two proxies of food availability each explained more than half of the variation in annual survival: fishery landings of Atlantic Herring (52%) and per cent (by mass) of 1-group Herring in the diet of Puffin chicks (51%). In addition to these proxies, May sea-surface temperature accounted for 37% of variance in survival, but winter values of North Atlantic Oscillation showed no effect. Of those parameters of Puffin biology examined, chick growth rate explained 19% of the process variance in annual survival; laying date, fledging condition and fledging date all explained no variance. A decline in fishery landings of Herring since the early 1990s, and a concurrent decline in adult Puffin survival, reinforces concern for the health of the population of Herring, a keystone forage fish in this region, and of the community of marine predators in the Gulf of Maine that rely on Herring for their survival and reproduction.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

APEP 2013 : 'Population estimates of birds in Great Britain and the United Kingdom.'

2013 Publication of the Avian Population Estimates Panel

'Population estimates of birds in Great Britain and the United Kingdom.'
APEP 2013 pdf file
Authors
Andy Musgrove, Nicholas Aebischer, Mark Eaton, Richard Hearn, Stuart Newson, David Noble, Matt Parsons, Kate Risely and David Stroud

© British Birds 106 • February 2013 • 64 –100
Author Affiliations
Andrew J. Musgrove, Stuart E. Newson, David G. Noble and Kate Risely, BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk IP24 2PU; e-mail andy.musgrove@bto.org
Nicholas J. Aebischer, GWCT, Burgate Manor, Fordingbridge, Hampshire SP6 1EF
Mark A. Eaton, RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL
Richard D. Hearn, WWT, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire GL2 7BT
Matt Parsons, JNCC, Inverdee House, Baxter Street, Aberdeen AB11 9QA
David A. Stroud, JNCC, Monkstone House, City Road, Peterborough PE1 1JY

Andy Musgrove is Head of Monitoring at the BTO and is responsible for the delivery of many of the BTO’s
large-scale monitoring schemes.
Nicholas Aebischer is Deputy Director of Research at Game & Wildlife
Conservation Trust, where his responsibilities include applied ecological research into wildlife management.
Mark Eaton is a Principal Conservation Scientist at RSPB with a particular responsibility for monitoring. Richard Hearn has worked on a wide range of waterbird monitoring projects at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust for the past 16 years.
Stuart Newson is a Senior Research Ecologist at the BTO, with particular interests in population estimates, Cormorants and bats.
David Noble is the Principal Ecologist for Monitoring at the BTO, including leading on the development of biodiversity indicators.
Matt Parsons is a Senior Seabird Ecologist at JNCC, where he has worked on seabird issues since 2002.
Kate Risely has been the National Organiser for the Breeding Bird Survey at the BTO since 2008.
David Stroud is Senior Ornithologist with JNCC and a long-term Greenland White-fronted Goose obsessive.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

UK BTO Bird Atlas 2007-2011 Data Sources and Numbers

Bird Atlas 16.2M Record Sources
Atlas Webpage

01. Atlas 9.8M
01.1 Roving Records 3.8M
01.1.1 Breeding Season 2.1M
01.1.2 Winter Season 1.6M
01.2 Timed Tetrad Visits 6.1M
01.2.1 Breeding Season 3.3M
01.2.2 Winter Season 2.8M

02. BirdTrack 4.5M
02.1 Lists 4.0M
02.1.1 Breeding Season 2.2M
02.1.2 Winter Season 1.8M
02.2 Casual 0.4M

03. Bird Clubs 1.2M
04. Breeding Bird Monitoring Schemes 280K
05. Online Rarity Services 139K
06. Ringing 123K
07. Wetland Bird Surveys 40K
08. BirdWatch Ireland Surveys 32K
09. Nest record Scheme 23K
10. UK and Irish Rare Breeding Birds Panels 10K
11. Raptor / Owl Study Groups 7K
12. RSPB Reserves and Surveys 4K
13. JNCC Seabirds 3K
14. Heronries Census 3K
15. Garden Surveys 2K

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

My Bird Photographs

See the slideshow on the main blog page and more on my website at http://www.drmattbishop.com/birds

Avian Biology Research Journal - Twitter Feed

My Twitter Feed @drmtbishop

Avian + Research : Twitter Search

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Journal of Avian Biology - Twitter Feed

Rare Bird Network UK - Twitter Feed @rbnUK

Tagcloud of top 25 words in 3382 PubMed publication titles from 2012-13 with terms: avian, bird, genetics

created at TagCrowd.com

RSPB Garden Birdwatch 2013 Data

BTO Breeding Bird Survey Percentage Change of Mean Sightings per Area from 2011 to 2012 and Significance

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Welcome

This blog contains avian research news feeds
Including:
-Twitter Feeds
-PubMed Search
-Journal lists
-Ornithological organisatons