Thursday, 4 September 2014

2012 Kent Bird Report

Lade - warm, dry and sunny, ne 2 - With lighter winds this morning there was a little more passerine activity on the local patch with several Whinchats, Stonechats and Wheatears on the storm beach scrub and at least 10 Common Whitethroats. Sand Martins and Yellow Wagtails continued to drift south and there were still a few Willow, Sedge and Reed Warblers in the willow swamp.
The garden MV continued to disappoint with a couple of Silver Ys the only migrants amongst a meagre 12 species.
Greatstone Beach - Scanned the beach from the Tavern but the tide was a bit too far out. However, the large waders were back in force and a rough count totalled at least 350 Oystercatchers and 230 Curlews, plus 28 Ringed Plovers as well as 100 Dunlin, Sanderling, Grey Plover and Turnstone.
Hammonds Corner - Three Turtle Doves on overhead wires by the farm were my first of the autumn and rarity of the week so far...
ARC - A mid-afternoon scan from Screen hide yielded the Glossy Ibis, Spotted Redshank and three Garganey amongst masses of wildfowl and Lapwings.
RSPB staff and Vols were busily working in front of Hanson cutting back vegetation to improve the viewing experience.

2012 Kent Bird Report - Arrived home this afternoon to find the latest KOS bird report on the door mat, and what a whopper it is; at a weighty 223 pages I nearly put me back out lifting it up!
Once recovered I settled down with a brew for a quick peruse. Having been involved in county bird reports in a previous life I know how much time and effort goes into these historical tomes, so before any cynics pipe up - " 2012, bit late, aint it mate, what`s the point anyway when you`ve got Twitter?" Well, no actually, it is better late than never and the point is it lays down a benchmark of the county`s birds for future reference in a lasting printed format, when who knows what`ll happen to digital data?
Ok, so I`m a bit old school when it comes to bird reports, I love `em,  and this one is a real cracker - the stunning front cover illustration by Stephen Message sucks you in straight away, as do the double inserts of colour bird pics, the quality of which is astounding; my favourite was the Quail at Elmley by Mick Southcott.
A comprehensive, systematic list takes up the majority of the report, preceded by a succinct `Aspects of the Year` by Alan Fossey which I thoroughly enjoyed. Breeding birds are one of my favourite subjects and having contributed to the field work I headed for the Nightingale survey, Kent being an important core area for this nationally declining migrant. But there`s something for everyone within this report including a First and Last Dates for Migrants, a Ringing Report and two accounts on a species new for Kent, Calandra Lark.
Many`s the time tapping away on the keyboard late into the night I bet many of the compilers of this bird report questioned their sanity and pondered whether or not it really was worth all the effort.
To them I say a hearty, "well done you, and yes it was".

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