Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Congratulations to the BTO on its birthday and continuing successes. 1.7.2013.

Back on Islay!!   Grrrh, could do with being warmer!

First of all , Happy Birthday to the BTO which celebrates its 80th  anniversary.

An early morning session along the coast showed numbers of Gannet, Manx Shearwater and Auks ( probably all Razorbill ) beating their respective ways to or from feeding grounds. Sobering to reflect that research has shown Gannets to be away from their breeding quarters for up to four days at a time when visiting productive feeding grounds. Current research involving small tracking devices being fitted to sea birds will undoubtedly extend our knowledge enormously in this field and add much to the marine environment debate too.  Over a couple of hours Kittiwakes made their way northwards, presumably returning to their breeding cliffs on Colonsay. A lone Red-throated Diver flew high to the south.

The last ten days has thankfully seen the "resident Cuckoo" close to the house either move or at least cease to call at 0330 hours each morning!!  I suspect that it has already left the area as few adults seem to be recorded here into July.  On that subject, may I recommend the BTO's web site providing the results on the various Cuckoos to which it has fitted small tracking devices. This can be found at the following link
Cuckoo tracking .

The research was prompted by the realisation that, over the last twenty five years, we had lost 50% of our Cuckoo population. Losses appear to be higher within English populations ( 63% ) than in Scotland or Wales.  Further considerations showed that we knew very little about the wintering areas of Cuckoos or the routes they took to get to them. The research commenced in 2011 and the results gained so far are absolutely fascinating. I'll not spoil a visit to the above site as both the background information and current results showing the locations of where individual birds have reached are compulsive viewing!!!  Who would have guessed such a variety of routes occurred, that birds have been known to reverse their journeys for a while and that the Sahara desert crossing can involve a flight of 2000 km.!!

And finally, a reminder!  The order for the forthcoming  BTO Atlas publication will be submitted to the publishers by the BTO at the end of July. If you want to order a copy at the discounted price, then you need to act now ( it also includes me!).