Monday, July 29, 2013

A day partially in the hills.

Linked with some liaison work I'd to complete before commencing some work I then had a very relaxing day in the hills. Following my previous convictions Northern Wheatears appear to have had a pretty thin season and have all but moved on already. By contrast Meadow Pipits seem to have had a good season contrasted against the last couple of years.  These, alongside cronking Ravens, but little else amongst the high tops, set the scene for the day.

Pied Wagtails are much in evidence at the moment and one juvenile obligingly explored the recesses below the windscreen wipers of my car for insect remains whilst I had my lunch.  A reassuring confirmation that we can enjoy a close relationship with wildlife if we respect their needs!!  Everywhere there seemed to be Green-veined White butterflies, a few Ringlets and odd Small Tortoiseshell, the recent good weather for once supporting the needs of these attractive creatures.

The afternoon spoilt itself with a period of quite heavy rain, which admittedly freshened things up , but also brought things to a stop!! And so back home for an early bath as the honourable game would declare!!

And,finally,no mist! 28.7.2013.

Following dawn there was an eerie period of stillness, an absence of wind, a calm sea, and most noticeable of all, an absence of sound which, at the coast, gives rise to an almost surreal effect. The grey, flat surface of the sea merged with a grey monotone sky, bound together by a far off wall of sea fog.  An altogether strange cocoon of a place to be in!!

Nonetheless, birds were on the move and having to work hard in the calm conditions to make progress. Lines of adult Gannet beat their steady way southwards and fragmented groups and strings of Manx Shearwater did likewise with constant mechanical flight. No uplift today could be mustered from the canvas of stillness pervading the whole area. Auk parties moved north and south and even local Arctic Terns moved in silence to and from their breeding colony on a nearby shingle beach to feeding areas to the north. The local Fulmar colony is now abandoned after what I suspect has been a poor year and,indeed, I never even saw a bird offshore. Two Great Skua flew south in a very determined way and, other than a far off group of small waders, which were probably Dunlin, proved to be the only real migrants of the morning. Behind me , the aroma of a peat fire hanging in the air accompanied by the pulsating throb of a fishing boat's engine as it left the nearby harbour captured what living in the Hebrides can mean, the exception being the weather conditions!!

Finally moving home I came across a group of four young Stonechats suggesting even second broods might now be around, a useful confirmation after a recent period of quiet. At home increasing numbers of Meadow Pipit and an active mixed group of Goldfinch and Lesser Redpoll indicated we are on the cusp of autumn.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

General birding.....great, and misty mornings!

I'm fed up with misty mornings, sometimes extending into misty days!  Most times they clear after you've made a commitment to do other things and the day is then lost.  The bonus, I suppose, is the sunlit afternoons which, of late, have ensured a wonderful show of butterflies ( Green-veined Whites, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Small Tortoiseshells and a few Common Blues in favoured areas ).

Following a period when my youngest daughters have been here ( for the record, and to avoid comment (!), now young ladies ),  I'm now returned to my more normal schedule of conservation involvements ( potential disturbance work to Golden Eagle roost sites, turbine developments and Bird-strike Plans at the airport! ) and to birding, except for the intervention of misty mornings!!

Setting aside this morning's misty beginnings, the day has not been utterly wasted as it's enabled me, in its latter part, to complete a routine wandering around the local area. To some great extent the grass moor is now silent. The Curlews and Lapwings have moved off and the foraging gulls have disappeared. Local Hooded Crows, with a combined "output" of 14 young from three pairs, are still in evidence and doubtless have played a major part in the poor productivity and success of the local waders. Gone too are the Northern Wheatears,  whose first efforts coincided with poor weather which saw them then move away very early. Birds now seen can be confidently viewed as migrants moving through. The adult Cuckoos too are long gone, but their regular presence previously possibly bodes well and the likelihood of seeing a youngster not yet departed is still high.

Meadow Pipits this year appear to have done well and Reed Buntings and Sedge Warblers are both feeding young nearby to the house. Whilst Stonechats appeared to have succeeded with first broods, numbers now appear to be quite low, so only time will tell in terms of what the overall situation  actually is.  Swallows have fared poorly, in fact the local birds never returned to my barn, which is the first time in several years. Autumn is now already upon us with Willow Warblers flicking through, but in low numbers, which perhaps suggests early breeding attempts met with mixed success. As ever, the year appears to be as much a mixture of success and failure as any other and reiterates anew the influences our wildlife is open to and the challenges encountered.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

rspb's new brand initiative.

By now many people in the UK will have seen the new TV advertisement issued by the RSPB and be aware of their new strapline "Giving nature a home".  All change is subject to personal reaction and I confess there are many aspects over which I don't feel that I have yet arrived at a final conclusion!

The RSPB has embarked on a major change, a robust embracing of a wider range of responsibilities than previously which involves all wildlife in the UK. At its most uncomplicated level any promotion associated with the needs of our native wildlife is to be welcomed, particularly given the current apathy exhibited by the existing Government coalition.  Following the recent issue of the State of the Nation report there has rightly been concerned comment about the parlous position our wildlife now occupies in the UK. This is a situation we all need to contemplate seriously and take action on whenever possible. The RSPB's  recent initiative therefore links with this requirement very closely.

I'm not a "marketeer", whatever that really means, but I actually fail to see what message the reduction of the Society's initials to lower case in its new logo is meant to convey. Is it simply a fad, a modernism and a fact that such things no longer need to actually "stand" for anything?  Perhaps it ought to have gone the whole hog and submitted to the formal process of changing its name entirely to the Royal Society for the Protection of Wildlife  (rspw )!!  Undoubtedly there will be some who feel the payment of their annual subscription, aimed at gaining action for birds, has now in some way been reduced. Time will tell whether such problems will arise and what the effects will be. It is up to the RSPB to ensure it doesn't lose any of that positioning for which it has fought so hard to achieve. There is also a risk taken by the RSPB in terms of whether the attitudes and affiliation of long standing supporters will change. Certainly there has been a long held perception that the RSPB has been the body best equipped to defend the interests of birds, campaign for change and so on. I doubt that will change and, therefore, it is incumbent on the RSPB to provide the necessary assurances that, despite the most recent changes, all such activity will still constitute "business as usual".

I do worry a little about one aspect. There are other organizations within the UK pledged to conserving and campaigning for wildlife, not least the County Wildlife Trusts.  By implication, this self-embracing of  responsibility for all wildlife by the RSPB rather suggests these tasks have not sufficiently been realised in the past. Whether a designed effect or otherwise, one that perhaps requires some diplomatic footwork in the near future!!  Again, whilst the TV promotion could result in the RSPB gaining more members and a better future for wildlife, might it also result in support being poured into the single pot as opposed to shared around?  I would guess there are some people at County level who might feel the best desserts for their wildlife might not be met to the best effect in the future. I'm sure all this has occurred to the RSPB and the necessary liaison indulged in to ensure no divisions arise.

Doubtless a lot of this change has been sparked off by the ever growing following of programmes like the BBC's SpringWatch.  And why not? There is obviously a huge "conservation constituency" out there who can  hopefully be wooed into offering financial support, however modest, that will result in better circumstances arising for our wildlife. The task will then be to convert them through exposure, education and involvement into an active membership, willing to lobby Government and bring about greater commitment via policy changes aimed at lasting improvement.  A big ask, a long game and a hard task.

RSPB/rspb, all success!!        

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Response from Scottish Government on behalf of Environment Minister.

Previously I wrote to Paul Wheelhouse ( Environment Minister, Scottish Government ) raising concerns about several aspects relating to policies or on the investigation of raptor persecution incidents in Scotland. The response I've received, issued on his behalf, provides both direct and fair comment reflecting the initiatives introduced by the Minister in recent days. I have no doubt as to the resolve being directed toward the overall problem and genuinely hope that the recently introduced initiatives meet with success.

I'm not exactly sure of the situation surrounding communications received from Scottish Government Departments if one takes the instructions literally which accompany the response and suggest that they cannot be reproduced and distributed!  Suffice to say, as far as any future occasions are concerned, this particular point will be clarified and sorted out. On this occasion I'm perfectly satisfied with the response and the commitments expressed.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Final comments on the Ascension Frigatebird.

I'd like to add to the above title, in brackets,  "probably, but hopefully not", but I guess I'd be stretching optimism a bit too far!!

There's certainly been no further reports, but if anything breaks I'll ensure details are available.  Some further photographs have emerged this morning, sent on to Malcolm Ogilvie by a Norwegian gentleman who was on holiday in Bowmore last Friday. His report puts more precision on the timings surrounding the sightings and, better still, one of his photographs is fantastic!!  See the report on the Islay natural History Trust's website.

Pictures of Ascension Frigatebird

Response from Natural England relating to the Freedom of Information request submitted on Bowland.

This is the response I've received from Natural England associated with the Freedom of Information request I put to them about various matters affecting the Forest of Bowland  ( see my entry on this Blog dated 10.6.2013, although the questions are replicated below. )
As yet I've had no opportunity to study the response in any detail or discuss the matter with colleagues, but certainly that will be taking place shortly.  My immediate gut feeling is that Natural England appear to lay great store on the relationship between United Utilities "estate" and the RSPB with less prominence being afforded the role, actual or potential, which the other upland estates within the Forest of Bowland SPA might

Via email
3rd Floor
Bridgewater House
60 Whitworth Street
M1 6LT

Dear Mr Armitage
Access to information request – Request no 2038
Thank you for the two requests for information which we received on 8 June 2013. Your requests have been combined into one response and were considered under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

1. Given that the Forest of Bowland, Lancs is designated as a Special Protection Area and given that key communities of raptors upon which that designation was first based have reduced significantly in recent times:

a) What systems of monitoring and their frequency are in place by Natural England to address these matters?

The RSPB continues to carry out systematic monitoring work for raptors throughout United Utilities Estate each and every year. Natural England continues to carry out regular checks for raptors, in well known breeding localities elsewhere throughout the SPA on other Estates relying too on intelligence gathered from local birders, Schedule 1 Species licence returns and also game keepers from the various Estates, with whom Natural England has very good working relationships.

b) When was the last formal exercise undertaken and follow up discussions taken with the Shooting Estates?

United Utilities and the RSPB have undertaken systematic survey work of its land holding this year and are currently considering what further action locally and nationally needs to be taken with Natural England to address the current decline of hen harriers in Bowland.

c) What was the precise nature of advice given to address the loss of these species?

Currently Natural England does not consider that there are particular land management issues or problems that need addressing within the Bowland Fells SPA. We are aware that there are factors operating away from the site (notably for hen harrier) that need to be addressed. The tracking of hen harriers tagged in Bowland has shown that they wander over huge areas and many do not survive until they are old enough to contribute to the breeding population.

d) Are liaison meetings held to agree burning regimes with respect to the heather moorland?

Throughout United Utilities Estate (a former stronghold for hen harriers in Bowland) burning is carefully controlled and consented under HLS agreements. These relate to United Utilities’ Farm Plans for its Bowland Estate produced under its programme of Sustainable Catchment Area Management Planning work for the area. Meetings have taken place during recent times with shooting tenants and United Utilities staff to discuss the renewal of existing burning consents, whilst burning regimes have also been discussed with other
Estates and are in the process of being re-drafted/finalised as up dates to consents previously issued as part of new HLS agreements with the various Estates.The traditional nesting sites of raptors have been/or are in the process of being mapped as ‘sensitive areas’ as defined within the Defra ‘grass and heather burning code of practice’ just as such sites have been dealt within Utited Utilities’s plans.

e) Which Estates are currently receiving subsidies to assist with moorland management?

The following Estates and their tenants are currently signed up to HLS agreements with Natural England for individual areas of Fell: the Abbeystead Estate, the Bleasdale Estate, United Utilities, the Duchy of Lancaster Estate and the Mallowdale Estate.

I am referring here to routine liaison carried out by NE staff NOT contact work by the research worker associated with the Hen Harrier Recovery Plan.

2. Recently a road has been put in place onto Blaze Moss, Forest of Bowland. May I enquire if:

a) Natural England are aware of this and granted permission for it to occur given it is sited within a designated area?

Natural England is aware of the track and was consulted upon a planning application received by Lancaster City Council for its construction. After appropriate consideration, Natural England did not object to this, since the track does not impinge upon the main part of Marshaw Fell and only extends as far as the foot of the Fell through an area of long established/planted woodland. Conditions were imposed upon its extent, precise location and drainage matters to ensure that no damage to designated features of interest occurred.

b) Whether this is the precursor to exploratory drilling associated with the fracking for gas within the Bowland Shales?

The purpose of the track is to allow access to the bottom end of the Fell for land management or shooting purposes, including grip blocking work proposed on Marshaw Fell under an HLS agreement. Natural England has no reason to believe that this was constructed to allow exploratory drilling for gas fracking of the Bowland Shales.

c) If such is not the case what is the nature of the development upon which the application rested?
Please refer to comments above.

d) What consultations were held with interested parties?

The track was constructed after receiving the necessary authorisation / planning consent from Lancaster City Council. I would advise that you contact Lancaster City Council direct for a list of those they consulted with.
Please note that the information we have supplied to you is subject to copyright protection under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. You may re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, for the purposes of research for non-commercial purposes, private study, criticism, review and news reporting. You must re-use it accurately and not in a misleading context. The material must be acknowledged as Natural England copyright and you must give the title of the source document/publication. However, if you wish to re-use all or part of this information for commercial purposes, including publishing and the information is not covered by the Open Government Licence you will need to apply for a licence. Applications can be sent to Enquiry Service, Natural England, Block B, Government Buildings, Whittington Road, WORCESTER, WR5 2LQ.
This information may also contain third party copyrighted material and you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned before you re-use it.
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. As you may be aware, under the legislation should you have any concerns with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision, please contact:
Under Regulation 11(2) this needs to be done no later than 40 working days after the date of this letter.
If you are not content with the outcome of that complaint, or the review of our decision, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by Natural England. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. Telephone: 01625 545 700,

Yours sincerely
Jon Hickling
Lead Adviser
Customers and Land ManagementVia email
3rd Floor
Bridgewater House
60 Whitworth Street
M1 6LT

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Frustrating Frigatebird!!

An early post as I guess some people will be looking for an update on the current situation.  Basically, having spent the early hours in the Bowmore area and around Upper Loch Indaal , I came home at 1000 hours, grabbed some breakfast given I'd left at 0400 hours, and headed out for the coast, hoping perhaps that the "usual" morning feeding presence of Gannet, Kittiwakes and a few terns might attract a bird with a Frigatebird's  nature.  No luck whatsoever. I then decided to have a "patient session" overlooking and scoping the Outer part of Loch Indaal  just in case the bird was present there and the birding action was concentrated in the upper reaches of the loch. Again with no success.   I lost an hour somewhere and have a few bites to prove it, but I somehow don't believe I missed anything. Having got home a while ago I can say that I've had no messages, so I'm presuming the bird has not been seen by anyone and nothing seems to have broken on Rare Bird Alert.   I know some people had made the journey to Islay and feel frustrated it's not been possible to pin the damned thing down ( remember I've not seen it either, folks! ).

Whilst in the general Bowmore area this morning a passage Greenshank, Sandwich Tern and a noticeable south east trickle of LBBG adults suggested autumn is upon us. The accumulation of waders way out from the Merse , increasing numbers of Curlew on the inner area and a moulting flock of Red-breasted Merganser suggested its time to start counting in earnest once the current distraction has been pinned down or hopes abandoned entirely.  More news later no doubt.  

Frigatebird update! 1000 hours 6.7.2013.

Attempts to relocate the Ascension Island Frigatebird on Islay this morning have been unsuccessful ( so far! )

I was at Bowmore Harbour or nearby between 0500 hours and 0830 hours this morning and had no sightings of the bird.  Local fishermen who have gone out this morning have been asked to report any sightings farther afield. I've also checked all the jetties and piers along the 20 mile journey back to home, but with no joy!!

Having met the person who took the photographs yesterday, the overall picture has become a little more precise in its content. He first saw the bird whilst on a pre-breakfast walk around Bowmore Harbour, took photographs and discussed the matter with local fishermen.  He then went for breakfast and returned later. It was at that point that the flight shot was taken as the bird towered over Bowmore. It was being badly harassed by gulls and was last seen around 800 m further south over Loch Indaal.

It was not seen on a boat out at sea! The reference was when it was around/on a boat whilst the latter was still in the harbour. This puts all the sightings into an hour's timeframe ( approx. 0900 -1000 hours yesterday ). A report has circulated, without supporting detail whatsoever, of a sighting of the bird at the head of Loch Indaal at 1600 hours, but no verification or further information has emerged.

I think the person who took the photographs deserves a big "thank you"  as he drove from Bowmore to the RSPB office at Gruinart to show them the photographs and it was at that point, or a little later, that the identification was made. He goes home today and was in two minds whether to follow things up yesterday or wait until he got home!!!

Given the small number of active birders on Islay the bird,s apparent absence doesn't necessarily mean it has left!  Islay's a big place and not all shore/sea areas are easily covered. Don't lose hope!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Announcement for Saturday 6.7.2013.

After speaking to various people this evening I've put the following "arrangement" in place.  I'm going to scour off SW Islay tomorrow morning from first light and work my way up the western side of  Loch Indaal which affords views of the open loch. There is no mobile reception in this area of Islay so I'll return home at 1000 hours and put out some form of report.

I'm well aware of the problems of ferry transfers etc , particularly at this time of year. Turning up at Kennacraig and expecting to roll on with a car is a's a Saturday and the busiest day for tourists! From whichever ferry terminal ( Port Ellen or Port Askaig ) it's still a distance to Bowmore ( 10 miles ) and to Portnahaven ( 25/30miles ) so plan carefully!

I don't mind people ringing me at home (01496 860396 )  but you'll have to run the gauntlet of my being available.  Hopefully I'll have some good news!!

Ascension Island Frigatebird on Isle of Islay.

Given the significance of the event I have to say from the onset that, regrettably, I have not managed to see this bird!  This entry is an attempt to provide some background information on the circumstances surrounding the sighting, as opposed to an announcement of the observation, as appears to be the case with other disclosures on Facebook and elsewhere.

At around 0900 hours this morning in central Bowmore, Islay an immature Ascension Frigate Bird was seen and photographed around the harbour by the Sim family. Both the following images are theirs and no credit is taken for these, indeed quite the opposite!  At some point these images were seen by Dave Wood. ( RSPB warden, The Oa ) and the first report appeared on national networks ( still not sure whether DW saw the bird!)

It appears that the bird flew off around this time, although that didn't emerge until much later in the morning. I heard quite literally ( thanks Chris Heard! ) at this point and went through to Bowmore , not realising the bird had not been seen for several hours. Despite spending several hours in the vicinity, including tramping around adjacent rocky foreshores given a completely erroneous report that the bird was moribund (!),  there was no sign of it reappearing. I could receive calls here on my mobile phone, as opposed to home and elsewhere on Islay, so the bonus was being able to talk to a lot of enquiring friends!!

Given the apparent fact that the bird had departed out of Loch Indaal I started home in late afternoon and scoured sectors of the loch along my journey, albeit with no result. Eventually getting home I discovered I'd  had a message left that reported "the bird" had been seen from a local fishing boat ( with the bird perching on its gunwhale! ) and a photograph taken. How true this is I can't vouch for, or the time and position of the boat, but it suggests the bird had moved out of the large sea loch.  So , hoping that I hadn't missed anything along the way, the whole matter is now down to tomorrow!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Golden Eagles under the hammer!

As an essential prerequisite to reading through the following entry I'd urge everyone to read the piece on Raptor Persecution Scotland's website ( "27 eagles, 7 years, 0 prosecutions" ), which you can reach through this link    Golden Eagle persecution..

This is truly shocking, but the reaction by RPS comes from the assertion by Scottish Environment Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, that, since 2007, things have improved and progress has been made on the issue.  Well, I'm simply prompted to turn that on its head and read into it that it's a confirmation that things were particularly bad before that date!!  On the plus side it has to be said that the Minister has put in train this week a number of initiatives that, if fully implemented and sustained,  have some capacity to bring about improvement. Doubtless any response I receive to the E-mail I sent him on 11 June will dwell on these new changes and time will tell as to their actual worth. It would be churlish to condemn them out of hand, but for real progress to be achieved the Minister will have to direct resources towards ensuring their uptake and adoption. This is the aspect that so very often then shows the weakness within the system!  Fine words uttered, but anticipated benefits never arise despite the rhetoric and doubtless sincere intentions. This is where the focus of effort should be, i.e. on the follow through.

Now if you think I'm labouring this point may I ask you to look at the RPS site again and to read the entry relating to the questions that have been put to the above Minister following his announcement this week. The questions more than ably demonstrate that various things have been promised in the past amidst the usual razzmatazz of press releases and launches, but have so often resulted in, well, nothing!!!  Let's see what happens this time.

In passing I think it's also relevant to mention the Vicarious Liability issue. Despite its adoption ( in Scotland) being much applauded no case has yet to be applied in court.  There is the possibility a recent case might result in such action being taken, but, again, time will tell.  I'm more than concerned about the situation in England where the DeFRA Minister, Richard Benyon, previously fielded a call for its adoption by saying in his response that the progress of matters in Scotland on the issue would be closely monitored. In other words, loose ball hit into the long grass. It may well be that the results of the recent review completed by the Law Commission on wildlife regulations in England and Wales might just contain a recommendation that the Vicarious Liability clause be enshrined in legislation. Well, yes it might, but I think we can guess what the response of the most Ungreen Government in living memory will be and, sadly, I suspect that's where the issue will remain, conveniently consigned to the long grass.  Calls for its adoption by the RSPB and others, however sincerely framed, will not persuade a Tory-dominated legislative to pursue an issue that essentially puts " its own" at risk.  Doubtless Uncle Hubert's response would be that the very thought that one might be held equally at fault by the persecution actions on birds of prey by one's staff  don't bear thinking about. Such  will be the clarion call and one that will be heeded to in my opinion.  So let's not be naive, other means of achieving better influence need to be explored!!

I'm duty bound to draw attention to the E-petition aimed at promoting regulation as the answer and ask anyone who has not yet signed to do so, please!!  Simply follow this link  Licencing of upland grouse moors and gamekeepers.

And as a somewhat mischievous sign off, I have to let you know that I discovered last evening that there is an E-petition suggesting the current Secretary of State for the Environment, Owen Paterson, should be removed from office due to his incompetence.  Should you sign it as well?  You may say so, I couldn't possibly comment!!!

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!).