Looking Ahead: 2020 Annual Report / 2021 Recording

Chiffchaff, Hollowell Reservoir, January 23rd, 2021.

In this update I thought I’d describe the journey towards completion of the 2020 Annual Report and also share some thoughts on recording in 2021. As always, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved.

2020 Annual Report

Work is already well underway. I’m currently in the process of putting together the 2020 master file from records received so far. I will also be extracting records from BTO BirdTrack, eBird and iRecord, validating these where necessary and finally, given that there can be overlap between these datasets, removing any duplication.

If you haven’t yet submitted your records for 2020, please note that the deadline to do this is February 28th, 2021.

This will then give me a month or so to produce a final version of the master file, which the annual report authors will use to write their sections of the systematic list – the main body of the annual report.

We are also now collating photos of birds seen in the county and looking for ideas for articles and features for inclusion in the annual report. If you’d like to offer any of your photos or have suggestions for articles or features, please let me know via the Contact Page, or send them directly to Graham Martin, Editor of the annual report, at graham@bandmash.co.uk

2021 Recording

Now is also the perfect time to think about how you might capture your bird records in 2021.

It will be a huge help to me if you are able to collate your records across the year in our standard Excel recording sheet and once completed, send it to me, ideally in the first few days of next year. Having been in role for seven months, I would say that this is my preferred method (and the one I use for my own records). That said, I appreciate that it might not work for you, so please use whichever method does work for you – and above all, keep sending me those records!

I am of course also happy to receive hand-written or typed hard-copy records.

See the Recording page of this website for more advice and ideas on this topic.

Records we are interested in (both 2020 and 2021

All records are valuable, be they for common, widespread, familiar species, or for scarce and rare birds.

As I’ve mentioned before, Mike Alibone will continue to update his https://northantsbirds.com/latest-reports/ website with news of scarce and rare birds, so please continue to let Mike know if you find anything exciting.

Because of the high levels of interest in scarce and rare birds across the birding community, and resulting social media and other coverage, we usually have good records of these sightings.

Where we often have gaps in our records is for the less scarce birds. Many birds that we would view as common, widespread and possibly not worth reporting are undergoing declines in distribution and population. On the other hand, some species are also increasing, or breeding for the first time. Your records, including locations, maximum counts, arrival and departure dates for migrants, evidence of breeding, behaviour or habits can all add to understanding of these changes. This understanding can influence land-use planning and local-authority decision-making. It can also support wildlife protection schemes and other conservation activity.

Target species

In addition to general recording as described above, there are some specific species and groups that we’d like to target. These are summarised below.

Species which have declined and are now rare or local in the county: Turtle Dove, Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, Willow Tit, Corn Bunting.

Some of these are Description Species, see Link for more detail.

We will treat information regarding rare and scarce breeding species as sensitive and will not publish anything that could put these species at risk of disturbance.

Species believed to be under recorded: Mistle Thrush, Grey Wagtail, Linnet.

For records of Golden Plover and Lapwing, see Nene Valley SPA Project: https://joncookbirding.wordpress.com/2021/01/13/upper-nene-valley-golden-plover-and-lapwing-survey/ We’re also looking for records away from this area.

There will be further species-specific survey activity throughout the year, organised by various bodies. I will add this to the Latest News page and to my blog posts as the year progresses.

With continuing lockdown restrictions, most of us will be limited to birding from home, work, or on our permitted daily exercise, for the early part of the year at least. By requesting records I would not want to encourage anyone to break lockdown rules: hopefully we can all find ways to continue to find, watch and record birds while still following restrictions and guidelines.

Finally, copies of the new-look 2019 Northants Birds Annual Report are still available. Please contact Bob Bullock if you’d like to buy a copy of this or previous issues, contact details as follows:

R.W. Bullock, 81 Cavendish Drive, Northampton NN3 3HL. Tel: 01604 627262.

Northants Birds Annual Report, 2019

Thanks again to everyone who has sent me records so far. Thanks also to Chris Coe who has continued to help collate records throughout 2020 and has been very generous with his time and advice in handing this over to me. In the absence of a county recorder, Chris and the other committee members have fulfilled many aspects of the role between them, ensuring that an annual report has been completed and records have been submitted to the various bodies and individuals that require them.

As always, happy birding – and I look forward to hearing from you in 2021.

Great Egret, Hollowell Reservoir, January 25th, 2021.

Published by Jon Cook

I’m a birder and photographer living in Hollowell, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom. In May 2020 I took on the role of County Bird Recorder for Northamptonshire. I’m interested in all wildlife and like to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors.

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