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County listing question

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Old Sunday 9th February 2014, 10:58   #1
Trystan
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County listing question

Curious to see what peoples thoughts are on this, or if there is a standard practice.

My world list has always been and will always be most important to me, but to keep things interesting, I also keep country lists, and more recently put together my Yorkshire list. (As seen in my signature)

As I am travelling increasing distances to see new birds in the UK, I thought it would be interesting to keep a few other county lists. Now I know for Yorkshire that people tend to use the pre 1974-ish administrative borders, or perhaps even the ancient county borders which I think are the same thing as far as Yorkshire is concerned.

However, if I apply this principle consistently, it would mean that Lancashire would include Greater manchester, Merseyside and parts of Cumbria, while Cumbria would be split down into Cumberland and Westmorland and I've certainly never heard of people keeping lists for these places.

I'm sure there are similar examples for many other counties, so my question is, what do other people do?

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Old Wednesday 12th February 2014, 10:02   #2
davercox
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Bit surprised no-one has replied to this - or is it on another thread ?
I stick with the areas defined by "county reports". Living in Devon means I include Torbay and Plymouth although they are no longer "in Devon".
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Old Wednesday 12th February 2014, 10:11   #3
James Emerson
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Norfolk and Suffolk is a good example of this. In Norfolk most birders use the current administrative borders, whilst in Suffolk they use the pre 1970s ones. This means that there is a strip of land that transferred from Suffolk to Norfolk that is counted by birders from both counties.

There are reasonable reasons for both positions. For me having been born in the 1980s it makes sense for me to consider Norfolk as the area defined by the current boundaries rather than historical ones. Counties are administerial areas so this seems consistent. However from a recording consistency point of view there is merit in using the same boundaries that were used, and indeed this is quite common in other groups using Watsonian Vice Counties. Proponents of this system also tend to ask what would happen if a city became a unitary authority, and point out that old boundaries often had physical points like rivers as borders rather than arbitrary lines on a map.
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Old Wednesday 12th February 2014, 10:20   #4
Keith Dickinson
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I believe that the Watsonian vice counties are the ones used for the bulk of scientific biological records and as they were in part based on the old counties of Britain, they have become a little split from reality due to political descisions.
If the list is purely for your own use then you can use what ever definition of 'county' you wish to but if you plan to forward your records to County recorders then it might be prudent to find out what they deem to be the county boundaries and work from those guidelines.
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Old Wednesday 12th February 2014, 10:32   #5
Darrell Clegg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davercox View Post
Bit surprised no-one has replied to this - or is it on another thread ?
I stick with the areas defined by "county reports". Living in Devon means I include Torbay and Plymouth although they are no longer "in Devon".
Dave,
Although Plymouth and Torbay are unitary authorities as far as running their own affairs goes they are still part of the county of Devon. A similar situation exists in Yorkshire with Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield et al.

Having said that, defining county boundaries can be a right royal pain. When I was county recorder I had numerous discussions and email correspondence even over an easy county such as Cornwall. You'd think it would be simple, after all we only have one county boundary. Unfortunately that boundary went right through some of the best birding bits! - Is a bird on Lower Tamar Lake in Devon or Cornwall? What about if it's on the Tamar near Plymouth? Or the real bone of contention - Eddystone Lighthouse. Geographically very much in Cornwall but because it is administered by Trinity House in Plymouth it is part of Devon, as is the sea surrounding it! - and as for "at sea" records!!!!

In July 2008 British Birds published a definitive list of recording areas which I think you can download from their website.

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Old Wednesday 12th February 2014, 10:38   #6
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Here's the citation:

Ballance, David K. Smith, A. Judith. Recording areas of Great Britain: British Birds. 101. July 2008. 1-17

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Old Wednesday 12th February 2014, 11:11   #7
Trystan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davercox View Post
Bit surprised no-one has replied to this - or is it on another thread ?
I think maybe putting this in lists and listing was a mistake and I had given up on getting a response here but thanks everyone for your contributions. I didn't know about the Watsonian vice county system which looks to be a very practical way for me to approach this.

Much appreciated.
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Old Wednesday 12th February 2014, 11:20   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darrell Clegg View Post

In July 2008 British Birds published a definitive list of recording areas which I think you can download from their website.

Darrell
http://www.britishbirds.co.uk/birdin...-great-britain

A link to the above information for anyone else interested.

Thanks
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Old Sunday 15th June 2014, 22:20   #9
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Up here in the northeast, Northumberland includes Newcastle and North Tyneside, and Co Durham includes Gateshead, South Shields and Sunderland. I've never heard of anyone keeping a list for that ghastly contrivance "tyne and wear".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darrell Clegg View Post
Or the real bone of contention - Eddystone Lighthouse. Geographically very much in Cornwall but because it is administered by Trinity House in Plymouth it is part of Devon, as is the sea surrounding it!
A while back I saw a Great Shearwater next to the Eddystone from the Santander - Plymouth ferry; I gather that's a bit of a Devon blocker??
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Old Sunday 15th June 2014, 22:39   #10
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Dorset stole Christchurch harbour from Hampshire, but I'm not county-orientated enough to care. It was instructive to see birders at the River Blackwater Pallas's Warbler two winters ago audibly begging it to change banks between Hampshire and Berkshire.

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Old Sunday 15th June 2014, 22:50   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farnboro John View Post
Dorset stole Christchurch harbour from Hampshire, but I'm not county-orientated enough to care. It was instructive to see birders at the River Blackwater Pallas's Warbler two winters ago audibly begging it to change banks between Hampshire and Berkshire.

John
We had a similar incident a few years ago when a Squacco Heron turned up at Attenborough NR in Notts. The bird was on the River Erewash and one side of the river was in Notts and the other in Derbys. There were many Derbys listers who clapped and cheered when the bird eventually flew and landed on the Derbys side of the river (including me).
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Old Monday 16th June 2014, 10:11   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farnboro John View Post
Dorset stole Christchurch harbour from Hampshire,
In the early 1970s? (but have not checked). Hampshire birders use the current "county boundaries" including any of the unitaries, eg Portsmouth although a few, myself included, do also try and see any very rare birds in the bit that was stolen. This included ie Hengistbury Head and Stanpit so I do have have Northern Parula and Bobolink on my "Greater Hampshire" list!

cheers, alan
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Old Monday 16th June 2014, 13:30   #13
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How interesting! I am not sure which level of our own administrative areas corresponds to your counties (eBird cleverly avoids listing any counties in my country) but it would be definitively amusing to treat each of the 9 or 10 parts of my city as separate counties and keeping separate lists when I routinely visit 3-5 of them in a single morning by public transport buses.
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Old Monday 16th June 2014, 14:23   #14
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Originally Posted by Zheljko View Post
How interesting! I am not sure which level of our own administrative areas corresponds to your counties (eBird cleverly avoids listing any counties in my country) but it would be definitively amusing to treat each of the 9 or 10 parts of my city as separate counties and keeping separate lists when I routinely visit 3-5 of them in a single morning by public transport buses.
Well Z, if you're going to take your listing that far, you might as well go the extra mile and start 'Bus number 1/2/3 etc etc' lists

Richard
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