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Atlas listing (1 Viewer)

I and a few friends got off to a new Atlas season this week, having agreed to do one of the so called 'reject' tetrads, in this case TQ91Z in the far east of the county. 'Reject' because the Sussex RO is aiming for 100% coverage and there were about 15 unallocated tetrads left, most in undesirable urban areas or remote and I located one on the way to Dungeness............it gave us an excuse to go to Dunge, which was my motivation for volunteering for this one!

This is very different from my Wealden tetrads, located between Camber and Scotney Pit. It has a little bit of beach and gave a new meaning to counting gulls! Even found a Yellow-legged! There is vast acerage of arable fields, interspersed with dykes and seawalls with very very few trees. The highlight was a flock of over 200 Stock Doves feeding in the winter wheat, which triggered the 'unusually high number' when entering the data. Also Marsh Harrier, Peregrine and Kingfisher; 39 species altogether in the two hours and the RO would have been proud of us; we were up close and downwind of the sewage works counting Starlings and Pied Wagtails for longer than we would have liked!
 
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I did my first winter visit to NO38B near Loch Muick in Aberdeenshire today. I was meant to do this last winter but by the time I got round to it the snow prevented me from getting up the glen, so I thought I had better get my first visit in early this winter!

I set out fairly early in the morning and arrived at the car park at Glen Muick at about 8.20, from where it was a 20 minute walk to the start of my tetrad. There were plenty of distractions on the way - hundreds of red deer stags (some only 20 metres from the path) and no less than 38 Blackcock lekking on the grassy flats by the river (there were 25 here when I did my first breeding season visit in May). There were also about 180 Greylag Geese roosting on the loch - they later flew off to the north.

Moving into my tetrad, I started at a small woodland plantation just above the Loch. I flushed a total of 27 Black Grouse here - mostly males, but also a few greyhens. I had flushed 12 here in May, so it seems to have been a good breeding season for Black Grouse. There was also a distant crossbill sp. flying over the wood, but not a lot else.

Moving up onto the open hill, a couple of hybrid crows flew over, and then I started flushing Red Grouse. By the end of the hour I had seen 62, which suggests that they too have had a good breeding season (I saw 11 in May).

At about 650 metres up, the weather closed in and it started to snow quite heavily. I decided against going any higher and instead countoured back along the hillside just below the cloud base. Shortly after the end of my hour I was still descending back to the car park when I heard a snow bunting calling overhead. Looking up I saw a small flock of ten flying over, fairly high up.

Not many species, but as always with these upland tetrads, it was quality rather than quantity. 65 Black Grouse in a day is I think a record for me, and I must have seen around 80 Red Grouse in total including the walk in and out.
 

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I did three tetrads in East Lancs today. Highlights included Red Grouse, Little Owl and Siskin. Two tetrads were new and it was a lovely day to explore new areas.

Stephen
 
You guys are so energetic! I did a two hour visit to TQ34L on Sunday. It was typical Surrey rural habitat... fields, hedges, small woods, the odd pond. The weather closed in before the end and so my count may have been a bit below what you might expect - but I had seen some good birds and I couldn't face abandoning it. 29 species in all. I was pleased to get kestrel, sparrowhawk and buzzard, a pair of treecreepers, a good flock of house sparrows and several goldcrests which have been scarce ever since last winter's big freeze.
Ken
 
I had fun doing my first TTVs last weekend in west Cornwall. Between a car-load of us we had four Firecrest and Siberian Chiffchaff which was a bonus, but it's amazing how few Woodpigeons there are down here!

Also managed to cover this scrap of a 10km square on the coast - SW81. Nice to see all the yellow smiley faces, but still only turned the square orange... :C
 

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I had fun doing my first TTVs last weekend in west Cornwall. Between a car-load of us we had four Firecrest and Siberian Chiffchaff which was a bonus, but it's amazing how few Woodpigeons there are down here!

Also managed to cover this scrap of a 10km square on the coast - SW81. Nice to see all the yellow smiley faces, but still only turned the square orange... :C

Hi, Mark,
I'd be amazed to get some of those species here in land-locked Surrey! I haven't really mastered the best way of reproducing charts like that. Did you take a photo?!
Attached is my effort today. I just 'printed' the page as a .pdf. In Birdtrack there is a facility for printing off lists but I couldn't find the equivalent in Bird Atlas. (As an aside, the winter yellow wagtail map today is interesting. Are there really that many around in winter?) The weather was chilly and overcast, and to start with it was slow going. But things picked up towards the end when I visited a pond with alders growing round it. It seemed to attract a high proportion of the birds in the tetrad. I was rather alarmed to discover that a large area of blackthorn (in an SSSI) where nightingales breed had been destroyed. It's such a shame.
Ken
 

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Today I did a TTV at Catterall, near Garstang. This includes a lake next to the M6. I was rather astonished to see a possible Ferruginous Duck on there with Pochard, but I was some distance away and only had my bins.

By the time I got back to the car I didn't have long before I needed to be home. I dashed round to a viewing point with a reasonable view of the lake and soon picked up the bird again and got enough on it to be sure it was a Fudge or a Fudge hybrid.

It has now been confirmed as a Fudge x Pochard. Does that mean I ignore it for my TTV results or is there some way of including it in the TTV results?

Stephen.
 
Today I did a TTV at Catterall, near Garstang. This includes a lake next to the M6. I was rather astonished to see a possible Ferruginous Duck on there with Pochard, but I was some distance away and only had my bins.

By the time I got back to the car I didn't have long before I needed to be home. I dashed round to a viewing point with a reasonable view of the lake and soon picked up the bird again and got enough on it to be sure it was a Fudge or a Fudge hybrid.

It has now been confirmed as a Fudge x Pochard. Does that mean I ignore it for my TTV results or is there some way of including it in the TTV results?

Stephen.

I think there are some blank lines at the bottom of p4 where you can fill in additional species. I haven't tried but you might find that fudgexpochard can be typed in.
Ken
 
I had fun doing my first TTVs last weekend in west Cornwall. Between a car-load of us we had four Firecrest and Siberian Chiffchaff which was a bonus, but it's amazing how few Woodpigeons there are down here!

Also managed to cover this scrap of a 10km square on the coast - SW81. Nice to see all the yellow smiley faces, but still only turned the square orange... :C

Hi Mark

A car load of us, including an ex-colleague of yours (Chas Holt!) also did some TTVs in North Cornwall and Devon at the start of November. We did rather well I think, scoring a Great Grey Shrike, Richard's Pipit, Snow Bunting, several Lapland Buntings and Firecrests, plus Black Sawn and Ringed Teal which added a touch of the exotic to our Atlas lists!!

The one thing that struck me about the area wasn't the lack of Woodpigeons, but rather the abundance of Starlings! There were thousands virtually everywhere I went.

Cheers
Steve Turner
 
I haven't really mastered the best way of reproducing charts like that. Did you take a photo?!

The answer is sort of yes, as I took a screenshot and saved it in 'Irfanview'. Just hit Ctrl+Alt+PrntScrn and this will put a copy of the screen on the clipboard. Then just paste it into an editing programme, crop the bit you need and save.
 
The hard weather was presumably the main reason why there were nearly 500 Mallard on the unfrozen part of the fishing lake in a tetrad I did today. Nice to get a couple of Kingfishers in a tetrad on the Lune yesterday.

Stephen.
 
A grim TTV in urban Basingstoke this morning failed to produce any waxwings (15 present just 200m east of my boundary!) - 3 mistle thrushes & 26 goldfinches about the best; no wonder this was a "reject" tetrad!

cheers, alan
 
I figure those tetrads with few birds are just as important for the Atlas though to get a true representation of bird species and numbers within a square. I did two tetrdas in one square that touched at the corners. One was on the coast with rocks and beach backed by rough pasture and small deciduous and coniferous woods - plenty of variety of birds there. The other was bogland and bird species were barley in double digits.
 
The weather has made trips out to top up tetrads difficult. However time watching the garden has helped top up the local list. At the start of winter NT27W, in east Edinburgh,the tetrad had 68 species. Star of the last 4 weeks has been a nuthatch on our feeders. Common down south but a rare bird in Edinburgh-bird 69. A pair of reed buntings were number 70. 2 pigeons scoped from the back garden turned out to be stock doves and yesterday I had a garden first with 3 bramblings making 72 species so far
 
A grim TTV in urban Basingstoke this morning failed to produce any waxwings (15 present just 200m east of my boundary!) - 3 mistle thrushes & 26 goldfinches about the best; no wonder this was a "reject" tetrad!

cheers, alan

I did one yesterday with only one species, yours sounds a lot more entertaining...

Stephen
 
I managed my second winter visit to NO38B near Loch Muick in Aberdeenshire today. I thought I had better take advantage of the easing in winter conditions as the arctic seems set to return again in the next couple of weeks. The road up Glen Muick was pretty icy but manageable and I made it to the start of my tetrad just after 11am, with the temperature at -1C.

I flushed five Black Grouse as soon as I entered the tetrad and they flew into a small plantation above the loch. However, unlike my early winter visit there were no large gatherings of black grouse today, as they were sensibly conserving their energy and not bothering to display.

Heading up the hill, the deep kronking of a pair of Ravens attracted my attention overhead - the first I have recorded in my 4 visits to this square.

After that, there was nothing apart from Red Grouse for the remainder of the hour - 58 in total, which compares well with the count for the first winter visit (62).

Another enjoyable trip out and the last of my allocated tetrad visits for the atlas.
 

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Unfortunately I've come a bit late to the atlas party, only signed up a couple of weeks ago, and only managed to get my very first tetrad done on the 31st (last day!). It went pretty well, and I was pleased to add a couple of new species for the tetrad. For a square near the centre of Edinburgh I was quite happy, with Goldcrest, Blackcap, Brambling and Waxwings being particularly obliging and all landing within a few feet of me! A couple of questions though.....

I missed some species like GS Woodpecker, Treecreeper and Coal Tit (!), which I know are present. As long as I pick these up on the late winter visit is that ok, or should I make an extra effort before then so I can add them as roving records?

Does anyone have any suggestions on which layout would work best on an excel doc, so I can keep all my records in one place. I'm hoping to sign up for some more tetrads which need done in the remaining seasons, so want to make sure it's all organised properly.

Wish I'd known more about this ages ago!
 
Hi, Laura,
I would say that the more roving records you can add to the Atlas the better. If you wait till your late winter visit there's no guarantee you'll pick up all the species present.
Personally, I just put all the data onto the Bird Atlas website as I get it. I realise that I don't have my own spreadsheet but I can review my records on-line. I picked up a great grey shrike quite by chance today, which I was pleased with... but I'd love to connect with some of your other birds.
Ken
 
Hi Laura, welcome to the party !
Is a local tetrad atlas being done for your area, do you know ? If so then, definitely, get these missing species via roving records if you can, as Ken says.
If not then what matters most is getting all the species in the 10km square: the Atlas website will tell you which ones are "missing" (view 'my square summaries').
Enjoy.
 
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