Nature Blog Network

Corvid central

So the birds on the lane this morning included 2 crows, 4 jackdaws and 2 magpies. We do get a fair smattering of corvids around. The jackdaws in particular seem to work together, with 3 taking in turns to keep watch whilst one feeds.

I remember in the 70s in Waterfoot about a mile from Springill that there was a rookery in the trees behind the Trickett’s memorial ground on Burnley Road East. There were seemingly hundreds of birds, making a fair old noise. They don’t seen to be there now but iIm not sure when they left.

We haven’t seen the leucistic crow described in April 2014 since. A pity.

I keep hoping for a Raven. Though realistically they are unlikely to come this close to the town it has been known.

Big Garden birdwatch

The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch has become an annual event in the family and it is interesting to compare over the years.

So this year, 09.15-10.15 this morning recorded 20 species, the most on the lane at one sitting for a while. Like 2013 and unlike 2014 there was snow on the ground.

2015 2014 2013
starling 8 1 7
house sparrow 6 6 6
blackbird 4 3 3
long tailed tit 3
wood pigeon 2 3 2
magpie 2 2 1
carrion crow 2 1 4
chaffinch 2
goldfinch 1 6 4
greenfinch 1 5 5
great tit 1 2 3
robin 1 1 1
blue tit 1 1 1
dunnock 1 1 3
wren 1 1
pied wagtail 1
gt sp woodpecker 1
redwing 1
coal tit 1
common gull 4

New species for the birdwatch list (though not for the lane) are pied wagtail, redwing, long tailed tit, the great spotted woodpecker and, interestingly, the chaffinch. Strange that's not been seen before.

The thrushes tend to visit more in snow, probably hence the redwing. Not sorry to see the gulls move on.

Good to see the starlings back, but 10 years ago there would have been about 70 of them.

Absence of bats or absence of surveyors?

My Daubenton’s bat waterway survey from last summer has been incorporated into the Bat Conservation Trust database for 2014. My data is the blob just above Manchester. Interestingly there seems to be another surveyor in the Blackburn area and another somewhere around Bury.

Of the BCT’s nine official bat surveys the Daubenton’s waterways surgery was the only one to return counts in this area. Now that is no surprise for the greater and lesser Horseshoe bat surveys as the results suggest that these are localised to SW England and SW England + Wales respectively. Is that because that is where they are or because that is where people looked for them? The BCT does report negative results and none are recorded for these two species but they may well be geographically localised.

The roost surveys for pipistrelles and soprano pips shows no roosts in the area. Mmm, there are plenty of pips about so they must roost somewhere. This suggests that their absence on the distribution maps is under reporting rather than lack of specimens.

It is a reminder to bear this in mind when looking at distribution records for any species really. Positive results are useful, corroborated ones more so (were some of my Daubenton’s really pips?). Negative results are useful as evidence of absence. But absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence.

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