Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing the results of the Bird Race at the end of January - if you have not yet entered there is still time!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Winter Atlas and Bird Race: latest position

Despite the ongoing freeze up Lincs birders continue to add new winter atlas records and thank you to all concerned for your contributions. TF47 the Alford square has shown the best improvement but we still need to add at least 8 species to get up to the number recorded in the last winter atlas. Nine other Lincs squares, listed below, are still below species richness recorded in the last atlas:

North Lincs: TA11 Killingholme Pits, TA10 Caistor/Limber, TF39 Covenham Reservoir

East Lincs: TF55 Gibraltar Point, TF36 Snipe Dales

West Lincs: TF08 Toft Newton reservoir, TF05 Dunsby/Scopwick

South Lincs: TF42 Gedney Dove End/Sutton Bridge, TF31 Holbeach

The last mentioned square TF31 Holbeach has the poorest species richness, at 65 of any square in Lincs. At present the average richness is 97 species per square and the best is Donna Nook/Saltfleetby at 162.

All these squares are still availabe for the Lincs winter bird race which will be taking place in just over 2 weeks time, so if you haven't signed up yet please get in touch with me or Chris Gunn asap. We welcome all records so even if you don't want to take part in the race please check out these and your local squares to see if you can add any missing species. Follow this link if you'd like to see whats been recorded, what missing and contribute records

And a happy new years birding to all

Phil Espin

Friday, 26 November 2010

Lincs Winter Bird Race

A Challenge

Lincolnshire Bird Race With a Difference!

A winter bird race jointly sponsored by the BTO and Lincs Bird Club will take place between midnight on Thursday 6th Jan and midnight on Sunday 9th Jan 2011.

We hope that everyone will be able to take part and have some fun while adding to our knowledge of birds wintering across Lincolnshire. The diagram above shows the number of species recorded in each square so far. The colours show progress against the numbers recorded in the 1980s atlas. The plan is to turn the map green.

What you have to do:

  • Maximum of 2 people per team
  • Select a 10 km square from the list below
  • Register the square with the Regional Organiser
  • Record the birds seen in the square in a 24 hour period between midnight on Thursday 6th Jan and midnight on Sunday 9th Jan 2011. Spend as much or as little time as you wish
  • Enter the list as a Roving Record in the BTO Bird Atlas by Midnight on Sunday 16th Jan 2011
  • If you'd like to take part without being part of the competition just advise your Regional Organiser you'd prefer to remain anonymous.

The winners

  • The Team who adds the most new birds to the Atlas in a 10 km square
  • Tie Break - in the event of a tie, the team that has the rarest bird added to its square will win, John Clarkson will be the judge - and his decision is final!
  • The winner will be announced through our blog on 22 Jan
The Prize
  • A pair of Opticron binoculars donated by the BTO
  • Awarded at the BTO Conference on the 16th April 2011 at Riseholme
To Select Your Square
  • Visit
  • Click on Winter Priority Squares
  • Your home square will come up and a list of species recorded in adjacent squares and missing from your square will appear. (This will give you an indication of how many birds you may be able to add to the square). To bring up the missing list for another square press shift and click on the square. To navigate from your local area, click on the outside of the grid.
  • Choose your square
  • Email the BTO Regional Rep to register your square after midnight on the 1st December 2010
  • Your registration will be confirmed by email
  • Only one team will be registered for each square and it's first come first served; if your chosen square has been taken you will be allocated an adjacent square, if you have a preference please indicate your 2nd choice when registering.

Available Squares and contact details

Lincs North and West Chris Gunn

SE81, 91, 70, 80, 90 TA01, 11, 21, 00, 10 20 30 40, SK89, 99, TF 09, 19 29, 39, 49

SK84, 87, 88, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98 TF04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Lincs East and South Phil Espin

TF 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58

TF01, 02, 03 11, 12, 13, 21, 22, 23, 31, 32, 33, 42, 43

Phil Espin
BRO Regional Representative East Lincs

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Making your listing count


I'm Phil Espin, BTO Regional Representative for East Lincs and this is my first blog post. Most birders keep a list of what they've seen on their local patch and your list can have enduring scientific value. Our winter atlas is based on lists of species seen in each 10km square during the months of November to February and the winters of 2007/8, 2008/9, 2009/10 and 2010/11.

Since we've now been going 3 years we have already built up good information for many 10k squares from the efforts of our team of dedicated volunteers. However there are many species that can still be added in most squares and some squares are not doing so well. Our central team at BTO HQ at Thetford have come up with a new graphic to focus on these areas which can be seen at . This brings up a map of the UK showing all tetrads with significantly less species than recorded in the 80s winter atlas.

There is only one hilited square in Lincs; TF47 which is centred on Alford. If you have a patch in that square we really need your records! Everyone can see what is missing from their local 10km square by going to and clicking on "Winter Priority Square" under "My Atlas Options" on the right of the page. This throws up a grid showing how many species have been recorded where you live and what species are missing from your square, based on whats been found in adjacent squares. When you've looked at yours, have a look at TF47 and compare and contrast!

Hopefully you'll feel like me that when you buy that big new Atlas book in early 2013, the last thing you want is to look at a species and see it absent from your square when you know darn well that it occurs and you even have a record in your note book. So please click on "enter roving records" at the top of the Winter Priority squares page and enter what you've got.

I feel bad about TF47, it seems to lack much in the way of habitat to attract wildfowl like Wigeon, waders like Curlew and farmland birds like Grey Partridge the 3 commonest birds missing. If you know a good site there, perhaps you'll join us on Sunday 12 December when a few of us intend to blitz the square and then meet up afterwards from 1pm onwards at the Blacksmith Arms , Skendleby (Tom Woods) to compare notes. The more the merrier, please drop me an email if you intend to come.


Friday, 5 November 2010

Welcome from your BTO Representative for West Lincolnshire

I am delighted that we have now established a proper link between the British Trust for Ornithlogy and the Lincolnshire Bird Club. The BTO is the leading organisation for assembling and publishing data on bird populations. It is recognised as producing impartial scientific data. Whilst it has no direct responsibility for conservation policy, the bird data submitted by thousands of volunteers all over the country, is used by government and others to formulate policy in the best interests of conserving our wild birds and wildlife generally. Members of the Bird Club are well placed to contribute to this, simply by submitting records through Bird Track. However, where we undertake specific surveys (Wintering thrushes will feature in the 2011/12 winter) we encourage direct volunteering by Bird Club members. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you would like to know more. I will make occasional posts on this site to keep everyone informed.
(Photo by David Bailey)

Peter Overton

Regional Representative

West Lincolnshire

01400 273323 Sponsoring the kestrel in the BTO Bird Atlas

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Dear Atlas volunteer

We are now a few days into the fourth and final winter of fieldwork for the Bird Atlas. Already 214 Timed Tetrad Visits and over 6000 Roving Records have been submitted online despite the wet and windy weather moving across Britain and Ireland. We hope you are full of enthusiasm to get out there and fill in gaps in timed counts and species lists. We are in a terrific position as we enter the final year and now just need one last push to complete coverage across the whole of Britain and Ireland.

First priority
So that we know exactly what remains to be done, as soon as possible, please submit any completed TTVs and Roving Records you have, and if you have TTVs allocated but fear you will not be able to complete them this winter, please let your RO know immediately.

You can help by:
- completing all tetrads allocated to you. If you can’t manage them please contact your Regional Organiser as soon as possible;
- take on new tetrads to ensure the minimum of eight tetrads are completed in every 10-km square. Early winter TTVs should be competed by the end of December. Input your records promptly after your visit so we can assess coverage through the winter and respond to any gaps;
- fill in gaps in species lists. We need comprehensive species lists in every 10-km square. The species richness map will help you highlight priority areas

Tools to help you
There are a number of tools online which will help you with your atlas work and to make the most of your time in the field.

Priority Squares
Select the 10-km square you are atlasing in and you will be shown a list of species recorded in the surrounding 10-km squares but not in your selected square. This will help you to think about species that you might be missing in your square. After logging in at click on the Priority Squares button in Data Home.

Regional results
Select your region from the drop-down menu and look at the wide range of maps. The species richness map shows the squares that still need help – look for squares coloured white, yellow and orange. It’s really useful to apply the ‘Actual species richness’ button to show the number of species recorded; although the square may be coloured red there could well be more species to find. This is certainly the case in Ireland and parts of Scotland where coverage in the last Winter Atlas was limited.

Click on the ‘Tetrads surveyed for TTVs’ and you will see the number of tetrads already surveyed for winter. Consider taking on tetrads in 10-km squares where fewer than eight tetrads have been completed.

You can access the ‘Regional Results’ from the ‘Latest Results’ menu on the atlas homepage or using the link

Any Square Summary
See the list of species recorded in any 10-km square or tetrad. Access from Data Home.

A reminder why we are doing all this
With such a head long rush to get all these species lists and TTVs completed its easy to forget why we are doing this. Of course, the Atlas book will be a landmark publication that you can rightly say you had a hand in. But the Atlas is more than a book, and already we have used provisional atlas results to identify species that need dedicated research and conservation action. So please help in these last months of the Atlas to make this the most thorough and complete Atlas yet.

Thank you for all your help so far. We hope you have a great winter atlasing and see plenty of good birds.

With kind regards

Dawn Balmer (Atlas Coordinator)
Bob Swann (Scottish Organiser)
Brian Caffrey (Irish Organiser)
Simon Gillings (Atlas Development)