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Pembrokeshire Bird Group and BTO newsletter,
January 2022

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Photo banner (c) Richard Crossen

Contents:


Welsh Rookery Survey

Records and BirdTrack 

The Pembrokeshire Avifauna

Birds of Conservation Concern

Bird ID videos

Welsh Rookery Survey

For the first time in the history of the Welsh Ornithological Society, WOS is running an all-Wales species survey during the springs of 2022 and 2023. The species to be surveyed is the Rook (Corvus frugilegus). The aim is to establish distribution maps of rookeries and a robust breeding population estimate in Wales for this familiar, but declining, member of the crow family.

Why Rook? Why now?

Rooks are in trouble and need help. As a result of declines caused by farming changes, pesticides and persecution, they have been moved from Green to Amber in the recently published Birds of Conservation Concern 5 and from Least Concern to Vulnerable on the IUCN European Red List.

Two UK-wide breeding Rook surveys have been held in the past – one in 1975 and another in 1996 – but none since then and an all-Wales survey is long overdue. In Wales, in particular, they appear to be in more trouble than elsewhere. The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) index for Wales fell by 58% during 1995-2018, accelerating after 2010, and the rate of decline is considerably greater here than in any other UK nation. 

For more information about the Rook survey and how you can get involved, please click here. This also provides a link to an online booking app to view and allocate tetrads.

For more information about Rooks in Pembrokeshire, go to the Avifauna where some additional historical information on Rook distribution has been added recently. More information will be added from the county archive soon.

Bob and Annie - local rookery census organisers

Your Bird Records


We'd like to thank everyone who has submitted their records to the county recorder, either directly or through BirdTrack.  There is still time to send 2021 records, but please get them in by the end of January if possible,

We're very pleased that many of you have been using BirdTrack Nearly 49,000 records of 236 species have already been entered for 2021 - can we make it 50,000?.  Hopefully, you'll continue to use it as it is a great way of storing your own records while making them useful to both the county recorder, and to the BTO for analysing bird trends, etc across the country.

New users of Birdtrack - please remember to tick the box about sharing records with the county recorder, otherwise they cannot be sent on (due to data protection rules).

Thank you

Pembrokeshire Avifauna


The online Pembrokeshire Avifauna is proving a popular source of information, and items are frequently added or updated.  The monthly Wetland Bird Survey results now show the totals up to December 2021, and can be found easily using the tag WeBS 2021-22.

There is also a page for the monthly video diaries which you can watch as a reminder of the highlights of each month, or as a guide to what you might see in the upcoming month.

Birds of Conservation Concern


The latest Birds of Conservation Concern review was published in December 2021.  This updates the previous assessment of 2015.  Using standard criteria, experts from a range of bird NGOs, including the BTO, assessed 245 species with breeding, passage or wintering populations in the UK and assigned each to the Red, Amber or Green Lists. 

Worryingly, common birds like greenfinch (above) and swift have been added to the Red List, and as mentioned above, the rook has been placed on the Amber list due to worrying declines.
For more information click here.

New BTO bird ID videos and training courses
 

The BTO has produced a number of videos to help with bird identification.  There are too many to list here, so please click here to see the new ones, and any others you may have missed.

The BTO also run a variety of training courses, mostly online now, so accessible to everyone.  You can see more details here
If you are receiving this newsletter second-hand - you can sign up to receive your own copy direct here.
Happy birding

Bob & Annie Haycock
Pembrokeshire BTO Regional Reps

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