A lucky winner at the WOS stand at Birdfair!

This lucky winner finished up with a good bottle of white from one of our competitions at Birdfair on Friday! It’s an excellent 30th anniversary for Birdfair and there has been a lot of interest in WOS – and those affiliate clubs which have been able to display their leaflets and publications. Another two great days in store!

National Conference 2018 - booking now open for WOS members and 16-25 year olds

The 2018 Conference, on Welsh Woodlands and their birds will be held at Neuadd Reichel, Bangor on Saturday 3 November. Places are likely to be sold out several weeks in advance and priority booking for WOS members is now open (£30 + VAT), with general booking for non-members opening on Saturday 1st September (£35 + VAT). As usual, we have reserved six free places for 16-25 year olds and if you are eligible and would like to apply for one of these, please email knoble.kn@btinternet.com directly. The full programme and booking details are on our Conference page here.

National Willow Tit survey - a really important study for 2019-20

The Rare Breeding Birds Panel (RBBP), RSPB and WOS are working to deliver a national Willow Tit survey in 2019 and 2020. We are hopeful that county-level surveys can be conducted across the known range by Willow Tit study groups, county bird clubs and other organisations. So far, Natural England and Natural Resources Wales have agreed to help fund the survey. Our endemic race of Willow Tit is the second-fastest declining species in the UK, after Turtle Dove, and is Red-listed. RSPB and others have conducted research into causes of decline, and are trialling woodland management solutions for Willow Tit. However, due to the declining numbers, monitoring the species is becoming increasingly difficult. Whilst the Breeding Bird Survey is still able to produce an annual trend, the sample had fallen to just 46 squares by 2017. Although collation of records by the RBBP is useful for the design of future surveys, it is currently insufficient to enable robust population estimates, measures of change or maps of current distribution to be produced: thus a national survey is needed if our conservation work is going to be properly underpinned by evidence. At this stage, if you are keen to be involved in this national survey can you please either let your county bird recorder know, or contact the national survey organiser Simon Wotton (simon.wotton@rspb.org.uk). We’ll also be providing a WOS contact soon as well. Later in the autumn, we will be able to provide more information on the survey methods and which tetrads will need surveying in your area. We hope this work will also leave a legacy of increased volunteer monitoring, on an annual basis, at least in core areas for the species. If you would like any more information on the survey, please contact Simon Wotton or Stephen Bladwell (stephen.bladwell@rspb.org.uk). The RSPB have produced a leaflet giving some details of how the survey will operate – please have a look at it here.

TOPS - can you help with the important new BTO Tawny Owl survey?

Despite being widespread, we know surprisingly little about our Tawny Owl population. The BTO’s core monitoring schemes do suggest a recent decline but as they are daytime surveys, they can’t show us the full picture. We get better information on how Tawny Owl populations are doing by carrying out periodic targeted surveys with the BTO previously carrying out national structured surveys for Tawny Owls in Britain in the autumns of 1989 and 2005. By extending the survey to multiple seasons the BTO plan also to look at changes in their population over the course of the year and compare it to productivity/survival recorded in other BTO monitor projects like the Nest Record Scheme and Ringing Scheme. Through this, we hope to learn more about our noisy but often mysterious neighbours. To find out more, and to get involved, follow the link to the BTO survey page here.

Scarce sightings during July 2018

A quiet summer month, with few new scarce birds. The wandering Snowy Owl was at South Stack (Anglesey) on 7th then belatedly reported from Llyn Cwmystradllyn (Caernarfonshire) on 13th but only seen and photographed by one observer. A Spoonbill was at NWC (Carmarthen) from 12th-30th. Wood Sandpipers were at NWR (Gwent) from 14th-30th and on Skokholm on 26th. A Glossy Ibis was along the Usk on 5th. A Squacco Heron was at Llangwm Pil (Pembrokeshire) on 3rd and a Cattle Egret was at NWR on 29th following a Spotted Crake at WWC (Pembrokeshire) on 28th. The over-summering Glaucous Gull remained at Llanddulas (Denbighshire) on 25th-27th. A Pied Crow of dubious origin was at St Justinian (Pembrokeshire) from 3rd-7th.

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Events for birdwatchers in Wales

Glamorgan Bird Club : Field Meeting – Garwnant.
Aug 22 @ 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Wednesday 22nd August – Garwnant . Looking for Willow Tit and Crossbill at Garwnant, with the option of searching for moorland species in the afternoon.

Field Meetings – Contact John Wilson (info@glamorganbirds.org.uk) at least seven days before the due date. Bring packed lunch and suitable clothing/footwear. Participants may be expected to car share. The meeting place in Cardiff for many trips is St Margaret’s Road in Whitchurch, Cardiff – see the map opposite. We meet at the A4054 end.

Cambrian Ornithological Society : Indoor Meeting – The Dee Estuary, an illustrated talk by Daniel Trotman.
Sep 7 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Friday 7th September: The RSPB on the Dee: From the Mud to the Mere by Daniel Trotman (RSPB) The Dee Estuary and its Burton Mere Wetlands Reserve is an internationally important winter home for tens of thousands of ducks, geese and waders. Daniel Trotman, Development Officer for the RSPB Dee Estuary Reserves, will give an illustrated talk about some of its wildlife.

Indoor meetings are held at Pensychnant Conservation Centre at 7.30pm. Hot drink and biscuits provided afterwards. Donation requested: £1 (members), £2 (non-members).

Cambrian Ornithological Society : Field Meeting – Hilbre Island, Dee Estuary.
Sep 12 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

Wednesday 12th September Hilbre Island, Dee Estuary Waders will be high on our lists today. Leader John Small. Meet 9am, at Dee Lane, west Kirby; SJ210868; CH48 0QG.

Field trips start at 10 am unless otherwise stated. Non-members welcome. Bring lunch, stout footwear and waterproofs. For further information, contact Geoff Gibbs (01248 681936) or Gareth Jones (01248 601319).

Carmarthenshire Bird Club : Field Meeting – Goldcliff and Uskmouth. @ RSPB Newport Wetlands NP18 2BZ
Sep 15 @ 9:30 am – 4:00 pm

Goldcliffe and Newport 09:30 Uskmouth Reserve Car Park
Visit to Goldcliff Lagoons and Newport Wetlands, meet initially at Uskmouth Reserve car park (follow brown duck signs) at 9:30 before going on to Goldcliffe Lagoons. High tide is approx 11:30.

Events organiser Wendell Thomas – 07912 577626