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Ornithology Review - Autumn 2011

The breeding season has now come to a close, a season that seems, generally to have been a positive one especially for the early breeding birds, thanks to the settled spell of weather in April.  A new species was added to the Island’s breeding list, with Firecrests Regulus ignicapilla raising young in St Catherine’s Woods.

After an absence of ten years, a pair of Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus  was found at a former breeding site.  Although they are not believed to have bred successfully, arriving late into the season, the Ornithology Section is working closely with the Environment Department of the States of Jersey, and Durrell, to protect the site and the birds with a view to them breeding next year.

As well as the annual British Trust for Ornithology Breeding Birds Survey which has been running for over twenty years, members of the Ornithology Section have been involved, for the last four years, with data collection for the BTO’s Bird Atlas. The fieldwork for the survey has been completed this summer and, when published in 2012, should reflect the many changes in both breeding and wintering status of birds in Jersey, as well as the whole of the United Kingdom. In the fifteen to twenty years since the two previous Atlases were produced by the BTO, there have been many significant shifts in the populations which visit or reside in the Island.

Male cirl bunting. Photo Mick Dryden

New breeding species have included Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, Common Buzzard Buteo buteo, Firecrest and Water Rail Rallus aquaticus, plus the return of the Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus. Inevitably, there have been minuses too, with the loss of Serin Serinus serinus,  Cirl Bunting and Yellowhammer Emberiza citronella  from our breeding list and others such as Stonechat Saxicola torquata, Skylark Alauda arvensis and Puffin Fratercula arctica, all in decline.

Nothing ever stands still in the avian world!

Michael Dryden – Chairman

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