One Day of Surveying Left for the BTO Atlas

Saturday 30th July 2011

Above: juvenile Siskin at Oakenhill
After four winters and four summers, tomorrow is the final day of surveying for the new BTO Atlas project. I have spent most of my birding in recent weeks looking for evidence of breeding, usually being able to confirm breeding by spotting recently-fledged birds like the Siskin above photographed at Oakenhill today. My first priority was SO81, being square steward for the 10km square, and being where I live. Many of the confirmed breeding species in my local tetrad SO81B have been as a result of garden observations, for example, nesting Blue Tits, Great Tits, Collared Doves and Wood Pigeons, and recently-fledged Robin, Blackbird, Goldfinch and Blackcap.

Having achieved (with of course the the invaluable help of the many tetradders and rovers) at least 15 confirmed breeding species in each of the 25 SO81 tetrads, in the last couple of weeks I have been, with the help of Mark and Andy, turning my attention to SO50 and SO60 in the forest. Here I have been roving in some tetrads with low numbers of confirmed breeders. I've really enjoyed exploring corners of the county I haven't really been to before, as well as some more familiar sites. Roving in SO50 and SO60 has taken me to St. Briavels Common, Helwesfield, Clearwell and Coldharbour, as well as some old favourite sites such as Blackpool Bridge and Oakenhill. Today, Clanna Ponds was a revelation, a lovely spot, and with Mark recorded a good range of species here including Dipper, Goshawk, Kingfishers and Grey Wagtails. We finished the morning with a quick visit to Nagshead, studying a party of Crossbills, including juveniles, near the car park.
Clanna Ponds, a jewel in the Forest of Dean:

I've seen good numbers of Silver-washed Fritillaries in the forest lately; this photo of a male below was taken recently at Cannop Ponds:

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