Hampshire Bird Report 2019
With a photograph of the county's outstanding bird of 2019, the Farlington Marshes Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (a county first), the newly-released Hampshire Bird Report opens with a year's summary – and what an impressive year it was. Alongside the county's first Eastern Olly was the first breeding record of Western Cattle Egret for the county, plus rarities including Semipalmated Sandpiper, Bonaparte's Gull and Lesser Scaup. It also includes taxonomic revisions to bring the county list in-line with the BOU, including accepted records of Isabelline Shrike and Eastern Black-eared Wheatear.
Our review of the 2018 report described it as "setting the bar" for county bird reports, and the latest edition is equally as impressive. At 254 pages long, the report by the Hampshire Ornithological Society (HOS) is packed with details of the most abundant to the rarest of species, with professionally laid out text, charts and tables. Charts looking at vismig totals of species such as Yellow Wagtail, seperated by coastal and inland as well as grounded and moving, proved especially interesting reading.
The 189-page systematic list includes a number of high-quality images, complemented well by quality work from local artist Dan Powell. Most useful are the brief summaries provided before each species account, noting their conservation status, county status and Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) status, where appropriate. A record submission guideline and list of required species is especially useful and something other local societies may be astute to include.
An addendum of Category D and E species includes some impressive detail, including a pronounced summary of the Isle of Wight White-tailed Eagles recorded in the county during the year catalogued by individual. A record of Andean Cock-of-the-Rock at Somerton is rather surprising – who knew they were kept in captivity in the UK!
After the systematic list are a number of papers and yearly reports, including the results of different BTO surveys. These range from topics such as the Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers in the county, a finder's account of the aforementioned Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and a study looking at the movement of waders and geese along the River Solent. They hoist the report from basic gazetteer of birds in the county during the year to a true overall reflection of the 2019 Hampshire birding calendar.
At the back of the report is an extensive gazetteer of all birding sites in the county and those mentioned elsewhere in the report, although grid references are only accurate to the closest 1 km square. The report is concluded with notes on grants and membership of the society, alongside an impressive index and abbreviation list.
All things considered, this highly impressive tome retains the high level of quality the 2018 edition provided, and is, once again, a level for all county reports to aim towards. Whether you are a regular Hampshire visitor or simply enjoy a county report or two, the report represents an important reference source for this notable South Coast county.
The bird report can be ordered at a cost of £16.25 (including postage and packing). HOS members, who joined between 1 October and 31 December 2020, are entitled to a discounted price of £10. Details on how to place an order can be found here.