04/11/2017
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Lincolnshire Bird Report 2015

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The 2015 edition of the Lincolnshire Bird Report is an annual report of excellent quality, and reading through it will inspire any birder to visit this diverse yet considerably under-birded county.

Slightly unusually for a modern bird report, this publication lacks a ‘review of the year’-type summary. This is a shame, as such an overview provides valuable insight, particularly for non-local birders, as well as an interesting read. Information on, for example, total number of species recorded and major rarities observed during the year, is therefore not easy to glean from the report.

Instead, it launches straight in to the Systematic List. This is a pleasingly detailed section, including an introductory sentence on the species’ current status in the county, followed by an extensive summarising paragraph, including (where applicable) notable records, first and last dates, peak counts and breeding records. Some species are accompanied by details of significant ringing recoveries, while others are illustrated with informative graphs from the Breeding Bird Survey. A range of high-quality photographs, of rarities and commoner species alike, is found throughout, with particularly charismatic captures of Black Redstart, Short-eared Owl and Jack Snipe among the many that stood out.

Interesting snippets included a wintering Eurasian Reed Warbler (although there was no indication of how many (if any) previous wintering records there are from the county, maps portraying the impressive eastward expansion of Eurasian Nuthatch through the county over the past two decades, and the discovery that a satellite-tagged Red-throated Diver, that summered on the Ob River mouth in Siberia in 2015 and 2016, had wintered off the Lincolnshire coast during winter 2015/6.

This is followed by an appendix of ‘Category E’ species recorded in the year and a four-page ringing report. Five feature-length articles are then presented, including detailed notes on an unusual winter record of Pacific Golden Plover and a fascinating report on breeding Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers in Lincoln in 2015 and 2016. A note on the extraordinary rise of Little Egret as a breeding species in the county is also a great reference. However, I must admit that the article on an Azores Gull candidate seen in the county in October 2015, in which the identification is seemingly presented as unequivocal, left me feeling a little uneasy, given the many uncertainties that surround the numerous claims of adult-type birds in Britain in recent winters, and indeed the ever-present hybrid issue. There is also no clarification as to whether the record has been accepted or not.

This is an effective, matter-of-fact annual report that will be an asset to a wide range of birders, from Lincolnshire residents and regular visitors to the county to those with a mere passing interest in the county’s avifauna. Copies cost £15 and can be purchased online at lincsbirdclub.co.uk/sales/lbc_15.html.

Written by: Josh Jones