Rare Breeding Birds Panel
RBBP - the secure information archive on the UK's rare breeding birds - Twitter: @ukrbbp
Rare Breeding Birds Panel - March 2018
(1) as spring is upon us, it is time to be looking out for early signs of nesting of rare breeding birds like displaying Goshawks (left), drumming Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers and singing Willow Tits. Indeed, ANY records of these species (in breeding habitat) at this time of year are invaluable to support our annual calculations of the number of breeding pairs across the UK. Please enter them on BirdTrack or submit them directly to county recorders;
(2) meanwhile the Secretary is STILL busy collating records received for 2016 but also sending out reminders to the few county recorders who are yet to send us any data for 2016. The deadline was November last year but there is a chance late data could still be included. If you live in any of the areas listed to the right, please could we ask you to contact the local recorder and ask them to support the conservation of rare breeding birds by submitting their records to the Secretary as soon as possible. Thank you. We are pleased to report that Shropshire has now sent us records for 2016; well done to the new recorder who has worked hard to catch up. THANKS! For the latest position by recording area, check here.
To fulfil our aims to curate and safely archive all records of rare breeding birds in the UK, for the conservation of those species and for the benefit of UK ornithology, we rely on birdwatchers reporting their sightings to county recorders and those recorders collating them and sending them on an annual basis to the RBBP Secretary. We would like to encourage any one with records of species on the RBBP list recorded in breeding habitat in 2017 to submit them to county bird recorders immediately so that they can be made available to RBBP in due course.
The latest report of the Rare Breeding Birds Panel, recently published in the journal British Birds (cover of the December issue pictured left), reveals further increases in some resident passerines such as Cettiís Warblers, Dartford Warblers and Firecrests (2,935, 1,677 and 1,548 territories respectively). All of these species are associated with warmer, southern climates but have been increasing and spreading in southern Britain in recent decades and all have responded to the recent run of milder than average winters. A wide range of other species also reached their highest population levels in recent years, for example Whooper Swan (maximum total of 32 breeding pairs), Eurasian Bittern (186), White-tailed Eagle (108), Marsh Harrier (393; see graph on right), Goshawk (616), Osprey (245), Red-necked Phalarope (83), Wood Sandpiper (33), Roseate Tern (113), Fair Isle Wren (43) and Redwing (40). But the declining Montaguís Harrier was present at only four sites, the lowest since 1984; seven breeding females fledged only six young, a below average number. Golden Orioles were recorded at four sites but at three they stayed for a few days only and at the fourth there was no indication of breeding having occurred.
Recent colonists bred again in 2015: up to five Little Bitterns, three pairs of Great White Egret, 14 pairs of Spoonbill and four pairs of Black-winged Stilt. Two pairs of Bee-eaters bred in Cumbria although only one young was fledged.
Overall, a total of 100 rare or scarce species was recorded breeding, or showed signs of breeding, in the UK in 2015. Full details are presented in the annual report of the UK Rare Breeding Birds Panel in the December issue of the journal British Birds. The report presents, for the first time, long-term population trends for most of our regularly breeding rare species. The species showing the greatest increase over the last 25 years is the Little Egret, while that with the greatest decline is Golden Oriole. The totals and trends for 2015 are used in the latest State of the UK's birds.
You can buy a digital copy of the issue of British Birds containing the report for £4.99 via the Apple Appstore or Google Play: search for British Birds magazine. Alternatively, you can buy a paper copy (£7.50): from British Birds directly.