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Avon Bird Report 2009

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Members of the Bristol Ornithological Club get this as part of their subscription. I don’t know if it’s otherwise widely available* but as a labour of love I hope it is. My favourite bits of any local report are the clues about where to go for those listing gaps.

For instance, right at the top of the IOC taxonomy (but not the BOU yet, which this edition follows) I am missing both partridges. Red-legged is a bit of a trash bird and widespread thanks to hom sap’s predilection for rearing, releasing and slaughtering creatures; but I have managed to miss it in my Avon wanderings. Grey is harder to find but, by God, two appeared at Portbury last year. However, the stronghold for both species is Marshfield, north of Bath. I’ve already noted that corn bunting, yellowhammer and quail are most likely here and the Report bears this out too.

My other favourite is the ringing section. I hadn’t realised that lesser black-backed gulls were so peripatetic. They regularly commute between Bristol and Spain, and one even wound up in the Western Sahara. They’re well equipped for long distance flight so it shouldn’t be a surprise. Not as much a surprise as the coot that flew from Radipole in Weymouth all the way to Chew – only about 50 miles but for a reluctant and crap flyer, a veritable Moon shot.

Try to get your hands on your local report. It beats reading the paper.

* Yes, it is: £9.00 (inc postage) from Dr Harvey Rose, 12 Birbeck Road, Bristol BS9 1BD

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