Stonechat – February 2014

StonechatHere is the first edition of our newsletter in 2014. We do hope this year will be a good one for you all, with many exciting birding experiences. This edition has the results of the Ayrshire Stonechat survey from Angus – thanks to all who took part; Keith Martin has sent in another article on New Zealand – this time focussing on a family trip to find the North Island Brown Kiwi. From Henry Martin we have an article on Blue Tits – ”Bright birds make good mothers”, as well as a wee challenge for you – also from Henry. There is also a report about our excellent raptor migration trip to the Costa del Sol and Costa de la Luz in September last year. We hope you enjoy all of this and of course, the remaining talks lined up for you and the joint field trips with RSPB Central Ayrshire Local group. We can assure you that your committee will do their very best to bring you more top-class speakers for the new season starting in September, and of course, an interesting range of destinations for our field trips and longer organised holidays / long weekends wherever they may be.

Tony Scott
Newsletter editor

Ayrshire Breeding Birds Survey 1991-97

Atlas ExampleThe Ayrshire’s Breeding Birds Survey 1991-97 is the result of many hours field-work by many observers and probably even longer analysis by Angus Hogg.  Separate maps have been produced for over 130 breeding species giving their distribution and abundance, with a commentary by Angus on the latest status.  Not only is this an important historical resource, it also provides a comparison with the results to appear in the new BTO Atlas. Details on how to interpret the maps and some background information is given in the Ayrshire’s Breeding Birds Survey 1991-97 page.  The maps themselves are accessible from the Ayrshire Species List (select it from the menu) and then click on the icon beside the species name.

Winter Meetings Programme

It seems very odd to talk about Winter meetings in this decent Summer weather but the programmes for the Ayrshire branches of the SOC and SWT have now been posted on the Events page.

Update 16-Aug: I’ve just received the programme for the RSPB Central Ayrshire group and their joint outdoor programme with the Ayrshire SOC Group.  Tony Scott has also sent in this summer’s issue of the “Gannet” in two parts.

Update 1-Sep: Tony Scott has also sent in this summer’s issue of the Stonechat.

Summer Photos 2013


My thanks to Angus Hogg and Dave Grant for sending in some photos for the Photo Gallery. Angus also managed to get another photo onto the Ayrshire Species List with his picture of Sand Martin. However, to prove that this site isn’t just interested in the common-place stuff, Angus’s series of pictures of a Common Rosefinch that turned up in his garden also made the cut! This was only the third record for Ayrshire for this species. The Editor’s comment: “What’s wrong with my garden?” Dave’s photos mostly came from his PhD field-work on Lady Isle: I’ve include the juvenile Shags because they almost look cute.

Spring 2013 Photos


My thanks to Angus Hogg and Jamie McPike for sending in some photos for the Photo Gallery. Angus also managed to get two photos onto the Ayrshire Species List with his picture of Long-tailed Skuas and a White Wagtail (OK, it’s a sub-species – but that excites some weird people). However, Jamie didn’t miss out as his Garganey picture replaced the previous entry: standards just keep getting better. (As always, the Editor’s decision is final: bribes are accepted though.)

March 2013 Photos


My thanks to Angus Hogg and Dave Grant for sending in some photos for the Photo Gallery. I’ve also included (yet another) Waxwing photo I took using my phone just to show what is now possible.

February Issue of “Stonechat”

StonechatThe February 2013 issue of Stonechat, the club newsletter of the Ayrshire Branch of the SOC is now available: click here to download it .  The Editor, Tony Scott, would like to mention that there are still a couple of places available on the Raptor Migration (to Southern Spain) trip in September: full details are in the itinerary .