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 .

UK Web Archive

ukwa-logo-150As you may know, this website has been going since June 2000, and so is one of the oldest, continually updated local birding web-sites on the web. Over the years it has built up a collection of useful information and it seemed like a good idea to preserve it.  The British Library has a project called UK Web Archive and as they say:

“There are millions of UK websites. They are constantly changing and even disappearing. Often they contain information that is only available online. Responding to the challenge of a potential “digital black hole” the UK Web Archive is there to safeguard as many of these websites as practical. Its purpose is to collect, preserve and give permanent access to key UK websites for future generations.”

The Ayrshire Birding web site is about to be added to this archive, so you can now rest easy knowing that all this stuff will be available for your descendants to peruse.


First 2013 Photos

My thanks to Angus Hogg and Alan Mathewson for sending in the first batch of photos in 2013 for the Photo Gallery. Here is a sample:

However, as Angus points out:

“The redpolls are interesting – I’m pretty sure they’re the Mealy Redpoll sub-species of Common Redpoll, but others may wish to comment.  They may be the so-called North-western Redpoll.  They’re not Lessers, the photos showing a largely greyish bird, with a white greater-covert wing bar, and very white on the breast/belly area.  However, this species is a work in progress and some observers may have other ideas on these.”

I’m sure he’d be very interested in your comments.  You can email him by clicking here.

New Year Resolution

The more observant of you might have noticed a change in the appearance of the Ayrshire Birding web-site.  After last year’s defacing of the site by the pill-peddlers I was looking at moving to a different platform with better security and this is the result. For those who care about these things we are now using WordPress and its new theme that allows content to be displayed well on those nice tablets and smartphones that Santa brought, as well as the normal desktop PCs.  It is a work in progress so bear with me while I play and you explore.

And for a New Year Resolution: now is a great time to collate all your 2012 sightings to send to the County Recorder for inclusion in the Bird Report.

Hunterston Local Development Plan

Anne McCall, RSPB

In June this year we learned that the plans for a massively polluting coal-fired power station on the SSSI at Hunterston had been dropped. This was a great victory for the environment and public campaigning. We need to ensure North Ayrshire Council safeguard this important wildlife site for the future.

North Ayrshire Council has opened a consultation on a revised Local Development Plan. We are pleased that mention of the coal-fired power station has been removed, but unfortunately other development proposals still threaten the SSSI and the important wildlife within it. We need you to take action and write to North Ayrshire Council expressing your concern that this site, which is protected for its special wildlife, has been earmarked for development.

Meeting Programmes

The evening programme of the Ayrshire Branch of the SWT and details of the outdoor programme of the Central RSPB Group/Ayrshire SOC are now posted on the Events Page.  This page also has the details of the change of venue for the SOC Conference held on 26-28 October in Aviemore.

Club Newsletters

It is awful to think that Autumn is (almost) upon us and the new season of club events about to get started. To get things going we have the latest newsletters from the Ayrshire SOC and the Central Ayrshire RSPB Members’ Group and a special Sea-bird Special. (Note these are all PDF documents and should open automatically in your browser.If they don’t, then please ask Mr Google for help). Click on the links below to view the newsletters.

Site Defaced

Recently some son-of-a-batchelor got into the Ayrshire Birding site and defaced the administration pages.  The only publicly visible sign of this was Google showing links from the site to dodgy pharmaceutical vendors.  Now, you may have visited this site in search of their products, but I’m afraid since they didn’t offer to share the profits with me we had to part company.  I’m afraid it wasn’t amicable: I’ve just trashed the old site and completely rebuilt it from backups with a clean installation.  Things are mostly back to normal but bear with me for the next week or so as I nail things down.  Fortunately the only “sensitive” information on the site are some photos that claim to be from Ayrshire but I suspect were taken in Galloway…

The whole thing has re-enforced two things:

  1. Always do backups
  2. Always do backups!!