Taxonomy Gone Mad

Every now and then the birding professionals at the BOU declare that the way we order our lists is all wrong and needs to be sorted. So they have lengthy and heated meetings where lots of Latin gets banded about, and then produce their new taxonomy. Well, here in Ayrshire, we like to keep up-to-date with this and so the Ayrshire Species List has had its decadal refresh. I won’t spoil the ending, but here are some highlights:

  • Lots of species now have a geographic prefix, e.g. Western Jackdaw and Atlantic Puffin.
  • Other species get a title bump, e.g. Great Cormorant (that’s going to annoy the anglers!)
  • Some sub-species have been added for the anoraks specialist birders, e.g. Greenland Wheatear.
  • Some things pop up in unexpected places, e.g. why aren’t Spotted and Pied Flycatcher together?

I’d like to thank Angus Hogg for doing the tedious list updates and for sending in some historical photos to use in the list for stuff no longer with us, e.g. Reeve’s Pheasant, Yellow Wagtail and Corn Buntings.

Ayrshire Bird Report 2017

Welcome to the 2017 Ayrshire Bird Report.  Having felt that something was missing in our lives (!) – in the form of the annual Ayrshire Bird Report – the decision was taken to bring the series up to date, starting with the 2017 edition.  The main reason for doing this was to improve access to information on Ayrshire’s birds.  This time, however, the medium used is not the familiar printed version but instead it is available for free as a PDF download by clicking here.  Once again, the report has been supported by the Ayrshire Branch of the SOC, and both editors are grateful for the help and advice received from the SOC local recorder for Ayrshire, Fraser Simpson.

Angus Hogg and Dave Grant, Editors

January 2022 Photos

Well, didn’t 2021 end on a bit of excitement?  Sure, there were a number of “firsts” such as the Pallas’s Warbler at Auchinleck House and the Cetti’s Warbler at Stevenston, and rarities such as the Black-necked Grebe at Martnaham.  But, for real standout splendor, you just can’t beat the Ring-necked Parakeet in Kilmarnock.  What a winter!  I’ve shown a taster here: please see the Photo Gallery for all the goodies.  Obviously, some of these make it onto the Ayrshire Species List with the associated glory and riches†.

My thanks to Hayden Fripp, Dave Grant, Angus Hogg, Bruce Kerr and David Lynn for sending in their pictures.

† Subject to availability!

October 2021 Photos

A driech Sunday morning gave the chance to avoid the gardening and catch up on the backlog for the Photo Gallery. I’ve included a few here – please see the Gallery for the others. My thanks (again) go to Dave Grant and Angus Hogg for their contributions.

May 2021 Photos

It’s a bit of a misnomer to call these “Spring 2021 Photos” as they have been in my inbox for months, continually reminding me they haven’t been processed. Finally I succumbed and I’ve now caught up with the backlog for the Photo Gallery. I’ve included a few here – please see the Gallery for the others. You’ll notice that the ones here are (mostly) our common ones but still stunning or odd (such as Angus’s partial albino Ringed Plover). Pictures of our rarer winter guests are covered in other posts. Despite my vow to not indulge the Gull Brigade, Bruce’s picture of an Iceland Gull was just too good…

My thanks (again) go to Dave Grant, Angus Hogg, Bruce Kerr and David Lynn and for their contributions.

Ayrshire First: Sooty Tern at Maidens, 2020

Adult Sooty Tern, Ascension Island, 2008 © Angus Hogg

Angus Hogg has been busy writing up his sighting of a Sooty Tern at Maidens in 2020. This not only covers this first for Ayrshire but is an excellent example of how to write-up such a sighting. This has been added to our growing list of longer Articles. Please enjoy.

Spotted Sandpiper Update

Spotty on 15-April, © Dave Grant

Now that “Spotty” the Spotted Sandpiper has headed off from Ayrshire, it is a good time to record his stay. (For those of us living outside South Ayrshire, a lot of people are very grateful Spotty hung around until the lockdown was eased!)

We have two articles on Spotty:

  1. Firstly is a Finder’s Note by Hayden Fripp on how he first came to find the bird last Autumn.
  2. Then we have an article by Angus Hogg on how Spotty’s plumage changed over the Winter and what he could turn into when an adult.

These two articles are both   documents. My thanks to Hayden and Angus for writing them.

Rock Pipit or Water Pipit?

Are you bored watching Christmas “specials” of something fraudulently labelled as “comedy” on the box? Want to escape the “joy” of the family while stuck in tier 4? Not quite ready for Angus’s masterclass on Pipits but still want to brush up on the differences between Rock Pipit and Water Pipit? Well, fortunately, Dave Grant has put together a cut-out-and-keep poster  of the things to look out for. Just click on the icon on the left and soon you too will amaze your friends† with your new Motacillidae knowledge.

† Note: friends not supplied.