New BTO Representative

We have a new BTO Representative for the county: Dave McGarvie. Dave introduces himself in the attached BTO Ayrshire Newsletter  .

In just under a month Dave is helping run a training event in Dalmellington, on Sunday 8 March. This will be an all-day event, designed to introduce people to the methods that the BTO use for its main breeding bird surveys. ID training will be included, though with an emphasis on songs and calls, and assuming a solid baseline skill level with respect to visual ID of upland species.
It’s a great way of finding out more, and will be especially useful if you are wondering whether your bird skills are good enough to do the main breeding bird surveys – the Breeding Birds Survey (BBS) and Waterways Breeding Bird Survey (WBBS).
If you’re not quite there yet, then you’ll be able to get a good idea of where and how you need to improve. And you can also learn about other surveys that you could do that don’t require such a high level of bird identification skills. Further details can be found here.

Eastern Black Redstart

Back in 2018 Angus Hogg and Dave Grant saw and photographed an unusual looking Black Redstart near Maidens.  It had the characteristics of an Eastern sub-species and so they submitted a detail report. Dave has produced the attached poster   showing what they submitted and the outcome.

Winter 2019/20 Photos

With the second weekend in a row spoiled by a named storm, I’ve no excuse to not deal with the backlog of photos for the Photo Gallery.  We’ve had a few lovely birds to brighten up the winter: I’ve included a few here – please see the Gallery for the others.

In addition, a Siberian Chiffchaff appeared in Auchenharvie to get those sad souls who like sub-species excited (or insurance for when it gets split?).

My thanks go to Dave Grant, Angus Hogg, and Bruce Kerr for their contributions.

Siberian Chiffchaff

If like me you aren’t as up-to-date on your Siberian Chiffchaff identification as you’d like, then you’ll find the attached poster   produced by Dave Grant essential reading. Using his photos of the bird that recently popped up in Auchenharvie and explanatory notes, you’ll be ready for when the next one pops up. Click on the icon to download the poster. Makes an ideal spousal Christmas present.

Autumn 2019 Photos

Again, we have a nice mix of the rare and common with stunning photos. The really impressive bit was getting the photo in good light and blue skies: not easy this autumn! The above are just a sample: please go to the Photo Gallery to see all the other great pictures.

I’m always on the hunt for photos to illustrate our Ayrshire Species List. David Lynn sent in, as he himself says, a record shot of the Lesser Yellowlegs that popped up at Capringstone in Irvine. Doesn’t matter: as it is the first photo we have, it gets the glory, and being only the third record for the county (TBC by the Great+Good), also gets a place in the Ayrshire Rare Species List

My thanks go to Dave Grant, Angus Hogg, and David Lynn for their contributions.

Security isn’t a dirty word

The more observant may have noticed previously that browsers such as Chrome would say this site was “insecure” and give you concern. Given that it’s a birding website and I don’t hold sensitive information (e.g. credit card info, nuclear launch codes, etc) there isn’t a problem. However, to avoid even the slightest worry I’ve switched to using an SSL to secure the site. This means that no-one can eavesdrop on you browsing all the site’s goodies. The site’s URL is now officially but if you use the old http one you’ll be redirected automatically to the nice safe, secure one.