Inane rambling and musings from Ian McKerchar, sometimes hopefully not so inane...
The 'Gone Birding' section on this website finally has its first piece. I say piece but what I really mean is gibberish, babbling on about waterproof jackets of all things! But that's the point of it really, the section is genuinely my inane ramblings and musings on all things birds and birding. It'm not expecting it to be a regular feature, just when I have the time or more importantly something to ramble on about, but ramble I will and it goes without saying that anything within the section is my opinion alone and does not represent that of the Greater Manchester Bird Recording Group or its rarities Committee in any way shape or form (unless otherwise stated). Enjoy (or not as the case may be!).
Now, I don't know about you, but for me Red-flanked Bluetails still maintain their almost mythical status in the UK and never cease to be a heart-stopper whenever I'm fortunate enough to see one but in the eyes of the British Birds Rarities Committee, they're no longer rare enough to warrant their assessment and so have been dropped from their rarities list, effective for records from 1st January 2017. And bluetails aren't alone either, with the following changes:
Removed from the BBRC list- Black-winged Stilt, Red-flanked Bluetail
Reinstated to the BBRC list- Ferruginous Duck
Ferruginous Duck is in decline internationally and BBRC needs to ensure provenance of birds with regards to their increasing conservation concern. As for the stilt and bluetail, their increasing numbers in recent years has been plain to see and I can now look forward to the County Rarities Committee's first submission of either of them and hope that it is bird which is enjoyed my many observers!
With immediate effect Tim Wilcox becomes the new WeBS Organiser for Greater Manchester.
Tim's details can be found on the 'Who's Who' page of this website and I'd like to wish him all the very best in his new role and hope we all support him in his quest to get more coverage for the WeBS in GM.
Tim is a well respected and long time county birder and anyone wishing to know more about him should have a read of the 'Meet and Greet the Manky Birders' article within the miscellaneous section of the Articles page of this website.
A number of bird flu cases has now been confirmed in the UK, including within Lancashire and as such birders should be highly vigilant when out and about to any suspected cases they may come across. It goes without saying that dead birds should ideally not be handled by untrained persons as some strains of avian influenza can pass to humans, but this is very rare. It usually requires very close contact between the human and infected birds. Based on what is currently known about the H5N8 strain, the risk to public health is considered very low. There have never been any recorded cases of H5N8 in humans.
Members of the public should report dead wild birds - such as swans, geese, ducks, gulls or birds of prey - to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77. Defra will then collect some of these birds and test them to help understand how the disease is distributed geographically and in different types of bird.
Okay, so I've started moving the trip reports across to this new site. The time and effort spent by contributors in writing them in the first place (not to mention me editing them for publication in many cases) is not underestimated and has always been hugely appreciated, plus they're a fantastic resource and joy to read.
Of course, it all takes time, not least as they all have to be converted to PDF too, so I only ask that readers bear with me whilst I find that increasingly all too rare commodity these days (time!) but I'll get there.
Meanwhile, please do continue to send in trip reports as and when you have them but feel free to get in touch first to discuss requirements which may ease the whole process along the way and make their publication that much quicker.
So, what's new on this website? Well, pretty much everything!
Sure the articles and most of the information may be the same as the old Manchester Birding website for now (though its all gone through a thorough revamp and update) but the website itself is very new indeed as I hope it's plain to see. It's still early days for this new Manchester Birding website though and is very much a work in progress, so please bear with me as I add the rest of the information from the old site and probably fiddle with it constantly until I satisfy my own demanding standards. With that in mind I welcome commments and contributions but it should be borne in mind that I have an awful lot to do, not least with converting the site guides and trip reports to PDFs and adding them on here. Should keep me busy!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and may the old faithful Manchester Birding website rest in peace for I devoted many, many hours of my life to it (far too many!) but for now; the old king is dead, long live the (new) king.