With the current Greater Manchester County Rarities Committee members having served for a considerable amount of time now, we are seeking expressions of interest from potential new members to serve on its five-member committee.
Whilst the committee’s workload is reasonably low and in these days of digital photography much of that is made up of well photographed birds, we still encounter many challenges which ensure our work is varied and interesting, preserving the quality and standard of records within the county database which go on to be employed in important County and National commissions. Term of service is expected to be five years and our work is conducted mainly via email with the occasional informal get together as and when required.
The following are considered desirable attributes for potential members:
Anyone interested should send a short (or long if you prefer!) birding biography of themselves via email and are also very welcome to contact me by any means to discuss anything to do with working within the committee or any other queries they may have.
The sad passing of Roy Rhodes in March 2022 has left a huge void in the conservation efforts and ecology in the North-West but his achievements are rightly honoured and celebrated by two gentlemen who knew him as a friend in their own deeply personal and adoring compositions.
They can be read on the 'Miscellaneous' page here.
Database Assistant – Greater Manchester Bird Recording Group
The Greater Manchester Bird Recording Group (GMBRG) wishes to appoint a Database Assistant (voluntary role) to support the work of the group in conserving Greater Manchester’s birds and the sites on which they depend. GMBRG’s database is a vital tool in this work and provides the most comprehensive and up to date information on the distribution and status of the county’s birds, currently holding over one million records dating back to 1992.
Role and Responsibilities
The person appointed will work closely with the County Recorder and Assistant County Recorder to deliver the following:
A passion for birds and their conservation, enthusiasm, commitment, and the ability to work as part of a small team are all essential. The role would suit either an experienced recorder, or someone who is keen to develop their recording skills and make an important contribution to our knowledge of the county’s birds.
The successful applicant will receive training in the following areas, as required.
How to apply
Write a summary of your relevant experience and skills and explain why you are interested in taking on the role. Please email this to Ian McKerchar, Greater Manchester County Recorder and GMBRG Chairman email@example.com
You are welcome to phone Ian for an initial discussion or if you have any further queries, mobile no. 07958 687481
Colour-ringed birds provide considerable enjoyment and interest for county birders and there are several schemes operating within the county for various species. The organisers of those schemes would not only welcome any sightings of such birds but also to provide background information on them to anyone supplying details, so now's your chance to expand your birding to include looking for colour-ringed birds if it doesn't already!
The page will be expanded to include other schemes and any in the future. It can be found on the 'Record Submission' page at https://www.manchesterbirding.com/record-submission.html
The British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC) has announced that it is to consider all records of White-spotted Bluethroat Luscinia svecica cyanecula, a decision backdated to the 1st January 2021, with any sightings of breeding-plumaged males, or females/non-breeding males where there is reasonable evidence to suggest that subspecies, welcomed for submission.
White-spotted Bluethroat is a rare migrant to Britain, with records chiefly falling in March and the first half of April, a time when any Bluethroat seen is almost certainly going to be that subspecies. Red-spotted Bluethroat is a more numerous migrant that occurs later in the spring, primarily in May (there are just three previous April occurrences, the earliest being on 18th). The subspecies is also a very rare breeder in Britain, with males very occasionally setting up territory (recent examples of such behaviour come from Cambridgeshire and Norfolk).
Greater Manchester has only one record of Bluethroat, with a male at Haigh on the 18th May 1985, though surprisingly, the racial identification of this bird appears not to have been made by the observer.
On 8th May 2020, Rob and Sonia Adderley found a striking male flava type wagtail at Audenshaw Reservoirs which they strongly suspected was an ‘Iberian Wagtail’ Motacilla flava iberiae, a very rare subspecies of Yellow Wagtail.
Although the encounter was all to brief and the bird was never relocated after its initial finding, Rob managed to obtain some images of the bird which were submitted to the British Birds Rarities Committee along with a written description. Whilst the bird’s call was not heard, the previous requirement for the raspy call to be noted and fully documented was recently relaxed and with everything else about the bird fulfilling the relevant criteria, it was unanimously accepted. As it stands, it represents the 4th record for Britain!
Whilst the record won’t add to the current official County List due it being ‘merely’ a subspecies, it does symbolize hope and optimism in the county for what can be found with some diligence, perseverance and endeavour. Well done Rob and Sonia!
The British Birds Rarities Committee has now added Lesser Scaup (re-added really as it was only removed in 2015!) and Kentish Plover to its list of species assessed by them.
This is effective for records from January 1st 2020 and as a result, both species will be dropped from the County Rarities Committee's list of species assessed by them.
Lesser Scaup at Pennington Flash, GM and Kentish Plover at Audenshaw Reservoirs, GM both courtesy of John Tymon