Berkshire Ornithological Club
The Berkshire Ornithological Club
Registered charity 1011776
The Berkshire Ornithological Club was formed in 2006 by the Reading Ornithological Club (founded 1947). The Club runs an extensive programme of lectures and field trips, manages the county records database and produces the annual report, The Birds of Berkshire. It promotes bird conservation through a small grants scheme, through lobbying local councils and others and through working with many local site conservation groups. The Club runs specific county surveys and supports the BTO survey programme.
The first county atlas and avifauna, The Birds of Berkshire (Standley et al 1996), which was based on surveys carried out in 1987-9, recorded 120 confirmed breeding species and a total county list of over 300 species. Berkshire, though lacking a coastline, has a wide range of habitats. The rivers and gravel pits of the Thames Valley are carry significant numbers of Little Ringed Plover, Nightingale and Cetti’s Warbler, and Oystercatcher bred for the first time in 2010. The heaths in the south of the county are important sites for breeding Nightjar, Woodlark, Tree Pipit, Dartford Warbler. The Berkshire Downs have a good population of Stone Curlew and other down-land species.
In conjunction with the national atlas programme 2007-11, we are surveying all county tetrads for a revised and extended Berkshire county atlas. The first two years of surveying suggest many distribution changes from twenty years ago, some of which reflect known national trends, others perhaps not anticipated. The indications are that Berkshire may have lost Wood Warbler, Tree Sparrow and Hawfinch as breeding species and others such as Willow Tit and Snipe are almost gone. On the other hand, Little Egret, Red Kite, Oystercatcher, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Peregrine and Dartford Warbler have started breeding in Berkshire since 1989. In addition to these new breeders, there appear to be as many species whose ranges are expanding in Berkshire as there are declining species: Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Mandarin, Cormorant, Buzzard, Hobby, Stone Curlew, Curlew, Black-headed Gull, Common Tern, Ring-necked Parakeet, Woodlark, Stonechat, Cetti's Warbler, Firecrest are all expanding.
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