Somerset Birding News

The Somerset Atlas of Breeding and Wintering Birds 2007-2012 was published at the end of November 2014. It has been well received by birding press reviewers and sales have now exceeded the 400 mark. It can now be obtained online through the NHBS at www.nhbs.com.

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After 2 years of meetings, a Memorandum of Understanding is being drawn up between SERC and the SOS to ensure that there is an exchange of bird data and information between the two organisations.

This is principally to ensure that bird data previously from outside the Society is included in our annual report and that environmental planning takes into account the diversity and distribution of bird life in Somerset. Rarities and confidentiality are a key consideration in the agreement.

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It has all gone rather quiet after the political declarations of green credentials pre-election but we still have relatively little news about the state of progress with the Tidal Lagoons in the Severn Estuary and particularly Bridgwater Bay. Any development will have a direct and significant effect on our bird life and we must all stay alert to opportunities to contribute to the discussion.

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We have already mentioned elsewhere the loss of Bruce Taylor from the Committee. In his place we are delighted to welcome Dave Dawe. Dave is Somerset born and lives in Milverton. While Exmoor is his favourite area, his main passion is seawatching, mainly at Hurlstone Point in the company of another avid seawatcher, Brian Gibbs. Dave confesses that he now eats, sleeps and talks birds, but occasionally stops for a glass of cider. We are sure Dave's enthusiasm will be an asset to the Committee.

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You may already have heard about the second breeding record of Avocets in Somerset. This year it occurred at the new WWT reserve at Steart, where a pair hatched four chicks. The birds were last seen in late July when both adults and three well-developed juveniles were present. This is a great result for the reserve, which is already proving to be a superb benefit to Somerset birding.

Check out their website at http://steart.wwt.org.uk/, where there is useful information on the reserve and a Twitter feed with bird news.

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